Guardian of Harmony

by Corvus Eclipse

First published

Deep beneath the surface of Equestria an unknown creature dwells within the darkness of the Underground; guarding the long forgotten Chamber of Stone and the secrets hidden within. A mighty earthquake disturbed the peace in the endless tunnels of this dark place and changed the fate of the creature forever.


View Online

Darkness, loneliness ….

A long sigh went through the tunnels that seemed to be endless, followed by a small quake that made all the small stones jump across the ground. Something was moving in the darkness of this place, a immense shape cut through the dark, without hesitating it moved forward though the labyrinth of corridors.

- How long has it been – he thought – How long has it been since I`ve been sent down here?

All of the sudden a small blaze of light came out of nowhere, creating a round shape that lit up the environment around the mysterious creature, however he was so used to this small light, like every creature to the light of the sun, that he simply didn’t notice it. Something unusual was in the air, he could literally feel it with his body but he could not understand what it was, a feeling like that did not just appear without a proper reason that was sure. Whatever it might be, it seemed not to be natural besides that something was scratching his mind, a thing that happened very often. So many times he tried to figure out what it was; connections with his mind were not possible since….

He didn’t know how long has it been now, but he knew that it had be a very long time. The time was not a merciful ally. With each passing day his memory vanished in the darkness of those tunnels, however, the task that was holding him here below the Earth never vanished out of his mind; it seemed though, that some sort of influence literally forced him to not forget it. Something has changed though because everything seemed to be different today. After a very long time and journey the creature reached his destiny, his prison and curse. The natural tunnels changed its shape here; everybody would recognize that the change had been manipulated by a skilled hand, that could handle the stone in a nearly perfect way. A chamber appeared in the darkness, the light that was his fellow companion lit up the place, showing parts of its glory, fascinating shapes and forms were shyly jutting out of the shadows. The creature knew that he was close to the end of his journey, even though he was here so many countless times, he felt that something was defiantly not right. His instincts that have adapted to the dangerous life of Underground, were prepare for everything, but this time even they seemed to be not seriously focused.

- What can it mean?

Whatever it was it caused confusion, strange feelings that were new but on the other hand felt somehow familiar. He moved on, the confidence that was leading him was gone, right now he moved on patiently, full of grace and agility, a sight that might have open up many mouths, if there would be mouths to open. Soon the light, that was his fellow companion, started to lose its intensity. New light wells started to appear at the end of the chamber, colorful, warm, and even seductive. He slowed down his movement, in no time he arrived at the end of the chamber, in front of him there was a wall that had impressive sculptures and runes that always seemed to change their shapes, but not those things were the majority on the wall. A little bit above them there were crystals that were socket into the wall, at the first look they looked like normal stones, but the creature knew that nobody should judge a book by its cover. After he stepped closer to the wall the crystals started to shine in a marvelous composition of colors, that would make the light of North look like a joke.

The crystal always reacted that way while he was close to them, he was glad that it was happening; this shine gave his pathetic life a reason to stay alive, to be honest, those lights would be the only lights he would ever see again. The creature looked on the crystals, they were the reason why he was here, and they were the reason that he left his life behind only to become the guardian. He tried to think of his past, but as always he didn’t find any answers he was looking for, once more he looked at the crystals. He knew that his amnesia could not be natural, and he feared it already that the crystals might have affected him somehow. This thought was not crossing his mind for the first time, but he always tried to push it away. He could not accept the fact, that the things that he was guarding, were dangerous for him.

The creature grabbed his head, roared fierce fully and he hit the crystals with his anger. The echo of his hit went through the tunnels and went on for a long time, slowly losing its power in the never ending darkness. He moaned desperately and fell down on his knees. He was alone, alone for eternity, doomed to forget everything he once knew only because of those cursed crystals. Slowly he got up and then he looked on the surface of the crystal he just hit. There was no hint of a scratch or even a hint of the smash, the crystal looked the same way as it always did, he mumbled something and looked again on the surface, to see his own reflection in it. The pure blue surface of the crystal became dark; the reflection was showing a thing that could not be a normal or natural living thing, neither a man neither an animal.

His skin was dark as the night. Without the light it would have been nearly impossible to spot him in the darkness; a bit above his temple, solid looking horns went straight and a bit obliquely out of his skin, without taking him the sight at his sides and even give him the opportunity to use them as weapons. His ears, that were at the ordinary place where humans have them, had the shape of a horse ears that were instantly moving and spotting any kind of sounds, regardless how quiet it might be. His forehead was bald but he had long spiked hair on the back side of his head that reached to his shoulders. And as any humanoid creature, he was standing on two legs that ended in dragon like feet, that had razor sharp claws, he was usually using to rip into the walls so he could climb more easily. The mentioned things were not the things that would be noticeable while somebody would look into his face…

He didn’t have one. He didn’t have a nose, mouth anything that might have reflected his personality. The only thing that was a little bit normal were his eyes, which had a normal shape but the thing about them was the fact, that they were made out of flames. Right now his eyes were bursting, the flames were licking the edges of his horns, but at that point they did not spread forward. His eyes were the only things that could show his emotions, he was glad that he had an opportunity like that, but in the end it would be just wasted, because nobody would ever see those emotions. He was an abomination, a monster; He was a guardian. The roar finally ended, the echoes went silent. His chest was moving up and down in an unusual fast way, he turned away from the crystals, that stopped to shine and moved back to the entrance. On the half way he suddenly stopped and concentrated. His breath became normal, his unleashed anger was over and everything around him went dark, because he closed his eyes.

The creature started to listen to the sounds of the Underground. If somebody would live so long under the earth , it was sure that he was way too long under it, would learn to hear the sounds that normally nobody would hear or even imagine that something like that exists. The stones had their own sounds, each of them unique; they had souls and a history. For him those sounds were like a healing salve for his poor soul, which removed every mental pain, disorientations and confusions that might have affected him. Without that discovery he would have probably gone mad long time ago. He let out a short and relaxed sigh. Suddenly something corrupted the symphony of stones, and ripped through the air and started to spread around the Underground. He knew what it was, his muscles tensed automatically, his senses became razor sharp but his mind and soul remained calm and concentrated.

The creature that have roared through the tunnels would not be able to reach that place, and even if it somehow managed to get here, it fate would be the same like of those who came before it. It would die.The creature roared again and short after it a might earthquake followed it; this act surprised him so much that he nearly lost his balance. What was going on? Since he was locked here a thing like that never happened before! At least he didn’t remember such occasion. Dust started to fall down on his body, smaller stones or parts of the mosaic followed, but he was ignoring it. The guardian focused as good as he could, and then he released his spirit to search through the tunnels, but as usual this failed because he could not see anything through the deep fog of the darkness. He let his spirit return into his body, after it he cursed in a long dead language. The crystals were blocking his mind but gladly not his body, the earthquake changed something, it was in the air. A feeling that he thought he had already forgotten came back from the darkness: Curiosity.

Oh how he wished to leave those crystals behind him once and for all, but he knew that he couldn’t do it. Something in him was telling him that the crystals had to be protected by any cause, for every price. Unfortunately for the crystals, the long forgotten curiosity has already snared him with its net. He went out of the Chambers of Stone, for the first time since thousand years he felt like he was free at least for the moment.

The events on the other side were still unclear, the crystals have been visited and probably will be visited only by one living creature; Himself of course. If he would leave the crystals only for a few hours, nothing would happen at all, and even if something would happen, the crystals would reach out for his mind and call for aid; even pull him back with their unknown power. Yes he could afford that. A dark and deep laughter filled the lonely tunnels of the underground, and spread around with an echo that made it sound demonic. He moved forward into the darkness, with a free will. How could he have known that the events that will come now would change his life and the events in it forever?

The crystal started suddenly to shine more tens and with more power, trying to lure back the guardian, but it was already too late. The guardian was gone.

Chapter 1 - Ember

View Online

Witch each step the creature left the Chamber of Stone behind him. During his rather fast travel, new earthquakes have interrupted the silence of the tunnels, opening new airlocks that started to let the wind in, creating howls that would let a cold chill run down the spine. The winds were strangely cold but very refreshing for the mind, the feeling of freezing was unknown for him but even though the body didn’t recognize it, his mind started to reveal the memories of the long forgotten senses. That memory was surprisingly real so he couldn’t avoid the inner shiver.

With each new step, his theory about the manipulation of the crystals seemed to be more likely, but sadly those changes were very small, barely noticeable. He turned right and started to look around. The path he has chosen was one of many natural tunnels, which were all around that place. The difference between them and the tunnels created by a race, which was long gone, were the facts that the natural tunnels allowed the local fauna and flora to resident in it. Enormous, green mushrooms were the most common plants. Other plants that had nearly the same numbers, were red veins, so he called them himself. A half organic plant that was attached to the walls in a way, that they reminded of veins that were transporting blood, what in the end made many tunnels look like a part of a anatomy of a big creature.

The mushrooms were glowing with a slight green light that was lurking common insects of the Underground. The symbiotic pact between plant and animal allowed both species to survive below the earth. He found the mushrooms he was looking for, a very rare one that he literally once bumped into. A mushroom that had an second hat growing on the first main one. While passing it he was listening to the wings of the small bugs that were working along the surface of the mushroom, catching small points of light that were being spread around by the plant. The wild tunnel leads straight into a one big crossroad that was creating an immense system of tunnels and airlocks. He was always trying to avoid that crossroad because the ways here started to be smaller what in fact forced him to change his size.

The creature didn’t know how he learned that ability but it helped him to get out of many unpleasant experiences. Right now the way started to lead down into the crossroad, the wall on his right ended and turned into an abyss: another reason why he always try to avoid this place. Something was different now though, all of the sudden the way ended, the old path was gone and it became a part of the abyss. He looked down into the black hole; the darkness below seemed to be thicker than the darkness in the tunnels, if that’s possible. He picked up a stone and threw it into the abyss that somehow reminded him of an opened jaw of a gigantic creature. The expecting sound that he was hoping for did not sound below him.

- And I was thinking I was deep under the earth…. – he thought.

There was no way down that he could use with his feet so the only thing he could do was climbing. With a might jump he threw himself against the wall, ripped his claws into the stone like it would be butter, and slowly he started to move forward. After a while he looked around, but he didn’t find any place where he could stand besides that he couldn’t find any trace of the old way. It seemed like the earthquake had changed the environment more than he expected. Gladly many other ways ended their being like that so he was used to climbing, the only difference here though was the fact, that here around the surface of the wall, were no signs of marks left by his claws. For the first time since he was here he felt lost. It was hard to identify the way of the path he wanted to use; he sighted and moved forward ripping his claws into the wall.

After a while he managed to find the way that has not been affected by the earthquake. With a big relief he jumped on it. Dust fell down into the abyss but the path was holding out his weight and size, he continued his journey with more optimism. Sadly the optimism went away after he reached the center of the crossroad. Many old paths were blocked by big rocks and rumbles, but with the old ones gone new entrances have been created; he was not sure which way he was supposed to go in fact he let his sense of smelling choose the way. The air in that tunnel was fresh, not affected by the dust and stickiness of this place, the smell of it was like a cold shower for him but he didn’t let his guard down. He knew what kind of creatures were living here, most of them not harmful, at least for him.

Unneeded attention was not the thing he needed now, especially because he was not close to the crystals. The light of his eyes created a cone of light in that rather small tunnel; in one point he couldn’t move forward without bowing down so he decided that he had to change his size optimal to this tunnel. He did the usual move he always did while he changed his size. With one knee he kneeled on the ground, closed his eyes and let everything happen in his mind. In no time his size changed, he stood up and stretched a little, the muscles always felt so tense after this. A rather unpleasant crack went out from his bones after he stretched again.

It seemed like the tunnel started to end. After a longer time he found himself in a gigantic lair that he couldn’t recognize. He looked around for something that might help him to move on, but he didn’t find any clue of plants or other flora. Moving forward in this place would be a rather big waste of time and he defiantly hated that. Once more he kneeled down and took a deep breath. His shoulder started to move in a disgusting way, like something would be moving inside of his body, bones cracked, the skin split open. The creature moaned and in the same time black wings went out of his back, both of the wet with a purple looking liquid fluid. Usually this procedure never deal any harm to him but he did not do it for so long he had to endure the forgotten pain.

- I hate that so much….

The wings went out of him folded together; like he would use his hands the creature started to wave with them to remove the fluid which splashed against the walls. They finally open themselves reveling leathery wings, that had the same color as his skin but if you would look carefully, you would notice small purple veins all around the surface of the wing, which were creating an interesting pattern. He stood up; with a swing of the wings he catapulted himself into the air. It took some time to fully remove the tense feeling in the wings, but soon he was able to use them properly. From above he had a better view of this unknown place, it seemed like it was another new creation of the earthquake. He was flying through the lifeless depths of this place so fast he could but nothing appeared that could have been of interest.

This place seemed to have no purpose in his eyes; empty as it was it just outbalanced the natural things in that ecosystem. Suddenly a might wind blow came straight at him; it was so fast and unexpected that he didn’t have the chance to land or even to close his wings. The power of the wind was so immense that he was being thrown away like a leaf in the winds. He saw the wall coming closer and then everything around him melted away in a white flash...

He could smell the flowers that started to bloom on the trees, he could hear the sound of the river not far from him, the sun was gently touching his face, but nothing could compare with the feeling of her touch on his cheek. A smile appeared on his face, he wanted to turn around to his beloved but a terrible sound suddenly stopped the balance of the summer and threw him back into the dark reality. He heard a woman shout something but her voice was lost in the howl of the wind….

His head was pulsing from the crush; he could feel that he was no longer in the air. He was on the ground of the lair. With a big effort he managed to get back on his legs, holding his balanced without any problem. Right away he noticed that not the crush against the wall was creating the pain in his head. It was his mind that suddenly has opened itself, free of any chains that were holding it under the lock. Still though his memory was like a fog that was so thick, that nobody would see their bare hands in front of their face.

- What did just happen? – He thought, mound and grabbed his hurting head.

The creature looked around. It was sure that he was still in the gigantic lair but it seemed like the wind has blew him away into the living part of it. The mushrooms seemed to have absorbed all the power of his fall and prevented him from any harm; he sniffed around but the smell of the resin of the broken mushrooms literally bashed his sense. It did not allow any kind of identification around in this area. He got up only to find out that he was nearly totally covered in the resin that had an ugly yellow color; disgusted by it he tried to remove it but in the end he made everything worse. Dirt and any other things that were around, started to stick to his body creating a rather weird look. Something is constantly changing; something loses its power over him.

He was a creature that was completely free of emotions, honor or even dignity what made him a very effective guardian of the crystals. Since that flash, the memory of the upper world was stuck for good in his mind, making him feel bad about his faith and the sacrifice he payed to protect the outside world from the power of the crystals. He moved forward to leave the small forest of mushrooms he bumped into, trying to somehow figure out where the mighty wind has brought him; he still couldn’t smell anything besides the resin, but the fact that this environment was noisy surprised him deeply. He knew that there was a lot of life under the surface but the life forms usually were silent creatures, that were fighting everyday for survival in that vast environment; besides that all that noises he was hearing were not familiar with any animals he knew. The forest became suddenly silent.

He could feel it coming long before it arrived him: a wave of pure energy was going this way. The creature relaxed, closed his eyes and waited for the upcoming impact that arrived after the eyes closed. A nice feeling of heat went through his body, the energy grabbed him into the air, the resin has been removed and any other pain he had was gone. The crystals have connected him, calling out for help. The guardian opened his eyes, the fire blazed right away, through the crystals themselves he could see what was going on in the chambers of stone. Every living creature, regardless if a creature of shadow or light has an energy aura, and right now the guardian could sense the trespasser but it felt kind of strange. It was sure that this creature, whatever it was, did not come from the underground. That could mean only one! It came from the surface….

- The earthquakes seemed to have created an entrance into the Underground. – He thought and growled like a savage animal.

Once more the time has come to for fill his duty. He turned off the connection with the crystals, fell down on the ground and charged forward through the remains of the mushroom wood, following the trace the aura has left for him. With an immense speed he ran to the circle of energy that has been created for him. Sometimes he was thinking, that the crystals were living creatures, otherwise he could not find any proper explanation how dead items could create such thing. There will be enough time of thinking after his duty. He jumped into the circle, his body started to vanish in the light, being transported back to the place where his life was bound for ever. The last part of his body vanished completely and the circle behind him disappeared.

Travels like that were not the kindest ones, all the colors melted together and started pass you with an incredible speed transporting the body through light and time. Gladly the chambers of stone were not far away that is why he was expecting a short ride; still in the vortex of the portal he was trying to figure out what was haunting the chamber. In all the time only creatures of the Underworld, that thought were strong enough to conquer him, tried to get those crystals and all of them died in the act of trying. The strange aura he felt was different from all the other auras he felt here. Hate, anger sometimes even sadness but in that case he felt something he seemed to know…

He focused, tried to remove all questions that were swarming in his mind, of course everything for nothing: the questions seemed to even increase their numbers. Whatever he would meet in the chambers, would never again see the light of the sun. The portal started to lose its intensity, the colors started to melt together, slowly creating the shape of the chamber, he took a deep breath before he reached the end. A loud and sharp sound thundered in his ears, he was thrown out of the energy field. With an enormous crash he landed on the ground of the chamber, slowly he started to get up, growling, looking for the target.

His muscles were all tense, senses sharp as it could be a scary sight even for the greatest beast. Right now he could not spot the trespasser, he was sure that his sudden appearance out of nowhere had surprised whatever creature dwelled here. Maybe even scared it away, but even though he could not see it with his eyes, he could feel its aura. Behind the pillar he noticed a small life form that was surely shaking around in fear, surprised by its small posture the guardian decides that he would have to see it first. Not a matter of preparing, a matter of curiosity. He moved forward, creating small quakes, the life form gave a strange sound from itself and started to change its position. The game began, he had his fun. The small creature was way too slow for him but he allowed the game of cat and mice go on a little bit longer.

Though as every cat that plays with its prey, loose its interest so did the guardian get bored by it so he jumped right in front of his small game companion. The sight of the small creature was one of the most surprising things he had ever encountered in his life. A pony was cowering down in front of him. Its fur was a pretty blond, the mane was pink and both of the were covered in dirt and dust. Some sort of bag or maybe a saddle was attached to its back. The pony looked at him with its big eyes that were full of fear, shaking like it would be in the greatest cold a living thing could imagine. The surprise effect faded, the pony could not be a dangerous creature that was sure, especially that squirming one but his duty was clear; protect the crystals.

He growled, took a deep breath and roared at the small little creature. The power of the roar made her mane wave wild in the air, the pony was so scared that it made a silent cry but its facial expression, another surprising thing about it, was telling more than a thousand words. Then another surprise happened… The pony started to cry! The guardian was deeply confused, in his heart he felt guilty for that but, but, but that could not be possible! He was free of any feelings! How could it be that he felt guilty? He couldn’t stand it so he kneeled down and patted the pony.

- Please stop crying... – His sound seemed to scare the pony even more what in the end made it cry even louder! He took his hand away from it but then he had an idea so he reached after the pony again.

A strange noise went through the air; he could hear it long before it reached him: the sound of wings. He moved his head away in the same time something blue charged pass him. In the air was another pony! But it had wings! That thing had wings!! With angry expression the pony attacked him again, the show began; his reactions were way too fast for it. The pony’s fur was blue as the sky from his sudden flashback, the mane had the colors of the rainbow, and it was way shorter than the mane of the crying pony. The wings were swinging impressing fast. The pony said something! It spoke to him but in a language he could not understand. Then he felt that something just kicked him in his knee, he looked down and saw another pony kicking him with its hooves.

The fur of this one was orange, mane blond and in comparing to other ponies it looked simple, but the most impossible thing, at least for him, was the fact that it was wearing a hat! Right now he could sense more auras in the chamber, something pink was jumping not far from him, and he could even hear something that reminded him of laughing and giggling. Another pony appeared behind a pillar, this one was the weirdest of the pack, and it was totally pink. With a bright smile on its face it started to jump towards him. The crying pony was on its feet again, at its side a marvelous looking pony that seemed to cheer her up. The fur of it was white, somehow untouched be the dust and dirt of this place, the mane the most impressive looking one, had a light purple color.

This pony though was different from the other he has seen, because it had a horn that was going out of its forehead. The horn was glowing in a nice blue tone that reminded him of water. Another shocking thing about this one was the fact that it was using magic! A critter was using magic! Unbelievable! The ponies started an assault on him, from above and the ground, the way they were doing it was confusing. Their small statures and their speed were really impressively annoying. They were hitting him but those hits were barely noticeable, for a moment he was standing still then with a swift move he grabbed the flying on by its leg. It made a surprised noise, and then it started to shake around trying to somehow free itself of his mighty grab.

The ponies below were kicking him but he didn’t pay attention to them. He lifted one leg and hit the ground; the ponies crumbled and fell down on their butts. The guardian laughed and let the flying one free, all ponies were shocked by his demonic sounding laugh. He stopped to laugh after he felt that magic was being focused not far from him, the white pony was too busy with the light so it could mean only one; there were more of them in the tunnels. Then he heard the sound of the flying energy that was aiming directly at him, he closed his eyes and focused on its very core. The spell stopped behind his back, the ponies with wide open moths were shocked by the unexpected twist of action. He let the energy float to his hand, then he grabbed it with both hands and pressed with a big pressure on the energy.

A sound like of a plopping balloon went through the chamber what made the pink pony laugh quietly. This started to get serious. The energy that has been sent on him was not as weak as he expected; he focused and followed the trail of the energy. After he found the caster he said something in a dead language. He disappeared in a slightly noticeable black energy. Then he was teleported right behind the caster; the lavender pony was totally frozen by his sudden teleport. The mane was made simply in three different colors, as the white pony it had a horn; what made him realize that only they were able to use magic. The pony turned around to him, screamed loud and ran to the others, the guardian looked around but he couldn’t sense more auras: at least one good thing.

The ponies gathered in the middle, some of them challenging hitting the ground with their hoofs. Impressive that they were not afraid of him; something was going on in front of him. A flash appeared out of nowhere, blinded by the sudden light he was not able to see what was happening in the few seconds. After he regained his sight back he noticed right away that the ponies were wearing some sort of jewelry on them. The purple caster had something like a crown on her head while the others had necks; something was strangely familiar about them. Energy started to concentrate above the small pack.

- How can this be? – He though – The others don’t have horns.

Whatever was going on, he would not allow happening. He stomped the ground and roared at them. The pony with the pink mane fell on the ground a hid its face with the hooves. The guardian pointed at them and grabbed them with an energy field. The ponies went into the air, all of the making noises that were truly showing confusion and fear. He moved forward to them, still point at the pack, the ponies started to shake around like a housefly catechd in a spider net. He could not do the thing he was planning to do without hurting them. Once again the caster wanted to use some spell and actually she did it. A bubble surrounded the ponies but to their bitter surprise, they noticed that his spell was still holding them. With his claw he made the bubble plop, his eyes open widely and immobilized the floating ponies with a spell.

They stopped to move; only their eyes were moving hysterically in all ways. After he reached the ponies, he looked at them; his sight stopped at the caster that attacked him from behind, it saw that he was focusing on it. Then he touched the ponies forehead, closed his eyes for a moment; he touched the spirit but he could feel that it was fighting against him. He found a weak spot, then he open his eyes even more and the connection was established. The overwhelming waves of pictures, feelings and memories were a big shock.

- How is it possible that a creature like it has a difficult mind?

It was too much for the guardian. He gave up the connection and the spell he was holding the pack. They all fell down to the ground expect two of them, the blue flying one and the one with the pink mane. He grabbed his head that was hurting him; he hoped his connecting was worth the effort. The caster stood in front of him with a look on its face that seemed to be more fascinated than afraid. The companions started to look at her, worried about the thing that just happened.

- Hey Twilight! Are ya okay sugarcube? – said the pony with the hat.

- Look at her! – Said the white one – She is completely under shock!

The pink one giggled – Look at her face girls! It is hilarious!

So they all are females, good to know but he was already aware of it after he saw their manes that they had to be females.

- What have you done do her!? – shouted the blue one.

The guardian growled at her what made the blue pony let her ears sink down.

- I’m… - started the caster – I’m okay girls…

- Are you sure Twilight? – said the pony with the pink mane. – You look sick to me.

- It’s because of the thing that just happened… I think this creature just touched my very soul!

- Why would it do that? – asked the one with the hat.

The guardian wanted to say something but an unclear sounds filled the air, what made the ponies lift their eye brows in the same time. He cleared his throat, what scared the one with pink mane.

- I tried to commutate with you. – He said and shocked the ponies with their own language, while in the same time he shocked himself with his voice, that he did not hear for very, very long. – You could not understand me so I had to understand you.

- Its speaking to us! – said the white one. – Its speaking!

The pink one giggled happily. – In a very scary way!

- Thousand years have passed since I had a conversation with intelligent creatures. Don’t be surprised by the strange sound of my voice. – Indeed he couldn’t recognize his voice at all.

After an awkward moment of silence he continued

- What brings you little creatures to the depths of this place?

The ponies looked at each other, not sure if they should tell him what all was about.

- First of all who are ya mister? – asked the pony with the hat.

He didn’t know what to say, he was so long under the Earth that he forgot his true name, but in fact he still thought that the crystals have something to do with it.

- I am who I am – he answered. He was sure that they have noticed that there was more behind it, especially the one with the hat was looking at him with a look, that made him feel vulnerable.

- A strange way to answer a question
- I’m sure you didn’t go down so deep to ask questions.

- Yeah that’s true. – said the pony that casted the spell. – Allow me to introduce myself! My Name is Twilight Sparkle.
She started to point out the other ponies, first of all the shy one. It seemed though that she didn’t want to introduce herself, not a surprise after the thing that just happened.

- Come on girl – said the one with the hat. – That would be impolite if ya don’t introduce yourself sugarcube.

The shy pony sighted looked at him and said:

- I’m Fluttershy…

- You have to say it louder – said Twilight through the shut teeth.

- I’m Fluttershy… – She said a little bit louder.

The guardian nodded at her, Fluttershy gave her name the entire honor because she hid right behind the others. In fact after it he started to look at every individual pony, the next was the one with the hat and weird accent. She noticed it and without hesitation she said:

- I’m Applejack.

The guardian moved on now he had the white pony in sight:

- My name is Rarity. – She bowed in a very formal looking way.

- Oh, oh ,oh! My turn! – said the pink pony, waving at him like a little kid would do. – I’m Pinkie Pie.
A bright smile appeared on her face.

The last remaining pony was the blue flying one, he looked at her and noticed that she was still in a challenging position.

- I`m Rainbow Dash.

The guardian looked again at the ponies, the names fitted every of them still he would rather say that the names were weird, if he could actually count them as names.

- Again. – He started. – What brings you down into the Underground?

- It’s not your business pal! – said Rainbow Dash sharply.

- So you say? Then I have to disappoint you. It is my business because I am the guardian of this place.

- A… a guardian? – asked Twilight Sparkle. – May I know what you are guarding here?

He growled fierce what made all of them freeze for a bit, especially Fluttershy.

- Matter that are not a concern of yours. – Everybody would notice the threat in his voice.

- So why should we answer anythin' to ya if you don’t answer us. – said Applejack.

He knew the answer already, the connection with Twilight has revealed it, and he just wanted to see if they would be lying to him.

- Enough of this. – said Twilight and move a bit towards him. – We have been sent by our leader Princess Celestia, to check some strange magic activities in this region. Some time ago an Earthquake created the way down into this place. According to the information we have recieved the magic activity was under the mountain. We are investigating nothing more.

She was not lying; still he had to know more.

- I appreciate that you were not lying to me Mrs. Sparkle.

- How do you know that I am not lying?

- The connection that I have established has revealed the memory of this investigation; you were concentrating on it and were afraid that you have failed after I immobilized you all. Besides that there is one matter that is still unclear to me.

- What do you have in mind?

- What will you do if you will find the source of it?

- Princess Celestia herself told me that kind of energy is way too dangerous to be left without proper control. After that we would probably have to report back and await more orders.

- If that’s the case. – He said – Your investigation ends here.

The ponies looked at him surprised; Rainbow Dash seemed to be furious;

- We didn’t get so far to go back with empty hooves!

He kind of found this expression funny but he didn’t show it; not that he could somehow.

- You will not go back without anything Mrs. Hot Air.

- What did you..!

He teleported once more right in front of her, she screamed silently and flew a bit back.

- I said you will have something in your hooves. – He looked at Twilight. – Report to your master and tell her of our meeting. Tell her that the energy she is feeling is sustained and under my guard.

- Could we see the source of...

- NO! – He shouted his eyes immediately started to blaze with the growing anger. – The energy source shall not be reviled!

- But…

- There is no but little creature! Who do you think you are that you push yourself and your friends in things you are not able to understand! I don’t care that you have been sent down by a princess or any other monarchy! Leave this place and never come back!

While he was talking he was moving at the small pack slowly leading them in the direction of the entrance.

- I will allow you to leave this place…

- How rude of you to shout at the ladies like that! – Started Rarity.

He interrupted her – Alive.

- Wow! Hold there mister! You can’t just push everpony like that! – protested Applejack.

- Foolish critters! Do you really think I would have make all the trouble of learning your language if I wouldn’t like to talk with you?!

- You can’t be serious?! – said Twilight.

- This is my last warning! Leave this place and never come back! If you will be foolish enough to come back you will meet the fate of the others who were here before you!

He looked at the pack that finally realized that he was serious but then he noticed that something was wrong. Pinky Pie was missing! How did she pass him like that!?

- Where is your pink friend!?

- I`m here! – She answered on the other side of the room. – Sorreh that I’m not listening! But those stones walls are soooooooo pretty! And what do we have here? Looks like gems.

- Gems!? – Said Rarity – Maybe diamonds! Oh or maybe opals, crystals, sapphires! – And then she just charged by ignoring him.

He couldn’t believe it! The fact that she has passed him after all his threats was bad, but when all of them suddenly passed him too were just humiliating. Even Fluttershy was flying pass him only to see the stones. He roared and ran after them but till he reached them they were all looking at the crystals. They big eyes were fascinated by the crystals he was guarding.

- This are the most glorious crystals I’ve ever seen! –said Rarity, and clapped with her hooves with an over joy. – I MUST HAVE ONE!

She started to focus magic in the horn but before she was ready the guardian grabbed the group with his spell once more. He did not immobilize them so they could see, that his anger had to be overwhelming because his eyes changed their color into deep red and blazed extremely hard. Something was different since he approached the crystals, not only that there were shining with a big intensity; his temper was going on all by itself, and the energy he started to focus has been not his own choice.

- I’ve gave you the opportunity that I would have never give to a creature of the Underworld, and you shameless critters not only ignored it you want to steal my property!

- Oh excuse me for my greedy reaction. – Said Rarity – But those crystals are just marvelous! Could we find an agreement and ….

Suddenly she screamed, the ponies looked on her without knowing what was going on. Twilight noticed it first, electric bolts were moving around Rarities entire body, dealing pain to her.

- PLEASE STOP! – She shouted. – We will leave this place as you said! But please stop!

The bolts disappeared and Rarity cried out loudly. The creature looked on Twilight.

- I’ve already said that I gave you the chance to leave. – He growled for a moment. – You won’t get a second one.

- I am responsible for the appearance in that place! I brought them here because I could sense the magic source. Please let my friends go and take me instead!

The ponies started to disagree with her; surprisingly Fluttershy was one of the loudest now.

- You would sacrifice yourself for them? – He asked surprised. The blaze lost its deep red and turned back into the color of fire.

– Why?

- How can you even ask that!? They are my friends! I won’t allow you to harm them even if it means sacrificing myself for their sake.

- That counts for me too! – said Applejack.

- Me too! – said Pinkie Pie.

- And me too! – said Fluttershy.

- I would give everything I own to safe my friends. – Said Rarity with tears in her eyes.

- I would even stop to fly for them if have to! – shouted Rainbow Dash.

The crystals on their jewelry and the crystals above them started to shine in a marvelous way, blinding the guardian apparently not the ponies.

- Together we can do everything! – said Twilight and after it there was a flash that went through the entire room, farther into the tunnels. The guardian suddenly felt like something heavy was on him. After the flash disappeared he noticed that he had chains on him! Golden chains with engraved runes, each chain had an attached crystal that had an incredible perfect beauty. The runes started to shine with a light blue color, started to burn his flesh and his very soul. Never in his life had the guardian screamed so loud out of pain and agony. The ponies turned away from that gruesome act, he could hear Fluttershy asking to stop, so he did in his mind. Then the chain started to open with a mechanic clack they opened. First the hands:

Your hands shall never again be stained with the blood of the innocent!

What was that?

Then the chains that were attached to his wings, solid and heavy fell down to the ground.

Your wings shall never again block out the sun!

With each new chain falling apart new flashback were shown in his mind and with them more pain followed.
Then the chain that were attached to his throat, strong and nearly strangulating fell down to the ground.

Your roar shall never again echo through the mountains of this land!

The pain he was feeling now made him totaly numb, he wanted to fall on the ground but something was holding him.
Then the chains that were attached to his legs fell down to the ground.

Never again shall you put step on this land you hideous beast!

He could not stand anymore; he fell down and thanked the ground for being so cold. The fire of his eyes was weak; he barely could see anything but he saw that the light of the crystals was gone. He heard hooves hitting the ground, the ponies ran away from this place. The last pony that was still in the chamber was Fluttershy that came close to him, she had tears in her eyes he could see that she felt bad for him.

- Thank you. – said the guardian with a weak voice. – Thank you for freeing me.

Fluttershy could not stand it; she cried out and flew to her friends. Darkness started to surround him but for the first time in his life he was really free. He just wanted to close the eyes and go sleep. The time passed but he still was here, he listened to the sounds of the stones that were telling him their stories, but once more the silence has been soured by a roar of the beast followed by screaming of the ponies. His eyes open wide; energy came back to his lifeless body so he stood up and knew where he had to go.

- My time here is over. So is the task. – He looked up at the destroyed crystals. Then he ran out following the echo of the tunnels. He was free. This was his own choice; this was his first step into a new life.

Never again shall your face see the light of the sun traitor!

Whatever happened in that time is not my concern! – He thought – That creature died long time ago.

Following the ponies was easy. Their hoof marks were easy to spot, the roar of the best came closer and closer so did the screams and some sort of battle shouts. The problem about that situation was the fact that he couldn’t fight properly since he was still weaken, the creature that was roaring was a Dragon of the Depths. What’s the difference from a ordinary Dragon? Imagine the most evil dragon above earth and double it. It was his enemy since he was here and now the faith gave him the opportunity to end that fight for good this time. The size of his nemesis was enormous what could only mean that the ponies somehow managed to get into the big lair that he has found. Gladly he knew the indirect way besides that he would not waste time on just climbing he would just fly even if he would not recommend it to anybody, if he would know somebody.

He arrived at the great abyss, jumped right in the sky, and right after it he felt the stain of his nemesis a foul smell of meat. The noise of a moving body became clearer; he had to be close now, the stain became stronger too so he had to cough and fight against throwing. Finally he saw the big entrance that lead into the lair, he flew in and saw his nemesis right away. The dragon of the deeps was an enormous creature; the main body build of it reminded of a dragon that would have been seen on the surface, way too heavy to fly this species did not have wings. The most astounding feature about it was the head plate that started right from the nose, giving its owner perfect head protection. Basically it had no scales on its body; the only protection was thick skin.

He knew even if his head plate was a great protection, in the worst case for him even a weapon, it made the creature blind what meant that it could only spot its victims through smelling and hearing. The creature was certainly looking for something, above it he noticed two small points, that the guardian recognized as the two flying ponies Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. They were making all possible noises trying to distract the beast. He spotted the other ponies that could not fly, dangerously close to the fiend, hidden in a mushroom forest they had a chance to escape. Besides that he noticed that they were in the place where he had crushed, what meant that the resin of the mushrooms had probably given them some protection. Slowly they tried to move along the blind creature that was looking for them in the wrong spot.

They managed to move forward but then something unexpected happened; one of the still standing mushrooms broke and fell down and buried a white silhouette: Rarity. In the last second she jumped away but not far away to protect her left back leg: even from here he could hear her painful shout. It was sure that the dragon did it to. It turned its massive back and moved right to the place where the crying came from, the creature roared, what meant it sensed the smell of its victim that is why it charged right forward. There was no time to waste, he flew up and started to make a swoop, trying to reach them as fast as he could. While he was still in the air he started to change his size so far as his condition allowed it. The time seemed to slow down, everything went silent beside his beating heart there was no other sound.

He made it! He landed between the ponies and the fiend, the breath of his nemesis was on his back, he did not pay attention to it: he looked down at the ponies that still were realizing that he just appeared. Then he felt the teeth of the fiend grabbing his shoulder, he moaned, felt the warm blood run down his shoulder. With his claws he stabbed the fiend into his gums and he let some energy went into it. He felt then that the dragon released him of this bite he turned around to his enemy that started to wriggle around, one more time he looked back to the ponies:

- Hide!

The others managed to free Rarities leg, and then they helped as good as possible to help her move forward. Right now one thing was important, he had to lure the dragon of the depths away from them; it was still shaking his head and once more he faced his enemy. The dragon teeth were bare, a full line of sharp natural weapons. If somebody would have seen it roaring, you would be able to see that this creature had two jaws, with each roar the jaw that was a part of its head plate went back making place for the bigger jaw that was hidden beneath the plate. The same procedure happened for the lower jaw. At the back of the first jaw there were no teeth; three big spikes went out of this place besides that on the chin there was a horn like spike that his nemesis used as a weapon.

The dragon finally recovered from the shock, sniffed around and noticed his presence right away announcing it by a roar. The situation was not good, first of all he still was weak from the chains torture, and second he couldn’t reach the size that might have made the fight easier; besides that his shoulder was injured from the hideous bite. He survived many fights against it but there never was a winner, he hoped that this time the result would be different. The guardian answered the roar with a roar, then both enemies made their first move then the battle began. He didn’t allow his nemesis to use his big head plate as a ram so right away he jumped on it used it as an trampoline so he landed on its back, the dragon started to jump so he would lose his stand.

The guardian did not take any chances so he jumped from the fiend, landed on the ground and started to hit it in the ribs. The enormous body moved in his way, trying to hit him with the head plate. He dodged and gave the dragon a kick in the spike on its chin. The bone broke, fell down on the ground, growling the dragon tried to scratch him with its claws but it was not especially good at aiming so the hit was a miss.

- If I want to defeat him I must take him his senses this time.

He grabbed the broken spike and waited for the right moment. The dragon roared once more in the same moment he pushed the spike into its own mouth, then he put his fist together made a mighty swing and hit the dragon in the lower jaw. The sharp part of the spike cut through the flesh and went and keep stuck in the fiend’s mouth. A not clear cry of pain went out of the beast, the guardian jumped away from it after it started to shake his head in all directions; often hitting against the wall with the head plate. Trying to remove its own weapon of it jaw the beast let it guard down, so he jumped forward, right on the nose and with all he got he hit both nose holes. Right away he felt blood on his claws; he continued to rip the vulnerable flesh until the creature that was shaking in agony threw him away.

Disgusted he went right away to a mushroom and took off the entire snort mixed up with blood and flesh as good as possible. The beast lost its most important sense; the smelling. Some meat was hanging out of his nose that was constantly bleeding, first it managed to remove the spike out of its mouth and then it looked around probably trying to hear him. His nemesis laid his big head on the ground, breathing with its mouth. The sight of the enemy he was fighting didn’t let him feel the feeling of being victorious: it made him feel bad for it. The underground was a dark place but even here you could find light, but this creature would not see anything for the rest of its life. That’s why he decided to move towards the beast: after he reached it he lay down his hand on the injured nose.

- We were fighting for so long. – He said to the dragon telepathically. – I do not even remember what made us act that way… Let us end this senseless fight for good.

A green light appeared out of his hands that started to heal the wounded flesh; soon there were no marks of any kind of injury.

- Allow me.

He put his hand into the mouth and healed the place where the spike damaged the flesh and bone. After he was ready he moved back from it and looked at its blind appearance. The dragon seemed to be overwhelmed by the fact that he just helped him, it move its head a bit forward to him and sniffed him. Then it licked the place where it bit the guardian, the wounds burned and the tongue was not a pillow, but he allowed that procedure: both were showing that they were willing to forget the past and forgive for every wound that had been inflicted.

- Thank you. – He said. – Now please listen. – The dragon didn’t move. – It is time for me to leave this place. I love and hate it but even if it was a prison to me... it was a home in the same way. This place needs a new guardian so now I ask you my humble friend; will you take my place and keep this place safe?

The dragon sniffed again and then it nodded. Both passed each other and went their own destiny, his was surely no longer here; he started to look for the ponies. While that he turned back into his normal size that in fact was a little bigger than of the ponies, soon he found the small group trying to aid the injured leg of Rarity. Pinky Pie saw him first coming, she announced it while jumping up and down, he joined up to them and looked down on the injury. It seemed like it was a broken bone, he kneeled down and stretched the hand after her leg. Rarity reacted in fear, tried to move away from him what only lead to hurting herself.

- Please. – Said the guardian. – Trust me I won’t hurt you.

With teary eyes she nodded and turns her face away, his hand touched the swollen place and started to heal it like he did to his old nemesis. Soon the leg started to regenerate, like with Twilight he has connected with the body of Rarity, he saw her bone that had an internal breaks; he put a hand on her head and gently pated her:

- I won’t lie to you Rarity it will hurt now. – He noticed a slight change in his voice; Rarity had experienced a rather painful torture, which was directly attacking her nerve system. Then she started to complain about the broken leg and if he was not wrong, he heard her complain about the dirt messing her pretty appearance. – It will hurt only for a few seconds after that you will be a healthy pony again.

Still patting her he waited till she nod at him, then once more he focused on the break in the bone: his hand started to glow green again; slowly he let the healing energy spread inside the bone.

– Prepare little one. - Then he unleashed the energy, the bones started to melt with each other, a terrible sounding crush came out of the leg: Rarity shouted with wide open eyes and lost her consciousness. The other ponies that were spotting the healing process were incredibly cool what allowed him to concentrate without any problem.

- It is done. – Said the guardian, then he checked if besides the bone nothing more has been damaged; gladly it was not the case. – When she will wake up she will be able to jump over hills.

- I doubt it hihi. – giggled Pinkie Pie. – She hates to get dirty!

- How are you all holding out? – He asked, looked around the ponies.

- The rest is fine thanks to you. – said Twilight Sparkle. – Thank you for saving us.

- The moves you performed were cool! – Rainbow Dash started to do some weird looking moves. – But after you lured him away I didn’t see what happened next.

- It sounded like a rough fightin` over there. – said Applejack. – Ya do know how to be loud.

- What was that thing in the first place? – asked Fluttershy that was standing behind Twilight.

- I call those creatures Dragons of the Depths. – He answered and looked around. – We can’t stay in this place. – He took Rarity from the ground, as gently as he could. – Let us go back to the chamber.

The ponies did not protest and they followed the guardian. During their way back Rainbow Dash constantly asked about the fight, after he helped out the ponies, which could not fly, over the abyss he finally answered her question:

- I’ve let him go.

- WHAAAT?!? That thing wanted to eat us!

- That’s the natural cycle in the Underground and I am sure it’s the same on the surface. Only the strongest will survive.

- How did ya find us so fast? – asked Applejack. – The dragon of yours was roarin` that’s sure but the echo could not lure ya to us.

- As you probably noticed not every part of these tunnels are as big as the lair, where you encountered the dragon. I found that place by an accident to be honest, so I’ve figured out that you had to be there. Besides that he does not smell like a fresh air breeze.

- I must admit that I’m surprised that this fight ended with you letting him go. – Said Twilight that looked like she was searching something in her mind. – I’ve followed some part of it through a spell and I do saw that this fight was a brutal one.

- The dragon was an old nemesis of mine, since I’ve been sent down here he was my enemy. Things have changed though.

- May I ask how it changed?

- After the destruction of the crystals my mind started to reveal memories I have forgotten. Every time I’ve seen the dragon, it was me that was attacking first. I don’t know what kind of motive made me act like that but after I saw him on the ground... injured, blind and so helpless it made me feel bad for him. I’ve healed his injuries and ended the old war between us.

- Are you sure that it was a good idea? He might have use the situation and attack you again. What would you have done then?

- Defended myself of course. The creature was acting normally, its entire life is based on the survival, if it wants to live it has to eat and as you probably saw first handed; it is not a vegetarian.

After that nearly everybody was silent besides Pinkie Pie that was randomly singing songs, actually besides that she was talking and talking and talking; randomly of course. It seemed to annoy the other ponies especially Rainbow Dash and Applejack but he listened patiently and enjoyed somebody talking trash. They reached the chamber of the stone, he took Rarity to his own so called sofa that he created out of the plants of the underground that were in some way a bit soft and comfortable to sit on. He turned around to the ponies:

- I have to ask you something little ones.

The ponies collected in the middle of the chamber, not far away from the chains that were still on the ground.

- Could you be so kind and tell me how the surface looks like? I try to remember it but I simply can’t.

All of them were a little bit confused about that question but Twilight started the conversation:

- For how long have you been here… – Awkward silence – How shall we call you?

He sighted loudly – If I would know the answer I would tell it to you.

- Wait wait… you don’t know your name?

He let his head and ears down. – I’ve been here in this place for a very, very long time. – He looked up to the broken crystals. – With each passing day my memory faded in the darkness of this place, first I thought it was because I get old, or because I was alone all the time. Then I have started to think that the real case for it were the crystals I was guarding. After you somehow destroyed them, those chains appeared…

- Why would ya be chained in the first place? – asked Applejack.

He was not sure if he should tell them about the flashbacks he had witch each falling chain, for now on he would better keep it for himself.

- I really don’t know…

- Those things look pretty heavy. How couldn’t ya feel it?

- Eh I don’t know; please let’s leave this topic for now. I still would like to know how the surface looks like.

And so the ponies started to tell him the things about the land they call Equestria, apparently a peaceful land full of ponies, what a surprise. Each pony added their own information, while he was listening he tried to somehow imagine all those things, besides the sky and some tree in his foggy memory he didn’t remember more things: it was kind of nice to listen to them, After the short report about the land he asked every question he had in mind; from history to culture. Even though the ponies seemed not to lie it was sometimes hard to imagine that the ponies were actually that superior, but he didn’t say it openly to them.

- I would like to hear more about this place! – said Twilight with a fascinated voice. – Even if it seems that this place is dark and abandoned we have seen so many life forms and individual plants of every kind. Please, please tell us the things you know.

Her interest kind of surprised him – I.. I don’t know from where I shall start…

He choose a topic that he thought might have interest the ponies, they were listening patiently and somehow he managed to win their attention through things that were normal to him but unknown for them. After he mentioned the sounds of the stone the ponies rather thought he is joking. To safe himself from the *being insane* status he suggested that the ponies listen to the sounds of the underground. It was a hard task especially with Pinkie Pie that was acting like she had drunk too many coffees with too much sugar in it. None of them could hear it so he decided to help them hear things that they could not see or hear. He connected with each of them, cleared their minds from any thoughts and let them be silent; soon the symphony that none words could describe appeared and everybody started to hear the sounds that always gave him faith and joy in the darkness of the underground.

- That’s fascinating! – said Twilight trying not to disturb the symphony with her voice.

- I could listen to it all day long ladies. – said Applejack.

- Cool is not enough to describe it. – said Rainbow Dash with a really relaxed face.

- I’m wondering if my little friends could hear it too. – thought Fluttershy.

- Every living creature is able to hear it if it’s willing to do it. – He answered.

Fluttershy made a strange sounding noise and right away she was terribly tense
- You know what would make the entire thing even better? LOTS OF CANDIES! – said Pinkie Pie and smiled.

He cut the connection between him and the ponies, he wanted to know if they were able to do such thing all by their own but right away after the lost connection they stopped hearing the symphony.

- Such gift must be earned through hard work. – He said right away some of the ponies especially Twilight started to complain. – Tasting the fruits of your own work taste sweeter than the fruits of a stranger.

- How can we learn it? – asked Twilight desperately. – I’ve read all my books in the library and I’ve never encounter such thing in any of them!

- There are things on the world that you can acquire only through searching, books explain much but there are many things that a book cannot describe.

Twilight let her ears down; - Could you at least give us a hint?

- Don’t think.

- What?

- As I said don’t think.

- I don’t get it…

- Before I established a connection with you, your mind had so many distracting thoughts that you could not concentrate and could not find the hidden symphony in the silence.

- But how can I clear my mind of those thoughts? I always think about several things and matters!

- Sometimes even an eager scholar has to find some time only for him or herself. In such moment let everything that is bothering you on the second stage, clear your mind till you finally start to hear the music in the silence.

- Haha! I still find it kind of funny how you can hear music in the silence. – said Pinkie Pie and started to hop around him.

- Silence is music…

- But that doesn’t make any sense! How can be there music if everything is silent? Oh, oh I know! That means if I am silent, I’m singing in the same time!

The guardian was going to say something but Pinkie interrupted him.

- Oh boy that’s sooooo cool! But I don’t know I prefer to sing with my voice, if I won’t do it my jaw might get out of form and that would mean that I could not talk and who would like not to talk at all?!

- Is she always so hyperactive?! – asked the guardian and still watched Pinkie talk and talk.

- No she is just being Pinkie. – said Rainbow Dash. – But I admit in that case silence is music.

- The tunnels have many secrets that I did not discover, in all I told you everything I could explain. – He looked back to Rarity that was still sleeping. – Go now little ponies get some rest, before we move out.

- We? You’re commin`with us? – Asked Applejack and hit the ground with her hoof.

- You need guidance and protection.

- We didn’t meet anythin' that could harm us. Until now…

- You never can be safe enough, especially down here. Besides that… - He looked on the destroyed crystals. – My task has finally ended.

- Hold there big boy! Twilight do ya think it’s a good idea?

- Equestria is full of magical creatures. I’m sure he will fit in…. with time.

- I was wondering if I could report to your Princess you mention before. How did you call her?

- Princess Celstia.

- Right. I would like to report the situation down here personally.

- I usually sent the messages to the princess in letters but I could try asking her for a meeting. – said Twilight. – Wow I am so excited!

- I don’t know Twilight…

- Everything will be fine AJ.

- We don’t know how the ponies will react!

- It won`t be that bad I am sure of it. Remember how everypony was afraid of Zecora?

- That is a bad example sugarcube. He is not like Zecora! I am afraid that his will not work the same way.

- If my appearance will cause trouble I will try to find a cave.

- Don’t ya have enough caves for your lifetime?

- Hmm good point instead I will look for a…. how did you call it? A forest?

- If you were a Pegasus like me and Fluttershy you could have live on the clouds! But I doubt it that it will work.

- Everything in its time girls, first we have to leave the Underground. Go find some sleep I will watch over you. – The ponies wanted to get up but he stopped them. – One last thing.

- Yeah? – asked Applejack.

- After Rarity will wake up from her sleep I will apologize for my act… but I think it’s not enough. Could you tell me please what she likes?

- Fashion is her passion! – said Pinkie and made a model like position.

- I will hardly find such stuff here. – said the guardian. – What is fashion in the first place? – He thought.

- She loves every kind of jewels and other things that are simply pretty, but the jewels will always be the number one for her; you saw her reaction after she saw your crystals.

- That’s more like it! Okay then go sleep now, my chamber should be big enough for all of you.

After they have left him and fell asleep, he picked up the chains that were attached to him, still unclear how he had them on his body for so long. The runes have lost their former form, the light blue color was gone too but at least the crystals seemed to be intact, it took some time and care but he managed to rip the crystals out of it without damaging it. He looked on the chains once more that he held in his claws;

- Maybe those things were the reason I’ve been hold here for so long?

He threw the chain away, totally forgetting the sleeping ponies, he was glad though that he did not wake them up. He sat on the ground, found some comforting position at a pillar and then he let out exhausted sigh.

- Is …. Is everything okay?

He turned around and saw Fluttershy standing next to him. – I really have to be exhausted if I didn’t hear you coming. – He thought.

- Did I wake you up? Sorry for that.

- Nothing to apologize for. – She sat on his right. – I am a shy pony but I easily notice if something is bothering somepony.

He laughed quietly about that expression.

- So is everything okay?

- My entire life has been put upside down. I am trying to figure out so many things but I just can’t remember anything.

- It’s because of your name isn’t it?

- That’s one thing out of many more. – He sighted – I would like to remember something but I just keep failing.

- I don’t know what I would do on your place either. I am sure that my friends would be there for me in time of need.

- You do sound very confident about your friends little one.

- Yes I am. We all had our hard times you know but they have been always there for me, as was I for them.

- I would like to know how it feels to have friends.

- You don’t have friends down here?

- I think I made one today but before that I was alone.

- This must have been an awful experience. I hope that you will find many friends while you travel with us.

- Thanks for the kind words. – He looked into her big eyes. – But what if the creatures of the surface will be too scared of my. – He wanted to touch his face but he didn’t. – Appearance…

- Never judge a book by its cover. – answered Fluttershy and smiled shyly.

He didn’t expect that from her. - Thank you.

While Fluttershy started to ask the guardian more about the local flora, the ponies, besides Rarity that was still in a deep sleep, listened and watched them with one open eye.

Several hours later Rarity woke up surrounded by her pony friends, she checked her leg and she noticed fascinated that she could use it without any problems.

- How do you feel? – She turned around and saw that the guardian was sitting not far from the big pile of plants that she slept on.

- My legs don’t hurt me anymore! – She hit the ground with it. – And I can even stand!

The creature stood up and went to her, he kneeled down and grabbed her leg, and his eyes looked different while he inspected her leg. It was like the fire has been replaced by something that reminded her of a fog, a fascinating thing to look at.

- The bone and several muscles that were injured seem to be healthy. Still I would recommend you not to strain that leg.

- Thank you for everything! You saved my friends and me from being eaten by that monstrosity.

- Actually. – He kneeled even more so his horns touched the ground. – I am sorry for the thing I’ve done to you… I don’t know how to explain it but it was not my own choice back then.

- I can hear in your voice that you regret it; even your eyes show that. I accept your apology.

The guardians stretched his arm and open his hand; he was holding a one big solid and beautiful red opal, the biggest one she has ever seen.

- While you were sleeping I removed it from the chains. I tried to not damage it. – He pointed at the ponies that were quietly talking with each other. – Your friends mentioned that you love such things and. – he did a funny looking move that only Pinky would do. – Fashion is your passion.

She giggled like a lady would do but then she fully concentrated on the big opal he gave her, she seemed to lose herself in some thoughts but soon she said:

- I will make wonderful bracelets for my friends and me. Look at the size of it! So many parts will be left even after that! – She sighted and fell back into her imagination.

- I am leaving this place together with you.

She didn’t hear him... instead she was thinking loud about her ideas, that sounded creative and perfectly.
The rest woke up pretty fast, Rainbow was constantly saying that the air here was bad, Rarity even though she was happy she found several things that she could complain about. Twilight was a pony that he really enjoyed talking to but sometimes her constant *research* was just annoying; what she even mentioned several times but she just couldn’t hold it back. Applejack seemed to be in a bad mood he couldn’t tell, Pinky was hyperactive as she was the last time and Fluttershy was looking at the wall waiting till the others move on.

- I can see that you are eager to leave this place. – He said. – So do I.

- How could you possibly have hold out that long in this place!? – asked Rainbow Dash and flew around this place. – And hey! Where are your wings!?

- I can hide them and let them appear if needed. Right now they would be just a unecessary in the tunnels, we can talk while we move lets go follow me. I think I know where the exit is.

Every time he tried to go and check the path he has found in the past a sudden pain made him change his way. It did not meant that it was the exit but it was worth a try.

- Why can`t we just go the same way we came in? – asked Apple Jack and yawned.

- The way Twilight has described it makes me think that it’s not a safe route. That tunnel you used was never an exit or an entrance, only recently the earthquakes changed that. It’s too risky.

- Are you afraid of using it? – said Rainbow Dash and showed her tongue.

- I am.

She apparently didn’t expect that, she didn’t push on; Applejack seemed to enjoy that little scene he didn’t know why. He choose a way where he didn’t have to use his wings, that was most of the time safe and free of any creatures that could be dangerous for the ponies. During the way he asked all of them to be silent, that the sound of any kind could lure unneeded attention, he was looking at Pinky while he said it. She answered with an Okie Dokie Loki and actually she was silent during the travel.

- Brace yourself now ponies. This place has its natural exit but to get there we have to move along an abyss.
Short after that they have reached the mentioned abyss, through the middle of the wide open room a bridge made out of stone connected both sides.

- Who build that thing? – asked Twilight.

- A race that is no longer on this world I guess. Anyway even if they look old they do the job. Just watch your steps.

Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy flew over the bridge, while the rest had to go on foot or in that case hove. He decided that he would stay behind them, Pinkie went first ignoring the abyss she went on the other side with few jumps. The other ponies were not so positive, slowly they started to move on, Rarity and Twilight had their problems with moving forward while Applejack already reached the middle they were still close to the beginning.

- The most important thing is to not look down!

He said and regretted it after he spoke it out. Automatically they wanted to look down but he growled a bit so they stopped right away. Then he heard a crush in front of them where Applejack was standing, afraid that the bridge would collapse he grabbed the two ponies with his magic and transported them on the other side. Applejack was nearly on the other side, the cracks became noticeable for everypony; in a slight panic she moved on a little bit too fast. The stone under her suddenly lost it connection with the other side and all saw AJ falling down. He could not grab her with his magic that is why with a curse on his lips, that the ponies did not understood, he jumped after her. He had fallen several times into such abyss so he knew how to survive it; while he was falling after her he pressed the arms against his body so he looked like a falling arrow.

Soon he saw the falling Applejack that was yelling in panic. Finally he reached her; gently pulled her to him, while with the other free hand and his feet he ripped his claws into the stone. A terrible scratch noise went through the tunnels, the stone heated up leaving an everlasting scar on its surface.


Soon they started to slow down till they finally stopped. The friction has created an immense heat that burned his skin of his fingers on several places; a slight noticeable moan was his only reaction. Applejack was shaking that hard that he had some problems with holding her.

- It’s okay. It’s okay.

He could feel that she was crying, he let her cry the excitement out but then he felt that his leg was getting wet too.

- I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I’ve never fell down that deep and the darkness…

- It’s okay I’m here. – In his mind though he shivered barely preventing it to happen in the reality.

He changed his size as good as possible so she could grab him by the neck and hair, what she did with all she got but every time she looked down she grabbed him even stronger. He started to climb all the way up;

- This was a pretty deep fall.

- This will haunt me for a long time…

- Look!

On a small cliff both of them saw Applejacks hat, he grabbed it and gave it back to its owner. Soon they have reached the edges of the abyss, long before that though they heard the ponies crying; especially Rainbow Dash that was yelling that she should have fly after her. Applejack was deeply touched by it; she barely held new tears away. The ponies noticed the guardian appearing out of the darkness of the abyss together with Applejack that was holding her hat like a doll close to her chest.

- Applejack!!!

All of them shouted and ran towards them. The ponies surrounded her, all of them were crying, hugging together in the tunnels of the underworld. He let them have their privacy, his hand was burned on several places at least no broken bones or ripped flesh. He started to heal his own hand, what cost him a lot more energy than he would need for an other living thing: the healing process went on pretty fast so in no time his pain was gone. He didn’t notice that the ponies have watched him but gladly they have not interfere his actions, after he was done he let a relaxed sight out of him that was being echoed by the abyss. Applejack came to him and touched his already healed hand with her hove, she was saying nothing; her eyes said more than words would have ever could say.

He took her hat and putted it back on the place where it belonged. The ponies started to praise his action in all different ways, then they all gave him a one big group hug, the guardian that was not used to it didn’t do anything but the ponies could hear the beat of his heart what was this time the only symphony in the silence of the tunnels.

They moved on, after many hours of walking the guardian stopped and saw light going through one tunnel, the air was way better than in the other parts of the Underground.

- This is it my little ponies…

All of them cheered and ran directly to it but the guardians movement was unsure, for the first time since he was here he hesitated. At the entrance between light and darkness he stopped, he looked back with a strange feeling in his heart. The ponies must have notice it so they all gathered around him.

- Are you okay? – asked Twilight, she looked at him with a worried look.

- This place was my prison, I hate it, I hate it beyond everything but …. - He did not end.

- It was your home. – Fluttershy ended it for him. – Are you sure you want to leave?

- My old life ended. – He pushed his arms into the light. – A new chapter starts in the most unexpected way.

He made his first step into the surface, where the ponies and a new rising sun greeted him.

Before he left a roar echoed through the tunnels directly to him, a roar he knew, a roar that made him prepare to battle but this time it was a Farwell from his old nemesis. It was strange though… somehow he understood it;

- May the Shadows always grants you protection Emberflame. – The way his former nemesis has called him was unexpected as the fact that he could understand him. Emberflame... He turned around to his small companions.

- You may call me Ember.

Chapter 2 - Heritage or Curse?

View Online

The surface was truly an amazing contrary to the underworld he once called home. The entrance was under a huge mountain chain that continued to extend to the north. None caves or lairs he knew seemed to be as huge as those monsters that ripped out of the earth like razor sharp teeth of a colossal beast. He could not see the top of it that was hidden in thick white clouds. Twilight was concerned about Ember long before they have finally went back on the surface. Afraid that he might lose his sight due his life in the thick darkness of the Underground; gladly his eyes adapted to the sun shine nearly rapidly even if he first saw only a one big white spot in the beginning. The region around the mountains was rugged and mostly wild, the horizon did not reveal any cities or villages.

Incredibly loud sounds that were nearly everywhere starting with the singing of the birds to the clashing of waves against the cliffs were just overwhelming for him causing an immense headache. Rarity seemed to have noticed that he was rubbing his temple;

- Do you have a headache?

- The surface is truly a loud place. – Ember said and continued to rub his temple. – Don’t worry I will get used to it with time.

- Indeed the underground was an awfully silent place. – said Twilight. – I’m afraid that you might get a migraine in the city.

Great – He thought. They went up on a hill form where he could see an impressive landscape, to the west there were many geothermic areas with a lot of hot springs.

- This land looks so abandoned. You don’t have any villages or cities in that area?

- Sadly no. This part of Equestria is pretty wild as you have noticed; even though the land is great for agriculture this place is straddled over two tectonic plates; the disadvantages are in the form of few volcanoes, earthquakes and other natural hazards. – Twilight pointed the hot springs with her horn. – The hot springs are one of some good things that came with the subterranean activity.

- Talking as a scholar as usual. – said Applejack and opened her bag or saddle whatever the ponies were wearing. – Our water supplies are short. We better refill them before we go back to Ponyville.

Rainbow Dash flew up into the sky with an immense speed and looked around. After a short while she landed back on the ground creating a small dust cloud that made Rarity complain about ruining her precious fur.

- Not far away from us is a small lake. We can refill our water bags there.

- Lets go then. – said Twilight and let Rainbow Dash lead the rather weird pack. Ember waited for a moment till the ponies were out of reach, then he turned around and looked at the entrance. He could not leave the entrance to the underground open like that; the risk that something might come out of it was too high. He raised his arm into the sky and started focusing energy on the hands surface. The energy he has collected was strong enough for the thing that he was intending to do. His arm went down, he released the energy. The bolt exploded inside of the entrance, parts of the tunnel started to collapse. A thick cloud of dust surrounded that area but he was able to see through it that the entrance has been sealed for good. The ponies waited for him till he joined them up, gladly they did not complain about that sudden act that scared them to death.

Ember was on the back of the group looking around in the open environment of the land the ponies called Equestria. It was a fascinating experience for him to travel on the surface. The fresh air, the wide open world was simply unbelievable; he was wondering if everything around him even the ponies were only a nice dream. The long forgotten feeling of grass on the skin though made him forget about this question because it was annoying him since he step on it; tickling him all the time. After a while they have arrived at the lake that Rainbow has spotted. The ponies started to refill their water supplies, in the mean time Ember was standing next to a tree that was growing not far from the lake. Something was familiar about the tree but he could not figure out what it was till he looked at the crown of the tree.

It was the tree from his flashback! With his shaking hand Ember touched the rough bark of the mysterious tree that has haunted him in the Underground. Nothing unusual happened; the fog that was surrounding his mind was still there. Disappointed he let his ears go down surprisingly similar as the ponies do, gladly the ponies did not notice anything. Whatever has happened here it was in the past, he had to accept that even if he had struggles right now. The water supplies has been refreshed, the ponies gathered together and started to discuss about the way they should choose. The debate was short and efficient that is why they journey to their home continued swiftly. Once again he was at the end of the group the ponies in front of him were AJ and Rainbow Dash that were talking about some kind of competition they would like to participate in.

Rainbows bag was not properly closed and something fell out of it, Ember bowed down and picked it up and right he recognized the item as a book. Not able to read the sign that were on it he increased his speed a bit till he reached the blue pony.

- Here it fell out of your bag.

- Oh thanks! – said Rainbow and grabbed the backside of the book with her mouth. She lifted her back leg a bit so she could put the book back where it belonged. Ember suddenly noticed that she had something on her flank. Thinking that it was a spot left by one of the blood veins he mentioned it to her. After she has checked her hip she laughed hearty;

- This aint a spot. That is my cutie mark.

- Cutie mark?

- Yeah!

- What is it good for?

- A cutie mark is related to the personality, proclivity or talent of each individual pony. – answered AJ for Rainbow that right now was closing her bag.

Ember was deeply confused by the fact that some symbols on a flank might have reflected any personal information about a pony; the ponies noticed that he was trying to realize it and laughed at him. The others came by after they noticed that their companions stopped to move.

- Tell me then. – He said after he gave up figuring out things. – What do your marks mean?

- Mine tells everypony that I am great at applebuckin’. – said Applejack showing him her mark that were three apples in a shape of a triangle. She even performed a kick with her back legs what scared the poor Fluttershy that was not far from her.

- My cutie mark represents my expertise in magic and love for star gazing. – said Twilight. – Her mark was a big star that was surrounded by sparkles. Or was it in another way? He didn’t ask.

- My cutie mark shows that I am great at finding all sorts of gemstones! Besides that it points out my creativity! - Like AJ’s cutie mark, her mark had a triangle form instead of apples though she had blue brilliants on the flank.

- My cutie mark represents my skill in flying and the performance of the Sonic Rainbow Boom! I hope I don’t have to add that my mark is the coolest in all of Equestria! – Her mark was a cloud that looked like it was shooting a thunder that had rainbow colors. The other ponies looked at her certainly annoyed by that comment of hers, to fast avoid any fights he continued by looking on Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy.

- My mark shows everypony that I love to party! – Pinkie started to jump up and down smiling as always. – Oh oh oh! Besides that I am really good in making ponies smile.

- You will have a problem with me then.

- Oh really? – She asked with a look that was impressively challenging.

- Yes.

- Whys that?

- I don’t have a face if you didn’t notice that. Besides that I am not a pony.

- I’m sure I can handle it!

- How?

- I could get you a mask that would have a smiling shape, or even better I would paint a smile on your face so you would look like you would have a lucky day. – She turned around to the others. – Can you imagine a life without smiling?

Before they could say something Pinkie started to talk in such fast way that Ember could barely understand what she had in mind, at least he was not the only one that seemed to have a problem with that. Her mark was showing three balloons that were forming a triangle form. What’s all about those triangles? While Pinkie still talked, Ember looked down upon Fluttershy.

-How about you Fluttershy?

- Emmm…. I…. I…

- Relax little one relax. Remember what I said in the chamber.

- My cutie mark shows that I have a talent for communicating and caring for animals. – She answered still a little bit quiet but definitely louder than usual. Three butterflies were on her flank shaping a triangle form; he would not be surprised anymore if many other ponies had the same thing on their flanks.

- I see. – He looked upon the group. – I see that each of you have their own unique talent or abilities but it is still a matter of fact that I find it strange.

- I find it strange that you find it strange. – said Rainbow Dash and started to spin around in the air.

- As you all said your marks…

- Cutie marks! – They all answered in the same time. He cleared his throat one time;

- Okay cutie marks… show your talents to other living creatures. I would be afraid of having such thing.

- Why? – asked Pinkie that was hopping in the place as she usually did.

- An enemy could use it against me.

- Look I understand that you were living an extremely dangerous life, besides that you were a guardian you had to be more open minded about things but in Equestria is a rather peaceful place and we really don’t have many enemies. – Said Twilight that was sounding like a teacher.

- But there still are enemies.

- Yeah there are some enemies but we have faced them and even in the worst situations we made it out together.

His life has been always a one big survival game, since he has been send down into the darkness of the underworld; for him things like peace were merely a tale that could not exist in his mind. He felt a strange feeling of fear inside him that was constantly fighting against any changes that could have misshapen his survival instincts. Ember seemed have fallen deeply into his thoughts, he felt that something kicked him in the knee, it was Applejack; - Hey Equestria to Ember are you here?

- Pardon me. – Something was wrong, his sight suddenly started to fade. The voices around him became low pitched, he lost the power in his legs and fell down on the ground, the ponies were yelling at him but he did not understand it, then once more he entered the darkness.

The dark is my friend, the dark is my home. For the dark doesn’t hurt others, as I did. The dark is my comfort, the dark is where I hide and dark is my heart for this how it comes. The dark was caused by me, the one who hurt and betrayed; for this is what I see; Dark and Suffering.

A shock woke him up; he was entirely wet, his open eyes created a steam that took his sight for a short time. What was going on? His throat felt so dried out, he didn’t have the strength to get up, and if he tried he felt hooves pushing him against the ground. His breath was fast and uncoordinated; again he tried to get up and he made it even with the persistent hooves pushing him down. He gained his sight again, in panic he looked around for the lake. Ember spotted it ran to it as fast as he could, followed by the ponies that were yelling at him but he couldn’t understand them. He arrived at the lake; he fell ungentle on his knees, pushed his face into water and started to drink the cold and refreshing element of life. The ponies watches with wide open mouths how he swallowed liter after liter till the dry feeling was gone, relived he stood up and sat down on the ground.

- What in the name of Celestia was that all about?! – He started to hear again but he didn’t recognize who was talking.

- I’m so hungry… - Ember was talking more to himself than to the ponies. He heard that the ponies were splitting up in two groups, one group looking for food group the other staying with him.

- The dark is my friend, the dark is my home. For the dark doesn’t hurt others, as I did. The dark is my comfort, the dark is where I hide and dark is my heart for this how it comes. The dark was caused by me, the one who hurt and betrayed; for this is what I see; Dark and suffering… What does it mean? So many questions so many thoughts, make it stop! Make it stop…

Once more he lost consciousness but only for a short time because right away he got a cold wake up shower in a way too big amount. The ponies were right in front of him all of them. Maybe it was not that short as he thought? Right next to him was a strange looking pile that had a sweet scent he could not recognize but deep in him something was telling him that he knew it but he really could not remember what it was.

- Eat up. – Said somebody and without waiting he started to swallow the brought food. Nopony asked him how he was devouring it without having a mouth. The pile was gone in minutes, yet still he was hungry but he did not mention it. What was going on? He searched the ground for magic sources after he found one he connected with it and started to feast on it till the hunger that seemed not to have an end finally ended.

- Ember what happened?

- I wish I could answer that… - Said the guardian with a weak voice so that the ponies had a hard time with understanding him for a while.

- He really was hungry the poor fellah I won’t mention his thirst.

- When was the last time you ate or drank something? – asked Rarity concerned.

- I don’t know….

- The underground was a rough place with nearly no water supplies and we did not find many things that could have serve as food. – said Twilight. – What were you eating down there?

- I was not eating nor drinking. I was guarding.

- That can’t be possible! Every living creature has to eat and drink.

He thought about her words soon he had a theory;

- The crystals... I think they were keeping me alive.

- Twilight is that possible?

- I am not certain about that Dash. The princess might know the answer. One thing is sure with those crystals gone his exhausted body needs normal treatment.

His eyes started to close by themselves, he couldn’t control it and to be honest he didn’t want to control it. The blaze of his eyes started to fade.

- Look at him! He starts to fall asleep… Can it be that he was not sleeping either?

He didn’t hear what came after it. Ember was already lost in his dreamless sleep.

The ponies decided that they would continue their journey back home after Ember regained his strength and had enough sleep on his bill. They made a small camp around him, keeping him warm with a camp fire but they were not sure if he really needed that; his body temperature seemed to be higher than the temperature of the campfire. Applejack and Rainbow Dash were still on search for more food while the other took care of the sleeping Ember, none of them have ever hear a such snoring creature like him; even a dragon would be impressed. Twilight was watching the fire dance in the slowly ending day. Thinking about the things that happened in the last few days, she didn’t know how to properly report all those things to the princess, everything had a great value and could not be forgotten.

Rarity was playing with the red opal Ember gave her; it was reflecting the light of the fire in a very pretty way. It size was incredible she was sure that Rarity would find a great use of it. Fluttershy did not leave Embers side since he fell asleep; it was easy to figure out that she started to like him even though he had that scary looking appearance. Pinkie was sitting with her at the fire, strangely silent what was really unusual for a pony like her.

- Hey Pinkie you look troubled is everything fine?

- Oh Twilight the things Ember have told us are troubling me.

- Yeah I know what you mean. – She looked on their new sleeping companion; Fluttershy was quietly singing to him what seemed to affect him somehow because his tense state and strange breath normalized.

- He was down there for sooooo long… All alone in that dark place, without any friends that could cheer him up a bit while we had such good time in our lives.

- Can you please repeat that thing he said before he fainted?

Pinkie repeated the dark poem the guardian had tell while she was gone with the others, cold chill ran down her spine after she ended;

- He really had a bad time down there if he is thinking that way. - Thought Twi and shivered in her mind.

Rainbow Dash and Applejack returned with full bags of wild fruits they have managed to find, while Dash was stacking everything up Applejack went to the sleeping Ember that right now was sleeping like a small filly. She surely was concerned about him after the heroic jump he dared to safe her from the deadly fall. Fluttershy told her that right now things seemed to be alright what cheered AJ a little bit.

- What do you think Twilight what will the princes think of all this? – asked Rarity that stopped to play with her gift. – It surely sound like a good fairy tale.

- I am starting to ask myself if the princess felt the crystals or him.

- What makes you think that way?

- Didn’t you feel the magic within those chains after they appeared on his body?

- I did but it faded right away after they fell to the ground.

- It is only a thought but… - again she looked at Ember. – What if the princess felt him not the crystals?

- Maybe, maybe not. Right now we should not think about that. – Rarity sighted delicately.

Fluttershy went to the camp fire after she chatted with Applejack that now took her place, she did look quiet exhausted.

- How do things look like?

- I’m not sure Twilight. One thing is sure though, he won’t wake up overnight.

- We will have to wait till he is back on his legs. That’s only a bad moment for such long sleep; the princess might get nervous about no messages.

- We could try to talk to her telepathically. – Suggested Rarity. – I will help you with that.

- It’s worth a try.

The unicorns started to focus, their horns started to glow with a slight light each with a different color. Both of them bowed a bit a chain of pure energy connected their horns. After they were sure that the connection would be strong enough to reach Canterlot the ponies lifted their heads hoping that their call would be heard by the princess. It seemed that they would not make it but then they heard Princess Celestia's voice in their minds.

- Ah if that is not my faithful student Twilight Sparkle and her friend Rarity.

- Excuse us that we interrupt in a late time like this your highness. – started Twilight. – But we have a story that has to be told.

- There is nothing to be sorry about Twilight. It sounds like that it’s rather an important thing. Let’s hear what you have to report.

The time passed by while Twilight reported their adventures in the underground, Celestia listened patiently, and interrupting her only if she had some questions, after she told her everything Celestia went silent for a very long time. At least she was establishing the connection between them that’s why everypony in the camp could hear that conversation.

- This is quiet a story Twilight Sparkle. The events that occurred could not be predicted and I feel bad that I have sent you all right into this dangerous region.

- Nothin’ to worry about princes. – said Applejack. – The most important thing is that we all made it out.

- Yes that’s true. I assume your new friend emmm Ember was it? Is still in his deep sleep?

- Yes he is.

- You all have experienced enough danger in this place my little ponies. I will not sit idle on my throne while you are there, I will immediately start action of bringing you back home.

- What about Ember? We can’t just leave him like that! – protested Applejack.

- Don’t worry Applejack I intend to take him with us back to Canterlot. But you will have to understand even if I believe in your report that I will have to imprison him for some time. Till I am sure that he is not a threat to the inhabitants of Equestria.

- He went through a lot princess. –started Fluttershy. – We don’t know how he will react if he will wake up in a prison.

- He risked his own life to save us from the dragon! – said Pinkie and hit the ground with her hove.

- He healed my injury and even gave refugee to us while I was unconscious! – said Rarity, with her telekinesis she showed up the opal. – He even gave me a gift as an act of good will.

- Ember jumped into the darkness after the bridge collapsed! To safe me from certain death! – complained Applejack.

- Princess… Ember has shown us the symphony of the stones a thing that I would have never imagined to exist. We could learn more from him I am sure of that… but he cannot be imprisoned again! Only recently he has gained his freedom and I am afraid if we will threat it he might defend it to the bitter end.

The princess went silent again but her connection was still there, the situation was getting tense, everypony was waiting for her respond.

- I will have to think about it girls. – She finally responded. – But I can’t promise you anything, his good deeds are indeed honorable, still it is unknown for us all what he is capable of. I will move out personally to get this matter done. Right now my little ponies get some rest.

She cut the connection leaving the ponies with many questions and bad feelings about the upcoming day. Ember was still sleeping, it was good that the poor creature didn’t hear the conversation between the princess and them; hopefully Celestia would be merciful as she always has been.

- Ok girls you heard the princess. Let’s get some rest; we will need our strength for the tomorrow journey. – Said Applejack and lie down next to Ember.

- I just hope that nothing will go in a bad direction. – said Dash and ate a small apple. – He has faced that gigantic dragon Twi! What kind of threat would ponies be for him? None!

- Let’s hope for the best. We have to put trust into the wisdom of our princess- said Twilight but in her heart she didn’t know what to think. Celestia's words didn’t allow proper sleep; - The princess would never do a thing that might hurt other creatures.

An imagination of Ember chained and left once more in the darkness has been following her through the night. She saw that she was not the only pony that could not sleep; the air was filled with the quiet snoring of Ember the only one that was sleeping. The ponies were watching the sky that already presented all its beauty. After a longer time the most ponies feel asleep besides Applejack that was still wondering how that entire situation would resolve, the campfire nearly went off a cold wind came from across the sea that was not far from them. She shivered and after a while she decided that she would join up the other ponies that were sleeping close to each other to keep it nice and warm. She did not notice that behind her a light blazed in the night.

Ember opened his eyes, first confused and without anything to hold on but gladly his memory returned fast with the blowing wind that brought a nice chill for his overheated body. It was dark but he seemed not to realize it. Ember got up and saw the ponies that were freezing in the wind while they were sleeping, trying to not make some loud noises, he got behind them then he open up his wings so far he could to give them protection from the wind, as the weather allowed it. Then for the first time since he was sent down to the underground he saw the beauty of the night that made him let out a surprised gasp. Thrilled by it he watched the sky with fascination, each star a sparkle of light that brighter up the darkness that he felt inside him. The sky was a great remedy for his mental injuries but still left many questions without an answer, the first memory that he had was the most bothering.

It seemed that once there was somebody that was important for him; the scream he heard in the end was freezing the blood in his veins. But for now he pushed those thought away easily after he concentrated at the sky, the night so pretty so graceful a truly gift for those who admire his own thoughts. The time passed slowly for him, with each passed hour the sky seemed to show more and more of its beauty, he fought against the sleep so good as he could but he seemed to lose it though stubborn as he was he found a way to keep his mind busy with something else than his bodies needs. Ember started to create a poem, he did it so many times while he was down in the chamber, the marking on the walls were always a big motivation for him but the sky he was looking at right now topped it easily. After struggling and thinking he finally managed to create a poem he found acceptable;

Night after night I will look at the sky and ask why you are not here. Night after night I listen to the overwhelming sound of my heart. Night after night I look around and see that you are not here. Night after night I sit and feel the emptiness that you have left behind. Night after night I look upon the sky and hope where ever you might be you have found happiness. As did my eyes watching the stars.

A bright light fell upon him that came direct from the moon he did not know what was going on; he could not see what was happening the shine of the moon was too strong to look directly into it. The light went not through his wings, preventing the wake up of the sleeping ponies. As fast as it happen as fast it ended, he could see a silhouette not far from him moving directly towards him and he could see that it had to be a pony as his companions. The pony was moving with a grace that not even Rarity could perform. The fur had a creamy blue color the long hair that had the color of the night sky, glittering like it would have starts in it. The pony in front of him was bigger than the ponies he knew, soon it stood face to face with Ember right away he noticed that that it was a mare. Still confused by the fact that she appeared out of nowhere he didn’t know how to respond.

She had a horn that made him think that she is a unicorn though then he saw that she had wings. What she really was remained a secret to him. While they both were gawking at each other Ember realized that she seemed to wear some sort of clothing on her chest that had a emblem of them moon. Surprisingly he noticed that she had boots on her hooves that were shining like the stars; besides that he noticed that she was wearing a marvelous black crown that he first did not notice because of her horn. The silence was awkward so he decided that he would respond first;

- Hi.

She didn’t respond, she was looking at him with those inspective turquoise eyes what made him feel like somebody was drilling a hole into his belly.

- Excuse me if I am saying things wrong, the language you ponies use is still new to me.

- I am surprised that you are not scared of me! – She yelled all of the sudden creating a small shockwave of air that hit him in the face.

– Oh excuse me I’m still in practice with my voice and vocabulary. – Her voice changed rapidly, she smiled at him with an innocent look. Now he was scared… a little bit. Besides that he was thinking that he should have been the one who should have asked why she was not scared of him.

- Who are you if I may ask?

- You may call me Luna. How am I supposed to call you stranger?

- I don’t know my true name… But it is necessary to have one so I called myself Ember.

- A pleasure to meet you Ember.

- The pleasure is on my side. What brings such uncommon pony to this place?

- The poem I’ve heard from above brought me here. It deeply touched my heart.

- You heard my poem and came down from the sky? –Ember asked irritated.

- Yes.

- Dash mentioned that Pegasus ponies live in the sky but it is hard to believe for me.

- It seems like you are new to Equestria if you don’t know who I am. – She took a graceful position. - I am Princess Luna the younger sister of Celestia.

- I have not heard about a second princess… and yes I am new to Equestria but in the same way I’m not.

- What is that supposed to mean?

- I came from the Underground.

- That explains why I could not find out what species you are. Interesting…

Ember could not let her out of the sight; she reminded him of the sky of a cloudless night, that he started to love;
- This is my first time after thousand years that I see the sky again. – He looked up to the stars. – I can’t forgive myself for forgetting it.

- You like the night? - Asked Princess Luna with a happy tone that was followed by some expectation.

- I’m sure that the clear sky of the night, that reveals all its beauty outmatch everything that rise up with the sun.

He noticed that Luna was acting differently, moving from hove to hove, he even noticed that her cheek changed its color.

- Is everything alright? – This question he heard many times in the last few days at least the roles have changed for him in that case.

- I am fine. – She giggled happily. – It is only rare to hear compliments like that.

- Compliments?

- About the beauty of the night. Everypony enjoy the wonderful day brought by my sister but most of them sleep through the night so they don’t see its beauty as you do right now.

- If I could I would not sleep at all. Everything is new to me the day and the night are fascinating me; the constant switch between them is a thing I truly missed in the deep tunnels of the underground.

- May I know about who was that poem of yours?

Ember sighted once more, the questions that he is being asked and he cannot answer are deeply bothering him, he could not see what was happening with his blazing eyes as Luna just did. The light of the fire started to disappear turning into a color that reminded her of a perfect midnight, surely though even if she found it fascinating, she understood that this was reflecting his feelings in a rather unusual way.

- I don’t know. – He finally said something. – I lost my memory of everything that I once knew in the darkness of my old home.
She didn’t know what to say, the creature that frightened her first revealed that he was capable of showing feelings. An intelligent living form that right now was bothered by the fact he didn’t know who he really was. She could not imagine how it had to feel like;

- I’m sorry Ember.

- There is nothing to be sorry about your highness. I’ve lived with that burden for a long time, found a way to live with it without losing my mind. Still loneliness leaves a scar that cannot be seen by others.

- I know that feeling way to well.

He did not ask what she meant, he could see more in her eyes than words could tell him, she knew how it is to be alone he could feel it. Eyes can be like a open book if you are able to read out of them, he didn’t know where he have learn it but right now it didn’t matter.

- Why are you sitting like that? – She changed the topic and looked on his wings.

- The cold wind woke me up from the sudden slumber I had. I’ve noticed that my friends were freezing so I gave them protection from it.

Luna passed his wings to look at the friends he mentioned, she looked surprised after she saw the sleeping ponies, and she came back to him where she still had eye contact with him.

- I know those ponies.

- I’ve noticed that…

Their conversation moved on for a long time, a time he truly enjoyed soon though Luna started to look at the position of the moon more often till she finally stood up;

- It is time to for fill my duty.

- A duty? What duty?

- I have to lower the moon.

- Will we meet again?

- I look forward to it Ember.

The she jumped in the sky, she turned into a one big magical aura and then she disappeared; followed by the moon that slowly started to hide behind the horizon. Soon the light of the sun started to rise from the east. The wind was long gone but he did not intend to hide his wings, a few hours more for the ponies to sleep that’s what they all deserve now.
Twilight woke up first, sleepy as always she stood up and looked around. The others were still sleeping. She yawned and decided to go to the river to wash her face, after she turned around trying not to wake up the others she bumped into something that reminded her of soft leather. She took some steps back to see what it was soon she realized that it was Embers wing she bumped into.

Twilight passed the wings to check on him, he was not sleeping anymore, the fire of his eyes was blazing as usual but in a different way she could not explain.

- Good morning Twilight.

- Good morning. How do you feel?

- I am fine for now.

He noticed that she was looking at his open wings; - I gave you protection from the cold wind that woke me up.

- Ahw that was kind of you Ember but I hope you were not freezing for our sake?

- I actually enjoyed it, my body was extremely overheated. Somehow the wind brought balance to my poor body.

- You were up all night long?

- Yes. – He looked up to the sky. – Even though the sky of the day has its own beauty the sky of the night was truly fascinating.

- From time to time I love to look into the starts. Astronomy is one of my favorite subjects sadly most of the time I am so tired after the day that I oversleep it.

Ember laughed quietly about that statement.

- What’s so funny about it?

- She said nearly the same thing you just did Twilight.

- Who? – She asked irritate.

- Luna.

- Wait what?!? Princess Luna was here?

- It seems that Luna was truly here and not an illusion of my tired mind. – Ember allowed himself some fun.

Twilight was speechless for a while; - What did she want from you?

- I was asking the same after I saw her silhouette appearing out of the sky; apparently my poem brought her down to me.

- A poem?

Night after night I will look at the sky and ask why you are not here. Night after night I listen to the overwhelming sound of my heart. Night after night I look around and see that you are not here. Night after night I sit and feel the emptiness that you have left behind. Night after night I look upon the sky and hope where ever you might be you have found happiness. As did my eyes watching the stars.

- You know Twilight Sparkle if you would live long under the earth you would like to find something to kill the time. After I found out how to read the runes on the walls I’ve started to create poems; inspired by the overwhelming beauty of the night this came out as a result.

- It is a beautiful poem Ember but it is sad too. You miss somebody?

The guardian looked at the tree that was not far from them. Twilight was not sure but she saw that his eyes changed their size for a while.

- I had a flashback before I found you ponies, I could hear a voice of a woman, a voice that made my heart beat strong; fill it with heat like I have never felt like. The realization that she is no longer among us… - he stopped and did not end what he has started. Twilight did not push, she could hear in his voice that it was painful for him to talk about it, especially because he mentioned it several time now that he has lost his memory.

- Tell me though.

- Yes?

- While I was sleeping I could feel a magical presence that I could not identify. It was strong very strong, it might be that this presence actually woke me up; the wind just did the rest.

Twilight told him about the conversation with the princess, she did not mention though that she might imprison him way to afraid to see his reaction about it. It was hard to find out what he was thinking right now, the missing facial reactions made it nearly impossible but his eyes though remained calm without any sign of anger or sadness.

- I see. – He said after she was ready. – Soon I’ll have the honor to meet the older sister of Luna. Is it fate or simply a bunch of coincidences, I never can decide.

Ember told her more about the meeting with Luna, in his story she sounded the way she knew her but in a way Twilight could see that Luna seemed to have fond enthusiasm in him.

- In the end she lowered the moon as she said and then she disappeared with the rising sun.

Both heard that the ponies slowly started to wake up, as herself the other girls bumped into Embers wings, what looked hilarious because their faces went through the leathery wings only to be pushed back by its elasticity. Twilight could not hold it out she simply had to laugh about it. Ember closed his wings and stood up to stretch his body, the ponies still sleepy walked by him without noticing him till his bones cracked. As expected they all ran to him and started to talk all in one time what created a symphony of being worried and chaos. Ember tried his best to tell them that he is fine but the caring mares did not stop questioning him about food or anything else he might need, the poor guardian seemed to get an headache from all this. In the end he could not hold it longer so he decided to stomp to keep them quiet. It worked!

- If you really want to know if I want something, I would like to try out the hot springs if I still have the chance.

Soon everybody were in bathing in the hot springs, Ember chose one for himself, let the ladies had their own one.

- Hey Ember why you don’t join us here it’s enough place to put you twice in it including us! – yelled Pinkie.

- I may have been under the earth for a way to long time but I still have some tact in me.

- Like we would have something to show! – Rainbow Dash and splashed the water right on his back.

- Don’t play with fire hot wing.

- Or what? – She splashed him again, the other joined her.

- You asked for it! – He jumped high with the help of his wings and plumped right into the middle of their big hot spring making all the ponies wet, ruining their precious hair. Ember laughed his guts off after he saw their faces; - I have warned you.

After the refreshing bath in the hot springs they came back to the camp, he decided that he would fly around for a bit, his first flight in the sky of Equestria began. Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy joined him; while he was just flying around they both were playing in the clouds. Ember noticed that they could stand on the clouds what made the entire live in the air tale seems to be possible; he looked down to their camp where the other ponies were watching them from below. He landed far from them;

- If you want I can take you up to the sky.

Rarity insisted that it would ruin her hair that she somehow has fixed it after the bath. Twilight was a bit nervous about it only Applejack and Pinkie seemed to like the idea. Ember did not wait long; the winds were calling for him. He grabbed all ponies at once, with one swing of his wings he was back in the air; he was flying gently and slow so none of them would be afraid. The screeching Rarity and Twilight that were holding each other finally open their eyes and saw the landscapes of this land in all its greatness.

- I’ve never seen this place from above. I really regret it that I didn’t do it. – said Twilight.

- Look girls! Look at the sea! – Rarity pointed at the mighty sea that started to spread around in their eye of sight, the green mixing up with the crystal clear blue of the sea was truly a wonderful sight for sore eyes. Ember decided to fly above the water, the ponies could see their own refection in the water.

- Hold on little ponies!

He rapidly increased his speed and suddenly with a might swing he tossed himself right in the sky, the impact created a fountain; he slowed down and looked at the water masses that were slowly falling down leaving behind an appearing rainbow. The ponies reaction to the sudden change of speed was not fear; they enjoyed it and even demanded more, what he did with a big pleasure. They were diving in the clouds, spinning around with Dash that was performing great acrobatics in the air, while Fluttershy lied on a cloud watching flying birds. He enjoyed the time with them as long he as could. Then he felt it, the energy he felt during his sleep;

- Twilight.

- Yes?

- I think I can sense your princess.

- Put us down then! Put us down.

After his landing Twilight was acting strangely hysterical or maybe with over joy he could not recognize it. Anyway the presence came closer and closer. Ember had a bad feeling about it, soon everybody saw a caret being pulled by three strong looking Pegasus stallions, behind them in the cart Princess Celestia was sitting on a small throne. He felt something in the air, he didn’t know what it was but it was of magic nature, whatever it was it made his senses hit the alarm button. He vanished in the shadows…

The ponies kneeled down on their front legs and greeted princess Celestia with great respect, Twilight was ahead of the group she greeted her hearty and bowed once more.

- It is wonderful to see you again Twilight Sparkle. I came here as fast as I could. - She looked on the other ponies that started to gather behind her. – It is always a pleasure for my eyes to see your friends but if I am not mistaken one friend is missing.

- What? – They all said and turned around. Ember was gone; he disappeared like he was made out of air.

- This can’t be! – Twilight was totally confused right now, how could such a big creature like Ember disappear like that? That was way too much for her. – Princess I don’t know what is going on… Ember was here few seconds ago!

- Calm down dear. – Said Celestia and sat down on the ground. – I am sure that your new friend had a reason to disappear like that?

- Not at all princess. – Said Applejack. – Few minutes ago we all were enjoyin’ a flight with him but then he felt your presence that’s how we got back on the ground.

- Ember is able to fly? That’s truly interesting. There are not many creatures that can have such abilities. Being able to use magic, able to fly up in the sky and even learn things from other species only by connecting with them. So Applejack you say that he felt my approaching?

- Yes Mam'.

- It seems that Ember has a deep connecting to magic; I could not sense anything at all while we approached your camp.

- I must admit that Ember sounded a bit scared after he mentioned your presence. – said Twilight. – Maybe he is afraid of you, your highness.

- It might a possibility, I have never heard about creatures that could sense other magic users especially if they were not using magic in the first place. Anyway I suggest we will wait till he comes back.

They all started a friendly conversation among friends, chatting about things that were going on in Equestria and Ponyville. Twilight felt always happy if she was talking with the princess even happier if her friends were with her but right now she still was trying to figure out how or why Ember hid from Celestia. The ability of feeling magic was truly marvelous maybe he could teach her things about magic that she did not know. The princess was sharing the same thought about Embers magical skills and was hoping that they could learn more about the very nature of magic.

- I cannot teach you any of the mentioned things.

Suddenly they all could hear the voice of Ember. Everyponies moth went open, besides of Celestia, after they have noticed that Ember was standing behind her, a second ago he was not there. Celestia could feel that he was behind her; she could not hide the shock after turning back to him. The monarch of these lands was bigger than her small sister Luna, her fur was pure white like he has never seen before. Her mane seemed to be floating but if you would see her in front of you, you would see all kind of colors on her hair. Somehow it reminded him of the shine of the crystals that were always activating themselves all alone creating a wonderful variation of colors. A truly majestic crown was on her head, Celestia seemed to wear some cloths on her chest with a royal looking emblem and if he was not wrong she had shoes on her hooves that had a golden color.

The way she regained her stature was impressive and the aura that was all around her made him shiver.

- This world seemed to be really young if you are not able to feel things as I do.

Ember bowed down with grace and unexpected knowledge of royal ethic. While he was bowing down he held his wing with one hand what made it look like he was wearing a rather unusual but not ugly cloak.

- Please excuse my behavior but indeed I was afraid of your presence monarch of Equestria.

- I can assure you that you should not expect any harm from my side Ember but you have to understand, that if I will be forced to step into motion that I will not hesitate.

- Wise words that were expected from a monarch. – He passed her and sat down close to Fluttershy.

- Allow me that statement your highness but you really remind me of your sister.

Celestia lifted one eye brow; - You meet my sister?

- Yes I did. It was a very interesting meeting, interesting and surprising in the same time. But I am sure that you did not travel to this place to hear about that meeting.

The princess smiled and nodded. – Even though I received Twilights report I had to check several things myself, matters that were bothering me for a longer time.

- What kind of matters do you have in mind princess? – Asked Twilight, her ears went down, she looked disappointed for some reason.

- Don’t worry Twilight you and your friends did well by informing me about your adventures. The magical activity that I was feeling seems to be gone and I am glad that it went away. That source seemed not to be natural and I was afraid that a disaster could have resolved out of it.

- I assume that the mentioned activity were the crystals that I was guarding in the depths of the Underworld.

- It might be possible Ember but still one point is bothering me.

- And that would be your highness?

- According to your story you were under the earth for a time that words could not describe properly but the magical activities had been spotted several days ago. Why would we find out of it existence in such a short time period?

- I don’t know if I will be able to answer that question your highness because I was not feeling any activities while I was still under the earth. If the mentioned thing is true I would feel that activity within the tunnels with an extremely big intensity.

- It is troubling to hear that an activity like that does not just come up without any reason. The energy that I was feeling had an incredible massive core but I was not able to indentify its true nature. After that I’ve sent my best to investigate this case, the rest of the story you do know yourself. Twilight…

- Yes Princess?

- Did you spot any unclear activities before you meet Ember?

- No your highness nothing at all, in fact it was very hard to use the easy illumination spell in those tunnels, it felt like something was trying to stop any magical attempts. Back in the chamber where we have encountered Ember only with extreme effort I managed to attack him with a bolt.

- That is something I am able to answer. – Ember open his wings, seemed like he was stretching them. The ponies looked at them with big fascination because the light of the sun made them shine in a truly beautiful way that Ember could probably not see – It is a defense mechanism that prevents the most creatures of using magic. I was deeply surprised by Twilights attack but gladly I was able to stop the upcoming impact.

Pinkie giggled what reminded Ember of the way he removed the spell.

- Why would there be something like that? – asked Twilight with a fascinated tone.

- Its quiet simple. I barely left the chamber where I was guarding the crystals; there are many creatures below the earth that are capable of using magic in the most dangerous ways. The crystals were establishing that defense mechanism with they own magical source that never seemed to fade away. An enemy that could not use its magical powers against me was most of the time an easy foe to encounter.

- Can you explain it then why you were able to use magic?

- This is harder to explain… Sometimes while I was connecting to the crystals I always had the feeling that they were acting like living creatures. Since I was guarding them I always suspected that the magic field was not affecting me… at least I thought so.

- What do you mean? – Asked Celestia that was listing to him patiently.

- I think that my amnesia has been caused by the crystals I was guarding. Before the crystals *somehow* have been destroyed I had no flashbacks or any kind of things that would remind me who I was or still am. My entire life has been put upside down by the events of the last day and I hope I can get things in line within time.

- Twilight report told me that you were acting differently while the crystals were still intact, that in fact your actions let it look like you were controlled by them. The torture of Rarity is a good example for that.

Rarity shivered a bit after she heard it;

- I agree on that one… I don’t know what was going on with me, everything happened so fast I could not control it. You have to know that the Underground is a place where mercy cannot be found. I had only one rule that I was following while I was there: Me or them. But…

- But since the crystals are gone you were acting differently, you openly talk about the crystals, and you saved the ponies from a grim fate at the cost of your own life what is really honorable.

The conversation went on like that for several hours. The ponies were listening to Embers story quietly while Celestia seemed always to find questions or thoughts to debate about. Gladly Ember did not have any problems with it and he openly answered to everything if he was able to do so.

- I really enjoy that conversation Ember but I cannot stay here for much longer there are still duties to be done. – The ponies suddenly became very tense that has been noticed by Celestia and the old guardian.

- I would not like to be on your place your highness.

Celestia giggled at that statement, stood up and went back to the caret; - I hope that we will meet again in Canterlot, all of you. - Ember noticed the revealed faces of his small companions, the smile on the face of the princess that was looking at her subjects; complete confused by that situation he did not understand he remained silent.

- But I have to warn you Ember. It might be that the court of the magi might not welcome you with open arms.

- If that is the case the court should not expect kindness from my side.

- I wish you all a good and swift travel.

Then the caret flew away and left the group in their camp;

- Ember! – Twilight stood up to him. – Why were you hiding!? No wait how did you do that in the first place?

- What do you mean?

- You came out of nowhere behind the princess!

- Oh that one… I became one with the shadows.

- Oh my how did you do that?

- I cannot tell you that Twilight. – said Ember harshly to her. – Otherwise I would take you all the excitement of researching.

- Could you give me at least a hint? That seems to be useful!

- Listen carefully to what I have to say. The knowledge I posses do not fit into this world; it is not prepared for things like it. If I would start sharing the knowledge of things I do know; it could outbalance your world in an unpredictable way. That’s why I would ask you to not ask me more about that. – I might change my mind if I will see what your species is capable of – He thought in his mind.

Twilights ears and her head went down, he could see that she might have been an eager student but right now he should find out more about the knowledge of the ponies maybe then he would be able to do teach her a thing.

- The only thing I can offer you is my help in your magical studies.

- You would do that? – She clapped with her hooves and made a happy yay!

- So what are we waitin’ for? Let’s move out! – yelled Applejack and so they journey started once more.

The landscape started to change rapidly more and more green appeared everywhere. The mountains that were over his home seemed to not lose its size even with the growing distance. Eventually though even those giants had to disappear behind the horizon before the last step Ember stopped, turned around and looked on it one last time at least he hoped so. The ponies knew what was going on in his head; they gave him the time he needed to leave things behind him what never was easy.

- Let’s move on…

After the mountain disappeared the journey went on way easier for Ember, his mood rapidly changed what the ponies noticed after he started to sing songs in a different language, that had an interesting sound what made all of them join it what in the end became a hilarious show that would make even a mule smile. His new companions were a very talkative folk among themselves and while talking to him, with each new step they seemed to create new questions or start new topics about things he could not understand but he was kind enough to listen to them.

- How far do we have to go? – Ember asked while he was levitating Pinkie that asked him for that.

- If there will be no complications on the way we should reach the town of Ponyville tomorrow probably in the night. – Twilight answered first as always. – I would say that this is a good timing isn’t it? There should not be any ponies there at that time. No offense…

- None taken; I know how I look like. How do you think will your folk react? I don’t want to start panic or something…

- Don’t worry sugarcube. – said Applejack that called him that way for the first time. – The ponies can be prepared for that, but I suggest you will hide somewhere.

- Oh, oh AJ he could hide in your barn! – said Pinkie that was pretending that she was floating in the air. Applejack did not expect that statement you could see it on her face.

- If that is a problem I will hide in the woods or maybe in a cave.

- No wait you don’t have to do that! But before you enter I better inform my family. If granny would see you she would get a heart attack.

Ember looked on her with his glowing eyes, she could not tell what he was thinking but there were several things she had in mind for this situation. After some hours of walking the slowly started to end that is why the group decided that they should find a place to sleep for the night. Not far from them to the north, Ember noticed a large territory that was inhabited by a dark looking forest.

- What is that place over there?

- That is the Ever Free Forest. – said Rainbow Dash trying to hide that she shivered a bit what Ember noticed right away. – This place always creeps me out.

- Why?

- It is a dangerous place you know, full with wild animals and other monstrosities. Deeper you go in than more dangerous it will become.

- Sounds like the surface opposite of my underground.

- I don’t like both of them. – said Rarity that right now was looking at her hooves. – Dangerous and dirty eww.

- Besides that… oh never mind.

- End what you have started! – said Ember that was even more curious about that place.

- The clouds are moving all by their own without pony intervention! – said Rainbow Dash.

- The plans grow alone too! – replied Applejack.

- And the animals take care of themselves. – said Fluttershy quietly.

Ember started to laugh so loud that his laughter echoed deep into the forest what scared all kind of birds. It would have be a frightening thing to look a creature like Ember laughing with his demonic voice about the statement he thought of being a joke. After he saw the look on their faces he noticed that they were not joking at all.

- Wait you are serious aren’t you?

- Of course we are serious! – Rainbow Dash hit the ground angrily.

- Explain yourself!

- I don’t get it...

- What did you mean with the clouds move all alone without intervention?

- The duty of a Pegasus is to maintain the weather all over Equestria, besides some exceptions like this part of the land and the Everfree Forest itself.

He could not believe what he was hearing right now!

- You… you manipulated the weather? The flora and even the fauna?!

- Yes we do. Why are you so surprised about it?

- This is… not natural at all. Tell me more about it.

Ember listened to the ponies about the duties and things they were doing. With each mentioned thing like a traditional celebration they call Winter Wrap Up Ember became more and more speechless about that topic. In the end he just nod and did not answer the questions Twilight started to state.

- Some water would be nice now. – It was Fluttershy that said it even quieter than usual what helped to change the topic. During their travel the ponies were choosing the pony that was caring the water bags for like an hour or two. Ember offered them his help but they kindly refused it. If he recalled it right it Rarity who was the last water carrier.

- Oh my… - said Rarity and looked on the last remaining water bag that was once full of water. It seemed like it had a leak in it because now it did not even half full. – They always talk about good quality but in the end we get rubbish.

- What are we goin’ to do now? – asked AJ. – As far as I remember there are no lakes and rivers in the area. – She gasped. – Besides they are in the Everfree Forest!

Ember stood up and moved right to the place where Fluttershy was sitting. With his arm ready to hit it looked like he was going to attack her. The poor pony got scared by his unexpected charge but then Ember stopped right in front of her. He grabbed her with his magic, moved her away from the place where she was sitting; then he hit the ground, his hand went surprisingly deep but he has found what he was looking for. After he ripped his hand out of the ground he turned around to Fluttershy, the ponies saw that a bit above his hand a water ball was floating in the air.

- Here you go.

The water ball went to Fluttershy that was looking at Ember with an irritated look but after he nodded she finally drank. The water ball seemed not to get smaller;

- Oh my… that water taste so good. Wow!

Ember let the ball levitate in the air; he went back on his place;

- I removed any kind of dirt that might have been in it, it will be enough for all of you.

- How did you know that there was water below us? – asked Applejack that was impressed by it even more than Twilight if he was not mistaken.

- I felt it.

- You would be a great help at the Sweet Apple Acres.

- That’s the place where you live and work right?

- Eeyep.

- I doubt it… I would just leave many holes in the ground. – He pointed at the place where he has ripped out the water ball. Soon a conversation between him and Twilight started, most of it was about magic that was Twilights bread and butter. She really knew much, he had to talk more often with her about it to find out more about their knowledge. Ember changed the topic after he noticed that the ponies were just bothered by the scholar conversation, what seemed to upset the poor Twilight. Telepathically though he continued to talk with her while he talked with the others, right now he would not get enough talk. He didn’t care about what it was; from work in the fields to the animal care; he listened and enjoyed every minute with them.

- Oh if I only could talk about such things like them. – He thought and totally forgot that he still was connected with Twilight that got ashamed right away; she wanted to say something but he asked her to not do it now. Pinkie was playing with the water ball together with Rainbow Dash that was kicking it back from the sky, Ember could not resist. With a movement of his finger he changed the form and size of the ball, making it look like a wide open mouth of a strange creature he knew from the underground. The Pegasus pony screamed in fear and flew away into the clouds. Everybody below was laughing about it, she herself joined up congratulating him for this joke. Right after that the ponies were telling him to change the form of the water, he did not like to be a show off but they seemed to like it.

The ball became everything they asked him to be, a bird, book, jewel, apple, cake and a thunder. He suggested showing them some of the fauna of the underground; especially Fluttershy was excited about it. Like they would watch a movie the water was showing and changing its form and flying through the camp. In the end the water flew up high, took the form of his old nemesis that was roaring silently in the air. Ember felt a sudden pain in his chest, the water in the air plopped and fell to the ground, he did not grab his chest trying to not show that something was happening;

- The wind was too strong to continue like that. – Ember answered hoping that they would not notice the change in his voice of course it seemed that he failed;

- Do you have pain Ember? – asked Fluttershy. – Your breath sounds so heavy.

- I am fine… I … I just have to get used to the surface that’s all. Now excuse me. – He stood up and went away from the group, he had to. After he was sure that they were not following him, Ember threw up in the near bushes, he saw and smell blood.

- What is going on with … - he threw up again. After that it finally stopped, once more he ripped out the water from the ground and drank so many as he could, washed off the blood from his chin and went back to the ponies. Then he saw that they were there behind some trees all of them;

- You are really bad at hiding.

They came out all of them worried about him what touched him but made him angry in some way too.

- I really appreciate your concern but please stop that. – They wanted to say something but he interrupted them. – I don’t know what is going on with me! I don’t need your compassion! – he roared like he did the first time he saw Fluttershy, just with more hatred that was mixed up with pain and pity for his own cursed fate. The ponies to afraid to say something or even to move towards him stood frozen in the place, Fluttershy with teary eyes, Applejack hid her eyes from him with her hat, Rarity and Twilight turn around with lowered ears, Pinkie wanted to do something to cheer him up but Rainbow Dash showed with a head shake that she should leave it for now. The ponies went back to the camp while he stood alone with the scent of blood in the air, feeling bad and foolish for his acting.

- I’m sorry… so sorry.

He did what he probably knew best… he vanished into the shadows.

The ponies went back to the place where few minutes ago all of them had their fun with Ember. The feeling of being helpless bothered them deeply; they did not know what they should do especially after his wild behavior. Pinkie seemed to have the biggest problem with that; she loved to see everypony happy, she was great in making others smile... Embers reaction though gave her a hard time, the other ponies had the same feelings about this situation;

- Poor Ember… - said Twilight. – What is going on with you?

- Do you think… – started Fluttershy – That because he is not in his own environment it is not healthy for him?

- It would explain the blood…

- What do I hear? And what is that strange smell in the air?

- Zecora! – Everypony shouted after they saw her, a zebra friend of them that lives in a hut in the Everfree Forest.

- Greetings! A strange place you have chosen for your meetings.

- We do not meet anypony Zecora. – said Applejack. – We’ve choose this place for a short rest from our journey.

- I have heard your conversation. It seemed like your friend is ill, please tell me his location.

- Zecora darling listen up. – Rarity got up. – Before we tell you where our friend is you have to know that he is not a pony.

- And that the first meeting can end in scaring you. – Fluttershy ended and smiled a little. Zecora laughed hearty about that statement.

- Can it be true? There is somebody who put aside my scariness out of view?

They all saw that Ember appeared behind her while she was laughing; he was watching her with a rather interesting look;

- I did not expect that I would see a Zhevra in this region.

The surprised Zecora, she was so surprised that her tail was standing tall, turned around and saw Ember; everypony was expecting that she would yell and ran off but she was just standing there with an open mouth more irritated than scared.

- By my old teacher! – She finally said something and moved a bit away from the guardian. – A shadow creature!

Embers eyes did not show any kind of influence after calling him a shadow creature; in fact he seemed to be even more interested;

- You know what I am Zhevra?

- Why are you calling her a Zhevra? – asked Rainbow Dash. – You spell it wrong! It should be Z-E-B-R-A.

- Uphold the peace of mind. – said the zebra and looked back to Ember. – How do you know the true name of my kind?

- I don’t know…. It came so suddenly.

- What does that mean? I don’t trust you evil thing.

The blaze in Embers eyes now changed its intensity and slowly started changing the color into a deep red;

- Please Zecora listen we will tell you the story. – said Twilight and started to tell her the story she told Princess Celestia. In the meanwhile Embers sudden emotion change was gone and his eyes had a normal color of fire. Mostly thanks to Fluttershy that went to him and gently stroke his wing. Zecora listen patiently though everypony could see that most of the time she did not let Ember out of sight. Soon the story was complete, followed by silence in the small clearing.

- I admit I am surprised. The shadow creatures actions should be praised.

- Why do you keep calling me a shadow creature?

- Listen up then because it’s quiet a tale. It is about creatures living beyond the veil.

- What is the veil? – asked Rainbow that seemed to have a problem with understanding Zecoras way of speaking.

- The veil is a dimension that is bound to this world, one of many that share the same bound. The only one out of many that has such strong connection that it would allow the creatures that dwell within to enter this world; if they possess the knowledge to do it. – Answered Ember that had few neighborly meetings with the creatures of the veil back in the chamber of stone.

- I’ve read about that dimension you mentioned Ember, in the old books of Canterlot.

- I am impressed that your folk know such things already but there are things that none book can describe properly or even slightly. The veil is a place beyond the imagination of the most living creatures. – His attention came back to Zecora.
-Please continue.

- Those tales are in fact very old. Many of them remained forgotten or untold…

Zecora had a saddle bag on her back, she put her hove into the small bag and put out a green powder that she blew it in the air, like his water ball the powder changed it form showing all what it uphold. Zebras appeared in huge groups that were dancing around a big camp fire, Zecora suddenly was touched by that sight of a small zebra that was jumping and running wild, enjoying the dances and happiness in the tribe. An old looking zebra appeared in front of the filly, smiled and performed the same move like Zecora did in fornt of them. The illusion started to become grim because misshapen and twisted forms appeared above the zebras. Abominations that were unknown to Ember soon though more common creatures appeared that he knew from the underground; the ponies were watching the spectacle with huge eyes, enjoying the uncommon sight.

The beasts of the vale started to chase the tribe, spreading panic and fear, feasting on the feelings of the fleeing zebras. The illusion vibrated suddenly after a roar that seemed so realistic that the ponies looked on Ember thinking he was the cause of it. Then all beasts kneeled down before a horned lord, that appeared above them all, it was like looking into his own reflection, like he would be somehow be involved into the story. The creature roared once more and banished the creatures of the veil back where they belonged. The zebras were thankful for their rescue but were afraid that the creatures might return; the shadow creature taught the zebras how to use spells that would protect them and gave them the wisdom of the alchemy then he disappeared into the veil.

- I don’t get it Zecora. – said Rainbow Dash. – The shadow creature was helping the zebras, why do you call Ember an evil creature?

- The answer lies still in the tale. Watch it carefully or the tale will not prevail.

The zebras were practicing the magic the way they have been told to do, some of them though practiced in it new different ways abusing their new powers for their own intentions. The horned lord returned and was furious about it, he warned them to not abuse his gift for personal matters, of course the zebras apologized soon after the shadow creature was gone they ignored his words and continued their dark studies. The power that they could not control turned them into evil creatures, once more the horned lord came back but this time he did not forgive those who ignored him, he took them their power and with it their life. Then all of the sudden the power that came back to him started to affect the creature, strange lines were moving along his body, the horned lord roared like Ember has never ever heard before.

The hatred that was stored in the energy he has taken from the Zebras, was overwhelming and it overcame the shadow creature; turned the once good spirit into a contrary of his former self. He assaulted the zebras like the smaller minions did before him, destroying village after village but then a small filly crossed the way of the raging monster and stopped his rampage with a simple begging for forgiveness. The horned lord regained control over himself, ashamed of his deeds and his new form he left the land and sealed the entrance of both worlds; in the vale the creature lost himself in the darkness of his heart and the once good spirit once more became the abomination. The illusion ended with a roar that let Ember shiver inside. The green smoke faded like it never has been in the air

- And so we arrive at the end of the tale, changing the fate of the creature beyond the veil. Since then the creature prevailed in the darkness among his kind. We hoped we would never see one of them again, we were so blind…

All of them looked in Embers direction where he was sitting on the ground, wings pulled over his shoulders in a way that made it look like he was wearing a fancy cloak, his eyes were closed what took him the last thing on his face that could have told them something about his feelings. A rather unpleasant thing to look at, if he would not breath it would look like he was dead. Gladly he open his eyes and the well known blaze came forth that did not have a big intensity more like a small glimmer. None of them knew what it possibly meant but the small glimmer changed into the bright blaze that brought forth Embers normal colors; he seemed to be fine;

- I thank you for this story Zecora. – She looked suspiciously into his eyes. – Now I know where I maybe come from I could not ask for more. There is still one thing I would like to ask you.

- If it has to be then ask. But please hurry up I still have to do an undone task.

- What is happening with me? Since I left the underground I get sick each time worse.

- The answer for your question is our air.

- What do you mean? – asked Twilight. – In what way does our environment harm him?

- For us a nice refreshing air breeze is for the shadow creature like a disease. But do not worry.. Ember will be fine after some time.

Ember did not ask more he only nodded at the enchantress after that he seemed to be far away in his thoughts.

- It is time for me to leave. There are still herbs that I must achieve. Goodbye my friends.

She left the group and went straight into the Everfree Forest and disappeared in the labyrinth of trees, Ember got up stretched his wings. None of his companions said something but he could see in their eyes that were trying to figure out what he was thinking about the tale from old times.

- I am tired. – He moved to a nearby tree, lied against it with his back and closed his eyes what shrouded him even more. – Good Night.

The ponies followed his example and went sleep. Gladly all of them have found peace and the rest they would need for the upcoming day. The ponies were the first to wake up. Yawning and other typical sounds of the morning filled the air, mixed up with the songs of the birds and the snoring of Ember. The singing of the birds caused to wake the snoring guardian that noticed that several smaller birds were singing on his horns. After he got up the birds flew away scratching at him angrily. The ponies greeted him with a hearty good morning and asked him right away to supply some water. His small companions ate their breakfast, all of them bringing him smaller piles of berries they have managed to find nearby. He was not hungry what he mentioned right away but after he saw them looking at him with those big puppy eyes he ate up everything they brought to him. Filled with new energy the herd collected their stuff and was ready to continue their journey.

- I suggest we move on.

- You know if you don’t feel right we can wait a bit longer. – said Fluttershy, he could see that her caring instincts were on.

- Something that won’t kill me will make me stronger. – Ember said with an annoyed tone. – Lets go.

During their journey the ponies finally started to talk openly with him about Zecoras story, he did not want to talk about it but Ember could clearly see that the ponies were really concerned; Pinkie that was always smiling had a long face. He could not stand a sight like that. The hours passed fast and their journey went on smoothly without any problems. Soon they all noticed an upcoming storm from the south, Ember felt the change in the air long before the clouds appeared but he did not mention it to his companions. The air had a different smell, he could not really describe it but he was sure that he could feel that the storm has probably crossed the sea; soon the group had to find a place where they were safe from the rain but there were no caves where they could have find refuge and the thunders that started to rip though the air in the distance made the plan ‘’let’s hide under a tree’’ way to dangerous.

- The mass of this storm is huuuuuge! – said Rainbow Dash. – We better find a place to hide!

- My mane will be totally ruined! – cried out Rarity.

- Do you always have to think of good lookin’ girl? – said Applejack that was trying to keep her hat on its rightful place.

- We don’t have the time for such things ladies. – said Ember and looked at the dark clouds that had the same color as his skin maybe even darker. – The wind has changed its direction we better hurry.

They all started to run so fast they could. The ponies were slow, way to slow for his standards but he keep the right speed so they could hold on with him. The first raindrop started to fall from the sky they would not find a place to hide, Ember even said they should go to the Everfree Forest but he meet the stubborn statement that it is too dangerous to go in that forest.

- Stop!

The ponies stopped;

- Why do we stop in the open field we must go on! – said Rainbow Dash.

- There is no use of running from the elements we won’t win it! Gather in front of me. Closer!

The ponies did as he said without complaining; he squat down and closed his wings above them creating a pavilion like protection for the ponies. Right after it a heavy rain started to rain, the shower was incredibly nice, and he looked down at the ponies that did not get wet;

- I hope you have found a comfortable place. It might take a while till the storm passes us.

Ember was moving his wings a bit so that the water that, started to collect itself on the surface of his wings, could fall on the ground. He could protect their heads and the main part of the body but not their hooves, Rarity was complaining about it with all the air she had in her lungs;

- Think on the bright side. – Said Ember, Rarity looked at him with a grim look on her face. – Your wonderful mane will not get ruined.

The compliment seemed to have worked right away, Rarities mood changed right away but everypony could see that the mud on her hooves was still bothering her. A thunder lightened the sky and the environment, scaring the ponies that squeeze together.

- Don’t be afraid my friends. I am surrounded by a protection spell, the thunders are no threat to us.

Pinkie Pie still had that long face, the bad weather seemed to make it worse Ember decided to cheer her up a bit showing her a stupid trick.

- Pinkie.

- Yes? – She asked and looked at him so did the other ponies.

- Look at this….

He concentrated, his sight started to spread getting wider and wider, the ponies looked at his eyes that started to move along his face making different movement that made them look like fishes that were swimming in the water, Pinkie started to laugh right away at the funny and strange spectacle the other joined right away. Embers eyes were now moving away from each other, they actually left his face and were now moving on the surface of the wings, soon though it was too much for him so he let his eyes go back on their place. The mood of the ponies changed rapidly, songs followed jokes and a friendly chat, the rains power started to fade.

- Is the town of Ponyville far away from here?

- We are close that’s for sure; if the storm did not stop us we would be home now. – said Twilight.

- Since Zecora left us I was thinking of her words about the affection of the environment.

- Are you concerned about it? – asked Fluttershy. – Don’t worry will aid you! Somehow…

Ember could not stop a happy laugh;

- Kind as always. I thought it might be better to stay away from your city till I’m fully adapted to this place.

- But where will you stay for that time? We don’t know how long it might take for your body to adapt. – said Rarity

- I am not sure about it. The sky is apparently the home of the ponies like Dash and Fluttershy, it seems like I will have to go to the woods or to the mountains.

- Are you sure about it? We could inform the citizens about you so they might be prepared at least a bit. – said Twilight.

- You cannot prepare the folk for a sight like me Twilight.

- Maybe if I would make a party for Ember the ponies would not be so scared of him! – said Pinkie and started to hop around what of course made all around her dirty.

- Stop that! – Everypony yelled at the grinning Pinkie.

- No I have made my decision. It’s for the best of all of us.

- But how will we stay in touch? What if you will need help? – started Applejack.

I will never really separate with you. – said Ember in the ponies minds. – I will be able to see what you are doing, how the life in your city looks like. I think this is good enough for now.

The worst part of the storm has passed them already Ember could still follow its trail the lightning was still noticeable in the distance. Soon the wind took nearly all storm clouds with it and moved on wherever it wanted what seemed to depress Rainbow Dash. Ember could not feel any raindrop on his skin, he moved his wings away from them back on its place, the water that was still on the surface of the wings splashed the ground behind him everything in the sight of the eye was full of mud and puddles. His dragon like feet sunk deep into the soaked earth with a small effort he freed himself stood up and stretched his bones. As usual with the stretching the sound of cracking bones followed it that caused the ponies to make a one big loud ewwww. He saw that they had their problem with moving forward, Dash and Fluttershy were in the air while the others who did not have the luck of having wings tried to move on, only Rarity was not moving way to afraid or disgusted to move in the ground. Ember sighted and said;

- With that rate we will never reach your home my little ponies. I will take you for a ride we should reach your home in no time.

The ponies, especially Rarity, accepted the offer and soon they all were again in the sky followed by the Pegasus ponies, the air was fresh and refreshing. The sun started to slowly make place for the moon that was still hidden behind the horizon, right away he thought of Luna Celestias younger sister. Daughter of the night, no queen of the night the incarnation of the night. The ponies were directing him, the wind was on his good side so he did not have any unnecessary problems and the extra boost made him fly faster without any particular usage of his power. In one moment though the ponies started to arguing which way he should take till they have finally find a way out he was fling in circles what made him depressed for a while. The real problem began when the ponies could not see where they were so he had to describe them at what point he was now, Pinkie was incredibly annoying.

Every time he said what has fallen into his eye she asked all types of questions like are there hills or maybe trees a river, he had to be patient with her and he hoped that the ponies would make her quiet or he could not guarantee that all of them would make it back home. The day ended and the night started to reveal it beauty that won the heart of the guarding right after his first meeting with it. After few hours he finally saw light at the horizon, the ponies recognized it as their hometown Ponyville, half way on the hooves he landed on the main road leading into the town;

- Our paths separate here girls. – He put them gently on the ground. – I better start searching for a place to hide.

- Are you sure that you don’t want to stay in my barn? – said Applejack still trying to convince him to go in the town.

- I would cause only problems if somepony would see me. Besides that I prefer to be outside for a while. I will scout that place and if I get sick of moving around, I will connect with you individually.

- Sounds like a plan to me. Still if you change your mind you can still stay in the barn…

Ember bowed before the ponies; - We only part to meet again.

The ponies faces cheered up, the bowed down before him as well. Ember jumped into the air, waved at the ponies that were still watching him and then he flew in the direction of a mountain he has spotted not so far from Ponyville. He became one with the night so nopony could see him by accident. To be honest he changed his mind, he flew back to the ponies and watched them from above till they separated. After he was sure that everypony was safe he flew back to the nearby mountain where he was looking for a cave, eventually he found one big enough for him, he sat on the cold stone bothered by the fact that he was alone now besides that he felt like he was back in the underground. That is why Ember cursed in a long dead language and decided to get the hell out of the cave.

Chapter 3 - It was pity that changed his fate

View Online

Below the mountains there was a forest that was moving along the chain for a great distance Ember could not really estimate. At least he would have enough space to hide in.

- I might get used to an outside living.

He found a glade where he could sleep on soft grass. In the case he could not find any sleep he would be able to watch the sky of the night and praise it beauty. Trying to focus and clear his mind he did not fell that he was not alone in this place. The fade in his mind and the little information about himself made him feel bad and completely forgetting his guarding instincts. Something touched him at the shoulder and brought forth something he did not experience for a very long time: he got scared by it. Ember shouted and jumped forward losing his balance what made him fall directly on his face. The horns went fully through the earth; not that it hurt him but it was humiliating in any case.

- I would lose my job if my chef would have caught me like that… - he thought and turned around to see what has touched him. Ember saw her right away; it was Luna.

- Oh my apologies Ember I did not intend to scare you.

- Nothing to be sorry about princess. – He got up with the taste of earth and grass in his mouth that he apparently not had. – How did you find me? – Asked the guardian and started to remove the earth and some worms that were attached to his horns.

Luna smiled sincerely; - I admit it was not easy to spot you after you disappeared in the sky. I noticed you later entering the cave then I just followed you to this glade.

- Thanks for coming by. I did not expect to see you so fast again. – Ember grabbed his right arm. – I feel lonely…

- I know that feeling way too well Ember. – She came closer to him and sat down on the ground. – How was your day?

Ember started his rather colorful story. He told her everything what occurred during the travel he even talked openly about feelings he did not share with the others. Like her sister she listened patiently, of course he did not want to bother her with everything that was bothering his mind and soul, if he had one. After he finished Luna looked up to the sky that was already filled with stars;

- Every time I feel bad I look up in the sky. The stars always had a good influence on me and my intuition tells me that you are the same type as I am at that point. – She smiled but did not stop to watch the sky; Ember followed her example and started to watch them with her.

- Look Ember! – She pointed at the sky. – A Pegasus!

Right after he heard it Ember ran out of line of sight between the trees that were big enough to keep him unseen. Luna was still pointing at the sky but looking at him with a confused look;

- Why are you hiding?

- I have decided that I will remain hidden until I have adapted to the surface environment. Is the Pegasus gone?

The princess started to hearty laugh of this statement. She fell on her back rolling around on the ground. Even from the distance Ember could see that she was laughing so hard that tears appeared in her eyes. After a longer time she finally caught up;

- Come here I will show you something.

He went back on his place with some hesitation what made Luna giggle more; in fact he felt humiliated once again. The guardian tried to hide this feeling as good as possible but his ears betrayed him because they went down right after Luna giggled:

- What is it you want me to show?

Her horn started to glow with a blue shine that had refreshing effect for his eyes. Then he noticed that something was going on in the sky. Lines started to web around several stars creating a shape he could not really recognize.

- This my friend is the Pegasus I have mentioned before.

- You gave a name to a star?

- No. Not a single star, we call it a constellation. – Once more she looked up in the sky.

– While I was a small filly it was always so hard to keep their locations and names in mind. I do remember how father always helped me while I was lost in the sea of stars. The same way as I did for you.

- What are they good for? – He simply could not understand why somebody would create things like that.

- Long before my life started the poets, farmers and astronomers have made up those imaginary things. The purpose of the constellations is to help us to tell which star is which no more and no less. Thousands of stars can appear in the sky in a really dark night Ember; it is a very difficult task to find out which one is which. In all if you find a constellation you know you will be able to split the sky in bits. They are used as mnemonics or as I always say memory aids.

- There are so many things I have to find out in this world. – Said Ember that was trying to find other constellations. – Hm. You have shown me that the sky has constellations, let me show you something too.

Ember looked around and found the thing he was looking for; a stone that was not far from them. He helped Luna to get up; together they went to the stone that was completely alone in this glade. Ember touched the rough surface of the lonely stone and looked at the princess.

- You want to show me a stone?

- Far more than that Luna. Try to free your mind from every thought, every bothering memory that might distract you and listen to the symphony of the stone.

Luna closed her eyes. Ember could see that she was fighting against her own mind but after a while she gave up with a head shake. Her expression was awfully tense now.

- Let me help you then. – He touched her forehead and got right away shocked by something. Apparently only the guardian got shocked; the princess of the night was aware that something happend but she was not sure what it was.

– That was awkward…

After the small unexplained accident he connected with her like he did with the ponies in the underground. He cleared her mind from thoughts that seemed not to have an end and then he let her be silent. Her facial expression became incredibly relaxed. With closed eyes she waited for the symphony; finally the symphony that could not be explained with words filled the air around them. You simply had to hear it yourself to understand how they both felt right now. Luna was thrilled by it; Ember could see that she was fascinated by it that’s why he let her listen to it a bit longer. He cut off the connection between two different species that seemed to have no similarities. Since they connected though both of them could see, that they were not that different from each other.

His soul came back to his body with a feeling of loneliness. For the first time he seemed to have enjoyed connecting with a creature like that. Luna seemed to feel the same way. She did not say anything but her eyes and body language did say more than words could ever do. The princess of the night touched the stone with her hoof;

- How is that possible Ember?

- There are many things in that world that cannot be explained regardless if they are on the surface or below. I believe that everything around us has a soul, a voice and an own story. I mean the natural things that have not been manipulated by the inhabitants of this world.

- Thank you so much for that experience. – She looked at him and right away he saw that tears started to slide down her cheek. – Nopony ever gave me a present like that. In fact you gave me two presents.

- Two? – Asked Ember that did not understood what the incarnation of the night had in mind.

- For the first time since I came back to this world my mind has finally be free of any bad memories.

Ember was speechless; the only thing he dared to do was gently as possible to wipe away the tears.

– So do I thank you Lady of the Night.

All of the sudden an incredibly mighty pain went though his head all the way along his spine. Ember cried out of pain and moved away from Luna that was way too shocked by the sudden shouting to understand what was happening to him. Ember fell down on his knee holding his head that seemed to explode from the inside. The physical and mental pain made him roar in the most inhuman way his lungs were able to perform; nearly the same way like he did in the chamber. Nothing could have endured the pain that has overcome the guardian. He was roaring so loudly that he woke up every living creature that was sleeping nearby. What both of them did not know and see was the fact that he was so loud that he woke up Ponyville and the creatures of the Everfree Forest.

Even with his enormous size Ember was shaking like a frightened child that begged for the end of the pain he felt now. The princess came at his side, he could see that she was saying something but he did not understand anything. The only thing he was able to do was to watch her lips move while talking. With a hasty head shake, that nearly made him hit her with his horn and pointing at his ears, he tried to tell her that he was not able to hear her words. Luna closed her eyes. Her horn started to glow with its blue shine; he could feel the tip of it touch his skin. Some sort of energy started to flow from the touched point, spreading around his entire body. It did make the pain weaker as glad as he was for it; it did not end his agony.

The fire in his bones, the acid on his soul were poisoning his mind; soon the pain started to fade away not by Luna’s spell he was sure of that. His breath normalized and sweat was running all along his decimated body. Ember wanted to get up but Luna stopped him. Weak as he felt now a mare of a not really strong stature could push him down on the ground. His bones felt like they have been filled with liquid metal, making them feel extremely heavy; at least his mental pain did not leave any kind of unwanted activities. Ember did feel different in fact it seemed that Luna has grown a bit.

- Water… please I need water…

He got up this time;

- Not far from here is a pond. – She wanted to squeeze under his arm at that moment he noticed that his size changed, still bigger than her but way smaller than he was before the attack.

- Don’t touch me… please. – Disgusted by his own body he followed Luna that was moving backwards to keep him in her sight. Finally he could smell again far better than he did in the beginning. The pond that she has mentioned was indeed not far away from the glade; it seemed to be big and deep enough for his new size. Soon he reached it and entered it. The water started to vaporize, he moaned relieved and dived totally into the water. After this refreshing bath Ember got up surprised how great he felt now. Every single pain was gone; he seemed like he was born anew. The water itself seemed not to be corrupted in any way; it seemed thought that it has become clearer.

- Are you alright Ember? – asked Luna with clapped ears. – You did scare me back there….

- Forgive me… if I could hold it I would have endured the pain. Right now I feel like the pain has never happened; in fact I feel great.

- Are you sure? That was quite a trip…

- I actually never felt better since I can remember! Can it be that I have finally adapted?

- I hope so I would not like to see you in such agony again.

- The same counts for me princess. – He yawned without any control. – By the spirits I am so tired.

- You should get some rest now Ember.

Ember went back to the glade, searched for a comfortable place close to the trees. Luna was following him quietly after he finally found a good place to sleep his body gave up alone and he fell down on his back; gladly before he hid his wings in his body. The princess of the night sat down on his side. In all she really reminded him of her sister even if they were like water and fire or in that case light and darkness. – They both are really similar in their own way. – He thought.

- You look like you have something to say. – said the guardian with a weak voice.

- Hehe no I don’t have anything to say.

- I can see in your eyes that there is still something.

- I will wait till you fall asleep then I will leave. My sister is already a bit angry at me.

- Oh… why is she angry?

- Well let’s say I should be working now.

- I hope that those meetings are not the reason for that.

- And if I would say they are?

Ember mumbled something in a dead language with a rather weak sound;

- You know I would have never imagined that this world has such wonderful side. My life was based on constant survival, fights and death. I have been alone for thousand years in the depths of the underground, guarding the crystals that were my only purpose and a curse in the same way. Here though I can relax and think for my own and I started to get used to companionship.

- If that would be possible I would like to see how the under….

Ember fell asleep. The missing blaze of his eyes was gone what made the environment around him a bit darker. Luna smiled and watched the sleeping guardian for a while; Ember was snoring quietly. Even if he looked really weird without his open eyes she found it strangely cute how a mysterious and big creature acted like a normal pony. She came closer to him and touched his cheek with her nose then she opened her wings and flew away with a feeling of loneliness.

The shine of the sun woke Ember from his nice sleep he would like to continue for a bit longer. Still sleepy he tried to remember where he was. His head hurt him badly like he would have a really bad hangover. The guardian got up and stretched his exhausted body. Everything around him, including himself was wet what probably meant that it was raining during his sleep. Not sure what time it might be right now he moved along in the wood. Besides the headache Ember did not have any other pain he had to endure; after many thoughts he decided to wait longer with his appearance in the city of Ponyville. The area around the mountains was abandoned and totally in the grasp of the nature. He could hear several arts of birds singing in the crowns of the trees.

The forest was full of life what he could verify through the auras he could see nearly everywhere. The time passed and soon the guardian realized that he had to face a small problem. He did not have anything to do. Then he had the idea of searching for new symphonies in the world of Equestria. If a stone or a rock were able to have their own individual symphonies maybe other things might have their own too; at least he believed in it. Ember touched a nearby tree that seemed to be very old compared to the trees that were surrounding it. Once he freed his mind from anything that might have interrupted the process. Everything around him, every single noise was gone like something has simply muted it. He waited pretty long for a reaction sadly nothing special occurred.

Ember was about to cut the connection with the tree but then he could feel some kind of presence that he could not identify. Then he heard a voice in his mind;

- Hoho so many years have passed since somebody has talked to me.

- Who are you? – asked Ember in his mind. The voice had the sound of an old and wise woman that has been woke up roughly from her sleep.

- In my time I had many names. Right now I prefer to simply be called Grandmother.

- I must admit that I did not expect to talk with a tree…

- Why are you so surprised about it Ember?

- How do you know my name?

- If you did not notice it, we have established a strong connection guardian of the crystals.

- I have noticed it Grandmother but I am not able to read your… thoughts.

- The very nature of a tree is to preserve it personality under a strong bark. Even though a tree is pulsing with life it is not the same as a living creature like you.

- I see…

- The world has changed as it inhabitants. I have never seen your kind in these woods; what are you exactly?

- I don’t know Grandmother… I have lost my memories in the depths of the underground.

- A lost memory might return on its own but most of the time the circumstances demand that we will look for it, instead to wait for it to appear out of the misty fog.

- I have so many unanswered questions that seem to grow and grow with each passing minute. My mind has revealed some old memories… but they were so blur and short that they have only born more questions that remained unanswered. I am not even sure what I am Grandmother…

- You should know Ember that the matter of fact is not what you are but who you are. Do not concentrate only on one thing; do not let it control your choices. We all have the chance to achieve the best in this life. Instead of confusing yourself with the past you should move on and keep it up with the now.

- It is easier to say than to do it wise tree. Right now I do not have any purpose in this world… I feel so worthless.

- Indeed it is true that it is easier to say than to do. Let me ask you something. If somebody loses everything he owns has he truly lost his worth?

- I don’t know…

- So how can you see what your life is worth or where your value lies?

Ember did not say anything. The grandmother seemed to clear her throat in his mind that simply sounded disgusting.
- We all have a purpose in this world even if we might not know what it is now.

- I just wish that all the things that happened to me never have happened… - His own voice sounded broken and even his fiery eyes somehow started to feel wet.

- You are not the first and not the last being that has spoken those words Ember. But it is not for you to decide where the seams of the fate have leaded you. But now you have the chance to decide what to do with your life and the time that has been given to you. Everything lies in your own hands Ember and do not forget that you are no longer alone in this wonderful world.

The guardian wanted to say something but he got interrupted by the old tree.

- I am glad that I have met you Ember but for now excuse the old oak… I am tired and need some sleep. I hope we will meet again!

- May your roots grow deep and strong Grandmother.

- May the shadow always grant you protection Ember.

Then the connection has been cut and Embers spirit return into his body. Grandmother’s words have been burned into his mind and for some reason his soul felt a little bit revealed from its pain and sorrow. This was probably the most interesting conversation that he has ever participated and he was sure that it would not be the last.

He felt strangely thirsty, he went back to the pound drank out of it several times and moved on. Ember decided to move along the border between the forest and the mountains. The local fauna seemed to not be afraid of his presence in their small kingdom. Several times small birds have land on his horns and sang their songs that Ember started to enjoy. He did not feel hungry yet he had a strange feeling in his belly that he simply ignored by continuing his small journey. The forest seemed to be pretty young but there were many old looking trees all around the place. The only strange thing about the flora of this world was the fact that the most trees did not match to each other. The underground mushrooms may look the same on the first sight but he did find out, that mushrooms that were growing within each other could only be together if the sap would cooperate with the mushroom that started to melt with the host.

If it would not be the case the connection would lead to the destruction of both mushrooms. Ember was glad that it was not the case in this forest, the stain of the rotten mushrooms could make even his eyes teary. After a while he reached the far end of the forest that lead into the direction of Ponyville. Suddenly Ember heard some noises coming not far away from him to be more exact above him. Up on a rather bright mountain track he noticed a group of small ponies that were moving along it. It seemed like they were playing a game. The constant laughing made it hard to count the number of them that were on the track, one of them started to jump from rock to rock that were decorating the path;

- Gah! I told you that she would slow us down! Why did we take her with us?

- Yeah that’s right! She won’t be able to get up here in the first place.

- That’s not true! I can do it.

Ember could recognize that the last voice was a female one the rest seemed to be males. After he heard the female Ember noticed a strange sound that he could not really identify. Some sort of metallic sound if he was not wrong:

- You should go back to your mommy!

- Guys let’s just leave her behind she won’t make it anyway.


Then Ember heard a crack on the track followed by the girls scream. Something happened but he was not sure what but one was certainly sure; the girl must have fallen into the woods. The boys were yelling in panic and ran away right to the city. He did not wait for an invitation. Right away he started to look for the filly that has fallen not far from him. Soon he heard her crying and yelling for help; Ember stopped behind a tree used a spell that would camouflage him with the close environment. He saw the filly on the ground, she had white fur, light blue hair that was right now ruined and full of leafs. Something strange was attached to her back legs; some sort of the device that was on wheels. Probably the thing that was making those metallic sounds. The filly was trying to get up, she could not move on though, the wheels were broken and bent out of its proper form:

- Help! Please help! Mommy! Daddy! Anypony!

Ember sighed. His sigh was loud enough that the filly heard him. He removed the camouflage spell and move straight to the pony that was looking at him with big teary eyes and open mouth. If you get really scared you can`t really let out a sound out of you. That was the filly’s case now. She tried to crawl away from him but she knew that she could not escape the beast that appeared out of nowhere. She started to cry even louder after he reached her; the guardian squat down in front of her:

- Don’t be afraid little one. – The filly looked at him. The sight of that young creature, that was frightened and probably injured from the fall deeply touched his heart – I won’t harm you.

- You… you can talk?

- It seems like it.

- Mommy told me not to talk with strangers…

Ember laughed hearty about it: - That is a good thing your mommy taught you. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Ember.

The filly relaxed a bit but he could still see how tense her body was: - How may I call you little one?

- Sugar Heart.

- Nice to meet you Sugar Heart. Now please tell me what were you kids doing up there on the track? – He made a swift movement with his finger and removed the leafs from her hair through the kind help of the magic.

- We were playing the traveler ponies.

Ember looked at the broken device; it was sure she would have never made it through.

- Why did you follow them?

- They are always making fun of me because I can’t walk like them. I wanted to prove that they are wrong.

- She is handicapped… - he thought and felt bad for her.

- Are you hurt?

- My back hurts me.

- Allow me to check if everything is okay.

The filly nodded, he touched her back with one finger. His eyes changed their color; he could see the organs, bones and nerves. He focused on the spine that was fractured and dislocated in the lower section, the damage seemed to be permanent but he knew that he was able to heal it but he was not sure if he should do it; that would mean that his cover would be blown and he was not certain if the sudden attacks have stop for good.

- Is it bad? – asked the filly that was way too afraid to look at him.

- Just a moment little one…

He could not stand the fact that such young creature at the beginning of her life already had such big burden on her small back.

You have the chance to decide what to do with your life and the time that has been given to you. Everything lies in your hands.

The voice of the Grandmother echoed in his mind. Once more he looked at the filly that was shaking in front of him on the ground. Deep in his heart he knew what he wanted to do since he saw Sugar Heart all alone in the shadow of the mountain. He followed his instinct and finally has decided what to do.

- It might sting a bit Sugar Heart but only for a while I promise. Now close your eyes and think of something nice okay?
She nodded and close her eyes as Ember asked. He started to focus energy in his hand, the eyes turned into a light green color. He put his hand on her back what made her shiver even more. Slowly he started to send the energy into the fractured and dislocated areas of the spine, in his mind he could see that the damage started to heal. He bound the nerves together, the dislocated sections started to go back on the proper place; Sugar Heart moaned and started to cry. His free hand moved to her head and patted the poor filly gently:

- Juts a little bit more. Don’t worry you are not alone.

He checked everything several times to be sure he did not miss anything, it seemed like he healed the damage for good. After the check he ended the connection with her body and started a new spell that had only one purpose: to remove pain. The task was done and with it he took of the broken device from her.

- It is done. – He patted her again. – Now Sugar Heart stand up.

- What? I can’t do that!

- Try it young one.

The filly got up first with her front legs. Ember could see that she was moving her back legs with a big shock; finally she started to get up. She did it! Ember sighted relived in his mind. A failure could have had some bad side effects. Sugar Heart looked at her back legs and started to move them through the air, then she even performed some circles what in the end made her cheer happily.

- I can walk! I can walk! – She started to jump up and down but Ember grabbed her in the air and said;

- Hold on happy one! You may move now but you can’t outburst like that.

- Why not!? I feel like I could move mountains!

- I have healed your disability but your muscles in the back legs are still too weak for running around.

- Ahw…

- I said you can’t run but I did not say you can’t move.

- Put me down then! I want to try it out!

He did as she asked and put her on the ground with unsure steps she was moving forward followed by Ember that was right behind her. He let her enjoy her first steps, to hear her laugh of happiness made him feel in a way he has never felt before.

- We should bring you back to your home. I am sure your parents are worried about you.

- Yeah I guess so…

- I hope you are not afraid of heights?

- No I am not!

- Shall I show you your country form above?

- You can fly?!

Right away his wings came out of his back: - It looks like it.

- Cool!

- Hold on. – He grabbed her gently and went with her to the glade. It was quiet easy to find it back because he had only to follow the stomped remains of bushes. His own private path to his glade isn’t that nice?

- I have never seen you around here.

- I arrived just recently with some other ponies. Okay are you ready?

- Yeah!

With a mighty swing of his wings he catapulted himself into the air. The filly was not afraid in fact she liked it; Ember let his wings catch the wind and started to soar in the sky. Sugar Heart was deeply fascinated by the sight of her country, right after they have left the glade they both could see the town of Ponyville; farther away carved to a mountain Ember noticed an enormous castle. Ivory towers with golden spires featured the very first sight. Rivers and waterfalls seemed to run through that majestic city. He assumed that it was the place Twilight Sparkle called Canterlot. The guardian flew in the direction of Ponyville a bit above some clouds; the girl stretched out for it and laughed happily. Ember noticed that at the street, that was leading into Ponyville a small crowd of ponies started to gather. With a spell he zoomed in to see what was going on. Right away he saw his friends that freed him from the slavery of the crystals. Some of them were trying to calm down a mare that seemed to cry, that might be Sugar Hearts mother.

- I think your friends already alerted your parents. I can see them down there.

- Bring me to my parents please! I don’t want them to be worried.

Slowly he started to lower his flight soon the ponies on the ground noticed the black spot on the sky that was growing and moving right towards them. Some of them ran away the others did not move at all.

- Close your eyes. – He said and landed on the street creating a small dust cloud that has been blown away by a swing of his wings. Ember moved towards the group. On the half way Sugar Heart started to wave at the gathered ponies:

- Mommy! Daddy!

The parents did not react the way the filly probably expected. Good twenty steps away from the group, Ember stopped and looked at the filly he was still holding.

- Go to your parents and live a happy life as a healthy pony. – Go before they will call the guards – he thought.

He put her gently on the ground. The parents noticed that she did not have the device on her back legs as probably did the other ponies. Ember helped her to find the balance and then gave her a small push into her new life. She moved towards her parents that looked at her like she would be a ghost. The surprised faces of his friends said more than any book could ever say. After Sugar Heart reached her mother she made some circles around her:

- Look mommy I can walk!

The mare bowed down and touched her daughter’s legs still unable to understand that her Sugar Heart could really walk. Finally after the ice has been broken she hugged her and started to cry of happiness. A stallion approached them, probably the father of his small patient and touched the nose of his child with his own. All ponies were right now focused on the small filly that could walk normally now. Ember let the family enjoy their reunion and the miracle that occurred on the small filly. The guardian turned around and prepared to jump into the sky; probably he would go back to the woods…

- Ember wait!

He stopped and turned around. It was the filly who called after him. She got free of her moms hug and went back to him still with a dazed movement. The parents called her back but she did not listen. After she reached him she pulled him on his wing and asked:

- Where are you going?

- I am not sure little one.

- Come with me I will introduce you to my parents.

- I don’t think that is a good idea. – He looked at the parents that were extremely worried about his close range to their child.

- My mommy is a great cook you know! Come on you have to taste her soup: it’s delicious!

She started to pull his wing even stronger that’s why he gave up and followed her. After he has reached the group Sugar Hear went on the side of her parents that right now were more focused on him than on her. There was a big tension in the air between the ponies and the creature of the Underground followed by an awkward silence.

- Mommy, daddy that is Ember! – said the filly that shattered the silence with her voice and bright smile on her face.

- A pleasure to meet you. – hoping he has chosen the right words he waited for a reaction. The father offered him his hoof; Ember grabbed it and sealed it with the probably most ancient way of greeting. The mood changed right away after the ponies realized that he was not a threat to them. The mare pulled her child to her and bowed before him:

- Thank you for bringing my child back. – She kissed Sugar Heart on the head and hugged her again. It was noticeable that she still could not believe that everything that was happening right now was not simply a nice dream.

- We will never be able to pay you off for that mister Ember. – said the father. – Again thank you.

- No problem. – said Ember a bit tense what made his wings disappear in his back nearly all by its own. Gladly it did not scare anypony.

- Please be our guest! You both came back in the right time for lunch! – said the mare. – Your favorite carrot soup darling.

- Yay!

- I…. – he looked at his friends that were smiling and nodding at him. – If that is not a problem for you…

- Of course it is not a problem! – said the filly. – You are the one who healed me so you deserve the biggest portion.

- Oh Celestia… Thank you my friend thank you! – said the father and bowed before him once more what made Ember feel uncomfortable.

- We will await you in our home. – The mare looked at the girls. – Would you be so nice and show him the way? I will prepare more food for all of us!

- Of course. – said the girls in the same time.

The family and other ponies that he did not know went back to the city leaving behind Ember and the girls. Right away they started to throw cheerful congratulations at him.

- Ember that is just outstanding! You gave the filly a new life and you gave even a bigger present to her parents. – All ponies seemed to be touched by his work.

- I could not stand the fact that she was handicapped in such young age.

- How did you do that? – asked Twilight what he was expecting since he left the glade.

- I will try to explain it later. – He looked at the colorful Ponyville. – Right now I am not sure if I should enter that place.

- I am sure that everypony is chatting only about you Ember. – said Rarity. – Gossip spreads out like fire in Ponyville.

– Great….

- What’s the matter? You can’t just chicken out now! – said Rainbow Dash and made some circles around his head.

- I am not afraid of entering this place, it is just… last night I had another attack.

- Oh you poor fellah. What happened to you this time? – asked AJ and took of her hat.

He quickly explained what happened in the night;

- But right after it I felt like I had changed my skin.

- Your concern is understandable. – said Rarity. – Maybe you should really wait with that?

- Still there is one little filly that would be angry at me if I won’t appear and taste her moms *famous* soup.

- *Famous* is not good enough. – It was Pinkie that started to talk. – It is like you would taste the heaven itself!

- Eeyup! Granny Smith always looks out for an opportunity to eat that soup. – said and laughed about it.

- Now all your comments made me hungry….. – complained Ember and touched his belly.

- Then you have already lost this round.

- By the way girls…

- Yeah? – All of them asked in the same time.

- What is that thing… How did that mare call it? A Carrot?

The ponies started to laugh so hard that most of them besides Rarity were rolling around on the ground, never in his life had he felt as stupid as he did now.

- Wait girls… - Only Fluttershy was not laughing at his question. – He is serious.

The ponies stopped to laugh and looked at him like he would not have a face... wait a second!

- You have to be kiddin’ me Ember. – said Applejack.

The ponies started to call out other plants that were apparently their food and of course none of the mentioned things were familiar to him. They seemed to be depressed by the fact he did not know the so called vegetables.

- Now you really have to go there and by Celestia I will buy every kind of vegetables that can be bought here! – said Twilight and stomped one time right after she saw that Ember was going to say something. This round was hers.

- By the way Ember… - Rainbow Dash was looking at him with a rather inspective look from the sky. – Is it just me or you got smaller?

- My size has changed since the attack. I even tried to change my size as I did in the Underground but it just did not work… I am afraid that I have lost that gift for good.

- Right now you are a little bit bigger than Princess Celestia.

- I will miss that ability. – Thought Ember. Suddenly his belly started to rebel that is why he said:

- Let’s go to Sugar Hearts house. Staying around here will not fill up my belly.

Ember followed the ponies and in no time he became a center of attention in the city of Ponyville. Every time he passed a stand or a shop the ponies froze at his sight. The mares were whispering around, the fillies were pointing at him with their hooves and the stallions were openly saying something about him. Applejack noticed that Ember was frustrated by the unwanted attention so she convinced the girls to use some alleys not the main street.

- I have never felt like such a minority in my life….

- Ahw come on Ember it was not that bad. – said Rarity. – I would like such attention.

- All the ponies I passed by were gawking at me till we got here!

- Sugar Hearts house is not far away from here. – said Fluttershy. – Don’t worry Ember things will change I promise.

- Twitcha twitch! Twitcha Twitch! – yelled Pinkie. Her tail started to shake in a very strange way. All of the sudden the ponies took cover.

- What are you… argh! – Something fell down on his head and busted right away. Ember felt earth on his skin and he noticed that a flower was hanging on one of his horns.

- Oh I am so sorry is everypony… - the mare that looked down, screamed loudly and closed the wooden window with a loud bash.

- We totally forgot about that girls… - said Rarity and grinned at Ember.

- What was that all about?! – His eyes blazed up with a higher intensity what always meant that he got angry.

- Pinkie Pies weird senses. If something unusual is going to happen her body reacts to it.

- If Pinkie is the twitchin’ you better listen. – said AJ that was looking in the sky like she would be looking for something to fall again.

Ember could not believe what he heard right now. Such senses were remarkable! If he would have had something like that, he would have never got injured so many times while he was still in the underground. His eyes stopped to blaze and became normal. Ember nodded and all of the continued their way to Sugar Hearts house. Its location was on the very edge of Ponyville what made Ember relax a bit. Luckily they did not meet more ponies on the street after they have left the alley. Rainbow Dash knocked on the door of the house that seemed to be some sort of a restaurant; left of the entrance there was a garden where the guests were probably eating their food. The door opened and Sugar Heart greeted them with a hearty hello and a smile that would even melt the heart of the Underground Dragon.

Ember let the ladies first go inside then he went in himself. Actually he was glad that his size has changed, otherwise he would have never get through the door. Right now he could enter it without any problems; he did not have to bow down or to crawl. The filly jumped right into his hands. Without having a choice he catch her and started to put her up and down, like a father that was happy to see his child after a day full of work. Sugar Heart enjoyed it and would probably want it to continue for a longer time but her mom called her into the kitchen. Right after he put her down on the ground Ember looked around. It was a simple house but it had that strange aura that gave him the feeling of protection and trust; things he would have never acquire in the tunnels of the underground. The air was filled with an interesting smell that made him even hungrier. His belly made its own symphony that everypony could hear it.

- Wow Ember you really are hungry. – said Twilight. – Come on girls lets help in the kitchen.

They left Ember alone in the living room. Sugar Heart came back and gave him a nice society afford while the girls were helping in the kitchen. She showed him her paintings, toys and other things that were her possession. Ember showed her some simple magical tricks like the butterflies that were made of pure light he caught with his will. He did not see that the girls, including the parents of the filly were watching them. To see a creature like Ember watching over a small girl like Sugar Heart was truly a untypical sight.

- Where did you learn all those things Ember?

- I don’t know little one.

- What do you mean?

- I lost my memory.

- What does that mean?

- If somepony lose his or her memory, the pony cannot remember things he once did. My case is pretty bad… I don’t even remember my true name.

- Could you heal it like you did with my legs?

- I did try it child but it does not work the same way as it would work with the body.

- I don’t understand.

- The mind is different than the body. It has no form or shape and cannot be cured the same way. Most of the time it is not possible to heal it, the only thing that can heal it is time. – Or the memory remains lost for good. – Thought the Guardian but he did not intend to let a thought like that ruin the atmosphere he enjoyed.

Right now he noticed that the ponies started to go out into the garden. It looked like everybody would eat outside what made him grumble something in his strange language. Fluttershy came to them and said to Sugar Heart:

- Your mother asked me to tell you that she wants to show you something.

The filly wanted to charge but Ember grabbed her by the tail.

- Please listen to my advice and don’t run wild.

- Okay. – After that she went out to the garden.

- I still can’t believe that she is walking without that device.

- I did what I could for her. The rest lies in her own hooves. – He got used to the pony terms but still he found it odd that he was using them.

- Sometimes if I had free time I was babysitting in this house. Even then she was a happy filly that was always laughing and smiling despites her burden.

- Laughing is the best medicine after love. I just could not let her stay like that.

- Your generosity was a ticket into Ponyville Ember. I am sure that things will go fine for you.

- I just can’t stop thinking of my old life Fluttershy… I do not know the feeling of security or love.

- Those things are always there but sometimes we just need a push towards them.

- I might need a kick for that.

- Fluttershy, Ember the food is ready!

Both of them moved out to the door that was leading into the garden. Ember stopped at it though not sure if that was a good idea to feast outside. The filly’s mother saw his strange behavior:

- Is something wrong?

- My presence might scare off your customers.

- Oh please don’t worry too much about it Mister Ember. – She said and patted Sugar Heart that was standing next to her. – My customers would dare to face a dragon if they will get the chance to taste my food.

Ember entered the garden and looked around for a place to sit. Sugar Heart wanted him to sit next to her. There were piles of hay for everybody but he refused to sit on it that’s why he sat down on the ground. After he took his place he looked back at the street: right now the street in this part of Ponyville was empty.

Twilight and Rarity brought forth the already filled plates with their telekinetic magic. The smell that hit him made his belly acting like a baby that wanted his food RIGHT NOW. The soup had an orange color in the middle he saw that something white floating on the surface of the soup what made it look interesting. The plates have been dealt around the table that have been put together of at least four separate tables. After everypony sat down on its place the guests started to eat using spoons what was kind of weird to look at. How could they hold a spoon with a hoof? Whatever the answer was he started to imitate them. The guardian was using the spoon very unhandy what made him feel stupid after everypony started to look at him.

- What’s the matter Ember? You don’t like the soup? – asked Sugar Heart irritated.

- No it is just…. Well… - he did not know how to express his problem. Kindly Twilight explained it in a rather embarrassing way. After several attempts his fingers got used of handling the spoon and finally he tasted the soup. Ember did not realize that after he tasted it he let out a loud mmmmm.

- Ember how can you eat without a mouth? – Asked Sugar Heart that was watching his every movement since he started to eat.

- It might be that I have a mouth and we all just don’t see it. – He laughed and continued to eat. – By the way dear inviters how may I call you?

- Oh by Celestia! – said the mare and let her spoon fall on the table. – How unkind from our side to not introduce our self. My name is Cherry Berry and this is my beloved husband:

- Butterscotch.

- We are the owners of this small restaurant.

- I would not find any good word to describe your soup. It is unbelievably good Ms Cherry Berry. – The sound of their names made him even hungrier. – May I ask for another round?

- Of course! – said the mare that got a bit red at her face.

Soon the soup went out because of Embers enormous appetite. It seemed though that Cheery Berry was happy to see somebody appreciate her work. Right after the soup Butterscotch brought other specialties of the house; among them there was a thing he called a hay sandwich. Ember was not sure if he should try it though. He did not hide it and apologized, gladly they were not offended. The atmosphere got better and better with each minute; Ember could really get used to a normal life like that. Time passed incredibly fast but something made him look back on the street. The sight he saw made him nearly let his fork fall out of his hand. The street that some time ago was empty was full with ponies not only on the ground; even the air was filled with them. They all were gawking at him like he would be an animal in a zoo.

Ember made a damped growl that only the ponies at the table could hear it. Then the others noticed the huge crowd too that remained silent; Applejack looked at him with a concerned face. She knew right away that the eyes of the ponies were literally penetrating him. His companions tried to let him forget the big crowd behind him by continuing the conversation, sadly a bit too late. Ember could not stop thinking about the crowd that continued to penetrate him with their eyes. The fork he was holding broke in small pieces because of the immense pressure he created with his grip. After that he got up, excused for the broken tool, turned around to the crowd and moved towards them what made them make some steps back from him.

- Is there something I can help you with? – He tried to sound kind but he pretty much failed at it. He sounded more like an angry customer than a friendly traveler that was visiting the city.

A tan mare with gray mane and a fancy looking collar approached out of the crowd. She was wearing glasses that had the shape of a half moon; behind him the ponies took their positions while Twilight went on his side:

- Ember that is the Mayor of Ponyville.

- Indeed I am the Mayor of this town. - She cleared her throat loudly. – Please excuse us for that inconvenient behavior but we were not sure how to make the first step.

- A simple Hello would have been enough.

- May I ask what is your name stranger?

- You may call me Ember Mrs. Mayor.

- Ember I see. In the name of everypony in the town of Ponyville I would like to thank you in the name of its inhabitants and the family of Sugar Heart for bringing her back home and ever more importantly: for healing her disability. Here forth allow me to welcome you in the city of Ponyville Mister Ember.

The crowd started to stomp with their hooves. Ember heard that the ponies were cheering and yelling congratulations while the Mayor greeted him with a hoof shake. Totally surprised by that he did not know what to say or how to act, the mayor lifted her hoof and the crowd went silent:

- I have just received a letter from Princess Celestia dear Ember. She is inviting you and your friends to the Canterlot palace. Together with the princess the High Council of Equestria will await your arrival.

- Wow! – said Twilight. – You got an invitation from the Princess and from the High Council!

- Why do I have the feeling that this meeting will put me into the world of politics?

- It certainly will Ember. Even though the Princess is our all powerful ruler every political move must go by the High Council. They represent the best interests of this land and of its inhabitants you know.

Ember sighted. - Looks like I have no other choice eh? So be it… When do I have to go to Canterlot Ms Mayor?

- Under normal circumstance I would have say: As fast as possible! But according to the letter, the Princess mentioned that special preparations had to be done until you will be allowed to meet with her Excellency and the High Council. Gladly I am happy to report that those preparations are already in motion. That is why the audience will take place tomorrow in the evening.

- Why do I have a bad feeling about it? – He thought and turned around to the restaurant owners. – Thank you for your invitation and for the grandiose meals Mrs. Cherry Berry and Mr. Butterscotch. I certainly will visit you more often.

- The doors of our home will be always open for you Ember. – said Butterscotch. – Again thank you for everything.

The crowd started to spread around, everypony going back to work or home. Ember looked at his small companions: - Traveling will be my new hobby if it will continue that way.

- Oh Ember I feel so happy for you! The ponies of this town welcomed you with open arms. – said Fluttershy and made a cute sounding wohoo.

- I admit that I did not expect that… I felt like I am a zoo attraction or something.

- With time the ponies will get used to you. Don’t worry too much pardner. – said Applejack.

- Oh I am just thrilled! I love travels to Canterlot! – Rarity seemed like she was not really talking to them more like she was thinking loud.

- I will go to the Sugarcube Corner and see how I can help Mr. and Mrs. Cake! See you later! – said Pinkie Pie and hoped away.

- I better go back to the farm. Big Mac is all alone in the acres right now. Bye bye – said Applejack and left the group.

The ponies split up leaving Twilight and him alone.

- You seem to be bothered Ember.

- I am Twilight Sparkle.

- Because of the meeting?

- Politics means always problems and I don’t want to push myself into something.

- Oh don’t worry it should be fine.

- Twilight please stop pretending you don’t know what the meeting will be about…

- Yeah you are right… I am afraid that together with the High Council there will be a meeting with the Magi Court of Equestria.

- I can tell right away that I will not answer anything if I will hear something about my abilities.

- Your abilities are unique Ember! It is a matter of fact that the Magi Court would like to find out more about it. We the ponies know not much about healing magic… maybe the Court would like to change it who knows? Anyway if you would be willing to help it might be a huge step forward for the magical studies.

- I understand that it has to be fascinating for you all but I did not and I will not change my mind until I will be sure of what things you may be capable of. Till that time I will not answer or teach anypony. The only thing I might offer is to heal those that really need it nothing more.

- You still think it would change our life in an unpredictable way?

- Yes. I understand that it might sound unethical to you if I say I will not share my wisdom that might have save life but the risk is way too high and I will not take all the responsibility for things that may resolve out of it.

- Still…

- No Twilight! No still and no but! You saw Zecoras story! The shadow creature gave them wisdom and that gift has been abused! I will not allow that such a thing will happen while I am here.

- I will respect your choice even if I think it is not right.

- As I said I will not change my mind until I will find out what you ponies have managed to find out all by yourself. Try to understand my situation.

- Your concern is understandable. Be assured though that the Magi Court will not be so easy to convince. In fact I am afraid that they might give you some hard time.

- If they will try it on the hard way I will play by their own rules. Do you think that both princesses will be at those meetings?

- It is sure that Princess Celestia will be at those meetings but I am not certain about Princess Luna.

- I see…

- After thinking twice I do think that it might have not been a good idea to mention your abilities to her…

- You just did what had to be done don’t blame yourself for that. Even if you would not mention it I am sure the thing that happened to Sugar Heart would get their attention anyway.

- Yeah you’re right… oh look we arrived at my home!

Ember looked upon Twilights home that was a living tree! Fascinated he continued to watch it. He could sense that the tree was still alive even though he did not need his senses to see it; leafs and healthy bark was confirming it. As every house the tree had a door, windows and even a balcony that was being held by a mighty branch. Beneath the balcony he noticed a huge beehive; bees were flying in and out of it. On the top of the tree Ember noticed an observation spot where Twilight was probably studying the stars. At the side of the red door there was a shield with a picture of a book. It seemed that her home was a library as well! That had to be a certainly matching mix for a scholar like her.

- Impressive Twilight really impressive.

- What do you mean?

- The fact that you ponies are able to live in a tree without taking its life.

The door to her home was smaller than the door of the restaurant so he had to bow down a bit. The first thing he saw even if he was still outside were the bookshelves filled with books that seemed to have all kinds of colors and sizes. Twilight closed the door and looked around. Some shelves were empty and the books were on the ground creating small book towers.

- It seems that Spike is cleaning up.

- Spike?

- Oh didn’t I mention him? He is my assistant and friend who help me here in the library. We know each other since he hatched from his egg.

- He hatched from an egg? – Ember asked surprised. – What kind of creature is he?

- Spike is a dragon. – Twilight saw that Embers shoulder got a little bit tense. – A baby dragon.

- Twilight? – The question came from the direction of the book towers. – Is that you?

One of the stacked book towers started to move towards them with an impressive looking balance. Ember could not see the carrier behind the stack.

- Yes Spike I am back!

- Oh man Twilight I was worried about you! – Suddenly Spike made a strange noise, the stacked books started to move from left to right and threaten to fall down. Ember helped him and grabbed the stack.

- Thanks Twi…. – for the first time Ember saw the little creature that was called Spike. A purple and green male dragon that was standing on two legs like Ember. Spike looked shocked; he shouted one more time and fell down on the ground.

- I will never get used to such reactions…

He put down the books on the ground; Twilight was already on Spikes side checking on him:

- He will be fine… maybe you should go out of the sight only for a small while? – She smiled at him but it was obviously that saying those words were hard for her. He nodded and sat down on the stairs that lead to the upper floor, he saw more bookshelves what did not surprise him. Spike started to wake up with and tired moan:

- I should not work that much Twilight… I saw a monster helping me hold the books….

- How shall I say it Spike… - she laughed nervous. – That monster was not an imagination. He sits on the stairs now. Look. – She helped her friend to get up and pointed at Ember with her horn. Spike was afraid to move closer to him. It was amusing to see a dragon that was showing signs of fear.

- What is that thing? – The baby dragon finally asked. – I have never seen something like that before, not even in our books!

- That *thing* has a name little dragon. – said Ember a bit annoyed by the fact that he was called a thing. He was afraid that this title would follow him for a longer time maybe even forever. – My name is Ember.

- Oh gosh it can speak!

Ember growled at him; not to loud of course at least it was his opinion. What Spike thought right now did not interest him. The dragon found some cover behind Twilight; (she seemed to be afraid too) and looked at him behind her flank.

- Spike please do not call Ember a thing, otherwise… - Ember growled once more. – You heard it yourself.

- I am sorry… - he came out from his cover. – It is just strange to see a creature like you talk normal and even in our own language. I am Spike as Twilight said.

- Pleasure to meet you. – None of us would hear any kind of kindness in his voice if we would be there right now.

- Twilight can we talk privately only for a while.

- Sure! Be right back Ember.

They left him on the stairs and went to the nearest room that lead apparently into the cellar and started to talk quietly. Ember used a spell and increased his hearing so he could understand what they were saying.

- Where did you dig out such a thing?! – asked the dragon that once more called him a thing.

- Stop calling him a thing Spike! He is our guest and a new friend.

- He was growling at me and it looked like he would tear me in pieces!

- You gave him a reason to growl at you! Besides that he would not harm you.

- Don’t lie to him Twi. – Thought Ember. – I harmed a dragon back in the Underground.

- How can you be so sure? He acts so feral…

- Ember risked his own life to protect our lives Spike! He might look scary but he is a creature that is wise, patient and able to show feelings. He has a problem though…

- What do you mean?

- Ember lost his memory. I admit our first meeting was not the kindest but… - she told the dragon what occurred in the chamber; gladly she did not mention the crystals to him. At least he was sure that he could trust her.

- I don’t know Twilight…

- He even healed Sugar Hearts disability! She can move all by herself.

- Wow! Really?!

- The entire city knows already about it how does it come you don’t know?

- I was cleaning up all day long so you can go back to a clean home.

- Ahw! That is so sweet thank you! – Her voice changed right away. – Ember had a very bad time till he reached Ponyville; it might be that he will get sick once more. Even if I don’t really know him he was acting like a good friend. We should not judge him by his look Spike! He deserves a chance as anypony – She giggled. – Otherwise we can expect more growling from his side.

- It seems that Ember is a good guy… I will apologize and welcome him properly in our home.

- That’s the spirit! Let’s go back that is unkind from our side to let him wait so long.

Ember dispelled the spell and his hearing became normal what made his ears feel a bit stump.

- Okay we are back. – said Twilight. – I hope you did not wait long.

- Patience is a very important aspect of guarding Twilight Sparkle. I would be a bad guardian if I would not able to be patient.

Spike went to him and offered him his tiny hand that somehow reminds him of his own:

- I am sorry for calling you out. Please be our guest.

Ember accepted and for filled the greeting. Apparently he grabbed him too strong because he saw and heard Spike moan from it.

- Thank you.

- Spike we have been invited to Canterlot for a meeting with Princess Celestia and the High Council! We will have to leave the city tomorrow. Would you be so kind and help me gather the things I will need to take with me?

- Oh… yeah sure no problem. -said Spike. – You were lucky that you do not have to leave Ponyville today.

- What? Why?

- There was an accident on the trails while you were gone. The next train to Canterlot will be able to go there tomorrow. Besides that all carets are already in order and have their reservations.

- Most of the time things never go on properly…

- If everything would be perfect the world would be indeed a boring place. – said Ember that was looking at a book he found interesting, sadly he was not able to read its symbols.

- You might be right at that but I like it when everything runs properly accorded to a plan.

- If a plan cannot be changed it is a bad plan. By the way what is a train?

Spike thought that he was not serious that’s why he laughed about it but a sharp look in Twilights eyes made him shut his mouth.

- He really doesn’t know what a train is? Oh man how long have you been under the earth?

- Way too long believe me….

Twilight started to explain what that thing called train is. Some sort of a mechanic device that is being used as a transport for long distances.

- I have to study the things that are common in Equestria otherwise I will just look dumb….

- Don’t worry Ember! We are in a library, the lair of wisdom and knowledge. We will help you with that.

- This might take all day Twilight, maybe even more. – said Spike. – Besides that I just cleaned up and you want right away to make a mess as you always do…

Ember laughed silently in his head then he said:

- I might learn many things on a different way. Twilight may I connect with you once more?

- Yeah sure I don’t see any problem in it…

- But I see one that is written on your face. – Ember laughed and scared Spike with it. – I can see the disappointed face of a scholar that wanted to share her knowledge in the old fashion way.

She did not respond at that what he took as a yes. – I will be honored to do some research with you but for now I have to learn the basics. I would not be able to read your books in the first place….

- Really? Why not? I mean you learnt our language in your chamber.

- As you said yourself I only learned the language. Besides that I was not looking more deeply in your mind. My intention back there was to make you leave not to study you.

- Oh that’s right!

- I hope you won’t get a headache from all the knowledge she has in her head. – Spike tried not to giggle at Twilight that looked at him with an ‘’Watch out or I will kick you’’ look.

- I could not ask for a better partner for that then.

- Might I ask you for a favor then?

- Depends what it is Twilight Sparkle.

- I would like to see your thoughts for a short time if that is possible.

Ember was not sure if that was a good idea and to be honest he was afraid of its result.

- You will see only darkness nothing more.

- How can you be so sure about it?

- I have spent much time on investigating my own mind. Every time I saw a thick fog that clouded my memories. Every time I tried to rip thought it I got a shock that hurt me badly; that’s why I am not sure if it is a good idea to do so.

- Ember how does it feel like to lose your memory? –asked Spike that cry out after Twilight stomp on his tail with her back leg.

- How can I describe it? Hmm… It is like you wake up form after a very long time. All of the sudden you are thrown into the reality without knowing where you are and who you are or even worse what you are. First you panic, later you get used to it… but I admit that even after thousands of years I never got used to it. I see the ponies, I see how they live and I see the happy families. Mothers and fathers with their children… Such sight makes you ask yourself if you had a family or somebody you loved…

Ember stopped and went silent for a short while then he turned his head away from them.

- The feeling of being alone in this unknown world is the worst thing.

- You are not alone Ember. You have us your new friends.

Grandmother’s words echoed in his mind for a moment. Even if he trusted in her wisdom and in the logic of her words But there was still something he could not understand.

- How can you call me a friend even though you don’t know me? – Ember said it and looked back at Twilight. – Why do you even bother to be a friend to a total stranger that does not know his own past?

- That stranger risked everything and left everything for us. You could have just let that dragon eat us, you could have just killed us in that chamber if you wanted it but you did not do it. Instead of that you were there for us in the time of need, you offered help even though nopony asked for it and you have show everypony in Ponyville that you are a creature with good intentions and a heart. Ember… you feel lost in this new world but I promise you… in the time of need we will be there for you as you were for us. Besides that I want to get know that stranger you mentioned.

He could not sense any lie in her words. The guardian saw in her eyes that she was concerned about him and her smile, that was so innocent and yet not faked, told him more that he could ask for. Ember saw those things in everypony he meet in the Underworld: Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity and Fluttershy. After that there was Luna with her sister and now even Sugar Hearts Family. He was not sure about Zecora that first made him look like a savage beast but in the end he saw in her eyes that she felt bad for his own fate.

- Even though I know so many I still see that I have much more to learn.

He was not sure if a creature as him could be able to show feelings, feelings that had no place in his forsaken world that he left behind besides that, the sudden change was confusing but nice in the same time. Of course there were always thoughts that were bothering him like the fact if they were really offering friendship or that they were only pretending it, to get more information. Ember had to keep his guard even in this environment that was not really dangerous, with time he maybe will start to trust them further.

- I don’t want to risk injuring you Twilight. – He looked at the book towers that were still on the ground. – But I can for fill my offer that I gave you outside the town.

- Really? – She clapped with her hooves as she did outside. – That would be just great because right now…

Twilight started to report her research she was working on. Some sort of spell that could manipulate the vision of the caster allowing him or her to see things that are hidden by a magical source. Some sort of magical security that sounded like a handy thing that might protect a important item from being seen and stolen. In the end it is only visible for the pony, or a creature that is able of using magic and that knows the spell Twilight was working on. Ember listen carefully and with growing impression of Twilight magical skills, he saw that she had a immense and powerful source inside her very soul. It was so powerful that it made Ember act swiftly so they could not do something to him back in the chamber. Magic seemed really to be her bread and butter. He would be honored to work with her in some of her experiments, even if they were really primitive because he knew such spells way to well but he did not intend to tell her that.

- I see… Okay then! – Ember grabbed a book, concentrated and made it disappear in front of them. He could see the book in his claw that had some sort of green edges surrounding its very form. – Cast your spell! Let’s see if you can see the book after it.

- Here I come! – Ember could see that she was a little bit nervous. She started to focus and her horn glow with a slight pink color. The way she was calling forth her magic looked ridiculous, like she was forcing it out of her instead of connecting with her magic powers within her.

- Stop!

Twilight lost her concentration and nearly felt down on the ground because of it.

- What is going on? – She asked a bit dazed.

- I should be the one who should ask that!

- Why?

- Tell me why are you so tense while you focus magic? Why do you look like you are pulling a heavy stone that has been attached to you?

- I…. it is a very hard procedure you know… and…

- Casting magic might be complicated in the spiritual but never in the physical way Twilight. The first impression of mine is to see that you were trying to squeeze the energy out of you.

- That’s how I usually cast spells.

- And I assume that sometimes it takes a longer till the spell is ready hm?

- It is a difference of few seconds…

- If you would encounter a magic wielding enemy that has the intention of harming you every second would be valid.

- But how can I do it otherwise Ember?

- Every creature that has the ability of using magic has its own magical energy as you probably know.

- Yes.

- At the beginning it is not easy to connect with that energy. Magic has it rules and bounds that have to be followed otherwise it might end in a disaster. A strong will is the key to the success of ever magic wielder. Through your will you are able to establish a connection between that energy and your body that will allow you to manipulate the reality around you. Twilight you might have a strong will but you don’t really know where to grab the energy am I right?

- Actually yes… the energy that I am using for more advanced spell is most of the time only a scrap of a way bigger field.

- That scrap might be good enough for easy spells like your telekinesis but each spell has its own price. It depends on the circumstances and the way you want to manipulate things. If your magic reserves run low you might be able to use your own physical energy to cast spells. The way you were trying to cast a spell… you were using the energy out of your muscles. Such a trade can end in crippling yourself Twilight and that’s why I will teach you how to properly connect with your very magical essence.

- Really you would do it?

- Not only because I like you Twilight Sparkle. It should be a duty of a more experienced being to teach those that might hurt them because of the lack of experience.

- Then why won’t you teach the others?

- I teach you things that are basics at least I hope so. If not than my respect for your Magi Court might fall dangerously down.

- Oh don’t worry on that Ember! These are indeed basics but…

- Yes?

- My teacher is Princess Celestia. Sadly because of her duty she is most of the time not able to continue my teachings, that’s why I am studying on my own at least the things I might do myself.

If Ember would have been able to smile he would smile now. Somehow she reminded him of something. Unknown pictures started to appear in his mind, overwhelming him in a way he could not describe. They were passing so fast that he could not see them properly. The flashbacks ended fast as they came; nearly like the flashbacks he had after the chains dropped on the hard ground of the chamber.

- Twilight did you see that? – asked Spike.

- Yes I did.

- What do you mean? – asked Ember and touched his temple that was hurting him a bit.

- The color of your *eyes* changed rapidly. And then all of the sudden your eyes got back their color as I am used to.

- I don’t know what you mean… Anyway! That is the spirit Twilight Sparkle: One part brave, three parts fool… Since the Princess has her responsibilities I might gave her a hand and take care of you for a while.

- Thanks.

- My pleasure. Now Twilight listen up! Do you remember how I have established connection with you and the others?

- Yes… I am still trying to figure out how you did it.

- You will find it out eventually but I believe you already do know how to do it. You are just afraid of using it because you cannot imagine what lays behinds the corner, the very corner you are afraid to pass by.

She did not answer but the look on her face told him enough:

- There is nothing to be ashamed of Twilight but if you ever want to become an even greater mage you have to face your fears. You will not be alone with that task I will be at your side the entire time. – Ember stretched his hand towards her. – Trust me on that.

After a short while Twilight smiled and put her hoof on the surface of his hand, Ember grabbed it gently.

- Are you ready?

- Yes I am.

- So be it… brace yourself!

Twilight started to focus what made it easy for him to connect directly with her. The well known feeling of being one with another living creature was always breathtaking. Twilight’s spirit and mind were very interesting. In fact he did not encounter many creatures that were like her. Right now he was looking through her eyes. She could not feel him the way he felt her now. Her aura was impressive, strong but still untamed what made it dangerous for both of them. Ember was trying to figure out how massive her energy might be after the incident in the chamber of stones. The guardian within would rather be prepared for a meeting with her unknown energy that seemed to be full of potential.

- Ember?

- I am here Twilight.

- What is going on? The connection is quiet different! It feels so weird… it is like you are not here. More like I am alone right now but still I can hear you!

- Last time I made a connection with you I only connected with your mind. This time though I’ve increased that connection and established some kind of uphold to your soul and body what will make things more secure.

- You do sound like you know what you are talking about.

- If I would not know what I am talking about I would not start such thing in the first place. If something will go wrong not you will be the one that might suffer.

- Wait! Are you serious about it? If I will screw it up you will be the one who will get harmed?

- Yes.

- I don’t want to continue it….

- I hope you don’t get cold hooves. – Funny statement isn’t it?

- That is too risky Ember… maybe we should just leave it be…

- Don’t worry Twilight everything will be fine. Now concentrate!

She did as he said and started to focus. Soon their line of sight started to reveal some sort of light source that was the magical energy that was in Twilight. The light was so bright that he had particular problems with his sight. The energy overwhelmed them both hugging them with a bright wave of pure light. Twilight seemed to lose the control above the energy that was surrounding her besides that she was frightened of the intensity of the connection. Ember helped her out as good as he possible and soon Twilight was able to hold the connection all by herself.

- Here you go! You made it Twilight Sparkle!

- Wow…

- Indeed wow! Okay I will cut the connection and you will use the spell. Ready?

- I hope so!

Ember cut the connection with her and came back to his form. Still holding the book in his hand he waited till Twilight use the spell he was waiting for. This time Twilight was standing relaxed and way more self-assured, her horn started to glow. With closed eyes and without saying any word she cast the spell. Her eyes color changed a bit into a milky white, Twilight looked at the book he was holding in his hand and said:

- Super Naturals… Natural remedies and cures that are simply super.

- Correct. – Ember gave up the invisible spell and the book appeared back in his hand so that even Spike could see it. – I have seen that you have a deeply bound to the magic Twilight. You did a first small step into a way bigger world but I have to warn you. Only because it worked this time it does not mean it will work next time right away. You have to learn how to focus such enormous amount of energy otherwise you and every living creature around you might get hurt; even killed. – He said those last words more like a threat than a warning hoping that Twilight would take it deep into her heart and mind.

- I will do my best Ember you can count on that.

- I suggest that this is enough for today…

- We share the same thought. – said Twilight and laughed. – Oh wait we still have to reconnect Ember.

- No we don’t have to. I did my homework already. The thing I would like to know though is what we will do now? The day is still young you know…

- I could show you around Ponyville if you want.

- That sounds good.

– And bad in the same time. – Thought the guardian.

- Well I better go back to work… - said Spike a bit disappointed. – Still not ready yet.

Ember got up and touched the baby dragon with one finger on his forhead. Spike way too surprised to do something did not move an inch away from him. He connected with him and looked through his mind for the information he was looking for. After he found it he cut the connection and clapped two times. The books on the ground started to fly in the air, Ember clapped one more time and then the book flew on their proper position. From A to Z every book was on it right place and in its right order as they were in Spikes memory.

- Wow… - said the baby dragon and looked over the shelves. – How did you know the…

- Order? – Ember laughed a bit. – You have taught me that Spike.

- Oh right I forgot! You connected with me like you did with Twilight right?

- Yes that is correct. I think after your work here is done you will need some fresh air for your mind to free it from that filthy book shelf dust.

- Lets go then!

Together they have left the library. The guardian followed them with a feeling that was telling him that his days of loneliness have finally found an end.

Chapter 4 - Outside appearance is a poor substitute for inner worth

View Online

They left the library and moved on through Ponyvilles streets that were filled with ponies of different kinds and colors. The instant movements made it nearly look like a mosaic of a gifted artist. As expected the ponies started to look at him but at least there were no fear in their eyes, more curiosity than fear.

- By the way Twilight. – started Ember.

- Yes?

- It did sound like you have not arrived at home yesterday. Were there some problems?

- During my way back home the Pegasus Ponies brought forth rain over Ponyville. I would have never made it in time without the rain make me soaked wet. Rarity was with me though and she offered me to stay at her home.

- And probably after a longer sleep you left Rarity and were on the way to your home but then the fillies came back and informed everypony about Sugar Hearts accident.

- Everything you said was correct. I am wondering though if you just made it up or you found it out because of our established connection.

- Your mind is razor sharp Twilight Sparkle. But I just made it up because for a complete scan of your mind and thoughts I would need far more time.

Ember had his problem with moving forward through the crowd afraid that he might stomp somepony. Even though he did not have his old size he was used to, he was still pretty big only Princess Celestia could reach his size if he was correct. Twilight made the small journey a bit more comfortable with different kind of conversations. Nearly every time they passed a bigger group of ponies they welcomed her with a hearty hello, the only thing Ember got was the feeling of their eyes on him. His small companions tried as hard as possible to make his life a bit easier what was indeed touching for him even though he was not able to show it. A bell sounded not far from them making his eardrum vibrate in a rather unpleasant way. Soon after the bell they could hear happy laughter and yelling of the small fillies that ran out of a red building.

- That is Ponyville's school. – said Spike. – All the young fillies go there and learn.

- That is quite a lot of them. They all remind me of Sugar Heart.

The fillies saw him from the distance and ran right towards him in an impressive big pack. All of the sudden questions were thrown at him starting with: what are you to why don’t you have hooves like us? The fillies were all along him that’s why he could not go on, Twilight and Spike have been pushed roughly away from him what made him stand all alone against the pack but this time he actually enjoyed the attention. Seemed to be the effect of those cute big eyes all looking at him; the best thing about children was the fact that they barely shown fear to things that might scare the older creatures. Ember was not able to answer everything, one answer created more questions and he was outnumbered in no time. Then a sharp whistle cut through the air and made all the fillies quiet.

Ember noticed that an adult pony that had purple fur and a mane that had two different kinds of the pink color; a bright pink strip in the middle on the sides a darker pink. He could see from the structure of the body that she was a mare. After she reached him she looked at him with her light green eyes within he could see something he was not able to describe but somehow it made him feel secure in his heart.

- I beg your pardon. The children are always so curious.

- I am surprised that they are not afraid of me to be honest.

- The word travels fast in Ponyville. Allow me to introduce myself; I am Cheerilee.

- My name is Ember. – Right after that the children once more overthrew him with kind hello what made him melt a bit. – It is nice to see ponies that don’t have a problem with my… appearance.

- It is not the outside that counts – She was not only speaking to him she was leading her words to her pupils too. – It is the inside that really matters. I have heard that you have healed Sugar Harts disability!

- I did my best. She will soon be jumping all over the place.

- Oh I am so happy for her! She is a wonderful filly and a great pupil. Every filly in the town is like a second family for me and I am always happy to hear that one of them has been fortunate.

- Each of us deserves a second chance. – Even I… – He thought. – I am impressed how fast you have settled down that cheerful crowd.

- A teacher has to know such things. – She smiled and pated the nearest filly. – I can see that you have something of a teacher in you Ember. You have a good attitude for children.

- If you say so…

- Even if I enjoy our conversation I have to beg your pardon. This was a short break that is over now. It is time to go back to the class room!

The fillies made disappointed noises but all of them went back into the school under the watchful eye of Cheerilee. After every filly went in she waved at them and entered the school herself. With a nice warm feeling in his chest Ember looked at the school, he could see through the window how Cheerilee was teaching them some mathematic formulas.

- I really enjoyed the meeting with that group.

- Cheerilee is right you know.

- Hmm?

- You have something of a teacher in you besides that you have the patience for children.

- I think it just comes by my living in the underworld.

- I doubt it that you have meet fillies down there. I saw myself how you were watching over Sugar Heart and I am one hundred percent sure that you would be a good teacher or even a baby sitter.

- Maybe you are right Twilight but I see that the fillies are in good ha… hooves. My assistance is not important right now. So where do we go now?

- We may leave the city at the next corner and go visit Fluttershy.

- Sounds good to me.

After they left Ponyville behind them they passed a river that apparently was surrounding Ponyville. The first thing Ember saw was a huge and enormous acre full of apple trees: Twilight noticed that he was looking at it and said:

- This is Sweet Apple Acres that belong to the Apple Family. On the other side lives Applejack with her family.

- That is quite a sight for a sore eye. They are collecting all those apples by themselves?

- Yes they do. It is a hard work but they always manage to get along without asking for help; sometimes we help them though.

- If you will show me how to run the show I will help too if necessary.

They continued their small trip. Along the way they passed through several ponies that ran away in fear after they saw Ember what made him let his ears go down. Soon Ember could see the river again with a small bridge that leads to a strange looking hill but after they got closer to it Ember could see that the actual hill was a house; clearly noticeable door and windows were proving it. On the nearby trees he saw many bird houses attached to the branches, bunny holes seemed to be everywhere and if you looked closely you would notice that under the bridge there was a hole too. Ember was not sure for what animal though. Besides the bird houses there were natural houses in the trees that were used by squirrels that were happily chasing each other in the trees. Right after he appeared on the stage the animals ran away from him in all known possible directions. They reached the door of Fluttershy’s home Twilight knocked at the door after a short while the upper part of the door open and Fluttershy appeared in it.

- Oh hello there.

- Hi Fluttershy. We are on a small trip with Ember so he can get used to his new home.

This statement made him fall deep into his own mind while the ponies were chatting a bit, especially with Spike that had all the attention from Fluttershy. Could he really call this place his new home? If his new friends were right the ponies in Ponyville will get used to him in some time but would it be enough? Would they accept him for being the creature he was? He was not sure. Each time he heard the word home Ember had a warm feeling in his heart that he started to like a lot. Eventually he will find a place where he will settle down by his own choice what cheered him up but first there were other thing he had to do first. The princess and the high council together with the magi court of the ponies were still waiting for them or better said for him. Right now Ember noticed that the ponies and Spike were looking at him:

- Oh please excuse me I have fallen deeply into my thoughts.

- Did you girls see that what I have seen? – asked Spike.

- Yeah… - said both ponies at the same time.

- What do you mean?

- The color of your eyes changed Ember. – said Fluttershy. – It did not remind fire it was more like a fog.

- Really? – asked Ember, it was surprising how many things he did not know about himself.

- It seems like your eyes changed their colors depending on the thing you do. In that case you were thinking and then they turned into that white misty color; like in my home.

- If that what you say is accurate then it is a problem…

- Why's that?

- My eyes are the only things that allow me to show some feelings. It might be abused by an enemy…

- You have to relax a bit Ember. – said Fluttershy. – Equestria might have its dangerous sides but in all it is a beautiful and peaceful land.

- I understand that it has to be bad for you at some moments but within time you will get used to a life where you don’t have to fight for your life day after day.

- I think you both are right but I am not sure if old habits will ever disappear out of my life. Let’s change the topic for now; Fluttershy if I am not mistaken you said that you are an animal caretaker?

- Oh yes indeed I am Ember. Shall I introduce you to my little friends?

- Introduce me to some animals? Don’t tell me they can talk too…

- They can but only in their own language. I am able to understand them though so it should not be a problem Ember.

- Bah! – Thought Ember. – Animals that can talk with animals… This is getting weirder and weirder with each new thing I discover.

- If you say so Fluttershy…

Even if it was not loud Ember heard a cute and happy sounding yay coming from the Pegasus. She closed the doors of her house and took the lead to her backyard. As on the other trees Ember saw that at each nearby tree were filled with bird houses. The chicken coop that was right under one tree was one of the first things Ember has noticed. After Fluttershy entered the backyard animals came from all directions though with caution because of his presence around.

- Oh don’t worry my friends Ember will not harm you. He is a friend and I am sure that you will like him as I do.

The animals faced their fears and swarmed around her what made her giggle happily. Ember watched that scene with big impression, the way she was treating the animals was something new to him; few words were enough for them to conquer the fear they had few moments ago what was in his case a miracle. All sorts of animals were around but he was certain that not all of them had to be native to those lands. Ember heard a splash coming from the river; a seal came out of it and was moving towards Fluttershy in a clumsy way followed by an otter that arrived at Fluttershy three times faster than the seal. The air was filled with the noises of the animals and it seemed that Fluttershy had a conversation with them. A strange pink bird that had long legs, that reminded him of thin sticks, was standing on one leg not far from him.

With its long neck the bird was looking at him with some interest in its eyes. Suddenly Fluttershy pointed at him with her hoof and all the animals ran towards him and once more he was surrounded by small things in a way that he was not able to move without stomping one. The smaller birds landed on his horns and shoulders while an eagle choose to sit on his head, a funny looking thing if somebody would see it. Ember had his fun with the small critters; happy to see that they did not fear him.

- What did you tell them Fluttershy? - asked Ember while he stretched one finger so a bird could land at it.

- That you are a nice guy and that they can trust you.

- Yeah. – He thought. – But if I will plan to get some meat that trust will be gone for good.

- Tell me though. Is that the Everfree Forest we were passing?

Ember pointed at the forest that was filled with dark trees farther away from Fluttershy’s house. A wall of creepy looking trees was darkening the horizon he was surprised that he did not see it first.

- Yes it is. – said Fluttershy with a scared tone.

- Isn’t it dangerous to live so close to such place?

- Not really. It is dangerous to go inside though. Deeper you go than more dangerous will be the animals.

- So the animals of that forest never leave their homes?

- It never happened. It seems like they hate the sun light.

In his thoughts Ember planed to enter the woods and see if the stories his ponies friends were telling him were really true. He could not imagine it though. The toughest place he was ever been were the depths of his former home; nothing could beat that. But he kept these thoughts for himself. Ember made his wings appear what scared off the animals and birds after that he made them disappear.

- It was good to see your duties Fluttershy. Your kind nature is inspiring.

Fluttershy blushed a bit and thanked him with a smile.

- But I suggest we move on Twilight.

- Yes we are still not ready with our trip.

- Fluttershy do you want to join us? – asked Ember and stretched what made the awful bone cracking sound be heard all over the place.

- Yes I can. My choirs for today are done.

- Lets go then. – Ember looked at the animals and said something in a language that the ponies did not understand. The animals though seemed to understand him what made them all start a chaotic orchestra of animal sounds.

- Ember what was that?

Ember laughed loudly with in his scary demonic way what made some of the smaller birds lose their consciousness.

- I am full of surprises aren’t I?

After Fluttershy said good bye to her small animal friends they moved on the same way they came to visit her.

- So where do we go now?

- I suggest we visit Pinkie Pie at the Sugarcube Corner.

- I assume it is some sort of shop?

- It is a bakers shop. They sell all sorts of great stuff and sweets. – answered Spike and touched his belly. – I especially love their muffins and cakes.

After a short while they entered Ponyville again: the streets were now over filled with ponies that were minding their own business. While walking along them they seemed not to pay any attention to him what was just right for him now. Passing by some trader stands that were selling all kind of things Ember stopped at the vegetables stand and scared the vendor so much that she could not move. Twilight figured out right away what Ember was checking on that is why she and his other companions including the vendor, that stopped being frightened after the vegetables topic came up, started to present him the veggies. It took some time for him to remember the names of the veggies especially of the green one that seemed to be the same at least for him. Some of the ponies that were passing by stopped and listed;

- The only vegetable I knew before I stopped was the carrot. - thought Ember and remembered the glorious soup he had today. Soon he was able to recognize the different kinds of veggies so they decided to move on only to stop at other stands: from food to kitchen gear the vendors were offering everything. They even tried to convince Ember to buy something but he always refused because he had no money to pay with. Then after they passed the last stand that was in sight Ember saw the place that the ponies were calling Sugarcube Corner. The first thing Ember had in mind was a cake after he saw the building. The bakery and confectionary reminded a birthday cake; colorful as it was. The roof looked like it was made out of chocolate with white edges that could be cream; the chimney was purple and had three ventilations.

The tower that was in the middle of the roof ended in the form of a muffin that had three candles on it; that’s why everybody would think that it reminded a birthday cake. A lot of pink and purple was on the lower parts what only could lead to thinking about sweets and any kinds of baked stuff. He could smell freshly baked things he could not really identify, as they arrived at the entrance he stopped:

- I think it will be better I do not enter this building.

- Why not? – asked Spike and sniffed. – Don’t you smell it Ember?

- I do smell it but I also do hear babies crying.

- Oh that is right! Mr. and Mrs. Cake have twins you know. – said Twilight. – And after you mentioned it I can hear them cry too.

- My presence in there would probably make things worse.

- Maybe you are right but that crying sounds strange doesn’t it? – said Fluttershy. – Maybe something happened?

- I will check it. Ember you better wait here. – Twilight went inside while she opened the door the crying of the twins became even louder. Something in this crying was not right that was sure. The unicorn came back pretty fast and reported what was going on:

- It seems the twins swallowed something! The parents are not sure what it might have been and the doctor is not in the town since last week! Ember you have to check on them!

Ember sighted and nodded. He promised that he would heal anybody that would be in a serious trouble but he was hoping that events like that would not occur; well he was wrong. Ember followed Twilight into the building, the smell of freshly baked goods were all over the place. There was nobody at the store front and neither in the kitchen; the crying of the babies seemed to come from the second floor. Twilight ran up the stairs followed by Ember that had to bow down even considering walking on all fours to go up easier; how he would leave this place had to wait. After he finally reached the second floor Ember saw that Twilight was talking with two ponies that seemed to be Mr. and Mrs. Cake the owners of the Sugarcube Corner both with terrified and sad faces waiting for his arrival. It seemed like Twilight was trying to prepare them for the encounter with him, it failed badly; they were even more nervous and besides the fear for their children they were afraid for their own sake.

- Twilight are you sure that this is a good idea? – asked the stallion with dark yellow fur and a mane that had the color of a carrot. He was wearing a funny looking hat and a ribbon that shared the same color as the hat; on the chest he had a white overall. – I will not risk the health of my children to a stranger especially like him!

- But darling the doctor is not in the town and you heard what he did for Sugar Heart… - said the mare that had blue fur and a mane that had two different kind of pink color. She was wearing an overall too only that it had pink wing like shapes on the edges while the rest was yellow. – We have to do something! I can’t stand hearing them crying in pain.

- You can hate me after I have checked the babies. – said Ember that could finally stand normally. – We don’t have time to waste.

Mrs. Cake looked at her husband, begging him with her eyes to let him pass. Mr. Cake sighted and showed him where the children were. Ember entered the room that was apparently designed for the babies: Pinkie Pie was standing close to a crib where both fillies have been put in, their crying was weaker now and it sounded more like moaning than crying. Pinkie appearance was different than Ember was used to; the happy always smiling pony had tears in her eyes.

- She really have a hard time… - thought Ember and approached the crib. The wooden floor announced his coming in a rather loud way what made Pinkie turn around.

- Oh Ember I am so glad to see you! Please help them! I just can’t stand to see them like that. – She started to cry heavily. Mr. and Mrs. Cake hugged her and waited for a miracle to happen. Ember sighted and looked at the babies, surprised he noticed that the fillies were a Unicorn and a Pegasus while their parents were surely Earth Ponies; he did not ask though there was no time for such things now.

- They are called Pumpkin Cake and Pound Cake. – said there mother and pointed out who was who a boy and a girl. Pumpkin Cake reminded him a lot of her father while the boy was looking more like his mother. Ember opened the crib and got the attention of the small creatures that were looking at him with those big cute eyes; he could read pain in them and it was obvious that they were looking for help around in the environment. Embers eyes changed their color right away to the light green color; gently he touched them on the heads and made the pain disappear. The fillies sighted relaxed sadly he did not cured them yet. The only thing he did was to remove the pain, now he had to focus on the source of the trouble. The weak babies were lying on their backs waiting for treatment.

First he started with the boy Pound Cake that was a Pegasus Pony: he casted a spell and connected with the body of the filly but before that he caught the light with his will and created butterflies that started to fly above the heads of the fillies. While they were busy with the new discovery Ember started to look through Pound Cakes body. The throat seemed to not be damaged and on the way to the stomach he found no injuries. That is why the guardian concentrated on the content of the stomach. Right away he saw the cause of the problem:

- I think I know what the boy has swallowed. – Said Ember that was focusing only on the boy now that was trying to catch the butterflies above him. – It looks like a key.

- Oh my… - said the stallion. – It must be the key I have lost today….

- I will remove it from his stomach Mr. Cake. I suggest that you three turn around though.

- What?! No! No! No! I will not allow it!

- You have to trust me. Or the situation might get worse. – The father nodded.

Ember started to focus magical energy around the shape of the key. His eyes changed their color a bit and now were dark green; surprisingly the small unicorn reacted to it and looked at him with a curious look. Ember checked everything as good as possible. After he was sure that he could continue this procedure he laid his hand on the filly’s belly and started to slowly move it up in the air. The key started to move up through the skin of the filly that could not feel what was happening. Ember changed the physical structure of the key and made it entirely ethereal, what allowed him to remove the key out of the baby without harming it. The parents looked at that with wide open eyes as did probably the others but Ember was too focused on his spell that is why he did not notice it.

Finally the key left the body of the child; he cut the connection with his body and turned the key back into its proper form and structure. As expected the key was wet and had a strong smell that was coming from the stomach acid. Ember threw it simply behind him. The boy seemed to be relived but the guardian have decided that the child needed sleep, that is why he casted a spell and let the small boy enter the land of nice dreams. Now it was Pumpkin Cakes turn. The curious unicorn was looking at him with fascinating eyes totally ignoring the butterflies he has created. The guardian connected with the child and noticed a small magical barrier building up in the girl; she was defending herself from his influence! He bypassed her defense easily and without dealing any damage to her.

She looked kind of disappointed and angry in the same time what made Ember smile in his mind. Then he started the examination as he did with the boy; several wounds have been found along the esophagus that had been left by something sharp. Embers eyes became light green again, with his finger he gently moved from the throat to the belly leaving a small line of energy only he could see; at least he thought so. The line went into the body and healed the wounds. He checked everything several times in the end he focused at the content of the stomach. Right away a small pink round thing appeared in his mind. On its back there was something metallic that had a sharp tip; Ember was sure it caused the damage to the sensitive flesh inside the body.

- I am not sure what that thing is. – said Ember after a while. – But don’t worry I am able to remove it.

He did not hear the relived sights in the room. Once again he focused only on the patient and started to cast the spell that would help him to remove the foreign body out of the stomach. Ember replayed all the movements, slowly and delicate as possible; the thing appeared out of the skin of the small filly and was on the half way out but the girl noticed it and started to focus magic again. In desperation the unicorn nearly broke his concentration that was the only key to keep her from any damage. With the other hand he touched her horn on the tip and the magic accidentally disappeared; Ember could not allow interference like again, that’s why he pulled out the foreign body and cut the connection with the filly. He sighted loudly maybe even too loud because he has been overwhelmed with questions. With his hands he calm down the ponies and the small dragon and showed them what he just took out of the body.

- Dear Celestia! That is one of my earrings! – said Mrs. Cake and nearly fainted.

Ember turned around to the unicorn and let her fall asleep with his spell. After that he continued the conversation in their minds.

- It is done… the fillies will be alright. Let us go down and let them sleep.

The parents looked one last time at their babies and then they all went down to the first floor what was rather a hard thing for Ember because of his horns. In the end he actually managed to leave the stairs that were not good enough for his size without damaging the wall.

- Our children were suffering because of our forbearance…

- Do not bother your mind with such thoughts now. The worst part lies behind us now the children are safe and will be healthy in no time.

- Thank you so much for your aid… - said Mrs. Cake, if you would be standing there now you would see that she was trying to remember his name.

- My name is Ember.

- Thank you very much Ember. May Celestia bless you for that.

The guardian has noticed it several times that the ponies, the inhabitants of the town and even his friends, were saying things like: By Celestia and so on. What in the end made him think that Princess Celestia was playing a way bigger role than only the role of a monarch of this land. Pinkie Pie seemed to be relived as the parents. Right away it was clear that the children seemed to mean a lot to her, Fluttershy and Twilight were at her side; their company had an immense effect on her. Friendship… They openly offered him their friendship without a second thought and yet he was not able to understand it fully. Ember could still see the pictures that were burned into his mind; Rarity’s torture, the selfish offered sacrifice for her sake even if it would mean that they would be the one that would be suffering the pain. Then the crystals broke and the roles as the guardian ended in agony. Would he be able to do something like that for other living creature?

- Remember Ember it does not matter what you are, what matters is who you are.

The words of the Grandmother came back in his mind. The first free choice he did was to protect them from his old nemesis. He pay with his own blood for the sake of the creatures he did not really know and yet he did it; saved them from the dragon and left the world he once knew with them. Since then he experienced things that would have never happened during his stay in the depths of the Underground, changing him in ways he still could not express with words or thoughts. The sight of the three friends that were there for him, the gratitude of the parents and the fruits of his work made him feel like he has never felt before. The old *guardian* was gone, burn to ashes by the overwhelming heat of the chains and out of the ashes Ember raised.

A different creature that seemed to be able to show feelings even if he was pretty bad at it. Pinkie Pie went back to the Pinkie he knew and as expected she did start to thank him in all different random ways for his help. To see her smiling again and to know that the small babies were unharmed and healthy was price enough for him. The last procedures though somehow weaken him and he was feeling dizzy all of the body. The small unicorn nearly did some serious damage to him; somehow she literally smacked him in his magic core without knowing it. If he would not have stopped it everything would have end in a disaster.

- I need to get out on the fresh air… - said Ember that was trying to sound normal but his voice sounded weak what blown the cover right away. He bowed before the Cake family and let himself disappear in the shadows. The ponies could only see that the door opened all by its own, as fast as possible he managed to get between some sideways of two buildings. Ember sat down on the ground and touched his forehead that was glowing hot.

- This was way too close… - he thought and searched the ground for a water source. After he finally found one Ember pulled it out and created the small water ball; in the end he cast a spell that froze the water into ice. The useful thing about his first spell was the facts that even if the water was frozen it was still able to change its shape; right away he put the cold association on his forehead. A loud sizzle went through the air after the ice touched his forehead. Water was running down his skin directly in the direction of the eyes where the melted ice right away evaporated. Relived he moaned and let the association do its work while he was thinking about the small unicorns unexpected reaction. Ember was sure that the filly is able to use magic, not yet totally under control and surely not in the bloom of its true potential: that was the thing that was bothering him.

Even if it was only an accident that would never happen while he was on guard the young filly managed to weaken him for a while, and that might get crucial for him if it would be found out. The cooling method worked eventually and the glowing heat disappeared and he started to feel better. Right away he lifted the spell that was shrouding him from the eyes of the living creatures and went back to Sugarcube Corner entrance where he found Spike eating something. It seemed thought that his spell did not really lost its power after he said Hi to the baby dragon he scared him what made all the cookies he had in his hands fall on the ground.

- Ember is that you?

- Yes. Why do you ask?

- You look like you lost some parts…

Ember looked down on his body and saw that several pieces of him were still invisible; the torso, left leg and the right arm were missing what made him look ridiculous. This time he made sure that his spell was gone for good:

- Where did the others go?

- Why do you even ask? They are looking for you all over the place.

- I had my reasons to do it Spike. I will summon them back.

He pointed at a place where there was enough space for his friends, and then he concentrated and cast the spell. A blue imprint appeared on the ground and with a loud sound that reminded a splash of a big, heavy rock falling into water the three ponies appeared on it and bumped into each other. A bit confused they were not able to say nor do anything. The imprint was gone and Ember sat down on the ground; it was a mistake to use spells after his accident so he ended up being weak once more.

- Sorry for the rough ride but I did not want to look for you all over this place.

- Don’t worry about that. – said Spike. – Teleportation is nothing new to use. I think the crush was the worst part that happened.

Twilight rubbed her head with the hoof:

- Why did you disappear all of the sudden?

- I had my reasons.

- I have heard the change in your voice before you left Ember. – said Fluttershy. – Something must have happen to you.

- Yes I noticed that too. – Pinkie hit the ground with the hove. – What was it all about?

- I said I had my reasons. – said Ember and sighted. – Leave it be… please.

It was hard to him to let the last word be spoken but the ponies gave up the questioning. Twilights eyes though were telling him that she was suspecting something to be honest he saw it in anybody around here.

- I will never win their trust if I will keep being that way. – thought Ember and clenched his hand.

– Where shall we go now? – Ember tried to let them focus on something different but he doubted that they would forget it; the guardian hoped that they would understand why he did not say anything. Pinkie was the first that started to act normal by jumping up and down at the place where she was standing.

- We should go visit Rarity in her Boutique! And you know what I have a great idea!

- And that would be? – asked Spike.

- I will buy us some ice cream! – Before somebody or somepony could say something she charged off yelling back to them that she would meet them at Rarities house. That’s why they moved on. Gladly they were not asking him further for his strange behavior, and the entire situation lost its tense atmosphere. The ponies started to talk about all sort of things but Ember was not sure if it was told to him. Most of the things he did not know at all even if he did some *research* in Twilights mind.

- Seems like I was lazy this time…

He noticed that the street was more crowded than in other places of this town. Then he saw the reason for it. A tower like building started to appear in the middle of this place, not far from that building he saw a well with a statute of a female pony standing on a ball only with her back legs. Right away the stranger from the Underworld became the attention of this place. The eyes of the ponies were picking on him but he tried to ignore it. His friends were still chatting about some sort of spa, whatever it might be but then a strange sound stopped their conversation. Ember heard both of them scream, their scream was followed by screaming of other ponies and eventually he saw fillies in the air that were on a strange looking device. It did not take long time till the fillies fell out of their strange machine and started to fall down.

He made one move forward and catch all of them with a simple telekinetic spell, saving them from a rather painful landing. With Embers bad luck though he got hit by that device right into his head what made him see birds in front of his eyes. The guardian put the fillies on the ground and started to shake his head a bit.

- Girls! Are you alright? – asked Fluttershy concerned.

- What about me!? – asked Ember in his mind that was still seeing things doubled. Besides that he was fighting the device that was stuck between his horns.

- You could get hurt and hurt others! Why are you in such a hurry? – asked Twilight and helped the fillies to get up.

- Sorry. – said the fillies in the same time. Ember finally started to see normal, he looked down at the fillies and right away he noticed that there was one Earth Pony, Unicorn and a Pegasus. The little fillies seemed to not notice him at all what was kind of shocking for him.

- Thanks for saving us Twilight.

- I did not catch you.

- Who did it then?

Spike pointed at Ember that was standing behind them, still trying to get rid of the device that was stuck between his horns. As expected his appearance scared the fillies that started to yell loudly what made all passing ponies look at him. Gladly Fluttershy somehow managed to calm them down with one word then she flew up to Ember and helped him to remove that strange device, after that she patted him and said:

- You don’t have to be afraid of him. He will not do anything to you.

- Do not make me look like one of your pets Fluttershy. – He joked around and looked down on the fillies. – Don’t worry I am not hungry right now.

The kids were not sure if he was joking or serious that is why they remained hidden behind Twilight and Spike.

- Oh girls Ember is joking. Come on introduce yourself. – said Twilight and used her magic to move the three fillies above her right in front of Ember, that kneeled down to have a better look at the three fillies.

- My name is Scootaloo. – The first who started to talk was the Pegasus. She had orange fur and a mane that somehow reminded him of Rainbow Dashs style besides that the color was purple. The unicorn was the second one to start that somehow has managed to push forward before the Earth Pony.

- My name is Sweetie Bell. – She had a nice looking snow white fur and a properly styled mane that had the color pink and purple. Sweetie Bell had an impressive sounding voice that with proper care would be a great voice for singing. The way she was standing and talking reminded him of Rarity what he pointed out right away.

- Little one you remind me of a pony I know. Rarity is her name.

- Rarity is my big sis. Where did you meet her?

- This is a story for another time. – Ember looked at the last filly that was defiantly an Earth Pony. She had light blond fur and a mane that had the color of red. A pink ribbon at the back of her head beautified her cute appearance even though it was made rather simple. This pony did remind him of a friend he knew as well.

- Let me guess you are AJ’s sister?

- You do know my sister too? – asked the filly that was still a bit behind the others.

- Yes I do. – Ember did not mention anything that happened in the depths of his old home; being a show off was not really his thing. Even if he probably has shown his abilities to the pony folk he hopped they did not think he was showing off. – How may I call you young one?

- I am Apple Bloom!

Then the fillies came closer to each other and took a deep breath:


It was impressive how loud such small things could be. The echo of this sound was vibrating hard in his ears besides him the others were shaking their head to clear it from the sudden outburst of the fillies.

- What was that all about…? – asked Ember and got up. – What are the Cutie Mark Crusaders?

- This is a story for another time… - said Twilight. The fillies started to bombard him with any kind of question about things he was good at, trying to somehow get information out of him. Ember could not stop thinking that the things they were asking for would be used by them to earn their Mark. Not that he had talent at anything they have mentioned, he did not have a cutie mark in the first place what made the fillies call him a blank flank. Somehow that expression got him pretty bad that is why he did not respond to this. Soon the fillies got bored by standing around and doing nothing, that is why they took their strange device Spike called a scooter that was gladly not broken, jumped on it and by using the power of her small wings Scootaloo made it move forward with an immense speed. Ember could hear shouting of ponies on the streets.

- That was interesting… first they want to know anything about me then they change their mind and woosh they are gone.

- They will never give up till they will get their Cutie Mark. – said Spike. – At least they do not lack the faith.

- Oh power of youth I miss you… - thought Ember.

- They will find it out in the right time. – said Fluttershy. – And I am sure they will find it out working together.

- I am wondering though. What would be Embers special talent? – asked Spike. – What do you think?

- I don’t think I have one.

- How can you say that Ember? – started Twilight. – After all you have accomplished?

- The things I have done were merely social deeds. You cannot call it a talent.

- Maybe magic is your talent? – said Fluttershy. – I mean you know so many things about it. You even talked with the animals using a language I did not understand.

- I still have to find my purpose my little ponies. I lack it very much now if….

Ember heard some kind of noise in the air, which was followed nearly in the same time by yelling of Rainbow Dash. He looked up and saw her flying down at him with an incredible speed that she seemed not to control. Frozen by it he waited for the upcoming crash, the only thing he could say before the impact was a quiet: - Oh no….

After the collapse the force of Rainbow’s speed nearly threw him out of balance. The guardian could feel some pain in his chest where he has been hit but he endured worse things. Rainbow Dash fell down on the ground, she seemed to be unharmed besides that her head seemed to hurt her.

- What are you made of? Iron!? – She touched her head with her hoof while Ember only scratched the place where she hit him.

- I felt safer in the woods than in your town. – His comment made some of the passing ponies laugh, including his friends. Ember helped Dash out by removing the pain in the head, right after it she was back in her element and started to perform all kind of tricks and acrobatics. Fascinated by it Ember looked at her skill; she seemed to enjoy the attention a lot what made her do more advanced performances. Ember applauded at her and started to clap with his hands:

- I would be honored to fly with you through the wide open sky Rainbow Dash!

- Do you think you can keep it up with me?

- We may test it some other time.

- With pleasure. I always like to show the rookies how real flying looks like.

- Don’t be fooled by my appearance Mrs. Hot Air. I am full of surprises.

Rainbow Dash flew down to her friends and landed directly an Embers head, the muscles of his neck became tense from the extra weight that was lasting on them. Not that it was challenging.

- So what are you guys up to?

- We are guiding Ember through the city. – said Twilight. While she talked with Rainbow Ember noticed that Spike was now sitting on her back what was a funny sight: A dragon riding a pony.

– We go to Rarities Boutique right now.

- Why don’t you show him the Joke Shop? This is at least something funny.

- I am already a walking joke for the ponies. – said Ember and made a strange sound that the ponies could not identify.

- You will be even a greater joke if you will go to Rarity. In the end she might just start sewing a suit for you. – The girls started to giggle about the imagination of Ember in a high class suit that would be just perfectly suited for special occasions.

- Indeed I am a joke for them. – He thought a bit disappointed at this fact. Their laughing has been interrupted by Pinkie that jumped out of nowhere holding something in her hooves; probably the thing that she called Ice cream back there. The thing though that was more interesting and confusing for Ember was the fact that she was moving on her back legs what made no sense for him at all but to be honest: would a talking pony make any sense? Or that the talking pony was able to hold something with the hoof? His appearance among their kind was senseless too that’s why he started to get used to things like that. He managed to survive in the underground, experienced things that were in many ways strange and ridiculous in the end he would just need time for adapting into this world.

- Oh here you are! You did not make any progress at all.

- Lets say things literally fall down from the sky. – Ember looked up a bit so he could see Rainbow that was still sitting on his head, no now the Pegasus was lying on his head and she probably did not intent to leave this place. – I hope you have found a comfortable place Mrs. Dash.

- It can’t be compared to the clouds but…

Ember made a one might swing with his entire body what threw the Pegasus into the air where she open up her wings and let the wind do the job for her to stay in her element.

- That was so awesome! We have to do it again!

- Hell no! You are heavier than you look like.

- I am so sorry that you are not so trained well as I am.

Ember laughed quietly. The guardian started to enjoy spending time with them; especially talking was something that he was missing in the Underground. The symphony of the stones was always a cheerful experience that kept his struggled mind in peace where others probably would lose their senses for good but a conversation with an intelligent creature was something that he really missed.

– I will start training eventually, do not worry on that.

- If that is true then I would like to see your training.

- I don’t see any problem with that but for now there are still things that have to be done. Until then I doubt it that I will find proper peace.

- Are you still worried about your meeting with the princess?

- Would you not be worried on my place Twilight Sparkle? Try to imagine that creatures like me would call you for a meeting with their monarch and the High Council. How would you feel if you would be the only creature of your kind among the others?

- I see your point. I would probably be scared all the time. No offense…

- None taken.

- Hey stop talking! It is ice cream time! – The first Ice cream she gave to Ember that inspected the small unknown thing. The others, including Rainbow, received their portion that Pinkie brought in a bigger amount. Ember did the mistake of eating it whole with one bite what made Spike laugh at him loudly. The ice cream had the taste he did not know but he was sure that he once knew it: Pinkie Pie called it strawberry. The ponies and the dragon were licking their portions while Ember was still trying to figure out how he would eat the ice cream next time he would have the occasion for that. They were still close to the Town Hall that is why Ember asked them to move on. On their way to Rarities Boutique they had to pass the same river that was surrounding the city with its round shape.

According to the ponies there were several bridges in the city that helped them to pass the river easily. None of the builders seemed to have foreseen that a creature like Ember would use it. On one of the bridges a stallion that was pushing a large cart created traffic because he got scared by Embers appearance. Yelling on both sides forced Ember to help out the stallion of his misery. To afraid to use his magic after the small incident with the baby Unicorn, he decided to use his own strength to remove the blockade. His wings appeared with strange sound out of his back, gladly the stinging feeling that he nearly always felt after his wings appeared was gone for good, besides that the sticky mess was gone too what made the entire thing cleaner.

While in the air Ember grabbed the cart with his claws and lifted it together with its owner that was yelling terrified by the free aerial ride. That is why Ember put him on his beloved earth that the ponies started to kiss right away. The traffic was gone so they could continue, the nice thing was that the other ponies that were waiting to pass by were thanking him for his aid what improved his mood greatly. Soon he saw a building that was outstanding of all the other houses Ember passed by. Its shape somehow reminded him of the Town Hall of Ponyville but if Rarity would hear him saying such thing he was sure she would be arguing with all she got in her clever mind. Everything from the roof to the door was matching perfectly to each other. The tower like building had some kind of message for the eye and Ember was sure that it was something like: If you look for extravagant and elaborate gowns you came to the right place.

Several times he has heard that Rarity was a fashion designer that was creating and selling fantastic dresses. Her craftsmanship truly seemed to be highly demanded because he saw several ponies leaving the places with big packages on their backs. Of course those ponies got scared by Ember that was moving towards them. The mare that was wearing the package nearly let it drop into a mud puddle but through Embers quick reaction with his wings he catch it long before it fell into it. The ponies thanked him for his aid, telling him something about a saved Birthday party and such, Pinkie greeted the ponies and started a chit chat with them. According to Twilights memories Pinkie Pie knew nearly every citizen of that town. What seemed to have its profit because they gave her an invitation that Pinkie sadly had to decline because she would be on her way to Canterlot.

The door of the Boutique opened and Rarity ran towards them like she would be charging at a fierce enemy without fear. She stopped at the two ponies and started to ask if her creation was fine.

- Wow she really loves her craft. – He thought while he was listening to Rarity that was still talking to the couple to be more careful with the package. It seemed like she was working on that dress quiet a time and she would not like to see it in mud; nobody on her place including the owner of the dress would like to see the new item dirty. Rarity seemed not to see that Ember was here, his companions seemed to think the same after the couple left they greeted her with a hearth hello.

- Oh my… please excuse me. I just could not stand the thought that my newest creation would have been ruined by a clumsy customer! – She wanted to hit the ground with her hoof but after she saw the mud she took a big step back from it. – I see that our friend is fully adapting to us?

- After all the things that happen today I came to a conclusion that adapting will take way more time than I have expected.

- Everything needs its time. It is like making a dress, if you hurry up to much it will just not be the same as you would work on a wonderful and marvelous dress for a special occasion. Take your time for your new life and enjoy the things as good as possible.

- Oh my goodness Rarity… we saw many customers leaving your shop. How did you manage to do all those things in a short time like that? – asked Fluttershy that was more alive since the group was growing.

- Darling I have many useful tricks for that. Besides that the most things were already done they only needed the last cut to be. – She clapped her hooves against each other and giggled. PERFECT!

- I hope you will not take so many things with you to Canterlot like you did the last time. – said Twilight. - If I think of the poor service boy that had to move it all by his own…

- TWILIGHT! We go to Canterlot the most wonderful place in whole Equestria! I have to show the ponies of that marvelous place that they can find perfection and beauty not only in their city. I am a living example and representative of our Ponyville!

- If that is true what you say I am sure that the ponies in Canterlot have good thoughts about this place. – said Ember.

- Well…

- But in the end I do think that for them every other pony that is not dressed or acts like them is a worse kind, a second class citizen. I am not a fan of things like that.

- Some things in the world will never change at that point. – Admitted Rarity. – Sure thing is that they do not thing that our place is full with ponies that have no taste in clothing.

- Clothing is only a second skin. A surface that might look pretty but it might hide the true nature behind it.

- Why do I have the feeling that you have a lot of experience in that case Ember?

Ember got hit by that comment; he was not really sure why he was saying that or why he had a reason to think that way.

- I… I don’t know. Sure thing is that nobody should judge a person. – The ponies looked at him with lifted eyebrows. – Pony… by the way she or he dresses. The higher society always despite those that were not blessed enough to have the opportunity to call themselves rich. I have the feeling that I will not enjoy the state at this place.

- We will try to make it easier for you Ember. – said Fluttershy. – You will not be alone there.

- That is right. Do not worry about being judged by your look. Not all ponies are that way.

- I might have feel better with it if I would be one of your species Twilight. But I am not and I do know how I look like. The way the ponies were gawking at me made me feel uncomfortable and tomorrow I will go with you to the capital city of this country.
- Ember made a sound that reminded them of a sight but they were not sure about it.

- Don’t worry Ember as Fluttershy said we will be there with you. Everything will be fine you will see.

- I hope you are right about it. – He looked at his new friends that were now all focusing at him. – And thank you for everything.

- If you will feel sad just let me know. Pinkie Pie will do the final blow to your sadness!

Ember looked at Rarities house:

- Your house suits you Rarity. The architects truly knew what you need.

- Thank you! I was actually helping a bit with the look that is why it is so magnificent.

- I am on a small trip through your town. Would you like to come with us?

- Luckily I do not have any work for now. I do expect much work next week though.

- Whys that? – asked Pinkie that was as usual jumping up and down happily.

- Fancypants and some of his friends have preordered some wonderful suits and dresses. Besides that Mr. Hoity Toity asked me to help him create some patterns for his new spring selection. I cannot wait to start with it!

The names ponies were using in this land were simply strange for him; Hoity Toity, Fancypants? Thinking twice though his name was not directly a name that is why he did not say anything about it. While the girls were chatting around, Dash was relaxing on a cloud above them but for sure she could hear everything what they were talking about. Ember looked around hoping to see something interesting but to be honest the thing he really wanted now was to see the sky of the night and to see Luna again. He was hoping that she would be there at the meeting; according to Twilights memory and her own words, it can be that she will not be able to do so. Not far away from away from Rarities house and shop there were stands that were probably some sort of shops too.

Today he saw enough stores to be honest. The things that were being sold were not really important for him besides the food of course. Still many thoughts were in his mind and the questions that remain unanswered became a visit of new questions that were unanswered but would be eventually. Ember saw small fillies playing next to one of the tents. They were using a jumping rope for that, maybe nothing as uncommon as it appeared to him but it was interesting to see how the fillies were swinging the rope by using their mouths. He could hear them laughing, enjoying the old game as others did before them and the sound of that would have made him smile if he had a mouth. Ember did notice though that the muscles that were along his face were reacting to such things what made him think that he was really smiling, even if nobody was able to see it.

Happy about the new discovery he laughed quietly and continued to watch the fillies but then the kids saw him and hid right away what made his ears go down. Rainbow Dash that was watching the situation from above flew over to the fillies and brought the small scared fur balls to him. He kneeled down on one knee and looked down on the fillies that were still not sure what was all about the mysterious creature.

- Do not worry kids. – started Rainbow Dash. – Ember might look scary but he is cool.

- As Rainbow Dash said my name is Ember little ones.

After that the fillies lost their doubts and as the kids at the school they started to ask him all kind of things they found strange about him. He did answer to everything as good as possible; joking around that for him the ponies were the one that were the strange ones. Then the kids asked him if he would like to play a game with them but sadly Ember had to decline it but he did promise that he would play with them if he would be back from Canterlot. The fillies cheered at him and started to jump from place to place, Ember better should watch out to not make too many promises like that. Otherwise he would not have any time for other things but after thinking twice there were not many things to do for him. He hoped that he would find something to do.

Guarding was his destiny below the earth in the similar looking tunnels of his former home but here on the surface he thought he would not have the opportunity to do it again. To be honest he was happy about it because new ways were waiting for him to be chosen. It seemed that they had no limits what made it very exciting for him. His companions came to him and greeted the small fillies, the kids made cute sounding noises after they saw Pinkie Pie that jumped right in front of them and started to suggest games that she could play with them. But her companions reminded her that they were now on the way to Applejack’s home. The fillies made some grim looking faces and said that the adults were the most boring thing in the world after that they ran off.

- Hey Rainbow the small kids called you boring. – said Ember and looked at her.

- They do not know how wrong they are! I am the most awesome pony in Ponyville!

- I do agree that your flight skill have to be unmatched by any other pony.

Rainbow Dash turned red in her face what was kind of a new experience for him. Happy about his compliment she started to fly happily though her element, apparently talking to herself about being the best of the best. Rarity came along and looked at her friend and cleared her throat in the gentlest way a lady could perform:

- You do realize that today we had a meeting Rainbow?

Dash stopped to *swim* in the air and the happiness turned right away into a shocked face, she hit her head several times with her hoof so strong that Ember could hear the sound clearly.

- I am so sorry Rarity! It slipped out of my mind… I had to deliver several clouds and I did promise an ill friend to do his job for him.

- Oh that is not a problem Rainbow my dear. – Rarity looked at her with a sharp look and a grin that made Ember shiver inside. – But do not expect that you will talk your way of it. We will make a new appointment.

- Okay, okay! Fine! I will even say that I will stay an hour longer.

- Wonderful! Do not worry Rainbow you will not regret it.

The Pegasus sighted and landed on the ground but before she did it she flew closer to him so he could hear her say: - This will be so boring.

- Our group is nearly complete. – said Ember and looked down at the ponies. – Only AJ is missing.

- Let’s move on then! – said Spike. – With any luck Granny Smith had made her delicious Apple Pie!

The ponies made an loud mmmm what made even Ember join it but it sounded like he was growling. Spike hid once more behind Twilight only that he did it behind her neck and mane. The rather uncommon group head back to the bridge where Ember has resolved the traffic problem; they have passed the Town Hall and continued their trip leaving behind the river that was surrounding the city. The Sweet Apple Acres had an impressive size. He was not sure how many trees or even how many hectares in total there could be. Bright and shiny apples of the red, green and sometimes yellow color were decorating the trees; a sweet scent of them was all over the place. Tempting as they were Ember was fighting against taking one off, better to wait with that or he could expect some juicy bucking from AJ.

On the other side of the street there were fields, he did not see any buildings but he was able to smell a lake nearby. After a while they arrived at the way that was leading to the Farm. The guardian has been informed that this is a rather big family that lives all across Equestria, each of them having their own big apple acre. Along the way Ember stopped and listened carefully, he was not sure what he was hearing right now but he was sure that he heard two different kinds of sounds. After he mentioned and pointed the direction that was leading into the acres, the ponies suggested to go there, assuming that AJ was working already. They moved on into the acres and in no time they were surrounded by the apple trees. The scent of apples, singing of the birds that were jumping from branch to branch was filling the air around them. Then they all hear a pony shout angrily. Right away they recognized her as Applejack. Suddenly a small pack of bunnies appeared behind the trees, running as a wolf would be hunting them. The personification of the wolf was Applejack that seemed to be far more dangerous than the mentioned predator.

- Come back here ya thievin’ vermin!

Ember might be mistaken but he saw how the bunnies that had made up an impressive distance from her have stopped for a moment, turned around and showed their tongues at her. What in the end made her rage even more; the bunnies changed their direction, outsmarted the hard working mare and ran towards them. Ember found it funny how that situation resolved but he did intend to help her out. He filled his lungs with air and roared fiercely. The bunnies including Applejack and the others in the group that were enjoying that funny moment got scared by it. Poor Spike and Fluttershy have been so frightened that they fell on their backs, the way how the *fainting* goats do it. The small critters looked at the big creature with fear beyond imagination, frozen by it they did not move at all.

Applejack that seemed to be in the same state recovered really fast from it and waved at them. The group went to her and greet her while Ember was still looking at the bunnies that were now so close to each other, that they were shaping one shaking fur ball. Fluttershy came by and looked at the bunnies and started to talk to them. But all of the sudden after she said that stealing was wrong she looked at the bunnies with a started that made a cold shiver run down his spine.

- How is she doing that? – He thought a bit scared by the fact that a pony like her could be so frightening. The bunnies were even more scared by her than by him. They turned around and ran with all they have got in their small legs. The sight of their white tails going up and down could be followed for a short time but then it got lost between the trees.

- What by the spirits was that? – He asked Fluttershy that now was looking and acting normal.

- She used the *stare*. – said Rarity with some sort of frightened voice.

- A stare that not even a dragon could manage to hold out. – said Rainbow.

- Most of the time when it happens I am not aware of it… - said Fluttershy quickly trying to not look bad.

- Well you can add me to the list. I am sure that I would not hold that *stare* out.

The ponies laughed happily. He turned around and greeted Applejack and asked:

- What was that all about?

- This small pack always comes here and steals my apples. Most of the time in front of me! Greedy lil….

- I am sure that they will not come back for a longer time. – said Pinkie Pie that was hoping her usual way. – Ember and Fluttershy sure are a frightening mix. – She giggled and pretended to do the stare and the roar of his in the same time what was actually hilarious.

- How have you been? – asked Twilight.

- Big Mac did some real work while we were gone. Right now he is helpin’ Granny Smith while I took over the work here.

- What were you doing? – asked Ember interested.

- I’ll show ya. Follow me.

The first thing that everybody would notice was the fact that among the most trees were big wooden buckets and that many of the trees here did not have any apples on them anymore. Several trees seemed to be dead or sick. Applejack went to the nearest tree and hit it with her back legs. The sound he heard on the path filled the air and then all the apples fell down from the tree, mysteriously falling all into the two baskets that were around it.

- And that my dear friend is apple buckin’.

- May I try it out?

- Sure! Just don’t hit to hard okay?

Ember went to the next tree and knocked it lightly with his fist. All apples that were on it fell down directly into the basket. How the hell is that even possible? The ponies especially AJ looked at him with wide open mouths, this time he felt uncomfortable and said:

- Watch out or ya’ll swallow a fly.

The ponies mumbled something and started to hit the ground with their hooves while Spike was rolling Twilights mane a bit around his claw. Ember laughed but his laughter has been stopped by something strange. He felt that something was hitting him with a wooden thing against his back sometimes even his butt.

- Step away from the girls and the trees ya ruffian! – He got hit again. Right after he turned around he saw an old looking mare that had a broom in her mouth. Her fur had the color of a green apple, a white mane and other signs of her age were nearly all over her body. Yet she was hitting him like no ordinary young mare could ever do. What was most impressive in his eyes.

– Don’t worry children I’ll protect you!

- Granny Smith wait! – said Applejack but the mare did not hear her. She keep continue to hit him with the broom. Something hit him in the side: frustrated Ember noticed that he got hit by packed hay.

- That is right! Let’s show him what the Apple Family is made of! – It was incredible how loud she was and how, Ember was not sure about it, she somehow was swinging the broom faster. A short and loud Eeyup went through the air and Ember got hit by the next missile. Not that it hurt him, he was just standing there. His eyes reminded now of fiery lines while he was under siege of the Apple Family.

- Big Mac! Granny Smith stop! – yelled Applejack and moved towards the mare.

- Huh? What is it sweetie? – Granny Smith finally stopped hitting him.

- He is a friend stop attackin’ him! – she had to say it more than one time and it had to be loud so the stallion called Big Macintosh could hear it too. Ember got hit four times in total by his missiles that were quiet accurate.

- Oh you do know him? – asked the mare that let the broom down on the ground.

- Yes I do! He is the one I was talkin’ about yesterday.

- Ya could have told me that he would visit us! – protested the old mare. – After I heard his roar I thought he was attackin’ you.

- I should try to not roar around this place to often. – He thought and scratched his flank that has been under siege of the old mares furry.

- Big Macintosh! – yelled Granny Smith. – Get over here and greet our guest.

It seemed that she was not loud or not clearly enough because he got hit by the fifth time in a row. Oh the drudgery!

- Greet him as a friend not enemy!

- Stop that nonsense Big Mac! – yelled Applejack. – He is not a threat!

In no time the bombardier arrived. The biggest and strongest looking stallion he has seen since he was in Ponyville. Nearly as big as Luna he had an impressive strong body structure that had to come from living and working on the farm. His fur was red nearly like the red of the apples and he had a simple pale yellow mane that somehow matched his look. Something was attached around his neck, a wooden thing that seemed to be heavy and yet he was moving with it like it would not be there at all. Big Mac still had challenging look in his eyes but his body remained relaxed. Both of them started a stare duel that was going on for a longer time that they were thinking.

- Boys… - they both heard it and rapidly stopped it a bit embarrassed buy their actions. AJ moved between the two ponies and pulled them closer to each other:

- Ember let me introduce my family. This is Granny Smith and this is my brother Big Macintosh.

- A pleasure to meet you sonny.

- Eeyup. – Was the only respond of Big Mac that was chilling around right now.

- The pleasure is on my side. Yet I recall Applejack telling me that the Apple Family was way bigger.

- Our family indeed has many numbers. – Said Granny Smith that was showing first signs of weakness after her assault. – But they do not all live here; the Apple Family is spread around all of Equestria. They all have their own Apple Acres that they are taking care off.

- How many members of your family do live here then?

- Besides us there is still my lil sis…

- Apple Bloom.

- Oh you did meet her already?

- Lets say they literally crashed into me. – Ember turned around to Rarity. – I did meet you sister too Rarity.

- I hope they did not cause much trouble. – said the Unicorn a bit concerned, Ember laughed quietly but still loud enough that the ponies could hear it. Afraid that he might scare the old mare he stopped though.

- It was an interesting meeting; it was like looking at small miniatures of AJ and Rarity.

- I will interrupt you only for a second sonny. – said Granny Smith. The way she called him made a nice feeling in his tummy, he was not sure why though. – But I would suggest that we all go to the farm and talk properly at a table and with mugs of our great cider. There are still some barrels left.

After Granny mentioned the cider the ponies morale went beyond limits. Especially Rainbow Dash was happy about that offer because right after it has been mentioned she jumped high into her element. The group followed the slow Granny Smith with patience and listened to hear while she was telling Ember some old stories about this place. Ember enjoyed listening to the older mare that somehow reminded him of the Grandmother he met not far from his grove. They both had voices that were reflecting experience they have gathered through their long live, besides that the way they were talking was kind of relaxing for him. Ember did talk about their work, how impressed he was that only four ponies were taking care of this big Apple Acre. While the two ladies were talking and thanking him for praising the fruits of their hard work, the stallion was silent and as Ember was expecting the only thing he was saying was his Eeyup.

Soon the other ponies started other conversations of course the kind of conversations that Ember could not join or add his thoughts or comments. He was sure that they were not doing it on purpose, the things they were talking about were normal for them but not for him; the old guardian did not say anything and pretended that he was watching the apple trees that were surrounding them. Yet Granny Smith noticed his sudden silence and asked:

- Tell me Ember what do you like?

- What do I like?

- Yes.

- To be honest, since I left my old home I’ve seen so many things that I started to like but. – He looked at the crystal clear sky and at the trees that let the sun shine through their crowns what was truly a marvelous sight for him. – It is the sky that I really like especially the sky of the night. I fell in love right away.

The girls giggled at him while Big Mac made his typical sound followed by a nod.

- Ah yes, yes. I do understand your fascination sonny. While I was a young filly I snug out of my room and went outside to watch the stars till I fell asleep only to be wake up by my mother. You will get a cold! She always said and yet she was the one that got ill most of the time.

- If I could I would not sleep at all. With each passing hour the sky show more and more of its beauty. I’ve regretted that I have ever went down below the earth and that I have forgotten how it looks like.

During their short but still long way through the acre they finally reached the end of the apple trees. A clear path leaded to the farm that soon appeared at a small hill. Home of the native Apple Family was quite a sight; first of all it did look differently than the houses he has seen in Ponyville. The construction looked more like a one big barn but it had nice looking shapes and on the red painted, wooden walls he could see inscriptions that were showing plants that were spreading around the wall like snakes; each of them holding a one big apple. The roof has been painted purple; on one place the roof ended like a small tower. A wind rose was pointing out the current direction of the wind while on the top of it was a metallic apple. Long before they have reached their home Ember have seen corn and carrot fields, a chicken coop, a well and other building he could not really identify.

Along the farm there was a wooden fence, the entrance had a semicircle form; plants were moving around the edges of the entrance creating an interesting appearance. Ember could see that there were fruits growing at them surprised he noticed that it were apples. In the middle of the entrance there was a hanging sign that of course had an imprinted white apple. The ponies were chatting and joking around while Big Mac was playing the listener. They passed through the gate while Ember had to go around it what his companions did not notice. Even if he has visited all his friends the day seemed still to be young even if it slowly started to reach its end. The Apple Family asked the guests to wait outside while they prepare a table and hay to sit on; what they did in an impressive short time.

It seemed like unexpected visitors were quite common at the Sweet Apple Acres. Big Mac brought forth a one big barrel that seemed to weight nothing to him. Ember could hear the liquid cider hit against the wood what brought water into his mouth, not only for him Rainbow seemed to have the same reaction. AJ brought the wooden mugs and started to fill them up with care and love. After everypony and Ember received their mug the final moment of truth has come. The foam was bubbling a bit and the scent of apples filled the air, by the way… if he was not wrong; if cider has foam that means that it has alcohol in it but he did not say anything. All at the same time grabbed their mugs, what was kind of amusing to look at, yelled cheers and tasted it.

Ember could not describe what he was feeling right now but it was far away from being bad… yes far, far away from being bad. It seemed like he made some kind of noises probably slurping, without noticing it. The ponies especially the Apple Family members were looking at him and waited for his judgment. Embers eyes were closed for a while that seemed to be hours for the waiting ponies; right after he opened them he looked at Granny Smith.

- I am speechless…

The ponies started to hit the ground with their hooves cheering and yelling while Ember looked a bit disappointed at the mug that was way, way too small. Granny Smith told Applejack to give him and the rest another round while Big Mac was still quiet only occasionally telling something: surprisingly not only his Eeyup. Ember enjoyed the next round of the cider and soon any bothering thoughts have been pushed at the second plan nearly completely allowing his bothered sense to rest. The conversations that started right after that round were simply cheerful and relaxing. While talking the big barrel became emptier and emptier till it was totally out of cider; what was heartbreaking for Rainbow. The sun slowly started to go down; soon Ember got up and thanked the ponies for their generosity and good time they gave him this day.

- The day is close to its end and soon my beloved night sky will appear with all its beauty and glory. – Ember sighted and stretched his bones, followed by the crack that made the females shiver but made Big Mac look at him with some kind of respect. – I better go back to the grove.

It seemed like that the ponies did not expect it because right away they started to argue about it.

- You do not have to sleep outside anymore Ember. – said Rarity. – The nights are getting colder why would you even consider to go back to the grove while you can sleep in a warm bed.

- Rarity is right Ember. You might get a cold. – Said Fluttershy louder than usual.

- First of all girls… I do not have any place to stay. Besides that I do want to sleep outside. Walls made me feel like I am back in the Underground. I want to enjoy the space, the fresh air and the sky! Maybe later I will consider finding a place that I might call home.

- Ya could at least stay here at the farm. – Suggested AJ. – Ya might stay outside for as long your heart desires it but if the weather would change ya might find refuge in the barn.

- I admit it is a seductive thought. – Ember looked at the trees. – But for now I will stay at the grove.

- If ya say so… still our doors will always be open for ya Ember.

- Thank you.

- You’re welcome.

- There is one thing though. – Ember looked at Twilight. – I want to talk to you privately.

- Oh okay. No problem.

- Again my friends thank you for everything. – He bowed down. – If any of you will require my help do not hesitate and come to me. I will do my best to help you out.

The ponies nodded and started to slowly separate and go their own ways. Twilight asked Spike to wait for her at the library after the dragon was gone both of them were on the way to Ponyville.

- There is one thing that is bothering me Twilight Sparkle. – started Ember and got silent for a moment.

- What is bothering you?

- I am not sure to be honest.

- Lets give it a try anyway
- It is Princess Luna.

Twilight stopped and looked at Ember that right now was watching the sky. His esteem eyes have changed their color that right now reminded her of a clear midnight sky. Her feelings were already telling her that she knew what was bothering the guardians mind.

Chapter 5 - Nothing is as burdensome as a secret

View Online

Both of them remained silent for quite a while but it was Twilight that has broken the silence.

- What do you mean?

- As I said I am not sure. I do like her very much…. in fact even if we both are different in the appearance; in our very soul we are very similar. I have shown her the symphony of stones and while I connected with her, I saw pieces of her thoughts she was trying to hide… I could feel a slight hint of a presence that I know from somewhere. Something has happened to her I am sure of it.

- Yes you are right… - she stopped and changed her direction. – Follow me I will tell you everything during the way.

He did as she said and followed her along a path that was leading away from Ponyville, even if it was not really far away from it. For a while the Unicorn was silent but he could see that she was probably looking for proper words. Ember was patient but in his heart something that he did not feel for a very long time started to spread its seeds: Fear. He was not sure what he would hear soon, but that feeling already coughed him within its nets, made him think of other things that he could not really comprehend.

- As you probably know Princess Celestia is responsible for the rising and lowering of the sun. Princess Luna is the one who rise and lowers the moon.

Ember nodded and looked at the sky that slowly started to get dark. The sun started to hide behind the horizon with its beautiful mix of red and orange.

- Over one thousand years ago something unexpected happened; Princess Luna did not intend to lower the moon. Something has changed her… I am not really sure what it was; grief, anger maybe even sadness. Whatever the reason was, Princess Luna was not the same pony anymore. She has changed into a dark and evil creature that we call Night Mare Moon.

The way she said the name made him shiver, gladly it was barely noticeable. At least he hoped so.

- As I said Night Mare Moon opposed to lower the moon. Princess Celestia was trying as hard as possible to make her change her mind, but she failed and the moon remained at the sky of Equestria. – Twilights voice became sad while she continued. – The Princess knew that the pony in front of her was not her beloved small sister anymore: that is why she has been forced to take immediate action. She used the power of creation: It is known as the Elements of Harmony. With the help of the elements Princess Celestia managed to defeat Night Mare Moon, and in the end she banished her into the moon… where she remained imprisoned for one thousand years.

Ember stopped to walk; he looked down on the ground while in the same time the sun disappeared behind the horizon for good. The blaze of his eyes lit up the dark that he would barely accept as darkness. Now he realized what he saw in Luna’s eyes, he understood why he had the feeling that she understood his situation in a way no other pony or creature could do. The fear in his heart disappeared and the feeling of sadness took its place instead. Deep in his mind and heart he felt bad for her. Nobody deserved a punishment like that not even the greatest foe.

- Ember is everything alright?

The moon started slowly to appear on the sky. Its shine touched him gently on his skin what was like a remedy for his body and soul. It was like a long forgotten memory of somebody touching his cheek with a hand.

- I am fine Twilight Sparkle. I have just realized why I had the feeling that somehow we both were similar at something. I have found a living being in that foreign world that could understand me without any words.

Twilight looked at him with a bothered look on her face. Ember remained in this position while the world around them became darker. Right now the small misty blaze of his eyes, which were showing that he has fallen deeply into his clouded thoughts, lit up the environment with a strong, yet gentle light. Soon the blaze changed its color and form and Embers eyes became normal as she was used to it. The guardian shook his head several times and looked at the moon that was showing more and more of its shape.

- Excuse me Twilight that I let you wait like that.

- No problem Ember. We are not far away from the place anyway.

She turned around, knowing that the big creature was following her slowly with some distance between them, and yet Ember was holding on her without having any problems. The sounds of the night started to fill the air. The insects started their late orchestra, and the winds power changed as did its volume; like it would do it extra for the insects so they could continue their art to please those who enjoy it. Glow worms started to come out of their nests and gathered around Ember, what made an interesting looking light spectacle; he seemed not to see the small worms though. Twilight was not sure what was going on in his head. She could only create theories that would probably not cooperate with the things that were bothering him; she was not able to understand how he or Princess Luna was feeling at this point.

Both of them were imprisoned, both of them were alone for a time she could not imagine even with all her knowledge. The only thing she could do now was to feel pity and support them as good as possible, especially Ember that had a hard time in this world even if he was trying to hide it. Even if he did not have a face that could tell her what was bothering him, Twilight could see that the poor creature had problems with fitting in. Finally they have arrived at the place that Twilight wanted to show to him. They have entered a small forest that was not far from of Ponyville, one of many even if it was probably the smallest one. A path leaded them into a small clearing where the objective of their small journey was hiding between the trees. Ember that was following her, as did the glow worms that were following him, looked around.

There was only one thing in this glade that was not natural. Something made by hands or should it be: made by hooves? Regardless of the limbs that created it; there was a statue of a big shape, bigger than him that was for sure. The statute of a mare that was wearing strange looking pieces of armor or whatever it might be, standing in a imposing and yet aggressive looking position. The way the eyes were looking at him was unpleasant, it reminded him of many enemies he had encountered in the chamber; full of hatred and anger. If the Mare would not be a statue she would have probably attacked him already. Right away after he has seen the statue, he knew who she was even if he could not believe it: the statue of the Night Mare Moon… the statue of Luna.

Ember mumbled something in the dead language what made Twilights hair of her fur stand tall. He could not believe that this thing, that Mare that he was looking at was the Incarnation of the Night, the friend he really liked since he first meet her. He put a hand at the place where his mouth should be. If you would be standing behind the old guardian, you would probably think that he was fighting against throwing the cider out of his body. It was not the case though. He did fight against his thoughts that were overwhelming him: Ember did see flashbacks of himself of his state in the depths of the Underground. In the cursed chamber he was guarding for some crystals, which were the one who were guarding and imprisoning him. The Guardian he saw now was not the Ember he started to get used to. It was a brutal creature, cruel beyond imagination of any man.

A blood thirsty abomination that was being held on a short chain so he could not rampage along the darkness, acting mindless and yet behind the madness that was once holding him, was a mind, which was so sharp and dangerously intelligent, that it made him to something far more than a killing machine. It made him a monster that should have never again been allowed to walk on the surface. His shoulders started to go up and down, what would look like he was crying from behind, but then the unexpected growling that followed, would erase that thought right away, and would made any of us take some steps back from him. Ember remembered the fights he had during his long state in the chamber. The way he killed his enemies, would make even the oldest veterans of war that has seen and experienced cruelty at the highest rate puke in front of him.

Then finally the flashbacks ended and he regained control over his mind and body. The guardian was breathing heavily, if he was not wrong he could feel sweat on his skin. Twilight that was standing behind him has seen that the glow worms, which were closer to his head, were falling down on the ground. Most of them did not reach the ground though because they were set on fire by his blaze, that has became stronger with his anger what ended the life of the worms. The clearing has been enlightened like it would be on a sunny day. Ember could feel the vibration of the air coming from his friend that was probably scared by the sudden change of events. One last time he looked at the statute and then he turned around to her. His blaze has become normal, but the intensity was way smaller now what made the place darker so Twilight had some problems with looking into his eyes.

- Did I scare you? – Asked the guardian with a rather quiet tone that was showing the feeling of guilty.

- What was going on Ember? You suddenly started to growl and shake like you would have a fever.

- I had a flashback… of myself. Yet still it was not me I was looking at.

- What was it about?

- You do not want to know the details. The thing I have seen was not Ember; it was something that you have not met in the Underground.

- Oh Ember.

- I have seen what I was, what I have done while I was below the Earth. I have seen everything!

He stopped and then made a discussed sound, and then he started to yell with his demonic voice that would make any mortal pale of fear. He was so loud that the city of Ponyville could hear him yelling, but in the distance the words lost their meaning and it more reminded them of a thunder than yelling of a creature like him. The blaze came back rapidly and made Twilight look away from its blinding shine.

– That thing I have seen! A monster! Abomination! Something that should have stay in the Underground forever! CURSE UPON IT!

He stomped and made a small quake that nearly made Twilight fall on the ground.

- Even if I don’t recognize myself, it was me who was doing all those horrible things! Me Twilight me!

He roared as loud as possible but it was not a roar of anger or hate… It was roar of pain and suffering. Ember looked at the sky of the night that he loved so much since he saw it for the first time, after that he has regained control of his temper and feelings. Ungentle he has fallen on his butt and hid his face with his hands; he could feel the heat of his own eyes that was not hurting him. It was a nice kind of heat like the feeling of a good hot bath. Ember did not say anything, he did not move nor did he intend to do it now. The sound of hooves hitting the grassy ground filled his ears like thundering. Then he felt that Twilight touched him at his arm. Finally he let his hands go down and looked at his friend that was looking at him with a look he could not understand, and yet it made him feel a little bit better in his soul. If he had a soul trapped in this body.

- Tell me Ember. Would you do all those things again?

He got hit by that question, which somehow reminded him of the hit of the forehead strike of his old nemesis.

- No! Never! Never would I do those things again! I will never allow it. Never!

- See?

- What?

- You are concerned about the guardian that you were in the past, but you should not focus on it. The thing that really counts now is who you are now, not what you have been before. Whatever you once did it were not your own actions, it were the crystals that made you do all those things.

- Still I feel guilty for that.

- That is normal Ember. But as you already said you would never, never again do those things. That is something that is very important. Your faith lies now in your own hooves and I am sure that you will do everything that lies within your power to make those words come true.

- I….

Twilight hugged his arm. Right away he felt that tears were falling on his skin. She was crying silently for his fate, she was crying for him…

- Do not forget that you are not alone anymore. You have friends that will be there for you. If you will ever need help we will be there for you.

While she was saying it his eyes started to slowly open wide. Even if he heard it not for the first time it was always shocking him.

You are not alone anymore.

He still could not really believe in those words. The time that has passed was way too short to make the feeling of loneliness and of abandonees go away for good. While he was among his friends though, feelings like that were blown away and the feeling of acceptance filled his heart. Ember was surely a different species that did not belong into this world. He did not meet any kind of creatures that were like him. Every enemy he has encountered was a creature that did not match his species but the way they were acting, reminded him of his own actions before he has been released from the chains of custody. The old guardian was sure; whatever he would do, regardless of his deeds that might rise with the new day; he would never fit in this world.

Yet all those thoughts were shaken and nearly torn apart by Twilights words, by the words of the ponies he has meet. He was different, he was not a part of their world and yet they were welcoming him with open arms, offering him their friendship. Friendship to a creature like him… even after all he has done they were still offering friendship. They even ignored his appearance and accepted him and his very strange nature; Ember was not sure if he would have done something like that for a creature like him.

- I am not alone… - he thought and looked at the sky. – I am not alone.

- Thank you Twilight. Thank you for staying with me.

- We all have bad days or moments that occur Ember. But good friends will always be there for you regardless how dark it might be around you. You did the same back in the Underground; you faced the Dragon while you did not know what friendship was. The Magic of Friendship is truly wonderful.

- The Magic of Friendship?

Twilight giggled, washed her tears away and answered with a happy smile on her face:

- Friendship is Magic Ember.

Friendship is Magic… an interesting thought yet so abstract so blur for him, but it might have explained why he has encountered the Dragon of the Depths. He thought the reason for this were the feeling of guilty, that he was owing the ponies his freedom but why would he put his life on stake at a point like that? He was free after thousand years of his custody, free from the crystals, free from their manipulation and control. Ember could have just leaved this place and the ponies would have met a grim fate below the surface; he might have died during the fight what would have ended his freedom. Still he has protected them, paid with his blood. In the end Ember has saved them and ended the old hatred that was between him and his fierce nemesis.

Maybe Twilight was right? Maybe it was the Magic of Friendship that shown him this way and made him act like that? He was not sure but he could reconsider it as a possibility, either way he had to find out more about that unknown field of magic.

- Friendship is Magic. – He repeated and looked at the sky. – I would have never guessed, never imagined that such thing might exist.

- Well once I have learned that there are things in our world, that cannot be explained or even proven, but it does not mean that they do not exist. You have shown us the Symphony of Stone Ember. A thing I would have never believed to exist to.

After a short while Ember decided to tell Twilight about his last discovery while he was alone in the forest.

- This is fascinating! You actually talked with a tree?

- Yes I know it sounds silly… nearly insane but yes I talked with a tree. – To be honest after I started to talk with you, things like a talking tree were not so shocking at all. – He thought.

- This is something that would truly interest the princess! Of course it is know that trees are full of life, but nopony would have ever guessed that they might be living creatures like us!

- Twilight I have to ask you to keep it a secret… at least for a while.

- Why!? – Every time he asked her something like that she sounded deeply depressed by it. The scholar in her wanted to study it further and probably share the knowledge with others, which was the thing that Ember did not want her to do.

- Tomorrow we will meet your Princess, the High Council and probably the Magi Court. I am not sure what to expect. Politics and Magi never really worked together and I am afraid that I might enter a field, which might not be easy to leave.

- I am sure it will not be that bad as you think. I was actually thinking about a similar thing that has once happen long time ago.

- And that appeared to be?

- The first encounter with the Minotaurs.

He was going to ask her if there were actual living Minotaurs in this country, but after thinking twice he did not ask her. Seriously why would he even bother to do so? He was talking with Ponies! Why would the Minotaurs be something shocking for him at all especially after his conversation with a tree?

- I assume their appearance was unexpected?

- According to the old books and scrolls it was a one big political problem. Actually do you know what a Minotaur is?

- A Minotaur is a mighty humanoid creature with a bovine appearance; complete with hooves and horns.

- Exactly! As you probably are aware the Minotaurs are huge creatures, nearly like you Ember. The first encounter ended in a raid on a small settlement. What has been taken as an act of war, but gladly the Parents of Princess Celestia were able to stop any aggression on both sides. Personally they went to meet with the leader of the Minotaur Clan, to talk about the accident that gladly ended only with the destruction of the buildings. The Chief explained that the ponies appeared out of nowhere, and started to build their settlement on very sacred place of their race. What made the younger and inexperienced Minotaurs attack them in anger they could not control. The old Chief punished the younglings for their barbarism and asked the royal Alicorns for forgiveness.

- Alicorns?

- This is the proper term for Princess Celestias kind.

- All in one. – Ember joked around and barely held the upcoming laugh attack.

- A very old joke… I am not surprised that you came out with it too. Any way the Chief showed grief for the assault on the pony settlement. As an act of good will he offered supplies and help in the rebuilding of the settlement, of course far away from their sacred land. Besides that he gave the Alicorns a totem that he had around his neck. According to the books about the Minotaurs, the totem that has been given to the Alicorns was the most precious thing a Minotaur could ever have or give to another living being. Every new generation received their own totem, which represented the spirit that was guiding over the Clan. Passed by father to son as from mother to daughter; the Alicorns were touched by this personal sacrifice and offered the Minotaurs Friendship; that has sealed one of the first very old Alliances of the past. The Chief has been invited to meet the Matriarchs and the High Council, what was indeed a historical act that has probably changed the fate of Equestria.

- Are you suggesting that my own appearance might change something in this land?

- I am certain of it. You have a very big knowledge and connection to Magic Ember. If you would be willing to share those things, after you have found out that we are ready to learn them from you, you might start a new chapter in the history of Magic.

- Your points do sound confident, but you are only concentrating on the positive things Twilight Sparkle. You keep telling me that my knowledge might change the world. You have seen what I can do with magic, but did you actually think about the fact that my knowledge might not only be based on good things?

- What do you mean?

- Magic is like water Twilight. It is a very important element of life, without it nothing could exist in that world, and even if it gives life it can take it away too. Magic works in the same way. How can you be so sure that my knowledge of Magic is based only on the things that can make the life better? What if I know things that might bring fourth destruction that is beyond your imagination?

- It is obvious that magic has its destructive ways but you have never shown them…

- I did not show nor use them because I did not have to do it Twilight. Magic has it rules as you know; if I am able to solve things without magic I do it the ordinary way. My memory is still shrouded in a thick mist, but slowly things start to shine through it, like the shine of the sun does through the clouds. Magi were nearly always arrogant and lazy enough to use magic for the easiest tasks what often brought forth chaos. To be honest I try to avoid using magic as much as possible, because it was magic that brought many bad things upon the world.

- That is why Magic should be taken seriously! We must learn to control it so no harm might be done to others around us.

- That is true, but even if I do believe in the good intentions of the Magi, there will always be a black sheep among the herd that might abuse the knowledge. You have seen the story of Zecora… I am afraid if I will reveal too much, it will end the same way it like for the Zhevras.

- What will you tell them then?

- I will tell them that first of all I have to learn more about their own knowledge of Magic. After I find out what you are capable of, I will think twice about what I might share with them. I still think the best thing would be to only leave a trace so you can reach the knowledge alone within the time.

- It would have been boring if you would simply give us the answers.

- The scholar has spoken! But I do not promise anything Twilight Sparkle.

- I still do hope though that we will learn something for you.

- Hope always dies last; regardless of the race. – Ember laughed with a lowered tone. – Talking about it now will not bring fourth anything. It is really late now I think we should go rest. Tomorrow will be a very important day.

- Yes you are right. Oh well I think it time for me to go home.

- Need a ride? – Ember let his wings appear out of his back. The sound of spreading leather filled the air for a bit scaring away the glow worms that were behind him.

- No thanks. After all that food and drinks I rather stay on the solid ground.

- As you wish. – Ember got up and bowed down before her. – Sleep well Twilight Sparkle.

- Good Night Ember.

With one mighty swing of his wings he catapulted himself into the air. After his wings have caught the wind he looked down at Twilight that was looking at him with bright eyes. He did not see that his wings were now looking like the night sky, like with the sun shine they made a spectacular effect in the night. He waved at her and started to fly by his own. The sound of his wings was barely noticeable; like a prowling cat makes no noise while it prowls on its prey. Ember had some problems with finding his grove, but after a while he finally recognized the place where he has found the poor Sugar Heart. After his rather loud landing Ember made his wings disappear in his back, so they would not make any problems while walking through the trees.

While he followed the path he has created during his small walks, he finally noticed that he was being followed by the glow worms. For a while he was looking at them dancing in the air not far from his head, but those worms reminded him so much of the Underground insects, that soon he lost the interest. Together with his small companions he found his glade and for some reason it felt great to be back at this place, something he knew that was sure, but he could not really remember it. The wind was slightly moving the crones of the trees, bringing a nice and chilly breeze that was like a remedy for him and with the breeze he felt the smell that he knew only from one pony or should he say Alicorn? He felt her presence for quite a while. He was not sure why she did not came out of her hideout, but he was sure that she was there since his sudden and overwhelming rage attack.

- It is nice to meet you again Princess Luna. – He turned around and saw her sitting on the stone where he showed her the wonderful symphony. – But I just wish you did not have to see my act at the clearing.

- It is nice to see you again too Ember. Please do not call me Princess… titles among friends always makes me shiver.

- I will keep it in mind, though I beg your pardon if I will forget it in the future.

Luna smiled at him soon though her smile disappeared and signs of pity appear on her face.

- Besides that there is nothing to be ashamed of Ember. I understand how you felt back there; sometimes we have to let those things out… regardless in what way.

- I did sound like a fool back there…

- More like a sudden hurricane that appeared out of nowhere.

Ember laughed about the expression that was actually not so wrong.

- Thank you that you came by Luna, but I do hope that you will not get any problems because of that…

- Everything that had to be done has been done. My visit is on a break.

Ember approached her, sat down on the ground and leaned his back against the stone. The first thing he has done was to look up into the sky what made him gasp right away; what made Luna giggle above him. Right away he started to tell her what occurred during his first day in Ponyville. Luna was a great listener, though while he was talking, several times he heard her quietly laughing about things that happened to him. Especially at the point where he was fighting that strange device, which has been stuck between his horns, she started to laugh so hard that Ember had to wait a while till she regained control. The guardian could swear that he even felt that a tear that landed on his head. Soon his rather colorful story continued till he reached the point where he saw the statue of Night Mare Moon.

- I did hear you telling Twilight Sparkle that you have felt something, while you have connected with me for the first time.

- I am not sure what it was Luna but even now I do sense it… something unnatural and yet so familiar.

- Can it be that you have felt it in the Underground?

- It might be… I am really not sure what to think about it.

An awkward silence followed, for there was something Ember would like to know, but he did not have the gut to ask her directly. He did not want to open old wounds or bother her with questions. Luna looked down to him, her long hair that had the color of the sky and that was glittering like it, was slowly floating in the air not far from him; he moved his head up to her and looked into those pretty teal eyes. As predicted he saw his *eyes* in the reflection, what made him think how she was not disgusted by his appearance.

- You want to talk about it hmm?

- Is my behavior so predictable that you have notice it?

- I do notice that you are bothered by something.

Ember sighted, he saw how his exhalation went up into the sky and disappeared out of sight after it left the reach of his fiery blaze.

- My lost memory does not make my life easier. – He saw that a glow worm was flying towards him; he stretched his pointing finger and waited till the worm landed on it. Ember did not see that Luna was watching him while he did that. It was a cute moment for her for him it was some sort of a memory aid. – I do believe whatever I have felt while I connected with you for first time, that I have felt in the darkness of the Underground. The trace is nearly gone and yet I still can sense it… this circumstance is bothering me deeply.

- Do you want to hear my story?

- I do not want to open old wounds or bring back bad memories.

- Those things are the part of my past. They cannot be forgotten or pushed away regardless how dark that time was. Besides that sometimes we should talk about it. It always made me feel better.

- I see. So be it then! If you want to talk about it I will listen. After your story I will… show you my memories, which are right now bothering the peace of my mind and soul.

Luna open her wings and landed gracefully not far away from him, with her hoof she mentioned him to follow her what he did quietly. Both of them headed directly to the small pound, followed by many glow worms that seemed to have no end. After they have reached it Luna pointed him to sit down. After he did that she went behind him and leaned with her back against his. Ember did not expect that but he remained still, hoping that she has found a comfortable position:

- As Twilight already told you over a thousand years ago something terrible happened to me. Our reign was peaceful and full of happiness: we did our duty with proper care and responsibility. There was one thing that was very hurting me back then. The ponies were playing and enjoying their life during the day, enjoying the sun and everything that followed after my sister made it appear in the sky, but once my turn has come to raise the moon, the ponies were tired and went to sleep. All my hard work has been overslept… I was deeply disappointed and hurted by it.

While she was talking Ember was watching the stars, enjoying her work that none artist could have ever put on a painting. Of course he was listening patiently to her.

- One day I simply did not lower the Moon because I was angry at my subjects that I loved with all my heart. Then I turned into a dark and misshapen creature, which is being called Night Mare Moon till this day. The grief and anger that started to boil in me change me into that monstrosity… that had only one goal: to let the night last forever. My sister was trying to reason with me, but I did not listen… the moon remained at the sky. Those actions eventually forced my sister to use the powers of creation that we know as the Elements of Harmony. With its power she managed to defeat me and then she banished me into the moon… for a thousand years. All alone for so long… It is now good three years ago since I have returned from the moon and thanks to your new friends, Night Mare Moon has been defeated for good and I was finally free of her. But the life was not easy for me…

Ember could feel that she was shaking, fighting against herself and her sadness that seemed to overwhelm her.

- Everypony I knew was gone. The world has changed… there where were once fields are now cities and settlements, the way the ponies speak changed too! You cannot imagine how hard it was to me to adapt, and leave the old archaic dialect which I was using back then. Gladly after many hours of learning I managed to change my vocabulary for good, even if I sometimes simply forget it.

- Still I would consider you lucky Luna.

- How’s that?

- You were not entirely alone after you returned back to your former self. Your sister was there for you in the probably hardest time.

- Yes she was there for me. I do not think that I would have made it without her help and love. She was there any time I was in time of need… I must have been a really bothersome sister. She was so busy with ruling over the land, and then she was taking care of me: I am afraid that she had no time for herself at all.

- I do believe that regardless of your words, she was happy that her younger sister returned back to her life. I cannot imagine how hard it had been for her, to do all those things for the sake of your subjects.

- Celestia was always a strong and very, very good mare. I’ve always looked up to her, she was my greatest example right after my parents; and then I have probably deeply hurt her with my actions.

- You are her sister Luna, her family. Sometimes a beloved per… pony makes a mistake that others cannot understand, but they will, whatever has occurred, forgive you and support you with all they’ve got. That is how a family works.

- Yes that is true. The only thing that I still cannot do, is to forgive myself for all what I have done.

- I deeply understand you Luna. We cannot change the past, the things we have done cannot be undone. They will haunt us for the rest of our life… - He sighted. – Twilight is right though. We hold our fate in our hooves now! – Automatically he looked at his hands only to ensure that they had their normal shape.

- We might feel guilty for our actions but they are a part of us now. They have made us the way we are now. The thing is only never to forget them, so we might never repeat the mistakes of the past in the future.

- I will never forget what I have done Ember and I will never again allow it to happen.

- The same counts for me Luna.

- Well that is the end of my story. – He felt that she gently hit his ribs with her elbow. – You said that you would show me some of your memories that are bothering you.

- Yes that is what I have said. – Ember hesitated. – But now I am not sure if I should show them though…

- I would like to see them. – She giggled. – If you will not do it by yourself, I will be forced to use my authority as a Princess and force you to talk.

It was sure that she was joking about it, but still there was more truth in this sentence than she was pretending to show.

- The thing is… that the memory that is haunting me even now, is full of violence, darkness and brutality… I barely held it out myself. A part of me does not want you to see me like that.

- Is it really that bad?

- It is a living nightmare. It follows me like a shadow… I am afraid that more memories like that will appear eventually, showing me what I was doing and what I’ve once was.

Luna was silent for a moment but the she said full of confidence:

- Regardless how bad it will be… I want to see them and help you with your burden, as you did with mine.

Ember sighted. With a finger tip he was touching the sharp end of his horn for a while. Then he put his left arm behind his back and waited till she put her hoof in it. Right after she has touched his hand the connection has been established. Like last time Ember got shocked by something, that brought forth unpleasant stinging pain in his mind. It was sure that more had to be hidden behind it. Why would something like that happen only if he connected with Luna? Because she was an Alicorn? It might have explained it but in the same way it remained a mystery. The connection was stronger than with any other average living being that he has connected in the last days. Only the connection with the Grandmother might have been similar strong as the connection with Luna. Ember and even Luna has felt the shock with a rather stronger intensity, probably because they were leaning against each other. For a moment both remained silent then the guardian asked:

- Are you ready?

- I am.

- For what you are going to see, nobody can be prepared. – Thought Ember and hopped that the connection was not so deep, that she could hear his thoughts. Slowly he opened his mind and started to send her the last flashbacks that made his blood boil, what made his old defense mechanism come back. His muscles became tense, the senses razor sharp but his mind and soul remained calm. Ready for everything, that might have lurked beyond the never ending darkness as it always have been. He could see the pictures in the same time as Luna:

The tunnels were the first things that appeared out of his mind. For Luna it was like she would see his old world through his very eyes. His blaze lit up the walls of the never ending tunnels, scaring of every smaller living form that was afraid of him and the light he was creating. Soon a terrible sound went through their minds; the well known shockwave of pure magic went straight through the tunnels and grabbed him into the air. It seemed like Luna could feel it the same way he was feeling it now, the energy started to vaporize his body and send him back to the cursed chamber that has been his home for thousands of years. Then it started… the pictures of his flashback were mostly very blur, it was hard to identify what he was doing, but after his demonic roar has shattered through the chamber followed by another roar, it was sure that Ember has encountered something below the Earth.

The everlasting battle for the crystals that were part of his live, has been shared with Luna that was watching it with an open mouth. The power with that Ember has charged the unknown creature was colossal and soon the sounds of breaking bones, ripped flesh and spoiled blood echoed in the darkness. The painful roars of the trespasser were the worst for both of them. The flashback ended after the creature has fallen dead to his dragon like feet. More scenes like that followed but it happen so fast, the only thing that could be really seen were merely fast movements, followed by painful sounds that would freeze the blood in your veins. Then they ended and the only thing they could have seen were the massacred bodies of the creatures, which have entered the chamber.

Embers acting changed rapidly, his claw like hands appeared full of blood and remaining flesh parts, that has mixed itself on his skin. The guardian looked up to the crystals that were attached to the wall above him, his hand started to shake even more. The flashback ended with Embers depressed roar and his strike against the crystals that remained unharmed by it. It was over. Everything that they have seen was darkness and a fog that could not be penetrated even by the light of the sun. Luna was shaking; he could feel that right before he has hit the crystals, she opened up the wings that were now tickling him with their soft feathers. Ember made a sad sound and let his ears go down; they remained in that position for a long time. Then he felt something unusual, a light blue light filled the night with its shine; magic was in the air he could feel and smell it. Whatever Luna was doing right now it was looking beautiful for him.

- May your soul find peace in this new world.

The light that came out of her horn, went into his soul through the established connection. Something has been moved, and like a small stone can start an avalanche her sudden magical interfering did something. Embers eyes changed their color into the color of the milky mist but the difference was that the light of Luna went through it. New flashbacks appeared in his mind:

He was traveling through the tunnels till he has reached the big green mushroom forest. The insects that were catching the seeds of these mushrooms, were all over the place like the glow worms right now at the grove. A strange sound went through the air, he followed it till he finally found the source of it; a strange looking animal was lying on a broken mushrooms hat, breathing hard. The animal looked like a very strange dog with a purple like skin and a mouth that reminded more of a beak than a dog mouth. Not big in the stature it seemed to be very agile and fast. After it saw Ember approaching it weak growling was the first welcoming sound he heard from the creature. It was injured. The color of the blood reminded of silver; slowly a blood strain was dropping down its shoulder, creating a small puddle.

After the growling did not work, the dog like creature made a sad sound what made its strange looking ears go down. Then Ember saw that the dog was not alone; it seemed the animal in front of him was a mother. Four small cubs ran out of their hideout, and started to play not far from their mother. Ember expected that something gruesome would happen now but he was wrong. The guardian reached the dog and touched the hurt shoulder, that shown signs of teeth of the predator that attacked it. Ripped flesh and muscles; if the dog would not die of the blood loose an infection would kill it eventually, after a long and painful time. His hand started to glow in the light green color, muscles and flesh started to grow back together; the dog made a terrible howl what scared the cubs in a way that it made them freeze in place.

Soon though it was over and there was no trace of the wound on its shoulders. Slowly and rather weak the dog got up, and moved the left front leg with a funny surprised look in its yellow eyes. That animal had four eyes in total, all of them in different sizes. It started to wave with its tail, barked at him happily and in the end it started to lick the hand that healed her. Both of them could hear how Ember was laughing quietly, patting the dog and the cubs that finally came to him. Similar flashback like that came by way faster though. Him planting back a wonderful looking flower that has been ripped out of its place, him holding a egg that he has catch by accident and brought it back to its nest, where strange looking birds with four wings were waiting for the thing that belonged to them.

Then the last flashback appeared. Ember was on his probably never ending travel through the tunnels. Eventually he has reached a huge cave, where he has found a strange looking stone formation in the middle of the cave. While he was investigating it the magical shockwave came by and grabbed him in the air, the stones that were not far from him suddenly broke and a yellow green liquid thing came out of it. The stones were eggs! Before he did vaporize as he always did when the crystals called him, Ember heard a terrible roar that he knew way too well. It was the painful roar of his former nemesis.

- So this is how we became enemies friend… - Thought Ember loud without noticing it.

Then the flashback ended and as did the connection. He could not feel his arm and somehow he could not let it go down but he did not bother about it. Way to confuse by the flashbacks he remained silent.

- You were more than a guardian of the crystals Ember. – Said Luna with a slight weakened voice. – You were more than the beast you refereed to be! You have shown mercy and pity for the weaker and even aided them. And that flower! What was it?

- I did call it simply Beauty. – answered Ember a bit embarrassed. – It was the only flower that I have ever found below the Earth. I could not let it die after I have seen what have happened to it. But before that flashback… I did not remember any of those things.

- How do you feel with it?

- Since I have seen my rampage and deeds in the chamber, I believed that I was a monster without any feelings. That the only thing I could do was killing, that it was my only purpose in the Underground. But right now… I do not know what to say!

- Your flashbacks showed you once more that it was not you that has done those terrible deeds… - She gasped what made Ember feel uncomfortable in his heart. – It was the manipulation of those crystals that forced you to defend their existence. – He felt that she got up soon after that she was sitting in front of him. – I thought my fate has been bad but after I have seen what has happened to you… It was nothing compared to it.

- Luna…

- After you have been freed by our friends you have chosen to leave the Underworld, the only world you knew and called home… you entered a new path completely alone. Yes the ponies were with you, but they were not the same to you as Tia was for me.

- Tia? You mean Princess Celestia?

- Yes.

- It would have been easier for me to know, that somebody was waiting for me on the surface. Family, maybe old friends but I have spent thousands of years in that cursed chamber. It is sure that my own being cannot be natural; if I would be a simple mortal I would have died long time ago. The same counts for my family… if I actually had one.

- I do think you had a family.

- Even if I had a family, I do not believe that any of them are still alive… I do not even remember when I have been send down to the Underground or for what reason. Whatever I have done it must have been something terrible, otherwise I cannot explain why I would have those chains on me all the time. – He looked away from her and saw his reflection on the surface of the water. The fiery eyes closed a bit while he watched himself, but then he could not stand his own sight. He growled quietly and hit the surface with his claws what made him look even worse.

– I do not even know if that what I see is really my true self. What if I have been changed too? What if it is the reason I have been imprisoned in the first place?

He stopped to talk. Questions after questions appeared in his shattered mind, and no answer has been given to any of them. Even if he was glad that his predictions, that he was a ruthless monster have been proven to be wrong, the fact that there were so many other things that were lasting on his mind ruined it with a single blow.

- I will find peace only if I will find the answers I am looking for… - He thought looked back to Luna that was watching him with those sad eyes.

- What if I really am what I am? Maybe I am a product of some sick magic research? What if I simply do not belong to this world?

Suddenly Luna smiled at him, she took off her shoe that she was wearing on her right front leg, then she touched his chest where his heart was beating its own symphony.

- You have a heart as any other living creature, a good heart that right now suffers terribly. You have eyes that are special in their own way, ears with that you listen to the sounds of the world and even beyond. – She giggled lovely. – They do remind me of pony ears. – She continued her cheerful statements. – You have a very intelligent yet troubled mind. You are able to show feelings, you can laugh, enjoy things you see or hear around you, and you suffer as all ponies do sometimes through their life.

All the time he was not looking at her, after the water has cleared itself he was watching his reflection again. Then he felt that Luna touched his chin and moved his head so he could look into her eyes. – And the most important thing Ember. – She let his chin go and touched his chest three times. – You have a soul.

Ember could not say anything, he could not move and he even stopped to breath. The feeling in his chest was overwhelming, like something heavy has fallen from his shoulders. He made a strange sound that was actually a started, but not ended word. He was trying to say something, but he just couldn’t do anything right now. The glow worms were now all around them, the shine of the moon changed in an unexplainable way; what seemed to be Luna’s work. Then something unexpected happened: Ember felt suddenly so relieved he let out a long relaxed sight, like he has finally let something go that was lasting on him for so long. Right with the sight some sort of magical pulse went through his body and created a wonderful twilight atmosphere around them.

He did not know that this sudden reaction would create a powerful presence in the structure of Magic that every pony, close or far would feel. With each heart beat new magical pulse went through the air. Whatever it might be, after all those years he has spent in his dark kingdom, he finally felt like things would go straight into a good future.
Luna was the one that was speechless now. The unexpected magical pulses, which went through the air, had a big influence on her and apparently on all living things, because the animals started to gather around them in a secure distance. The shock held on her only for few seconds though; she regained her majestic posture quiet fast. Ember has closed his eyes after his sight, and now he was in a state that she could be jealous off, but in her heart she felt happy for him.

It seemed like he has not only regained some spiritual peace, even his posture shown noticeable changes: his muscles that seemed to be tense all the time finally relaxed. Ember opened his eyes that have changed their color. Right now the colors somehow reminded her of the very rare blue moon, the blue shine did not remain for long though and soon the fiery blaze came back.

- You will eventually find a place in this world Ember I am sure of it.

- I am sorry Luna…

- Sorry for… - Ember pulled her to him and hugged her gently.

- For this… thank you… thank you so much.

Luna did join the hug that really came out deeply from his heart, which seemed to have finally stopped to bleed.

- I wish the best for you as you did for me Incarnation of the Night.

The way he just called her was something unusual; nopony has ever called her in such way. She did meet ponies that have praised her night but none of them was like Ember. His fascination and love towards the night, seemed to be stronger than anything she has ever encountered. He has shown care for her, as did her sister and her new friends she has found after her return. Her life could be finally considered normal. Embers sudden hug reminded her of the reunion with her sister, after she has been freed of her dark powers, which were controlling her. Even sometimes if the past would gnaw at her, she knew that she would find support coming from her sister, the ponies she calls friends and now from Ember, the pitiful creature that was her soul mate.

What made her think that their first meeting was not a simple coincidence. The old guardian let go first, he was scratching the back side of his head after he let go; she saw something only for a short time but she was sure that she saw something. Luna thought that she has seen Ember shed a tear, but she did not point it out though. The magical presence was gone, the animals started to go back into the wood to find sleep, while the two started another friendly chat, that both of them missed every time their ways split up.

While they were completely focused on each other enjoying the talking, laughing and even some singing; that has shown Embers voice was not that bad at all, even for a creature with his strange voice. They did not notice that they were being watched from above. On one of the clouds, that was floating in the area Princess Celestia was sitting and watching those two: since she found out that Luna has met with Ember, she was watching her meetings with him. Even if she did believe that Ember would harm her little sister, she did not take any chances. Instead of her older sister defender nature, she felt proud for Luna’s actions and with each moment passed by, she felt more and more pity for Ember that has experienced a gruesome fate.

The time passed incredibly fast and soon Luna looked up to the sky, her natural instinct told her that the time of lowering the moon was at hand. Her little sister pointed at the moon, Ember nodded and got up and stretched his bones, the crack of them she could hear even here in the sky, what made her and Luna shiver. Luna was already on her way home but then Ember called her back, because she has forgotten her shoe what made her smile. After everything has been checked, Luna left Ember and flew back with her immense speed back to the castle. Celestia was watching the guardian for a while and noticed surprised that he started to meditate. Soon though she left the cloud and flew back to the castle where she would raise the sun and bring forth a new day.

She knew that this day might be a day that could change the fate of Equestria forever, and it was her responsibility to keep and preserver the peace that has lasted for many years. She was there and felt the magic pulses that Ember started to emit after Luna’s speech. It was impressive, and fearsome in the same time, to feel what kind of power dwelled in him. Celestia begged her parents for their support, strong will and courage for the upcoming meeting that she would desperately need. Her silhouette flew through the sky and soon she reached her home in the right time. With her arrival she flew up high where she stretched her front legs above her head. The sun appeared on the horizon and brought forth a new day for the land of Equestria. Hopefully a day that would not end in a disaster. As she has ordered, one of her personal guards was waiting for her at the balcony. He bowed down before her and said:

- Your Highness everything is running according to the plan.

- These are good news Storm Chaser. – Celestia lowered her tone a bit. – Thank you for your time you are free to go now.

- Princess Celestia there is one more thing you should hear.

- And that would be?

- The Magi Court and the High Council have decided to improve the security by adding several things to the list. Please take a look at this.

The Pegasus gave her a small note that has been sealed with the mark of the Court. She cracked it up with her magic, opened it hasty and read the small message. After she saw what they were asking for, Celestia felt that a cold shiver ran down her spine. Once more she asked her parents for support, for that bidding might affect the upcoming meeting in an unpredictable way.

Chapter 6 - His sacrifice for the greater good

View Online

A terrifying roar ripped through the air of the Canterlot train station, followed by two bodies of Pegasus Ponies, which have been thrown through the air like they would weight nothing. The royal guards were unharmed by Embers sudden attack, only few bruises and cuts: the worst thing that could have happen to them, could be only hurt pride. The ponies that arrived together with the guardian, were trying to calm him down, but it was already too late, his anger was dominating every rational thought. He could not believe what the ponies asked him to do, or even more precise demanded him to do! Twilight was talking the Captain of the Canterlot Royal Guard called Shining Armor, according by her friends the stallion was her older brother. Right now the big bro stood between two lines of fire; his orders and his sister. Even though Ember could see that he did not like the order he has received, he still had to do it; an order is an order! It has to be done!

- Listen Twilight… If there would be any other option I would have never come up with this.

- Shining Armor you can’t be serious?! – Yelled the smaller unicorn at her big brother that seemed to grow small in front of her. – This is one of the most unethical things I have ever heard of! Who gave you an order like that!?

- It was Princess Celestia Twi….

After they all heard that, Embers rage grew even stronger, as did the blaze of his fiery eyes that seemed to cross its limits. Once more he looked at the Royal Guards that were standing in an impressive formation, regardless if they were on the walls or even the roofs, they have been stationed at very good strategic points. The ponies were trying to calm him down, but every time he saw the chains, which were floating a bit over Shining Armors head, his anger came back rapidly.

- This can’t be true… - said Twilight depressed. – Princess Celestia would have never come up with something so crude and barbaric!

- It was the High Council and the Magi Court, which have asked for her permission to use those chains, as an extra security.

Answered Shining Armor and showed her the heavy looking hand chains.

– Those chains have only one purpose: block magic. Once it will be attached to a living being, it will prevent any connection with the magic energy.

Twilight looked at the chains with a disgusted face. She could not believe what was going on right now!

The day started nearly perfect. Ember contacted each of them telepathically, and asked where they would have to gather before the trip. After a short debate, they have decided to meet at the Town Hall. From there, they would go to the Ponyville Train Station, where a private train would transport them to Canterlot. The ponies noticed right away, that Ember was acting differently. His tense posture was gone, and even his fiery eyes seemed to look different. Maybe it was just their imagination though, because of the heat that was visiting the land. Even if Twilight could see that he was acting really cool, it was not sure what was going on in his head. Their short, yet very interesting conversation about Magic did not make her find any sleep last night.

His knowledge of Magic was simply remarkable, especially the healing magic that gave Sugar Heart a chance for a normal life. Yet his words about the possibility that he knows spells, that could bring forth only destruction, were really bothering her. Maybe he was right? Maybe it would have been better, if the ponies would continue the magical studies on their own? She managed to push those thoughts away, at least for the meantime.
The citizens of Ponyville surprised Ember with a small ceremonial greeting; the children together with Cheerilee greeted him with a song, the Mayor amused him with a short speech. Out of the crowd Sugar Hearth, that was being followed by her parents, jumped right into his hands and gave him something that she held in her mouth. It was a painting of her and him playing with a ball.

The guardian seemed to be touched by her small gift, which was actually the first gift he has received during his short state in Ponyville. Right away he praised her work, and started to present her art to his friends, each of them knew that the greatest gift for him was to hear the small filly laugh happily. Her parents brought a rather big wicker basket that was filled with food and drinks. To Embers great joy, Cheery Berry made him her famous carrot soup, what greatly increased his humor. Right after that Mrs. and Mr. Cake appeared together with their children that right now were healthy and full of life. The guardian received all sorts of sweets and cakes, which have been properly stored in a box, Pinkie Pie called it the Jumbo Gumbo Box, what seemed to be very popular in those days.

Twilight felt happy for him; right now he experienced the gratitude for his deeds, what made the guardians chest swallow with pride and happiness. For some reason she noticed that he looked at her and gave her a small nod that said more than words could ever say. In the end Granny Smith, together with Apple Bloom and Big Mac, gave him a basket with the most wonderful looking apples their harvest have brought forth, along with some cider they have stored in some sort of thermos. The time for their journey to Canterlot was at hand, what has been announced by the conductor, but a problem nopony has for seen appeared on the stage. Ember could not enter the vehicle because of his horns. Regardless how he was trying to do it, his horns were simply not cooperating.

The guardian suggested that he would follow them from the sky, but the ponies doubted that he would be able to keep up. Stubborn as he was though he decided that he would do it anyway, the ladies took the gifts from him and the journey began.
Nearly the entire time the girls were checking on him, only to see that he was actually flying faster than the train. He even landed on the ground and was running for a while. His laughter was louder than the sounds of the machines and even of the wind. Sooner or later the guardian got bored by his small game, which is why he landed on a wagon and enjoyed the landscape from it, till they finally reached Canterlot. Twilight’s heart always was filled with happiness, each time she saw her old home again,

but the surprise, which was awaiting them, was truly unexpected. It seemed like nearly the entire Royal Guard has been gathered, awaiting their arrival or would it be more appropriate to say Embers arrival? After they put their first steps on the Canterlot train station, her brother Shining Armor appeared, and greeted them all in a very formal way but, through his helmet he winked at his small sis what made her smile happily. Then her older brother started a very short speech, explaining the extra security measures that have been prepared by the bidding of the Princess and the High Council.

- I have to warn you Mr. Ember, that there is one thing I’ve been ordered to do.

Embers posture became tense right away and with a slight tone he asked:

- And that would be?

Shining Armor sighted and he called out two names. Right away two Royal Guards appeared behind the formation, holding heavy looking chains in their mouths.

- I have been ordered to put those chains on you Mr. Ember. I feel ashamed that you witness such act from our side, but you have to understand, that you are going to meet the most important ponies in all of Equestria. Without them you will not be allowed to enter the city.

The two Pegasus Ponies started to approach him slowly, with each step they became more tens as did Ember that was watching them with wide open eyes.

- I have to ask you to put those chains on you Mr. Ember. It was not my decision but an order is an order. It has to be done.

Then the perfect day ended after the Royal Guards came closer to him. After his mighty roar Ember hit both of them with his wing, and gave them a free flying lesson without harming them.

That’s the story….

The entire Royal Guard took defensive postures, and waited for any act of violence from his side. He did not intend to harm any of them, but he could not stand the fact, that they were trying to put chains on him. He was wearing chains for thousands of years, without even knowing that they were attached to him. The pain he had to endure, after the chains appeared on his body, has been burned into his mind forever. Right now by the order of the Princess, the High Council and probably of the Magi Court the ponies were seriously trying to put chains on him again! Twilight Sparkle was trying to convince her brother, to leave that stupid idea. He could not really understand what they were talking about, but it did not look like her begging would be any use in that situation.

Twilights head and ears went down, Shining Armor hugged her and whispered something, right away she got free of his hug and was shaking her head hysterical. After few more spoken words Twilight finally agreed to something. Ember was afraid that he knew what was going on. The lavender pony came back to the group with noticeable hesitation; Ember though was too busy watching the Royal Guards that were not far away from the chains.
Twilight arrived at his side. Ember saw that she was shaking, looking for words that she have been asked to tell him, and the worst part was, that he was one hundred percent sure what words would it be. The Unicorn finally found some courage and said with a sad voice:

- Ember… My brother asked me…

- No Twilight. – He interrupted her right away. – Please do not do it… please.

- They will not let you enter the city if you will not do it.

- Then there will be no meeting. It is not worth it Twilight…

- You might avoid it today but sooner or later you will have to face them eventually. Please try to understand… they are only afraid for their life and the life of the Princess.

- What kind of game is that Twilight?! If I would have intended to hurt Celestia, I would have done it at our camp! – Ember was not controlling his temper, what in the end made him shout at his friend without noticing it. – You tell me to try to understand them? How about somepony try to understand me!? Would you be okay with it if somepony would have *asked* you to put chains on you Twi?! AFTER BEING CHAINED FOR THOUSAND OF YEARS!?

He finally noticed how he was talking to her, and he has noticed that his shouting brought forth tears. The guardian felt like a fool right now, but he had all rights to be angry, but he did not have a right to act like that. His blazing eyes lost their intensity and the deep red color; at least he somehow managed to block his anger.

- Please forgive me Ember. I never wanted that…

It was sure, that Twilight would have never allowed something like that happen to him. The guardian let out a long sight, he moved forward to the guards that were waiting with the chain. With closed eyes and tens body, he lifted his arms and waited for the inevitable. Magic was in the air he could smell it. It seemed like Shining Armor would be the one, who would place the chains on his hands. The cold chain felt unpleasant on his skin, the form of it started to change so it would fit his size, then a metallic clack went through the air announcing the end. The chains have been attached to his hands, right away he lost the connection to magic, what made him feel empty inside. The ears went down and a slight depressed moan went out of him. He opened his eyes and looked at the fragile looking chains. They were transparent, what could only prove that they have been created with magical help. His friends gathered around him, waiting for some reaction from his side.

- Lets go… We cannot let the Princess wait.

Was the only thing Ember spoke to them, without looking at his friends that gathered behind him. The wings wrapped around his body, hiding the chains from the world and making it look like he was wearing a cloak. Shining Armor yelled some orders; his men changed their positions, creating one solid wall on both sides of the mysterious creature. Twilight’s brother took the lead while he was being followed by Ember and his companions. The ponies behind him were trying to calm Twilight that was fighting against her tears; it was not her fault that something like that happened. He was dumb enough to let his frustration out on her, the pony who was there for him while he really needed it.

- I am an idiot…

The big escort leaded them into the town, and soon they have entered one of the main streets of Canterlot. As he has expected, the street were full of ponies waiting for his arrival. The crowds started to look at the strange creature, which was moving along the capital city of Equestria, not sure if they should fear him or not. Small fillies were pointing at him with open mouths, whispering filled the air, it started to thunder in his ears that were very sensible right now. He moved on silently but in a graceful position, trying to hide the feelings that were boiling in him, eventually he started even to nod at the ponies even greet them. The crowd’s manners changed rapidly, and the ponies started to greet back, welcoming him in Canterlot. Then for the first time since he has left the Underground, the guardian experienced the unpleasant flashes of the devices called photo cameras.

The blinding flashes started to hurt his eyes, he asked Shining Armor to help him out. His thundering voice ripped thought the air demanding the ponies to quit the photo shooting, gladly it stopped but he was seeing some weird colorful points for a while. Not that he would have the time to look around this place, as crowded as it was right now, he had not really the chance to have a better look at the city. His companions remained silent, but what he could not see was the fact, that they were following his own example. Soon the shapes of the Canterlot Castle started to show up over the smaller buildings of the city. The ivory towers with their golden spires were an outstanding sight for his eyes, at one point he actually stopped to move, so he could enjoy the sight a bit longer.

The journey continued for quiet a time. Apparently there was some trouble ahead that affected their speed but the Royal Guards got everything under control in no time. Soon the crowds started to vanish and at their place more Guards waited for his arrival. To be honest Ember expected that this city would be far bigger, but thoughts like that should remain in his mind. At one point a might looking wall separated the city from the castle that right now was showing all its glory. Once they have passed the gate they entered a courtyard, a very pretty sight for a sore eye, but to be honest, everything in Canterlot seemed to be based on looking pretty. Sadly he did not have the time to look around, and even if he would have time for that, the mood would ruin it anyway.

They have arrived at the main gate of the Canterlot castle, a solid wooden gate, which seemed to be enchanted with magic. Wonderful looking sculptures were embellishing its surface. Shining Armor touched the door with his horn, the might door made a barely noticeable clack, and started to open by its own. It took some time till it finally opened, but the time that has been needed to open it, was meaningless for him. Right now his thoughts were a one big mess of questions that were shrouding his mind, but once Shining Armor saluted to him he knew that now, finally, he would meet his inviters. They entered the building; a long hallway with a red carpet was leading directly into a big hall. Ponies of all kinds were waiting for his arrival; probably they were some monarchs or ponies with influences.

He felt the scent of their perfumes in an overwhelming way that made him cough silently. All of them were wearing clothing that seemed to have the purpose of showing off, or simply messaging everybody around them that they had high standards. The guardian felt disgusted by some acting of those ponies, which were probably thinking that they were something better than others. Once he reached the end of the carpet, he noticed that a bit farther away Princess Celestia was waiting for him on a marvelous looking throne, while around her, on small podiums that were connected with the wall, six ponies were literally gawking at him. Ember did not intend to make a move forward, because he has seen what was on the place, where he was probably supposed to stand.

There was a seal on the ground. It was a pretty crude seal, which he has spotted without any problems, even with the chains that were blocking his magic. The gathered ponies started to whisper behind him, he could feel their eyes on his back. A tense atmosphere was in the air, everypony was waiting for something to happen, and it was Ember that cleared his throat and broke the silence:

- Princess Celestia… - He bowed down gracefully and looked on the ground while he continued. – May your reign be long, and bring fourth happiness and wealth to this land and its inhabitants. It is nice to see you again Your Highness.

- The pleasure is on my side Ember. Please allow me to welcome you properly in the land of Equestria. – Princess Celestia stood up and surprisingly bowed too. – May your state in this land bring fourth gratitude and happiness, tolerance and friendship. I wish the best for you Ember, as I do for every living creature in Equestria.

The ponies that were gathered in the building, started to clop with their hooves against the ground, cheering at their princess, and the new comer, that made his first step hopefully into a good future. Even if he could not sense any lie in her voice, it still did not really make his anger go away, yet it has been affected by her speech.

- I hope you all enjoyed your travel.

- I will be honest. A rather unexpected problem made me travel on my own.

- Oh that is truly a surprise… What kind of problem was it?

- I could not enter the vehicle. My horns seemed to have their own plans in that moment.

- I beg your pardon Ember. Nopony actually considered that a problem like that would occur.

- There is nothing to be sorry about. I was faster than the train anyway.

- Well that is truly remarkable. Your flying skills have to be impressive.

- Either that or your machines are simply not doing a great job.

Some ponies behind him started to laugh in a rather strange way, but soon other ponies joined them. It was easy to notice that their laughter were simply forced out of them.

- Stupid bootlickers… - he thought and right away he was wondering, if the word hooflicker would have been more appropriate. He sighted and looked at the princess, and the other ponies that were watching him a bit from above.

- Please allow me that statement… - the guardian cleared his throat on time and continued. – I came in peace after I have received your message your highness. – He opened his wings and let them disappear in his back. – And the first thing that happens after my arrival, was the bidding for putting on those chains, even if you knew what have happened to me back in the Underground. Thanks to Twilight and her friends, I accepted it and now I wear those chains on me… even if it deeply disgusted me.

The crowd started to whisper again, but it was noticeable that most of them were confused by the fact, that he has been chained. Something like that has never occurred during the long history of Equestria, and it was sure that it would not be forgotten for a very, very long time.

- We beg your pardon Mr. Ember. – said one old looking pony from his podium. – A meeting with our Princess, the High Council and even the Magi Court did not occur for millennia. We are the very soul of this land, and it is of the most importance to keep everything secured. You are the first creature of your kind, that has been invited to this meeting and we all know that you are able to use magic. We do not have any personal grudge against you Mr. Ember. It is only a matter of national security.

- As I already said; I’ve accepted it, even if my gut has its own opinion about it. – The blaze of his eyes became more tens, and the deep red color started slowly to appear. He pointed at the ground, where he has spotted the miserable thing he would have never called a seal. – But that pathetic imitation of a seal on the ground is simply offending!

The whispers changed into gasps and soon the crowd became louder, his friends behind him could not believe what Ember has spoken, or better said shouted directly at the most important ponies of Equestria. The members of the High Council and of the Magi Court, seemed to be confused by the fact, that he knew that there was a seal on the ground. Princess Celestia remained calm; he had to admit it, that she had a pretty good poker face. One of the female Unicorns, that were wearing pointed hats, started to talk with a rather unpleasant sounding voice.

- How is that possible? He is chained! It is impossible to see a seal without any magical support!

The older pony started to talk again:

- As I already said we are only securing the safety of our Princess… we did not have any proof that…

- You did not have any proof that I may be a danger?! – Yelled Ember and let his anger literally shot out of his mind. – Because of my abnormal appearance!? Because you fear what may dwell in me!?

His voice cracked, the intensity of his eyes was gone, and the color of fire changed into the color of the midnight sky.

- What have I ever done to you… that you fear me so badly? – Ember looked on the seal and sighted. - If you really need proof… I shall give it to you.

The guardian made a step towards the seal:

- Wait! – It was Celestia who said it rather fast. – You do not have to proof anything to me.

- I do not sense that you lie to me your highness… but I see the faces of those other ponies. Allow me at least this act.

Suddenly Ember raised his arms above his head, so everypony could see what he was up too. His muscles became tense, and with a swift movement he ripped the magical chains with his brute force. Some kind of flash blinded the ponies for few seconds; after all of them gained their sight again, they could see that the former transparent metal pieces were still around his wrists. Right now they were simple metal remains, which have been removed by the guardian without any problems, since the magic enchantment was gone. The ponies at the platforms were shocked by the fact, that he just ripped the chains off that have been magically enhanced, or maybe their brains were still realizing what just happened who knows? Even Princess Celestia showed some sort of confusion, but she hid it behind her poker face with incredible speed.

- Damn you are good! – Thought Ember that shivered a bit. He cleared his throat and continued to speak.

– If I would have intended to do anything to you, the chains would not have stopped me at all. And the thing about that seal…

He stepped right into it and felt right away, how magic started to grab his body, creating some sort of bound so he would be not able to move. Noticeable energy flows were moving around his body, beneath him, the seal glowed with a weak light, which could not be spot without magic. At this point its crude nature started to jut out. Usually it is not possible to see the lines that are forming the seals inscription, but on the very edges the light was slightly thicker, what allowed seeing the junction between the individual lines. He bowed down despite the magic that was trying to make him motionless, but the amount of magic that would have been required to immobilize him, should have been far beyond the fart of energy that has been stored in that seal.

The ponies with pointed hats could not believe what was going on, and the look of their faces was compensation enough for him. With on claw, Ember cut through the line that had the weakest energy flow. A sound that reminded a hiss of an angry snake, which was warning you to not get closer, filled the air. The magical grab started to fade away, and the seal on the ground burned out beneath his dragon like feet.

- The seal would have stopped me only for few moments, if I would have been foolish enough to step into it. Your Highness, dear members of the High Council and of the Magi Court, citizens of Canterlot. – He turned around to his companions. – My friends…I am not a threat to any of you, nor do I intend to become a threat. Equestria is my new home now and by the spirits, I hope that within time any doubts will be washed away, so we may live together in peace and in friendship.

The gathered ponies started to applaud and cheer at Ember, his friends, the members of the High Council and even the Magi joined up the cheerful citizens of Canterlot. Ember was not sure but he could see that Celestia seemed to let out a long sight, and even if there was some distance that was separating them, he noticed happiness in her eyes.

- I speak probably for everypony gathered here, and for everypony in Equestria. We accept your Friendship and full of pride we offer you ours. May that day remain unforgotten; for once more the Magic of Friendship has help us to conquer our fears! I do hope that time will change everything and help us to move along together! Side by side into a bright and wonderful future.

The oldest ponies that were in that chamber on that day, could not remember that they have ever heard cheering like that among the royals. Shining Armor and the Royal Guards started to hit the ground with their banded hooves, to honor the moment in the best way they could perform, the cheering of his friends somehow outmatched the cheering of the bigger crowd, surprisingly reveling how loud Fluttershy could be. Ember bowed once more before the leaders of Equestria, a scene that has been burned into the minds of skilled artists, which would create masterpieces of art to let that moment remain eternal and unforgotten, for the new generations that might come. Princess Celestia raised her front leg to calm down the crowd what happened nearly instantly. She was going to say something, but she has noticed that Ember remained in his bowed position.

- Is something bothering you friend?

Ember got up and nodded:

- Before we continue your Highness I would like to apologize for my outburst. The last days were not easy for me… the chains let me snap.

- I should be the one who should apologize Ember, not you. I am the one that is supposed to do so, for it was my decision that made it happen in the first place.

The old pony cleared his throat:

- Please Your Highness do not take the entire blame on yourself, for it was our bidding that has made you do it in the first place.

- Yet I could have avoided it. A wise ruler listens to advises, but in the end he or she will fall a decision. I should have followed my instincts and my heart… I deeply ask you for forgiveness Ember.

The princess bowed down gracefully before him as did the ponies on the podiums.

- We all do mistakes, and from those mistakes we learn our lessons. I accept your apologies with a happy heart. – Ember turned around to his friends that seemed to be happy that the things have been resolved peacefully. The guardian kneeled before Twilight.

– And I ask you for forgiveness Twilight Sparkle. I had no right to let my frustration out on you, on the pony that was there for me while I was in time of need. Please forgive the old fool for his foolishness.

- There is nothing to be sorry about Ember, but I gladly accept your apology. – Ember would have given his life for the smile, which appeared on her face as on the faces of his friends.

- It is never easy to admit our mistakes while talking only to one pony, and it requires courage to do this act in front of a big group. Your actions should be praised and be taken as an example by everypony.

Embers mood rapidly changed after he heard her voice echoing through the hall. Princess Luna appeared behind her older sister, which seemed to not have expected her to participate at the meeting. She looked tired but she covered it with a friendly smile, with that she has welcomed her sister as everybody in the hall.

- It is truly a happy surprise for us all, to see you among us Your Highness. – said a younger looking stallion, that seemed to belong to the High Council. He was the only Earth Pony among the others; it appeared that he was some sort of an Ambassador of his kind. At least Ember thought so.

- It is a great honor to participate on this meeting, even if I am a little bit late. – She looked on the ground and saw the remains of his chains, scattered on the marble ground. Her eyes went up to her sister, the only thing Celesta did was a quick head shake, giving her the typical * I will explain it later* message. Luna finally looked at Ember and smiled at him, he bowed before her:

- Princess Luna. – He did not forget, that she asked him to not use titles while he was talking with her, but Ember thought it would have been more appropriate to do it right now. – May your reign bring forth happiness, balance and the most beautiful nights to this land. I have to thank you for all your effort you put into the night. May its glory never fade!

All ponies agreed to his words, especially Celestia that has pulled Luna closer to her with the wing. The Princess of the Night blushed right away, who would not blush at her place to be honest? Even if there were ponies that admired the night at the same level as Ember, it was probably only a small bunch Luna would never meet. Right now many ponies were agreeing to his speech, and would probably take more time for the night, if they would not be too sleepy of course. Having bootlickers around seemed to be useful from time to time. Ember hoped that his intention would bring fourth some fruits, for he always felt happy in his heart while he saw her smiling. Luna was deeply touched by it, and it seemed like she would say nothing because of the excitement, but gladly it was not the cause:

- I thank you for your kind words Ember. I will do my best to present the night in the most beautiful way.

- I am looking forward to it Prin… - He noticed how Luna was looking at him, not angry or annoyed, more like challenging. Ember laughed in his mind. – I am looking forward to that moment Luna.

- I do not want to interrupt such wonderful speeches. – Said the only male Magi Unicorn that was at the podium. – But I would like to suggest that we move on… there are still certain things that have to be done Your Highness.

The voice of that Unicorn was slimy and annoying for his ears, and the way he was looking at him right now made his gut rebel. Princess Celestia nodded at the Mage and looked back at her subjects.

- My beloved subjects! I thank you for your time and for your appearance at this historically important matter. But for now I have to kindly ask you all to leave. Have a pleasant day.

The crowd bowed before their all mighty rulers and started to leave the big hall. Ember was glad that they were leaving though; the scent of their perfumes was a hard thing to hold out. The heavy gates have been closed behind the last pony with a loud crash. The only remaining ponies now were his companions, the Princesses, the members of the High Council and Magi Court and of course the Royal Guards that were stationed all over the place. Ember let out a sight, completely forgetting the ponies that were around him.

- I do understand your relived state Ember. – Said Celestia and moved towards him followed by Luna. – I suggest I say; welcome in a small part of my life.

- As I said back in the camp: I do not wish to be at your place Your Highness.

Once more this statement made her chuckle, but right away she put her poker face on and said:

- Even if I really enjoyed our last conversation, I suggest that we wait with the nice things, and first concentrate at the important matters.

- You were nearly always a party popper sis. – said Luna and leaned against her sister with an interesting looking grin on her face.

- Oh well nopony said that royal life is easy to live. There are moments where I simply want to throw all the paper work away, jump into the air, and feel the wind under my wings.

- As far as you have somepony to live with, it is regardless if you are a royal or not. – said Ember and rubbed his temple that was hurting him a bit. – I have experienced it the hard way.

- I am glad that this chapter of your life ended Ember. You are no longer alone anymore. – said Luna that was still leaning against her sister.

- I am glad too Luna. But right now my mind is being eaten by the immense curiosity. That entire thing was merely an introduction; I would like to know what you want to talk about Princess Celestia.

- Everything within time Ember. – answered Celestia. – We better wait for the others.

- I do admit that I have expected more representatives of the High Council and of the Magi Court.

- Allow me to answer that Ember. – said Twilight and moved on his side. – The individual ponies, which you have seen on the podiums, were the leaders of far bigger political parties. They are the voice and the representative of Equestria; besides that they are the royal advisors. Of course the Magi Court focus mostly on matters that are connected with Magic, while the High Council objective lies within the best interest of the citizens of Equestria.

- They are royal pain if you would ask me. – Said Luna and let go of Celestia. Ember expected that Celestia would comment that statement but she seemed to share the same thought.

- Regardless if they are a royal pain or not, Equestria need ponies like them. Without their help ruling this Land would be far more difficult task. – Celestia sighted but smiled after it. – Even if might sound inappropriate, I did enjoy the look on their faces after you have destroyed the chains.

- I did enjoy it too. Let’s say it was some sort of compensation for me.

- I still cannot believe that they actually asked for those chains. Even more I cannot believe that you actually agreed on that sister. – Said Luna with a rather annoyed tone. – Something like that did not occur since… actually it was the first time we have chained somepony!

- First of my kind that visit the Princess in the history of Equestria, and the first one that has been chained… Isn’t life dandy? – Thought Ember and rubbed his wrist of his left hand.

- It was not an easy choice sister. I did believe that Ember is not a threat for anypony, but they did not want to risk their life and mine, that was based only on a story.

Luna was going to say something but Ember was faster than her:

- What have been done cannot be undone anymore. Debating about it won’t change that fact; let’s hope that I was the first and the last that would have to put on chains like that.

- I agree. –said Luna but it was clear that she would *debate* with Celestia once they were gone.

- So does I Luna. – The sound of hooves started to appear behind them. – It seems like we are about to start.

The six ponies finally arrived. All of them wearing expensive looking cloths, cloaks and even shoes, the guardian was wondering how many taxes has been wasted on their uniforms. The members of the Magi Court were wearing clothes that were purple, interesting looking images were nearly at every pieces of it. If he was not wrong, he could feel that in some parts of the thread magic has been inbound into it, a clever idea he had to admit it. The most iconic thing about their appearance were their hats that they were wearing, for some reason he liked them but in the same was he just thought that they looked ridiculous on a pony.

The members of the High Council had their own individual colors that seemed to match their own kind. The Earth Pony was wearing a robe that was mostly brown but on several places it was green, a monocle was on his right eye while his left eye had white milky color; it seemed to be blind. The female Unicorn was wearing an interesting looking dress, with lavender looking color that seemed to change its colors while she was moving. The dress was really pretty but it was still strange to see a pony wearing something in the first place. The guardian was already wondering if the ponies were running naked all the time, but after thinking twice he rather did not want to think about it. She seemed to be the youngest among them all, for some reason she was acting very shy, but Ember could see her sharp eyes that were investigating him.

The last member of the council was the old pony, which appeared to be a Pegasus. As the other stallion he was wearing a representative robe, which had the color of the sky, while on the edges clouds like shapes were decorating his robe. His wings, which were on the outside of the robe, were showing the signs of his age far more than his face. The once pretty looking turquoise feathers have bleached out, in all the wings reminded him of thin sticks, that would break right away if he would grab them to hard. All of them formally bowed before their rulers and the guests:

- I assume you are wondering about the topic we have to discuss with you Ember. – Said Celestia and looked at him very seriously.

- I had several thoughts in my mind Your Highness.

- This topic is of great importance Ember, and the things that soon will be spoken, should remain within those walls.

- I understand. – Ember opened his left hand and before somepony could stop him, he sliced the flesh on its surface. He closed the hand and lifted it a bit, blood started to pour out between his fingers down the arm. The ponies, besides the Princesses, became a bit pale from this sudden act.

- By my blood, I vow before you all that this secret shall remain within those walls. – Then he said something in his dead language, in a way that would freeze the blood in our veins. – Remain hidden in the shadows and die together with me in the darkness.

His eyes changed their color into light green, through the closed hand the same green light started to shine through his fingers, healing the wound from within. Once it was done his eyes became flames once more. He checked if everything went on properly.

- I did not see a blood vow for a very long time sister. – Said Luna fascinated. – I would have never expected to see this act again.

- The life is full of unexpected surprises. – Princess Celestia seemed to be very relaxed right now.

– But there is no doubt that we can fully trust him on that matter. The blood vow is one of the oldest, and the most respectful vows known to us, even if it slowly started to vanish with time. Many ponies think that it is simply barbaric, but I know better than that.

- I would bet that the most ponies were simply afraid of cutting themselves. – said Luna and made a disappointed head shake. – The old time ponies were far more… Resilient! Scars were very popular among the stallions.

The Unicorn with the slimy and annoying sounding voice cleared his throat, in one of the most disgusting ways Ember could imagine, as probably did his companions and the princesses.

- Oh excuse us… sometimes we just let our heads float in the old times. – Luna tried to smile but her disgusted facial expression did not cooperate.

- I suggest we move on. – Celestia pointed at a nearby golden door. – Please follow me.

Once they have left the big hall behind them, Celestia lead the group through the castle, pointing out several things that had something to do with the pony history. It was an interesting experience for him, for it was not really a common thing, to learn more about a species he would consider critters, if they would not be intelligent. After seeing all sorts of old artifacts or art that was telling its own story, Celestia turned left to another golden door, but this one seemed to be more than the sore eye could see. Marvelous inscriptions were all over the surface of the door, shapes and forms created a wonderful composition, somehow reminding him of the walls that were in his cursed chamber. The princess hit the door on several places, magic was in the air he could smell and feel it.

The door opened by its own, revealing what was sealed behind it. She entered first, followed by her sister that mentioned him to follow. Once the guardian has entered the other ponies went in, surprisingly the older ponies let his companions enter first. Right now they were in a rather small corridor, which was lined with stained glass windows. The shine of the sun was creating spectacular light effects that made him simply stop so he could enjoy it, Pinkie that was hooping behind him hit his flank with her head but he did not really notice it. The Princesses smiled at him and let him enjoy the moment a bit longer, eventually he let go and excused for this break. While they were passing the stained glass windows, Ember stopped at one that got his attention.

He was not really sure at what he was looking at, but it was sure that the Princesses were involved in that situation, that has been stored into the glass. The two sisters seemed to be battling the weirdest looking thing he has ever seen, and for sure he has seen many things, that were very weird, in the darkness of the Underground. It was a creature, which seemed to be put together from different living things, the only thing Ember was thinking right now was the fact how chaotic that thing looked like. The ponies explained him that this stained glass window was depicting the victory of the two sister above a creature they called Discord. Once Ember looked to the right, he noticed a similar looking image only that it were his friends, which seemed to battle the same fiend. A strange sound went through the room and everypony looked at the guardian.

- There was one thing that I could not really understand my friends. – He turned around to his small companions. – While we encountered in the chamber, something strange happened… and all of the sudden a mighty energy started to flow through the air, despites the protection of the crystals. I did find out pretty quickly, that only the ponies with a horn were able to use magic, but it seemed like the energy was going out of each of you. How is that possible?

- We were about to use the Elements of Harmony to protect ourselves from you. – Answered Twilight. – The ordinary ways were not working and we were afraid that you might get bored of your *game*.

- If you would have been creatures of the Underground, I doubt it that there would be any games at all.

- Regardless of that… you stopped us from using them.

- Would you not do the same on my place?

- Excuse me that I cut in like that… - It was Celestia speaking behind him. - Let me ask you something. Do you know what the Elements of Harmony are?

- Twilight and Luna mentioned that the Elements of Harmony are Powers of Creation.

- That is only the one side of the medal. Do you know what they represent?

Ember answered with a head shake.

- Honesty, Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Loyalty and Magic. These are the Elements of Harmony, the most powerful magic known to ponydom.

- I assume that my friends represent those Elements?

- Yes they do. Without their help, Equestria would have been lost years ago. Their actions will be honored forever, for they truly cannot be forgotten.

- Why do I have the feeling, that those Elements have something to do with our meeting?

- You are not that wrong. – Her horn started to glow with a bright golden light. The door that they have past has been closed by her will. – Nopony should disturb us here, and I have already prepared a spell, that will prevent, that unwanted personalities might listen to that conversation.

Together with her sister Celestia reached the end of this room. Before she started to talk Ember and probably the others noticed a sad expression on Celestias face.

- Every Land has its own dark secrets… - she looked at Ember while she continued. – The reason why I have invited you to Canterlot, are the crystals you were guarding Ember.

The guardian folded his arms. Even if those crystals were no more, they were still haunting him, not only in the appearance of memories.

- Is it really necessary to talk about things that no longer exist?

- That is a point that we have to discuss. For I am not sure if the things, that apparently do no longer exist, really have been destroyed.

The ponies gasped loudly, while Embers body started to become incredibly tense.

- But we have seen how they have been destroyed!

- It can’t be possible that they have survived it!

- After the flash the chains appeared on Ember princess!

His friends were incredibly persistent, at throwing more and more information at Celestia that was listening patiently; Ember though would like to know more. He stomped one time and silenced the ponies.

- We are not going to find out anything, if we will act like that girls. Please be more specific. Why are you thinking, that those crystals have not been destroyed?

- As light cannot exist without the darkness, so darkness cannot exist without the light.

- What?

- I will try to do my best to explain everything properly. We do not really know where the Elements of Harmony came from, yet we the Alicorns knew of its existence for generations, even if they were not called Elements of Harmony back then. The old scripts that belong to the royal family taught us, that our ancestors were not able to understand its power. Yet those Elements were there for an unknown reason, which is why many Alicorns focused on the studies of those Elements. Eventually they started to understand what they were dealing with; afraid that this power might be abused, they intended to seal it for good. But they were not able to do it; the power that dwelled in them was beyond imagination. After long days of debating, the Alicorns have decided to hide the Elements deep beyond the earth, where nopony could find it. But something unexpected happened…
Deep beyond the Earth the Alicorns found other crystals, which were nearly the same as the Elements of Harmony, yet they were different. Once the crystals have been brought into the same place, unexplainable reactions occurred. For some reason the crystals did not accepted each other. The Alicorns tried to separate them, but the energy that was being unleashed, could easily rip them in pieces. They could only watch and hope that it would not end in a disaster, then a foreign energy came out of nowhere. According to the old texts, that energy went between the struggling forces, and ended their conflict by *melting* them together. Back in those old times the crystals looked differently, and they had far bigger numbers. The sudden connection created twelve crystals in total, shaping the Elements the way we know them now. Twelve crystals in total have been born out of that struggle, creating the Elements of Harmony and the Elements of Disharmony.

- Elements of Disharmony princess? – asked the ponies with an unsure sounding voices.

- Yes. Right after their creation, the crystals connected with this world and started to become one with the emotions of living creatures. While the Elements of Harmony concentrated on the positive emotions, the Elements of Disharmony became one with the negative emotions. Sadness, Greed, Anger, Shame, Guilt and Fear…

Celestia stopped to talk and looked Ember that was listening to hear with closed eyes, she waited till he finally opened them.

- Why do you not continue?

- At this point the scripts end.

- You have to be kidding me.

- I wish it would be some kind of joke but sadly it is true. After that the texts simply stops… it is unknown what happened after it. But I do know that during that time many Alicorns lost their lives, at least according by my mother, the reason why though has been lost during centuries.

- Then let me ask you… what makes you think that the Elements of Disharmony have not been destroyed?

- It is only a theory… but as I have mentioned before: The unknown energy has melted the crystals together. Such powerful connection should have bound them entirely and probably for all eternity.

- I think I understand… - said Ember with a slight tone.

- I don’t understand anything! – complained Rainbow Dash, rubbing her temple, that seemed to hurt her from all that thinking.

- Do ya understand it Twi? – asked AJ with an awfully serious look on her face.

- I think… if the Elements of Disharmony would have been destroyed…

- It would mean that the Elements of Harmony would have shared its fate, due the bound that surely has been created. – The guardian ended her statement and sighted loudly. – If that is really true…

He did not end what he has started, his throat has been snared and he simply could not talk now.

- As I said it is only a theory… with any luck though, those crystals really have been destroyed. – Celestia moved towards him. – Even if they have survived it somehow, you are already free of their slavery.

- I hope that you are right Princess…

- I might have a suggestion for you Ember.

- And that would be?

- In this very room the Elements of Harmony are stored behind that door. If you wish to see them I will open it.

- Be so kind and show me those crystals.

- So be it.

The princess went to the solid looking door, on the surface of it there was a painting, which was showing the position of the moon during different time periods. The illustration of the sun was in the middle of the door; Celestia moved forward and pushed her horn into a slightly noticeable hole. She used some sort of spell, the energy started to spread through the engraved lines, the six moons started to glow with a blue shine. A flash of light blinded the guardian for a moment and once he was able to see again the door was already open. Something was floating above Celestia’s head, an impressive looking box, which was decorated with wonderful gem stones. He could hear Rarity behind him letting out a loud sight.

- The Elements of Harmony are stored in this box. Are you ready Ember?

-Would you be ready on my place?

- I am not sure.

- Please open the box.

With her magic Celestia opened the box, revealing the artifacts that were within. The jewelry Ember has seen on the ponies, back in the Chamber of Stone. It was hard to imagine that those small things once were controlling his life, but he has felt the power that was hidden within, and it was not that surprising that he became a slave of them. He doubted that any creature in this world would have been strong enough to resist that kind of power.

- Can I? – Asked Ember and pointed at the Elements. Her answer was a nod followed by a smile. He reached out for the tiara, which few days ago appeared out of nowhere on Twilight’s head. After he has touched the golden surface of the tiara; some sort of energy woke up within the box. His hand started to burn badly, with a painful roar he moved away from the box. Something was on his hand, a transparent liquid thing, which was burning his flesh. Drops of that thing landed on the marble ground, leaving small holes in the ground. He did not dare to shake his hand, he was afraid that he might hit one of the ponies with it; the air was filled with the scent of burned flesh, that made some of the members of the Magi Court cough heavily. The ponies wanted to move towards him but he stopped them:


The guardian turned around so none of them could see, what his eyes witnessed right now: the dark skin of his flesh was melting in front of his eyes. He was shaking in agony, quietly moaning while parts of his flesh felt down on the ground, leaving a grotesque looking scar on the surface of his hand, some fingers and wrist. It was finally over. Ember fell down on his knees, holding his arm below the wrist; small bubbles were rising out of the scar and were spreading an incredible odor, which was beating the stain of rotten mushrooms. Breathing heavily Ember started to focus energy in his left hand, the color of his eyes changed as usual into the light green color, while his hand started to glow in the same way. If it was possible he was always trying to avoid healing himself, because the required energy, that was needed to heal his own wounds, could have healed three individuals regardless how bad they were injured.

Too afraid to touch the burned places, Ember let the energy flow through his veins, once the energy reached its destination, the boiling scar started to heal in the most painful way he has ever experienced. The ponies were listening to his moans and the sounds, they could not really identify, with the feeling of helplessness. It was especial hard for the six ponies he have meet in the Underground, and for Luna that sadly has experienced his *adapting*, regardless if we would see a thing like that happening to a friend, or a person we do not know: we all would feel pity. Finally the scar has been removed, and healthy flesh started to regenerate till his hand looked like nothing has happened to it, yet the sight of that scar would probably never leave his mind. Sweat was running down his entire body, the energy he has used to heal himself was taking its tribute already: a bit dizzy he turned around to the ponies. Disgusted by his own body, he said the following words with a very tired sound:

- I need a bath…

As usual the concerned ponies were going to say something, but he lifted his hand and said once more:

- I need a bath… please.

- Luna please go up to our quarters, and let the servants prepare a bath for him.

- The Green Dream should help him… and I still have some moonlight salve back in my room.

- Good idea Luna. Now go make haste!

Ember was not able to stand properly in the same place, what made him look like he was drunk as hell. He did not even notice how Luna left the room, the same counts for Celestia hiding the Elements of Harmony. His friends were constantly talking to him, but their voices were low pitched, he barely understood what they were talking about. After a while Luna came back and everybody left the room, very slowly because of his dizzy movement. Everything around him was blurring, very often he had to stop and lean against the wall for a moment. Ember nearly stomped one servant that he did not notice, gladly Applejack was fast enough to push her away. The worst part started after they have reached the stairs, time was passing very slowly while the progress was very small.

Eventually they have reached a place that was filled with an interesting aroma; he could smell the water, which was literally calling after him. He did not notice the scared servants, seeking refuge behind a Royal Guard that was waiting at the entrance. Once he entered the room he completely lost his sight and moved on blindly towards the smell of water, several times he nearly fell down on the ground because his legs started to give up already. The bathtub was incredibly huge and had enough space probably for more than two Embers. Once he entered the Green Dream, as Luna called it, he glided into the water, and embraced the nice feeling that was spreading all along his body. He did not know how long he has been under the water, but he felt that something was pulling him by his horns.

- For goodness sake! Ember are you alright?

- That bath is wonderful.

It was Luna that was talking to him but he was still a bit dizzy, that is why he did not recognize her. It did sound like he was not talking to her, more to himself. Gladly his senses normalized, the aroma that was filling his lungs relaxed his body and soul. The guardian looked at the hand he has healed and noticed that the healing process was not a big success as he thought; signs of the scar were there even if they were probably not easy to spot because of his dark skin.

- By the spirits… that was painful. – He thought and looked around, only to see how the ponies were watching him. Instantly he covered the place where his manliness should be, which was probably hidden within his body, with his hand. He felt really uncomfortable, because of the way the ladies were gawking at him. Gladly the water vapor, that was filling that place, made his movement barely noticeable but he was sure that Luna has noticed it because she turned right away.

- Here… I brought you a very special salve. – She was still looking into the other direction, while a small box floated right into his open hand. – It is called Moonlight salve. I hope it will help your hand Ember.

- Thank you. – He opened the small box, and looked at the salve that was shining with a slight light, that reminded him of the moon. The salve was strangely cold, but very helpful for his hand, that was still hurting him. Ember intended to stand up and leave the bathtub, but the ponies told him not to hesitate: the joy of the warm water went on for a longer time. After the bath, he stretched his body and of course it made his bones crack, the ordinary reaction of the ponies was the shiver, while outside of the room the servants made disgusted noises. The Moonlight was still on his hand, even if it had some connection with water, it remained on the skin, slowly being absorbed by it.

-Do you feel better now Ember? – asked Fluttershy, that was awfully quiet since the sudden attack.

- Yes I do Fluttershy. That salve is incredible! It nearly fully neutralized the pain in the hand.

- It is not easy to receive that salve. – said Luna with an imposing royal position. – That procedure requires a lot of time, and special equipment that can only be found here at the castle.

- Then you have my deep gratitude. I will try to repay you somehow.

-How can you be so calm right now!?! – yelled Rainbow Dash that was flying a bit above the ground.

- I have the choice to do so. It comes with once being a guardian you know… regardless of the injury I had to endure, I always had to keep a clear mind and cold blood. – Ember looked at Celestia. – I would like to see those crystals again Princess.

Right away, the ponies started terribly loud to disagree with him, their voices were ringing with double volume in his ears, what in the end caused an annoying headache.

- You do not have to yell at me ponies!

- Of course we have to yell at ya! – Yelled AJ and hit the ground with her hoof.

- Talking won’t help here at all, because you are stubborn like a mule! – Yelled Rarity that was angry not only because of his bidding, her hair has been ruined somehow.

- Oh I know! Fluttershy use your Stare at him! – suggested Pinkie and pointed at the guardian.

- Girls that is enough. – Said Celestia and silenced her small subjects. – Ember are you sure about it?

- Yes I am. But this time I do not intend to touch them with my hands. – The ponies were going to start a new volley of complaining, but Ember lifted his arm and continued. – This is the only way I can find out if I am really free of the crystals influence. My friends… I will not find rest until I am really sure of it. Please help me to get rid of this burden…

The ponies gave up after that and simply nodded at him, their concern might be annoying sometimes, but he was happy that there were creatures in this foreign world, that cared for him.

- What are your intentions then Ember? – asked Luna that was quiet while the ponies were busy yelling at him.

- I will connect directly with them, as I did with the crystals in the chamber. I am not sure if it is safe though… that is why I would suggest, that you my little ponies do not enter that room with me.

- Ember you just asked us to help you to get rid of your burden. – said Twilight with a smile on her face. – Regardless the odds we will stand at your side.

- As do I. – said Luna that was standing next to her sister.

- I suggest we go then. – Celestia left the room first followed by the ponies. What the ponies did not see, was a slight tear that went down his cheek. Ember washed it away and followed them with noticeable hesitation, he was afraid that something might happened, but in his heart, he was more concerned for the ponies than for his own sake.

Once again, they stood in front of the door that was protecting the Elements of Harmony. Celestia opened it with her horn, gladly he was prepared now and he did not get blinded by the shine of that blue light. With her magic the Elements of Harmony were floating a bit over her head, Ember looked on the surface of the crystals that were connected with the golden jewelry, and saw his own reflection on them. Three days have passed since he has left the Underground; this small act reminded him how often he actually did it while he was down there. The crystals looked the same as the crystals that he was guarding, but for some reason, they seemed to emit a pleasant warm aura while the others always felt cold. Ember asked the ponies to stay at distance, for it was not possible to foresee what might happen if things would go wrong.

After he grabbed the Elements with his will, Celestia and Luna went back to the ponies, and established an energy field that had an immense power. The guardian took a deep breath and concentrated as he did so many times in the Chamber of Stone. He open his mind and touched the magical presence of the crystals, once his will connected with it, the crystals started to shine with the well know marvelous composition of colors. The ponies were gasping at the wonderful sight, but he was not able to see them now, something was wrong…

The Guardian got hit directly into his very soul and the world around him became dark. Ember opened his eyes and found himself shrouded by darkness, wherever he looked there was only darkness. The only thing that lit the environment a bit were his eyes, but it did not really get through the thick darkness that seemed to overcome the darkness of the Underground.

- Where am I?

This question echoed through the darkness and seemed to not find an end. Then he noticed something far away from him, a small light well that was moving towards him with great speed. It became bigger and bigger, and soon Ember noticed that the light well was made out of flames. It was like he was looking into his own fiery eyes, but the difference was the fact, that they had a deep red color. The eyes that appeared out of nowhere were huge! Ember felt like an insect that was being watched by a gigantic creature. A mighty energy grabbed him and totally immobilized the guardian, after a very long time he felt totally defenseless. A might roar ripped through the darkness, and after that Ember started to hear a voice in his mind, a very deep voice that seemed to come from big distance. Never has he heard a voice like that, and he wished that he has never heard it at all; it simply scared him.

- Let me out.

That was the only thing that has been spoken; right away the grip became stronger and started literally to crush him. Ember roared and started desperately fight against the power:

- You are the reason why I have been send down to the Underground! – Thought the guardian and full of anger he let out a shock wave, which has been released from his body. The grip that was holding him has been removed; the eyes in front of him open widely, shaking with growing anger.

- How dare you to use my power against me!

Once more something grabbed him with far stronger power, the gigantic fiend started to violently hit against his mind, till the last resistance has been broken. Dark beams of light shoot out of Embers eyes:

- Come my children! Hear my call! Free your Master!

Ember remained motionless while he was still connected to the Elements of Harmony. The marvelous shine was gone after he connected with them, the ponies were waiting for something to happen, but nothing was happening at all. Suddenly Ember started to float and dark light beams, that had a powerful core, shoot out of his eyes, went through the wall and moved towards the direction of the Everfree Forest. The princesses ran to the floating guardian, and ordered the rest to stay at their places. Together they started to focus magic, to somehow aid their friend; without knowing that he was battling something beyond their imagination.

Ember was still in the grasp of the creature that established some kind of connection with him. Once the beams shoot out of his eyes, he noticed the strange presence he knew from the Underground, the very presence he felt in Luna. Not sure what was going on Ember continued to fight against the overwhelming power but he was simply too weak to free himself this time.

- Once I have cleansed my body of your presence I shall be free again!

Then Ember felt magic spread though his body, magic that did not belonged to him. Right away he felt that the foreign energy belonged to the princesses of Equestria. The dark beam started slowly to change its color into white and pure light, the eyes started to shake in a very terrifying way, and once more a roar, that will haunt him forever, cut through the darkness of this place. The guardian was free of the grab. He did not wait for it to come back, which is why he focused on the energy that saved him and used it as a bridge to the reality. For the last time he heard the roar, then his spirit returned back to his body.

The world came back to his sight, he gasped and let the Elements of Harmony nearly fall on the ground, but Celestia swiftly grabbed them with her magic. It was like he woke up from a terrible nightmare: he was breathing fast, trying to focus his thoughts. The beams left a noticeable trail that could be only spotted with magic, he roared and teleported out of the building. His wings appeared out of his back, they caught the wind and with mighty swings he followed the energy. Thanks to the aid of the Alicorns, he managed to escape the creature that dwelled in him, but he did not prevent the call that has been send into the Vale.

- Quick girls! – said Celestia and brought them the Elements of Harmony. – We have to follow him!

They all nodded and ran out of the castle. Shining Armor was yelling orders to his men; after he has seen them coming right away he asked what was going on. There was no time for explanation, Celestia ordered to ready three flying chariots: Shining Armor insisted to go with them but the ponies disagreed with him:

- No Shining Armor! You have to stay and secure the city and its citizens. Make sure that ponies from Ponyville will be brought to Canterlot as fast as possible. And by goodness sake only to be sure create the barrier! – Ordered Princess Luna and then she pointed at her Lunar Guards that were waiting for her. – We have to move out fast!

Soon three flying chariots were flying through the air; the princesses were leading the way while the others followed them.
- Hold on Ember! – was the thought of everypony in the same moment.

- Winds of this land obey my command!

A mighty wind came from behind him and greatly increased his speed that was already on the highest levels. The Everfree Forest was already in sight, but the track started already to fade. Once he was above the Forest he decided to land not far from its very edges. Before he was able to land, he felt the presence in the air and in his mind. Something was moving between the trees, barely noticeable shadow of an unknown creature. Ember landed on the ground with a loud crash, he hid his wings and with a motion of his hand he soothed the wind, and with that everything around him became silent. The guardian saw that something was watching him, and soon something left the forest and started to float towards him. The air was filled with its strange smell, some of the plants and flowers started to rot, after the thing passed it.

The summoned child was made totally out of dark energy, what meant it did not have any kind of physical appearance. Long before that thing reached him, a quick flashback haunted his mind, reminding him of his encounter with creature like that. It was a fight that seemed to not find any end but by the support of the crystals he was able to defeat it. Right now he could not expect such support. There were many names, which have been given to that abomination, but the most common one was: Miasma.

Though it did not have any physical form it was well known that it was a living creature, probably one of the worst things that could walk… float above earth. The Miasma could be born only of immense hatred and other negative emotions: especially during the time of war a Miasma was born in huge numbers. Those cruel beings were feeding on caught victims while they were still alive, melting them inside of its body. Even if it probably sounds bad already the worst part still has been not revealed. The Miasma sometimes decides to take control of living creatures, destroying its existing till noting was left of it, so the body remains its host for ever. Ember would not allow that this thing would be around in those lands, not while he was here.

He welcomed the Miasma with a growl, while he received some sort of hiss, which sounded like it was coming out of a cave. The dark energy started to change it form a bit, till it reminded him of a headless snake that was floating in the air, and like a snake it started to attack him. The guardian was not only watching its transformation, in the same time he was focusing energy in his body, which created a slight white edges around the entire body, that could not be spotted without magic. The miasma attacked first. As he expected first it aimed at his head, only as a distraction so it might deal a sinister strike against his ribs. Ember grabbed the Miasma with his hands, like he would grab anything that had a physical form, thanks to the spell the crystals have taught him while he encountered the first Miasma.

Using his own weight he has pushed his enemy to the ground, with one knee he was pushing against it, while he was constantly hitting it with his arms. His hits were harming the abomination, with a swift movement the Miasma freed itself from his grab, and stabbed him in the shoulder. Ember roared and threw himself on his back; he trapped his opponent that was now trying to get free again. There was only one way of winning a fight against a creature like the Miasma; you had to rip its core apart, which was holding the dark energy in one piece. He tried to reach the slimy thing that was fighting for its life. With big effort he grabbed its other end, got up and ripped it out of his shoulder. Like he would use a whip, the guardian hit the other end of the Miasma against the ground:

- This will be a very long afternoon…

A sudden wind blow slowed them down, nearly throwing out Rarity of the flying chariot. Twilight could feel that it was magic that affected the wind, as probably did the princesses and the poor Rarity that was breathing heavily under her hooves. She was not sure what to think about the entire situation, but Princess Luna ordered her brother to summon all ponies, which were in the area, to Canterlot where they could find refugee. The trace was nearly gone and soon they were blindly flying through the area for a long time, till they heard Embers roar echoing through the land. Finally the Royal Guards that were pulling the flying chariots spotted him, not far away from the edge of the Everfree Forest. Soon Twilight and the others could see him, swinging some kind of whip…

The darn thing was very persistent, and far stronger than the Miasma he has encountered in the Chamber of Stone. Eventually the enemy changed its form again, what freed it of his grasp. It flew up in the sky and seemed to retreat, but this thought has been blown away with the wind, after Ember noticed the flying chariots in the sky. His wings appeared out of his back and the wild chase began.

Luna was not sure what Ember was doing down there. He was holding some kind of a whip in his hand, which he was hitting against the ground. Then the whip changed its form, and started to fly towards them with an immense speed, followed by Ember that was furiously swinging his wings to reach that thing…. Then something happened in her mind and she suddenly remembered what really happened over a thousand years ago…

She went up to the sky to perform her duty and raise the moon. Luna had a small fight with her sister and was not in the best mood, her horn started to glow and the moon started to appear behind the horizon. Then she noticed that something was behind her. She turned around, and before she could react something dark shrouded her entirely, and the world around her became dark…

- No…. no, no, no! – Yelled Luna all of the sudden, while she was watching the incoming dark thing, that has changed her fate a millennium ago. – Not this again! No please! I don’t want to become Night Mare Moon again!

The dark nightmarish thing nearly reached them, only few meters were separating them. Like back in that night the thing open up widely and was flying towards her, but gladly Ember reached it before it could reach her. The guardian could not control the speed he has established, while he was holding the thing like a coat. He hit the flying chariot. Her personal guards were not able to dodge that, the impact threw the both sisters in the air, instantly their wings open but a broken piece of the chariot hit her very strong in the wing. Luna heard her own bones break and with a painful shout she started to fall down. The only thing that saved her from certain death was a spell that allowed her to manipulate the gravitation. She thanked her teachers and the old books for their wisdom.

Ember could not avoid the impact against the flying chariot, but he prevented the Miasma from abducting one of the ponies. The wings clapped and the creatures of darkness started to fall down with a breathtaking speed. He hoped that his plan would work. Ember started to press against the Miasma, till it was so compressed, that it had the size of a rather big ball, which was constantly wriggling. The side effect of his spell was the fact that he was not able to use any kind of magic, as long he was shrouded by the white energy. With a might swing he threw the compressed Miasma against the ground, and in the end he performed a direct swoop into the small hole where the Miasma has crashed. The wide open world disappeared behind earthen walls, which were surrounding him now. Dust was everywhere, taking away the sight with a thick dust cloud, but he did not have to see if he had hit the Miasma, because he did not feel that he crushed into it.

Luna saw what Ember has performed with wide open eyes. No living creature could have survived something like that, but she knew that he was not an ordinary creature of the Surface, that is why she ran towards the hole, begging that he was alright. Soon she saw Ember digging himself out of the hole he has created, she called after him but right away he started to yell:


The ground started to shake; she trembled and fell on the ground, with some bad luck on her broken wing. She nearly lost her consciousness from the fall. The ground not far from her has been ripped open, and the dark thing jump out of it right into the sky. Wide opened as last time it was going to take control of her once more. The only thing she did was to close her eyes and shed a tear:

- I am sorry Tia...

Luna felt magic in the air. Something appeared between her and the nameless nightmare. Right after she has opened her eyes, she saw the familiar blaze looking on her and the dark thing that was shrouding around his chest and back. Embers wings and arms were open widely:

- LUNA! – It was Tia’s voice that was behind her. But she did not react to it because she could not stop watching Ember who has protected her from a gruesome fate… but for what price?

- Ember… - She could not say more. With tears in her eyes, she cursed that thing that was now shrouding Ember instead of her.

- It is okay Luna… better me than you. – said Ember and wrapped his wings around his body. Even now he was making sure, that she would not get touched by that thing. He turned around and moved away from her, Lunas heart started to pain her even more after she heard, what Ember was saying while he moved away:

- We only part to meet again…

Soon he could not move forward because that thing shrouded nearly every part of his body. Once his face has been shrouded too, the dark energy went under the skin, leaving no trace that it has ever been here. Ember was standing there like a statute. There was no blaze, no signs of life in him, but soon his shoulders started to move up and down. Her sister and the ponies have finally arrived and stood at her side. Ember turned around to them in a very creepy looking way; a growl filled the air even if he had his distance from them. His eyes opened while he was still growling, but they all noticed that it were not Embers eyes that have appeared. It was not the fiery blaze that greeted them; it was a deep red color that showed itself to the world. The Flying Chariots landed not far from them:

- Luna make sure that our subjects in Ponyville reach Canterlot safely. Girls go with her.

- No Tia I will not leave you alone! – yelled Luna frustrated.

- Princess we will help you. – said the ponies in the same time.

- I said go! Protect those who cannot protect themselves!

Luna went to her sister and gave her a hug: - I love you Tia.

- I love you too Luna. – Said Celestia and gently touched her cheek with her nose. – Now go!

The ponies watched Princess Celestia charge the creature without fear, and with a might swing of her wings, she jumped into the air and kicked him right into the face.

- Let’s go my friends. – said Luna and wiped the tears away. – We have our duties to for fill.

Celestia noticed right away that the creature in front of her was not Ember anymore. The once intelligent and rather peaceful creature was no more, and now she had to protect her subjects from his wrath. It appeared that whatever has taken control over his body, was still adapting to it. While she was still in the air, she attacked him with a beam of pure light that came out of her horn. The creatures raised both hands and withhold her magic, which was only pushing him around. Celestia stopped and looked at the creature she once called Ember.

- You have suffered enough…

Suddenly Ember jumped high and nearly grabbed her left back leg. It happened so fast that she had to land on the ground, only to be attacked again. The Princess was lucky though. The attacks were very clumsy and not accurate, and she was simply dodging them. Soon though the attacks became more tens and efficient, that is why she flew back into the sky. Ember turned around and watched the flying chariots, that were merely small points on the sky: he growled and with a might swing of his wings he started to chase them. Once again she shot a beam at him, which hit his back with all its power. But he simply ignored it and continued to fly towards Ponyville. A wild chase began. Celestia was trying to keep him at bay as good as possible, but he was very fast and in a rather short time Ponyville started to appear.

This time she had to hit below the belt. She charged towards him and pierced his wing with her horn, ripping it apart. Ember roared and fell down on the ground; she landed not far from him and started to bombard him with bolts. It was sure that she had his attention now, because he charged towards her, trying to hit her with his own horns, but he stopped after a sound went through the air. It was a sound of a bell, which was coming from Ponyville. The creature looked at her and laughed, what made her shiver inside: Ember turned around and followed the sound that got his attention now.

Luna was personally watching over the evacuation of the subjects. Panic was everywhere, not enough trains have arrived to the train station, and a huge crowd was trying to get into the already full train. She used her Traditional Canterlot Voice to keep order, gladly it worked and soon new trains arrived to evacuate Ponyville. A terrifying roar went through the air, and not far away a small explosion has been spotted by everypony. The panic came back and not even her Canterlot voice was helping here. Another explosion followed, then she saw the silhouette of her sister flying towards the crowd, her fur was dirty and showed marks of burnings. Another silhouette followed her and not far away from the station, Embers claws hit Celestia that fell down on the ground. Luna did not wait for more to happen. She ran right to her sister as did the bearers of Harmony. Ember landed on the ground and looked at the ponies that were standing in front of his prey. He laughed and slowly moved forward.

- Run! Save the others!

- Ember!

The ponies turned around and saw Sugar Heart passing them by, her parents tried to get to her but the crow prevented it. Ember saw her running directly at him; he roared and raised his right arm for a strike.

- Please stop! Why are you doing this?

The ponies ran after her but the distance was simply too big, Ember would reach her within seconds and would probably kill her. The filly that has been cured by Ember would die by an unknown creature that was controlling his body. The arm was already going down to deal the final blow, but suddenly Princess Luna teleported behind the filly, grabbed her with her magic and dodged his attack. Sugar Heart landed on her back:

- Hold on child!

Luna ran away from the beast, that roared full of anger and followed her. The Princess ran between the buildings, hoping that their rather small passages would give her some time to hide the small filly. Embers body had problems with moving on properly, like a mindless brute he was simply destroying parts of the buildings, to reach his new preys. Luna was constantly changing her route, till she has finally lost him. His roar filled the air followed by the sound of falling parts of the buildings he was destroying. She left the buildings and ran towards the town square, right to the Town Hall. She used her magic to put Sugar Heart on the round balcony, which was on the second floor. Before she was able to put the filly gently on the wooden floor, she noticed a slight movement and then claws grabbed her. She cried out of pain and has been thrown through the air like a doll. The world turned upside down and everything became dark.

Twilight heard Luna’s painful cry and saw how she has been thrown through the air by Ember. Sugar Heart saw the entire thing from above and screamed in panic, revealing her position to the monster. Once he saw her on the round balcony, he started to climb up the building, destroying it with each move.

- Rainbow! We will distract him while you will get Sugar Heart down from the building.

- Okay! – She flew up in the sky and waited for the right moment. Twilight focused and connected with her magical energy, the memory of her small lesson with Ember appeared in her mind. They all have seen him, how he protected Luna from that strange thing with his own body, paying for that heroic act with his freedom: The only thing he possessed after he left the Underground. With a furious battle cry, she released the focused magic and launched an incredible might bolt against the creature. The fiend turned around after he has felt the incoming bolt, but it was already too late to do something. The missile hit it directly into the chest. A painful roar was the only thing the ponies heard, the massive body fell on the ground creating a cloud of dust. Rainbow did not wait and as fast as she could, she reached the crying Sugar Heart and took her back to the ponies.

- Run back to the station. – Said Rainbow Dash after she put her down on the ground.

- But…

- There is no time for arguing kid! Run to your parents!

Sugar Heart listened to her and ran back towards the station. The ponies waited patiently while the cloud slowly disappeared, and with a big shock they noticed that Ember was no longer at the place where he has crashed.

- Twitcha twich! Twitcha twitch!

The ponies took cover behind the nearby building. The weird senses of Pinkie saved them from a thrown part of the Town Hall, which hit the place where they were standing seconds ago. Then they saw that Ember was charging at them, ready to trample or hit them with his horns. Twilight concentrated and teleported all of them away from the creature, that ran right through the building.

Princess Luna opened her eyes and cried out loudly. The pain in her wing was impossible to hold out; she noticed that the ground beneath her was red from her own blood. With a huge effort she stood up and looked back to the Town Hall that has been badly damaged. Not far away from her, the bearers of the Elements of Harmony landed on the ground, after an unsuccessful teleportation. Ember came out of the ruins of a former house and ran towards them, ready to end it for good this time. Luna concentrated and released a bolt out of her horn, the creature felt it, and simply hit the bolt away with his hand like it would be a ball. The former Ember stomped the ground furiously, he pointed at the ponies and trapped them with some sort of energy field, while he ran towards her. The princess was tired, she did not know how many blood she has lost already and the pain made her simply numb. She took an imposing royal position with a smile on her face.

- I did the best I could Tia. – She thought and waited for the inevitable. Something small jumped in front of her, terrified she noticed that it was the small filly called Sugar Heart.

- Ember please stop it! You are not that way! Please stop!

She did not wait. With the last remaining power in her, she covered Sugar Heart with her body. The princess did not care about her fate, the young girl was first on the beginning of her long journey, and Luna would never allow that something would happen to her while she was there.

- Please I beg you! Spare the child! Ember!!! – Luna closed her eyes and waited for the final blow. A strange sound went through the air. She opened her eyes and saw something that made her speechless. Ember was standing in front of her, the right arm being held by the left. The muscles on both arms were strained to the limits, a sight Luna would never forget.

- Stay away from them you monster! – It was like two creatures would talk in the same time, but among those voices she was able to recognize Ember’s voice. The left eye changed its color and shape, the known fiery blaze appeared. An interior struggle seemed to have started within Embers mind.

Right after the Miasma has shrouded him; he has been swallowed by darkness, back to the huge, deep red eyes that were awaiting him. Ember was being held by the Miasma, that appeared together with him, they eyes were watching that act for quiet a time.

- We meet again… Guardian of the Crystals. – The laughter of that beast filled his mind. He moaned and tried to get free of the Miasma but it did not work.

- My child! You have served me well. Once I will be free you shall be rewarded.

A strange sounding voice answered:

- Many things have changed, since you have been imprisoned my master.

- Everything will change once more after I will leave this custody!

The Miasma suddenly let go of him, and attacked the huge eyes that started to shake in anger.

- What are you doing!? Let go off me!

- You still have your powers my master, but now they are sustained… and during the time you have become weak.

The Miasma grew and grew, till it was big enough to shroud the eyes.

- Your time is over my father…

The eyes were trying to get free of the Miasma, they once called child, but it did not work and soon the eyes were gone. Even if the dark abomination was no longer holding him, Ember could still feel that some kind of energy made him remain motionless.

- Thank you for your help my friend. – Said the strange sounding voice in his mind. – Thanks to you now I have received the power of my father… even if now I am the imprisoned one.

- Your own greed has sealed your faith you abomination!

- Do you really think I did not predict it? I still have the total control over your body, and once I have removed you out of the way… I shall be free. But for now I will play a little bit with your so called friends.

Ember started to fight against the grip but nothing helped.

- Yes my friend! That is the spirit! Once you have weakened yourself, removing you will not be a problem.

The guardian moaned desperately and stopped to fight against the invisible powers, which were holding him. He could not do anything. Then out through the darkness Ember heard voices. With wide open eyes he recognized them;

- Ember please stop it! You are not that way! Please stop! – He could hear that she was crying while she was saying it.

- Please I beg you! Spare the child! Ember!!! – Once he heard Luna’s voice, Ember started to roar like he has never done it before. He did not know what was happening to him but a gigantic power started to focus in his body.

- What is happening!? No! That can’t be! Noooo! – yelled the voice in his mind that was full of desperation and fear.

Ember opened his eyes and unleashed the power within him. The guardian has been freed from his custody and brought back to his body.

Celestia landed next to her sister, and helped her to get away from Ember, that was still fighting for the control over his body.

- Girls quickly use the Elements! – yelled Celestia after she was sure that they all were far enough from Ember.

- But what if we will hurt Ember? – Asked the shocked Fluttershy.

- My friends! Use your magic on me as long as I am still Ember! Hurry I can’t hold it much longer!

- You heard him girls! Formation!

The ponies went on their position, the Elements of Harmony started to emit powerful magic pulses. The girls went into the air, focused on their task and yet their faced seemed to be so relaxed. Light shrouded them; a beam of pure energy went into the air that had the color of a rainbow. The energy made a might bow in the air and hit directly into the place where Ember was struggling for control. Everything vanished in pure light.

Something was different. He was not sure what though but it was there. Ember looked around and found himself in Ponyville. His friends lost their consciousness but slowly started to wake up. Then he heard a chocking voice behind him, he turned around and gasped loudly. It was like he would look into a mirror; he saw himself kneeling on the ground. This Ember though was thinner and looked incredibly sick, something strange was going on. His skin was moving up and down on several places, like something was trying to get out of it. Then something got through the skin and disgusted he noticed that he was looking at the crystals, which he once guarded in the Underground. The crystals flew in his direction, and before they arrived they melted into one big crystal that was totally black, it landed in his hand.

Ember knew it from somewhere but he could not remember anything, but he knew what he had to do with it. The ponies behind him finally got up and right away, they noticed the two creatures of the Underground. If he was correct he could hear Spike calling for Twilight, once more he looked on the big crystal in his hand and then he moved towards himself. The other Ember remained on his knees, breathing in a strange way:

- I don’t know who you are or what you are… but I know what I must do.

The second Ember looked at him with his deep red eyes and said nothing. The guardian raised his hand and stabbed the crystal into his chest.

- Fool….

Ember was not quick enough to stop the things that happened right now. His double made a swift movement and destroyed the crystal with one blow, which right away split into the smaller pieces. Somehow Ember managed to retaliate three of them, one piece hit him in the forehead and disappeared beneath the skin. One shard remained in the chest of that monster, while the last one flew directly towards the ponies.

- Even if only one shard remains in you… I will stay alive.

Then the body started to fade in front of him, leaving a small ash pile on the ground.

- Twilight! – It was Spike that shouted her name. Ember turned around only to see how the small dragon pushed her away and got hit by the last crystal.


The Guardian ran right to the group and pushed them away. Spike got hit directly in the chest, the crystal nearly disappeared behind his scales, but gladly he managed to catch its tip. Once he started to pull Spike yelled out of pain.

- Why do you care for those pathetic imitations of life forms? – He heard the voice of that creature again, after he has touched the crystal. The ponies heard it too but he did not notice that.

- They are my friends. – answered Ember in his mind.

- Something like Friendship does not exist… but I do not have the time for ideal speeches. I see that you like that imitation of a dragon…

Spike started to yell even more. That thing was hurting him!

- Lets make a small deal… I let the dragon live, but you have to put back the shard into your body. If you will refuse it, I will simply kill it.

Ember hand was shaking while he listened to this voice. The ponies remained silent, not sure what to do, but if he would look into Twilight’s eyes, he would see them begging him to aid her small friend.

- So be it then… release him…

- Your foolishness will kill you eventually Ember... – The way he said his name made him shiver even more.- We shall meet again.

The crystal went out of Spikes body and shoot right away into his heart. It did not hurt at all but he started to feel old things he could not really comprehend. He healed Spikes wound and moved away from the group. The ponies checked on him and started to cry out of happiness, after Spike woke up and asked if everypony was okay. The guardian went to the princesses, fighting against his feelings that were boiling in him. Once he stood in front of them he said with a broken voice:

- Allow me to heal you…

He expected anger, hate towards him, but they nodded and allowed him to heal them. Ember touched them in the same time and started to do his job. Every broken bone, cut flesh or any kind of injuries has been removed, blood has been refilled and soon the princesses, even if still dirty, looked healthy. Celestia and Luna were watching him the entire time, and with a big surprise they saw that Ember was crying while he was aiding them. It was a very strange sight for both Alicorns, to see tears flow out of his fiery eyes, but soon the sisters were deeply touched by it. After the connection has been cut, the guardian started to cry loudly. He fell on his knees and hid his face with his hands. Sugar Heart made the first step and touched his leg gently:

- Please don’t cry Ember. Everything will be fine I promise.

Ember looked at the small filly, grabbed her gently with his hands, and gave her the longest hug he has ever performed.

Hours later, not far away from the main gate to Canterlot, the citizens of this marvelous city together with the citizens of Ponyville gathered together. In front of them Princess Celestia together with her younger sister Princess Luna, told their precious subjects what have occurred during the last days. Behind the rulers of Equestira stood the six ponies, heroines of this land and bearers of the Elements of Harmony, together with the creature called Ember. All of them were listening to her marvelous voice, praising his selfish acts that he has performed on this day.

- Ember come closer please. – Asked Celestia and smiled at him.

He did what she has asked for, and kneeled before the two sisters. Several places of his body shown signs of injuries, his body had to endure while he was gone. The guardian did not intend to heal any of them; the only thing he healed was his ripped wing.

- You have sacrificed everything for the safety of my sister. You encountered the fiend, that has possessed your body, and with the help of the wonderful Magic of Friendship, you protected not only your friends and yourself… You protected the Harmony of those lands!

- Sister… While I was gone you have taken the responsibility for the day and the night. Even if I would be gone, the Harmony would have never died with me.

- If I would have loose you a second time Luna… I would have not endured it. – She looked back on Ember that saw that she was crying. – And for that you will always have my gratitude.

Celestia wiped the tears away and smiled at him:

- Equestria has its own heroes and heroines. We have the Elements of Harmony on our side, but this day has proven that even the Elements and the Harmony itself requires protection.

She lifted her right front leg:

- Hear by I declare you; Ember son of Equestria, as the Guardian of Harmony!

Celestia touched his shoulders with her horn and kissed him on his forehead.

- Thank you… Your Highness… - His voice was trembling, for he could not believe what just happened.

- Call me Tia friend.

She smiled once more. Then she turned around to her sister and nodded at her. Luna winked at him, opened her wings and flew up in the sky together with Celestia. The day came to its end and the time of the night has come. Luna concentrated. Her horn started to glow with its nice blue shine; she stretched her front legs above her head. The moon appeared at the horizon, and brought forth the most beautiful night the ponies and Ember has ever seen. The ponies behind him started to cheer at the two sisters, his small companions and surprisingly they even cheered at the Guardian of Harmony. His friends came to him and like in the Underground they gave him a one cheerful group hug, but this time he joined it. Finally he has found a purpose in this new world; he had friends that would be there for him regardless the odds.

Ember son of Equestria...


A place that he could call home, but he knew that right now he had the responsibility of protecting it. That thing that was trapped within his body was still alive, and Ember knew that eventually their paths would cross again.

But that is a story for another time....

Right now Ember watched the sky, that he loved since he saw it for the first time, and enjoyed the moment together with his friends.

The story of the Guardian will be divided in several parts. I thank all the people, that were reading my very first English story I have ever posted on the internet.

I hope that I will be able to start the second part of this story as fast as possible.

Again thank you for the support:
Tom Juraszek