Between Arstotzka and Equestria: Papers, Please

by A_Storyteller

First published

The border between Arstotzka and Equestria opens. Will these two words be able to coexist? And...How much can the events be influenced by the decisions of a simple checkpoint's Inspector? - A crossover between "Papers, Please" and MLP

After a historic agreement, the border between Arstotzka and Equestria will open, allowing the citizens of these two parallel universe to travel from one world to another.

Will these two words be able to coexist?

And above all...

How much can the events be influenced by the decisions of a simple checkpoint's Inspector?

This will be a crossover between "Papers, Please", a game developed some years ago, and "my little pony"

- Inspired by Arstrotzka Welcomes You: A Papers, Please Crossover. and this video
- Story developed with the HUGE contribution of VocareAdVacui (Prologue, chapters 1-2) and Jay Tarrant (chapters 2+) as proofreaders.
- Cover art taken from the game "Papers, Please"

[N.B.] TAGS could change as the story progress.
Added "Violence" TAG for the presence of minor violence scenes.
References to "Alcohol" and "Cigarettes".

Prologue: the new Inspector

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12 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

Communication with a Parallel World! Frontier opening in One Week!

Just two months have passed since the discovery of another universe inhabited by non-human beings, but the curiosity and the desire of knowing better this new reality already reached the hearts of everybody. The relations between the chiefs of our Great Arstotzkan State and the representatives for the parallel universe began in a tense atmosphere that, fortunately, became more friendly and relaxed. Today, during a press conference, the Minister of Admission announced, with considerable enthusiasm, that the Great State of Arstotzka had reached an agreement with the Holy Princess Celestia, to create a line of communication between our two worlds, in order to establish trade routes, information exchanges and transit of citizens; this will bring more prosperity and power to both our worlds.
Workers from both sides are making huge efforts to prepare the checkpoints, from which all will be able to walk between our worlds; within two weeks, it will be possible to travel from Orvech Vonor to Canterlot, the Capital of Equestria.
The October Labour Lottery will determine which citizens will have the honour to serve our Great State by working at the checkpoint.

Glory to Arstotzka.


23 October, 1983

“The wind is blowing strong tonight.”

These words broke the heavy silence in the room, as the hand of a middle aged man swiftly moved to strike a match upon the nearest wall, giving life to the little blue flame that would allow him to light his little white cigarette. Calmly, the man took a deep drag from it, closing his eyes for a moment as he savoured the smoke in his lungs. He was still for a long moment, focusing his attention on the full, bright moon beyond the confines of the room, before exhaling, casting a cloud of smoke that surrounded his face.

“I can only hope that tomorrow will be better.” He added, flicking the lit match to extinguish the flame.

He was not alone in the room. The walls and floor were bare but for a worm-eaten wooden table, surrounded by four chairs; some shelves with various ornaments on them, a metallic heater, various paintings and a ragged and moth-eaten couch. The moonlight that streamed through the windows was barely enough the outline the man...and his companion, huddled on the couch.

“The weather here matches the hole we're living in…” The voice was old, as old as its owner. Despite the noticeable shaking and the cracking voice, it was still recognisably female. With a huge effort, she stood up, letting fall the warm blanket that was covering her and revealing the vaguely white garment that she was wearing to cover her thin body, “...Simply disgusting!” Slowly she began to make her way over to the cheap, metallic heater placed (inconveniently) in the middle of the room.

Reaching her destination, the old lady stretched out her arms and spread her palms as if she wanted to absorb all the warmth from the room’s only heat source. “Clouds and cold...Orvech Vonor is famous for these two features...and for that horrible herb-flavoured vodka that they sell in Arstotzka.” She said, making it perfectly clear how much she was annoyed by that place, by that night and by the flavour of the cigarette that was invading the room “And put that thing out. I think you’ve already cut a few months off what’s left of my life,” She chuckled humorlessly. “Never mind what it’s doing to yours.”

“I found the Orvech vodka strong and tasty.” The man replied, his mouth quirked into a slight smirk, before he took another long drag from his cigarette, blowing away a little cloud of smoke from his slim mouth. “Even though it is not nearly as potent as this.” He toyed with it, rolling the smouldering paper between his fingers. “You should try it too,” He said, smiling again as the expression of his interlocutor quickly became sour, before focusing again on the view offered by the window; his attention was attracted by some tall trees, high upon a distant hillock that, buffeted by the strong wind, were moving their peaks from left to right with a regular rhythm, as if they were all big metronomes beating the time for a musician. “Anyway, we have to get used to all of this,” The man added, facing the old woman with his right hand clasped upon his forehead in a salute. “The Great State of Arstotzka requires our presence here...Glory to Arstotzka, that we may continue to be allowed to eat...and to live.”

“Bah!” The old woman grumbled, bowing her head. “This isn’t living…” She turned, her eyes falling upon an old photo placed on a wooden shelf, depicting four people happily eating under an apple tree in a park in Grestin. “This city is just so this apartment...and like your bald head! You should cover it up. A man deserving this title should have hairs and a beard.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Don't complain, Katia.” He said, looking carefully at his mother-in-law. The cigarette dropped from his fingers, the embers on its tip glowing as brightly as a falling star, before coming to earth beneath his boot heel. “Just yesterday I had to smuggle liquors in Nirsk to earn enough money to buy food. Every day risking being caught by the police and thrown in a cell...and we know how prisons work in our country.” He smiled, bitterly. “At least now I have a legal job...and now we live in a Class 8 apartment, a better place than our previous house.”

“Young man,” The woman’s slim index finger rose, almost accusingly. “We lived happily there for a long time.” She admonished somberly.

He gave his shoulder to her for a moment, his expression dark. His eyes fixed upon the photo, before he sighed and laid a hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Maybe those happy memories are one of the few things we can agree on.”

“Perhaps.” Her expression twisted into something resembling a smile for a moment. “I do not like your new job. Working on a frontier to a new universe...bah!” She grimaced. “This will all end in tragedy, I know it. History has already proven that.”

“Is a job like any other.” Hektor replied, shrugging. “And it can't be more dangerous that being a smuggler in Arstotzka, yes?” He added, before lapsing into silence, thinking about their situation without even noticing that Katia was holding his hand, “Besides, I can take care of myself...speaking about the job.” He suddenly said giving a quick look at the old clock on the wall, “I think it's time to go to bed...I must be ready and vigilant for the first day of work.”

He reached slowly the door of his room and, before opening it, he turned back to his mother-in-law, “Do you want a hand to lift you up?”

“I want to sleep here, close to the heater and close to...them.” She said with sadness while looking at the photo, covering herself with the heavy woolen blanket she had left on the floor before.

“All right...goodnight, old woman.”

“Goodnight, young man.”

Before going to bed, the man took from the pocket of his jacket the letter sent to him just few days ago; the red stylized eagle with its spread wings, the symbol of Arstotzka, had only heightened his trepidation for its contents. He looked for the umpteenth time at what was written on it, almost as if he was feeling not really conscious of the real meaning of its contents:

Mr Hektor Popov,

You have been selected in the October Labor Lottery to serve the Great State of Arstotzka.
For placement, visit the Ministry of Admissions at Orvech Vonor at exactly 06:00 hours of the 24th of October.
An apartment will be provided for you and your family in Orvech Vonor. Expect a Class 8 dwelling.

Glory to Arstotzka.

“What shall the future hold for me, my dear Sarah?” He said, staring at the roof for a moment before preparing himself to sleep.


24 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

Checkpoint for the Parallel Universe opens Today

Today is a glorious day for all Arstotzka; today, the passage to Equestria will open on both sides. Everybody is waiting to see what the inhabitants of this new world will look like. The press office of the Ministry of Admission released the following declaration:
Due to some "side effects" of the travel, people visiting the other world will experience a change of their body, becoming a member of the species living in the parallel universe they most closely represent and, as specified from one of the main representatives of Equestria, the Princess Twilight of Sparkle, their mind and behaviour will change accordingly.
The Arstotzkan ambassadors said that it's a very strange sensation but, at the same time, they ensure that there are no known side effects.
A huge line is expected outside the Orvech Vonor checkpoint, where at 07:00 hours the doors to the parallel universe will open. Somebody ...


Suddenly, while Hektor was reading the main article of the newspaper, the office door of the high official of the Ministry of Admissions opened with a startling bang. Hektor glanced up from his newspaper to see an Arstotzkan officer looming over his paper.

“Mr. Popov, I presume?” The tall, blonde officer said with a cold, yet cordial voice. “Please, come in. I have been waiting for you.”

The man spun on his heel and strode away, leaving Hektor to drop his paper and scurry along in the tall man’s wake. He knew from experience that it was best not to keep the Arstotzkan officers waiting. He was led inside the office, a flat room with gray walls with a desk and some wooden furnitures places near the walls to store documents. As Hektor closed the door behind himself, the attention fell on the only objects that gave some color to the place: some gold plaques placed on the wall behind the other man that, from a quick first view, represented some kind of official recognition of service.

Following the indication of the officer, he sat down on an uncomfortable wooden chair facing the officer’s desk. The officer, with slow and careful movements, sat in front of him.

“Well, well.” He said, a friendly smile on his pale, shaved face. “First of all, allow me to present you my compliments for the punctuality and, of course, the best of luck for your new occupation.” The blonde man paused for a moment to take a little, white package from which he took two cigarettes: one for himself, the other for Hektor, who accepted with great pleasure.

“I can see from your expression that you’re not relaxed at all, that's no good...” The officer said, shaking a little his head while putting the package back into the breast pocket of his standard-issue grey jacket. “The ones who'll come to your checkpoint must see calm, patience and cordiality...when I, Konstant Varusov, look at checkpoint inspectors, I want to see these kind of attributes.”

“Sorry for that, High Officer,” Hektor mumbled, lighting the cigarette with a match, “I'll try to better control my emotions and, of course, I'll do my job as precisely and carefully as possible. I know that Arstotzka is counting on me”.

“Indeed, Mr. Popov,” said the other man, smiling at those words while caressing his little chin, “I hope you'll serve our country as deserved. Now, follow me” he added, standing up, “I'll fill you in with all the details.”

They walked down a long corridor to reach another room; a bright, red -Authorized Employees Only- sign was present on the door. “While we take what we need, allow me to explain to you your tasks.” With a calm tone, he began to speak with a certain self-assurance of his authority, “As you surely read on all the newspapers, today Arstotzka and Equestria will open their checkpoints and people will be allowed to travel between both worlds.” He stayed silent for some moments, looking at some papers he found in the office; during these short moments, Hektor caressed his freshly defined brown beard, refined for the occasion, while trying to follow the movements of the Inspector.
“As written on the treaty signed from the representatives of both nations, we have to control people who will try to reach Equestria from our side; they, on the other hand, will do the same in their territory...personally, I think that it was better to control who will try to enter our nation instead, but their Queen, this Celestia, said that she prefer to control hers own citizen and vice-versa and our leaders agreed to this request...I don't know why, but who am I to judge? And, to be honest, I wonder which kind of nation can have a female leader.” He suddenly stopped to reach Hektor, giving him two envelopes: one with the symbol of Arstotzka, the other with some kind of strange stamp on it, depicting a stylized white unicorn head wrapped by two large wings “curious about their contents, eh? You'll read them later. Now follow me to the dressing room, I’m not finished explaining.”

Hektor walked slowly behind Varusov, putting the two envelopes in the inside pocket of the jacket. He didn't care about the nation and about the service he was going to offer to the ‘Great State of Arstotzka’; he wanted just to be able to bring back enough money to pay the rent, to buy food and coal for the heater and, if everything would go well, to buy a bottle of that vodka his mother-in-law despises so much. All the things about ‘serving the country’ and ‘be thankful to Arstotzka’ he couldn’t care less about, but he decided to keep this opinion to himself, he didn’t want to get himself into trouble with the snooty Inspector so soon into his new job.

With the mind so focused on these thoughts, Hektor didn't realize that he was already in the dressing room “There,” the Inspector said aloud, attracting his attention, “Do not distract yourself! We need focused people out there.”

Varusov gave Hektor a large sack containing the official Arstotzkan border guard uniform.. “From now on, this jacket and these trousers will become your new skin. The symbol of our Great Arstotzka must be clean and visible because you…” He jabbed his finger in Hektor's direction, “... you will represent our Great Nation.” The blonde man suddenly brought his right hand to his heart, his expression solemn. “Do not disappoint us!”

“I will not!” Hektor said firmly, imitating all the movements, smirking as the pompous officer turned away from him.

“Now dress as fast as possible. We have a transport ready for you once you are ready,,” Varusov ordered, “and as you can see from the clock, there is not much time left and a delay in the first day would be an huge blow for Arstotzka...and for you.” he added, smiling a little.

Realizing the situation, Hektor dressed as fast as he could, thanking his luck when he saw that everything fitted perfectly, even the shapka with the red eagle in the middle, thoughying that, at least, his head will stay warm. He then took the two envelopes from his jacket to put then in a pocket of his new trousers, before giving a nod with his head to Varusov, letting him know that he was ready.

“Good.” The blonde man replied, lighting another cigarette, “Now, put your uniform in the sack and bring it with you. Starting from tomorrow, you'll reach the checkpoint already prepared for working. Now go, read the letters and serve the nation well.” With a resolute expression, Varusov saluted Hector, beating his fist on his chest“Glory to Arstotzka.”

“Glory to Arstotzka!” replied Hektor, saluting in the same way before leaving.


When Hektor reached the checkpoint his eyes immediately focused on the huge line of people. Everybody were waiting for minutes, maybe for hours, for the chance of crossing this new passage to an unknown world. There were men, women, children and old people from every country he knew...and from far away countries too, judging from their dresses and from their appearance.

He walked slowly looking at the ground beneath his feet, trying to avoid all the eyes that, in that moment, were pointing at him. After a while he reached his destination: a booth made of iron and concrete, the only passage that could allow somebody to pass the giant concrete wall built to protect the passage to the parallel universe. While walking, he tried to light a match, but the freezing wind extinguished match even as he brought it to his lips. Focusing on what he was doing, he didn't realize that he was next to the door of the booth...and that a guard was pointing his rifle toward him.

“Freeze!” He said aloud with a menacing tone of voice, focusing the attention of Hektor and of all the people standing in line, “Go back in the line or I'll have to shoot you where you stand!”

“With this temperature, I will freeze for sure, I don't need an order to do that,” Hektor replied sincerely, throwing away the match he was trying to light. “Anyway...accept my excuses for coming near you without saying anything,” he added, adjusting the shapka with the Arstotzkan symbol on it, “My name is Hektor Popov. I work here.”

“The border inspector...I see,” the guard growled, without laying down the weapon, Show me the documents. Prove what you say...and do it slowly.”

Understanding the situation, Hektor calmly took the two envelopes from the pocket of his jacket, giving them to the guard. “These are for you, not for me,” the guard lowered his weapon, “Only the inspector can have these papers, I don't need to check them. I'll open the door for you...from now on, I'll guarantee the safety of the checkpoint...and your safety too, of course.”

He opened the door with a key swiftly taken from his pocket “You should look at the line...everybody has been waiting a long time for you,” he said, pointing to the mob, “I think that this first day will not be easy at all.”

Hektor’s brown eyes surveyed the crowd for a moment. “I hope you're wrong,” he replied, pushing open the steel door of the bunker, “In any case, you're here to solve problems, yes?”

“I'm paid to solve them,” the guard smirked, “but do try to not cause them.”

“I'll try” Hektor nodded to the guard before closing the door behind him with a clang.

The booth was, strangely, least, warmer than expected.

The space was small: the working place was big enough for one or two persons and there were just a wooden chair and a desk with a lot of stuff on, of which he wasn't able to ascertain the usefulness. A door with the sign Bathroom was present in the room “The first useful thing I see here.” Hektor murmured. A small clock under the desk showed him that there were 20 minutes before the opening time, so he seated on the chair and, with a swift movement, he opened the two envelopes received from the High Inspector.

The first he read was the one with the Arstotzkan mark; it was written with an excellent typing machine, as he could see from the vividly black letters printed on the paper.


Today it's important to see how people will behave and ensure there will be no public order problems.

As written in the treaty with Equestria, today only Arstotzkan and Equestrian citizens will be allowed to pass; this law will be strictly applied from both sides of the border, so don't make mistakes.

As you can see, we mention “Equestrians”, too; we can't in fact deny the possibility of Equestrians coming here to see the our Great Nation just for a day, so we decided to give them this chance. If one of their citizen will show up, the photo on their passport will not be a decisive factor for the approval of their visa, as their features change when they come to our world.

Deny people from other nations and approve only people with a valid passport; our date is the same of the date in Equestria, so there are no differences to consider in checking the validity of the documents.

Your pay will be determined from the number of people processed.

Under your desk you'll find a drawer with a Rule Book and the instructions to use all the equipment you'll find in your working place.

Do not disappoint us.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Ministry of Admissions

Hektor read the letter, focusing on every word that filled the white paper, sounding the words out noiselessly with furious concentration. When he reached the bottom, he looked up, noticing the drawer mentioned, and pulling the book from inside, not before throwing away the letter “his will be more useful.” he said.

The watch hands showed that there were just 10 minutes left before the start...enough time to read the contents of the second letter.

It was very different from the previous one: the paper was made of a particular material, as the bright white color of it showed, and it was handwritten from someone with a clear, beautiful calligraphy. Hektor was surprised by the style of the writing and, above all, from the content of the letter.

Good Morning Inspector,

I want to present to you my deepest thanks for the service you'll provide to the nation I represent; even if you are working for your country, you are here to stop unauthorized and villainous characters from sneaking into Equestria.

I hope that our two worlds will live in peace and that no problems will emerge from the contact between us; if something goes wrong, please inform me, especially if it was one of my little ponies.

We have a lot to learn from your culture and we're ready to offer all our knowledge to you, in an exchange that will allow both our civilizations to better understand our situation and to prosper.

It's my deep desire to wish you the best of luck for your new job.

Please, have a nice day. I hope to be able to write to you again.

Best regards
Princess Celestia

P.S. Just “Princess Celestia”. I know that the representatives of Arstotzka gave me another title, but I think it's too long and it doesn't quite suit me.

“She seems a good leader,” Hektor had been honestly surprised by the letter. “Such nice words even if she doesn't know me...maybe these Equestrians are not bad.” he added, before realizing that he had one minute left before the opening “Damn! I didn't read the Rule Book at all...I'll have to do that during the working hours.”

He waited to see the watch hands of the clock under the desks moving...7 o'clock. “Let's do this!” He said, opening the grate with a lever. He checked his jacket and his fur hat, then he took a deep breath before speaking at the microphone


<<That wasn't too hard.>> Hektor thought while an old lady covered by a light brown fur coat came in, holding in her hand a bright green passport. When she stood in front of Hektor, she remained silent, waiting for a signal.

He remained silent for some seconds, gathering his thoughts before saying, with a clear and decisive voice, the two words that would become for him a real mantra:

“Papers, please.”

Papers, Please

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24 October, 1983 – H 7:00 to 18:00 date...everything was in order. The eyes of the Inspector were moving between the old lady who, with patience, was standing in front of him and his first passport.

"Well, all seems good to me." Hektor said with a calm but firm tone of voice, giving a quick glance to the rule book opened on the desk. He was trying to figure out how to activate the stamper to approve the visa.

"I'm travelling for pure curiosity, you know. News about the new world arrived in Republia in no time and I want to visit it...what do I have to expect there?" the old lady asked the Inspector, who, in the meantime, was completely focused on his searching for the proper instruments to use.

"Do not ask this of me...I barely know what I have to do here," he replied while, with the automatic printer he found in a drawer on the right side of the desk, printing the green approval stamp on the passport.

"Here is your document. Glory to Arstotzka...I hope you'll be satisfied from what you'll see there," he said, a little embarrassed for the time wasted.

"Thank you, young man. Have a nice day." The old lady replied with an huge smile on her face, before reaching the door that leaded to the portal for the parallel world. Before it closed, Hektor was able to hear the voice a guard that asked the traveller to show the approved visa.

<<A strong surveillance indeed.>> he thought quickly <<I let the first person for Equestria pass...I thought it was harder to...>> A staccato buzzing jolted him roughly out of his thoughts. He recognized it as the sound of the old printing machine positioned under his desk...a sheet came out from it:

Alert: Only Arstotzkan and Equestrian allowed.

<<Great...first person, first error,>> Hektor thought, disappointed by himself. <<Let’s see if I'll be able to get kicked out before dinner.>> He read the message for a second time without saying a word, before putting it in the pocket of his jacket. In that moment of doubt of his abilities, he slipped from his bald head the warm and comfortable shapka, looking at the Arstotzkan eagle in the middle. A lot of thoughts came to his mind…he could not surrender himself after one mistake; he had to go on, he needed that job, for his mother and, above all, for himself.
He replaced the fur hat and took a deep breath. "Well...let’s start again," he whispered before saying to the microphone the magic word that everybody outside was waiting for. "NEXT!"

A young man with an elegant brown jacket came in, hurrying a little.

"Papers, please."

"Come on! I waited for hours, you know? I want to see this new world!" The newcomer said, placing a passport from Impor on the desk. "It's me. Everything is correct. I don't want to lose time!"

Hektor took the passport with patience and, after giving a quick glance at the nationality wrote on it, he activated the automatic printer for the denials and stamped a bright, red stamp on the visa in the passport. "Only Arstotzkan and Equestrian citizens are allowed." he said, giving back the passport to the owner who was reddening like a tomato.

"So I can't hour in the line for nothing...barbarian!" The man exclaimed before going out from the booth with an angry expression.

The inspector shrugged his shoulders at that reaction. <<The first of a long series.>> He thought while calling the next in line with the microphone. After these first two events, Hektor began to gain trust in himself and his job became easier. With a fixed smile on his face, he was able to face all kinds of difficulties he encountered.

"Papers, please...Arstotzkan passport...everything is in order...approved! Have a nice trip! NEXT!"

"Papers, please...what Equestrians look like? I don't know...and considering that this passport is expired, I don't think you'll find out. NEXT!"

While working, Hektor began to read the infamous Rule Book: a tome with an ugly brown cover and far too many pages.

<<Cities and regions...information to check...fortunately everything is rationally sorted, just like all the things in Arstotzka.>> Surprisingly, there was an entire chapter about the Equestrians; the part about the differences between the two worlds was both interesting and useful.

<<Photos are not reliable...a table that shows the time difference between the worlds to check the passport expiration date, drawings of the Equestrian’s stamp to check the validity of their documents...this book is more precious than it looks.>>

But in Hektor’s mind there was something more interesting than that book: the different reactions of all the people that came to cross the border. Some were polite, some were curious, some decided to fill the head of the Inspector with stories about his was indeed an intriguing thing.

The last one who came tried to menace Hektor. "Let me pass or you'll face grave consequences!" The young, blonde man cried out, his fist raised. "I'll clean up that grin on your stupid face!" An ominous click cut his diatribe short, "OUT!" shouted the guard with a determined voice, persuading the man to desist, though not before giving to Hektor one last menacing look.

He shook his head, looking down to his desk, closing himself in a strict silence that, after few seconds, was broken by a loud laugh. When he looked up, he saw a man coming in without the proper call. "The expression of that man was quite funny," he said, looking at Hector with a strange smile on his face. "All of you are funny...and intriguing...if the weather here was just a bit warmer and sunny, I could decide to stay here a little longer." He added, stroking his short white beard and walking toward the Inspector.

"I didn't allow the next access," Hektor said, following that new guest closely, "Papers, please."

"Papers?" asked the newcomer that, from his appearance, looked like he was in his forties. "When I passed the Equestrian border, nobody pretended to see my papers...and I think I don't need them here either," he added with a smile, "come on pal, let me pass...I want to go back to my comfortable bed".

Hektor's expression changed abruptly when he realized that the one he was facing was not human...he had the aspect of an human being, his face with those white eyebrows could be easily of a common man...but the little two dark blue wings that fluttered from the long jacket he wore; it was clear that he was not part of this world.

"An Equestrian, I presume?" Hektor asked, focusing his attention on the alien.

"It is so obvious? A shame I know why everyone in the queue were looking at me in that strange way." The foreigner smirked while caressing again his goat-like beard. "Maybe I had to better cover these wings."

"Even if you're from Equestria, I need to check your papers...that's the protocol." Hektor insisted, drumming his fingers on the desk.

At those words, the Equestrian put his hands on his chest "Do you think that I, the Spirit of the Chaos, have to follow the protocols? That’s annoying.”

A brief silence followed, as he was waiting for a reply from the Inspector…a reply that wasn’t coming. “Come on...let me pass, I'll not ask this another time." The man was getting insistent, but Hektor wasn’t breaking the rules for this guy.

"Mr. Spirit of Chaos-" Hektor tried to say, putting emphasis on that particular title.

"Call me Discord...with respect, please."

"Well...Mr. Discord, I don't know who you are in Equestria, but here, everybody needs a passport, common citizens, ministers...and spirits, too."

Discord remained silent of some moments, frowning, lost in deep thought. "I think I forgot them in the other jacket...speaking of clothes, I found yours very have no sense of taste! At least they're warm..."

"No passport, no entry," Hektor cut him short, "Please, Mr. Discord, leave the booth now."

The Spirit of Chaos breathed deeply, snorting after few seconds, "Well leave me no choice." He said this with a faux sad face, "I'll have to do what I did to the Equestrian inspector that tried to stop me," Discord said calmly. The man seemed to be preparing to snap his fingers with the attitude of someone cocking a loaded gun. "Would you like to become a pig, a cat, a you wish."

The expression of Hektor's face couldn't be more confused. "Some kind of joke?" he asked with a serious expression.

"No my's just magic!" The Equestrian replied. "Now...considering that you didn't choose, I'll choose for you. Have fun being!"

Discord snapped his fingers...but nothing happened.

Discord stared in betrayed shock at his fingers, while Hektor watched with amused confusion. Did the old fool really think his fingers could turn people into animals? The man tried again, aiming his fingers at Hektor, focussing furiously. "The cats doesn't work? Ah, they're too independent...let's try with!"

He snapped his fingers again, with the same result. The guard was watching now, laughing quietly behind his fingers.

"A llama,” *snap* “A camel,” *snap* “A frog,” *snap* “A snake!" he exclaimed, repeatedly snapping his fingers at Hektor.

"Listen, Mr. Discord," Hektor had had enough of listening to this idiot rave. "If you want to see a magic trick, I can make you fall asleep without even let you notice."

"Ah," exclaimed Discord, clearly amused, "If the Spirit of Chaos can't do magic, nobody can! Let me see, come on!" He spread his arms and described a circle on his chest. "Show me, I dare you!"

"Well," Hektor raised his fist "At"

And, with a vicious *CRACK*, the wooden end of the guard’s rifle struck the back of his head. The humanized Equestrian fell on the ground, unconscious.

"Thanks, guard," Hektor said to the guard, nodding. "He said that he crossed the Equestrian border without a passport...what kind of work are they doing there?" he added, looking at the unconscious man.

"I don't know, and I don't care." the soldier replied, giving a severe look to Discord before facing Hektor. "Should I bring him to the prison?" he asked, and Hektor realised that he was in charge of the man.

Hektor looked another time at Discord, contemplating the body on the floor; for a few seconds he remained silent, before speaking again. "I know Arstotzkan prisons, and I think that it would be too harsh a penalty for him. Just leave him outside the booth...maybe the cold wind will bring him to his senses."

The guard looked conflicted for a moment, opening his mouth as if to interject, before shrugging. “You’re the boss.” he said, before lifting up Discord to drag him from the booth. “By the way, my name is Ian, Ian Molin. You can call me by my name, instead of guard.

Hektor nodded to him, while looking at the door of the booth closing behind the blonde guard. During the brief moment of peace that followed , he thought about his actions: was it correct to leave him in Arstotzka? Maybe he was too rough...

Anyway, he could not let him pass; one error was already enough for that day. "NEXT!"



"Kolechia...<<another one>>... denied...NEXT!"

"Arstotzka...everything in order...approved...cause no trouble and have a good trip. NEXT!"

The time passed so quick that the Inspector hadn’t realized that it was almost the time to close the doors until he noticed he was starting to squint to see the passports in the orange sunset. While checking the clock, a woman with an elegantly styled head of long purple hair came in, together with a little girl with equally well-styled light pink, curly hairs. Hektor was sincerely stunned from the couple in front of him; it was uncommon to see a such beautiful girl and such a cute child, both dressed in wonderful white coats and scarves, each one mirroring the hair colour of the other.

"Good evening, darling." the woman said with a lovely but solemn voice, "You're the Inspector for the checkpoint to Equestria, yes?"

"Yes, madam," Hektor replied, a little embarrassed. The woman tossed her hair, clearly having noticed her effect on the poor man, and as she did Hektor noticed a small white protrusion on her forehead. A horn. "You're both Equestrians, I presume?" he added, trying to affect a courteous smile.

"That is correct, Mister-” She leaned forward, scrutinising his name tag. “-Popov. We came here to see your world, but this trip was not as I expected," the pale lady said while taking out from her obviously very expensive bag bag their passports. "We had hoped to find an elegant capital inhabited by rich and polite people...but all we found here was cold, snow, and rudeness!" she added with a melodramatic voice. "At least everything is over, now...isn’t that right, Sweetie?" she cooed, looking at the cute child, who only looked down at the floor of the booth and scuffed her expensive little buckled shoes on the wood, before going back to look at Hektor.

"You look tired sir. Are you alright?" she asked, her voice so sincerely worried that Hektor looked at her in flabbergasted shock. She was the first person to have worried about him, rather than on their own problems (most of which he was causing)

"Well, let's just say that it was a long day..."

He then took the passports from the purple haired girl. The first thing he noticed was the photos...there were photos of two animals! The creatures were vaguely equestrian, with four hooved legs and muzzles, but each had a long horn extending from it’s forehead, and very un-horse-like expressions. Interestingly, the photos were full-body, rather than the face-only Arstotzkan photos, with some emphasis given to the strange marks the creatures had on their flanks. He looked at them with an indescribable expression. <<So this is how Equestrians look like in their world. Honestly, this shouldn’t have been a surprise,>> Hektor thought.

Rarity focused her attention on Hector’s expression. "If you're thinking about how we're different from our photos, sir, just think at the surprise we received when we turned in ... well ... this" she added pointing at herself. In that moment, Sweetie Belle nodded, looking at the Inspector with her big, bright light green eyes.

Hektor reddened for a moment, nodding at her direction and smiling sincerely for the first time that day. "Indeed, I can't imagine what that might have felt like." he said before opening the two passports "So...Sweetie Belle...and Rarity...let’s see..."

"Take all the time you need, Mr. Inspector. Everything is in order." the graceful woman said, looking at him with her penetrating and intrigued eyes. "After all, we already passed all the checks in Equestria...oh, by the way," Rarity suddenly added, her kind expression changing to a grimace of disgust. "I met somebody I know outside."

"You mean the other Equestrian who came here earlier?" Hektor asked, skimming both passports.“That Mr. Discord guy?”

"Yes, indeed...what is he doing here?"

"He tried to pass the controls without a passport...he said that he was able to pass the Equestrian border without problems, but here the laws are strict and without the proper documents we can't allow passage." he explained, stamping the green stamp on the visa of her passport.

"You made the right choice, Hektor,” Hektor reddened. Rarity smiled mischievously, having elicited the response she was after, "He is such a ruffian, you don't know him like I do...and besides, when laws are not respected, it is correct to pay the proper price."

"Yeah..." Hektor agreed. "All the laws must be respected...speaking of which..."

"Speaking of which?" Rarity repeated, looking quizzically at Hektor.

<<This could be a problem...a very big problem!>>

His eyes moved around few times, as he was checking something two, three, four times. Hektor’s face was more worried than he wanted and a loud silence began to spread through the booth like honey. The eyes of the two Equestrians girls were focused on him; clearly, they were waiting for an answer.

<<I’m beginning to really hate this job!!>> He thought, taking a deep breath.

"Speaking of which...I see that the passport of Miss Sweetie Belle is expired."

"WHAT?!" Rarity exclaimed, shocked. "How is this possible? At the Equestrian border they checked everything! You have to check again!"

"No mistakes," Hektor replied, reluctantly taking the clock under the desk and setting it on the wooden surface for the hundredth time. "According to the instructions written on the rule book and comparing the expiration date on the passport with our calendar, it seems that your daughter's passport expired two days ago."

Suddenly, the calm and beautiful face of the purple haired girl began to change slowly, and Hektor resigned himself to having pissed off the only person he had met so far who had been pleasant. "Please, Miss Rarity, try to stay calm..."

"My...daughter?" Rarity spoke slowly, eyes narrowing, "How dare you, Mr Inspector?!" And with those words, Hektor could see the small amount of respect he had earned from her slowly sliding into the latrine. "Can’t you see that I’m not so old, you fool? She is my sister!” Every word was underlined in such a dramatic way that it wasn’t possible to understand whether she was joking or if it was a serious complaint. “Do not forget,’re talking to a lady of Equestria. And I thought I was talking to the first gentleman I met here!"

Hektor recoiled, almost shocked by the reaction of the woman who had made a complete one-eighty in her behaviour.

A boot hit the door with a thunderous crash and Ian rushed into the booth, alarmed by the loud sounds he heard. "Give me a sit-rep!" The muscular guard boomed. "Are you having problems?"

"Not serious ones," he replied, trying to regain a calm attitude, "This young lady is an Equestrian and..."

"He dared to insult me, mister guard!" Rarity interrupted, pointing her finger at Hektor. "Such way of dealing with guests! I’ll present an official complaint to our Princess! She has to know the rudeness you treat foreign guests!” Her beautiful face was twisted in rage, ruining her carefully-applied makeup.

Hektor couldn’t hide his embarrassment and shame; the words of that lady pierced his soul somehow. He bowed his head and took a deep breath, isolating himself from what was happening for a moment.

“It wasn’t my intention to insult you...if I said something bad, I’m really sorry.”

Both Ian and Rarity were surprised by that sentence. “I appreciate your apology, mister Inspector,” Rarity appeared more calm and a smile made its way onto her lovely face. “Anyway, it is clear that you still have to learn how to behave properly.”

The soldier kept his rifle on his shoulder while looking at the group in front of him; he seemed annoyed from the situation. “You’re slowing down the line, miss. People outside are freezing waiting for their turn.”

“Oh that I was able to find a true gentleman…” Rarity turned her attention to the guard, disappointed by the interruption. “You should learn from mister Inspector there. He knows how to be calm and patient with guests.”

Ian closed his eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. "Are her documents valid?" he asked with a calm voice to Hektor, who was trying to hide the amusement he was feeling in that moment. "Yes...I even stamped the approval stamp on her visa".

"Good ... I'll take care of this" the soldier said smiling to Hektor before coming near Rarity with fast paced movements. Without saying anything, he began to push the Equestria lady to the door leading to the portal.

"DON’T TOUCH ME!” She yelled, beating her fists on the man’s back in protest.“I’ll report everything! I promise you!”

Her resistance was useless, however, as Ian forced her from the booth as easily as the wind pushing away a leaf. “WAIT! STOP! THERE IS STILL SWE..." Her panicked shout was cut off, as Ian slammed the exit door, a self-satisfied smile on his face.

Hektor followed all the scene in silence then put his head between his hands. <<And this is just the first day!>>

The silence in the booth was a good thing to enjoy…a thing that lasted just for a moment, as a melodic voice broke it.

"Sister..." The little child murmured, frightened by the events. Only in that moment Hektor realized that the other Equestrian girl, Sweetie Bell, was still inside the checkpoint.

The problem was serious: as the laws ordered, she couldn't be approved. She had to remain in Arstotzka all by herself.

He looked at the lonely child, whose eyes were now pointed to him.

<<What do I do now?>>

Life in Arstotzka

View Online

24 October, 1983 – H 18:00 to 24:00

Hektor stared at the little Sweetie Belle for a long time; in that moment, he wasn't able to think about what he had to do. There was a little child from another world without the proper documents to pass the frontier. Laws were clear for that kind of situation; the consequences of following those same laws were, on the contrary, uncertain.

"Do not worry, little girl...I'm sure that your sister is all right...she was just taken to the portal" Hektor said, trying to smile and to keep a calm voice.

Sweetie Belle wouldn’t look at him, then she raised her head. "Am I in trouble, sir?" she asked with an innocent and disarmingly worried expression to the Inspector, looking straight at him with her green eyes.

Unnoticed by Hektor and Sweetie Belle, Ian came back, slamming the door behind him with a certain rudeness, shaking the entire structure, scaring both of them. "That was a tough client for sure...beautiful, but lethal." He exclaimed with a little grin on his face, before realizing that somebody else was in the booth "What about her?"

"Her passport is expired, but..."

It was clear that the soldier was fed up from the situation; he shook his head, sighing. "The Equestrian Inspectors are doing an awful job, I see," the soldier said, hefting his rifle. "You know what to do." he added coldly, staying in position, in waiting.

Hektor couldn’t turn his head faster to fix the guard with a shocked stare. Sweetie Belle, was clearly frightened by what was happening to her; her worried stare was impossible to stand.

The Inspector lowered his head and, after a long hesitation, he closed his eyes and activated the automatic stamper.


When he opened them, he saw a big, red stamp on the visa of the little girl’s passport.

She took it back, looking at the denial stamp and slowly realizing the situation. " I have to stay here?" She remained silent for a minute, gathering her courage; some seconds had to pass before she was able to raise her head, showing to both Hektor and Ian her wet eyes. "But...but...I don't want to...I want to go back. I don't want to be here alone."

Under his shapka the Inspector was trying to maintain a cold expression, but the situation, the coldness of Ian and those eyes were testing his resolve to the limit. <<Law is law. I did the right thing!>> This was the phrase that was recurring in his head; he had to prove to the government that they could rely on him, especially after the previous citation arrived for his first mistake.

But for every calm thought there was a heart-broken one, evoked by the reaction of the child in front of him, whose only fault was to have an expired document in her little hands.

"We have no time for dramatics!" Ian said advancing on Sweetie Belle "I'll take her to the police station. They'll figure out what to do." When the soldier tried to approach her, she retreated, scared by the blonde guard. She quickly turned her head in Hektor’s direction, desperately pleading for help.

Hektor’s mind began to work immediately; he had to do something. <<Citations be damned! The true crime is leaving this child without a guardian!>>

<<The police station over in Orvech Vonor?No, there’s no room and the people working there had respect for nobody, not even children. Best case scenario, they would put her in a jail cell alone; in the worst one…it was better to not think about it.>

"Wait!" Hektor yelled, raising his hand to stop the soldier "Is the previous Equestrian citizen still near the checkpoint?"

Puzzled by the question, Ian looked at Hektor, "Let me see...I think I saw him trying to speak with somebody in the line, bothering every person near him. Why do you ask?"

At that answer, the Inspector smiled with a newfound calm; he assumed an authoritative posture and put both of his hands on the desk. "Your sister said that she knows him? Do you know him too?" Hektor asked Sweetie Belle with the kindest tone he could, trying to calm her down a little while his mind worked.

The little child recovered some calm and nodded in his direction, cleaning out the tears from her eyes. "I-I know Discord, Mr. Inspector.”

"Good!” Hektor exclaimed, trying to hide his enthusiasm from both Ian and Sweetie Belle “I think you two will have no problem at all finding a room in one a hostel somewhere. Orvech Vonor is famous for it’s hostels.” He stayed silent for a moment waiting for a reaction, before looking back at the little child in front of him, smiling at her. “I'm sure that your sister will come back tomorrow with the correct documents...and maybe somebody will come to help the other Equestrian, too." Hektor gestured to Ian.

The soldier didn’t appear excited by Hektor’s proposal, but the Inspector cut him off before he could protest. "This Discord will probably have some money with him," Hektor then said to Ian, who was listening carefully, if unhappily. "And maybe she has some money with her, too… together they'll have no problem finding a room for tonight." He added, gesturing to Sweetie Belle, who was carefully wiping her eyes.

Emboldened by Hektor’s support, she spoke. “I have money with me, sir. Me and Rarity wanted to buy some clothes, but she didn’t like anything from your stores, so I have with me what I brought from Equestria.” Even though there were still some tears on her face, Sweetie Belle’s expression looked less sad and more pleased by Hektor’s proposition. After mentioning the sister though, her expression turned disappointed for a moment.

Ian looked like he might protest, but then he subsided. "I’m just a border guard, the rest is not my problem...besides, we have already lost too much time. I'll bring her to this Discord guy, then she’ll be out of our hair." He said with a cold expression, before showing to Sweetie Belle the exit door.

Both of them reached the exit and left the booth; before going out, however, Sweetie Belle exchanged a last look with Hektor, spotting the sad expression painted on his face for a moment.

“Thanks for your kindness, Mr. Inspector.”

Hektor looked at Sweetie Bell, stunned; after the door closed behind her, he found himself thinking about the meaning of that phrase. It couldn’t be irony, as she didn’t appear the kind of child that could underline her feelings using she was sincerely thanking him.

The disappointment from his actions was invading his mind. He needed a moment to reorder his thoughts and to continue the working day.

After that episode, the last two hours passed with no other problems. Out of all the people rejected, the majority of cases didn't cause problems and the approved ones went away with a satisfied expression. It was nice for Hektor to see the excited faces of those who were going to visit the parallel world. Expectations were high, caused especially by the newspapers and by the radio that, for multiple times in the previous days, waxed eloquent about the ‘Great Equestrian Nation’s fantastic and incredible properties.

Finally, the clock announced that it was time to close the booth. Hektor smiled for a moment before grabbing the microphone with his right hand.

"It is 18:00. The checkpoint is closed! Return tomorrow at 07:00!"

He repeated the same sentence another time, before standing up from the chair to stretch his arms. "Never been on a more uncomfortable will kill me before any angry traveller," he said loudly, without even noticing the presence of Ian.

"You should stand for a whole day outside a booth with a weapon in your hand and with the freezing wind blowing, facing the same travellers you think will kill you then," he said with a little smile.

"It seems that I can’t complain then," Hektor replied while, without looking at the guard, he was making order on the desk "Anyway," he added, now focusing his attention on him. "Thanks for everything. You did a great job."

"You weren’t too bad, either." Ian said, putting his rifle on his left shoulder. "You were able to keep the necessary self-control all day long...even with those two the way, on the way home, I'll go to the Ministry of Admission office to report the problems we had here. Maybe there will be papers to sign and time to lose, but I think they must know of the awful work of Equestrian Inspectors as soon as possible."

"Speaking of the Equestrians..." Hektor mumbled suddenly, checking his own clothes, trying to appear indifferent to the matter. "Do you know the whereabout of the ones we rejected?"

Ian scratched his blonde hair for a moment with his free hand. "I don't know...I saw them walking toward the city," he quickly explained, showing no signs of worry, "Two travellers from a new world stuck in a place they don't know...and one of them is a child. An interesting situation." he added coldly, turning his back to Hektor. "I hope that goat bearded guy is tough enough to protect himself and that little girl from all the dangers they could meet."

Hektor nodded as Ian began examining his rifle with extreme care. "It's not our problem, after all," he said, not really persuaded by his own words.

"You were just doing your job," Ian asserted. "Next time they'll come here with valid let's go home. I need something hot."

The Inspector took the plastic bag with his own clothes and, after waving goodbye to Ian, who was closing the booth, he walked away from that place. The first day of work was officially done.

Walking slowly, he began to follow the road that lead to his quarter. He couldn't not focus his attention on all the shabby structures present in that part of Orvech Vonor and, above all, on all the poor people living there, marked by the old and dirty clothes that were barely able to protect them from the freezing evening wind.

All those eyes staring the ground...all those sad expressions...that was what Hektor saw every day he walked through the city, to his well-paying job and back. The snow and the gray weather weren't helping the situation...all around it was just like a surreal sketch drawn in black and white.

While walking, lost in his thoughts, he didn't even realize that his cigarette was almost over; while smoking the last bit of it, he rose his head again, looking at something that caught his attention. With great surprise, he found the little Equestrian, Sweetie Belle.

With greater surprise, he found her talking with an elegant man with a pink scarf and expensive dresses, something uncommon in a place like Orvech Vonor.

By the way he was moving and speaking, it was clear that the man wasn’t someone born there. Those brown curly hairs on his head were too cured; maybe he came from the Capitol city?

Hektor found himself so focused on his thoughts that didn’t realize how near he was to them; when he focused again on the scene, he hid himself in the crowd of people around, trying to catch the conversation between them. "You can come with me, little sweetie...I'll be happy to give you a place to sleep. You don't want to spend the night in the open, right?"

When he rose his head, he saw the little girl who had been blocked at the checkpoint. She was talking to somebody that, for some reason, wasn't unfamiliar to him; his short, curly brown hair and his elegant dress were something he remembered...but he didn't know why.

"I'm really happy that you can help us, good sir," she replied with a big smile, pointing suddenly in an uncertain direction with her little finger. "Can you please just wait for a moment? A friend of mine went there to ask for hospitality...but I see it's not necessary now."

The man made a strange expression after those words, gently shaking his head. "I'm sorry, little lady," he said with a sad expression, posing one of his hands on her shoulders, caressing her light purple curl hairs with his thumb, "But Dari Ludum is a busy guy and can't wait too long...but everybody knows me here," he added, spreading his arms widely, smiling, "So your friend will find us with no problem...besides, we have to travel a little and it's already late, so we have to hurry."

Dari Ludum...Dari Ludum...he knew that name...but why?

"Please, good sir," she said with her melodious voice while looking around herself with a worried expression. As she realized that she wasn’t able to find who she was looking from, she crossed her arms, as she wanted to protect herself from the coldness of the evening and from the world all around her; by the expression on her face, it was easy to see that she was feeling completely lost "He will come back in few moments. I can't leave him behind! I’m the only friend he knows here."

The man in front of her remained silent until that moment "I have to insist, dear" he instantly replied while offering her his right hand "as I said, my house, the Pink Vice, is a little far from here. So we have to move on...your friend will reach us later" he added, focusing his attention on the horn on the child's forehead

Hektor stood there, hearing that conversation; suddenly his face changed completely, as something had frozen his blood. He wasn’t able to move; he could sense that he was having shivers.

<<Dari Ludum...Pink I remember>> He thought <<That place, the brothel...and especially the story on the newspapers about the death of a girl near it...the suspects that the death wasn’t accidental...the culprit never found and...>>

While those thoughts flowed in his head, he saw that man getting nearer the little girl, whose smile was a clear sign that she was slowly trusting him.

<<Dammit Arstotzka...If she goes with him...and where is that Discord guy?>> he realized that he couldn't wait longer, as Dari Ludum, famous for his speaking abilities, could really persuade her in following him.

With a deep breath, Hektor put his hands in the pockets of his jacket, moving fast toward them.

"Miss Sweetie Belle, finally I've found you" he said with a loud voice, waving his hand to salute her "I looked for you all over Orvech Vonor, you know?" he added, trying to appear as familiar to her as possible.

The attention of the two was immediately called to him. "Oh hi sir" the child said after recognizing him "But why were you looking for me?" she then asked, inclining her little head to the right and looking at him from the bottom of her short height.

"Well, you see..." Hektor said assuming a serious tone of voice "You have to come with me for further checks at the checkpoint," he added, launching some quick glances at the man near them "it seems, in fact, that there were some..." he stayed in silence for some seconds, trying to figuring out a good excuse "...some...problems with your the authorities...well...asked me to find you." He assumed a more secure voice "So you have to come with me".

"But...but..." she blabbered, without knowing what to think about her situation "you said that there..."

"Maybe I can fix the problem, my little friend" suddenly Dari Ludum said, getting near to them and taking from his jacket 40 credits "these can solve the problem, right?" he asked Hektor, smiling "And if this is not enough, I can personally guarantee for her .. she is my guest".

He looked at that sum of money for some moment, in silence.Then, he rose his head, looking to him directly in the eyes "Maybe you're trying to bribe an officer of Arstotzka, mister?" he said indicating a person with a blue uniform near them "maybe we can talk about this to him...I'll call him, if you want"

With a challenging look, he observed the man with all the hate within; then, he gave a fast glance to the little girl before walking away "what a pity...a good chance lost" he murmured before going away, without even saluting.

Hektor followed with attention that shady man walking away, before returning to focus on the little girl, with a more calm expression on his face.

"So...I'm in trouble then" Sweetie Belle said, lowering her head.

"Not at all" he exclaimed, smiling a little "and I'm sorry if I had to let it appear as if there were problems, but ..."

"A wonderful façade, indeed, Mr. Inspector" somebody suddenly said, slowly clapping his hands "You looked really serious...and those words to that man! Oooooh I loved that"

Both of them turned back, seeing Discord drinking something from a glass bottle without any brand.

"Discord" Sweetie Belle exclaimed happily "where were you? I feared you lost yourself"

"Me? Lost? Oh, come on" he said, while laughing a little "you underestimate me, my dear Sweetie the way, I think that mister Inspector there deserves your thanks" he added, pointing his thumb at Hektor, who was behind him in that moment "the human you were speaking with was not so nice as he should be more careful, we're not in Equestria, after all...if you think about ...".

Hektor couldn't not focus on that strange man, on what he was saying and, above all, on how he was speaking to the little girl. He was indeed scolding her, but his voice was not the kind of voice of somebody worried or serious. He couldn't really understand if he was really troubled for her or not; anyway, he could sense that Discord somehow was aware of what was happening during his absence.

"Lets just say I'm smarter than I looks...even if I risked losing my head, thanks to your friend" Discord said with a bizarre smile to Hektor who, hearing those words that looked like the perfect answers to his thoughts, remained astonished.

A moment of silence followed those words. The three of them could feel the wind becoming colder and colder, while the streets began to become deserted "At this rate, we'll not find a place to sleep" Sweetie Belle remarked, clearly worried about their situation.

"Fear not, my little friend" Discord said with a theatrical expression, spreading his little wings and his arms "after all, we faced worse situations where we live...monsters, evil creatures, invasions..."

<<So this Equestria it's not so peaceful like the newspapers showed>> Hektor thought while looking at Discord talking about all the menaces faced in the past, counting them on the fingers of his right hand. He looked at them, crossing his arms and wondering about the possible consequences of leaving them alone. A little girl and a strange guy, both from another dimension, without a place to go in a city like Orvech Vonor. It was not a promising situation indeed...all because he had to follow orders.

He looked back to them, who were trying to figuring out a solution. Then, he interrupted them.

"For this night, you can sleep at my house".

Both Sweetie Belle and Discord turned their head to look at Hektor.

"Really?" the little child asked looking to him with hope in her eyes.

"You're a strange person indeed" said then Discord, touching his goat like beard "first you block us here, then you offer us shelter...maybe it was all a maneuver to have an important guest like me? Love at first sight, I think" He added with the expression of one who is really convinced of his idea, before drinking another bit of the transparent liquid in the bottle he was keeping in his left hand.

Hektor looked shocked at Discord, in silence "Is he always like this?" he asked to Sweetie Belle, who answered nodding her head.

Her head...her horn...and Discord’s wings, too. Those could be problems. Maybe people weren't helping them because they were different.

"Anyway...follow me" Hektor said, putting his hands on his fur hat "before going...wear this" he then added putting the shapka on Sweetie Belle's head, covering her horn "it will keep you warm".

A loud laugh interrupted them; Discord was practically bent in half "what happened to your head, human?" he asked, without being able to stop "It looks like a crystal ball".

Hektor calmly finished putting the fur hat on Sweetie Belle, who was not able to not smile at Discord's reaction "You can still sleep in the open, if you want" Hektor said with firm voice.

Discord, realizing the situation, simply put the finger and the thumb of his right hand on his lips, like he was closing a zip; then, he offered the glass bottle to Hektor "The water you have here is strange, human. It has can I say this...strong flavour".

The Inspector took the bottle, looking at its content "Maybe it's not water" he simply replied, taking a good sip of that liquid, realizing it was a bottle of Orvech Vodka "How did you get this?" he then asked, feeling his throat burning for the strongness of the liquor.

"I'm the Spirit of Chaos, remember?" he answered, as if he was saying the most obvious thing of the world.

Hektor shrugged his shoulder, without saying anything more. He then took few steps forward "Stay behind me and...Discord, do you feel cold on your...wings there?" Hektor then asked, saying the last two words with an uncertain voice "You should cover them under your jacket".

"Which wings, human?" He then asked, looking at him with a strange expression.

Hektor turned his head behind, realizing that Discord had already covered his wings. He smiled, realizing that he was probably not as stupid as he looked; then, he gave a last sip of the bottle, before throwing it in a basket of trash near them and walking forward, following the path to reach his home.

"By the name is Hektor" he said to the two Equestrians behind him, before focusing himself on trying to resist as best as possible the pain caused from the cold he felt on his bald head and to the desire of asking his hat back from the child.

The strange group walked for almost 20 minutes. During the long walk, Hektor tried to not pay too much attention to the comments of the people who, curious about those two strangers, spoke between themselves with low voices.

Maybe it was to let the two Equestrians stay more relaxed, maybe he wanted just to let his mind work...but after some time spent silently, he began to describe as best as he could the landscape around them “There is the old town can tell that by the huge amount of Arstotzkan flags on it" he said pointing to an old but still elegant gray and white building at their right “And there is the elementary school...the first and the last school built in Orvech Vonor...families that can pay the high fees decided by the government to access the secondary school have to travel for at least half an hour by bus to reach the nearest one.”

“You look like the one that never made his way to the secondary school” Discord suddenly interrupted without even looking at the Inspector, whose expression became a little angry after that answer.

"There should be more colours; it's so sad like this" Sweetie Belle said, gazing at the buildings around without focusing on anything in particular, as she was distracted by something more important "some flowers could help...and a nice light blue instead of this gray would transform it into a nicer place."

Hektor looked at Sweetie Belle and what he saw saddened him for a moment.

The face of the child close to him was dark, as something stole all the will of live from her; she looked distant, paler than before...something was wrong with her.

“Human” Hektor didn’t realise that Discord’s hand was on his right shoulder “In the next hour you should be a loooooot careful with little Sweetie Belle over there” he pointed the thumb behind to point to the little Equestrian who, still distracted, was following them without even looking at the road “We have a case of ‘broken heart by sister act’...In this moment I should snap my fingers to wear a doctor suit and to fly on a pink cloud with my little ill child, but it seems that I can’t, as rules in your world are different...bleah.”

Hektor turned his attention to Sweetie Bell...maybe Discord was right, she was in pain from her sister’s behaviour at the checkpoint. She didn’t focus on Sweetie Belle’s problem, after all...instead, her main concern became her age, her beauty. Even so, he remembered perfectly the panicked impression of the girl when she realized the her little sister was doomed to stay behind. That was something he could not forget.

That was the face of somebody that realized they failed to stay close and protect the one they loved.

He could remember that feeling, too.

He had to solve that problem: sisters must love each other. He had to make Sweetie Belle understand that Rarity loved her...he had to do that at any cost.

This was not the right moment...he had to think about that later...there were more problems to solve.

As this wasn’t enough, there was another problem to account for: the reaction of his Mother-in-law when he tells her that there will be two guests for dinner and for the night <<In the best case scenario, she'll kill me>> he thought, disconsolate.

After the long walk, they finally arrived at their destination: a six floor gray building, with no decorations at all; it was just a big, regular box with a lot of windows. In that moment, there was just silence near them.

After three flight of stairs, they reached the door of the apartment. Hektor swiftly took the key from his jacket to open the door "Katia, we're home".

"Finally" the three of them heard from the inside "You're late. What did you do? And…what do you mean by ‘we’?"

"Hi there" exclaimed Discord, happily waving his hand while entering the central room of the apartment "My name is Discord, pleasure to meet you" he added, bowing like a respectful gentleman.

Katia spread her eyes wide, looking at the two persons. It was impossible for Hektor to read her feelings in that moment; it was something between surprise and the killing instinct. She focused her attention on Sweetie Belle, smiling at her for a moment; then, she stared at Hektor.

"If you wanted to bring guests for dinner, at least you could warn me…this place is a mess" Katia yelled angry "and I couldn't prepare anything, too. Now you have to go to buy something!"

"Erm…well..." Hektor said, clearly embarrassed, scratching his head "They will stay here…for the…night" he added, lowering his tone of voice at every word.

"WHAT??" She replied, suddenly standing up from the couch "What do you think is this? A hostel? Do you have nuts in your head instead of a brain? Did you lose your common sense with your hair???"

"I already like her" Discord murmured at Sweetie Belle, amused from the scene.

"Look, Katia. If they do not spend the night here, they will have to sleep outside. Do you prefer this idea?" Hektor yelled, looking at his mother-in-law with a more determined expression, while pointing his right hand at the door as if he wanted to show to her the cold and dangerous streets of Orvech Vonor.

"If we are a bother, madam, we are ready to leave" Sweetie Belle suddenly said, interrupting the conversation between the two "It's not our intention to cause any trouble to you" she added, lowering her head.

Looking at the child, Katia calmed herself; after a deep breath, she sat down on her couch, relaxing herself "Hektor will have his reason to offer hospitality to you…I hope" she said, launching severe glances to her son-in-law "Besides, you're already here".

"That's the spirit, old lady" Discord exclaimed, looking around the house and walking towards Hektor's room "I'll bring some good laughs in a sad place like this, you'll see", he then said before closing the door of the room behind.

Hektor shook his head "Do not pay too much attention at him, Katia. He's a bit crazy, but he'll cause no trouble" he explained to his mother-in-law, while putting an hand on Sweetie Belle's shoulder "Can you take care of her while I go outside to buy something for the dinner?"

The old lady grumbled a little while standing up again, rising her big body with a big effort "You have to buy some coal for the heater, too…by the way" she said walking near them to give him an envelope with a stylized red eagle stamped on it "this arrived some time ago".

Hektor took the envelope from the old, trembling hands of Katia. "Hektor Popov – from M.O.A." he said reading what was written on it "I think this will let us eat this evening" he added, smiling a little "well…see you later then and…oh" he suddenly changed his expression, focusing his attention at Sweetie Belle "Please little child, can you give me back my hat? As you can see, I have to cover it in some way" he said to her, smiling.

A little laugh came from Sweetie Belle as she took off the shapka from her head, giving it back to Hektor and showing her little and white forehead horn.

Without even realizing that Katia didn't say anything to comment that special feature of the little guest, Hektor opened the door of the apartment, going out from the room.

While descending the stairs, he opened the envelope, finding a bunch of credit inside. He counted them in his mind, throwing the envelope in the first trash can and putting the money in a pocket of the jacket.

While walking, he thought at all the expenses he had to cover: the coal for the heater, the rent of the apartment and, of course, the food for four people. With sadness, he realized that to pay all those things, he had to use some of his savings; it was a risky thing to do, as there were not so much money left and they had to be used only in extreme cases.

"Without those two, I could even save some money, too. Damn!" he said in a low voice, talking to himself while looking at the dirty street under his feet "If I can just think of one idea" he added, figuring out the next course of action.

After almost an hour, he was able to find everything and go back home. While going up the stairs, his attention was attracted by a melodious sound coming from somewhere in the building. A marvellous voice was singing a unknown song about peace, love and friendship.

Hektor could see some people outside the doors of their apartment focused on that voice that was able to warm all their hearts on so cold an evening. It was a big surprise for him to discover that this so wonderful voice was coming from his house.

When he reached the door, he remained for few minutes outside, hearing claps of hands, laughs and that, above all, that splendid voice that, for a moment, reminded him some good moment spent years ago with somebody that, now, is no longer with him.

The sound of the key turning in the door lock suddenly stopped that magic moment, bringing silence in all the building "I'm back" Hektor said while entering the apartment.

The sight of Sweetie Belle on the table and of both Discord and Katia sitting on two chairs with a happy expression left him completely floored, especially for the expression of his mother-in-law; he had not seen such an expression on her face for a long time.

"I see you're having fun, good" Hektor simply said, trying to not laugh at them while putting the two bags he was carrying on the table where the little child was standing on "I hope I didn't interrupt anything".

"Thanks to you, this wonderful moment is over" Katia said to him a bit disappointed "Sweetie Belle was singing something nice for us".

"You're getting along well, I see" Hektor said looking at that strange group there, smiling sincerely amused "I brought the stuff we needed"

"Finally" Discord said spreading his arms and his wings "I expect a dinner worthy of the Spirit of Chaos" he added solemnly, standing up from his chair with a royal demeanor.

"I hope that the Spirit of Chaos will like the Nirskan soup, because that is the menu of today" he replied calmly while, after putting down the bags, he reached again for the entry door.

"Where are you going, young man?" Katia asked raising an eyebrow and looking that as her son-in-law was going out again "You can't leave your guests here"

"I have to go to check something, Katia...and I think I’ll need a lot of time" Hektor bluntly replied to her "Please have the dinner without me. I'll eat something on the way".

While opening the door, he saw the worried expression of his mother-in-law who had clearly understood what was going on. Before going out, he saw the pale face of the little Sweetie Belle, still on the table, who was looking at him with her bright green eyes "By the way…you have a wonderful voice" he said before leaving the room again.

Without speaking again, Hektor left the building, challenging the freezing wind of the late evening by walking around the town without a destination. Seeing that there were not so many credits, he decided to buy the coal, to put the money of the rent in the proper box at the entrance of the building and to buy the necessary ingredients to cook food for three people...just for three, as he decided to not eat to spare money; of course, it was necessary to invent an excuse to go out to not disturb Katia, Discord and Sweetie Belle.

With a lit cigarette as the only companion for that long walk, Hektor stayed for a couple of hours alone. While walking in an almost empty Orvech Vonor, memories of the past and thoughts about the events of the day flowed in his mind; when he thought about the song he heard, he stopped to look at the cloudy was like hearing an angel sing; it was wonderful...pure. For a moment, he felt himself as when he spent his evening with Sarah and Yara at home; a melancholic smile grew on his as he realized that those were memories of years ago…of too many years ago.

Lost in all his thoughts, he didn't even realize how much time passed and how many cigarettes were lit and smoked. Clouds were not invading the sky anymore and the moon was free to reveal her full brightness; a deep silence reigned over Orvech Vonor…it was clear that he had waited enough. With calm, Hektor reached the gray, plain building where his apartment was and, with his head lowered, he walked in, taking the keys from his right pocket.

Trembling a little for the very cold temperature of the night, he opened the door as slow as possible, to not disturb; the apartment was dark, sign that everybody were already sleeping <<I hope Katia will not be mad at me tomorrow>>, he thought while closing the door behind you.

"Welcome back, human" suddenly he heard from a point of the room that he couldn't recognize "I was waiting for you, I had to decide with you where to sleep. Katia insisted a lot".

Some steps and the sound of a heavy jacket thrown on a couch could be heard in the darkness of the apartment. Suddenly Hektor turned on the light, revealing that Discord was standing near a shelf, pointing his strange red eyes at a particular photo "You could wake up everybody, you know?" he asked with a quiet tone of voice.

"I see the doors of the rooms are closed...and they're probably already in the world of the dreams" Hektor answered while going near the window, opening it a little before taking another cigarette, the last of the package, turning it on with a match.

"I have to tell you, human" Discord began to say, turning himself toward Hektor, smiling as something was amusing him "you're pretty strange...first, you don't allow me and Sweetie Belle to cross the border, dividing a little girl from her sister. Then..." he stopped for a moment, snapping the finger of his right hand "…you reach us, saving our little friend from a sly bad guy who clearly had bad intentions, to offer us a place to stay and, the cherry on the cake, you invent a pathetic excuse to go out to let us eat the few things you were able to buy". Discord spread his arms, smiling again "Sometimes I think my mind is a mess...but perhaps you humans are able to be stranger than me…and that's saying something".

"It was so obvious? The thing with the dinner, I mean" Hektor asked, trying to emulate an indifferent expression.

"Sweetie Belle is naive, like all the ones who haven’t lived long enough to understand how the world goes…she was just worried for you, but some words were sufficient to calm her down. As for the old lady, well..." Discord stopped, shrugging his shoulders "I think she knows you enough to realize what your intentions were…she had fun with us, by the way. She liked to talk with Sweetie Belle a lot" he then added with a satisfied expression.

After those last words, the two looked each other in silence for some minutes, moments that Hektor was using to smoke in peace.

Those moments didn't last too long, as Discord began again to speak with a low tone of voice "I hope to go back to Equestria as soon as possible…this world without magic make me nervous. It's strange to live without something that you use everyday and that makes you stronger".

Hektor rose his head to spread the smoke from his mouth on top of his head; then, a sad smile began to appear on his face "It's true...the things that we love the most and that we take for granted can disappear without giving us a sign...only when we lose what we love, do we understand how much its important for us" he said, looking at the picture on the shelf with a nostalgic expression.

For the first time in the whole day, the face of Discord turned grim, as those words reopened some kind of old wound in his soul...a kind of change that couldn't escape the eyes of Hektor who, at this sight, smiled in a bitter way.

"Knowing the old lady, she prepared the empty room for Sweetie Belle, the only free room available in our home...I don’t know why our house has a guests room, to tell you the truth" Hektor said suddenly, throwing away what remained of his cigarette "You can sleep in my bed. I'll sleep right here" he added, pointing at the couch near the heater … "After all, I have to wake up early this way, I'll not disturb you".

"If you want" Discord replied, heading to Hektor's room "I hope that your bed is comfortable enough" he then added, stretching his wings before opening the door "Goodnight, strange human" he finally said, waving a hand in the direction of Hektor.

"Goodnight, Spirit of Chaos" he replied, smiling a little at his own words.

When Discord closed the door, Hektor closed his eyes and sat on the couch, looking at the view of Overch Vonor offered by the window. The sky was clear, streets were empty, as the town was living in a comatose state.

No sounds, no voices, just silence...a completely different moment from the one lived just few hours ago.

Hektor’s hand slowly tried to catch another cigarette when, suddenly, a weak, strange noise came to break the moment of peace. The bald man rose his head, as to better understand what was that sound was and from where it was coming from. It was to weak and strange that he had to focus a lot to understand that it was coming from the apartment.

Without making a sound, Hektor stood up, wrapping himself in the wool blanket he was using to keep himself warm. He looked around in the dark, trying to follow the noise; every step led him nearer to the source of the noise.

Step by step, he found himself near the room where Sweetie Belle was. Close to the door, he was finally able to understand what the noise he was hearing was.

Someone there was crying.

The Inspector found himself completely stuck, like a stone statue; it was clear that the little child was doing everything to keep the volume low. She didn’t want to disturb, she didn’t want to be a burden...a thing that was making the situation much sadder.

He looked in front of him and moved his fist slowly, looking for a door that, in the darkness, was not easily to find. When he reached what he was looking for, he knocked on the door making as little sound was possible.

Suddenly the crying stopped and the silence came back for a short moment “W-Who’s there?” the little child asked from the room with the voice was still broken from her feelings.

With caution and patience, Hektor opened the door without making any sound “it’s me miss Sweetie Belle, don’t worry” Hektor whispered looking in front of him, trying to focus on what looked like Sweetie Belle. He walked towards the bed, using his memory to remember where the furniture was, as it was impossible to see a thing in the dark.

Moving his hands in the dark, he was able to touch the bed, finding a good spot to sit; he could still hear Sweetie Bell sobbing.

“My sister left me here alone...she thought just of’s always the same story”

Hektor could feel all the sadness that the child in front of him was feeling; in that moment, he rose from the bed and took a side of the warm and comfortable blanket that was covering the little child, raising it a little to better to cover her from the cold night.

It was that moment, he was feeling emotions that he thought he had forgotten.

There was a child that needed solace from the pain she was feeling, a pain in the heart that was one hundred times bigger than the one that an adult could feel, because children hadn’t lived long enough to understand how the world is cruel, painful.

Hektor knew what it was like; after all, it happened before with his own daughter.

Even if it was hard to see Sweetie Belle in the dark of the night, he looked at her, or at least what looked like the figure of her head “Your sister loves you...Your sister loves you above everything. I could understand it from the way she was looking at you at the booth.” He didn’t give Sweetie Belle the chance to reply to his sentence “You’re lucky to have a sister that loves you, little child...” while speaking, Hektor was looking at what appeared to be Sweetie Belle’s head “you didn’t realized it, but there was terror on her face when she realised that she wasn’t able to protect you, to bring you with her…”

By the silence fell in the room, Hektor understood that his words reached Sweetie Belle’s heart. She was clearly thinking about them. He had to take advantage of the situation.

“Besides, tomorrow you’ll have the occasion to check what I’m saying.”

“W-What do you mean?” the little Equestrian asked while keeping both her hands on the blanket at the level of her face.

“If your sister really cares about you, she’ll do anything she can to solve the let you go back to your world, to have the possibility to ask for your forgiveness.” It was a dangerous gamble to make, but she was her sister after all and it should be a natural thing for a bigger sister to protect the smaller one; at least, that’s what he had always thought.

“Do you really think so, mister Hektor?” Sweetie Belle asked without sobbing and with a tone of voice that allowed Hektor to understand she was feeling calmer.

Slowly, he reached Sweetie Belle’s head with his hand, caressing her soft head in a fatherly way he believed forgotten. He smiled a little, figuring out that he risked to prick his hand with the little horn on her forehead, something he completely forgot about.

“You’ll see tomorrow, little’ll see tomorrow. You have just to believe in your sister.”

They couldn’t see each other in the night...but both of them were smiling.

“Now go back to sleep, little girl” Hektor whispered while rising up from the bed “we both need to recover energy, after all…and before you mention it, you didn’t disturb me, so you don’t need to say you’re sorry.”

Using his memory, he walked a few steps toward the direction of the door as silently as he was when he came. Before closing the door behind him, he could hear the sound of the blanket moving and a melodious voice.

“Goodnight mister” she whispered in the dark, waiting in silence a couple of seconds before adding something

“’re a good person.”

He stopped, feeling for a brief moment a sense of happiness he hadn’t experienced in years.

“Goodnight, little miss” Hektor replied while gently closing the door.

Without making a sound, he slowly walked toward his sofa, trying to not hit anything in the room; with his blanket wrapped around himself, he lay down on it trying to find a comfortable position.

He was alone again...alone with the silence of the night...and his memories.

A new day at the checkpoint

View Online

25 October, 1983 – H 6:30 to 13:00

25 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

The mythological creatures of Equestria

Nobody could believe their own eyes when the first Equestrian inhabitants crossed the checkpoint and, especially, when they crossed the border to reach the parallel universe. Creatures completely different from us that remind us of all the legends and the stories of the past, live on the other side of the border: Pegasi, Griffons and much more.

The most intriguing aspect of all is the body change that hits all who pass the frontier; as explained from the M.O.A., in fact, the aspect of those who cross the border changes according to the nature of the subject. This mechanism works from both the sides; we already saw people with wings or with horns on the forehead and the ones who traveled to Equestria experienced a transformation into another living being. The explanation for this kind of mutation is unknown at the moment, but still it didn't stop the curiosity of all the people from all around Arstotzka who want to know how...

"Watch where you're going, idiot!"

The loud voice of a bystander forced Hektor to look away from the newspaper he was reading while walking toward the checkpoint to begin a new day of work.

"Sorry" That's was all he wanted to say. The really cold wind and the upset and annoyed expression of the man that was standing in front of him took away the remains of the good mood he had before going out from his house.

Without even noticing the reaction of that man, Hektor started walking again. With a really slow pace, he rolled up the fresh newspaper to let it fit better in the trashcan next to him; then, after a brief look at his Inspector jacket and to the fur hat, he began to walk again without even looking in front of him. His eyes were fixed on the ground; sometimes, he focused his attention on the brand new boots he was wearing <<The benefits of my new job>> he thought quickly.

His had to be the solution to all of his problems. In reality, it was only a source of other problems. Starting from that city, Orvech Vonor: an awful grey town filled with gloomy high buildings, few trees and no happiness at all; a place where it's clear that everybody is just trying to live day by day, aiming to survive despite the winter and the lack of money.

And what about the two unexpected guests that were sleeping in his house, while he was fighting the wind and the cold to go to work? For them, he had to go to bed without even having dinner, too. Why did he do that? They were not part of his family and, besides, he had to think to his family first, as the law commands...even if there is only his mother-in-law.

Katia...the only piece of the family left. Her deep and hoarse voice was still resonating in Hektor's mind.

"You know that they can't stay here any longer, stupid man...and you know that the little girl that is sleeping at our place is not Yara." The last sentence was heavy, but true; Hektor couldn't deny to himself that despite guests being sacred in their household, and that he couldn't leave two people in trouble alone, he was helping them especially because the of kindness and the naivety of that child was too similar to the one of Yara.

"Could I leave them to freeze to the death?" Hektor replied while slowly closing the door of the room where the little girl from the parallel universe was sleeping "It is my fault that they are stuck here, I could not bear the weight of this responsibility" he added while closing the door of his own room, from where a huge and constant snoring was disturbing the conversation.

"That doesn't mean that you have to sleep on the couch and that you have to starve to death" the old lady replied without even looking at him, focusing the attention on her wrinkled, short hands warmed from the heater "If you get ill nobody will help us".

He silently nodded to that dark but true statement while wearing and closing his jacket, preparing to go out.

"When they wake up, please be gentle with them and let them stay here a bit longer, if you can" He said to Katia while turning between his hands the shapka with the Arstotzkan eagle before putting it on his bald head "Today somebody will come to let them across the least, that’s what I hope."

"I'll let them wake up; then, I'll send them to you at the checkpoint." Katia just answered, turning her tired eyes toward him without giving any expression that could let Hektor understand if she was happy to have a little longer with these strangers from the other world as guests or not.

"I'm sorry for you, though" Hektor suddenly said while opening the door to go out "I saw that you enjoyed to have fun with them yesterday" he added, smiling a little while hearing the rants of the old woman just before closing the door behind him.

With this episode imprinted in his mind, he was able to regain the good mood ruined before and, with his lips curved enough to paint a little smile on his face, he walked faster to reach his work station as soon as possible.


The atmosphere near the checkpoint to the parallel universe was totally different from the day before. In front of Hektor, there was a completely different crowd waiting at the door of the checkpoint. People in line were speaking to each other and, as he could clearly see, lots of them had wings, horns and all kind of strangeness.

Hektor focused his attention on that huge crowd <<so they weren't the only Equestrians who remained here>> he thought in silence, looking out as a deep silence fell while all the eyes focused on him <<this day will be longer than the previous one, if that is even possible.>>

With his trademark slow pace, Hektor reached the checkpoint post "Stop right there!!!" somebody suddenly yelled to him while the clear sound of a weapon armed and ready to shoot made him stop

"Will we do this every day from now on, Ian?" Hektor asked while raising his head slowly to look better at him.

The soldier smiled a little and looked to him with an empty expression "I'm just doing my job Inspector, you know?" He then put the heavy rifle on his shoulder and, with the free hand, he opened the door of the booth in a few moments.

"You'll find another two letters on the seems that they like to write you" Ian said to Hektor while observing the crowd "More people than yesterday...and the pay is the same. This sucks".

"You're right" Hektor murmured before going forward. Before closing the door behind him, he stopped, turning his head to the blonde soldier "If somebody comes asking for two people named Discord and Sweetie Belle, please let me know" he said with a calm voice.

"Whatever" Ian exclaimed in an indifferent way while focusing on Hektor's movements.

The spartan booth looked the same as the day before at first sight, but after a quick look, Hektor could see some modifications. In front of his working desk, the wall was now marked with dark black stripes with some numbers on it <<A height scale>> he thought while checking something under the desk that gave the appearance of a panel to see the weight of something put on a scale.

<<They worked during the night to place all of these things in place>> the Inspector realized, making a disturbed expression when he sat on the same chair he used yesterday.

With his hands covered by the warm wool gloves, he took the two letters placed on the wooden desk, tearing apart the first envelope without even considering the risk of breaking the letter inside. With a firm grip, he opened in front of him the paper to look at what was written on it.

The letters on the paper, clearly imprinted on it with a classic typing machine, were the perfect way to realize from where the letter came from without even beginning to understand which words they were composing.


The first day of opening was a total success.

Everybody is surprised about the 'human form' of our new allies and of the 'Equestrian form' they take after crossing the border, but that's not a problem for the public security.

News has spread all over the neighbouring countries and it's clear that today people from all the nations will come to visit the parallel universe.

As the most powerful country, Arstotzka must help the neighbour countries and, at the same time, must keep the peace and order.

For these reasons, the Government decided to show benevolence, allowing anybody to cross the border, if all the documents are valid and in order.

The Holy Reign of Equestria took the same decision, allowing everybody from their world to come here. Therefore, there are no more the restrictions regarding the Arstotzkan or Equestrian citizenship to pass.

We provided new a instrument to help you in your working routine. An automatic machine will allow you to check the fingerprints of everybody; the computer under the desk is linked with our archives; just type the name of the person and a copy of the fingerprints of that person will arrive in a moment. It will be up to you to verify the identity of that person.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Ministry of Admissions

<<More work for me>> Hektor thought while bending back the letter to put it in the previous envelope. While staring at the other letter, he took a match and a cigarette from his pocket but a quick glance to the sign of no smoking stopped him. The annoyed expression painted on his face was the synthesis of all of his feelings.

Finally, Hektor opened the elegant and now familiar letter.

Dear Inspector,

I hope nobody from our nation gave you too much trouble.

Reports told me that a lot of Equestrians weren't able to cross your the checkpoint before the closing time and that, for this reason, they had to sleep in your world. I hope everything went well.

Some Arstotzkans had to spend the night here, too. I have to admit that it was intriguing to see their reactions after crossing the border; the physical aspect of the ones who came here changed from human to human and there were all different. We're wondering if the 'new aspect' depends on the moral features; we'll study this aspect and we'll share our discoveries with the representative of the Arstotzkan Government.

Now I want to focus the attention on an important matter: it came to my attention that yesterday two Equestrians were rejected at the checkpoint. I can't hide that everypony is really worried about them, especially for Sweetie Belle.

After a short investigation, we discovered that both of them did not have their documents in order; a strange thing indeed, considering that they were able to come into your world without problems. An internal investigation is in progress to understand how could this happen.

It was decided that two friends of the ones stuck in your land will come today to bring them the proper documents to come back here. I would like to kindly ask you to be gentle with them.

I want to advise you that from tomorrow you'll not receive letters from me anymore; as a matter of fact, I decided to assign the responsibility of foreign relations with the humans to one of my brightest friends. I’m sure you'll get along with her.

Please keep up the good work.

Best regards
Princess Celestia

Hektor couldn't be more puzzled after the two letters "two different worlds indeed" he whispered, speaking to himself while putting back the letter in its bright white envelope. "I hope the friends mentioned in the letter will come before close time" he then added while bringing the microphone near, coughing a little to clear his throat to be able to better speak to all the present.


With an unexpected self-awareness, he had no problems with the first 3 people, all of them from Republia. After the first day, his eyes were quicker and he had no problem at all in checking the documents. was correct.

“You all can pass...cause no trouble”

His tone of voice impressed the people in front of him and Hektor himself. It was somehow cold and distant, in a way that he didn't expect. While he was following all the movements of the three excited humans that were walking toward the entrance to the portal, he got the microphone to call the next one in line.

“I'm getting the hang of this” he murmured to himself, waiting for the next one while giving a quick glance to his uniform.

There was no time to adjust the hat on his head when a girl with a strange light blue haircut walked in with a steady pace and an exalted expression. He wasn't so focused on her and on the horn on the forehead that he didn't realize that she was followed by a member of the Arstotzkan police that, by the expression of his face, was clearly angry.

“It's your job now. Do what you must.”

His rough voice resounded across the room before he violently shut the door, leaving Hektor with that strange girl whose eyes were fixed, for unknown reasons, on his hands.

“Reject me!!!”

“What?” The bald officer asked astonished while looking carefully at the face of the young girl in front of him, whose expression was clearly the one of a maniac of some sort.

“I was forced to come here by some humans with a strange uniform” she yelled while throwing on the desk all the documents she was holding in her hands “But I don't want to leave this place. You humans are so...wonderful.”

There were no word to describe the thoughts that were passing in Hektor's mind, especially when he realized that the one in front of him wasn't turning her light blue eyes away from his hands. “Arstotzka a nice place? Maybe you spent little time here miss...Lyra String.” For Unknown reasons, a smile grew on the face of the inspector as he spelled out that name, even if the atmosphere there was strange.

“But you human are fantastic” Lyra yelled with an happy expression on her face “You walk on two legs, you have fantastic dresses, you can use...HANDS!” on that word, she looked at her own hand, hugging herself and smiling.

The attention of the Inspector was fixed only on the documents on the desk; even if the babbling of the girl was distracting him from the checking process, he could see that everything was in order and that there were no reasons to reject her. Between the papers, there was a letter of complaint of some sort, on which he didn't focus, as his eyes were only for the girl’s documents.

“I'm sorry miss Lyra, but all of your documents are in order and I have to let you pass” he said while stamping the green stamp on her passport; before giving the document back to her, he saw the photo on it, confronting another time the equine face on it with the human one he had in front of him “I wonder how the transformation of the body works” he thought without even realizing that the girl in front of him was beginning to shed tears.

“Please mister, let me stay here a little longer” Lyra cried out without taking back the documents “they said that I will not be able to come back for months for my...behaviour.”

Hektor shook his head slowly, closing his eyes to not look at the sad girl “I have to do my job.” The hand of the inspector was pointing to the door for the portal “Next time try to be more...calm.”

For some seconds, there was only the sound of the breathing of the two of them; Lyra bowed her head, covering her face from the Inspector with her light blue hair. She closed herself in a deep silence, broken only by a few sobbing sounds. Hektor raised his eyes to the roof, clearly annoyed from the situation. Some other seconds passed before, with a serious expression, Hektor looked to the girl in front of him, trying to smile.

“Let's do a pact, miss Lyra” he said while taking the glove that was covering his left hand “Take this with will remind you of our world while the time to go back will pass.” He could clearly see the cute face of the young Equestrian changing expression “You'll give it back to me the next time you come into our world” he added, laying the right hand on her documents and the gift he promised.

“Can I...really take it?” Lyra asked with a low and astonished voice, while slowly taking everything with both of her hands. At a nod of the Inspector, she jumped with uncontrolled joy and, with a quick move, she hugged him, kissing his cheek “Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!” she screamed while running to the exit “I will remember your kindness, Mr. Inspector” she said with a joyous voice before going out from the wooden booth.

Hektor remained stuck for some seconds, with his face completely red caressed from his naked left hand “This crazy” he whispered, breathing deep before calling in the next person.

Instead of a civilian, Ian came in with his rifle on the shoulder “You said to warn you if somebody came here to look for two persons with strange names.”

Hektor's eyes opened wide as he heard this sentence. Without even asking anything, he took from a pocket of the jacket a sheet of paper. “Give this to him. It's my andress.” It was clear that Hektor was enthusiastic about the news “Tell him that he will find his friends there”.

Ian looked at him with an indifferent expression “First, it's a girl...two girls to be precise...two very beautiful girls I would add” a smile on that pale and active face synthesized all the thoughts of the soldier “Second...I think they're Equestrian, judging from those things on their back, something that reminds me of two wings...they will not find your house even in two days.” While speaking, he took with his iron grip the paper with quick, ugly writing “well...especially if she has to read the andress from here...a four year old child writes better than this.”

Aside from the questionable comment on his calligraphy, Hektor knew that he had a good point there.

“But I know somebody that could guide them...for the proper price” the tone of voice of the soldier changed, like his expression. He rubbed his thumb, index and middle fingers, remarking the concept expressed.

Hektor made a glacial face at that statement and remained silent for a couple of seconds; he closed his eyes, lowering his head and snorting while putting his right hand in a pocket of his loyal jacket. He took from it a banknote of 5 credits, giving it to Ian who, quickly, grabbed the light violet paper.

“It could be not enough, Inspector” Ian said with the tranquility that distinguishes him.

“Make it be enough. That is all I have” Hektor firmly replied, looking at the guard in front of him that, after a silent nod, walked back to the entrance and went out.

From the opened door, a tall and fat man came in, slowly walking toward the Inspector. On his back there was a big, white bag patched in some parts.

“Papers, Please” Hektor demanded to the guy in front of him, lowering his head on the left to better check the bag.

“Good day mister” he replied while giving the documents to the Inspector “I hope that everything is in order...I want to see if the parallel world can be a new market for me.”

While Hektor was checking all the documents, without even focusing on the man in front of him that, in the meantime, was checking all the few objects in the booth as if he wanted to see if there were valuable things, his thoughts were all for the aspect underlined just few seconds ago. The exchanges between the two world could be indeed a good occasion for a lot of people. Both worlds with a bit of cooperation could really both benefit from this occasion.

After a careful examination, Hektor didn't find any mistake on the documents. He was keeping them in his hands but, suddenly, the bag caught his attention. For unknown reasons, he wasn't able to look away from that huge, brown bag.

“I have to check the bag, sir.” The tone of voice left no doubt about the chance of answering no to that sentence.

“Why?” the man asked with a puzzled expression “My papers are all in order...and there wasn't anything written on the rules that the luggage must also pass a check”.

It was clear that something was bothering the one in front of Hektor; some little sweat drops appeared on his forehead, a sign that couldn't pass unnoticed.

“I wouldn't do my job in the proper way if I would let somebody pass without even checking what he is bringing to the new world. Won't you agree?” The quick gesture of the hands couldn't been misunderstood; it was an order that couldn't be objected. Slowly, the big man brought the bag on the desk, opening it to show what was inside.

<<Books, fripperies, unnecessary things...


Hektor's face changed completely. “It was an error to try that!”; his voice was so serious that the face of the merchant became pale and terrified for a moment; then, with a strange, regained calm, he put a hand in one of his pockets. With a smirk on his face, he pulled out 20 credits.

“An error somebody could oversee...after all, all the papers are in order, are they not?”

The money was a nice temptation and, according to the Rule Book, he had just to check the documents, nothing else.

He looked at the banknote on the desk...he took the passport to put it under the 'approve' stamper.

While he was going to stamp the visa, he freezed.

Possessing drugs was already against Arstotzkan law, something that was enough to call the guards in; but something else was hanging in Hektor’s mind.

<<Is it not my job to check that everything that could hurt our allied nation must be blocked, too?>>

It was unknown for him why he was thinking so much about the Equestrian interests; after all, he had to focus on himself, on what was left of his family.

But was the safety of a whole nation worth 20 credits?

In a few seconds, the alarm sounded loud all around. The person in front of Hektor a had few moments to realize what was happening before Ian could gain access into the booth by slamming the entrance door; without even asking about the cause of the alarm, he pointed the rifle to the man in front of the Inspector, aiming at his head; shivers passed through Hektor’s body as he focused on the cold, serious expression of the blonde armed man; his face could scare even the wolves lurking in the desolate Orbristan steppe.

A single word came from Ian, an order that was unappealable.


“I hope the government pays you good money to be such a good dog to them!” The merchant exclaimed with rage in his eyes, before going out from the booth.

Clearly he didn't understand what the real motive behind Hektor's decision was; It was not for Arstotzka, it was to be in peace with his conscience.

“Come on! Bark! You dog!!!” Those were the last words he heard before the guest was silenced by the guard.

Silence...for a short time.

Hektor put the head between his hands. He had to rest his mind for a moment.

He realized in that moment that a connection between two different words could bring good things and great dangers, as the communication between two foreign countries do.

After all, the events that happened at Grestin Checkpoint were the perfect proof of what could happen when people don't get along for greed and power interests.

Could the same happen between Arstotzka and Equestria?

“NEXT!” Checking passports could be a good way to let those thoughts go away.

“Papers, please...wait a second...everything is in order. Cause no trouble!”

“Here is written you’re an unicorn, but you have wings. I don't need a special archive to realize that there is something wrong...” Red stamp, rejected.

“Please close your wings, Mr. Soarin; you could damage important objects. Your papers are in order. Please go forward.”

Time passed without him even noticing; his eyes were slowly becoming faster.

“The photo is different. I don't mind if it is old. Be more careful next time!”

Approved, denied, approved, denied.

"I don't care if you couldn't renew your passport at Canterlot bureau...with expirated documents, the access is denied."

Someone didn't want to share a word with him, someone else talked too much...every single one had a different behaviour and a different story. The most incredible thing for Hektor was that he could see the same reactions from humans and Equestrians.

<<The world is the same wherever you go!>> He thought, smiling a little while looking at a girl with a horn on her head that was passing through the door for the portal.

“There you are! You creep!”

A sudden sentence took the Inspector by surprise...a sentence that could mean only one thing: more trouble.

All in a day's work

View Online

25 October, 1983 – H 13:00 to 18:00

“There you are! You creep!”

A sudden sentence took the inspector by surprise...a sentence that could mean only one thing: more trouble.

Hektor's attention was suddenly caught by a winged girl with an aggressive and determined expression. Clearly she was mad at him; why? Who could tell?

“You made my friend Rarity cry all through the night! We had to spend hours trying to calm her down and to convince her to not do anything crazy to get her sister back...even if I agreed with her plans, to tell you the truth!” What kind of monster could do that??? Splitting a child from her sister! That’s something...awful!!!”

<<Ok. Now I know.>>

Hektor tried to keep a professional behaviour in front of that volcano with a short haircut that gave her a boyish look...a look with hair that, who could tell why, had all the color of the rainbow.

“Please, keep calm and show me your papers, miss” he held his hands in front of him, trying to invite the girl to keep calm; after a short break he continued, posing as more authoritative as possible “A friend of Sweetie Belle and Discord, I presume?”

“Do not speak to me as I am a friend of yours, mister...I can't respect someone that brings so much pain to a friend of mine!”

She raised her wings, trying to appear bigger than she was, even if it was clear that there was no competition in terms of height and size, as she was tall enough just to reach his shoulders. With a few fast steps, the Equestrian winged girl reached Hektor's desk, slamming both her hands on it.

“Do you have a heart? Maybe the coldness of this place froze it? How could you do something like that?”

She looked at him straight in the eyes. Hektor, perfectly motionless, focused his look on the girl in front of him; he couldn’t not think that despite the angry expression, he was facing a fine looking girl.

“I applied the law, that's all!” Hektor replied without breaking eye contact with her, showing no weaknesses at all in front of her “Do you think that it was funny for me to leave in this hell, a child and a place that they don't know?”

At those words, a little smirk grew on the girl’s face; he could hear her whispering to herself “Discord addressed as a ‘strange guy’...that's funny.”

Hearing the opening offered by the Equestrian, Hektor gained self-confidence and pressed further “I don't know what you think happened or why...but here, laws are strict. When I'm an Inspector, I have to follow the rules. It's to protect your world.”

“We can take care of our matters by ourselves, mister.” she replied while taking some steps back and putting her hand on her hips, facing the Inspector with a challenging attitude “After all the dangers I faced with my friends, I can say for sure that some bipedal creatures could not represent any harm to…”

“Problems?” Ian interrupted the conversation; for the umpteenth time, he was able to come inside the booth without making a sound.

The answer from the Inspector came quickly “Not at all...I was going to check her documents.”

The blonde soldier nodded silently; a moment later, he pointed his free hand toward the Equestrian “she's one of the two girls I mentioned early. The money you gave me was enough to find a decent guide for them, after all” he said with with his typical indifferent tone of voice.

Without giving the time to reply, he gave his back to the ones in the booth, opening the door to go out “There is not much time left before should speed up your work, Inspector.”

While hearing the door closing, Hektor checked the clock, realizing that there was just an hour left before 18:00.

“He’s definitely a strange guy” the Equestrian said out loud without even looking at the Inspector that, in reaction, just shrugged his shoulders.

“You heard him, miss” in that moment, his focus was all on the winged Equestrian in front of him “Please give me your documents. I'll check them as fast I can.”

“I can't say that you were fast in these hours” the girl replied with an apparent calmer tone while throwing her documents on the desk “Tank could do your job faster. We were left out there for hours!”

Who was Tank? There was no time to ask.

<<Rainbow Dash...Equestrians have such bizarre names>> A smile came out of his face while checking all the information on the passport.

“What? Is there something funny?” Suddenly the girl asked with a serious face to him.

“Nothing, nothing...I'm just happy that this story turned out well."

Fortunately, everything was in order. Hektor could not be more happy while printing the green stamp on her visa.

“Here you are, Miss Dash. You can pass” With quick moves, he closed the passport and gave it back to the owner.

“At least you were faster this time. You should always be like this” the girl said while taking everything back with swift moves “I could teach you something about speed. I'm the fastest pony in Equestria after all.”

The last words didn't attract Hektor's attention as she thought; he was staring at the entrance door “Are your friends the next in the line?”

“Yeah, they were right behind me. I think they will be the next to come in.”

The Inspector nodded, without saying any other word. Rainbow Dash swiftly reached the door to the portal “By the way” she suddenly said to the Inspector, focusing back her attention on him “even if this doesn't change my opinion about you, I wanted to tell you that you did a good thing, giving a roof to Discord and Sweetie Belle.”

“I follow the rules, but I'm not a monster.” Hektor told her the truth...a truth that clearly had little effect on the girl he was facing.

“You follow the rules too much...sometimes it's necessary to break them to do the right thing.”

She said before going out from the booth, leaving the Inspector alone with his thoughts.

<<You should know what happens here if rules are not properly followed, young girl>> Hektor bowed his head, looking at the desk, at his hands, at the Rule Book. Was he following it for the fear of the bad consequences of bad work, or to not face the fate that the ones who don’t do what Arstotzka orders meet?

It wasn’t the time to try to find an answer to that question...he had to stay focused.


The door opened and, with contained satisfaction, the Inspector smiled at the little group that entered the checkpoint. Few faces were well known to him, at this point.

Ian put his rifle on his shoulder while Discord, Sweetie Belle and another winged girl came in the booth “I thought it would be better to let them come in together.” His attention, as he did in previous similar situations, focused on the girl with the pink hair; he smiled a little, as various ideas involving that girl were making their way into his mind “Time is almost up” he added before turning back to reach the entrance.

“Do not make me beat you again, Mister Spirit of Chaos.” Ian’s voice could seem ironic, but it wasn’t.

“I would enjoy having fun with you, Mister ‘I am so strong and I have a cold heart’ day you should come to Equestria. I would be reeeeeal happy to welcome you” It was clear that Discord was really displeased from the situation.

No reaction from the soldier who, as nothing was happening, closed the door behind him, leaving the group alone.

“I’m happy to see that you made it before closing time” Hektor’s word attracted the attention of the three Equestrians, whose expressions demonstrated all the fatigue of the day; especially Sweetie Belle’s face which was tired...even if there was something else, judging from the sadness on her face.

A question on the matter was needed, but Discord took the spotlight walking into the middle of the booth as melodramatically as possible; with his arms spread and a joyful expression on his face, he reached the Inspector.

“Sooooooo Hektor...Are you having fun with that stimping stomping stamping? Are you ready to stimp stamp the papers our friends brought here?”

There was a short silence while the Inspector looked at the unknown girl in front of him. Discord looked at them and snapped his finger “Oh that’s right. You don’t know her yet!” he underlined while swiftly taking the girl under his right arm “Meet Fluttershy, a great friend of mine.”

“H-Hello Mister Inspector”

“Can you repeat?” It was impossible to hear what she said.

“G-good day Mr. Inspector”

It was louder, but still hard to understand.

“Is there something wrong, miss?” Clueless about the problem, Hektor tried to remain as polite as possible, as he was sensing that the girl in front of him was somehow scared by him.

Her answer was a long silence; it was embarrassing to see her blushing for no understandable reason. The expression of Sweetie Belle wasn’t helping in making the moment less stressful; there was still bitterness in her eyes, something that was making him feel sad.

Discord broke the silence putting three passports on Hektor’s desk.

“This time these have to be good! My friends didn’t come here for nothing, after all!” He assumed an epic pose...or it was his intention, as it was more funny than epic “I hope they used a good photo for me. I didn’t open that document at all! I’m sure it will be splendid.”

In Hektor’s heart, he was hoping that everything was ok and, with a deep breath, he opened Discord’s passport.

It was strange...the photo pictured a strange monster head with an open mouth. Surely there was the beard that was very similar to the one Discord had, but it was as the photo was picturing a statue. The face had the same color as a stone and even the facial expression freezed in the photo was pretty comical. For sure, that photo had not the same requirement of the photos of the Arstotzkan passports, but in the Rule Book there was written that he was not to consider the Equestrian passport photos until new order so…no problem to solve.

Expiration date...Name...Equestrian stamp...everything was ok.

A little smile grew on Hektor’s face as he stamped the green ‘approval’ stamp on the visa.

“Cause no trouble” Hektor said with a sincere smile on his face.

“Me? The Spirit of Chaos? How could I?” he replied while swiftly taking back his passport from the Inspector’s hand. Discord slowly walked toward the booth’s exit “Be a gentleman with them...and remember: I have still to transform you into something, I will think about what in the coming days.”

Hektor raised the hand without the glove to salute him for the last time, but Discord couldn’t see him, as he was already turned toward the door. before opening it, he checked the photo on the passport. He smiled, but it wasn’t possible to understand if it was a pleased smile or not “Funny...a good move indeed...I have to find the one who had this nice idea.”

Those were the last words Hektor could hear before the exit door closed behind the Equestrian.

One gone, two to go.

With serious behaviour and with hope in his heart, he began to check the other two passports he had in front of him.

Sweetie Belle’s one was almost identical to the previous one, except that the expiration date that was correct. He looked at the little girl in front of him that, with her head bowed, wasn’t thinking at all of the situation, as her mind was in another dimension.

The Inspector smiled at her while stamping the approval stamp on her visa; he gently closed the passport before giving it back to her.

“I think that your sister will be happy to see you again”

The little girl raised her hands to get her passport back without enthusiasm. No words came from her.

After giving the documents to the little girl, Hektor smiled at her in a paternal way.

“I know you’re still disappointed by your sister’s behaviour and that now you’re sad because yesterday it looked like she thought just of herself and not of your problem...but I can assure you that she is really worried about you and that she wants above everything to see you again and to have you near her.”

Hektor was a swollen river; he had to let her recover the faith in her sister, it was the least he could do.

“The girl that came in before you told me that she wasn’t able to sleep last night...that she is sorry for leaving you behind and that she would have prefered to stay here in your place.”

“Then why isn’t she here, Hektor?” It was a founded question indeed. What could he answer to that?

Fortunately the other Equestrian came near Sweetie Belle and while putting an hand on the child’s right shoulder, she gave an answer with a voice that could tame even the angriest of the animals.

“Me and the others decided that it was better for her to stay at home. She was so shocked that she wasn’t able to stand from her bed for hours. It was dangerous to let her come here, even with us.”

Sweetie Belle looked sincerely worried from the news she heard “Does she really feel so bad for me? Then we have to go back as fast as possible! Poor Rarity.”

“It is clear that for her you’re the most precious person of the world. You’re lucky to have a sister like her. You can go, miss Sweetie can go to check your sister now.”

A huge happy smile grew on Sweetie Belle’s cute face...a smile that could mend the sadness of even the most unlucky person in the world “I will, mister.”

Swiftly she tried to run out from the checkpoint; Hektor stopped her immediately “Wait a moment...I have to give you something before you go.”

She stopped at Hektor’s order and came back near his desk “Did I forget something?”

“Not really, but…” Hektor stopped for a moment to take the shapka off his head to put it on Sweetie Belle’s “I think you looked nice with my hat on your head, so I decided that it fits better on your head than on mine.”

He slowly put the fur hat on Sweetie Belle and he couldn’t hold back a smile while checking that maybe it was a little too big for her head.

Regardless, it was nice for him to see her happy expression for the gift; she was literally astonished “But...But...I can’t accept it, mister! How will you protect yourself from the snow and…”

“Do not worry. I will buy another hat later...I have to buy even another glove, as you can see” he added while showing her the bare hand. He smiled another time at her, pleased by the reaction he saw “Now go, your sister is waiting for you.”

Sweetie Belle nodded and took a step back, adjusting the had on her head; she saw in a moment that she could use her hair to lessen the empty space caused by the size of the hat. She looked at the man in front of her and smiled “Thanks for everything, Hektor. I hope you’ll come one day to visit us, as Discord said.”

“When I decide to be transformed into something by your friend, I’ll come.” The reply let the little child laugh a little; Hektor realized that he was having unprofessional behaviour, but for a laugh like that he would probably take 1000 citations. “Have a nice trip, little miss Sweetie Belle.”

The child saluted Hektor and the other Equestrian before running outside.

As there was nobody else in the booth, Hektor put his uncovered bald head between his head “She and her sister lived through a nightmare just because I decided to respect the rules...Maybe I made the worst choice...I’m a bad person.”

“You’re not a bad person, Mister Inspector” a soft, gentle voice interrupted his monologue; Hektor realized that the pink haired Equestrian girl was still there; when he looked at her, she suddenly changed her expression, looking almost terrified by the one she was facing. After a much too long silence, she tightened both of her hands in fists, as she was trying to concentrate and to focus “I...I protected her and my friend Discord from all the dangers...and he told me you let him sleep on your bed while you slept on a couch...”

At those words Hektor sighed, shaking his head a little while checking her documents “It was the least I could do Miss...Fluttershy.”

For a strange reason, it seemed that everyone in Equestria had a name linked to their particular features...maybe they were just nicknames? It wasn’t important, as he just had to check that the passports were in order and, fortunately, even that last passport had no problems.

Hektor stamped the approval stamp on Fluttershy’s passport, making a sound that let the girl in front of him jumping a little, closing it properly before giving it back to her; while doing so, he couldn’t not appreciate her stunning beauty and the wonderful expression on her face; she appeared gentle, calm, nice...something that was hard to find in Arstotzka.

“Is there any problem, mister?” While asking, she took some steps back from the desk and looked at the man in front of her as if she wanted to disappear from embarrassment “Am I...Am I bothering you somehow?”

“Ehm...nothing...I was just thinking about the situation. I’m just happy that everything turned out fine.” Hektor replied while adjusting the only glove left “You can go to the portal. Your documents are in order.”

“Thank you, Mr. Inspector” her calm and kind attitude was something that could warm even the coldest hearts “Please remember that you’re not a bad person...” She closed her eyes and smiled to him in such a genuine way that he couldn’t not smile back to ber.

The chat was interrupted from Ian “Sorry to interrupt your chit-chat, Inspector, but closing time has come and the last allowed traveller is waiting his turn outside.”

“Thanks for the information. I’ll call him as soon as I can.”

The soldier walked toward the exit and went out, not before giving an interested look to Fluttershy that, embarrassed by him, blushed a little.

Hektor enjoyed the scene before focusing back on the girl in front of him “Please Miss Fluttershy, I have to invite you to reach the portal; as you can see, there is still someone else that needs to come in.”

“Oh...It wasn’t my intention to cause problems. I’m...I’m really sorry” she answered sincerely “Thanks again for everything.”

Hektor raised his hand to salute and followed all of her movements. He saw her go out...finally everything was solved.

He breathed deeply satisfied and reached the microphone next to him.


A deep sense of calm invaded his mind...he closed his eyes and lost himself in his thoughts before a known voice surprised him.

“Finally. I feared that I had to come back tomorrow, Mr. Inspector.”

That voice was familiar to him...He already listened it once. Memories linked to that voice weren’t good.

He opened his eyes and, with surprise, he had to see that he was facing the last person he wanted to see next at his desk:

Dari Ludum.

“It seems that I was would be a pain to wait at the line once again. It’s really cold outside you know? And all those people in the’s not so nice to stay outside your booth, Mr. Inspector”.

Hektor couldn’t understand if it was all a great façade or if Dari Ludum’s behaviour was just natural; the most obvious thing was that he was facing somebody self-confident of his skills and of his way of being...too self confident, something that was always dangerous to face.

Silently he continued to look at the Arstotzkan in front of him that, while speaking, was taking his documents from the pockets of his expensive jacket. He took them without focusing on all the words that were filling the booth; as a matter of fact, he was focusing just on one thing: finding a problem on the documents in front of him to kick out that annoying man from his booth.

“By the way, my friend, I saw the little Equestrian I met yesterday...and she was in good company seems that she has ‘interesting’ friends”

It was not easy for Hektor to keep his calm...those were dangerous words...Dari Ludum was as dangerous as his words, because he was a vicious man even if he looked like a normal person.

“It would be so nice to meet them in the new world…” Dari Ludum’s voice became deeper, as if he was speaking with a close friend; suddenly, he leaned closer to Hektor “Maybe you could help me...maybe if you remember the names of those girls it would be easier for me to find them.” a malicious smile grew on his face “It would be a good occasion for them...and a good deal for you.”

“I’m not your friend, mister,” Hektor’s voice sounded hard like a rock “besides, I’ve checked a lot of passports...I can’t remember every name I hear or see.” It was clear that he was lying.

“Come on,” Dari Ludum smiled again, spreading his arms in the air “how can you forget the names of such beautiful girls?” His smile became a laugh “Well...that means that I’ll find them on my own. Maybe I’ll be able to find more beautiful girls in this Equestria...girls that would have success here in our world.”

That speech was tiring him...and to make things more frustrating, Dari Ludum’s documents were perfect: no mistakes, no questionable problems...nothing.

For a moment, he thought at the words of that strange, hot headed Equestrian girl he met before: Rainbow Dash. Maybe it was true that he had to disregard the rules sometimes.
He looked at the man in front of him for a moment, without saying any word; then, he slowly put the checked passport under one of the stampers.



When he took back the passport, a clear, tidy green stamp was on the visa.

“Finally” Dari Ludum said with a satisfied smirk on his face “It almost looked like you didn’t want to approve my visa.”

<<It was my intention>> Hektor thought while closing his fists without letting his ‘guest’ noticing.

“Well Mister’s time for me to explore this new world.”

Dari Ludum took his documents from the desk before walking towards the door to the portal “I promise you that I’ll say hello to our little common friend, if I meet her.”

Looking at Dari Ludum that was closing the door behind him was a depressing thing for Hektor; more proof that, sometimes, following the rules could lead to dire consequences.

A man like him could bring trouble to the new world. <<Maybe I’m thinking too much about it>> Hektor thought while giving a glance to his hand without the glove <<In this new world they’ll be able to take care of themselves!>>

Hektor took his things before standing up from his chair with an unsatisfied expression.

<<At least Sweetie Belle and Discord where able to go back to their world>> Hektor though while leaving his position <<It could be a worse day for me…>>

The silence in the booth was interrupted by the sound of the stamping machine. An urgent message was going out from it:

The cost of the lost equipment will be charged on your day paycheck
Glory to Arstotzka

An imprecation and the sound of a hand on a face were the last things heard in the checkpoint booth that day.

Border troubles

View Online

26 October, 1983 – H 6:30 to 15:00

“By the look on your face, I presume you spent an awful night.”

At those words, Hektor rose his head, focusing on the blonde soldier in front of him that, with the cold expression he learned to know in the previous days, was offering him a cigarette.

“Is it so evident?” He replied while stretching his right hand to take the gift from Ian “I was able to sleep just for two damn hours...and by the line I’m seeing outside the booth, I think that we have a long day in front of us.”

Without saying any other words, Hektor took a packet of matches from one of his jacket pockets; with smooth moves, he struck one of the matches and, carefully covering the blue fire from the cold wind, he lit both his and Ian’s cigarette.

“I’m pleased to see that you‘re wearing all your equipment again” the cunning soldier said with a smirk on his face “I have to tell you that you seemed rather unprofessional yesterday”

“Please do not pour salt on a still open wound.” Hektor stopped for a moment to inhale some smoke and to better taste the aroma of the thing that he knew was just another poisonous trap “I spent all night arguing with my mother-in-law about the money deducted from my paycheck to repay the equipment I lost yesterday.”

“Given away, not lost.” The soldier shook his head and gave a glance to the rifle next to him “I’m not able to understand why you did that...they’re people you’ll never see again.” He took his time to smoke and to raise a big, gray cloud in the air before continuing “They’re not your friends; they don’t belong to your why bother?”

Hektor focused his attention on the huge line of people in front of him; there were humans and Equestrians busy “Look at them” Hektor said suddenly breaking the silence “Everybody there is looking for something...adventure, safety, a way of making money a place like this, everybody is equal, everybody is fighting the coldness to have the possibility to travel...or to go back home, if we consider the Equestrians.”

Ian looked bored at the river of people close in line near the entrance of the booth, without focusing on Hektor that, in the meantime, was speaking again “In a situation like this, all we can do is be gentle with them, human or Equestrian...sometimes a good action can change someone’s day.”

The soldier threw away his cigarette and stood up from the part of the wall where he was resting his back “If you love to continue to lose money and time like that, be my guest.” He commented while taking his rifle from the ground “Speaking of the Equestrians, look how many of them are in the line...some of them are here because they travelled to help friends or family members stuck here for their incorrect documents.”

While looking at a clueless Hektor, Ian took from a rear pocket of his gray jacket a rolled newspaper “While reaching your working station, read the main article of todays newspaper...I think you’ll find it interesting.” The Inspector nodded while taking the newspaper from the soldier’s hand and, slowly, he walked with him toward the booth.

On the way, Hektor opened the newspaper and gave a quick glance to the article Ian was talking about:

26 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

Arstotzka presents formal protest against Equestria

By an official bulletin from the Ministry of Admission, it was made public that an official letter of protest was sent to the Holy Princess Celestia, ruler of Equestria, to formally express negative opinions about the way their managing their side of the border. “As a matter of fact” Varusov Konstant, one of the highest representatives of the M.O.A. section operating in Orvech Vonor “After only two days of opening we found our city full of Equestrians, stopped at our checkpoint due incorrect or expired documents.”

Opinions from Arstotzkans that walked between the two worlds reported how slow and unprofessional the work of the Equestrian Inspectors was “It was as if they’re taking their role lightly, as if it was all some kind of game” an Orvech Vonor lady told us “are we supposed to see criminals and dangerous strangers pass the border without a serious control?” A worry that a good number of Arstotzkans are sharing.

Important representatives of the Great Arstotzkan Government declared that by all means the problem will be solved soon; it was added that cooperation from the parallel world is expected.

Good news came from Ministry of Commerce, as a pact regarding the right to use both Arstotzkan credits and Equestrian bits in both the worlds was signed yesterday; according to the experts, this will lead to commercial benefit for our Great Nation.

Glory to Arstotzka

“Maybe that’s just propaganda” Hektor said loudly while rolling the newspaper to give it back to the soldier, who took it without even looking at it “regardless, we just have to do our job, checking that everything here goes smoothly. That’s our task.” he added looking at the river of people, now nearer.

“That doesn’t mean that sloppy work made by others has to let our work become harder” the reply came while the soldier stayed still, gazing at that mix of humans and Equestrians.

Now that they were close, Hektor was able to listen all the incomprehensible sounds coming from the crowd; he could just imagine that what he was hearing was just the mix of dialogues, opinions, loud thoughts shared between all the humans and Equestrians there. He was relieved when he saw that there was no tension <<Maybe this day will pass without problems>> he thought while looking away from the crowded line to focus on a strange couple that he saw walking on the road for Orvech Vonor: a blonde man surely taller than average with huge shoulders, covered by what it looked like a very heavy jacket, who was silently focusing on a girl next to him, a shorter good looking girl with long, straight hairs who shared with him the hair color, those green eyes full of life...and the hats they were wearing, fitted more for western movies than to the cold Arstotzkan weather <<Equestrians I think...siblings maybe?>> he absently thought while walking to the booth entrance to begin his day work <<Did they open the checkpoint earlier than us?>> he wondered.

“As usual…” Ian suddenly said toward Hektor’s direction while unlocking the door of the booth “you’ll find some letters on the desk...and something else, too.” The Inspector raised an eyebrow at that sentence; then he nodded silently before going inside the small building.

After closing the door behind him, he gave a quick look at the room; it seemed that there were no changes compared to the previous day, news that relaxed the Inspector as he did not have to focus on how to use unknown instruments; his internal calm lasted until he saw the two different envelopes on the desk...and a book.

<<Please do not tell me that it’s a new rule book>> Hektor thought while walking to his workplace. His concerns disappeared to leave space for questions when he realized that the book didn’t came from the Ministry of Admission...nor from Arstotzka.

He focused on what looked like an expensive tome; on the elegant light brown folder there was fine gold writing: Races and contemporary history of Equestria.

With doubt he opened the book and quickly looked at the pages inside; there were images of Unicorns, Pegasi, Horses, Griffons and a lot of creatures he wasn’t able to recognize. To his surprise, he was able to read every word written on it, something peculiar considering that it was written in another world that, in theory, should have different grammar rules.

In that moment he realized that he didn’t question himself about how he was able to read the letters that came from Equestria...maybe they had the same way of writing or perhaps portals between Arstotzka and Equestria had some effect on the items that passed from one world to another.

He shrugged his shoulder, thinking at the end that it was not his job to understand these mechanisms...Arstotzka had scientists, he just had to focus on checking passports and documents.

He closed the book and focused his attention on the letters. It was surprising to see that the mark on one of them was different: the quality of the paper was the same, but now there was some kind of purple star surrounded by little yellow stars; it looked elegant, well coloured; Hektor scratched the side of his new shapka while looking at it <<Maybe this comes from the new referent mentioned in the last letter.>>

As habit, he opened the Arstotzkan message first; there was something in the letters sent from Equestria that was able to make him feel better after the plain, crude M.O.A. communications <<I hope today will be the same>> he thought while opening the envelope to take off the letter.

He seated while unfolding the paper in front of him, feeling all the discomfort offered from his chair; the idea of asking for a new chair passed through his mind before the focus passed on to what was written on the letter he was holding between his hands.


Today a pact between Arstotzka and Equestria regarding information sharing becomes effective: our two nations will share their citizens identity archive; it will be possible for you to check information regarding Equestrians that will come to the checkpoint.

Check every Equestrian identity and, by looking at the archive, be sure that the Equestrian form matches the photos they have on their passport.

We also inform you that from now on there will be no guards near the portal; everybody will stand outside the border wall to better protect the checkpoint.

It is necessary to increase your level of speed and focus, as the bad work of Equestrians is bringing into our glorious territory too many citizens without proper papers.

Ministry of Admissions is working on the problem; a message will be sent to you if there are communications regarding the matter that will imply a modification of your working instructions.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Ministry of Admissions

The sound of his sigh resonated all through the silent booth; it was clear that the more days that pass, the more his workload would increase. The worst aspect was that his paycheck wasn’t increasing as his responsibilities were <<Another thing to add to the ‘request list’ to the M.O.A....if I ever present one>> he thought while closing back the letter with caution.

After putting the message in a drawer under his desk, he looked at the clock close to him; there was enough time to open the second letter and to read it with all the calm needed.

With curiosity in his eyes, he gently opened the folder and took out the pure white paper inside. While unfolding it, he saw a thin golden line all around the border of the written style and tidy, wonderful, calligraphy. All the message was written in an elegant italic and it was clear that it was handwritten with a quill and inkwell. Almost astonished by what he was seeing, Hektor opened the letter on the desk and began to read its contents:

Dear Inspector,

My name is Twilight Sparkle and, by Princess Celestia’s will, I’m the new princess in charge for the management of the relations with the human world.

It was my desire to write to you as soon as I could; Princess Celestia told me that she was already sending you letters, so I thought it would be right to follow her method of work.

I want to let you know that I’m excited for this new experience and I look forward to working with you. I think that it will be interesting to better know the history, ideas and habits of humans; I already had the chance to confront myself with some ‘Arstotzkans’ and with Equestrians that came to your world and I have to admit that I had different opinions about your way of living. It was nice and fascinating.

I asked for permission to send you a book regarding Equestria; considering that you’ll have to face more and more Equestrians, I think you’ll find it useful to know our history and our way of thinking, too.

I wish to let you know that we’re working about tightening the controls at our side of the checkpoint: Arstotzkan reports informed me about the copious number of Equestrians with incorrect documents and about the number of ponies that, like Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy, had to come to your world to bring proper documents. I’m sure that the new rules introduced will solve the problem.

About this important matter, I wish to deeply thank you for the efforts you made for Discord and Sweetie Belle. It was nice to see both of them safe and it was really touching to see her and Rarity reunited, both of them expressing their sisterly love for each other. It would not have been possible without your help and even if somebody here thinks that you’re still not worthy of our trust, I want to believe in you.

If you have the possibility, please write me back about how life at the checkpoint is going and about anything you want; I’ll be happy to reply. Just send your letter to our world specifying that you wrote it for me; guards will have orders to bring it to me as soon as they can.

I wish you a good day.

Yours truly,
Twilight Sparkle

By the look on his face, it was clear that he could never imagine to read a message written from a ruler of the parallel word in that way; it looked more like a letter written from a friend than a message written for somebody unknown.

<<She invited me to reply as well...could I even bother a ruler with a letter? Probably here they would arrest me in a snap of fingers.>>

He focused straight on the white of the wall in front of him for no reason; while carefully closing the letter to let it fit in his right jacket pocket, he realized how straight and precise those lines were; it was something he didn’t notice before. Those lines followed exactly every Arstotzkan rule regarding color, length, distance.

<<They want me to behave as those lines: precise, respectful of laws and orders...they wants me as those damned white lines.>>

The only thing that let him smile in that moment was the image he was picturing in his mind: those two Equestrian sisters hugging. It was enough for him to remove from his mind all the bad thoughts he was having before.

With a quick glance at the clock, he figured that it was time to open the checkpoint.

As he was used to, he turned on the microphone to say the sentence everybody outside was waiting for.


The first two ones were easy to check: two persons from Kolechia, papers were good...everything was in order.


Green stamp, good to go. “Cause no trouble”.

The Inspector fixed the shapka on his head while two tall men came in from the open door; two big, brown wings came from behind their black wool jackets and both of them had a fierce faces and burning eyes. Their expressions and behaviour reminded him of Arstotzkan soldiers <<Maybe they’re soldiers, too>> he thought while coughing a little to clear his voice.

“Papers, please”

Without saying a word, the two put their passport on the desk at the same time; Hektor couldn’t not see that their eyes were fixed on him, as they were studying every movement he was doing.

As ordered in the Arstotzkan bulletin, Hektor activated the computer under the desk to confirm the information on the documents with the new updated archive; the amount of information in the database was astonishing.

Arkanius and Leinborg...both came from a State named ‘Griffonia’. As expected, both were soldiers...royal soldiers to be precise. What were they doing in Arstotzka? It probably wasn’t his business.

“We have a lot in common with you, human.” Suddenly, a rough voice attracted the Inspector’s attention; one of the huge figures in front of him was speaking toward him, requesting attention “We want to let you know that we’ll report to our superiors what our impressions about your way of living are; I think they’ll find what we’ll say...interesting.”

There was no irony in his tone of voice; it was clear that he was telling the truth.

While stamping the green stamp on the first visa, Hektor rose his head, looking at the two guests in front of him “What do you mean?”.

The other Griffonian, who stayed in deep silence till that moment, shrugged his huge shoulders before sharing his opinion “you have discipline, you have tight laws and the instruments to make your citizens respect them...and by what we saw yesterday, you focus on military and you have skilled soldiers...” He smirked, briefly looking at his friend “...all things that we appreciate in a State.”

The other huge man nodded while following Hektor’s movements that, in the meantime, were printing the approving stamp on the second visa.

They both took back the documents from the Inspector’s hand before bowing their head a little, as a sign of respect “I think that our Nation will get along well...Farewell for now, human.”

“Glory to Arstotzka” Hektor replied without thinking too much about it, as it was just an automatic answer to give.

<<Great...there is an Arstotzka like country in Equestria, too...and I was hoping that the life there was better...monsters aside.>>

He stretched his arm before inviting inside with his microphone the next one in the line.

An Antegrian girl...two brothers from the United Federation...a young man with a horn…an Arstotzkan man that, by the kind of clothes he was wearing, gave to him the idea of being quite rich.

“Glory to Arstotzka” Hektor said loudly to him while giving back the passport with the approval stamp on it.

Four out of four with proper documents; <<Almost a record.>> a thought that came along with a little smirk.


The booth door opened slowly while a short man made his way into the room “See you later Ian, you old winter fox” he shouted facing the entrance before walking towards Hektor’s desk.

The Inspector raised an eyebrow as he heard the name mentioned by the newcomer <<A friend of Ian, maybe?>> he thought while keeping his eyes on the newcomer, whose beard was thicker than the hairs on his large forehead; by his face, Hektor could figure that he wasn’t young and, by his almost closed eyes, he could see that he was somebody that had a hard life for sure.

“Papers, Please.” finally Hektor broke the silence, opening his hand to invite the man to give him his documents.

The newcomer whispered something like “ we go…” before looking directly in Hektor’s eyes.

“Glory to Arstotzka! The Greatest Country!!!” Suddenly the man shouted, spreading his arms in the air.

Without moving a muscle and with no apparent reaction on his face, Hektor silently focused on the bizarre pose the old man assumed; after a while, he shrugged his shoulder a little and, with calm, he put his hands on the desk.

“Can I see your documents?” His tone of voice was polite, yet firm.

“Papers?” The old man asked with a huge smile on his face “Are papers really needed to cross this border? Arstotzka is so great that it doesn’t need to control people that want to visit a friendly territory.”

There was something in that behaviour that was puzzling Hektor <<Is he just acting...or do I need to call in the soldiers to escort him to the closest mental facility?>> he thought while bowing his head a little to the left, as if he had the intention of finding something he wasn’t able to see.

“No document, no allowance to the portal...that’s the law.”

At those words, the old man laughed a little, closing his eyes for a moment while stretching his arms “You’re funny, remind me of an old friend of mine.” He stopped a little to look at Hektor; a little smile grew on his face “Nevermind...I’ll come back. Jorji Costava always comes back.” he added while stepping back toward the exit.

Despite all the intentions, Hektor had to remain indifferent; he followed with his eyes the man that went out from the booth without saying anything more with an expression on his face that betrayed his confusion? Was he joking or was he serious?

Hektor found himself something incomprehensible about the matter, before shouting at the microphone another “NEXT!”

Two travellers came in front of him, showing their documents without giving him the time to ask for them...everything was in order and, when he asked to the two young men to open their luggage to check them, they showed no worries and, with the caution of one who cares for his belongings, both opened them on the desk.

No smuggling, no violations of laws...Hektor smiled satisfied and, after asking the courtesy of freeing his desk, he put the green stamp on both the passports.

The two youngsters smiled while preparing to leave the booth “Thanks sir.” one of them said before focusing on his friend “A new world to will be a great adventure.”

Looking at all that enthusiasm, the Inspector felt a bit of joy...a feeling that was almost instantly covered by a line of melancholy, as memories of all the explorations made with his friends in the deep woods near Nirsk came to his mind.

<<It was all easier back then>> a thought that came with a sad smile.

Checking the documents helped Hektor in that moment: time slipped fast as people continued to come in front of him: a girl and a man with horns on their heads, a dad and his child, a young winged man with a strange blue haircut who was wearing a brown jacket with a blue shield with lightning painted on its left arm.

After he saw the last one going through the door for the portal, Hektor waited a moment before calling in the next in the line. His eyes fell on the book he received from that Princess Twilight Sparkle. In a glimpse, his mind went far away into the past, in a desperate bid to remember when the last time he read something was...maybe it was a tale story for Yara, or a romance with Sarah during a boring afternoon...that sense of boring that, he thought, he would love to live again.

<<Maybe I should give it a shot>> he thoughts while bringing his right gloved hand to his chin before grabbing the microphone again.



A loud and sudden sound came from outside the booth! Everything inside began to shake and Hektor had to hold tight to not fall down from his chair.

“WHAT THE…” The Inspector wasn’t able to find the strength to complete his sentence...he realized that it had to be an explosion that came in such an unexpected way that left him speechless...and with a vivid sense of fear never felt before.

In a few seconds, other sounds came from outside: screams of panic, firearms shot, the sound of a mob of people running...

“Quick, Inspector!” Ian’s voice coming from the entrance of the checkpoint booth woke the Inspector from the catatonic status he felt, take the keys and shut the door!” He said with a loud voice being heard over all the outside chaos while throwing a bunch of metal keys that lznded near his feet.

There was no time to ask anything of him; he rushed out closing the door behind. Hektor stood still in silence…only other gunfire sounds persuaded him to move. He recovered the keys from the ground and, with steady moves, he reached the door. With unexpected luck, he found the correct key on the first try and made the lock turn at least four times before stepping back from it. He quickly focused on the other door, the one that lead to the portal...he reached it and, to his surprise, he saw that there wasn’t a lock, something that he hadn’t realized yet.

He wasn’t able to make consideration about the matter, as gunfire and screams continued to fill the air, forcing one not to think of something else other than staying alive.

Hektor reached in a few steps his desk, covering under it as he could find no better protection; he waited there for a minute...a minute that felt like a whole year in his mind.

Slowly, the atmosphere became more quiet...there weren’t any other gunshots, and screams ceased. Hektor rose up from his position and, with great joy, he heard what he wanted to hear: silence.

<<Is it over?>> he thought while polishing off the dust from his uniform and from his shapka.

Closing his eyes, he could sense his heartbeat slowing down at the same rate of his breathing...then, a violent banging on the entrance door brought him back from that state of peace.

Looking at the door, Hektor realized that despite his role he had nothing to protect himself.

<<That’s a problem!>> he quickly thought looking worried at the only defense he had from whatever wanted to come in.

Cold winds, tension and apples

View Online

26 October, 1983 – H 15:00 to 19:00


Whatever was hitting the door, it didn’t want to stop.

Hektor looked around for the hundredth time in a last attempt of finding something to protect himself <<Damn! I’m the one responsible of the checkpoint booth and they don’t give me any sort of weapon in case of emergency.>>

When he was beginning to abandon all of his hopes, all the sounds coming from outside ended suddenly and that sort of attack at the booth’s door stopped...after few seconds, a familiar voice came from the other side:

“Open up Inspector! I’m tired of knocking at the door!”

Hektor’s eyes grew wide as he heard Ian’s voice. He stood in silence for half a minute, before he walked towards the booth entrance, looking straight to the door. Slowly, he took the keys from one of his jacket pockets and, after few tries, he was able to find the correct one, opening the door in front of him.

He looked at the person he was facing: Ian was covered by a mix of snow, dirt and dust and, judging by the frequency of his breaths, it was clear that he dealt with something that put his body in very stressful situation.

“You could have told me from the beginning that it was you banging at the door. I thought someone was trying to enter the booth.” Hektor’s nervousness could be perceived by his tone of voice.

As an answer, the soldier simply looked at the weapon in his hands, still heated from use, and shrugged his shoulders before focusing on the Inspector “So you thought that someone could pass the line of guards that are protecting the border, especially, me? I should take it as a personal offense…”

The anger in Hektor’s mind slowly faded away and after a long, deep breath, he was able to become calm again. He covered both of his hands in the jacket pockets, as the wind coming from the opened door brought a chill inside the already cold booth “You seem exhausted” he said to Ian, realizing in that moment that on his uniform there were bruises and tears “But what happened? I was just able to hear an huge explosion and gunfire...were we attacked?”

“Things are...complicated” Ian answered while inviting Hektor with his right hand to give him back the checkpoint booth keys “And I think there will be problems with Equestria after what happened.”

“What do you mean?” Hektor looked puzzled as he gave Ian what he was asking for “Someone in the line for the checkpoint gave problems?”

“Not exactly” Ian stopped for a second to put the keys into an internal pocket of his heavy jacket “Lets say that this time, the Arstotzkan government will have to face the problem of the Equestrians’ sloppy work once and for all.”

It was uncommon to read sentiment of any sort on Ian’s face, but that time Hektor could read badly covered anger on his face; his expression troubled Hektor a lot, since it could mean that the situation was worse than expected.

The soldier gave his back to Hektor to look at the completely empty landscape in front of him, something that was uncommon at that hour “Take your things and leave the booth...I’ll fill you in with the details while we’re heading to the M.O.A. offices...I think they’ll want a complete report about what happened.”

Hektor nodded quickly before going back in the booth to get his things before leaving, eager to hear Ian’s story.


“Are you serious? Something unknown that came from Equestria was the cause of all this mess?” Hektor’s expression couldn’t be more worried while, walking next to the entrance to Arstotzka side of the border, he was looking at the consequences of the disaster.

There were officers that were investigating the place and medics in white heavy cloths that were giving first aid to some people on the ground. As that wasn’t still enough, the landscape kinda reminded him of a warzone, like the one where Kolechians and Arstotzkans fought years ago: all around the building from where Equestrians came there were bullets holes and some of the iron barriers put there for protecting the border were damaged; above all, there was a big, dark hole in the ground filled with some kind of debris from which a strange smell was coming.

“A propane gas tank was hit during the fight” Ian focused on the inspector as if he was able to read his mind “That was the explosion you wounded some of our soldiers” those last words came with an angrier expression, something that could be seen even by the way he was grasping his rifle.

Trying to appear as calm as possible, Hektor took from his jacket a packet of cigarettes, taking one for him before offering one to the soldier “Looks like you had to confront a whole army.”

Silently Ian took one of them with a quick move and patiently waited for Hektor who, with a single match, lit both of the cigarettes. He deeply breathed before expelling a grey cloud from his mouth “We fought against a lone creature…” his tone of voice became the same cold one that Hektor knew...but in that moment he could read a line of disappointment in his voice, as someone that wasn’t satisfied of himself.

“A...single creature?” the Inspector answered with his eyes open widely.

“We were caught off guard…” Ian took his time to adjust the weapon on his shoulder before continuing “I was guarding your booth when the explosion came...after I gave you the booth keys, I ran to the point where the explosion came from. It was a surprise for me to see that the guards were Arstotzkan guard.”

Hektor looked at the soldier puzzled, keeping the silence and continuing to smoke while focusing on the story.

“It was as he became mad all of a sudden; he was just shooting everywhere with his rifle, harming all the soldiers and the civilians was almost as if he had never used a weapon before...and by peeking from the wall I was using to cover myself, I could see that his eyes were cold, focused...there was no worry or guilty on his face”

<<If Ian says someone is cold...that’s saying something>> Hektor couldn’t not think about that in a worrying way.

“Fortunately the gun that the guy was using ran out of bullets and we had the opportunity to reply…” Ian became silent for a moment, pausing to take a last breath from the cigarette before throwing it on the ground “there was no intention to take a prisoner...and I don’t need to add anything, I think…”

Hektor nodded in a serious way, silently looking at the road they were walking, realizing that they had already left behind the checkpoint “You told me that it was the Equestrians fault…”

“Let me finish the story.” the blonde man interrupted the Inspector, inviting with a movement of his hand to keep silent “When we hit that crazy man and he fell on the ground, something strange happened: all of us saw his body...change.”

Hektor wasn’t able to ask anything that Ian continued in his speech “After a short while, the man transformed himself in a strange, black creature with a body filled with strange holes…” Ian’s eyes were looking up, as if he was trying to dig from his memory every detail he could “It’s difficult to reminded me of a weird bug, it had bug wings, too...but he had the overall body of a horse...a small horse.”

“So you told me that this...thing was able to transform himself in an Arstotzkan guard??” Hektor couldn’t believe at what he was asking.

“Yeah...and someone was stupid enough to give him a weapon.” The soldier’s voice made it clear again his anger for all the situation “I think an internal investigation is in order, too...even if the main point is to solve once and for all the problem of the awful work they’re doing in this damned Equestria’s especially their fault if a disaster like this happened!”

“And the creature?” Hektor suddenly asked with a bit of curiosity.

The answer came with a shrug of shoulders “I don’t know. While the officers were questioning me, I saw some white coated men covering it with a blanket before putting it on a stretcher to carry it away.”

Hektor curiosity was overwhelming and it was clear that he was going to ask something else, but a quick look at the place where he was standing let him realize that they were close to the M.O.A. building “Here we are.” he just said, underlining the obvious.

When close to the entrance, both of their eyes focused on a little group of men that were discussing something; with a quick glance, Hektor could recognize among them a familiar figure: Konstant Varusov. Close to him there were two armed guards and a slim, tall man who was wearing a complete black uniform and an officer’s hat of the same color.

“That means trouble, Inspector” Ian voice came out from nowhere “I saw that kind of uniform once” he added gesturing with a move of his head to the black officer “he’s a member of the Special Investigation Division of the Ministry of Information.”

“Well...thinking about the events, it’s normal to have an investigation, right?” the Inspector looked at the soldier that, strangely, had a puzzled expression on his face.

“It’s normal indeed...but they have their own way to lead it...and usually it means that people disappear and strange things happens.”

Before getting close to the group of men near the M.O.A. that, in the meantime, had already seen them, Ian poised his free hand on Hektor’s shoulder, stopping him for a moment “Be careful at every word you’ll say to them.” Ian’s serious face caught Hektor’s attention that, before moving, nodded to assure he understood the warning.

Focusing their attention on the group, Ian and Hektor reached, step by step, the group of men that, in the meantime, were looking at them intensely.

“Mr.’s good to see you unharmed” Varusov broke the awkward silence that fell in that moment “Another sign of the great work our soldiers made at the checkpoint...Glory to Arstotzka.” he added while bringing his right fist to the chest, a movement repeated by all those presents...except for the black clothed man.

“It is my job to assure that everything went good or not” the Officer said while looking from behind his round shaped glasses, the people he was facing; Hektor realized that it wasn’t possible to see his eyes from those glasses and, despite his self control, he felt shivers through his body when he realized that the Officer was looking at was as though he could see through his body, his mind, his he could see or uncover wasn’t a good sensation.

With a quick glance, Hektor realized that even Ian, whose cold blood was a known thing to him, was feeling uncomfortable in that situation.

“You must be Mr. Hektor Popov, the checkpoint Inspector...and Mr. Ian Kolim, member of the I° border regiment” with slow steps, the Officer went near the blonde guard, looking straight in his eyes “I saw good reports regarding your duty in Kolechia during the war.”

“I did what I had to do.” replied Ian who had a quick nod as answer.

“And you,’re working hard, yes? According to Mr. Varusov’s reporting, you’re doing a decent job...even if you made a terrible mistake in your first day” his tone of voice was flat...and threatening.

“Mr. Popov is doing a good job” Varusov interrupted with a sentence that caught Hektor by surprise ”...the total opposite of the Equestrians, who let that...thing…come into our country with an expired passport, with a different name from the I.D. card we found on him.”

<<He’s defending me? Really>> Hektor couldn’t believe at what he was seeing.

“I see” the officer brought an hand on one of his slim shaped mustache to caress it, looking deeply at the Inspector “a good try to legitimate your work, Mr. Varusov.” There were no signs of emotion on his face; one could question if there was even a soul in that man.

The High Officer, showing no reaction to the sentence of the agent, focused back on Ian “Let’s not waste time. Time is precious in these cases, especially the time of Mr. Vonel here.”

“Indeed” the black agent added “We have to talk a lot about the matter, Mr. Ian...while you, Mr. Popov...” he turned his head to focus on Hektor who was taken by surprise by the attention on him “ can go. I already know that you remained in the checkpoint booth to protect it. It’s good to see you respected your duties as Inspector.”

<<I stayed locked in the booth to protect myself, not the checkpoint...but whatever>> Hektor had to focus to not let a smirk appear on his face.

Suddenly Konstant took few steps forward to get close to Hektor “The checkpoint to Equestria will stay closed today to allow further investigation and to secure the area...maybe even tomorrow. You’ll be notified in the evening” He put away his gloved hand to take out a white envelope with the Arstotzkan symbol on it “here's your daily pay. There are no extra charges today.” he smirked in a strange way, as if he was teasing him.

Hektor took the envelope, quickly putting it in one of the internal folds of his jacket. After a quick look to Ian, he took a few steps back from the group “I’ll wait at home for my orders then...”

“It’s a pleasure to see that you like to read, mister Inspector” Vonel suddenly spoke at Hektor, pointing at the elegant tome he was keeping under his right arm “I think it cost a lot, judging from its cover...more than a checkpoint Inspector could afford.”

“Well…” Hektor immediately stopped his tongue; saying that it came from Equestria could be a problem...and he realized that maybe Konstant didn’t know anything about the book, as he didn’t say anything about the matter.

“He wanted to show me his family photo album” Ian’s words broke the silence “he said it is his most precious treasure” he added, giving Hektor a significant stare.

“I see...I think family is important, too.” Vonel said nodding his head before looking at Konstant “Please High Officer, lead the way.”

Keeping his self control, Hektor brought his hand to the chest “I will go then...Glory to Arstotzka.”

“Glory to Arstotzka.” all the members of that strange group replied before moving toward the M.O.A. entrance to gain the access to the building. Hektor was able to exchange a last look with Ian, who understood how Hektor was deeply thankful for what he had done.

With no other thought than going back home to explain everything to Katia and to drink something warm, Hektor walked forward faster than usual, looking at the ground as to isolate himself from everybody.


The sound of chit chat and talking all around was something that couldn’t be was clear that the events at the checkpoint became a matter that shook Orvech Vonor; neither the opening of the portal to the parallel world and the presence of Equestrians in town had the same effects as the disaster that happened that day: the main square was so crowded it was impossible to find a place to stay alone...every bench was taken, bars were full of people, peddlers’ carts were surrounded by potential buyers. <<Never seen so much life here...gossip and disasters have so much power on people.>> a realization that came with a little smile while, with both of his hands behind his back, he was walking past the crowd, trying to not bump into anyone.


Attracted by the sudden loud yelling, Hektor turned his head toward the point from where he thought the sentence came from.


Again...focusing better, the Inspector was able to see a large group of people near one of the side streets that came in the square; it was as if they were surrounding something or someone.

“Ya think that it was Equestrians who caused trouble?” A calmer but determined female voice came from within the group. Hektor mumbled while, pushed by his curiosity, he walked faster to reach the crowd.

While getting near, the tension grew at a worrying rate; the yelling became louder and people were pushing each other, as they were trying to reach the middle of the group.

“Our soldiers were wounded because of you!” Someone said pointing the finger at somebody Hektor couldn’t see in that moment “And the more days pass, the more crowded our town is becoming!”

“Police should arrest you for what you did, you evil liars!” Someone else added, making the mob yell more.

“Don’t dare to call me an evil liar” a female angry voice came from the middle of the crowd “I should put some sense in your dang head.” The last sentence had the only result of making the situation more tense; protest and loud incomprehensible comments were filling the air.

“Come on!” Someone raised an hand, inviting people to join his/her plan “Let’s show them what it means to mess with Arstotz-”

“ENOUGH” Suddenly, a loud order came out from nowhere; silence fell on the crowd that, taken by surprise, turned all of their focus at the direction of the one who spoke. They were surprised to see a man wearing the Arstotzkan checkpoint Inspector uniform in front of them.

By the look the people were giving to him, Hektor realized that they were almost frightened by him <<Maybe I underestimate the power this suit gives me in front of people>> Hektor thought, hiding a smirk of satisfaction.

“Inspector!” A tough bearded man spoke, with a tone of respect Hektor wasn’t expecting “Those two Equestrians are questioning our hospitality and our respect. After what happened at the frontier, they deserve a lesson.”

Without even asking, people moved from their position, allowing Hektor to see who they were talking about: a man and a girl that were familiar to him; he needed just few seconds to recognize the same two western hat wearers he saw at the beginning of the day.

“That’s not true, mister.” The blonde girl said while walking toward the Inspector, showing no fear or insecurity “These people came to me and mah brother when they realized we’re Equestrians only to point at us with nonsense accusations.”

“Eeyup” was the reply from the big, blonde young man close to her. Hektor took a moment to look at him, figuring how his focused attention on the people all around him and the way he was standing, especially the way he was tightening all of his muscles, were all signs that he was preparing himself for an eventual fight; it was interesting to see how he placed himself close to the other girl, as to protect her. In the meantime, the Equestrian took his time to adjust a huge brown linen bag he was carrying on his right shoulder, emphasizing her statement.

“It’s their fault if we were attacked by some kind of monster.” Someone in the crowd yelled again, triggering again the loud voices of everybody, a thing that was making Hektor more and more nervous. After a deep breath, realizing the situation, Hektor rose his head, looking at the mob in a cold way he didn’t expect.


Hektor could sense the adrenaline rushing in his vein, it was clear that he was tired of seeing all that confusion.

The intimidation worked, as he was able to gain the silence he needed to go ahead “The Special Investigation agents of the Ministry of Information are here to investigate about the events...and they’re the only ones that can decide who’s guilty or not.”

Like the black agent he saw before, he put his hands behind his back, assuming an authoritative pose, to which everybody showed respect...expect for the Equestrian girl that, who in that moment, was looking at him with a serious look without showing any sign of fear, and for the other foreign young man, who was looking at him with an expression which didn’t allow him to understand what he was feeling in that moment.

“I invite you all to go back to your business, without trying to disturb the public peace. If I see more all know what’s going to happen.”

A noisy mumbling received the order concealed as an invitation and, without adding anything, people spread from the place, going back to mind their own business...not before giving a challenging glance to the two Equestrians.

Finally Hektor was able to have the moment of peace he was seeking after the events at the checkpoint; he stared a moment at his own uniform before looking at the two foreigners.

“If I were you, I would find a place to spend the rest of the you’ll have figured, tension is in the air and people could act without thinking twice.” Without realizing, he smiled a little before adding something else “and I would find a better hat to wear...Arstotzkan weather becomes colder during the night.”

He raised his hand slowly to salute the strange couple before taking the street to reach his quarters.

“Hey there” the same girl voice spoke from his behind “Arent’ ya mr. Hektor?”

With a breath that meant only resignation, he turned his attention back to the two Equestrians, who were calmly getting close to him.

“I hope that the one who described me to you was not too harsh.” He was serious.

The girl smiled sincerely while moving her right hand toward him “I’m Applejack and he’s my Big Mac, mah big brother” His eyes fell on the tall young man in front of him, who nodded with the same neutral expression he was keeping before before shaking the hand she was tending to him; he was taken by surprise by the strength she put in that hand almost hurted him.

“You already made a name in Equestria, ya know?” The girl adjusted the hat she was wearing to let it better fit her head “Especially my friends told me things about ya...some good, some bad...not to mention the mint coat weirdo that walks through all Ponyville with a glove attached to her neck speaking highly of you...aaand the whole Sweetie Belle and Discord mess” she paused a little, looking at him straight in the eyes “some of us wanted to kick your behind for good...and i’ll be honest: I was one of them.”

Without changing his expression, he endured Applejack’s look, thinking about the direct and honest behaviour of the one he was facing; there was no disrespect in her voice, nor in her acting. She was just sharing her true thoughts.

“It is not my intention to hurt anybody, nor to put people in trouble” Hektor breathed deeply, closing his eyes for a moment to better focus on the words to say “My task is just to apply laws.”

“Laws are good when they protect from harm, not when they become a source of problems” All of a sudden, Big Mac spoke with a deep, calm voice, surprising both Hektor and Applejack “Yeah” she added, continuing in developing the argument “I mean...blocking a child in a foreign land ‘cause the document was out of date? What kind of harm could good little Rarity’s sister do?”

“Do you know that the creature that assaulted soldiers and bystanders at the checkpoint came here from your lands with invalid documents?” Despite all of his efforts, the Inspector wasn’t able to completely hide the resentment he was feeling...he was even slowly waving his arms all around, moved by his feelings as he was not able to control his own body “If laws were applied as they should, I could work to earn enough money to eat this evening and you would not be stuck here and there wouldn’t be wounded people...”

When his speech was finished, Hektor found himself surprised of how his tone of voice passed so quickly from calm to angry. It wasn’t just a matter of what happened and of its consequences; there were too many things that worried him personally, too: he risked his life, he knew that the money earned that day would be surely not enough to pay all the expenses of the day keeping a share of money to save for the next days...and now there was another Equestrian that was questioning his way of working...his way of living.

While all those things were crowding his mind, he realized that the girl in front of him fell in a silence he wasn’t expecting, bowing her head in the meantime, a thing that didn’t allow Hektor to look at her face, covered by the folds of her large, brown hat.

Big Mac slowly reached Applejack’s side, putting an hand on her left shoulder while giving a glance of hostility to the Arstotzkan Inspector; it was clear that he didn’t approve how he treated his beloved sister.

At that scene, Hektor brought his hand to his forehead, massaging his temples and covering his sight for a moment; he needed to calm down...he had to. He breathed deeply before looking back at the two siblings; he could sense the pity the girl was feeling.

“I’m sorry” Hektor’s tone of voice was a clear sign of the honesty of his words “I made the same mistake as the crowd that was bothering you: I was judging a whole country starting just from the bad things, from the errors” Hektor shook his head while a bitter smile grew on his face “but I already know enough Equestrians to know that you mean no harm to us...that you really want to have good relations with us.”

“And to be honest...I realize that sometimes applying the law doesn’t really mean to do the right thing” it was strange how Hektor was opening himself to two strangers he had just met; words were just flowing out of his mouth...or better out of his mind “but that’s the only way I know to do my job...the only way I know to protect those I love...the only way of living here in Arstotzka.”

“One day ya’ll find yourself to choose between following the rules or following your heart do doing what ya you think is the right thing, mister” Big Mac broke his silence again, looking in that moment at Hektor with a more friendly attitude.

“Maybe you’re right, mister Big Mac.” Hektor smiled back at him, shrugging his shoulders “Maybe one day I’ll find myself in that situation...and I’ll have to think about how to act; until then...” he left his sentence in the air without finishing it.

“I’m sorry for criticizing your work, mister.” Applejack voice could be hear from the bottom of her hat; she rose her head, showing a sincere smile to both the presents “Ah think you aimed to do the best thing in your way” she adjusted her hat while giving a glance to her brother, who smiled in relief at seeing his sister’s expression “besides...Sweetie Belle is always wearing the hat ya gave her, even if the weather is not so cold in Equestria...not to mention Rarity fashion interests for it.” Hektor smiled amused to them “I’m happy they appreciate it...I hope it repaid a little all the troubles they had here.”

With a quick look around, all of them realized that it was getting late; slowly the square was becoming less and less crowded and everything was becoming darker. “Now you really have to find a place to spend the night...Orvech Vonor is not the safest place during the night.”

The two siblings looked at each other for a moment “Can ya suggest us a safe place, mister?” Applejack quickly asked, looking around her.

Hektor mumbled something while bringing an hand to his chin...finding a place for them could be a problem, considering how Orvech Vonor people hostility towards Equestrians <<I can’t host them as I did with the other Equestrians...this time Katia could really kill me for good.>>

“I can offer a good solution to this problem, if you need.”

That affirmation took everybody by surprise; when they focused their attention on the point from where that sentence came, they found a short, bearded old man looking at them...a man Hektor recognized quickly.

“You’re the man who tried to pass the border without any documents, if I remember correctly” he said with a puzzled expression at the strange man.

“It was worth a shot, Inspector” he replied with a sincere smile, before focusing on the two Equestrians “As I was saying...I can help you in finding a good place to spend the night, in fact I have a friend, who has a friend, who has another friend, who is the brother of a…”

“Yes, Yes we get it” Hektor cut short Jorji’s speech “Do you know a hostel where they will not cause trouble?”

The reply came quickly “The important thing for him is the money; he will not ask questions or cause problems, especially if I’m with them...he has to payback some favors to me”

“Thanks for the help, old man” Applejack happily said “We really appreciate it.” Big mac nodded to those words, saying a quick “Eeyup” to underline how he agreed with his sister.

<<He’s really trustworthy?>> Hektor thought looking at the apparently harmless old man he was facing.

“Everybody knows that I, Jorji Costava, am always willing to help others...besides…” he turned his head to smile at the Inspector “...I think he’ll find a good way to repay the help.”

Hektor gave him a glance, hiding the frustration he was feeling behind a serious face <<Why do I always have to find myself in problems?>>

“Anyway we have to move as soon as mister Inspector was saying before, walking during the night is not a good thing here” Jorji walked close to Applejack and Big Mac showing a positive attitude “It’s not distant from here, so we’ll not take long...don’t expect a five star hotel though, there are not places like this in Orvech Vonor.”

“Do not worry, mister. We’ll have no problems with that” Applejack said with an expression on her face that let her appear cuter in front of Hektor’s eyes.

“It seems that I’m no longer needed here. I think I’ll go home...I need some good rest.” Hektor stretched his arms, relaxing himself “I don’t know if the border will open tomorrow...I hope you will be able to go back to your world soon.”

“Me too” Applejack replied with a bit of sadness “The more we stay here, the more work we’ll have to do at the farm. Our apple trees have to be cared for everyday and we can’t leave that duty to mah sister and to granny.”

“Do you have an apple farm?” Jorji asked interested to the Equestrians

“Yup...we grow the best apples in Equestria” she exclaimed with a proud face “we came in your world to see if we could sell them here, but we had no luck...and the incident made things worse…”

She stayed in silence for few seconds, giving a glance to her brother; he instantly nodded and, as he understood her sister’s intentions, he put on the ground the bag he kept on his shoulder the whole time long and, with slow moves, he loosened the knot that was closing it. When it was wide opened, he put his arm in it, taking from it two shiny red apples that, judging from their aspect, seemed really tasty.

“Take it, mister’s the least we can do to thank ya...there is one for you too, mister George”

“It’s Jorji, miss” the old man said without showing any sign of bother for the mistake while taking the fruit from Big Mac’s hand; Hektor smiled amused by the scene and, with few steps, he reached the Equestrian to take his apple; he changed the arm he was keeping the book with to take the gift with his right hand, realizing in that moment how big the body difference between them was, both in height and muscles <<He could lift me with one hand>> he thought.

“Its taste will conquer ya, I could bet mah whole cider escort on it” the blonde girl said to the two humans with a sure look on her face.

“Thank you, really...I’ll enjoy it on the way home.” Hektor smiled, bowing his head a little before focusing on the bright color of the fruit he was keeping in his hand.

“Ya know...I’m sure Ah already saw the book you’re keeping” Applejack bowed her head a little to the left, as she wanted to look better at the tome.

“This?” Hektor gave a look at it, staying in silence for a moment to think if he could really trust them or not. “I’ll tell you the truth: I received it from your was a gift from the almighty princess Twilight Sparkle...she wrote to me that-”

“The...almighty?” Applejack repeated those words, unable to hide her amusement...without even giving Hektor the time to ask about her reaction, she broke into a genuine laugh “Aaaah good ol’ Twi...always willing to share one of her books with everybody.”

Hektor’s face couldn’t be more puzzled “You know her?”

“Of course” Applejack was smiling in such a genuine way nobody around couldn’t smile back “I’m a close friend with her...and you already know some of her other friends, too: Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy...we’re all Twi’s friends.”

“Oh...I see…” that was the only thing he was able to say while in his mind there was a tempest of thoughts <<I met so many important Equestrians and I didn’t know it...I hope to not have complicated relations between our two worlds with my acting…>>

“Well, time to go” Jorji spoke bringing Hektor back to reality, inviting Applejack and Big Mac, who had already closed his bag, to follow him “I wish a good day to you Inspector...I think we’ll meet again at the checkpoint” he bowed his head respectfully without even bothering to show a little smirk on his face.

“I’m sure about it.” the Inspector replied with a tone of voice that made it clear how he surrendered at that idea “I wish a good day to you...I hope to see you tomorrow.” he turned toward the two Equestrian siblings, raising his free hand to salute them.

“Have a nice day, mister Hektor...and thank ya for everything.” Applejack replied with a happy expression on her face while Big Mac nodded respectfully.

Hektor could hear Jorji asking for another apple before taking the road that would lead him, finally, to home. While trying to resist the cold evening breeze that was blowing, he gave a bite of the red fruit he was keeping...its sweetness and taste were able to let him forget for a moment all the troubles he had during the day <<That’s proof of the fact that opening the border with Equestria was worthy>> Hektor smiled at his own thoughts while giving another bite to the apple, walking silently in the dark Orvech Vonor evening.

Night of thoughts, meetings and plans

View Online

26 October, 1983 - H 22:00 to 24:00

The light of the candle was barely enough to light the pages of the tome open on the table placed in the middle of the main room.

With attention he didn’t believe himself to have, Hektor was slowly reading the first pages of the book gifted from Princess Twilight. It was hard for him to believe that the things described were real.

Earth ponies, unicorns, pegasi, alicorns, was like reading a fairy tale book, similar to the ones he read to his beloved daughter Yara long time ago...too much time ago.
The sound made by the rusty hinges of Katia’s room door distracted Hektor from what he was doing; he had to focus on the black figure who was slowly walking toward him to understand who he was facing.

“Still with that strange book?” By the sound of her voice, Hektor could understand that she was sleeping a short time ago “Why do you care so much to understand this new world, stupid man?”

“It’s not easy to explain” with too much calm he rose up from the uncomfortable wooden chair he was sitting on to go close the window, from where Orvech Vonor, enlightened only by the light of the moon, appeared like some kind of old painting “I know I should just do my job, fulfilling my duty for the ‘great Arstotzka’ to earn enough money to survive” the sarcastic tone he used to name his country surprised himself “but after days spent knowing these Equestrians...after talking with them...I think I have to know them better.”

After quickly looking around him, he was able to find a white little package, from where he swiftly took a cigarette “The more time I know them, the more I realize they’re so similar to us...maybe they have better intentions than us, I could add.”

While trying to light up a match from its box, he saw Katia looking at one of the pages of the elegant book left open on the table; it pictured a white unicorn with wings with long colored hair close to something pictured as a stylized sun.

“...Princess Celestia has the power to raise and lower the sun, while Princess Luna, her sister, is the owner of the power to move the moon…” even in the dark Hektor could see a smirk on her face “Yara would’ve really enjoyed reading this book.”

The light of the match showed for a brief moment to Katia the sad smile on Hektor’s face. A heavy silence fell in the room...a silence broken only by sound of the burning tobacco of the cigarette.

“Sarah was right when she said that you care too much for others” The old lady spoke with an uncommon gentle tone...a tone that brought Hektor back to the past for a brief a time where everything was simpler and easier. The only answer to that statement was a little smile that could have thousands of meanings.
With his almost finished cigarette, Hektor took a few steps to reach his chair “Sarah told me that she loved every time I try to do the thing I think is right, too.” he said to the woman close to him while sitting back near the Equestrian book “I intend to continue to act as Sarah liked...and I think it’s right to equally treat the people of both ours and other universe.”

“Stubborn as an Antegrian donkey” Katia shook her head, staring in silence at Hektor before laying her right hand on one of his shoulders “At least...promise me that you’ll not put your life in danger to help others.” Hektor could sense by her voice the worrying that was invading his was uncommon for him to see her like in that moment.

The bald man turned his face to better see her...a little smirk painted on his face “Do not worry Katia, you’ll not lose your source of money...besides, who would mock you with strange guests or strange situations if I’m gone?” He enjoyed how his mother-in-law’s expression changed various times, from anger to amusement.

“You should go to sleep, stupid man” she replied while reaching the door of her room “The more you’re focused, the more you’ll not make mistakes, the more money you’ll bring.” It was difficult to see in the dark, but a satisfied expression was painted on her face, as she was enjoying herself, acting as she was really, as portrayed by Hektor short before.

“If the checkpoint will open” he added with a deep sigh “I fear that tomorrow there will not be any work for me...and no money.” After the reply, he stared at a picture of a white and gold city builded on a mountain, under which there was written in an elegant italic font ‘Canterlot’ <<So this is what their capital looks seems like a nice city>> he thought.

“This could be a problem to solve tomorrow” Katia said disconsolate before turning her back to Hektor, leaving him with his book “Goodnight stupid man” she said before leaving Hektor alone in the room “If you meet again those Equestrians that came here, give them my greetings” suddenly Katia’s voice came out from her room “especially to the little one” she added before closing the door.

<<She has a soft heart too, after all>> Hektor realized without being able to not smile, before focusing back on the tome in front of him. After reading some other lines, he rose his sight to look at the grey roof on his head <<Arstotzka and Equestria...I hope the problem of the hate I saw today will be solved and that we will be able to live peacefully.>>

After stretching his arms, Hektor gave a little glance to the candle, blowing on it to quench the flame before standing up to reach his room and his bed, hoping to fall asleep as soon as possible to not think about the present, the past and the future.


The moon and the stars weren’t sufficient to light the space close to the portal; every guard present there had a torch pointed at the place from where the waited guests were expected to come. With his hands crossed in front of his chest, Konstant Varusov stood still in front of the other members of the welcoming group: four armed soldiers and two members of the M.O.A.

The High Officer looked at the clear sky for a moment, feeling the usual cold wind of the night that, in the meantime, was raising his speed. By the determination pictured on his face, it was clear that he knew how important the meeting he was going to have was...and how valuable the role of representing Arstotzka given to him by the Government was.. He knew he had to do his best and to follow all the guidelines and the instructions given to him: he had to obtain what he was asked to...failure in Arstotzka was an unacceptable thing.

All of his thoughts were interrupted a bright blue light coming from the portal; it was activated by the Equestrian side.

The soldiers pointed their rifles toward it in a moment, lowering them slowly when Varusov, with a silent order given with a movement of his hand covered by a black glove, ordered them to.

Everybody stared at the portal in silence...after a while, eight men with golden armor and long metal spears began to come out from it. With a military order and serious expression, all of them walked forward, standing in front of the portal as if to protect it...or to protect someone that was going to come soon.

None of the Arstotzkan soldiers made a move, even when they saw the spears pointed at them; all of them knew that only the High Officers could give them instructions about how to proceed...and all of them looked at him puzzled, figuring that the spearheads of the Equestrians soldier’s weapons were just few inches from his face...contrariwise, a smirk made its way onto Varusov’s face, as if he was amused by that power demonstration <<These Equestrians know how to impress>> he thought while focusing back on the portal.

Finally, two females figures made their appearance from it, giving an end to everybody wait; only when the light went out was it possible for everybody in front of the portal to see who or what came to Arstotzka.

In front of everybody’s eyes there were two women, both of them wearing impeccable and elegant long dresses; their horns and their wings were different, but were able to attract the stare of those present, especially of the human group members, who looked at them with marvel in their eyes.

Konstant kept silent and, with no emotions painted on his face, focused on the two newcomers who, judging by their regal dresses and behaviour, had to be the two Princesses he was waiting for. While the Equestrian soldiers moved to allow their leaders to come forward, he looked deeply at them...he knew he couldn’t show his emotions, but deep inside he was really impressed by the ones he was facing.

The first woman was almost tall as him..she looked even taller though, thanks to the long, white horn in the middle of her forehead; her long hair was perfectly combed and had different shades of light blue and purple...almost the same purple that colored her eye’s irises. While slowly walking she stretched her long, beautiful wings...for physical need or to impress the bystanders, no one could tell. Her expression, the sureness on her good looking face...everything about her was a sign of royalty, of leadership <<She has to be the Holy Princess Celestia>> Konstant thought quickly, before focusing on the other girl.

He could immediately figure that she was completely different from Celestia: even if she was wearing expensive and regal dresses and the horn and her wings made it clear that she was a princess too, there was something in her attitude that wasn’t clear to him. She was...insecure, something he doesn’t expect from a ruler. Sure he was facing a beautiful young girl and there was something intriguing in her dark purple long straight hair, but her eyes…Konstant couldn’t not focus on them, making some conclusions <<Beautiful indeed, but not as determined as the other one.>>

Despite his considerations, he knew that he was facing the Equestrian representatives; he had to act with deep respect, without forgetting that he was there to guarantee Arstotzkan interests.

“I welcome you to Arstotzka” Konstant bowed his head without looking away from the two princesses “My name is Konstant Varusov, High Officer of the Ministry of Admission...Allow me to express Arstotzkan’s deepest gratitude for coming here to discuss the latest events at our checkpoint.” he stood silent for a moment, giving them the time to reach the head of their delegation, placing them between their soldiers “You are the Holy Princess Celestia, I suppose.”

“Indeed, High Officer Varusov” her voice was calm, was able to capture the attention of those present and make them feel at ease “It was our intention to solve this problem as soon as possible.” She paused a little to look at the other girl next to her; with an elegant movement of her left hand, she attract everybody’s attention to her “I would like to introduce you to my pupil and friend Twilight Sparkle, the Princess in charge of the Arstotzkan border relations office.”

“I’m honored to meet you” Twilight said smiling happily while looking at the human delegation that, after those words, became more serious.

“Then you’ll be able to provide a proper explanation about how that creature was able to come into our Great Country, bringing danger and hurting our citizens” Varusov’s voice sounded hard as a rock and his expression became cold.

The harsh sentence hit Twilight hard...she sadly bowed her cute head without giving an answer; on her face it was easy to see how she felt guilty for what happened.

“We are here to talk about that” Celestia broke the silence, giving a quick glance to Twilight and offering her a smile that reminded her how she had her complete trust “and about the management of the border between our worlds...I think both of us want the safety of our nation’s citizens.”

The M.O.A. High Officer nodded to those words “We agree on this aspect, I see...please allow me to lead you to my office, we’ll be warmer and we’ll have the privacy we need to speak freely.”

Celestia bowed her head, giving the silent assent Varusov needed; while he was ordering the guards to move towards the M.O.A. building, Celestia layed her right gloved hand on Twilight’s shoulder, whispering something in her ear that let her regain the smile and the sense of sureness she had lost before.

With a move of her head, Celestia ordered to the Equestrian soldiers to follow her. In the freezing night, they followed the human delegation, directed to the place where the fate of the relation between Arstotzka and Equestria would be decided.


The dull sound made by the soles of Vonel’s black shoes on the floor made of grey cement was the only thing that could be heard in the long, empty corridor he was walking in. There was no sign of emotion on his face; there was no way of understanding what was he thinking or feeling in that moment. Behind his rounded glasses, his eyes were pointing at his destination: an iron double door guarded by two heavily armored guards.

Step by step, he reached the end of his road, standing perfectly motionless in front of the soldiers with his hands behind his back; there was no need for him to show his identification document; he was already known by everyone in the secret facility...and everyone could feel a sense of discomfort and fear when crossing their road with him.

Even the two strong Arstotzkan men who were standing there looked clearly worried, even if it was clear that they were trying to pretend the opposite. After showing their respect to the Officer, one of them pressed a red button behind him, allowing the mechanisms of the door to work. While a noisy sound of steam and gears filled the corridor, the two doors slowly slid through the walls, allowing Vonel to see the room inside, his destination: the secret laboratory.

After giving one last cold glance to the guards, he walked forward without even focusing on the door closing behind him. In the corridor, the two guards exchanged a quick look, showing each other the feel of discomfort left on them by the black Officer.

Fumes, smells, discussions...the laboratory filled with white coat scientists was an interesting thing to see. All around there were desks filled with tubes, strange gadgets, alembics filled with strange colored liquids and many more unknown objects to Vonel. A smirk made its way on his face, almost amused by the fact that nobody, so focused on their work, had saw him coming in. With calm, he stopped one of the scientists; the focused expression of the white coat changed in fear when he realized who he was talking too “G-Good evening, Officer. G-Glory to Arstotzka” he said with a loud voice that attracted the other’s attention, letting them know that the M.O.I. agent was there.

“I see you’re working hard...that’s good” Vonel’s tone was flat, calm as always “I think one of you could escort me to where the alien creature was brought.” He did not have to wait for long, the same young scientist stopped before offering to lead him through the facility. It was sufficient a quick nod to let him know that he agreed to the offer and, without adding anything more, he began to follow his guide.

Vonel looked all around the various room of the secret facility; it was clear that the Arstotzkan Government had invested a lot of money in it. Everywhere there were men experimenting on weapons, electricity, unknown substances...everything that could help Arstotzka to gain the upper hand on the foreign countries was welcomed by the Government. The main goal was always being the strongest country, an aim to reach in a peaceful way...or by force.

The walk of the two men finished in front of a wooden door with a white sign with red writing ‘Authorised Personnel Only’ “Thank you...I’ll walk alone from now on. Glory to Arstotzka.” After a military like salute, the scientist took his leave from Vonel who, slowly, opened the door and walked inside a poorly lit room.

In there, he saw a few old scientists all around something, mumbling and discussing in a low voice. Neither the sound of the closing door distracted them from what they were doing. Looking around, Vonel saw that the place was almost empty: there were only a few desks, a strange machine, a table with all sort of blades and something else between the crowd of white coats in the middle.

“The Ministry of Information will be pleased to see that all of you are working so well.” Vonel’s words were able to distract those present in the room. When they turned their head and understood that their waited guest had come, all of them brought their right hand to the chest and the words “Glory to Arstotzka” filled the space of the room.

With his authoritative posture he slowly walked toward them “So...were you able to find something interesting from our guest?” he asked focusing his attention on what was lying on the middle desk: the creature that caused all the havoc that same morning.

“It’s a strange animal shaped being, mister Agent” the oldest of the scientist took the lead, moving toward the black Officer to look better at him “By the examination we made, it seems that it has some physical properties that could be interesting to study in deeper.” A significant smile grew on Vonel’s face “Interesting...please fill me in with all the details. The Ministry of Information is waiting for a complete report about the matter.”

The old scientist moved a little to allow the Officer to see the body on the desk “It seems that this creature is called a ‘Changeling’...that’s the name some Equestrians interrogated from our undercover travellers gave.” While talking, he showed with his hand some key points of the creature’s body to the agent “By what we were able to discover during our first examination, its body is able to shapeshift into everything it sees or remembers...and the fact that it was able to use its power in our world means that it is not a magic skill, but a physical one...something that we can understand and reproduce.” The proud and enthusiastic expression of the scientist was meaningful.

“And about the portal and this ‘magic power’? Were you able to understand the mechanisms how this power affects us and the parallel world inhabitants?”

“Despite our efforts, it is complicated to understand things without having the possibility of having...samples to work on.” the last sentence came from the white coat wearing man with a strange tone of voice, as it was a request of some sort “As for the is not yet clear which source of energy powers it is or how does it decide the shape humans acquire when in Equestria and vice-versa. We have still to understand why we can’t use them for both going in and out, as each one seems to allow only one way of travelling: one is for entering Equestria, the other one for coming back here in Arstotzka.”

The old man paused a moment brought a hand to his short grey beard, massaging his chin “We should study them, but during the night its hard due the freezing weather and during the day it is impossible due the stream of travellers…” he left his sentence suspended in the middle; he knew that it wasn’t necessary to add anything more.

Vonel mumbled something while lost in his deep thoughts “This is all...interesting.” he looked at the number of minds he was facing “I’ll report everything to the Ministry...even your requests.” He took his time to adjust with his right finger the glasses on his nose “Now if you excuse me, I’ll take my leave. Remember to work hard…further support and funds to your research will come only with results.”

“It will be our pleasure to strengthen Arstotzka with our discoveries.” The answer of the head scientist let Vonel smile a little...a smile whose nature was impossible to decipher.

“Glory to Arstotzka” Vonel said calmly before turning his back to the group, who quickly answered before turning back their attention to the changeling, aiming to further understand its characteristics and powers.

After closing the door of the room, Vonel walked past all the mess of instruments and scientists of the laboratory, thinking about the report he was going to write to the Government...and about the next day.

No crossing today...maybe tomorrow...

View Online

27 October, 1983 – H 07:00 to 19:00

27 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

Connection with parallel world shut down

After yesterday’s events, the M.O.A. decided to close the portal for Equestria, suspending the traffic between the two worlds. In their official bulletin, there is no information regarding the duration of the decision; nobody knows if the checkpoint to the parallel world will stay closed permanently or not. The decision was lead by security policies; as written on the M.O.A. bulletin, in fact, ‘The first priority is the safety of our Greatest Country and the Government will do everything in its power to guarantee it’.

A direct consequence of the decision is the rise of a problem for both the two worlds; as a matter of fact, there are Arstotzkans stuck in the parallel worlds and Equestrians in our beautiful Country that can’t go back to their home ‘While we’re focusing on finding a solution to this matter, we order you to not cause problems with the Equestrians, who are willingly cooperating with us’ said the High Officer of the M.O.A. Konstant Varusov.

Everybody is waiting to see which kind of solution our enlightened Government will find; in the meantime, the checkpoint to the parallel world will stay closed and heavily guarded to prevent any border crossing attempts.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Frustration was invading Hektor; what he had read in the daily newspaper was the worst news he could receive: no job for the day, no money to earn <<Their way to warn me about the fact I’m not needed today was sending me a least it was free.>>

His puzzled face was enough to let Katia understand that there was something wrong “No work today?” she asked rhetorically.

“The checkpoint is closed” Hektor replied while folding back the newspaper “I think we’ll have to think about a way of earning money for the expenses of today…” he didn’t complete the sentence, preferring the silence.

“Maybe you should still go to the M.O.A. offices...maybe they’ll give you some sort of compensation for the lack of work. After all it’s not your fault if you can’t work today.” Katia took a seat next to Hektor, looking at him to check his reaction to that idea.

The bald man stared at the newspaper and at the empty white porridge bowl in front of him <<My head is as out of ideas as that bowl...what can we do?>> Worrying thoughts were populating his mind, a thing made clear by the expression his face was assuming.

“Well?” Katia’s question woke him up from the catatonic state he was falling in; he looked at her with an apparent calm face.

“Maybe you’re right. Besides...I don’t have any other program for the day, do I?” His words came out from his mouth with a defeated tone and, while standing up from from the chair, he couldn’t hold in a little sigh before pointing to his room to change wear the clothes of the not useful ‘Border Inspector’.

Left alone in the room, Katia shook her head while taking the objects left on the table, sensing on her shoulders the weight of the years and a sense of uselessness that made her feel worse than usual.


The lack of all the mumbling and yelling of the waiting crowd in front of the checkpoint booth was strangely odd; after all the days spent there, Hektor couldn’t feel at ease in that strange, out of place silence. He took a second to stop, looking at his own clothing, asking himself why he wore his Inspector uniform if he knew that he did not have to work <<Maybe it’s becoming an habit...or perhaps it is because of the aura of authority it gives me>> he wondered, smiling a little at his own thoughts.

“What the hay does it mean that we can’t go home today, mister?” A familiar voice from behind suddenly came to his ears, attracting his attention. He did not have to look far to see three known faces arguing with another known face <<That can’t be good.>> he thought while moving with a steady pace towards the source of the yelling.

“It means that today the portal for Equestria is closed” With his everyday emotionless voice, Ian was giving his ultimate and unappealable answer to the cute blonde girl he was facing “Orders from above.” he added, staring coldly at the girl while adjusting the grip on his rifle.

“Come on, Ian” Jorji came in the middle of the conversation, spreading his arms in the most friendly way he knew “You know me since I left in Grestin. Could you make an exception for your pal here?”

The soldier was put in a difficult spot; his face was the clear proof of how his patience was running out “Don’t ask me to do what I can’t, Jorji. I’m already not arresting you all for bothering a member of the Arstotzkan army...don’t press your luck further.”

“You’re just wasting your time” Everybody turned their attention to Hektor who, after his statement, was trying to light a match for the cigarette he was keeping between his lips “As you can see, even I am not working today” he added while bringing near the package he was holding to the blonde soldier who took a cigarette from it, showing a smile.

“But we have to go back to the farm, Inspector” Applejack’s secure look was clearly hiding a deep sense of worry “Everybody will be worried sick about us.”

“Eeyup” Big Mac added while putting the hands on his hips, appearing bigger than he already was.

Ian shrugged his shoulders while lighting the cigarette “I do not like that, either...less work and money for us” he gave a quick glance to Hektor, knowing that he could perfectly understand his feelings “You and whoever is stuck in your world will have to wait. Somebody told me that both the Arstotzkan and Equestrian Governments are cooperating to find an agreement regarding the management of the border.”

Jorji, Applejack and Big Mac looked at each other; it was crystal clear that they wouldn’t be able to obtain what they wanted. By their expressions, Hektor realized that they were going to surrender...for the time being, at least.

“So mister soldier, How long do ah and mah brother have to wait here?” Applejack instinctively took the same pose of her brother; <<They look like two out of place western film heroes.>> Hektor thought without even realizing that he wasn’t able to hold back an amused smile.

“The time needed, Equestrian.” The group focused on each other, looking for the one that gave that answer; it took them some seconds to realize that behind the Inspector a slim, black figure was standing. For the first time, Hektor saw Jorji’s face becoming serious, cold...something that could only mean trouble.

“As our border soldier was trying to say, there were already meetings at a high level to discuss the situation.” all the eyes were on M. Vonel who, without worrying about the attention on him, stepped forward “Soon everything will go back to normal.”

Big Mac and Applejack stared at the black agent, focusing their attention on his strange uniform whose dark monocolor theme was broken just by the red stylized eagle painted on his peaked hat “You mean we’ll been able to walk back to Equestria soon?” the blonde girl asked looking at the man in front of him straight in his lenses, without being able to see his eyes through them.

“I think I gave you more information than you need” he replied keeping the eye contact with the girl, taking a moment to check the blonde big guy close to her who, silently, was observing.

“Now about more pressing matters…” Vonel turned his head to focus on Hektor “I was looking for you, Inspector” the last word came out from his thin mouth with a tone that alarmed him “I need you to come with me to the M.O.A. Orvech Vonor’s necessary to have a long talk regarding your work at the checkpoint.”

The face of the Inspector turned pale...paler than he already was. In an instant his mind was overcrowded by hypotheses regarding the trouble he was in “I would appreciate if you could follow me without letting my time go to waste.” In that moment Hektor wasn’t able to think straight <<M-Maybe it’s all about the Equestrian book...maybe if I tell him about it…>>

“I hope you don’t have bad ideas regarding our friend here” The active and determined voice of Applejack waved in his ears, waking him from his worries <<Did she call him...friend?>> Both the Equestrians came near the Inspector, as if they wanted to protect him. He looked at them, finding their faces reassuring. It was unexpected...and nice.

The black agent was intrigued by the show of courage those two young foreigners were giving “It’s a conversation that could lead to the reopening of the border...something that needs to happen without any loss of time.”

Without losing his calm, Vonel give a glance to Ian...a glance with a meaning that could be easily understood by Hektor. He had to act fast, before the worst could happen.

“I’ll follow you, Mr. Vonel.” The Inspector left Applejack and Big mac behind, giving them a sincere smile before reaching the black agent. Looking at the two puzzled Equestrians, his heart felt warm for a second “When I come back, I will let you taste the best Vodka you’ll ever drink.” he said to the two siblings before looking back to the man he had to follow.

“I think we have lost enough time here, mister Popov...please follow my lead” Vonel’s sentence looked like a request, but it was an unappealable order. After a quick nod of his head given to the other bystander, he turned his shoulders to them, walking slowly toward the city. After one last glance to the ones he was leaving, Hektor rose his right hand to salute, then he went behind the black agent, vanishing after a while in the light fog that was slowly rising.

“I think he’ll be fine” Jorji broke the awkward silence that fell on the group “After all, he doesn’t seem to be the type to break a promise...and I really want that shot of Vodka.”

Ian smiled at the sentence “I’ll look forward to that too.”

“Yeah” Applejack added, not so persuaded while looking at the horizon.


“Glory to Arstotzka, agent!” The two soldiers in front of the main access door to the M.O.A. headquarter spoke loudly at the same time that they saw Vonel approaching with another man they didn’t know. His nod was sufficient to let one of them move quickly to open one of the two heavy doors for him and for whoever was following him. In silence, Hektor limited himself to nod in their direction, without having any kind of response from them, as he was nothing compared to the man that was entering the building.

As he remembered from his first day, the main corridor was crowded of busy employees and military men with serious faces and guns ready to shoot; for reasons he wasn’t able to catch, Hektor found all of this disturbing in some if he was looking at the inside of a giant monster he didn’t want to stay in.

Sometimes people stopped to show their respect to the M.O.I. agent <<He is definitely known here...and I fear for the wrong reasons>> the Inspector thought shortly before reaching the door that, as impressed in his mind, lead to their destination: Varusov’s office.

In that moment, the instinct of running away grew stronger and stronger in Hektor’s heart; once he went in there, he would have no chance of escaping...whatever decision they could make for him <<Where could I go anyway?>> he sighed without being able to cover his worries, a thing that made Vonel smirk in a strange, sadistic way.

Before they could reach Varusov’s waiting room entrance, the door opened, showing them the High Officer himself “On time as expected, Mister Vonel” the blonde man said while inviting them to enter in; after a final breath, Hektor walked toward the door like someone who was going to the gallows.

It was strange: there was nobody there, not even his secretary...thinking about it, he wasn’t expecting to find Varusov himself at the entrance; after the door closed, he found himself with just the High Officer and the M.O.I. agent...a situation that worried him more.

The three men made their entrance into the office, a room the bald Inspector wished to see no more. Slowly, Vonel turned his head to Hektor, finally relaxing the hands that till that moment were fixed behind his back “Take a sit, Mister Popov” he said with a flat, calm voice while pointing at one of the two seats in the room.

Trying to show self-confidence, he nodded to what sounded like an order and sat where it was indicated to him; the cold stare of Vonel was making him feel uneasy more and more.

“You’re here for important reasons, Mister Popov.” Varusov looked like he wanted to go straight to business “What you’ll hear here has to remain here, between these walls.” He took his time to open a drawer, taking from it two cigarettes, offering one of them to the clueless border Inspector “It’s no use saying what will happen if we know that some news will slip from here, yes?”

A glance at Vonel was sufficient to understand the answer to that question.

“Well…” another stop was needed to take a zippo lighter to give fire to both the cigarettes “...Lets begin saying that there was an encounter with the Equestrian representatives, in which it was reached an agreement to reopen the border.”

“It was not an easy talk, as it wasn’t easy to get them to accept our conditions...even though we all know that till now every problem happened because of their disrespect of rules and lack of attention.” Despite the harsh words, the High M.O.A. Officer looked calm and cold minded.

“The promise of more cooperation regarding in intel sharing was the base of the negotiation, of course...but it isn’t the most important result obtained for our great Country.” a little smile on his face grew at this point, showing how his pride to the others in the room “As a matter of fact, it was decided that we will control not only the Arstotzkan border...but also theirs.”

Hektor’s face was a picture of confusion “It means that from now Arstotzka will do all the checks at the Equestrian border booth.” Vonel came into the discussion without looking away from the Inspector, who just nodded to the sentence without saying anything.

“I think you’re asking yourself why valuable information like this is being shared with you” Varusov spoke again while giving his back to the clueless Hektor that, in the meantime, was smoking his cigarette trying to keep himself calm.

The blonde man took all the time to puff out of his mouth a little grey cloud, before turning back to Hektor’s direction “I’ll put it simply: you were a part of the agreement.”

“Uh?” his face grew more and more worried; a sentence lika that could mean one of a thousand different things <<Maybe they asked for my head?>> he wondered, feeling shivers going down his spine.

“While discussing this focal point, one of the Equestrian Princesses suggested to the other to make a deal: the control of the Equestrian checkpoint will pass to Arstotzka...if the inspector assigned to the checking will be the one that is actually working at our side of the border...” Vonel stopped a moment to take few steps forward, placing himself close to the Inspector “, Mister Popov.”

“And that’s something that could be accepted...even if it concerns us a little.” Hektor hadn’t the time to comment, as Varusov spoke again while putting out the cigarette in a dull,iron ashray on his desk.

“It’s strange that the Equestrian rulers decided to put in, a foreigner’s hands, the safety of their citizens. Let alone in the hands of someone they learned of just few days ago.” Vonel’s looked more serious than usual, a thing that didn’t slip to the two others in the office “A border completely controlled by from one faction means that it can do whatever it wants, something good for Arstotzka, but...why take all these risks trusting you?”

“Maybe...there are relations between you, Inspector, and the Equestrians that we don’t know yet.” The accusation fell on Hektor like a heavy rock, ready to destroy him.

The Inspector knew he couldn’t flinch at those words; with a self control he didn’t believe to have, he smiled, looking deeply at both of the Arstotzkan authorities “It’s true that I helped some Equestrians who weren’t able to cross the border, but I’ve always followed the rules given to me...Arstotzkan rules.” the last words came out more marked, as if he wanted to underline the concept.

“We already know that.” Vonel replied shrugging his shoulders “a deep investigation was made on your acts during these first days...we didn’t find a flaw other than the error you made on the first day.”

“So up to this moment there is no need of questioning your loyalty, Inspector...because you’re loyal to Arstotzka, right?”

Hektor knew that there was only one answer to a question like that: “Right.”

Vonel nodded; his satisfied face was the sign that it was what he wanted to hear “Good.” he said before taking some steps back from his interlocutor. After an exchange of looks, the High Officer pointed his attention on Hektor again.

“Now I’ll fill you with all the information you’ll need to do your job, Inspector. Listen to me carefully” The blonde M.O.A. representative coughed a little to free his throat before starting that sort of special briefing.

“From tomorrow you’ll begin to work in the parallel world, while a lottery will be done to choose who will take your place. As stated in the pact between our worlds, the Equestrians are using this day to move the portal to another place, as the events of yesterday made clear to them that having a portal directly in their capital city could be dangerous, considering that a mistake could bring something threatening directly into their country’s was guaranteed that by tomorrow everything will be ready to arrange all the preparation to reopen their side of the border in a more peripheral town...Ponyville.”

“To avoid every danger or any sort of blackmail actions, you’ll be provided with some kind of protection from the ‘magic power’ that fills the other world’s air...that means you’ll not be affected by it...probably your actual form will be seen there as even more authoritative, a good aspect indeed, thinking about it.”

<<So I’ll not transform myself into an Equestrian...this is the first real good news of the day>> Hector couldn’t be more happy.

“Obviously, from the precise instant you cross the portal, mister Hektor, you’ll be under Equestrian law...but despite that, you’ll receive daily instructions from both the M.O.A. and M.O.I. regarding how to proceed with the paper checking; it’s necessary to guarantee Arstotzkan security.”

A nod directed to Varusov was sufficient to let him sense that he had understood everything “I’ll fulfill my duty serving Arstotzka as best as I can.” Hektor showed self belief while saying those words, a thing that the other two in the room welcomed in a good way, as shown by their expressions.

“There is no more you have to know for now” the black M.O.I. agent came over in the discussion while bringing a hand in an internal pocket of his dark jacket “Other information will be given to you tomorrow from mister Varusov himself before your travel to the parallel world.” while speaking, he offered to the Inspector what he was looking for some moments ago: an anonymous white folder “In the meantime take can consider this as pay for the day lost.”

Hektor gave a quick glance at what was offered to him, before taking it from the slim, cold hand that was holding it “Thanks you” he simply said, hiding the item in his own brown jacket.

“Loyalty always pays” A smirk grew on Varusov’s pale face while he was lighting another cigarette “You can go Inspector, we have to discuss further about the next days plans...I will wait for you tomorrow at 5:30 AM to fill you with the details for tomorrow.”

Now unburdened from an unbearable weight on his shoulder, Hektor stood up from his chair, bringing his right hand closed in a fist to the height of his heart “Glory to Arstotzka” he said louder than he wanted, waiting for the same salute from both those present before walking steadily towards the door.

When the Inspector left the room, there was a silence broken only by the light sound of the burning tobacco of Varusov’s cigarette.

“What do you think, mister Vonel?” the tone of the blonde M.O.A. Officer made it clear that his curiosity was true. A short silence came before the reply.

“I think that my superiors will be happy to know that today we found our key for conquering Equestria.” A creepy smirk appeared on the black agent face.


“Ya were nice to offer us drinks, mister Hektor. This Iodka ya told us about is nice and strong.” Applejack was smiling nicely while pouring some of the clear liquid of the long bottle she was holding in the little glass in front of his brother.

“It spells Vodka, Miss Applejack.” Ian looked at the blonde girl amused by her act “I have to say that you and mister big guy here have a good’s good to share a table with someone that could drink as much as you without going crazy.”

In silence, Hektor was enjoying the scene in front of his eyes: it was nice to see how the two Equestrians were having fun drinking and joking...even Big Mac was talking and laughing more than he would expect. And Ian was a surprise, too; he was completely a different person while not posing as a cold border soldier. It was even funny to see all of his flirting attempts with Applejack failing, as she wasn’t minding them...or understanding them.

“You’re too silent and serious, mister Inspector” Jorji interrupted Hektor’s stream of thoughts while filling the empty glass in front of him “You should be happy, after all you were able to leave the M.O.A. offices alive and without a penalty to force labour...a good thing, considering that you’re able to pay for the drinks.”

“Thanks...I see you really care about me.” he replied, enjoying the burst of laughs that came from all the people seated at the table.

“Do you know how to prepare this?” Big Mac focused all of his attention at his glass filled with the strong liquid tasted before.

“I don’t know the precise recipe, but surely it’s a distillate of water, alcohol and fermented Orvech potatoes.” The Inspector spoke with a certain satisfaction before drinking...he was talking about one of the few products from that zone of Arstotzka that could be presented with proudness “Do you really not have this kind of beverage in your world?”

“Nope” the big man replied while taking down his own drink “We have a different kind of strong stuff...ya could try our Applehoorama one day, something that can burn your throat in an instant.”

“That sounds interesting.” the old bearded man looked intrigued by what he had just heard “An exchange of alcoholic knowledge: that’s a good motive to have a communication with another world, wouldn’t you agree?”

Everybody at the table raised their glass, cheering happily at those words. While drinking, Hektor couldn’t not think about all the meanings of what he had just was true: there were two worlds that could share culture, ideas, ways of living, allowing themselves to become stronger and wealthier; they could become powerful allies, ensuring peace and safety in a time where violence, hate and war were something too common.

Near that table, both Arstotzkans and Equestrians were living and laughing together...if everybody could do the same, his job and his life would be easier.

“Gloomy and distracted again, mistah Hektor? Are ya feeling good?” Applejack tilted her cute head to one side, looking at him with her big, green eyes.

“It’s nothing miss Applejack, just tired maybe...or the fear of asking the bill, considering how many bottles we’re taking.” A smiled slipped on his face before standing up from his chair.

“Come on Inspector. Are you already leaving?” Ian asked while a groan rose up from the others.

“I have to prepare myself for tomorrow...and I need to sleep more” Hektor cut short while adjusting his shapka to let it better fit his head. While doing that, he looked at the Apples, knowing that the next day he would not be the one to check their papers “Before I go...can I see your documents?”

Applejack and Big Mac looked confused at each other for some seconds “Why ya asking that?” the girl promptly asked.

“I want to assure that you have no trouble at the border tomorrow. Better safe than sorry.”

Both the siblings became more relaxed after hearing his answer and nodded at the Inspector; they swiftly took their passports out as asked.

He opened one at a time, focusing completely of all the information inside: name, surname, expiration date...everything was correct.

“By the way ya are smilin’, everything is good.” Applejack smiled at the man while taking back the documents.

“Ya sure become serious when ya read those papers, mister Inspector.” Big Mac added, causing both Ian and Jorji to laugh in a way that made it clear that probably the alcohol was invading their heads.

“I’m just becoming too addicted to this work maybe.” Hektor could figure out that his answer was directed to himself too “I suggest you be as early as possible so you reach front of the checkpoint tomorrow...the sooner you go, the sooner you’ll return to your world.”

“Why are ya so sure that the border will open tomorrow?” At Applejack’s question, Hektor nodded silently, without adding anything more; the girl smiled at his reaction “Ah forgot...Ya cannot tell us anything more about tomorrow.”

Happy that she understood the situation, he took some steps back from the table “Well I’ll take my leave. I wish you all a good day.”

Jorgi took his glass, raising it up; it was as full as the other ones on the table, even if Hektor didn’t see him filling them back up. How could he do it?

“A cheer to you, Inspector” The old man said too loud in a funny way that made everybody laugh; shortly after, all of them raised their glasses too, joining the cheer.

Hektor saw them drinking was a show that could cancel every negative aspect of the day.

He bowed his head to thank them; then, he slowly reached the bar owner, asking how much he had to pay while taking the white envelope given to him before at the M.O.A.

<<150 credits...they were really generous.>> He thought while paying the bill and asking to bring another Orvech Vodka to the table, knowing that despite the expensive bill he could even afford to save money for the coming days. That sum of money was a miracle coming from the sky, even if it concerned him a little, as he perfectly knew that in Arstotzka nothing came free of charge <<I hope that it doesn’t mean that my work will become harder from now on.>>

He gave a last glance to the happy table before leaving the almost empty bar, feeling the cold wind of the evening on his face. The sun was setting to let the moon become the main feature of the sky, which was losing all the red shades of the sunset as the night was coming in. While walking in the direction of his quarter and preparing to light the last cigarette of the package, Hektor looked briefly to the sky, thinking about the new possible challenges and problems that would come by working in this new unknown world: Equestria.

The world beyond the portal

View Online

28 October, 1983 - H 5:00 to 6:30

The Truth of Arstotzka

The Border Between Arstotzka and Equestria Reopens

After a long negotiation, both the representatives of Arstotzka and Equestria reached a peaceful agreement regarding the control of the border.

As stated in the M.O.A. official bulletin, the parallel world’s government recognized the better organization of our Glorious Nation and agreed to give the total command of passage between the worlds to Arstotzka.

The decision will surely bring welcome effects, such as a raise in the trust of the Equestrian citizens, something that will allow us to avoid public trouble and turmoil between the people of both worlds.

The bond between Arstotzka and Equestria will tighten for sure, allowing both worlds to grow both in power, and wealth.

Glory to Arstotzka

<<And just yesterday Equestrians were seen as a danger to our nation.>> Hektor rose an eyebrow while folding back the newspaper he found in the waiting room of Varusov’s office. <<It’s so easy to control popular least, it seems that this will be enough to reach the goal>> he continued to think while looking at the dark ruined white papers he just placed on the empty chair next to him.

“Mister Popov, you can come in.” The loud voice of the secretary reached his ears, attracting his attention “Mister Varusov is waiting for you inside.”

After a deep breath, the Inspector stood up, giving a quick glance down at the clothes he was wearing before stepping inside the office.

The shapka was in place...the jacket was clean...the black gloves were perfectly fitting his hands...everything was in order.

With a serious expression painted on his face, he knocked on the door three times, receiving an immediate self explanatory answer from the inside “Come in.”

Mister Varusov was so focused on the documents in front of him that he didn’t look at the man that entered his office; nor did the sound of the closing door distract him from what he was doing. Hektor stayed still near the entrance, waiting for any sort of sign from the Officer seated behind the desk.

“Have a seat...we have lot to discuss and little time to do so.” The blonde M.O.A. High Officer gave his guest just a quick glance, pointing at the chair in front of him with a movement of his hand before signing some kind of paper with the known red eagle print on it.

“Today is an important day: it’s necessary to demonstrate to the parallel world that Arstotzka can manage the border checkpoints better than they’ll ever able to.” The words came out with the same solemnity of a Minister giving a public speech regarding the honor of being Arstotzkan “In this context, your role will be fundamental...and I know you’ll not disappoint me.”

The last sentence contained many references regarding the consequences of disrespecting the orders he’ll have...and Hektor knew that.

“By today, you’ll control the access into our territory. Any mistake will lead to potential threats to our nation, not to mention the resulting drop of credibility in front of Equestrian eyes, something that mustn’t happen.”

<<A good way to put me at ease.>> The Inspector thought while trying to not faint under all the pressure the officer was putting on him.

“Now here’s what you need to know...listen carefully, because I’ll not repeat myself.” Varusov looked away from the Inspector to look at the elegant golden fountain pen close to him, an item that he quickly took with his right hand “An Equestrian soldier will wait for you in front of the checkpoint to give you the equipment needed to be protected from the parallel world’s magic...he has the order to speak only with you, so you’ll have to identify yourself.”

“When you’re ready, both of you will reach the checkpoint to cross the border. You’ll have to submit yourself to the checking procedures: the checkpoint Inspector will come later and the guards have proper instructions to follow.”

Hektor noticed that, while speaking, Varusov was writing something on a sheet of paper with elegant writing he didn’t expect “Now the last thing...remember this name.” With quick movements, the Arstotzkan officer turned the card he was using to write on in Hektor’s direction: there was something written on it:

Yashin Romanov

After a few seconds, the Inspector nodded, letting the man at the opposite side of the desk know that the name was imprinted in his mind; while remaining silent, Varusov took back the sheet of paper while lighting a match “Remember this name while working today at the Equestrian checkpoint.” he said while setting fire to the card, something that puzzled Hektor in a sinister way “This isn’t needed anymore.” the High Officer added while looking at the flames that were slowly devouring the paper he was holding in his hand.

“You can go now, mister Popov...make Arstotzka proud.” His eyes moved to the man in front of him while the paper was left in the ashtray near him.

While standing up, Hektor answered in the only way he could think of in that moment:

“Glory to Arstotzka.”


The walk of the Inspector was slower than usual; it was as if, that day, he was trying to reach his destination as late as possible.

In his heart, serving the nation in an unknown world was something he would not do with pleasure; there were too many negative things he could expect, not to mention the responsibility hanging on his neck.

With one hand, he took out a piece of yellow paper from one of his jacket pockets; after unfolding it, he read for the tenth time the line written at the top with rushed calligraphy: Orvech Vonor Vodka recipe.

<<A promise is a promise, after all...I hope they’ll be able to read it>> he chuckled in silence while his mind drove away from the road we was walking to go back to what his mother-in-law told him just an hour ago.

“The more time passes, the more they’re putting you in trouble.” Katia’s disappointed voice was resonating in his head in all of its hoarseness “And they’re not even giving you more money for it.”

Hektor’s gloved hand went to the full cigarette package and at the match-box she gave him before going out from the room “Take them” she said him with a serious look on her old tired face “I don’t think they have them in their world.”

A grin made its way onto the Inspector’s face: he had further proof that besides her harsh behaviour the old lady was fond of least a little.

After a silent walk under a still too dark sky, Hektor reached the checkpoint, without even giving a look at the sun that was rising between the two far hills; his look was focused on something else.

At a short distance, a known blonde guard was speaking with a strange blue, short, spiky haired guy; by the fact that he was wearing some kind of gold like armor while holding a spear with his right hand, he could imagine that he was a guard too...but there was something odd. Despite the fact that he looked like a medieval soldier, there was something in his expression that seemed out of place; there wasn’t the fierce look that Hektor was used to seeing in Arstotzkan was as if he was happy with what he was doing.

After clearing his mind from all of those thoughts, Hektor put both of his hands in his jacket pockets and, with no hesitation, he walked towards the two guards.

“So you’ve never seen one of this before” Hektor could hear Ian speaking with his normal flat voice while holding his rifle with both of his hands in a proper way to show it better to the unknown man “And you defend yourself with a close fighting weapon and...magic...beams?” The last two words came out from the soldier with an uncertain tone of voice; his disbelief was made crystal clear by his doubtful face.

“Correct” the newcomer answered with a gentle voice “For long range combat we have unicorns that can use their magic to shoot a long range ray at the enemy, while we are trained to battle in close range with various kinds of weapon such as.” his speech was interrupted by the sight of a man that was slowly cutting down the distance from them.

Hektor could see the expression of the blue haired man changing, as his focusing made him become more serious. “Glory to Arstotzka” Ian yelled in a more official tone that Hektor didn’t remember he ever used.

“Glory to Arstotzka, soldier.” He stand in that sort of pantomime, wondering if the soldier had specific orders to act in that way.

“Good day. Are you the Arstotzkan border Inspector, mister?” The young man near Ian asked to Hektor while focusing his eyes on the red eagle sewed on the shapka of the man he was talking too.

“Yes I am.” he simply replied while making his way into one of the internal pockets of the heavy jacket to find his documents “My name is Hektor are my documents.” he quickly took out his passport, giving it to whom he was clearly looking for.

The soldier took with the free hand the passport and, with an uncertain move, as if he wasn’t used to using hands, he opened the document, alternating his focus between both the photo on it and on the man he was facing.

“You told me the truth...and the description given to me coincides.” the young man affirmed while giving back the passport to the owner, regaining the smile he had before the encounter “My name is Flash Sentry, mister Inspector. I was sent here to guide you to the Equestrian border checkpoint...and to personally give you this.”

Through an internal section of the golden armor, the Equestrian soldier took what seemed to be an elegant silver pendant with some kind of purple rune in the middle. Silently, Hektor approached the item that Flash Sentry was handing him, staring at it for a few seconds.

“I have orders to tell you that this is what will allow you to avoid being influenced by Equestrian magic...even if I don’t understand why you would desire something like that.” the young soldier smiled sincerely while looking at the man in front of him that, after a bit of hesitation, wore the pendant, covering it under all of his clothes.

“It seems that Equestrians could use magic to cause harm if I do not allow the passage to the portal.” Hektor calmly replied, without mentioning his reluctance in transforming into an Equestrian being “So it was decided that I have to be immune from magic.” <<To my luck.>> he added in his mind.

“I understand.” the soldier nodded with a smile, leaving the argument to focus on the important matter “If you’re ready, we can go to Ponyville. There is a lot to do before opening the checkpoint to the public.”

Hektor gave a glance to the blonde Arstotzkan soldier before answering to the question with a quick nod “I’ll open the booth for you.” Ian quickly said, preceding the other two men to the checkpoint entrance.

Hektor stood behind the two soldiers, focusing on trying to contain the tension he was feeling; there he was, ready to face the new challenges an unknown world would offer. Maybe he was feeling the same emotions of the ones that wanted to cross the border looking for a new life, for a new opportunity...except the fact that he had orders to follow and responsibility hanging on him.

“What are you looking for, mister Inspector?” The voice of Flash Sentry brought him back to reality. He rose his head to look at the enthusiastic soldier who gained his access shortly after the door was opened. Hektor walked past the door, not before exchanging a look with Ian.

“Do not worry...I’ll make sure that our Equestrian friends will have no problem in reaching the head of the line.”

Hektor smiled, silently thanking him with a nod “Be careful there.” those were the last words he heard before going into the booth, hearing the door closing and the sound of the key turning into the lock.

“This was your workstation?” Flash Sentry asked puzzled while slowly walking toward the door in front of him “You Arstotzkans don’t like much colors and stuff. You should find a solution to all of this white and gray. It saddens the place a lot.”

Hektor shrugged his shoulders, not paying too much attention to the soldier, to focus himself on the checking desk <<I wonder who will take my place.>> The Inspector found himself thinking while looking at the approval and denial stamper <<I hope he’ll not find himself facing the same problems I’m having.>> he thoughts while shaking his head a little.

“Is this the door to the portal?” the blue haired soldier asked, pointing his hand at the door he was close to.

“Yes. It should be open.” Hektor walked near the Equestrian, finding himself thinking about something he didn’t realize before that moment.

<<Come to think of it, I never saw the portal myself>> Hektor brought a hand to his chin while following the moves of the Equestrian <<I wonder what it looks like.>>

He followed the soldier outside the booth, gazing finally at what he defended in the previous days from both humans and Equestrians without documents; the portal that lead to the parallel world; the door to the unknown…

...a mirror with a purple frame and rubies all around.

<<Really?>> The Inspector rose an eyebrow, looking at the door to Equestria in disbelief...a feeling that disappeared when Flash Sentry walked near it, triggering some kind of reaction that made the glass of the mirror light up, something that came so suddenly that took Hektor by surprise.

To his astonishment, the Equestrian looked at that phenomenon with the same enthusiasm he was able to keep for all that time “Come on, they’re waiting for us at the checkpoint” he said out loud before walking toward the portal as if it was something common for him, disappearing in it as the mirror absorbed him.

Without speaking, Hektor stood there, stuck in silence; he needed a few seconds to regain his proper composure <<Well...There is no other choice I guess>> He thought while cleaning up his jacket from some dust before slowly reaching the portal. With uncertainty, he placed a hand on the glass, only to see it going through it, feeling a strange sensation of coldness, the same sensation of soaking his hand into water. He looked at the bright light coming from it and at his arm half swallowed from the portal. after taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and walked into it, trying to not think about what he was feeling all around his body.


“Welcome to Equestria, Inspector.”

The voice of the Equestrian soldier let Hektor know that he was still alive, something that he didn’t expect for sure before crossing the portal.

Slowly he opened his eyes, struggling to adjust to the sudden bright light. It took awhile for him to get used to it, as it wasn’t so bright due the fact that it was dawn in Equestria as well.

“What’s wrong? Is everything all right?” The question of the Equestrian soldier was followed by a little giggle “The first passage through the mirror is always hard to digest” he added while looking at the man that, in the meantime, was trying to recover his sense of the sight.

After shaking his head a little and completely recovering from the travel, Hektor finally opened his eyes wide, for the first time able to see the world all around him. His attention fell on the green and the trees all around the area, on the white walls that surrounded the place...and on a orange stallion with wings and a too familiar blue mane, and golden armor that was holding, somehow, a spear.

“Finally, I was worrying myself, mister.” The casual voice of that sort of animal soldier literally stunned the Inspector, whose mind was filled with thoughts and questions.

“It’s all right.” Finally he said, descending with caution some steps and reaching the ground level and looking down to the smiling pony he was facing “I just feel a bit dizzy.” he added while passing his hands over his body and looking at himself, realizing that he really kept his human aspect.

“It will pass soon” Flash Sentry seemed sure about his statement “You’re not the first to have this sensation...I had to help many humans in these past days that felt more ill than you now” he added while turning his back to the Inspector, taking a few steps forward before giving a glance to the human “Please follow me, mister. I’ll take you to your new work station.”

After a quick look around at the nice garden he was standing in, he walked behind the guard. In silence, he focused on the chirping of the birds and on all the smells coming from the nature all around, perceiving a sensation that he not had since when he was a boy.

After going out from that place by passing under an archway controlled by two white stallions armored with the same golden armor Flash Sentry was wearing, they walked near the wall for almost five minutes. During that time, Hektor remained silent, giving a look all around the place: in the far distance he could see what looked like a hospitable town made of nice and not too big houses, despite some high buildings that stood out from the rest. There was even a farm and a forest in his range of sight, an overall nice landscape made more nice by the calm that the early morning was able to bring.

“Ponyville is a nice place.” The voice of Flash Sentry came to his hears, distracting him from his thoughts “I’m happy to give my services here.”

“So you’ll be one of the border guards?” Hektor looked at the stallion without showing any sign of emotion, wondering how the one he was walking with could even fight, even if the armor and the spear could do something different about it.

“Yes...and I hope that my services will be useful.” a secure smile painted on his muzzle “That’s the work of a royal guard.” Pride was clear in his expression, something that made Hektor smile <<So much enthusiasm is rare to see in a guard...I wonder if every soldier shares his same sentiments.>>

Neither of them realized that they had reached their destination, the entrance to the checkpoint control booth to the portal leading to Arstotzka “Here we are.” the orange stallion said firmly while reaching the entrance.

Flash Sentry raised a hoof and, with composure, pushed the elegant wooden door; Hektor found himself puzzled when he saw the stallion freezing on the spot, as he saw something unexpected.

Suddenly, he saw the guard making something that could be seen as bowing; the words coming from him answered all the questions in his mind.

“P-Princess Twilight. I-I didn’t expect you to be here.”

<<The Princess is here?>> Hektor tried to appear as calm as possible, but his face betrayed the tension that was taking him; in his life, he had never met such an important member of society...he didn’t know how to behave, especially thinking about the dire consequences his actions could have in the relations between Arstotzka and Equestria.

“Please come in. I was waiting for you” A gentle and reassuring feminine voice came from within the booth. Hektor could see that the smile on Flash Sentry’s muzzle disappeared, leaving in its place a more serious expression that fit better the role of a guard. After a short nod, the Equestrian gained access to the white structure, an action that persuaded the Arstotzkan man in doing the same, struggling to keep the proper self control.

He stopped himself near the booth entrance, gazing with a sense of amazement painted in his eyes at the purple winged unicorn that was standing in the middle of the room <<T-That has to be the Alicorn kind I read of in the book about Equestria.>> he thought while looking at the dark purple mane and tail and realizing that, despite everything, both her and the guard were just tall enough to reach his belt.

He had to clear his mind when he saw the Alicorn staring at him with an intrigued yet cordial expression “You must be Mister Hektor, the Arstotzkan Inspector.” she smiled in a genuine way that surprised the human guest “It’s an honor to finally meet you.”

“T-The honor is mine, your Highness” It was clear that there wasn’t any sign of sureness in his behaviour, something underlined by the way he walked inside the booth.

A giggle came from the Princess “Please put yourself at ease, Mister Hektor. You do not need to be so formal.” There was something in her voice and in her attitude that could calm down even the worst rebellious mob around, a peculiarity that particularly hit the human.

“It was my deep desire to see you personally.” The Princess took some steps forward, halving the distance between her and the Inspector “After the letters I wrote to you and all the opinions and descriptions regarding your persona, I felt the need to directly talk with you.”

Stunned by the lack of formality he would expect in a conversation with a leader of a country, Hektor was just able to nod at her words, without being able to think of some kind of answer to give. Fortunately for him, the occasion was given directly by Twilight.

“By the way, I hope that you liked the book I sent you.” Her eyes widened at her own question, showing the huge amount of curiosity that was moving her in that moment.

“Eeer...actually I liked it a lot.” The human replied with a sense of comfort that was slowly making its way in his mind “And considering how the event turned out, the information I learnt about your world will be useful to better fulfill my duties as a border Inspector.”

A sincere smile grew on Twilight’s muzzle “I’m really happy you appreciated it. I think that it’s important to know the history of a world to better understand it, because without-”

Random coughing stopped that sort of monologue, attracting the attention of the two to the orange winged stallion close to them that, during all this time, had remained silent. His spear was pointing at an hourglass surrounded by an elegant wooden structure.

“Oh.” The Princess blushed a little, figuring out that her own enthusiasm had let her lose the sense of passing time “Maybe we’ll be able to talk about that next time. Now it’s better to show you how everything works here.”

Hektor smiled and nodded, giving a quick glance to the soldier whose action, in front of his eyes, probably wasn’t asso casual as it seemed. A smirk coming from him was the answer to his own question.

In the next several minutes, Twilight showed to the human Inspector all the equipment in the booth; to his joy, the Arstotzkan figured that the majority of the items at his disposal worked almost the same way as the ones he had in his booth in the human world. Except the fact that there wasn’t so much technology to help, such as the prints that weren’t automatic.

Lines painted on the wall in front of the desk to measure the height of travellers; a chair that looked more comfortable than his previous one, an aspect that couldn’t make the human more happy; a thin pink book with the writing' ‘Rules’ on it, definitely different from its Arstotzkan counterpart.

“I think it’s all clear to me, Princess Twilight.” Hektor said looking at the Alicorn in a more relaxed way “The hourglass lasts for an hour, the ink sponge for the stamps are there, on the rule book I’ll find all the information needed for the day.”

“You catch on quickly.” She said while smiling at the human “I’m sure you’ll do good work...better than us, considering what happened.” Suddenly the light disappeared from the Alicorn’s muzzle, leaving in its place a grim and sad look “We had to control our own citizens, as stated in the first agreement...but we weren’t able to do that.”

An uncomfortable silence dropped in the booth; both Flash Sentry and the human didn’t know what to say. The dark expression on the Princess’s muzzle wasn’t a nice view to stand; it was necessary to do something.

“Mistakes can be made, even if we put all of our focus on what we do...the most important thing is to learn from them.” The serious tone with which the words came out from his mouth surprised Hektor himself. After a quick silence, he smiled, willing to add something else “Besides, I’ll do anything to not let any mistake happen again.”

“And I and the rest of the royal guards will help, too.” Flash Sentry said with strong self confidence that led Hektor to give him an agreeing nod.

After a brief silence, Twilight rose her head again, smiling a little. It was strange for the Inspector to see a ruler that cared so much for others, as she really felt bad for the mistake that led to such a problem in Arstotzka <<She has to be a good leader.>> He thought while comparing her to Arstotzkan leaders, people that would probably just pass the weight of responsibility to others to avoid problems.

“Well mister Hektor, I think we’ll take our leave. You need time to get used to the place before the time of opening” The purple mare said while taking a few steps toward the exit “Lastly two things...for your own safety, the entire booth has been made magic proof, so that nobody can cast any sort of spell here.”

<<I couldn't be more happy>> Hektor tried to avoid his joy in a neutral face.

“And...before beginning the day, give a look at the package under the desk.” She added smiling at the puzzled expression of the human before looking at Flash Sentry “Let’s leave the Inspector alone.”

“Yes Princess.” the soldier answered to the order instantly, walking to the exit with fast paced moves “I wish you good luck, Inspector...and remember that for any problem I’ll be outside.”

“Hektor placed himself behind the desk, giving a glance to the white box closed by a purple band bound with an elegant knot before looking at the two Equestrians “I wish you a good day...I promise that I’ll do my best for the sake of both Arstotzka and Equestria.”

Both the Alicorn and the stallion nodded before leaving the booth, closing the door behind them and leaving the Inspector alone.

<<I’ll give a look at the rule book first...I have plenty of time>> he thought while sitting on the chair, giving a glance to that mysterious box before starting to read the little manual <<Considering the number of pages, it will not be difficult...I hope.>>

First day in Equestria

View Online

28 October, 1983 - H 6:30 to 18:00

There wasn’t as much sand left in the hourglass, a matter of fact that Hektor had to consider as he was finishing the reading of the Equestrian rule book. Fortunately, the time was quite enough to study all he was needed to know to properly do his job. The most interesting, yet worrying part, was the machine built in the booth to uncover the changeling creatures that could try to pass the border:

If there is a high likelihood that you face a changeling, a button placed under the left side of the desk will allow you to activate a high frequency sound that will affect the senses of the unwanted guest, putting it under enough stress to let it lose the needed concentration to keep its cover up; remember to instantly call the border guards outside the booth to place the creature under arrest, an action that you’ll be able to do by pressing the red button on your right.

<<To arrest it...and to save me if it will try to tear me apart.>> The Inspector added in his mind while turning the page to continue in his studying activity.

Checking documents...expiration dates...issuing city...there weren’t many differences from the work at the Arstotzkan side of the border.

A sense of satisfaction came when he read the part regarding the cutie mark, something unique for every pony and that could be used to confirm the traveller identity; finally, Hektor was able to understand what was the symbol he found on every Equestrian citizen...and it didn’t end there, as another part of the rule book attracted his attention in the same intensity as the previous one.

Travellers must wear clothes to be allowed. The Inspector can ask them to remove their clothes to check the cutie mark before allowing passage.

Thinking about the meeting had a short time ago, Hektor realized that Princess Twilight wasn’t wearing any sort of dress <<It’s probably natural for them>> he just thought before an amused smile made its way on his smile when it came in his mind that maybe the rule was added because an unfortunate Equestrian found himself, or worse herself, naked in the Arstotzkan winter, something that couldn’t be wished even to your worst foe.

Another part of the rule book caught his attention:

As requested by the Arstotzkan Ministry of Admissions, from now on all people that want to travel to the human world have to bring an entry ticket with the date on which the travel will happen.

<<Another paper to check...great.>> Hektor sighted, realizing that his work could only became much, much harder.

After he gained back the focus needed, his eyes travelled over all his equipment for the tenth time; apparently there wasn’t anything that escaped his examination.

The Inspector felt ready; he closed the book and gently put in on his right side, ready to be consulted whenever it was needed.

The hourglass was at its last round before the opening time, yet there was still time to do another thing: open the package the Princess mentioned earlier.

Finally, Hektor allowed his curiosity to take the lead in his head and, almost with the same curiosity of a child, he put the elegant white box on the desk; by its size, it had to be something not too big.

After unfolding the purple ribbon that was keeping the box closed, he slowly opened it, finding inside something that he wasn’t expecting:

A magnificent white shapka, similar to the one he was wearing, but with a more precise sewing style and made with more elegant material.

Amazed by what he was seeing, Hektor carefully took the fur hat from its package, looking with interest at every single detail. When he turned the hat to look at the front side, the image of two stylized Alicorns, one blue with a black themed mane and one white with a colorful bright mane, that were surrounding what were looking like a crescent, waning moon and a sun stunned him; it was so meticulously made that it would make any Arstotzkan famous fashion artist die of envy.

Hektor stared at the shapka in silence before putting it on the desk to free his hands, allowing him to take his Arstotzkan hat from his bald head, freeing it to make space for his new uniform piece.

<<It suits my head perfectly...and it’s way more comfortable that the previous one>> words that underlined how he was astonished by that wonderful piece of work. Only after a while he saw that at the bottom of the box that was containing the new fur hat, there was a clear white envelope.

While mumbling, the Inspector took it, finding a folded paper inside from which a delicate and sweet perfume spread, filling the whole booth.

Wondering about the content of the letter, Hektor opened it while positioning his shoulders on the backrest, enjoying the welcomed fact that for the first time he could really use a comfortable seat.

The content of the message was written with a clear, curved italic calligraphy...and the name written on the bottom took the human by surprise.

Dear Mister Inspector,

The fur hat you found in the box is the product of my personal work; as a matter of fact, my hooves were busy on it from the first sketch work to the final refinements.

To be fair, the marvellous Equestrian symbol was completely made by my sister, Sweetie Bell, who insisted on participating in its creation when I told her that it was for you.

It was interesting to work starting from the hat you gave to her, a gift that she is keeping as a rare treasure (I had to promise her that I would not damage it in any way to be able to study it).

I wish to let you know that I put all of my efforts to create the best piece I could; not only because it was asked of me by one of my best friends, but because I would like to thank you for how you protected my little sister in your world.

I will never be able to express enough gratitude for what you did and, despite what happened at the checkpoint, the way you treated Sweetie Belle is only more proof of the fact that you’re truly a gentleman (different from that rough blonde human of which I have a truly bad memory).

I wish you good work, Mister Inspector.

Miss Rarity Belle

P.S. Sweetie Belle asked me to salute you and she hopes that one day you’ll be able to visit her.

With a sincere glad face he slowly closed the letter, putting it back in its folder before storing it on one of his jacket pockets. There wasn’t any better way to begin his experience in the parallel world.

A look at the hourglass let him know that it was almost time to open the border; Hektor had just the time of adjusting the elegant shapka on his head, before turning it to let the sand fall again and to take with his hand the tube that would allow his voice to go out from the loudhailer placed on top of the booth.


With a deep breath he silently welcomed the first Equestrian that came through the door with an uncertain walk.

After a quick cough to clear his voice, Hektor gave a serious look at the earth pony that was standing in front of him before opening his mouth:

“Papers, please” he said with maybe too menacing a voice, as the poor pony he was facing looked too scared to take out what he was asked to show.

After realizing that the traveller was standing there as if frozen, Hektor tried to reassure him with a little smile “If I can’t check your documents, you’ll not be able to pass, mister.” The tone of voice he used appeared to have done the trick, as his interlocutor snapped up and looked for his papers.

“I-I’m sorry, Inspector” the stallion spoke with a still unsure voice “It’s the first time I have seen a human...I’m travelling to know your race and your lands better” he added while taking from the pocket of the brown jacket he was wearing a rectangular paper and a little beige sheet of paper.

After both of them were on his desk, Hektor mumbled something; with his right hand he swiftly took the little paper, on which there was written entry ticket, a little red stamp representing a stylized head of a pony and the writing E.B.O. on both sides and the date of that day. Everything seemed in order at a first look. Without losing any time, Hektor opened the passport, checking as always every detail.

<<Name...Ponyville...expiration date...everything matches.>> It was clear that he was putting all the efforts to check everything he needed.

“Is everything in order?” The stallion broke the silence with emotions that quickly passed from worried to calm when he saw the green approval stamp on his visa.

“Cause no trouble.” The Inspector said with a smile on his face while pointing with his hand at the door that led to the portal.

“It’s not my intention, sir...I wish you a good day.” The traveller replied shortly before moving on with a happy expression on his muzzle.

<<It wasn’t that hard.>> A thought that gave the Inspector the courage needed to face the new challenge with the proper attitude. “NEXT!”

“ ticket haven’t got it? It’s necessary the entry ticket to pass to the parallel world, no exceptions...please refrain from showing me your claws, or I’ll have to call the guards to arrest you! NEXT!”

“Entry ticket in order...documents in can pass!”

“ you’re coming back home, miss. I hope you enjoyed your stay here in Equestria. Cause no trouble. Glory to Arstotzka! NEXT!”

“I’m sorry miss...Misty Fly, but the fact that you were busy for the ‘Wonderbolts training’ is not a justification to not renew your passport. NEXT!”

“You should wear heavier clothes to face the Arstotzkan temperature...are you sure you want to go through the portal anyway? It’s your choice, after all the documents are in order. Cause no trouble. NEXT!”

Despite minor objections and some too talkative guests, the work was going smoother than expected.

The thing that hit Hektor’s mind was the faces of the ones he was facing; on the majority of them he could read happiness, curiosity and, especially, a sense of energy from all the hazards and the difficulties of the life that was hard to find on the faces of the travellers he met in Arstotzka. It was as if that place was...happier.

All of his thoughts were interrupted by a sudden flash that came from the entrance of the booth; when the human turned his attention to that direction, he saw a pony who was keeping between his hooves what appeared to be a camera “What?” the newcomer asked with a calm tone while walking toward the Inspector’s desk “There was no rule regarding not taking any photos.”

Hektor sighed, figuring out that what he heard wasn’t wrong, before looking with a serious look at the dark black sunglasses that the pony was wearing, something that didn’t allow him to see his eyes.

“Papers, please.” Hektor did not have the time to speak before the traveller was already taking from a pocket of his bright orange coat what he was asked for. For reasons he wasn’t able to explain, his attention suddenly moved to the coat of the stallion he was facing, which was...reflecting the light, somehow.

“I’m a crystal pony, if you’re wondering.” the pony spoke while bowing his head to one side “Never seen one?”

“Not at all.” Hektor admitted while opening the passport given to him “Reason of travel, Mister...Flash Truth?”

“Curiosity...I want to explore your world, to see how you live.” The pony smiled with an expression that only confirmed his words “And I’ll bring my camera with me to immortalise the best memories I’ll have in your world.”

<<It’s funny to see how the sense of mystery that can cover an unexplored place can make a sad place like Arstotzka interesting>> Hektor thought while smiling a little after realizing that all the papers were in order.

“You can pass.” Hektor simply said while putting the approval stamp on the traveller visa “Cause no trouble...and I hope you’ll find what you’re looking for.” he added while handing back the papers.

A quick nod and a smile were the last things the human saw before the crystal pony walked out from the booth, leaving it silent and empty.

<<Adventure, a will of learning, fortune...the same things people from my part of the border are looking for when coming here.>> Hektor shrugged his shoulders, laughing a little at his own words <<The more I do this job, the more I see that we’re more similar than we would think.>>

Despite what he was feeling, Hektor knew that there wasn’t time to lose himself in thought or consideration regarding life or ideals; he was a gear of a greater machine that had to work...a gear that couldn’t stop moving.


“I have not to check your documents,, not because they’re surely in order, but because you’re not wearing a dress as stated in the rules. It’s no use to give me your want to give me it anyway? If you insist...heres a denial stamp.”

“Yes, I kept my human, it’s only for the Arstotzkan Inspector. If you want to come again to Equestria, you’ll have to make yourself comfortable with your unicorn form. NEXT!”

“Your photo is is the issuing city I read from the rule book. DENIED!”

“No entry ticket...DENIED!”

“Mister, the entry ticket is not enough. I need your don’t have it? Uhm...this substitution ticket with the denial stamp will be enough. NEXT!”

<<So many denials...I wonder if the previous Inspector would allow them to come in to Arstotzka.>> Hektor thought shortly before looking at the blue maned guard that he knew previously that was walking towards him.

“Mister Flash Sentry. Is something wrong?” The human asked when he saw a worried expression on the soldier.

“There are three Griffons that want to come in together...two soldiers and a diplomat I think. Shall I let them enter?”

The Inspector looked silently at the orange stallion for a moment, before clearing his voice “Can they be trusted? By your expression, I would say not.” His voice was as serious as his face, a thing that the soldier sensed quickly.

“There is not a nice past between Equestria and’s not easy to completely trust them, even in times of peace.” Flash Sentry answered while placing his spear’s wooden tip on the ground “Despite my personal feeling towards them, I don’t think they’ll try something harmful with all the guards outside.”

Hektor brought a hand to his chin, thinking for a second about the situation.

“An ambassador and his escort you said...I don’t want to cause an eventual diplomatic incident.” He adjusted his shapka to let it better fit his head, before continuing “Let them pass. I’ll check their documents all at once.”

Flash Sentry nodded before walking out from the booth; after a few moments, two heavily armored Griffons made their way into the room, followed by an elegant third giant bird who was wearing a regal mantel and what appeared to be an elegant golden necklace.

It was strange to see how the two winged guards smiled at him, as if they recognized the one they were facing. Hektor looked at them without a clue, trying to figure out what were they thinking, before the elegant one began to speak with a proud, solemn voice.

“Greetings, Inspector. My name is Kaeloth, representative of the Griffonia Kingdom.” A respectful bow impressed the human, as he didn’t expect such behaviour towards him “I was delegated by my motherland to go to Arstotzka in order to meet and plant the seeds of a prosperous future cooperation with the parallel world.”

“I have to ask for your papers, mister ambassador...and the ones of your escort, too.” Hektor tried to show clearly the deep respect for the authority he was facing by speaking with a proper tone of voice “There are protocols to follow...I hope you’ll understand.”

A smirk grew on the Griffon face “My two guards were right when they told me that you humans follow strict rules and have a deep us. It was a good choice to send them to your belonging world as explorers.”

When he said that, the focus of the Inspector went on to both the guards, who were taking in their claws the papers needed, realizing that they resembled the two bird winged people he saw days ago at the Arstotzkan checkpoint.

All of them had a regular entry ticket...all the information on their passports were correct...expiration dates were far from coming...everything was in order, to Hektor’s joy <<An error there could mean trouble...I was lucky.>>

“Everything is in order.” Hektor said while putting the approval stamp on all the three visas with quick moves “You can proceed to the portal.” He added after a quick nod.

“I will remember to mention to your superiors the punctual and meticulous work you’re doing here...unlike the one the Equestrians were doing, according to what I read from the newspapers.” a small malicious laugh, coming from the three griffons, spread in all the booth “Now, if you’ll excuse us, there are important matters to attend to. We salute you, Mister Inspector.”

The two soldiers silently saluted the human by bowing their head in his direction, giving him a determined yet respectful look before following Kaeloth to the exit of the booth.

<<Arstotzka and Griffonia will probably get along well, judging by what is written in the book Princess twilight gave me>> Hektor thought without even realizing that Flash Sentry was coming inside the booth.

“Now it will be clear to you why we can’t really get along with them” a sense of sadness covered by an apparent angry face showed on the blue maned soldier “They’ll always think of themselves as the best race, showing disrespect for others.”

“I can assure you that it’s not a problem just of this world.” The words came out from the Inspector’s mouth with a bitter tone “To tell the truth, till now I find you Equestrians more friendly that most of the Arstotzkan people.”

“It’s nice to hear that, mister Inspector.” The soldier regained his usual smile “I hope to have time to talk with you about your world...I would like to know it better.”

“I think we’ll have the chance one day...but now we have to continue to allow in who is waiting outside.” Suddenly Hektor changed his expression and pointed with his eyes at the entrance of the room.

“Oh...right.” Flash Sentry smiled embarrassed “Better to go back to our duty...but we both have an agreement.” he added before returning to his position outside the booth.

Hektor shrugged his shoulder and smiled before calling in the next in the line.

“Papers, entry ticket, no allowance. DENIED!”

“Have a good travel on your way to Kolechia, mister. APPROVED!”

“On the passport it’s stated that you’re an unicorn, but I see no horn on your head and instead two wings...DENIED!”

“NEXT!” Hektor could hear his voice coming out from the external megaphone distorted in a bizarre way <<I should ask the M.O.A. if our audio system could be implemented in this booth.>>

“Hektooooor, my friend!!” A loud familiar joyous voice woke him from his thoughts “I told you that I would come to find you if you would decide to come here to Equestria.”

It wasn’t needed to look at who was coming in; it was clear that the one who was coming in was a known goat beard wielder. It was strange for Hektor to see the real Discord form; even if he had the chance to see his face in his passport photo, the fact that his body was like some kind of fusion between various animal was strange to face.

“I see deep surprise on your face, Inspector...I like it!” the Lord of Chaos said while walking near the human with both of his arms spreaded “I love to leave in awe any pony, or in your case people, close to me. But we’re losing ourselves in futile chit-chats, are we?”

“Are you coming back to Arstotzka, mister Discord? I hope you kept the documents your friends gave you...if I remember correctly, they should still be valid.” Hektor looked at Discord with a hint of a smile on his face; despite the weird behaviour, he was still someone wherewith he shared opinions and sensations, someone that he was able to know.

“Maybe I’ll visit your world again...but now there is moooore pressing business to attend to. I’ve a tough schedule: tea with Fluttershy, pranking Rainbow Dash, thinking about ideas to spread good old chaos in such a boring place like I have to cut it short.” While talking, Discord acted like he was pulling invisible sleeves up his arms “I made you a promise regarding the time I would see you again here in Equestria.” he added with a sincere yet worrying giggle.

Hektor sighed at those words “If I remember correctly, you said that you would transform me into something, but I have to say to you that-”

“Good memory indeed, Hektor.” a long smile brightened Discord’s face “And I had to think a lot about it...but after a veeeery long nap, I was able to find the new form that would perfectly fit you.”

“Mister Discord, please...can we do this another time? There are Equestrians, not only are they waiting for their turn to cross the border, the fact that you can’t-”

“They can wait.” The God of Chaos, with a slightly annoyed face, interrupted again the Inspector “I have to keep my promise at once.” In a likely cerimonial way, he rose his lion like arm “I hope you’ll enjoy becoming a passport yourself ...I’ll be sure to stamp a nice red denial stamp on it.”

Shortly after his words, he snapped the finger of his paw...only to find himself in a death like silence and with the eyes of the human fixed on him.

“Come on! Really??” He tried repeatedly to snap his fingers, hoping to have the result he was looking for “There should be a nice pink cloud all around you, ready to disappear only after you had become a passport...I imagined a nice elegant cover, too.” By his expression, it was clear that he was really disappointed.

“Magic in the border booth doesn’t work. I tried to warn you.” Calmly, Hektor shrugged his shoulders while trying to cover the amusement he was feeling in that moment behind a neutral, serious face.

Discord looked at the human with an astonished expression and with his mouth wide open, as his jaw was going so low that it could hit the floor “That’s not fair! I don’t like cheaters!” Both of his lion paw and eagle claws were placed on his hips “I meant for the removal of this ugly feature...and I refuse to move from here until this problem is fixed. I think this is a serious violation of the rights of the God of Ch-OUCH”

Suddenly Discord jumped from his place, feeling something sharp that slightly hit his back; after looking behind him, he saw a blue maned guard that was pointing the sharp point of the spear to him “Ehi! You could hurt someone with that thing, you know that?” he asked while massaging the hurt point with both of his animal hands.

“I’m sorry mister Discord, but I had specific instructions in case you came here bringing trouble.” the orange stallion said while taking back his weapon.

Amused by what he heard, Discord laughed and crossed his arms in front of him “Specific instructions, you say? By the egghead I presume? I’m very curious to know what she thought of to stop me...I’m the God of Chaos after all and she knows that it’s impossible to *YAWN* make me do what she *YAWN* wants to…”

Discord stretched his arms in the air before letting out another loud yawn; he laughed again with a tired face “I feel pretty tired...maybe.” He stopped to look for a moment at the point of the spear Flash Sentry was holding in his right hoof “Sleeping poison on it *YAWN* very clever, I have to admit.” That was all he was able to say before falling on the floor, unconscious.

“Fortunately it worked.” A sigh of relief came from the guard’s mouth “I don’t what would we do if the idea that Princess Twilight had, did not have the effects she hoped.” he added while looking at the sleeping God of Chaos, whose expression in that moment was more innocent than the one of a foal.

“You’re much more innocent than in the same situation, one of the guard stunned him with a hit behind his neck.” Hektor spoke while looking at the guard that was gently putting Discord on his back, who was filling the booth with loud snores.

“Why should a guard hurt someone when he’s not doing anything harmful?” the stallion asked looking with a puzzled expression at the human Inspector “A guard should use force only as a last resource, that’s what they taught me at the Guards it not the same in your world?”

“Let’s say that there is a different code of behaviour from where I come from.” The human replied while his mind was filled with considerations regarding what he had stated. In the movements of the soldier there was care, attention in not causing any other harm to the one he was carrying away...something that probably would not happen in Arstotzka...something on which there was to think about.

“I’ll ask someone to carry him to Fluttershy cottage; see you later.” Flash Sentry saluted with a sincere smile before leaving the Inspector in his thoughts...something that lasted just a few moments, as Hektor didn’t want to have his mind busy on thoughts...he didn’t want to lose time.

A quick look at the hourglass informed him that there were just a few hours left before the end of the day. The stream of sand that was slowly passing from the top half to the bottom was somehow relaxing...Hektor shook his head, realizing that of all the things he could do in that moment, relaxing was not contemplated.


“Papers, entry ticket? DENIED!”

“Arstotzkan citizenship...expiration date is good...welcome back home. Glory to Arstotzka! NEXT!”

“Cloudsdale...entry ticket is good...maybe some heavier clothes would be better, considering the cold temperatures but...APPROVED!”

“No entry ticket and misspelled issuing Equestrian should be more careful to-”

“I’m Yashin Romanov”

The hand with the denial stamper stopped his fast race to the passport of the earth pony that was standing in front of the desk. Hektor’s mouth muted completely: he was the one mentioned by Varusov early in the morning.

The silence in the booth was the total opposite of the confusion that was bothering Hektor’s head...why does he have documents with false information? Why did they recommend him? When did he arrived in Equestria?

“They’re waiting for my report at the Ministry of Admissions.” The flat and cold tone of voice of the earth pony was a perfect match with his blue empty eyes; there was something creepy about him.

The look of the Inspector passed many times between the traveller, his passport and the that moment, both the Arstotzkan Government and the one he was facing were asking him to do the exact opposite of what his duty was.

Did he really have to do that? Could he just do his job, rejecting him as the rules asked?

Too many questions...and the stare of the one that was standing in front of him underlined the fact that there was no room for thought in that moment.


First on the ink, then on the visa...that was the travel made from the approval stamper.

When the green stamp was on the passport, a smirk grew on the Arstotzkan pony like citizen “I’ll inform the M.O.A. about your good work. Glory to Arstotzka” he said while taking his documents before slowly walking out from the booth.

In the silence that followed, a strange sound that looked like something that was sliding somewhere spread in the room; a dark cylinder shaped container fell from a tube of which, for the whole day, Hektor didn’t realize it’s existence. It took him few moments to understand that there was something inside and; after lifting the closed cap, he was able to take out its contents; a rolled white little piece of paper on which there was an acronym that he had already seen on Equestrians documents.


Travellers allowed with improper documents

Please refrain from doing it again, or penalties will be applied

<<Even the warning messages are softer>> Hektor thought while calling in the next in the line, not before letting out a sigh that could perfectly symbolize what he was feeling in that moment.

After a brief silence he rose his head, ready to resume his job.




After that last message, Hektor let himself go on the backrest of his chair; he felt as weak as if he had lifted a one thousand kilo rock.

“You made good work, Inspector.” Flash Sentry voice let Hektor lower his head to look at the smiling stallion that was coming his way “There were way more rejected ponies than the previous day, something that means you had good control...and that people at the Equestrian Border Office should do a better job.” he added before looking at the white message on the desk.

“I made a mistake, as you can see.” Hektor said with a face that involuntarily could betray the anger he was feeling for what he was forced to do.

“It happens...everybody could make mistakes, the important part is to learn from them.” It was somehow nice to see the guard trying to cheer him up in every way <<You should know the truth>> Hektor thought while smiling at the stallion, despite everything.

“I think you’re tired, mister Inspector. You can go back to your world now, we’ll close the portal when you pass through it.”

“Thanks” Hektor stood up from his chair, taking the other Arstotzkan shapka he had left under the desk before approaching the door that leaded to the portal.

“Before you go...I have to ask you to give me the anti magic necklace.”

The request of the guard surprised him for a moment, especially for the consequences it could have on him. “You have not to worry; the effects of it will last enough to allow you to reach the portal without transforming into an Equestrian” Flash Sentry’s explanation came just in time to allow Hektor to regain the calm.

The human took some steps to reach the guard while taking the chain around his neck to grab what he was asked for; before lifting it, Hektor changed expression for a moment, realizing that he was forgetting something.

“Before I go, can I ask for a favor?” At the questioning look of the guard, the Inspector smiled a little “Nothing too hard to do I hope...I need to give a thing to someone here in Equestria. Do you know how could I do that?”

Flash Sentry smiled brightly “If you need to deliver something, you can give it to me, so that I can deliver it to the Ponyville post office.”

While nodding, Hektor took from a pocket the Orvech Vodka recipe he brought, giving the piece of paper to the one that was standing in front of him “It has to be delivered to two siblings called Applejack and Big Mac. If I remember correctly, they live in-”

“Sweet Apple Acres. Everybody here in Ponyville knows them.” Flash interrupted him laughing a little “Do not worry. I’ll make sure that your letter will be in the bag of our beloved post mare...she’s a nice pony, even if a bit clumsy.” He added while putting the letter inside his armor in front of the look of the Inspector that, judging from his face, wasn’t quite happy hearing that news.

“You should get going before it becomes too dark, mister Inspector.” Flash Sentry’s suggestion was instantly followed by the human that, after giving back the necklace to him, walked fast towards the door to the portal.

“I wish you a good evening.” A moment of silence preceded the continuation of his speaking “You can call me Hektor if you want. After all, we’ll have to work together from now on.”

The blue maned soldier smiled happily “Then it’s mister Hektor from now on. I wish you a good evening, too.”

Without saying anything more, Hektor walked fast paced to the portal, hoping to not find himself mutated in some kind of pony before reaching it.


29 October, 1983 - H 02:00 - ???

A light gray smoke was filling the little room where two people were standing; between them, there was just a wooden desk and two chairs that, despite their usefulness, had been left empty.

“The first contacts established by our agent were good...I think we were able to persuade them in making contacts with us.” The voice of the blonde M.O.A. officer was calm and satisfied...two feelings that were underlined by the way he was smoking his cigarette.

“I’ll ask my superiors to send an undercover diplomat to this great hive, as they call their capital city.” The flat tone of Vonel was the total opposite of Varusov’s way of speaking “Having this changeling attack was an useful thing, after all.”

Varusov nodded slowly while enjoying the taste of the cigarette smoke; a brief moment of silence allowed him to breathe out both what he was greedily keeping in his mouth “Today Arstotzka was able to find a powerful ally in Equestria too...those Griffonians look like a powerful nation to have contact with.”

The black agent with his hands behind his back walked slowly towards the door “I’ll make sure to find a way to infiltrate some spies in their ranks to better watch them.” He stretched out his hand to reach the handle of the door before looking back at his interlocutor “Speaking of people to watch, you better watch how mister Popov acts...until now he’s doing good, but nobody could tell how he’ll behave in the next days.”

“He’ll not cause any trouble. He has no expectations about his life and he just wants to earn money to live...two thing that guarantee trust.” A grin grew on his face after those words.

“The most important thing is that he’ll not cause problems to Arstotzkan would be your responsibility, too.” With a serious look, Vonel opened the door before going out from the room without saying anything more.

Vonel was left alone with his thoughts and his cigarette, two good companions to have in that moment of reflection caused by those last words. There were plans to make, things to check...and a head to firmly keep on the shoulders.

Old acquaintances, issues and decisions

View Online

30 October, 1983 - H 6:00 - 13:00

“You do not have the grim face you had two days ago when you were going to work in Equestria for the first time.” Ian stood near the booth door with his eyes fixed on Hektor. With a still not lighted cigarette in his hand, the soldier stretched his arms “So working there is not as bad as you thought?”

The Inspector limited to shrug his shoulders “At least the weather is slightly warmer...and I have not to use all of my matches to light cigarettes for others.” A smirk grew on his face while he brought near the blue fame he had freshly made to the little white cylinder filled with tobacco that the blonde man next to him was keeping tight.

“Strange that our blue haired friend didn’t show up yet. Usually he’s on time.”

“You can at least give me the time to cross the portal and to reach you.” A loud voice from behind brought the attention of both the Arstotzkans to Flash Sentry who was slowly reaching them. Hektor was immediately puzzled by the face of the Equestrian. There wasn’t that light he was getting used to seeing on his face.

“Is there something wrong, Flash Sentry?” The Inspector asked the question while bowing his head to allow the end of his cigarette to meet what remained of the fire on the tip of his match.

“Maybe it regards the disappearance of an Equestrian in our lands.” Ian’s words surprised the Inspector that, as a reaction, turned his attention to the parallel world guard, only to see a sad nod from him.

“You should always read the newspaper, Inspector.” Looking almost annoyed, Ian gave a rolled journal to Hektor that, with a mix of curiosity and worry, opened it in front of his eyes.

30 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

Disappearance of an Equestrian Citizen: Investigations Carry On

After a whole day of searching all over the Arstotzkan territory, there are still no traces of the Equestrian girl that went missing yesterday. As stated by the family and the friends, it appears that she crossed the border for a specific yet unknown matter, as she didn’t state them before leaving for Arstotzka; the only known thing was that it had to be a one day travel, something that didn’t happen and that let everybody inform the police.

The M.O.I. issued a press release in which they declared that both Arstotzkan and Equestrian investigation forces are cooperating to find the girl as soon as possible. “We’ll do everything in our power to allow miss Flitter to return home.” A high representative of the Ministry of Information stated in an interview “I know that ‘The Arstotzkan’ will help us in our mission, too.”

As one of the main newspapers of the nation, we feel obliged to help; we’ll share again the description of the girl, asking for everybody to inform the authorities if there could be useful information regarding her situation.

Miss Flitters is a pegasus, meaning that in our world she has wings. By the description given by her family, she has long, straight, cyan hair, and light purple eyes, a slim body constitution and always wears a big pink bow on her head.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Hektor’s grip on the newspaper became stronger and stronger at every line he read. Despite his calm face, he felt like a volcano that was about to explode.

“I remember her” he said while moving the focus from the paper we was holding to the two young soldiers in front of him “She was pretty cordial. All the documents were in order...and she had a nice smile as if she was happy to come here.”

“She’s a friend of mine.” Flash Sentry made that statement with his head bowed and his look fixed on the ground under his feet “When she saw me from the line, she smiled brightly and spoke with me until it was her turn to enter. We spoke about a lot of things, but she didn’t tell me why she was going to come to Arstotzka...if I had insisted on this aspect, maybe now we would be able to find her.” A grim expression darkened his face; his eyes, even if they were dried, were the perfect way to see the guilt and the sadness he was feeling.

Ian looked at the two men with his normal neutral attitude, without showing any emotions to them “Both of you couldn’t do anything. What we can do is find her...and whoever tried to harm the girl.” The grip on his rifle became so tight that only the fact that it was made of metal saved it from destruction.

“If there will be news about it, I’ll let you know. But now you must get going or you’ll be late to open the checkpoint.”

Flash Sentry and Hektor nodded simultaneously to the soldier; after putting out his cigarette on the huge border wall, The Inspector went into the booth, immediately followed by the Equestrian that, when he was inside it, closed the door behind him, leaving a musing Ian alone, with his almost finished cigarette and his thoughts.


Day after day the passage between the two worlds gave to Hektor less and less problems. His stomach didn’t hurt as much as the first day and his head didn’t feel as dizzy as before. Hektor looked at the sky, relieved by his good physical condition after the trip.

While walking to his work station, he couldn’t not focus on Flash Sentry. The almost annoying joy of the soldier that introduced the day of work that day wasn’t there; in its place, there was silence mixed with sorrow, a sad display to see.

“Two forces are cooperating to find her wherever she is...we just have to let them do their work...while we do ours.” his attempt at cheering up the soldier revealed itself as a complete failure, as the morale of the stallion that was walking near him didn’t change at all.

Both of them entered the booth in silence. After a long stare, Flash Sentry sighed before moving his focus to the exit door “I think I’ll wait outside for the beginning of the day...maybe working will distract my mind.”

A nod was the only answer Hektor felt able to give him. After the door closed behind the orange soldier, he shook his head disappointed at not being able to do something for that pony.

When he reached his working station, he immediately saw an envelope on the rule book that, strangely, looked a bit fatter than the previous days. After sitting on his chair, he turned the hourglass to let the sand flow and took the tidy white envelope with the known Princess Twilight mark. With care, he opened it and unfolded the letter, focusing deeply on its content.

Dear Inspector,

I’m truly happy to see that the checkpoint is working much better than before with you; after three days you made just one mistake, an impressive achievement indeed. The comments of Equestrians regarding your work were positive too, even if somepony lamented a certain coldness in your behaviour.

I know that someone in your position has to keep a certain attitude, but I hope you will be able to be a little more gentle with travellers; this could make them feel more at ease and, of course, could allow you to better pass your work time.

But everything above is covered by a halo of sadness; the news of the disappeared Equestrian upset everypony, me in particular. It’s tragic when you’re not able to protect the ponies that count on you and I feel like I made some sort of mistake; maybe I could think of something to avoid this or at least to track her position.

I just hope that she’s safe and that with cooperation we’ll be able to find her soon.

I don’t want to distract you from your work, so I’ll cut my letter short. I hope one day there will be the possibility of talking about our world and their differences; it would be wonderful for me to have a conversation about this topic.

I wish you a good day of work.

Yours truly,

Princess Twilight

P.S. Please read the rule book, as it was adjusted after the last events.

<<Why does that last sentence worry me so much?>> Hektor couldn’t not think at that question while opening the volume as requested in the letter. The first lines of the initial page were enough to give a face to his fear.

From this day, it will be mandatory to ask for the motive of travel to everybody. The Inspector will be able to further interrogate travellers to confirm the truth of their statements. Any discrepancy will lead to the denial of access to the portal.

<<I’m sure one day they’ll ask me to read the mind of the travellers that will come in front of my desk>> Hektor groaned in frustration before adjusting his clothes, especially thehat Rarity made for him, for which he grew a particular fondness.

After realizing that there were no differences in the equipment in his possession and in the booth in general, the Inspector saw that the sand in the hourglass was almost over, meaning that the last hour before the checkpoint opening was going to end. A deep breath preceded his loud statement at the tube connecting to the external megaphone.


<<Maybe the ‘please’ I added will give the effect Princess Twilight wrote about.>> The Inspector smiled a little while following with his eyes the first unicorn that came in.

“Papers, please.”

The mare in front of him closed her eyes for a moment, focusing on something Hektor couldn’t understand immediately; after she opened them again with a puzzled expression, the Inspector smiled, realizing what was happening.

“You can’t lift your documents from your pocket with your magic, miss. The booth is protected by it as a security measure.”

“Oh.” The unicorn’s surprise was overwhelming “I could stay here for an hour without thinking about that.” a nice expression replaced the worried one as she calmly took her documents from the elegant pink dress she was wearing.

“Motive for your travel?” Hektor’s question came as soon as he saw the entry permit’s correct date and opened the passport to begin the routine checking.

“I’m going to bring correct documents to a friend of mine that remained stuck in your world due to an expired passport.” She groaned shortly before deeply looking at how the Inspector was working hard on her passport “It looks like you’re trying to find any kind of error to deny my passage.”

The Inspector stopped his actions, slowly looking at the mare he was facing; did he really give this kind of impression to the ones that were in front of him?

“I’ve no interest in rejecting tell you the truth, I’m paid for the people I allow in, so it’s completely the opposite.” His focus then went back to the passport; his eyes were travelling up and down, left and right and vice-versa to examine every piece of information.

After a brief mumble, Hektor took one of the stampers from his desk, printing on the visa a bright, green approval mark.

“Here you go, miss. Cause no trouble.”

“Thanks. Have a nice day” She answered with a relieved smile on her cute face, before putting back all the documents in her pockets and trotting happily to the door for the portal.

The merry attitude of the mare somehow had positive effects on the spirit of the human, as shown by the expression that was painted on his face. A silent giggle and a shake of the head preceded his routine loud call at the megaphone: “NEXT!”

Earth was intriguing and useful for Hektor to confront what he was seeing during his work hours with all the information contained in the book given to him directly from one of the Equestrian rulers. The more he studied during the night before going to bed, the more he was able to understand the feeling of who he was facing; it was as everyday he felt less and less like a foreigner.

After stamping the umpteenth denial stamp, the last printed upon the visa of a light yellow coloured mare with three leaf sprigs on her flank that tried to persuade the Inspector in letting her pass without the entry ticket by offering him a lovely multi coloured bouquet of wildflowers, he stretched his arms and legs, enjoying for a few seconds the nice feeling that ran through all of his body.

“NEXT!” The word came out with a joyful tone of voice that surprised Hektor himself, who smiled while focusing on the hourglass on his side that had to be turned.

“Hi Mister Hektor.” An happy familiar voice made the Inspector turn his attention toward the booth entrance only to see...nothing.

“We’re down here, mister.” The sentence appeared to came from down below his desk, something that puzzled Hektor a lot; he had to stick out his head from his place to look at three little fillies that, with big bright eyes, looked at him with an expression of awe. One of them, with a maybe too enthusiastic face, turned her head towards another member of that strange group who, somehow, reminded the Inspector of someone.

“Wow Sweetie Belle you were right! He’s huuuge.” She said while flapping fast her little orange wings “And he’s a friend of yours?”

“Yep.” A white coated filly replied with a proud expression on her muzzle almost covered from a too familiar brown shapka.

“Sweetie Belle?” It was impossible to clearly understand if Hektor was surprised, amused or puzzled; yet a sincere smile on his face made it clear that he was happy to see her.

The little filly nodded “It’s nice to see you again, Mister. I was hoping to see you during these days, but then I thought that you were too busy to come to visit me and my sister, so I decided to come here to say hi...and to introduce you to my friends.”

Her positive and happy behaviour was a panacea for the mind. He couldn’t stop smiling while looking how that tiny pony was pointing with her hoof at the two foals at her sides “Apple Bloom and Scootaloo.” The names were gently remarked while the focus passed first on a yellow foal with a red mane and a nice big pink bow on top of her head and on to the orange little pegasus with a cerise tail and a ruffled short mane.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” The Inspector let a little giggle escape before becoming serious; time was passing, something that could not escape his attention.

“Applejack and Big mac told me that you were super kind to them” Apple Bloom took a little step forward while speaking with an accent that allowed the human to figure out that there had to be some kind of relation between her and the two Equestrians he met in Arstotzka “By tha way, they told me to thank you for what you sent them. I don’t know what it was, but they really appreciated it.” A long happy smile closed that sentence that indirectly confirmed that both of them were able to come back from Arstotzka, a news that clearly made Hektor happier.

“You’re wearing the fur hat my sister made for you.” Suddenly Sweetie Belle spoke loudly with her eyes sparkling from the joy. Hektor smiled in turn, looking up as he was checking how the shapka was fitting his bald head “Yes...and please tell to your sister that I sincerely love it and that I thank her for all the commitment she put on it.” He took a moment of pause to better adjust the object of the conversation on his head for a moment “Besides I know that she had a quite good helper on her side. She wrote to me that the symbol in the middle was made by you...and it looks really well made. So I have to thank you as well.”

“Yay!” Sweetie Belle jumped a little with incredible enthusiasm “You heard it? I’m good.” She addressed to both of her friends that in return groaned a little, probably a bit annoyed from the too exaggerated show of pride.

“I have to beg your pardon.” Hektor stood back high behind her desk, hiding behind a very serious face the amusement he was feeling inside “But there are people outside waiting for their turn, so I have to ask you to leave or else I could have problems.”

“We don’t want ya to have problems, sir.” Apple bloom looked very puzzled after the request.

“We know what it mean to be grounded. It’s such a pain.” Scootaloo added while giving quick glances to the other foals before taking some steps back, in the direction of the exit.

“I really thank you for your understanding.” Hektor said relieved that it went smoother than expected “Please bring my salutes to Big Mac and Applejack.” he added looking at the yellow foal who was almost at the booth door.

“I will, mistah Inspector. Have a nice day.”

Both Scootaloo and Apple Bloom waved their little hooves before opening the door to go out. When the door shut, calm came back in the booth and a deep silence fell...a silence that was broken by the sound of Sweetie Belle’s front hooves that lightly slammed on the desk.

The surprised look of the Inspector pierced through the little mare, who looked down with a little embarrassment before pointing her bright purple eyes on the human “Mister Hektor...I’m here not only here to say hi to you, but to tell you something important, too.” Her voice was low and hard to hear. The sudden change in behaviour of the white little pony, added to the worried expression on her muzzle, was implying that there could be some serious business to hear. Without saying anything, he approached his head to the foal’s one, looking at her with a focused yet calm face.

“I saw him in Ponyville, Mister Hektor.” Her voice became a bit uncertain, stopping for a moment to look behind her before continuing “He walked around for some days, speaking with everypony...he stopped me and my friends too, asking us questions regarding our town, our habits and speaking of how life is good in your world.”

Hektor’s face became deadly serious; it was clear who was the one she was talking about.

“He asked even of my sister...and when he realized that Apple Bloom is Applejack’s sister and that Rainbow Dash is close to Scootaloo, he asked about them, too. We didn’t tell him anything because I told them to be careful of him.”

She bowed her cute head in silence for a moment, as memories of that day overwhelmed her mind. Hektor smiled at he, trying to comfort her “You were smart Sweetie Belle. He-”

“He’s in line today.” The white foal rose back her head and interrupted him “I was scared to meet him that day...and I was scared to meet him today.” Her eyes became lucid and the smile that just a few minutes ago was reigning over her face faded away, two things that brought a silent hate in Hektor’s head.

“You do not have to worry anymore, Sweetie Belle.” The answer came with a calm voice that covered the uproar the Inspector was feeling inside. “Maybe he’ll go back to Arstotzka and will never come back here anymore.”

“I hope so.” That’s what she was able to answer.

Only the sand falling in the hourglass was making sound in the room in that moment; Hektor looked at the foal and gently caressed her curled light purple mane, as he did days ago in Arstotzka, something that let the little one smile for a brief moment.

“Your friends are waiting you outside.” With a gesture of the head Hektor pointed at the door that lead outside.

“Oh...right.” Sweetie Belle, without any self confidence, left the desk to go back to walk on her four hooves. The Inspector smiled at her warmly “That hat fits way better on your head than on mine.” The sentence was able to let that sad expression fade away, replaced by a nice and cute giggle.

“Excuse me, but there are travellers waiting outside.” The voice of an amused Flash Sentry came out of nowhere “I don’t want to disturb you or anything, but the ponies here could begin to protest.”

“I’m sorry for the trouble.” Sweetie Belle said too apologetically before walking toward the exit “It was nice to see you again, Mister Hektor. I hope to see you again.” She said brightly before going out from the place.

“Seems that you already have good friends here.” Flash Sentry said with a smirk on his face before trying to go out, only to find himself stopped by a quick call from the Hektor. With a surprised look, he turned around puzzled by the too serious face of the human.

“Please Flash...when you see some kind of pony with a pink and too tawdry jacket, come here to inform me.”

“I’ll tell you more later.” The sentence to answer to the interrogative look of the guard came out with a tone that made him understand that there had to be something important. The stallion simply nodded to the human before walking outside, closing the door behind.

A moment of silence...a deep breath...and enough time to regain focus; that’s what he needed to go back to his work.

“NEXT!” A Sentence that day by day gave him more and more confidence in dealing with whoever would come in front of him.

“You come from’re lucky miss, as today is the last day of the validity of your passport. You should renew it when you go back to your homeland. Cause no trouble!”

“Motive of the travel?” The photo on the passport showed the smiling muzzle of a light lamberish gray mare with a short two tone light blue mane.

“I wish to visit your land to deeply study the fashion and the dresses in your world Mister.” The soft and kind way of speaking was pretty relaxing, something that make Hektor’s work more easier.

“I hope to have good ideas for the next winter period...your officers clothes are already inspiring.” She added with a light blush that colored her cute muzzled with too much red.

“I wish you good luck, Miss Coco Pommel.” The Inspector said with a smile while stamping the green approval print on her visa. While giving her back the passport and the entry ticket, he focused on the elegant white suit she was wearing; elegant yet not too snobbish.

“Thanks you, Mister Inspector. My friend Rarity told me that I would meet a gentleman here” She said short before smiling brightly before leaving to reach the portal.

<<Everybody here is so much kinder.>> A thought that was confirmed even when he had to reject Equestrians for several reasons: entry ticket expired, different name on the passport, error regarding the issuing city...there were just rare times in which the border guards had to intervene to solve a problem of some sort.

A thought that, as with his other considerations, went away as the next in the line came inside the booth.

The mare that was walking towards the desk literally left him in surprise: she fit almost perfectly the description on the news paper regarding the missing pony in Arstotzka. She couldn’t be her, as the newspaper came out just in the morning, but there were too many similarities.

“Papers, please.” Keeping a neutral expression, he spoke calmly to the light purple mare who, with an unhappy expression, took from a pocket of her gray jacket what she was asked for.

“Motive of the travel?” Hektor focused his eyes on the documents he was handling with care.

“I’m going to look for my friend.” The determined answer from the traveller blocked the human, who rose back his head to look at the pegasus; from her dark purple eyes it was evident she was self confident about what she had just said.

“Are you a friend of Miss Flitter, miss...Cloud Chaser?” Her nod was a good enough answer for him that, in a brief moment, went back to his duties.

It appeared that there weren’t any issues in her documents; as it was an automatic move, he took the approval printer in his hand “Equestrians and Arstotzkan forces are doing the best. I’m sure they’ll find her.” His words, meant to cheer her up, had no sort of effect; probably the only thing that could really bring back the smile on her muzzle was finding her friend.

“I have to do something too. I can’t stay here doing nothing.” She had to stop for a moment to held back a tear that was doing to come down “And I think I can do something. Luck is by my side.” The determination showed earlier came back, giving to her face the light she lost just few moments ago.

Hektor stared at Cloud Chaser intrigued but what she said “What do you mean, if I can ask?” While speaking he soaked the stamp in the ink without even focusing on what he was doing.

The mare smiled for once “A human in Ponyville told me that he met Flitter shortly before she came to the checkpoint...and it seems that he knows where she was directed. Actually, he’s in line too and he told me that together we will go to the Arstotzkan authorities to inform them about that.”

The stamper stopped his movement just few centimeters from the mare’s passport. Suddenly Hektor froze; a sense of discomfort captured him, letting him lose his usual calm.

A grave doubt came in his mind...a doubt that he had to solve immediately.

“Is the human you’re talking about named Dari Ludum?”

The silent and astonished expression of the pegasus was all he needed.

A disturbing yet plausible hypothesis came to his mind, even if there weren’t concrete proofs to backup it:

Dari Ludum could be involved in Flitter disappearance.

<<Maybe I’m wrong...hopefully I’m wrong.>> Hektor wasn’t able to think straight, especially because there was an important implication in that line of reasoning.

If he was right, Dari Ludum was trying to lure Cloud Chaser into his world.

And to worsen the situation...her documents were all in order; he had no way to stop her to prevent any risk.

His heartbeat rose; his grip on the printer became more tight.

<<Damn!>> That’s what he was just able to think.

Playing outside the rules...?

View Online

30 October, 1983 - H 13:00 - 19:00

The stare the purple mare was giving to Hektor let him understand that she had realized that something was wrong; as a matter of fact, the stamper still hanging on the passport on the desk after all that time was indeed strange.

“Is there a problem, Inspector?” She asked with an eyebrow raised without having any quick answer from the human she was facing, a reaction that left her feeling weird.

The question reached just Hektor’s ears...not his mind which, in those long moments, was working at full potential to find a possible way out from the situation.

<<It is just an idea backed up by nothing.>> He looked back at all the documents in front of him, mostly to get time <<What if Dari Ludum is really letting her come in to Arstotzka to do what he was accused of in the past? He could have accomplices in Arstotzka too...and he will surely have valid documents, as I checked them back in our world.>> His eyes went up and down, monitoring every information, every single number or letter on Cloud Chaser’s passport.

<<It’s flawless. When there have to be mistakes, there aren’t.>> His focus went back to the pegasus, who had in that moment a truly puzzled expression that lead Hektor to another realization: he couldn’t waste any more time; he had to act fast.

The silence that reigned in the booth was finally broken by two loud sounds.


When the stamper rose from the passport visa, a vivid and clear red stamp with the Denied writing showed up.

Cloud Chaser’s expression shifted in a fraction of a second from puzzled to astonished.

For some seconds, she wasn’t able to speak; the only thing she did was look at the human behind the desk, whose self confident and neutral expression was like a solid brick behind which it was impossible to see.

“But-but...why?” There was hate, rage and frustration in her voice, a mix that had to be treated carefully. Hektor was able to keep himself calm, despite the fact that inside he wasn’t still sure of what he had just done.

“There are problems with your passport, miss Cloud Chaser.” No more explanations. He closed the document and took the entry ticket to give them back to her.

The trembling of the right front hoof of the poor pegasus didn’t escape Hektor’s sight, who stayed impassive and cold as best as he could.

“My documents are in order. I’m sure of it!” Her tone of voice matched perfectly the expression on her face, on which tears were beginning to flow slowly. “I have to pass. My friend needs me!”

The loud desperate yelling of Cloud Chaser was testing Hektor’s heart; he wanted to tell her the truth regarding what he was thinking, that it was a decision made to supposedly protect her, that maybe Dari Ludum had introduced himself to her as someone that could help her in finding her friend, in reality meant to hurt her.

But there wasn’t proof: no concrete facts, no testimony, nothing; just an old accusation from which that human escaped from lack of evidence, despite the fact that those disappeared in still unexplained circumstances.

“I’m sorry miss Cloud Chaser, but it’s up to me to judge the correctness of the documents.” His voice became cold like it never was; his eyes were severe; his face tough. Everything to hide the tornado of emotions that were overflowing his mind and his soul.

“You...You…” Cloud Chaser bowed her head and closed her eyes, letting the tears come down easily “You’re a monster!” She then ran out from the booth, slamming the exit door without any concern about the risk of breaking it.

When left alone, the Inspector placed both of his elbows on the desk and hid his face behind his hands. He breathed deeply while the silence of the place was broken by a familiar sound of something that was sliding through a tube. He did not have to think too much to realize what was happening.


Denied traveller with clear documents.

Please refrain from doing it again, or penalties will be applied

<<This is the least of my problems>> He thought while folding the message to better fit into the pocket of his jacket.

“What happened, Mister Hektor?”

The human rose his sight, looking at a concerned Flash Sentry who, after closing the door behind him, trotted fast toward the desk. “I saw Cloud Chaser crying while galloping away from the booth.” It was rather easy for Hektor to see that there wasn’t just concern in the guard’s question.

“A friend of yours, like Miss Flitter?” The silent nod of the soldier was an exhaustive answer.

The bald head covered by the elegant Equestrian shapka found rest on the hands, but unlike a few moments ago, there was a different expression on the Inspector’s face. He was mumbling something while looking at a confused Flash Sentry who, silently, remained there with his blue eyes fixed on the human in front of him.

“I think I can trust you, Flash Sentry.” The Inspector spoke without even looking at his interlocutor at first “So I want to share with you what’s going on.” Finally his focus passed to the orange stallion, to which he gave an empty smile “We have not much time, so I’ll try to summarize everything.”

The explanation was fast, yet clear. In less than a minute Flash Sentry was told about Dari Ludum’s past, the events in Arstotzka and about the presumed connection between the human and the disappearance of Flitter.

The guard’s expression became grim and serious. He stared at the Inspector in a way he never did before “What you’re telling me is serious, Inspector. I’ll report this to Princess Twilight at onc-”

“Maybe I wasn’t clear.” Hektor interrupted the soldier in a more harsh way than he intended to “These are all suppositions. Without any sort of proof to backup the story, it’s not possible to inform the authorities.” A brief moment of silence took place before the human beat a side of the desk with a fist.

“I’m going to risk my work for this...and for a mere supposition I let a mare suffer for-”

“I trust you, Hektor.” The sentence of the soldier silenced the human who, with both of his eyes widened, stared at the Equestrian.

“You did it to protect her, even if it was against the would not do that under normal circumstances I think.”

Those words underlined something that he didn’t realize earlier <<He’s right. That’s the first time I acted without following orders.>> A thought that left him astonished. A little smirk made its way onto his face while the head shook a little; it was clear that the work, the experiences made during these days and the new acquaintances, both Arstotzkan and Equestrian, were slowing changing him somehow.

“ you have any ideas regarding this problem?” Flash Sentry took a step forward and stared with a serious face towards the human, who finally was able to gain back his self confidence. After a short mumbling, Hektor breathed deeply before opening his mouth to explain the possible course of action to take…


“Cause no trouble.” The hand swiftly reached to hoof of the male earth pony that was waiting for the approval of his passage. Without saying anything, the pony folded back all of his papers in the bag he was carrying on his right side before trotting away from the wooden desk to reach the door for the portal to the human world.

Slowly, the Inspector turned the hourglass with his right hand <<Still two hours before the end of the day.>> With patience, the human ordered all the instrument at his disposal to better fit the space he had, leaving a lot of room for the documents the future travellers would give him.

While mumbling, he counted how many travellers were able to pass the checking; looking back at the previous days he figured that the denials had become fewer, something that indicated that the strict controls he was doing not only led applicants to better check their own documents before coming to the checkpoint, but led the Equestrian Border Office to work better.

Those thoughts with too much pride were overshadowed by the fact that, by his calculation, he had still to let in other travellers to hope to earn enough money to pay all the expenses of the day...and to buy something to prepare a decent dinner for him and Katia as well.

Without losing any more seconds, he spoke loudly at the tube.


“Photo is correct; issuing city is in order; expiration date is ok...but you haven’t an entry ticket, so I have to...oh you have it? Please show it to me...Everything is in order. Have a good day in Arstotzka.”

<<Why are there travellers that gives you documents ONLY after you ask them? They know that they have to show them immediately.>> Hektor shook his head for the time lost and for a question that would never find an answer.


“Your plumage doesn’t count as a dress, mister griffon...please refrain from complaining with me; those are the laws, I’m here just to make you respect them. NEXT!”

“All the papers are in order, Mister Filippe Hasse. I want to let you know that I’m a great fan of the Arstotzka Arsekickers. I wish you good luck for the next championship. Glory to Arstotzka! NEXT!”

<<It’s been a long time that I was able to go to the stadium to see them...maybe the last time was when I brought Sara with me.>> Melancholy invaded the mind of the Inspector and memories flowed so intensely that he didn’t notice a pink mare that, with a much too happy expression, was jumping all over the booth to reach the desk.

“Hi there!” A loud and enthusiastic feminine voice aroused Hektor’s attention; after raising his eyes, the human saw a smiling mare with a curly and fluffy pink mane who was wearing an elegant purple dress...a dress that in a strange kind of way didn’t perfectly fit her.

“Papers, plea-”

Without having the time to finish his sentence, Hektor found a passport and an entry ticket coming out of nowhere, on his desk.

“It’s finally a pleasure to meet you, mister Inspector. My name is Pinkie Pie. I already know a loooot of thing about you thanks to my friends. To tell you the truth, you look waaaay more tall than they told me. That’s a nice thing...”

She spoke with so fast a pace that it wasn’t easy to follow her, nor to focus on the documents. “Motive of the tr-”

“...So I said to myself ‘Well I have to know him too...and I should even visit this human world of which everypony is telling me about!’ You should see how much your world is talked about here in Ponyville. Everybody wants to visit it. I want to see if there are new friends to make, what kind of desserts do you make there? I work in a candy store, you know? I could learn nice new recipes in your world and…is there something wrong, mister Inspector?”

Hektor’s puzzled face didn’t escape the eyes of Pinkie Pie, who began to look at him with an interested expression “Maybe you’re ill. You should try one of my chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. They’re fresh...and taste so good they could heal the worst of the illness.”

She put an hoof in her mane, taking from it a little brown cupcake “No need to than me” she added while giggling before closing her eyes, mumbling some kind of melodious song.

Astonished, Hektor decided not to focus on how was it possible to store a cupcake in a mane without creating a mess and began to look at the documents. After the first glance at them, it was clear that there was something wrong.

It was as if the passport was completely handmade; its cover was colored with red and yellow crayons and there was pictured something that reminded him of the shape of a cobra. After opening it, his eyes opened wide in looking at the mess of information written inside; on the place in which there should be the photo of the document’s owner, there was a rough sketch of the face of the mare that was happily standing there.

The Inspector took a very long breath before speaking “I think there is something wrong with your passport, Miss Pinkie Pie.”

Hearing that sentence, the pink mare opened her eyes, looking sincerely shocked “What do you mean? There can’t be any problems with my’s pre-approved!”

Hektor rose an eyebrow before looking down at the document, realizing that on the visa there was written in a little font the word pre-approved.

A few seconds were needed to let the denial printer pass from the ink sponge to that sort of passport, leaving a bright, crystal clear red stamp on it.

“Cobrastan isn’t even a real country...neither in Arstotzka or here in Equestria.” Hektor said while gently giving her back the documents presented.

“That’s a pity.” Pinkie Pie replied with a bit of sadness in her voice “My new friend Jorji said to me that this kind of trick would work and that I would be able to visit your land...well to tell you the truth he told me that it didn’t work for him either in the past, but I hoped that it would work with me.”

<<So he was able to cross the border, after all>> A smile escaped from the human for that thought...a smile that let the mare gain back the happy smile she had shortly before.

“It’s nice to see you smile, mister. That serious expression you had before is soooo sad to see. You looked like my sister Maud Pie. Come to think of it, you would get along well. I should introduce her to you one day. Maybe the next time I’ll come here to visit your world. I would really like to know your dessert recipes because it...”

A glance at the hourglass let Hektor know that time was passing...and he needed time for what he planned a while ago. He had to find a way to persuade that strange mare to go out.

“If you want, I can send you some Arstotzkan dessert recipes” Hektor interrupted with a bit of uncertainty.

For the first time, Pinkie Pie remained silent, looking with a hopeful expression at the human. “REALLY??” She asked with still both her light blue eyes and mouth wide open.

A nod of the human let her jump in joy for all the booth. Without even having the time to react, Hektor found himself wrapped between the hooves of the mare, whose hold was so tight that he lost his breath for a moment.

“Thank you, mister! I’ll never forget this.” She said with happiness before taking a few steps back from the Inspector, who was finally able to breathe again.

“I’ll find a good way to thank you! Maybe I can organize an huge thanking party! I could invite all of Ponyville. It would be fun.” She was a never ending stream of words and laughs; with her behaviour, she was even able to rip off a smile from the Inspector, despite the annoyance he was feeling in that moment.

“Well. It’s time for me to go home. I’ll wait for those recipes there...just tell the mailmare to send them to me. She will know where to go” She said winking at the human before jumping towards the exit.

“Oh.” She froze herself next to the exit door, turning her attention back to Hektor with an uncommon and puzzling serious expression “I know that you’re facing a risky decision in these moments...and that a mistake could lead to the demise of ponies that are trusting you…” She stopped for a moment, giving time for the Inspector to stare at her in awe and surprise.

“But.” She suddenly smiled, gaining back her normal expression “You have not to worry. Just follow your heart and everything will be fine. And remember...there is someone that is cheering for you. Maybe more than just someone out there” She added, pointing with her right hoof to a specific point of the wall at her right, as if there was someone watching them...someone he couldn’t see “They’ve been following your feats for a long time, I think...and all of them are hoping for the best. Bye.”

Without adding anything more, she crossed the exit door, leaving behind a weirded and clueless human behind.

The time to think about the experience he had with the pink pony wasn’t too much. From the same door she went out, Flash Sentry came silently inside with a seriousness that was worth a million words.

Hektor looked at him, understanding that the time he was waiting for had come. He nodded, regaining his normal composure before clearing his voice while keeping firm in his right the tube in which spelling loud the order he got used to giving.


After a brief moment, a white male unicorn with a short curly brown mane and an eccentric pink jacket made his way inside the booth. After closing the door behind him, he looked in front of him, smiling at Hektor in the exact instant he saw him.

“Good evening, my friend. Long time no see.” He looked self confident and cordial while moving in direction of his interlocutor ”I read from the newspaper I would find you here...I didn’t expect to see you in your original form, different from me. To tell you the truth, I’m not still used to this Equestrian shape.”

Dari Ludum’s voice was enough to make the blood inside Hektor pump directly into his brain, feeding his anger and frustration; yet he focused to keep steady, hiding his emotions behind a simple smile.

“Papers please, Mister Ludum.”

“You could show a bit of enthusiasm while working, Inspector.” A smirk grew on his face while taking from his jacket what he was asked for “Besides, you already checked my passport before and here is the entry ticket. Do you really have to check everything again?”

“It’s my job.” He simply answered while bowing the head to allow his eyes to focus on the papers. He had not to spend too much time to realize that, as Dari ludum had said, everything was in order. “Motive of the travel?”

“I just need to go home to attend to important business.” It sounded like a normal statement, nothing out of ordinary.

“By the way...I saw that you denied someone, or somepony as they say here, that I met yesterday. A pegasus named Cloud Chaser. What did she do? She came to me in tears telling me that she was rejected despite she had her documents in order.”

Hektor didn’t raise his look to the unicorn; he just spoke while continuing his checking duty “I already saw too many denied travellers that pretended to be rejected for not incorrect motives.” It was hard for him to keep on his mask, but he couldn’t show any sign of his true feelings; he could ruin everything.

“It was sad to see her in that state...she really wanted to come to Arstotzka. She had her motives.”

<<And I guess you have yours, too.>> The Inspector thought while stamping the approval stamp on Dari Ludum passport.

“You can pass, Mister Ludum. Glory to Arstotzka.”

The unicorn just smiled while taking back his documents, keeping them with both of his forehooves to put them in his jacket “It’s a pity that I couldn’t learn how to use what they call magic, despite the fact that I’m an unicorn here...maybe I have to keep trying, I could do a lot of things with magic.”

There was no answer from the Inspector, who looked as if he was in rush of calling the next applicant in. Looking at that, Dari Ludum simply raised a hoof to salute the human before walking out from the booth, heading to the portal.

After a short time of silence, the access door opened, revealing a determined Flash Sentry. An exchange of looks allowed him to understand that everything went as they thought; at that point, he knew what he had to do.

He walked forward toward the door leading to the portal, without giving another glance to the human who, with a serious expression, was following him with his eyes.

“You know that you could find yourself in trouble for travelling to Arstotzka without proper orders”

The Equestrian guard took a deep breath “If there is a tiny chance of finding Flitter by following that dirty Arstotzkan, so be it.” He was serious, yet calm. A smile broke his expression for a moment “Besides, as I said before I want to trust you, Inspector...and after all you didn’t stop me, so we’re accomplices in this quest, right?”

The last sentence led Hektor to smile back at the soldier, whose courage only raised in him the esteem he was feeling for him. He then regained his serious attitude, clearing his voice“Remember to look for Ian when you reach Arstotzka and to seek his help...I’m sure he’ll be willing to assist you.”

A silent nod came from the soldier before he trotted out from the booth.

<<Good luck, Flash Sentry>> He silently thought while calling in the next traveller.


Time passed faster than Hektor thought; there wasn’t in fact time to call another applicant in. After staring at the last sand grain going down from the top part of the hourglass, he cleared his voice as best as he could:


He looked like he was going to add something else, maybe some kind of educated salute to all the citizens that had waited their turn uselessly; after few seconds, he strayed his mouth from the tube <<It wouldn’t change anything, after all.>>

He stood up from his chair more tired than usual and walked towards the entrance of the booth. Slowly, he opened the door, giving a look at the crowd that, without even noticing him, was walking back to their homes.

Earth ponies, griffons, pegasi, unicorns...all of them were walking or flying away, while a beautiful sunset was painting everything in a bright shade of red. At that sight, the human smiled with a deep calm inside and, after closing the door behind him, he leaned on the external wall of the booth with his shoulders while taking from his jacket the almost empty cigarette pack Katia gave him days ago.

<<I used it less than expected.>> A realization that came while taking from it a cigarette that was lit few seconds later with a match struck on the border wall.

Those moments of complete peace and relaxation gave the Inspector the time needed to think about what had happened during the day, especially with Dari Ludum’s issue.

<<While I’m here doing basically nothing to help, Flash Sentry and, I hope, Ian are following him to see if he’s indeed hiding away Miss Flitter.>>

<<Maybe I should just tell my concerns to my superiors, or even better to the Equestrian authorities, to Princess Twilight...but in that case would they be able to link Dari Ludum to the disappearance case? Would they be able to find the missing mare?>>

<<Besides...I could be wrong. Then I’m risking both mine, Flash Sentry’s, and probably Ian’s work just for a mere idea...I’m more stupid than I thought. Katia is right after all.>>

Hektor didn’t realize that, while lost in that stream of thoughts, the sun was slowly setting down, allowing the colors of the evening to prevail on the red that was dominating before.

The human raised his head to look at the clear Equestrian which, suddenly, a little light blue point with a some kind of rainbow trail made its appearance, becoming bigger and bigger every second. It was easy to see that something was growing near.

After few seconds, a cyan pegasus mare with her wings spread reached his position, stopping her fast race just with some precise and quick wing moves; after she landed, she lost no time and pointed directly toward the Inspector.

A glance to the mane of the mare allowed Hektor to recognize who he was facing.

“You!” Rainbow Dash was clearly angry at him; only a few inches were dividing the human from the hoof that was pointed to him “What did you do to Cloud Chaser? She’s crying from when you rejected her! And her documents were all correct. Everypony checked them twice!”

Her tone of voice was harsh and confident; to worsen everything, he knew that she was right, that he let that poor mare suffer for something that she couldn’t understand...that she couldn’t know either.

It was right for a friend to be so mad at the one responsible for that, too. Hektor knew all of those things.

But in that moment he couldn’t falter; he had to keep calm.

He smoked with his eyes closed, feeling a brief sense of peace, before throwing out from his mouth a dark grey cloud.

“Days ago, somepony told me that sometimes rules have to be disrespected to do the right thing.”

Those words hit Rainbow Dash; those were her own words. She couldn’t just stare at the human that was turning off what remained of that strange, white cylinder under one of his boots.

“I decided to follow this tip...and believe me when I say that I hope to be right.”

He opened the booth door to enter inside, turning his head back to the rainbow mare and looking at her with a serious face.

“Tell to your friend that I’m sorry...and that she has a good friends like you.”

A little smile on his face was the last thing the cyan pegasus saw of the Inspector, before he closed the door behind his shoulder leaving her in a catatonic state.

With slow movements, Hektor took off the magic necklace and placed it on the wooden desk, near the two approval and denying stamper. Then, slowly, he left the booth to reach the portal with a weight on his heart maybe too hard to sustain.

Actions and Consequences

View Online

31 October, 1983 - H 05:30 - 07:00

31 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

Missing Equestrian Found; Culprit Arrested

The case that worried both Equestria and Arstotzka has finally come to an end. Thanks to the combined efforts of the Equestrian public security and of the expert Arstotzkan intel agency, it was possible to track the whereabouts of Miss Flitter, the Equestrian citizen who disappeared days ago.

The Ministry of Information assured with a bulletin that she is actually safe and that she’ll go back to Equestria as soon as the questioning regarding what happened has finished.

It appears that an Arstotzkan citizen named Dari Ludum kidnapped her to make her work in one of his illegal brothels, against her will, breaking Arstotzkan laws regarding prostitution.

The only available news regarding the successful rescue is that she was saved thanks to a secret operation carried forward by agents of both worlds, something that confirms how Equestria and Arstotzka are tightening their good relations.

Glory to Arstotzka

“If it was for the government, she would still be in that bastard’s hands.” Hektor spoke loudly while folding back the newspaper before throwing it in the trash bin near his table “And not a word about Ian and Flash Sentry, who were the ones that saved her.”

Katia gave a glance to her son-in-law before, already tired of his annoyed behaviour that was making the morning already heavy “People will never know the truth, you know that.” A moment of silence, in which she took her time to look at the still half full plate of Nirsk soup in front of the bald man “Besides, maybe it’s better...your friends will avoid problems that friends of this Dari Ludum could cause.”

“But they deserve credit for what they have done...I can’t imagine what they had to do this night to find her, what kind of dangers they had to face.” The disappointment on Hektor’s face was clear; he had to find back his calm to resume eating what was left of his breakfast.

“Credit for going against both Arstotzkan and Equestrian rules?” Suddenly the old woman rose up from her chair, slamming both of her hands on the table and making a sound that scared Hektor for a moment “Do you know that if your idea was wrong they could find themselves in deep trouble? And that YOU could find yourself in deep trouble?” The last sentence came with a worried tone that surprised the man.

“The most important thing is that she’s safe; the rest is meaningless.”

Katia shook her head, breathing hard, with an irritated expression on her face; before she could reply, an unexpected and loud knocking came from the entrance door. The focus of both those present in the room was brought to the source of the disturbance.

Hektor stood up after taking another spoon of soup “Who is disturbing us so early? I hope it’s not our neighbor that wants to ask for the hundredth times to lend something that we don’t have.”

He rushed to the door, annoyed from the constant banging that could wake up all the building. When he reached the door, he did not have the time to ask who was annoying them so much.

“We’re from the Ministry of Admissions. We’re looking for Mister Hektor Popov.” Whoever was speaking from the other side of the door had a tone that let the Inspector understand that there were serious issues to face.

“It’s me.” The reply came while the door was unlocked, revealing to Hektor two persons in high uniform followed by four armed guards with a threatening expression on his face.

“We’re here to bring you to the M.O.A. offices for” It was clear that there was no room for replies or objections.

A brief moment of silence followed that request. Hektor gave a quick look to each member of the group that he was facing. He could only oblige.

“I’m already dressed, so we can go already.” There was just the time to give a quick look to Katia, whose serious yet worried face was self explanatory, and to put in one of his pockets a yellow sheet of paper, on which was written some sort of dessert recipes before walking out from the room. After closing the room behind his shoulder he walked towards the middle of the group, in which he looked like more like a prisoner than like someone that was escorted with pleasure.


The employees of the Ministry of Admission stared at the Inspector with a less welcoming look than usual, as he was unwelcome. There was no clue that could allow Hektor to understand that kind of attitude; what he could do was just walk in silence, looking around him trying to figure out what was happening.

All of his questions to the members of the group were left without answers; if he did something bad, it had to be serious.

<<Maybe it concerns Miss Flitter’s situation.>> That was the only thing he was able to think during the travel from his house to the M.O.A. main building; it was the only explanation that came to his mind. All of the hypotheses that came to his mind were going to be dismissed or confirmed soon, as the known door of Mister Vonel was drawing near.

When the destination was reached, one of the soldiers knocked with caution at the door “Mister Vonel, we have him.”

“Let him in.” The brief answer was the command that the two soldier behind Hektor were waiting for; with their own rifles, they pushed without courtesy the man toward the door, which was opened shortly before by one of the officers. Hektor was pushed inside the office in a harsh way that irritated and puzzled him at the same time.

“We’ll wait for your orders outside.” One of the officers said before closing the door behind the Inspector, leaving him in the company of disquieting Vonel who was standing still near one of the office corners emotionless.

The tension could be cut with a knife; in the strange silence that was filling the office, Hektor walked towards the wooden and simple chair Vonel showed him with his free hand and sat while looking at the M.O.A. officer that, in the meantime, was smoking his cigarette with a less relaxed behaviour than usual. His eyes were fixed on the Inspector, focusing on his clueless expression. After a few other moments of silence, he breathed deeply and opened a drawer, from which he took a yellow folder.

Hektor felt chills on his back when he read his own name on that folder.

“I’ll be honest with you, Mister Popov: I didn’t think you could put us in a so uncertain situation.” The blonde officer put out the cigarette butt in a strangely energetic way; it was clear that inside he wasn’t calm at all, despite what he was trying to show with his composed attitude “And I thought I clear regarding your duties, your obligations, your role.”

It was hard for Hektor to keep some sort of self control; both Varusov and Vonel did not have friendly attitude. The M.O.I. agent in particular, who was silent till that moment, had a indescribable threatening expression; it was sufficient for him to stare at who was facing him to put fear in the soul.

“If it is something regarding the disappeared Equestrian, I want to-”

“There is no room for explanations or justifications, Mister Popov.” The blonde officer slammed his hands on his elegant desk, staring at the man in front of him in a cold and menacing way “With your actions, you disrespected the command order, not to mention that you abused your powers and, above all, you involved an Equestrian soldier in a shadowing operation decided by you!” The slim gloved finger of the M.O.A. officer was pointed toward Hektor, who was struggling with himself to not crumble under the accusation made against him “An operation started without proof regarding the involvement of Mister Dari Ludum in the affair and without advising your superiors, which were the ones that eventually had to make such a kind of decision.”

“Your position is not easy, Inspector.” The cold and flat voice of Vonel was completely opposite to the intense and loud one heard from Varusov till that moment. They were facing the situation in two completely different ways; the only common thing was the man they were standing against: Hektor.

“It was impossible to wait for orders regarding the matter.” He tried to build up some kind of defence; he had to try. “It was necessary to act fast to-”

“Maybe you haven’t yet understood the problem, Inspector.” The black agent interrupted him, taking some slow steps forward while adjusting his rounded glasses on his nose “I’ll try to explain it better.”

“The decisions you took yesterday are irrelevant, even if they are surely questionable...Nor the results reached, in this case the freedom of Miss Flitter and the arrest of Mister Dari Ludum, are unimportant.”

“The issue here is that you acted without calling your superiors to share your ideas and to ask directions...and by saying that such a kind of way of acting would lead to losing time and to risk of losing track of the suspect means that your opinion regarding our intel is low.” The last part of the sentence was spoken with a deeper tone of voice, as he wanted to underline it.

“For such kind of behaviour, the penalty is forced labour.”

The words that came from Varusov’s mouth froze Hektor; not only for their meaning, but for the way they came out: with a normal tone, as if it was something common for him to say.

But that kind of consideration was irrelevant; there was something more important: the fact that he was screwed. Drops of sweat came down from the head covered by his shapka and both of his hands closed tightly, as they were the only available way for his frustration to came out.

In the brief silence that followed thousands of thoughts came in his mind: <<What would be the fate of Katia without him? Where will they send me? Why did they this to me? I wanted just to do the rig->>

“But…” His flow of thoughts was suddenly stop by Vonel who, in that moment distanced from the Inspector by just few feet, bowed his head to give a better look to his interlocutor “We displayed all the documents regarding your life and your work. It seems that overall you serve of Arstotzka is good, despite some minor accidents...and mistakes during your Inspector duties.”

“Taking into account all the aspects of the matter.” Varusov came into the conversation while distractly looking at the opened folder in front of him “We decided to let you leave with a warning, BUT…” The blonde officer stood up from his elegant and comfortable chair, which was totally the opposite of the one Hektor was sitting, as to remark the difference between those who had power and those that have to submit to it, the difference between hammer and anvil “...any other action or sign of insubordination will not be tolerated, under any circumstances.”

The bald Inspector had no words left in his throat; he was barely able to nod at that sentence; his brain was just able to think about one thing; to go out from that office as soon as he could.

A smile, more creepy than comforting, made its way on the Vonel’s face consumed by the weather, the work and the life “We expect from you greater cooperation and loyalty to Arstotzka, mister Inspector.” He waited another sign of approval from the downcast Inspector before continuing “You can go now, Inspector. Remember to work hard and to do your best to serve your country well.”

With hesitation, Hektor rose up and, trying to cover from the other two in the room the fact that he was still trembling a little, he put a fist on his chest, saying loud the mantra of the nation he was living in: “Glory to Arstotzka.”

After hearing the same kind of sentence from the two officers, Hektor adjusted the shapka on his head and walked out from the office, closing the door in a significantly rushed way while asking himself how he went out from there with still his freedom and his head on his shoulders.

Vonel and Varusov exchanged a silent glance while the report regarding the Inspector was put back in its drawer. The blonde officer lighted up another cigarette while looking at the black M.O.I. agent “Should we have said something to him regarding today?” He asked shortly before taking a deep breath to better feel the smoke inside his lungs.

“It’s better for him to know nothing, especially after the last events.” For an unknown reason, Vonel smiled again in a more creepy way than before “ will be a good way to really test his skills.”

Varusov simply nodded at those words, before closing his eyes to better taste his cigarette in the deep and strange silence that followed.


It was the third cigarette in half an hour; it would probably not be the last before crossing the portal to Equestria. Smoking was the only way that came in his mind to kill, or at least stun, all the thoughts that came after the conversation he had in the M.O.A. office. <<I could drink a whole bottle of Orvech Vodka too, but I would not be able to work.>> Such consideration led him to abandon that idea, leading him to focus on his almost finished package of cigarettes.

When he reached the entrance of the Arstotzkan checkpoint booth he looked all around himself, realizing after few seconds that there was something different from the daily routine he get used to during the previous days.

To be precise, it wasn’t a matter of something different, but of somebody missing:

<<Where are Ian and Flash Sentry? They should be here by now.>>

The answer came from a group of Arstotzkan guards that, still tired by the early wake up, were asked from him about the matter.

“Last time we saw him was yesterday, mister Inspector.” A young slim man with a too big jacket with a white camouflage pattern spoke to the Inspector with a pleasing tone of respect “He walked away with an Equestrian guard after he whispered something to him. I know nothing more.” The other member of the group nodded to those words without saying anything else, as they intended to say that they had no other news regarding the blonde soldiers whereabout, too.

The news darkened Hektor’s expression a little <<Maybe M.O.I. agents are questioning him about the happenings. I hope they will not->>

“Hektor Popov?”

A grave and masculine voice coming from behind him grasped the Inspector’s attention, who was neither able to finish his thought or thank the young guard that was speaking with him. When he turned towards the source of that call, he found two white guards in front of him, taller than him and with faces that boded serious business. A look at the golden armor they were wearing and at the long lance in their right hand let him immediately understand with whom he was speaking.

“It’s me.” He simply answered with a hint of a smile on his face.

“We came here to escort you to your working station in Equestria.” There was no kind of courtesy in his voice, something that reminded Hektor of Arstotzkan soldiers in a strange way “Here is the anti-magic necklace.” The Equestrian soldier added while harshly passing him the mentioned object.

<<Equestria sent other soldiers here instead of Flash Sentry...maybe he’s in trouble, too.>> Hektor became evidently more worried while wearing his trustworthy pendant, giving a nod at the two that were standing in front of him when he was ready. Without other words spoken, the three walked into the checkpoint control booth, leaving the open field to walk their way towards the portal for Equestria.

Another day of work was about to begin.


It was strange to have not company on the way between the portal and the Equestrian checkpoint booth; both the guards limited to escort him to the exit point of the entrance area, leaving him alone to fulfill other kinds of duties. With his hands tight behind his back, he walked slowly near the wall, looking at the sky which, for unknown reasons, always looked brighter and cleaner than the Arstotzkan one. It was something that had struck Hektor since his first day in Equestria: how the sky was so beautiful there and so different to the one he saw everyday of his life.

<<Even the air feels more fresh, more pleasant to breathe...maybe it depends on that magic stuff they always talk about.>> The words in his brain flowed calm as that morning near the border; birds were peacefully chirping and there were sporadic low laughs coming from the Equestrian border guards that, in small groups, were happily speaking between themselves.

What looked like the most peaceful scenario possible changed suddenly in Hektor’s mind when he came close enough to the checkpoint booth to hear an angry voice coming from the inside; a voice that sounded familiar to him.

The more he walked close to the door, the more it became clear that there was some kind of discussion in progress inside the building; after waiting for a moment of silence from the inside he knocked at the door, knowing that he would attract the focus of whoever was standing in, interrupting everything they were doing.

“It’s me, Hektor Popov...the Arstotzkan border Inspector.”

“Please come in, Inspector.” Princess Twilight’s voice was easily recognizable; there was something in it that was different; it was a mix of different emotions, but it was unclear which ones. The only thing to do was open the door and to understand what was happening.

In front of him were standing three Equestrians: he already knew that there was Princess Twilight, but he didn’t expect to see Flash Sentry, too; a smile grew on his face, seeing that the soldier was fine after all, despite the fact that the mortified expression on his muzzle could only mean trouble. The Inspector’s attention then fell on the third mare present in the booth, whose magnificence immediately hit the human. Not only was she almost as tall as him, but the white horn on her forehead and her wings were bigger than the ones he saw during all those days in Equestria.

Hektor’s face completely changed when, after a quick glance, he connected the white Alicorn that was standing in front of him with images he read on the book about Equestria given to him by Twilight; he had no doubt about it: he was standing in front of Princess Celestia herself, one of the rulers of Equestria and, as spelled in the book, raiser of the sun.

Without further waiting, he put his right hand on his chest and silently bowed his head, showing his respect for the two rulers that were standing inside the room.

A sincere smile grew on the white mare’s muzzle and, with grace and elegance, she raised her right hoof and bowed her head in response, an act that caught the human completely by surprise “It’s an honor to finally meet you in person, mister Inspector.” The respectful tone of the voice of the Alicorn changed swiftly, as there was serious business to attend to “I wish it would happen in a more calm situation. As you surely understand, we’re discussing important matters.”

Hektor rose his head, giving a nod of understanding “If you need privacy, I can leave you until you’ve-”

“Please stay here and close the door, Inspector.” A less than usual calm Twilight interrupted with a serious tone of voice “We’re speaking of matters regarding something that involves you too. I would you like to ask you a question, if possible.”

Hektor looked at the purple Alicorn for a long moment <<It’s clear that it’s something regarding Miss Flitter’s rescue.>> He focused his look on her, looking at how the calm face he learnt to know in the previous days was a demonstration of how she was irritated and serious in that moment. <<I could just say that she can’t question me regarding the matter, as I’m not under her jurisdiction, but...>> He hesitated a little, thinking about how she behaved with him since his first day in Equestria; then, after a quick nod, he followed the request she asked him.

“Flash Sentry told me everything regarding how you persuaded him to follow the course of action you all took to investigate Flitter’s disappearance.”

“He didn’t persuade me. We agreed on that plan together.” The orange guard spoke almost out of instinct, receiving a nod of agreement from the human that underlined the truth of his statement.

“Still, you decided to follow your plan.” Twilight underlined the last words in a more irritated way “Without telling anything to the other guards, or officers...or to me.”

While the conversation was going on, Hektor couldn’t not focus on two things that looked curious to him: first, Princess Celestia was remaining silent, without participating herself in a conversation that looked important; it was as if she was letting Twilight do everything, looking at how things were proceeding like a teacher looks at how a student is applying what is learnt during the lessons. It was a sensation complicated to explain.

What hit him the most was the second point; how the purple Alicorn was facing what clearly was a disciplinary procedure against Flash Sentry; she didn’t appear just angry or frustrated by the soldier’s action...there was a taste of sorrow in all her behaviour as she wasn’t enjoying that moment, different from Vonel and Varusov that toyed with his emotions.

“So, Inspector.” Twilight mentioning him brought him back to reality “Why didn’t you inform me? I wrote you in the past assuring that you could write to me everything you wanted.” She took some steps in his direction, looking at him with eyes that looked at the human more pleading than angry.

“It’s like this, Princess Twilight.” He answered slowly, looking in his mind for the proper words to spoke “You gave me no reasons to not trust you. Both I and Flash Sentry took in consideration the option of informing you...he was the first to propose it.” The blue maned stallion looked at the Princess, confirming everything with a nod.

“But the fear of losing the only opportunity of tracking down Miss Flitters led us to act without telling anything to anybody. We knew the time to act would be too long and maybe Mister Dari Ludum would sense the danger and take precautions.”

Twilight closed her eyes, as if she was meditating; a strange silence fell in the booth for a moment before she looked first at the Inspector and then at the Equestrian guard with a more determined expression.

“Both of you acted without following rules and hierarchies. Despite the final results, your actions could lead to great disaster and to diplomatic problems...and that’s intolerable.”

Both Flash Sentry and Hektor had no way to retort; it was true, both of them know that. While Flash Sentry bowed his head and lowered his ears, Hektor wasn’t able to remove his eyes from the purple Princess. She spoke similar words to the ones he heard back in Arstotzka but, as shortly before, her attitude was different from the ones his two accusers had towards him.

“I can’t decide anything regarding your position, Mister Inspector.” Twilight’s words distracted him from his flow of thoughts “But I want to let you know that I’m...disappointed.” The last word came with a sense of sadness that was completely out of context, something that hit Hektor’s mind and, apparently, took the attention of the silent Princess Celestia.

Twilight’s wings opened a little while pointing with her right hoof at the displeased orange guard “Regarding you Flash Sentry...I’ll decide which kind of decision to take later. In the meantime.” She stopped for a moment, looking the blue maned stallion in the eyes “You’re suspended for today.”

A deep silence fell in the booth. A puzzled Hektor looked at the Equestrian soldier that, despite his expectations, had no kind of reaction to the decision, as if he was expecting it.

“I’ll accept every kind of decision you’ll make, Princess.” Flash Sentry looked defeated and sad; his closed eyes and the bowed head were a difficult sight for the human to see. He felt guilty for the consequences the guard had to face.

“But I want to let you know that I would make the same decision again.” Flash added while giving a glance to the guard, smiling warmly at him as if to a good old friend, a smile that was immediately reciprocated by the Arstotzkan.

The purple Alicorn looked at the scene without saying anything; she looked serious yet, in a strange way, it looked like she was keeping to cover what she was really feeling in that moment.

<<Maybe it’s just my impression.>> Hektor thought while looking at the three Equestrians that were going to go out from the booth.

“Now we’ll leave to allow you to prepare for your day of work, Inspector.” Princess Celestia spoke again with her calm and soft voice, giving a sense of quiet to the Inspector “I hope that what you saw will not distract your mind from your duty. Everybody counts on you.” Hektor simply nodded to those words before giving a quick look to the other two Equestrians in the room, especially at Twilight, whose face wasn’t fitting the behaviour she kept until that moment.

“I wish you a good day, mister Inspector...please look at the rule book, as there is something important you have to read.” Celestia’s last words came with a wink impossible to understand.

<<New laws to apply too...a nice way to begin a new day.>> Frustration mixed in him mind, making a shake difficult to digest.

Without breaking the silence he barricaded himself in, he reached his beloved chair and gave a respectful bow to each of the three Equestrians that walked in front of him toward the door to Ponyville. A look of understanding and a last smile from Flash Sentry were the last thing he received before remaining alone in the room.

Hektor literally fell onto the chair, allowing all of his emotions to flow out of him; a liberating deep breath relaxed him and freed his mind for a moment from all the concerns that were occupying it...concerns that returned shortly after his look went to the Equestrian rule book.

After a clearly frustrated moan, he opened it as slow as possible, as if he intended to postpone the pain of memorizing new rules to apply; to his surprise, he found an hidden white envelope with a symbol he immediately recognized...a symbol he already saw before.

<<This is the symbol of the envelopes Princess Celestia sent me in the past.>>

Without any plausible idea regarding its content, the bald human opened it with a care he didn’t expect from himself; after taking the folded paper inside the envelope, he suited himself on the chair, reading its content with extreme attention.

Dear Inspector,

It was my decision to write you this letter without letting my faithful student Twilight know about it. So, as a promise, I kindly ask you to not talk about it with her; I don’t want to hurt her feelings by letting her know that I wrote about something regarding her without asking her permission.

I took such a decision because I think is right to let you know something important for the friendly relations you established with her; in case you’re wondering, she already spoke about her writing exchange with you and your meeting and I want to let you know that she has a high consideration of you.

I already digressed too much. Let’s pass to the main reason of this letter.

I’m sure you’ll be present when both I and Twilight will face our subject, Flash Sentry, for the Flitter disappearance case.

By the way, despite everything, I wish to deeply thank you for the efforts you made to help one of my ponies; even if your course of action were debatable, I’ll never forget what you did for her.

This told, I deeply want to let you know that the behaviour you’ll see from Twilight will not express her true feelings.

When she knew about the Flitter rescue, her first instinct was to find you, Flash Sentry and the other Arstotzkan soldier that helped to express all of her gratitude. I had to stop her. I had to tell her that she had to keep steady and that she had to keep a completely different attitude.

At the end of the day, you all broke the law; it’s something Twilight had to let Flash Sentry understand. It was difficult for me to persuade her, but in the end she couldn’t tell me no.

Maybe it’s difficult to understand, but both I and Twilight represent the power of Equestria. As rulers, we have to be the keepers of order for the sake of Equestria; that means that sometimes we have to make difficult choices to reach this goal, even if we are clearly against them. In this specific case: making clear that rules have to be respected for everybody’s sake.

I beg you to believe me when I say that my beloved Twilight felt really bad when she accepted to ground Flash Sentry for his behaviour. I sincerely hope that she will be able to keep the promise she made to me by following what are her royal duties.

I hope that she was able to learn something from this experience; she’s my faithful student after all, somepony I really care about.

I’m sharing these thoughts with you because, as Flash Sentry and Twilight already did, I decided to give you my trust Inspector...and I know I’m making the right choice.

I hope you’ll be able to become more close to Twilight once this event falls behind everypony’s back. She really wants to better know things of your world by the way, something with which I hope you’ll be able to help.

Yours truly,

Princess Celestia

While folding back the letter, Hektor felt a lot of different emotions flowing inside his mind. Was he really acting so good to gain the trust of so many Equestrians? Why were they putting their faith in him?

<<Will I be able to sustain such weight?>> The Inspector raised his head, looking at all the instruments placed on his desk, at the lines on the wall in front of him, at the two doors in the booth. He had to distract his mind somehow.

He turned the hourglass for the last time before work, meaning that there was still an entire hour to spend. His thoughts focused on what he experienced so early: it was strange to see how the rulers of Equestria used to call Flash Sentry, a common guard, without using titles or families did, as Equestrian rulers considered their own citizens as part of a whole, huge family.

All of these nice thoughts were overshadowed by all the considerations he read in the letter about the power, about the meaning of having a ruling role and all the responsibilities of such a kind of position.

Hektor shook his head, breathing deep while giving another look to the folder that was containing Princess Celestia’s letter before putting it in a pocket of his jacket. He opened the rule book, deciding to give it another look before work time.

<<Power.>> His mind went back at that concept for a moment <<I’ll never be able to understand how it works.>>


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31 October, 1983 - H. 07:00 - 16:00

“Glory to Arstotzka.” There wasn’t too much belief in Hektor’s voice, a clear sign of how the Inspector was facing his duty that day. The events of the morning had a deep impact on his morale; every action and every thought was made without enthusiasm and will, as he was some kind of machine programmed to just do his job.

After following with his eyes the walk toward the door for the portal by the female brown pegasus he allowed through, he gave a long stare to the hourglass, as if it would make the sand fall faster from the top to the bottom.

<<I hope the time will pass soon.>> He thought while turning the object upside down, allowing the sand to flow again before calling in the next traveller.

The sound made by the entrance door opening with too much force took the human by surprise; when he rose his head, he found in front of him a green mint mare with a light cyan mane. From the top of her horn to the bottom of her hooves she looked happy; too happy probably.

“Good morning Inspector, I’m so happy to see you again.” There was something in the joy painted on her muzzle that surprised the Inspector. After a brief moment of confusion, Hektor realized who the pony was; the look of the glove hanging in the middle of the pendant she was wearing let the Inspector smile for the first time in the day.

“Good morning, Miss Lyra.” Hektor found himself surprised; he was able to remember her name, even if there were lots of travellers that had come in front of him since that day. <<How could I forget somebody so fond of humans?>> He thought hiding a laugh.

“You remember my name, mister?” The mare stopped her trotting, looking astonished at the human she was facing “You’’re so kind.” She added, blushing a little for unknown reasons before patiently focusing on his hands, as she did before.

The expression of the human was serene as everything that happened before was blown away by that wind of joy that came inside the room with Lyra “It’s hard to forget the one to which I gave one of my gloves.” he said while pointing at the mentioned item, letting the mare blush more “By the can keep it without any problems. As you can see, I have a new pair now.” he added almost amused while raising both his hands, turning them to let her see the gloves he was wearing, which were practically identical to the one she had.

“I would not give it back either if you asked for it,” The answer came as a joyful teasing, something that made the Inspector smile again.

The peaceful moment they were living came to an end when the human regained a serious expression; it was time to think back to the work “I think you’re here to go back to Arstotzka so...Papers, please.” The voice of the human was gentle yet determined; at the sentence, Lyra answered with brief nod and, with calm, she looked inside the pockets of her pony size green heavy jacket for what she was asked for.

“I’m so happy to go back to your world.” She spoke as it was difficult for her to contain the excitement she was feeling in that moment “Your society is so interesting and I want to fully understand your history and your habits; but above all...” a happy giggle interrupted her speech for a moment, showing to the human her happiness “...I’ll be able to live again like a human.” She clapped her forehooves happily while a clueless Hektor sighed before beginning the routine check on the documents in front of him <<At least I don’t need to ask the motive of the travel.>> He thought shaking his head.

Issuing city: check; expiration date: check; entry ticket and validity: check - check; photo and information regarding the traveller: check - check. The eyes of the Inspector were rotating fast, proof of the attention he was putting in his work; he was indeed so focused on the papers that he didn’t notice how deeply the mint coloured mare was staring at him.

“I hope you’ll have a good time in Arstotzka.” Hektor said with a gentle tone while stamping the approval sign on Lyra’s passport “Cause no trouble, Miss Lyra. It was nice to see you again.”

“It was nice to see you too, Mister Inspector.” The reply came with a sincere happy expression that made her look cuter than before. After putting back all of her documents, she took from a pocket what looked like candies of many kinds of flavours. “I stole them from my best friend” She said with a poorly covered smirk “It’s a way to thank you for what you did for me back then.” A shade of red painted her muzzle while she looked away from the man in front of him “I-I hope you’ll like them.”

At the look of the rounded candies on his desk and of the embarrassed mare, Hektor smiled with a sincere happiness inside “I’m grateful for the thought, Miss Lyra. I’m sure they taste delicious.” He said while bowing his head, careful to not let his shapka fall down.

“I hope so, too. I risked my life to take them...If Bon Bon caught me-” she left her sentence unfinished, feeling shivers going down her body just at the thoughts of the imagined scenario.

After taking some steps back, Lyra raised her right hoof to salute the Inspector before trotting happily toward the portal. “I’ll be human again.” Hektor heard a little happy laugh before the door closed behind the unicorn.

Hektor removed his fur hat from his head, scratching it with his right hand while staring at the door through which the Equestrian went out <<How can our world be so appealing to her? I think here they live more happily.>> He mumbled clueless without being able to find a proper answer to his question; without looking any further for it, he focused on the candies, taking one of them at random; after tasting it, a satisfied smile made its way on his face <<One of the best chocolate flavoured candies I’ve ever tried.>> He could continue for hours, but he knew he couldn’t waste time; after putting the candies in a drawer, he worked to quickly regain his typical composure, adjusting his clothes and putting back the shapka where it belonged before speaking loudly the routine order for the travellers outside: “NEXT!”

The meeting with Lyra had positive effects on the Inspector; even the way he stamped the denial prints on the rejected travellers was more positive. His behaviour changed completely from the beginning of the day.

“How is it possible that you didn’t know the rule regarding the mandatory dressing, mister? Do you say that it was indeed strange to see almost everypony dressed while in the line outside the booth? Now you know why. DENIED.”

“Please refrain from offering me bits to allow your passage even if you haven’t an entry ticket miss or I’ll have to call the guards. DENIED...and please take back your money from my desk.”

The scene of the royal guards dealing with the angry unicorn that tried to bribe him lasted less than a minute; they had no problem immobilizing the defenseless pony and to bring him out of the room while menacing him with their lances.

With a neutral expression Hektor followed every piece of action that happened in front of him, a scene that made think about something in silence. <<It’s a good thing they made this place magic-proof...I already met too many Equestrians that could cause problems with this talent they have.>> A thought that came while deeming how easy it was for the guards to prevail over the unicorn

Thinking again about what had happened, the human realized that Flash Sentry, for the first time since he worked there in Equestria, wasn’t there. A sigh underlined the regret he felt for everything that happened to the guard, until his mind went back to his duties as a checkpoint Inspector, something that saved him plenty of times from bad thoughts and regrets.

Antegrians, Arstotzkans, Griffons, Kolechians, Equestrians...dealing with the travellers presenting their papers to him was the best way to avoid thinking about his problems, about the life he was living, about the fact that despite all of his efforts he was barely able to bring home the money needed to pay the rent and coal for the heater and to buy what was necessary to prepare a meal for him and Katia.

<<Judging by the way they behave here, I think that life here is better.>> It was not the first time Hektor found himself thinking about it. The thought was becoming more and more frequent.

“Cause no trouble.” He said to the Crystal pony he had just approved before calling in the next applicant without even waiting for the exit of the previous one.

“I see you’re doing good work here, Inspector.” A known voice coming from the entrance door led Hektor’s eyes in that direction; a brief look to the light green earth pony that was walking toward him allowed him to immediately understand who he was facing. Despite the switch to the Equestrian body, it was easy to figure out the identity of who was coming near his desk.

“Good morning, Jorji.” Hektor spoke while giving to him an amused look caused by his new look “Even in your Equestrian form it’s easy to recognize you.”

“I think I look great in this pony body.” The old man replied while focusing on every part of his new body; hooves, mane...he kept his beard too, not to mention the almost closed eyes that distinguished him “You instead always look awful with your dull should consider the idea of looking more easy going.”

“You’re not the first to tell me this.” Hektor admitted while letting go a sigh of resignation before showing his right open palm to Jorji “Papers, Please.”

With the calm that characterized him, the human in pony shape took what he was asked for from an internal pocket of his dark brown jacket, giving them to the Inspector with some difficulty “It’s not easy to fully understand how the’re able to grab things with...these.” He sentenced while looking at his own hooves with a perplexed expression.

A smirk lasted on Hektor’s face for few seconds before it turned serious again, meaning that all of his focus went on his checking routine. An eyebrow rose and a frustrated face were clear signs of the fact that something was wrong “The passport expired two weeks ago...were you really were able to pass with this kind of document? Even the issuing city is wrong.”

As expected, Jorji didn’t look worried at all from the matter raised in that moment; he simply looked at the bald human, keeping his usual and steady attitude “The actual Arstotzkan Inspector didn’t tell me anything about that...he was more interested at what I was telling him regarding Obristan girls...I think you could be interested, too.”

With a self-explanatory face, Hektor looked at the pony in front of him while stamping the denial print on the passport, before giving it back with the entry ticket that, unexpectedly, was in order “I’m sorry Jorji. I can’t let you pass with incorrect documents...even if you were able to cross the Arstotzkan border.”

“Don’t worry, I understand you.” The old man didn’t look angry or nervous at all “I’m sure I’ll be able to find here someone that will be able to sell me proper documents...luckly I brought money with me to face every drawback I could find here.”

<<Really?>> Hektor found himself thinking in that moment while staring at Jorji that, stoically, was preparing himself to go out from the booth.

“I hope to be able to find where that nice pink mare lives.” Jorji spoke while trying to scratch his light green forehead “Maybe you already met her...she has a positive attitude and it’s nice to stay with her; she even promised to organize a party for me. I hope she will be willing to give me hospitality for the night, as I don’t know where I could go.”

Hektor understood immediately who he was talking about; his eyes became wide when an idea came in his mind “Maybe you’re referring to miss Pinkie Pie? The one to which you suggested to come here with a completely fake passport to try to cross the border?”

“I hoped she would be able to pass.” Jorji answered with a disappointed tone of voice “To tell the truth I tried this idea in the past...and I was unlucky, too.”

With the certainty about the fact that both of them were talking of the same pony, Hektor continued “She told me that you can just ask any Ponyville inhabitant where she seems that everybody knows her.” While speaking, he put the right hand in one of the pockets of his jacket to grab a sheet of paper he brought from home “Considering that you’ll meet her for sure, can you gave this to her?”

“I just have to keep a promise.” He added after looking at the interrogative glance the bearded pony game him; with a quick nod and an affirmative sentence. He assured the Inspector that he would fulfill this task with no problem.

“Maybe next time I’ll come here you could look the other way, as a thanking gift for a friend?” The face made by the Inspector was a sufficient answer to Jorji that, without saying anything more, saluted the Arstotzkan before going out from the room.

Once alone, Hektor allowed himself to laugh <<I’ll look forward to the day you’ll finally have proper documents...or for the day I’ll have to let you be escort by the guards to the jail, Jorji.>> He waited to become serious again before calling the next applicant into the booth.

It wasn’t easy to keep the calm with the travellers that came after Jorji. Of the seven travellers that came after him, six of them had improper papers and, to worsen the situation, each of them let him lose time in long and useless explanations, as nopony was willing to listen him properly; the border guards had to intervene several times to solve the problem.

One of the rejected Equestrians, a white unicorn with expensive elegant clothes and a blonde finely combed mane, said something that attracted Hektor’s interest while escorted out from the booth:

“Your inferior race should not bear such responsibilities as guarding the border between two worlds. You’re unreliable for sure...not to mention the barbarian behaviour you humans have. The cruel way you humans mistreated that poor Pegasus lady is a clear example of what I mean to say.”

The personal opinion of somepony that came in front of him saying that he needed any kind of passport to travel. As his high rank and status allowed him to do everything he wanted to, wasn’t important to him; the fact that puzzled him was that other ponies shared the same sentiment, something that could bring trouble in the near future.

Even the way the guards looked at him was, for a moment, unsettling; it was clear that the actions of Dari Ludum had a very negative impact on the way Equestrians saw humans.

<<And I can’t blame them.>> Hektor shook his head, letting out a worried breath <<Come to think of it, people in Arstotzka did exactly the same.>>

His thoughts were interrupted by a white soldier wearing the royal guard armor that, suddenly, opened the entrance door in an unexpected rushed way, making it bang on the wall.

“Mister Inspector...Princess Twilight Sparkle is waiting outside to come in.”

Hearing the news, Hektor’s expression changed completely <<What is she doing here? Maybe she has to cross the border...or maybe she wants to speak again about Flash Sentry.>>

Wondering was just a waste of time and he knew that “Please let her come in.” he said while adjusting the gloves on his hands by pulling them to let them fit better.

Twilight came in alone, even if at least five guards with a particular kind of uniform were clearly visible before the door closed.

“Good day, human.” Twilight said with a distant voice, looking at the human in front of her that, in response, bowed his head in a respectful way more than usual.

“It’s nice to see you again, Princess Twilight.” The response of the human was met by a little smile that, in a sort of strange way, looked like a smirk for a second. “Do you have to cross the border for Arstotzka or-”

“Urgent matters are calling me into your world. It seems that your bosses have to talk with me.” Her way of speaking was harsh and fast; it was difficult to know if because she had no time to lose or because she was still keeping a grudge with him for what had happened.

Despite everything, he was still facing one of the rulers of Equestria and he had to behave properly; there was no room in that moment for anything less that fulfilling his duties “Then I have to check your papers, Princess Twilight.” He said with a calm voice while inviting her to come near the desk.

To his surprise, his request was met by a irritated expression of the purple Alicorn “I have no time for bureaucracy matters. Let me immediately pass.” Her tone of voice was one that didn’t allowed any kind of response, but regardless Hektor kept calm and didn’t move from his position.

“Please have to understand that the Ministry of Admissions instructed me in checking the documents of every traveller that came in, regardless their status or role.” He looked straight into Twilight eyes while speaking; it was clear that she was annoyed by the situation, but there was something more than rage in her eyes; something that he had not seen before.

Those same eyes closed while a frustrated sigh came from the Princess mouth “Alright, but be fast.” She just said while taking from the internal part of her purple elegant dress the passport and the entry ticket.

The human smiled while taking the papers from Twilight’s hoof and, with extreme attention, began to examine them. There were no flaws and every piece of information looked correct. He then stopped for a moment on the picture of her muzzle, realizing how the serene and cute expression on it was completely different from the one she had in that moment.

...too different.

Suddenly, his look went on the lines painted on the wall in front of him; he needed a few seconds to see that the height on the passport was different from the Alicorn he was facing. He knew that the document could not be exact about it, it happened before...but it was another slight difference that added with other ones.

His focus went back on Twilight, who had clearly enough of waiting.

“Princess Twilight. I know that it will sound strange but...may I check your cutie mark?”

The expression on her face became a mix of concern and frustration; it was difficult to see which of the two side was dominating. Regardless, her reaction was judged strange by the Inspector, whose look became more serious.

“Are you insulting me, human? I’ll be sure to report everything to your superiors once I’m in your world.” The eyes of the purple Alicorn became menacing in a way Hektor never saw before; everything in her pose was shouting danger, especially the dark expression that was dominating her face. To her surprise, the Inspector didn’t falter, keeping the eye contact with the Equestrian while moving his left hand under his desk, looking for something specific.

Since the day he came in Equestria, he had never used that kind of button; the rule book was specific in stating that it’s preferable to use this function only if deemed necessary, as it could cause problems to the traveller, hurting him/her; he kept in high regard such a kind of warning, deciding to use it only as a last resort in extremely doubtful situations.

The kind of situation he was in that moment.

Twilight had just the time to see a little smirk on the human’s face before listening to a feeble *click* sound coming from the desk’s underside; then, something that she wasn’t expecting happened.

The Princess gave an interrogative look to the human, remaining silent for some seconds before, suddenly, closing her eyes and grinding her teeth, in a pure state of pain.

She began to move all around the room, waving her head in desperation in front of an astonished Inspector; he didn’t know what was happening, but he was right: he wasn’t facing Princess Twilight at all.

She then faced again the Inspector, giving him a horrifyingly angry look; Hektor took a few steps back while looking at Twilight’s eyes that, slowly, were changing color, passing from the light purple he knew to a strange shade of green.


The shout from the Alicorn came with a different and much more hoarse tone of voice; the time to consider that aspect was practically zero, as a sudden green flame engulfed the mare completely, allowing him to see her body no more.

<<Is-Is she burning? Was this the consequence of using the anti-changeling system?>> All of his thoughts were interrupted by the creature that was standing in front of his wide open eyes.

Instead of a purple Princess, there was what could be described as a mix between a pony and a bug; the black body had some holes at the hooves level, something that immediately took the human’s attention. When his sight rose again, he focused on the bug-like wings and on the unstraight horn on the forehead.

<<Is she some kind of Alicorn, too?>> He found himself thinking while looking at the face of the green coated mare that, in those long seconds, looked calm and quiet.

That moment of peace lasted little; the creature took a deep breath and, finally, opened her eyelids, showing to the human in front of her two dark, green and menacing eyes.

“Finally. I couldn’t stand that sound anymore.” she said with a smirk to the helpless human who was trying to keep calm in front of a creature he never saw before.

“I can sense your well hidden panic...and it’s nice.” Her voice became almost sensual at the same pace of her muzzle “I have to admit that I didn’t expect them to build an anti-changeling system. I didn’t expect to be discovered by you, to tell the truth.”

The silence after those words was broken by loud sounds coming from outside of the booth; shouts, panic, sound of wood and iron was as a battle was happening outside.

“If you’re wondering what is happening outside” The Changeling spoke when she saw the Inspector staring at the entrance door “I can just say that I wasn’t subjects followed me to give me cover in case of a situation like this.” she added at last while not look away from her interlocutor, whose focus passed back on her “You can stay relaxed, as nobody will disturb us for now.”

Despite the fact that his head was firm, Hektor’s eyes moved left and right very fast in search of something he could use to defend himself if it was needed. The time he had to focus on that activity was cut to zero as the black Changeling, with a more determined expression on her muzzle, drew near the desk “I see you’re trying to figure out a solution to your problem...whoever told me that you humans are good thinkers was true. You would be a good subject to my hive.”

“But.” the word came while she bended all of her four holed legs “I can’t let you think of any sort of idea...and I can’t lose any more time here. So…”

She didn’t finish her sentence as she turned her back to the surprised human. He hadn’t the time to react to her swift action; he had just the time to feel a huge pain to the head.

The last things he was able to see were two hind hooves directed straight to his face.


Apparent calm

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The taste of the cigarette was sweeter than usual; as he slowly inhaled the smoke to let it fill his lungs, Hektor rose his head with his eyes closed, as to better feel the sensation it was giving to all of his body.

After a few seconds he opened his eyelids; in front of him, the sun was painting the sky a splendid color whose shade was something between orange and red. That huge red globe of light was slowly lowering itself between two big hills. There were no clouds, no people, nobody...except for Sarah and Yara who, between a joke and a laugh, were enjoying what was left of the food of the picnic.

The man let the smoke come out from his mouth while staring at his wife and his daughter; they were so beautiful, so happy. Looking at them was enough to find the will of struggling to keep living.

It was beautiful for him to see the ones who he loved the most so happy. It was a nice view for him.

...a view that, suddenly, made him smile in a strange and sad way.

“Memories...a sweet and bitter shelter in which we hide sometimes” he mumbled while turning his focus to the sky above him, focusing on the first stars that, despite the still brightened sky, were beginning to appear.

“So thou are aware that here is no reality.”

A loud and solemn voice coming out of nowhere took Hektor by surprise, stopping him from taking another puff of his cigarette. When he looked back at the ground, his daughter and wife weren’t there anymore; there was just a wonderful yet empty natural panorama.

“They had to be so close to your heart to be in thine dream.” The feminine voice spoke again, this time from behind the Inspector who, with more calm than expected, turned to check the source of that sentence.

An astonished expression was painted on his face when his stare fell on the being that was looking at him: a dark blue Alicorn with a long, sparkling mane coloured like a dark and serene night with a serious yet calm expression on her muzzle. A glance to the cutie mark of the mare, a white quarter of moon on a completely black flank. Hektor didn’t need much time to realize who was standing in front of him; Twilight’s book had entire chapters regarding her.

“ are Princess Luna, if I’m not mistaken.” The human spoke with a respectful voice that let his interlocutor smile while her nice light blue eyes were following the movement of the human that, after his sentence, bowed his head.

“Thou are correct, Inspector.” She drew nearer to the human who, probably to fight the nervousness he was feeling, took a drag of his cigarette in silence.

“When we discovered that thou were dreaming while collapsed after the events at the checkpoint, we realized that it was the perfect occasion to know the one responsible of Arstotzka and, above all, Equestria’s safety.” There was both determination and pure curiosity in her behaviour; she was able to show authority with every movement she made but, for unknown reasons, Hektor felt no sort of discomfort. It was clear that she had no evil intentions.

“While collapsed…” The human repeated those worlds “Do you mean I’m unconscious in this moment?”

The Princess nodded briefly without losing eye contact with him “The fact thou are dreaming means that you’re alive, if you’re wondering about it.” It wasn’t easy to understand if the smile on her face, appeared after the reaction of the human to that sentence, meant amusement or something else.

That moment lasted little, as the face of the dark blue Alicorn became suddenly serious “While talking about the topic, we need ask you what happened inside the booth?” She folded her large wings, looking smaller than before in front of Hektor’s eyes “We know that changelings heavily attacked the checkpoint between our worlds...were they able to breach through our defences?”

Hektor’s right hand reached his head, still covered by the shapka made by Rarity and Sweetie Belle; it was as the pain felt when hit by that strange creature came back, annoying him in a disturbing way. Nevertheless, he had to answer to Luna’s question.

“Allow me gather my thoughts. I want to fill you in with every detail of what happened.”

Between a blow from his cigarette and a stare at the sunset, Hektor began to explain in every detail what happened in the checkpoint booth, answering every question the dark blue Alicorn asked him. Despite the calm attitude she was pretending to have, her muzzle betrayed discomfort and worry; her eyes, dark as the night, were the perfect place in which Hektor could find such kind of emotions.

“So it was all a plan from Chrysalis to try to pass the portal...but why?” The right hoof reached her chin while her sight left the Inspector’s face, as she needed to focus on something else to better sort her thoughts.

“Do you know the identity of the creature that attacked me?” The question came while both of his hands were busy lightning another cigarette, despite the fact that he remembered he didn’t have any left <<Advantages of dreams, I think>> he found himself briefly think while smiling a little.

“Thou were attacked by the Queen of the Changelings, human. You’re lucky to be alive.” Hektor had just the time to process for a second what he had just heard before the Princess continued to speak in a more worried way “But then...why did she wanted to reach thine world?” She became silent for a moment, clearly lost in thought.

“Was she able to cross the portal, human?” The determination and the authority in her eyes were uncommon; it wasn’t easy to sustain such a kind of sight. “I’m sorry, but as I said I was knocked out by that...being. I can’t confirm what happened next.” His eyes went to the lowering sun whose light didn’t hurt his eyes, allowing him to gaze again the wonderful Equestrian sunset with an expression of disappointment that surprised Luna.

“I wasn’t able to do my job, Princess. I wasn’t able to defend the border from unauthorized trespassing.” All the words that could flow out from his mouth stopped in his mind; there was no need of adding anything less, nor to annoy a ruler of a foreign world with babbling regarding his feelings.

To his surprise, a nice, genuine smile crossed the Alicorn’s face “Thou couldn’t do anything more...besides, thou actions were really important for us.” The interrogative expression of the Inspector let her understand that she had to better explain “Uncovering her allowed us to know that something is going on. Without you, we wouldn’t be in alarm...and that could lead us to future disaster.”

“Now, instead, we can plan the next move knowing that the Changelings are planning something...something that probably involves thine world, too.”

Shivers went through Hektor’s spine <<Why else would she be so eager to come to Arstotzka?>> words that weighed in his mind like a mountain; in those hours, Katia could be in trouble and he could do nothing about it.

Lost in his thoughts, the Inspector didn’t realize how the Princess shortened her distance from him “I’ll go to inform my sister about what you told me. We have to ponder our next actions.” She looked at the human in front of her, showing him a gentle smile, as she wanted to reassure him “In the meantime, I suggest thou rest. You’re in Ponyville hospital and doctors are taking care of you. I think that by tomorrow you’ll be able to wake up.”

“I hope so.” Hektor simply said while focusing on the clear, red sky.

“Do you know what is the main difference I found between our words, Princess Luna?”

The question surprised the dark blue mare; she tried to look in the same direction the man was looking in, realizing that there was nothing of particular that could gave her a proper answer “No, human. I wasn’t able to see thine lands yet, to be honest.”

The brown eyes of the human were still aimed in the same spot: the sunset “Your sky is clearer, nicer...more pure.” He took the needed time to take another blow from his cigarette “You were able to keep your sky beautiful...something that we thought wasn’t necessary.”

“We decided that progress, power and organization were more important than anything...and then our sky became grey.” He added while looking at the Princess for a brief moment before focusing on what remained of his cigarette to not see what kind of reaction she could have to his words.

She just stared at him, smiling again.

“We want to let you know that we’ll ensure that you don’t nightmare until you wake’s the least we can do for everything you did from the day thou fulfilled thine duty to Equestria.” She made some step backwards before bowing her head, showing respect the Inspector would never expect. “We wish you a farewell Inspector. We suggest thou recover your energy, as thou will need them as soon as thou can get up.”

The man simply nodded steadily, looking the Princess straight in the eyes “I deeply thank you, Princess Luna. I hope to go back to my work as soon as possible.”

She closed her eyes for a moment and, after a brief smile, she turned her back to the human while walking away from his sight. When he was left alone, he looked at the spot where Yara was playing with her mum, allowing his memories to flow again, in an unstoppable torrent of nostalgia.


1 November, 1983 - H. 01:00 - 03:00

The loud sound of steps were echoing in the almost empty gray corridor of an underground facility placed somewhere in Arstotzka. There were two different kind of sounds: the first one was heavy, caused by two pairs of heavily reinforced shoes; the second one was much lighter but still well cadenced, a sign of the fact that there was somebody walking in a very determined way.

The two Arstotzkan guards that were guarding the iron door leading to the conference room saw, in the brief light provided by some neon light on the roof, three people that were coming closer: two of them were wearing their same suit, meaning that they were of the same side...the third one, however, was the one that caught their attention.

A slim girl of a strange yet undeniable beauty was walking between the two soldiers. Her pale face, surrounded by long straight slim green hair, was relaxed and calm...her eyes, however, were fixed on the two men in front of her in a way that, for a moment, disturbed them so much that both felt chills flowing down their spine.

She was a dangerous lady...a dangerous Equestrian, considering the strange black distorted horn on her forehead and the stranger bug wings on her back.

When the group drew near, the two guards near the door stood in their position, standing at the position of attention to show their respect to the girl...she was surely the one they were waiting for.

“Queen Chrysalis, you’re waited for inside.” One of the soldiers spoke to the girl who, in response, gave him a sly smile that made him turn his gaze away; without knowing why, he felt threatened by that same glare in a way he couldn’t react, something that didn’t escape the other soldier’s attention.

The pale Queen took a step forward and waited for her escort to open the doors. Her green deep eyes could stare, from that moment, at the big gray room to which she was gaining access. A satisfied smile made its way on her face, a sign of approval of the well placed furniture that beautified the space; elegant yet not vulgar or too tawdry. her attention, in the end, finished on the big brown round table, near which three men were seated with some kind of paper in front of them...near which there was a wooden chair with a high backrest with some fine golden lines refining the structure.

From the farther point from the door a black officer with a pair of rounded glasses raised his head, looking at the new guest for a moment before showing her the same seat she was focusing on with a move of his right hand “Queen Chrysalis...please take your seat and join us. We were waiting for you.” His flat tone of voice had something that disturbed the Queen; yet she knew that it was not the time of babbling...she choose to come there for a reason.

“Finally I meet you...I was tired of communicating with you just through agents.” She slowly walked to the indicated point, seating in the chair with a regal attitude and enjoying the comfort provided by her seat “I didn’t expect to see that there is even another member coming from my world, though.” She added while focusing on one of the members of the meeting that, judging by his body, wasn’t an human at all.

“My name is Kaeloth, Queen Chrysalis...ambassador of the Griffonian Kingdom.” The winged man rose for a moment from his chair to give to the girl a respectful bow that was liked by her, as shown by the satisfied grin on her face “Finally I have the honor to meet the ruler of the Changeling population...I want to express my esteem for your organization and my deepest sorry for how the Equestrian kingdom treated you and is continuing to treat you.” He added with a serious tone of voice while sitting back without turning away his focus from the pale horned girl he was facing.

<<Ambassadors would do and say anything to gain the approval of the one their talking to.>> The Queen thought while showing a smile of approval before becoming serious, waiting in silence to know if her trip and the incident she had to face at the Equestrian border were really worth the effort.

Her wait lasted just few moments.

A blonde man wearing a high officer’s brown jacket stood from his chair, clearing his throat before speaking “I’m glad to see both of you today around this table, representatives of Griffonia and of the Changelings. Both I, Konstant Varusov, and Mister Vonel here, member of the Ministry of Information, were eagerly waiting for this moment...the moment to finally meet who we hope to have as future allies.”

Neither Chrysalis nor Kaeloth showed any sort of reaction to that opening statement; it was clear that the M.O.A. officer was able to attract all of their attention, as they were looking at him with interest. Figuring that out, the man smiled before continuing his speech.

“When the portal between our worlds opened, we could only have relations with the Kingdom of Equestria...fortunately, we were able to have contact with you, to know that there were more skillful, more organized and more prepared nations than the one to which we have to share our invisible border.”

“Tonight it’s Arstotzka’s intention of creating a new forge a powerful chain that will unite our three nations in a growing project that will allow us to become more powerful in every aspect we mean to grow.” The words flowed out from his mouth with a charisma that immediately had the approval of the Griffonian Ambassador.

It was immediately clear that Varusov wasn’t able to have the same effects on the Changelings Queen, who reacted to that speech with a loud, evil laugh.

“Why should I consider an alliance with the same nation that brutally murdered one of my subjects?” Even if her sentence came while laughing, all the people seated understood the rage and the hostility she was feeling towards them “Not to mention that there are also chickens involved in this deal...a race that personally I don’t like.”

The reaction of the Griffonian Ambassador to those harsh words was immediately stopped by the sound of a moving chair; all the eyes went on the dark agent who, without any expression of emotion on his face, began to slowly walk toward the Queen.

“I’m sure you knew that we couldn’t allow a spy from an unknown country to come into our territory to scout our activities. We had to act for our you did with our spy sent into your hive, as you Changelings call your lands, days ago.”

The faces of all those present changed to that news; the one that struck Vonel’s attention was Chrysalis who, in a weird way, hinted a satisfied smile while looking with more interest at that weird, impassive man who was able to talk about issues of death without any concern.

“And as a ruler, you’ll surely understand that the alliance Arstotzka wants to offer to both yours and the Griffonian nation is not an alliance moved by true love for your kind, but from other interests...power, information...advantages over other nations that will not be included in this deal.” He stopped his movements to face all the three representatives at the table, whose focus couldn’t be at a higher level.

“Such as Equestria, for example...a nation that has a deep knowledge of this strange kind of energy called magic, that lives on green and fertile lands, that has plenty of resources and that isn’t able to proficiently exploit them...resources that I’m sure our nations could better use.”

A sly smile made its way on the M.O.A. agent’s face, something so unusual that seriously hit Varusov’s mind; it wasn’t easy to see him smile, even in that threatening way “Actually we have to deal with them, as they represent our door to your world...but a nation inhabited by beings who aren’t able to control their own border.”

“We were already able to gain total control of the portals between the worlds; with your help, we together could be able to gain more than that...and I think both of your nations are interested in gaining power through the demise of Equestria...or at least revenge, judging by the intel that reached my desk.” Those last words came out from Vonel’s mouth while he gave a quick glance to the horned Queen, who looked more willing to cooperate than before.

“You surely know that Equestria is one of the strongest nations on our continent, despite what you said, Mister Vonel.” Kaeloth took the right of speak without asking anybody while stretching his wings, relaxing a little in silence before going on “Their knowledge of magic is difficult to fight, not to mention their army and the power of the Princesses and their heroes: the Bearers of the Elements...they were able to tame the God of Chaos, not to mention what they were able to fight and beat in the past.”

Those words struck Chrysalis’ pride hard, who let escape a bitter grimace; her people and herself were beaten by the same ponies that the Griffonian was referring to.

“There wasn’t an entire powerful nation from another world willing to fight them in the past, I think.” Varusov rose from his chair, too, attracting everybody’s attention “They have magic, but we have other kind of weapons that they don’t know how to fight...while by cooperating we will all be able to have enough knowledge to surpass them.” The brief nods of approval from the parallel world’s guests were all that the blond officer needed to see.

“Tomorrow the portal will surely be closed due to the chaos brought by our guest and due to the...forced rest our border Inspector had to take.” A direct yet not angry glare reached the Queen, who limited herself to smile in a not likely evil way. “We’ll have plenty of time to discuss the terms of our cooperation.

“I think it would be useful to clarify something that I see is bothering you.” Vonel took advantage of the brief silence came after Varusov received the approval of both the parallel world’s guests to speak again while adjusting his glasses on his nose “Regarding the Equestrians you mentioned Ambassador, the information I received from our agents in Equestria let me understand what the reasons are for their winning...cooperation and powerful inner magic.”

“Allow me to tell you this: it’s simple to divide a group to deal with them one by one...and regarding their power...” A dark smile transformed the calm face of the black agent, who showed again, to Chrysalis’ pleasure, how he could become self confident and dangerous.

“I think it’s enough to say that here magic doesn’t work.”

The Changeling Queen smiled, perfectly knowing what it could mean.

Rise and Shine

View Online

1 November, 1983 - H. 09:00 - 12:00

“Can you please stop moving, Mister Hektor? It’s already hard to check your health condition, considering that it’s the first time I have worked on a human.”

The frustration of the white earth pony that was standing next to the row of small beds on which the Inspector was laying on was evident. The little drops of sweat coming from the bottom of her light pink mane were a sign of her struggling; checking a being two times larger and heavier than her, a being which she didn’t know anything about, clearly wasn’t a sunday morning trip.

“I’m truly sorry for the trouble I’m causing you, Nurse Redheart.” The sentence of the human ended with a brief groan of pain coming from the part of his head hit by the Changeling Queen the day before; both his hands went to his forehead, as they if could magically soothe the ache he was feeling...something that didn’t happen.

“You were hit hard, mister...and the wall behind didn’t help you at all.” The nurse smiled in a comforting way while looking at both of Hektor’s brown eyes, making a positive expression from which he was able to understand that she was satisfied by what she saw “From what the guard told us, you were hit so hard that you flew for a few meters...yet you’re still alive. You sure have a thick head, mister.” She added while taking from a closet with a red cross, similar to the one she had on her flanks, long, white bandages.

“My mother-in-law tells me the same thing everyday.” The human replied with a sincere tone while pressing both of his hands to his head in a futile attempt of controlling the pain he was suffering, without noticing the little laugh that came from the pony nurse after his sentence.

“Dammit!” The imprecation from the human came all of a sudden “Katia! I have to let her know that I’m still here and-”

“You do not have to worry, Mister Hektor. Our authorities have already informed your family about your situation.” Redheart answer allowing the Inspector to gain calm again. After a deep breath, he rested his head again on the white, comfortable pillow on which it was laying on before “I’ll have to thank whoever did that. I was able to survive a Changeling Queen attack...but I assure you that I would not be able to stand the rage of my mother-in-law.”

“I’m sure she is happy to know that you’re alright.” The white pony spoke with a gentle voice while putting a cold, wet towel on the human’s head who, in the same instant it touched his head, smiled in a way that let the nurse know how he was enjoying that sensation.

“Speaking of your health, I can tell you that despite the headache everything is good.” Her explanation came while her light blue eyes were focused on some papers she was holding with her right hoof. “I think you’ll be able to face the visitors that are waiting outside.” She added while smiling warmly at the human, enjoying the surprised expression that came after the news she gave him.

“Visitors?” He raised an eyebrow from under the wet towel, receiving a nod from the nurse in answer “Some are important ponies too...I think their visit is related to your position, Inspector.” She became serious in an unexpected way, showing what could be seen as worry on her muzzle.

“Can I ask you something, Mister Hektor?” The mare walked near the beds on which the man was lying on and spoke with a lower tone of voice. With an interrogative expression, he simply nodded, waiting for the question.

“Are we in danger, Mister?” She looked more unsure...almost scared, despite the serious expression behind which she was trying to cover her true feelings “Yesterday it was hard to cure all the wounded soldiers...and this is not the first time we have had trouble since the opening of the portal to your world.”

The mare bowed her head in silence for a second, giving Hektor some time to think about what he had just heard.

“So I wanted to ask you...can we feel really safe? Was it really good to begin to know your world?”

For few seconds, Hektor’s eyes didn’t leave Redheart’s muzzle; she was uncertain, yet focused on the one that could hopefully give her the answer she was looking for.

“I’m really sorry, Miss Redheart, but you’re asking a really important question to the wrong person.” The sincere tone of the human struck the nurse, who bowed her head again in disappointment.

“I’m just a plain employee that work for two thirds of my day in a small room, with the task of checking passports and to avoid bureaucratic problems, both in your world and mine.” While speaking, he could see the white pony’s ears were raised, a clear sign of attention that gave Hektor the will to continue.

“I can just tell you that there are good and bad people, just as there are good and bad ponies...and I know that because I see them everyday.” He stopped briefly to move his head, moving his eyes to look at the white roof of the room “I don’t know if things will work out fine or not, I do not have this knowledge. I just know that every day brings something new...something that can be positive or negative.” While staring at the roof, the human didn’t notice that Redheart was looking at him, focused on every single word that was leaving his mouth.

“I can just hope that everything will turn alright...and that there will be no more incidents like yesterday...for my sake, too.” He smiled while turning his attention to a more relaxed white pony.

“Listening to you was a sufficient answer, Mister.” She smiled before turning her back to the human to reach the entrance door “I’ll tell everyone outside that you are able to receive visits.” Her right hoof reached the door handle and pushed it to open the door “You should avoid loud sounds, stressful situations, and-”

All of a sudden, the door was opened so strongly that it slammed on the near wall, hitting Nurse Redheart in the process and making her fall to the floor. From the entrance, three little rockets with hooves made their way into the room with worried expressions on their faces.

“MISTER HEKTOR! MISTER HEKTOR! ARE YOU ALRIGHT??” Sweetie Belle rushed to the beds where Hektor was lying, putting her little forehooves on one of them to be able to stand and to see the human’s face. “I was so scared when I heard what happened yesterday!!!” It was possible to see a sincere worry in her eyes and in her expression, something that let the Inspector smile warmly to her.

“It seems I’m still alive...luckily I had a nice hat made by somepony I know that protected my head.” A white lie, considering that it wasn’t made of any sort of tough material...a lie that let the little white unicorn stood there speechless for few seconds. “Especially the front part, from where I was hit, where there is a certain particular mark made by another somepony I know.” The pain he was feeling wasn’t enough to prevent him from smiling at the joyful expression that Sweetie Belle made.

“Were ya scared when ya faced the Changeling Queen?” Applebloom raised on her back hooves to reach the beds height, looking at the hurt human in front of her with the curiosity that, as Hektor could see, was the same children had in his world.

“You were able to uncover the Changeling Queen while transformed? How did you do that?” Scootaloo asked, as the other two fillies, reached the Inspector to question him about whatever they wanted to.

“Hey!” Applebloom gave a push with her left hoof to the orange filly “I asked him a question first.”

“You should not disturb him with stupid questions!”

“I was the first to talk to him.” Sweetie Belle broke into the discussion between the two fillies...a discussion that became a mess of sounds and yelling whose only concrete result was raising the headache Hektor was feeling.

When he looked away from the three little mares, he saw two ponies figures that were covering their laughs between their hooves: one was the same nurse that told him to avoid any chaotic situation...the second was an orange pony with a blue mane that was easy to recognize, despite the lack of armor.

“You promised me that you would not cause any sort of trouble if I would bring you here.” Flash Sentry said with a serious tone of voice to the three friends that were still standing near Hektor while smiling “Maybe you didn’t notice that your yelling is just hurting our friend.”

At those words Applebloom, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle‘s mood changed completely; all of them stared at the human with a sincerely mortified expression “We’re sorry.” They said in unison before leaving the upper side of the bed, standing again on their four hooves.

“You’ve not to be sorry. I’m really happy you came to check my condition.” He smiled at the three fillies, waiting for their attention before continuing “When my condition improves, I promise that I’ll come to visit you, so that you’ll be able to ask me every question you want.”

“REALLY?? YAY!!!” The voices of the little fillies gave so much pain to Hektor’s head that he almost repented for the promise he had made.

“Come on girls.” Nurse Redheart walked towards the three little ponies with a reassuring smile “Mister Hektor here has to rest...and he can’t do that with you three yelling and speaking. He promised you that he will listen to you when he feels the meantime, let him rest.”

All of them nodded to the white mare. With a warm smile, they saluted the human on the bed before rushing out from the room while discussing which one had the right of asking the first question to the Inspector. Before going out, Sweetie Belle turned back to the human with a huge smile “I wish you a fast recover, Hektor.” Then, she ran out to reach her friends.

“I think that facing them will be harder than facing travellers at the border.” Flash Sentry’s comment made Hektor chuckle a little “It’s a good thing to see you alive. When I received the report of what happened, I feared the worst.” His face became grave and serious “And the worst part was that I couldn’t be here to protect fulfill my duty.” He didn’t hide from Redheart and Hektor the disappointment and frustration he was feeling in that moment.

The silence that followed was soon broken by a knocking coming from the still opened door; when the three in the room turned their attention toward the source of that sound, they saw a well known purple Alicorn who, with an uncertain expression, was looking at them.

“Your Highness.” Nurse Redheart bowed her head and saluted the Princess with a respectful bow, before giving her a huge and sincere smile...a completely different reaction from Flash Sentry who, still with the respect a soldier had to demonstrate to a ruler, was launching at the mare a piercing glare to which she bowed her head, something that didn’t escape Hektor’s eyes.

Twilight became sad as soon as her purple eyes stared at the wounded human on the bed “I...I’m here to visit you, Inspector. I’m glad to see you’re recovering.” She wasn’t acting like someone would expect from a ruler, something that Hektor was expecting...what he didn’t expect was to see in front of him someone acting in such an unsure, fragile way.

It was as Hektor was looking at a young girl who, despite her powers, her role, her importance, was still a young girl, with all of her doubts, her feelings, her fears.

To his surprise, Hektor found himself wondering about having administrators in Arstotzka with such a kind of attitude.

<<We should be administrate with more humanity...there is probably more humanity here than in Arstotzka...or ponyanity, maybe?>> A brief smile ran across Hektor’s face before he focused again on what was happening inside the hospital room.

“I could have prevented Queen Chrysalis’ raid and protected the Inspector’s life if I wasn’t torn apart from my duties.” Flash Sentry’s determined voice echoed into the room; the bluntness put into that sentence directed to Twilight left both Redheart and Hektor speechless.

“Mister Flash Sentry.” The white earth pony looked at the soldier without trying to hide her disappointment toward his attitude “You should not speak to our Princess in such a-”

“He’s right.”

The bowed head and the sad expression on the purple Alicorn’s muzzle almost covered the fact that those two words came from her. “I shouldn’t act like I did that day, making a decision like that bec-”

“You had to do it because it was your duty, Princess.”

Twilight and Flash Sentry looked with surprise to Hektor who, out of nowhere, spoke while staring at the Princess and the soldier.

“As someone told me, those who have to manage power and responsibilities have to make hard decisions, even if they don’t like them.” At those last words, Twilight stared at the human with her bright eyes wide opened “We can’t really know the weight of those same decisions...especially when the unpredictable happens and they have negative consequences.”

“We broke the law, Flash...and we knew what the consequences could be of our actions.” The speech to the soldier, who bowed his head in the meantime with a sorry attitude that reflected how he was rethinking his actions, suddenly stopped when Hektor felt a spark of pain flowing in his head, a thing that worried all the ponies in the room.

“We should let him rest. He has to fully recover yet.” Redheart looked at the two other ponies in the room, which answered with a brief nod after looking at each other for a second.

“Wait, Nurse Redheart.” Hektor raised an hand to draw the attention of the others “I have to explain to them what happened at the checkpoint. Maybe-”

“Relax, Hektor.” Twilight looked at the man with a serene smile “Princess Luna already told me and Celestia everything.” Her explanation was enough for the Inspector who, after smiling on his own to the Princess, relaxed his head on the pillow, slowing his breathing and trying to erase his mind from any kind of thought.

“I hope to see you soon outside this place, Inspector...maybe finally I’ll be able to give you a tour of Ponyville.” Flash Sentry looked satisfied at the smile of the human and, after giving another brief look to the Princess, waved his right hoof and saluted before going out. After another few recommendation regarding resting and taking all the medicines, both Redheart and Twilight walked their way out from the room.

“Princess Twilight.” Hektor’s call came shortly before Twilight could close the door “Can I ask you a personal favour?”

“Just if you promise me that from now on you’ll begin to call me Twilight, without that heavy Princess title.” An involuntary smile from him was the answer she was looking for and, after closing again the door behind her back using magic, she walked near the man that was lying in front of her.

“I know that probably I’m asking too much but…” It was the first time Twilight saw so much hesitation in Hektor’s behaviour, something that both intrigued and worried her in an unexpected way.

“Can you please talk with Flash Sentry regarding what happened yesterday?” The reaction from the Alicorn was exactly the one he was expecting: both astonishment and sadness flowed on the muzzle of the mare. “Just the two of you, without anybody else.” He continued, staring at her with the determination of one who wants to receive an answer.

“What can I tell him, Hektor? He’s mad at me, you’ll have surely figured that out.”

It was that moment Hektor figured out that he was speaking to her almost like she was...a good friend of his. A friend that needs a suggestion to think about the next course of action to take in a complicated situation.

“You could just tell him the truth...the truth about your true feelings and motivation regarding your behaviour towards him.”

Twilight bowed her head for a second, taking a long breath before speaking again while looking at her own hooves “I think it deserves a try.” She rose her head, looking at the Inspector with a newfound smile on her muzzle “I hope he’ll understand that I really didn’t mean to act so harshly toward him.” The serenity of the moment lasted short, as a puzzled expression suddenly engulfed Twilight’s face “ did you know that I wasn’t acting like I really wanted with Flash Sentry?”

“Looking at the scene from the outside allowed me to see how unnaturally you were behaving.” The brief answer of the human seemed to being sufficient to the mare, who smiled while her interlocutor realized that he almost let her understand that he already knew everything regarding why she grounded Flash Sentry <<That was close. Princess Celestia would have never forgiven me.>> He thought quickly before feeling the same headache attack that was annoying him since the moment he woke up.

“It’s time for me to go Hektor. Both Princess Celestia and Luna are waiting for me.” She walked again to the exit door and opened it before suddenly turning again toward the human, as if she had forgotten something.

“ friends told me to say hello to you and that everypony is waiting to see you again.” She rose her head a little to pose her with right hoof under her chin, assuming a thinking position “Come to think about it, even Discord asked me to tell you that he’s eager to see you again...he mentioned some unfinished business you have with him.” The facepalm that followed the last part of her sentence left the Princess with more questions than before.

“Well, I hope to see you soon again Hektor. Bye...and thanks for being such a good friend.”

After the door closed Hektor rested his head again, closing his eyes while thinking at what he had just heard <<This is the second time I’ve been addressed here as a friend.>> He smiled a little at that thought <<If only we would be equally open to welcoming the strangers like they do…>> He was lost in his thoughts before finally being able to sleep again, relieving himself from the pain.

Outside the window of the room, a grey earth pony with a green jacket took a few steps back from his position, looking around him to be sure that no one had seen him. Then, he slowly walked away.

It wasn’t impossible to hear anything, but what he saw was enough.

It was clear that the Inspector was respected in Equestria...even by Princess Twilight, who was shown even to trust him.

He knew he had to prepare himself for the next day, as the portal to the human world would be reopened for sure.

He had to communicate as soon as possible what he had found to the ministry of Information...and to Mr. Vonel.


“We think that thou are giving too much credit to these Arstotzkan foreigners, sister.” Luna’s voice was as solemn and serious as her stare to Celestia was. In one of the higher rooms of Canterlot castle, the Princess of the night was looking at Celestia who, with her eyes closed and with her mind focused, was still moving the sun into the proper position to allow every creature of the world to enjoy the warmth of it.

“From the day the portal to the new world was opened, troubles are occurring and requests from the humans are increasing more and more...and we fear what they could ask after what happened yesterday.”

“What happened yesterday was our mistake, too.” Celestia’s horn stopped to glow; a quick look at the sun brought a satisfied smile on the white Alicorn’s muzzle “Now it’s perfect.” she whispered before turning completely toward her sister, whose focus and seriousness were at high levels, a sign that the topic was very important for her.

“The security near the checkpoint wasn’t strong enough...not to mention that we didn’t consider building something inside the booth to protect the Arstotzkan Inspector.” She stopped to take a deep breath, showing her frustration for what happened “Luckily he’s still alive. I would feel sad if something had happened to him...and I think Twilight would feel the weight of that on her shoulders, too.”

“The human thou mentioned looks worthy of trust, that’s what I think after meeting him in his dreams...but what about the others?” Luna walked toward the elegant rounded wooden table placed in the middle of the room on which an elegant white teapot lay, full of a clear yellow liquid from which a delicious smell was coming from “From the previous experiences both thou and Twilight had, it seems that they are not willing to fully cooperate, something confirmed by the opinions of our subjects that have travelled there...and from the ponynapping of of one of our citizens for such disrespectful motives.” The calm of Princess Luna disappeared, leaving a sour and angry expression that was self explanatory of how her blood was boiling inside her.

“They lived all of their life in an unwelcoming cold land, with few resources and hostile neighbours.” The white Alicorn used her magic again to rise the full teapot, moving it to fill two refined and elegant cups , one of which was moved by Princess Luna’s magic to let it reach her vicinity “We’re probably the first friendly nation they’ve dealt with...we have to be patient, to give them the time to have faith in us.”

“Besides...You know that it’s my desire that every decision regarding how to deal with Arstotzkan has to pass between Twilight’s hoof.” While speaking, she focused her attention on a little light pink pot from which she took a spoon of sugar that slowly reached her cup of tea, an action that her sister did just after few moments later, taking two spoons of the white sweet powder.

“Do thou think she’ll be able to deal with this kind of situation, sister? She’s facing something she never experienced before.”

“She has faced foes and overcome obstacles that neither of us were able to overcome.” Celestia said while slowly tasting the tea sip by sip “She has all of her old friends that will stay close to her...she has the respect of all of Ponyville...and what appears to be a trustworthy human friend by her side.” She smiled a little before moving her empty cup back to the table.

“While we’re speaking about the border to the new world.” Luna became serious again while staring at her sister “What do thou think about Chrysalis’ actions? Why risk so much to check the portal to the parallel world?”

“I fear she didn’t came of her own initiative.” Celestia looked straight in Luna’s eyes with a focused expression that stunned the Princess of the night, who remained in silence, waiting for more explanations.

“We’ll never be able to know the truth...but I fear she was invited by Arstotzkan’s in the parallel world.”

“For diplomacy, thou mean?” Luna’s question received a silent nod as an answer by the white answer that she hoped could be different.

“Considering that Griffonian ambassadors crossed the border too and there was no sign of them coming back…”

“It means that they’re probably having contact with both Griffonia and the Changelings...maybe sitting at the same table.”

“And thou still have trust in them, after having this dreadful hypothesis?” Luna eyes wide opened while speaking with a louder tone of voice that underlined her worries.

“I hope that peaceful cooperation will prevail on every sentiment of war and conquest in the humans’ minds and hearts...besides…” She walked toward her sister, looking at her with a serene yet determined face “If someone does try to bring chaos to our lands, then they’ll have to face the elements of harmony...and us as well.”

A satisfied smirk grew on Luna’s muzzle “Thou know that we’ll be ready, if it will be necessary.”

Celestia smiled back to her sister before walking slowly toward the exit door “You should rest now, stayed awake all night to fulfill your duties. I’ll go write a missive to Twilight regarding my thoughts about the Changeling attack and about my opinions regarding the course of action to take.”

A brief nod from the Princess of the night was all Celestia needed. She smiled one last time to her sister before going out from the room, followed briefly by her sister who pointed directly to her room to find calm and peace from all of her concerns in the only place she knew could be safe: in her the world of dreams.