Equestria is trapped in the dregs of war, and puts together a machine to get help from those in a world beyond their own.
After the beginning of a bloody war ruins an era of peace that had spread across Equestria, Princess Celestia calls upon the aid of a mysterious race beyond the walls of reality.
After getting the chance to play a new beta MMORPG known as Equestria Online, Tyler, in the form of his new character, Neydra, begins to discover that a simple game is more than lines of code. After an invasion kills one of the princesses and embeds the newly formed Element of Magic within their chests, they must embark on a journey to restore the Elements of Harmony to the lands and end the war plaguing the world.
Meanwhile, a new evil stirs on the edges of the world, a horrible pony who wishes to control the world through fear and evil to accomplish their own desires.
If you came here looking for a SAO crossover, you might want to look elsewhere, as this does nothing more than take slight inspiration from SAO.
“I, Princess Celestia, hereby decree that the unicorn, Twilight Sparkle, shall take on a new mission for Equestria. She must continue to study the Magic of Friendship. She must report her findings to me from her new home in Ponyville, with the help of her new friends, and the Elements of Harmony.”
All it took was one letter. One, simple letter, only four lines of fancy cursive writing to bring about a new era of peace. Between myself and my friends, anything was possible. Anything…
But darkness came for our lands, time and time again. Corruption spread, as did darkness. But each and every time, my friends and myself, with the help of our virtues and the Elements of Harmony, were able to beat back the darkness, every time it appeared. Even when the crystals went dormant, my friends and I were still able to protect the lands, with the assistance of our newfound friends we had all over Equestria.
Equestria experienced a long era of peace. After the events of the Storm King, a tranquility settled throughout the land. Seasons and years had come and gone, and before I realized it, my friends and I were in our mid fifties.
That era of peace had left us now. Thirty years could change a lot. And that would be the tension rising between the nations of the world. Before long, the era of peace was replaced with one of tension. And then, everyone was at everyone else’s throats. It was just a ticking time bomb, and all that needed was a single spark to light the fuse.
That spark took the form of a gryphon immigrant, trying to move across Equestrian borders. She was mistaken for a smuggler, and a dangerous situation ensued. She managed to flee from the borders, and our guards foolishly, needlessly tracked her down.
The village she had fled to was razed by the guard. There was only one survivor, and that was enough for all of the gryphon kingdom to know exactly what had happened to that village, and who exactly did it.
It only took a week for war to be declared on Equestria. After that, alliances formed, trusts were betrayed, and everyone was taking sides. A long, and bloody war consumed all of Equestria, and the lands around it.
And my friends and I could do little to help.
Three months into the war, Celestia had called me into Canterlot, for a very important meeting. I wasn’t aware it would be a one on one, but when the princess led me into the throne room for a private conversation, it was pleasantly surprising.
Celestia’s horn glowed softly, her soft gold magic enveloping the throne she usually sat upon. “It has been too long since we’ve talked, Princess Twilight Sparkle.”
“That it has princess,” I reply rather quietly. Celestia and Luna had been busy with the war efforts. It only made sense that they weren’t able to speak with someone who was as insignificant in this time like myself.
“We’re losing the war, Twilight.” Princess Celestia says suddenly, after a long moment of silence.
I stare up at the princess in shock, stunned by her words. “What? We can’t be! Equestria can’t lose, we’ve prospered and survived for so long!”
Celestia give a long and heavy sigh, then a sad smile. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t give ourselves a fighting chance.” She say, before her magic suddenly pulls the throne back, revealing a hidden stairway, tight and cramped. With a bit of squeezing, I’m sure the princess and I could fit down it though.
“Luna and I have been working in secret, on our own project.” Celestia replies, before walking to the small her, and then popping out of sight with a flash of her horn. “Come Twilight! Join me!” Her voice echoes from the hole.
Im cautious at first, but trot over to the hole, and slowly squeeze my way inside, only getting momentarily caught by my hips before squeezing my way inside.
Slowly I made my way down the stairs, before a familiar sight comes into view. The portal to the human world stood before me. Though it was different. Machinery was around it, circulating steam and electricity to keep it constantly running. The face of the mirror was no longer blue. Instead, it was dark red in color, and circulating with small white wisps of magic.
“Say hello to the Nexus, Twilight.” Celestia say with a smile. “Say hello to our hope.”
I stare at it for a moment, shock and worry passing over me, before I took a glance around the small room that had been built under the throne. Simple candlelight decorated the room, as well as machinery, and then a pony mannequin, which seemed out of place to me.
I glance back to Celestia. “Princess… what exactly is all of this?” I ask her, a twinge of worry in my voice.
“It’s a connection to the human world. Not the alternate reality of our own, no, but a planet from an entirely different plane of existence.” She smiles at me, looking much more confident in herself, and the hope of Equestria. “The people beyond this portal are going to be the one’s helping us.” She says. “I’ve made connections in this world, trustworthy people that are willing to help us, but not fight for us.” Celestia says proudly.
I’m cautious at first, but seeing how excited, and proud Celestia is of this strange achievement, I can’t help but find myself feeling confident in this plan as well. “Okay… so why show this to me?”
“Well, I’m going to need your help.” Celestia says with a smile. “You and your friends. Luna and I will be too busy with war efforts. That’s where you come in. We need your help with recruiting. We’ve supplied you and your friends with proper bodies that I think you’ll find fitting, we just need you to scout out the human world, and find people that seem trustworthy.” She say with a smile.
I smile a bit, glancing up at the Princess. I bow a bit, lowering my head. “I’d be honored to assist you, Celestia.”
I feel her pat my head, and then look up. “I'm sure Rainbow Dash and Pinkie would love to be seeing some action after all of these years.”
“Yes, I'm sure they would.” Celestia says with a nod. “Now, let me more properly go over a plan with you.” She say, motioning for me to sit down. I immediately do so and port a quill and parchment to myself, ready and eager to take notes and make a plan for my very important upcoming mission. I was excited.
Tyler groans as he finally arrives home after a long day at school and work. Fridays were always the hardest, since he had classes, and always had a closing shift at work afterward. But finally, he was free.
He pushes the front door open, calling out that he was home. He received no reply, so his mom was obviously at work right now. He had a sadly distant relationship with her, one that was mostly through late night phone calls and text messages. The smell of greasy pizza hung in the air as he entered his home.
He sighs, before his eye catches on a package lying on the floor by the front door, pushed in through the mail slot. It was a simple package, wrapped in gift paper. It wasn’t Christmas or his birthday, which is what confused him, but he knelt down and grabbed the package in his hand anyway.
When he saw who the package was from, his friend Sky, it made a little bit more sense. She always seemed kind of… off, and disconnected from the rest of the world. It wasn't because she was some sort of shut in, but it was actually because of her obsessive behavior of reading books.
He slowly opens up the package, revealing a game case for the Hex gaming system, which he fortunately had.
It was a virtual reality system that connected to your nervous system using harmless lasers and an infrared system. Nifty little device, and harmless too. It was recently the subject of a experimental simulation that could render realistic worlds with sights, sounds, smells and tastes. A true virtual reality.
Tyler grabs the note that was tucked along with the game, opening it up to read it.
Dear friend Tyler,
I’m happy to share this with you. It’s a little game called Equestria Online. It’s still in beta testing, but pre-release copies are being sent to all of the family members of the game designers and developers and stuff. How fortunate that my cousin is on the development team.
It’s really unfortunate that I don’t have the system to play it on. But I thought of the next-best alternative. I’d send it to one of my best friends so that they could enjoy it for me. Maybe I could come over one day and watch you play!
It's a massive MMORPG too, with an entire planet of stuff to explore. I’m sure you’d find it exciting.
~Your friend, Sky
P.S. I'm going to return the forty books you let me borrow, I promise.
Tyler chuckles lightly as he folds down the note and tucks it away into his pocket, then takes a look at the game case. It was… peculiar. A collection of multi-colored cartoon horses adorned the case, standing over a cliffside. Even more peculiar were the ones that had horns and wings, as well as the fact that they were all equipped to look like various classes from Dungeons and Dragons. The company logo at the bottom of the box was what looked to be crystallized heart, which glinted in the light with speckles of blue hues that cascaded into a more deeper red color. But the oddest part was it was a sticker, and had the grooves that you would see on a product that was protected with an RFID chip
He shrugs idly, before carrying the case toward his room, and sets it down on his desk. He opens it up, sliding the disc into his computer, and then booting the machine up. He was surprised to find that the game had absolutely no download time. The icon appeared right on his desktop. He found it strange, but then shook his head, waving it off as he plugged the Hex into his computer.
As the machine finishes booting up the lights around the ear muffs turn bright green. He taps the icon to load up the game. He was surprised to see a pure black screen on his monitor, as most of these VR games had a decorative menu to let you know to put the headset on.
He shrugs it off, as the game was still in beta, and makes sure the headset was on, before grabbing it and putting it on.
There was a slight twinge of pain, but that was always present when the VR system plugged into your nervous system and quickly put you into a catatonic-like state.
Tyler finds himself in his chair, before blacking out entirely. Almost instantly, he had reawakened in a pure white space, what the developers of the Hex called their ‘White Room.’ A blank simulation that could be tampered with using game creation software, and acted as the basis of every game.
But the screen was gone quickly, only roughly 10 seconds. Most games on the system had loading times upwards of 10 minutes, so it was a pleasant surprise to see how quickly this one loaded in.
As the white space loaded in, only a few objects took form. Before long, he was standing in a simple cave. Many strange machines decorated the room, all hooked up to a strange swirling red portal. Most weird of all was the white cloth mannequin on the far end of the small room that took the shape of a horse.
Even if it wasn't human-shaped, the mannequin sent shivers down his spine. He hated those things.
After a quick scan of the room, Tyler looked down to scan himself, only to find that his body didn't exist at all. He was getting worried, most games loaded in a temporary body to use until you created your character.
He looks up suddenly, as the sound of metal against stone is heard, then a horse walks into his view from a staircase outside the room.
She had a large figure, taller than even him. Her fur was pure white, and she had a long mane of pastel rainbow colors that constantly moved as if it were a cascading waterfall. She had a long horn that looked like it could skewer him through atop her forehead, and she had a massive pair of wings that were currently folded down to her side. She also had the image of a sun tattooed against her flank on either side.
He stares. He was utterly perplexed by the horse creature. Matters were even more confusing whenever he found it talking to him.
“Hello.” she says with a gentle, motherly smile. “Welcome to Equestria Online. I’m sure you have some questions, please, feel free to ask them.” She says.
He stands, still perplexed for the time being. He tries to move his hand in some kind of worried gesture, but finds he couldn’t move anything. Nothing did exist after all. He tries talking instead, but his voice rings out through the entire room rather than simply coming from his lips.
“Why don’t I have a form?” He asks.
“Simple question,” The horse replies. “You won’t be taking a humanoid form here. Rather, you will be taking the form of one of the denizens of this land. No humans allowed. You see, this canvas here?” Her hoof raises, motioning to the horse mannequin. “That’s your blank slate. Your character creator. We have many races, colors, body shapes. You can be anything here, even something you’re not.” She says with a knowing smile.
A moment of quiet settles over the room as Tyler considers his options, before he nods and looks her way. “May I hear my options in terms of races then?”
The horse nods, smiling gently before she floats out a list, clearing her throat for a brief second before continuing.
Her horn lights up before her magic shifts, and moves about, before shimmering against the ground.
The first form takes a similar shape to that of the mannequin, except it was bulkier, heavier-looking.
“Earth. The strongest and sturdiest of the race. Known for their green hooves and excellence in crafting work. They are the metal workers, the farmers, and the heavy warriors.”
The figure shifts, shrinking in bulk and muscle but growing a pair of large wings.
“Pegasi. They are the mythical wonder of physical beings. They defy the pull of our planet using a lightweight bone structure and powerful wings. They are known for their animal whispering abilities, speed, and grace. They make the weather controllable, and are quick and light on their hooves.”
The figure shifts again, the wings falling away, and growing a horn atop the pony figure’s head.
“Unicorns. The mystics and scholars. They are able to harness the full power of raw, unadulterated magic, turning it into fearsome and powerful attacks and spells, or simple illusions and tricks. They are known for their tactical prowess, scholarly endeavors, and have accomplished some of the greatest achievements in this land’s history.”
He sighs lightly, looking over his options.
“That’s not.. too much variety.” He says, looking toward the horse.
“I’m afraid this is what my magic can do for you. There are more races… but we are at war with them. To produce an enemy within equestria would put you at a harsh disadvantage, I’m sure you’d realize.”
He smiles a bit, and then nods. “So there are other races, you’re just hiding them from me? It’d be like playing a game on a harder difficulty if I just choose a different race?”
She flicks an ear, a stern look crossing her face, before she sighs and relaxes. Her irritation was building up slowly, and she was growing more and more upset with his responses.
“Fine, I can make an exception.” She replies. “But be wary that a race outside of Equestrian you picked would come with the consequences of being an outsider. Are you ready to face that?”
He shrugs a bit, not really threatened by that. “It’s an MMO. If an NPC ends up attacking my because of my race, even if I kill them, they’ll just respawn later on down the road. The same is true with me, right?”
A small smile spreads across her face, a mix of that regal calmness she had presented earlier with something much darker. Dread, fear even. She looked almost sick at the notion, and moved her eyes down, averting her gaze.
“Well..” She begins, before taking a breath to compose herself. “While it is true I could revive you if you fall, death is somewhat of a finality. Thankfully, I will be watching you, much like every other player that has and will join. If death were to overtake you, I would be able to save you. But let’s say, you are beheaded, set ablaze, or succumb to an explosion… I’m afraid no magic in the world could help you then.”
She pauses a long moment, taking a longer breath. “As for my subjects… if harm would befall any innocents at your hooves, you will face a wrath even greater than what those in your world call God.” She says, looking very serious with her words.
Tyler couldn’t help but feel there was some truth to those words, and shuddered at that, at least as much as he could without a body.
“So… if my body is destroyed, the death is permanent...that’s.. Harsh. A good way to enforce permadeath though.” He says, smiling a bit at that. A difficult game was a fun one. “I’d have to create a new character then?”
The horse snorts a little which quickly turns into a laugh, then nods. “This… is more than you expect it might be. Yes, you’d have to create a new body in the event that you do die. And a new life along with it. Your old body would decay, as corpses do.”
He is stunned by this. Hard to believe this game was still in beta, there was a whole lot to it. And he wasn’t even out of the front gates yet.
“Alright. I’m all for this then.” He asks with excitement in his voice. “May I see the bonus races then?”
“If you so desire.” She replies, before her horn glows brightly again, her wisps of magic moving to take the form of some weird horse-bug thing, with small insects wings, and a small horn.
“There are changelings, masters of deceit and deception. They are easy to like, as long as you do not realize they are what they actually are. They are capable of taking whatever form they please, as long as it is within their general size and power range, and are able to keep that form as long as they are fed. Speaking of which, they feed off of love, sucking away the emotion from other ponies until they are no longer capable of feeling it.”
“No, not that one.” Tyler say with a sigh. “Too morbid.”
The horse nods, before her horn lights again, forming the figure into a bulky figure with large eagle wings, a break, and lion’s paws for back legs.
“Gryphons. A pegasus’ antithesis. Not fast, or agile, they make up for their slowness with powerful strength, and the ability to grip their prey. Typically stubborn and somewhat aggressive, they are usually only loyal to two things, coin, and their king. They have strict morals, but are lax with relationships. Males are known to have multiple mates. They also engage in pit fighting as a pastime. The gryphon colosseum was one of the most well known tourist locations in the world.”
He finds himself smiling at that one, then nods. “That one. That’s the form I’ll take.” I say with a nod.
She hums lightly, and the figure fades, before the mannequin shifts in shape, being altered to take the shape of a gryphon.
“Alright, um… what now?” Tyler asks.
“I’ll need you to close your eyes. I want you to visualize your form, what you would look like as a gryphon.”
He’s confused at first, before soon doing so, darkness becoming his vision. “So I can just make myself look however I want as a gryphon?”
“As long as it take the form of a gryphon.” She explains. “Some adjustments will be made of course. But you’ll look generally how you imagine it.”
He nods and takes a deep breath, before imagining himself as a gryphon…
A sleek, slender female with feathers that transition into gold fur. It would have red eyes, and dye pink streaks going through the feather near my head.
There was a moment of silence, before the horse lets out a small giggle. “A female. Are you sure?”
“Yeah.” Tyler replies. “I usually play girls in games when I’m given a choice. So yeah, I’m sure.”
“Of course, she says.” Before an intense, almost eerie silence fills the room.
Then that silence was interrupted, replaced by the smell of nature, and the gentle tweets and hums and rustles of the outside world.
He felt different… stronger, yet more feminine. He was also crouched down on all fours, and yet felt natural like that. Slowly, he opened my eyes, looking down at himself, surprised by his sharper vision that saw ever color more vividly, and noticed every little rustles and branch move.
As he investigated myself, he found himself in the form he had described to the large horse, a gryphon female. Just the way he wanted her to be.
He, or now she for the time being, let’s out a sigh, then nods. She messes around with her new body, giving her long tail a small flick before spreading and folding her wings back down. It would take some getting used to.
“I’ll have to learn how to fly later.” She says to herself, aloud. She covers her beak with a hand, surprised by her much more musical, yet simultaneously gruff sounding voice.
She slowly uncovers her beak, only for a new smell to hit her nostrils. Cake, she instantly recognized it. Sweet, delicious cake. She found herself instantly following it, heading down the trail she had spawned in toward the source.
The smell got steadily stronger as she walked toward the source. She suddenly freezes as she hears a loud crack, and the sound of a squeaky voice. Her eyes dart around, trying to look for the source of the crack as the voice was starting to come closer.
A pink dot becomes visible in the distance, hopping along the ground, like some kind of rabbit.
At first, the new gryphon is confused, but starts walking closer to the source, and soon, the pink pony comes into view. A pure pink palette, with blue eyes. She also had the occasional grey streak through her mane, and an image of blue and yellow balloons tattooed on her flank.
Seriously, what was up with the tramp stamps in this place?
“Heeeeelllllloooooo!” The pink pony crise out as her hopping comes to a stop, just in front of the new gryphon. She then proceeds to hug her, which the gryphon finds herself almost immediately sidestepping the attempt.
She glances at the pink pony, wondering how someone that looked so old could possibly have so much energy.
She didn’t seem the slightest bit disappointed that she had just been denied a hug, and instead was hopping circles around the gryphon.
“Hiya! She exclaims. “I’m Pinkamena Diane Pie! All of my friends just call me Pinkie though! What’s your name?” she asks with a big smile, stopping her hopping in front of the gryphon.
She pauses a moment, the gryphon reaching up and scratching her head. “Erm, Neydra. That’s it. That’s my name.”
“Neydra… Exotic!” Pinkie chimes happily, before attempting to hug the gryphon once again. And yet again, she was sidestepped.
“So, where are we right now?” Neydra asks. “In relation to everywhere else?”
“Here? Two miles out from Ponyville!” She giggles out. “Come on, I’ll show you the way!” The old pink pony says before turning and hopping off down the trail at a surprisingly fast speed.
Neydra sighs a bit, reaching up and scratching her head before deciding to follow the energetic mare, following her at a moderately paced run toward the town off in the distance.
Surprisingly, the majority of the trip was only full of idle chit-chat as the pair walked and hopped toward the town in the distance. Neydra had to take some time to get used to walking with her mismatched legs, but eventually got the hang of it, and had finally stopped kicking up dirt with her lion paws.
After a while of quick walking, only 15 minutes to cover that distance, the duo finally arrived into the town.
It was almost picture esque of the medieval ages. Most of the buildings had thatch siding, straw roofing, and viking-style support beams to hold them up. There was a small river, more like a stream, that flowed through the town, and around a large central tower that acted as both the community center and the mayor’s office.
Neydra’s beak hangs open a little as she glances around at all of the detail.
“Welcome to Ponyville!” Pinkie Pie yells with a bright smile.
“This place is really detailed…” Remarks Neydra. “Now, where can I get some equipment?”
“Oh! Here!” Pinkie calls out, before throwing a book at me, which Neydra barely manages to catch, and then holds it up. It was thick, almost reminded her of Les Miserables with how thick the book was. “This is your really big quest book, encyclopedia and journal thing!”
“Erm… that’s a really big book…” Neydra mutters, looking it over, then glancing at the title.
The Encyclopedia of Stuff
~By Pinkie Pie.
Pinkie giggles. “Ask it something! Come on, come on!”
“Uh… right.” Neydra says, before clearing her throat. “So… where can I find equipment in Ponyville?” She asks it before opening it up to look inside.
She was finding the intro to this game weirder and weirder by the second.
The book opens up to a section titled shops, and a little image of Pinkie Pie standing in a town was adorning it. To her surprise, the image starts moving, and then talking.
“Hiya! So, you wanna get stuff but you aren’t any good at making it. Well, the simple solution is to locate a crafts store for the stuff you want. You’ve got stores like blacksmiths, clothing stores, cobblers, woodworkers, general goods, book stores, and of course, pastry shops!” Pinkie spouts out within breaking or breathing, and zooms by a little picture of each respective shop as she says it.
“Shops differ by region, but all are unified by our unique, yet global currency! Bits!”
The picture Pinkie suddenly giggles.
“Little known fact about the bit is that it was named after the mouthpiece on saddles, because the creator, Golden Piles, wanted an entirely golden currency piece. In order to make sure that a pony doesn’t have a counterfeit, he showed that if you bit down, you could bend the coin slightly! This was what earned its first name, the Bite! But overtime, after the introduction of saddle tools on farms, farmers jokingly called the coins Bits because they would have to bite down on the bit rod in order to drag the tool around! The name stuck until its official debut about 7,000 years ago as the official currency of Equestria!”
A bag of metal coins suddenly falls on the book. Neydra jumps, momentarily distracted enough by the moving picture that she forgot the real Pinkie was even there.
“Erm, thanks.” She says and grabs the bag, holding it up. She looks to where Pinkie was, only to find she had disappeared.
Neydra sighs, and after a quick count, reveals she was gifted 50 gold coins by the strange pink mare. They were about the size of a collector's coin, or perhaps a roman currency. They had a golden sheen to them, and were engraved with a horseshoe on one end.
She mentally notes to thank Pinkie again later, before standing and heading out to search for the town blacksmith.
After a short walk, she finds the business district of town, and heads into it, looking about. She walks in, heading toward the blacksmith whenever she finds him. The dusty roads reminded her of a old town that she had visited one time, where the town was replicating the olden days. What she found most odd was that she could taste the dust in her beak, in very intense detail. Everything seemed so detailed and real.
“Armor, weapons and tools!” He barks, looking up. An earth pony, it made sense, thanks to the regal horse’s descriptions earlier. “I got it all, what do you need?”
“I’m looking for weapons for the time being.” Neydra explains to him. “What do you have?”
He looks up at her, before letting out a grunt. “I don’t serve birds. Beat it feather brains.” He says before looking back down and getting back to his work, hammering away at fiery red metal.
Neydra growls slightly before sighing.
“Fine.” She mutters and then backs off, heading back into the district in search of a general goods shop. They’d have to have something.
As she makes her way there, she bumps into a small pony while heading through the door, almost stumbling over them.
“Sorry miss!” He apologizes in a strange accent. He rushes back into the general store, holding the door open for her.
He was short, borderline dwarfish. He had white fur with a brown spot right over his right eye. He was also wearing a red bandana on his head, which held back his brown mane. If she rubbed her eyes a bit, she could mistake the small colt to be a dwarf pirate.
He follows Neydra as she heads in. The pony in charge was a dark brown coated mare, with a blonde mane and freckles.
“Good morning!” She chimes as Neydra approaches, waving her way.
Neydra smiles lightly and waves back. “You wouldn’t happen to have anything in the way of weapons, would you? The blacksmith refuses to serve me.”
She blinks, then frowns. “What? Well ain’t that a bummer, he just doesn’t understand that business is business.” She say before heading into the back room.
“Don’t worry doll, Soil Till will get you all set up!” She calls back before walking back into view, setting a few things on the counter.
“I gotcha a boot knife, some old leather brace and a sickle.” She says, pointing at each respective item.
Neydra nods as she looks over them all. “How much for all three?”
“Ah shoot, you can have them. I don’t have no need for ‘em.” She says. “I feel like you deserve a warmer welcome to town.”
Neydra blinks, and then smiles. “Thank you miss,” She says, before pulling her coin purse out and handing over the ten bits. “A tip, for the nice lady. Oh, and how much for an actual bag to carry my stuff in?”
“I don’t have any more of those like that in stock.” Soil says. “Try the Carousel Boutique, local clothes store. Miss Rarity might let you in.She ain’t as mean or rough as the smithy, so you should just be able to walk in just in time to see her faint over somethin’ mundane.”
Neydra nods, before gathering her things, holding it all awkwardly in her talons. Thank you miss, I really appreciated your help.” She says with a wave before going to head out.
As she walked to the exit, she spotted the small colt again, tiphoofing to reach a book upon a shelf that he couldn’t reach.
Neydra tilts her head a bit, before walking over and grabbing the book in her talons, then handing it over. “Here.” She says.
“Oh, thank ya missus.” The dwarf pony says as he stores away the book in his bag.
“Sure, no problem,” says Neydra,, “that book better have belonged to you, I don’t want to get associated with any crimes.”
“Was going to pay fer it. You’re real nice lady.” He says in his accent again, which Neydra finally recognized as Cockney. Oddly, the accent seemed almost fitting for such a small creature, and it reminded her of some notable dwarven characters in other games.
“I don’t suppose I could have your name? I’m Pip.” He says, and holds a hoof out.
“Oh. Neydra.” She replies and makes room in her arms to grip his hoof with her talons and give it a shake.
He smiles a bit as he pulls his hoof away.
“You should watch it around here. Gryphons aren’t very liked, but yer a’ight in my book.” He says with a nod to himself.
“You look strong as an ox. I could use some help with pullin’ a tree house up into a tree. Kinda too weak to do it myself.” He says with a small sigh.
“Well, I’d be happy to help you,” Neydra begins, “but I’m kinda tied down right now.” She finishes, showing him her armful of stuff.
He nods “It’s alright. I’ll just ask AJ’s big brother to help me out.”
He waves as he heads to the counter to buy his book. “Goodbye Miss Neydra!” He calls.
She smiles and waves back. “Alright then, see you around Pip.” She says as she exits the shop.
She was greeted almost instantly with a large group that had gathered around outside the shop, all huddles in a circle around something. Various mutterings could be heard coming from it.
“I’m gonna be sick…”
“This is horrible…”
Curiosity ends up getting the better of Neydra. She walks over, and taps the shoulder of one of the ponies on the outside whenever she gets to the group.
“What’s going on here?” She asks.
“There’s been a murder! There was a body that was dragged into the town square by two stallions.” Explains a nearby mare.
“Oh! The gutters are full of blood! They left the poor soul to bleed out into the town’s water.” A different mare yells our, which in turn causes a nearby stallion to vomit at the news. She could see through the glimpses of shifting and uncomfortable ponies that there was in fact a corpse lying over a drainage ditch that was carved into the street. Interestingly, the bright red of blood shimmered in the light.
Neydra found herself feeling a little sick herself at the news and view, a little bit of bile clawing up her throat and burning her tongue before she swallowed it back down. This game definitely had an interesting intro sequence.
Neydra takes a deep breath to steel herself after the sight and news of this corpse. She mentally prepared herself for this quest.
“Okay then… Did anybody see the stallions that dragged the body here into the ditch?” She wasn’t a professional investigator, so she figured that would be the best place to start.
“Someone did,” says a mare.
“Lyra did!” continues a stallion. “She ran off shrieking and fearing for her life. I think she fled off back to her home, on the east side of town.”
A sudden exclamation mark appeared in the corner of Neydra’s vision, alongside an image of Pinkie’s Encyclopedia. She tilts her head a tad bit before grabbing the book from under her left shoulder and popping it open in her talons.
It opens up to a quest log.
New! Blood on the Streets:
Upon discovering a murder, Neydra uncovers that there were witnesses to two stallions dragging a fresh kill into the business district.She learns one of the witnesses’ names, Lyra. Now her goal is to seek out the mare and gather what information she can.
Neydra reads the log carefully before shutting the book and nodding to herself.
She makes her way out of the business district and heads into town, in search of… she didn’t really know who or what she was looking for. She should have gathered more information.
She sighs and stops a pony on the street, holding up a hand to make them stop. Perhaps the wrong move to do so, as the pony flinched.
“Excuse me, do you know where Lyra lives?”
The stallion gives her an odd look. “Lyra? Oh yes, she lives on the east side of town. In some kind of sweets shop. I can’t remember the name.”
“Alright. Thank you sir, for that information. It really helps me out.” She says, curling up her beak the best she could to make a smile. This was very awkward, as her beak was malleable by cartoonish standards.
He nods and quickly hurries past her. He looked like he was in a nervous sweat, glancing back at her.
“What is a gryphon doing here…?” He mutters under his breath as he leaves.
Neydra sighs and shakes her head before continuing on in search of the sweet shop on the east end of town.
Before long, she stumbles upon a lone, out of place shop in the residential area.
Bon Bon’s Homemade Sweeets
She honestly couldn’t tell if the third ‘e’ in ‘sweets’ was intentional or not, but that was the least of her concerns for now. Seeing as it was a sweets shop on the east side of town, she took it upon herself to walk up to the door and knock once before heading inside.
“Hello?” she calls out as she walks inside. The space was decorated much like a grandmother’s home would be, with old pictures hung on the wall of flowers in pots, a couple of trinkets decorating the blue shelves that sat in front of a hideous wallpaper of what appeared to be a repeating image of grapes across the wall. It was very homely and warm inside, and the sudden introduction of a nearly clear box of glass displaying an array of sweets was jarring, but also a more familiar transition to the more modernized shop back in the real world.
“Welcome!” chimes a sweet sounding voice from behind the counter, which was decorated with all kinds of taffies.
The source was a mare, who was shorter than most Neydra had seen so far. She had cream colored fur and dark blue mane with a pink streak going through it.
“Welcome to my little slice of Elysium!” She greets with enthusiasm. “What kind of goodness are you looking for?”
She pauses a moment, then smiles and gives a wave. “I’m actually looking for Lyra. She’s a witness to a crime that I’m investigating.” Neydra says. “Do you know where she is?”
She blinks and her eyes widen a bit.
“Oh dear… Lyra! Come down here!” She yells out, looking toward a staircase behind the counter.
“No way! Those stallions were bad business!” Another voice echoed from downstairs. It sounded almost musical in comparison to the cream mare’s sweet voice.
She sighs softly and shakes her head, then gives Neydra an apologetic smile.
“Give me a moment. I’m Bon Bon by the way, how rude of me not to introduce myself.” She says before turning and galloping upstairs.
Neydra takes the opportunity, now that she was alone, to look at all of the sweets behind the counter. They were many varieties of swirls, twirls, colors, and shapes. All were labeled with cheesy, yet catchy names for the candy, such as Lemon Lime Twist, Cherry Pop, Caramel Stretch, and a few others to go along with it.
Neydra sighs, not quite sure if she could eat all of that sticky taffy with a beak. Likely not. It was all reasonably priced though. Two pieces of candy for a single bit.
Bon Bon suddenly reappears from upstairs, toting along a mint green mare with a white mane. The visage of the mare reminded Neydra of toothpaste.
“H-hi.” The mare manages to blurt out, slightly hiding behind Bon Bon.
“Such a wimp…” Bon Bon sighs, holding her head in her hoof.
“Right…” Neydra sighs, and looks to the mint green mare. “You’re Lyra, right? Can we talk about what you saw?”
“O… Okay. I didn’t see too much, But I did see that they weren’t ponies like everyone else thought they were. They were too big!” Lyra replies, making exaggerated breaths as if explaining that tired her out.
“And do you know exactly what they were if they weren’t ponies?” Neydra questions.
“No… but they were about your size,” Lyra says.
She suddenly glares daggers at Neydra, which makes her feel uneasy.
“You came to kill me! I’m not dying this young!” She yells before turning and running up the stairs, screaming the entire way up.
Neydra flinches at her words, which she figured were tossed at her simply because she was a gryphon.
“Is she always this dramatic?” She asks Bon Bon.
“No. She’s just frightened right now.” she explains. “I’m not sure if the figures she saw were gryphons, but if it was… I would agree that you should be under some suspicion. Gryphons are a rare sight in town.”
She walks back behind the counter, looking over her sweets.
“I would go ask the guards in town. They would probably know more. Just prepare to be accused.”
She motions a hoof over her sweets. “Want a candy?”
Neydra nod, and then leaves her a bit, grabbing herself a caramel flavored and raspberry flavored suckers for the road.
Bon Bon takes the suckers and wraps them in decorative paper.
The paper falls away from the caramel sucker as soon as Neydra is out of the store, and she sticks it in her beak absentmindedly as she walks the streets in search of a guard.
She was surprised to find just how real the sucker tasted. Most games wouldn’t even initialize tastes like that, yet here she was, tasting what seemed to be a candy made of actual hardened caramel.
A small counter appeared on the bottom left of Neydra’s vision. A simple EXP lettering, written in blue font. Another smaller symbol was present just below the P, a 1.2X, followed by a five minute timer.
Neydra smiles a bit and nods, assuming that gave her an experience buff for a short time. Which also meant the game had levels. She couldn’t wait to see how growth worked in this game.
She eventually makes her way to the business district, where a group of pegasi were setting up a perimeter for investigation now. They kept other ponies away from the corpse, using their own pointed spears and armored bodies to push away and wandering ponies.
Neydra nods to herself, taking a breath before walking over.
“Good evening sirs! I’m here to help with the investigation.” She calls out to them.
They all turned to face her, and then there were a few glances amongst themselves before every spear was pointed directly at her.
“On the ground now! No sudden moves!”
Neydra pauses, not expecting them to get so aggressive that fast, but quickly complies, entering a crouched position to lie down.
“Okay, okay, no need to get hostile…” She tells them.
The guards don’t listen to her. Not even in the slightest. Two guards rush over to her, pressing down on her claws to pin her to the road. The pain of being pressed down upon courses through her body like real pain would.
“You are under arrest on the suspicions of murder and esp-”
“Let the bird go!” Shouts out a much deeper, more commanding voice. The other guards quickly move away, pulling their spears away from Neydra and making room for the stallion that walked into her view.
He was larger than the rest, and almost as big as Neydra herself. He wore armor with gold plating on it, with many dinks and scratches that revealed the iron underneath. He gives her a very unfriendly grin, revealing some of his missing teeth.
“She isn’t a threat to us. Look at her, she’s carrying a sickle, and doesn’t even have a bag to carry her stuff in.” He notes to the other guards. “Much too poor to have any hope of possessing the weapon that made these injuries.”
A guard walks over, grabbing Neydra and forcing her to stand, and look into the cold, calculating eyes of the guard captain.
“What is your name and why are you here?” he asks gruffly.
“It’s Neydra… I’m new in town, I was just trying to investigate the scene is all.” She tells him.
“A vigilante?” He laughs lightly, before looking at her with a smirk. “I like it.”
He sighs and points to the spot where the body used to be, his blood still staining the ground, while a pair of stallion guards moved his corpse into a wagon.
“Poor fella was cut open by a Gryphon Hedjite Blade. The victim was random, no reason the local clock keeper had to die. This leads me to think it was an act of terrorism,” He says.
“Which points all suspicion to a gryphon culprit…” Neydra mutters under her breath. “Do you know if any other gryphons live in town?” She asks him aloud.
”No, none other than yourself are in town,” the Captain retorts. “We’re at war with the Gryphon Empire. So they’re not exactly a welcome bunch. As for yourself, I suggest you get to proving your innocence by finding the real killers. They dropped a key along the path they took when dragging the corpse.”
He presents a key. A rusted old skeleton key with scorch marks adorning the metal.
“You have until daybreak to present the real culprits. Otherwise, you go on the block for murder and espionage. And don’t expect to be leaving town without an escort.” He says gruffly.
Neydra sighs as she takes the key, looking it over. Burn marks, rusted. This belonged to a building that had been the subject of a fire recently. She hoped. It was a start at least.
“Get to work.” The guard says, before returning to the group of guards to assist them with transporting the body.
As Neydra looks the key over, the journal icon with an exclamation point appears in her field of vision, so she pulls the book out from under her armpit again and pops it open.
After discovering the culprit is likely a gryphon, Neydra heads to town square, where she discovers the guard. She was nearly arrested, but the Captain of the Ponyville DIvision of Royal Defenders, Dented Steel, gives her a pass. With the promise of her help in finding the real culprits, she’ll be let go. If she can’t by morning, she’ll be executed. She was given a rusty key covered with ash, soot, and burn marks as a clue.
Neydra sighs and clutches the key tightly before tucking the book back under her armpit.
With not much else to go on, she stops a random pony on the street, a purple mare with horns and wings, similar to the first tall pony she had met. Her dark indigo mane was cut into short bangs, with streaks of violet through it.
“Excuse me miss. Do you know of any burned-out buildings in town?”
The mare hesitates a moment, then nods. “There was the old library that was destroyed ages ago… my library…” she says quietly. She pauses a moment before continuing. “But we uprooted it to add homes there, and used the roots to decorate my home. The husk of the trunk is rotting somewhere on the outskirts of town. Why do you want to know?”
“I’m investigating a murder,” Neydra explains, “could you show me where it is?”
She tilts her head a bit, before giving Neydra a smile and nodding.
“Of course! Just follow me.” She turns and trots westward, toward a forest that hugged the large field just outside of town.
“You’re Neydra, correct?” She asks suddenly, halfway through the trip.
Neydra blink, stunned. She wondered exactly how she knew. Neydra nods in reply to her question.
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Pinkie Pie told me about you.” She says with a nod. “I’m Princess Twilight Sparkle.” She says humbly. She even bowed in a little respect to her.
Neydra pauses, then stares at her. Dumbfounded by that fact. “You’re a princess? So who are you the daughter of?” Neydra questions, before jumping to conclusions. “That white horse I saw earlier? Is she the Queen here?”
Twilight lets out a giggle, before sighing. She looked almost a bit sad, like she had lost something she liked.
“That was Celestia. She’s a princess too. I was… promoted, I suppose. Long story.”
Neydra scratches her head. That made no sense, where they relatives? Did Twilight usurp the position somehow? That isn’t exactly how a bloodline works, and if she usurped, wouldn’t that mean she would be more than a princess?
“You can’t just get promoted to princess. That makes no sense. That’s a royal title.” Neydra says.
“Maybe in your world, but you’re far from home, Neydra.” She says, before giving a knowing smile.
She trots ahead, leaving Neydra momentarily baffled and dumbfounded. She recovers after a second, and moves at a run to catch up.
Twilight leads Neydra into the forest, walking in silence with her until the pair came upon a large tree trunk, which seemed to be in the process of trying to root itself into the ground again. It was impressively more colorful than what a burned tree should’ve been like, and contrasting against the dark forest, one that a little indicator claimed to be the Everfree, it seemed that it was as foreign an object as a fire hydrant in a field of flowers would be.
A scorched door sat in the middle of the trunk, wood starting to grow over it, but scrape marks over the wood indicated someone had tried to or succeeded in opening it recently.
Neydra is quiet as she walks over to the door, careful not to make any sudden noises. She moves the key to the door handle, pushing it into the lock to see if it would work.
It was a perfect fit, and after moving the key just a bit, Neydra heard the soft click of the door unlocking.
She freezes up, feeling a very real shiver go down her spine. She dumps the rest of her stuff into the grass nearby, save for her sickle which she grips tightly in her right talons, before slowly pushing the door open.
“Whoa, wait.” Twilight whispers.
Neydra looks over her shoulder, to see the purple mare carrying all of her stuff in purple coated magic telekinesis.
“What is it?” Neydra ask.
“Maybe we should work together here.” the Princess says quietly, before she levitates all of the stuff into a spare saddle bag and floats it over.
Neydra nods, then smiles before shutting the crack she had opened in the door. She grabs the saddle bags, and straps them down to her sides. Sloppy, but enough to keep them there.
Twilight nods once she was finished with the bags, and her own horn starts to glow. An ethereal bow forms by her side, completely purple in color. A ghostly arrow manifests beside it, and notches itself against the string. Neydra could see that the bow had symbols carved into the bow. A cloud, balloons, gems, butterflies, apples, and her own butt mark, a star.
Neydra blinks. Magic truly was amazing.
She gives Twilight a nod before once again grabbing the door handle, holding the sickle to her side. She opens it just a crack, and takes a cautious peek inside.
As she glances around inside, she takes note of every detail she could. It was a burnt-out library, with scattered books sat about, destroyed and burned. Many of the shelves that had previously been stacked with books now held canteens of water and cans of food. She takes note of an array of tables inside, littered with scrolls and maps.
She takes another careful glance inside, making sure there were no immediate or obvious threats that she had missed. After confirming that it was clear, she walks inside. The wood flooring groans and splinters under her talons and paws.
Twilight glances around, indulging in the nostalgia.
“It’s been so long… oh the memories I have of this place…” She mutters.
Neyra nods, before turning to her. She points at Twilight, then the door.
“Watch it, and stay to the side in case anybody peeks inside.” She whispers to the Princess.
She turns back around, heading over to one of the table and grabbing a map. She unfurls the delicate paper and takes a glance over it.
Twilight quietly shuts the door behind Neydra, before taking her position off to the side.
It was a map of Ponyville, Neydra noted as she glanced over it. Thee scrolls were written in an odd language, likely code, so she passed it to the side and glanced over the map.
There was a single point on the map, marked with a circle, and labelled ‘Castle.’
“Twilight… is there a castle in Ponyville?” She asks without looking up.
“Yes, there is. Why?” The princess asks, looking away from the door and toward Neydra.
“Because they have it marked down on this map.”
Neydra grabs the parchment and holds it up to show Twilight.
The princess's eyes widen, and she lowers her head. Something changed, a moment of sickly movement overcame the Princess as she processed this information.
Realization dawns on Neydra, and her own eyes widen.
“We need to hurry there. Now.” She tells Twilight.
Twilight nods, before swaying a bit and bumping into a shelf. The desolate library echoes with the shattering of ceramic objects
Neydra hushes her, before looking to the object that had fallen.
A little decorative alicorn statue had hit the floor, the head shattering off the body as it had hit the ground. Twilight pales, looking at the figurine, her eyes widening in shock.
Neydra grabs Twilight’s foreleg, and drags her out of the trunk. “Let’s get to the castle, now.”
Twilight stumbles along Neydra, through the town, having her guide the way there. She was accosted by guards, who attempted to arrest her for ‘attempted kidnapping of a royal figure’, but Twilight handled that situation with just a few words.
It wasn’t long before Twilight stopped in front of a large crystalline structure that shimmered with the light of the sun.
It was tall, in the shape of a large tree, composed entirely out of a quartz like Crystal that rooted into the ground. The doors were highly detailed, looking to have be carved, but upon closer inspection, they too were natural formation, the crystals were smooth, untarnished. Twilight pants, looking to Neydra.
Neydra sighs and takes a deep breath.
“Here goes nothing,” she says as she grabs the handle to the crystalline door and pushes it open.
The door opened with a whine and creak, and Neydra flinches. She hoped it didn't give away her cover.
“Where is she? She should be here.”
“I have no idea.”
Two voices, both of which were gruff and deep. Neydra didn’t recognize either of them, and frowns a bit. They were echoing from deeper in the castle, from the main chamber.
Twilight tugs on Neydra hip, and the gryphon looks her way quietly.
The alicorn was shaking a little.
“We should leave.” She whispers so silently, Neydra barely heard it.
Neydra looks in the direction of the voices, then at Twilight.
“Two of them, and two of us. It’s even. Plus, you have magic, that puts it in our favor. We can handle it,” Neydra retorts quietly.
“Something isn’t right…” Twilight mouths.
“What isn’t right?” Neydra asks, turning her attention back in the direction of the voices.
And then she saw it. So many more than just two. There had to be upwards of a dozen walking down the hall, toward the group.
“You hear that?” One asks another.
“I smell it. The alicorn is here.”
Neydra quickly pushes the mare to the door. “Go, I’ll be with you shortly.”
Twilight turns, running to the door, only for it to slam shut, almost directly on her. This causes her to fall onto her haunches to avoid getting hurt.
The room lighting drops around Neydra, Twilight, and the other gryphons. Pitch black lines of string sprout from the cracks in the doorway. They spread along the door, then the walls and ceiling, further developing the dark atmosphere.
A low and sinister giggle echoes across the castle.
“Ahhh, I caught myself a little bird,” a female’s voice calls out, echoing similarly to the giggle.
Neydra looks around, shivering slightly at the eeriness of the situation. She looks toward the oncoming gryphons, only for them to shift out of focus. Something forced her to look upward, toward a unicorn that was dropping from the ceiling along one of the red strings, and then land gracefully on the ground.
Her fur was pure black in color, with a dark red mane that had blacks streaks going through it. Her eyes were blood red, as was her glowing horn.
“Focus on me little bird.” She says in her eerie, yet beautiful voice.
Neydra blinks as she observes the mare, who gives Neydra a smile, showing off four fangs that adorned her row of blunt teeth. Each seemed natural on the strange mare, beautiful even. Yet they were horrendously out of place at the same time.
Neydra shakes her head to snap herself from her fixation on the mare, then draws her knife from her bags
“Oh, there’s no need for that little birdie.” She coos, glancing at Neydra as she advances, starting to circle around her and observe her. “I’m just here to give you an offer that nobody else will… for a small price.”
Neydra growls and keeps her knife pointed at the strange mare. She smiles at the blade, as if acknowledging it, yet closes in still.
“What the hell do you want?”
“To listen. To give you your deepest desire.” She says with a small smile, doing a skirt around Neydra, who’s forced to spin quickly to keep her eyes on her.
Neydra throws a swipe at her with the knife, to force her to back away.
The strange mare takes a hop backward, before shifting and hopping onto a wall. Her hooves stuck to it as if it were just another floor.
“You are so keen on violence.” She says, her voice taking on a tone of offence. “You must be so lonely back home, with a family that won’t ever be there for you. Oh, it must hurt so badly.”
She smiles as she starts to crawl up the wall, leaving Neydra dumbfounded.
“What if I could help you little birdie? Would you help me in return?”
Neydra shakes her head. “This is absurd. You know nothing about me.” She says. She keeps her eyes on the strange mare, tracking her every movements.
The mare starts to walk along the walls, just as an arachnid would, her legs bending almost unnaturally as she swiftly glides across the wall. She sneers at the gryphon, giggling at her uncertainty.
“I’ll offer you one last time. Join me, little birdy, and achieve your deepest desires.”
“You’re working with the gryphons, aren’t you?” Neydra growls in reply. “You’re horrible, condoning the killing of an innocent citizen. I’d never work with somebody like you.”
“Oh, I’m of no allegiance to them. And the same is true of them to me. I came for you.” The mare says with a soft yet creepy smile. “Such brutality is beyond me. I like to lure my allies into a web of satisfaction, and help them achieve their desires, for their loyalty. A more than fair trade.”
Neydra shakes her head.
“Once again, denied. I have a princess to protect now.” Neydra says, before her eyes widen, and finally takes her eyes off of the strange mare
The mare giggles at that.
“You’re kind of late to that. Time’s up.”
Something blunt smacks against Neydra’s head, and she stumbles back, wavering in place, barely holding onto her consciousness. She’s caught just as she hits the ground, and takes advantage of it. She slumps in their grip, feigning unconsciousness.
“This one too boss?” Some voices begin.
“Yes, I think we need to remind them that this little gem was destroyed decades ago.”
A claw holds up a bright purple gem in the air, one that was refined, yet at the same time almost seemed natural in its state.
Twilight suddenly yells out in pain, and Neydra almost reacts to it, but catches herself.
“Shut her up!” Barks one of the gryphons, which is followed by the sounds of a harsh slap and Twilight grunting.
“Get them outside, and bring me my sword. Attis, round up the ponies in town. Gilda, bring that idiot that pretends she’s a gryphon and the princess to the town square.” says a commanding voice.
After being passed around, a battered and bruised Twilight was left on a larger gryphon’s back, and Neydra was being dragged behind, much to her disdain. She constantly tries to fight it, but the more experienced gryphon stops her attempts.
She’s finally dumped on the dirt path in the town square, beside the bloodied and beaten Twilight Sparkle.
Twilight coughs painfully, and looks at Neydra.
“You didn’t… fight…”
Neydra looks away, grimacing lightly.
“I can now…” She mutters. “I can save you.” She pushes herself to her paws and talons, only to receive a powerful punch to the gut that sends her back to the ground, gasping for air. The corners of her vision darken as pain surges throughout her body, her stomach spasming from the sudden injury.
“Please stop.” Says Gilda, moving above Neydra and pinning her down. “I don’t want to hurt you anymore than I need to…”
Twilight lets out another cough, a bit of blood dribbling down her lip after it.
“It’s okay. The black mare. I saw her too. She trapped us.” She says, giving a grimace every few syllables.
“I’m sorry..” Neydra mutters.
Twilight shakes her head, smiling in an accepting way, leaving scrape marks along her cheek from the dirt and gravel.
“No… don’t blame yourself… you were forced into this by the guard… you shouldn’t have even been involved...”
A shadow casts over her before she could finish the sentence, caused by the largest gryphon she had seen yet.
The large gryphon had soot colored fur and feathers, and piercing yellow eyes. He had a long scar that began at his ashy colored beak, and ran all the way down to his gut. His beak was missing the tip.
“You two are pouring your little hearts out. How adorable.” He laughs, ”Gryphons at least die with their words in their throats, not on their lips. Gilda! Get the traitor up.”
“Blacktalon! She isn’t-”
“Did you hear me? I said get her up!” He commands, with a much more stern tone this time, glaring at the bird.
Gildra crawls off of Neydra, and then lifts her up into a standing position.
The dark gryphon chuckles, and then starts to play with that little purple gem in his claws again. “You wanna cry? Beg for mercy little birdy?”
Neydra growls at him, shifting on her talons and paws.
“You’re going to let me go now… before you regret it!” she shouts at him, attempting some kind of threat.
He laughs loudly at her before turning to look at the crowd of gathering and frightened ponies.
“You hear that everyone? The girl has some fight in her yet!”
He suddenly turns, and puts a set of talons her shoulders and draws uncomfortably close to her face. He grins, showing off his razor like teeth in his beak.
“The problem here is that the ones who try too hard end up dying first. I’ll cut you a deal. Kneel to me and I won’t end your little game here, traitor.” He pulls his face away, grinning as he watches her.
Gilda walks toward Neydra’s side, leaning in close to her earhole. “Just kneel… don’t make this hard on yourself…” The gryphon begs, as if she were the one being executed.
Neydra pauses a moment, before suddenly turning and headbutting Gilda in her face, sending her to the ground from the force. Then she turns and yells, jumping at Blacktalon.
Blacktalon sidesteps and catches her by the left paw, throwing her into the ground before gripping her leg tightly and jerking it. The soft flesh shifted violently, a loud and hollow pop echoing in the wind.
The crowd gasps and grimaces as Neydra screams and flails from the sudden flush of pain. Her now dislocated leg thumps against the ground. For the moment, she forgot this was even a game. The pain felt far too real, and it burned like a flame in her joint.
Blacktalon lets out a victorious laugh, and throws down the backwards limb.
“Tricky, but not too smart.” He declares, He rolls the purple gem in his talons for a moment, before he gives Neydra a sadistic grin.
“Gilda, hold her still, arms out.”
Gilda leaps on Neydra again, having recovered from the headbutt. After a moment of struggle, she manages to put Neydra into a position on her back, her arms splayed out above her head and held down by Gilda’s talons.
Neydra grunts, a few tears running down her cheek from the previous pain.
Blacktalon grins as he moves over to stand above Neydra, and the world around her seemingly falls silent. The crowd leans forward, as if wanting to watch whatever would happen.
Then Blacktalon suddenly reaches back, and draws his blade, a wicked looking black sword with razors along the blade. He turns it in his talons, before bringing it downward in a stabbing motion.
The blade effortlessly cleaves through Neydra’s ribcage and flesh, sending a spray of red into the air. Neydra’s eyes widen, and her scream catches in her throat. It was when he started sawing and cleaving upward with the blade that the scream came out, high-pitched and agonizing.
Once he had worked his way back down to the base of her chest, he pulls the blood-soaked blade away, and puts it back onto the sheath on his hips, before flexing his talons.
“Do me a favor and scream for me.” He says sadistically before driving his claws forward, into the carved out hole in Neydra’s chest.
Neydra shrieks again, her vision going blurry as the pain becomes unbearable. It felt like her heart jumped up into her throat, with a new irregular and very painful beat.
“Stop this! Stop this right now!” Twilight shrieks before she suddenly jumps to her hooves, only to get tackled to the ground by two more gryphons.
Blacktalon grins, and looks her way while his talons continue to grip tighter and tighter onto Neydra’s heart, pushing the purple gem into it all the while, sending blood rushing out of her chest and down her feathers and fur. He laughs, mocking her screams, licking his beak as if he had finished a grand meal. He reaches back with his free claw, drawing his sword.
“Ponies! I want you to deliver a message to your silly little princesses!” He shouts. “Blacktalon sends his regards!”
He suddenly brings the blade down toward Twilight, who was still pinned on the ground. The blade cleaves through effortlessly, like a knife through butter.
Twilight’s eyes were wide, and they stayed wide as her head rolled off of her shoulders, and along the stage for a few seconds before finally stopping.
Neydra only very briefly got to watch this scene with her blurry vision before her body gave a death rattle, and then she goes limp under Gilda’s talons and Blacktalon’s claw.
For a moment, Tyler almost unplugged the system, hoping to try again another day, but then he heard a disembodied voice in the pitch blackness of death. One that sounded eerily similar to Twilight’s, with a more motherly tone to it.
“We aren’t done…” Whispers the voice. “They killed us both, then connected us both. They made us one. I see now, what you must do.. What we must do. What I must ask of you, Neydra…”
He hesitates a moment, before calling out into the blackness. Much to his surprise, it was Neydra’s voice that called out.
“What do you need me to do?”
“I want you to help me end this war. Together. No matter how many times we die or fall. No matter what it takes.” The heavenly voice replies.
He was suddenly back in Neydra’s body again.
She groans as she shifts her body against the stone floor, slowly opening her eyes and looking around. A gentle purple light radiated from her torso, where her heart was, which was in one piece again.
Blood still coated her fur and feathers, but the pain was gone. And her injuries had disappeared entirely.
She slowly traces her talong along the purple glow in her chest.
She suddenly jumps as a hoof touches her shoulder. It was cold, like ice, and sent chills through her body like if she had took a dive into a frozen lake.
“We can start with those forty or so books I need to return to you,” says the voice of Twilight Sparkle, which now sounded hollow and distant.
Neydra quickly turns around, looking toward the source of the voice.
The figure behind her was just like that of Twilight, but ghostly and transparent in appearance. She also appeared emaciated, as if she hadn’t eaten in ages.
Before Neydra could get a good word in toward the mare though, the world suddenly went dark.
Tyler sighs and reaches up and grabs the Hex headset, pulling it off of his head.
“Hey mom...” He says before looking around.
He had almost suspected someone else had turned the headset off to greet him, but no surprise, no one was home.
He reaches up and scratched his head, and glances at the Hex headset. He shakes his head and stands up before heading downstairs to the kitchen, checking the wall clock in the living room on his way down.
Little hand on the six, big hand two ticks away from twelve.
He’d been in the game for eight hours. Was it really that long? Probably, it was very exciting and eventful for an intro sequence. And it felt like he’d gotten a full night’s sleep too. Playing a game that only utilized your brain probably helped him in that regard.
He shrugs it off and heads into the kitchen, making himself a bowl of cereal for breakfast.
After making himself the bowl, the doorbell suddenly goes off, its chime echoing around the house.
He looks up, wondering who would be here this early, but heads to the door.
“Coming!” he calls out, before peering into the peephole.
It was Sky, standing in the doorway, still in purple pajamas. She had dark skin, and long black hair that went down to her mid back. A pair of black-framed glasses adorned her gray eyes. She was wearing a large rucksack on her back, that looked almost difficult to carry.
She also looked ill, as if she could puke at any moment, and slowly rubbed her neck.
Tyler pauses a moment, then grabs the door handle and pulls it open.
“You must be crazy to willingly get up this early.” He tells her.
She looks up at him.
“Hehe… yeah…” she says, looking disconnected. She gives him a half-hearted smile.
“Can I come in?” She asks cautiously.
“Uh, sure, I guess. There’s probably nobody else here right now anyway.” Tyler replies before taking a step back to let her in, holding the door open for her.
She steps in, and dumps the sack on a ground, the many books she borrowed from Tyler spilling out onto the ground. She walks in only a few meters before coming to a stop.
“Tyler…” She mumbles. “Tyler, Tyler, Tyler…” She mutters repeatedly, before turning around suddenly and looking his way.
“Neydra…” Sky mutters, before meeting his eyes. “Neydra, that’s you, isn’t it?”
Tears starts to form in her eyes, and Tyler finds himself feeling concerned and uncomfortable.
“Um, yeah, that’s me… How’d you know? I thought you couldn’t play the game?”
She nods lightly, pausing.
She starts to say something, but stops, and then puts a hand to her chest. “I’m afraid I might have dragged you into a nightmare, Tyler…” She starts to walk over to him, unbuttoning the shirt of her PJs.
Tyler blinks, and then covers his eyes, turning away. “Whoa whoa! What the hell are you doing? What are you talking about?”
“Look at me!” She snaps, her voice distorted as she nearly chokes on tears.
Tyler pauses a moment, before sighing and slowly turning toward her, uncovering his eyes as he did.
He was relieved that it wasn’t an entirely awkward display. She hadn’t pulled her shirt apart enough to reveal anything. But it was enough to reveal the tattoo just above her bosom. It was a purple stars, surrounded by other smaller ones. The exact same one that was upon Twilight Sparkle’s flank.
Tyler pauses a moment, before shaking his head. “Um, that’s interesting… Are you… okay? You’re crying.”
“No… No, I’m not okay in the least…” She says before dropping to her knees, , hugging herself tightly.
She shakes and shivers, constantly shaking her head.
Tyler stares at her for a moment, as it dawns on him. He slowly looks around, then back at her. He hesitates for a moment, before dropping to his knees and moving over, pulling her into a hug.
She hugs him back tightly, sobbing into his shoulder, practically wailing.
Tyler lets his mind wander as he lets Sky sob and hiccup into his shoulder.
The pain of the torture and torment. The realistic feeling of it all. The tattoo she had, the way she was reacting.
“Sky…” He begins carefully. “That wasn’t a video game intro sequence, was it?”
She gently shakes her head into his shoulder.
Tyler nods, staying quiet as he holds her in the hug for a little while longer. After a few moments, he finally pulls away, and places his hands on her shoulders.
“I’m going to go get you some hot cocoa, and then we can sit down and properly talk about this. You’re going to tell me exactly what’s going on. Got it?”
She lets out a sniff and nods. She refused to look up, staying quiet.
He nods and holds a hand out to Sky. She takes his hand, and he helps her up, leading her to the couch and sitting her down on it before heading into the kitchen, thinking and wondering while he makes her the hot chocolate.
Could it really be true. Was she Twilight Sparkle?
He returns to the living room, happy to see she had buttoned up her PJs while he was gone, and holds the mug of hot cocoa out to her.
“Careful, it’s hot.” He warns, before she takes it.
Sky looks at the liquid inside, her lip quivering.
“I’m sorry…” She says quietly.
Tyler is quiet for a moment and then nods.
“It’s okay… should I take potshots here, or wait for you to explain?”
“You can ask.” she whimpers out.
“So Twilight Sparkle is your character, right?” Tyler asks. “Like Neydra is mine?”
“It’s more than that… we are the same… but it’s more along the lines of… Sky is my character, while Twilight is… was, my real body.”
Tyler nods lightly, starting to make a little more sense of this whole situation. Though it was very unnerving.
“Okay.. So what did you mean earlier, when you said you threw me into a nightmare? I’ve played horror games before, and that hardly seemed like one.”
Sky looks up, suddenly tearing up again.
“I’m never going to be able to see my friends with my own face… and they’ll never be able to see me. I’ll never get to have my own hugs again, or make friends without you being around!”
“Please explain it to me.” Tyler says suddenly, snapping a bit at Sky. “What the hell is going on?”
“It’s not a game!” Sky shouts suddenly, before shooting up out of her seat and shoving Tyler to the ground.
Tyler hits it roughly, barely catching himself before looking at Sky. He pushes himself to his feet, and then sighs softly.
“Then what exactly is it?”
She sighs as she falls backward into the couch, looking to the ground.
“It’s hard to explain. Every world has walls. Beyond them lies other worlds. You humans have opened up a few of these worlds, using your imaginations. You could only see them though. As memories, or visions, or imaginations of video games and TV shows. But us… Equestria. We figured out how to pull denizens of other worlds into our own.” she finishes.
Tyler nods, wrapping his head around everything he had just been told, before walking over to the couch and sitting down beside Sky.
“So you’ve pulled us into your world, using the technology of the Hex?”
“It’s mostly magic, actually.”
“And… you’re trying to build an army out of the players?” Tyler asks with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes… selfish, I know.”
“That’s exactly what I was about to say.”
Sky sighs quietly and starts to tear up again, pulling her knees up to her chest.
“Promise me you’ll keep playing?” She asks quietly.
“Yeah, sure.” He says with a nod. “It’s a fun game anyway.”
“It’s not a game!” Sky whines. “It’s a world, my world!”
Tyler sigh softly, and then nods.
“Okay. Fine. It’s a fun world. Will I get compensated for helping you out?”
Sky freezes up a moment, then bites her lip.
“Equestria doesn’t have anything to give. We were just going to let the players make their own lives in our world once the war was over.”
Tyler sighs and nods, before standing up, stretching a bit.
“Alright. I guess I’ll go plug in.” He says.
She quickly stands up with him, nodding slightly.
“I’ll just sleep in your bed.”
He nods and pats her shoulder as he walks past her and back upstairs. He heads into his room, powering on his computer and the Hex system, and then holds the door open for Sky as the hardware boots up.
She walks into the room, and then walks over to the bed. She practically falls into it before pulling the covers over herself, sighing softly.
Tyler sets a disconnect notice for 4 p.m. on his computer, before grabbing the headset and pulling it over his head. He lets the transition of the worlds take him once again.
Here he goes, back to Neydra’s body, who was probably her own person too, in their world.
After the white room loading screen takes shape, Neydra finds herself lying on a cold metal table, in a room that smelled strongly of iron and preservatives.
She groans, slowly and gently rolling over onto her talons and paws, and then pushes herself upright.
Her body screams from being sore, and she stretches a bit, popping her limbs that felt like they were very stiff.
That's when she noticed she had been lying on a morgue table. She was cleaned of the blood that had stained her body previously. All of her equipment was missing.
Her eyes widen and she looks around in a hurry, spotting two other covered bodies in the morgue, as well as a large steel door.
She bolts up, running over to the door and attempting to get it open, only to discover that it was locked. She sighs and backs away, holding her head in her talons.
Something suddenly shifts on one of the tables which rattling it. Neydra looks up toward it to check the source.
One of the tables was moving, swaying in place.
A light suddenly appears beside Neydra, and she looks toward it to see Twilight take form,, transparent and purple in appearance. She was looking much more dead, with fur falling off in patches, her skin dried and hugging her bones. She looks at the table, squinting.
“That isn’t my body.” she says.
“Right. Should we check it?” Neydra asks the ghostly princess.
“We should.” she says, before she vanishes, becoming a light purple shimmer.
Neydra nods before cautiously moving over to the table, then grabs the cloth covering the body and lifts it up.
Underneath was a brown stallion with a dark brown mane. He wore a collar and green tie, and his mane was a mess. He was completely devoid of injuries. What he lacked in injuries, he made up with an absolutely peculiar look. He wore a gentle smile on his muzzle, one of peace and rest.
“The clock keeper…” Mutters Twilight in her wispy voice. “But he got cut down by the gryphons.”
“But he’s fine now.” Neydra points out. “Not a mark on him.”
The stallion suddenly shoots upright, taking a huge breath of air, and bumping into Neydra’s beak as he does. Neydra stumbles back and grips her beak while the stallion starts to feel about his body. His smile was skewed into one of nervousness, like he was worried about something.
“No change, same body.” He mutters in a strangely British accent as his touches his cheeks. “Same face, nose, very wet. Same body, still lithe. How?”
He climbs off the table, as if he hadn’t been dead just a moment ago. He quickly begins to pace in a circle, muttering words that were barely comprehensible to the gryphon.
Neydra is quiet for a moment as she backs away, still rubbing her beak.
‘Who the hell are you?” she questions, the shock of a dead colt suddenly springing up from his deathbed spouting nonsense and practically dancing spirals hitting her suddenly “And how are you still alive?”
“I’m not sure actually!” The stallion chimes with sudden enthusiasm. “You look rather gaunt, are you eating correctly?”
He pulls out a strange tube, which glowed and buzzed as he held down a button and waved it around Neydra. The light that came out the end was colbalt in color.
“Erm… I actually haven’t eaten at all in this body now that I think about.” She replies, before pausing a moment. “Nothing but a lollipop.”
He pulls the device away and looks at the side of it.
“Well no wonder. You’re dead.” He gives her a very casual smile as he waits for her response.
Neydra blinks, before reaching up and scratching her head.
“But I’m not. I’m alive.”
He smiles and shakes his head.
“Nope, no pulse, very little brain activity, and very serious trauma. Very dead, if not on the verge of it.”
“Well then, how am I here?’ Neydra retorts, getting a little frustrated.
“That is certainly a good question… oh, wait a moment, I just remembered something very important!” He declares.
He taps his temple for a moment, before smiling and rushing to the locked metal door, grabbing Neydra’s talon and pulling her along as he did.
He stops in front of the door and pulls his metal tube out again, pressing it to the door. The buzz it made heightened in pitch, before the lock clicks, and he looks to a still shell-shocked Neydra.
“Shall we get going then?” He asks.
“Uh… sure…” Neydra manages to get out. “I never caught your name.”
“Soon!” He declares. “We need to get to my ship first, I have something important to do.”
He suddenly darts down the hallway, before Neydra could even get out a word, and she finds herself following him out of sheer curiosity.
“Aren’t you just a clock keeper? What are you going on about?” Neydra asks when she had finally caught up to him after he stopped in front of another metal door. He was currently working on the lock with his peculiar gizmo.
“I am!” He says around the device between his teeth. “But I’m the oddest of them all. I keep all sorts of clocks. Past, present, and future.”
He smiles as the lock clicks, and his gizmo disappears into his collar again.
“Ahh there you are!” he shouts before rushing into the room.
Neydra peaks inside, to see the stallion hugging and nuzzling a big blue police telephone box. The box seems to have been under used, and when the stallion walked up to it, wafts of dust spilled off its edges.
“Oh how I missed you!” The stallion chimes before grabbing the handle to the door and pushing it open.
“Ladies first!” he declares, looking toward Neydra.
“Twilight… thoughts?” Neydra asks herself.
“That stallion is a lunatic.” She mutters as she manifests beside Neydra again.
It seemed the stallion wasn’t even aware that the ghost was there, and kept staring at Neydra with a wide, waiting smile.
Neydra sighs for a moment before walking over, and pushing her way into the door. It was a tight fit, due to the sheer size of her gryphon body, but she spilled out into a rather spacious area that could be defined as the opposite of claustrophobic.
The room inside was large, several times larger than that of the police box. It was spherical in shape, with the rounded, curling walls covered in brown and gold plating. There were stairs and hallways that led to all kinds of separate rooms, and a staircase that led up to a raised platform with a perforated steel floor. On that platform was some kind of control hub, with all kinds of gizmos and switches adorning it. Everything seemed to revolve around a giant piston, one that moved like a heart.
Neydra looks around, her beak falling open as she glances around.
“It’s…” Neydra begins.
“Yeees?” the stallion draws out as he walks up beside Neydra.
“... smaller on the outside.”
He flicks an ear, looking a little annoyed with that answer.
“Yes, yes, I suppose it is.”
“How is it like this?” She asks, looking his way, still a little slack jawed. “Is it magic?”
His ears perk up. His disappointment visibly turns into excitement.
“Well, it’s a TARDIS, or Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. Real complicated, I know, but this room, this is its own separate reality, universe even, from everything else. And that door I opened for you, acts as the barrier. I would explain everything to you, but that would take, oh, a hundred years or so. All you need to know is that this nifty little ship can move through time and space with ease. Erm, most of the time.” He finishes.
Neydra looks his way, tilting her head at him, trying to process all of this the best she could.
“So why are we here?” she finally decides to ask.
“Yes, yes. You and I have a very important mission that we need to undergo!” he hums before skipping up the stairs and hitting a button on the console.
‘Oh yes! We should introduce ourselves!’ He says as Neydra joins him on the platform.
She’s cautious at first, before taking his hoof and shaking it.
“Neydra.” She says.
He smiles and pulls his hoof away, grabbing a lever labelled ‘stabilizer.’
“And I am- The Doctor!” He yells, before yanking the lever down.
The ship suddenly lurches, sending Neydra to the ground, and almost off of the platform.
The ship lurches violently as the Doctor starts to laugh and move about the console, pulling and pushing various buttons and switches.
“Oh it’s been so long!” The Doctor says in a merry voice while Neydra pushes herself to her talons and paws. “But now it’s time for the rough part.”
“The what now?” Neydra mutters as she looks his way. “What are you about to do?”
He yanks a lever downward, and Neydra is momentarily weightless, hovering for a moment in the air before suddenly being thrown off of the platform.
The Doctor whoops excitedly, while Neydra tumbles through the air. She spreads her wings reflexively, barely pushing herself through the air with a powerful flap in time to keep from hitting the ground too roughly.
She rolls a bit, before managing to get herself upright and climbing back up the stairs, carefully.
There was a loud mechanical hum as she made her way up, then a booming thump as she finally made it to the top.
She sighs and makes her way over to The Doctor, then spins him around and punches him in the nose.
He stumbles to the ground, holding his nose while Neydra shakes her talons.
Twilight manifests beside Neydra, looking a little angry, which put a red tint to her spectral form.
“Neydra! What are you doing?”
“Punching him for hurting me.” She says simply. “Don’t worry, I wasn’t going to kill him or anything.”
“Well that was interesting. Thankfully it wasn’t too rough of a landing.” The Doctor laughs heartily, then jumps up and heads for the door.
“We have work to do. Allons-y!” He cheers before darting out.
Neydra starts to follow him, but then turns to Twilight, who looked like she had calmed down.
“I have a question for you princess.” Neydra inquires. “This gem inside of me. What's it all about?”
“It’s called an Element of Harmony. More specifically, the Element of Magic. I’m not sure where Blacktalon found it, but he tried to get rid of it, along with you and I.”
Twilight slowly reaches out, putting her hoof inside of Neydra and touching the gem embedded into her heart.
“It was once used to vanquish evil, along with five other Elements. But now, my soul is trapped within it, making it nothing more than a vessel. It’s drawing out all of my remaining magic to keep you alive.”
Neydra rubs her head, but then nods in understanding.
“We should catch up with The Doctor.”
Twilight nods, and then gives a soft, light smile, which causes her to glow a light yellow.
“Neydra… Tyler. I know you have absolutely no reason to care about helping us. Other than me asking. That’s why I appreciate you doing this for us. We will always appreciate what you do for Equestria. And we will do it together.”
She lets the smile linger for a moment, before fading away again.
“Are you quite alright there?” The Doctor’s voice calls from the doorway.
Neydra looks up, then his way before giving a light nod and walking over.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Where are we going?”
“Outside.” He replied vaguely.
“We have business to handle. It won’t be long until the attack begins.”
He opens the door and darts outside, and Neydra follows behind him, a little cautiously.
The outside was revealed to be a large castle, not unsimilar from that of the previous crystal castle she had been inside. Except most everything was decorated from dark black or gray quartz instead of brightly colored crystals. The hallway was incredibly dark, only lit by a few glowing red crystals that were made to look like torches.
“What are we doing here?” She asks as she gawks at the inside of the castle. “What attack are you talking about?”
“We need to retrieve some scrolls. Before they get destroyed in the attack is preferred.” He says, looking her way. “You are a gryphon, so you should be able to sniff them out for me, yes?” He asks hopefully.
“Um… I can spot them, but tracking isn’t exactly my forte.” Neydra says, pointing to the small nostrils on her beak.
“Then your eyes will do perfectly fine! Come along now!” He shouts, before marching down the hall.
Twilight appears beside Neydra again, looking around not in awe, but in fear.
Neydra pauses a moment, looking to Twilight.
“What’s wrong?” She asks.
“This isn’t right…” She mutters, “This is the Crystal Castle, all the way in the Crystal Empire. But it shouldn’t look like this. There’s only been one invasion of this castle, but that was years ago.”
She shakes her head, thinking to herself for a moment.
“Time travel is impossible without magic. There is no way this could be what I think it is…”
“What do you think this is?” Neydra inquires.
“Just an illusion. The Clock Keeper made some kind of magic emitting device that crafts illusions, nothing more.”
Twilight looks around, before looking over Neydra’s shoulder, toward The Doctor.
Neydra looks over her shoulder as well.
“You talk to yourself an awful lot. More than I do.” he says.
“Right…” Neydra clears her throat. “So where are we going?”
‘We need to get to the library.” The Doctor says as he spins around. “I’m thinking the scroll is more than likely in there.”
He walks for a bit, then comes to a sudden stop, his ears perking up.
Neydra stops beside him, looking at him. She flicks his ear.
“Hide.” The Doctor suddenly whispers, before lunging behind a pillar.
Neydra blinks then panics. She spreads her wings and then lunges upward, flapping and gaining enough air to perch on one of the many arches that decorated the ceiling. She lies low, out of sight, as a large stallion walked into view.
He was tall and bulky , with dark gray fur and long flowing black locks. He wore chainmail armor underneath his royal red cape, and wore a gold crown upon his head. His horn was long and curved, and the tip was bright red like heated iron.
He walks forward for a bit, before stopping. He gives the air a sniff, before a grin spreads across his face.
‘Seems I’ll be having visitors.” he says, his voice booming around the walls unnaturally.
Neydra finds herself trying to become as small as possible. She curls into herself, folding her wings tightly to her side.
His grin disappears down to a small smirk, and he continues down the hall, exiting when he arrived at the far side.
Neydra looks down the The Doctor, who mouths an all clear.
She sighs quietly and nods, hopping off of the arc and gliding down to the ground.
“Sombra…” Twilight’s voice whispers within Neydra, “That shouldn’t be possible… Sombra was defeated twice…”
Neydra glances down to her chest, then looks to The Doctor.
“Who was that?”
“The lord of Darkness, Fear and Hatred; Bearer of Black Stone; Bringer of Nightmares and Chains; Collector of the Jewels; Ruler of the Crystal Empire. King Sombra.” He spouts without taking a breath.
“Well… he certainly has a lot of titles.” Neydra replies.
“He’s done a lot in his lifetime.” The Doctor says as he continues moving down the hall, not running so he doesn’t make too much noise. “It’s a good idea to stay out of his way. The Fight for the Crystal Empire and its disappearance are both fixed points in time. And if he finds us, he’ll likely try to play hoofball with our heads.”
Neydra nods as she follows him quietly, following him down the hall to the library.
Whenever the duo stepped in, they were greeted by an absolutely empty room.
Twilight shudders as they enter, which sends a cold chill down Neydra’s own spine.
“Who would empty out a perfectly good library?” he voice echoes within Neydra.
“Where are all of the books?” The Doctor asks aloud and then pulls out his gizmo from his tie. He waves and buzzes it about the room before looking at the side of it.
“Well? Anything?” Neydra asks.
“Take flight. Look for any scrolls on the shelves. There has to be some place they’re being held.”
The Doctor starts trotting about the floor, checking the bottom shelves. Neydra spreads her wings and gives a few flaps as she starts to fly about the rooms, searching the higher up shelves. She’d gotten a little used to flying now. She actually found it rather natural.
She didn’t find anything, which causes Twilight to send more shivers down Neydra’s spine.
‘This doesn’t make any sense.” She mutters within Neydra. “The Library is supposed to brun. Especially if this really is the past. The invasion of the Royal Army ends up sending the castle down in flames. The entire collection burned, but… nothing is here.”
Neydra is quiet for a moment as she studies the empty shelves.
“Unless it never burned in the first place, and was just misplaced.” She finally comes up with. “Maybe… by whom?” Twilight replies.
Neydra flies to the doorway, peering out of it carefully.
“Maybe Sombra knows where they are?”
“He wouldn’t care.” Twilight says. “He wouldn’t worry about Equestrian culture sticking around. Seems too unlikely.”
Neydra’s eyes meet with Sombra’s. He was standing down the hall, that grin on his face again. Green wisps floated out of his eyes, like energy resonating off of him.
“Doctor, company” Neydra says as she retreats back inside.
“Door.” he says simply, to with Neydra pushes the door shut, and then grabs a few things to barricade it with.
The Doctor moves to help, when his hoof suddenly sinks into a tile on the ground, pushing it in. There was a slight rumble as a bookshelf moved out of the way.
“Perfect!” he chimes as he moves to the moving bookshelf and slips inside when there was enough room.
Neydra lands close to the bookshelf, and slips inside immediately when there was enough room for her to do so. It starts to close behind her, quietly shutting.
The Doctor was already moving down the spiral staircase inside, which was made of blue crystals and iron. The room smelled strongly of elder scrolls.
Neydra starts to descend the stairs behind The Doctor, watching them carefully, just in case one decides to give out from underneath her or the stallion.
The Doctor looks over his shoulders to Neydra, and gives her a charismatic smile.
“Now this should be easy enough. We’re looking for a scroll titled ‘Prophetic Instances and Magical Anomalies’ By Starswirl the Bearded.”
Neydra feels confusion wash over her, but not her own.
“I don’t remember that one.” Twilight mutters.
“Right, I’ll keep my eyes peeled.” Neydra says.
“Hmm.” The Doctor nods, his ear twitching a bit. “Tell me, you’ve been acting rather strange Neydra. Are you alright?”
“Huh?” Neydra tilts her head a bit, then shakes it. “I’m alright. I’m not acting any stranger than you.”
“You’re dodging the question.” He notes.
“That’s probably because I don’t want to answer it.” she retorts.
The Doctor is taken aback by the counterargument, and then turns around, looking up at Neydra. He slowly reaches out to her with a hoof, as if testing the waters.
“What are you doing?” Neydra asks him as she watches his hoof glides toward her.
His hoof brushes her cheek, and he pulls it away, looking at some dust he had wiped off. His eyes widen.
He turns back around, and continues to walk down to the base of the stairs.
Neydra follows, more than a little bewildered. He stops as they reach the base, looking down a hall, where statues of pegasi were waiting, and looked as if they had been galloping before suddenly freezing.
“Neydra, promise me something.” He says slowly.
“Erm, depends on what you’re about to ask me to do.” She says.
“Look at the chests of those statues. And whatever you do. Do. Not. Blink.” He says as he inches closer to the statues slowly.
She looks toward the statues, observing them with uncertainty before starting to move close to them at the same pace as the clock keeper. She keeps her eyes wide, though she really wanted to blink now.
They move around the statues, to which the Doctor orders Neydra to turn around and keep her eyes on them. Which she did.
Once they had gotten far enough away, almost to the end of the hall, the Doctor nods slightly and looks away.
“Blink. You’re a smart girl, and you probably want a reason.”
Neydra tilts her head, before letting herself blink.
Not only had the statues turned around in that brief frame of time, they had drawn a few meters closer, and now they looked furious.
“Okay then! Let’s get going now!” Neydra says, now willing to keep her eyes on these statues indefinitely.
He nods and turns back to face the statues again.
“As soon as we break line of sight, they’re going to follow us. I’ll keep them distracted, and you search for the scroll.” He says, slowly pulling out his device again.
“Sounds good.” Neydra says as they resume backing up. “Whenever you’re ready Doc.”
He nods and stops in place, blinking once.
Neydra immediately turns in place, bolting down the remainder of the hall.
She pushes open a door to arrive into a very cramped shelving space. It was dark and she couldn’t see a thing.
“Hold on, let me help you.” Comes the ghostly voice of Twilight as she manifests nearby, halfway inside of a bookshelf.
The gem in Neydra’s chest starts to heat up and give off a purple glow. The purple light moves down to Neydra’s claws, where it manifests.
“We should be able to cast magic. I hope.” Twilight says.
The gryphon nods, and holds up her left talon, attempting to cast a light spell. To her delight, wisps of the purple light floated off, forming into a ball of purple magic that clung to the ceiling and glowed brightly, illuminating the shelves.
Neydra smirks a bit, and then sticks her claws into the shelves, starting to rifle through them.
“Help me look.” She commands Twilight.
Neydra’s chest pulses, and the purple light shoots outward,tracing around the room and highlighting several scrolls.
“These might be it. It has the special stamp that Starswirl used to mark his works.”
Neydra nods and grabs a scroll, pulling it off the shelf before slowly pulling it open. When the first one wasn’t what she was looking for, she threw it down and grabbed a new one.
After the first half dozen, Twilight was obviously starting to get frustrated.
“No no no!” she whines out.
“Find it?’ The Doctor calls, sounding awfully close now.
“Working on it!” Neydra calls back as she grabs another from the shelf.
‘Prophetic Instances and Magical Anomalies.’
“That’s it!” Twilight shouts, before manifesting her bow again, as the Doctor comes into view, staring down the hall.
“I got it!” Neydra calls to him.
“Give it to me!” The Doctor calls, still staring straight ahead.
Neydra bolts out of the room, running over and handing him the scroll.
He grabs, letting Neydra take the watch over the statues.
‘I am about to do something very stupid!” He exclaims. “I need another scroll! Should have a little blue ribbon on it!”
Neydra nods and bolts back into the library, scouring it long and hard. She never found no such scroll.
“Neydra… The pegasi. They have it.” Twilight’s voice mutters.
Neydra’s eyes widen, and she bolts out of the library, looking at the Doctor.
“Doctor, blink.” She says, looking to the statues. “And then whatever you do, do not take your eyes off of the statues.”
He blinks, and then bares down on them, unrelenting with his eyes.
Neydra could see it now. A scroll, tucked away underneath one of their wings. They looked angry, and now that she noticed it, they were looking past the Doctor, to the library Neydra was just in. The Doctor wasn’t their goal now. The scrolls were.
She takes a deep breath, before flying over to the pegasi, landing beside the one with the scroll tucked away. She slowly reaches for the scroll, gripping it and trying to pull it out.
It slides free effortlessly. The Doctor lets out a whoop.
“Let’s go! Allons-y Neydra!”
The pair quickly move around the statues. As they back away, The Doctor pulls out his device again and points it at one of the red crystals adorning the wall. It sets ablaze and that fire starts to spread to the other crystals.
Neydra starts to pick up the pace as the fire spreads.
“Put that out!” Twilight screams from within Neydra.
Neydra nods as she realizes that this was the fire that destroyed the library.
“Doctor.” She inquires. “Can these statues actually fly?”
“If we blink, yes. But while we keep our eyes on them they still can’t move.”
“Don’t blink.” Neydra says before spreading her wings again.
She flies upward, over the statues before doing a u-turn. She heads for The Doctor, and swoops down to grab him between her talons so that he looked backward, toward the statues, while she stayed in the sky.
The Doctor yelps, surprised by the sudden movement.
“Hey! I didn’t ask for this!” He shouts as the fire was starting to spread and travel along the walls.
“Well we need to get out of here!” Neydra shouts back. “Keep your eyes on the damned statues.”
Neydra travels up the side of the staircase, shooting for the exit, the bookcase walls that she could barely see in the smoky air.
Neydra’s body slams against the bookcase at the top of the stairs that was blocking her exit.Neydra manages to slam the bookcase to the ground, and then rolls a few meters over the bookcase. She drops the Doctor as she does, and sends him rolling a few feet away.
Neydra pushes herself to her talons and paws slowly, and then shakes her body to get the smoke and soot out of her feathers and fur.
“Doctor, you alright?”
“Yep. Just broke a few ribs.” He groans out as he pushes himself to his hooves. “I’m good!”
Neydra sighs in relief, and then walks over to him.
“Good, we need to go.”
“So soon?” replies the low, all-too-familiar voice of Sombra.
The bookshelf suddenly rises, slamming shut behind Neydra.
“You just arrived. Why not stay and enjoy yourselves?”
Neydra jumps a little bit, her eyes darting around before she looks to the barricades on the door.. Shadows seemed to be leaking through them, wisps of it moving around the obstacles and slowly conglomerating in front of the barricades into something vaguely pony shaped.
“Now wait, wait!” The Doctor calls out, stumbling over to the dark figure. “We’re your guests! Why don’t we just sit down to some tea?”
“Silence!” The figure booms as it starts to gain color and form, looking like Sombra once again. Neydra squints as she observes the change.
“Not a talker, alright then…” The Doctor wheezes out.
“Look,” Neydra begins. “We just came here for a few things. We’re going to leave soon, we have no quarrel with you.”
“I’m afraid that this isn’t how this works, gryphon.” Sombra growls. “You intruded upon my property, stole part of my library, and proceeded to burn the rest. I will be left with no choice but to execute you.” His horn starts to glow, a sickly green light surrounding his horn.
Neydra starts to back away, pausing a moment before staring at Sombra.
“You’re about to be invaded!” She shouts at him.
“Ah yes. The sisters. It will take them a while. They need to get their pathetic armies together to even break the gates. Shame that I have a defense planned, it will take an hour for them to even get inside of the kingdom. Then I will slaughter their armies, defeat them, and then assimilate them like everyone else.” Sombra chuckles lightly, his laugh echoing the room.
Neydra shivers and takes a few steps back with the Doctor.
“Twilight… ideas?” She whispers.
“Run. And run quickly.”
Neydra almost immediately does so. She holds up her talons, hoping it would work. To her surprise, it does, and a small flash of light protrudes from her talons, and she throws it at Sombra like a grenade.
The fire lands in front of him, splashing and spreading around, dancing into growing purple flames.
‘How insulting.” Sombra says as he steps through the flames, not the least bit fazed.
Neydra takes a confident breath and then turns around, snapping her talons.
She hears exactly what she wanted to happen start to happen. The flames pop with bright light, and Sombra stumbles, covering his eyes before proceeding toward where Neydra used to be.
She had already spread her wings and flew over the stallion, grabbing the Doctor in the process. She flies over the barricades she had made and dives into the door, knocking it off of its hinges. She rolls for a bit, before leaping up again and dragging the doctor behind her again.
The halls darken wisps of green magic coating the walls and projecting images of him.
“What do you fear, gryphon?” his voice echoes, ghostly like Twilight’s.
Neydra ignores him and continues to charge down the hall, glancing down every opening in it. She keeps her eyes peeled for the blue police box.
“It feels like we’re going in circles!” The Doctor shouts before pulling out his device. He skids to a stop, and Neydra does too.Suddenly, one of the projections of Sombra manifests, becoming a pure solid shadow.
“You will not hide your fears any longer little bird.” he growls as he begins to approach.
The Doctor was fiddling with his device, wacking it and muttering to himself. Neydra keeps her eyes on the shadowy figure, starting to back away from it.
“Don’t you get it Neydra! He wants you to be afraid!” The Doctor shouts.
The dark horse laughs a bit, and his horn glows brightly. Twilight is suddenly ripped from the gem, her spectral body thrown to the floor, green wisps floating off of her eyes like Sombra’s.
“Such an interesting relationship you have. One cannot live without the other. Hmm?’ He smiles as he steps through Twilight, advancing closer.
“Which is why I recommend you leave her be” Neydra growls.
She starts to advance, only to feel a crushing weight inside of her head.
“Any further and I’ll cut that gem out of your chest.” He warns.
Neydra ignores him. She’d already died once in that body, and she wasn’t afraid to do it again. She leaps on the shadowy form of Sombra, digging her claws into his eyes even when a scythe manifests and hits her in the side and stuck inside of her.
Before she could pull away, she suddenly felt the world shift, and then she was pulled inside of the dark form. She falls into darkness, before she hits the ground that looked the exact same as everything else.
“You cannot defeat me.” The dark form of Sombra mutters, appearing across from Neydra as she pushes herself upright. “Nobody can. Not even those self righteous princesses.”
Neydra growls, and then raises her talons, trying to pour as much magic as she could into it. Her gem only flickers, and Neydra grunts in frustration.
“Twilight!” She shouts in desperation.
Sombra chuckles evilly, his voice echoing in the darkness.
“Call all you want, you’re in my domain now. Nobody can hear you, and this is where I will make you submit” He mocks. “Now let’s start with a discovery. What do you fear?”
Her head suddenly pounds, as it feels like it’s being bore into.
He could check death off the list. She had already experienced that, it was nothing to her now. Loneliness had been her life, and she’d grown accustomed to that, so it would be difficult to use that against her.
He had to dig deep, into her childhood, before he found it.
He smirks and holds a hood out, to reveal a small possum hanging from his foreleg by its tail. It slept soundly.
Neydra shivers at the sight. Tyler had been bit by one when he was little, and since then, they had persisted as a constant fear of his. He couldn’t stand the sight of one.
“Hmm… An interesting creature.” The dark horse muses. “Disease and a mean bite.”
The rodent suddenly pops its eyes open and drops from Sombra’s arm. It starts to grow in size, slowly, steadily.
“You’re so helpless. No weapons, no armor. I wonder if you could stand up to a gargantuan possum.”
The Doctor’s words ring in Neydra’s ear for a second. He wanted her to be afraid.
She looks at the evil king, and gives him a slight glare.
“I don’t have to stand up to it. It’s not real, this is just an illusion.”
“It is now?” Sombra questions.
His scythe suddenly manifests, cutting once into Neydra’s arm before disappearing.
Neydra grunts and grips her bleeding arm, then looks at Sombra with a chuckle.
“Even pain can be can be a figment of the imagination.”
A moment of concern etched over Sombra’s face, but it was quickly replaced by a grin.
“Yes, but it is undesirable. Come now, wouldn’t you like to end this little game? All you have to do is bow down and beg for mercy.”
“No.” Neydra says simply, looking to him. “I refuse to.”
The possum suddenly screeches, red rabid liquid dripping from its maw. It was the size of an small truck now, and that’s exactly how it felt as it barreled into Neydra.
It pins her down and bites into her neck, tugging at the flesh which sent shivers of pain down her spine, and the disease spread through her body.
She found herself laughing at the fact that the king had to get so desperate as to actually inflict pain on her, and she glares at him as he sits down on the chair. His grin was faltering.
“Submit to me. Submit to your king.” Sombra mutters repeatedly.
“How about you submit to me?” Neydra asks, looking over at Sombra with anger.
His grin spreads again.
“Such spirit.” He compliments. “Your rage is quite fulfilling. You should know that your body outside of this is being used for a much more… hmhm, pleasurable purpose.” Sombra teases.
“How soft it feels.” He mockingly compliments.
Neydra growls, and suddenly grabs the possums neck.
‘What did you just say?” She demands from Sombra, before looking at the possum. “Get the hell off of me so I can beat the hell out of your boss.”
The possum hisses, not amused with being handles like that while Sombra chuckles in the background.
“You look so wonderful in my chambers. Perhaps I’ll keep you chained against the wall.” He muses.
Neydra hisses like a feral cat, before looking at the possum. Her claws let go of it’s neck, gently scratching its chin.
‘Get off of me.” She commands.
The possum lets out a whine. Its ears shoot up at the suddenly affectionate gesture, and it leans down for more scratches.
Neydra smirks as she continues to scratch its chin, pulling herself out from underneath it as she does.
Sombra’s smile disappears again, replaced by a look of confusion, and slight fear.
The possum slowly backs up, shrinking back to normal possum size before flopping over and playing dead.
Neydra looks Sombra’s way, chuckling lightly to herself.
“I think you gave me illusion rabies.” She says as she starts to march toward him, letting foam drip from her beak.
‘It seems I did.” he says with a scowl. “I’ll just have to put you down like the feral cat you are.”
His horn starts to glow green again. Suddenly, a frying pan hits him from nowhere and clangs to the ground, extinguishing his magic as he falls to the floor.
The message ‘From, The Doctor’ was etched into the pan.
Sombra goans as he hits the ground, and Neydra quickly takes the opportunity, jumping onto him and biting into his neck with her beak.
He yells in pain, before he is dragged along the floor by some mysterious force. The blackness around dissipates, replaced by the castle walls once again.
Neydra feels a sudden surge of pain as her side is speared with the sickle. She growls in pain, releasing Sombra, only for his head to get smashed violently into the floor, throwing black blood onto the ground.
The scythe is yanked out of Neydra’s side, before a rose colored hoof holds out to Neydra.
“Here.” Says a feminine voice she didn’t recognize.
Neydra reaches up and takes the hoof, struggling for breath. She takes in her surroundings, noting that she was still in the hallway of the castle. The Doctor stood nearby, waving around his device. She finally meets eyes with the source of the hoof. A rose colored mare, with red mane and blonde mane. Her eyes glowed a bright gold.
“Bad Wolf.” She says.
She suddenly disappears, and then Sombra is blasted backward, leaving a trail of black blood. He flies through a pair of double doors that shut behind him.
‘We need to go now.” The Doctor says, looking to Neydra.
Neydra nods and looks to Twilight, who was starting to scream. She calmed down for a moment, and her ghostly eyes met with Neydra. They nod to each other, and Twilight disappears.
Neydra looks to the Doctor, and nods before rushing over to join him.
The Doctor and Neydra both walk the rest of the way down the hall, before finally finding the room where the police box waited. The Doctor opens it, then walks inside, clutching his chest before falling and rolling across the ground, grunting as he hits it and stops on his back.
Neydra wasn't far behind him, landing beside him, and then starting to check her body, to see if she really was defiled.
Sombra had fibbed. Lied to see her reaction, and she figured that out all too quickly.
The Doctor pushes himself to his hooves, moving up the stairs and throwing some switches before leaning over the console as the ship hummed.
Neydra starts to laugh, a hearty victorious laugh that echoed around the room. When she was finished, she moves up the stairs to join The Doctor. She checks him for injuries, but discovers none. She sighs in relief, and falls to her haunches, taking a moment for herself.
The doctor starts to let out a quiet, slightly raspy laugh.
Neydra starts to chuckle along with him for a moment, then looks his way.
‘I hope those scrolls were worth it.”
“No… no, they definitely weren’t.” He says.
His fur was lightening in color, starting to shimmer.
“I thought it could be avoided... but it’s happening again.” He says with a heavy sigh.
“What’s happening?” Neydra asks in concern.
He chuckles a little bit, and looks at her, the glow on his body increasing in density.
“Change dear Neydra. We all undergo it, some more than others. Change is a funny thing. Most ponies hate it, they fear change because it breaks what they are used to. But eventually, change comes a’knocking, and you don’t have any choice but to let it in, serve it tea and wait for it to turn your world upside-down.”
Neydra looks at him with a very confused look, wondering why he was giving this talk to her. The Doctor smiles a bit, noticing her confused look, nodding. He sighs and leans back on his console, clicking a few buttons.
“I know you don’t realize it now, but soon, that change is about to come through your door. I am going to change, you will change, everyone will change. That is the true meaning of destiny, of time. That is what the meaning of our short or long lives mean. Change. But there is one thing that never changes.” He says and back away. He looks down at his hooves, a tear streaming down his cheek.
“Can you tell me what that is?” he asks solemnly.
Neydra shakes her head, looking confused.
“I have no idea.” She admits. She starts to walk toward him, concern and worry etched on her face.
He holds up a hoof, and stops her.
The glow becomes brighter, engulfing his body.
“And now… we must do away with the old and bring in the new!’ he shouts loudly, before he almost literally explodes in a bright white light.
The flash sent Neydra flying over the edge of the platform yet again, and she avoided the painful landing the same way, spreading her wings to keep herself rolling once she hit it.
She immediately jumps to her hooves and charges upstairs
Where the doctor once stood, a female was now, panting and looking fantic as she felt her body. She was an indigo coated earth pony, with a light blue mane and the same hourglass tramp stamp on her hips.
The hip shakes violently, and she shoots up, then suddenly clutches her stomach.
‘Ooh, oh, cramps! Ooh, new body… weird body.” She mutter in a british accent, before her eyes dart over the console. She starts to touch all over her body.
“Arms, legs, eyes, nose. All good… yes, yes. Ah! Blimey! Look at this flank, too big for my taste but powerful legs, ears.” She mutters, almost incoherently. She stumbles to the console, flipping switches, turning the knobs.
“We need… no, wrong switch. This one? No!” She looks frantic, searching the console in a rush.
‘The stabilizer!” Neydra suddenly calls out.
The mare looks up, then nods frantically and grabs a lever.
“This one?” She asks quickly.
Neydra nods and she yanks it down. The ship whines before suddenly jerking with a thud. The room was trashed at this point, pieces of the structure falling apart around them.
The mare smiles and then laughs before falling to the floor and sighing in relief.
Neydra is quiet for a moment before she reaches up and scratches her head, then clears her throat.
“Yes?” The mare chimes as she rolls over onto her stomach, looking at Neydra with wide, excitable eyes.
Neydra blinks and then chuckles.
“Well… you certainly changed…”
“Yes I diiiid!” She says in a sing-song voice, before she seems to realize that her voice changed. She hops to her hooves, and then touches up and down her body.
‘Ovaries? I have a ovaries! I’m a girl! I’m a girl. Wait, nononono…” She hops to her hooves, opening a box on the console and looking at herself in a mirror.
‘Well. I’m a girl...” She says, quick to accept the fact.
Neydra clears her throat, and then looks to The Doctor.
‘Are we home?”
‘Yes, yes, I think we are.” She says as she starts to groom her mane with her hoof, not looking back. “Keyword there is think.”
Neydra nods and starts to leave, but then stops before the exit.
“So what just happened there? When you exploded?”
She looks at Neydra, and tilts her head.
“That is a very good question. See, my species has an interesting little gift. We can cheat death by rewriting our entire molecular structure. The process is spontaneous. But it builds up a lot of energy that just releases the way you saw. We do undergo a few changes when it happens…”
“A few?” Neydra snickers out. ‘You sure it’s just a few?”
“You understand what I meant Neydra.”
“Alright. So how exactly did you die?”
“I got slashed by gryphons.” She says simply.
Neydra tilts her head,a little confused by that statement. That happened a long time ago.
“Isn’t it a little too late to be regenerating then?”
“No.” The Doctor hums and turns back to her mirror. “I postponed it I think. That’s why the shift was so explosive.”
Neydra nods and pushes the door open, but stops and shuts it again.
“Alright, last question. Why did you need the scrolls?” Neydra inquires.
“I need to deliver them to a kingdom in the future. They didn’t have any surviving copies, considering that this is the only one, and they think the scrolls prophesize the end of the world.”
Neydra nods, going quiet before finally pushing the doors open again.
“Alright then Doctor. See you around.”
“Sooner than you think!” She calls.
She skips over to the side of the platform and waves down to Neydra, who waves back. Neydra pushes her way past the slim door, and finally leaving the TARDIS behind for the time being