Destiny's Calling

by Crimson_Moon

First published

A portal to Equestria leaves a certain Witcher stranded without any memories, along with many monsters from his world.

Equestria wakes terrified one morning to discover monsters have invaded, and not the average ones the resident ponies had come to know. These ones could not be persuaded, bargained with, nor befriended. It was as if the Everfree Forest had taken over the entire continent, plunging it into chaos.

Around the same time, a certain Geralt of Rivia awakes to find his memory lost, as well as himself. Will Geralt finally know peace in this world, or will it be just another day for a Witcher? Only time will tell...

Valley of Plenty

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It was always the smell of blood on its permanently stained muzzle. It didn't care where it came from, just that it knew only the smell. That and the heart. The heart smelled divine to it's nose, it could never have enough. Like an aged wine, it thought. Currently it was hunting deer just on the outskirts of a small town. It didn't matter where, just as the beast learned to delay it's presence from being discovered.

It didn't matter how much game the beast spared, eventually they would notice the lack of abundant deer in their woods. The scent of blood was stronger now; It was getting close. Slowly, it stalked towards the deer, the monster's vague shape reflecting on the moonlight. It wasn't as blessed as it's other brethren in terms of color- it boasted a snow white fur all over it's body. Just a bit closer... it thought, fangs bared and claws at the ready.

The moon shone closer to the horizon- it was close to that time, which meant the beast had to act quickly. Letting out a snarl, it leapt and skewered the deer with it's elongated claws, pulling the ribcage aside with the other set. Happily, it cut and diced the meat of its latest victim aside, hungry for only one thing that would satisfy it- the heart. Suddenly, it heard a noise- a branch breaking. Tossing it's meal aside like a used napkin, it spun around only to find it's neck at the end of a blade.

Normally, a trivial endeavor due to the steel of man having no effect. However, this blade shone as bright as it's coat; Silver, burning it's neck at the point of contact.

"Well?" A gruff voice spoke. Looking up he could see a man with a white mane such as it's own. The White Wolf of Rivia, as known to some in it's community. "I haven't got all day. You gonna fight me? Or are you smart enough to explain why you like only deer hearts?"

It made sense now. A deer, perfectly unaware of a Werewolf at the sharp end of a blade stood just a few feet from the scene. Magic...

The beast snarled. "I prefer living peacefully, knowing too much how the hearts of men become bitter from War." Thrusting backwards, it knocked the Wolf several feet backwards, staggering him but not knocking him completely off balance. Quickly the Wolf got into a defensive stance.

"Well, given you hit a lot harder and don't resort to violence at the first sign of trouble, you're a very old Werewolf. Highborn from the looks of it too." The Wolf spoke, it's slitted eyes peering at the beast.

"Correct..." it said, cautiously circling the White Wolf. "Witcher." The eyes gave it away. "I'm guessing the town nearby finally took notice of their game disappearing?"

The Wolf chuckled. "No, this was a courtesy call. I was paid to drain your blood to cure someone. Lycanthropy has cures." He sheathed his silver blade. "I'm looking to spare you, seeing as you're not preying on humans."

Still guarded, the beast circled. "Not many live to tell the tale once they out away their weapons, Witcher. What makes you any different?" It smiled devishly, circling a bit closer this time. "After all, I hear Witcher hearts taste extra delicious!"

"Whoever told you that lie should be killed as well. Us Witchers are mutated to the very core. Not a single bit of salvageable organs on us, I'm afraid." Searching through his bags, he brought out an empty vial and small silver dagger. "Just enough to fill this vial is all I'm asking for.

Still, the beast hesitated. Humans have tricked it before, and it didn't change its mind when it came to Witchers. to show further pacifism, the Witcher sat down on its knees, looking on. Finally relenting, the Werewolf kneeled face-to-face in front of him, holding out it's arm. "You will not tell the village of me?"

Slicing the palm of its hand open, he held the vial underneath, letting the blood drip. "No. Fair warning though, other Witchers may wander here, and they might see a notice posted for the lack of game. They won't be as lenient." After a few more moments of silence, the vial was filled. "There, now let me-" Suddenly the ground shook and ominous sparks flew around the pair, exciting the air with magic.

"Trickery!" The beast bared it's fangs and lunged for the Witcher, both disappearing with a swift bang. The swirling of magic died and the ground shook no more.

"I'm sorry old friend..." Were the last words they both heard before leaving this plane of existence for good...

"AAAGH!" A butter yellow Pegasus yelled at the top of her lungs. A silvery white monster currently had it's jaws latched onto the center of her body while it's claws swung wildly, maiming the poor pony. "SOMEONE, HELP ME! PLEASE!" Nobody came. It continued for hours until the beast tired and then eventually stood deathly still. Sobbing quietly Fluttershy stood there, a mangled mess and losing a lot of blood. Through her fading vision, she saw a figure lean over and shoved something into her mouth. It tasted like blood. Trying desperately to spit it out, she struggled against this new monster's strange set of appendages, until she was forced to keep her mouth open by the other set. The monster mumbled something in a foreign language before she fell unconscious.

"Hnng!" Geralt held the side of his ribs, looking on at the barely alive Pegasus currently buried underneath the rotting corpse of the Highborn Werewolf he talked with earlier. The portal that warped them both here into this forest was an unknown magic to him. It was powerful... Chaotic even. "AAAGH DAMN!" He howled in pain. Quickly he searched his bags for swallow, only to discover there were none available. Only the Werewolf Concoction he brewed in case things went South, as well as an elixir one of his clients gave him some time ago. The client was an elf mage that needed help with an Ekimmora teaming up with a Godling. A strange pair, but the contract was taken care of nonetheless.

"Take it when life is in the balance, Geralt. It will renew both body and mind..."

Popping the cork, he had no choice. He drank it until every last drop was gone. Staring back at the still conscious Pegasus, he took out the Concoction and stared at it. "Dangerous to humans, but magical creatures..." Looking back at the creature, he could see the life drain from it's eyes. Making up his mind, Geralt took the Concoction and the Werewolf blood and combined the two.

Kneeling down, he held its head still, pouring the drink into the Pegasus' muzzle. "Hold still. Haven't seen your kind in a long time so I'm not sure if this'll even work." At first, it sipped the drink only to spit it out. "Damn it, there's no time for this!" Holding it's jaws open, he practically shoved the bottle down it's throat. Making sure every last drop was drunk, he waited for it to take effect. Fading away, the Pegasus passed out.

"No time to worry if it worked." Gritting his teeth, he forced the Werewolf's jaw open, prying the creature loose. To make sure the monster was dead and not just pretending, he took his sword and plunged it into its head, taking the dagger that pierced it's heart out. He slipped it there when it lunged, before they both disappeared to... Wherever this was. Lifting the Pegasus onto his back, Geralt used his heightened senses to smell his way through the forest, following a heavily herbal scent someways further in.

Grunting, he could feel the potion he drank take effect. The gash across his torso faded quickly. "Good, now all I have to do is get this Pegasus to the nearby Potions Master, if I'm guessing correctly. Then it's a matter of finding my way back to... Back t-to-" a splitting headache formed, suddenly alarming the Witcher. "That elf said 'body and mind'..." His eyes opened a bit wider and his pace quickened. "Gotta hurry!"

Weaving past the thickening tree Vines and branches, Geralt slowly forgot his past. Ciri, the war... Yennifer; nothing was saved from the spell of the potion. "Gotta...get to... That scent!" He huffed through breaths. Suddenly, a small clearing appeared and what looked like a small hut stood in the center. Quickly, Geralt knocked on the small door before passing out...


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Blood... Heart... Like aged wine...


Fluttershy awoke with a start, gasping for precious air as if she were in danger. Quickly a nurse rushed in and binded her but was thrown off as if she weighed nothing. "No! Stay away! I don't wanna die!" She pleaded.

"Calm down, Miss Fluttershy!" The nurse called for backup, and a much larger and more muscular stallion secured her while the other one calmed her down with a mild sedative.

The forest...

It was peaceful, and we enjoyed it. That is until the White Wolf came. He ruined our routine. We never harmed the Humans, only "borrowed" their resources, their hunting grounds. The Wolf never stopped hurting my brethren. Us. We were the enemy in his eyes, despite him being an emotionless killer like most of us.

Your forest is... Different. More vibrant and colorful. Not only did it possess Magic, but it was soaked to the brim. Every blade of grass, every leaf on the army of trees, every inch of that endless forest was alive.

We shouldn't even be able to communicate with you like this, but the magic of your world had other plans. Thus we come to the conclusion that you are important to discovering the mystery of this Conjunction happening, you and the White Wolf.

Find him...

Find the White Wolf of Rivia...

Many hours later, she awoke to hushed voices just down the hallway.

"Is it safe to go in?"

"Is all the...blood cleaned up? Ladies tend to get nauseous over this sort of thing you know!"

"Ugh, let us see Fluttershy already! I have a 'Survived Imminent Death' party I wanna throw!"

"Just let us see her already! What's the big deal?!"

"Now tell us the truth doc, is there something you're not tellin' us?"

The nurse sighed. "As a nurse, it is my sworn duty to make the patient's safety and well-being my top priority." She hesitated before continuing. "However, I'm more concerned for other's safety around her much more now.

"What do you mean by that?" What sounded like Twilight's voice spoke, hoofsteps echoing closer towards the door leading to her room.

"We had to get Bulk Biceps of all ponies just to hold her down! When I tried to calm her down earlier, she just threw me off like a Manticore would a stick in the woods." The Pegasus looked down at her hooves. Could she really be that strong?

"Wait a sec, do ya mean that poor innocent Fluttershy can buck harder than anyone of us now?!" The nurse nodded.

"That's not all, she also..." The voice outside the door began to mumbled, much to Fluttershy's disappointment. "Just be careful is all I'm saying! Now let me see if she's awake." Not a second later, a knock was heard on the door.

Straightening up in her hospital bed as best as she could, Fluttershy let out a small "Come in!"

Slowly, Nurse Redheart opened the door to let in all her friends. "How are you feeling, Miss Fluttershy?" She asked, going over the charts at the foot of her bed.

"Oh, I feel fine. More than fine, in fact!" She beamed. "Like a million bits!"

"Is that so?" The nurse nervously chuckled, the Pegasus immediately noticing.

"What's wrong?" She stared at all the concerned looks her friends were giving her.

"W-well, I'm not sure how to exactly tell you this..."

"The thing is darling..."

Rainbow just awkwardly chuckled, scratching the back of her neck.

"Oh, I SO don't have a party for this!"

"Oh for Celestia's sake, y'all are a bunch of sissies!" Not brave enough to tell her herself, Applejack simply handed a mirror to her. Nothing seemed to really grasp her attention, save for one detail.

"My eyes..." They were gold instead of the usual teal, and sported another odd peculiarity: they both were slitted, like a cat's, or more accurately:

"Like a wolf's." Twilight spoke up. "From everything Nurse Redheart has told me, you should be clinically dead! It's like you rose from the dead just to be sitting here!" She sounded baffled. "I-I was ready to give up hope of you making it out alright. I saw you when Zecora found-" she paused, an eery silence passing over the room. "When Zecora found your body. Somepony knocked on her door and you were just... There. Limp, motionless... I'm so sorry, I wish I was there for you, Fluttershy!" She ran up and hugged the Pegasus, ignoring the Nurse's warnings.

Gently, the mare patted her friend on the back. "There there, Twilight. I'm safe now, and more importantly, I'm here with friends! No need to worry over something that happened in the past. Even I don't remember much of it, now that I think about it so it must've been unimportant!" She smiled at her group of friends. Nothing could stop them, not even death it seemed. Still, there were so many questions left unanswered, and thinking about what happened hurt her head.

Find the White Wolf...

Fluttershy shuddered at the voice- the same one whispering to her of the delicacies of the heart and blood...

Get up Geralt!

A Witcher never collapses when he has a duty to uphold! Did I not teach you how to survive?! You are the White Wolf, not some boy pretending to be a Knight in shining armor!


The Witcher awoke with a start, immediately searching for the silver sword he always kept near him, only to find it wasn't anywhere to be seen. The small hut he found himself in was unfamiliar, moreso the bandages strewn about his naked torso. In fact, he seemed to be in a haze of sorts, the memory of how he got here all but vanished. Additionally, nothing recent save for his Witcher training was there. It was... Gone. His memories. The instincts of years of combat were there, and the knowledge of his magic. Everything else was just... Gone.

Suddenly, he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. "Stay back!" His gruff voice shouted at the shadow making its way to him. It hesitated for a moment before approaching again. Geralt used a small burst of Aard to keep the mystery creature at bay, but to no effect. It approached once more, and he prepared himself for a fight with whatever wits he had left.

Slowly it inched his way, turning the corner until...

A zebra came out. It had jewelry on that seemed familiar and reminded him of a name but nothing else... Zerrikania. "You a Doppler?" He asked, his Witcher knowledge kicking in immediately. The horse shook it's head then spoke in a tongue unknown to him. "I'm sorry, I don't understand."

The zebra spoke again, gesturing with it's hooves. Again, it's speech seemed strange to Geralt's ears. "Whatever you're trying to say, it's not coming through!" Thinking, he switched to a different approach- hand gestures. Opening his mouth, he pointed at it, then to the zebra. He made an X with his arms and shook his head. Smiling, the zebra now understood. Pointing to him, then gesturing it's hoof, it turned away.

"Follow you, got it." Looking around, the Witcher noticed the various bottles and herbs strewn about the small hut. "Hmm..."

The zebra stopped and stood before a cauldron, pointing it's hoof at the contents then at Geralt. "You want me to... Drink it?" He asked, coming closer. Slowly he leaned over and cupped the liquid, sipping some of it before being hit by the zebra. "Sorry! I thought it was a potion." The zebra shot him another look, pointing at him and the cauldron again, then made a diving motion. "I'll bathe outdoors, thanks." He turned to leave but was suddenly stopped short, thanks to a tiny dart suddenly stabbed into his neck. Turning, he looked the Zebra back in the eye with fury.

"Look you little bastard, it's gonna take more than some backwater potion to knock out someone like me, let alone-"

He fell like a rock.

Wind's Howling

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There exists a prophecy in Equestria that I hope never comes to pass...

Older than the Two Sisters themselves, it foretells a Wolf of White Hair, the reject of its kind, twisted beyond recognition, that will bring about the destruction of life as we know it. Celestia help me, I hope this is just another Fable but something tells me this one has merit...

The prophecy begins with the heralding of others. My studies have shown these to be signs, and I pray that they never come to pass or we will all be doomed:

When Equestria's sun rises to honor it's guardian, the Lesser Sister of Two shall claim her throne of Darkness yet again. Only Harmony can bring peace to her inner conflict, and maintain peace throughout the land.

Chaos will bow before Harmony as a new yet old threat rises to lay waste to the lands it's sibling once sought. Harmony once again restores peace.

When the Sun's Guardian retires, a Conjunction of the Spheres will occur, heralding the age of Monsters upon Equestria. The sign of these times will be the arrival of a stranger born of Rivia, whose mere being was rejected by his kind. Malformed and filled with Malice towards the beasts the land will be plagued with, he will arrive and wreak havoc upon these lands, bringing only death and destruction. This "man born of monsters" does not care of the blight it brings, nor the peace it has potential to form. It's apathetic nature is an unknown Law to the Universe. Destiny ties him with the White Wolf.

Harmony... Harmony cannot stop the Heralding of Myths.

So it has been foretold. What it means, I am not sure of but my friends and I, the Pillars of Equestria, will seek out the beginnings of what I think leads to the first sign: The Pony of Shadows...

"Do you really think this 'Heralding of Myths' is upon us sister?" An Alicorn coat as blue as the night sky asked her older sister, setting down an old and weathered page out of a journal- Starswirl's journal. "Your pupil does not know of this Prophecy, yet from her report of the creature Zecora found near Fluttershy raises questions."

Princess Celestia stood silent, overlooking the city of Canterlot on a marble balcony, Luna sitting aside her. "Well? Speak your mind, Sister!" The younger Alicorn shouted.

"The signs are all there, Lulu." Her gaze peered past the city, past Ponyville, and remained on a certain hut in the Everfree, fixated on what might come out. Her ear twitched nervously. "At first, the prophecy seemed nothing more than another rumor from what I thought was a crazy hermit. After all, he told me my own sister was to turn into a creature of darkness, why should I believe him on this?" A single tear slid down her cheek, and Luna inched closer hoping to comfort her sister. "But this time I will listen. If this is really the White Wolf, or even the 'man of Monsters', I will kill him before he has a chance to upset this peace we have enjoyed for so long..."

"Sister, I-" Luna reached towards Celestia only to be interrupted by her Lunar Guard approaching and whispering something into her ear. "Understood, Zion. You may leave us." Bowing to both princesses, the bat pony left hastily. "Sister?... Tia?" This time Celestia turned, and when she met her sister's eyes, it made the mare jump: her irises were a brilliant orange, and shimmered as if the sun itself gave life to them. Quickly they disappeared and her eyes returned to their usual color. Luna grew apprehensive at the sight, but still continued to speak.

"My scouts have reported back. The creature will be here within the hour."

"Good." Was all the alabaster Alicorn said before teleporting away.

"Oh Tia..." Silently, the Alicorn gazed upon the city alone, the pale moonlight reflecting across her coat.

Geralt awoke to the sounds of creaky wooden wheels and occasional conversations spoken in that foreign tongue he heard from earlier. Looking around, he found himself locked in some sort of prison transport, the metal bars occupying his view slightly rusted and worn. The view outside was blurred by some sort of magical barrier as well. "Hmm..." The Witcher grunted. Slowly, he stood up only to be cut short by iron chains anchoring him down to the floor of his mobile prison cell.

"No use escaping, it's obvious they need me locked up. I wonder if it was that zebra's doing." Suddenly, the only wall not occupied by iron banged, the strange voices from earlier now directed at him. "Hmm..." He grunted in response.

The drive was long, and even meditation didn't help with the passing of time, allowing the Witcher's mind to wander. "No memory from before, and I'm in a strange place..." He mumbled, trying to keep quiet for his escort. "It sounds familiar, but I don't know why. I remember passing through a small town outside... Somewhere, but everything past that is a blur. Hmm..." Geralt closed his eyes, trying to remember what he could. "I know my name, and that I possess magic. The rest is still a haze..." The carriage stopped, silencing Geralt's train of thought. A quick rocking of the cabin indicated his escort was getting ready to transport him, likely to another cell or at the end of the chopping block. A vague memory excites the imagination into assuming the worst.

The barrier dropped and his view of the outside world became clear again: a marble city shining in the moonlight met his gaze, along with the view of what his mind told him should be extinct- Unicorns and Pegasi. It troubled him a bit that he couldn't remember why he remembered their species. "Hmm..."

The door to his cage unlocked and two white Unicorns approached, outfitted in Golden armor and levitated Spears with their magic towards Geralt. One of them unlocked the chains to his feet and motioned for him to exit. He did as told, and followed these Unicorn Guards to a set of golden gates blocking off a palace. Speaking to the two Pegasus guards that stood watch, they stepped aside and the group proceeded through the palace to a set of ornate doors.

One of the guards pushed Geralt with the tip of his spear. He took the hint and opened the doors, entering then briefly turning around before having the doors slam back into place. "Hmm..."

A royal sounding voice shouted from behind, causing him to turn around. On the other end of the massive room sat two horses, the likes of which he had never seen before or even heard of: Winged Unicorns, one coated in a midnight blue and the other in a brilliant white, each boring into him and demanding... Something in that strange language of theirs. The one thing that stuck out the most to Geralt however, was the two crowns they both wore.

Never one to insult royalty, the Witcher kneeled. "Your highnesses... I think." He spoke grizzily.

The blue horse spoke first, but he still couldn't understand. "My apologies, but I can't understand you."

It turned to the other Winged Unicorn, and asked it something, the other one nodding back. Suddenly, the blue one's horn lit up and immediately Geralt felt pain rush to his head.

Can you hear us, White Wolf?

Grunting in pain, he clutched his head, breaking out of the iron chains from earlier and setting the White one on alert. "AGH DAMMIT!" He moved one of his hands to stop the pain by casting Quen but was stopped by a golden aura holding it in place.

Do not harm us!


The aura suddenly dropped and Geralt took action, casting Quen as quick as he could. The pain immediately left, but the blue one only showed a look of mild concern now, it's horn fizzling out. It tried to cast its spell again, only for the magic from it's horn to once again flicker and die.

It spoke to the Witcher, more than likely asking what it did. "I cast a protection spell on myself, because your magic was going to make my head explode!" He pointed towards the horse.

It looked shocked, probably not even taking into account that it's magic was the cause to his discomfort. Grunting, the Witcher gestured for a pencil and paper. Nodding, they both understood. If magic was out of the picture, maybe the written word could still work.

A notebook and quill appearing before him, he began to write:

I'm Geralt of Rivia. What are your names?

He tossed the book to the two horses, one of them catching it in their magic and hovering the quill over. They both read it, then replied.

Vér erum ruleranórr Equestria.
Hvat er þinn intent?

"Hmm..." He looked at the foreign language written on the paper. Suddenly, realization struck his features. He recognized it, somehow! It was like a haze of a memory, but he remembered speaking this language in some place called Zerrikania. "Dwarfish it looks like. I wonder..." Geralt scribbled something else down, this time in a different language from that same place, yet far older:

Vis hi mindoraan daar?

The two looked on in recognition.

Hvernig gerþúr veit at tunga?

"In the land I come from, I learned many languages, but not the one you speak. Either that, or your latent magic is preventing me from understanding. With your permission, I'd like to try something." For a moment, the room filled with silence, the two horses staring at each other and whispering, though it didn't matter. He still couldn't understand.

The White one turned and nodded its head. "Thank you. With your permission-" He gestured for the blue one to come down, it being the more level headed of the two. "I am going to cast Yrden- a cleansing spell, from where I come from. It might hurt, I don't know how it'll react. Do you still wanna do this?" He kneeled down, tracing the rune on the floor using the tip of the quill.

The winged unicorn hesitated, only stopping for a moment before continuing. "It's very important to stay still, if you move and the spell sees you as hostile, it will cause pain. A lot of it." The horse gestured with it's hooves, asking how much it would hurt. "Imagine that-" he pointed to it's horn. "But broken off and bleeding." It shuddered at the mental image, but nodded its consent nonetheless.

"Okay, here goes nothing..."


It has been many years since I have had the chance of writing my thoughts down on paper, and find my hoof unsteady with age. Celestia, I know you are reading this, because of the enchantments on this old quill of mine, so I pray you read this in time. The Prophecy, this Heralding of Myths- it's real. The translation however, was incorrect in the Man of Monsters' role, though there is still debate among even these new scholars I find myself surrounded by.

The new prohecy is as follows:

A 'man of Myths' will arrive, haunted by his past yet unable to remember. He is the vessel in which Equestria's future destiny lies. Do not treat him as hostile, else the prophecy will hasten itself and the White Wolf will make itself known. Be quick to Ally yourself with him, but whatever you do, do NOT let him declare his Law of Surprise. The Law is Universal, and as such cannot be broken, else Destiny will intervene.

Heed the warnings this prophecy offers, for if you don't...


Cat's Eyes

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Meanwhile in Ponyville, Fluttershy was discharged and sent home for a peaceful night's rest...

"Goodnight Angel Bunny!" Fluttershy tucked in her pet for the night and headed upstairs to her own room, exhausted from the events that happened. Opening the door, her room was coated in pitch darkness, except... It didn't seem that way. In fact, the Pegasus could see everything, down to the last detail. "That's strange, it should be dark out." Trotting to the window, she peered outside to see that it was indeed night time, according to the pale moon overhead that is. "The moon looks... Strange tonight."

Blood... You can smell it.

"Who's there?!" The mare whipped around, trying to spot the intruder.

"Oh, a face is what you need? Very well. Try the mirror."

Shivering from fear, she had little choice but to listen. A body mirror stood near the closet to the left of her bed, and what stared back made her scream before blacking out...

A grey Earth pony with a black mane exited Sugarcube Corner, another customer in the ever growing list of nighttime customers, thanks to the Cakes' new Night Hours for the ones that had graveyard shifts, late night studies, or any other nighttime activity. Humming a small tune, the pony headed home now, just on the outskirts of Ponyville. A shadow moved in the dark, unbeknownst to him, following his every step on the cobblestone path to his small apartment home.

Approaching the door, he reached for the keys he always stored underneath the friendly welcome mat. "Nothing like a nice baked dessert to go with tonight!" He said to nopony in particular. The shadow leered ever closer...

"Whoops!" The stallion's key clattered to the ground, forcing him to bend down and try his luck again. Picking it back up, he successfully pushed it into the lock, when he felt a hit breath on the back of his neck. Surprised, he turned around ready for a fight... only to come across an empty street dimly lit by the light just outside his home.

"Must've been my imagination, heh heh!" He nervously chuckled. Opening his door, the pony was greeted by a silent apartment- nopony else lived there. "I'm home!" He cheerfully shouted, more out of routine than convenience. Humming that same tune before, he headed to the kitchen, bent on enjoying the precious muffins the Cakes baked for him.

Setting the bag on the counter, he dove inside to fetch the culinary perfection and chomped happily away, not noticing the shadow looming over him.

Reaching for another muffin, the Earth Pony pulled it out and went to take a bite, when a glob of drool appeared from high above him and landed on it. His fright from earlier froze him in place, dreading to look upon the entity behind him. His instincts didn't listen, and a bloodcurdling roar left the house just before he was silenced forever...

Fluttershy awoke with a gasp, frantically looking around for that horrible beast from her nightmare. Nothing but the empty silence of her room stared back, comforting the mare, although only slightly. "Angel?" Looking around again, she couldn't find her pet bunny. "Aaaaangelllll..." she called out again, jumping out of her bed and heading for the hallway.

No one was in the hallways either. "That's odd, no sign of my sweet little animal friends either..." Moving on, the Pegasus headed down to the living room...

Only to be greeted by a gruesome scene. Her woodland creatures lay smeared along the walls and ceiling, a mass grave piled in the center. Fluttershy partially screamed, before vomiting out whatever she had for dinner last night only to scream even louder; Her vomit was bloody, and had a few bits of intestine floating in it.

Frantic, she dove to the kitchen to try and get first aid, only to find some of her larger animal friends as well as angel Bunny huddled into a corner, shivering out of fear. "Oh thank goodness some of you survived!" She stepped closer, thankful some of her friends were still alive. "Do you know who-" Immediately, many of them huddled closer to the corner, while the larger predators bared fangs at her.

Blood is thick in the air now... Won't be long until you crave it's sweet nectar. Best to seek help... If you think it'll matter! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Geralt poured his magic into the rune he drew, the familiar glyph glowing with a slight magic. "Yrden is a kind of magic seal, your highness. It's only meant to cleanse and not harm. Seeing as how your majesties are far too colorful to be evil, it should work only as a dampener for the latent magics you both possess, if that's the problem. Are you ready?" He looked at the Winged unicorn, seeing if it was still ready to proceed. It's icy gaze stared back, a confirmation that it was either determined to die for this, or kill him if his intentions were not honest.

"I'll take that as a yes." Again, he poured more magic into the rune, arcs of lightning hitting both Geralt and the horse. It neighed in shock but other than that, the unicorn looked fine. They stared at each other, before the horse spoke up.

"Can you understand me, bipedal creature?" It spoke slowly, enunciating every word.

"About time!" The Witcher grunted. "I'd like to know what the hell is going on with chaining me and dragging me to-!"

"Silence! We will ask the questions, creature!" It tempted to step further only for another bolt of lightning to arc out, reminding it that it was to keep still. "I am Princess Luna, co-ruler of Equestria. What is your name, if you have one?" The melodic voice ringing in the Witcher's ears.

"Geralt." Was all he said, bowing slightly. The voice answered a question he had about gender, at least. Still, he had so many questions but decided to let the Winged Unicorn continue with hers.

The White horse neighed something but otherwise continued to remain silent. "Yes, I believe he can be trusted, sister." She squinted her eyes. "For now." Looking at the glyph, the princess tried to replicate it's form but found she couldn't- more than likely due to the interference from said glyph. "This...Yrden she stared thoughtfully at it, then at Geralt once more. "Can we replicate it? I wish to apply it to a piece of jewelry to allow for more communication between you and us."

The Witcher sighed. "I am afraid I don't remember, all I know is it isn't possible."

"Well, why not let us try scrying? Surely it can find whatever it is you can't rem-" Suddenly, Geralt broke the connection and came mere inches away from Luna's muzzle.

"You see these eyes, princess? You probably lived long enough to tell the difference between the eyes of a regular creature, and one who has been altered so much that his mere being is tainted beyond recognition. So tell me, princess-" He held his hand close to the throat of the Winged Unicorn. "What do you see in mine?"

The princess went to open her mouth when suddenly the doors to the throne room opened. Quite upset, another pegasus walked through, except this one's wings and eyes were different. A Thestral? Geralt knew the name, just like when he remembered what Unicorns and Pegasus were, but he had no other recollection aside from that

Flying close to Luna's ear, it whispered quiet enough for even Geralt not to be able to hear. Impressive in it's own right due to his unnaturally sensitive hearing. "Thank you, Zion. That is indeed a serious crime." Backing away, Princess Luna left the connection the Witcher made with his glyph, and went to say something to the White one.

Through snippets, the Witcher was able to make out vague gestures and familiar, yet different sounds the two horses made. It seemed the glyph helped his body to adapt to the magically soaked environment of this strange land:

"........Bloodbath, nothing left."

".......Sister......And Geralt? ....Does he intend?"

"Not sure, but..... Might be able to help."

Clearing his throat got the attention of the two rulers. "If I may have the right to talk with you two again, I believe I might be able to help solve your problem. The Yrden glyph is still working on me, and I was able to catch bits of information."

Luna stepped to approach again, but was halted by the wings of the white one. Slowly it stepped down, seemingly boring through Geralt as if he was a fly heading towards the sun. Though, given the tattoo on her rump, he'd argue it was the other way around.

Once in range, the glyph targeted her and the Witcher, establishing a new connection. "Ah, excellent. And your name?"

"I'm but the Jailor to you." It spat venom at him. "Now what can you do to help? Speak, or face the wrath of the Sun."

"Of course, your highness." Geralt bowed once more, much to the ire of the horse in front of him. "But I must know what the scene looks like."

"You are not permitted to leave these grounds, prisoner!"

Geralt held up his hands. "Fair enough. Though I can get a lot more from being there, word of mouth is just as good." He smiled devishly. "Now describe the scene, your Royal Jailor."

She hesitated for a second. "It... Is pretty gruesome. I don't think-"

"Heart, liver, or kidneys?" He asked.


"Heart, liver, or kidneys?" He repeated again. "What was missing from the corpse? I could smell the blood from that Thestral that came in, and I could tell you it at least left the body intact. Smell would be more pungent if it were otherwise. Narrows down the choice of monster."

The White horse squinted her eyes. "And how would you know all this?"

Now it was Geralt's turn to be surprised. He didn't know and couldn't recall his past, and yet...

Yet somehow he knew he had seen this before. It was then that in the forefront of his mind that some vague memories came to him:

"We are Witchers!" Vesemir called out to the still young boys standing before him. "Not some fancy knight or bounty hunter."

Another person stepped forth, wheeling a cart full of books.

"Each one of you will memorize these Bestiaries. You will learn to recall every single letter on every single page." He spoke sternly to the children. "You will not rest until you can tell me every beast, from the simplest of Godlings all the way to the Bruxae..."

"Well?!" The horse exclaimed impatiently.

"I'm a Witcher- a monster hunter of sorts." He smiled despite being held captive. "I specialize in these sorts of things. And from what I could smell on the Thestral earlier-" he pointed to the one in question currently standing guard at the door. "I can tell it isn't your run-of-the-mill burglary gone wrong. Now do I need to repeat myself a third time?"

Nervously, she stared back at Luna who only offered a nod in response. "Very well." She sighed. "The body, as you said, was mostly intact, but it's chest was slashed, then forced open. The way it was done... Just horrible."

"Sounds like a Cursed One. Any trace of the body near any silver?" He asked, only to receive a shake of the head from her.

"No, and as you had described it, the heart and liver were missing as well as most of its intestines. What exactly are we dealing with, Geralt?"

"Hmm..." The Witcher gave it some thought. "Avoids Silver, eats the Heart and Liver, forces the ribcage open... Gotta be a Lycanthrope."


"Lycanthrope, or in laymans terms, a Werewolf. Either cursed or naturally born with it, the afflicted turns at every full moon into the twisted hybrid of man and wolf, though in your case, pony and wolf. I could take care of it for you... For a fee. How much is it worth?"

"Excuse me?!" The horse sneered at Geralt.

"I told you, it's my job. Services don't come for free. However, I can negotiate; 350 crowns and all the information I have on beasts such as this, as well as myself. In exchange, I will take care of the beast."

"And by take care, you mean...?"

"Cure or kill, depending on what can be done. That's where the money comes in. It has to be up front so I can prepare. I also need my Silver sword and armor back as well as the Wolf pendant that was around my neck. It's enchanted so that it lets me know if exceptional magic was used. So," he held out his hand. "Do we have a contract?"

Reluctantly, she hoof bumped it.

Contract: Ponyville Predator

View Online

Beware all those who lurk in the night, for many a myth may yet prowl the streets...

-Starswirl the Bearded

The next morning, Geralt prepared to leave for Ponyville in secret. His appearance as well as his intentions were to be kept hidden, save for a select few. "First things first, I must let you know the dangers you are allowing in your town." The Witcher stood in what appeared to be Princess Luna's private Chambers, given the overall theme. Blues and blacks made it a very mystical yet dark room, much like the pony in question.

"There is more you have yet to divulge?!" She trotted close, trying to intimidate him, though it was pointless. He faced worse things than a pissed off horse.

"Much more." He grunted. A knock came upon the door, before a small unicorn in a maid's outfit entered with Geralt's gear. "The items you requested, your Majesty." It bowed, levitating the items over to the bed. Opening it's eyes, the pony jumped out of shock.

"You may leave." Luna ordered. The pony didn't hesitate, rushing out as quick as it could.

Inspecting the custom Witcher's armor on the sheets, he laid everything out systematically, looking for signs of magical tampering. The first to go onto him was the pendant he'd always worn around his neck since he was a young lad. Immediately, it began to vibrate ever so slightly, interacting with Geralt and telling him of the latent magic sewn through the strange land he found himself in. "Going back to our conversation," He latched the boots on tightly; any inch of looseness and any monster could pry it off like a nail to rotted wood. "There is a fair bit of knowledge I possess, though none of it has a word for the world I am in, or for what your are called. 'Winged Pony' I'm sure isn't the correct term." He moved for the grieves next, ensuring the same level of tightness as the boots.

"We are of a species called 'Alicorn'. Currently, only five exist in Equestria. You've met two, me and my sister, and are about to meet a third."

"Quite an exclusive club you got. Endangered species?" He questioned, heaving the iron weaved chest piece over his shoulders.

"We have answered your question, so now indulge us with the danger you speak of!" Luna stamped her hoof in frustration.

He sighed. "This Lycanthrope, it may hunt again." The Witcher tightened the final piece of his armor- his arms, before turning to face the Alicorn. "No idea what kind it is, not from secondhand information."

"You mean...?" He simply nodded.

"If you can, alert the captain of the local guard, but do it discreetly. No telling who might be afflicted, it could even be one of yours."

"Impossible! They can't be, their bodies are immune to such things!" She snorted.

"There's many things that you can be, but immune isn't one of them." He grunted. "Only Witchers and exceptionally powerful beings are immune, aside from other monsters, or at least that sounds right..." He shook himself before continuing. "Your club of Alicorns are probably the only things on this plane of existence that aren't affected. My medallion rattles fierce by just glancing your way."

"This medallion..." The Alicorn stared apprehensively at it. "What exactly does it detect?"

Another flash of memory came to Geralt, this one from much later than the last one. It was after the Trial of the Grasses- an old and now forbidden ritual turning him into the mutant he is today:

Vesemir smiled down at the two sole survivors of the Trial of the Grasses. No longer were they men- their Wolven eyes had betrayed that much. The other boy, still a vague blur in his mind, was the first to receive his Witcher's Medallion. He stepped up and knelt before their Master Vesemir and accepted his token with utter disgust. Geralt didn't blame him, even back then. After all, it wasn't an easy test like it had been before...

Only two of ten survive the Trial. The rest die.

"Geralt of Rivia!" Vesemir spoke, dragging him out of the silent brooding he had always slunk into at times. "Step forth, and embrace Destiny as a Witcher of the school of Wolf!"

Slowly he stepped up the pedestal, and like the other one, knelt to claim his prize. "With this Medallion-" Vesemir turned around and presented the necklace- a small trinket with the likeness of a wolf, made out of the purest silver. For a small second, he had thought the eyes had glowed a subtle red, but it must have been a trick of the light.

"With this Medallion, I mark you as a Witcher borne into the school of Wolf." He had placed it around his neck, and almost immediately could Geralt feel the subtle vibrations thrumming in it.

"Now rise, young Wolf, and take your blade in the name of balance of the natural order..."

Snapping back to reality, he stared at Luna for a moment. "Well Princess, if you're asking if it detects evil, I'm afraid you're gonna be disappointed. It contains the same magic that transformed me into becoming a Witcher." He lifted it up closer for her to inspect. "More of a magic compass than anything, really."

"Now that you're satisfied-" He grabbed the Alicorn by the neck and looked her dead in the eyes. "Where's my damn sword?!"

"Spike!" Twilight Sparkle trotted back and forth in the Castle of Friendship's Map Room, frantically pulling out every book of Myths and Legends she could find. She even went so far as to pull out vague rumors that were written down by less than reliable sources. "SPIIIIKE!" She yelled once more, calling for her number one assistant.

"I'm right here, Twilight- Woah!" Bursting through the doors, the young dragon tripped over a scroll, sending all the supplies she sent him for spirallomg into the air. Thankfully, she was able to quickly catch them in her magic and set them down on the table. "Heh heh, sorry!"

"It's alright Spike, I'm just so nervous!" The mare went about organizing the various empty papers and ink wells her assistant nearly spilled into a neat section on the table. "Princess Luna never sends me letters unless it's urgent. Plus, she spoke about a research project she wants me to do!" She beamed.

"As much as I appreciate your enthusiasm," Spike began, clearing the rest of the hazards his friend had made. "Can you at least take a breather?! It's not like the world is ending! Well, at least not now! Though there was that weird rumor going around..." Glancing back up from picking a scroll, he frowned. Twilight was buried into a book.

"Ahem!" He tapped his foot.

"Hmm?" She peered up. "Did you say something, Spike?" Twilight smiled.

"Ugh, forget it!" He threw up his arms in defeat. "I'm going to Rarity's. At least she pretends to listen..."

"Uh-huh" was all he got out of the Alicorn. After the doors slammed with obvious intentions, suddenly Luna appeared with a strange creature she had never seen before. It was similar to the form she took when passing the mirror, but strange as well; it was clad in some sort of armor, but that wasn't altogether unusual. The unusual part was it's eyes and hair- yellow slitted eyes observed it's world around it whilst silver hair settled from the teleportation onto its shoulders.

"Can you at least warn me before doing something like that?!" It spoke to Princess Luna, holding it's stomach with it's arms. "Makes me nauseous."

"Oh nonsense, it was just a portal! Besides, we're here." The midnight blue Alicorn gestured to the Map Room the two found themselves in. "Twilight Sparkle, I would like you to meet an... Acquaintance of mine."

The creature waved its hand at Twilight. "Name's Geralt. Came here to help with your monster."

"Monster?" Twilight cocked her head. "I wasn't aware there was a monster attack."

"No doubt preparing for your research project?" Luna cocked her eyebrow, staring at the piles of books scattered about. Earning a sheepish grin from Twilight confirmed her suspicions, and a smack of her hoof to her head. "This trend is getting too out of hoof!" She teleported the morning's newspaper into existence, pointing at the headline:

Tragedy in Town! The Ponyville Predator Strikes: is No House Safe from Terror?!

It included a picture of the crime scene, but moderately blurred out to save the reader from vomiting no doubt.

"I-I didn't know, I-"

"You now have a Witcher, whatever that is!" Luna exclaimed. "Now give him whatever he needs, then ask your questions. He's your research project. Consider it a test from me to see if you're ready to take over my Royal Duties, once Tia and I finally decide to retire." With a quick burst from her horn, the Alicorn vanished, leaving an awkward silence to hang about the room.

"Impressive!" Twilight exclaimed, jotting down note upon note in the various papers she had prepared. "And these 'signs'- only you can cast them?" She glared at the glyph now carved into a piece of wood this "Witcher" asked for.

"No, what's impressive is the fact you haven't heard a single word from me, despite casting Yrden!" Geralt all but yelled. "I... Need...SILVER!"

"Nonsense, Werewolves were proven to be a Myth!" She chuckled.

"Hmph!" Getting up from the chair his host graciously offered, the Witcher grunted and headed for the door.

"Um, where are you going?"

He stared back at the pony, slowly losing his patience. "I told you, I got paid for this job, and I intend to see it through!" He gripped the handles, before a purple aura washed over the doors, holding them tight.

"Oh no!" Twilight exclaimed. "I was told to keep an eye on you, and what better place than this castle?!" Geralt glared at her, this time with the intent of murder in his eyes. She sighed, letting go of the doors. "But, if you insist on leaving to take care of this 'Werewolf', I guess I can tag alongside and take notes."

"Hmm..." Was all he said. Twilight took it as approval and followed him.

The duo trotted out of the castle and towards the town market, Twilight levitating a notebook and quill behind her. "Why are we heading to Ponyville Market? The murder is back that way." She pointed to the left, down at a house on the end of the street, currently cordoned off by guards.

"I need silver." Carefully, he scanned the streets for any sign of a blacksmith or armorer, when suddenly he found what he was looking for; it was a building shaped like a giant melting pot, and attached to said building was a small forge. Rushing ahead, Geralt opened the door and took stock of the shop owner's inventory. Dozens of blades, axes, and blunt weapons lined the walls, but none of them silver, much to his disappointment. Stepping towards the counter, he rung the bell setting on it.

"Geralt, are you sure about it being a, you know, Werewolf?" Twilight stared at the various weapons lining the shelves as well, mostly out of apprehension.

"No." He rang the bell again, only to have an irate Earth pony mare with flame orange hair and a dark brown coat enter and stop the bell from ringing.

"Yeah, yeah, I heard ya! Welcome to Chamber Pot's Weapons Depot, the finest Forge in all of SWEET MOTHER CELESTIA WHAT THE BUCK ARE YOU?!" She screamed.

"Geralt of Rivia. Witcher." He clutched the medallion on his chest, eyeing the mare suspiciously. He wasn't sure if it was her or the latent magic around him. In the end, it was probably both.

"Well, if you w-want weapons, I-I'm afraid, we're suddenly c-c-closed!" She shook nervously.

The Witcher was about to speak up, when Twilight's hoof stopped him. "If you really mean this business about getting Silver, then let me handle it." She spoke softly. Turning back to the cowering pony, she took a deep breath and stepped closer. "Excuse me, Miss Chamber Pot."

The mare looked back up and Twilight smiled, hoping to ease some of that fear the poor thing had. "Please forgive my friend, he may seem a bit... Unorthodox, but he's definitely a good person. Don't pay him much mind."

"Y-you sure he ain't t-the Ponyville Predator?!" She glanced behind the Alicorn, jumping back down at the shape of his eyes. "He had the same eyes! I only seen a very fast blur, but there was no mistaking those eyes!" This got Geralt's attention.

"Were they bloodshot? What about the pupils? I need to know if they were-" he approached the mare only to receive another yelp of fright. "Alright enough of this!" Shoving past Twilight, he crouched down near the mare and made a gesture with his hand before speaking. "Calm down and tell me what you remember about the creature."

Suddenly, as if in a trance, the mare calmed down and explained in a borderline monotone voice what she saw. "Whatever it was, it was quick. Sped past my store as I was shutting up shop and headed for the Everfree Outskirts." Getting back up, the mare leaned over and supported her weight on the counter. "Couldn't see much, but I could tell it's eyes were a lot like yours, only darker. It also looked... Lost. Kinda like it wasn't all there." Collapsing, Twilight went to the poor pony's aid.

"Hmm..." Thinking on what he knew, Geralt began to speak aloud. "The fact that it looked dazed could mean it was a first for it to transform. And the speed..."

Twilight checked the unconscious mare's vitals before moving away and confronting the Witcher. "You did something to her!" She went into a guarding stance.

"I just used Axii, she'll be fine." He grunted. The pony didn't ease up. Rolling his eyes, he explained what the spell was. "You heard of hypnotherapy?" The mare nodded, glaring coldly. "Think of it like that, but as a spell."

Glaring at Geralt, then back at the mare, then Geralt again, she relaxed and smiled. "Fascinating! Can you tell me more about-"

"Later." He spoke, looking again at the walls of weapons the mare had. "If silver won't do, I can at least find a good sword I could douse in Cursed Oil." Eying the many swords upon the wall, he eventually found a good sized longsword, with an obsidian handle.

Taking it down, he inspected the blade. "Hmm..." Giving it a swing or two, Geralt inspected closer. "Sturdy rope grip." He looked down the blade. "Bevelled edges, deep well in the center." Suddenly he thrust the sword into the wood of the floor much to Twilight's demise, anchoring it so he could test thrust depth. "4 inches. Enough to Pierce the skull, but might not be enough to actually finish it off." Grabbing the angled guards, he pulled, nearly losing balance. "Hmm... Good blade, but no hard thrusts." Quickly, he sheathed it in the leather previously attached to the wall it was resting on and tied it to his back.

"Geralt!" Twilight exclaimed. "Just what is it you think you're doing?!"

"Getting a sword." He simply stated. "Princess told me you'd pay for supplies I need." Sighing, he leaned down yet again. "Believe me or don't, that mare described something fast that killed somebody. Do you really want to take the chance?" He eyed the mare.

Looking back and forth between him and the now silently sleeping pony, she sighed. "How much?"

"Remind me again, why do we need Dog Tallow and Wolvesbane?" Twilight asked, looking at the shelves back in her castle for the ingredients requested.

"Lycanthropes resist normal metals, but burn at the touch of Silver, or..." Opening another cabinet, Geralt noticed the telltale smell of Wolvesbane leaking from inside. "Hmm..." He studied the vial giving off the aroma before showing it to Twilight.

Taking it in her magic, the Alicorn popped the cork and took a whiff, before reeling back. "Ugh! I forgot how much it stinks!"

"Remind you of anything in particular?" He asked in that gruff voice.

"Yeah! It smells like Huh, I never noticed that before."


The second ingredient was a bit harder to find for the reluctant duo, mostly due to the lack of distinguishable characteristics. After what felt like hours of searching, Twilight eventually found it.

Bringing the ingredients closer to the table they set up in the alchemy room, Geralt ground the Wolvesbane in a mortar, then poured the Tallow into the bowl. "The other ways to cause harm to Cursed Ones is to use a special oil, made of the ingredients we just gathered, or drinking a Concoction." He stated, igniting a fire underneath the bowl.

"What do you mean by Concoction?" The mare asked, taking notes of what the Witcher was doing.

"Think of it as a 'Witchers Only' potion. That's all I will say until the job is done." Keeping a close eye on the mixture, he waited until it turned a deep copper color and the bubbling settled before letting it off the heat. "I promised your Princesses answers, but for a lot of it, you gotta wait." He sighed, looking away from the table for a moment. "At this point though, I only have questions..."

"Like what?" Twilight asked, stepping closer.

"Like why your two other rulers noticed me before you did, for starters. Makes me suspicious of them."

"That's simple, really!" She beamed. "I was away on... An important errand with my friends and only came back last night. They probably got updated by the guard about you!"

"Hmm..." He grunted, thinking.

"Is it alright if I ask a question about you? Just you- nothing else. You seem... Different, but I'm sure you have a friend or two from, well, wherever it is you come from!" To prove her point, Twilight set down the quill and paper and waited patiently.

A faint memory of a bard with a unique taste in liquor, and an even more unique taste in woman, came to the forefront of his mind. "...Jaskier." Was all he said.

"Right... Jaskier. So is that a friend or name or...?" Suddenly, Geralt moved back to the table and poured the now cool oil into a small glass flask, provided by Twilight.

"Oil's done. Let's go."

To say the crime scene was brutal would be like saying Rarity hates dresses. The house was painted with the distinct red hues of blood, claw marks and broken furniture thrown everywhere.

"OH MY HUUERGH-" Twilight Sparkle vomited at the sight of the corpse lain in the center of the bloodbath. Far past Rigor Mortis, the victim now began decomposing, leaving behind a pungent smell as well as attracting bloat flies.

While the Alicorn was busy regaining her composure (if she even could), Geralt went to work. Kneeling down towards the body, he took great care in his observations, noting all distinct clues present. The first he investigated was the exploded chest:

"Forced open, just like the princesses described. Though, it doesn't seem like a Werewolf, more like..." Thinking, he motioned for the guard to bring him a pen and paper, and noted that down. Next was the decomposition of the body:

"Hmm... Cataracts as well as temperature indicate it happened sometime last night- around the same time I was hauled away on that transport. It fits the timeline for Lycanthrope." Moving the ribs out of place, much to the dismay of onlooking ponies, the Witcher looked for any missing organs:

"Liver...Heart...And...Well now this is an interesting find!" Dislodging a rib, Geralt pulled out what looked to be a tooth. "Medallion's humming, so it's something powerful. What's more is the tooth is flat, much like..." Grunting, he got back up and nudged his partner.

"Get up, we're done here."

"Done? DONE?!" Twilight exclaimed. "A pony is dead!" She held back another wave of vomit. "Nopony is safe! Not from... That!" She pointed to the remains of the unfortunate soul. "Everything me and my friends faced always left us alive! Even Nightmare Moon had mercy! This this thing is-"

"Is a pony, just like you." Geralt interrupted, showing her the tooth he found. She levitated it out of his grasp and inspected it.

"But, b-but that makes no sense! It can't be a pony! We're herbivores, we don't eat meat!"

"According to that-" he pointed to the tooth levitating in her purple aura. "You do. Or do you want to tell me again Werewolves aren't real?" Noticing the mare shivering he stepped closer. "Ridicule me, make fun of me, do whatever you want, but whatever did this-" he gestured to the room. "Needs to be stopped, either peacefully or by force. I don't care what you think. Either way, I'm gonna get paid."

"...You're a monster." A mare spoke outside the door. It was a Pegasus, and looking at the nearby picture frames on the wall smeared in blood, something told him they were close. "How dare you come into this place and say these things! A pony just died and all you can think of is money and murder?!" She began tearing up. "My dear sweet brother is never going to breathe again! Shame on you! Shame on you for violating his body! Shame on you for ignoring how the rest of us feel!" She gestured to the crowd outside the home currently placing flowers in a shrine they set up nearby for the victim. The scene jogged his memory of a similar scene he had experienced early on in his career, stoking his anger a bit.

"Here's an interesting fact, your 'feelings' aren't gonna make the roads safer!" Geralt stepped out of the home. "I can't be harmed by the beast, the streets are unsafe to walk on until it's dead, and I don't care what any of you feel. A pony is cursed to hunt and kill you at the sight of a full moon, and all you care about is one dead pony! I'm gonna stop it, whether I get praised or shunned! You wanna stop me? Be my guest. Either that or come help me with the beast."

Silence took over the crowd and grieving sister. He sighed. "I thought so..." The Witcher walked off, heading for the forest to set a trap. The ponies didn't stop booing him as he walked away...

Blood... You can smell it's Divine scent!

The voice spoke again. Fluttershy tried to block it out. "No! No, I'm... I'm a pony, not a monster!" The chains rattled as she tossed and turned in the chair she was bound to.

No, I think not! the voice in her head chuckled. You're an animal, just like your "friends"! Except they know what they are... You? You're something different.

The sun set.


The light of Day left... The haze of night bloomed, and with it, the subtle rise of the Moon on the horizon.

The Alpha...

The chains began to tighten against her body, groaning from the increased muscles and joints growing on her changing body.

The Moon's blank surface broke the sky, showering her boarded up house in it's pale light. Though her line of sight was blocked, the once Pegasus howled at it's new Master, breaking the chains like twigs.

And the Omega... EMBRACE IT!

Her wings evaporated, leaving behind charred feathers and a smooth back. Her tail sagged and changed, losing the loose hair and becoming more canine in appearance.

REVEL IN IT! The mare howled again, this time much deeper, her pony muzzle elongating and her teeth becoming jagged knives to rend flesh from bone. The final changes were the eyes. Her now slitted yellow irises turned a blood red, and her body hair turned into a thick coat.

Finishing one final howl, the creature collapsed. Mere minutes later, it sprang back up. Looking around, it paced back and forth, testing it's new muscles. "Heh heh, ah ha Ha HAHAHAHAHA!

It jumped back and forth, gaining more control of its movement. Nothing could stop it now, the transformation was complete. It began to remember, to feel, to breathe once more. "New body, but I still remember it. All of it!" It spoke, smiling devilishly. "The portal, the Witcher, that stupid horse!" It regretted maiming the animal, seeing as it now was afflicted with the same curse as it had been born with.

It sighed. "Still, the animal lived, no thanks to that Wolf. And thanks to the magic of this world-" it moved it's pseudopaws in front of its face. "I got lucky enough to survive too, though forever bound to this pacifist incarnate." Sniffing the air, it smelled something. It was not too far away, and stank of the musk of Goat.

"Ah, but I digress." It stretched before swiping at the hastily boarded up windows leading to it's host's room. "Blood is in the air, and I'm sure the heart from this goat tastes divine!" It leapt from the second floor of the now silent house and bounded towards the Ecerfree, intent on getting its first catch of the day. However, upon arrival it noticed a familiar scene: an animal paying no attention whatsoever to the noises around it. Almost to the point of...

It's eyes widening, the beast leapt back, almost positive the Wolf lurked nearby. "I know this trick!" It snarled. "I've seen it before!"

Suddenly, a large purple glow erupted from the ground, revealing a rather large glyph etched into the ground. Screaming in rage, it leapt at the edges, only to be knocked back by a magical barrier.

"And here I was, hoping to catch a mouse." A gruff voice sarcastically mewled. The Witcher stepped out of the shadows, leaning down to the now much more subdued beast. "Been in this situation before, I take it?"

It gave a low growl in reply. "By none other than you, White Wolf!" It broke the barrier, clashing with the Witcher. Bites and slashes were exchanged before a second barrier went up, this one lavender and flickering ever so slightly. It tested it with a swipe before reeling back in pain.

The Wolf steadied his sword on his knee, drizzling a coppery liquid along it's shaft. "Thing is, I don't remember coming across a Werewolf like you. Would've run you in, if that were the case."

It reeled back a bit, shocked it's captor doesn't remember their previous encounter. "You mean you don't...?" Suddenly, it dawned on the beast. "Ha! That's just too precious!" It guffawed.

The Wolf didn't get the joke. "Something funny, furball?"

"No, no! Nothing at all, Witcher!" It's chuckles died down. "It's just, you were a good conversationalist, and now I can't ask if you got what you wanted." It smiled, all malicious intent gone.

"Oh yeah?" He stepped closer to the barrier. "What exactly happened? You obviously know something, so why not use that bargaining chip?"

The beast stepped closer as well, peering into the Wolf's eyes from behind the purple glow of magic. "No idea how you lost your memory, but you at least saved one soul that night." It twirled around to show off the body it possessed. "Me? The Werewolf before you? I'm just wasting what I believe to be borrowed time." It sighed. "I've lived too long to know that this is just too good to be true." It chuckled.

The Witcher sheathed his sword. "Hmm..." It eyed the body the beast was possessing closer, when it dawned on him. "No...!"

"Oh yes, you used your Witcher's Brew on her! I don't know how I wound up alive, but looks like we have another Trial of the Grasses coming pretty soon!" It laughed evilly, but this time reeled back near the end of it. "Looks like that Concoction is kicking into high gear now! I just wanted to tell you that this is not how I wanted to die..."

The Witcher broke down the barrier. "I... I didn't want to have it happen to anybody else. 2 out of 10 survive, I'm not sure she'll pull through..."

"Heh, well..." It looked up one final time, this time with the regular teal eyes of the Pegasus buried somewhere inside. "I have a feeling she's too nice to let something like this stop her." Carefully, it nicked it's own skin. "Best way to do it. Pour that oil in the wound. I'm just a curse at this point."

The Wolf sighed, pulling out the flask of oil once more. "I'm sorry you were tethered to here from my mistake." Slowly, he poured a few droplets into the wound, causing the creature to geowl.

"Oh, I'm sure. Thing is, I think it's not your fault." It stared up at the Moon, the same thing that haunted it since birth. "This place is saturated with magic. I'm sure you felt it too. It brought you here for a reason." It wheezed, breaths becoming ragged, the transformation reversing. "Find it. Destiny's Calling, and now's not a time to ignore it, Witcher." Suddenly, the mare began spasming, the rest of the transformation burning off magically, a white spirit shooting out of her and leaving a very unconscious, but alive Pegasus.

"Destiny, huh?" He eyed the mare before looking on to Twilight hiding behind a tree. Quickly, she rushed over, making sure her friend was alright. Her eyes fluttered open only for a moment, revealing once more the slitted Witcher's Eyes that stared at him in the mirror for centuries.


"You killed it?" Princess Luna asked, reading the report.

"Not exactly, your Highness. What's more is I might've created a new monster in the process."

The two sisters looked at each other, then back at him. "What kind of monster?" Celestia ordered.

"...Another one of me." He looked to be far away, lost in some forgotten memory he thought long since buried.

The Princess of the Night sighed. "We will ask for explanations later, when court has concluded and the crown has deducted the fee for your... Contract from the treasury. At least you rid yourself of the beast, as well as saved Ponyville in the process." Standing up she turned away, walking down from the throne with her sister alongside her.

"What about the victim and his family? Are you to compensate them?" He asked.

Stopping, Celestia turned and faced the Witcher. "They will be recompensed for the tragedy, but the death of that pony will be written down as a tale in one of the thousands of Myths and folklores that exist; a Footnote in the greater scheme of things.

"What happened to showing respect for the dead?"

The White horse sighed deeply. "Respect? Respect doesn't make history..."

Forbidden Magic

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Once again, Geralt stood before the two great doors leading to the throne room, stoic and curious. It has been a few days since Fluttershy was cured of the Lycanthropy that afflicted her, but there was an unforeseen consequence- she became comatose. Every day for more than a week he stopped by to check on her condition in Canterlot Castle, where she had the best care in the nation. Her friends rarely visited as a group, and he always kept a distance when they did. There was no point in drawing attention to the person that caused it, after all.

Nevertheless, the Witcher continued on upholding his part of the Contract, providing as much information he could remember as possible in case there were more incidents like this. Looking back, Geralt still couldn't shake the Werewolf's words out of his mind.

Is she really to be a Witcher?

Breaking him out of deep thought, the doors opened to the thrones of Equestria, one absent while the other was accompanied by the white Alicorn he came to know as Celestia. Stepping forth, he bowed in front of her. "Your majesty. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Geralt, I'm... Glad you could make it." The mare tried her best to be nice, but still had a bit of disdain towards the Witcher. "Have you found the accommodations to your liking?"

"It isn't Kaer Morhen, but it'll do. I still don't think it's necessary to-"

"Nonsense!" She interrupted. "Anything for a friend. And nearby too, to boot!" She wasn't lying either: the room provided to him was on the Castle Grounds, practically within spitting distance. Geralt didn't like it.

"I know you're spying, so enough of the theatrics." Her smile dropped instantly. " What do you really want?"

Celestia sighed. "Everypony wants me to be nicer to you, but I don't think that is a good idea." She motioned to the guards to take their leave. Once they were gone, her mask for politicians and others dropped, revealing her true emotion: hatred. "I am grateful for your help with Fluttershy, but I don't think it was Fate that you happened to be found the same time as the attack happened." She stepped a bit closer to the Witcher, the room heating up ever so slightly. "I don't know your game, White Wolf, but I will not use niceties for another foreign entity. Not this time." Her magical hair flickered wildly, it's color warping into a blazing orange.

Geralt's pendant practically jumped around his neck at the sudden surge in power. "You are nothing more than a distraction." Her teeth sharpened into knives and her eyes became slitted and orange. "A pawn in my little game." Celestia smiled devilishly. "See, the other half of me thinks you're something to fear, some part of a grand Prophecy to bring out the Heralding of Myths." He coat glowed with magical power as the feathers of her wings fell and the rest transformed into webbing to support her new appendages.

Geralt dare not move a muscle, else his life would be snuffed out. He tried to reach his sword, only to find it had melted from the sheer heat the Alicorn was putting out. "...What do you want?"

"Oh, no no no! You don't get to know, silly man!" She cackled. "I have big plans in store, and you're just the beginning. Now, isn't it time you..."

Wake Up?

Gasping for air, the Witcher quickly grabbed the sword near his nightstand and frantically looked around, preparing for a fight. Only to find nothing there. Suddenly, Twilight burst open through the door.

"Is everything alright? I heard a noise!" She asked, concerned.

"No, it's... Nothing. A dream, nothing more. I must not be used to hospitality like yours, and it's put me on edge." He lied. "Go back to bed, Twilight."

She looked at the clock on the wall, yawning. "Well, if you're sure..." Slowly, she crept out of the door and walked back to her room in the Castle of Friendship, leaving Geralt alone with his thoughts.

He looked down at the sword still in his hand, gazing at the reflection within. "Nothing makes sense here, that much is true." Setting the sword back down, Geralt continued. "But I know a vision when I see one. Heralding of Myths sounds a lot like a Conjunction of the Spheres to me..."

The next morning, Geralt went straight to work on looking up what his strange dream meant, much to the surprise and delight of Twilight Sparkle. It wasn't even daybreak when she woke up to find him hitting the books. "Oh my gosh!" She gasped. "A-are you researching?!" She teleported next to him before he even had a chance to blink. "Can I help?" She beamed.

"Hmm." Geralt's trademark grunt was taken as a sign of approval.

"Great! So what are you researching?" She peaked over his shoulder to take a look, but was immediately confused. " 'Of Myths and Fables'? 'Tales of Terror'? Why would you be reading about old Foal stories?"

"Research." Was all he said, turning the page of another book.

"For...?" She asked to elaborate.

He grunted in frustration. "Simple ways to get a pony to brew some coffee before she starts asking too many questions." She took the hint and started a pot, leaving him alone for the time being. Pouring through the tomes had gotten him some partial headway, but no closer to a definitive answer, until...

"Chapter 11: Prophecies and Predictions Throughout the age." He read aloud. "Hmm..." The Witcher read the passage further, until he found what he was looking for:

...Of all the Prophecies made by soothsayers throughout the years, only two have ever been proven true, with a third hypothesized to happen in the near future.

The first describes Discord, the avatar of Chaos, threatening Equestria with an unending apocalypse of Chaos. That prophecy stated he was to be stopped by two Alicorns and bring about a Golden Age of Harmony. This turned out to be none other than Princesses Luna and Celestia using the Elements of Harmony to imprison him in stone.

The second, more recent Prophecy tells of Luna's maddening spiral into Nightmare Moon, who was stopped a few years ago by Princess Twilight Sparkle and her friends wielding the Elements once more. However, there are some who believe this was the beginning of another, more powerful Prophecy that talks of a "Heralding of Myths"- an apocalypse that will bring about an interplanar event that sends various beasts and monsters into Equestria, bringing about an age of inner conflict and war.

What's most terrifying is the mention of a "White One, with Wolven Fur" that will plunge the world into eternal fire. However, the reader need not worry; due to the vague accountings of this on ancient Equestrian structures, as well as the impossible odds of such an event occurring, the Heralding of Myths will most likely never come to pass...

"They're talking about a Conjunction of the Spheres..." He exclaimed.

"Conjunction of the what?" Twilight asked, levitating a cup of coffee in the air for Geralt.

"Nothing, it's just a coincidence." Grabbing the cup with his free hand, the Witcher brought over another book and turned open its contents, pointing at the illustrations inside. "I was looking for ways to help your friend wake up from her coma."

"Oh?" She levitated the book closer, reading the pages he highlighted. Her eyes began to bulge out in surprise. "You want to use Poison Joke to try and wake her?!" The Witcher nodded. "No!" Twilight slammed the book, trotting in circles. "No no no no no! That plant is far too unpredictable! And believe me, I know unpredictable!"


"Not to mention potential side effects! I mean, what if she gets stuck with Flutterguy voice permanently?!" She began hyperventilating.

"Twilight, listen-"

"Or worse- what if she's somehow not cured from her Lycanthropy and this brings it back full force?!"

"ENOUGH!" Geralt slammed his fist on the table, cracking it slightly. It seemed to do the trick, and snap the mare out of it. He sighed. "I'm well aware of the risks, but what I'm going to ask next is going to be even riskier and requires the highest authority in the land to give me permission."

"What could be worse than Poison Joke?" She asked incredulously.

Geralt sighed, hoping it would never have to come to this, but seeing as how Modern Medicine has failed and his strange dream and warning from the Werewolf were to coincidental, it looked like he had no choice. "I'm going to perform the Trial of the Grasses on your friend..."

Twilight stopped moving. She knew what the words meant, it was explained to her during one of the exchanges of information between him and the other Princesses, aside from Cadence. "You can't mean that... Not after what you told me." Even with the vague recollections Geralt had, just attempting such a ritual was beyond conceivable.

Geralt said nothing. Nevertheless, the facts added up in her head, and even Twilight couldn't deny there were too many coincidences between Fluttershy's condition, and what Geralt described when he explained what he went through as a young boy. "Y-you really think she's..." She looked into his slitted eyes- the same one Fluttershy now possessed. Tears began to form.

"I wish it were any other way..." Slowly, the mare approached and pawed at him, at first out of frustration, boring into his eyes, but then softened. She broke down, grasping his body tight and sobbing into his chest. They laid like that for hours, each knowing what it meant to ask the Princesses something like this.

Eventually the room grew quiet, and Twilight moved away from the Witcher. "Do you think you could make a stop by our friends? They need to know."

Geralt simply nodded, not finding the need to say anything more. The Trial of the Grasses was something he never wanted to witness again, but now it looks like he didn't have a choice...

Tempting Fate

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Fate, my dear boy, is like a bar wench that has been too busy exposing her goods rather than selling a pint of ale. You mustn't tempt her, lest you find yourself in the room with a Bruxa rather than drowning yourself in the local brew...

Geralt had no idea why that sentence echoed in his mind, but he knew it had something to do with the mare sitting in the hospital bed, her fever reaching a ridiculous temperature and her breathing becoming ever more ragged by the minute. Sympathy swept over him.

The Witcher leaned closer to Fluttershy, inspecting her body close. Her veins were visible around the throat and face, a pale blackish color all too familiar with him present within. "... I don't know if you can hear me in there. You were- are a mystery to me, but you know something about how I arrived here." He held an object in his hand, the reflective surface beaming back and shining his eyes in a pale light. "What is about to happen will hurt..." He held her hoof, looking on her form, empathetic of the pony's worsening condition. "And you will never be the same. I'm going to ask for your rulers' blessing to do commence the Trial of the Grasses. Before I go, I want you to take good care of this." He took the object in his hand and tied it around Fluttershy's neck, the pulsing of the pendant vibrating against her with a dull buzz.

"Geralt?" Twilight interrupted, entering the hospital room. She approached cautiously, dread overcoming her features at her friend's worsening condition. She teared up at first glance, but shook her head and pried her vision away. "The princesses are waiting for you. Should I tell them to wait?"

"...No." was all he said. He was determined in seeing it through, there was no reason to second guess himself. (Song Ends)

"Y-you want to... What?" Celestia asked carefully, her voice trailing on the edge of venomous.

"Perform the Trial of the Grasses. With your permission." He bowed.

"No! No, I will not let one of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony become some soulless husk! I-"

"I don't give a damn what you think about it!" Twilight surprisingly interrupted. "Fluttershy- my friend- is one high fever away from dying! If this can save her," she looked to the Witcher for any help in this. Receiving no reply, she sighed somberly. "We tried everything. This is a work of magic not even from here, so I think it best if we believe the only qualified expert and at least try."

"Do you even remember it?!" The white Alicorn exclaimed. "With your memory as muddled as it is, you're asking us to- to go practically on faith that it'll work!" She glared angrily, the room's heat rising a little.

Celestia moved to say something more, only for the hoof of her sister to halt her progress. "Do you intend on bearing the burden then, Twilight Sparkle?"

"W-what? I don't-"

"Please listen to my sister, my faithful student." The other mare spoke, nodding to Luna to continue.

"You are willing to subject your friend to an excruciating and dreadful process. Geralt can confirm that." The Witcher nodded in agreement. "Are you prepared to face what path Destiny will carve for your friend after this is over? She will be changed, and there is no telling if it's for the better."

"B-but Geralt's the one who's going to perform it! Why would I be responsible?!" The small mare exclaimed.

"He is but a tool. You are the one to see this through." She glared back at the Witcher, looking for his input. "What say you, Witcher?"

"Hmm..." Geralt grunted in thought. After a brief moment of silence, he faced the mare next to him with serious eyes. "This is not like your magic- from what I remember, it will take years for the body to adapt to the mutations. Maybe even decades. Your friend could potentially never see you or her friends for several years, if at all. You are the only one qualified enough to make the final decision."

Her jaw hung open, staring incredulously at the three before her. Eventually though, she understood. It was a choice she had to make, as a friend. "...I understand your majesties." She bowed and took her leave, abandoning Geralt to face the two alone.

"We are ever in your debt." Luna bowed. "Whatever can we do to-" suddenly, Celestia interrupted.

"How much?"

"I...beg your pardon?" Geralt asked, flabbergasted.

"You get paid for these sorts of things, so how much do you need?"


"What?!" She glared back at her sister. "He doesn't work for free. Nothing's free! Haven't you learned that by now, after-" As if time stood still, Celestia froze like a deer in a bright light.

"After... What, dear sister?" Luna glared at Celestia.

"...How many bits do you want." She demanded, ignoring her sister.

"None. I declare Law of Surprise." He stated. "That which you possess, but not yet know. From my lands it's considered a-"

"Universal Law." Luna interrupted, still glaring at her sister, but this time with trepidation. "We... Know of similar laws in other lands here." She sighed. "Very well, then by the law of Equestrian Oligarchy, we hereby declare Geralt the Witcher free to obtain payment of this deed by way of Surprise. Upon your return to this very throne room, you may obtain whatever you first glance upon as your prize for the contract."

Thus the decree was made. Geralt left shortly after, heading back to Ponyville in order to begin the preparations.

The Castle of the Two Sisters gave off an eery and unpleasant feeling to any that lingered too close, despite it becoming a reminder of the accomplishments that Twilight and her friends had made. Even the Tree of Harmony was restored, thanks to their efforts. However, the dilapidated ruins were soaked in ancient magic, enough to put even Geralt on edge. Regardless of how he felt, he knew why it had to be a place like this- it was to attune the body to the latent magic strewn about the earth. To make it more sensitive.

...To alter it beyond recovery.

"Are you still prepared to do this?" He asked the Alicorn still making sure the items were in place, save for the barbaric cage Fluttershy was to sit in during the process. "It will not be for the faint of heart."

"I-I know the consequences!" She exclaimed nervously. "It's what I'm supposed to do! Celestia, she told me to do this. She told me to..."

A lie. Regardless, the Witcher didn't want her to panic more, and proceeded to mix the agents and reagents from what he could still remember from his own centuries ago. Vesemir wasn't around to teach him, and even if he was, he wouldn't want to witness another die potentially to the trial. He could remember that much, at least.

Suddenly, a figure teleported into the center of the throne room that used to be the seat of all Equestrian government, behind her a yellow sickly pale mare barely standing up. She was dazed and more than likely on some sort of sedative to keep her in that state to prevent panic. "We are here." Luna stated, her voice deep and without a hint of emotion.

Someone who saw war, Geralt thought. The look was unmistakable.

"She can barely move..." Twilight mumbled, glaring at the husk of a Pegasus that was once Fluttershy. "I-I don't know if I can do this... What if I screw up?"

"You won't." She replied.

"I..." She stared behind the princess at her friend once more, nearly bursting to tears before wiping her muzzle off. "Yes. I am."

"Come with me, and we will start your 'treatment'." The mare trotted behind Princess Luna, barely moving. It was as if even breathing was taxing to the poor Pegasus.

Once she was close enough, Geralt helped her into the fastener and began to insert the needles, intent on keeping her from looking back by any means necessary. Many would later fabricate the next part as a myth with several different ways he had calmed her, but the simplest and only true one was this:

"Excuse me," she said above a whisper. "C-can you tell me a story? I'm not a fan of needles, and telling a story always helps."

"I'm... Afraid I don't have any." He stopped and looked her dead in the eye. "None that will take the pain away..."

The mare heaved a dry chuckle. "This isn't like that beast that hurt me, is it?" She shuddered when the cold leather straps touched her fur and was drawn tight, locking her in place for the injections.

"...No. I don't remember." He kept the sentences simple, there was no reason to start giving into curiosity. Everything had to be precise, else she end up like the many who have died in the past to the trial. "But I will try my best to ease suffering." A lie; any change to the formula and it would end in the pegasus's death.

The ingredients were hard to find, and even harder to extract, but nonetheless, Geralt made do with what was given, many of the potential items far beyond his understanding of magical Flora and fauna. The more he found, the more dread was filling him in watching something like this take place. He remembered the pain of his own mutations entering for the first time, and remembered his time in the caves outside Kaer Morhen, but regrettably nothing else. It was all still a blur.

The first vial was set: a talon from a Griffon- the mutagen responsible for the flow of magic through the body. He was surprised to see this world not only was occupied by griffons, but they were far more intelligent than what he was used to thinking about. Twilight's friend, the rainbow haired one, contacted one of them for a sample. Taking pity, he decided to oblige the Pegasus on the operating table with a story. He remembered Vesemir tell the same one as a young lad, in fact more than likely during his Trial.

"Once, there was a story... Of a lonely Wolf." He turned the spigot, watching the golden liquid pour into the mare. Immediately her body shot up in pain, a small grunt of surprise leaving the mare's throat..

"This wolf wasn't like any others, for his fur was white as snow." He moved to the next mutagen, designed to harden the outside of the body and promote healing. Changeling venom, given from the newly crowned King Thorax, filled the blueish black jar. The liquid drizzled down like tar, filling her veins with the same familiar color and substance he was used to seeing flowing in his own body. This time Fluttershy wailed in pain, her body spasming against the restraints. Twilight moved to use magic and secure her, but was pushed back by Geralt's Aard. "His fur made him a lone wolf, the color too bright to blend in."

"This did not stop the White Wolf however, for He was a master of nature- that was his domain. But his fur was no match for his strength." He continued, hoping the two onlookers took the hint. They understood, and rushed to use their hooves rather than their magic to halt the mare from breaking anything.

"One day, the Wolf met an Owl-" he applied the next ingredient by hand, a salve of Phoenix Ash and Poison Joke. It burned like hellfire, Fluttershy letting out a horrific and bloodcurdling scream. She cried and cried, but it fell to deaf ears from him. Twilight and Luna weren't so lucky, but he understood their pain. To tell them the ordeal that was the Trial of the Grasses was one thing, but to witness them firsthand would shake the foundations of even the hardiest of creatures. "The Owl had told him of a nearby place full of game. The Wolf, hungry and greedy, had listened to the Owl and followed her deep into the woods, in a place he had never ventured before."

Only one ingredient remained- the catalyst. He had tricked most of the mutagens into applying correctly, according to the albeit gruesome results, but this would be the most crucial. There was no old magic from his world, so he had tapped into the only source available: himself.

Geralt stabbed the fourth and final tube into his arm, grunting in pain. Slowly, the crimson sludge of Witcher DNA flowed into the final injection point on Fluttershy, her body spasming once more before becoming completely still. "I-is it over?" Luna asked warily.

The Witcher nodded, trying to undo the straps. Surprisingly, Twilight still clung to them, shock overtaking her features. Gently, he pried the shivering mare loose from the bindings so he could assess the damage:

The skin and fur were subsequently bleached a lighter yellow than what Fluttershy used to have, as well as her pink mane and tail turning an earthy brown color. Geralt sighed, shaking his head. "The Owl lead the Wolf to a pond in the woods, and said 'behold your reflection.' the Wolf did as told, and peered down into the pond, only to jump back in shock. The Owl continued, it's feathers becoming fur and it's beak transforming into a set of teeth. 'for you were not a Wolf, but the pretender of one.' White Wolves do not exist, but a stray sheep could easily become one's lunch unless it were careful."

Fluttershy was breathing steady. It worked...

Geralt didn't want it to.

(INTERMISSION) Recollection of Events

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It took days for Fluttershy to recover, even longer to be able to be strong enough for travel. Geralt had made it clear her training were to begin as soon as she was well enough for the journey. Deep into the mountains, past the Everfree, and to the North West corner of Equestria, the two had travelled. Many of her friends were in shock at the announcement from Twilight that she was to be swept away. It pained the Alicorn to bear this news, but it was her burden and hers alone to claim responsibility.

Many of Twilight's friends had ousted her as a scoundrel and lunatic, once they learned the true nature of Fluttershy's sudden recovery. They had called for a recession of her status as Princess, last Geralt had heard, and very rarely did she come outside the Castle of Friendship near the final days of his and Fluttershy's departure.

The two other rulers had fared no better; Luna had become the more level headed of the two whereas Celestia had done nothing but make strict decrees and increased guard rotations along the border. Any other creature witnessing this would just shrug it off as a shift in Dynamics and the older was letting the younger rule the court for a time. The Witcher knew better- war was on the horizon, but he wasn't sure from whether or not it would be an outside threat... Or within.

Nevertheless, they told him of an area they could begin Fluttershy's training in the Northwest, past the Everfree and into the mountains. There, they were told, was an old and abandoned guard post that fell in ruin some time ago. What seemed like weeks trekking through the woods with nothing but the bare minimum, eventually they arrived. To the Pegasus, it was another place to fear- filled with unnatural and unsettling things that used to terrify her, but now just unnerved her. That lack of emotion, in turn, unsettled her even more. Something was lost during the Trial of the Grasses, but she wasn't sure what... At least, not until Geralt had told her at the beginning of training.

To Geralt, it reminded him of Kaer Morhen. A stone castle built in the side of a mountain, overlooking a river leading to a small lake. It remained in poor state, but that was where it all began, just like his training- from the ground up.

As he inspected the fortress the first few nights, more of his memories returned, but not all. Vesemir was now all too familiar to him now, yet any fellow Witcher he had come across were still hazed in his mind. Voices were static, and faces were blurs, but he could at least make out partial silhouettes of them. It wasn't until he gazed at the courtyard when his memories of training had begun to return. Wasting no time at all, he had begun to train the mare in the ways of his life... A Witcher's life.

It was tough and demanding, and there were very few hours where the both of them had sleep. Brick and mortar were brought up at the request of the Witcher, and every shipment that came in was immediately used. Days of training turned into weeks, which turned into months, then finally years. Fluttershy's body had transformed in that time, but this was normal for anyone that had the mutagens of a Witcher running in them. Her body had become lithe and narrow, rivalling even the slimmest of mares. Her height had increased as well, making her just a head shy of Luna.

The next part was even harder. After the castle had been reinforced and dubbed the new name of Kaer Blathan, Geralt had begun combat training for the mare. Constantly, she was taught the methods of execution and defense needed to defend herself from both monsters and friendly creatures alike. Though she could not wield a sword, the Witcher was able to teach her hand-to-hand, or in her case hoof-to-hoof. The combat was gruelling, involving breaking several bones and nearly severing limbs a scarce few times, when weapons were involved. The magic was even worse- for every word learned to cast the signs Witchers use, Fluttershy would unintentionally cast it wrong and burn, freeze, or even knock herself unconscious, only to be woken up again and start immediately.

Nevertheless, the years of training had paid off.
She had transformed from a small Pegasus afraid of her own shadow, into someone worth the title of Witcher. Now it was time to put her skills to the test, for an old friend had requested a Witcher...

It was time for her to head home...

Visiting Home

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"Fluttershy!" Geralt yelled in the main hall of Kaer Blathan, looking for the young mare. He had received an invitation from the newly crowned Princess of Equestria for a visit... And a proposition only a Witcher would be able to accept. It was the perfect time to test the near decade of training she had received into action. "Fluttershy!" He called out again, moving onto the armory.

The small room was empty, save for a few barren weapon racks, and armor far too rusted to be worth anything. The real prize was still buried behind a mountain of rubble in the west wing, after all. "Need to commission some swords sometime soon..." He mumbled to himself, exiting the armory and moving to the courtyard. Once he got close enough, he could hear some grunts in the training area. It seemed she was hard at work training again. Slowly, he walked down the wood steps leading to the small yard behind the castle, observing quietly.

Fluttershy had become a ruthless machine in unarmed combat- circling the dummy in front of her, the pale yellow mare front flipped behind it and hit the critical points all along the back of the straw pony- enough to incapacitate a live one, and definitely enough to make it hurt. With the speed of a lion, she had vaulted off the neck of that one and landed near the wood replica of a Werewolf. Sliding under, she had targeted all the main points that would stun it enough to allow a few swings with a blade. Unfortunately, the Pegasus didn't plan on one Critical element of any combat scenario:

The element of surprise. Geralt silently approached from behind, and when he got close enough, the man pulled her tail, kicked the hooves from under her, flipped her over, and held her neck in place with nothing but his forearm. "Always be aware of-"

"Of my surroundings. Yeah." She sighed. "I remember. Sorry." Slumping her shoulders, Fluttershy headed back to the dummies and got ready for another practice sprawl, when Geralt interrupted.

"Letter came in." He opened up his satchel. "A few, actually. Some are from your friends-" before he even had a chance to continue, the mare sprinted over and snatched them out of his hand. Very rarely did the rest of her friends write, and only one ever took the time to come up and visit, even if discreetly. After all, it was her decision to bring Fluttershy up here, why wouldn't she check up? He sighed. "Got a few that require us to travel."

Her ears perked up at that. "Us? You mean...?" Geralt nodded his head. Immediately, she went and hugged him then rushed past to pack her things.

On the road to their destination, Fluttershy couldn't stop asking questions. "Is everypony okay? What about my other friends, do they still live in Ponyville? I'm so anxious to see them again!"

"Calm yourself." Geralt stated. "Remember your training. This isn't a social visit. We're heading to Ponyville for supplies, nothing more." It was a small lie, actually. The last time he visited the town for supplies, the Witcher stopped by the blacksmith's shop (now run by the previous owner's sons, Hammer and Nail) to request something be made as a surprise for when the time came that she come down the mountain with him.

"Of course!" She exclaimed. "It's just been so long, and I- oh..." Stopping on the way, the mare noticed a small abandoned hut in the Everfree, dilapidated and devoid of all life. Zecora hadn't lived there for a long time, it seemed. "... Zecora."

The zebra died to an incident Geralt had to help with several years ago. When he came back to the castle, Fluttershy asked him what happened, and all he said was that a monster attacked and killed her.

"Bruxa. Took out her jugular." He patted the side of the door as they both stood there, admiring the Quen sign that kept the small home from reverting completely back into a regular tree. "It's why we were summoned to Canterlot. An emergency summons of all nearby nations was called, and we were personally requested to be present." He sighed. "Monsters are appearing more frequently. It started with you all those years ago, and year after year, more species and attacks are being discovered."

Looking on, she patted a hoof on the wood next to his, before turning and trotting back down the path. "Best we keep moving then. Don't want to make her wait." She spat, rushing ahead suddenly.

The next stop was to the animal sanctuary, one of the few places Fluttershy was allowed to visit, supervised by Geralt of course. Being isolated was... Difficult, but at least she had solace in visiting with her animal friends. Whenever she came down from the mountain, she visited Angel Bunny, the now proud father of his twelfth son. It was strange coming back to a place that used to be her home, she thought. So much has changed, she was curious to see how the town had changed as well.

From the letters her friends had sent over the years, they all had drifted apart, following her training. Applejack still worked at the farm, once in a while keeping an eye on Big Mac's two daughters, Apple Tart and Spice Drop. Rarity stayed in Ponyville, but retired her shop, due to complications brought upon by age- Blindness does make it hard to sew dresses after all. Pinkie Pie visits the town regularly, but ends up wandering the country most of the time with her husband Cheese Sandwich and their wonderful foals, Curly Q and Banana Loaf. Rainbow Dash steadily trains the new generation of Wonderbolts as Captain, but always comes home to the Apple Farm to help Applejack. She was the catalyst for her friends drifting apart. Her, and Twilight.

Twilight... Her she didn't think of at all. Fluttershy knew what happened that day, and never forgave her for subjecting the Trial of the Grasses upon her, even though she didn't commit the act and only observed. Regardless, she knew the Castle of Friendship would be abandoned, save for the two Unicorns in charge of the school that lived there.

Hugging Angel one last time, Fluttershy followed Geralt into town. Many had greeted the Witcher as if he lived there, but shied away from her. It unsettled her slightly, but no matter. She knew it would happen. Suddenly, a familiar face stepped out of a nearby shop. "...Rarity? Is that you?" She smiled, trotting up to the unicorn being escorted by someone. Geralt left them be and went into a nearby shop for some supplies he needed.

"Oh my! Could it be?" The unicorn muttered, smiling. "Sweetie, is it really her?" The other one trotting alongside the mare was clearly an adult now, it took a few minutes for Fluttershy to recognize her.

"Yes, Rarity." Sweetie smiled, turning the mare to face the two. "It's Fluttershy!" Rushing forward, the young pony rushed and grabbed the much taller Fluttershy's hoof to bring her closer. "She's finally back!" She yelled, drawing onlookers to witness the reunion for a moment.

The mare went to hug Rarity, but Sweetie Belle stopped her. "You need to know something." She motioned for her to come closer. "Extreme Magical Deterioration. Pushing herself in the shop as hard as she did all those years left her blind..." She whispered into Fluttershy's ear. She was going to ask more, but was stopped by a gasp from Rarity.

Tears welled up in the pony's eyes. "I... It's been so long since I last saw you!" She waved her hoof in the air, searching for a muzzle that no longer was at eye level. Leaning down, Fluttershy nuzzled into it. Carefully, Rarity inspected it with her touch, frowning at the feel. "You've...Grown." she simply stated.

"Yes, a side effect of the Mutations running in me. It... Made me taller." She chuckled, rubbing the back of her head.

"More beautiful too, I might add!" Another voice piped up from behind them. It was... Blueblood, shockingly.

"Oh yes, I must have forgotten to tell you in my last letter." Rarity cleared her throat. "Meet my husband, Blueblood."

"Husband?!" She gasped. "Wasn't he a complete and total ass to you at the Gala?"

"Language, Please!" Rarity exclaimed. "Besides, he has become a much more respectable stallion since then. I mean, Captain of the Guard!" She beamed. " Who would've thought?"

"Yes, it's true. I am now Captain of the Royal Guard!" The stallion bowed. "And I must ask your forgiveness in my rather... Harsh treatments to my wife all those years ago."

"...I don't think I'm the best judge of character. At least, not at first glance. I'm sorry, Blueblood." She stated, shocking the others slightly.

"No matter." He sighed, holding Rarity's hoof and bringing her close. "I will love her all the same."

"Awww!" Rarity cooed. "I love you too."

"Was there anything else?" Fluttershy asked, smiling.

"Anything else? Why, it's been near a decade darling! We simply must get you a dress, maybe a spa treatment as well-"

"Oh no. No dresses, thank you!" She interrupted. "Though I appreciate it all the same. It would be nice, however, to enjoy a nice relaxing bath one of these days. Unfortunately, I must be going now." The Pegasus trotted off, leaving a trio of confused ponies in her wake.

"Fluttershy, refuse a spa?" Sweetie Belle spoke. "I know you said she'd be different, but I didn't think-"

"Blame Her Royal Highness." Blueblood spat. "She's the reason for it happening in the first place. Poor mare never deserved that done to her..."

"Fluttershy, do you mind if we stop by the Blacksmith's? I have something there I need to pick up." Geralt asked.

"Of course. Geralt-" she started.


"I was wondering if... You heard from anypony else about Discord? He hasn't seen me since... Well, you know." She asked.

"Hmm..." The Witcher thought. "Wasn't he your demonic friend?"

"Draconequus, yes. He was a dear friend from before, and I wanted to see if he was doing alright without me."

Geralt thought for a moment. "Last I heard, he was chasing a lead for the princesses before their retirement, and shows up in different places of Equestria from time to time."

She sighed. "Yes, of course. I just hope he's alright."

Opening the doors to the blacksmith's, Geralt was greeted by the two owners with a friendly smile. "Welcome!" A steel grey bulky Earth pony greeted, with a thick Scottish accent. "Oh wow, Geralt!" The stallion exclaimed. "Look who's here, brother!" He yelled to the back of the store. After a few bangs and clatters of various tools and metals, the other brother came out.

The lithe silver tinted stallion ran up to the counter. "Geralt! Our favorite customer!"

"To what do we owe the pleasure?" They spoke in unison.

He cleared his throat, gesturing to the pony next to him. "She is in need of that surprise I had you two working on. Care to fit it?"

Immediately, they perked up. "Of course!" The smaller one exclaimed. "Hammer, would you care to do the honors?" He grabbed a small brown box from underneath the counter.

"Oh absolutely brother! Nothing would please me more!" Quickly he opened up the box and gestured for Fluttershy to lift her front hooves on top of the counter. "So you're this 'Fluttershy' character Geralt kept yapping about whenever he hit the town, eh?" Hammer got out the tools and measured her hoof width.

"Um, I suppose..." She muttered, confused as to what was going on.

"Oh Lassie, you must be something special!" Nail guffawed. "Every time he came down from that wee mountain, he'd have a sack full 'o' bits especially for this 'secret project'!"

"And Everytime we took it, we would improve the designs!" The other one spoke, bringing out the first piece and drilling it to the fastener he had placed on her hoof.

Now she had their attention. "...Is it some sort of crossbow? Or armor?"

"Ha!" Nail spoke up. "Crossbows are boring! And according to Geralt, bulky armor just slows yer kind down, unless it's specially tailored. Too bad our resident seamstress retired, otherwise you'd have one epic piece of hardware to match along with this beauty!" He kissed the final piece of metal before fitting it.

"Nay, this-" Hammer gestured to the completed weapon attached to her hooves. "This is art!"

It was a small horseshoe, fitted with a strange contraption attached to her foreleg. "Go on!" One of them gestured. "Give it a squeeze!"

Doing as instructed, she squeezed her forehoof and out popped several serrated edges on the outside of the shoe. "Genuine Silver, and no expenses gone to waste!" She turned her hoof to inspect it. Almost like a serrated knife, the front of her hoof was now turned into a deadly weapon, perfect for monster and creature alike.

"It's nice." She smiled. "Thank you."

Suddenly, the doors burst open to reveal a blue Pegasus with greying rainbow mane. "WHO ARE YOU, THINKING YOU CAN TRICK RARITY LIKE-" Then Rainbow saw her, as if she were meeting her friend for the first time. Collapsing, she fell silent.

"Oh my!" Quickly, Fluttershy deactivated the weapons and held her friend close.

"... So it's true, the rumors." Rainbow teared up as she spoke. "You're finally back! It's been so long..."

"I know, Rainbow." She sighed. "I know." The Pegasus let go of their embrace and looked into Rainbow's eyes with a serious expression. "But you need to listen to me. I'm... Not like I was."

"Yeah, no kidding." She dryly chuckled. "The eyes I could deal with, but now? Now you're some sort of alpha Pegasus or something! I mean look at you, 'Shy!" She gestured to the mare's body, tears becoming visible once more. "You're easily the size of Luna or even Cadence." In response, Fluttershy gently grabbed her friend's hoof in her own.

"I'm not talking about the obvious. I changed, Dash. Creepy and scary things don't bother me anymore, and I don't smile like I used to." She sighed. "But, I still remember what friendship is, and I hope you and everypony else understand that."

The smaller mare stared into her Wolven eyes, unsure of what to say. "I... Yeah, sure." She gave Fluttershy one more hug before standing up and approaching the doors. "I'm glad you're okay, Shy." She smiled. "Oh, and Geralt?" The mare looked behind her shoulder before leaving. "I don't blame you. You're not the cause of this."

The Witcher stood silent, nodding in understanding.

"Is it alright if we leave Ponyville now?" Fluttershy asked suddenly.

"No, we still have work that needs done here. As I said, I received many letters that require travel. Ponyville is the sender of such a letter, or rather an individual that lives here."

"Fine!" She spat with venom. "Where does this pony live?"

"... The Castle of Friendship."

It was close to midday, and the two still had much to be done in preparation for the summit. As such, they both took a break at the nearby shop- Sugarcube Corner. Many ponies had given Fluttershy odd looks, and some even mistook her for another princess before realizing she didn't have a horn. That didn't bother her as much as the frequency of unfamiliar faces among the crowd. Ponyville was a small town so everybody knew everything about everyone, and to see very few familiar ponies...

It was jarring, to say the least.

"Geralt?" She asked, thanking one of the waiters that brought over her food.

"Hmm?" He mumbled, in the middle of eating a small muffin.

"Why are there many strangers in Ponyville? What happened to everypony I knew?"

The Witcher sighed. "After the Trial of the Grasses, someone asked why you were sent so far away." He looked down at the reflection in the empty silver platter before him. "Most were ready to blame me, and wanted me to be purified by your Elements of Harmony. Seeing as how they couldn't do that until you recovered, that was quickly shot down." He looked around the room, at all the faces in the small Cafe. Some were familiar to him from all the supply runs he had to do, but many still remained fresh and new. "Then one pony stood in front of the rest, I think her name was Cheerilee if I remember correct. She asked not what I had done, but instead..." He remained silent.

"... She asked what my friends did." Fluttershy finished his sentence, receiving a morose nod from her mentor.

"You and your friends were almost always surrounded by problems, so it made sense to ask if they had something to do with it. The rest admitted they had no idea what the Trial was, or even what it meant to go through such an ordeal. Save for one." He gestured with his finger. " And she was already contempt in taking the blame."

The mare scoffed. "You mean to tell me that the one pony that had written off on my CURSE, was the one that took the fall for it?!"

"Hold your tongue!" Geralt slammed his fists in the table, drawing silence around them for a moment. Once the silent stares of curiosity ceased, he continued. "Being a Witcher is not a curse. I taught you that. It's a fucked up life, sure, but you are not to tell yourself this is an affliction!"

"I... Apologize for my outburst, Master." Fluttershy spat, slouching further into the cushioned seat she sat in.

"Hmm..." He grunted, before continuing. "Yes, she took the blame and only her. However, she took it one step further and confessed and even explained what the Trial of Grasses was. The rest of your friends were shocked, some even appalled. Most ponies shunned her, including your friends. After that, Cheerilee was the first to leave for good. Followed by Mayor Mare, Doctor Hooves, Lyra, Bon-Bon, and many others whom I don't recall. Only a few stayed, including the scarce number that still believed you were coming back. The tabloids wanted to say you were just gonna be buried in the mountains to hide the evidence." He chuckled.

"... So is that who we're seeing? Twilight?" She asked, only to receive a firm shaking of the head from Geralt.

"No, I'm afraid she's still waiting in Canterlot. She hasn't been told of your arrival, in fact." He smiled wryly. "I figured she spent enough time pretending you were locked away in some far off castle."

Fluttershy laughed. "Is that really what she thought you did?"

"Yeah," he chuckled. "It's kinda funny, but-" the twitching of his medallion cut him short.

"I feel it too." Fluttershy patted the special choker Geralt had made for her to detect changes in magical atmosphere.

The entire Cafe rumbled and shook, the interior growing darker and darker. Geralt brought out the steel sword strapped to his back, while Fluttershy unsheathed her silver claw blades. They jumped from the table and slowly backed away from all the windows, ponies huddling close behind them for protection. "Remember your training!" Geralt exclaimed. "This is your first real world test! What do you sense?"

Time slowed to a crawl for the Pegasus, focusing on basic instinct alone. The house rumbled, but it wasn't Earth shattering, so a minor elemental? No, she sensed something else. The darkened interior, it reeked of alteration magic. It had to be that creature, she thought. "Sylvan?" She asked her mentor. Suddenly, the darkness and the rumbling died down and the two checked to see if everyone was alright.

"It's what we're here to find out. Now come on, we've delayed enough." He sheathed his sword and exited the building, noting any oddities along the way.

After walking to the outskirts of Ponyville, the two had made it to their destination: Twilight's Library for all things Magical and Friendly, or what used to be known as:

"The Castle of Friendship." Fluttershy spoke. Geralt opened the door to reveal quite a shocking sight. What were once halls filled with nothing but crystal and banners bearing Twilight Sparkle's Cutie Mark, were replaced with shelves upon shelves of books, scrolls, and everything in between. What's more was it now didn't feel empty; every corner they turned had either a student of Friendship opening books for study, or a library clerk reorganizing said books. Making their way through the changed halls, Geralt and Fluttershy arrived at their destination- the Cutie Map room.

This room, in stark contrast to the halls outside, had been left relatively the same, save for the lack of chairs bearing all her friend's Cutie Marks. Looking around the room, her eyes were wistful, but that changed into a look of surprise at the mare standing up in the center. "Long time no see, Fluttershy!" The lavender mare spoke.

"Starlight!" She rushed over to hug the unicorn before letting go just as quick. "What brings you here?"

"I'm not gonna lie, I am so glad to see you!" Starlight Glimmer smiled, for a moment at least. "I just wish it was under better circumstances."

"What's wrong? You know I'll do whatever I can." She smiled.

Starlight sighed. "We need your help..."

Contract: Devil of the Everfree

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Whether it be a harmless Godling or even a mighty Djinn, one thing a Witcher knows is the job needs done, and he better be compensated for it...

"Not even a Hello, after all these years?!" Fluttershy scoffed. "Just 'we need your help', like some friendship problem that needs done?"

"Look, I didn't mean it that way!" Starlight exclaimed. "This magic, i-it defies all logic! It's constantly changing, causing problems all over the place!" She sighed. "I'm just... Scared. We all are! More and more of these incidents are popping up all over Equestria and nopony knows why."

"And what do you expect me to do about it, huh?" The mare leered at Starlight. "I'm a Witcher, not that same goody two-shoes you all knew!" She looked away in shame. "I'm not... Kind. Not anymore..."

Starlight went to comfort her, but was stopped by Geralt, shaking his head. It was his responsibility to bear, after all. "Fluttershy, do you remember what I said the first year at Kaer Blathan?"

"..." She remained silent.

The Witcher sighed, putting a hand on one of her shoulders. "Witchers will always be shunned... Save for those who need their help. To me, it sounds like there's a contract to be had. Are you gonna pass the opportunity to someone else?"

"I...No, of course not." She sighed. "I apologize, Starlight. I'm... Not who I used to be. I hope you understand."

"...Of course, Fluttershy." Starlight said. " We were all told what happened that day. Yes, it was tough for some of us to face the truth, but for others?" She stepped closer, grabbing the mare's hoof in her own. "Take it from somepony who's been there." She smiled. "They'll stop seeing you as something you're not."

Fluttershy gripped her hoof back. "I... Thank you, Starlight." She cleared her throat. "So, this monster, do you have anything to go by? Anything peculiar, like maybe something out of place?"

"Oh, now that we had a moment of bonding you want to hear about my problems?" The older mare giggled, then continued. "It began a few weeks ago when a strange horn appeared in Town Square."

"This horn, what did it look like?" Geralt questioned.

"Like a goat horn, but more... Swirly? I can't really remember, I couldn't get a good look at it." She explained.

"Why? Did it disappear?"

"More like disintegrate!" Starlight exclaimed. "One touch from my hoof and poof! Exploded in a fiery orange."

"Hmm." Geralt grunted. "Curse, maybe? What do you think?" He turned to Fluttershy.

"Is... This a test?" She asked cautiously. Once the Witcher nodded, she became a bit nervous. Almost always was she being tested, but this one seemed more important than most. "W-well, from what I know about curses, or at least from what you taught me, it would affect an individual, and not the entire town." She explained. "And if you take into account our earlier incident, it doesn't really describe the symptoms of a curse."

"If it isn't a curse, then what is it?" Starlight asked worriedly.

"Curses can be fickle, and normally have an effigy or talisman in place to continue the effect." Geralt replied. "What happened earlier is more along the lines of magic tied to the Earth. Shaking buildings, drastic change in scenery, that sort of thing. In conclusion, Fluttershy?"

"Hmm..." She thought for a moment. "Goat's horn that disappeared on first contact, tremors and latent magic..." Suddenly, Fluttershy gasped. "Oh my, it's a Sylvan!"

"A...what?" Starlight looked confused.

"Sylvans are trickster demons. Normally they're pretty harmless, unless somebody really got on their bad side!" Fluttershy giggled. "Basically think of them as miniature versions of Discord, minus the randomness."

"A mini... Discord?" The mare facehoofed. "Out of all the creatures you could possibly name, it just had to be something like that!"

"It could be worse." The Witcher replied.

"How in all of Equestria, could it be worse than the literal avatar of Chaos?!"

"Could be one of your past villains. From what I've read, any one of them could be devastating." He blankly stared at her.

"...Good point." She turned to Fluttershy. "So? Will you help me out, as a friend?"

"Of course." The Pegasus smiled. "I'd still do anything for my friends, save for Her Royal Majesty."

"Excellent!" Starlight beamed, ignoring that final comment. "When can you-" Suddenly, Fluttershy's hoof stopped her mid sentence.

"Though I'd like to say it'll be for free, we need... Supplies."

The older mare paused, slightly taken aback. "Oh! Um, of course! How much would you need?"

Geralt sighed, doing a rough bit of math in his head. "Sylvans are Relicts- demons that use the magic of the Earth, so we will need to find a fair few ingredients. Dog Tallow, Sewant Mushrooms to name a few."

"How much does that cost?" Starlight questioned.

"Hmm..." He thought for a moment. "Dog Tallow is rare, especially in rural areas like this. If your local Witch Doctor was still around, I could have haggled with her and obtained some. Now, however, it's going to be hard to come by. 300 bits, plus the fee for anything else we'd need while on the contract."

"More than likely, 500 bits." Fluttershy continued. "You know I wouldn't ask for this much unless it were necessary, Starlight."

The mare's jaw dropped. "500? Fluttershy, that's too much... I'm sorry but even with all the money pooled together, the most we could do is get you the bits for your ingredients. Most ponies left town because of this, so there's not much in the way of funding."

"Okay, then how about this-" she continued, staring at Geralt's sword for a moment. "Let us have the blacksmith forge Geralt a new sword on our return. You don't need to pay the extra bits." Fluttershy turned to Geralt. "Does that sound reasonable to you?"

"Hmm... I do need a silver sword, and a touch of leather reworked on my armor." He nodded his head. "I accept. The contract is valid."

The Everfree.

Before, Fluttershy might have avoided it altogether aside from dire emergencies for animals that lived there and the occasional friendship problem or two. Now, however?

Now, it just seemed... Tame compared to the tales Geralt shared with her. "What about this Sylvan requires Starlight?" She asked. "To me it seems the whole town is cursed, not just her."

"It's the horn." The Witcher grunted, slicing through another pair of vines within the forest. "Most times Sylvans are peaceful beings, granting boons to local villages as a token of thanks to some deed they had committed or other, but like most intelligent and magically gifted creatures, they are very prideful."

"What does the horn have to do with it?" She asked, burning another set in their path with Igni.

He stopped walking, and turned to face the Pegasus. "Let me ask you this: Take a Unicorn's horn away from them and how would they react? Or the wings of a Pegasus? The very thing that separates something from something else?"

Fluttershy thought on it for a moment. "Well, I suppose they'd be upset, if not devastated."

"Correct." He continued through the forest once more, talking as he sliced through more of the foliage. "Pride is in a creature's nature most times. Break the natural appearance of them, and they would not be okay with it." He sighed. "Us Witchers are more than enough examples of that."

For several minutes, neither of them talked about it anymore, until their cutting came across a clearing in the woods. "This'll do." Geralt spoke. "Now, let's lay the groundwork for the summoning." He turned to Fluttershy. "I need you to fetch Starlight and have her teleport here-" he pointed to a particular spot in the grass where he cast an Yrden sigil. Nodding, she flew off to Ponyville.

"Now that she's away," the Witcher spoke, drawing his sword. "Do you mind explaining who you are, and why you're following us?" He turned around.

Suddenly, a gust of wind blew him back several feet and a shadowy figure flickered wildly into being. "So, you have finally sensed me!" The Shadow chuckled in a distorted voice.

"Medallion's been humming since we entered, I just figured it was the Everfree's latent magic." He got into a battle stance, circling the creature. "Guess I was wrong."

The Shadow cackled. "Well now, I wouldn't say that." It raised one of the gangly arms it possessed and turned it towards the left, causing the whole of the forest that direction to bend and twist. "I'm part of this forest now, no more than you are part of this world now!" The Witcher in response tossed a pillar of flame in the Shadow's direction, only for it to have teleported to the right.

"What do you want?!" Geralt spat.

"What I want..." He pointed to the sigil on the ground- the return point for Starlight and Fluttershy. "Is a body. I can't fully manifest until I have a host." It smiled sadistically. "And what better way than to trick a Witcher into bringing one here?" It cackled.

Geralt thrusted his sword at the shadowy being this time, only to have it pass right through with ease. "Steel doesn't work, I'm afraid." The Shadow explained.

"Fuck!" He grunted, dodging a wave of upturned roots the Shadow summoned from the ground.

"Oh, and it looks like they're coming back!" It pointed to the sigil, now glowing with arcane power. It got closer, waiting for the ponies to come back.

"No!" He pushed the Shadow back from the glyph, rushing in front to cut it off from advancing further. Screaming in rage, the Shadow threw a flurry of vines from a tree at the Witcher's sword, tangling it in the foliage above. Acting quickly, he burned the vines with Igni and tagged his body with Quen. Rushing forward, Geralt once again sliced at the shadowy figure, but failed at doing damage once more.

It cackled madly. "What, no oil to give you that extra push you need? Tsk tsk tsk..." A massive branch came and knocked him back several yards, landing into a small tree and slightly cracking it on impact.

The Witcher spat out a puddle of blood, his internal organs now in critical condition. Heaving, he opened a small pouch on his vest and took out a red vial. Downing it, he got back up, eyes changing to a pitch black and veins visibly darkening across his body. Quickly, his wounds began to heal and Geralt rushed back to fight the creature, using magic mostly and a fair bit of diversion.

After what felt like hours, the Shadow had finally taken quite a bit of damage from various Samum and Devil's Puffball bombs. "ENOUGH!" It shouted, plunging it's arms into the ground and forming a cage of shadow and wood around the Witcher. He tried to escape, but was pierced several times by magical thorns.

The glyph finished charging, Starlight appearing with Fluttershy. "Geralt!" The Pegasus flew above, preparing her Claws to free him, but failed to pay attention to the vines wrapping around her wings.

"Two Witchers, caught in a tree..." It sang. "Killing them both, oh how it brings me Glee!" Throwing Fluttershy to the cage Geralt was in, the Shadow imprisoned them both and continued to stab them over and over with it's shadowy vines.

"Stop it!" Starlight pleaded. "Stop it, please!"

The Shadow just laughed louder at those words. "You want me to stop, knowing what they did to save the mare? Isn't that what you are afraid of the most, Starlight?" It smiled sadistically. "Aren't you afraid... That what Twilight said all those years were true?" It fell silent for a moment, contemplating. "Hmm, I might stop, but you have to do me a favor in return."

"Yes, anything! Please..."

"Just step out of that barrier and come a bit closer." It motioned with one of its twisted fingers.

She sighed. "Okay, but only if you let them go!"

"Done." It waved its shadowy hand and removed the cage, freeing the two Witchers. "Now come closer..." It leered.

Doing as promised, the mare exited the sigil and approached slowly. It didn't matter however, as she was immediately possessed once she was completely out of it. Choking on shadow, Starlight cried and cried, gazing down at her friends one last time before being fully taken over. She collapsed.

"Nngh..." Fluttershy was the first to get up. Gasping, she approached the unconscious mare only to be suspended midair by an invisible force.

"Heh heh heh..." The unicorn smiled, her limp body floating up and her eyes becoming pitch black. "It'll be so much fun to play here!" Cracking the mare's limbs to impossible angles, the Shadow cackled madly. "I even got myself a new toy!"

"That's... Where you're wrong..." Geralt heaved, leaning on the hilt of his sword. "It's not a vessel, let alone... A toy." He chuckled, coughing out blood. "It's a prison."

"No, i-impossible!" The Shadow convulsed, separating from the mare. It couldn't, and only snapped right back in.

"You didn't think we knew?" Fluttershy chuckled. "Sylvans are harmless, as long as you treat them in kind. We knew that much going in." She stepped closer, unsheathing her claws once more. "What we didn't know was why it was plaguing the town. So, we did some digging, and what did we find?"

"You bitch!" The Shadow lunged at her, only to snap back to the suspended pony once more.

"A trail." She smiled. "You weren't only looking for a vessel..."

"...But the Perfect vessel." Geralt continued, his wounds mostly healed now. "Some unicorns died, most the assumption of a small accident, but they all had the same thing happen to them weeks prior: a random object appeared one day and disintegrated on touch. We knew it was going to Target someone..." He got back into stance, approaching alongside the Pegasus.

"...But not who, or when. Geralt had gotten a letter from Starlight, that much is true, but it wasn't just that one. We got multiple, all about mysterious deaths in Ponyville."

It didn't even try to break out this time, the Shadow only screamed. "RID ME OF THIS CONFINING CURSE!" It wailed to no avail.

"So we hatched a plan." He pointed the tip of his sword to the possessed mare. "By we, I mean Fluttershy."

The Pegasus grinned. "Once we figured what you were, Nightmare, we knew what we could do to stop it!"

The Shadow grew silent, it's host ceasing the unnatural twitching it had endured this past hour. "...So you figured it out." It chuckled dryly. "Doesn't matter though. I'm bound to this mare."

Geralt smirked, holding his medallion up to the sword currently pointed at the Nightmare. Suddenly, the weapon flashed in a bright light, blinding everyone for a moment. When it cleared, in place of the dull grey steel sword was a brilliant silver one: it had a flat guard- perfect for heaving it from even the most deepest of wounds, it's grips inlaid with the finest of leather. The pommel curved into a crescent, balancing the blade perfectly. The most important, and most noticable feature however, were the three sets of runes carved into the blade itself.

"I named it Lupus Alba, or more commonly known as-"

"White Wolf." Fluttershy finished. "And he's been using it to bind you, not to the host, but to the sword." She smirked. "How's that for a bitch?"

"Noooooo!" It wailed, as Geralt pulled his sword upright and peeled away the spirit and imprisoned it within...

Starlight Glimmer awoke a few days later in Ponyville General. After most of her friends came and visited, she was discharged and went to running the library for the school of Friendship until she fully recovered. The first thing she noticed upon arrival to the Cutie Map room, currently only available to those with the right key, was an open book and a particular highlighted passage within:

Upon Observations of Nightmares Within the Dream Realm

by Princess Luna, residing within the Castle of the Two Sisters.

... What I have noticed most of the Nightmares of my subjects is the afflicted almost always interacts with an object of great pain to them. For most, it might be as simple as a teddy bear they lost as a young fully or foal. It could even be a loved one, or a pet. Once they interact with said catalyst, only then can the Nightmare begin...

...However, there is another symptom that worries me greatly everytime I witness it. Catalysts at the more severe Nightmares have a tendency to disguise themselves as almost anything else! Most times it is a perceived threat; a mismatched sock all the way to a knife or crossbow have been observed to be hidden catalysts. Nightmares are evolving and changing at a phenomenal rate, and I fear one day, one of them will become powerful enough to break the barrier between dream and reality...

An Ivory Jail Cell

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Canterlot, the seat of an empire...

Or, at least, it had the political power of one. Celestia did much in her time as ruler to make sure of that. Every creature known to Equestria had an embassador, every city a representative of their province. It was a golden era of peace and prosperity. Currently, it had a different ruler at the head of it all, and she was peering out towards the horizon on the balcony in her private chambers.

"Peace..." The mare scoffed. "Is it really peace, or just a cease-fire?" Turning, she went back into the bedroom to prepare for the next court session. On the way, she glanced into the full body mirror laying in the corner. Twilight Sparkle had grown, becoming the same height as her predecessor. Truly, she became an Alicorn fit to rule...

Or so she thought. Once in office, she admitted a few laws and regulations regarding the new magic now leaking into this world- specifically, it regarded the one thing that still drives her subjects to ridicule and shun her rule- the one involving Witchers, and unfortunately, it now included her friend. Her reflection in the mirror showed an Alicorn, yes, but the stress and constant ridicule from her peers had given it baggy eyes, a frayed and greying mane, as well as wrinkles all along her face. "To think I became this all because of a choice I made a decade ago..." She sighed, casting a spell on herself to straighten out her appearance as well as disguise the obvious signs of stress.

After she was done, Twilight looked like her younger, happier self. It disgusted her. She couldn't even have her own body, that was how trapped she had become. "Imprisoned in Ivory Towers." The mare scoffed. "A fitting punishment for my crime. Jailed by the one thing I was so excited becoming." She sighed. Suddenly a guard knocked on her chamber doors, signalling her recess was up. Her work in the prison yard began...

"So, that is the situation your highness." Captain Blueblood of the Royal Guard explained, recapping the events that happened in Ponyville.

Twilight stood silent. A Nightmare? Breaching the barrier of dreams? It seemed impossible, yet...

"And Geralt defeated it?" She questioned.

Blueblood fell silent. He hesitated giving the right answer, knowing it might cause an adverse reaction to his charge. However, he knew what she did. The whole of Equestria did after her coronation, and it disgusted him. "No." He spoke with authority. "He didn't."

"Well then we need to contact the Council of Friendship. Find out if we can still call on the Elements of Harmony, even if we're short one." The mare got up from her throne, gesturing for her assistant to come closer. "Take a message to Ponyville. Tell them the Elements are-"

"It was Fluttershy that destroyed the beast." A lie, but Blueblood didn't care. He just wanted to see her reaction, if anything then for her wife's sake. Rarity was never the same after she left, and remains that way even moreso after her... Affliction. The look she had upon her muzzle made it all worth it. Her Royal Highness looked like she had seen a ghost.

"...Fluttershy." Her spell shattered slightly, revealing the worn out eyes and wrinkled skin, save for a moment. Quickly, the mare recast it and regained her composure. She cleared her throat. "That is... Surprising to hear. I-is she alright?"

Blueblood nodded. "It seems her time in the mountains had hardened her enough to make even an Ursa Minor seem like a kitten to her." He lied some more. It was true she had been altered drastically, but he didn't need to give specifics unless ordered to, and he was always in the mood to cause some slight damage to his charge's composure whenever he could. "Geralt had trained her well in the ways of her species-" He stopped, knowing certain boundaries were never meant to be broken. Clearing his throat, the stallion continued. "Apologies your highness, I meant to say-" Suddenly, he was interrupted.

"Thank you, Blueblood for your report. You are dismissed." Without even blinking, Twilight teleported away, leaving the stallion to sit in the throne room in silence.

"Good job Blueblood." He sighed, talking to nopony in particular. "Crossed yet another line, didn't we?" Walking away, Blueblood charged his horn and teleported to the Gardens, where he knew Twilight would be. It's where she always went when contemplating that incident more than a decade ago...

"A decade..." Twilight looked at the roses as she walked, a set of yellow and pink ones lining the stone pathway running through the Royal Canterlot Gardens. "A decade of not seeing you, and you come back..." Tears began to well up in her eyes as she walked to the statue in the center of the gardens. "And you come back a Witcher through and through!" She bawled at its base, the kind smile of the Pegasus it depicted shining down at her.

Blueblood teleported to the statue, but after seeing the Princess in the state she was in, quietly stood watch and listened. Not out of spite this time, but sympathy. It began to rain, but it didn't matter- he knew she needed to let this out.

"I-I know it was my fault that this happened. T-thats why I announced what I had done when I was first coronated." She looked back up at the memoir of her friend, tears streaming down her face, the statue mimicking her with the first droplets of rain. "I-I thought if I confessed my sin to everypony, it would somehow bring you back." She sighed. "I was a foolish young mare, I didn't think about any of it! I just wanted my friend back. I would do anything..."

Blueblood thought now would be a good time to intervene. Clearing his throat, he spoke. "My liege," he approached slowly, waiting for Twilight to wipe away her tears and become presentable. "It is raining. We need to get you inside."

"... Thank you, Blueblood." She turned and followed him back inside, leading her to a place she had seldom chance to visit:

The Royal Archives of Canterlot, or better known to the ponies living within the palace as-

"The Library?" Twilight spoke. "But why are we heading here? Court is over, Blueblood. I belong in my chambers until the next session."

"I had your assistant cancel them." He exclaimed.

"Blueblood, you can't do that! That's-"

"Well within my right to do so as Captain of the Guard." He interrupted. "Any guard noticing his or her charge experiencing extreme emotional or physical strain will be allowed Absolute Law to cease any and all various Political duties until such a time as their charge is deemed, in their eyes-"

"Healthy enough to rule again." She smiled, finishing. "Thank you, Blueblood. I know it was hard for you to hear what I did all those years ago. I do not deserve you as a friend."

"Me?! A friend?" He feigned insult. "I dread to think of my wife's friend seeing me as one!" He chuckled. "I am... Sorry about my remarks earlier. Your decisions still have weight to them, even today."

Twilight smiled softly. "Thank you, all the same." Levitating over a stack of books, she began reading one of the many volumes she never had a chance to in this Ivory Prison she had created...

Here She Lies...

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Canterlot was a different city than Fluttershy ever had remembered. The streets were larger, the crowds larger, but that didn't surprise her given the time she spent away from such things. What did change, however, was the atmosphere. It didn't suffocate you with an air of superiority like it used to.

In fact, the nobles that walked the streets were much more tame, compared to what they used to be like. Whether this was a cause of the city growing or the nobility shrinking, she didn't know. What she did know was it was a different time she now lived in, and that... Unnerved her.

"How do you do it, Geralt?" She asked, trotting alongside the Witcher.

"Hmm?" He grunted, weaving past another crowd of ponies giving him and his fellow Witcher strange looks.

"Handling all the changes, I mean. You're hundreds of years old." The mare glanced into a nearby shop window, gazing at the old stallion wiping the counter inside. She looked back at Geralt. "How do you go through knowing it's a different city than what you remember seeing decades earlier?"

He sighed, knowing his answer is no small comfort. "It blends together after a while, I suppose." He looked around, as if the changes were fresh in his eyes. "Best way I handle it is to look for the things still there. A smell from a bakery still around, a barber still open for business, or even a bookstore that remained the small one on the corner you grew up seeing." His eyes gained a wistful expression for a moment, recalling a vague memory of a city he visited long ago. It was... Important, he was sure of it. Shaking himself of such thoughts, Geralt had led Fluttershy further in.

The rest of the trip remained silent, that is, until Fluttershy witnessed the Memorial shrine in the Town Square. It was a small plaza just before the bridge to the castle, and held several smaller statues depicting heroes of the age. Starswirl and the Pillars stood watch over the public library to the left, while the Cutie Mark Crusaders had their own statues built in front of their corporate headquarters to the right. What shocked her the most was the statue in the center- it was of her, before the Trial:

It showed her in a majestic pose overlooking the city, smiling serenely and arcing her wings behind her. It made her look like a Guardian Angel, protecting the city from evil. Trotting forward, she read the plaque at the base of the statue. "Dedicated to Fluttershy, the first and last victim of the Trial of the Grasses. May she forever watch over the city and protect it from harm The False Ruler."

The last part had seemed to have been scratched out and new words written in. Regardless, the statue had her raving mad. "I-is that what I was to her?! Some pony dead and buried?!"

"Settle down! Many creatures will take offense to you making a scene in front of a place of remembrance!" A griffon, in his prime by the looks of it, piped up from a nearby bench.

"...I'm sorry." She wasn't, but it was best to keep appearances up for politeness. For all she cared, she should tear down this statue and tell the world she was still alive.

Slowly, the griffon walked up and sat next to Fluttershy, gazing up at the statue's smile. "They figured she died, once Princess Twilight confessed her sin at her coronation almost a decade ago." He wiped some of the debris and dirt off the plaque, gazing wistfully at it as if it were an old friend. "To be right honest with ya, I believe it was because the world didn't wanna admit something new crossed over with that Witcher friend of the Old Rulers." He chuckled a bit at his mention of Celestia and Luna. "Old Rulers" had made it sound like they drifted off into legend!

The griffon looked at Fluttershy once more, resting a claw on one of her shoulders. "Frankly, I'd rather say it's because they de." He smiled. "It's been a long time."

The mare brushed his claw away. "I'm sorry, but I don't remember you."

The griffon cackled. "And why should you? It's been a decade after all!" He sighed. "Ah, but that's what I get for always being late to one of your kindness lessons, Mrs. Fluttershy."

A look of realization painted Fluttershy's expression. "...Gallus?" She eyed the griffon again. She could see it now, the blue feathers, the look of confidence he always wore; it was all there. "You've... Grown!" She exclaimed.

"And you did too, it seems!" He guffawed. "So the rumors are true, if you're standing here."

"Rumors?" She asked. "What rumors?"

"About you coming down from the mountain!" Gallus exclaimed. "Most ponies don't remember what you looked like or if you were still even alive, but I knew at first glance." He smiled. "It was the eyes, they still had that kindness to them..."

Quickly, she backed away. "N-no! I'm not who I used to be. That kindness, that mare, she's up there-" She pointed to the statue of her old self before running off to meet Geralt at the gate.

"...But Fluttershy-" Gallus reached to the Pegasus flying away, then looked up to the memorial to that same pony. Glaring coldly at the marble statue, he scratched deep into the plaque, permanently making it unreadable. "She buried you underneath a lie. Kindness is dead." He sighed. "It died long ago..."

"Do I need to lecture you about that incident back there?" The Witcher crossed his arms, leering at his pupil.

"No! It was a... Friend." The mare huffed. "He wanted to tell me how much I changed." She lied. "Just like everypony else."

"Hmm..." For a few more minutes, Geralt simply stared at her until he eventually dropped it. They both continued on their way to the palace at the top, both on edge for different reasons.

"What did the letter say?" Fluttershy asked, breaking the silence. "I'm curious to hear what She needs."

"I understand your frustration towards Twilight, probably the only one that does." He spoke. "But I need you to retain some respect and dignity. I didn't pour all that training into you just to have you act like a child."

"Child?!" She exclaimed. "Look at me! There's not a single trace of the old me left!"

"Yes, Child!" Geralt raised his voice. "Whether you like it or not, she's royalty now. You need to respect that!"

"Respect is earned." She glared at him. "You taught me that, remember?" Fluttershy remembered the brutal combat she had to do to win Geralt's trust at Kaer Blathan. Many broken bones paved that path, and now she knew he respected her as a fellow Witcher through and through.

He sighed. "I know she hasn't done anything to regain what you two once had, but she is the ruling authority in the land so from one peer to another," The Witcher stared into Fluttershy's fellow Wolven eyes. "Be on good behavior. Now come on, there's a crowd and I would rather not become a spectacle to Nobility anymore than I already am..."

It had been close to a decade since Fluttershy first entered the golden gates leading to Canterlot Castle, and it never ceased to amaze her the sheer size of it, even compared to the fortress she had been training in all this time. It was awe inducing, but at the same time, it also brought back painful memories from when she was on Death's door.

"Halt." A guard telekinetically barred his spear in front of those same gates, his companion on the other side doing the same. "State your business."

Geralt fetched the letter he received prior, the Royal Seal stamped into the wax plain as day. "A summons from Her Majesty regarding a private matter." Hovering it over, both guards inspected it before nodding their approval and allowing passage into the castle. "Thank you."

From the gate, the throne room was mostly a straight shot, save for a small detour through the Hall of Stories, where all of Equestria's heroic deeds were recorded on glass murals. Walking through, Fluttershy glanced at the murals every so often, until a certain one caught her eye. It depicted a Pegasus mare with a bleached yellow coat and brown mane slay a shadowy figure before her. Below it were two signs, one explaining the mural was fresh and the paint was still drying, while the other was a small epitaph:

Here She Lies, the Flower of the Forest slaying her first foe. May this Witcher never be forgotten for her act of bravery, and continue to protect this world from the monsters that continue to plague it...

Looking back up, she glanced to the mare in the glass once more, recognizing now who it was dedicated to. "B-but I didn't slay the Nightmare..." She turned to Geralt. "You did. Why would she honor me?"

"Hmm..." The Witcher thought for a moment, looking at the mural alongside her. "Could be this is her way of saying Sorry to you. I could not say..."

Scoffing, the mare suddenly turned and trotted away. "No silly painting is gonna make my past go away. I'm still here, and she's about to find out real soon..."

They carried on in silence the rest of the way, until the two were told to redirect themselves to the Archives by the guards outside the throne room. It seemed court was cancelled until further notice. Opening the doors, both were greeted to a rather familiar and nostalgic sight: a purple Alicorn was currently buried deep into a book, with several stacks piled high around the desk she sat. "Your highness." Geralt grunted.

"Let's see, if I cross reference Teferi's Multiverse Theorems with Starwirl's notes on Interdimensional Travel..." Twilight mumbled, the rest too quiet to understand.

"Twilight?" He tried one more time. "I answered your summons for-"

"Yes, yes, that's great. Go on another patrol, I'm sure you'll be fine!" She tittered, waving a hoof out from the side of the book she was buried in.

The Witcher was about to speak again, but was suddenly halted by Fluttershy's hoof. "Let me try, Geralt."

Looking at the Pegasus, he nodded. "Remember, best behavior." He warned.

Nodding, she cleared her throat. "Hello, Twilight." Suddenly, the purple mare's mumbling ceased and the room grew quiet enough to hear a pin dropping.

Slowly, the princess lowered the book and closed it shut. Turning her head, she gasped once their eyes connected. "You're here..." Was all she said.

She continued staring for a long time, before Fluttershy interrupted the silence. "Yeah, I'm here! And despite all that I wanna say to you," she sighed. "I can't. Maybe when this isn't official, I'll ask you why you made a Memorial of me in Town Square as well as other questions-" Twilight flinched at those words, her ears splaying back. "But I am here as an escort to Geralt." She nodded to the Witcher, signalling him to continue.

"I received your letter. There is an urgent matter you wish to discuss with me?" He asked. She nodded, not elaborating further. "Would you... Care to elaborate? Your note only mentioned the Law of Surprise, and a spell of Binding, whatever that is."

"Yes." Twilight sighed. "Before I became Princess, Luna had told me of the Law of Surprise and the contract she issued you for..." She fell silent for a moment, glancing at Fluttershy before shaking her head and continuing. "As Princess of Equestria, you can claim Surprise with me as acting princess in Luna's stead, correct?" She asked.

"The law of Surprise was payment named to the Throne and not the Princess itself, so yes. I can."

She breathed a sigh of relief. "Good." Looking to Fluttershy once more, she gave a tired smile. "I spent this entire time ruling figuring out how to repent for my sin, Fluttershy." A single tear bled down her cheek. "I told the truth of your recovery to the nation and risked my reputation as both Princess of Friendship and an Element of Harmony, but that wasn't enough." The mare trotted closer, Fluttershy doing the exact opposite, causing her to flinch once more.

"I tried to immortalize you in the eyes of everypony, but only made a permanent reminder of my shame." Her eyes welled up, more tears threatening to come forth any moment. "It wasn't until I researched more on the Law of Surprise, both from accounts from other countries and from Geralt's reports he had given of his own plane, cross referencing them." Wiping her muzzle, she turned to face Geralt and held an official air about her at that moment.

"Geralt of Rivia, as the representative of Equestria's Throne, I hereby issue the Contract Completed, Surprise being myself. Do you accept this fulfilled agreement?"

Even he was shocked. Never had Surprise been claimed as the client itself! Thinking deeply, he saw no flaw in that. "Yes. As the object of Surprise, you are now my property." Turning, he looked at Fluttershy, and suddenly hatched a brilliant plan. "And as your official owner, I transfer my ownership-" he smiled, Twilight connecting the dots immediately. "To the Witcher, Fluttershy."

Intermission: Chaos Intervenes

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I... I made a huge mistake. There's been too many red flags and that's saying something, even for me! Oh dearest Fluttershy, I hope you get this message and soon...

Otherwise, you might not ever see me again...

There are things in nature that states the balance among things. These rules are there to help protect the things living there from fates worse than death itself. They are called Universal Laws, and breaking them is taboo amongst even the most power hungry individuals; it was why the distinction between good and evil were black and white, versus a very moral grey...

Discord frequently breaks all of them, and most of them at the same time, to boot. A snap of the fingers here, a basket of severed limbs there, there was not a single one he didn't dare break. However, knowing what these Laws were, he knew when to respect it being implemented to someone else, however cruel and unusual it may seem. One such case happened a little more than a decade ago, when his friend became mortally wounded by... Something. He didn't know what, but he could feel Fluttershy slip away with every second. The draconequus was about to snap away from his pocket dimension and save her, when suddenly he stopped.

Nature knew how to be kind, as the small Pegasus had taught him, but it also taught him through experience how cruel it can be. He felt Destiny grab her string and intertwine it with the fate of the anomaly near her. It felt... Unnatural, as if it forced the strings to attach themselves rather than tie them like it should. Something happened, that much was certain, but he didn't know what yet...

Until the new Princess of Equestria had told him personally of the Trial of the Grasses, and how it led up to that point.


All at once, Discord broke the one rule he shouldn't have, and severed the connection between the two. The world shook, or at least to him. It still does, even after 11 years. He broke taboo multiple times because it was his job to stir the pot, that's what Chaos is meant to do after all.

However, what it wasn't meant to do was be direct and precise. There was to be no planning involved when he used his powers, so when Discord severed the connection, it was just retied within an instant, though this time he couldn't snap them away even if he wanted to. If he did, then he felt it would be far more than an everlasting uneasy feeling that awaited him...

A few years after Fluttershy's training began, he had been asked by Celestia to look into an ages old Artifact that not even the original tribes of Equestria were sure existed. It was a small orb no bigger than his paw, and was made of the purest topaz known to Equestria. The Everlasting Sun was it's nickname, though nopony knew why. Discord heralded a guess though...

Throughout the years he had found many magical trinkets and baubles in the various ruins scattered throughout Equestria, but none matched the description of The Everlasting Sun. That is, until he ran into Ahuizotl on a particular expedition. Pith helmet and whip in tow, Discord broke into the temple he was protecting this weekend (he guarded a different one every other week), he busted through the various traps, alligator pools, and yes, a giant boulder oddly enough. "Alright, I'm here! Now hand over that gem, Owie Zowie!" The draconequus pointed his claw at the pedestal in the center of the obviously trapped room.

"What, this rock?" Ahuizotl cackled madly. "You can Have it for all I care! It lost it's power a long time ago anyways." Snatching it with his tail, the beast tossed it to Discord. "I was just using it as a placeholder for another particular artifact anyways." Shuffling through his satchel, he pulled out a leather bound book and placed it back on the pedestal before the room had begun to crumble. "I have to keep my secret recipe for Quiche somewhere you know!" He laughed maniacally.

Shaking his head, Discord teleported out of there with a simple snap of his fingers and arrived at the miniature castle that Celestia had built at the beginning of her retirement. Poking his head through the smoky quartz doors, Discord echoed out a "hello!" Before walking through.

"Celestia?" He called out, walking through the halls within the small palace. "Talk about Vanity..." He muttered, glancing at the expensive decor littering the building. Several banners of the finest silks were attached to the walls, pure white tables and chairs lined with gold, and the most expensive vases he had ever seen were lined along the walls of the palace. Eventually, the draconequus came across what looked like Celestia's bedroom.

Knocking softly, he heard a voice muffle "come in!" Doing such, he entered the room. It was an exact replica of her old one at Canterlot to the T.

"Come sit with me, Discord." She smiled, lying in front of the fire. After he sat, she poured him some tea and asked the same question she always did when he visited. "Did you find it?"

For a moment he remained silent, glancing at the flames flickering in the fireplace. "...Yes." he sighed.

Her eyes lit up when he said that word. "Thank you for doing this, Discord."

Snapping his paw, the gem appeared in his claws. "it's a dud, though. Not a single ounce of power left." He tossed it towards Celestia, grasping it with her magic. "I checked. It's just some rock."

"Oh, you let me worry about that." She chuckled, gazing deep into the stone. "I have a... Friend willing to help me in those regards."

"Just remember our deal, Celestia." Discord gave her a Stern look. "Free Fluttershy from whatever that ritual did to her."

"...We shall see." She smirked evilly, her eyes flickering a brilliant orange for but a moment. " We shall see..."

Present day...

The stone was powered up, and Discord knew exactly how. It wasn't a "friend" that helped with powering it, but something much worse.

Clutching his abdomen, he glanced down only to see a pile of blood at his feet. There was a hoof sized hole where his intestines should have been, and that was all thanks to the Everlasting Sun, and who possessed it. It happened so quickly, too!

Celestia had called him to her castle for "their deal to be finally done.", But what he didn't expect was the Alicorn currently cackling madly in his rapidly fading vision. She had the coat and wings of Celestia, but that's where the similarities end:

The feathers of her wings were as sharp as knives, her mane and tail ablaze in a crimson and orange flame, and her eyes- her eyes were slitted and just as fiery as the new hair the mare had adopted. Coughing up another pile of blood, Discord tried to snap away the pain. He was too weak, and couldn't. "W-what a-are you?" He spoke between labored breaths.

"Me?" The demonic Alicorn cackled. "Why, I'm just the one thing that can finally bring order to this world!" She smirked. Leaning down, she yanked up the draconequus' face to look at her in the eye. "I have you to thank for that." Suddenly she bucked his face away, sending Discord sprawling down the hallway.

He could barely move at this point. All his ribs shattered upon impact, leaving him beaten and broken on the front steps to Celestia's castle and painting the entryway in his blood. Slowly, he leaned against the door, snapping in a vague attempt to contact anyone with the miniscule power he had left. A small paper butterfly appeared and unfolded near his paw. Destiny decided to give him a chance...

Quickly, before the twisted form of Celestia saw what he had, Discord sprawled a note to it's recipient in his blood, hoping she would receive it before Celestia escaped.

Suddenly, the mare burst through the doors his body had broken through in a column of fury and flame and descended the steps as if she were an angel of Death. "Celestia, please-" he muttered, while throwing up a last ditch spell to contain her. He hoped it would work.

"Celestia?!" She cackled with Glee. "Oh, I'm afraid you're wrong about that. You may call me by my true name, Nightmare Star." She smiled sadistically. "But the world?" She plunged another fiery hole through the draconequus, silencing him for good. Unknown to her, a wispy trail left from behind and flew through the nearest window. "The world will call me Queen Daybreaker..." Daybreaker tried to open the doors to her palace, but was blocked by a barrier.

"What?! NO!" She glared at the dead draconequus. "YOU IMPRISONED ME?!" Her fiery mane burned away any traces of blood, and began to cremate Discord in a fit of rage, before calming down. "No matter," she chuckled. "I've waited centuries. What's a few days more? Get ready world-" the mare obliterated what was left of Discord, leaving only a single tooth from his head. "A Heralding of Myths is upon us..."

A Tale of Forgiveness

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Fluttershy awoke with in the dead of night, sweat covering her from head to hoof. The room itself felt unnaturally hot and her body even moreso. It reminded her of when she was still ill. It was decades ago now, but she still remembered how it felt to be at Death's door. What worried her even more was the dream itself.

Normally, the mare had no dreams. Another one of the many side effects of the Trial of the Grasses- her body was so attuned to the magic around her, most nights became a battle for slumber in the more populated towns, such as the city of Canterlot where she had currently rented a small room at an inn opposite Geralt's.

She remembered very little, save for the bright silhouette of somepony looking down upon her before delivering the final blow. "I-it was a dream, that's all..." Fluttershy tried to convince herself. Deep down however, she felt it was more. She felt as if she were witnessing death in the eyes of someone she cared about. Drying the tears from her eyes, the Pegasus looked out the window to the now quiet city. It was peaceful in a way, the lights like fireflies over a campfire.

Suddenly, a figure teleported behind her. Reeling back, she got into attack stance and sweep kicked the mysterious attacker's legs from underneath, toppling the pony to the ground. Flying to her bags, she equipped one of her claws and had it trained on the assailant's throat. "Speak, and your head becomes a trophy-" Her eyes widening, Fluttershy recognized the purple eyes shaking in her grasp. Groaning, she sheathed her claws and threw them back in her travel bag. "This had better be worth it for what time it is..." She spat over her shoulder.

Still shaking, Twilight got up on her hooves once more. "Y-yes, um, I-I'm sorry for arriving unexpectedly like this." She painted on the same smile she used for politicians. The mare thought it best to approach this topic delicately. "But we need to do the pairing spell. Otherwise the Law of Surprise will be void."

The Pegasus huffed. "Like I wanted you." She glared. "Do you know how it feels now, to be unwanted?"

"I...Yes." she sighed. "Not many ponies accepted-"

"No, you don't!" Fluttershy slammed her hooves so hard the wood beneath cracked slightly. Rushing forward, she grabbed Twilight by the neck and brought her within inches of her own muzzle. "Take a look, a good, long look. You see these eyes, this coat, my Mane?!" She pointed to each part of her body as she named them. "I became a Witcher, not some mare that came back from the spa! Decades on that Celestia-foresaken mountain, and not a single friend visited! DECADES!" Tears were streaming down her eyes. "...Not even you. The one pony with the power to."

"I-I didn't have it any easier either!" Twilight spoke up.

"Tch!" She tossed the Alicorn back down.

Recovering, the mare regained her composure and approached Fluttershy more sternly this time. "Do you think I wanted you gone?!" Tears began welling up. "It took me several long years to stop myself from trying to visit." Twilight dropped her beauty spell, revealing her true self. Fluttershy flinched a little when she had seen the real face of her friend, but nevertheless held her look of anger. "Several times I convinced myself it was political stress, but the fact of the matter is it was because I couldn't deal with my friend going through that ruthless training to become a m-" she caught herself. "A Witcher."

"The first to go was the mane." She pointed to her greying locks. "That started after my third attempt at teleporting out of Canterlot."

"Next thing that showed up were the wrinkles." She pointed next to the bags under her eyes and the crow's feet that accompanied them. "Day after day after insufferable day, I lost countless hours of sleep trying to run a country and convince myself you were okay up there!"

"I fought back every step of the way. I grew into a fine ruler, but not by choice." She sighed. "I just wanted to see you, damn the consequences." She cast the beauty spell once more.

"..." Fluttershy remained silent. "Things were never easy. For any of us." She turned to the city outside her window once more. "But we always had each other." She chuckled dryly, continuing. "To think I could rely on Friendship to fix my problems at Kaer Blathan..."

"...You still can." Twilight held out her hoof. Fluttershy wanted to say something, but instead sighed and gently pushed the hoof away.

"Friendship can withstand the test of time, but the scars run deep, Twilight... It'll take a long time before I learn to forgive you."

She sighed. "Alright. Then as your friend, I'll try to earn back that forgiveness..." They both stared to the majestic city below, watching the fireflies flicker in the night...

Twilight awoke first, the bed she was in hard and itchy. "This isn't my usual Canterlot bed..." She mumbled, wiping the tiredness from her eyes. Slowly she remembered what happened last night, until she jumped out of the bed in surprise.

"Good morning." Fluttershy greeted, sipping on a small cup of tea. "I'd offer you some, but it's a special brew Geralt had made for me back at Kaer Blathan." She leaned in and whispered. "I think it has Kikimora saliva in it."

"Oh, um... Okay?" Twilight quizzically stared.

"It'll paralyze most creatures, but to Witchers, it's more like a tingly feeling." She took another sip. "It pairs well with a nice Raspberry tea."

"When did i-" Twilight was interrupted by the Pegasus.

"Sometime last night. You talk in your sleep now." She stated plainly.

Twilight winced. "Did I... Say anything bad?"

"No, just a few words." Fluttershy beamed. "Mostly sorry, kumquats, and the square root of pi."

"I recited the square root of pi... In my sleep." The Alicorn blankly stared.

"That isn't anything new, you were always good at math." She calmly teased. Suddenly, her expression changed to a serious one. "About the binding spell..." Setting the tea cup down, she continued. "How exactly will it work? Forgive me, but I don't want you to be even more reckless with Witcher magic than you already have."

Twilight cringed at hearing those words. "Yes, the binding spell..." Stretching one last time, she sat at the small table the Pegasus was at, magically summoning a spell index to explain. "I'm the item of Surprise, that much is true... But I was originally going to have myself bound magically to Geralt, to serve penance."

"You were going to anchor yourself to a Witcher, just like that?! That's reckless, even for you."

"No, no!" Twilight exclaimed. "J-just hear me out." She highlighted part of the matrix in the diagram. "Witcher mutations will deny most forms of outside magic, correct?" Once Fluttershy nodded in confirmation, she continued. "Well, with this spell, I wouldn't be bound, persay. It's more of a contract by blood, or wings in this case." She sighed. "I'm willingly giving up my Alicorn magic. I'll be a Unicorn again..."

"B-but Twilight, you worked so hard to-" the Alicorn interrupted.

"To earn my wings? I did, but all it brought me in the end was pain. Besides, it doesn't disappear." She pointed to another diagram on the index. "It'll be stored in a medallion much like the one Geralt wears, and if I'm correct, will also act like it as well. Since he can't make anymore copies due to the nature of the magic it was first imbued with, I was going to offer it to you..." She chuckled dryly. "Not like it changes much."

Fluttershy was speechless.

"A-And the binding? How does that work?" She eventually asked.

"Well, it acts much like anything else, really. I'll be bound to you, magically. My power is yours, your power is mine. In this case," she sighed once more. "I'll feel what it was like becoming a Witcher, minus the effects. It'll be like-"

"Torture." Fluttershy gasped. "Twilight, the Trial of the Grasses was a painful experience that I don't wish on anyone!" Her mood changed back to the sour one from yesterday. "And you think that'll make it alright?! It doesn't change anything, Twilight! You just end up like a monster..."

"I know." She sighed, but then grew a look of determination. "But I'll do it. I need to do this, not for anyone else other than me. I won't forgive myself if I don't understand what I put you through."

Fluttershy was about to say something, to stop her friend from going through a harrowing experience, but she knew that look all too well from their previous adventures. Twilight wasn't taking No for an answer. "Then we leave for Kaer Blathan once Geralt is ready." She walked to the door then stopped, looking back over her shoulder. "Twilight?"

"Yes, Fluttershy?"

The Pegasus gave her a final look, her Wolven eyes cold as stone. "This is a one way road; you better pray to Celestia that you're responsible enough to pay the price."

For the first time in a long time, Twilight Sparkle had felt something she hadn't in 11 long years:

She felt the overwhelming fear of responsibility for another life.

Destiny Has a Price...

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Before they left for the mountain, Twilight Sparkle, Geralt, and Fluttershy had one more task before them- the meeting they had been summoned for in the first place. It was an emergency summit of all Nations of Equestria about the threat of new monsters plaguing the world, and their unknown origins. To say the council room was a madhouse was an understatement; Every creature was either shouting, gesturing, or overall being overtly obnoxious to the other, something Twilight was used to after almost a decade of ruling the nation. Banging her gavel, she called for order. "Please, calm yourselves! We all have the same problem!" She pleaded.

"Yeah, and what's that?" Dragonlord Ember defiantly asked. "Another problem you caused?" She scoffed. "We dragons remember more than most what you did 11 years ago. Fluttershy was always kind, and to be tortured like that-"

"ENOUGH!" Twilight spoke in the Royal Canterlot Voice. The room fell silent. Moving quickly, she continued explaining the situation. "I didn't call this meeting to be reminded of my past endeavors, but to discuss a solution to the growing problem for everyone, not just Ponies." Clearing her throat, she activated her horn and unlocked the meeting room doors. "With that said, I have called upon the best experts in the land when hunting monsters-" gesturing to a nearby guard, he nodded and opened the doors, revealing Geralt and Fluttershy.

Immediately, the room fell into chaos once more. "You call this a solution?!" Queen Novo of the Hippogriff/Hippocampus Alliance exclaimed. "Two creatures, one you already tortured and sent far away from civilization, are our answer to this problem?!" The room had scattered agreements.

Twilight banged her gavel again. "Order, please!"

"Let them speak." The ambassador of Griffonstone, Lord Gallus, spoke. "Good to see you again, Fluttershy." He smiled, and to his surprise, she smiled back. The rest of the room gasped, not even recognizing her.

"Thank you, and I am sorry for what I said to you days ago." She smiled. Clearing her throat, Fluttershy had the room. "Creatures of Equestria, I know you have no faith in Twilight Sparkle due to my... Past afflictions." She looked down for a moment, before continuing. "But please trust in her judgement of our skill when handling monsters." She gestured to Geralt to continue.

"What you're facing are honest to God monsters. They will gut you, tear you limb from limb, and murder you without remorse." He paused, bringing out a small diagram of a Werewolf for demonstration. Geralt was about to explain, but was interrupted once more.

"Why do Yaks have to listen to Witchey Man?! Yaks strong, we no need advice!" The Yak Ambassador exclaimed, smashing his hoof through his part of the table for emphasis. "We smash puny monsters! Yaks strong!"

An uproar started up again, but was once again silenced by the mallet. Once the room quieted down, Geralt continued. "Okay then, answer me this- can you smash your own unborn child, or break the bones of a loved one that came back from the dead?" The room fell silent, including the Yaks that were once confident in their ability to smash things. "Didn't think so. This isn't some problem your strength of magic can solve alone. It needs Witchers." Unrolling another parchment, Geralt flattened it on the table. It detailed a list of ingredients and a method all too familiar to two particular individuals within the room. "The event that's happening right now- it's happened where I came from too. It's called a Conjunction of the Spheres, and it's allowing creatures from other planes of existence to cross over."

"So... Your solution is to have us torture our own kind?" King Thorax questioned. "I've only had one such creature ask me to do that before, and she's currently embedded in stone."

"If you want to survive, then yes." Geralt stated, causing a wave of hushed discussions among the nations. "My kind did the same thing when it first started, and though the later part of my time in Temeria is fuzzy, last I remember, there were a lot less monsters roaming the streets."

The leaders of the nations began to look at the instructions for their own Trials of the Grasses.

One more group spoke up, Princess Flurry Heart and her mother Princess Cadence representing the Crystal Empire. "This solution, it doesn't have a set list of ingredients... What do we use?" She asked, contemplating the solution before her, her mother silently trembling in the back.

"You use whatever you can. Witchers are creatures born of mutagens that counteract the effects of monsters. Where I come from, there were several variances of the formulas used to make us, and each had their own school to learn how to harness the powers imbued inside us." He sighed. "I don't mean for this to be an immediate solution. I propose to allow for a discussion among your peers and decide."

"...How long do we have to discuss?" Dragonlord Ember spoke up once more.

"Given it is a serious matter to think over, I suggest having your citizens vote for half a year, let them decide. Another half year to finish the construction of fortresses for Witchers to train at, if they elect to go through with it." The audience murmured to their colleagues and began to discuss the matter amongst their peers.

"Geralt, what you're asking is..." Twilight whispered to the Witcher while the crowd was distracted. "You know what happened. Do you really think they'll want to do what I took responsibility for all those years ago?"

"Hmm..." He looked over to the Pegasus beside him, who up until this moment had remained stoic. "What is your opinion, Fluttershy?"

The mare held a blank stare. "Fluttershy?" He asked again, shaking her slightly. That seemed to do the trick and she regained focused immediately.

", well, i-it's not something I'm sure I'd wish on anypony-" She glanced to Twilight, a look of understanding slowly creeping along the Alicorn's muzzle. "But there needs to be some sort of system to help cull the growing monster populations." She sighed. "There needs to be a solution, and Geralt knows more than most. He's lived through this exact scenario hundreds of years ago." She glanced to Twilight once more. "Plus, I think it would be a good idea for other creatures to know what I endured, no matter how cruel that sounds..."

Twilight remained silent for a moment, staring at her friend before sighing and banging the gavel one last time to regain the room's attention. "After your deliberations, what do the other sovereign nations think of the plan of action placed before us?"

The respective leaders of each nation spoke in turn:

The Yaks of Yakyakistan voted no and elected to rely on their natural strength, but would still respect the wishes of the other countries and would allow for any Witcher to cross their borders in pursuit of monsters.

Gallus of Griffonstone spoke up next, citing the extra need for Witchers in their respective provinces and agreed to hold a vote for Griffons when he arrived back in the country.

Dragonlord Ember had elected to deny the proposal and furthermore barred travel into the Dragon Lands from any and all Witchers without any explicit request from either herself or one of the many leaders of the various provinces littered throughout her kingdom.

King Thorax had gone in favor of the proposal, citing the various incidents they already had back at the Changeling Hive in regards to an invading species attacking and eating their young and freshly hatched.

Though Princess Cadence was against it at first, she Reluctantly agreed to the proposal after her daughter had listed the small list of unexplained incidents that lead to several hundred deaths in the Crystal Empire.

Concluding the session, Twilight spoke her verdict for the ponies of Equestria. "As the representative of all three pony tribes of Equestria, I will weigh my verdict and vote for the proposal to take effect." Her verdict caused a small burst of outrage, but she continued regardless. "Furthermore, I have an announcement to make:"

Twilight smiled down at Fluttershy before continuing. "This will be my last official act as Princess." She spoke, drawing gasps not only from the visiting officials, but her very own cabinet. "I will accept it as payment for subjecting my people to such a choice, as well as penance for the act I committed all those years ago. All powers of Princess will instead be transferred to the cabinet forthwith, each member taking on the respective responsibilities my title held." Ending on a high note, she smiled once more. "Furthermore, I will be stripping myself bare of the powers of an Alicorn and becoming a regular Unicorn. This concludes the meeting." She banged the gavel and exited the doors, the two Witchers following close behind.

Twilight met with her assistants and maids and wished all of them a fond farewell before she departed with Geralt and Fluttershy to Ponyville, then Kaer Blathan. For all her time spent in that Ivory prison, her caretakers were always kind no matter what ponies on the outside said. Waving one final goodbye to her assistant, Twilight Sparkle formally dismissed her at the train station, making a big show of it. To the unicorn mare, she wouldn't have it any other way.

The journey to Ponyville offered little in the way of conversation, especially when it came to the quietness the two Witchers exuded. "Fluttershy-" Twilight spoke up after they passed a tunnel in the mountain. Perking up, the Pegasus turned from the window and faced her. "I-" she paused, before sighing. "How are our friends? I haven't seen them since my... Coronation."

"Rarity married Blueblood. Did you know that?" Fluttershy spoke surprisingly without an air of annoyance like she had been whenever they interacted. Progress, she hoped.

"Yes, I was unable to attend the wedding. Royal duties." She sighed. "It wasn't long after that I was told about her fading eyesight. I feel awful that I wasn't there to comfort her."

"It happens." Fluttershy simply stated. "Unicorns go blind when overexerting themselves, and she certainly did with the amount of dress orders coming in."

Twilight was surprised at the level of coldness in her friend's tone. "You don't feel bad for her?" She cautiously questioned.

"Of course I do!" She snapped. "Why would you think- oh..." The mare sighed. "Geralt explained it would be... Difficult in expressing emotion at times. He is more severe and analytical than I am if you can believe it." She said. "Something to do with the latent magic already within me. The mutations couldn't fine tune the parts of my brain that express emotion. It makes me sort of Bipolar." She chuckled awkwardly.

"Mm." Twilight nodded in understanding. "And you, Geralt?" She turned to the Witcher still glancing out the window occasionally, whilst inspecting his sword for blemishes. "Was the castle to your liking, I hope?"

"I named it Kaer Blathan. Good fortress, but still needs work." He spoke while sharpening his blade. "Upper battlements need repairs and I'd like to stock up on additional arms and armor, especially since your ponies will more than likely boring in favor of the proposal I offered."

"Do you really think it'll be necessary to go that far?" She asked. "To make more Witchers? Right now, it isn't too bad..." She reasoned.

"The same thing was said by the rulers from my dimension too." He glared at her for a moment, before continuing. "They put it off, then one day found that entire villages were starting to disappear. That was when it became less of a problem and more of a crisis." He sharpened his blade once more, sparks flying off and reminding him of the fires outside a particular village long ago. "Conjunction of the Spheres was 300 years old by that time, but the problem only multiplied. This plane is lucky and already caked in magic. Might not need a whole lot of Witchers."

"Then why bother suggesting it in the first place?!" Twilight exclaimed.

Sighing, Geralt put away his silver sword and leaned forward. "Take a rock and throw it across a lake, what does it do?"

"Skip off the surface?" She curiously answered.

The Witcher shook his head. "It only bounces off a few times. Take that same rock and throw it hard into the water, now what do you get?"

Suddenly, Twilight understood. "Create a big enough splash to cause a few ripples." She gasped. "So you're saying magic only prolongs the inevitable?" He smiled, pointing at her reply.

"A Katakan could resist the most potent of magics while still draining you of every drop of blood you have." He gave as an example. "The best way to handle a virus is making antibodies to combat them."

The rest of the trip was met with silent contemplation from the three.

At the Ponyville station, there was a small crowd forming, most of them old residents that came back to properly welcome Fluttershy back, as well as another reason...

Geralt and Fluttershy were showered with roses from the flower trio and given small gift baskets as thanks for keeping her safe for over a decade. Twilight however, was treated with the boos and leers she came to know as routine since her coronation. Even her friends had gathered, but declined to say anything. As she reached the bottom step, the mare was pelted with several bits of food.

"How dare you show your face here!" One pony shouted.

"Go back to your Ivory tower! We've had enough trouble from you!" Another pony tossed a tomato, Twilight looking down and taking it to her mane. As she walked, the mare said nothing. She only continued to take the punishment she thought was well deserved. After several more boos and shouting, the crowd dispersed, leaving only her friends. Even Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash were there. They stared on in silence, a few glaring at her.

"Anything you'd like to say too?" She looked up from the ground at the 4 ponies.

After a brief moment of silence, Applejack stepped forward. "Whatever it is you're about to say," Twilight sighed. "I deserve it-" she received a Stern slap in the muzzle from the farm pony.

"That's for lying to us!" She slapped her again. "And that's for Fluttershy!" Turning, Applejack stormed off back to the farm. Holding her cheek, the Alicorn watched her friend go and reached out for her, but quickly changed her mind. Applejack still accepted her friendship deep down, she knew it.

Applejack probably held her tongue to hold onto that, she thought. Sighing once more, she looked to the remainder of her friends. "Anyone else?"

This time, Pinkie stepped forth and walked to Fluttershy first. "I missed you!" She hugged the Pegasus, tearing up. "When you have time, I need to know how many bad jokes Geralt tortured you with!" She and Fluttershy both giggled. Turning to Twilight however, her smile turned into a frown. "At first, I thought everypony was playing a huge prank on me, saying you did that to Fluttershy." She glared. "The one thing I know how to do best is make somepony smile, but what you did-" she sighed. "What you did hurt, Twilight. I won't lie." Pinkie spoke, causing Twilight to look down in shame again.

"However," Lifting her head up, the pink mare continued. "I know you did it to save Fluttershy, and I'm glad. I'll... Catch up with you later at Sugarcube Corner, if you're still here. A jitter in my spine tells me you're gonna leave soon!" Smiling, she bounded away like she always had.

Dash was next. From the looks of it, she was trying hard not to cry in front of everypony. "Loyalty means everything to me, Twilight. Pinkie hit it on the nose when she said it hurt. I took it hard, hearing about 'Shy." She sighed, wiping away some tears. "I drank myself almost to death, thinking somepony as smart as you would go through with something like that. Been two years sober now, though." She dryly chuckled before continuing. "I just wanted to say, I don't blame you anymore. I still got your back, and I'll try to talk to Applejack and convince her you didn't have a choice. She took it almost as hard as me, so no promises." Zooming off, that left only Rarity.

Being escorted by her husband, she lifted her hoof to embrace Twilight's muzzle. "I would blame you for many things, Twilight Sparkle, but I know more than most about Generosity." She smiled. "You didn't tell the world what you did as penance for your sin, but to save Fluttershy from ridicule, am I correct?" The purple mare nodded, Rarity feeling it with her hoof. "Mm. My husband Blueblood thought as much, why do you think he still stuck with you all these years?" She giggled, before yawning. "Oh goodness me, it must be time for my medication!" Sweetie Belle pulled her along, heading back to her house. "We must catch up some other time, darling!"

For all it was worth, she was glad to see her friends one last time before leaving. For Twilight Sparkle held a secret about the ritual they were about to perform:

It was lethal to Alicorns.

The Time of the Sword and Axe...(Part 1)

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Fire and brimstone rained down around Twilight and Fluttershy, sounds of fighting and magic just outside the keep doors of Kaer Blathan. "What do we do?!" Twilight exclaimed.

"Nothing we can do!" Fluttershy dodged a stray piece of rubble, readying her claws for a fight. Another burst of fire leaked through the enchantment Geralt placed on the door, nearly flaying the Pegasus alive. "Just finish it up! She's almost through!"

Another blast shook outside, shaking the whole building this time. All was silent for a moment, before Geralt came crashing through the 3 foot thick stone wall just to the side of the doorway. What followed was a column of fire, paving a trail of destruction in it's path. "Keep going!" Geralt dodged out of the way last second, and dove back into the fray.

Suddenly, the roof collapsed and all went dark...

A few days earlier...

Kaer Blathan.

It was home to the two Witchers for close to a decade now, but all Twilight Sparkle saw upon arrival was the remnants of a nation's once strongest prison fortress. For Sombra's brief rule of the Crystal Empire, he had made an effective slave army. This particular stronghold made all the weapons and armor for said army, before falling to the two princesses of Equestria and eventually becoming nothing more than a shadow. It had shown rapid signs of decay since then, lying forgotten and slowly becoming reclaimed by nature long before Fluttershy's training began. Looking around, it was obvious part of that training was spent rebuilding decaying structures and fortifying weak points. There was even an additional battlement installed.

"All this reinforcement seems a bit..." Twilight eyed a set of trebuchets trained on the main gate, ready to go. "Excessive, don't you think?"

"Hmm.." Geralt glanced at the same weapons she was looking at before walking further into the fortress. "Never pays to be too prepared. My old man Vesemir would kill me if I didn't." He spoke.

"And what do you think, Fluttershy?" She asked her friend.

"It's a place like any other, I suppose." She cautiously spoke.

"You're not... Uneasy here?"

Fluttershy sighed. "It's been ten years that I've spent here. Everything that was creepy or scary eventually became a routine sight for me. Take that crack in the wall there for instance-" she pointed her hoof to a rather large crack in the foundation near the entry door to the inner part of the castle. "I used to be afraid of it collapsing the entire building on me as I slept. That is, until I realized it wasn't even that large and was just on the outer part." She giggled. "Just a scar this old castle got from age, that's all."

Twilight didn't laugh with her. Instead, she gulped her heart back down her throat. "R-right. No danger at all!"

Completely oblivious to her friend's concern, the Pegasus started pointing out other small things, as if this was a museum and herself the curator. Pushing through the double doors, the trio entered the main hallway which seemed to once be an intersection for other places within the keep, but two of those four pathways were buried underneath rubble. "Here's another favorite-" she pointed to the small patch of mushrooms growing on one of the piles of debris. "It's a mushroom garden! I thought they were poisonous at first, but then after my first set of training with concoctions, I found out they were just some harmless ones that naturally grew in this particular region." She smiled. "Since then, I've been maintaining it, like the garden I used to have at my cottage."

"You must be really... Proud of it, heh heh!" The Alicorn nervously chuckled.

"Oh yes, quite!" Fluttershy smiled once more, departing from her "mushroom garden" and onto the kitchen hall, which also happened to be where the alchemist lab as well as the meat locker were held. "I know it seems like much, but the mess hall starts to become more appealing after a while. Even the sight of red meat kind of blends with the background." She trotted to the wooden table where her and Geralt ate the bare minimum of what food was. Such a meal was currently being plated by the Witcher, settling down and relaxing after the journey he just had.

Geralt gestured to a nearby set of chairs for the other two, both taking their seats. Fluttershy greedily devoured almost half of the fibrous brown gruel immediately, drinking a small pint of mead he had poured the two.

"It's edible." He gave Twilight a knowing look. "Had to make it without meat in it for you."

She prodded the thick liquid with her fork, the utensil bouncing off slightly on contact. "Is it gonna taste, you know... Not like it was made out of wood?" She asked sarcastically. The other two lightly chuckled at that.

"Though it looks like bile, it gets the job done." Geralt spoke. "After I feed you, Fluttershy can show you to your room."

"Room?" She questioned. "I thought we were going to start the ritual." It didn't make sense not to, at least in her eyes.

Fluttershy sighed. "Twilight, me and Geralt both are exhausted after the last few days, and would like to rest for a bit."

"B-but the ritual!" The mare weakly protested.

"The ritual can wait until tomorrow. We had to battle a monster before even going up to talk to you, and after the whole 'Surprise' ordeal, I'd just like to relax for a bit. Isn't that what I used to do, back when I was still me? Relax, enjoy life a little?" She smiled plastically, the look a hidden answer in itself.

All thoughts of protest died in Twilight's throat after that. "O-of course, Fluttershy. You certainly did." She smiled back. The rest of the meal was continued in silence.

Fluttershy opened the door to Twilight's room, if it could even be called that. The splintered wooden floor creaked with every step, and the stone walls were cracked in several places. It had a window, barred with iron and showing the several hundred feet to the courtyard down below, for if anyone decided jumping would be a good idea. Worst of all was the bed- straw lined the frame and over the top was what she assumed to be some sort of thick hide. She dared not ask what animal it was from, but she had a few guesses. A crude and archaic room, but it was a room nonetheless.

"...Is this where you slept all these years?" Twilight gasped.

"No." She simply stated, bringing a brief smile to her friend's face. That smile was dashed away from the next sentence. "This is where i slept the first 8, however. I needed to prove myself to Geralt before I got a... More appealing set of accomodations."

"But I'm not a Witcher!" She protested. "Why do i have to-" Suddenly, she was thrown to the wall with great force from the Pegasus.

"Because after we're done with the binding ritual, you're going to be every bit of one, save for the mutations. That is if it actually does what you claim it was." She sadistically beamed. "You're gonna be trained by me." She let go of the mare. "You're my Surprise, after all..."

"...Okay." Twilight meekly replied. It was pointless to argue. After all, she still kept it secret about the actual consequences of such a ritual.

"Now rest up." Fluttershy spoke as she was leaving. "We start early tomorrow."

In the forest below the mountain, another Alicorn was busy plotting her revenge...

"That petulant fool!" Daybreaker exclaimed. "He should have just simply submitted to my power, but no, he had to play 'Hero'!" As she trotted along the forest, anything in her path was annihilated without prejudice. Her flames knew no bounds to power; even the tallest of trees were burned to a crisp. Simmering down, she continued through the foliage with a less destructive path being left behind. "No matter. I know he sent a note to his feathered Freak! Only a matter of time before Geralt gets wind and comes looking for Us." Stopping, Daybreaker glared into her reflection in a nearby watering hole, her old self staring back.

Is this really what you wanted? This destruction?

"Stay your attempts at changing Our mind!" The Alicorn snarled. "We made the choice to become this, all to stop him!"

And what will you do after? Give this power up? It glared back. You know what happened when your Sister didn't... Don't you?

The mare guffawed at her reflection. "Our sister? HAH!" Her fiery mane grew brighter than before, showing off her power. "Where she was weak, we show raw, unbridled POWER-" For emphasis, Daybreaker lit her horn and boiled away the entire pond. "We don't need you to interfere anymore with Our thoughts. The Witcher dies!" Glancing around the now charred scenery, the Alicorn spotted the remains of several Timber Wolves that tasted her flame. Suddenly, she got an idea.

Smiling sadistically, Daybreaker lit her horn's magic and fired upon the charred remains of the Timberwolves, breathing life anew only to serve her. "And what better way to kill a Wolf than with one of your own?" She chuckled evilly.

The Time of the Sword and Axe is nigh...

The Heralding of Myths has begun...

The Heralding of Myths...(Part 2)

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"How is this supposed to work again?" Geralt asked Twilight. Thanks to the books he was able to read, most of the glyphs she was carving into the ground of the main hall were easy enough to understand. However, the center one as well as a few outliers were beyond his grasp.

"Well, the center glyph is the Catalyst-" Twilight pointed to it as she was explaining. "By standing here, my magic should be drained into it for storage." She sighed, stopping her carving for a second. "I'm taking the very essence of myself and ejecting it from my body..." She looked into those cold and unfeeling Wolven eyes, knowing he would understand what this means.

"It'll bring me close to death."

Or take you even further...

Shaking her head, Twilight decided to change the subject. "What's Fluttershy doing?"

"Training, more than likely. Never knows when to quit." Geralt opened his ears and listened for the distant sounds of sparring. "The crack of dawn's when she starts."

"She...doesn't do anything else?" She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, hoping to see a change in demeanor at her prying. "No hobbies?" She concentrated back to her work, slightly dejected that there was a lack of emotion.

"Apart from her project with that mushroom farm, she trains." Having nothing better to do than watch, the Witcher brought our his sword and began polishing and sharpening it. "She needs to get out more. Isn't healthy to keep a Witcher held up in a dusty castle."

Another blast from her horn and the final glyph was done, earning a final satisfied nod from the mare. "Then why not take her to Ponyville more often?" Twilight asked innocently, now going over her notes to check for errors.

Suddenly, almost ever so slightly, she saw a hesitation in Geralt's sharpening. It was gone in a flash, but it was there. "S-she..."

"That's the last thing I want to do! My friends are traitors! They abandoned me without a second thought...

"She refused to." He sighed, looking at his reflection staring back in the silver he was polishing. "It hurt too much to go back, I think." He understood that pain well, he had also held resentment and disdain for his mother that abandoned him in favor of whatever else took up her time. Caring for him, seemed to be lower on the list of priorities.

"Nevertheless, she's out there training for the sake of it more than anything. It's a distraction, it helps her cope." Ringing the whetstone across his blade once more, Geralt gave it a quick test swing and stuck it back into it's sheath. "That reminds me, these spells and glyphs are strange for a simple transfer." His yellow eyes pierced Twilight's own purple ones, most certainly knowing there is more that she isn't letting on. "What exactly are you hiding?" His eyes squinted subtly to the average observer. Most would say it was a flinch of the muscle or a slight cramp. Twilight knew better.

She was being judged. Not her outer facade, but something deeper. Something that his centuries of experience in Political observations would never be fooled by her attempts to be deceitful. The Witcher had seen nations rise and fall, Kings assassinated, wars won...

Geralt had seen entire empires crumble within a fortnight. The Alicorn sighed, knowing the truth needed to be told now, else she would most definitely be dealt with harshly by the end of the man's blade. Or, at least, that was her fear.

"They're..." Twilight choked on the words, too ashamed to admit what her ritual really did. "They're warding glyphs, and..." She sighed. Now or never. "And death spells. Ones to bind my soul to the catalyst." Hanging her head in defeat, she dare not look up. Her guilt wouldn't let her.

After a moment of silence, the Witcher spoke up. "And Fluttershy? Does she know?" A string of tears down her cheek told him the truth. "...Hmm."

Standing up, he inspected the glyphs, intent on seeing the designs closer. "You're not the first I've seen do this, you know." Reaching down, Geralt traced the lines of the closest glyph with his gloved hand in sympathy. "Most are- Were powerful mages that had enough of the world, politics, or the latent magic within themselves." He glanced over his shoulder. "Your case probably has one of those reasons behind it too. It's just how it goes." He got up and moved to the next glyph, repeating the pattern.

"Please don't tell-" Twilight stepped forward, but was interrupted by a raising of his hand.

"Fluttershy is far from any concern of mine nowadays." He chuckled dryly. "It may sound harsh coming from the one who taught her for over a decade how to fight and survive, but I mean it." The Witcher did. Her training was complete. She could come and go as she pleased, and take on her own contracts. This was simply just home base to her, and should remain that way. Witchers must always be on the move, there's always more coin to be had.

Getting up, he approached the mare and rested his hand on her shoulder. "Coming from experience, whatever your reasons are, it won't make it right." A moment's hesitation, and then Twilight's hoof kept it there.

"I-i can never atone unless I do this." Tears began welling up in her eyes, exhaustion making its way to the surface. "I'm the one that made her who she is. I started all this."

"Hmm." All the Witcher did was grunt in reply. He was more contempt to listen this time around.

"Ten years, Geralt." The tears from earlier finally started to trickle down her muzzle. "Ten years she spent away from everypony. From her friends..."

"Don't try to convince me," he interrupted. "I already said I moved on from coddling her. Your reasons are your own. Now try to convince her of that."

It was nearing the afternoon, and Fluttershy was still hard at work training. Several straw dummies surrounded her, most of them barely holding together from the ruthless flurry of attacks coming from the young Witcher. "Stupid Twilight!" A swift kick to the one behind her. "Stupid rituals!" The kick was followed by a backflip and quarter turn into the two next to it, the mock heads flying off with ease at her blades. "Stupid-"

"Oh, what do we have here?" A melodic yet strange voice echoed, interrupting her training. "A lost soul, tainted by the blood of a Witcher?"

Fluttershy halted her training in favor of guarding herself against the voice. "Who's there?" Her choker began to vibrate ominously.

"It really doesn't matter." The voice chuckled. "I'm only here to right a wrong the bastard of magic inflicted in my kingdom." Slowly, the heat surrounding the mare began to rise, almost on an imperce level. "I was hoping to come across him first, but you'll do all the same."

Eyes bulging wide, the mare felt the sudden surge of heat just before the meteor hit, dodging out of the way in the nick of time. It cackled as she avoided the attack, giving away the true madness behind the voice.

"Oh my, but you are a quick one!"

"Save your taunting! What do you want?!" Another blast came from nowhere, clipping the primary on Fluttershy's wing: a warning shot.

"As I said, I'm here to clean house." A fiery shadow developed suddenly in front of the mare, it's silhouette giving no sign of who it might have been. That is, until the towering Alicorn emerged from the flames only minutes later.

The young Witcher found herself shocked at who it was; that white coat was unmistakable, but that was the only similarity it shared with the Princess. Her mane and tail were ethereal flames of a bright orange, her regalia was gone, but most shocking of all were the facial features. There were no kindness in this mare's slitted eyes, and the manic smile it's fangs presented showed no kindness.

"C-Celestia?" She uttered, before dodging another fireball.

The mare laughed maniacally. "I'm afraid she's long gone. I am Daybreaker, and I'm here to stay!" It cackled, letting loose a barrage of molten lava and fireballs over and over, hoping to righteously burn away the stain that was the race of Witchers. Smoke and ash clouded her vision, leaving her to grin madly from the suspense. Waiting patiently for the smoke to clear, she gazed upon the scene-

Geralt stood where the burning corpse of Fluttershy should be.

"What?!" Daybreaker let loose every spell she knew, trying to snuff out the Witcher every way she knew. He expertly dodged the small attacks and shielded himself from the rest with his magic. "No, no you can't interfere with Divine Justice!" She snarled. Die, Witcher!

Seeing his opening, Geralt blasted her with Aard to quench her magic flames and swung his sword with the experience of decades of practice. He clipped part of her wings and dealt a couple of blows to her coat before leaping back to recover and check on Fluttershy.

"Geralt, what-"

"No time!" He interrupted, blocking a few more shots before blasting another gust of air at his target. "Twilight's waiting in the castle. She needs your help!"

"But-" Suddenly she was forcefully blasted back from a spot where molten lava now lay.

"Go!" She needed no further hints and rushed to Kaer Blathan's main hall with haste.

Moments earlier...

"...Now try to convince her of that." Geralt spoke, leaving the mare to think of his words carefully.

Routine was beaten into Witchers and Geralt was no exception to the rules. He allowed himself distractions every once in a while, that much was certain. However, when at Kaer Blathan, nothing but routine remained. Just as Vesemir became caretaker to the fortress that used to house his brothers of the Wolf, he adopted this place as his own run down castle that is in need of constant maintenance. The thought made him chuckle, almost picturing the old man seeing him now.

Today's project was going to be the east wing, responsible for holding all the weaponry this fortress contained, or it was before the hallway leading to it collapsed from repeated barrages that were the forces of nature. He sighed. "Not gonna get it cleared in a fortnight, that much is certain..."

Regretfully, the Witcher went to work removing the smaller debris out of the way and into a manageable pile. At the most, the old concrete could be used as future building materials, at the very least ammunition for the catapults and trebuchets littered about. Regardless, the work was important. If he could get access to the armory, perhaps there was s forge inside or maybe even an anvil. Something to provide him with the means to make less trips to Ponyville for a simple sharpening of the blade or refitting of his armor.

Suddenly, he felt his medallion twitch. It was subtle beyond the constant buzzing it had near Twilight, but in his line of work, any small change in the environment was never a good one. He pretended not to notice, waiting for whatever magic that was shifting near him to make itself known. His medallion pulsed even quicker, signalling his time was up. Grasping the hilt of his sword and spinning around with the speed of a sparrow, Geralt was shocked to see a small yellow Wisp floating in front of him.

"Are you sentient?"

It didn't reply. It simply hovered there.

"Speak!" He demanded, readying his magic for a binding rune. To his surprise, it began to change form, revealing a yellow outline of what looked like an amalgam of creatures.

It had the body of a serpent, wings of both a bat and Pegasus, and possessed an eagle's talons and lion's paw for appendages. That was just what he could recognize, everything else was too hazy to make out in the silhouette.

"I am, or was, the spirit of disharmony. Now all I am is just a little bit of chaos trying to save his friends. Though I don't recall Dear Fluttershy being quite as... Naked, or even bipedal for that matter!" It chuckled lightly.

"Why seek out Fluttershy?!"

The spirit did the equivalent of staring blankly at Geralt. "Are you serious? I just said I'm here to warn her, or is there too much of that Witcher Juice crammed in your brain to listen?" It tapped his noggin, only hearing an echo in reply. The Witcher swiped at him, but the Wisp was too quick. "Rude!" It scoffed.

"I've dispatched smaller Wisps than you with just a simple casting of Yrden. Believe me, I'm being polite."

The Wisp sighed. "I know. Look, something big, mean, and very much on fire, is coming this way. I should know, since it gutted me before speeding off this way!" It punched a hole in it's chest, only for it to reappear immediately after. It sighed. "Look, I know you have a strict "don't trust monsters" policy, but I'm one of the good guys! Or was...."

"Prove it!" Geralt eyed the Wisp carefully.


With a rumble, the debris blocking the east wing began to glow, and moments later, sprang to life and marched to the pile the Witcher made to the side, clearing the passageway in one fell swoop. "There's my proof."

Snapping out of his shock, Geralt nodded to the spirit. "I believe you. Now, who's coming?"

Present Day...

After the dust cleared, it was obvious to the two what had happened. The building collapsed, leaving them trapped inside the rubble. Fortunately, Twilight was preparing a barrier just before the action started, and was able to swiftly turn it into a makeshift cocoon in order to prevent it from collapsing on top of them.

"W-who was that, Twilight?" Fluttershy asked her friend. For the first time in a very long time, she had felt genuine fear. It wasn't the Alicorn raging war on the other side inflicting it however, but the feeling itself...

She felt fear. If she felt that, how many other repressed emotions were to follow from her old self?

"I-it can't be... She was just a dream! She wasn't real!"

"Twilight... Who?!" She asked,ever more frantic.

The Alicorn gulped. "Daybreaker." She lit her horn and began to dig a tunnel out of the rubble and towards the Mess Hall. It was the next safe space in the castle, and if they could get there, then maybe-

"Snap out of it, Twilight!" She mumbled to herself. Calming down, she continued with her explanation while digging. "Do you remember a long time ago when Starlight was called to fix a friendship problem between the princesses?"

"Vaguely... To be honest, I don't recall many adventures we had, only glimpses. Geralt said it was the magic of the Trials."

"You don't sound so sure..."

Fluttershy shook her head. "I wanted to forget. Being left alone here for a decade... Well, it hurt. Just give me a second to think."

Twilight remained silent for a long while after that, only focusing on digging their way to safety. A few moments later, and she continued, regardless if her friend remembered or not. "When she went to help, something happened. The two princesses were stuck in a nightmare of her own making. In it were Nightmare Moon and... Daybreaker. She was like Celestia, but the exact opposite of everything she tried to be for Equestria." She stopped digging for a moment to turn and face Fluttershy.

"She was pompous, selfish, and vain. Daybreaker was her Dark thoughts given form, just like Nightmare Moon was for Luna."

"I-I'm starting to remember now. Starlight told us Celestia banished the nightmare away, saying she'd never stoop so low to transform into Daybreaker."

"Correct. Which begs the question:" the Alicorn turned around and got back to work on the tunnel.

"What changed?" Fluttershy finished. It made sense as to who was attacking, now they needed the why. He thinking was cut short however, by the sounds of howling approaching from behind. "Did you hear that?" She clutched her choker, feeling for any hint of magic. Unfortunately Twilight's digging was interfering with it too much to get a proper reading.

"It's the rubble shifting." The howling echoed again, sending shivers even down Twilight's spine. "I think... Be on guard."

The howling died down for a while after that, a welcome relief for both mares. That is, until it sounded even louder a few minutes later.

Not even thinking twice, Fluttershy and Twilight stopped, and readied themselves for combat. To their surprise, and equal dismay, they could see the barest hints of light at the tunnel behind them. Fluttershy unsheathed her claws, while Twilight began to ready defensive spells. The howling increased as the faint light came closer and closer to the two.

Suddenly, Fluttershy recognized the howling. "Those sound like Timberwolves! But they sound..." Her eyes widening, she realized too late what that meant. "Twilight, keep digging!"

Realizing what was happening too, the mare turned around and poured all her magic into blasting a hole through the rubble as quick as she could. Eventually, whatever was making those howling sounds caught up.

Fluttershy was right in assuming they sounded like Timberwolves, except these ones carried a vague resemblance to the ones found in the woods. Instead of wooden limbs full of life, theirs were charred black and glowed with ash and ember. Their eyes were not the usual emerald green either, instead sporting a very fitting, albeit menacing red to complete the look. That was nothing to say of the fangs: jagged pieces of wood, glowing with a soft orange occupied the space in their mouths.

They were quickly advancing by the dozen, leaving little room between each other; it was like a horde of parasprites- powerful and strong in their numbers. Fluttershy did her best holding them off while Twilight dug her tunnel, but it was quickly becoming too much. "Anytime, Twilight!" She exclaimed, dispatching a few more.

"Almost...there..." The Alicorn breathed out. Exerting massive magic in their haste to escape was slowly showing its toll on the mare. Suddenly, the tunnel gave way to a breach of light. They were free!

However, the strain was too much and Twilight collapsed into the room below. "Twilight!" Fluttershy quickly pushed back the hordes of wolves with Aard and rushed to her friend's aid. "Come on, get up!" She held the mare's head, tears beginning to form. "I-I need you!" The howls came again, causing her ears to splay back in apparent fear.

"Y-you can't die! I still haven't been able to..." The howls came closer, shaking her out of her panic. Setting Twilight back down, the Witcher turned and faced the incoming threat, blades unsheathed and ready to taste blood. "No. I refuse!" She stomped her hoof, casting Quen around the unconscious mare to protect her from further harm. Digging her metal claws deep, she bared her teeth, bloody and feral; she truly was ready to die in that moment.

Something else decided to intervene fortunately, for suddenly, her vision became blurry. "W-what is..." She stared down at her clawed hooves with an increasingly fading consciousness that could only be caused by one thing. Eyes snapping open, Fluttershy turned back around to where Twilight was standing. "Y-you're not gonna stop me!" Through sheer willpower, the mare took a shaky step towards the mysterious figure cloaked in darkness currently hovering above her unconscious friend.

She didn't even hear it come in...

"I don't care what you are-" she began to say, but her limbs failed her; she collapsed onto the ground, eyelids slowly closing. "S-stay away...from-"


Sleep. This is a battle only Old Magic can win...

Sol Invictus

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A/N: Fair warning- if you haven't yet, re-read the Heralding of Myths(unless you're reading this series fresh. If that's the case, welcome!). I reworked it to include an important scene to help provide context into a character that is going to be set up in an arc that I have codenamed "Dark Past".

Anyways, with that, I bring the finale to Destiny's Calling! Don't worry this isn't the end, it's just Act 1 ;)

Do you remember your promise to me, Sister?

...No I don't. I don't remember anything. All I had thought for thousands of years was revenge! Why would you think I even care about some silly promise anyways?! I am the Night, and the Night shall last forever!

*Sigh* Then I have failed you.

Gasping, Twilight awoke but not in the place she thought she would be. Instead of a dilapidated castle currently being bombarded by a mad Alicorn who only sought destruction, instead it was an old yet familiar sight:

Golden Oak Library.

"I've gotta be dreaming..." She concluded, glancing around at the old tree she used to live in all those years ago. "It's the only thing that makes sense-" suddenly, a shrieking pain struck her head and the walls of the library darkened into an ominous black.

...What fun is there in making sense?

Brief flashes of memories flooded her... Memories of Discord, and how her friends defeated him. "I-I don't understand, what-"

As if the library heard her, its walls rumbled and transformed into crystal then stretched and morphed. The next sight she witnessed was the Castle of Friendship, though it felt like it was more than that. The walls still held that crystal sheen, but it seemed almost as if they were physically breathing. Suddenly, her cutie Mark flashed and physically wrenched itself from her haunches, launching down the halls at a tremendous speed. "Wait, come back!"

Galloping after her Cutie Mark, more memories came flooding back and forth, warping the endless hallway she ran down. Canterlot High, the battlefield she defeated Tirek on, Tartarus, Ponyville, the Everfree; all of the adventures she had lived, all of them came rushing into her as if she had just lived them again. Her Cutie Mark finally made a turn and stopped, hovering above the Cutie Map. Twilight made a reach for it, but a magical barrier stopped her.

"What?!" She tried again, this time it forcefully sent her back a few feet. "What is going on, where am I?!" She barked at the table. As if to answer her, 6 crystalline chairs erupted from the ground around the table, each one baring the Cutie Mark of one of her friends, save one:

Fluttershy's. Instead of the pink butterfly sigil, the throne lay dark and the top of the chair that housed her friend's mark had been broken off as if some great force took a hammer and shattered it into nothing.

Suddenly, the map pulsed and all 6 chairs lit up and shot a magical beam towards her Cutie Mark still hovering in the center. The sigils disappeared from them and joined hers, circling themselves slowly at first, then speeding up until no characteristics remained and there was just a clear white circle hovering brightly above the map. The ring pulsed 3 times, then the map changed to Kaer Blathan, where to Twilight's surprise, contained two symbols, both of which she recognized:

Fluttershy's Cutie Mark of three pink butterflies...

And a Silver Wolf. The wolf's eyes glowed a blood red and with an earth shattering howl, pounced on the butterflies. They disappeared in a cloud of smoke, leaving only the Wolf behind. "...What does this mean?"

It means a choice has been made. a dark yet cheerful voice spoke.

The scenery disappeared once more in the wake of the mysterious voice, leaving the mare in pitch black darkness. "Who...What are you?"

A friend.

"...I know you, don't I?" She heard that voice before, but it eluded her as to where.

The voice ignored her question.

The Elements are incomplete without Kindness. Your friend no longer embodies it. Three butterflies flew in front of the Alicorn's muzzle as soon as the voice continued speaking, disappearing a moment or two after.

"But without the Elements of Harmony, the world isn't safe!"

The World... Or you?

Suddenly, the darkness gave way to a familiar scene- the night before Twilight had departed with Fluttershy to Kaer Blathan, where they had talked in the inn.

It changed again to the several times she had been called to the throne room of Canterlot Castle in order to discuss peace with other nations.

It seems to me the World is safer than ever, so why have need of such relics?

Twilight snorted in anger. "What about the monsters? Werewolves, vampires; Every bad folklore and myth ever thought of and more, now leaking through!? We need the Elements to fend them off! Geralt isn't enough-" a sudden and maniacal laugh echoed through the dark void in reply, interrupting the mare's speech.

So all that pandering back in Canterlot was just show, then?

The mare was stunned to silence at that, for the voice had a point. "...No, there needs to be preparations to handle it a different way, in case-"

In case they fail, which I wholeheartedly agree! the voice interrupted once more, chuckling darkly.

...But what about poor Fluttershy? What does she think? As if to answer it's own question, the pitch darkness suddenly exploded with noise. All around her, Twilight could hear the same voice talking, overlapping incoherently with the other echoes, like the same pony was arguing with herself. They started out as questions, but over time Twilight understood what their true purpose were- they were thoughts, Fluttershy's thoughts:

What do my friends think?

Is there any chance at a normal-

I can't feel kindness anymore...

But what does-

They don't care! I am as good as dead to them...

As time went on, the thoughts twisted from questions to statements to finally, accusations. She had blamed her friends, Geralt, and most importantly, herself. It broke her heart to hear the words echoing about, but the voice played them because it knew they would convince her what she knew all along:

"Kindness is dead." She sat down dejectedly.

Kindness? Yes, but the bond with your friend? Not necessarily.

Those words stirred her from the bout of depression, if ever so slightly. "...what do you mean?"

Tut Tut! Not the right time to ask that question! the voice chuckled. After all-

Suddenly, the void started to break, cracks of light shining through. The deal wasn't made for the sake of you...

Gasping awake for a second time, Twilight immediately applied as many defense spells as she could, preparing for an attack that, ironically, would never come. Sighing a breath of relief, she looked around the room only to find a pile of dead Emberwolves blocking the tunnel entrance they had dug through, and... Fluttershy, unconscious in front of them. "Fluttershy!" She gasped, running to her friend's body.

"Celestia, please be alright!" She begged, looking at the still body on the ground. Lighting her horn, she scanned her body for any major wounds. Luckily, it only showed minor scrapes and burns, her Witcher regeneration factor taking care of the more damaging ones and turning them into scars- her first. Sighing with relief, she all but collapsed next to the mare. "Unconscious, but alive..." Looking back at her friend, Twilight looked at the scars... And how they now completely purged her friend's Cutie Marks on one side of her flanks.

Circling it with her hoof, she traced the outline of the scar. To her, it didn't feel like a normal burn that healed into a scattered pattern that scarring of that type was known for. Instead, it felt almost shaped into a distinct form, like some sort of animal or-

She gasped. "Or a wolf..." Upon closer inspection, she noticed another thing. There was a note tucked underneath one of the wings currently tucked in on the mare's unconscious body. It only had a few words, but it all but confirmed she didn't have a simple dream:

The deed is done, and you now have the upper hand.

Use it well...

-Gaunter O'Dimm, a humble merchant

Attached to the note was a vial of some sort of red potion labelled "Swallow, for the bird who flew too quick" and another page, detailing the same exact spell matrix she was going to use on herself before Daybreaker showed, except it was modified. Reading it over, the formulae made sense; they could most definitely pull it off! Now all that was left was to give her friend the potion.

She knew it was a risk trusting the note from this "Gaunter O'Dimm" character, but what other choice did she have? It was only a matter of time before the Emberwolves found them again, and there was only so much castle they could retreat into. Hovering the potion over her friend's lips, Twilight popped open the cork, hesitating for a moment. "I really hope this isn't some sort of poison..." Gulping down her heart, the mare poured the red liquid into Fluttershy's open lips, the reaction almost immediate.

Gasping awake, Fluttershy doubled over in pain. Her veins exploded outwards, their once invisible pathways through her body now painted a sickly black and grey. Bones could be heard popping back into place, sinew repairing itself, and gasps of pain slowly dying down into grunts of discomfort. The shocking scene brought back memories of what happened on the might of the Trial of the Grasses, though magnitudes more mild. Finally with a final sigh of relief coming from the now conscious Witcher, the brew did it's job; he previous wounds were almost non-existent and her energy seemed lethargic but clearly there again.

"Wh-" coughing out a batch of black sludge, she cleared her throat. "What happened?"

The mare was nervous in seeing the sludge coming out of her friend, but Fluttershy didn't seem to care, so she concluded it wasn't anything to worry about. "To be honest, I don't remember. I fell unconscious once we broke through to the Mess Hall. You probably know more than I do."

Fluttershy tried to remember, but a subtle buzzing from her choker and an enormous headache told her whatever happened was powerful... And foreign. "Well, whatever it was, it was strong enough to mess with my head. Damn, this hurts..." She held her head waiting for the pain to pass.

Thinking back on her dream, the Alicorn began to suspect who it was, but she wasn't quite sure.

Another time, when we aren't in danger of incineration.

Shaking her head, Twilight got back on task. "Fluttershy, do you remember the ritual I was going to do?"

"Really?! We just had an entire army of undead Timberwolves try to devour us, and you're worried about that?!" she exclaimed. "You need to get your damn head away from fixing mistakes-"

"That's just it, Fluttershy!" Twilight interrupted, stunning the Pegasus to silence. "I'm not thinking about it!" She sighed, calming down enough to continue. "The ritual can be modified-" hovering over the schematic, she began to explain.

"The catalyst rune can be altered. Instead of draining my magic and..." She gulped, almost too afraid to admit what she was about to. The distant sounds of fighting urged her to continue, however. "Killing me, it can be changed to be both a containment array and a drain spell."

"You were going to... Kill yourself!?" The mare exclaimed.

Twilight's ears splayed back in response to her friend's understandable frustration. She knew Fluttershy wouldn't feel too happy about the real reason for the ritual, but it hurt all the same. "I-I know you would rather scold me, telling me I am a coward and other things, but right now that isn't important!" The Alicorn exclaimed, slowly shaking away the tears that threatened to pour out. "We have to help Geralt, so can you help me with this spell? ...Please?"

Fluttershy hesitated, but then another rumble shook the castle and her mind was quickly decided by the imminent threat outside the room they were in. Grunting in frustration, she trotted closer to help her friend. "I'm not gonna let this go, I hope you know that..."

Earlier at the castle grounds, Geralt was fighting a slowly losing battle against the corrupt Alicorn named Daybreaker...

"AGH!" The Witcher cried out, being tossed into the air by another large meteor impact. His landing wasn't smooth either; one of the many trebuchets he had built for defense broke his fall, shattering it and setting some of it ablaze with the pieces of his armor now red hot to the touch. Sounds of another fireball whizzing his way spurned him into further action, dodging out of the way just in time.

"Had enough yet?" Daybreaker snobbishly asked, descending from the air with her head upturned, as if she were looking at a creature inferior to her. "Because I can always use more of my power to KILL you." Flicking her head, the entire area was encircled in a ring of fire. "However, I respect you as a duelist and would love to humiliate you before you die."

Coughing up blood, Geralt slowly got up from the ground, leaning on the hilt of his sword as a makeshift cane. "That may be your last mistake you make, Celestia." He chuckled dryly. "We Witchers are experts in close combat."

Suddenly, the ring of fire exploded with rage. "DON'T YOU DARE SPEAK THAT INFERNAL NAME TO ME!" Daybreaker exclaimed, her own enchanted mane reflecting her rage at his discovery. "SHE IS DEAD!"

Slowly, the Alicorn began to cool down. "I apologize for losing my temper. It's not how Warriors greet each other on the battlefield." Bowing, her horn ignited and summoned a battleaxe made of the purest flame.

Grinning, Geralt understood. Once his wounds recovered enough to let him stand, he drew his Sword into a proper stance. "Last chance, Celestia, Daybreaker... Whatever you choose to call yourself, I still extend my hand. I can help."

"Hmph, you wanna help?" Lifting her battleaxe, she charged. "THEN DIE SO I MAY RULE THIS LAND WITH NO OPPOSITION!" Her attack was deflected by the Witcher's sword, but barely; the red-hot blade sliced cleanly through his side. Thankfully, the wound was cauterized from the metal itself.

Rolling away to recover, Geralt got into an overhead stance and began to circle. Daybreaker followed suit, angling the blade of her axe toward the ground. Making his move, he arced the sword over his head. Daybreaker made to deflect it with her axe, but it was a Feint! At the last second, Geralt spun around and sliced horizontally: it was the first attack he was able to land since the fighting begun.

Taking on the offensive, he stunned her further with Aard the kicked the wound he just made. It forced the mare to clench at her gut in pain, slowing the duel to a halt. She wasn't defenseless, however. Shrieking in blind rage, Daybreaker let out a surge of magic that brought the ring of fire to collapse in on itself, resulting in a small explosion that knocked both of them away in separate directions. Daybreaker was the first to recover, closing in on Geralt before he even had a chance to recover. She picked him up with her forelegs and flew into the air at lighting speed.

Looking below only greeted Death, but thankfully the Witcher still clenched his sword in that iron grip of his and began slicing at her hooves. It didn't do much but nip her skin in parts, but that was enough to cause her to flinch and lose her grip on him. He fell towards the now charred earth they were dueling in earlier, some twenty feet down. Carefully, and with the utmost precision, he let loose another magical gust of wind to his side, launching him into a wooden catwalk to break his fall. The wood splintered, and his back hit the stone behind it, teasing out a belch of pain and rolling him to the ground.

At the base of his head, the earth shattered; Daybreaker landed with a terrifying crack, just missing his skull. Gripping his silver hair in her magic, she brought his Wolven eyes to stare at her own. "You were very, VERY foolish in doing that. Now," Daybreaker dragged him as she approached the front doors to Kaer Blathan, the Witcher struggling to break free every second there. "Let's go find what's left of your bastard and her pet."

Glaring at the rubble blocking her way further in, she fired a large spell into the makeshift tunnel Twilight and Fluttershy dug earlier. The resulting explosion not only cleared the way, but disintegrated anything still trapped within. Daybreaker smirked and walked through the ashes gracefully, like an Angel of Death. The makeshift kitchen on the other side was completely empty, but she knew better. Going further in was pointless, especially since the Alicorn could just collapse the stairwell leading to the upper floors. All there was left to go was up, and she knew Twilight was too smart for that.

"I know you're here, in this Barnyard of a kitchen!" She spat to the seemingly empty room. "Not to worry, I can easily brighten things up-" Firing a spell at the center, Daybreaker lit a large bonfire. "And look," she chuckled darkly, hovering over a still struggling Geralt over the fire. "I brought a gift. From the finest chefs in Canterlot: Witcher Flambé!" Immediately the fire burned higher and hotter, just barely licking his back with the enchanted flame. "I hear it's a delicacy!" She cackled madly at his screams of pain.

"STOP!" Twilight suddenly leaped out and doused the flame with her own magic.

"At long last!" Geralt dropped out of her magic, landing on the floor in a heap, showing no signs of moving. "Has the student finally learned her ten year lesson?"

"Celestia, enough!" The mare stomped her hoof. "This isn't you! Please, we can still fix this-" she was interrupted by a kinetic blast sending her to the far wall.

"I guess not." Daybreaker stared at the recovering Alicorn, unamused. "Allow me to teach you, then!" Igniting her horn once more, she suspended Twilight in her magic, the power too strong for the mare to even attempt breaking free. "Play stupid games-" Using her telekinesis, she flung her to the opposite side of the castle, slamming the Alicorn headfirst into a stone wall. Bringing her within arm's reach, she stared down at the now unconscious mare floating in her magic. Summoning her axe once more, she brought it to her throat. "Win stupid prizes. Goodbye, Twilight. You were a good friend..."

Swinging it behind her shoulder, she closed her eyes and brought it in a clean arc. It was then she noticed Twilight was... Smiling.

"Now, Fluttershy!" Twilight yelled, charging her horn with a bright flash and stunning the corrupt Alicorn. The mare now free, she dove behind a table while her counterpart leapt out and poured her magic into a glyph in the ground.

"What?!" The glyph glowed a bright red, before disappearing. Seconds later, the entire floor of the room lit in a purple sigil: a spell matrix! "NO!" Panicking, she rushed the young Witcher with her axe, intent on killing her. The axe dissipated last second as it was sucked into the ward on the ground. Lighting her horn, she tried to summon it again, but failed. "YOU BITCH! WHAT DID YOU DO?!" Daybreaker exclaimed, grabbing the mare with both her hooves.

Fluttershy chuckled at the display before her. "You think we were just gonna let you kill us?" She latched onto both hooves and kicked hard in the mare's chest, backflipping a few feet away and landing beside Twilight.

"Who's going to bring order back to Equestria?! The Heralding of Myths is going to happen, don't you get it!? This needs to be fixed!" More of her magic left her body, the once ethereal flames turning into a regular mane and tail, except it wasn't Celestia's usual coloration; in fact, they were more akin to the colors Sunset Shimmer adorned.

"Heralding of Myths?" Twilight wanted to question further, but the spell matrix was entering it's final stages. The ground shook and the air around them charged with magical electricity, conjuring a fierce wind and stray bolts of lightning.

"Nature has a balance! Please stop this, before it's too late!" Daybreaker pleaded, her horn shrinking, followed by her entire body.

This time, Fluttershy was the one to speak. "No, no more lies, no more Surprises, no more... Anything! Fate, Destiny, whatever is it's name, we have no say in what past mistakes can mean for the future. Destiny's Calling, but I'm going to ignore it!" Slowly, she came closer to the mare now no bigger than a teenage filly. It was a pathetic sight, but she knew it was necessary, just like the Trial of the Grasses was. It just took her a while to finally realize it.

"I-I'm scared!" The young Daybreaker sniffled, her horn slowly whittling away to nothing. "The world isn't ready!"

"That isn't your decision." Geralt spoke suddenly, limping closer to her. "Witchers don't hunt for sport, and Princesses don't fix destinies. The world has an order to things, and it isn't our right to tamper with it." Using Axii, he gently put Daybreaker to sleep, letting the magic of the sigil take its course.

As if drawing the very nature of the sun into it, the room darkened and the last of her power drained into the spell, leaving the room dead silent. Sighing in relief, all three began to chuckle. Those chuckles turned into guffaws and it began to feel like it did after an adventure with Twilight and her friends had drawn to a close...

Except the spell exploded in power, summoning an unknown source of magic and shook the entire castle violently. Without warning, the magic contained from the spell converged into the center of the room and summoned a portal unlike any other. The roof of the castle crumbled into dust, all of its debris being sucked into the vortex like flies to paper. Once the roof was clear, it shot out a beam into the sky and towards the sun, turning a blood red.

Slowly, the entire forest, and possibly the world, witnessed what happened next: the moon rapidly approached it's zenith from nowhere and hovered in place over the sun. Combined with the Red Sun, the beam opened a gargantuan portal, summoning untold numbers of monsters and mythic creatures into the realm of Equestria. No longer were they leaking out in small packs: this was a proper invasion. "What's going on?!" Twilight yelled out.

"It's a Conjunction of the Spheres- The Heralding of Myths is beginning!" Geralt exclaimed.

"We have to stop it!" Glancing at the beam, Fluttershy began slowly making her way to it's epicenter.

"What are you doing?!" Twilight reached out, but a stray bolt of magic knocked her unconscious.

Each step towards the portal was worse than the last, burning her skin with magical energy and her choker vibrating so violently that it started to singe her neck. Still, she persisted. Fluttershy was now a few feet within reach. "I h-have to s-stop it!" Just one last stretch, and she was there...

Suddenly, a pair of hands reached around her abdomen and tossed her behind. "No!"

Grunting, Geralt looked back at the young Witcher. For the first time in what felt like centuries, he had given his most genuine smile as his eyes locked with her own. Stabbing his sword into the ground, he pushed on, blocking most of the wind from his eyes as best he could. Coating his hand in Quen, the Witcher touched it to the portal and with an enormous flash of white light, everything went still.

Blinking her eyes open, Fluttershy looked to the sky and to her relief, the sun was back to its usual hues, no longer eclipsed by the moon. Fluttershy cheered with joy, genuine emotion she had buried decades ago alive and well again. "You did it! By the stars you did it Geralt-" Beaming, she turned her head to where her mentor should be, only to find... Nothing.

Nothing was there. The portal, along with her mentor, no... Her friend, gone without a trace. The only thing that remained was the silver sword he had left behind.

The White Wolf was gone...

Epilogue: A Nightmare's Dream

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Nightmares were sneaky.

Princess Luna knew that more than most. They dove into dreams and twisted it to their satisfaction, all to gain a bit of power out of it. It sickened her to think she used to be possessed by such a thing. Shaking her mind of such thoughts however, the Alicorn began to ignite the spell to dreamwalk.

Like a snake being charmed, magic eased its way out of her horn and formed a sort of stasis field, putting anything in it into perpetual sleep. She had tried it on the Elements a long time ago, and though she had every faith that Twilight Sparkle would be able to replicate the spell perfectly, it took a certain strength of character to monitor the dream realm.

Luna had found Twilight's character severely lacking, ever since the Trial of Grasses ten years ago. Although it was true she had taken responsibility for the committed deed, she had felt that the mare shouldn't have taken it to such extremes. Making herself out to be the villain was in no way a good method to earn penance, something Luna herself learned during the incident involving the Tantabus- a lesson she thought Twilight knew, given she was the one to help the Alicorn understand it.

Her world-view shifted suddenly, the outlines blurring out into distant starlight, and the floor underneath her to a road paved out of the same. It seemed she entered the dream realm once more. Getting up, the Alicorn began to explore her charge for any signs of due distress. The dreams here were not perceived by a locked door, but more by an orb showing mere glimpses of the contents inside. Many of these orbs floated by, some by mares and stallions but most were by small fillies and foals. A particular orb caught her eye of a small Pegasus foal trying to slay a dragon and rescue a very scantily clad copy of her sister. She almost went in to investigate further, and more than likely earn an embarrassing story for her sister, but quickly banished the thought.

"No time for admiring good dreams this time, Luna." She reminded herself, trotting past the more tempting ones. "Someone very important takes priority first."

Thankfully, the dream realm seemed to be at peace. There were no major nightmares, and due to her previous endeavors involving the Tantabus, Luna developed a spell much like the original, save this was more of a benevolent one, instead guarding for the more tame nightmares. It had certainly taken much stress away, and freed up her time to handle the more intense dreams. One such dream was currently waiting for her, and if she were being completely honest, it sent a jolt of fear up her spine.

Floating through the ethereal landscape, the midnight blue mare wandered to the deepest corners of the dream realm, searching for the one dreamer that had always eluded her. In fact, in her previous attempts at accessing this particular individual's dreams, it had always repelled her. It was as if the dreamer actually didn't want Luna to come in. Only one other pony had this sense of awareness, and she was currently dreaming about a mountain of chocolate fudge and an abnormally large pet alligator.

Another peculiar thing about the dreamer was that instead of an orb showing glimpses into the dream, this one was locked behind a tall, and albeit very old door. It was outlined with cast iron, and featured the one thing that gave away who it belonged to at first glance: a silver wolf with glowing red eyes etched into the wood itself. Approaching said door, she almost lifted her hoof to knock, but hesitated- past attempts were met with hostility, thus she still held an air of caution. Sighing, Luna steeled her nerves and knocked quietly three times, then waited.

Time froze, as if even it was afraid of what would happen next. Slowly, the door creaked open, showering the mare in a powerful light...

To Night Princess Luna, of Equestria:

I have a request to ask of you. When I first arrived in Equestria, I had no memory, or at least I thought I didn't. Now, I am not so sure... I find myself remembering snippets of information that have helped me, but the memory as a whole is cloudy at best. Rather than boring you of such things however, I write to you in regards to my dreams.

I know you're trying to watch what goes on when I sleep, and I encourage you to stop straining yourself. My Witcher mutations bar ALL forms of magic, including that would affect me when unconscious. I am not mad, and am quite rather impressed at your tenacity.

One week from now, I will drink a Concoction that will allow you temporary access to my dreams, but only for you to record what transgresses. I believe whatever magic that has been making me the amnesiac you see today has a failsafe for those who look deeper into the subconscious. As Witchers we don't dream much, but I find myself having them on a frequent basis. It leads me to believe these aren't dreams, but in fact memories.

I ask that you observe what you see, do not interfere. I don't require a reply, unless if it is either to exclaim your success or failure at this request.

-Geralt of Rivia

Once the light had cleared, Luna found herself in the hallway of what looked like a stone castle. It reminded her much of the same walls that the Castle of Two Sisters was made of. Slowly, she began to walk down the halls, observing the various tapestries and decorations strewn about, most of them foreign to her. After trotting for a time, the mare came across several doors, though none had handles. They all bore that same sigil as the one in the dream realm, leading her to believe these were personal doorways to... Something. She didn't know what.

Curiously she stepped closer to one, and was met with a strange magic coming over her. A hazy smoke blew out from under the door and swirled around Luna's head before her eyes glowed a brilliant white, the barest hints of voices coming to her followed by images:

And what do you know of this 'Girl in the Forest'?

"Nothing at all, Geralt! To be honest, I'm surprised that you would come to your old pal Jaskier for some help with folklore of all things! You know my true art is with composing Bard's tales, not repeating them."


"Don't you 'Hmm' me! *Sigh* What's so important about this anyways? It's not like you to take an interest into something like this."

That business is my own, Jaskier.

"Ooh, touchy! Must be really important to you then."

Just drop it!

...Regardless, thank you all the same. You were... Helpful.

"...That is the closest you've ever gotten to saying 'Thank You'.


"I hope you find whatever it is you're looking for, Geralt."

Gasping, Luna leapt up from the floor. Once she recovered, the Alicorn looked back to where the door was, only to find it gone. Suddenly, she began to realize what these doors were. "T-They're memories..."

The hall stretched for what seemed like forever, both sides littered with the same doors like she just opened. Luna had a large task ahead of her, it seemed. "*Sigh* If I am to review each and every memory, it would take some time given the amount of 'doors' I see..." She mumbled. Nevertheless she was determined to push through if Geralt were to gain some semblance of what he once was. Renewed with determination, Luna reviewed another memory:

I came for the notice you posted.

"Ah, a Witcher- wait, snow white hair, brown horse... Oy, you're the Butcher of Blaviken! We won't accept help from the likes of you! *spits* Get your filth out of our town! We'll find someone else to do the job!"

I'm a Witcher, you'll do no better-

"Save it! You mutilated an entire town out of rage! If you think we'll be takin' any help from somebody that fucked up, yer sorely mistaken! Now leave before we make you leave!"

...Fine, but I warn you- that Ekkimora is still thirsty for blood.

Two days later, the entire town was deserted. They couldn't find anyone for hire, so they packed up and left. I came back on another contract to clear it of Ghouls...

When Luna next recovered, tears were streaming down her face. "Those emotions... They were well buried. This is what is suppressed deep in Geralt?" Fueled by the emotions of the previous memory, the Alicorn yanked the next door open like a band-aid:

Not many get the drop on me, you know.

"Hee Hee! I know, isn't it delightful? I hope I surprised you good, old friend!"

We never met.

"Oh that is where you are wrong, old friend. We will yet to meet, and have always known each other."

Who are you?! Speak!

"Oh I'm no one really. I mostly collect and trade things."

Is that supposed to calm my nerves?

"No, not really. But I Insist you hear me out before resorting to what your kind knows best.

...What do you collect?

"I'm a merchant. A merchant of mirrors, so to speak. I come both with a proposition, and a favor. From one old friend to another."

Is it a-

"Contract? ...You could call it that. I assure you the reward will be well worth the wait!"

I'm listening.

"Good! Good..."

"*Ahem!* This concerns another realm, though I doubt you'll remember it after it's done, much like this conversation. Taking it on requires you to purge your memory. Certain events are taking place that interest me, and you must be a part of the chain of events that are about to occur. However, you'll probably end up looking for answers before the time is right, thus I must do THIS

"Agh!" Luna screamed out in pain as she was thrown out of the door violently and into the stone wall. Though this was a manifestation within Geralt's psyche, she could have sworn that hurt. "W-what was that?!"

That, my colorful Equine friend, is not for you to go snooping around in! Not yet, anyways...

Recovering quickly, the mare readied her horn for anything. "WHO ART THOU TO PLAGUE THIS ONE'S MIND?!" She yelled in the Canterlot Voice.

Me? Oh, I'm just a merchant of mirrors. I take it Geralt is looking for answers? the disembodied voice asked.

There was no reply.

No matter. I will grant him what he needs, and give him his memory back. The only exceptions are going to be this one and the one that explains how he came to be here.

"What about us?! We have a right to know what is going on! If there is danger, you would be wise to reveal as such!"

...Would you really like to know?

Luna hesitated. If this entity is powerful enough to hide memories in such an elaborate spell as this, would it really be worth the risk? She had made deals with demons before, and it cost her a thousand years...

"...What would you require of me? Know this: if this is some trick, the Elements will-"

No, they won't. the voice chuckled. I exist everywhere and nowhere. The trinkets you so rely on cannot effect me. As for the cost of knowing what is to come, you must sacrifice something precious.

"Speak plain, demon! If this would require me to sacrifice my sanity again, I would vow to destroy you!" She exclaimed.

The voice laughed. Oh no, I know of your past deeds. I am confident in saying this will not force you to give up trivial things like sanity. No, this requires... Something more.

Luna sighed. This apparition was cunning, she had to learn the risks. "... What is the price?"

Aha! Let the negotiations commence. For the knowledge of what is to come, I require one thing...

Gasping awake, Luna looked around in a panic. Seeing she was in her room, the mare let out a sigh of relief. "That Merchant of Mirrors... He is pure evil."

Throughout the day, Luna had pondered whether or not Geralt's memory truly had been restored or if it was just some fallacy the Merchant of Mirrors had spouted. To be honest, she wasn't even sure if he existed but regardless, something that evil to exist sent chills down her spine.

It wasn't until late at night again when Luna got her answer. She had received another letter from Geralt, simply stating "thank you."

Reading those two words, she let out a sigh of relief. "That Merchant did as promised..."

Luna looked out onto the horizon once more before drifting off to the Dream Realm to tend to her duties. "Now let's hope it was worth the price..."