An Equestrian Witcher 2.0

by OblivionShadow

First published

A witcher from the Northern Realms finds himself sitting in Equestria, turned into a pony. When the fight with the Leshen began it was business as usual, but a second attack and a sharp pain to the back find him waking up in another world

Oblivion Shadow is a master Witcher of the Wolf School. A contract on a Leshens head brings him to the edge of the Northern Realms to answer a call for help. The fight starts off as normal. A second Leshen attack leaves him fighting on two fronts. The Witcher is able to escape, or so he thought when a sharp pain in his back leaves him waking up in Equestria. He is taken in by the Apple family, who treat him as one of their own. He is welcomed by the ponies of this world and he must learn how to accept that or risk upsetting a balance that he did not realize he was a part of. The question he has to ask himself is how does he get back to his world? Or does he even want to go back to a world that is fraught with war and drowning in hate and rage? His senses tell him that monsters from his world are in this new one but he can't seem to track them down. Could his world be bleeding into this one, and how bad will the damage be? He follows the Mane 6 and learns through them what it means to be a friend and a brother.

This is a revamp of the original An Equestrian Witcher. I am trying out a new style with it and altering the characters a bit as I go. Thank you for reading!

1: It Begins

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His eyes opened slowly. Darkness covered the area around him and he realized that he was lying on the grass in the shade of a tree. He closed his eyes and didn't move as he allowed his senses to do the work for him. His body remained silent and as still as death itself. The only indication that he lived was the easy breathing that was shown by the rising and falling of his sides. A light breeze went over him and he finally opened his eyes when his ears didn't pick up on any immediate threats around him. He pushed himself up and gave a noise of surprise as the back of his head struck a low branch and knocked him back down onto the ground.

"Damn." He growled under his breath and looked up at the offending branch. He hissed as he shook his head to rid himself of the dull pain.

The pain faded in moments, he knew it was due to his regenerative abilities and high pain tolerance. That enabled him to ignore and move past any pain that might slow him down. Years of training at the School of the Wolf had prepared him for life on The Path. He cast his eyes back to look in front of him. He suddenly realized that he didn't see his mare, Sasa, close by. He gave a shrill whistle that would call her if she was close. During the fight with the Leshen, he had left her close by so that he could get to her easily after what he knew would be a long and tiring fight. He had not anticipated the length of the fight or that a second Leshen would come after the first, putting him in the middle of their territorial dispute. He tried to evade the two monsters as they fought, he had thought that he had evaded them but a sharp pain in his back had told him he was not far enough away. He had whistled for the mare and heard her response, the last thing he recalled was the ground rushing up at him. He didn't sense or hear her as he tried whistling again for his missing mare.

As he tried to stand up he was pulled back down and found himself sitting on the ground once more. He looked back to his legs, his eyes widened as he looked behind him. He found himself staring at the flanks and hind legs of a horse. He was also surprised to see a pair of long black wings folded against his sides. The wings were solid black and the end tips of them went a couple of inches past his rump. His emotions had been dampened by the mutations so his surprise was tempered. But even he was surprised at what he saw. Around his barrel sat a pair of black saddlebags and his swords sat across his back. He felt relief go through him but his eyes went back to stare at his legs. He swallowed quietly as he looked away and then looked down at what he discovered were no longer arms but a pair of long forelegs. He inhaled deeply and held his breath for a moment before slowly releasing. He closed his eyes and inhaled again. A loud snap shook him and he bolted to his feet...hooves. He looked down to find that he was now standing solidly on his hooves. While this was a welcome development he was still unsure how to move like a horse.

"Mighty sorry Ah spooked ya."

A voice that he did not recognize startled him into looking away from the fact that he was now standing. An orange mare walked toward him. He blinked and tried not to stare in surprise at the small horse walking toward him with an easy stride. She showed no fear in her green eyes as she approached him. He was unused to anyone looking at him without fear or trepidation. Her long blond mane was pulled together with a binding at the end of her mane. Her tail flicked to her side, revealing that it too was held into a binding at the end. His forelock fell in front of his eyes and he tipped his head to the side to push it out of his face.

"Yer new around here, ain'tcha?" She asked with a light chuckle. "Mah name's Applejack. Ah heard a couple a' loud whistles, followed tha sound, and found ya sitting here."

She looked back at him with expectation in her eyes. It took him a moment before it dawned on him what she wanted. It was polite to respond to an introduction in kind. "Oh, my apologies." He gave a nod of his head as he tried to square up his forelegs to greet her properly. "My name is Oblivion... Shadow." He used a surname that he had been given by his teacher during his training many years ago, due to his easy movement among the shadows.

The mare smiled wider. "Nice ta meetcha."

"Pleasures mine, Miss Applejack." He nodded to her again and held his head up slightly. He already knew that he was taller than her and didn't wish to make her feel small by holding his head up high over her.

She gave a loud laugh as she looked at him. "Ya'll don't need to be so formal. Just Applejack or my friends call me AJ. Either ah those are fine." She chuckled once she finished speaking.

Oblivion raised one eyebrow and he barely noticed when he took the weight off one of his hind legs. He stood in front of her and gave another nod. "As you wish."

The mare nodded and seemed pleased with the outcome of the conversation so far. "Ya'll didn't answer mah first question."

He looked at her for a moment as he thought back. He surprised himself when he gave a low snort as he remembered her first observation. "Ah, yes you would be correct. I am actually unsure of my present location. If you would be so kind as to inform me I would appreciate it."

His manner was still a bit formal but the mare seemed to take it in stride as she nodded. "Ya'll are just on the edge of the Everfree Forest. Happen ta be closest to mah farm which is just beyond Ponyville." She gave him the requested information easily.

Oblivion was unable to stop his snort of surprise at the information she offered him. ‘Ponyville?! Where in the name of the Realms is that?’ He liked to think he was well informed about the local geography. But the locations she had told him were not within his knowledge. His head was now raised to its full height as he looked around him. He suddenly looked back to his saddlebags, remembering he had a map with him. The Witcher was silent as he reached for the bag and it suddenly flipped open with a cyan blue aura surrounding it. A slight mist was coming off of the bag as he jerked back and the coloring faded. He was silent as a sound from Applejack caught his attention.

“Did ya use magic?” She asked him as she stared at him.

“Is that what it was?” He replied.

She simply nodded and he looked back to the saddlebag and he used the same method he used to command his signs. The magic held it and he brought it around to allow him to look at it in front of him. He looked at it and he could see that the map had been changed. The map of the Northern Realms was on the top and underneath it showed a new area. He looked up at the mare and she was staring at him. He looked at her and she finally seemed to find her voice.

“What is on yer forehead?” She asked him.

He looked up and nothing stood out to him. “What are you talking about?”

“There is a symbol on yer forehead.” She stated. “Yer a Pegasus, how can ya use magic?”

“I have no idea. I can use my Signs but they are a limited form of magic.” He replied.

She looked at him for several seconds before she looked back to the symbol on his head. “Are ya sure? Are they used on yer head?”

He shrugged and she seemed to let it go and she moved up to him and looked at the map. He could tell that something was amiss as she kept looking at his forehead as she looked at the map as well. He could see confusion crossing her face as she looked at the map that hovered in front of her. He watched as she reached out with one hoof and gripped the map in her hoof. The Witcher stared for a second as the magic faded and the slight mist vanished from the map and he allowed the magic to fall dormant. He looked at her and she was now looking at his eyes closely.

“Yes?” He said to her.

She startled and looked down at the ground for a second before she looked sheepishly at him. “Sorry bout that. Ah was lookin’ at yer eyes. They’re not the same as mostly ponies.”

Oblivion brought his head back up slightly and looked at her with an unreadable expression. His eyes took on a hard look for a few moments and Applejack was suddenly concerned that she had upset the stallion. That was the last thing she had wanted to do. His eyes softened and he looked back to her.

"I see. Well, that is due to my eyes being cat-like. I can see in the dark with them and I can use them to track when I am out in the forests." His answer was a matter of fact and Applejack blinked at his explanation and looked away from his face. Oblivion was silent as he brought his head back down and looked back at the map in her hoof.

"Alright as an apology Ah’ll answer yer questions about this here map. But Ah also wanna know what the hay is with the rest of the map? Is this where you are from?" She asked of him.

“Yes.” He took his weight off one hind leg and leaned into his hip. He looked back at the map and waited for her to explain it to him.

The mare looked at him, blinked several times, then the look dissolved into a scowl before she started. "This here is a map a' Equestria. It shows tha main cities and all tha borders. If ya look at it ya can see tha outline of Ponyville and tha dark areas are tha boundaries of tha Everfree forest. Tha map is very detailed considering' that it seems old." Applejack explained some of the basic areas before looking back at the taller stallion.

Oblivion was silent as he raised his head to look around him. His ears flicked in separate directions as he listened. Applejack looked back at him, she then looked past him toward his saddlebags. She looked startled at the sight of the swords on his back. The swords laid down the center of his back and his wings stayed unmoving at his sides. He stared at her as she was still and silent as she looked at the swords.

“Would you care to explain what has you upset?” He asked her.

“Sorry about that. Ah was a bit shocked ta see the weapons on yer back.” She explained.

He nodded and looked at her closely. “I see.”

“Why in Equestria are ya carryin’ so many swords on yer back?”

Oblivion looked back at his swords then back to the orange mare. "I always carry them. They are part of my purpose. I am a Witcher of the Wolf School, these swords are my tools and... Yes?" He paused when Applejack's eyes went wide at him.

"Wha' in tarnation is a Witcher? And what do ya mean Wolf School?" The mare asked her voiced pitched slightly.

Now it was Oblivion's turn to gape at her for several seconds. He lowered his head to be a bit closer to hers and he looked at her. His orange eyes searched hers for any sign of deception. When he found nothing but honesty looking back at him he pulled back in surprise. “By the Realms she truly has no idea what I am speaking of. What kind of world is it that knows nothing of Witchers? Though not being looked at with scorn is a nice change. I have to ask more about this, but am unsure how to answer her without truly frightening her.' He was quiet as questions began to bubble up in his throat and they flowed over his mind. He paused as the questions swirled and he pushed the most immediate ones to the back of his mind. Instead, he chose to focus on the one that made more sense for him to question immediately.

“A Pegasus?”

“Yeah. Ya can fly if ya want to.”

He looked at her and then back to the wings that adorned his back and were pinned to his sides. The mare watched as he looked at the wings and then back to her. She suddenly looked at him and he saw her look behind her and then back to him.

“Come with me. Ah can show ya what Ah meant by the symbol on yer head.”

He nodded in understanding and she moved to lead him away from the area they were in. Oblivion watched as the orange mare moved past him. He stood still for a few seconds before he looked down at his hooves and then looked after the mare. 'Okay it can't be hard to move forward. I just have to decide what to do and this body should do so. I have seen Sasa move plenty.'

Oblivion looked after Applejack and focused on simply following her. He shifted his body and much to his surprise he was able to pivot on his rear left and came down to follow the mare. He was pleased with himself but lost his focus and the next thing he knew he was pitching forward and barely managed to stop himself from planting his snout into the ground. He was down with one leg in front of him and the other under him. He looked up to see Applejack coming back toward him. 'If I could I'm sure I would be blushing. Thankfully I lost that ability in the beginning. Hmm...Oh well, this could be worse.' Oblivion managed to stop himself from giving a low chuckle to spite himself.

Applejack pulled up in front of him and knelt down as well. "Are ya alright?" She waited as Oblivion nodded in response. "Mayhap ya was lying down too long? Or standing too long and yer legs gave out?" She tried to explain what could have happened even though she truly had no idea. For his part, Oblivion looked up and a short chuckle escaped him.

"Maybe." Was his response. He looked back to his tangled limbs and he was well aware that his rump was in the air. Which was not the most dignified position for anyone? Especially a stallion. He started to try to move but found that if he did his flank started to fall. His right leg was stretched out underneath him and the left was planted into the ground to stop his fall. Applejack watched as he suddenly stopped and seemed to be analyzing his options.

"Ya need some help?" She asked trying to land on sympathetic instead of mocking.

Oblivion looked at her and then back to his predicament. He gave a loud snort at the position he was in before heaving a low sigh. "Yes." Was all he said. Unlike many people he knew, he was not too proud to ask for help when needed.

Applejack moved to stand with her shoulder planted again his right flank, next to his hip and then looked over to him. She gave a nod to tell him to try to stand and she would support his flank to prevent him from falling. Oblivion's ears flattened against his skull at the presence near his tail. But he understood it even though it wasn't a comfortable position for him. He put more of his weight forward, relying on Applejack to keep him from falling over. He was able to dislodge his left hoof and move it slightly to his side and then pull his right foreleg more forward as he wavered Applejack planted her hooves, pushed her shoulder into his hip, as a way to keep him standing and support his taller frame with her shorter stature. Oblivion suddenly growled as his wings spread off his back, angled toward the ground, and flapped once. His body was given enough lift and that allowed him to get his hooves underneath him. He did pitch against Applejack but she held her ground and he finally got to his hooves. He snorted and shook his head to get his forelock out of the way. Applejack jumped away from him and allowed him some space to get himself balanced. He stopped and looked back to her with a grateful nod. She walked over to stand next to his shoulder and then looked up at him.

“Ya okay pardner?" She asked him.

Oblivion sighed and nodded to her. She walked forward a few steps and then stopped. Oblivion realized that she was going to walk with him just in case. He didn't blame her since he had nearly face-planted his muzzle into the ground. He looked down at his hooves and took a step forward. He was pleased when he managed not to fall. Applejack moved with him and soon he was striding easily across the short grass with her. As they neared a short incline hill he paused near the bottom of it. 'Just got the basics of walking down and now I have to climb a hill. Well hopefully the end result of this is better than my attempt at walking without thinking.' He was about to turn to look at Applejack to ask about going around when the mare jumped to stand in front of him.

"Ya'll can climb this little hill. I'll be right wit' ya. Though Ah do wonder why yer having such trouble? You were fine getting up earlier when Ah startled ya and then when Ah pulled yer wing. Hmm... Wonder why ya can't climb this little ol' hill." Applejack said to him looking thoughtful.

Oblivion was well aware that she was trying to goad him into proving her wrong. It was a technique that he had used many times as well on trainees. He simply gave her a bland look and waited. Applejack couldn't stop herself when a grin threatened to break through her thoughtful expression. Oblivion simply stared back, his expression flat. The mare finally broke out laughing and seemed to give up. She went back to his side and waited for him to start moving. Oblivion looked up at the hill and waited for a moment while he thought of how Sasa had always tackled the hills he asked her to climb. Her body had pitched up into the hillside and she had climbed them fairly easily. Oblivion closed his eyes and focused.

Applejack looked at him and was about to comment about how they could go around when he snorted and plunged forward. Applejack yelped as she saw that his eyes were closed as he plunged up the hill. She was about to yell for him to stop when he plunged to a halt at the top of the hill.

Oblivion felt the angle change under his hooves and he stopped. He heard Applejack come to a stop beside him and he opened his eyes to look over at her. The mare breathed heavily and glared at him. "Ah wasn't talking about racing up it like a danged fool!" She yelled at him. Oblivion's ears pinned as she shouted. His ears rang for a moment before he looked at her with another blank look. Applejack fumed at him as he looked down the hill. He looked down and Applejack jumped in front of his snout.

"Oh no, ya don't. Ya try to race down this and ya'll end up hurtin' yourself. Just watch and Ah'll show ya how to go down tha hill." The mare went back to his side and Oblivion watched her as she angled down the hill and leaned her weight into her hind legs and started going down the hill. "Well come on." She said as she slowly went down.

Oblivion knew she was going slowly for his sake and while he appreciated it he had to work to try not to plunge down the hill. He leaned back and mimicked Applejack's posture. He quickly realized that going down was harder than going up. 'If I ever get back to Sasa I will never make her run downhills again. This is horrific.’ He vowed as he slowly made his way down the hill. He looked up at Applejack and tried not to slip. Her tail was in front of his snout when she yelped and began to slide forward. Oblivion's head snaked forward, grabbed her tail in his teeth, and planted his hooves to stop her slide. Preventing himself from doing the same thing.

Applejack panted as she looked back at the black stallion who had a mouthful of her tail. She panted at the sudden surge of adrenaline. "Thanks, Oblivion. Ah have to admit tha' was some quick thinkin', Ah was about to go head over hooves." She thanked him as he quirked an eyebrow at her.

'That’s one way to say my name. She drew out the O a bit but not bad enough to be hard to understand. I think that accent of hers is to blame. It seems to thicken if she gets excited.' He thought to himself as Applejack tried to say his name with that drawl of hers. He had heard accents before, but hers was quite strong. When she appeared to be situated he released her tail from his mouth and waited for her to move. When she did move forward, he followed slowly behind her. He had to admit it was tiring going down the hill. When they got close to the bottom Applejack gathered herself and jumped down the last several feet of the hill. Her head came up as soon as she landed and she whirled around to face Oblivion. He knew the look in her eyes. She was practically pleading with him not to do what she had. He snorted and continued his slow, controlled descent. He was a lot of things, but stupid was certainly not one of them. Until he got used to this horse body of his, he would not be doing any jumping downhills. Applejack looked more than a little relieved when he didn't follow her example. The orange mare waited until he got to the bottom and stood next to her. She walked forward and he followed her forward till they came to the edge of a pond.

“All right. Now ya can use some of yer magic and ya can see what Ah mean.” She said to him as he looked down.

Oblivion looked down and snorted at the image looking back at him. Applejack had moved out of the way when he started moving to the side. He looked and saw that even though the saddlebags obscured a good portion of his barrel, but even he could see that he was built similarly to his original body. He had always been tall and lean. Though for a horse he might have looked unhealthy to some. But the mare with him didn't say anything. His tail was white/silver like his mane and was almost on the ground. He was about to move it when he saw something tattooed on his right flank. He brought his head closer to the water until he realized that made no sense when he could look at it from a better angle. He raised his head and look back to his flank. He was not sure when it had happened but on his flank to the side of his hip was an emblem in the shape of his medallion and had his swords crossed behind it. He blinked at it and inclined his head to look closer at it. He suddenly brought his head up and looked down at his chest. Around his neck, his medallion still hung. He heaved a sigh of relief and then looked more closely at his hooves. His cat eyes narrowed and he looked closer at them, noticing that they seemed to be cracked. But he dismissed that thought when he looked at both of them and saw the 'cuts' went down all of them in exact same places. He chose to ignore that for now since unless you looked at them there was no way to tell and he would look more closely later.

“Use yer magic.” She encouraged.

He nodded and looked back at the water as he called on the magic that hummed under his skin. He watched as a symbol appeared on his forehead and he recognized it. It was a letter from the Elder Speech. He felt the magic fade and the symbol went with it.

Applejack watched as he looked at himself with unhidden curiosity. She tilted her head and looked to him. "Y'all act like ya never seen yer cutie mark before." She chuckled as she spoke to him.

His ears flicked to listen to her and once he heard her he looked back at her. Oblivion's ears flicked to listen as she spoke and once he heard her he looked at her. "My what now?" 'A cutie mark? That just sounds ridiculous and what in the Realms is she speaking of?’ He knew for a fact that he was a stallion and what she had said sounded the opposite of masculine.

Applejack looked at him. "Yer cutie mark. The marking on yer flank." She pointed to the emblem on his flank for emphasis.

Oblivion's eyes widened as he looked back at the mark on his hip. "I will be honest with you Applejack. I have never seen this before." He replied as he looked back to her.

He internally cringed at the confirmation of the name of the tattoo. He kept his disdain for the title hidden from the mare and simply waited for her reaction which he had to admit he was waiting for. He wasn't disappointed.

Applejack gaped at him with her eyes wide and mouth slightly open. "What ya'll talkin' about? Ya don't know about yer own cutie mark? Thought Ah have ta admit Ah have no idea what it means, but that ain't the point right now." She paused at his look. It conveyed that he was not kidding. "Oh by Celestia. Ya ain't joking. All righ' so ya don't know anything about yer cutie mark and ya don't seem ta be used ta walking like a pony."

Oblivion watched her as she reasoned things out on her own. He didn't interrupt and stood quietly. When she stopped he gave her an affirmative nod before cocking one hind leg. "Applejack. I have never heard of a 'cutie mark', nor have I heard of Equestria, and I have never heard of this Celestia you mentioned. And your belief that I am unused to moving as a 'pony' is accurate." He stated to her since he knew that those questions would come up eventually.

Applejack paused as she processed what he said. She gave a quiet snort and looked back to him. "But how can ya not know what ya are? Are ya cursed?" Applejack cringed away from him at that question. Oblivion looked at her with a withering glance that said 'seriously?' She paused and thought for a few minutes before she looked at him and sat down. "Go ahead an' sit down. Ah think we need to talk 'bout this." She motioned for him to do the same.

Oblivion looked at how she was sitting and tried to mimic her, but ended up falling onto his rump instead of sitting. He growled for a moment before composing himself and looking to Applejack. "What is it that you would like to speak of?"

Applejack looked back to him and inhaled before starting. "Alrigh'. So first thing Ah wanna know is why yer having so much trouble moving around. Ya do jus' fine at some times then yer falling down the next. Any idea why?" She sat quietly and waited for him to respond.

Oblivion sat in silence as he considered her question. 'How do I answer these without revealing too much? I'm not going to reveal everything until I have more information about this world and how it works. So for now I will be truthful but I'm going to hold back on major details.' He stopped his internal thoughts and looked back to the orange mare sitting in front of him. "There are many possibilities but the most logical would be that I seem to have lost some of my motor function. The reason for the movements before I think would be due to reflex and muscle memory. But that could be conjecture on my part." He said as he moved one hoof in front of him. He looked away from Applejack to the water as he waited for her response.

When he didn't hear anything he looked at her to find her staring at his hoof. He cleared his throat to try to get her attention and she shook her head and stood up. She walked the couple of strides to him and stopped. He watched as she reached down and gripped his hoof in hers and then turned it over to see the bottom of it. She stared intently at the bottom of his hoof. Oblivion rolled his eyes and tried to pull his hoof away, but Applejacks grip was stronger than he anticipated. He finally cleared his throat again but when nothing happened he gave a loud rumbling growl and that got her attention.

"What are you doing with my hoof?" Though he was curious about how it was able to move like that. As far as he knew a horse's joints weren't supposed to move in that direction. Applejack flushed and let go before scooting swiftly backward.

"Ah well yer hoof split apart and for a moment it looked like there was claws or something like that. Ah was looking but Ah couldn't see them since they would have gone into the bottom of yer hoof but there was nothing there and...wha?" She looked at him when he raised a hoof to stop her rambling.

Oblivion looked at the hoof he had raised with open curiosity. He focused on it and showed mild surprise when the hoof did indeed split into 4 long claws. The claws made him think of his fingers but there were only 4 of them he looked at the edges of the hoof and found that where his thumb would have been was an edge that kept the claws inside of his hoof and kept them hidden. While he looked at them, he flexed them to see if he could control them like he had his fingers. They could not straighten fully but enough for him to stand on them. He put the hoof down while keeping the claws out and discovered that it was comfortable to stand on the claws. Felt as though he was standing on his hooves but the claws instead.

"Hmmm. Very interesting." He looked up at Applejack and found the mare staring at him. "It’s nice to have an extra weapon in my arsenal. Also feels like standing on them is a natural feat so that’s a good sign as well. Don't think these could hold my swords though which is unfortunate but adapting to situations is a Witcher's job. This magic you mentioned can make up for lacking the grip to hold the blade the way I have been trained." He stopped himself when he heard a light cough. He blinked and looked at Applejack who looked a bit disturbed at what he was saying. He put the claws back into his hoof and looked at her expectantly. "My apologies. Your next question."


Applejack shook her head to stop herself from staring at him. 'Is he talking about using that sword in real combat? That can't be true. Nopony would go against somepony his size even in a battle. Ah can't believe Ah am even thinking of asking. Ah well, that ain't important right now. He's right Ah have other questions for him. But Ah have to hurry its gettin' late and Ah don't think he has anywhere to stay. We have an extra room at home but Ah would need ta talk to mah family. Gotta hide those swords Ah think. He doesn't seem ta like the attention. But how do we hide them?' She looked closely as he remained silently watching her as well.


"Okay next question then we should head out to mah farm. We have an extra bedroom that ya can rest up in. So what is a Witcher?" She asked him.

Oblivion looked at her for a moment before he looked away to gaze at the forest beyond where they sat. "That’s not an easy question to answer Applejack. Where I am from a Witcher is known even if they wish not to be. We are easily distinguished not just by our looks but by the weapons we carry. We are trained from a very young age to do battle with the monsters of the world and protect both lives and the balance of nature."

He paused to make sure Applejack was following what he had said. She appeared interested and so he continued. "We take up contracts in an area where the peo... ponies have requested the help of a bounty hunter, or a Witcher specifically, to rid them of a monster. Though we are trained to track and kill we also have the ability to reason with creatures if needed. For example, I can think of one of the last contracts that had me chasing after a monster that was believed to be destroying homes. I tracked it down and it was revealed to be a mountain troll that was actually simply lost. After directing the troll to the proper direction it all ended without bloodshed and I was still given the agreed on the amount of the coin in exchange." He finished the tale hoping it cleared up any fears about what he did as his profession. She appeared thoughtful and put a hoof to her chin as she seemed to be thinking over what he said.

"So ya can choose to either kill or save a monster even if it has hurt ponies?"

"Yes. Sometimes bloodshed is not needed and can be left behind in favor of reason." He responded.

"Ah have to admit that's quite a tale. But Ah can tell ya'll aren't lying. So ya help ponies with monsters, but ya talked about getting paid for it. Ya don't help just for the sake of helping?" She asked him with a somewhat concerned look.

He couldn't stop the bark of laughter that escaped him. "There are times that we will jump in to stop an immediate attack but if you want the monster gone a contract is what is required. A Witcher doesn't put their tail on the line without payment. There can be exigent circumstances but the majority of the time we require a contracted agreement. We do always provide proof if a monster is on the losing end of a contract." He stopped at the look he was getting from Applejack. He wasn't sure what the look was but it appeared to possibly be somewhere between anger and disgust. "Yes?"

Applejack sat in silence as he explained. She was disgusted by how he responded to simply helping another pony just for the sake of helping by laughing. Then to find out that he would not defend another pony without a contract. "How can ya not help anypony out if they are in danger? That’s just cruel. Ah can't believe what Ah am hearing. And the fact that ya say that with a straight face is... is... wrong. How can ya not help?" She ranted for several seconds before the aqua aura surrounded her mouth and silenced her. She looked down at her snout and she shook her head to try to clear it. When nothing changed she scowled at him and waited for him to remove it. Oblivion did not say anything for a moment his face unreadable.

"Witchers are hated where I am from. Not just due to our mentality. We are not like everyo... everypony. We lack many emotions due to how we are trained. There are so few of us left that while ponies hate us they still need us to accomplish what they cannot. Our sole purpose since long before I came along is to do battle with the monsters that hide in the darkness and you expect us to put our lives on the line doing something that only we can accomplish for free? That is a ridiculous notion. Do you not expect me to help you in exchange for the information you have provided and for offering me a room for the night? I do not expect to get anything for free in any aspect of my life. I am used to being hated and treated with cruelty and disdain my lack of emotion makes that very easy for me to ignore. So I ask you, Applejack, are you helping me for the sake of helping, or are you expecting me to earn my keep?" He chastised her but his voice lacked any true anger or cruelty. He spoke with a low tone and released her mouth so she could speak. He had been surprised when he had been thinking about covering her mouth with a hoof out of annoyance when his magic had done it for him. He waited for her to respond as he regarded her with a flat look.

Applejack looked at him for a moment before responding. "Alrigh'. Ya are right that Ah was gonna have you help out at tha farm in exchange for the room. Ah am sorry for accusin' ya of being cruel. That was wrong and ya did nothing to deserve it. Ah am sorry ta hear that your kind is mistreated for no good reason. It must have been difficult to grow up with that." She looked at him as he shook his head at her statement. She heard him mutter something about needing emotions to care what others truly thought. She kept going instead of asking him for more information. "Ah was wrong and I hope ya can forgive me for mah assumptions." She lowered her head in shame and waited for him to speak before raising her head.

Oblivion stared at the mare as she kept her head bowed and waited for him to speak. None had ever asked for his forgiveness for something they had said. No one had ever apologized to him or any other Witcher that he knew of. He blinked a couple of times before gathering himself and looking back to the mare. Oblivion reached out and put one hoof on her shoulder.

"There is nothing to forgive Applejack. You were speaking in honesty and I cannot fault you for that. You had no way of knowing my past and how others treat me and mine. It is something that I am used to and it does not bother me as much as it might others. But if it eases your mind I do forgive you for your words." He waited for the mare to look up and nodded to her. He removed his hoof as she stood up and gave him a wide smile. He startled when she came forward and wrapped her forelegs around his neck. He sat in stunned silence before he reached a hoof up and patted her back. 'Why is she hugging me? This makes no sense.' Was his thought when she finally let go and backed away from him.

"Alright, pardner. Let’s get goin'. It's startin’ ta get dark and Ah'm sure ya are probably hungry. I'll treat ya to a nice meal before we head to bed. Ah'll introduce ya to mah family.”

He stood silently as the mare turned to lead him away from the pond that they had been standing next to. Oblivion pivoted on his heel once more and stepped slowly up next to her. Applejack walked slowly beside him at first allowing him to get used to walking again and only then did she pick up the pace little by little to allow him to learn how to stay with her. They were halfway there when he seemed to have the hang of walking and no longer needed to watch her hooves to mimic her. Applejack saw her home and broke into a brisk trot. Oblivion rolled his eyes but continued walking. He did lengthen his stride not wanting to get left to far behind the orange mare.

Applejack trotted through the gate and saw her big brother. "Big Mac! Git over here! Ah brought a guest!" She hollered to the red stallion.

He looked up and walked toward his younger sister. Applejack stopped and waited for him but then face hooved when she realized that Oblivion couldn't trot yet. She looked back and saw that he was walking through the gate. She noticed that he had lengthened his stride and was able to keep up with her due to his long legs. He stopped at her hip and waited. The big red stallion reached his sister and looked at the taller black Pegasus behind her.

"Mac this here is Oblivion Shadow. Ah met him by the old pond and he's new around here. Ah offered him a room for the night and a good meal. So he needs some help learnin' the area." Applejack motioned for Oblivion to come up to stand by her.

Oblivion walked up to be level with the orange mare and looked at the stallion that was Applejack's older brother. The big stallion held out a hoof and offered it to him. "Nice ta meet ya. Mah name's Big Macintosh and yer welcome to stay here." The roan had an even stronger drawl that Applejack and it made it harder to understand him but Oblivion got the basics of what he said. He shook the stallion's hoof cautiously.

"Oblivion Shadow. Just Oblivion is fine. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Big Macintosh."

The stallion gave a good shake of Oblivion's hoof and then let it go. "Just Mac is fine mah friend."

Oblivion started at being called a friend. That was a first. The Witchers from the Wolf school were considered his brothers, not his friends. Being called a friend was a foreign concept to him. For now, he would ignore it and keep going forward as always. The stallion backed up and Applejack moved forward after giving Oblivion a nudge to follow her. The black stallion watched as Mac went back to what he had been doing and his ears suddenly flicked back and he stopped walking. He listened and he could hear what sounded like a large bird coming toward him.

"Duck!" He yelled at Applejack and the mare wisely listened. She dropped to her belly as Oblivion put his head down hoping he was right about how far off the ground the bird was as it neared them. His tail was blown between his hind legs and his mane went into his face.

He gave an annoyed snort and started to open his mouth to yell when Applejack beat him to it. "Darnit Rainbow why can't ya greet ponies normally? Especially when Ah'm tryin’ to show a guest around mah farm!" Applejack yelled at a… flying… blue pony… with a lightning bolt of red, blue, and yellow on her flank.

Oblivion managed to stop himself from staring. That must be what Applejack meant by a Pegasus. Oblivion looked at her wings and was surprised to see that they were much smaller than his own. She seemed to fly just fine on them but Oblivion wasn't sure how. The blue mare laughed at the outraged Applejack but stopped when she looked behind Applejack to see Oblivion.

She was suddenly in front of Oblivion's face, he snorted and he felt his magic react and he could sense the symbol as it activated and the magic gripped the mare’s rainbow tail. The blue mare yelped as her tail was pulled backward. Her wings flapped as she tried to get away from it. Oblivion looked at Applejack and Applejack seemed to catch on to his intent. Oblivion ducked his head and let go of the mare’s tail. She tore through the air above him and landed in a haystack 20 feet behind him. Big Mac looked less than impressed as the hay had seemed to explode and was now all over him.

Applejack howled with laughter and fell to her rump holding her stomach. Oblivion simply looked over his shoulder with a small grin on his muzzle. The mare's head poked out of the ruined haystack and spat out a mouthful of it. Oblivion watched as she climbed out of the hay and looked to Applejack who was now laying on her side holding herself laughing. She looked to Oblivion and glared. Oblivions' orange eyes gave away no emotion and his face was unreadable. The mare jumped into the air and looked like she was going to charge him. Applejack calmed down and sat up.

"Ah wouldn't Rainbow. He's got more magic than any pony Ah know. So messing with him is not a good plan." The orange mare called out.

"I'll decide if it’s a good idea or not AJ. Nopony can get away from me. I'm the best flier in Equestria. Besides now I owe him for that stunt. Though he's kinda weird looking isn't he?" The blue mare commented and lowered herself to the ground and began pawing at it as she looked at him.

"Rainbow ya'll need ta quit being rude to mah guest and calm down. Someone coulda’ been hurt by ya flying that close. And he looks fine ta me. Yes,he is a bit tall but that’s fine." Applejack jumped to land behind Oblivion in his defense, which surprised him and he watched as she moved to stop the blue mare.

Oblivion looked behind the Pegasus and watched in amusement as Big Mac stormed up to the blue mare. Mac reached out and tapped her on the shoulder. Rainbow startled and looked behind her to find a very angry Big Mac behind her. He didn't say anything and simply pointed to the scattered hay and pointed to the pitchfork to the side of them. Rainbow opened her mouth to argue and started to point to Oblivion but Mac got into her face and glared even more at her. The mare shrunk under him and walked over to the pitchfork, picked it up, and started cleaning. Mac walked up to Oblivion and as he was passing by him he paused and a big smile went across his muzzle as he chuckled. Obvious approval in the other stallions eyes for his actions.

"Ah was cleaning that up and now she can do it instead." The red stallion walked away chuckling as a small grim crossed Oblivion's muzzle. Applejack came up to stand at his should and laughed at her brother.

“That was perfect Oblivion. Ah’ve never been able ta get her ta work. But nopony messes with Big Mac.” She laughed aloud as the other mare.

“So who is she? Despite the yelling, you seem to be fairly close.” Oblivion observed.

“Eeyup. We been friends for a while. She may be a blowhard but she’s a good friend. Her name's Rainbow Dash. Ah’m sorry Ah didn’t introduce ya.”

Oblivion gave a low chuckle as he looked down at the mare. "I doubt she would have been interested in meeting me the normal way anyway Applejack. Especially since I put her into that haystack."

Applejack laughed and nodded. "That was one of the best things Ah have ever seen." Applejack finished laughing and started walking forward and then checking to make sure he was following. "Ah'll introduce ya to the rest o' mah family inside." Oblivion nodded and followed her. "But now that Ah think of it how were ya able to hold her in place. Rainbow is a strong flier. But you looked to not be struggling at all to hold her in place."

Oblivion looked at her as they walked. He thought about it for a moment before he responded. "I honestly just wanted her out of my way. I don't appreciate having any... pony in my face like that. The amount of magic I have could be due to other factors."

She said nothing for a second before she nodded. “Did ya want to keep yer magic a secret fer now?”

He was quiet as he considered his options. He understood after watching Rainbow Dash that a Pegasus didn’t have any magic since she did not react to his use of magic with any of her own. She didn’t seem to have noticed the magic that he used against her right away. If a Pegasus had any magic he was sure that she would have used it against him.

“We will leave it for now. In time we will let them know as it comes out.” He decided.

Applejack shrugged and kept walking toward the house. He glanced back to the Rainbow mare and saw her glaring. He felt the side of his mouth raised in a grin and he winked at her just to ruffle her feathers. He was pleased to see that it worked as she threw down the pitchfork and sputtered at him. He ducked his head and walked into the kitchen with Applejack. Applejack looked around and led him into the front room where an older mare was sleeping. She motioned for Oblivion to stop. He stopped in place and waited for further instructions. Normally he wouldn't let another command him but Applejack was smart enough to request he comply and gave him the choice whether he did so or not. He waited where she had requested as she walked up to the aged mare. She was an apple green mare with a gray mane pulled up into a bun on the back of her head.

"Granny Ah brought a guest." Applejack nearly hollered at the mare.

Oblivion stood in silence and couldn't help but turn his ears back at the volume. The old mare started and jumped to her hooves. Oblivion cringed when he heard the mare's joints creak. She looked up and saw the tall Pegasus in the opening to the front room and moved slowly toward him. Oblivion crossed the room in two strides to prevent the old mare from moving more than what was needed. She looked at him and he saw that her ears were constantly down and flopped against her head. She looked up at the stallion and smiled. Oblivion lowered his head to her and let her get a good look at him.

"Well, Ah'll be. Applejack brought home a colt." The old mare laughed at her granddaughter’s expense.

"Granny!" Applejack yelped as she flushed. "Ah found him by the forest and he had nowhere ta stay." Applejack quickly explained with an affronted look at her grandmother.

Oblivion gave a small smile and shook his head. His orange cat eyes looked back at the old mare and spoke more than spoken word would. The old mare looked back at him and she could see that while he looked young his eyes spoke volumes more than he ever would. She looked back at Applejack and Oblivion raised his head back up in response.

"Well, he's welcome ta stay a’ course. Better get to feed'n em. Call on Apple Bloom and let’s get ready for the reunion tomorrow." The old mare wandered toward the kitchen.

Applejack huffed and looked back at Oblivion. "Ah'll show ya to yer room. Then we can have some dinner." She looked to the stallion who nodded in agreement.

Oblivion spun around and followed the mare to a flight of stairs. Applejack led him up the stairs but he paused at the bottom of them. "To the right." Applejack heard him then realized what he meant and jumped to the right and flattened against the wall as a filly raced past her.

"SorryApplejackmove!" Even Oblivion had a hard time following the yellow blur as it ran past them. Applejack jumped away from the wall and stormed down the stairs.

"Apple Bloom you get yer tail back here right now!" The filly stopped in her tracks and looked over her shoulder. She looked at her sister and walked slowly back to her with her head down. Applejack waited till the filly was in front of her before she scolded her. "Apple Bloom ya know better than ta race through the house like that. And ya are being inconsiderate to our guest. Now apologize to him. If he hadn't been paying attention you would have hit us both and knocked us both down the stairs."

The filly looked up and found her big sister glaring down at her and then she motioned her head to where Oblivion was now standing. The filly looked sheepish as she turned to the stallion.

“Ah’m sorry fer runnin’ past you like Ah did.” The filly said to him.

He lowered his head to her level and looked her in the eyes. She looked at him and he could see her lower lip quiver slightly. She had a yellow coat and red mane and tail with a large pink bow in her mane. The black stallion stood silent and raised his head back up. Apple Bloom was now staring at him in curiosity. He could see that she had gotten a good look at him.

“All is forgiven little one. Simply learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them. Do that and there will be no hard feelings between us.” He said to her.

“Why do yer eyes look like a cat?” She suddenly asked. Her voice seemed a little squeakier than it had before.

“Apple Bloom!” Applejack yelped.

“It’s fine Applejack. She is not the first to ask about them and she will not be the last. They are like this so I can see in the dark and I can track monsters in the deep woods if I need to.” He said to her.

The filly smiled as she processed his reply to her. “Can I get eyes like that?”

His ears went back slightly at the question. “No.” He looked up at Applejack and motioned for her to lead him up the stairs.

“Why not?” The filly asked as she stood in his direct path.

Oblivion sighed and looked back down at the inquisitive filly. “Because there is no reason for you to have them. You live in a world of light and have no need for eyes that can see in the dark. My eyes help me do my job of protecting ponies from danger. And that is all I will say on the subject little one." The stallion stepped over her and followed the older sister up the stairs.

He missed the filly's look of disappointment as he stepped over her. His tail hitting her in the face as he climbed the stairs. When they reached the top Applejack led him to a room at the end of the hall. Unbeknown to her that was what he preferred due to him being able to respond to an attack faster if he can hear it coming. Though judging by his experience so far an attack was a very remote possibility. She held the door open and he walked into the room. It was wide enough for him to turn in comfortably and had a desk, dresser, and a bed with a quilt on the bed. There was a window above the bed and he looked out it and saw that he had a view of the property.

He looked back to Applejack, who was standing in the doorway looking at the floor. He turned and was a few steps away from her when he spoke. "What is it Applejack?"

The mare startled and looked at him. He had his head down to just above her when he spoke. "Well... Ah wanted to thank ya fer being gentle with Apple Bloom. She's a good filly if a little unthinkin' at times. But thank you for toleratin' her question. Ah, know ya don't like ta talk about it." She said and gave him a smile before she turned around and started down the hall.

The aqua aura covered the saddlebags that were around his girth and he set them down on the floor and he pushed them under the bed with a hoof. He started to turn back around before he felt a hoof on the shoulder. Applejack had come back into the room. She looked nervously from him to the swords on his back. He looked around the room and then looked over his shoulder at her.

“Yer gonna wear those swords?” She asked him, her voice quiet.

"Would you rather I leave them up here where they could be seen?" He asked with a blank look. "Plus I don't go anywhere without them. Old habits never die."

She groaned at his response. He knew that she was aware of the normal curiosity of the filly that would inevitability of the filly finding them. She opened the door and he followed her down the stairs and into the kitchen. She went down the stairs and looked up them to find him treating the stairs like a hill. She giggled at him but looked away quickly. Mac barreled in the door and ended up colliding with Oblivion as he reached the bottom of the stairs.

“Shit!” Oblivion shouted as his hooves were thrown out from under him and he landed on Macs back which tossed them to the ground. “Ouch.” Was Oblivion's next comment as he reached up to massage his head which had hit the ground on the other side of Big Mac.

Oblivion laid across Big Mac's withers and managed to get his hind legs under him as Mac groaned underneath him. One of Oblivion's hooves had struck him just above the left eye. While Oblivion cringed from landing on the work collar he wore. Apple Bloom was hanging onto her chair as she laughed and Granny Smith was making her way over to her grandson and their guest. Oblivion managed to sit down and get his forelegs under him before he tried to stand up.

Though he discovered that trying to stand when you don't have a solid footing was a poor decision on his part as his hooves slid out from under him and he fell back onto Big Mac's side. Big Mac groaned again as Oblivion landed on him. Oblivion laid there before a low growl came from him. Applejack walked over to the fallen stallions and tried to pull Oblivion to a better spot. He couldn't use his wings to help him this time. Granny Smith reached them and stood by them. Apple Bloom stopped laughing when she heard the growl from their guest. They all backed up when a blue aura with a slight mist coming off both stallions.

“By Celestia!” Granny Smith yelped and sat back on her haunches. Both stallions were lifted into the air and were deposited gently onto the ground. Applejack watched as Oblivion looked more annoyed than hurt, but it was Big Mac that was holding his head. Oblivion looked at him and rolled his eyes. He reached out a hoof and poked Mac in the shoulder. "I could help fix that bump of yours but I won't, this debacle is your own doing. Apple Bloom got scolded for just this reason earlier. Now it’s your turn. Don't run in the damned house!" Oblivion yelled in Mac's ear making him collapse to the ground again.

The black stallion stepped carefully over the red pony and looked up to the mares in the house who were now staring at the Pegasus. He looked from each of them and tried not to look angry.

"Yer eyes are glowing." Was Apple Bloom's commentary.

Oblivion's head looked up and he turned to Applejack who nodded. He looked around and didn't see a mirror close to him. He instead focused and his magic conjured a small mirror appeared in front of him and he looked at his reflection only to find that the filly was right. His orange eyes glowed back at him. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again they were back to normal. 'Hmm, that makes things easier, and apparently I can conjure items as well. The Lodge would die of jealousy.' Oblivion went over to the table and sat down beside it. Since there were no chairs he assumed that they just sat on the ground. He was correct aside from Apple Bloom who needed a chair to be level with the table. Applejack went over and helped her brother up and into the front room. She spoke to him and Oblivion had to focus on the outside to not overhear. Applejack came back into the kitchen and Mac was following her. He seemed to have recovered enough to stand easily. Oblivion was well aware that his hoof had hit Big Mac in the head but he was firm of the opinion that it was his own fault. The Pegasus didn't offer any help due to this fact. Plus his head hurt from the impact his head had been subjected to from the fall.

Applejack began serving up dinner while Mac sat down across from Oblivion. Apple Bloom bounced in her seat as she waited for her dinner. Oblivion could smell that it was some kind of pasta and bread of some kind. He focused back on the ponies around him and then looked out a nearby window. 'Well this is an interesting turn of events last thing I know I'm fighting for my life against two Leshens who would like nothing more than to end my life. Then I wake up in the body of a horse and am surrounded by very welcoming talking equines. If I wasn't living it I'd be convinced I was losing my damned mind. And to top it all off I seem to have been given the ability to use magic. Which makes no sense as well. I have never even wished to have the magic I am perfectly happy with my Signs and the old fashioned way.' His internal musing was interrupted when a plate of food was set down in front of him.

He looked at the plate and had no idea what he was looking at. He knew the strings were pasta but the little balls on the plate were a mystery to him. He looked to Apple Bloom and she had dived snout first into her food. He looked away and saw that the other was using forks but Oblivion had no idea how to use them with hooves. As he looked he realized that he was being foolish and used magic instead of his hooves since he had no idea how to grasp with them. The aqua mist held the fork and he speared one of the tiny balls and popped it into his mouth. Upon biting into it he had to fight not to gag. He turned his head to the side and managed to swallow whatever the hell it was.

Upon looking back at his food he watched from the corner of his eyes as Applejack ate her food and mimicked her once more. Though the rest of the meal wasn't as appealing either he ate it to be polite to his hosts. He ate as much as he could handle before pushing the remainder away from himself. Apple Bloom's head spun to look at him and his hoof pushed the plate toward her and she happily took it and cleaned his plate as well. He looked up as Granny Smith cleared her throat and she looked at him.

“Now Ah may not know much bout magic. But Ah know that a Pegasus isn’t supposed ta have magic. Ah just saw ya usin’ magic.” She said to him.

“I don’t have much of an explanation for you.” He admitted. “I have never thought about having magic beyond my Signs. I am not from around here so I suppose it could be possible that the magic that creates my Signs was made stronger by coming here.”

The family looked at each other and he hoped that they bought it. He truly had no idea how he had magic and he was unsure how to react to it now. The ponies seemed to understand his explanation and accepted it as he explained it. He pushed himself back from the table and moved to the door and pushed it open. He walked out and stood in the middle of the area. He breathed out a breath and allowed himself to sink into a heap on the ground.


Mac looked up from the table and a look from his grandmother made him move away from the table and head for the front door. He looked out of the door and he could see the black Pegasus laying on the ground in silence. He breathed in a breath and pushed open the door and walked out, heading for the black stallion. He drew up close to him and he could see Oblivion's ears flick back to listen to his hooves as he drew near. The red stallion drew up next to him and sat down beside him.


Oblivion looked sideways at the other stallion and he waited for him to speak. "May I help you?" He finally asked after a short delay.

"Ah'm sorry fer knockin' ya down earlier. Ah should have apologized righ' away but ah didn't and for that ah am sorry. Ya were right, ah did deserve the knock on the head. I wasn' thinkin' and caused trouble for mah family and especially you as our guest. Ah hope ya can forgive me eventually."

The Pegasus said nothing right away and he looked forward and pushed himself and sat up straight as he looked over his shoulder at the stallion. He fought back a deep sigh and looked back forward as he considered if he should give the immediate forgiveness or hold back. Considering what he had learned of these equines since he had been among them over the course of the evening he had learned that they were quick to forgive and let go. He released a short sigh.

"Forgiven." He replied, his tone bland.

He saw the shocked look cross Mac's face as he stared at the Pegasus. he knew enough to know that the shock would subside and then they would let it go if he had pegged the other's personality correctly.

"Thank ya. Even though Ah'm not sure Ah deserve it." He commented.

"Accept the forgiveness and we will move on from there. I trust you will not make the same mistake?"

"Nah. Ah know better than ta do what Ah did." He admitted.

"Then it is forgiven."

Behind him, the front door slammed and he lunged to his hooves, magic humming over his skin as he looked at Apple Bloom who had slammed the door. The filly trotted up to him and her eyes were bright as she looked up at him. The stallion’s eyes gave off a slight glow in the dark as he looked down at her.

“Can Ah ask ya something?” The yellow filly asked him.

Oblivion gave a small sigh and sat down. The magic faded as the filly looked at him. “I get the feeling that even if I said no you would ask anyway.” He commented. Big Mac came out and sat down behind her as she nodded. “You can ask one question.”

The filly looked thoughtful as she sat down. Applejack walked up to them and joined her brother as they waited for the filly to speak up. “But Ah got a lot of questions!”

Oblivion shook his head. “You get one question. As that is all you asked for and it is getting late. I’m certain your family would not appreciate you being up late.”

The filly sulked for several seconds as she thought over what question to ask. “Since mah sister brought ya home are ya her special somepony?”

What in the Realms does that mean?' Was all that Oblivion could think of in response to the question? "A what pony?"

Applejack snorted and spun her sister around to face her. “No he is not mah special somepony. Apple Bloom Ah met him in the forest and since he had nowhere ta go so Ah brought him here ta rest. Making an assumption about somepony is not going ta help matters." She looked at Oblivion to see what could only be confusion on his face. She had to admit she was thankful he didn't know what that meant.

Oblivion shook his head as he looked back at Apple Bloom. “Listen to your sister.” He said to her.

He managed to put aside his own curiosity and his questions. He’d ask Applejack about it another time. He stood up and walked around them to back into the house, his body was tiring and he was planning on turning in. Oblivion's magic opened the door and he walked inside to find Granny Smith started to go up the stairs to her own bedroom. Oblivion stood behind her as she slowly made her way up the stairs. Oblivion's magic picked her up and carried her to the top of the stairs. He gently set her down and began to walk past her toward the room Applejack had told him to use.

“Thank ye, youngin.” She said as she went into the first room on the left.

Oblivion stopped and stared at the old mare for a second. 'Mm. Another first. Being thanked for something small and fairly insignificant. I suppose that is normal for these ponies. Not sure how I will fit into this world. But if I'm here I might as well get used to it, since I am stuck here for now.'

He pushed open the door and walked into the room. The door closed quietly behind him and he sighed deeply. He looked over his shoulder at the wings that were pinned to his sides. The wings spread as he felt the muscles move and shift under his skin and the wingtips touched the ceiling. He brought them back to his sides and let them sit in place.

“Interesting.” He whispered to himself.

He heard the others coming in from outside and looked to the door. There was no lock on it but he used magic to create one. It would not open unless he wanted it too. He turned to the bed and looked at it. It appeared to be smaller than him so his hind legs might hang off the end of it. Having slept like that before he knew it would lead to waking up sore. He pulled the blanket off the bed and tossed the pillow to the plush rug. He pulled the baldric off and laid it down on the ground beside him. The blanket went over him and the pillow laid on the ground in front of him. He laid his head down in front of him. His magic pulled the curtains closed as he closed his eyes. He could hear the others getting into bed as well and he began to allow himself to fall asleep.

2: The Nightmare Reigns

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Oblivions eyes snapped open and his head lifted to its full height. His ears flicked in all directions as he searched for what had awoken him. He soon realized that it was Applejack hitting something in the room next to his own. As he listened closely he realized that it was a pot or a pan. His wings flicked against his sides and he moved his swords to hide under the blanket. He unlocked the door and waited for the mare to push open the door. She opened the door and she found him to be looking at her from his place on the floor. She stared at him closely, holding a pot in her hoof.

“What in tarnation are ya doin’ on the floor?” She asked as she walked into the room and closed the door.

“The bed is to short. I have slept on beds like that before and I ended up sore for my trouble. Sleeping on the rug made more sense.”

Applejack nodded in understanding. He stood up carefully and his wings were limp against his sides as they fell to the ground. The blanket slipped off his back and he looked at the limbs as they were limp in place. He looked at the orange mare and she was clearly waiting for him to put them back in place. He looked at the wings and he felt magic run over him as they were covered in the same aqua aura and were put against his sides. Muscles that he did not know were there locked them in place and they did not move. He shook himself and he was glad to see that there was barely any stiffness in his limbs or body. Magic reached out and his swords were placed on his back and the baldric buckled into place. He gripped the black cloak and slid it over his body to hide the swords on his back.

Applejack nodded as he finished and she moved back to allow him to move toward her more easily. The mare motioned for him to go ahead of her and he moved to oblige and walked out toward the stairs. He stopped and stepped to the left as Apple Bloom came running around the corner. She screeched to a halt when she saw them and trotted down the stairs. The filly looked at the pair of them and smiled as she walked past them and onto the stairs.

“She seems to have learned her lesson, for the most part.” He said to her.

The orange mare chuckled and nodded at him. “Well, least she learned sumthin’. Ah’ll have breakfast ready in two shakes, so let's get down there and ah’ll get to makin’ pancakes.” She urged him down the stairs ahead of her.

He stopped after a couple of steps and looked back at her. “Pancakes? Are those similar to a flapjack?” He looked at her with a serious expression. Applejack blinked and after a few beats, she nodded. “I see. And while I'm asking, what in the name of all that is unholy were those little balls that we had last night?”

Applejack smiled and looked like she was holding back laughter. “That was spaghetti and wheat balls.”

Oblivion looked thoughtful for a second before he replied to her. “Alright. I do not mean this to sound critical and I appreciate the meal, but if I am here for the meal again please do not put them on my plate.”

Applejack looked at him with barely hidden curiosity. “Why?”

He looked at her carefully before he responded. “I mean no offense, but they were awful.” He replied with a cringe. He expected her to say more about it but he was surprised to hear a bark of laughter from the mare.

“Is that why ya gave them all to Apple Bloom?” She asked and he nodded in reply. “All righ’. Ah’ll remember that ya don’t care for ‘em.”

She moved past him as he stood at the bottom of the stairs. She moved to the oven and began to cook as he sat down in place. He was pleased that she had accepted his opinion easily. He would have offered to help her with her task if he had any idea what she was doing. He had done basic cooking when he was on his own in the Northern Realms but cooking over a fire was as much experience as he had with cooking. He accepted that he would have to resign himself to helping with cleaning up as he had done last night.

He looked at Apple Bloom who was staring at a piece of paper with a pencil held in her mouth. She appeared to be concentrating. He looked over to see what she was looking at and was put off to see that he could not read what was on the paper. All he could see was strange symbols scrawled across the page. Apple Bloom looked at him and found he had a curious look on his face. She looked away and he saw a mischievous look cross her face. He had seen that look before on young Witcher's. The filly looked back to him slyly.

“Ya seem to want to see what Ah’m doing.” She said to him and he simply looked back at her. “Ya want ta try it?”

Oblivion looked at the paper, put his hoof on it, and pushed it back until it was under her muzzle. “Nice try little one. I am immune to those big puppy eyes of yours. I have no interest in doing your work for you. You will get nowhere if you expect your work to be done by others. Others will push you away if you try to use them to your own ends.” Oblivion looked away as he finished speaking.

The filly blinked at him for several seconds before she looked down at the paper in front of her. He had spoken truthfully to her and he did not regret what he had said. He sat in place and the filly seemed to regret what she had tried to do if he was reading her right. He was not paying her attention as she suddenly jumped from her chair and walked up to him. She tapped his lower leg and he looked down at her in response. He could see tears in her eyes as he looked down at her.

“Ah’m sorry. Ah didn’t think about how ya would feel. Ah, I'm so very sorry Oblivion.” The filly said as she sniffled.

His eyes went slightly wider at her tone and the sound of her voice. He had not intended to upset her into tears. He had simply pointed out her mistake and expected her to learn from it. He glanced up to the others and they were now looking at him with varying smiles. Applejack looked at him and then tipped her head to the filly, encouraging him to comfort her. ‘How in the Hells do I handle a crying foal?’ He reached out and patted her back as she hung her head in front of him. Apple Bloom looked up at him and she gave him a thin smile.

Oblivion watched her and tried to think of a way to ease her sniffling and comfort her, despite not truly knowing how to do that. He thought back to how he had seen his mare, Sasa, react to an upset foal and remember that she had nuzzled the foal and licked the foal’s fur. Oblivion immediately threw out the second idea as it disgusted him. He leaned down and gave her a gentle, but very brief nuzzle to her mane. She perked up and looked at him as he withdrew back to his height. Applejack and Granny Smith ‘awwed’ at the site and Oblivion managed not to blanch in reply to their response. Big Mac nodded in approval and went back to setting the table for breakfast. Apple Bloom looked at the black Pegasus and smiled widely.

“Go finish your work little one.” He said to the filly, finally breaking the silence his voice loud to his own ears. He used his hoof to turn her around and nudge her back to her chair.

She smiled and trotted back to her chair and jumped into it.

“Breakfast everypony!” Applejack shouted, despite them all being close enough to hear her normal speaking voice.

He watched as she placed a platter of food in the middle of the table. Applejack and the rest of the family sat down, Oblivion joined them and waited till the others had taken their portion. He took two in his hoof and put them on his plate. He looked up at the others to see what they were doing. Apple Bloom had drowned them in something that smelled sweet to him. Applejack and her brother put butter and the sweet-smelling liquid on their food and started to eat. The Witcher had never been a fan of sweets so he left his plain and ate them quietly. When he had finished he moved his plate to the sink and stood up to walk outside. As he walked to the door Applejack swallowed her food and looked at him.

“Did ya get enough ta eat? Ya only had two.” She asked as he stopped at the door and he looked back at her and he nodded silently. “Ah’ll be done in a minute. Can ya wait outside fer me?”

He nodded at her request and pushed the door open. He walked outside and over to one of the apple trees to stand underneath it. He leaned up against the tree and waited for the orange mare to finish her breakfast. Around five minutes passed before Applejack walked out of the house and looked around. Oblivion whistled, Applejack spotted him and trotted over to him. She stopped in front of him and smiled.

“The way ah figure it ah should show ya around Ponyville. Ah have some shopping to do so ah can show ya around and get some work done. Give me a sec while ah get mah saddlebags and Ah’ll walk ya into town and show ya around.” She mentioned to him and waited for his response.

“Very well. Should I get mine as well?” He asked her.

He asked more out of courtesy due to the fact that he had not even looked into his saddlebags yet. He was not sure if they had any space in them due to the number of things he normally carried with him on his saddlebags back in the Northern Realms. She shook her head at him as she turned back to the house and trotted back inside. The farm mare returned a minute later and Apple Bloom joined them after a second delay. He looked at the grown mare and she patted Apple Bloom's shoulder.

“Need ta drop Apple Bloom off at school, then we can go into town.” She explained.

Oblivion nodded in silence and joined them in walking forward toward the gate to the farm. He kept an easy pace with the mare as Apple Bloom led them down the dirt road. He spent the walk looking around him till they got up a small hill that had a very gentle incline that he was able to simply walk up instead of lunging. When he reached the top he saw a small building that was a gentle red and had a mix of white and had a little horseshoe on the front awning. Oblivion didn’t bother to hide his interest in the small building. His eyes traveled to the many foals running around in front and to the side of it were, what he assumed, were toys for the foals to play on. Schooling for him had been in Kaer Morhen and had been rigorous. This on the other hand... hoof looked like a pleasant place. He looked at Applejack who in turn was looking at him with a smile. He looked away and back to the schoolhouse. His head was up as he looked closely at the building. His cat eyes narrowed and his heightened vision analyzed every part that he could easily see. He stopped when Applejack did and watched as Apple Bloom joined her fellow foals.

“Ya look interested…Ah think.” She said as he looked blandly back at her. “Ya’ll Witchers… Ya learned in a place like this?”

Oblivion barked out a laugh as he looked to the mare beside him. “Hardly. I learned in a fortress of stone and mortar. The opposite of this place. But I wouldn't have traded it for the world either. For all its faults it was the right place for Witchers. We gather there every winter, even now. It's really the only time we see one another due to our profession. There aren’t very many of us left now though. Soon the keep will be too big for just a few of us.” He responded, his voice dropped as he thought of the few Witchers of the Wolf that remained.

Applejack regarded him and then looked away. “Ah’m sorry ah brought it up. But ah’m glad to hear ya liked it.” She stopped when he laughed.

“It was a living hell. But it made us ready for the trials that came and ensured we could survive alone. But again, it was just different.”

He went back to looking at the school when he became aware of many pairs of eyes staring at him. He looked in front of him and found around 8-12 foals looking up at him. He blinked at them and stepped back a step or so. Applejack giggled as they all stared. One of them, a darker pink filly stepped forward and looked up at him. He saw Apple Bloom looking at him from the front of the group as she pointed up at him with one hoof.

“This here is Oblivion Shadow. He’s new ta Ponyville.” She said to the others and waited as they nodded in recognition.

“That can’t be his real name.” One filly sneered from behind the others.

Her voice grated in his nerves as it reminded him of nobles that he had dealt with before. The mark on her flank appeared to be a thin silver crown with gems on the tips. Her eyes went over his body and she looked up at him. He was not a fan of the nobility who acted all high and mighty until they needed the dirty work taken care of. Oblivion had put many a noble in their place with his usual commentary and promises of leaving them with their own problems until they caved in and gave him what he asked for. Apple Bloom deflated and seemed more upset than earlier when she had tried to use him for her own gains. He felt magic humming under his skin in response to his change of stance as he leaned his head down to look at the snobbish filly.

“I can promise you my name is real and I do not tolerate insults. Neither to myself or those who have been kind to me. I expect to hear an apology directed to Apple Bloom little filly or you will discover just how strong I truly am. Now, I believe you have something to say?” His cat eyes narrowed to slits and he could see that the filly was listening.

He turned her to face Apple Bloom and when she didn’t speak up Oblivion put his head above hers and released a loud snort. She yelped and looked up as he pulled his head back slightly from her.

“I’m sorry for what I said Apple Bloom.” She shrilled and Oblivion brought his head back up and looked to Apple Bloom.

Apple Bloom smiled and she looked up at him. He raised his head back to his natural height and he could see the look he was getting from Applejack from the corner of his eye. Much to his surprise, the foals began cheering and laughing. Apple Bloom got patted on the back by many foals for how cool her family’s guest was. Oblivion looked at her and was about to say more when the front door of the school building opened and a dark pink mare with a pink and white mane and tail called them all inside. The dark pink mare waved to Applejack and blinked repeatedly at the stallion next to the orange mare, but said nothing. Many of the foals began heading to the schoolhouse and many turned and waved, calling his name. The foals all filed into the building and soon it was quiet. He shrugged and turned to Applejack.

“Ya didn’t have ta scare her.” Applejack commented to him.

“Maybe. But I regret nothing.” He replied to her as he turned to face the other direction and waited for her to lead them away from the schoolhouse.

“Ah know ya didn’t use yer magic but I would recommend ya not use it unless ya have ta.” She said to him.

“Why?” He asked in reply and looked at her.

“Ah can’t think of any Pegasus that has magic. Nopony does. Only Unicorns and the Princess can use magic like that.”

“So I should avoid using it at all costs?” He replied.

She looked thoughtful and after a delay of several seconds, she nodded. “Yup. If ya have ta then you have ta. But Ah would try to keep it under wraps fer now.” She said to him.

“Very well.”

Applejack shook her head and sighed as she walked forward to lead him. It was early morning and the streets of the town were fairly clear. Many ponies were decorating and most were busy preparing for what looked like a celebration or festival of some kind. Oblivion looked around as he kept pace with Applejack. As she mentioned the names of several buildings and showed him the inside of a few of them. Several ponies stopped to stare at him as he passed by. At first, he reacted with a glare and a low growl. After being reprimanded by Applejack he was informed that they saw him as a stranger and because he was so tall he stood out. With that cleared up, he nodded to Applejack who continued leading him through town as she did her shopping. As she bought the few things she needed it became obvious that her saddlebags were full and could not hold anything more. She looked at her list and then to Oblivion.

“Ah’m regretting sayin' Ah didn’t need ya ta bring yer saddlebags. This is more than Ah thought Ah would need.” The orange mare commented with regret heavy in her voice.

Oblivion looked at her for a moment before he looked around and saw many ponies carrying things on their backs with no trouble. He looked at his own back and to the swords that were set in place. His cloak sat loosely on his back and covered the swords completely. He looked at his wings and they raised slightly off his back and framed his back. The Witcher looked at the mare and she was watching him closely.

“We can try placing them on my back and the wings should keep them from falling off.” He said to her and she nodded in understanding.

She took some of the bigger items and laid them across his back and they leaned against the wings that were slightly raised from his sides. She pulled a hoof back and watched the items closely to make sure they did not fall. He watched and after several seconds he began to walk forward with the mare at his side. He said nothing as the orange mare told him more places and soon he had no doubt that he would be able to navigate the town on his own after a few tries. He had the basic outline figured out and knew the major buildings. Applejack led him toward a pink building that looked like a cake of some kind.

“Ah’ll treat ya to a snack as thanks fer holdin’ mah things.” Applejack said to him.

He nodded politely to her and walked inside. The floor gave off a shine and there were glass cabinets on the walls. He stopped just inside and waited for Applejack to walk in as well. He walked slowly behind her. The floor reminded him of some noble houses that he had been in during a few contracts. It was a bit disorienting for him and he forced himself to look away and focus on following the mare. She looked back at him once as he followed, her items still sitting on his back. She stopped in front of the counter and waited as he joined her. A sky blue mare with a pink mane and 3 cakes on her flank greeted them at the counter.

“Howdy Mrs. Cake. How’s business doin'?” Applejack greeted the other mare cheerfully.

“Oh it’s doing well there Applejack, thank you for asking. And who is this handsome stallion?” She asked as she looked at the black Pegasus with her.

“Ah well, he’s…” Applejack replied and fumbled for the right words.

“I am Oblivion Shadow. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. Cake. Applejack took me into her home after she found me in the forest yesterday. I am repaying her by helping her out with her shopping this morning.” Oblivion spoke up to save Applejack from embarrassing herself more. He bowed his head to the older mare who flushed as well.

She stared at him for a moment before she recovered. “Well, he certainly is a gentle colt. And it is good of you to help Applejack out. Her whole family is such good ponies.” She said before looking back to Applejack. “So what can I get you this morning dear?”

Applejack cast a side look at the Pegasus before she responded. “Ah’ll take an apple cupcake and what would ya like Oblivion?” She questioned him.

Much to his dismay, any labels the items had could not be read by him. He was having trouble discerning any of the smells apart from each other due to how prevalent they were. He shook his head to clear it and looked back to Applejack. “I’m not sure. I’m not a fan of sweets. So something that isn’t very sweet if possible.”

Mrs. Cake startled at his admission and then she looked a bit perplexed as she thought over the options. There was a loud bang that sounded off from behind her. A yellow stallion came out of the room behind her and he stared at Oblivion as well. The black Pegasus looked unflinching back at them.

“You do not like sweets?” She asked him and he nodded once in response.

Oblivion waited as they processed what he had said. He looked over and even Applejack was staring at him. He suddenly felt the ground shake for a moment as a bright pink mare came running into view. Her face was contorted into one of horror as smoke came from her hooves. Oblivion stared at her for a moment before he shook his head and looked back to the others. The mare ran forward and pushed Applejack back so she could gape at him. Her mane was messy and puffed up in several directions. She had 3 balloons on her flank and she reached out and pulled Oblivion's mane down till she had hold of his muzzle. She held him in place as he snorted in displeasure.

“How can you not like sweets?” She shrieked at him. Oblivion pinned his ears at her and snorted. “Sweets make ponies happy and make everypony smile! Do you not like smiling?” She said and kept pulling on his head and mane.

Applejack recovered and moved to stand by the pink mare's side to try to pry her off Oblivion's head. She looked to him and saw that his eyes were beginning to glow signaling that he was growing more and more annoyed. She reached forward and tried to pry the mare off of him.

“Pinkie let go o' him.” She pulled on the mare and then looked at Oblivion.

His eyes were starting to glow brighter and Applejack knew that he was losing his patience. She watched as Oblivion began squaring his hooves as if prepping to fight with the mare.

“Pinkie let go righ’ now! He can’t answer ya if yer holding his muzzle closed.” She shouted as she began pulling on the mare.

He was about to break his agreement with Applejack about magic when the mare perked up and released his head, which sent Applejack rolling back. Oblivion shook his head, lifted his head up to full height, and glared down at the pink mare, who was looking at him expectantly. His eyes glowed brightly and he refused to dignify the mare with a response. She looked at Applejack who staggered back to them and patted Oblivion's shoulder.

“Please say somethin’ or she might do that again.” Applejack said to him.

“I am not required to explain my taste in food to her. Not after her display. I will not explain myself since there is nothing to explain. My choice of food is just that... My choice.” Oblivion stated as his eyes still glowed and he refused to even look at the pink mare who was blinking rapidly at him as he spoke.

Mrs. Cake looked at them and gave a small smile. “I don’t have anything that isn’t sweet out here. But if you are okay with waiting for a couple of minutes I know just the thing for you.”

Oblivion looked back to the mare as her words caught his ears. Her voice was gentle and Oblivion gave her a slight nod before pivoting on his heel and going to sit down at a booth close by. He waited by the table for Applejack. Applejack picked up the cupcake that was given to her and she came to join him and moved the items on his back to the table then sat down with him, leaving Pinkie standing in place. Oblivion’s eyes faded and he sat in silence.

“Ah’m sorry about that. Ah forgot ta mention that Pinkie Pie can be a little extreme sometimes.” She said to him. Oblivion’s head turned swiftly to look at her. He gave her a look that said ‘really’. “Okay, she can be a might extreme.” Oblivion snorted and Applejack looked back to Pinkie. The mare suddenly jolted and trotted over to them. As she neared Oblivion visibly bristled. “Easy pardner.” Applejack put a hoof on his shoulder, hoping to quiet him.

Pinkie stopped by the table and her ears were folded back in shame. “I’m super-duper sorry. I got over-excited… again. Anyway, my name is Pinkie Pie and I’m Ponyville’s resident party pony. You're new here aren’t you?”

Oblivion paused before responding. He simply looked at her and then looked away. Applejack could see that he was still angry about Pinkie’s behavior.

She leaned forward. “Ah found him in the forest yesterday evenin’. He is new but he doesn’t like loud noises or sweets Pinkie. So ah think ah can speak for him when I say… no party.” She told the mare.

Pinkies' eyes widened and she seemed to be struggling to keep quiet. Her head actually expanded and Oblivion stared in surprise. Applejack looked at him to see a look that bordered on concern in his face. She shook her head and smiled motioning for him to wait with her hoof. He watched with her as she suddenly deflated and then recovered.

“Okay. I’m over it.” She commented and bounced back toward the counter.

“What the hell was that?” He asked her as the orange mare looked at him.

Applejack barked a laugh and she shook her head at him. “That’s just Pinkie. Ya get used to it.”

He shook his head in response to her and looked at the tabletop. He poked a hoof at the items in the table and then a short sigh escaped him. His wings flicked at his sides and he looked down at them and then back to the table. He could feel magic as it hummed through him and he felt it coming to his command as the hammer lit up with his aqua aura. He heard a groan from Applejack and it lifted slowly into the air in front of them.

He felt a sudden jolt go through him and he snorted with surprise and the hammer went through the ceiling above him. Oblivion looked up at the hole in the ceiling and looked around before his eyes went to Applejack who was glaring at him. He looked back up and maneuvered the hammer back through the hole in the ceiling. He put the hammer on the table and looked up at the ceiling, he looked up as his magic covered the hole in the ceiling and after a moment the hole has vanished in a flash of aqua light. He gave a low snort at his handy work. He looked back down and put the hammer back in its place with the other tool sitting on the table.

Applejack swatted his shoulder and he looked over at her dumbfounded expression. “How in Equestria… How did ya do that?” She asked him.

He gave a small shrug and he felt the wings as the muscles shifted and they moved in response to the movement of his shoulders. “If I break something then I expect to either fix it or pay for it.” He explained.

Mrs. Cake came to their table with a platter balanced on her back. She set a small cake in front of him and he leaned forward to give it an experimental sniff. His eyes opened slightly wider and he reached out to grip the cake between his two hooves and lifted it to his mouth so he could take a bite of it. His mouth opened and he took a bite of the cake and gave the mare an approving glance. He swallowed and then bit into the rest of it and swallowed it easily.

“Thank you, Mrs. Cake. I appreciate your understanding and that was a delicious coffee cake. I greatly appreciate it.” He said as he gave her a small smile.

Mrs. Cake blinked and then broke into a wide smile. He could see Applejack looking at her from the corner of his eye as she shook her head and smiled as well. “Ya like coffee?”

The Witcher nodded in reply. “I told you I am not a fan of sweets. My tastes run more toward coffee if I have to have something with flavor or I prefer spirits if given the choice.” Applejack looked at him and laughed for a second.

“Well now ah know what kind of food ya like. Are all of the yer kind like that?” She asked as Mrs. Cake left them alone.

Oblivion shook his head. “No. There are a couple I know that prefer very strongly flavored foods. Things that are either very sweet or very spicy. It depends on the individual. I just happen to lean towards bitter or even bland if needed. Due to my heightened sense of taste and smell, some things can be overwhelming. Sweet things are one of them.” He explained and Applejack nodded in understanding.

He looked up as Pinkie came out of the back with a small bag on her back. His nose told him what was in it and he looked at her with suspicion before she set the bag on the table in front of him. Applejack looked at Pinkie who seemed to be awaiting his response. Oblivion looked at her for a moment before he sighed and nodded to her. He got out of the chair and walked toward the door. His hoof opened it for Applejack as Pinkie smiled and waved at them. Oblivion looked back and saw the crazed pink pony leaning out the door waving frantically. Oblivion’s ears flicked back and listened around him. He looked back in front of him and watched where he was going.

The streets were becoming busier the longer they were in town. He watched as Applejack quickened her pace and he was able to easily keep up with her. He stayed close by her as they made their way through town and back to the road that would take them to the farm. They made it back to the farm and she began putting the tools where they needed to be. Big Mac thanked them as the tools were delivered. Oblivion noticed that the wheel on the wagon Mac was using had broken and that was the reason for the tools. He looked at it as Applejack took the tools off of his back and placed them where they belonged. She also picked up the small bag with several coffee cakes in it down on the table as well.

“Is that why we have so many new tools?” He asked blandly as he looked at the broken wheel.

“Eeyup,” Mac replied as he got up and turned to look at the new tools on the table.

Applejack looked at Oblivion, smiled, and watched as aqua light covered the wheel and it was restored in a flash of light. He looked away as Mac turned to look at the wheel with a hammer in his mouth, he stopped and stared at the wheel for a moment, blinked, and then looked to Oblivion. The Pegasus looked blandly at the forest. He turned to Applejack who was trying and failing, to hold in a smirk. She put a hoof over her muzzle but ended up laughing through it anyway. She pointed to Oblivion and laughed at her brother's look of surprise. The black stallion was silent as he looked back to Big Mac, saw the look on his face, and gave a small nod to the wheel. Mac smiled and put a large hoof on Oblivion's shoulder in thanks.

“Ah appreciate the help, Oblivion. With this fixed Ah can get the other parts ready for the reunion tomorrow. If ya don’t mind helpin’ Ah could use some extra help.” Mac said to him and motioned for him to follow.

Oblivion looked back to him and seemed to think it over. “I don’t see why not. Since you let me stay the night I’ll lend a helping ha... hoof.”

Applejack went over to the orchard and began kicking the trees to release the apples. Oblivion cringed at the impact but looked away to focus on following the red pony. They turned the corner to the other side of the barn and were greeted with easily over a dozen other ponies. Oblivion halted and stood in silence as he looked at the group of various colored ponies. ‘Oh by the Realms this could turn out badly. The last time I was in a large crowd I had to run due to the humans blaming me for their misfortune despite the fact that I got rid of the wraith haunting their farmlands. Though to be fair these equines are incredibly forgiving and even more accepting than I could have imagined so this could go either way.’ Though he still did not move and Big Mac seemed to realize after several strides and looked back to the Pegasus. Big Mac looked back to him and cocked his head.

“Y'all all right’?” The red stallion walked back to him and waited for a response.

Oblivion looked to him and paused before responding. “I am not a fan of crowds. Currently, I am standing at the only escape route. Which is not a comfortable realization.” Oblivion explained to the red farmer and awaited his response.

Big Mac looked at the Pegasus and then looked behind him as well. Noticing that there was a small crowd. He looked at the other stallion and despite his calm demeanor, he showed a slight amount of discomfort. Mac decided to see if the chores he needed help with could be done from a distance. But when he thought of it he realized that it would be more difficult.

“Well, ah do need the help to get mah chores done in time but ah don’ want ya to feel like ya have to help. Especially’ if ya’ll are uncomfortable. Ya can help Applejack with the apple buckin’ if ya like.” Mac replied.

Oblivion looked from the farmer to the crowd. ‘I’m going to be noticed one way or the other. Either due to the fact that I am a Pegasus among regular ponies or due to my height. Bloody brilliant. I do owe this family my help in exchange for their hospitality. My pride will not allow me to turn tail due to some discomfort.’ Oblivion shook his head and squared his hooves. “Discomfort or not I will do as I said I would and aid you. I am going to be noticed one way or the other due to the fact that I am different in appearance. I will deal with it.” He said and moved past Big Mac to where a bunch of tools and wood sat.

Big Mac watched him and followed closely behind him. He grew up on his left and saw several of his relatives look at the black Pegasus with clear interest. He looked to Oblivion and found the Pegasus to be ignoring them. His ears were flicking to the sides to listen so it was clear he knew that he had been spotted. They reached the woodpile and Mac drew away from him and looked to his project.

“Alrigh’. So we need to make a temporary bleacher so that ponies can sit comfortably and enjoy each other’s company. So ah need ya to put the wood in place and hold it while ah hammer it into place.”

Oblivion looked at him and then to the pile of wood and materials. He looked back over his shoulder to the small group and they were now facing away from them and looking in the opposite direction. He felt the magic that he had roll under his skin and he called on it once more. He saw Mac turn to grab a series of tools as the materials all levitated and he focused on the bleachers that need to be made. A flash of light went off and Mac whirled back to look where the materials had once been. His mouth dropped open at the sight before him. They were 6 rows high, had red, orange, and yellow streamers wrapped around the boards and had apples carved into the wood. Mac’s mouth dropped open and the hammer fell to the ground. He looked over to Oblivion and saw the stallion's eyes open and for a second he wavered in place. Mac jumped next to him to stop him from possibly falling over.

Oblivion's head went down as he tried to recover, his vision had blurred for a moment and a headache threatened to hit him. He breathed deeply and waited for it to pass. After several moments it passed and he looked over to find that Mac was supporting his left shoulder with concern written on his face. He waved a hoof at him, but Mac stayed in place. “I’m all right. I’m guessing that I simply overused my own magic. Though that is a rough guess. So in reality it...” A loud growl went through the air and Oblivion blinked. Mac looked at him and gave a loud laugh.

“Sounds like somepony is hungry. After following mah sister around all mornin’ ah’m not surprised. Come on mah friend, ah’ll get ya fed.” Mac moved away from him and started to lead him back to the house.

‘I ate a normal amount of food for me. Strangely enough, I do not feel hungry. Actually, that was more than normal for me. Perhaps this new form I have requires more to function safely. That would make sense considering it is larger than it previously was. This could become problematic until I figure out how much this form requires.' Oblivion walked slowly behind Big Mac with his head level with his own shoulders. His stomach growled once more as he moved past several ponies who had come over to look at the structure that had been created. He could hear the comments from the ponies expressing admiration at the structure. Oblivion gave a small smile and followed Big Mac. Oblivion looked back at himself when Mac stopped next to the tool bench by the barn. Oblivion could see that he was a very thin pony compared to others. He wondered if his high metabolism had something to do with it.

Mac tapped Oblivion's shoulder to encourage him to keep following as Mac put the small bag on his own back and started for the house again. He opened the door and held it as Oblivion walked in giving him a nod of thanks. He looked back and found Applejack taking a few strides toward him but he shook his head and pointed to his own stomach to show that they were getting some food. She nodded and pointed to the time. Big Mac looked thoughtful for a moment before he realized that it was time to pick up Apple Bloom. He nodded and indicated that he would take care of Oblivion while she got their younger sister. He went inside and found Oblivion standing in silence as he breathed heavily. Mac pushed him gently into the front room toward the couch.

Oblivion allowed himself to be moved and stopped when the light nudging ended and Big Mac tried to push his flank to the side to be able to lay down on the couch. Oblivion shook his head and started to move when the room spun at the sudden movement and his knees buckled. “Shit!” He yelped as Mac took that exact moment to push his ribs and he landed on the couch. The red farmer looked pleased with himself but looked down at Oblivion with concern.

“Now we need ta get some food in ya. If ya weren’t black as night ya would be very pale. Ah knew ya didn’t eat enough this mornin’ but ah didn’t want ta pry. Even Apple Bloom ate more than ya did. First off here is the food ya brought home with ya. I’ll make ya a sandwich and bring it out to ya. Nah, ya need ta stay here and rest a minute.” He said as Oblivion started to argue.

The Witcher's jaw snapped shut in response. He groaned and sank back down. Big Mac grabbed the top of the bag in his teeth and sat it down by Oblivion's shoulder before he walked into the kitchen. Oblivion watched him disappear into the kitchen before he looked at the small bag. He set the bag on the floor. Oblivion let his head lay down on the cushion and he closed his eyes. He could hear Big Mac in the kitchen and Granny Smith was out talking with the ponies by the stand he had made with Big Mac. His ears picked up on a small dog wandering around the ponies as well.

He heard Big Mac’s hooves on the carpet and he opened his eyes but did not move from his current position. Mac held out a plate with two sandwiches on it to the Pegasus. Oblivion's magic held the plate and he set it down next to the small bag and looked at the food on it. His head came up at the sight of flowers and hay coming out of the sides of the bread. Big Mac stood by him and waited for him to eat his food. Oblivion was silent as he contemplated what he was going to do with the strange food. His stomach growled again and Mac looked at him, expectantly. His magic held one of the sandwiches and levitated it up to his mouth. He took a small bite and chewed on it. It was fairly tasteless which was fine by him. He swallowed it and waited. He took another bite and the hay crunched between his teeth and he suddenly found himself trying not to vomit. His stomach rolled and he tried to ignore the discomfort, but after a moment he set the sandwich down and growled under his breath. Mac looked surprised but after a few beats, he looked even more concerned for the Black stallion. Oblivion tried to give him a dismissive wave of his hoof but found that he couldn’t even move well.

Big Mac looked at the other stallion and saw that he was trying not to be sick. Mac jumped back and went to the kitchen closet, grabbed a bucket, came back, and set it down by Oblivion's head. The other stallion pitched forward, wrapped his forelegs around the bucket, and vomited into it. Mac sat down and held his long mane back with one hoof and the other rubbed his back, trying to comfort him. When he seemed to have gotten past the worst of it the black Pegasus pushed it away with a grimace and collapsed onto the couch. Big Mac let go of his mane and went back to the kitchen. He brought back a glass of water, which Oblivion's hooves held as he washed his mouth out with it then spat it out into the bucket. He ran his tongue over his teeth and was about to close his mouth when Big Mac grabbed a hold of his mouth and held it open. Oblivion gave a warning growl and the red farmer wisely let go of his jaws. Oblivion gave him an annoyed look before settling back against the couch.

“Ya got quite the mouth full a knives. Ah, have ne’er seen anythin’ like it.” He explained at the look Oblivion gave him.

Oblivion quirked an eyebrow at him and ran his tongue over his teeth again. He didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. His eyes went back to Big Mac and waited for a further explanation. Big Mac looked as though he wanted to say more but appeared unsure. ‘There doesn’t feel like there is anything wrong. But he seems quite nervous about it. Wait. I can conjure a mirror-like I did last night.’ Oblivion's magic was alight and a small mirror appeared before him. He leveled it with his mouth and opened his mouth to see what Big Mac was talking about. He was greeted with a mouthful of knives as Mac put it. Each tooth was longer than normal size but not intrusive on his other teeth nor did the top row dig into his lower gums. His mouth reminded him of the mouth of a large warg. Long canines with shorter middle teeth for shearing meat from bones. Oblivion gave a low noise and the mirror vanished.

Mac looked at him with something that bordered on apprehension but he didn’t back away. ”Any ideas about why yer teeth are like that?” He asked, his voice unsure.

Oblivion considered it for a moment before he answered. ‘Well, it would appear that they are the teeth of an omnivore. So how do I break that news to a pure herbivore?’ Oblivion looked to him and shifted from his place on the couch and folded one foreleg under him. “Well from what I can tell it would appear that I have the teeth of an omnivore. Granted they appear to lean more toward carnivore but I am sure… that… Oh for the love of... Calm down, Big Macintosh. You're looking at me like I'm going to take a bite out of you. Do I really look like I have so little self-control?”

Mac seemed to stop sweating and looked thoughtful at his words. “Nah I spose not. But Ah have ta admit it is a little upsettin’. Ya don’t act like yer dangerous, so I suppose passin’ judgment on ya ain’t fair.” The red stallion agreed. “Though that might explain why yer sick. Ya might need meat in yer diet. Though Ah have no idea how we are goin’ ta help ya.” He looked ready to continue speaking when Oblivion raised a hoof to silence him.

“I assure you that you do not need to worry about feeding me if that is your concern. I am more than capable of… tending to that myself. So don’t worry about any of that. I can hunt for myself, I have been doing it for many years.” Oblivion got off the couch and slowly got to his hooves. Big Mac made to push him back down. “I’m all right. I think I was simply having a bad reaction to the amount of meat I have not eaten. If I am right I simply need to balance it out and I should be fine. I will worry about it later. I do not wish to worry anypony so if you could keep this between us, for now, I would appreciate it, if not then I will understand.” Oblivion said as he stood up and shook himself, his magic placed his cloak back in place and he waited for Big Mac to respond.

“Ah reckon ah can keep it to mahself. But ah want ya to tell them yerself when yer ready. Ah’m not telling ya what ta do but ah hope ya tell them soon. Well, tell Applejack and Granny. Maybe not Apple Bloom. Ah, don’t think she’s ready to know, Ah hope ya can see why.” Oblivion chuckled and nodded in agreement as Mac continued. “Ah can see why ya want it to be kept quiet though. It is a bit shocking for a pony to be eatin’... meat.” Mac paused on the word but tried not to look upset by the implications of their guest eating meat.

“I will bring it up when the time is right. I appreciate your understanding though. SO what is left that you need my help with?” Oblivion asked as his wings flicked absently at his sides.

Mac shook his head. “Ya need ta stay quiet and rest up. Yer still not feelin’ well and even though ya are up and moving Ah still want ya ta take it easy and…”

“Soups on everypony!” Applejack suddenly called out from the front of the farmhouse.

Mac turned and trotted through the house and out the door. Oblivion sighed and walked out after him. He could see Applejack and well over a dozen ponies crowded around her. He paused at the sight and his eyes narrowed slightly at the sight of the purple Unicorn that stood close by her. A small lizard was close by her, at least he assumed it was a lizard considering its size. The Witcher's ears flicked forward to listen closely as Applejack began to speak.

“Now ah’ll introduce ya to the Apple Family.”

Oblivion groaned quietly and watched as the new mare looked a bit panicked as she saw the number of ponies waiting.

“Thanks anyway, but I really need to hurry...” The Unicorn began but she didn’t get a chance to finish speaking before Applejack began.

“This here is Apple Fritter, Apple Bumpkin, Red Gala, Golden Delicious, Caramel Apple, Apple Strudel, Apple Tart, Baked Apples, Apple Brioche, Apple Cinnamon Crisp.” Applejack paused for a breath and Oblivion was amazed that she said all that in one breath, then continued. “Big Macintosh, Apple Bloom, and Granny Smith. Up’ n’ attem, Granny Smith, we got more guests.”

Granny Smith snorted as she got up from her rocking chair and started to amble over to everypony. “What? Soups on? I’m up, here ah come, here ah come.” The aged mare spoke up as she came over to stand by them all.

His eyes connected with Applejacks and he could see the wheels turning inside her head as she looked at the other mare. “Oh, an afore Ah forget that is Oblivion Shadow. He’s been our guest since yesterday evening.”

The Unicorn looked over the group to see him standing at the back of the crowd. He was quiet as the lizard jumped to her back and his jaw slowly fell open. “Wow, that is a really tall Pegasus.”

Oblivion said nothing in reply as his face went blank. The mare looked over her shoulder at the lizard and she gave a small buck that sent him tumbling to the ground.

“Spike! Be polite.” The mare admonished him as he pulled himself off the ground and looked sheepishly at her. “My apologies Sir. He is usually more polite.”

He could see that what she was saying was truthful and it was genuine so far as he could tell. She plastered a friendly, if a bit forced, smile on her face as she went on.

“My name is Twilight Sparkle and it is nice to meet you.” She said to him.

He gave a slight nod and looked back at her. “Things happen Miss Sparkle. He is not the first, nor will he be the last to comment on my height. No offense was taken but I thank you for the apology.” He replied to her and waited for her to go on.

Granny Smith finally reached them and gave Twilight Sparkle a smile as Applejack continued. “Well, Granny Ah’d say that both of ‘em are already part of the family.” Twilight looked at Applejack, while Oblivion simply stared at her.

“Well, I can see that the food is in good hooves and we will be on our way.” Twilight shifted as though to leave. She turned and was confronted with Apple Bloom’s large eyes.

Oblivion snorted with a low laugh. ‘Oh, she is being set up.’ Oblivion watched as the mare tried not to cave in.

“Aren’t ya gonna stay for brunch?” Apple Bloom looked up at her and pouted.

“Sorry, but we have an awful lot to do.” The purple mare admitted.

‘Maybe she will escape after all.’ Oblivion thought to himself until he heard the chorus in front of him. The assembled Apple Family all groaned in disappointment. Oblivion looked around and stared at them. ‘Really? That's just cruel to do to the mare.’ He looked at Twilight who was looking more than a little nervous and glancing around almost frantically.

Oblivion was about and help give her an out when she sighed in defeat. “Fine.”

He said nothing as the family cheered around her. They crowded around her even more than before and the pair was moved to a table close by. He watched as food was heaped up in front of her. He stared for a moment as the mare’s eyes were wide at the sight in front of her. ‘Oh good Gods do they truly think she can eat all of that in one sitting? I cannot even fathom eating a portion of that.’ He thought to himself at the sight in front of him. He felt a hoof land on his shoulder and he glanced to the side to find Mac standing by him.

“Maybe get that bag o’ treats a yers ta avoid the food in front of ya? Might help ya avoid them wantin’ ya ta eat if yer already eatin’.” He said to him in his typical drawl.

Oblivion nodded and he was about to use the magic that hummed through him when Mac gave him a gentle slap on the shoulder. He was about to protest when he realized what he meant and nodded in understanding. He saw the looks from several of the ponies as they noticed that he was not eating and he backed up to go back into the house and get one of the small coffee cakes from the bag. He returned a moment later and nibbled on one of the cakes as the ponies now ignored him. He gave a slight sigh of relief as Mac went to join the group.


Time had passed by and now Twilight was looking around her, her face miserable as she tried to look friendly. The Witcher was silent as the mare finally seemed to throw in the towel at the still enormous pile of food in front of her.

“Can anypony tell me how to get around town? Or is there a map handy?” She asked as she was able to get away from the expectant crowd.

Applejack looked around and her eyes fell on Oblivion as he stood silent. “Well, Ah don’t have a map, but Oblivion learned the lay of the land this mornin’. So if he’s okay wit’ it, maybe he can show ya around.”

Oblivion gave a short snort and a slight glare at the mare who had volunteered him for a new task. He looked at the waiting purple mare before he replied. “If Miss Sparkle wishes it then I see no reason why that would not be amicable. It is her choice.”

Twilight looked at him for several seconds and then her gaze went to Spike, who appeared to be nearly dancing in place. “That would be fine, thank you, Mr. Shadow.” She responded and walked toward him.

He moved away from the crowd and toward the fence. Ponies’ moved out of his way as he walked toward the gate. The purple mare joined him and he motioned for her to go ahead of him. She smiled gently and moved to pass ahead of him.

“Tha’s good ta hear. Be sure ta show ‘er all that Ponyville has ta offer!” Applejack hollered after them as they went through the gate. His ears pinned at the volume but said nothing as he followed the purple Unicorn away from the farm.

3: Beginning the Hunt

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As they walked into town Oblivion was quiet as he walked with the mare at his side. Her stride was slower than his and he slowed to match her. Spike was walking in front of them with a scroll and quill in his claws. Twilight stayed with him despite her distended stomach.

“Foods all taken care of,” Spike called out from in front of them. “Now we need to ask about the weather.”

Twilight lowered her head as a loud groan came from her. “Ugh. I ate too much pie.” She groaned as she stared at the ground in front of her.

He said nothing as he simply looked at her in sympathy. He could tell that she was miserable but he had no idea how to remedy it for her and simply remained at her side.

“There’s supposed to be a Pegasus pony named Rainbow Dash clearing the sky,” Spike said to them.

Oblivions head began to look around them, scanning the area for the Pegasus mare. Twilight didn’t see him looking around them as she looked up as well. He looked back at her as she sighed and raised her head.

“Well, she’s not doing a very good job now is she?” She replied as the clouds were still in the sky above her.

His ears flicked as the sound of wings caught his attention. He jumped back as a flash of blue caught his eye. He watched as the Pegasus collided almost violently with the Unicorn, sending them both rolling into a mud puddle. Even though he had jumped away before being struck the mud had still splashed up to his knees. He grimaced at the mud covering him and then his orange eyes fell to the pair of ponies in the puddle. His cloak had managed to dodge the worst of the mud and he simply looked at the pair of them.

Rainbow Dash sat up first as she was half straddling the other mare. She stepped back and looked at the groaning mare. “Oops?” She gave a sheepish laugh as she got out of the mud puddle. “Sorry?”

Twilight sat still in the water with her eyes closed. Her eyes opened and she fixed the other mare with a glare from behind her waterlogged forelock. Rainbow looked from Twilight to the black stallion and she fixed him with a glare of her own, he assumed she was recalling the previous night. She seemed to choose to ignore him as he moved to help the fallen mare out of the mud. He reached out to her and started to help her up when Rainbow jumped back into the puddle, soaking him further. He ignored her as paying any attention to her antics would only encourage them. He reached out a hoof to help Twilight to her hooves. Rainbow gave him a sour look but then returned to ignoring him as she flapped her wings to get out of the puddle.

The mare suddenly brightened and jumped out of the water. “Let me help.”

The blue mare zipped off and Oblivion got Twilight almost fully out of the water as the Pegasus returned with a gray cloud in tow. Oblivion stared at the cloud, as she put it above the both of them, Oblivion looked up at it then saw that the cloud was full of water, and then the mare began jumping on it. The upside was that the mud was washed off. The downside was that now they were both soaked through. She looked down at them and saw the purple mare staring up at her with murderous intent.

“Oops guess I overdid it. Umm. Okay, hang on.” The mare kicked the cloud away and then landed by them. She appeared thoughtful for a moment before an idea struck her. “I know! My very own patented rain-blow dry.”

She created a tornado around them by flying very quickly around them. He shut his eyes as his mane and tail were whipped by the wind. His wings clung to his sides tightly as he willed them not to move in the intense winds. The black cloak whipped in the wind and he lowered his head to keep it from being tossed from him. He kept them closed even as the winds began to subside. He looked at the mare at his side and his eyes widened at the sight of her mane. It was puffed up in a style that reminded him of Pinkie Pie. He wasn’t able to stop the cringe that came from him at the thought of the exuberant mare. He flipped his head back to get his cloak to sit across his swords once more.

“No, no. Don’t thank me, your quite welcome.” Rainbow crowed as she came to the ground. Her self-congratulations went silent as she opened her eyes to look at the pair of them.

Twilight’s mane and tail were a complete disaster and he assumed his own was as well. His mane and tail were heavily tangled but had not puffed up in a way that was similar to the Unicorn with him. He looked back at his tail and found it to be in the same condition as his mane and forelock. Twilight was once more looking murderous as Rainbow and Spike broke into hysterical laughter. Twilight broke into a deep sigh as she watched them laugh.

“Meet Rainbow Dash.” The Witcher whispered to her.

The purple Unicorns shoulders slumped for several seconds before she squared her shoulders and moved to stand closer to the laughing pair. “So you’re Rainbow Dash?”

The other Pegasus stood up so fast it sent Spike rolling away from her. Oblivion chuckled quietly at the rolling lizard and then looked back at the now posing mare.

“The one and only. Why have you heard of me?” She questioned.

Oblivion rolled his eyes and tried not to snort at the arrogant mare. Her type was a never-ending source of aggravation. He watched as Twilight sighed and looked up at the clouds.

“I heard you were supposed to keep the sky clear. The Princess sent me to check...” Twilight started as the mare interrupted her by jumping into the air to lounge on the same cloud she had used on them earlier.

He would have liked nothing more than to pull the cloud from under her but he held back. Spike tapped his leg and Oblivion looked down at him. He motioned for Oblivion to bring his head down and the stallion obliged. Spike grabbed a chunk of his tangled mane and used it to vault up onto the black Pegasus's back. The lizard landed on his cloak and sat there with a firm hold of Oblivion’s mane. Oblivion was silent as his mind processed that the lizard was now sitting on his back on top of his swords and wings. He gave an angry snarl and sat down swiftly. Spike yelped at the sound and fell off his back.

The Witcher looked at him and a growl came from his mouth as the “I do not recall giving you permission to sit on my back as a common pack mule. Do not do that again.” He growled and got to his hooves, walking away from the stunned lizard.

Twilight and Rainbow both stared at him for several seconds as he moved to stand close by the purple Unicorn. Both mares regarded him as his face remained blank and unreadable. The blue Pegasus waved her hoof and looked at the mare.

“I’ll get to them in a jiffy, once I’m done practicing.” She explained.

Twilight looked at Oblivion who looked even less impressed with the blue Pegasus. “Practicing for what?” She asked.

Rainbow looked at both of them as excitement showed plainly on her face. “For the Wonderbolts! They are gonna perform at the ceremony tomorrow. And I’m gonna show them my moves.”

Twilight and Oblivion both watched as she pointed to a nearby flyer. Oblivion looked down at Twilight as she looked at him. He gave her a sly wink and she gave him a slight grin as she turned back to the Pegasus mare.

“The Wonderbolts?” She started.

“Yep.”

“The most talented flyers in all of Equestria?”

“That’s them!”

“Hah. They would never accept a Pegasus that can’t even keep the sky clear for one measly day. Would they, Mr. Shadow?” She looked at the stallion who nodded in agreement with her.

“Hey! I could clear the skies in ten seconds flat.” The mare boasted.

Twilight lowered her head in the challenge as she looked at the Pegasus. “Prove it.” She challenged, her voice strong.

Oblivion had to fight not to snort out his own challenge at the blue Pegasus. Rainbow looked at both of them for several seconds before she took to the air in a hurry. The wind that came off her flight sent both of their manes away from their necks due to the updraft. She tore through the skies and he had to admit she was quick, despite the small size of her wings. His own wings flicked as he watched her tear through the sky. He looked down at Twilight as she watched, dumbfounded as the mare flew above them.

“Loop de loop around and bam! Ten. Seconds. Flat. I’d never leave Ponyville hanging.” The mare gave a laugh as she looked at Twilight's stunned face. “You should see the look on your face. Ha! You're a riot, Twilight Sparkle. I can’t wait to hang out again sometime.” The blue mare took off once more and vanished from sight.

Oblivion reached out and pushed Twilights open-jaw back into place and the mare shook her head as Spike came to stand next to her. Oblivion managed not to sigh as the mare vanished from his sight.

“Wow! She was amazing!” Spike gushed and then he bounced Twilights tangled mane in his claws and tried to suppress a giggle at the state of it.

Twilight rolled her eyes and looked at the black Pegasus. “Where is the decor being set up, Mr. Shadow?”

Oblivion flicked his ears and they listened closely as he tilted his head to follow the sounds around him. He closed his eyes for a moment as he focused on the sounds around him, his ears flicked to the right as the sound of a pony talking about colors caught his attention. He opened his eyes and his body turned to follow his ears.

“This way Miss Sparkle.” He said to her and turned to lead her in the direction of the town hall.

Twilight and Spike walked with him, with Spike staying on the other side of Twilight. The black Pegasus led them up to the doors, his hoof pushed the door and held it open for the mare. She smiled and nodded politely to him as Spike ran in after her. Oblivion watched as the lizard ran ahead of him but he felt no guilt about his actions. As they walked into the building Spike was in front of them. They walked down the center of the room and he watched as Twilight head went from side to side to look at the décor that was already up on the walls. At her side, Spike was doing the same as the stallion stayed on their heels.

“Decorations. Beautiful.” Spike gushed as they walked forward.

Twilight looked pleased by what she was seeing as they moved toward the end of the carpet. Oblivion watched as the mare paused for a second to look around them.

“Yes. The decorations are coming along nicely. This will be quick, I’ll be in the Library in no time. Beautiful indeed.”

“Not the décor. Her.” Spike said as he pointed to the end of the carpet where a mare stood.

Oblivion's heightened eyesight helped in the fairly dim room as the mare didn’t seem to even notice they were there. She had a white coat with a deep purple mane and tail that were styled with large curls. She was hovering ribbons of many different colors close by as she tried to choose which one.

“No, no, no, good goddess no.” She spoke to herself as she chose colors.

Spike suddenly looked nervous and began to run his claws over his scales. “How are my spines? Are they straight?”

He saw Twilight roll her eyes as she began to walk forward. The Pegasus walked behind the mare as she made for the dais ahead of them. Spike hung back for several seconds before he advanced, rubbing his claws over his scales in an attempt to shine them.

“Good afternoon.” Twilight greeted.

“Just a moment, please. I’m in the zone as it were. Oh yes! Sparkle always does the trick, does it not? Why Rarity you are a talent.” She gushed to herself as the bow sparkled in front of her. She slowly turned to face them as she went on. “Now, umm, how can I… Oh my goodness darlings! Whatever happened to your coiffure?”

Even Oblivion stared at her as she spoke. He tilted his head slightly at being called darling but soon let it go as the mare stared at the pair of them. Just in front of him, Twilight looked up at her forelock and then back to the white mare, who looked stricken.

“Oh, you mean our manes?” She said as she looked back at him and then back to the other mare. “Well, it’s actually a very long story. I am just here to check the décor and we will be out of your hair in no time.”

“Out of my hair? What about your hair?” The white mare replied and jumped from her place and began to push the purple Unicorn ahead of her.

“Wait! Where are we going? Help!” Twilight yelped as she was pushed forward.

Oblivion fell in behind them as Spike hovered just above the ground with small hearts coming from his body. The Pegasus said nothing as questions about how he was accomplishing such a feat went through his mind. After a few seconds of considering how it was being done he closed his eyes and simply shook his head choosing to ignore it for the time being.


They were shown through town and reached a building with a stylized door that had a paint job that reminded him of Noble homes back in the Northern Realms. He knew that in his world paint could be expensive so he assumed it was the same for this world as well. The building had pony shaped mannequins on the upper level of the building and appeared to be a two-story home as well as a shop of some kind. The white mare hustled them into the building and immediately began to clean up the disaster that was their manes and tails. She held up a brush and began to run it through his mane as he grimaced at the pull. Her magic was doing the same to Twilight who also winced.

She set the brush aside after several minutes as his mane and tail were now tamed and his forelock laid to the side of his face. He watched as she finished with Twilights mane and tail and was now getting her into a various amount of outfits. He watched as the purple mare appeared less than enthused about the new development. He decided that if she began to try that with him he was going to need to learn how to gallop quickly to avoid her. He moved to stand fairly close to the door just in case he needed to evade her.

More outfits were brought forward and he had to admit they weren’t terrible but it didn’t help that the purple mare was less than enthusiastic. The other Unicorn put her into a corset type of outfit and began tightening it. Oblivion cringed as Twilight had tears pricking the edges of her eyes. Oblivion was about to step in when Rarity let go and they both were sent flying in opposite directions. Oblivion wasn’t sure why since he wasn’t listening. Deciding this qualified under girl or mare talk. Rarity recovered first as Oblivion helped Twilight up.

“Canterlot!” She shrieked. Oblivion pinned his ears and grimaced in pain. “Oh, I am so envious! The glamor, the sophistication! I have always dreamed of living there, I can’t wait to hear all about it. You and I will be the best of friends!” She looked down at the front of the corset Twilight was wearing. While Twilight looked like she was about to panic. “Emeralds! What was I thinking? Let me get you some rubies!” The white mare disappeared around the corner and Twilight looked ready to bolt.

She looked at him and he pushed open the door and stepped aside to allow her to flee outside if she wished. The purple Unicorn tossed off the clothing and ran for the door.

“Hurry! Before she tries to dye my coat a new color!” She cried out as she fled past him.

He reached down and his claws gripped an oblivious Spike and walked three-legged out the door in the mares wake.


Spike was now sitting on the Unicorns back as she walked away from town toward the outskirts. “Wasn’t she wonderful?” He mused, his voice wistful.

“Focus Casanova.” Twilight admonished him and he sat up straighter on her back. “What next on the list?” She asked as she came to a top to allow the lizard to read the list he carried.

Oblivion stopped next to her and waited as his ears flicked to listen around them. His wings tightened on his barrel as he waited in silence. He glanced down at the limbs and mused about how he would have to figure out how to use them unless he wished to remain on the ground at all times.

“Oh, music is next. And it’s the last one on the list.” Spike addressed the mare as she looked over her shoulder at him.

Twilight turned her head to look at him expectantly and he gave a slight nod in response to her look. He raised his head to its full height and his ears began to flick once more as he listened for any music around them. His ears quickly caught the sound of music near them and he tilted his head to her, motioning for her to follow him. He caught the short look she gave him but he chose to ignore it. If she wanted further information from him she could ask him for it, but he would not give it to her otherwise. He led the way as they walked a short distance and were soon at the edge of a small clearing. They walked up to a group of singing birds with a hovering Pegasus close by them. The Pegasus was a butter yellow with a long pink mane and tail. A group of singing birds was the source of the music and they waited for a pause.

“Oh my, umm, please stop everyone. Excuse me, sir, you’re just a tiny bit off. I mean no offense. Now follow me, please. A one and a two-three.”

Twilight took another step forward and opened her mouth to speak. “Hello.” She called out.

The Pegasus yelped and spun to look at her as the birds immediately scattered. Oblivion watched as they flew away and he looked at the Unicorn as she cringed in embarrassment. Her embarrassment faded as the other pony floated to the ground and looked at her.

“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to scare your birds. I’m just here to check on the music and it sounded wonderful.” There was a pregnant pause as Twilight looked nervous and the other pony looked at the ground. “I’m Twilight Sparkle and this is my guide, Oblivion Shadow.” He nodded politely to her and waited. “And you are?”

“I’m Fluttershy.” The mare replied, her voice barely above a whisper.

“I’m sorry what was that?” Twilight questioned.

The mare hid behind her long mane and peeked out from behind it. “I’m… Fluttershy.” She replied, her voice was now a small squeak.

Oblivion looked between the two mares and he could tell that the Pegasus was frightened. He stepped up to speak into the purple Unicorn's ear to avoid the situation becoming even more of a disaster.

“Fluttershy.” He whispered into her ear and she looked at him in thanks and gave a small nod.

Twilight looked up as the birds came back and landed on their perches. “Well it looks like your birds are back, so I guess everything is in order. We will just leave you to it.” She turned and Oblivion went with her back to Spike who stood several; feet behind them. “Okay, well that was easy.”

Oblivion was quiet as the lizard was now in sight of the Pegasus and Oblivion's ears flicked as the sound of a loud gasp went out. He looked back at the mare as her eyes lit up and she streaked forward. He reached out and his claws dug into the mare’s fur and he yanked her back as the Pegasus streaked past to see Spike.

“A baby dragon!” She shrieked.

Oblivion reached for his silver sword as the word dragon flowed over his ears. He paused as the full sentence caught up with him and he realized that Spike was more than just a lizard, he was in fact a dragon. He had never come into contact with a dragon personally and he had no desire to if he was being honest. He released Twilights fur and she smiled in thanks as she looked at the mare and Spike. She groaned and walked forward a step.

“Oh, I have never seen a baby dragon before. He’s so cute!” She gushed and cooed at the baby dragon in front of her.

Spike looked at the purple Unicorn, his expression gloating. “Well, well, well.”

Oblivion bit back a groan and instead settled for rolling his eyes. The butter-yellow mare’s eyes went wider as the dragon spoke.

“Oh my, he talks. I didn’t know dragons could talk, that’s just so incredibly wonderful. I, I just don’t even know what to say.” She gushed out.

Twilight moved forward and pushed Spike onto her back. “Well, then we better get going.”

Fluttershy followed closely on the other mare’s heels and Oblivion settled into an easy pace behind her.

“Wait, wait. What's his name?”

“I’m Spike.”

“Hi, Spike. I’m Fluttershy. Wow, a talking dragon. What do dragons talk about?”

“Well. What do you want to know?” Spike asked her as leaned forward toward Twilight's flanks.

“Absolutely everything,” Fluttershy responded.

Spike looked at the expectant mare and smiled. “Well, I started out as a cute little purple and green egg…” He began and kept talking as the mare moved through both Twilight and Oblivion had stopped listening to him.

Oblivion lengthened his stride and caught up with the groaning Twilight easily. He tried to look sympathetic despite knowing that it would fall flat due to his lack of emotions. He gave her gentle guidance toward the library that she had mentioned earlier. He had passed it by earlier in the day while walking with Applejack. He ignored the retelling of Spike’s entire life history as they walked. The lavender mare grumbled occasionally but otherwise kept her silence.


The sun was nearly fully set by the time they reached the library. He stopped close by the door and his ears flicked as the sounds from inside caught his attention. He looked at Twilight but paused before he spoke to her.

“And that’s the story of my entire life up until today.” Spike finished. “Do you want to hear about today?”

Fluttershy’s wings trembled in excitement. “Oh yes please.”

Spike started to speak when Twilight whirled around and looked at the other mare. “Well look here we are. This is where I will be staying while I’m in Ponyville. And my baby dragon needs his rest.”

“No I don’t… what?” Spike started ort argue and Twilight gave enough of a buck to unseat him and he fell to the ground behind her.

“Aww, look at that. He’s so tired he can’t even keep his widdle bwalance.” She said as she leaned her head down to look at Spike.

Fluttershy jumped forward, her wings spread as she scooped the baby dragon up in her forelegs. “Oh my, we simply must get you to bed.”

She began to dart inside when Twilight moved to cut her off. “Yes, yes, we will get right on that. Well, G’night.”

She slammed the door before Oblivion could warn her about the many ponies inside the library. His ears went forward as he heard Twilight speaking to Spike but he was trying not to pry and only heard the muffled sounds. He pinned his ears back when Pinkie, he knew her voice by now, yelled announcing the surprise. Oblivion pushed the door open with his hoof and let Fluttershy walk in first. He stood by the door and when he and the butter-yellow mare walked in he closed it. He watched from the door as Pinkie went to greet the purple mare.

“Hi! I’m Pinkie Pie. I threw this party just for you since you’re new to Ponyville! Were ya surprised? Were ya? Were ya?” She gushed at the mare.

Twilight tried not to look annoyed. “Very surprised. Libraries are supposed to be quiet.”

“Well, that's silly. How can you have a party quietly? What kind of party would that even be? I mean that would be super boring. Remember when you first got here and I was all like ‘gasp’. Since I had never seen you before I knew that you were new here so I had to get a party-ready for you. Since I know everypony and I mean, everypony!”

Twilight groaned and walked over to a table with drinks. She grabbed a bottle with her mouth and began pouring it into a cup, Oblivion stood back and would have warned her that what she was using smelled spicy but it would have meant he had to move through all the ponies. That was an idea he refused to entertain. He waited with barely held amusement.

“And if your new that meant you haven’t met anyone yet, and if you haven’t met anyone yet you must not have any friends, and if you don't have any friends then you must be lonely, and that made me so sad, then I had an idea, and that's why I went deep gasp! I must throw a great big ginormous super-duper spectacular welcome party and invite everyone in Ponyville! See? And now you have lots and lots of friends!” Pinkie rambled.

Twilight turned to face them, her face was a bright red and he could hear a low whistling. “You alrigh’ Sugarcube?” Applejack asked her.

He watched as the purple mare fled up the stairs, her head down. Pinkie turner to look at them a wide smile on her face. “Ah, she was so happy she was crying.”

Spike walked up the table and his claws picked up the bottle that Twilight had been using. “Hot sauce.”

Oblivion cringed as he knew he had been right about the scent it gave off. Pinkie then tipped the bottle and the contents fell onto a nearby cupcake. She immediately popped it into her mouth and chewed happily. He felt revulsion go through him as the thought of eating that went over him. He managed not to gag at the thought and swallowed his revulsion.

Pinkie turned to look at them. “What? It’s good.” She assured them.

He watched as Applejack caught sight of him by the door as he looked over the heads of the assembled ponies. The orange mare weaved through the crowd and approached him. She came to stand close by him and he waited for her to speak up.

“Thanks, fer takin’ and showin’ her around town. Ah appreciate the help.” She said to him and bumped him with her shoulder.

“It was no problem Applejack. You asked me to show her around instead of commanding so it was no trouble.” He replied easily.

“Ah heard bout what happened with Spike though. Ah’m sure he meant nothin’ by it.” She commented.

“I’m sure it was innocent. That does not change that he chose to bypass my wishes and sit on my back without my permission. He did not apologize so I have no reason to forgive.”

She sighed and went toward the baby dragon who had started to come toward her but had fled at the sight of the Pegasus stallion. He trained his ears forward to listen in as she leaned her head down a bit to speak to the baby dragon.

“Ya know he ain’t all that bad once ya realize that he’s just a little differen’. Ya just need to know how to apologize and he will react differently.” She said to Spike. “He’s just upset ya didn’t apologize. Ya didn’t ask ‘im and he took offense.

Spike looked down at the floor for a second before he nodded at her. The mare smiled encouragingly and nudged him in the direction of the black Pegasus. Spike looked apprehensive for a second before he began to walk toward Oblivion. The Witcher saw him gulp and steel himself as he walked up to him. He patted Oblivions' lower leg and the stallion lowered his head to speak to him.

“Yes?”

“I uh, I’m really, well...Okay, you know what? I’m sorry. You were right I should have asked before I tried to sit on your back. I’m so used to Twilight not minding that I forgot to ask. You were right to be mad. I just thought it would be cool to sit on your back since you’re a lot taller than she is.” Spikes claws were back in front of him and he fiddled with them as he went on. “Anyway, that’s no excuse so I’m really sorry.” Spike finished and looked at the tall Pegasus.

Oblivion exhaled and nudged the dragon good-naturedly. “Very well. I will forgive it this time. So long as it does not happen again and we can consider this behind us.” He said as he raised his head back up.

A smile went across Spikes features as he patted the Pegasus’s leg once more. He got a good look at the tall Pegasus as he stood by him. “Wow. You really are tall. I didn’t think much about it when I first saw you. That's pretty cool.”

Oblivion looked at him and brought his head back down. “What does that mean?” Spike looked at him in confusion. “You keep using cool as if it's describing something else. I know what it means in the literal sense but you are using it differently.” Spike stared at him.

Applejack had walked up behind him and had heard Oblivion’s question. She chuckled at Spike’s reaction. “Ah told ya he’s differen’. Ya will need to explain it to ‘im though. Where he’s from they don’t have that kind of word.” She commented and nudged Spike.

“Okay. It means something interesting. I guess.” Spike replied though he scratched the back of his head as he tried to explain.

The Witcher nodded at the explanation and his head went up to his full height as he went back to looking over the heads of the crowd. Spike went back to the party and left Applejack with the Pegasus. The farm mare looked at him as he turned back to the door to leave. She reached out and gripped the baldric around his barrel.

“Oh no, ya don’t.” She said and he stopped as she held the strap. “Ya need ta stay around ponies and get comfortable around ‘em. Just cuz ya don’t like crowds means ya need ta work on it. Which reminds me, Mac said ya hadn’t brought up where ya were gonna be stayin’ after last night. So we talked ta Granny and she said that ya are welcome to stay as long as ya need. She said that so long as ya help out with the chores then ya are welcome. Unless ya had a plan?”

The Witcher looked at her for a second before he turned his body to more face her versus staring at her sideways. “I had no intention of imposing on you and your family further.” He raised a hoof to silence her and she closed her mouth, waiting for him to go on. “I had intended to stay out around where you had found me originally. I know that area fairly well and once that was established I suppose finding a job of some kind would be advised. Since my abilities as a Witcher do not seem to be in demand in this area.”

She stared at him for several seconds before she shook her head at him. “Ya were gonna stay in the forest?” He nodded and she shook her head again. “Nah. Nothing to it. Ya will stay with us and ya can work fer mah family. We could use another strong pony to help with the farm. Of course, we will pay ya fer yer work. Not epectin’ ya ta work fer free.” She held a hoof up as he opened his mouth to speak to her. “Ah won’t hear it. Ah’m not commanding it but ah know mah family won’t let ya sleep outside. Ah, know ya can protect yerself but not when you have a place ya can go.” She said to him and squared herself against him, daring him to argue.

Oblivion considered it as she waited. The farm mare knew better than to push him. He shook his head in defeat and nodded to the mare as she smiled. “Very well. I will accept your offer. We will work out the details at a later time. In the meantime, I am going to get something to eat. I will be back shortly.” He said as he reached out and pushed the door open with a hoof.

She looked at him and after several beats, she nodded and moved away from the door to let him leave. “All righ’. Just be safe out there.” She told him as she moved to go back into the crowd of ponies.

Oblivion looked back to her retreating back and sighed. He walked out of the building and made for the edge of the town. ‘These ponies are a strange bunch. Not a cruel bone in them. Maybe I should get used to the idea of a quiet life...No. I can’t let my training lapse. That would be the greatest insult to Vesemir and the others. He’d tan my hide, pony or not, for even considering it. In the meantime, I need to find meat. Judging by the way that light yellow Pegasus handled those birds hunting in this area is a fool's errand. That forest Applejack mentioned on the other hoof sounds like it would be perfect.’ He walked to the edge of town and into the thick forest. He moved his cloak away from his swords to make it easier to draw them from their scabbards. He looked down at his hooves and the claws flexed from their hiding place and he walked forward on them. He was careful to use only the ones on his forelegs to avoid his hind legs overreaching and possibly cutting the back of his forelegs.

As he walked deeper into the forest his senses came alive after a day of very little use. His eyes narrowed to thin slits as he focused on tracking any game that had used the same path as he was using now. His hooves were silent on the grass and leaves as he walked, careful of how his body moved that might alert any animals in the vicinity. He paused as the tracks on the ground in front of him grew clearer and the track was younger and more vibrant. He slowly eased his body forward as he looked up and the sight of a small deer caught his attention. He reached back for his steel sword and moved forward to continue his hunt.


Applejack looked up at a clock and she could see that time had ticked past her and the stallion had been gone longer than she thought. She spun on her heel to go and find him when her eyes fell on the Witcher standing in nearly the same location as when he had left. She was thrilled to see that he must have had a good meal while he was gone as he seemed more comfortable and at ease. He finally locked eyes with her and he gave a slight nod and she returned the gesture as she walked toward him.

“Ya get somethin’ ta eat?” She asked him, her voice slightly louder than normal to be heard easily over the party around them.


He nodded at the mare’s question. “Yes. I did thank you for asking.” He replied to her, his voice calm and steady. ‘I do feel much better than I did earlier. The hunt seems to have helped calm me as well. That forest seems to be more like what I am used to and I will use it from now on to hunt and run. It seems to be more feral and more what I am used to, a perfect place for a Witcher to run in.’ He had made sure to clean himself up before he returned to the party. He had washed off his face and claws in a nearby pond.

“Good. Ya look better too. Yer coat was a mite dull when I last saw ya. Ya look brighter.” She observed. “Whatever ya did, ya should keep doin’ it. Ah don’t mean ta be rude but ya looked sick before. Ya are still mighty thin fer yer height but ah suppose ya were doin’ a bunch of travelin’ so ya don’t eat much.” He gave a nod in reply and she went on. “Now ya can eat as much as ya like since yer workin’ fer us now. Anyway. Yer back just in time ta walk with me to the town hall. Let’s head out and watch the sunrise.” She said and motioned for him to stay with her as she opened the front door.

He let her go first out the door and he easily caught up to her and walked at her side. After several minutes they reached the building and walked inside to find a place to stand. He stayed in the back as Applejack moved to the front. He watched as Twilight came into the building with Spike sitting on her back. The black Pegasus was still not sure why the baby dragon was being carried but he chose to let it go and put it out of his mind. He was not sure if he was seeing right but she appeared nervous and was constantly looking out of a window high above them. He could see Pinkie standing close to her and talking rapidly, he chose to ignore what she was saying, and instead, he trained his gaze on a gray-haired mare at the front.

“Fillies and Gentlecolts, as Mayor if Ponyville it is my great pleasure to announce the beginning of the Summer Sun Celebration!” She called out to the gathered group.

“So that’s what this event is called.” He muttered to himself. “A bit ridiculous but whatever they choose is none of my business.”

“In just a few moments our town will witness the magic of the sunrise, and celebrate this the longest day of the year! And now it is my great pleasure to introduce to you the ruler of our land, the very pony who raises the sun and moon each and every day. The good, the wise, the bringer of harmony to all of Equestria.”

Oblivion admittedly had not been paying full attention to the Mayor until that very moment. His head raised and he focused on what she had said in that last moment. ‘Raises the sun and the moon? What does that mean exactly? What happened to make it so the sun and moon cannot rise and fall on their own?’ He trained his focus on her to ensure that he heard the rest to see if there was more clarification about what she meant exactly.

He could see Fluttershy and her birds off to the side and he saw her turn to them and ask them if they were ready to sing. He watched as the Mayor looked up above them and lights trained on the small balcony above them.

“Princess Celestia!” She hollered.

He watched as Rarity pulled a set of curtains and they revealed an empty space. Rarity did a double-take and her eyes were wide as she looked around her. He gave a small sigh and looked around him. “I can’t say this is a good start to the morning.” He quipped quietly. His ears flicked as a sound caught his attention. His eyes followed his ears as they led him to scan the room.

“Stay calm everypony!” The Mayor shouted to the crowd.

He said nothing and simply bit back a snort as Rarity emerged above them as she had vanished to search behind the curtains. “She’s gone!”

He paid little attention as the sound grew louder and he followed it with his eyes. It was nearing the balcony above them and he stepped forward several steps as a black cloud coalesced above them in the same balcony. He watched it closely with growing interest as it grew larger. A black pony materialized from it and he could see that she was close to his own height if not a hand taller. He immediately noticed that she bore a Unicorns horn and wings similar to his own. She wore blue hoof boots, a helm that went down to her muzzle, and ended at the base of her mane. She had a purple marking on her flank with the moon in a lighter blue shade. Her mane and tail were ethereal and shimmered, moving around her. Oblivion watched her with growing distaste. He didn’t like the mare being above him. Granted he had a general problem with peo… ponies that thought too highly of themselves. The mare looked down at them and chuckled.

“Oh, my beloved subjects. It’s been so long since I last saw your sun-loving faces.” The black mare taunted.

He looked over like a flash of color caught his attention. He could see Rainbow Dash start to approach the mare but he saw Applejack grip her tail in her teeth. The farm mare gave out a muffled shout as she gripped the rainbow tail.

“Whoa, Nelly!” She shouted and held tightly.

He looked over as the Mayor jumped down the stairs of the dais and addressed the mare. “What have you done with our Princess?”

The black mare gave a dark chuckle as she replied. “Is my crown not royal enough for you? Does it no longer count since I have been imprisoned for a thousand years?” She sneered. “Did none of you see the signs?”

Oblivion gave a low snarl in reply to her. He opened his mouth to speak when Twilight beat him to it.

“I saw them. And I know who you are. You are the mare in the moon, Nightmare Moon!” The Unicorn shouted back at her.

“Well, well, well, somepony who remembers me. Then you know why I am here.” She growled back.

Oblivion looked at the purple mare and he felt a slight smile tug at his mouth. ‘Good girl.’ He praised the mare for her courage and her bold reply. The praise died on his lips moments later when she shrunk down at the look she was getting for the other mare.

“You’re here to… to…” She said as she shrunk down.

“Never mind.” He muttered under his breath.

The tall mare laughed as her mane and tail began to swirl upward and her laughter became almost hysterical. “Remember this day little ponies. For it will be your last. From this moment on the night will last forever!” She spoke as her laughter bubbled back up in her and she laughed once more.

Thunder and lightning raged in the maelstrom her mane and tail had created. He watched as several Pegasus in full armor took to the air and charged the manic mare. The Witcher shook his head as their armor was perfect to conduct the lightning as it lashed out at them and knocked them from the air and to the ground.

Oblivion decided at that moment that a frontal assault was fruitless against her. He would need to rely on stealth and possibly try to overpower her through an ambush if possible. The mare evaporated and the blue mist that she turned into flew out a window. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Applejack lose her grip on Rainbows tail and the blue mare flew out the same window. Oblivion lost track of her and he saw Twilight run out the front door. He pivoted on his heel and followed her, Spike looked back and saw the black Pegasus following them at a fast trot. He looked almost relieved to see the tall stallion. Twilight's own magic opened the door and she ran inside she started to close the door but Oblivion’s own magic overpowered her own and the door stayed open. His magic faded out as to continue to hide it as long as possible. She looked back in surprise as he slowed down and went inside behind her. Spike grinned but then started to fall off Twilight's back. She gripped him in her magic and took him upstairs. Oblivion was silent as he waited for her to return.

The purple mare came back downstairs and to his surprise, she rounded on him for a moment before she seemed to decide to ignore him and her magic lashed out as she pulled books off the shelves to look at. She started throwing them around and behind her as she scanned them quickly. He could see the almost frantic pace she was setting as she moved through the shelves.

“Elements, elements, elements, ugh!” She shouted out.

The black Pegasus ducked as a book flew at him. He looked back at the purple mare with an annoyed expression as she spared him a look and went back to her task.

“How can I stop Nightmare Moon without the Elements of Harmony?”

Oblivion said nothing as his ears flicked back to the doorway. He watched as Applejack and the others they had met earlier in the day came into the library. He could tell that Twilight had not noticed them as she went about throwing books around her. Applejack spared him a look before she was also watching the frantic mare. He watched as Rainbow darted forward and got in the Unicorn's face as she spoke.

“And just what are the Elements of Harmony? And how did you know about Nightmare Moon? Are you a spy?” Rainbow looked ready to continue to interrogate her before Applejack bit down on her tail and once more pulled her back.

“Simmer down Sally. She ain’t no spy. But she certainly knows what’s goin’ on. Don’cha Twilight?” The farm mare said to her, her voice calm.

He watched as Twilight's eyes went to each of them as she seemed to be considering how to respond. He could sense that she was weighing her options before she sighed. “I read all about the prediction of Nightmare Moon. Some mysterious artifacts known as the Elements of Harmony are the only things that can stop her. But I don’t know what they are, much less where to find them; I don’t even know what they are.” She lamented.

Pinkie bounced upward and was soon bouncing in place. She hopped to the side and turned to face one of the shelves. “The Elements of Harmony: A reference guide.”

He watched as Twilight jaw opened and her mouth dropped before she darted forward and her body collided with Pinkie’s sending her rolling. “How did you find that?” She shrilled as the pink mare bounced to her hooves.

“It was under E!” She giggled and was once more bouncing around them, her voice sing-song.

“Oh,” Twilight replied as her magic gripped the book and flipped it open. The purple Unicorn opened the book and began to read it aloud. “There are seven Elements of Harmony but only 6 are known. They are Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Honesty, Loyalty, and Spirit. The seventh is a complete mystery. It is said that the last known location of the seven elements was in the ancient castle of the Royal Sisters. Located in what is now… The Everfree Forest.”

He was silent as the mares gasped in horror, while Oblivion had to fight back a bark of laughter. ‘That figures. A place they all fear is the source of their salvation.’ He thought to himself as the mares began to file out of the library. He followed close behind them as they made their way to the edge of the forest. They walked in silence as Twilight led them forward. He remained at the back of the group as they reached the edge of the Everfree forest. He turned to face the forest that he had been in earlier and he could feel that he was still as calm as he had been earlier when entering the darkness that pervaded it. He was not surprised when Pinkie tried to bounce ahead of them.

“Whee, let’s go.” She sang out as she bounced forward.

“Not so fast. I appreciate the offer. But I would really rather do this on my own.” The purple Unicorn informed them.

Applejack quickly stepped forward and stomped one hoof down. “No can do, Sugarcube. We sure ain’t lettin’ any friend of ours go into that creepy place alone. We’re stickin’ to ya like candy on a candy apple.”

He watched as all of the mare’s nodded in agreement and they walked ahead of the purple Unicorn. Twilight was silent with her mouth slightly open as they walked ahead, refusing to let her go alone. Pinkie unfroze from her former spot and looked at her.

“Especially if there are candy apples in there.” She giggled. She fell quiet as even Oblivion looked sideways at her comment. “What? Those things are good.”

The black Pegasus shook his head as Twilight looked pleadingly at him. He shrugged at her look and his wings flicked at his sides. He heard her sigh and she trudged forward into the forest with the Witcher on her heels.

4: Hunting the Elements

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The Witcher walked in silence behind the group as they walked deeper into the forest. He was bringing up the rear to allow him to watch their backs and keep any threats in sight should they come. His senses reached out around him and his ears flicked in various directions as he listened closely. He had corrected their path once already when they were following a side trail that was too narrow and would have left them walking in circles. His ears were in constant movement as he listened around them and he was not fully watching ahead of him as they came to a stop. He ended up on the tips of his hooves as he tried not to bump into Fluttershy’s flanks. She looked back at him and he could see the nervousness in her gaze as she gave him a think nervous smile. He looked ahead of her as he backed up a step as Twilight looked at them. He could see Rainbow hovering close by her.

“So none of you have ever been in here before?” She questioned, nervousness in her tone.

“Of course not.” Rarity replied. “It’s dreadful.”

“It ain’t natural,” Applejack added. “Folks say it don’t work like Equestria.”

Oblivion managed not to roll his eyes and he shook his head at their tone of voice. ‘They fear it since it does not need their care to survive. It operates like my world.’ He was about to speak when a familiar sound caught his attention. His ears quickly trained on the sound and his head turned to follow it.

“What's that supposed to mean?” Twilight asked, her tone even more nervous than it had been before.

He turned his body to look around them as the sound grew louder in his ears. He was not paying attention to the mares as he walked a few steps toward the edge of the cliff they were perched on. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Rainbow drop out of the sky and stalk toward the other mares. He raised his head to speak that they should be cautious when the ledge cracked and he raised his head, turning to them,

“Look out!” His voice rang out and they looked at him as the ledge gave way. “Shit!”

The ledge fell away and he watched as it raced down the cliff ahead of them. He spun around and his claws dug into the rock as he tried to slow his slide. He looked up as Fluttershy and Rainbow went to save the others that were still sliding. He leaned his body forward and was able to hide his claws for the most part. He looked behind him as Fluttershy came to hover close by him.

“Go help the others. I’m fine.” He assured her and she nodded and took off.

He looked back over his shoulder as the two Pegasus saved the others and dropped them off on a ledge off to the side. He could see that Twilight was still sliding and he was about to use his magic to reach out and catch her when Applejack went after her ahead of him. He looked at Rarity and Pinkie as they were looking at him and then back to the other mares. Rarity’s eyes connected with his and he watched her horn light up with her magic and he shook his head at her. He knew that he was going to need one of the other Pegasus to come back for him if he was not able to get to the ledge himself.

His head went up further and his eyes narrowed in annoyance. “No. I can do this myself.”

He looked under his claws and he could see that the rock was steady and was not in any danger of giving way under him as he pulled himself up to nearly standing. His wings flicked at his sides and he was cursing that he did not know how to use them. His claws dug in further as he leaned to the side and pulled one hoof out of the soft rock and dug it in in another spot. His hind claws acted in concert with his front and he slowly made his way over to the others and he hid his claws as Rarity and Pinkie reached out for his hooves to help him the last foot or so. He took the offered limbs and was soon standing with them.

“Are you all right dear?” Rarity questioned.

“I’m fine, thank you for asking.” He replied.

“Why didn’t you fly?” Pinkie asked him.

He shook his head and she seemed to drop the question as he made for the lower ledge, leading the two mares. He reached the end of the ledge and he could see the others were close to the ground under them. He saw a slight incline off to the side that would allow the mares and him to slide easily down to the bottom safely. Rarity and Pinkie followed him and he led them down the slight incline. At the bottom, they joined the others and they began to move forward. He found himself wishing he did know how to use the wings he had been given but he would have to put that thought aside for now, as the appendages flicked at his sides.


He was starting to regret listening in as the mares talked, or rather as Rainbow told the story of saving Twilight again, for the fifth time. Her boasting was beginning to grate on his nerves but he chose to simply begin to try to ignore her. He could sense that Twilight was doing much the same thing if the deep sigh that broke from her was any indication.

“I know Rainbow. I was there and I am very grateful but we have too…” She stopped speaking as a monster jumped out in front of them.

“A manticore!” Twilight shouted.

Oblivion reached over his shoulder for his silver blade and drew it, the runes buried in the blade lighting along its shaft. He was ready to charge ahead despite not knowing exactly what this monster was. He hadn’t seen it before in his experience but he was ready to wade into battle none the less. He took a step forward and Applejack caught his eye. She shook her head at the sight of the blade and he blinked as he understood what she wanted. He leaned back on his haunches and replaced the blade in its sheath. He sat down in the dirt and shrugged at her, indicating for her to deal with it on her own then.

“All right. You can deal with it then.” He said to her and she nodded in understanding.

He rolled his shoulders to move the cloak back into place, hiding the weapons. He sat in silence and watched as they tried their methods to deal with the creature in front of them. While they were wholly ineffective he had to give them credit for trying, despite their failures. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Fluttershy trying to stop them, in her quiet way. He tilted his head slightly at her attempts but he remained silent, it was her battle to win or lose. He grimaced as Rainbow was swatted from her tornado and he shook his head as she collided with the ground in front of the Twilight and the others. He watched as they all snorted and pawed at the ground, ready to charge the creature. He shook his head and started to get to his hooves and pull the silver sword once more. He looked up as Fluttershy inhaled, he pinned his ears in response.

“WAIT!” She shouted out.

He saw the others slide to a halt as she was now in front of them. She turned back to the monster and approached it easily. He nearly used magic to pull erg out of the way when it raised a paw to hit the butter-yellow mare. He paused in his attempt as she reached forward and nuzzled the manticore’s other paw. He blinked at her as the monster seemed to rethink his actions and showed her his other paw, revealing a thorn. The Witcher shook his head and sighed as the mare pulled the thorn out of its paw. The removed thorn was cast aside and the monster picked the mare up and began to frantically lick her in thanks. He got to his hooves and moved toward the monster, but chose to give it a wide berth as he moved past it. He waited while the others passed by him and only Fluttershy and Twilight were left.

“How did you know about the thorn?” Twilight asked her.

“I didn’t. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of kindness.” Was the Pegasus’s reply as she walked by them, her mane askew from the affectionate monster's tongue.

He shook his head as Twilight looked thoughtful and then she looked at him and he shrugged in response. The purple mare walked past him and he fell in behind her.


His hooves squelched through the mud and his claws were spread to allow him to move through it without slipping in the muck. This type of terrain was familiar to him and was proving to be no problem for him, even on four legs. His orange eyes watched in front of him and he scanned the terrain ahead of and to the sides of them. The trees were gnarled and hunched around them, creating deeper darkness that the mares were now trying to get through.

“Ugh, my eyes need a break from this icky muck.” Rarity declared.

“That ancient ruin could be right in front of our faces and wouldn’t even know it,” Twilight shouted out in frustration.

“I would have warned you if it was.” He said to her.

“Yup. It’s no problem since Oblivion can see in the dark. It’ll be fine ya’ll.” Applejack informed them.

He watched as Twilight and the others turned back to look at him and they were able to see his eyes giving off a dull glow in the darkness. Rainbow jumped into the air and moved toward him and flapped her wings to allow her to remain level with his head. Her eyes bore into his as she looked closely at him. His cat eyes glowed back at her and she finally moved back a foot after a second hesitation. He assumed she had learned her lesson from the first time she had done something similar and he had sent her flying into a pile of hay.

“Hmm. Well, they do look like they can see in the dark. I guess it’s true.” She said to the others and moved to land back among the other mares.

He stayed still in place as the other began to move carefully around in front of him. His orange eyes watched as they began to try to find their way around and only managed to start bumping into each other as a result of their lack of sight in the darkness.

“Pardon me, I didn’t see you there.” Rarity apologized.

“Right over here I think there’s… Guh.” Rainbow called out and was bumped into by Pinkie Pie.

“Oh wait. Ah think Ah stepped in somethin’.” Applejack said as she paused in place and held up a mud-covered hoof.

Oblivion turned his head slightly to look at her and he could see that she was covered in mud from hoof to fetlock. He looked at the others and they were all in the same state. He didn’t need to look at his legs to know the state of the mud that covered his hooves. His claws flexed in the mud and he simply ignored the feeling of the mud as he decided that he preferred the mud over other fluids and solids.

“Ahh!” Fluttershy suddenly screamed, startling all of them.

Oblivion jumped as she screamed out and he began to look around them to see what might have frightened the timid mare. He watched as Applejack went into motion, her body slowly moving forward.

“What? It’s just mud?” She commented as she stopped in place as a tree loomed over her. She shouted in alarm and fled to land close by Fluttershy.

The Witcher was silent as the others began to cry out in alarm at the trees around them. Oblivion looked around them and he saw nothing was amiss as far as he could tell. His claws folded back into his hoof and he stood carefully on his four hooves. He didn’t see anything that was out of the ordinary with their surroundings. Granted nothing short of a room of Leshen was going to give him pause. The last time he had found himself screaming was during the Trial of the Grasses. And in his defense, everyone screamed.

The mares were now screaming as his ears pinned at the volume that was coming from them. He was about to shout for them to calm down when the sound of maniacal giggling rang out and they all stopped at the sound. He looked up as Pinkie Pie was laughing and making faces at one of the trees. The Witcher was silent as his eyes narrowed slightly at her antics and he stared at her.

“Pinkie Pie what are you doing? Run!” Twilight shouted at her, motion for her to join them.

“Oh, girls. Don’t you see?” She replied and started dancing.

When I was a little filly and the sun was going down

“Tell me she’s not,” Twilight commented, her voice dry.

The darkness and the shadows they would always make me frown

“She is.” Rarity replied.

“Oh, dear Gods.” Oblivion cursed under his breath as she went on.

I’d hide under my pillow

From what I thought I saw

But Granny Pie said that wasn’t the way


To deal with fears at all

“Then what is?” Rainbow threw in.

She said Pinkie you gotta stand up tall

Learn to face your fears

You’ll see they can’t hurt you

Just laugh to make them disappear

Ha Ha Ha.

He was quiet as she laughed at one of the trees and the girls seemed to see something that put them at ease. His ears flicked as he tried to figure out if he had truly missed a threat that they were seeing and he was not.

So giggle at the ghosties- Fluttershy flew tentatively up to it and laughed at the tree as well

Guffaw at the grossly- Rainbow flew right up to it and gave a hearty laugh

Crack up at the creepy- Rarity walked up, stopped a few feet away and chuckled at its expense

Whoop it up with the weepy- AJ jumped off Pinkies back and laughed as she went by

Chortle at the kooky- Twilight was gently placed next to a tree and she giggled behind a hoof

Snortle at the spooky- Oblivion was pushed up to the next tree and he simply looked at it

Pinkie shrugged as the trees returned to normal despite Oblivion not laughing.

And tell that big dumb scary face to take a hike and leave you alone and if he thinks he can scare you then he’s got another thing coming and the very idea of such a thing makes you wanna... hahaha... heh… laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhh!

He watched as the girls all fell into a central circle laughing. He said nothing as he moved away from the tree that Pinkie had pushed him near and they slowly got to their hooves as well. He paused as they began to leave the area with Pinkie bouncing in the lead. He looked over his shoulder to eh trees and foliage and he was still not sure what had happened during the entire episode. He decided after a few seconds that it was not hurting them and whatever it was seemed to have been fixed by them laughing instead of screaming. He broke into a trot to catch up with the giggling mares.

“So long as they are moving forward I suppose it does not matter in the end.” He muttered to himself as he caught up with them and followed.

He remained at the back as they rounded a sharp corner and he came to a halt quickly as Pinkie slammed to a halt and the others rammed into each other. The pink mare stared ahead of her and Oblivion was no longer listening to them as he looked at the roiling river. His ears flicked as the sound of sobbing caught his attention. He looked downstream and his eyes went slightly wide at the sight of an enormous serpent. It was thrashing in the water, causing it to be impassible. He rotated his shoulders slightly to allow his swords to peek out from under the black cloak that covered them completely. He glanced carefully over his shoulder and he could see the swords as they waited for use.

The serpent did not seem to have noticed them as it thrashed and sobbed into the bank. The large waves were being created by its thrashing tail and out of the corner of his eye, he saw the girls all see the same serpent. He could see Applejack moving toward him and he felt her tap his shoulder to try to calm him. His body was ready to fight it if the need came and she could see the hilts of the two swords he carried. She seemed to understand that no amount of tapping his shoulder was going to calm him and that she was better off rejoining the others.

“Excuse me, sir. Why are you crying?” Twilight suddenly called out and the serpent looked at her as if it just now saw them.

The serpent now turned to face them completely and its face was still screwed up as it bit back tears. “Well, I don’t know. I was just sitting here minding my own business when this tacky little cloud of purple smoke whisked past me and tore half of my beloved mustache clean off. And now I look simply hideous!”

It released a loud wail and flopped back into the water. A wave of water went over the group of mares and he jumped back to avoid being soaked through. His sword was nearly out of its scabbard when the wave went over them. ‘This is this world’s version of a water serpent? By the Gods.” He thought to himself as he slid the weapon back into its sheath. He cocked one hip and relaxed his stance enough to allow his body to calm.

“Oh give me a break. Really?” Rainbow said as her mane dripped water onto the ground.

“That’s what all the fuss is about?” Applejack seemed to agree with her statement and shared her sentiment about the situation.

“Well of course! How can you be so insensitive?” Rarity chastised as she leaped forward and admonished the other mares as she looked at the serpent. “Oh just look at him. Such lovely luminescent scales.”

“I know.” The serpent replied as he sniffled and his eyes stayed on the white mare in front of him.

“And expertly coiffed mane.”

“Oh I know, I know.”

“Your fabulous manicure.” She went on as the serpent sat up to examine his nails.

“It’s so true.”

“All ruined without your beautiful mustache.” Rarity concluded, finality in her voice.

The serpent suddenly seemed to deflate at her observation. “It’s true, I’m hideous.”

“I simply cannot let this crime against fabulosity go uncorrected.” She said, her voice determined as she leaned down and her teeth gripped one of the purple scales tightly and yanked it free of the serpents hide.

Oblivion tensed as the serpent shouted in alarm and his stance changed to allow him to move quickly to protect the mare should the need arise. He was ready to move but the serpent only looked hurt by the actions and did not lash out at her. The Elder Witcher was quiet as the mare held the sharp scale aloft.

“Rarity! What are you…?” Twilight began to ask as the mare brought the scale down.

Oblivion watched as the scale cut clean through her tail and it dropped to the ground behind her. She tossed the scale aside and her magic picked up the cut tail. It enveloped the tail and she levitated it top the serpent maw and it twirled in place and replaced the lost half of the mustache. The serpent had waited in silence as she worked and when it was done a smile crossed his face.

“Ohohohohoho! My mustache! How wonderful!” He crowed.

“You look smashing.” Rarity commented, clearly pleased with her actions.

“Oh, rarity. Your beautiful tail.” Twilight said to her as she walked forward and pointed the small stump of the mare’s tail.

“Oh, it's fine my dear. Short tails are in this season.” She replied. “Besides. It’ll grow back.”

The lavender Unicorn looked over and her eyes lit up at the sight of the calmed river. Oblivion watched as she waded out into the river.

“We can cross now. Let’s go. Whoa!” She shouted as the serpent came up underneath her hooves.

“Allow me!” He crowed and dove back into the water, allowing them to jump across the river using his coils.

Oblivion stood at the back of them as they jumped the coils and he suddenly shook his head and waded into the water. Easily keeping up with them as he sloshed through the water. He ignored the strange looks he was getting as he got to the shore about the same time as they did and he ignored the looks that he was still getting from them. His wings tightened around his barrel and he fought back the desire to look down at the appendages, instead, he waited for them to get in front of him and he brought up the rear once more.


They had been walking for over an hour with him occasionally altering their course to follow the game trails versus going through the rougher patches of terrain. He had caught several looks from the others when he changed their course but so far they had not asked him for details. Twilight still led them forward and his ears began to flick as the sound of running paws caught his attention. He stopped in his tracks and listened intently. He could not hear any other sound aside from the occasional rough patch of breathing and the paws that drummed on the ground.

“Wait.” He said to them and they stopped to look back at him.

He saw Twilight roll her eyes as she turned to look over her shoulder at him. “We don’t have time to stop Mr. Shadow.”

He didn’t reply as the sound of breathing grew louder. He watched as Twilight ears suddenly flicked and she looked back ahead of her. She backed up a step as she looked back at him and he nodded solemnly at her. He moved forward, passing them all as he went to stand ahead of them. His hooves held him easily as he closed his eyes and simply listened intently. He moved slowly forward and a small clearing spread out in front of him. The sound of drumming paws faded and now only the harsh breathing remained. He looked back and the girls were all watching him closely. Even the bold Rainbow seemed happy to let him go first. He closed his eyes and let his ears tell him what they could.

“About five or more. Maybe seven.” He muttered to himself. Behind him, he heard Fluttershy whimper at the numbers he mentioned. “Stay here.”

He walked calmly out of the shelter of the trees and into the moonlit clearing. He could see several sets of eyes staring out from the darkness of the other side of the clearing. His eyes narrowed and their glow strengthened as he focused on the eyes that were, in turn, watching him. He moved further into the clearing and he glanced back as the mares were now hugging the edge of the clearing and watching him. His hooves were silent on the grass and the taller grasses rubbed against his legs and they tapped against his chest and shoulders. His height would give him an advantage in any fight and he rotated his shoulders to ensure his swords were in the right position for use.

A loud growl came from the other side and several creatures emerged from the darkness. Their bodies were wood-like and leaves covered their bodies in places. They acted much like the wolves he was used to and he waited as several of them showed up and began to surround him. Behind him, he heard the girls gasp and he glanced back as Twilights horn charged. He caught her eye and shook his head. She looked shocked and her horn went dormant as Applejack patted her shoulder and told her to let him be. He went back to watching the pack of monsters as they circled him as best as they were able. He began to move toward them slowly, one hoof in front of the other as they were thrown off as he approached. They were hunters and their new prey was challenging them as he moved toward them.

“Come on.” He said to them and two in the front charged him.

His body slid to the side as he moved out of the way and his hoof reached back and his claws wrapped around the hilt of his sword. The steel sword glistened in the moonlight as the runes that were embedded within it blazed to life. It crashed into the first monster and he watched as one of the runes activated and the body lit with fire. It screamed as smoke began to come off its hide. It fled the scene and he was now faced with one less monster. The rest began to charge him in one large group and he backflipped to give himself some distance. He pirouetted as two charged him and he slammed the blade into one of them and then spun to let it crash into the other one as well. He rolled to the side and found that he could not roll as well as he used to and he found himself working harder to get to his hooves as he had the last time he had used it. The monsters seemed to see the difficulty and one lunged in to get a hold of his hide.

A scream rang out from behind him as he rolled his body backward and his rump went over his shoulder as the monster's jaws closed on nothing but air. He was back on his hooves as his mane settled back on his neck and he tilted his head to let his forelock get out of his eyes. He was finding that using his sword on three legs was not an option and he reared back onto his hind legs and waited for them to attack him once more. He put one hoof forward and the group now numbering five advanced as well. His wings clung tightly to his sides as he did not need them as he tossed the sword into the air and his jaws gripped the hilt as he charged forward.

“What are you doing!?” Twilight suddenly screamed as he moved.

He heard her question but he did not stop to address her concerns. He ducked his head and the first monster crashed into his chest and he felt its claws graze his shoulder as he spun under it and the blade activated once more and it was lit aflame. He paused as it fled and his mind rushed into place as he realized that there should only be three left. He glanced back and the two that he had bashed into pieces were not dead and had already rejoined the fight.

“So fire it is then.” He muttered through the hilt in his mouth.

He charged into the group and they scattered around him. He spun to face one of them and Igni scored across the ground as the monster cried out and fled from the battle. He quickly backflipped once more and the sword descended with him and he landed almost squarely on top of another monster. He released a short blast of Igni as he landed and it shattered into pieces as fire licked over it. He was able to hop backward and he waited for it to get up once more, as the others had done. When it remained on the ground he focused on the remaining three.

The remaining three stared at him for several seconds as he began to walk toward them. He watched as they seemed to share one thought as they spun to run away from the advancing Witcher. He said nothing as he watched them vanish into the trees and darkness. He reached up with his hoof and his sword dropped into his hoof, he laid it over his shoulder and it slid back into the scabbard over his shoulder. He turned back to the others and they were all staring wide-eyed at him. Applejack was the first to blink as a smile went over her face.

“Ah didn’t believe ya when ya said ya knew how ta use that thing.” She admitted to him.

“I figured you had your doubts.” He replied as he stopped in front of them.

“What kind of pony are you? A soldier?” Rainbow asked.

“No. I am no soldier. I am a Witcher, nothing more.” He replied.

“And that is?” Twilight asked him.

“I am a monster hunter and a curse breaker among other titles my kind have gained.” He informed her, his voice solemn.

“I’ve never heard of it,” Fluttershy said to him.

“I am not from this area so I am not surprised that you have not heard of my kind.” He responded.

Twilight stared at him as he rolled his shoulders and let the swords go back into hiding under the black cloak that sat on his back. The mare looked at the ground at her hooves before she looked closely at him. She opened her mouth to speak but her jaws snapped shut as she spun on her heel and the others fell in behind her. He brought up the rear once more and he said nothing further as the group moved on.


His eyes narrowed as he looked farther ahead of them. He could see the outline of a ruin ahead and he opened his mouth to speak as he looked for how they would be getting to it.

“There it is! There’s the ruin that holds the Elements!” Twilight shouted and galloped forward.

“No! Stop!” He shouted after her.

His words did not reach her as she nearly went over the edge. He heard her yell shrilly as she appeared to be scrambling to back up from the ledge. His orange eyes narrowed further as he could see Rainbow grip her tail and pull her back to safety. He sighed and trotted forward with the others to catch up to them. He reached the pair and he could now confirm what he had seen originally about the bridge. It was tilted halfway and appeared to be broken on the far side. Twilight looked crestfallen at the sight of the bridge in front of her.

He caught a look from Applejack as she shook her head at an unspoken question from him. He had been considering using the magic he carried to fix it like he had done with the celling and the wagon wheel but a shake of her head dissuaded him. He gave an agreeing nod and he went back to looking back at the other side of the bridge. He could see the other side and that the bridge was simply needing to be tied to the other side. The Witcher was silent as Pinkie bounced up to stand close by Rainbow.

“Now what?” She asked as she leaned out over the edge.

Rainbow flicked her wings and one of them gave the pink mare a gentle push. “Duh.”

“Oh right.” Pinkie replied, her face sheepish.

He watched as the rainbow-haired mare took off to the other side. Fog rolled in ahead of them and covered the area that the mare had just vanished into and obscured half of the bridge. His ears were trained forward and he was able to hear Rainbow talking to somepony. He reached out with his claws and secured the bridge on their side as if to entice the mare to do the same on her side. None of the ponies with him seemed to notice the claws on his hooves and he didn’t allow them time to question him about the knots as they waited.

“Rainbow! What's taking so long?” Twilight shouted to the Pegasus.

He watched as the fog cleared for a few seconds and they were shown that the mare was speaking to three other ponies. Twilight gasped and he could sense that there was something wrong with the three strange ponies. His body tensed as he prepared to move should the need arise. Twilight drew up next to him, he didn’t doubt that she had noticed the change in his body stance. She gasped at the sight of them.

“Rainbow! Don’t listen to them!” She cried out.

The fog rolled back in and obscured their vision. Even he was unable to hear or see what was going on behind the veil of fog. He was ready to use magic if he needed to when the rope went taut. The fog began to clear as the Pegasus came out of it and stood close by them on the bridge. She reared up and flicked her tail with a smile. The mares cheered happily and they began to cross the bridge one by one. Rainbow came to hover close by Twilight.

“See? I’d never leave my friends hanging.” She assured the Unicorn.

He saw a small smile cross Twilight face and he stayed close behind her and the others. His hooves were silent as they all crossed the bridge and they advanced on the decaying ruin that now stood in front of them. A small set of stairs showed them the way into the building and Twilight was the first to enter. He stayed at the back and the others walked in ahead of him as Twilight gasped. He looked inside as his hooves went up the stairs and he looked around them. He was reminded of the many crumbling ruins he had been to in pursuit of contracts and treasure on his journey along the Path.

“Interesting.” He commented under his breath as he walked inside.

He could see that further into the room was a stone monolith with six stone balls perched on separate arms. He chose to remain slightly back from the others should anything else come out of the dark corners of the ruins and advance on the group. He watched as the stones were picked up by rainbow and Fluttershy and dropped gently on the ground close by the Unicorn mare.

“We finally found them. Be careful with them.” She said as the stones were set in place in front of her. “Where is the seventh? The book said: When the six are present a spark with cause the seventh to be revealed.” She said in clear frustration.

He watched as the others all looked between each other and Applejack looked at him and he shrugged in reply. “What in the hay does that even mean?” The farm mare asked, her tone loud enough for all of them to hear her easily.

Twilight gave a distracted shrug and focused her attention on the stones in front of her. “I’m not sure. But I have an idea. Stand back. I’m not sure what will happen when I try this.”

“Come on ya’ll. She needs ta concentrate.” Applejack said and began to usher the group out the door behind them.

The Witcher walked back with them and stopped in the doorway. He watched the focusing mare from the doorway and his ears flicked as a familiar sound caught his attention and his head came up to his full height as he began to look around them. He walked a few steps back into the room as a noise from Twilight caught his attention. He looked at her and found the stones were now swirling in a small vortex in front of her. He saw her stand up with another cry as she leaped into the vortex. He lunged forward to help her but she was gone by the time he reached where she had been.

“Shit.” He muttered and began to look around him to see where she was.

A flash of light off to his left caught his attention and Rarity joined him as he looked out a dilapidated window. She suddenly pointed and his gaze turned to see what she was pointing at. A flash of light from one of the side ruins caught his attention and he looked at the white mare at his side.

“How do we get there?” She whispered.

He didn’t reply as his mind went over how he was going to reach her in time to help her with Nightmare Moon. He breathed in as magic surged up within his body and he said nothing as it rolled under his skin and he closed his eyes as he wished for a portal. His body was covered in an aqua aura and he vanished a bare second later.


Twilight looked around as she was suddenly on the ground. She looked up and Nightmare had the element stones floating around her as she laughed. Twilight gasped but then pawed at the stone floor and looked at the Alicorn. The black mare looked at her.

“You’re kidding? You’re kidding right?” The mare looked to the smaller Unicorn and set the stones down as she lowered her head to charge back at her.

Twilight's horn glowed as she charged the taller mare. As they were about to collide Twilight's horn flashed and she teleported to land in the center of the stone circle. Her horn lit up once more and she concentrated while Nightmare Moon turned back and snarled. Twilight’s horn flashed and she was sent skidding backward. Nightmare landed in the center of the stone circle.

“No. No.” She cried out as the stones glowed from Twilight’s magic.

When the glow failed to show the last element Twilight looked on in horror as Nightmare cackled with glee, reared up, and brought her hooves down. The impact broke the stones and they shattered. Twilight looked as Nightmare continued to cackle with glee.

“You little foal. You will never see your Princess or your sun again. The night will last forever!”

“Not today!”

Twilight turned to find Oblivion standing several feet behind her. The black stallion stepped forward and walked up to stand in front of Twilight. “As much as I enjoy the night's darkness, crops that need light cannot survive and you will reign over a world of nothing. Ponies will either die or leave you behind. As I said your crown means nothing with no one to rule.” Oblivion spoke with a calm assured tone and the Alicorn mare listened.

She looked uncertain for a moment before her eyes narrowed and she glared at the stallion. “I will rule for eternity after I finish breaking you!” She roared and her horn lit.

“I will never break again. I was broken once and reforged in steel and silver!” Oblivion roared back at her.


He lowered his body into a defensive stance as his shoulders rolled to push his cloak back and expose the twin blades over his shoulder. Magic flowed through him as the steel sword was pulled and it hovered close by him. Behind him, he heard Twilight whisper that it was impossible but he ignored her shocked tone and focused on the mare in front of him. An aqua aura flowed over the sword as a green line went down the sword, showing the dominant rune that was embedded in the blade. He knew that the blade had several runes buried in it and that this one was the most recent one he had embedded in it.

The crazed mare lowered her own body and she growled under her breath as her own horn lit with her magic and a curved blade was summoned to her. He lowered his body for a second before he charged her, his blade raised. Their swords clashed and a shower of sparks erupted from the impact point. The swords moved swiftly as their wielders acted, the weapons left an aftereffect in the air to show the speed that they were being used. The mad mare grunted as she was slowly being forced backward by the Pegasus’s onslaught. Oblivions sword clashed against hers with every move of his body, with every thrust and swing of the blade he was pushing her back. His hooves danced over the stone floor and he recovered from every near miss and movement the mare threw at him.

She roared in anger as his blade slipped through her defenses and grazed her neck, leaving a short gash that slowly oozed a stream of blood. Her magic charged and it pulsed outward and threw him away from her. He rolled over his shoulder and was able to get back on his hooves quicker than the last time he had used the maneuver. He charged her and she braced for the impact on the weapons in their magic. At the last second he buckled his knees and slid under her defenses, he stood quickly and rammed his shoulder against her chest, sending the mare rolling backward.

“You will yield!” He roared at her as his magic once more surged over him and teleported him to her.

He reared up as he came to her and slammed his hooves down in an attempt to pin her to the ground. She rolled out of the way and his hooves cracked the stone as they came to rest on the ground where she had been. She brought her blade up as she stood and it nicked over his shoulder, leaving a small gash that bled sluggishly. He backflipped away from her and landed solidly on his hooves, his stance steady. His medallion trembled on its chain and he leaped back with a push of his legs and a blast of magic collided with the ground where he had once been. She lowered her head with a scream of rage and he could sense the amount of magic that was being leveled at him was immense. She turned her head slightly and he looked in the direction it was pointing and he surged into motion as it was leveled at a stunned Twilight.

He broke into a gallop and he slid to stand in front of her and his magic dropped the weapon into his claws as he readied himself to deflect the magic that was being thrown at them. The magic was released a bare second later and he swung the weapon and it was able to deflect the magic. He felt the tremor that went through the blade at the impact and the magic skittered off and faded into nothing. Dust was kicked up around them and momentarily obscured them both from Nightmare. He looked back at the still stunned mare and his tail flicked and it slapped her in the nose. His ears still rang from the magical assault, but through the ringing, he could hear the other mares as they drew near to them. He waited as she shook her head and her eyes focused on him.

“I’ll keep her occupied. The others are almost here, trust in them and yourself and you will not fall to her or anyone.” He said to her as he was once more covered in magic and he vanished from the dust.


Twilight watched as he vanished in a flash of magic and she once more was stunned by the sight of it. Her ears flicked as she looked over her shoulder to see the shadows of the other mares coming up the far stairway, she felt relief go through her at the sound of them as she looked back at the Pegasus stallion. She watched as he once more stood in defiance of the Alicorn. She felt strength go through her as she got to her hooves.


Oblivion roared in defiance as he charged Nightmare Moon. She lowered her horn to use it against him and he swung his sword and it deflected the magic that she was trying to fire at him. His sword grated over her horn and she yelped as she pulled back. He called on his magic to teleport behind her and he pulled up his hind legs and bucked her hard in the flanks, forcing her to pitch forward and face plant. With her flank in the air, he bucked her again and she flipped onto her back. He saw Twilight cringe out of the corner of his eye, as he spun and reared over her, finally pinning her. He failed to notice that her hind legs were under him. She kicked his belly and sent him over her and onto the ground. He grunted and leaped to his hooves.

“You think you can destroy the Elements of Harmony just like that?” Twilight shouted and he paused at the sound of her voice. She looked at him and he nodded as his magic teleported him to her side. “Well, you’re wrong, because the souls of the Elements are right here.” She said to the mare as she stood proudly as the other mares joined them.

“Applejack, who reassured me when I was in doubt represents the spirit of, Honesty!

Fluttershy, who tamed a manticore with her compassion represents the spirit of, Kindness!

Pinkie Pie, who banished fear by giggling in the face of danger represents the spirit of, Laughter!

Rarity, who calmed a sorrowful serpent with a meaningful gift represents the spirit of, Generosity!

Rainbow Dash, who refused to abandon her friends for her own heart's desire represents the spirit of, Loyalty!

And Oblivion Shadow who refused to back down in the face of overwhelming odds represents the Element of Spirit!

“The spirits of these six ponies got us through everything that you sent at us. Every challenge fell to these ponies in front of you.” She shouted, her voice loud and confident.

Oblivion said nothing as the shards of the stones now floated around each of them. He said nothing as the stones hovered and spun in place. He looked around as each of them was a separate color and they hovered around their respective bearers.

Nightmare Moon looked back at them, a mixture of surprise and disbelief on her face. “You still don’t have the seventh element. The spark didn’t work!”

“But it did. A different kind of spark, I felt it the very moment I realized how happy I was to hear from you, to see you, how much I cared about you. The spark ignited inside me when I realized that you all...are my friends!” Twilight and the others looked up as a new light went off above Twilight. It was in the shape of her cutie mark and stayed hovering in the air her. “You see, Nightmare Moon when those elements are ignited by the spark that lives in the heart of us all, it creates the seventh element: the element of...Magic!” Twilight exclaimed.

The seven ponies were pulled together and the light that flowed from them created a rainbow that held a color from, each of them, even Oblivions black. The rainbow hit Nightmare Moon and swirled around her consuming her, hoof to horn.

“No! NO!” She screamed in protest but even the sound of her protect was drowned out by the sound and power of the rainbow that now surrounded her.

Oblivion stood on his hooves and opened his eyes. He looked around and saw the mares lying on the ground and slowly coming too. He looked at them in surprise as he could see a gentle glow coming from each of them. The glow churned and fluctuated as their emotions changed. He suddenly realized he was seeing their spirits. Their color was different for each of them and the intensity was different. He was quiet as he reached out with his new senses to see if he could feel Nightmare Moon. He didn’t feel her presence, instead, he felt the presence of another, gentler spirit near him. He gave a quiet snort and looked back to the mares beside him.

Rainbow was the first to stir. “Ugh, my head.”

Applejack was next as she slowly sat up. “Everypony okay?”

“Oh thank goodness!” Rarity exclaimed several seconds later.

“Why Rarity. It’s lovely.” Fluttershy said to her.

“I know. I’ll never part with it again.” She said as she waved her regenerated tail in the air and then nuzzle the strands.

“No. Your necklace. It looks just like your cutie mark.” Fluttershy informed her and pointed the jewelry around the mare’s neck.

Rarity looked down and her eyes went wider at the sight of it. “What? Oh so does yours.” She pointed at the pink butterfly necklace around the mare’s neck.

Pinkie jumped forward excitedly with a squeal. “Look at mine! Look at mine!” She called out and looked down at the blue balloon around her neck.

“Aw yeah!” Rainbow crowed as she looked at the red lightning bolt on her neck.

Applejack looked at her necklace, which was an orange apple. “Well. Look at what yer wearin’ Oblivion.”

Oblivion gave her a slight tilt of his head as she motioned for him to look down. His eyes widened at what he saw. On his head was a crown of silver with black accents around the edges. The wolf symbol was an onyx jewel in the center of the crest. The crown itself extended down to the side of his head just past his ears. There were runes engraved into the metal. He knew what they meant but he was certain that he was the only one who did know them. He wore a breast collar that was also a brilliant silver with black edges. His medallion was now embedded in the front of the collar, its dark metal offset the bright silver and drew the eye to it.

He could tell that the properties of the medallion had not changed. He now wore guards on his forelegs that did not encompass his hoof, allowing his claws to be used. He stomped a hoof experimentally and the armor remained in place as it was wrapped around his cannon bones. His cloak remained and it sat easily on his back. He looked back and he could see the pair of swords were now visible and he moved as a glint of color caught his attention. He moved the cloak and he could see that silver veining now covered the scabbards. His wings sat in place, unused and he felt them shudder at his sides. The Silver armor went down his back and ribs ending just before his tail. It appeared to be one single piece but would move independently if needed. He stared at the image before he let the mirror vanish. He blinked and shook his head.

“Very regal darling.” Rarity praised. “The silver suits your lovely black coat.”

The others nodded in agreement as he said nothing in reply. He had not worn full plate a day in his life. Unlike the others, he chose the lighter armor to avoid being weighed down. He shrugged to see how the armor moved and he was pleased to find that it was comfortable and moved easily. His normal armor felt like a second skin and this felt even better than his old set had. Rainbow walked over to him and she looked at his back to get a better look at the pair of swords on his back.

“Why in the wide world of Equestria are you packing around two swords? I know we saw ya use one of them in that monster fight just now, which was cool, but why do ya need them?” She questioned.

“He’s a Witcher.” Applejack supplied. “Ah mentioned it afore.”

“I know you did,” Rainbow replied. “I just wasn’t paying attention to it.”

The mares all looked at him and he nodded. “I am a true Witcher. Though what I am is not well known here. I have two swords because they have two separate purposes. One is to fight monsters and the other for everything else.” He supplied. “I’ll explain that another time since we are not alone.”

The mares all nodded and Applejack looked back at the lavender mare. “Gee Twilight! Ah thought ya were spoutin’ a lot of hooey, but Ah reckon we do represent the Elements of Friendship.” Applejack spoke up and redirected the conversation away from the black stallion, much to his relief.

“Indeed you do.” A voice called out.

A bright light came from a nearby window and as it faded out it revealed a white Alicorn. She was taller than Oblivion though only by a hand or so if he had to judge. Her horn was longer than the other two Unicorns with him and she wore a pair of golden hoof boots, with a golden breast collar, and a golden crown sat behind her horn. She smiled as she spread her wings, which were only slightly smaller than Oblivions own.

“Princess Celestia!” Twilight cried out, joy in her tone.

The mares all bowed low to the Alicorn and he remained standing. The farm mare who was closest to him looked at him and she suddenly gave him a sour look.

“Oblivion! What are ya doin’?” She said to him and motioned with her hoof for him to bow.

“I do not bow.” He replied easily. “I do not bow to Emperors, what makes you think I would bow to a Princess?”

“It is fine my little ponies. He does not need to. My dear student, I knew you could do it.” The Alicorn said with a wide smile.

“But you told me it was an old pony tale.” Twilight began giving the mare an uncertain look.

“I said you needed to make some friends, nothing more. I saw the signs of Nightmare Moons return and I knew that only you had the magic inside to defeat her. But you could not do it until you let true friendship into your heart.” She explained.

Oblivion broke away from them as a light off to the side of them caught his attention. His hooves were silent on the stone floor as he approached and he came to stand close by a small pale blue form that was semi-conscious on the floor. He looked around her and he could see the smoking remnants of Nightmare Moon's armor that were scattered around her. It was a smaller Alicorn and if he was right she was important to the one he had just met.

“Now if only another will do the same,” Celestia said as she drew up close to him.

He glanced at her and she gave him a sad look and he blinked slowly at her and backed up to give her space. The Witcher backed up to rejoin the others and they were now watching the monarch intently.

“Princess Luna!” She called out. He heard the smaller Alicorn gasp and he watched as she slowly turned to face the white mare. “It has been a thousand years since I have seen you like this. It is time to put our differences behind us. We were meant to rule together little sister.”

The mares looked up in shock. “Sister?”

“You’re surprised?” He commented and they all looked at him.

They said nothing as the white mare went on. “Wil you accept my friendship?” Celestia asked of her sister.

Oblivion and the girls watched in silence. The young Alicorn looked down to the ground for several seconds and then lunge forward to collide with her elder sister. Tears fell from her eyes as she nuzzled her.

“I’m so sorry! I missed you, big sister.” She cried out.

“I missed you too.” Celestia said to her and tears fell from her eyes.

Pinkie smiled and the others did the same. “You know what this calls for?” Oblivion groaned in response. “A party!” Her voice was exuberant as she bounced in place.

Celestia turned to them and her horn lit up with a golden light. A jeweled chest appeared in front of them. It opened to reveal a velvet inside with indents for the crowns and necklaces to sit inside it. Oblivion stared at it and weighed his options.

“We will keep the Elements here for safekeeping. Just place them inside and they will be safe within it.” She said to them.

He watched as the mares went up to the chest and each one placed their Element within the box. While they had been doing that he had chosen that he was going to be keeping the Element that had been given to him. He shook his head as the others were now looking at him, their eyes going wide. The two Princesses also gaped at him as he began to turn to leave them behind. His medallion trembled as magic covered the armor that was on his body. He growled in anger and spun to face the mares. His body was covered in the aqua aura and it lashed out at the white Alicorn. She gasped as it pushed her back and she fell to her rump and stared back at him.

“I am more than capable of protecting it personally.” He addressed them. “I acknowledge that you have the admiration and respect of your ponies but you do not have mine and have not proven to me that you deserve it. I will keep it with me.” He said to her.

Oblivion's magic enveloped the armor, the crown, leg guards, and armor across his body shifted to move toward the collar around his neck. It seemed to melt into the collar and disappeared into it. It shifted further and only the medallion with a silver and black outline remained. His magic faded and Oblivion sighed as he finished. He looked down and gave a pleased noise before he turned to leave.

“Wait!” Luna cried out and he paused.

He looked over his shoulder and turned slightly to look back at her. He watched as Celestia got up from where she had fallen as a smile played across her lips. He could see her amusement at having been overpowered.

“That was quite impressive. Especially considering you are a Pegasus. And you should not have the magic to overpower me.” She said as she brushed off her flanks and her wings helped dust her off. “How are you able to use magic?”

“I truly do not know. I did not use it before I arrived here. Where I am from I do not have any magic that is pronounced. I have my Signs but they are minor and do not have much magic behind them if any.” He replied with a shrug.

“Thou did not have before coming here?” Luna questioned.

He nodded in agreement with her and she looked up at her sibling. “Equestria has always had magic interwoven into its very being. Could it be that it was made active when thee entered our lands?”

Celestia looked thoughtful as the other spoke and she nodded. “That is possible I suppose. I have never needed to test it and if that is the case then it would be an even rarer occurrence. You are the Element of Spirit. You do not yield even to those who rule above you.” She giggled slightly and her eyes showed her mirth at the situation. “Please keep the Element safely with you. We will trust you to protect it should the need arise.”

He nodded in agreement and he paused before leaving as Luna took a tentative step forward. “Thou were holding back during our battle. May we ask thee why?”

He gave a slight smile and he looked at her. “I do not fight to kill the innocent and suffering.” He replied as he was covered in his magic and it teleported him away from them.


Oblivion looked up as Applejack came back from town and she trotted up to him as he was finishing helping Big Mac with a few last-minute chores. He watched as she looked at the light bandage on his shoulder. Mac had insisted on covering it despite his protects and assurances that it would be healed in an hour or less. She stopped close by them and flicked an ear back to listen to her.

“God ta see ya made it back okay. Ya missed a fun party with the Princesses and the others.” She said to him.

“I’m sure I was not missed. You are aware that I do not enjoy parties. Though I must admit that the ones here are very different than the ones I have been to before.” He admitted. “If you are looking to iron out the details of my staying here and my working for you it has already been discussed. I, Big Mac, and Granny Smith talked it over earlier.” He informed her.

She blinked several times as he pushed a barrel in front of him. He pushed one in front of him with his forelegs bumping into it when he pushed it ahead of him. He saw her level a look at her elder brother before she focused on him once more.

“That’s not all Ah wanted ta talk to ya about.” She said.

“Then am I safe in assuming it’s about the events of today?” He replied and he looked over his shoulder as he moved the barrel into the barn and set it on its end as she nodded. He bit back a deep sigh and turned to her. “For the record, I do not regret any of the actions I took today. All of them were needed in some way or another.”

Applejacks' eyes widened as he spoke, she put her hoof over her face as a small groan escaped her. “Ya are impossible. Fine. Ah won’t ask about them then. Next time don’t disappear like that though. What if we had more questions? Ah know Twilight has a lot o’ questions fer ya. She is stayin’ in Ponyville now so she can ask ya later. She didn’t wanna leave her new friends, you included.”

He stared at her for a second. “Hmm.” He turned to the front of the barn as Mac walked into check that he was done and then headed for the house.

“What else is on yer mind? Ya look like ya need ta say somethin’.” She asked him.

“There is something I should probably mention. Mac already knows about it so it makes sensed to inform you as well.” He paused to ensure that she was listening to him as he went on. “This is something that I ask you to truly keep secret. Magic aside it’s important that it not get out to avoid panic.” She looked nervous as he looked at her. “Do you recall when Mac and I went back into the house yesterday?”

“Ah remember it. Ya looked a mite bit wobbly.” She replied after thinking for a moment.

“Turns out that I am not only an herbivore. I happen to be an omnivore.” She looked at him, questioningly. “That means I eat meat as well.”

She snorted and fell backward on her heels. “Wh…What makes ya think ya eat meat?”

He looked sideways at her for several seconds. “I already have. And before you say anything I hunt in the Everfree not around here. I have no intention of causing panic or upsetting anypony. I left that party last night to go hunt. Even you thought I seemed better after I returned. You would be right. I felt better and still do. So it would seem that I do not need to hunt very often but we will find out how often is needed. I am informing you out of courtesy not because I feel I must.” He sighed. “Will you please stop looking at me like I’m going to bite you?”

Applejack shook her head to remove the obvious shock and she pushed herself to her hooves and looked closely at him. “Ah’m sorry. Ah’m just a little shook up. Its been a long couple a’ days. But Ah understand, how did Mac figure it out?”

Oblivion barked a laugh. “He found out by accident. When we went inside he made me a couple of sandwiches and ended up with my head in a bucket.” Applejack gave him a sympathetic look while he continued. “I need to balance my diet with both. I will try to inform you when I think that happens. In the meantime, I will limit the amount I do eat until I learn the timeline and amounts. Mac watched over me and saw my teeth which...” He groaned at the look she gave his muzzle.

He pulled his lips back and showed her his teeth. She visibly cringed but her curiosity won out over caution. She put a hoof gently on one of his canines. He saw what she was doing so he didn’t move at the slight touch.

“Well, Ah’ll be. That’s quite the mouthful.”

He closed his mouth and nodded. “Mac called it a mouth full of knives.”

Applejack laughed in agreement. “He ain’t wrong.” She laughed and gave him a light punch on his uninjured shoulder. “Ya do look like ya got a mouthful o’ em’. But Ah can tell ay ain’t dangerous. But that was a bit of a shock.”

“Understandable. Now I will have to ask your judgment on this next thing. Mac has asked that I choose when to inform Granny Smith. I will inform her of it when the time comes but I am unsure of telling Apple Bloom.”

Applejack nodded. "As much as Ah want ya ta be honest. Ah don’t think Apple Bloom is quite ready ta know ya eat meat.” He nodded in agreement as she continued. “Ya mentioned once that ya were not well-liked as a Witcher.” He nodded for her to go on. “Is that why ya lashed out at the Princess?”

He blanched for a moment before a sigh pulled from him. “I am used to being treated poorly by ponies because of what I am. Most use us for what they need then we are tossed aside. I reacted in a way that is natural to me. I was not trying to harm her, just get her to drop her magic from me.”

“So ya were thinkin’ she was about ta hurt ya?”

“Something like that.” He replied.

“Ya should tell our friends more about what ya are so they know more bout ya.” She started and he stared blankly at her as she paused. “What?”

“I have not mentioned to you or them about how Witchers are never any pony’s friends. Most of that is because most of us keep to ourselves as a rule. We are vilified by most that come into contact with us and if they interact with us it is only to get what they want and they throw us aside. Ponies fear what they do not understand and I do not blame them for it, it is just how things are.” He said to her and she listened to him as he spoke to her. “I was not born here, nor was I trained here. You saw some of that training last night with Nightmare Moon.”

“Ah know what Ah saw with the fight. Ya are definitely different than most ponies but that’s no reason not ta like ya. Ya aren’t that much older than the rest o’ us so we have no reason ta… What?”

He said nothing for a second before he spoke to her. “How old do you think I am?”

“Mid-twenties?” She replied and he barked a laugh and shook his head. “Late twenties?”

“No. I am much older than that.” He replied and she looked uncertain as he went on. “There was only one Witcher that was older than I am and I am over one hundred years old.”

Her eyes went wide as he waited for her to respond. Her mouth slowly fell open and her eyes were wide as she stared at him. “Yer… One hundred… What? How is that possible? Granny is younger than ya are.”

“I live for so long because I was made to. I do not wish to upset you with the details but know that I am designed to live longer. I have lived far longer than most would think it possible and my age has not affected my movements as it would if it were the natural aging process.” He informed her.

“So yer not feeling yer old age like Granny does?” He shook his head at her question. “Ah still can’t see how ya can live so long and not age at all.”

“As I said I was made this way. I have to admit hearing I am older than Granny Smith is pretty amusing.” He replied with a short chuckle. “I was around twenty-five or so when I left Kaer Morhen to walk the Path. I have been on my own for many years or so and I am not used to what a friend or family is. Even among my kind we meet up rarely unless we seek each other out should the need arise. My fellow Witchers are my brothers, not my friends.”

Applejack was silent as she seemed to be thinking over what all he had said to her. She looked from him to the ground and then back to him after several seconds had elapsed. A small smile crossed her face as she looked back at him.

“Okay, Ah must admit that is a lot ta take in. But ya will learn ta trust us. All o’ us are connected now.” He tilted his head slightly and she reached out and her hoof tapped the medallion around his neck. “The Elements. We are all connected through ‘em.”

“True enough.”


“Now one more thing ta talk about with ya. Ya don’t need ta be so formal wit’ us. Ya can relax with us and be yerself.” She said to him and she started to say more as he looked at her and she paused.

“You are asking me to stop a century of habit. Asking me to change it is like asking you to be Rarity for the rest of your life.” She blanched and he nodded as she looked back at him. “Exactly. I will try to ‘loosen’ up as you put it over time. So why don’t we start with something small for the time being? I will use your nickname occasionally.”

She looked thoughtful and then nodded in agreement with him. “That will be perfect. Ya sound too formal with always usin’ full names. Yer name is easy enough ta shorten since ya have yer surname.”

“Very well this will take some getting used to I have to admit, AJ.” He replied as he stumbled over her nickname.

She nodded as she chuckled over his near slip and patted his shoulder. “Soon enough ya’ll be as easy goin’ as Ponyville.” He simply looked at her and she patted him again. “Well. Maybe not that easy goin’.”

He said nothing as she motioned for him to follow her and he fell in behind her as they left the barn.

5: Element Backlash

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Oblivion awoke at dawn with the rest of the Apple family. He pushed himself out of bed and his wings fell unceremoniously to the floor by his hooves. He was still not used to the appendages despite having them for a few days now. He focused on them and they pulled up and were pinned to his sides once more. He reached for his cloak as it was draped over the desk and he pulled it into place and his swords were hidden under the fabric of the cloak. His magic gripped the sheets of the bed and they were folded back in place neatly as had become his habit in the mornings. His head throbbed for a moment as the magic worked. The Witcher chose to ignore it as it was only for a moment. He walked out of the room and he went down the stairs carefully and he walked into the empty kitchen. His ears flicked as the sound of drumming hooves caught his ear. He looked over his shoulder as Apple Bloom stumbled down the stairs with her sister on her heels and didn’t look up as she ran into his hind leg.

“Oh, sorry Oblivion.” She said to him with a sheepish grin. “Ah didn’t mean ta run into ya. Ah was in a hurry. Ah’m helpin’ Applejack while yer in town.” She explained.

“I am in town?” He questioned as the farm mare looked annoyed at her sister.

Applejack looked at the filly for a second before she turned her gaze to the stallion. “Ah was gonna ask ya ta run errands fer us today. Mac and I are in the far fields that we let go dormant last year. Apple Bloom is gonna be helpin’ us out there. Ah’ll write down what we need and where to find them so yer not walking around lookin’ fer things.” She looked back at the counter and moved close to it as she looked over her shoulder at his. “If ya need breakfast…?” She started and he shook his head.

“No. I’m fine.” He assured her.

He was beginning to get a headache and he had no desire to aggravate it. His body didn’t feel normal to him and he was unsure what may have caused it. For the time being, he was going to tread carefully and allow it to balance out on its own. He was not hungry at the moment so he knew it was not a headache that was driven by hunger. He stood by and waited as she began to rattle off what he needed to find and he wrote it down in the common tongue that he knew. He had realized that he did not know how to read their language and he knew that meant he couldn't write in it.

The orange mare then gave him two small pouches of coins for the Cakes and Rarity. Big Mac came downstairs and Oblivion looked past him. He backed up as the other stallion moved to the side of him and he made for the stairs. He heard a sound from Applejack sound off from behind him and he looked back as she was giving him a questioning look.

“I assume I will need my saddlebags?” He asked her.

Applejack nodded but she stopped as a thought seemed to come to her. “Hey, Mac? Can he use yer saddlebags? The stuff is kind of heavy and his saddlebags might not be big enough.”

“Righ’ over here.” He said as he picked up his saddlebags from their place in the front room and then laid them carefully over Oblivions back, moving them around his wings. “Ya’ll ‘r too thin for my saddlebags. Jus’ hold on while I size ‘em to ya.”

Oblivion kept his cloak off to the side to allow the stallion to size them properly. Mac strapped the saddlebags into place and he was forced to punch a new set of holes in the girth strap to accommodate the thinner Pegasus. He waited for Mac to finish and when he was done he patted the Witchers shoulder and Oblivion moved back into the kitchen to retrieve the list. Magic hummed under his skin and he ignored it as he put the list in the empty saddlebag. He walked out the door and turned to leave the farm behind. His head was beginning to pound as he walked and he was trying to simply ignore it.

His stride was slower than was normal for him as his head throbbed and as he reached town he looked up and colors assaulted his eyes. He was not sure how it had happened but ever since the incident with Nightmare Moon he had been able to see a light that came from each pony. He had noticed that it was stronger the happier or more exuberant the pony was. He was trying to also ignore the varying colors that were now visible to him now that he was in town among the other ponies. He was so busy trying to ignore the colors that he did not see Twilight waving at him.

“Oblivion!” She shouted.

He startled and spun to face her as she approached him. He could see the bright light coming from her and he waited for her to reach him. His eyes closed for a second as the mare reached him.

“Are you okay?” She asked, concern in her voice. “You look like you’re in pain.”

He shook his head and his eyes opened to look at the brightly nearly glowing mare. “It’s fine Miss Twilight. Nothing more than a headache.”

She nodded as he spoke and seemed to let it go. A smile went over her mouth as she spoke to him. “That’s good to hear. You know you don’t need to call me that. Just Twilight is fine. You’re my friend so formality is not needed.” She said to him. “I was also wondering if I could have some of your time this evening. I wanted to ask you some questions about where you’re from. Especially about that monster that we saw. Applejack said you were from very far out of town and she saw a map that had places she had never seen before on it. I hope you have some extra time but it’s not dire if you’re busy.”

He shook his head to quiet her. “It’s fine. I have no problem with meeting you for a while. I need to finish picking up a few things in town and then I should have some extra time this evening.”

“That sounds perfect. I look forward to it Oblivion. Meet you at the library this evening?”

“I will see you then.”

He missed the look of concern that crossed her face as he spun to leave her behind. He lowered his head to avoid looking directly at ponies as the lights were beginning to get to him and his head was beginning to pound. He could sense where he was going just by listening and his ears were beginning to lead him forward. He looked up as a storefront loomed over him and he looked up at the sign to ensure that he had the right building. He pushed the door open and the smell of stain, wood, and oil greeted him. His nose burned with the intensity of the scents and he opened his mouth to breathe through his mouth but he quickly realized that did not help. The Witcher walked deeper into the store and neared a counter that was situated close to the back of the store. He could see a gentle gray light that held hints of black within it as he reached the counter.

He waited for the pony to notice him as he looked over the counter. Behind it a pony was hunched over a block of wood, his coat was a light gray with a set of woodworking tools for his cutie mark. A chisel and a piece of sandpaper adorned his flank and Oblivion had seen tools like those used in woodworking before. The aura from the pony was calm and quiet and showed no signs of stress or other emotions. Oblivion tapped his hoof gently on the floor and that did not seem to reach the pony's ears. He pulled one hoof up and rapped it heavily against the wooden counter.

“Goodness!” The pony cried out as he spun to the counter. He nearly fell from the small chair he was using behind the counter. “I’m sorry. I didn’t hear you come in. For somepony as tall as you are you walk very quietly?”

Oblivion said nothing for a second before he breathed out a short breath. “I am here for the parts that the Apple family ordered.”

“Ah, I know what you’re after. Just a moment.”

The Pegasus stallion was quiet as the pony moved to a door that off to the side of the counter and vanished into the back of the store. He reached for the saddlebags and reached into one of them to pull out the list he had dropped inside. He held the list and his head still pounded as he focused on the list in front of him. Next, he needed to stop by Rarity’s business for some fabric Applejack had ordered from her. His vision blurred at the sides and he closed his eyes to clear it.

The Pegasus looked to the back door as the pony returned carrying several items and he set them on the counter. He stood back to let Oblivion get a look at them. Oblivion made it seem as if he was scrutinizing the pieces when in fact he had no idea what he was looking at. He nodded as if the parts had passed some kind of analysis and the pony gave a happy nod and picked up the parts and came from around the counter to place them in the saddlebags he was wearing.

“These were pre-paid so you good to go.” He said as he closed the saddlebag and backed up to allow Oblivion to leave without him crowding him.

“Thank you for your time,” Oblivion replied and turned to leave the store.

The Pegasus left the store and he breathed in the fresh air and he felt the headache recede slightly at the change. He now slid the list back into the other empty saddlebag and closed his eyes for a second before he began to walk toward Rarity’s boutique. His vision blurred once more and he shook his head to clear it. To avoid it happening again he narrowed his eyes slightly and even though his eyes would now give off a slight glow because of it he chose to accept that slight problem versus the larger one he was facing at that moment. He reached her door after a few minutes and he pushed it open and walked in. he could see a bright light within it and he quickly saw that it was the mare that it belonged to. The bell on the door shrilled and he managed not to growl in pain as his head throbbed.

“Welcome! How may I…? Oh, Oblivion dear. Welcome please come in.” She called out at the sight of him and approached him.

“I'm here to pick up Applejacks order.” He addressed her.

“Oh of course darling. Just a moment.” She replied and turned to leave him behind her.

He watched as she went up to a separate shelf and she scanned the items on it until she found the one she was looking for. "Here we go.” She said aloud and walked back to him with the fabric hovering in her magic. “Here you are, dear. Tell Applejack that I would like some of the first apples of the season in exchange.” She said as he reached for the small coin pouch.

“You’re certain?” He asked her.

She happily nodded and he removed his hoof from the saddlebag as she dropped the fabric into it. He pulled out the list and his magic called on a quill and he wrote the reason in the margins of the list he carried. His head throbbed with every second he held the list and he hurriedly wrote down what he needed to and put the list away.

“I will let her know. Thank you Rarity.” He said to her and turned to leave the shop.

He saw the concerned look cross her face but chose to ignore it. He opened the door and went out into the bright sunlight. He knew that he needed to go to speak to Fluttershy about an animal in one of the orchards. He placed himself on a path that would lead him out of town and lead him to the mare’s cottage home. He began to trot out of town and after several strides, he stopped to avoid the pain that lanced through him at every hoof fall.


It took him time to reach the fringes of the Everfree but he reached the cottage that housed the shy mare. He looked at it and he could see two lights within it. Rainbow and Fluttershy were within the cottage and he walked up to the door to get their attention. He rapped his hoof on the door and he could see the lights move inside the building. Fluttershy opened the door and her eyes widened a bit at the sight of him.

“Oh, Oblivion. It's nice to see you.” The shy Pegasus addressed him.

“Pleasure is mine, Fluttershy. I need to have a word with both you and Rainbow if I might impose for a moment.”

“Oh of course. Please come in. Rainbow came over to help me with a couple of my animals but we were just finishing up.” The meek pony informed him as she opened the door and he walked into the entryway of her home. “What can we do for you? Or do you need to speak to her alone? I’ll just go into the…”

Oblivion placed a gentle hoof on the mare’s mouth to silence her. “It’s nothing like that Fluttershy. I am simply doing a list of tasks that Applejack asked of me. Rainbow Dash? Is it possible to have a shower of rain on the main orchard tomorrow afternoon?” Rainbow put a hoof to her chin as she thought about his request.

“How many clouds?” She questioned.

He simply looked at her as he was still getting his mind around how the ponies could control the clouds and rain. “Enough to cover the orchard.” He replied.

She nodded and he made a mental note of it as he was leery of pulling out the list with magic. He then looked back at the shy mare as she was now watching him closely.

“Fluttershy can you look into moving a badger that has decided to make his home the northern orchard as well?”

“Of course. I will do what I can.” She promised and he nodded in reply.

He turned to leave and pushed open the door to leave the pair behind. He walked out of the cottage and made his way out to the path that had led him there originally. Magic griped the list and his head pounded in turn. He read it over and nearly groaned as he realized that he had missed going to Sugarcube Corner while he had been in town. He mentally kicked himself as he put the list back in the saddlebag.


He moved through town as he made his way to the cake shop. The headache was slowly worsening as time went on and he quickened his pace to be done with the chore sooner. He stood outside the open door for a moment before walking inside. He immediately saw Mrs. Cake and walked up to the counter to greet her.

“Good afternoon Mrs. Cake.” He gave her a polite greeting as he neared the counter.

The mare turned around and smiled widely at the approaching Unicorn. “Oblivion dear how you today?” The mare paused. “Are you alright?”

He looked up at her. “I’m alright thank you for your concern. I am here to pick up Applejack's order.”

The blue mare shrugged and after giving him a concerned look she went into the kitchen to get the order. He stood in silence and waited. When she came back out she walked around the counter and, after moving the box into her hooves and placed it onto his back. Oblivion gave a thin smile and laid a small pouch of bits on the counter. He had no idea how coin worked in this world so Applejack had counted it out and sent it with him. The one that had been meant for Rarity was still in his saddlebag. He thanked them and walked for the door. A pink blur went past him and he started as he stopped in his tracks. He looked back to ensure the treats on his back were not moved. Pinkie opened the door with a flourished bow and grinned maniacally at him. Oblivion nodded to her as he went out the open door and into the street.

The black Pegasus walked with his head lowered to his shoulders as he made his way back to the farm. He stopped and closed his eyes for a moment as he tried to get the pain to fade. He opened his eyes and moved forward. He walked slowly back to the farm and through the gate. He saw Applejack and Apple Bloom working on a section of the bleachers that he had created four days ago.

He went inside the farmhouse and found Mac in the kitchen. The red stallion turned to see him standing in the doorway and he moved as the black stallion walked deeper into the kitchen. Mac reached out and pulled the box off his back and set it on the counter. The red farm pony looked closely at him for several seconds as he stared at Oblivion's orange eyes and the slight glow that was coming from them.

“Ya okay?”

“I’m fine Mac. Just a headache. But thank you for asking.” He replied as he turned to leave him behind.

Mac reached out to stop him and his hoof gripped the nearest saddlebag. He pulled back enough to stop Oblivion from leaving but he seemed shocked when it nearly pulled the other pony off his hooves. Oblivion grunted in surprise and spread his hooves as his claws spread slightly to keep him on his hooves. He looked back over his shoulder to the surprised farm pony who then released the saddlebag in his grip.

“Sorry bout that Pardner.” He said to him. “Ah didn’t mean ta nearly pull ya off yer hooves. Are ya sure it’s just a headache?”

“I’m fine Mac. I was surprised and off-balance, nothing more.” He replied.

“What are ya doin’ now?”

“I need to offload the other items that I was asked to retrieve then I am unsure what I am doing next.” He related to the other pony. “After that, I told Twilight I would stop by the Library to answer a few questions she had about my homeland.”

Mac pushed open the door and the two stallions walked out and headed toward the bleachers. The Witcher approached the pair as they were still struggling with the wooden bleachers. He stopped by the barn and set down the parts on the work table that Mac had been using and the red pony nodded that they belonged there. He walked the rest of the way to the mare and stopped a few feet behind her.

“Applejack.” He said to her and she didn’t seem to hear him. “AJ!” He shouted and she spun to look at him, a smile on her muzzle.

He managed to scowl at her before he pulled out the fabric and held it out for her to look at. She looked it over and seemed pleased with it and he set it back in the saddlebag to avoid it getting dirty on the ground.

“Did Rarity give ya a hard time?” She asked.

“No. She was fine. She refused payment and instead wishes to have some of the first apples from the harvest.” He related the mare's request to the orange mare.

Applejack barked a laugh. "Tha’ sound bout right fer her. What about Rainbow and Fluttershy?”

“They also agreed to help. I assume Fluttershy will be by before harvest to look into the badger situation and Rainbow will be proving the clouds you asked for.” He reported.

He looked at the sun and figured that in time he would need to go over to the Library to meet with Twilight as he had agreed. He looked past the mare and he could see Apple Bloom trying in vain to pull the bleachers apart. She had her hooves on one of the main posts and was pulling valiantly at it even as she had all four hooves pressed against it. Oblivion walked up to her and tapped her mane to get her to stop trying. She looked up at him and dropped from her place on the post. He glanced over his shoulder top Applejack who shrugged.

“Not a worry. We’ll get this thing pulled apart. Though ah have ta admit ya made it sturdy. Ya did almost too good of a job, we been fightin’ it for an hour and barely made any progress on it. Ah admit all Ah care about is the engraved parts. The rest is scrap for the farm but those Ah want ta keep.”

He said nothing for several seconds before he breathed in deeply and magic hummed under his skin as he began to call on its power. A tap to his shoulder stopped him and he looked to find Mac shaking his head at him.

“Don’ even think bout it. Yer wobbly as it is. Ah don; think takin’ that apart will help ya any.” He drawled.

Oblivion looked thoughtful as he considered what the other stallion had said. “I see your point. While I would rather simply take it apart completely I can see your side. So I propose a compromise and I will simply remove the parts you wish to keep.”

Mac considered the deal and finally nodded in agreement. He felt his magic reach out and the aqua aura surrounded the engraved pieces, mist flowed gently from them as the magic covered them completely. Applejack looked over at Mac and he saw them grab Apple Bloom and pull her back just in case something went wrong when he yanked the pieces free. The three siblings stood just behind him and waited. He felt his head throb as he channeled the magic through his body and he gave a violent magical yank and he saw the wood giving way. Wood splintered and he saw the pieces come free of the base. He held them aloft and set them off to the side of him. The magic faded and he was left panting in its wake. His eyes narrowed to stop the blurring but the blurring of his vision only got worse. He let himself sit down and then slid to the ground as he breathed.

He saw Apple Bloom suddenly come into his vision. She paced around his head and he could hear her speaking to him. Though he could not tell what she was saying as his head pounded and his vision faded to black as he closed his eyes and lay silent. His eyes remained closed to avoid seeing the frantic, worried colors that were leeching off of the siblings. He remained silent for what he felt was only a few minutes before his ears flicked and he could hear what was being said around him. His head still pounded but it was slowly fading to a dull pounding.

The siblings were comforting their youngest sibling as he opened his eyes to look around him. The family was off to the side of him as he felt his strength coming back to him and he raised his head. He looked down as Apple Bloom came running to the front and slid to a stop in front of him. He looked down at her and her eyes were wide as she stared at him.

“I’m fine little one.” He said to her.

The filly jumped forward and her hooves gripped his fur as she hugged his neck and shoulder tightly. He blinked and looked down at the filly as she nuzzled into his fur. He felt a hoof pat his shoulder and he looked over to find Granny Smith standing at his side. ‘When did she get here?’ He questioned himself and he looked up at the sun to find that he had been lying there for a half-hour or more.

Mac gave his shoulder a gentle push and his face was worried and annoyed. “Ah told ya not ta overdo it. Ya scared Apple Bloom ta death and even Granny came out at check on ya.”

The red stallion scolded him, but the scolding was halfhearted. He could tell that the red pony was not invested in admonishing him. Applejack was giving him an angry look but her face was carved in with worry more than angry. The colors that swirled from the family were scared and concerned and he watched as they slowly began to calm.

“Ya should’a mentioned ya weren’t feelin’ well. Ah would’a pulled it apart mahself.” Applejack said to him. Her aura was much like the others, churning and the sight was making his head ring even more than before.

“I apologize everypony. I did not think that would take as much energy as it did.” He said as he looked away from them to avoid watching the colors that covered them.

“Ya need ta rest.” Granny Smith said to him.

“I plan to. I gave Twilight my word that I would meet with her this evening and I plan on taking it easy for her questioning.”

“Ya need ta rest now though.” She went on, her voice held more force than before.

“And I will.” He replied as Apple Bloom released him and he got to his hooves. “I do not think it will take very long so I will be back in an hour or so. I will also avoid using magic as that seems to aggravate the headache.”

Granny Smith and the siblings didn’t look convinced but they seemed to accept what he said and finally nodded. “Make sure ya come home safe and rest.” Granny Smith said as she turned to walk back to the house.

He said nothing in reply as he turned to make for the gate and head back to Ponyville.


He reached the Library by the time the sun was going down and it was becoming dark. He rapped his hoof on the front door and waited for it to be opened. He could see the colors that showed both Twilight and Spike were inside. The door opened and he was greeted by the baby dragon who smiled at the sight of him.

“Hey, Oblivion. Come on in. Twilight said you were coming by.” The dragon said to him and stepped aside to allow the stallion to walk inside. “Hey. Are you okay?”

“I’m fine Spike. Just a lingering headache.” He replied.

He looked around the room that he was in and the lights were bright and his head throbbed in response to them. He could see the vast amount of books that covered the walls and he was struck with a twinge of regret that he could not read them. He enjoyed reading when he had the time but now he found that he did not have the ability to look over them. He ducked his head down and his forelock fell into his eyes, shielding them from some of the bright light.

“Are you sure? You look like you’re going to keel over.” Spike observed.

“I’m going to what?” He asked as the dragon spoke and he found that he only understood some of the sentences.

“Keel over. Ya know, die or collapse.” He clarified.

“Why not just say that then if you wish to express that?”

“The other way is more fun.” Spike reasoned.

Oblivion fought not to roll his eyes at the baby dragon. He looked at the inner doorway as Twilight came around the corner. She smiled at the sight of him and her magic picked up a scroll and quill from the nearby table. He was not able to hide the sudden sinking feeling that washed over him as he glanced at the now laughing baby dragon.

“Your funeral Oblivion. You agreed to answer her questions. She won’t relent until she knows everything you do.” Spike laughed at the look the stallion gave him and patted his foreleg. “Twilight lives to learn.”

Oblivion said nothing in reply. He was struck silent by the feeling that he had made a critical error in his choice to accommodate her. He closed his eyes as the room was slowly starting to spin around him. He cracked open one eye as Twilight sat down on a pillow a few feet in front of him. Her magic gripped another pillow and set it down a couple of feet from him. While he appreciated the gesture he was focusing on standing and keeping his hooves underneath him. He heard Spike chuckling at his expense but he thought about reprimanding the baby dragon faded from his mind as the room spun faster.


Spike looked at the stallion as he stalled from sitting down in front of the knowledge loving Unicorn. He leaned down as Oblivion head lowered and he pushed the stallion long forelock out of his face. His eyes went from laughing to more concern at the sight of the stallions orange cat eyes going from think slits to wide. He went and picked up the pillow in his claws and went back to the stallion.

“Spike. What are you doing?” Twilight asked.

He was carefully watching the stallion as his eyes closed and he groaned as his knees gave way. Spike lunged forward and pushed the pillow under the stallions chin. Oblivion fell to the ground without a sound and he laid in silence. He stood upright and looked at the stunned mare. Her eyes were wide as she got to her hooves and her eyes went from the stallion to the baby dragon.

“Twilight? What do we…?”

“Spike get me a blanket and dim the lights a bit.” She ordered and the baby dragon saluted and ran to get what she had asked for.


She went to Oblivion's head and sat down beside him. She brushed his forelock out of his face and patted his shoulder to try to awaken him. She realized that he was out cold and no amount of tapping was going to awaken him until his body was ready. She looked nervously around the room and her hooves ran over his mane as she smoothed it on his neck.

“I knew something was wrong earlier. I should have pressed you about it.”


His ear flicked to the side as the sound of snoring cut into his mind. He nearly growled as Eskel snored loudly off to his right.

“Eskel. If you don’t shut it I’m going to throw you outside with that damned goat of yours.” He grumbled quietly.

The subject of his threat was another Witcher so his low voice would still be noticed. He waited for several seconds as the snoring continued without pause. He reached out his arms and they struck a bundle close by him and he gave the other Witcher a nearly violent shove. He didn’t have a lot of energy so the shove was not as rough as he had thought it would be. He was waiting for the inevitable cursing of his name that would have normally followed but he heard a distinctly childlike yelp as a small thud sounded out.

“Oblivion! That hurt. Wait tell me that was you and not a ghost.” The young voice called out to him.

He opened his eyes in surprise as a bright light dazzled his sensitive eyes. “Mother of the Gods!” He yelled and pushed himself back quickly. He gave a low grunt as he fell off the side of his bed and collided with the ground. “Shit. What in the Hells?” He breathed out.

He rolled over, lifted his head, and pushed the comforter onto his back. It took him several seconds to become accustomed to the bright light of the room he was in. His mind caught up with his actions and he began to piece together what had just happened. He closed his eyes as he pieced things together and his eyes opened as he looked down at his hands. He was reminded that he was now a pony and that he had hooves instead of hands. He was a Pegasus pony and he was laying on some pony’s floor. He winced as he looked to his right and he saw that his right wing was angled poorly and he reached out to it and pushed it back into a more normal position. He was quiet as the door opened quickly and a lavender Unicorn quickly walked into the room.

“Spike! What… Happened?” She asked as she looked at the bed and then to the stallion that was on the floor looking back at her.

He looked to the side as the sound of claws caught his attention and Spike crawled out from under a blanket that he had been hiding under by the doorway. His eyes were wide as he looked at the slightly bewildered Witcher that was watching the both of them.

“Okay, it was you that pushed me off the bed?” Spike asked and Oblivion nodded. “Okay good. I was afraid it was a ghost.”

He shook his forelock out of his face and sighed deeply. He reached up and held his head in both hooves and rubbed his temples. “What happened? I haven’t felt this bad since I outdrank Geralt. My head is killing me.”

He looked up briefly as Twilight came into the room and sat down in front of him. “You’re okay?” She whispered, trying not to make the headache worse.

“I’ll be fine.” He replied. “But that does not answer a question I find myself having.”

“Which is?” She asked.

“Where am I?”

“You’re in one of my guest rooms.” She supplied. “You collapsed last night and when we couldn’t wake you I chose to bring you in here and let you rest. Spike stayed here with you while I went to talk to Applejack and she informed me that you had a headache all day and had collapsed when pulling apart the bleachers. She was pretty mad at you at first until I told her you did not use any of your magic. Why didn’t you say anything before it got that bad?”

“Who’s eeskal?” Spike butted in and asked.

“Eskel. He’s another Witcher. We winter in Kaer Morhen some winters if we both make it there before the snows and he snores… Loudly. It’s not uncommon for him to wake one or all of us up at least once a night.” He replied. “How long have I been out?”

“About fifteen hours. It’s about eight in the morning or so.” She replied.

“Gods.”

“So this is you not being formal?” She teased.

“Pardon?”

“Your speech is more relaxed and you’re not as stiff.” She explained.

“I see. When I’m not trying to be polite this is usually what you will get. I tend to end up on the polite side when dealing with ponies outside of my own kind.” He explained.

“Just be yourself.” She encouraged. “You don’t have to be somepony you’re not with your friends.”

He looked at her and a sigh pulled from him. “Therein lies the issue. I have never had friends outside of my fellow Witchers, and they are my brothers, not my friends. I am a tool that ponies use and then throw away when I am not needed so I tend to land on the polite side when dealing with others. Friendship is a luxury none of us can afford when it comes to our profession. If the ones we have helped let us leave alive then we have survived another day. Most often they will attack to try to take back what they have paid us. Even the ones who are my brothers are kept at length. That way they cannot be used against me if the chance should come.” He explained. “So I tend to end up on the polite way of speaking more often than my own style.”

She looked at him, sadness in her eyes as she regarded him. Spike put a clawed hand on him and began to run his claws through the stallion’s mane. He allowed himself to relax just enough to appear relaxed around them but he remained alert just in case he needed to move quickly. He looked at the young dragon at his side ads his claws went from his mane to his black fur. His eyes suddenly went wide as he looked over his shoulder to find that his swords were not on his back. He looked up over them and he could see his cloak was hung up with his swords on the wall. He was relieved to see them and he allowed a breath of relief to escape him. He looked at the mare as she moved closer to him and wrapped her forelegs around his neck and hugged him tightly to her.

“Even if you don’t think of me or the others as your friends you are still one of MY best friends.” She whispered to him.

He was startled but he didn’t pull away from her. Spike ran his claws over his long mane as he moved closer and leaned against the stallion's shoulder. She let go after a minute and scooted back from him and he began to try to extricate himself from the blanket that was tangled around his limbs. Spike pulled on one piece and the rest followed it and he was able to get to his hooves. He quickly got to his hooves and he helped pull Twilight to her hooves. Spike tossed the blankets to the bed and he fell in behind the Pegasus as they made for the door. Oblivion began to follow her out into the bright hallway and he paused as the lights beat on him. Spike ran past him and out of sight. The lights were extinguished and he was able to see easily ion the darkness.

“Spike!” Twilight shouted. “I can’t see.”

“He can though.” The dragon retorted as he pointed at the Witcher’s glowing orange eyes.

He released a slight grown at the still bright colors of the pair bit he moved to stand beside the mare. He leaned his shoulder against her and guided her down the darkened hallway. She picked up Spike as they went past him and they walked down the stairs to reach the front room. Spike darted past them to dim the lights and they walked down the stairs. Twilight moved to walk in front of him and she guided him to the kitchen that was down a couple of steps. She moved around the kitchen and he could smell the coffee grounds.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” She questioned as she turned to look at him. “Do you still have a headache?”

He gave a small sigh and nodded. “I’ll be fine.”

“Do you still have a headache?” She asked as she looked at him, a hardness to her features.

He gave a slight chuckle and nodded. “Yes.”

“Okay, so we need to find out what could be causing it. Any ideas?” She reasoned as she used magic to pour a cup of coffee. She stopped before pouring a second one and looked at him as he nodded.

He looked at the coffee cup as she set it down in front of him and he called on his magic to pick it up so he could drink it. His head throbbed as the magic activated and it covered the cup in the aqua mist. He hissed in pain and the magic faded into nothing as he rubbed his temples. He closed both eyes as he cursed quietly under his breath. He opened one eye to find Twilight at his side.

“Okay. So what just happened?”

He gave a low groan of aggravation before he responded. “I was going to pick up the cup and as soon as I tried to lift it you saw the result.”

“Hmm. Since you’re a Pegasus the magic itself is abnormal but if I treat it as if you were a Unicorn then it might be able to help. So for now we will just work under the assumption that it is similar to Unicorn magic and not a variant.” She said to him and he simply nodded at her. “Okay so it sounds like magical exhaustion but you have had plenty of rest and that was more than enough time to allow your magical reserves to recover so that makes no sense.”

He remained quiet to allow her to think it through and he was simply pretending to understand her. So far he had understood the basics of what she was saying but the more complex her thinking became the less he understood. He waited as she muttered under her breath before she looked up at the waiting dragon.

“Spike. Can you bring me magical ailments volume one?” She requested and the dragon saluted her as he darted out of sight.

Twilight had kept a hoof on his shoulder as they waited for him to return. After several seconds she pulled back and a smile tugged at her mouth. “For now you will just have to pick it up with your hooves.”

He looked at the coffee cup with a slight glower as he knew that he was going to make a fool of himself trying to pick it up and was likely going to drop it. He suddenly felt a tug on his fur and he glanced up to find Twilight looking at him, her eyes concerned. He looked at the cup again and gave a low snort.

“I would love to if I thought I could pick it up with dropping it.” He admitted.

He saw the confused look that crossed her face as she watched him. He considered simply using his claws and calling it good for the day but he chose to keep them under wraps for the time being. He didn’t look at her and if he had to guess she was most likely staring at him. He glanced to the side and he found that his guess had been right as her eyes were searching him for a clue.

“Are you saying you don’t know how to hold something in your hooves?” She asked him.

“Yes.”

“But you held your sword… Least I think I saw you holding it.” She replied and suddenly looked uncertain of her recollection. “By Celestia. Okay, we can fix this. No problem at all. I can teach you this.” She replied and her horn lit as she summoned a quill into her magic. “Okay, so we will practice with this. If you break it it's fine, I have plenty. So it is similar to how you pick things up with magic. When you do it enough it becomes second nature and you don’t have to think about it.”

“Sounds easy enough once you get the hang of it.”

“It really is. But instead of focusing on using the magic in your body, you are using your hoof. Focus on the item or what you want without magic and you should be able to pick it up without damaging it.” She explained. “Don’t use magic since that seems to hurt you anyway and just use your hooves only.”

He picked up one hoof and set it down on the quill that lay in front of him. He focused on his hoof and pulled it up and the quill remained on the table. He kept trying as the process dragged on for several minutes as he tried various methods to pick up the quill. He gave an angry snort and nearly slammed his hoof down on the quill but he was trying not to break it. He picked up his hoof and the quill went with it. He blinked several times and stared at the offending quill.

“Hells.” He said under his breath as he let the quill drop to the table.

He set his hoof back on it and gripped the quill once more. He picked up his hoof and the quill once more went with him, gripped gently in the hoof. Twilight clapped her hooves and a wide smile crossed her muzzle as her magic reached out and reheated the cup of coffee.

“If I drop this I will be quite upset at you.” He quipped and the mare barked a laugh.

He set the quill down and reached out his hooves to grip the cup and he lifted it up and held it an inch above the table. He brought the cup to his lips and he sipped the warm coffee. He set the cup back down and she patted his shoulder as she smiled.

“Sorry, it took so long Twilight,” Spike called out. “This Library has a different filing system so it took a bit longer than I thought it would.”

Twilight flushed and backed away from him. She turned to the baby dragon and took the book in her magic. “Thank you, Spike.”

Oblivion picked up the coffee once more and took several gulps of the warm liquid, he felt the warmth as it flowed through him and he gave a small sigh, enjoying the feeling. He watched as the Unicorn put the book on the table and began to flip through the pages. He craned his neck to look at the contents without her noticing. He discovered he was not incredibly subtle as the mare took notice of his interest. She moved the book closer to the center of the table to allow him to look through it with her. He looked at the pages as she flipped through them and he nearly broke into cursing as the frustration of not being able to read the words nearly broke through his calm.

“I got it!” She suddenly shrieked.

He started and nearly dropped the coffee cup in his hooves. He glowered at her as she looked sheepishly at him. He set the coffee cup down and motioned for her to go ahead.

“Normally I would not ask this of a Pegasus since there is not any magic but you’re a different case. So, has there been any change in your magic recently?” She asked.

He thought back to try and see if anything stood out to him. Aside from the magic itself is completely new to him nothing stood out to him immediately. He focused on the timing and tried to think of what it could have been triggered by. His orange cat eyes went over the room as he looked at the bright aura of the mare in front of him. He stopped as he looked at the bright light that came from her and she gave him a look as he stared at her.

“By the Gods.” He muttered as he leaned forward and he looked down at the medallion around his neck. He reached out to it and his hoof held it in its group as the armor slid over his body and took its place. “This is new.”

“But the Element is a part of you and all of us. It shouldn’t hurt you.” She pointed out.

He nodded in understanding and his hooves tapped the breastplate as he leaned back slightly. “I don’t think it’s deliberate. The additional magic that comes from it is meant to be helpful. But now that it has had time to settle it is becoming detrimental. Its constant use is beginning to grate over me and cause problems. Especially since I am not used to it and I have no idea how to narrow its focus and or stop it entirely.”

“What do you mean constant use? Your Element is only active right now.” Twilight said as she leaned forward to look at the armor.

“When I received the Element of Spirit I noticed that I was now able to see the aura or… Spirit, of those around me. This ability is active at all times and through it, I can tell what the emotions of those around me are. I have not been able to stop it at this time and I do not know if it can be stopped.” He explained.

“So you have, what? Spirit Sight?” Spike asked as he leaped into a nearby chair and leaned over to look at the stallion.

He looked at the baby dragon and considered what had been said. “I suppose that is one way to think of it.”

“That’s awesome!” Spike said as he balled his fists in excitement.

Oblivion shook his head and looked back to the mare across from him. She was staring at him, her curiosity obvious. “This has been going on since you got the Element?” He nodded. “This is incredible. How is the headache since you did use magic just now to call on the armor?”

“It’s slowly fading, actually. It has gotten to the point where it is easily ignored.” He said to her as he looked at the coffee cup in front of him. He reached out with magic and the cup levitated into the air and there was no backlash onto him. “There is no shooting pain that was present before. It appears to be weakening the longer I wear the armor. I will be sure to wear it occasionally from now on if that is what is needed to keep it at bay.”

She came around to stand next to him and look closely at the armor. “What do these symbols mean? Do you know?” She said as she pointed to the runes that were emblazoned in the metal.

“Those are runes. They are familiar to me since I use them frequently where I am from.” He replied. “I am a bit surprised to see them on the armor itself since it does not come from my land.”

Her eyes were wide as she looked at him, disbelief in her eyes. “Runecraft?” He nodded. “I have only read about them. They haven’t been used in close to twelve hundred years. They were phased out before the time of Nightmare Moon. How do you know so much about them? Can you make them?”

“As I have said. I have always used them. They are fairly common where I am from. Why were they phased out?” He asked.

“They found that magic was easier and runes were hard and kind of expensive to make.” She explained.

He nodded in understanding and looked down at the glyphs in the armor. “It appears to have glyphs that amplify my abilities.” He replied. If he was right there were twelve of them if he was looking at it right.

Twilight looked closely at the glyphs in the armor and her horn was covered in her magenta aura and she began to draw out one of the glyphs on the armor breast collar. He leaned to look at the sketch and he saw Spike cover his mouth at the sketch in her magic. Oblivion looked at the baby dragon to see him holding back laughter at the mare’s lack of skill at art. The mare looked up at the dragon and she gave a deep sigh.

“I know, Spike. I am a terrible artist. Though to be fair you aren’t much better.” She snapped at the baby dragon as he shrugged and held back a laugh.

The Pegasus groaned and took the scroll and quill from her. His hooves gripped the implement and he was struck with how he was going to draw with it in his hoof but he chose to ignore the appendage and treat it like he would have his hands. He sketched out a rune and a glyph for them to look at. He looked up for a moment as the pair were now staring as he drew them out, even though the sketch was rough it was detailed enough to know what it was.

“Wow. Who would have thought you were also an artist? This is great Oblivion.” Spike gushed as Oblivion shrugged.

“He’s right. These are wonderful. What kind of runes are these?” Twilight asked him.

He pointed to one of the sketches and then looked at the pair of them. “That is a lesser Dazhbog rune. Otherwise known as a lesser burning rune. It’s a weapon rune that gives the weapon the ability to occasionally burn the target should it connect and the rune activates.” He informed her as he pointed to the other one. “This one is an armor glyph called a lesser glyph of mending. It does exactly what you think and it helps mend wounds on the wearer. On a Witcher, our wounds heal faster and with less pain. Those are only two of the ones that I know of and use. It’s a beginning if you wish to know a bit about them. The ones you see in my armor or in my swords are greater runes and glyphs.”

Spike listened intently and Twilight was intensely focused on the drawings and on what he was saying. “So you use these regularly? I have never seen one of these outsides of a museum. You’re telling me that you can use them at any time and have many of them with you?”

“Yes. I carry several of each kind with me. I can’t pull them out of a piece of armor or weapon without breaking them but I can put them in place. I would have to take them to a blacksmith or a rune wright to get that done. I don’t think these are having any effect on my ability to see the spirits of those around me though.” He replied.

Twilight nodded and set down the drawing. She seemed to be contemplating what he had said and she moved back to the table where her book sat. While I’m glad that you are doing much better I’m still baffled by what you have told me. I need to find another book.” She said as she moved and motioned for him to follow her.

"Spike if you have other things to do I can have oblivion help me for the time being.” She said to the baby dragon who nodded and moved to the stairs.

“I’ll clean up the room he used.” He informed them.

Twilight nodded and smiled after him. He trailed after the mare as she led him into the front section of the Library. The armor sat easily on his form and it moved easily with him. It felt just like his Wolven armor had back in the Northern Realms and he felt nothing that restricted his movement. He followed her as she walked to a section of the library and pulled out a familiar book and set it down on the table for her to go through it.

“Okay. I’ll look through the book about the Elements to see if there is any mention of the Sight you now have. Can you scan the magic section and see if there is anything that stands out to you that might help?”

She looked down before he replied and he stared at the shelves in front of him. His face fell into a grimace as he looked over the lines of book s that he could not read. He looked over his shoulder to the mare as she was intently going through the reference book in front of her. He gave a loud snort and he gave his head a gentle shake.

“You okay?” Twilight asked him after a moment’s hesitation.

He looked at her and he could see the concern in her eyes as she watched him. He knew that was worried due to the change in her aura and he sighed as he lowered his head to be level with his shoulders. “I’m fine.” He said to her.

He could tell that she did not completely believe him and that she was not convinced by his words. He was well-read and knew more than his share of languages but this one was not in his reach. Oblivion could feel aggravation roll over him as he became more convinced that it was a cruel joke for him to have been brought to this world and not be able to read or write in their language. A hoof fell gently on his shoulder and he raised his head to see the mare looking at him, her concern for him obvious.

“I know more than my fair share of languages and can read and write in each of them. But this one.” He said as he waved a hoof at the books in front of him. “I can’t.”

Twilight looked surprised as he finished speaking and a smile went over her muzzle. “You know more languages than I ever will I bet. I know bits and pieces of other languages but I am far from fluent. Maybe you could teach me one of them and I will teach you this one?” She said to him.

He didn’t raise his head further as he turned his gaze back the books in front of them. Despite not being too proud to normally ask for help he could not help but think of how pathetic this was for a Witcher of his age and experience to need to take a language class. ‘There has to be a way to learn this faster. I refuse to believe that since I been given magic that there is not some way to use it to learn to write and read a language. Would help if there was some way to learn directly what Twilight does immediately versus… Wait.’ His head came up to his full height and he looked at the mare that stood at his side.

“Maybe.” He mumbled under his breath. “I have an idea. But I want to ask you about it before I try anything.”

She nodded and motioned for him to sit down across from her. He sat down with her and she looked at him closely. “What do you need to know?”

“Is there a spell that would allow one pony to share their knowledge of something instantly with another?”

“Not that I am aware of. But that is not something I have studied, to be honest.” She replied.

He thought it over for a moment before he looked closely at her. “How long would it take to go through the books on magic that we have here to find out?”

She looked at the magical section of the library and looked thoughtful for a second before she looked back at him. “At least a couple of days. Even with Spike, it would take time. But I am assuming you would rather he did not know why we would be looking?”

He nodded as she spoke. “Damn. I was afraid you would say that. Is it possible to make a spell that I can use? Would you be willing to allow me to use it on you to test it out? I will hold nothing against you if you decline.” He said to her.

He was not going to force her into anything that she did not want. He did not wish to upset the young mare that had helped him through this. He was contemplating bargaining with her when her smile went wide and her spirit began to glow to the point he had to squint slightly.

“I would love to help! The fact that you could make a spell-like that is revolutionary. I have never heard of that kind of spell. I love this idea. So how are we going to start this?” She rapidly fired her responses and her questions as he watched her.

Oblivion blinked at her enthusiasm and shook his head with a low chuckle. “Here is my idea of how to accomplish this. I will be copying the information that you already hold. That would mean I need you to focus exclusively on the knowledge you have the language and only think of it. By focusing on that alone I will then try to copy it and that will hopefully allow me to tap into it.” He explained.

She nodded in understanding as a look of concern went over her face. “This won’t hurt you will it?”

“No. It should be fine. I’ll keep my armor in place if that would make you feel better about it.”

She nodded. “That would make me feel a bit better. How is a headache?”

He blinked at her before he replied. “It’s actually gone. I’m thinking I just need to wear the armor or a piece of it every now and then to keep it at bay. I am curious why I needed to wear it when it’s… Oh.”

“What?”

“When it’s around the medallion it’s not in contact with my body at all times. Whereas the armor is in direct contact with me personally. That makes some sense at least.”

She nodded as he spoke and her hoof reached out and tapped the collar of the armor. “Least you have an idea that will help in the long run.” She now looked expectantly at him and he nearly had to squint once more as her excitement showed through. “Okay. Do I stand here or what do you need me to do?”

He considered what he might need from her before he answered the excited mare. “Stand still and focus on the information that you have. I will take care of the rest. I will use our magic as a transfer and we will see if it will work.”

He fell silent as she nodded and waited for his magic to act. He focused on his own magic and he felt it hum under his skin and the aqua aura covered the mare’s horn and then moved to cover his body. He closed his eyes and focused on the spell itself, allowing his mind to go blank as he let himself go into a slightly different type of meditation. He felt a slight surge of magic go between them and he felt it as it flowed back on him and he opened his eyes to see the letters that made up the Elder speech going over his body. He would worry about that in a moment as he focused on the mare in front of him. The magic slowly faded and Twilight blinked as the magic faded from her completely. The meditative state he had put himself in must have also worked on her, considering she looked like she was coming out of it.

“You okay, Twilight?” He asked her carefully.

“I think so. That was strange but it didn’t hurt or anything.” She replied as she shook her body and then looked at him, her gaze intent. “Forget about me, did it work?”

He reached out to the book on the Elements and he began to read through the contents. He looked at the worried mare as she stared at him. He finally nodded and she squealed in delight.

“This is incredible Oblivion! You created your own spell. First the runes and your other abilities and now this! Even as a Pegasus you have enough power to make magic! This is wonderful. I can practice magic with you!” She squealed in delight as she lunged forward and wrapped her forelegs around his neck in glee.

He startled but he relaxed and patted her back gently. “I am glad it worked. Now I have something I can do besides constant work and practice. It has been a long time since I was able to sit down a simply read a book.” He told her as she let go of him. His ear flicked as Spike came down the stairs, his steps quick as he looked at them.

“What is going on? I can hear Twilight yelling all the way to our room.” He started, his voice complaining.

“Spike! Take a letter!” She shouted.

Oblivion cringed at her volume as Spike pulled a scroll and quill out from behind him, ready to write. Oblivion was curious where he had gotten them but he chose to ignore it.

“Dear Princess Celestia: Today one of my best friends, Oblivion, revealed that he...” She paused at the growl coming from the Black Pegasus. She waited then went on. “Needed some help. So after a few questions and other details. He came up with a new spell. Using his own magic he created a spell that allowed him to learn instantly, using magic. He did this by using my horn to transfer the information from one mind to his own. I’d have to get more details but there also appears to be no ill effects. My own mind is the same and only a select knowledge was given. He has created a new form of magic on his own! Your student Twilight Sparkle”

“Send it Spike.” She said to the baby dragon.

“Sending!” Spike chirped and he exhaled to breathe out a small stream of green flame to light the scroll on fire.

The Witcher watched as the scroll vanished and it moved away from them and out the window. “That’s an interesting skill. So that flame can just send a note to just her or can it go to others?”

“Just the Princess,” Spike informed him with a shrug of his shoulders.

Oblivion looked at him for several seconds. “Hmm. Interesting. Does it work the other way around?” Spike burped out a response and Oblivion fought back a snort at the baby dragon. “Never mind.”

Twilight unrolled the scroll and read the first few lines. “It’s for you.” She said and her magic held it in front of the Pegasus.

He said nothing as he took the scroll from her and began to read through it. “Spike, can I use your quill?”

“Yeah sure. Here ya go.” The dragon replied and the Pegasus took the quill from his claws.

He wrote out a quick reply and his aqua aura held the scroll as it was rolled up and the mist that came off of it flowed gently as he focused on the item he held. He focused on the mare in question and he commanded the magic to send the scroll back to her. A flash of light came unbidden and was gone in a moment, taking the scroll with it. He heard a gasp from the others in the room with him and he looked at their stunned faces.

“How did you…?” Spike asked, his voice quiet.

“I figured the flames you use could be a form of magic and by using that same thought I was thinking that I should be able to send a letter on my own as well. I will have to test whether it can be used to send it to anypony or if it’s just her.” He explained.

“How did you do that?” Twilight shouted, interrupting his explanation.

“I just explained.” He replied to the mare.

“That was musing, not an explanation.” She countered. “So how did you…?” She paused as a second letter erupted from the baby dragons maw as a scroll in deep blue stationery fell to the ground.

Spike picked it up and looked at the seal on it. He looked at it and then to the neat writing on the side of the scroll. “It’s for you.” He said as he gave the scroll to the black Pegasus.

Oblivion took it from him and leaned back on his haunches as he read through the neat writing.

“Who is it from?” Spike asked.

“Luna.”

Spikes jaw hit the ground and he sputtered for a second before his voice found him. “You mean you got a letter from Nightmare Moon?!”

The Witcher shook his head. “No. I did get a letter from Luna since they are no longer one and the same. Don’t be foolish.”

Twilight sighed at his reply and ran her hoof over her face before she spoke. “What did Princess Celestia want?”

“She asked me to come over for tea.” He replied.

“Oh. So when are you meeting her?”

“I’m not.” He replied, his tone bland.

“You… aren’t?” She sputtered. “Wait. You told the Princess no?”

“Yes. I do not care for tea and I do not think that meeting with her simply to discuss the magic we used is a major topic of discussion. It’s a trivial thing to focus on and can be explained easily enough if she wishes to know the process. It would not take an entire meeting to discuss.” He informed her.

Spike looked at him and then to the stunned mare who had fallen silent. The drake walked up to his leg and tapped it as the Witcher finished reading through the letter on the blue stationery.

“So what did Nightmare… Luna want?” He asked.

“She is asking me to join her next week for a sparring match and some coffee afterward. That should prove interesting and will allow us to compare our fighting styles easily through combat. I am interested in how her style has changed since being cleansed of Nightmare Moon.” He informed the baby dragon.

“How could you say no to Princess Celestia and then say yes to Princess Luna?” Twilight questioned.

He said nothing at her tone of voice and simply looked at her. She was still stunned and he could see that she was struggling with his thought process and how he had come to the decision he had. He quickly wrote an affirmative reply to Luna’s inquiry and sent it to her with a flash of magic.

“Simple. Celestia was asking for me to explain the magic that was made and how it was used. You can explain it to her as easily as I can and probably just as quickly. You had already explained the basics of it in your letter to her and I chose that there was nothing to expand upon. There is no reason for me to repeat your explanation back to her. Luna on the other hoof has offered something that holds a great amount of interest to me. I am more interested in her style of combat and how she was taught it and by whom.”

He watched as Spike had slowly transited to stand behind the Witcher's hind legs and watch the stunned mare from the safety of the stallion’s tail. Twilight was staring blankly at him as he finished speaking. She breathed out a rough breath and shook her head.

“You can’t just say no to one and then yes to the other. That’s not fair.” She argued.

“Fairness does not matter.” He replied. “I am acting how I see fit and having tea with your favorites Princess is not my idea of a worthy use of my time. Luna has offered something much more interesting.”

“But she probably wanted to congratulate on your accomplishment. It takes a strong pony to create new magic. While it’s true that you’re a Pegasus and not a Unicorn it only makes it even more impressive.”

“While that might be true I do not wish to stand atop a pedestal and be praised when there is no need. If she wishes for me to explain what I did I can write it down and explain it faster than it would take for her to get here to listen to me.”

Twilight shook her head and she gave a deep sigh in exasperation. “You’re impossible. If she sends you a letter will you respond to it and tell her what she wants to know about the spell?”

“If she wishes to know more I have nothing to hide.” He replied.

Spike came out from behind him and was now standing beside the Pegasus’s forelegs. He seemed to have relaxed now that the mare had calmed down. Oblivion stood calmly as the mare sighed once more before a smile broke over her muzzle.

“Well, it's getting late and I don’t think any of us have had dinner. Care to join us and you can stay here overnight and then head back to the farm in the morning.” Twilight asked him and he nodded in reply.

“That would be fine.” He agreed.

The mare shook her head once more and her smile remained as she led him back to the kitchen.

6: To Track a Filly

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Oblivion awoke and he rolled out of the bed that he was using at Twilights Library. He had chosen to sleep with the armored collar around his body. He stretched and his magic hummed under his skin as he moved to the door. He looked over his shoulder and his magic made the bed and cleaned up the room. He could see that Twilight was awake as he moved through the hallway and out into the front of the Library. He moved toward the kitchen and the light form her spirit guided him toward her. He reached the kitchen and found the mare sitting at the table reading the newspaper. His hooves were silent as he moved up and reached or one of the chairs.

“Good morning Twilight.”

“Ahh!” She yelled in surprise as she dropped her paper.

She pitched back in surprise and nearly fell from her seat as his magic reached out and gripped her to prevent her falling to the ground. He sat her back down in her chair and waited as she flushed. She reached down and picked up her paper as she tried to hide the flush on her cheeks.

“I think you need to walk louder.” She said and he barked a laugh. “And good morning to you as well.”

“I’ll make note of that request.” He said to her and he sat down.

She smiled as her magic gripped the coffee pot and poured him a cup and then set it in front of him. “Oblivion?” She said as he held the steaming cup in his hooves. “Can I ask you something?”

He said nothing as he took a few sips of the hot liquid and then nodded for her to go on.

She looked at her paper before she began to speak. “Your magic acts very differently than most any magic that I have read about. You seem to be able to ask it to accomplish something and it does with very little effort on your part. For example, you were able to teleport so easily. I know for a fact that Teleportation is difficult and its range is short depending on the Unicorn that wields it. You are a Pegasus that can use magic. When you teleported to help me with Nightmare Moon could you actually see where you were going to land?”

He considered what she had asked and he shook his head. “To be honest I had no idea where I was going. I knew that if I could end up close to you there was a good chance of a fight and I knew you would be needing backup. In hindsight, it was quite reckless of me and pretty foolish. I’m simply lucky I did not end up trapped inside a wall. I have heard of that happening from a few sorceresses I know. And they always wondered why I hated portals.” He chuckled as he recalled many disagreements about the reliability of magic with Triss.

The purple mare blinked and stared at him as he finished speaking. “Wait, so you simply focused your teleport on me and let it lead the way?” She asked and he nodded in response. She blinked and slumped in her chair after a moment's delay. “You are the most mysterious pony I have ever met. Despite the limitation of being a Pegasus, you wield magic that is on a different level than most Unicorns. I don’t understand it.” She said and stayed slumped in her chair.

Oblivion thought over what she had said and took another sip of his coffee. "I’m not sure what to tell you. I have my secrets and if that’s what it means to be mysterious then I suppose that’s accurate. As much as I wish to know my own limits I am not in any hurry to test them at this time. I will help you with practicing magic as you had requested but I see no need to exhaust myself to test my boundaries.”

Twilight nodded in agreement. “Your right. As much as I would love to know what you can do I’m not about to push it and definitely not push to the point of an injury. Thank you again for agreeing to practice with me. Spike is a wonderful assistant but he can’t do the spells and magic you can.”

He gave her a tilt of his head and went back to sipping his cooling coffee. “I see no reason not to help out when I am able. To be honest, now that I am able to read your language I am interested in the type of magic that exists here. I am curious about its mechanics and discovery.”

“Wait right there.” She said and got up from the table and disappeared into the library.

He sipped his coffee, enjoying the calming effect and the warmth that it brought as he listened for the drum of the mare's hooves on wood. He could hear her walking around behind him and he did not feel the need to know exactly what she was doing or how long it would take. He knew that it was barely dawn and he knew that the Apple family would be just now getting up and getting ready for the day. He had time to relax as much as he was able for the time being. He heard her hooves as they neared him and he flicked an ear back to listen to her as she returned.

“Here we go.” She said as she set two books down on the table. “History of Magic volume one and two. They detail how magic was discovered, used, and how it works among other topics. Together they should answer a few of your questions and maybe bring up a few more than you want to know.”

“I’ll have to come by to read them after work.” He said to her as he looked at the books in front of him. She waved a hoof at him and he paused before he spoke further.

“This is a Library. You can take them so long as you take care of them. Are there any other subjects that interest you?”

“What do you mean it’s a library? I know that’s what it’s called but what do you mean? And I suppose Equestria’s history would be interesting if I have to choose something.” He replied, his head gave a slight tilt at her wording.

“A library. This is a place where ponies can borrow books. So long as they come back in the same condition as they left in you can borrow any of them.”

He stared at her as he processed what she had said. ‘So anypony can walk in and take a book and then come back and return it in exchange for another one? I don’t have to buy them?’ His orange eyes went to the books that were sitting on the table as she turned to walk back into the library. She walked around Spike as the baby dragon came into the kitchen, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

“Morning Oblivion. How did you sleep?” He asked as he yawned and pulled up a chair of his own.

“I slept fine Spike thank you for asking. The bed here is longer than the one at the farm so it is comfortable to use.” He replied and he saw the look from Spike and he went on to explain. “I usually sleep on the floor at the farm to avoid waking up sore.”

“On the floor? That sounds like it would hurt.”

“It’s not as bad as you are thinking it would be. I have slept in beds that are too short and I end up with sore legs and I have found the floor or the ground to be preferable.”

Spike looked thoughtful for several seconds before he gave a nod and a shrug of his shoulders. “That’s true. You’re so tall I guess it would hurt a bit.”

“It does yes. I’ve done it many times.”

Twilight came back into the kitchen and her magic carried another book that she set on top of the others. “Here we go. Volume one of Equestria's history.”

The Witcher nodded and downed the last of his coffee. He pushed the chair back and he could see from the position of the sun that he was going to need to leave to be able to get back to the farm at a reasonable time.

“Thank you again Twilight. I need to head out if I plan on being on time for work. I'll return these as soon as I finish them.”

“Take your time and enjoy them. I’ll walk you to the door.” She said with a smile as she led him out of the kitchen.

He set the books on his back and elevated his wings just enough to keep the book safely in place. He followed the mare and she pushed open the front door for him and he walked out with a nod to her as he set off into the early morning air.


He walked in through the front gate and headed for the farmhouse. He could see the spirits of the family as they were still inside the house. He looked down to the breast collar around his shoulders and his magic reached out and he pushed it back into the medallion with the rest of the armor. Applejack and the rest of the siblings looked up as he walked in through the open front door. He closed the lower half of the door and stood still as they all looked back at him. Apple Bloom jumped from her chair and walked up to him, her eyes concerned.

“Where were ya? Were ya all righ’?” She asked him as she tapped his foreleg.

He cast a swift glance at Applejack who shook her head. “I was speaking with Twilight and lost track of time. I ended up staying overnight.” He said to her, a small lie coming from his mouth easily.

While it did not bother him to lie to her he knew that Applejack was the Element of Honesty and he knew that she did not like lies. He saw Big Mac and Applejacks' eyes fall on the stack of books on his back.

“So ya borrowed some books while ya were there?” Mac asked.

“I did. I will put them upstairs and rejoin you in a moment.” He said as he turned for the stairs.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the filly stiffen and went up the stairs. He walked down the hallway to his own room and he went inside and he reached back to set the books on the desk. He paused and went still as the sight of his saddlebags caught his attention. They were not where he had left them. They had been placed under the bed to avoid them being tampered with. The Witcher’s senses were keen as he began to look around the room for any signs that they had been opened.

He had placed a lock on the saddlebags when they had been placed under the bed days earlier. His senses were on edge as his eyes narrowed to find any tracks or signs around the room. He did not see any large hoof prints that would have shown up in one of the older siblings or Granny Smith had come inside. Small hoof prints showed up in front of him and a familiar scent hit his sensitive nose. He raised his head as he pulled his saddlebags onto his barrel and he looked to the door.

“APPLE BLOOM!” He roared.

He heard a shrill yelp and the sound of the door slamming. He walked purposely out of the room and back down the hall toward the kitchen. He got to the bottom of the stairs to find both older siblings blinking in surprise at the sudden actions of both he and the filly. Applejack was the first to break out of her stunned expression and address him.

“What in the hay is goin’ on?” She asked. “Ah never seen that filly move so fast afore.”

“My saddlebags have a lock on them. I placed then under the bed to prevent them from being handled by anypony besides myself. When I got up there they were in the middle of the room and they appeared to have been tampered with. Judging by her reaction and the evidence I could see she was trying to get into them.”

Applejack and Big Mac both stared at him as he finished speaking. He could see both of their spirits start to roil in anger. He could see the anger that lanced through them as Mac got out of the chair he was sitting in and went to the door. He pushed it open and walked a few feet outside.

“Apple Bloom!” He hollered.

Even Oblivion cringed at the volume and tone of the voice of the other. Though his own anger was muted he could still feel enough of it to know he was angry. His own eyes narrowed as he moved out of the door and looked down to the ground around them to find the filly’s tracks. Her small hoof prints jumped out at him and he brushed past the red stallion and he could hear them fall in behind him as he moved forward.

“She’s running as far as possible.” He muttered to himself as he tracked her.

“She better hope she’s got a good reason fer this or that filly grounded fer a month.” Applejack growled her anger just under the surface.

“Eeyup,” Mac replied.

Oblivion said nothing in immediate reply but he did cast a glance back at the siblings who saw him and they could see the glowing orange eyes as he looked back at them. He kept walking forward for several minutes and then he slowed and his senses told him to look up. He brought his head up and his orange eyes bore into the frightened eyes of the young filly. He snorted loud enough for her to have easily heard him.

“Apple Bloom, git down here!” Applejack said as she drew up beside him.

The Pegasus watched as the filly pretended not to have heard her elder sister. She looked away from them and up into the boughs of the tree. He put out a hoof and pushed the orange mare back a few feet and then whirled around and bucked the tree as hard as he dared. The buck was still powerful enough to leave hoof prints in the bark of the tree and the filly yelped. She lost her hold on the tree limb and fell from her perch into the waiting forelegs of her sister. Oblivion turned around and he felt Mac reach out and grip his saddlebag and pull him back to be level with his own shoulder. His eyes were no longer narrowed but their glow remained. The farm mare set the filly down on the ground in front of her and the filly stared at the ground. Mac stepped forward and oblivion’s magic unbuckled the saddlebags from his barrel and he dropped them in front of the filly, who cringed at the sight of them.

“What in the hay were ya doin’ with ‘is saddlebags?” Applejack's normally cheerful tone was marred with anger.

The filly said nothing in defense of herself and she looked away from the saddlebags that had been placed in front of her. Mac reached forward and pushed the saddlebags closer to her and she cringed even more as they were moved. Oblivion gave a loud snort and she hiccupped as he then stomped a hoof.

“That is enough little filly. You will answer your siblings and explain yourself to all of us.” He growled at her.

She winced at his tone and sniffled louder. “Ah wanted ta see what was in ‘em.” She wailed. “Ah saw ‘em under the bed when Ah went into yer room ta see if ya was there. But ya weren’t there and Ah saw ‘em under the bed. Ah tried ta pick ‘em up and were too heavy so Ah dragged ‘em to the middle of the room. Ah tried to open ‘em but they wouldn’t open so Ah tried to pull the latch apart but that didn’t work. So Ah umped on ‘em a few times and Ah heard somethin’ break inside. Ah ran away and closed the door.”

His eyes widened slightly and he reached out and pulled the saddlebags back to himself. He opened both sides and a strong smell wafted out of the left saddlebag. “Shit.”

Oblivion closed the other saddlebag and he looked deeper into the left one. His magic levitated two broken bottles and the wooden containers that held these two particular potions. He sighed in anger and another curse pulled from him. “Damnit. Those are broken and their contents lost. There is no way to replace them. Their ingredients do not exist here.”

His magic flowed through the saddlebag and burned through the remaining pieces of broken glass and liquid and cleaned up the mess that had been made. He closed his eyes as aggravation warred through him and replaced the bit of anger he felt. He opened his eyes to see that Apple Bloom had begun to cry as Applejack and Mac were watching him.

“Can ya replace ‘em?” Mac asked.

“No. I can fix the bottles but the contents are a loss.” He replied and his magic picked up the saddlebags and secured them back on his body. “I will leave the punishment to the two of you. I only hope it is fitting.”

He left the group of them behind and walked back the way they had come. He walked back into the farmhouse and trekked up the stairs and back to his room. He walked into his room and closed the door behind him. His magic pulled the saddlebags off his body and set them on the bed. His cloak sat in place on his back, covering the weapons easily. He opened the saddlebags and used the magic he held to lay their contents on the bed. He was surprised to see his extra weapons and other items that he had stored in other places inside of them. He looked into them and found that they had a huge amount of storage and he was left wondering if all saddlebags were like this or just his.

“It must just be mine. Applejack and Mac’s saddlebags had an end to them.” He whispered.

He put everything back inside them and held them aloft in his magic as he looked around for a new place to put them that would be out of the way. His orange eyes fell on the wardrobe at the back of the room and his hoof opened it and his magic hung the saddlebags on a peg that was inside of it. He closed the furniture and his magic placed a stronger lock on the doors. Now only he would be able to open it unless he allowed it. His ears flicked back as he heard the front door open and he could hear a sniveling filly as she came up the stairs and down the hallway. A soft knock sounded out and he opened the door to let her speak to him.

“Ah’m really sorry Oblivion. Ah meant ta break nothin’. Ah was just…”

“That is no excuse to try and break into and snoop through another pony’s things. This goes beyond a simple mistake, Apple Bloom. I do not doubt that you know better than this.” He said to her and stepped over and past her.

He pulled the door closed behind him and he left her sitting in the hallway. He knew that he might be being harsh with her but he treated her as he would have any other Witcher candidate or otherwise. He walked down the hallway to the stairs and out the front door. He found Applejack and Mac waiting for him and he joined them.

“Ah’m sorry Oblivion. Ah had no idea she tried ta get into yer saddlebags. We decided to talk to ya about ‘er punishment. Since it was yer things she broke. Is there really no way to fix ‘em?” Applejack asked as he joined them.

He shook his head. “No. Unfortunately, those potions were made with ingredients that are not found in this area. The bottles and their protective boxes have been fixed but the contents are the real loss. They were made of monster essences that do not exist here. They cannot be replicated.”

Mac grimaced and shook his head. “Ah’m truly sorry fer this.”

“I do not blame either of you. While she did apologize that does not change what she has done. There is a very good reason why the saddlebags were locked. The potions and decoctions inside cannot be used by normal ponies. They are designed to aid a Witcher in our contracts. Each one has a different purpose and a specific monster that they are designed to combat. They give us the ability to not be poisoned or affected by bites from the monsters we hunt.”

“Wow Ah had no idea they were so important.” Mac whistled.

“Even more important when I tell you the biggest reason the saddlebags are locked. Those potions and decoctions are lethal to anypony that is not a Witcher.”

“Ya mean…”

“They would have killed her had she drank one.” He deadpanned.

Both pony's jaws dropped slowly opened as they looked at him and then to each other. Applejack gulped and she leaned back on her haunches at the realization of what could have happened had her little sister gotten a hoof on the potions inside his saddlebags.

“Are they all like that?” She asked, her voice halting.

“Every. Single. One.” He replied. “They are designed to enhance our bodies and our minds. Anypony else cannot handle the toxic nature of the potions. They are designed to be used by my kind and my kind only. I have placed the saddlebags in the wardrobe in my room and placed a lock on it to prevent her from getting near them again. Nopony can open it unless I allow it.”

“By Celestia.” Applejack whispered. “So they're now safe?”

“Yes. Nopony can get to them unless they break the entire wardrobe and if they do that I will have noticed before they get to them.” He assured them.

Both of them took a minute before they nodded at his words. Mac seemed to recover quicker than his sister and the roan stallion looked at the black Pegasus.

“Well. We need ta discuss ‘er punishment. What happens to ponies who steal or try to where yer from?” He asked.

Oblivion grimaced and shook his head. “The punishment where I am from would be looked down on here. Theft is not a crime that is taken lightly. As it can lead to worse later in the thief’s life. Ponies are punished with jail if they are lucky. If they are not then they might lose the hoof that they used to steal with.” He saw them both stiffen. “As I said it would be heavily looked down on here. That is what typically happens in the cities. In the outside towns and villages, it varies on the location. It could be a beating by the one that was stolen from or more depending on the parents if it happens to be a child.”

“Never thought it would’a been so differn’. How was it handled by yer kind?”

“By a Witcher?” She nodded and he leaned back on his haunches. “Extra practice, tending to every sword in the keep, cleaning the entirety of Kaer Morhen, among others. Witchers are reclusive by design so we tend to handle things in the way that will suit us best. A beating would be the kindest and quickest option and that was a rarely used option because why beat them when we could use the labor? Extra work on top of normal exercises and activates is usually enough to break any desire for any further stupidity.”

Applejack and Mac both boded as he spoke and Applejack looked thoughtful as a smile suddenly crossed her mouth. “Ah have an idea.”

Both stallions looked at her and she gave them a sly wink as she looked at the house and inhaled a deep breath. Oblivion pinned his ears and Mac did the same as the mare began to shout.

“Apple Bloom! C’mere!” She shouted.

He looked over his shoulder as the filly came out of the house a few seconds later, her head low as she walked toward them. Her tail dragged behind her as she moved and the Witcher watched as she approached.

“He’s still mad, Applejack, Ah tried to say Ah’m sorry but… Eep!” She yelped at the sight of the black Pegasus.

Oblivion moved to join them to face the filly at Mac’s beckoning. He looked down at the filly as she stood in front of the group of them. She looked up at each of them and he could see the nervousness mixing with the sorrow in her spirit as he watched her.

“Apple Bloom. Ya did somethin’ that ya know is wrong. But instead ah just leaving ‘em alone ya tried to snoop in his things. Ya always been taught that snoopin’ and other things are wrong. If ya had asked Ah’m sure he would’a told ya why the saddlebags were locked. But instead of askin’, ya ended up breaking things that come from his homeland and he can’t replace ‘em here.” She said to her and the filly winced.

The Witcher was silent as the mare had spoken. He had said something similar to her back in the house but he knew that hearing it from him was nothing compared to hearing it from her sister. He had his brothers but they were not in the habit of lording over each other when it came to their faults or things they had done wrong. Each of them knew the things that were expected of them and they did not need to be reminded or commanded. Now that he was on this side of the argument he could see why the filly was now cowering in the face of the scolding she was getting from her blood relation.

She went on after a few second's delay. “Ah asked Oblivion what ya broke and he told us what the potions in there were. If ya had gotten into the saddlebags and ya found the potion inside what would ya have done with it?”

“Potions? Like a drink?” Apple Bloom asked in reply. “Ah would’a tried one.”

He saw the upset look that crossed her sibling's faces at the admittance from the filly. Mac closed his eyes as his jaw clenched. Oblivion was silent as he knew that would be the result.

“Those things in his saddlebags are dangerous. Their poisonous.” Applejack said to her, her voice tense. “Ya could’a…” She stopped and breathed in a deep breath.

“Ya can’t ever get into his things,” Mac growled. “Ya can never get into his saddlebags without him close. Ya hear?”

She nodded at the pained look from her siblings. The Pegasus said nothing as his wings tensed against his sides and he looked at the somewhat frightened filly. She looked at him and he said nothing in reply as Applejack pulled herself together and spoke to her.

“Now Ah spoke wit’ ‘im and Mac and Ah have an idea fer yer punishment. Ah asked him what happened ta ponies who broke other things. He told me what happened and after listenin’ Ah know what is gonna happen now. Yer gonna do his chores, the work we had fer him, and anythin’ else he needs until he forgives ya.” She looked at the two stallions who were now staring at her. “He will still get paid fer yer work, scene ya have shown ya can’t be trusted.”

Oblivion stared at the orange mare as she looked set in her decision. While it made sense to him in a way he disliked the idea of not working and still being paid. Even though the idea was sound he hesitated. “Applejack, I’m not certain this is…” He stopped as she held up a hoof to silence him.

“Don’t worry. The chores we had fer ya are pretty easy since Granny decided ta lessen ‘em since ya were sick.” He blanched and she gave a sly smile. “Ya thought we didn’ know? Twilight old us everythin’. Ya need ta take it easy fer a few days. So this is a perfect punishment. She will do yer work after school, any errands ya need one, she will do ‘em. If ya want a new book from the Library then she can go get it if ya knew what one ya want. Ah think its fittin’.”

“Eeyup.” Mac agreed with a nod.

The Pegasus looked at each of them and he looked down at the filly as she nodded as well and agreed to the punishment. “Very well. I will give this agreement my approval. Despite my reservations. I will abide by your choice.” He stated and walked past the filly, heading for the house.

Apple Bloom ran past him and headed for the front door. She pulled the door open and smiled back at him. He stopped in place and looked over his shoulder to the siblings. Applejack was trying to suppress a giggle while Mac just shrugged. He sighed and walked inside. His forelock was in his eyes and he used a hoof to move it out of his face. “Ugh. Should have asked Applejack about a bath.” He replied and was about to open the top of the door when Apple Bloom started pushing his legs to the stairs. He allowed her to push him and walked up the stairs.

“Ya’ll wait in yer room and Ah’ll get a bath ready fer ya.” The filly told him.

He looked at her for several seconds before he acquiesced to her and went to his room. He reached out and his claws gripped one of the books that Twilight had given him and he set it down on the floor. He laid down and propped the book on a hoof and he started to read through the history of magic in Equestria. He looked up as the sound of hooves caught his ear and he could see Apple Bloom came up to the door jam.

“It’s already. Ah made sure it was nice and warm fer ya.” Apple Bloom said to him.

He could see that she seemed nervous and she watched him intently as he moved the book away from himself as he stood up. Apple Bloom jumped up and she pulled the thick book onto her back and led him to the right of his door down the other hallway. She pulled an abrupt left and pushed a small stool to the right of the tub and set the book down and opened it to the page he had been reading. He saw a raised ledge that the book could sit on to make sure that it didn’t get wet. She moved the soap into reach and then jumped back to look at him. He didn’t move and she suddenly ran out of the door.

“Sorry enjoy yer bath.” She said as she held the door and pulled it closed.

He shook his head at her antics and looked at the still steaming water. He reached out and locked the door behind her and His wings flicked against his sides. He stretched out his wings and the joints popped as they had not been moved in a while and he could feel the stiffness in the joints. He raised them up and the wings extended, allowing him to be able to guess their exact size. After seeing the wings of the Pegasus around he was able to tell that his wings were oversized and he could see that he had close to a sixteen-foot wingspan. They raised upward and he watched as they bent against the ceiling and the tips folded heavily against the ceiling. He set his cloak aside and his swords were leaned up against the wall beside the door.

“Well. They're definitely going to be able to carry me if their size is any indication.” He muttered.

He looked to the steaming water and put one hoof into the tub. The water was warm and comfortable. He stopped himself from jumping in and stepped into the water. He stayed standing as he picked up the soap bar and then lowered himself into the water. It went across his belly and he laid down in the water. He cast a shield over the book and then another to make sure that it didn’t splash onto the floor. The water went over his back and he let himself lay in the tub. The magic hummed through the air as it did as it had been instructed and he was marveling at the usefulness of it when he heard a quiet knock.

“Yes?”

“Is there anythin’ ya need?” Apple Bloom asked him from the other side of the door.

“No. I’m fine, but thank you for asking.” He replied to her.

He heard her hooves trot down the hallway and he laid his head down on the side of the tub and allowed himself to relax. It had been quite some time since he had enjoyed a warm bath without worrying about the chances of being attacked. He brought his head up after a minute or two and he looked down into the water as his wings flicked under the water. He released the muscles that were holding them in place and he let them float in the water, as though boneless. After assuring himself that the wings would not move more than what he allowed he looked at the book in front of him and began to read once more.


He closed his book after finishing a few of the chapters and his magic picked it up and set it aside, away from the tub. He used the soap to clean his mane and fur. After finishing that he ran the soap over his black feathers and cleaned them as well. Dirt and grime bubbled up from them and he watched as the feathers released the dirt they had been holding. When he was finished he washed himself off and used the towel Apple Bloom had left to dry off his fur. He looked to his wings and patted them dry as well. He noticed that a few feathers were out of place. The stallion used his claws to preen the feathers and he removed ones that were coming out. The feathers he removed were held in his magic and once he finished he incinerated them to make things easier when he did not see a place to trash them. He looked around and found that he was still wet and used his magic to dry off the rest rather than find another towel. He used the mirror and found his mane was tangled so he used a brush to straighten it out and took care of his tail. He drained the tub and shook himself. He paused and looked into the mirror. He was turned sideways and saw that he was indeed a very thin pony. He pulled the cloak back on and was glad to see that it covered how thin he was. He had never been very thick but on a pony, he just looked sick.

“Maybe I will look into this. The ponies I have seen are not this thin but I also have not seen any ponies my own size.” He reasoned.

He looked away from the mirror and finished cleaning up the bathroom before he left it. His swords were buckled back into place and his cloak was placed over them, hiding the weapons once more. He left the bathroom and walked down the hall back to his room to drop off the book. He set it on the desk with the others and left the room, the door closing behind him with a resounding click of a lock. He moved through the house and angled his body down the stairs and out into the sunlight. The Witcher looked around him and he could see the spirits of the others and he broke into a trot to rejoin them. He joined them as Apple Bloom ran past them with a small barrel on her back. She ran past them and into the orchard. She was carrying them from the barn to the orchard and he watched as she went past them once more on the return trip to the barn.

“Howdy Oblivion. Apple Bloom said ya were enjoyin’ a warm bath and it seems she was right. Ya seem better.” Mac said to him.

“Quite. I’m actually glad she was eavesdropping when I spoke of it.” He replied. The two ponies laughed and nodded in agreement. He looked at the running filly as she went by. “Well on the upside she will be truly tired by the end of it.”

“Yup that’s what we’re hopin’ fer.” Applejack said with a laugh.

Mac nodded and looked at the stallion beside him. “Yer quite the sight when yer angry. Ya tracked that filly all the way to ‘er hidin’ place.”

He gave a short chuckle. “Tracking her was the easy part. Normally a track can go for miles. So tracking her thirty feet was not much of a challenge.” He replied. “As far as making me angry goes it’s not easy to anger a Witcher normally. It can be done but our reactions tend to be short-lived.”

“Why’s that?” Applejack asked.

“We aren’t designed to be emotional creatures. Our emotions are very nearly gone when we are finished being taught. So to anger one of us can be done but it can take time.” He explained. “I have heard it quite the sight when it does happen though.”

“It is.” Apple Bloom chimed in as she went by them.

“Ya will track things fer miles?” Mac asked him.

“It can happen.” He replied.

“What's the longest ya have tracked somethin’?” Applejack asked him, her eyes curious.

“Let’s see. Most recently it was a Fiend that I tracked for a few days. I think it was for three days.” He said as he thought back to the event. "It took a few days to track it and then some time to bait it and then I had to wait for it to return so I could remove it.” He explained.

“Whats a Fiend?” Mac asked.

“It’s a monster that can be as tall as ten to fifteen feet high. They run on all fours and typically the elbows, hind legs, chest, and back are covered in thick black or brown fur. They have antlers like a deer only much larger and close to twenty to twenty-five points. They have claws on their forelegs and a mouth with teeth like mine, only much larger. They have eyes like goats only there are three of them. They have horns on their heads that are also similar to a goat in that they are curved. They sometimes have a long tail but not always.” He stopped at the look he was getting from Mac and the mare behind him was nodding at the description. “You asked.” He quipped.

Mac barked a loud laugh and “That’s true. Ah did ask.”

The three siblings now stared at him for several seconds before the filly shook herself and went back to work, having stopped to listen to the description of the monster. Both siblings gave a shake of their heads to get the image out of their minds and the filly ran past them with a new barrel. Applejack watched as the filly came to a stop in front of them have moved the last of the barrels.

“All righ’ filly. Yer done with that there chore.” She said, earning a cheer from Apple Bloom. “Now on ta the next one.” Apple Bloom groaned and fell back onto her flanks. “This way.” She said as she walked away with the filly on her heels.

Mac laughed at the look he got from her and he patted Oblivion on the shoulder. “Can ya come with me fer a sec?”

The Pegasus nodded and followed the stallion toward the barn. They came up to a pile of wood and Mac turned to him. “Can ya stand next to those there boards?” The Pegasus nodded and stood beside them.

Mac used a saw to mark the length of the wood he needed and thanked the other stallion. Oblivion walked away and found a tree with some shade and laid down under it. He used his magic to summon a book and went back to reading. He looked up occasionally to see if he was needed for anything more but found nothing. As the day wore on he found himself enjoying the quiet of the orchard and the shade from the tall tree. He noticed the sun going down and stood up his magic placed the book on his back and he walked toward the house. He noticed that Mac was not by the woodpile any longer and guessed that he was inside.

“Oh! Hey Oblivion!” Applejack hollered as he passed by her.

He stopped and looked at her and to the dead tired filly that trailed behind the mare. The filly looked at him and trotted up to stand at his side. She hopped up toward his back and reached for the book that sat on his back. His wing tilted and the book slid from his back down his wing and into her waiting hooves. She slid it into place on her back and she walked toward the house with it balanced carefully. His magic flared as he unlocked his bedroom door to allow her to put the book in there. Applejack looked at him as the magic faded.

“I can carry the book easily enough on my own.” He said to the mare at his side.

“Ah know that. But she is thinkin’ ya shouldn’t do anything.” The mare replied.

He rolled his eyes and started for the house with the mare on his heels. They walked in and Apple Bloom was coming back down the stairs. She climbed into her chair at the table and laid her chin onto the table.

“Ah will ne’er try ta get into another ponies saddlebags again.”

“Should have thought of the consequences first,” Oblivion commented.

Apple Bloom looked at him and nodded.

“Oblivion.” Mac was at the top of the stairs. The red pony motioned for him to follow.

Oblivion went up the stairs and followed him into his room. In his room, he found a bed that was longer than the one he had before. He stared at it for several seconds before he looked at Big Mac.

“This one should fit ya. Can’ have ya sleepin’ on the floor.” He replied to Oblivion's look.

“Thank you. You did not have to.” He started only to have the farmer silence him with a wave of a hoof.

“Yah ah did. Yer stayin’ here and ya should not have ta sleep on the floor jus’ cuz yer tall. That's not fair to ya.” He replied and refused to hear anything more about it.

Oblivion nodded and the two stallions went back downstairs. Applejack made dinner and they ate in silence. Apple Bloom finished first and went to go wash off. Then Granny Smith went to bed, followed by Oblivion and Mac. Applejack stayed up to tuck Apple Bloom in. The Pegasus walked into his room and closed the door behind him. He pulled off the cloak that covered his back and his magic unbuckled the baldric that was buckled around his body and set the swords aside. Oblivion climbed into bed and was pleased to find that it was larger than it needed to be. He locked the door and dropped his cloak onto the desk. He let his wings stretch out as he allowed himself to sleep.

7: A Ticket to Hell

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His eyes opened and a low breath escaped him. He pushed himself up and he pushed the quilt back and rolled out of his bed. He let the large wings fall to the ground as normal and he pulled a brush through his mane and tail. He had finally learned enough about the wings he bore to be able to move them fairly easily from their relaxed position to be held at his sides. He set the brush aside as the wings were pulled up from the floor and they pinned themselves to his sides. He reached out to the desk and his claws gripped the cloak that hung by the desk. He heard a soft knock on the door and he pulled it open as Applejack stood in front of the door.

She hopped into the room, a wide smile on her face. “Ah made a bet wit’ Big Mac. If’n Ah clear out mah side of the orchard afore ‘e does then he has ta walk up Stirrup Street in Granny’s girdle. What he don’t know is that Ah have Twilight helpin’.” She told him with a laugh. “Ah need ya ta make sure ‘e does it. When Ah win can ya go wit’ ‘im ta make sure he walks the whole way?”

He said nothing for a second as he processed what she had said. “Does it matter that I have no idea where or how long Stirrup Street is?” He pointed out to her.

She looked blankly at him for a moment before she shrugged. “Ahh, that’s okay. Jus’ make sure ‘e walks a ways. Oh, the punishment fer Apple Bloom is still active so ya don’t have ta to do any chores this mornin’. She will do them when she gets home from school.”

The mare spun on her heel and opened the door to leave. Oblivion watched her and thought back to a bet he had been in with Lambert years ago. The younger Witcher had lost and had to walk around Novigrad yelling the words of the Maids of Vicovaro at the top of his lungs. That was a song the drunk yelled to piss off the guards. Oblivion had ridden Sasa behind him to watch and laugh at his expense. Lambert was still at the ass-end of jokes for that one, especially since Oblivion had to rescue him when the guards came running. Oblivion gave a quiet snort at the memory and then walked down the hall after the mare.

He went down the stairs and found everyone already there. He walked up to the table and sat down. He sat with them as they ate after declining. Once they finished Applejack asked him to take Apple Bloom to school. He agreed and waited for the filly to finish getting ready. The filly bolted up the stairs and then came down the stairs a few minutes later. She stopped at Oblivion's hooves and smiled.

“Ah’m ready ta go.”

“Are you sure?” He asked her.

“Eeyup.”

“Really? Do you need those?” He asked and he moved to grip the strap of the saddlebags in his hoof as he held them in front of her.

She looked sheepishly at him and took them from him. “Oh right. Thanks, Oblivion.” She said as she slid them onto her body.

He nodded at her thanks and moved to the door, which she hopped in front of him and pushed open for him. He managed not to roll his eyes and went out of the doorway. He heard Applejack giggle as they left and he chose not to go back and say anything in reply. Apple Bloom was quiet as they moved out the gate and down the road toward the schoolhouse. They reached the schoolhouse and she went through the gate ahead of him. He stopped by the gate to ensure that she was now among her fellow foals and was about to turn to leave when a familiar snobbish voice caught his ear.

“Hey, Blank Flank! Trying to hide behind your saddlebags?" She taunted.

He hesitated in place and his ears flicked to listen further while his mind went over what had been said. ‘What in the Realms is a Blank Flank?’ He was silent as he looked at the foals and he could see that some of them had their markings and others didn’t. ‘Ah I see what she means now.’ He thought to himself. He looked at Apple Bloom and he watched as her spirit shrunk back in embarrassment and shame. His eyes narrowed in aggravation and he walked into the schoolyard and stood behind them. The pink filly and her gray friend were still laughing at the comment as he stood behind them. He gave a loud snort and they both startled and looked back to find him standing behind them.

“I come from a land where a marking does not determine your worth or value in society. You have your marking and you feel the need to belittle those who do not. That does not make you better than her or any of them. All it shows is that you have less worth than she does. You are not worth the marking you wear.” Both fillies stared at him as he went on. “Not having a marking does not prove anything about her. All it shows is that she still has the potential to discover herself. You are now limited to that marking and what it might prove about you. You cannot become more than what you are now. She has limitless potential and a strong heart to prove it. You are less than nothing little fillies and she is above you in that respect.”

The foals were now staring at him and he could see Apple Bloom take heart at his words and a small smile began to tug at her mouth. She walked up to him and wrapped her forelegs around his right foreleg and snuggled against him. He lowered his head to her and waited for her to speak.

“Does it really not matter?” She asked him as he patted her back.

“Your worth as a pony is not measured by a mark that can only tell another about one piece of who you are. You are a complicated creature unlike any other. A simple mark cannot hope to tell everypony who you are. There is no rush to get one little one. It cannot tell you everything about yourself and you are not less of a pony with or without one.” He assured her.

He watched as her spirit recovered and she glowed brightly once more. He gave her a gentle push and she released his leg and a smile stayed on her mouth.

“He’s right Apple Bloom. Even if how he said it was a bit harsh.” A dark pink mare with three sunflowers on her flank spoke to them as she approached. “A cutie mark is not meant to be who you are. It’s just one part of it.”

He looked at her as he raised his head as high as he dared to avoid dwarfing the mare as he was close to two heads taller than she was. She drew up to them and came to a halt a foot away from the filly.

The filly smiled and went back to the other foals who crowded around her. “Thank you for helping her. Even though I am not fond of how you helped her. It was still very nice of you to help. Sometimes fillies can be very cruel when they wish to be.” She explained.

He said nothing immediately as he thought over what had been said. “I understand your point but that does not excuse cruel behavior. As I have told many I do not regret how I acted. I do not have the ability to truly regret.” He replied and turned to leave.

“Please wait.” She called out and the stallion came to a halt and looked back over his shoulder at her. “I spoke to Applejack the other day and she mentioned that you do not have much experience being around many ponies. I ask that you please leave the discipline of the foals to me.”

He turned around to speak with her properly. “That may be true but I do know how to treat others. Did you hear the abusive words that were being used?”

“I did not hear what was said no.” She admitted.

“Then how would have been able to stop it or punish it as needed?” The mare looked away as he spoke and he breathed out a short sigh. “Your name?”

“Cheerilee.”

“It’s nice to meet you Miss Cheerilee. I am Oblivion Shadow and I do not regret acting as I did with them. Perhaps next time you and I can act in concert and put an end to the cruelty that was being used on Apple Bloom. Though for the time being my presence might deter them from acting out against her. I will be walking her to school to prevent any more outbursts.” He said to her.

He spun on his heel and walked out the gate and onto the road back to the farm. He glanced over his shoulder to see the foals were all waving at him, Apple Bloom at the front of the group. He gave her a slight nod and he broke into a trot as he made his way back the way he had come. His hooves carried him swiftly back to the farm and he trotted through the front gate and back into the orchard. He looked to the side and he could see Twilight and Applejack picking apples in the orchard. He went back to the same tree he had been using to read under for the last few days and his magic summoned the book he had been reading and he settled underneath the tree and went back to reading.


He closed the book with a quiet sound and he stretched out his neck as his magic picked the finished book up and he sent it back to his room. He popped the bones in his neck as Big Mac came out of the house. He was wearing a pink and tan girdle that was pulled as tight as possible around his barrel. He pushed himself to his hooves, having recalled Applejack's request and made his way toward the red stallion.

“I’m sure you’re most thankful that I do not have much of a sense of humor to laugh at you with,” Oblivion said to him.

Mac nodded in silence and he started walking toward the town. The roan looked back and he saw the Pegasus following quietly behind him. He gave a shrug and kept walking as Oblivion lengthened his stride and drew up next to him. They got closer to town and he could see the roan was growing more uncomfortable the closer they got.

“If you keep a stone face you will be denying her and those that laugh the pleasure of seeing you squirm,” Oblivion advised.

Mac looked at him and he nodded as what had been said got through to him. He put his head up as high as possible and walked with his head high. Oblivion stayed at his hip and he watched as several ponies stopped to stare and snicker at the roan. When he did not react to their laughter and looks they seemed to give up and went about their own tasks. The roan looked over his shoulder slightly and Oblivion gave him a slight nod for him to keep going. He opened his mouth to speak when something stopped him in his tracks.

His ears flicked as he listened intently to the area around them. Mac had looked back and stopped when he realized the Pegasus was not with him. Mac turned and came back to him as he began to turn his body slowly, following his ears as they guided him. He reared up and his eyes were now also scanning the area around them. Oblivion suddenly came down on his hooves and trotted off to the side. Mac followed him and saw Oblivion’s eyes change as he started tracking something. Mac followed as quietly as he possible as the stallion gave a quick glance back to him. He reached the edge of the village and stopped. His head came up and he scanned the area around him. He suddenly started growling and Mac stayed behind him. The Pegasus snorted and relaxed.

“Damn it all. I lost it.” He growled under his breath.

Mac drew up next to him and he looked around them as he searched for something around them. “What was it?”

“I heard something that sounded familiar to me. I was following it but it began to fade out before I could narrow down exactly where it was.” The black stallion replied. “You didn’t need to follow me.”

“Yeah Ah did.” The stallion commented. “Ya’ll were upset bout somethin’. No way Ah could let ya go alone.”

Oblivion shook his head and his mane settled back onto his neck and his forelock fell to cover his right eye. “Next time this happens and if I tell you to run I expect to you hoof it.” He said and he only stopped his intense gaze when the other stallion nodded in agreement. He looked back out at the clearing that stretched out beyond the town and he sighed. “I’m sure that this is far enough for AJ. If it’s not then she can argue with me later about it. You walked a fair distance wearing that gets up so I think it’s more than enough.”

Mac looked relieved and he nodded gratefully. The black pony walked around the roan and led him back toward the road that they had come from. They passed through the alley that sat between two of the homes and back onto the road. Oblivion stopped as Twilight collided with his side. He looked down at her and he could see Spike was with her.

“Hi, Oblivion.” Spike greeted.

“Afternoon Spike, Twilight. Are you alright?” He asked as his Sight told him something was wrong with the mare.

She looked up at him and he could see that she was undecided about whether to speak to him or run. “You’re not going to ask me to give you the ticket as well are you?”

The Pegasus looked at her and his brow furrowed slightly. “Ask you about what?” He replied, his tone uncertain. “Go ahead, Mac. I’ll catch up to you later.”

The farmer nodded and moved past them and Oblivion watched as his stride was hurried as he moved back the way they had come. Oblivion saw Spike put his hand over his mouth to suppress a laugh as the roan left them behind. Twilight looked relieved and started to walk around him. He turned to move with her and was at her side as they walked.

“Why do you look like you are trying to hide?” He asked her.

“I got two tickets to the...” She looked around and stopped. She motioned for him to lower his head to her. He obliged. “Grand Galloping Gala.”

He gave a slow blink in reply as the name struck him as being something to laugh at but he paused and bit back a bark of laughter. “What is that?”

She gave him a look and then shook her head to rid herself of the surprise. “It’s a very exclusive ball in Canterlot. It’s held at the palace and I was given two tickets by the Princess. I got them and Applejack overheard and she explained that she would love to go and sell Apple products there to help the farm. Rainbow as it turned out was close by and she overheard as well. She wants to go to see the Wonderbolts and show them her skills.” She explained and he motioned for her to go on when she paused. “Rarity wants to go to meet Prince Blue Blood. Fluttershy wants to see the menagerie and Pinkie wants to go to the party that is usually held inside the building."

“I see.”

“At least you won’t be asking me for it.” She chuckled and looked at him as he glanced down at her. “Are you?”

“No, I have no interest in it. I have been to many balls and events in my time and found them to be lacking. There a nothing there except undercooked meat, weak booze, and no entertainment. I will pass.” He said to her and he could see her relax slightly. She sighed in relief but then jumped behind him when several ponies walked by them. He reached back and lifted the side of his cloak and she dodged underneath it to hide. “Better?”

She nodded and he guided them back to the library as Spike jumped from her back and walked beside them. Spike grumbled as he walked but a look from the Pegasus had silenced him quickly. The black stallion walked with her and he would speak with the mares about the pressure they were putting on the mare the next time he saw them. It was ridiculous that she felt she had to hide from everypony around her to avoid them asking her for a ticket to an event. They reached the Library and he pushed the front door open and they walked inside to find Fluttershy and several animals already inside. From what he could see they were helping her clean the shelves and the books.

Twilight breathed out a deep sigh and stared at the butter-yellow mare. “Oh no. Not you too.”

Oblivion said nothing as the mare looked at the Unicorn and a smile went across her muzzle. He kept his silence as Twilight seemed to be trying to keep herself in check. He could see her emotions as they flowed over her.

“Oh, well hello Twilight. I hope you don’t mind, but we are doing a bit of spring cleaning for you.”

“It’s summer.” Twilight deadpanned.

“Truly?” Oblivion said as he looked at her. He did not know which season they were in since he had only just arrived and the weather was not exactly clear.

Twilight cast a glance at him before she looked back at the other Pegasus in the room. Fluttershy paused and she looked at the animals that were hanging around the room and watching them.

“Oh well. Better late than never.” She replied with a nervous laugh. “It was Angel’s idea.”

Oblivion looked down at the aforementioned white bunny.

“You’re not doing this for the ticket, are you?” Twilight asked her.

“Of course she is. Are you shocked?” Oblivion scoffed and bit back a bark of laughter.

“Oh no. I’m doing this because you’re my very best friend. Right, Angel?” She said as she looked down at the bunny that was giving her a blank look. “Oh yes. We are just doing this for the ticket.” She confessed.

“Well, at least you admit to it,” Oblivion commented.

Twilight stormed toward the door. “No, no, no. Well, this has been very nice of you and Angel, but I’m not accepting any extra favors until I have made my decision. So I am going to have to ask you to leave.”

“NO! Don’t open the door!” He called out as the mare pulled the door open.

She opened the door and confetti hit her in the face. “Surprise!” Ponies shouted as she was pulled out the door.

After a few minutes, he looked at Fluttershy. He opened his mouth to speak to her when the door opened once more. He watched as Applejack, Rainbow, Rarity, and Pinkie walked into the Library. The ponies walked up into a separate section fo the library that allowed them an easy view of the door.

“Are ya here fer the ticket?” Applejack asked him.

“I’m a way. I have no interest in going to the event.” He responded and they looked uncertain of his meaning. “I have to be honest your behavior is appalling. All of you chasing her down and doing her extra favors is not helping her to choose one of you. You are all her friends and by throwing gifts and favors at her you are making her choice that much more difficult.” He noticed that a couple of them were starting to hang their heads as he spoke. “You are all acting like fools. I have seen children act more like adults.”

A flash of purple caught his attention and Twilight and Spike reappeared. “Warn me before you do that?” Spike complained.

“I didn’t even know it was going to happen,” Twilight said to him and panic went through her. “Quick Spike close the windows and turn off all the lights.”

The room was plunged into darkness and he heard Twilight sigh in relief. His eyes gave off their typical slight glow and the mare looked directly at him as his eyes adjusted to the pitch darkness. The Witcher sighed and his magic reached out and he flipped the light back on. The mare saw the other girls in the room and a scream tore from her.

“I can’t decide! I can’t decide!” She began and dropped to her belly with her hooves over her head.

Oblivion watched her closely and he could see that she was upset and he felt something tell him to stop it. “Enough!” He roared and stepped ahead of her, standing protectively over the mare. He saw Twilight looked up at him as he stood over her. Spike had jumped in surprise at his tone and was now standing off to the side of the stallion. “Spike! Give me the tickets.”

His magic gripped the tickets as Spike gave them to him and he summoned a scroll and quill into his magic. “Celestia. I am returning these tickets due to there not being enough for Twilight to bring all of her friends. On behalf of your student, Oblivion Shadow.” His magic ignited the scroll and it was sent through the window. He looked back to all of them and snorted.

Oblivion moved to the side as the farm mare came down from where they had been sitting. Applejack walked over to a still cowering Twilight, despite the fact that the tickets were gone. “Twilight sugar. Ah didn’t mean ta pit so much pressure on ya. If it helps, I don’t want the tickets anymore. Ya can give it ta somepony else, Ah promise Ah won’t be upset.” She looked past the mare and to the stallion. “Ya were right, Oblivion. We were bein’ unfair ta ‘er.”

Fluttershy spoke from her place with the others. “I feel awful for making you feel awful. I don’t want the tickets either.”

“Twilight. It was unfair of me to try to force you as I did.” Rarity said to her.

“And me too. It’s no fun upsetting your friends.” Pinkie lamented.

He looked up as Rainbow dash gave a happy flip in the air. “Yes! That means I get the ticket!” She started dancing in the air.

Oblivions magic gripped her mane and he pulled her roughly down to be muzzle to muzzle with him. “Try that again.” He growled.

She looked at him, her eyes wide in alarm. “Uh. You know what? I haven’t perfected my signature moves yet. So I don’t need it either.” She said her tone sheepish, he released the chunk of her mane that he held in his magic.

Twilight stood up with Applejack's help and smiled. Applejack looked over to Spike who was holding his stomach. “Well wallop my withers, Spike. Ain’t that just like a boy? Can’t handle the least bit of sentiment.” A green ball of fire burst from Spikes maw. “Whoa, Nelly!” Applejack yelled as she ducked.

Twilight’s magic held the scroll in the air and Spike took it and pulled it open to read it aloud. “A letter from the Princess, that was fast.” He said as he cleared his throat to go on.

My faithful student:

Why didn’t you just say so?

Spike held up a group of six tickets, their golden color sparkled slightly in the lights of the Library. “Six tickets to the Gala.”

Twilight beamed happily. “Now we can all go.”

Oblivion watched as the group of mares cheered happily. There was a pause in the cheering as Twilight’s stomach growled loudly. The girls all giggled at the sounds and Twilight looked sheepish at the sound.

“Allow us to treat you to dinner.” Rarity said to her and the others nodded in agreement.

Twilight suddenly stopped as they started to head for the door. “She didn’t send one for you.” She said as she looked at the black Pegasus.

“It’s fine. I have no interest in such a thing. This is fine for me. I thank you for the consideration though. Go ahead with the others. I will be heading out anyway.”

She nodded and walked out the door ahead of them. He looked at Spike who was still in the room with him. The baby dragon looked uncertain and his eyes fell on the stallion.

“What about me?” He asked as he looked at the pony.

“If you wish to go send her a letter asking for a ticket.” He said to him.

Spike looked at him, uncertainty in his eyes as he held his stomach and a letter came from his mouth. He opened it and two more tickets came from inside of it. He read it over and a wide smile went over his face. “Two more tickets! We can go too Oblivion!”

“Great,” Oblivion replied, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

Spike gave him his own ticket and his magic held it as he sent it to his saddlebags at the farm. He walked out behind the baby dragon who quickly trotted past the farm mare that was standing by the door. She looked at the black Pegasus who paused to stand by her.

“Ya’ll gonna go ta the Everfree fer some runnin’?” She asked him.

He gave her a nod before he began to walk away from the library and toward the edge of town where it met up with the Everfree. His own stomach called for food and his claws flexed as he walked. He trotted toward the forest and he was not able to stop the slight grin that tugged at his mouth. He reared up and broke into a gallop as he moved through the tall grass and into the forest. He slowed as he caught sight of a fallen tree along the edge of the forest. He was still working on keeping his balance but he decided that if his hooves hit the tree he knew how to roll. He neared the tree and as he got to the right point he gathered himself and the muscles in his hind legs gathered. He trusted his body to know how to jump and land without causing injury. His body leaped and, to his own surprise, cleared the tree and galloped on. He allowed the smile to remain as he continued running. His wings pulled from his sides and he let them flap to give him a boost of speed but he nearly fell as they overbalanced and he slowed to put them back in place at his sides.

He began to slow further as he neared a clearing that he had been using for his hunts. He flicked his ears and he was not able to wear anything close by him. He came to a stop and he rolled his shoulders to get his swords into place to allow him to draw them if he needed them. He moved to follow a nearby game trail and he slowed as the sound of hooves caught his attention. He slowed and began to crouch as he neared a new clearing. He could see a small herd of deer in the clearing and he began to scan the herd, looking for a soft target. He saw one off to the side that appeared to be lame and would make for a good target. He began to stalk forward, keeping his body as low as possible. He stopped as he was as close as he could get if he stayed within the bushes. He waited for the deer to graze closer to him and he waited for the right moment, when it came he leaped from the bushes and the hunt began.


Applejack was walking back to the farm when movement caught her eye. It was on the edge of the Everfree and she trotted into the taller grass as far as she dared. She chuckled at the sight of the black Pegasus as he ran around the edge of the forest. She watched as he spun on his heel and made for the edge of the forest and she watched as he leaped a fallen tree. She was quiet as she approached and she could not help but wonder why he had not been flying. It would have made hunting very easy for him.

“Well. Even without flyin’ he sure seems ta be havin’ some fun.” She said as she slowed to a walk.

She made sure not to try to creep up on him, something told her that would not end well for her and she made sure to keep her normal pace and gait as she moved. She watched as he plunged to a halt and his ears flicked to listen as he heard her walking. She broke into an easy lope and neared him as he looked over his shoulder to her.

“Ya’ll’re havin’ too much fun out here.” She teased.


He barked a laugh at her and shook himself. “Perhaps. I never thought that being able to jump again would prove to be so interesting.” He admitted. “Perhaps this is why some choose to run wild.”

“Maybe. But Ah gotta admit that’s quite the jump. Ya can make it since yer so tall.” She chuckled as she pointed to eh fallen tree he had been jumping.

He shrugged and they both broke into a trot as they headed for the farm. “I wasn’t certain that I would make it over it. I cleared it on my way into the forest and I came back to it when I was done. I was ready to roll if I clipped it.”

“Well, now we know why yer so thin. Ya run around so much when yer out here.” She joked.

He chuckled and looked at her as they slowed to a walk. “Maybe. I have always been lean. I’ve been an active pony all my life. But I suppose to others I might look sick.”

“Ya are too thin. But Ah’m thinkin’ puttin’ weigh ton ya might be impossible.” She said to him. “Ya seem ta have more energy than most though.”

He nodded in reply and looked ahead of them. “Ah. I will be out of town in a few days to go to Canterlot and spar with Luna. I had forgotten to mention it before.”

“Why are ya meetin’ up wit’ her?”

“She sent me a letter asking me to meet her for a mock spar and have coffee afterward. Since there is nopony here that can spar with me seriously she is the best option. Her style of combat is different than mine and I am curious if it has changed since she was cleansed.”

“Are ya sure it’s safe?” She asked him, her eyes went from the road to him as she spoke.

“Not you too. She is no longer Nightmare Moon. Don’t be close-minded.” He replied with a scoff.

“Ah was wonderin’ somethin’.” She said, changing the subject.

“Oh?”

“Yeah. How come ya haven’t been flyin’? Ah haven’t seen ya so much as flap yer wings.”

He nearly fell forward at her question and he found himself without a lie that he could tell her. He sighed and shook his head at her. “That’s not an easy question.”

“Ah’m sorry if it too personal.”

“It’s not that. It’s just that I really do not know how.” He informed her. “The ponies of the Witchers school were Earth Ponies or Unicorns. I was the only Pegasus and if I knew how before the trials that knowledge was stripped from me during the Trials.”

“Oh. So ya don’t remember how ta fly?” She asked him.

“Exactly.”

“Well. Ya could ask Rainbow ta… Actually nah. Ah wouldn’t want her ta teach me anythin’.” She started and then corrected herself.

“Precisely. I have remained on the ground ever since. Ponies’ do not deal with my kind well so I have never thought to ask for lessons.” He went on. He had only lied partially to her.

“Well, we’ll think o’ a way ta get ya in the air.” She said to him and patted his shoulder as she walked forward on three legs.

They fell into silence as they walked through the front gates of the farm. He scanned the area ahead of them as Apple Bloom ran inside. She had been outside playing when she spotted them ahead of her. He cast a glance to Applejack who shrugged at the filly’s swift departure. The pair of them walked into the house and Mac looked up from the table and a chuckle broke from him.

“Apple Bloom went upstairs ta get yer bath ready.” He said, his tone laughing as Oblivion groaned.

He bit back the rest of the sound from his throat and looked up the stairs as he moved to go up to them. He went up the stairs and was almost to his room when Apple Bloom came around the corner, running into his leg.

“Oof.” She made a noise as she struck him and then looked up at what she had run into. Her face broke into a smile and she looked up at him. “Ya wanna read a book?”

He stepped past her and she followed him to his room. She waited as he unlocked the door and he walked into the room. He set his cloak aside and hung it beside the desk on the chair. He pulled his baldric from its place around his body and leaned it against the side of the desk. He cast a glance to the filly who gave him a clear shake of her head. A clear agreement not to touch them. He looked over the cloak and he could see that it was in need of a wash. He would look into a way to clean it when he had an extra moment. He would ask Applejack and see if he needed to take it into the forest to wash it as he had done many times before.

He had finished one of the three books he had borrowed and he picked up the History of Magic volume two and it hovered in his magic as he turned around. Apple Bloom held out her hooves and he lowered it into her hooves with a slight sigh and she spun to take it to the bathroom. He shook his head as she walked several feet ahead of him. He walked down the hallway and reached the door as she came through it and looked up at him.

“It’s all ready.” She said to him, her smile once more bright.

“Thank you Little One.” He said to her and patted her head with one hoof.

He walked into the bathroom and locked the door behind him. His wings drooped to the floor and he stretched out his neck and he heard several small pops as it stretched. He raised them just high enough to not bang against the sides of the tub as he stepped into it and laid down inside of it. His magic opened the book but his eyes did not scan the pages as it sat in front of him. His wings floated to the surface as he considered the day that had gone on around him. He considered why he had stopped the mares from trying to guilt Twilight into the tickets that she herself had been gifted.

“What purpose was there in stopping them? They would have noticed their actions were doing nothing but harming her on their own. Why did I intervene in it?” He asked himself, his voice barely above a whisper.

He knew that something had told him that he needed to act and he was not sure what it had been. When he acted it seemed to fade and nothing was left in its place. It had been like a gentle push in the back of his mind and he could not place if he had ever experienced anything like it before. He shifted in the water and dunked his wings under the warm water, the feathers spreading slightly as the water permeated them. The black Pegasus was silent as his musings fell quiet in his mind. He stood up and used the soap to clean his body and wings before he laid back down to let it slowly wash off of him.

His magic closed the book and set it beside the sink to avoid it slipping into the water. He recalled that the mare had told him that the books needed to return in the same shape as how they left the library. His mind went slowly blank as he allowed his senses to listen around him for anything that stood out. His eyes closed as he focused on simply listening to the world around him and he laid his head down on the rim of the tub. He opened his eyes after several minutes as he stood up and his claws gripped a nearby towel and used it to dry himself off. He stepped out of the tub and his magic slid over his body, drying the rest of him. He looked over his wings, checking for any loose feathers or any damage to them from his run.

He brushed through his mane and tail as they were now dry and he pushed open the door to find Applejack walking past. The mare looked at him as he turned off the light in the bathroom and walked out ahead of her. He reached his room and she stopped by his doorway with a grin in her muzzle.

“Mac said ya made sure he walked a way on the street. Thank ya fer yer help.” She said as she giggled.

“It was nothing.” He assured her. “I have a question though. Where can I get my cloak cleaned?”

“Ah would talk ta Rarity if ya needed it cleaned off. Though yer right it might need a bit of a cleanin’.” She said as she stepped into the room and looked at the cloak. “Yeah. Just ask ‘er bout it.”

“I will speak to her in the morning.”

Applejack backed out of his room and he closed the door behind her. He stood in silence in the middle of the room and was about to lean against the bed when something rolled over him. He had moments of intuition like this before and he had learned to listen to them. They had warned him of his fair share of attacks from bandits and monsters alike. He moved to the window and leaned over the bed and he looked out past the orchards. He didn’t see anything at first but the more he looked the stronger the feeling became and he reached for his blades. He moved a wing and put them under it and the wing held them in place. He moved silently through the stilling house and out the door.

His eyes scanned the barn and then the orchards as he passed by them. His hooves were silent and his ears perked as he listened intently. His swords were hung under his wing and he made sure that he could easily reach them if the need should arise. The feeling that had driven him from the house was still with him as he moved. It made his skin tremble and his steps were hurried. He moved out from the barn and out into the field behind the barn.

The grasses were tall enough to brush against his chest as he moved. A sound caught his attention and he pauses in place as his ears flicked, intent on the sound that moved around him. He knew the sound but was having trouble placing it. It reminded him of the sound that Rainbows wings made when she flew but the sound was more intense.

“What in the… Oh no.” He said to himself as he dropped to the ground and looked to the skies.

His eyes watched for the monster that he knew was above him. He intended to use his black coloring to keep himself from being spotted from the air. He stared up and he finally saw it, the Forktail flew above him, circling. He followed it and he cursed not having his belt that held his crossbow and bombs. It was low enough that a well-placed bomb would have knocked it from the air. That was his normal first attack when dealing with the kind of monster in front of him.

His dared not use magic since the light from it would catch the monster's attention. He was certain that his crossbow was in his saddlebags with his other weapons. That made him think his bombs were inside of it as well. He hesitated to use them in case he would never be able to replace them when his stores of ingredients ran out. The black Pegasus breathed out an annoyed sigh as the monster circled above him. He cursed not being able to use his own wings more effectively but he moved past that fact quickly as he considered how to lure the monster to the ground.

“How?” he whispered to himself as he remained huddled against the ground, waiting. “Only way I have ever gotten them out of the sky was either a bolt to the wing, a bomb, or… bait.”

His eyes followed the Forktail as it flew and he slowly got to his hooves and he knew enough about them to know that they would not pass up on an easy meal. He had to act like bait and draw it down to him. He started to walk through the field and when he was sure the Forktail could see him he began to fake a strong limp. Typically they avoided fights unless they could win and he knew this from the last few he had hunted. He heard a loud hiss from above and he looked up as it flew just high enough to be able to ambush him easily. He waited as it plunged out of the sky and headed straight for him.

“Good boy.” He praised as he spun, his sword coming from the scabbard at his side as he dropped the steel sword and baldric to the ground.

The monster didn’t have enough time to pull away from its attack as it was on him when he spun to attack it in kind. Its feet hit the ground with a resounding thud and the ground shuddered in response. He spun and the blade cut deep into its chest. It shrieked and tried to kick him as it moved. He backflipped and his magic reared up as a Grapeshot bomb appeared in his magic and he held it close by as the monster seemed to be deciding whether he was worth the possible fight to kill or if it would take to the air once more. It took a second as it spread its wings and began to take to the air. Oblivion reached out and his claws grabbed the bomb, his magic lighting the fuse. He hurled it at the struggling monster and it exploded against one of the leathery wings, destroying the limb.

He pinned his ears at its shriek as it fell ten feet to the ground. He charged it and his blade cut deep into the monster's flesh as it began to kick out at him. He dodged to the side but a heel caught him in the chest and he was rolled backward, away from it. He got to his hooves and the monster did the same. Blood oozed from the wounded appendage and covered the ground. He knew that if he waged a slow fight then the monster might bleed to death and save him the trouble of fighting it seriously. He would simply need to avoid it. And while he had used the tactic on some monsters before it was not his first choice. He was a fighter and standing back was not his normal style.

The monster hissed and snarled as he watched it closely. Its tail waved in the air behind it and he knew enough to avoid the tail when it was used in combat. Its teeth were enough to give a human fits of pure fear but he had faced monsters with bigger teeth than a Forktail. It charged him and he waited as it neared him and he moved to the side and pirouetted as it passed, slicing the blade along its side. It swung its tail and he knew enough to hold the blade in front of him. What he was not ready for was the impact of countering it and the blade nearly fell from his claws. He was about to curse the fact that he did not have thumbs when the monster swung its head to bite him.

He dropped to the ground and rolled his body as far as possible. He got to his hooves and the monster came after him. He had fought many of these and he knew them well. The loss of its wing had enraged it and it was now even more aggressive in its attacks. The thick spikes that covered its back and tail were enough to drive him back as it charged and swung its body to use its heavy tail. He dodged out from under it and spun his sword to try to sever the tail if possible. The weapon collided with the tail and his eyes went wide as the weapon fell from his hoof.

“Shit.” He yelped and tried not to immediately dive for the weapon.

The monster didn’t know he had lost his sword but it did manage to step on the weapon and its head lunged out as it tried to bite once more. His magic lunged to the front as the symbol on his forehead glowed brightly in response to the loss of the weapon. He reached out to the weapon with magic and it came back to his hoof. He left it in his magic and it hovered at his shoulder. He flexed his claws and let the sword hover, choosing instead to use his magic and hope it worked. The Forktail charged him and he waited for it to near him as he swung the sword down and it carved through the monster's face, though it did little more than anger it further. He bit back a string of curses and moved aside as it passed him.

“Okay. Now I have pissed it off.” He grumbled.

It stopped and came back for him as he gave up on magic and took it back in his hoof and he slammed down his hoof as Aard rolled over the monster staggering it. He charged in and his blade scored across its chest and shoulders. It screeched loudly and tried to bite at him as he spun to the side and he backed up to allow a stream of Igni fall over the monster's head and shoulders. It backed up at the heat and he pushed his advantage. The Witcher pushed forward as the stream of fire faded out and he swung the blade forward and the monster moved its head back and he angled his blade to cut deep into its neck. Blood fountained as the weapon slid into the softer flesh and he drove the weapon as deep as he could without losing his grip on the silver sword. He jumped back as the weapon began to slip in his claws and he pulled it roughly from the animal’s throat. It screeched and flailed, trying to get him as it fought against its own death. He backflipped as far as possible and now he waited for it to bleed out and fall.

“Well, that was a lesson.” He breathed out.

The Forktail began to try to charge him and he was ready for it to attack as it stumbled and fell to the ground a couple of feet from him. It breathed roughly as it tried to live on. He went to the side of it and he angled the weapon and slid it into its hide and into the heart, ending its suffering. He knew that some would view his actions as cruel but he knew that he had no desire to allow it to suffer needlessly. He had argued with a man once about whether a monster deserved mercy. In the end, they had agreed to keep their opinions to themselves and even then they had argued later about it. He still thought of them as needing that final bit of mercy as they lay dying. Others would see his actions as weakness and still more as cruelty. He was not out to please them but he had a feeling that the ponies of this world would side with him on giving the monster mercy.

A slight grin tugged at his mouth as he realized that his views might be more accepted in this world then they were on his own. “Interesting.” He muttered.

The body lay still as he backed up a step and watched it for several seconds. He was beginning to look around him to see if anypony had seen anything or heard anything as the monster was not exactly quiet in its attacks. When nopony came to investigate he assumed that it had been quiet enough to remain unknown. He looked over the body and as he was beginning to wonder how to either bury the body or burn it. He looked up as a portal of large size appeared off to the side of him, just close enough to begin to take the monster from its place. Wind began to flow over him from the portal and he gripped the ground with his claws as the body began to move toward the portal.

“By the Gods!” He cursed loudly and started to try to back up as the wind buffeted him.

His wings pinned tightly to his sides as he tried to stay away from the portal. He watched it closely as he was waiting for someone to come through it. When he saw no one coming through he watched the body as it went through the portal and the portal itself closed and was gone moments later. The winds ended abruptly and he was left, stunned in place. He had seen nothing come through and the only evidence of the portal was a burnt spot on the ground. The Witcher used his magic to reach out and pick up the scabbard from where it lay several feet behind him. He cleaned the sword of blood and slid it back into the scabbard and he tucked it back under his wing.

“Well. That was surprising.” He admitted to himself, though his voice showed no sign of surprise.

8: Sparring with a Princess Part 1

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His eyes flicked open and he raised his head as light washed over him. He pushed back the quilt with one motion and his body moved to get off the bed and his hooves hit the plush carpet. He stretched out and his oversized wings spread and his claws flexed. He shook himself and his wings folded to lay against his sides, pinned tightly to his skin. His claws reached out and he gripped the strap of the leather baldric and slung it over his back and it buckled in place around his body. He shook his head and his mane settled on his neck, he was going to have to ask about how to hold it back, it was getting in the way. He reached out and his hoof held the cloak as he put it across his back, just enough of it would cover the weapons on his back.

He picked up the finished book and set it on his back and he opened the bedroom door and walked out into the hallway. He started down the hall and down the stairs into the kitchen. He raised his wings just enough to keep the items from falling to the ground as he moved. He reached the kitchen and Applejack turned from her place in the kitchen and she jumped at the sight of him. He paused at the end of the table and she smiled as she recovered from the surprise of him sneaking up on her.

“I will drop Apple Bloom off at school and then I am going into town to see Rarity and Twilight.” He informed her. “Also can I get a tie from you for my mane?”

She turned and listened as he spoke to her. “Sure Ah’ll get ya one afore ya leave fer the school.”

He nodded and she looked at the thick book on his back as she went back to cooking. Oblivion set the book on top of his cloak and set them both on the floor as he sat down in his usual place. He glanced over his shoulder as the elderly mare came down the stairs behind him. He looked back ahead of him and he heard her hooves hit the floor of the kitchen.

“Boy howdy. We need ta put meat on ya, sonny.” The aged mare said as she prodded him in the back.

“Granny!” Applejack turned to scold her grandmother.

Oblivion rolled his eyes to the ceiling and bit back a sigh as he looked at the mare. “I am aware that I am not a thick pony, Granny Smith. I am not designed to be.” He informed her.

“Too skinny is what ye are!” She said as she prodded him again.

He looked at Applejack who shrugged. “Granny, some ponies are built ta be light. He just happens ta be one o’ those.”

The stallion turned to look at the green mare once more. “I have always been a lean pony, Granny Smith. Keeping weight on is difficult due to my metabolism and how active I am.” He reasoned to her.

She appeared thoughtful with a hoof to her chin. He looked past her as the rest of the Apple family started down the stairs. Mac was the first to come into the kitchen and he stared at the thin pony in front of him. He seemed surprised but he seemed to put it out of his mind easily enough. Apple Bloom was on his heels and she was quick to see how thin he was and she paused. She walked up to him and his orange cat eyes regarded her as she looked up at him.

“Wow, ya need ta eat more.” She said to him. A snort sounded out and she looked at Mac who was glaring at her. “But if yer healthy then it's fine.” She added quickly as she went to her chair.

He said nothing as the filly hopped up into her chair and waited for her breakfast. He held back a chuckle as Applejack laughed and went back to the cooking in front of her. The black pony looked outside as he also waited. ‘Perhaps I need to look into what the normal weight for a pony of my size should be. Normally I would not worry about it but it seems to upset them greatly and I would rather not have an entire town of ponies trying to feed me.’ He thought to himself as the minutes ticked past him. Further thoughts were interrupted as a plate was set down in front of him. He watched as the others took their shares of breakfast and he reached out for his own. He took two and put butter on them and ate them slowly. He finished what was on his place and he stared as two more were placed on his place. He looked up as Granny Smith was now looking at him, an expectation in her eyes.

“Granny! Ya can’t expect him ta just eat more fer ya.” Applejack said as she admonished the elder mare.

The mare said nothing in reply and simply looked at her own food. He sighed and looked at the food in front of him. He contemplated simply putting them back on the plate in the center of the table but he chose to give up and eat what he was able. He got halfway through another one and he pushed the plate away from him as he got to his hooves. He was more than full if he was being honest and Apple Bloom reached for the remainder and he pushed it over to her. The filly finished off what remained and jumped from her chair with a satisfied noise. She turned for the stairs and looked at him as she walked past.

“Be right back. Ah need ta get mah homework.” She said as she ran up the stairs.

His magic reached out and gripped the finished plates and set them by the sink. He picked up the cloak and book and set them back on his back, and he then moved to the stand by the door as he waited for the filly to return. He heard her hooves on the carpet as she came down the hallway and then down the stairs.

“Okay Ah’m ready ta go.” She said as he opened the door and she darted past him.

He said nothing as he walked out the door behind her. They walked out past the farmhouse and toward the gate. He said nothing as the filly tried to keep up with him and he slowed his pace for her. The path stretched out in front of them and he raised his wings slightly as the book on his back threatened to slip from its place. He looked over his shoulder to ensure that the wings had raised enough to ensure the book would not fall and then he trained his eyes back on the path.

“Hey, Oblivion?”

“Hmm?”

“Ya think ya could come ta mah school and tell a story bout where yer from?” Applejack and Big Mac have already come ta mah class. All the other foals really wanna hear bout yer home.”

“Wouldn’t it be better for your family to go to this event?” He asked her in reply.

“Well, Granny is gonna come ta a later event. Mah brother and sister already did. So Ah was thinkin’ that it would be fun fer everyone if it was you.”

He looked down at her as she finished speaking and he simply looked ahead of them. “I’ll think about it.” He replied.

The filly nodded and a wide smile went over her mouth as they moved. The rest of the trip was silent as they reached the schoolhouse. He watched as she joined the other foals and he waited until they were called into the school and he spun to go back the way he had come and headed for town. He was pleased to see that his presence seemed to have stopped any of the teasings that had happened previously. ‘What kind of story would I even tell them? Nothing about my world is very foal friendly. Nothing but endless battles, war, and hatred. I’m not a member of the family so my attendance makes no sense.’ He thought to himself as he headed for town.


He approached the Library and his hoof rapped on the door as he waited for it to open. He would normally have just walked in but the tree was also Twilights home and he had no desire to enter without her knowledge.

“Just a second!”

He heard Twilight shout from inside and waited for her to come to the door. He could hear the mare moving around inside and the door opened barely thirty seconds later.

“Oh hi, Oblivion. Come in.” She said as the door was pushed open to allow him to enter.

“Thank you.” He said to her as he walked into the Library.

He was surprised by how he so easily fell into a more relaxed form of speech with her. He walked past her and into the room and stopped waiting for her to join him. She rejoined him and the mare stood close by him as she looked at the book on his back.

“How can I help you?”

“I’m just returning this to you.” He said as his magic gripped the book and it levitated to the table close by them.

“Did you want to get a new one to replace it?” She asked as her own magic gripped the book and returned it to its place on the shelf.

“No. I still have the other two that I borrowed. I will return them all at once when I finish them.”

She smiled and started to turn away from him. “Oh. Did you want to stay for a cup of coffee before you go?” She asked.

“Thank you for the offer.” He said as he started to turn away but he paused as the thought of what he had to do during the day caught up with him. He had plenty of free time. “Sure.”

The mare smiled at his agreement. She led him into the kitchen and her magic started brewing a pot of coffee. He laid the cloak across the back of the nearest chair and he sat down after a moment's delay. He waited as the coffee brewed and the scent wafted through and soon filled the kitchen. He watched as Twilights magic levitated a cup of coffee to him and he took it in his hooves and held it, allowing the warmth from the cup to soak into his hooves. He leaned his head forward and he scented the cup and the smell filled his nose. He watched as Twilight blew on hers to cool it down as he sipped it immediately.

“How can you drink it immediately?” She asked as she sat down across from him.

He said nothing at first as he set the cup down. "Temperatures do not affect me as much as you. I can tell if something is hot or cold but it does not affect me as it would you.” He informed her.

She looked thoughtful as she gave her drink a careful sip. “So what are your plans for the day?”

“I simply needed to drop off that book to you then I need to meet with Rarity about cleaning my cloak.” He explained. “After that, I have no plans. You?”

“I need to reorganize the books in the main library. Their current order is not very easy to find what you’re looking for. So Spike and I will be busy doing that.”

He picked up his cup and sipped it as he allowed the silence to drag out for several seconds before he spoke. “How are you doing after that ticket debacle?”

She looked at him and he waited. “Better. I should have sent them back to start with but I was worried that would offend the Princess. Which once you sent them back and her response made that seem a bit silly. I never did thank you for your help. If not for your actions things might have gone further out of control.”

He shook his head and she paused. “I doubt it would have gotten worse. I simply moved them to the proper ending faster. They would have realized their mistake eventually. I was simply correcting it at that moment in time.”

“Still. “ She said as she set her cup down and she smiled. “Thank you.”

“Your welcome.” He replied to her and sipped his coffee.

They fell into a comfortable silence and drank their coffee quietly. Oblivion finished first and his magic placed the cup down by the sink and she shook her head and chuckled.

“Magic.” She chuckled. “Who would have thought I’d meet a Pegasus with magic of his own?” She whispered.

“There are many things in the world we cannot explain. This just happens to be one of them. I do not have answers as to how it works.” He admitted.

She giggled and watched as he got to his hooves. His wings were loose on his sides and they hung lower on his sides. He turned to move away from her and he heard her cup roughly set against the table. He looked over his shoulder and she was watching him closely. Her hooves were loosely gripping the cup as she watched him. He looked at her for a moment before he realized what she was looking at.

“Contrary to how I look I am perfectly fine. My wings seem to cover me for the most part but they cannot hide that I am built to be lean.” He explained.

He watched as the Unicorn put her cup aside and looked at him, her eyes wide. She got up from her chair and approached him, her eyes never leaving him. He said nothing as she reached him and her hoof landed on his side. He knew that to her he must have looked sick and while he knew he was healthy she did not know that.

“I think you should see a doctor.” She informed him.

He shook his head. “I don’t think that is necessary. Unless I have no choice I think we will avoid them.”

“It’ll be fine. I’ll go with you to Rarity’s and drop that off and then we can go.” She said to him.

He looked blankly at her for several seconds before he stepped back to allow her hoof to fall from his side. “Again. No. I do not have any way to pay for their services even if I agreed to go. I have no need for an appointment and I am healthy. Compared to how I appear I am in no trouble of being hurt and this is pretty normal for me. I have spent much of my life on my own and while I do not let my pride get in the way of things, I am more than capable of taking care of myself.”

She looked at him for another second before she sighed. “You look starved.” She pointed out.

“That might be true but at this moment I am fine.” He assured her and slung the cloak over his back.

His wings hugged tighter against his body, hiding his body as much as possible. She seemed to have finally given up arguing with him and she walked with him toward the door. She pushed open the door and he walked easily out into the sunlight. He looked over his shoulder and she smiled as he gave her a gentle nod in reply. He looked ahead and walked out into the town, heading for the other Unicorns boutique.

He was focused on his path and the sound of wings frantically beating caught his attention and he stopped. He had enough time to see a careening gray mare when she slammed into his right side. He had just enough time to turn his body and absorb the impact but it still sent him rolling. He wrapped his forelegs around the mare and held her close as he rolled across the ground. His body acting as a guard against her smaller body and the ground. His body came to a stop when he struck something.

He growled as his body came to a stop and he opened his eyes and looked down between his forelegs to the mare huddled against his body. The mare had her eyes firmly shut as she remained huddled and silent.

“Are you all right?” He asked her.

The mare startled and looked up at him. He was surprised to see a pair of yellow eyes looking back at him. He could see that her eyes were actually looking in separate directions. One was looking directly at him and the other was askew. She was a grey Pegasus mare with a blonde mane and tail. She had a pair of plain leather saddlebags wrapped around her barrel.

“Wow. I’m so sorry. I’m fine.” She said as she got up when he released her.

Several ponies had come over and Oblivion pushed himself to his hooves. He stifled a wince as his body complained at the movement. He could feel that he had been injured but he kept that fact silent. He looked back the way he had slid and his cloak lay on the ground several feet away from them. The mare looked sheepish as she looked at him.

“Are you okay? I know I hit you pretty hard. I was flying and I am behind my deliveries so I was trying to hurry. But I can’t fly fast and stay in control so I went out of control. Since I can’t really see very straight.” She explained as she scuffed her hoof on the ground.

“I’m fine Miss…?”

“Oh, I’m Ditzy Doo. Or you can call me Derpy like everypony else.” She said with a warm smile.

“I am Oblivion Shadow and it’s nice to meet you Miss Ditzy. Though I have to admit I wish our first meeting was less bruising.” He replied.

The mare giggled at him and nodded in agreement. He looked up and he could see several stray letters that littered the ground. He started to walk toward them when his right hind sent a bolt of pain through his leg. He looked back at the leg and he was not sure how much damage had been done to the limb just from looking at it. He lowered his hoof and set it back down as the pain went through it once more. He looked around him and he was able to tell that nopony had noticed him hesitate to walk. He raised his head and put the hoof down anyway. The Witcher walked away from the mare and began to pick up the letters as she joined him to do the same. He picked up his cloak and laid it over his back. He picked up several of the letters and gave them to her as he went back to her side.

“Thank you, that was so nice of you. It would have taken me some time to find them all. Are you sure you’re okay?”

“I’m fine. Thank you for asking.” He assured her and walked back to the fence that he had collided with.

He walked back to the fence and he could see that it was lying partially over from the impact. He reached out and gripped the fence with his claws and pulled it back into its normal place. It required very little effort to move it back to the way it had been. He walked away from the crowd that had gathered and several ponies smiled as he passed them. He moved away from them and he could see the boutique in the distance and he moved as quickly as he dared on the injured leg. The more he walked on it the more he was sure that it was his hock that was injured. The shooting pain told him that his guess was probably right. The Pegasus came to the shop's door and he pushed open the door and walked into the main room of the boutique.

“One moment please.” A voice called out.

He heard her voice from a separate room and he waited patiently for her. He took the weight off his right hind leg and let it rest as he waited. The pain dulled as it rested. He waited until he heard the sound of hooves coming from the other room and he looked up as the mare came to stand in the nearby doorway.

“By the Goddess darling, what happened to you?” She asked as she walked up to him with purpose.

He looked uncertain for a moment before he looked down at himself and he could see that he was dirt-covered, his black coat now a dusty brown. He gave a slight cringe at the sight and looked back at her with a sigh. “I was on my way here to see if I could trouble you to wash my cloak and I was bowled over by Ditzy Doo.” He explained. “I was able to block her from hitting the ground but I seem to have taken the brunt of it.”

“Oh, that was so kind of you dear. Though your lovely black coat is now a light brown. Of course, we can wash your cloak, my dear. Bring it over here and we shall get it in the washer.” The white mare said o him as she turned on her heel.

Oblivion cringed as he put his hoof down. He gave a quiet hiss of pain but followed the mare anyway. He gave her his cloak when she stopped in front of 2 metal boxes. She opened one and after using a couple of the dials it growled to life and she put the cloth inside it. The stallion stared at it before composing himself before she turned back to him.

“Now to get you cleaned up. You can use my bath darling.” She said to him.

“It's fine Rarity. I’ll clean up when I get back to the farmhouse.” He said as she shook his head at her.

“It’s really no trouble.” She assured him.

“I truly thank you for your consideration. But I am fine.” He said to her.

“Very well. I won’t force you. But your lovely coat is filthy.” She informed him and he nodded in agreement. “But if you are all right with it then I will not argue further.”

“When should I pick up the cloak?”

“Tomorrow morning is fine my dear. I’ll have it cleaned and pressed for you before then.”

“What do I owe you for the washing?”

She waved a hoof dismissively at him as he spoke. “Oh please darling. A simple clean is nothing. Although.” She said as she looked at him.

‘Why do I get a bad feeling about the look I’m getting?’ He asked himself as she continued to stare at him.

“One-moment dear.” She said to him as she spun and trotted away from him.

He didn’t bother holding back the groan that came from him as she vanished. His body was bruised and his hock was starting to throb. He knew that the bruises would heal within hours but for the time being, they were a discomfort he did not enjoy. He contemplated bolting but the mare was doing him a favor and he did not wish to ungrateful. He stood and waited as his leg throbbed, he knew it needed to be elevated but he did not have that luxury at the moment. It was not the first time or the last, that he would be walking on an injured leg. His ears perked as the mares hooved came back into the room with several fabrics hovering in her magic.

“Don’t look so unsure dear. I just need your help with some colors. Your mane is the most vivid silver-white that I have ever seen. I would like to place some colors beside it to see what compliments it best. Is that all right?” She asked as she drew up near him.

He nodded as he sat down and waited for her to finish her task. He held still to avoid getting any dirt from his coat on the fabric. She put various purples, blues, reds, and a few greens up to his long mane. He watched as she cringed at several choices while others seemed to greatly please her.

“Thank you so much, Oblivion. I now know just what the right colors would be for that type of coloring. You are a dear to hold so still for me.” She said to him.

He started to get to his hooves when her face turned slightly sour. He paused and sat back down to look at her. “What is it?”

“May I be honest?” He nodded for her to go on. “Your mane could use with a bit of a trim.”

“If you want to trim it you can. I plan on keeping it out of the way if I am given a choice.” He explained. “I forgot to get a hair tie from Applejack this morning.”

“Oh, I have plenty of those if you want one. But let me trim it up a bit then you can do what you wish with it.” She said as scissors levitated from a counter close by. He gave a nod and she brushed through it with a brush she had gotten from the same place.

He held still and did as she asked if she told him to move his head or neck. He looked down as several long strands of his mane fell to the ground at his hooves. He just hoped there was enough of his mane left to put it back when she was done. Several minutes went by as she finished her trimming and she pulled his mane upon his neck and tied it in place with a ribbon.

She caught the look he was giving her about the ribbon before she waved a hoof at him. “That will hold it in place for a moment while I get a tie for it.” She explained and he relaxed.

She vanished again and he sat in silence. He allowed a sigh to break from him as he waited for her to return. She returned thirty seconds later and removed the ribbon and replaced it with a black hair tie for his mane.

“There now it is kept out of the way and it is trimmed well. It’s still pretty long but it will sit well and stay out of your face. Now about your forelock.”

“I think that’s enough.” He cut in and she shrugged.

He stood up carefully and tried to use more of his forelegs and balance over them as he got to his hooves. His hock hurt as he stood on it and he made for the front door of her business.

“Thank you again.”

“Of course dear. It’s no trouble at all. Now make sure you get home and get a warm bath. Being rolled through the dirt and over the road will leave more than a few bruises.” She advised and he nodded in agreement.

He walked out of her business and back out into the sun. His leg threatened to go out from under him the longer he walked on it as he made his way back through town toward the farm. When he was out of immediate sigh to f ponies he allowed himself to limp on the hind leg. He got to the front gate of the farm and he went back to walking normally as he passed through it. His ears flicked as he heard the siblings talking inside the barn and he could see their bright spirits as they glowed from within the barn. He could hear what they were saying the closer he got to the structure.

“Mac Ah know she did ask ‘im. She told me she would. When ‘e gets back we can find out.” Applejack said to the roan who nodded.

He walked up behind the mare and the roan stallion bit back a visible smile as he gave a subtle nod to the black Pegasus. He walked the last few feet up behind her and stopped. He pulled his head back and inhaled and let out a vicious snarl like sound from behind her.

“Augh!” She screamed and jumped away from the sound.

She ended up landing just behind her brother and he hid slightly behind him as he clutched at his belly as he laughed at her. He straightened and looked smug as the mare looked at him, her eyes wide.

“Oblivion Shadow! How in tarnation could ya do that ta me?” She hollered.

“He did it easy!” Mac gasped out as he laughed.

Applejack scowled at her elder brother and then to the Pegasus who still looked smug. The red stallion finally got over his laughter and he held out a hoof to the black Pegasus. Oblivion looked at the offered hoof and then to the roan.

“It’s a hoof bump. Hold out yer hoof.” He instructed and the black pony did as instructed. He bumped his hoof against his and Oblivion nodded as he understood. “Th’s a hoof bump. It's done between good friends when they are complimentin’ the other.”

“Interesting. So I am going to assume you were talking about me before I arrived?” He asked.

“Yup. Apple Bloom was gonna ask ya ta talk to ‘er class.” Applejack said as she came out from behind the roan stallion.

“She did. Though I am not sure why she asked me. I am not blood family to her and it strikes me as something that family should be doing for her.” He replied.

“Ya’ll are family, ya crazy Pegasus.” Granny Smith hollered out from above them.

He had known she was there but he still jumped a bit at the volume of her voice. Her usual drawl was drawn out further by her volume and he was able to decipher what she said fairly well. He stared up at the rafters for several seconds before he looked at the siblings.

“I’m not from here nor am I a blood relative. I am no Earth Pony either and my name is very different than your own.” He replied. While he knew that his argument was weak against what he had learned was the typical loving nature of the equines around him he said it nonetheless.

“Don’t matter. “ Mac said to him as he walked up to him and set a hoof on his shoulder. “Don’t matter what yer name is or where yer from. Ya’ll still family. That’s why she asked ya.”

“Yer an older brother to ‘er.” Applejack added. “Well, OLDER since yer older than Mac.”

He gave a slight glare at her as she spoke about his age but he ignored it after a few seconds. He shook his head at their easy acceptance and their desire to call him one of their own. He had never been part of any family outside of his fellow Witchers. He simply found himself looking at them as his mind swam with the ramifications of what they had said to him. He was surprised when he stepped back a step in shock.

“Easy pardner.” Applejack assured him as she looked at him.

He shook his head once more and a breathed tore, ragged from him as he took another step backward. A hoof on his wing caught his attention and he looked to find Granny Smith at his side. Her eyes were understanding and held emotions that he could not understand and others that he could not recognize. The aged mare nodded as she seemed to come to understand something that had not been spoken. She came to stand in front of him and he watched her closely as she began to speak to him.

“Ah can tell ya never had family in yer life. Least not like what yer around now.” She amended as he looked at her, his gaze telling her all she needed to know. “Ya are part of our family now. Ah don’t expect ya ta change who ya are or what ya are or yer name. A family is not only blood, it’s the bonds ya create with others and the heart that beats within ya. We have seen yers and ya have made an impact on each o’ us. Yer teachin’ Apple Bloom ta be better than before and ya protect her when ya didn’t have ta.”

“I was not about to stand there and let her be teased over something she has no control over.” He explained.

“Exactly.” She said with a smile. “Ya been teachin’ her things that we can’t. She looks up ta ya as her family even though Ah don’t think she realizes she does. Yer her brother even if ya didn’t know it. Yer a good pony Oblivion Shadow. Ya ain’t from here but that don’t matter ta us. Yer one o’ ours.”

She came up to him and wrapped her forelegs around his neck as he lowered his head to her, thinking she had more to say. He stiffened at the hug but he relaxed after a second once he realized what she was doing. His eyes went to the other two ponies in the barn and they smiled warmly as he looked at them. He blinked in defeat and let his head fall to the mare’s shoulder, careful not to lean too heavily on her. He said nothing as the others backed up to give him room. His ears flicked as the elder mare let go of him and backed up several feet.

“Somepony is coming.” He informed them.

The orange mare nodded as she went out to the front of the barn. His ears flicked as she spoke to Twilight as the purple mare joined her.

“Is Oblivion here?” She asked.

“Yeah. He’s in the barn with the others.”

He looked back to the front of the barn behind him as the purple mare’s spirit was bright as she entered the barn. The mare looked concerned as she came to stand in front of him as Granny Smith left the barn.

“Are you okay?” She asked him.

“I’m fine. Why?” He asked her in reply.

“I heard that you were knocked off your hooves and rolled into a fence.” She replied. “I heard about it from Derpy. She delivered a letter to me and she mentioned a black Pegasus that she had flown into. She said you held onto her to stop her from getting hurt and you rolled into a metal fence. You can’t be just fine after that.” She said as she looked him over.

“I’m a bit bruised but nothing dire. I hit the fence a bit but nothing that caused any lasting damage." He assured her.

The mare narrowed her eyes as he spoke. “I went out and asked about the fence. You pulled it up and put it back in place after it was nearly bent over. So you telling me you barely hit it?”

He looked at the concerned mare and he thought back to the incident. “I didn’t think I hit it that hard, to be honest. My back does not hurt so it wasn’t hard enough to hurt. I fixed it that’s true when I was about to leave I put it back in place.”

“It was an inch thick metal fence.” She said to him her voice pitched slightly. “You put it back the way it was before like it was nothing. No pony can easily do that.”

Applejack stepped forward as Mac left the barn ahead of them. “Twilight most ponies ain’t his size. He’s stronger than they would be, right?”

Twilight looked thoughtful and eventually nodded that she was right. “Okay, that I can believe. But still. How can you be just fine after being rolled like that?”

Applejack looked at him and a chuckle broke from her. “So that’s why yer covered in dirt.”

“Yes.”

“Well, he says he’s okay and Ah believe ‘im. Ah need ta go and pick up Apple Bloom from school. Oblivion ya need ta rest up since ya took quite the tumble. Yer gonna be sore in the mornin’.” She said as she patted his shoulder before leaving them alone.

Twilight looked at him as a sigh pulled from her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound angry. I was just worried that you had been hurt. I’m glad to see that you’re okay. Well, mostly okay. You’re a bit dirty and bruised but otherwise, you’re okay.” She said as she smiled.

He shook his head. “It’s fine. You were concerned that’s all. I appreciate the concern.” He assured her even as his right hind leg throbbed.

The mare smiled and turned to leave. He watched her leave and when the Unicorn mare was out of sight and he was certain that nopony was close by he allowed himself to look at the injured leg. He could see that the hock was beginning to swell and he cursed under his breath before deciding that he needed to lay down and let the limb rest. He forced it to hold him as he left the barn and walked over to the same tree that he had been using to sit under and he sank to the ground to let it rest. He watched as Granny sat down in her rocking chair on the porch and Big Mac went into one of the orchards off to the left of him. He laid his head down on the ground and closed his eyes.

‘Family? Not even sure how to approach that topic. I do need to start paying more attention to my surroundings. I should have been able to avoid that mare entirely. But that begs the chance that if I did avoid her and she struck a house instead of me.” His thoughts slid away from the chances that the mare would have had to avoid hitting a house and he shook his head slightly. ‘No she would have been injured gravely if I had not been there. Unfortunately, I may have crippled myself for my sparring match with Luna. That’s the day after tomorrow. I will need to let my leg heal or it won’t be much of a sparring match. I’ll rest it as much as possible and see how that ends up.’

He let his mind slip into a meditative state and allowed his ears to do the ‘seeing’ for him as they listened around him. Minutes ticked past him and he laid still and silent as the time passed by him. His ears flicked to face forward as the sound of hooves caught his attention. He opened one eye just enough to see Apple Bloom come running through the gate. She spotted him and he saw her lean back and slide to a stop and walk slowly up to him. She opened her mouth to speak and both his eyes opened and his orange eyes glowed in the dying light of the afternoon. She looked startled by the sight of his orange cat eyes and he waited for her to say anything as he raised his head from its place on the ground.

“Applejack said ya got thrown around in town. Are ya all righ’?” She said to him and he nodded at her. “Ya’ll be sore tomorrow. Ah’ll get a bath ready fer ya.” She said and quickly spun and fled from him.

He had opened his mouth to dissuade her but she was gone and he did not feel like yelling after her. He lowered his head back to the ground and was silent. He watched as Applejack came out of the house and saw him lying under the tree and came toward him. She came up to him and sat down next to him, setting one hoof on his mane and he bit back a cringe as she found a bruise on his neck.

“Ya’ll haven’t talked ta ‘er about talkin’ ta ‘er class, have ya?” She questioned as she set her hoof on the ground.

He sighed and shook his head. “No. I haven’t decided. What story would I tell a group of foals anyway?” He asked her. “My homeland is not a very nice place compared to here. This place is very calm and quiet. While mine is covered in blood and war. That’s not exactly a tale to pass on to foals.” He informed her from where he lay.

The mare was thoughtful for several seconds before she spoke to him. “What about that story ya told me? Bout the troll ya helped?”

He looked up at her. “You mean the one I was paid to send on its way?”

“Maybe ya outta leave out the paid part.”

He chuckled lightly. “Maybe. I haven’t decided if it’s a good idea or not.”

“Those foals really like ya. They were all out front waitin’ fer ya when Ah got here.” She said to him and his eyes went slightly wider as she went on. “When Ah showed up instead of ya’ll they looked pretty disappointed. They were waitin’ fer ya.”

“Why in the Hells would they be waiting for me? I have never been the one to pick her up in the afternoon.” He replied as he raised his head to look at her.

“They like ya. Ya stood up for ‘em. Even though Ah don’t think ya meant ta.”

“It was not intentional.” He assured her.

“Still. Ya are a good pony and they know it. Ya have good judgment and they look up ta ya.” She stood up and patted his shoulder and he winced and gave a low hiss. “Sorry.” She apologized quickly.

He closed his eyes and laid his head back down on the ground. He was about to go back to mediating when the front door swung open on its hinges. He opened one eye and Apple Bloom trotted out of the doorway.

“Oblivion! It’s ready!” She hollered, despite him being able to hear easily.

He cast a sideways glance at the now giggling farm mare as she tried to hide her laughter behind a hoof. He raised his head and pulled himself to his hooves. He managed not to use his rear leg and was on his hooves after a moment's delay. The filly ran up to him and then jumped to land close by her elder sister as he moved toward the house. His ears flicked to listen behind him as the filly asked about the evening chores. The Witcher walked into the house and his ears listened and he was certain that he was the only one in the house. He went up the nearby stairs on three legs and limped heavily to the bathroom.

He limped into the bathroom and closed the door behind him, locking it. He pulled the tie out of his mane and set it by the sink and then pulled his baldric off and leaned it against the door jam. He looked into the mirror and he cringed as he realized just how filthy he was from the roll in the dirt. Dirt seemed to cake each individual piece of fur on his body. He could see the dirt that covered the baldric and he was glad that no pony seemed to have taken notice of it or they chose to ignore it as he was still new to town.

The black Pegasus started to turn to the tub when he paused and looked at his left wing. He could see that several feathers were damaged close to the joint and he trained his eyes on the joint. He could see a tear in the skin that he had not noticed earlier. The wing had not been moved so there was no reason for him to have noticed it sooner than now. He breathed in and began to move the wing slowly. He clenched his teeth as pain shot through the extremity as he moved it. He looked down at the wound as blood began to seep slowly from the tear.

His magic flowed over him and he looked up as the symbol showed plainly on his forehead and he summoned his saddlebags. His saddlebags sat easily on the counter and he flipped open the right one and dug through it. He pulled out a wound kit that he had made years ago and was constantly replenished as time went on. He opened a small container and laid the items out across the counter for him to look at. His orange eyes went back to the wounded wing and he chose to clean it out in the water first and then tend to it afterward.

He went to the bathtub and stepped carefully into it and laid down in the warm water. His wing stayed elevated until he was ready for it to be lowered. He lowered the extremity into the water and hissed as it was dunked. It stayed submerged and he laid his head down on the rim of the tub and he looked sideways at the wing. He could see that the water was tinged with dirt and some blood as the wing still bled. He brought the wing out of the water to allow him to look at it as he raised his head and he looked closely at the wound. He assumed that it had been created when he had been pushed across the ground. He must have been laying on it when he slid over the dirt and rocks.

He remained in the water as he reached out his claws and began to pull the damaged feathers out of the wing itself. The more feathers he removed the more he was able to see the extent of the wound. It was close to three inches long and two inches deep. He gripped the broken feathers as his magic reached out and held them aloft and then he focused and they were incinerated at his command, leaving nothing behind. Once he was sure the wing had been cleaned as much as he was able to outside of the water he lowered it back into the water. The feathers that he had removed had been broken off and bent and the ones remaining were intact and if needed they could easily cover the damaged area. He had not created a bald spot on the wing but he had removed several feathers.

The Pegasus laid his head back down and he allowed his body to relax and he closed his eyes. ‘One nice thing about this world is that I am in no danger of being attacked right now. Unless Pinkie can go through doors.’ He thought to himself. A slight smile tugged at his muzzle as he thought of the odds of the pink mare being able to go through the door without being noticed. Ultimately he chose not to consider how she would accomplish such a feat and he let himself fall into meditation.


“Oblivion! Did ya fall asleep?”

He startled as the mare beat her hoof on the door. He raised his head and looked at the door. He stood up slowly and the sound of water falling must have clued her in that he was fine as he heard her hooves walking away from the door. He gripped the soap and lathered his fur and mane. He washed off and ran the soap over his wing. He stood on three legs and his right hind leg was held up just out of the water. He washed off his wings and body, allowing him to use magic to grip the towel close by. He dried himself off and stepped out of the tub. He used the same towel to dry off his legs and then hung it up on the peg. He looked the wing over and he could see that it no longer bled and appeared to be clean of any irritants.

He drained the tub and his magic went over the empty tub to clean it of any residue that had been left by the dirt and blood. His right leg was no longer throbbing and he did not push it as he moved around to face his wing to the mirror. He looked at the kit that he had strewn over the counter and he picked up a small vial. He brought the wing to the front allowing him to easily see the wound. He popped the cork on the vial and he grit his teeth as he poured the contents over the wound. He bit back a yell as the contents seeped into the wound and burned the vessels and flesh, preventing any further bleeding or infection. He released the breath he had been holding and his teeth clicked together as he breathed.

“I hate doing that.” He complained to himself as he set the small vial aside.

He debated on bandaging the wound and his natural tendency was to bandage it but he did not wish to draw attention to it at the same time. He started putting the rest of the contents of the kit away as he suddenly sighed. He reached back into the kit that had been put away and pulled out a bandage. He placed a chunk of fabric gauze against the wound to soak up anything that came from it, keeping it protected as well. He then wound a bandage around the wing and his magic reached out and he colored the bandage black to allow it to hide among his feathers. He made sure the vial was replaced with the rest of the kit as it would replenish on its own over time. Yennefer had created the vial for him as a gift many years ago and he still occasionally thanked her for it when he saw her. He put the kit back in his saddlebags and he sent them back to the wardrobe with a flash of his magic.

He picked up his baldric in his claws and laid it under his right wing and it gripped it close to keep it from falling to the ground. He sighed as he opened the door and started out of the bathroom when he paused and he backed up to grab the hair tie he had gotten from Rarity earlier. He walked carefully to his room after he made sure nopony was upstairs and he closed the door behind him. He had contemplated dinner with the family for a moment before he chose to avoid it. Ultimately he was not hungry and he chose to rest his leg versus aggravating the injury further. He set the baldric on the desk and made sure it was on there and in no danger of falling to the ground.

He moved the quilt back on the bed and he jumped into it and pulled it over his back. He moved a pillow to be under the blanket and he set his right hock on top of it to elevate it enough to help it. He allowed his wings to fall limp at his sides and he made sure the left was sitting easily and the bandage was in place and had not moved. He had never had to bandage a wing on anything before so he had not been entirely sure how to accomplish it so he had ended up guessing. His magic lashed out and he gripped a book and brought it to the bed and he propped it up on another pillow and he opened it to read it quietly.

“Oblivion!” Applejack yelled up the stairs.

A deep sigh escaped him as he raised his head to look at the closed door. His magic opened the door to allow his response to be heard. “Yes?”

He could hear hooves coming up the stairs and he waited for Applejack to peek into his room. “Ya’ll all right?”

He nodded to her and looked back down at his book. He didn’t hear her leave so he raised his eyes to look at her, her green eyes looked back at him as she took a step into the room.

“Ya sure? Ya were in there fer quite a while.”

“Just soaking. I figured that would help with any soreness.” He explained.

She nodded in understanding as he spoke. “That makes sense. Ah’ll take Apple Bloom ta school in tha mornin’. Ya just take it easy and… What?”

“It’s fine AJ. I can take her just fine.” He assured her.

“Have ya decided ta talk ta ‘er class yet?” He looked away from her and she nodded. “Ah thought not. Ya need ta figure it out fer ‘er. Since yer all settled up here Ah figure yer not gonna come down fer dinner?”

“I had not intended to, no. Unless I am needed.” He replied.

“All right. Enjoy yer evenin’. Oh, just a second.” She said as she closed the door and looked closely at him. “Are ya sure yer not injured? Twilight was pretty worried.”

He raised his head and said nothing for several seconds as the Element of Honesty watched him as well. He sighed and raised the blanket and shifted to allow her to see the black bandage wrapped around his left wing. She looked at it and he waited as she licked her tongue at the sight of it.

“It bad?”

“No. Do you wish to see?”

“Is that why ya took a bit longer in the bath? Cleanin’ that up?” He nodded and she looked at the wing for a moment. “Do ya mind?”

He shook his head and his claws pulled the bandage from the wound and he removed the pack of gauze that had been placed on it and that allowed her to get a good look at it. “If my past injures are any indication this should heal in two to three days. It’s a small cut.”

“That’s not a small cut Pardner.” She said to him.

“It will be fine in a few days.” He said as she put the bandage back in place and he shifted to allow it to lay against the bed and go limp. “It’s small to me.”

“What kinda place are ya from that’s small? Is it normal?”

“Normal is the wrong word for it.” He said to her. “It’s not abnormal for injuries to happen in a fight if I am careless enough to let them happen. Normally I can come out of a fight unscathed aside from being tired from it. Does not mean I like them it just means I don’t give them much thought unless they are dire.” He informed her.

“Ah understand.” She said to him as she made for the doorway. “Just remember ya are here now and ya have ponies that care bout ya. Try not ta get yerself hurt, but if ya do then ya should say somethin’.” She said to him as she opened the door and left it open behind her as she left.

‘It’s not that I think none of you would care, it’s just that I hate a fuss made over me for nothing.’ He thought to himself as he looked down at the book in front of him. He pushed thoughts of their concern for him from his mind and refocused on the book that detailed Equestria's history. Minutes ticked past him as he could easily smell the dinner that was being eaten downstairs. He could not sense any sign of his body needing to eat and his own hunger could easily be satiated by a hunt in the forest if he was so inclined.

“Ah’m gonna go talk ta ‘im.”

He heard Apple Bloom say rather loudly from downstairs. He listened as her hooves went over the downstairs flooring and then up the stairs and down the hallway. He listened but did not raise his eyes and the filly came to his doorway and knocked on the door jam.

“Yes, Apple Bloom?”

“Can Ah come in?” She asked, her voice quieter than normal to his ears.

“Of course.” He replied and looked up from the book in front of him as he waited for her to come into the room.

She looked up at him as she came to a halt close to the bed. “Ya got hurt in town. Yer okay?”

“I’m fine.”

“Are ya sure?”

He watched as she looked down at the floor as her hoof swirled in the rug.

“I’m certain. Why?”

“Just. It sounded like it hurt.” She replied, but she didn’t look up at him.

He gave a quiet sigh and he reached down and put his hoof under her chin and raised her head to look at him. “It’s nothing little one. Nothing that will not fade in time. Why are you so insistent?”

She put her hooves on his and looked at him. “Can Ah come up on yer bed for a second?”

He gave her a strange look before he gripped her fur in his hoof and raised her to the bed and set her beside him. She stood on the quilt as she looked at him. She reached out her hoof and set it on his exposed shoulder and gripped his fur.

“Ah was jus’ worried. Ya say nothin’ if yer tired or anythin’. Ah, was thinkin’ ya wasn’t tellin’ us if ya did hurt.”

He was glad that she was staring at his shoulder or she would have seen the look of surprise that crossed his eyes. “You’re quite perceptive for a filly.” He said to her and used his hoof to raise her head again.

He saw a flash of anger go through her eyes as she pulled away from his hoof. “So Ah was right. Ya don’t like us.”

She started to jump from the bed as his hoof gripped her tail. “What in the Hells gave you the impression that I did not like any of you?” He asked her, his tone sharp. “You and I are not done.”

“Ya don’t talk ta us. Ah know yer not fine after getting’ hit by Derpy. Any other pony would’a needed a doctor. But ya keep sayin’ yer fine.”

She stopped when he barked a laugh. He raised a hoof and ruffled the filly’s mane. “That has nothing to do with liking or disliking you. I am fine with all of you. I would not offer my help if I did not feel comfortable with you as a family. All of you are very good and kind ponies and that has been proven by all of you accepting a strange pony into your midst without questioning him. That speaks of the very strong giving ponies that are in your family. Just because I do not mention every bruise does not mean that I do not acknowledge all of you. Do you see what I am talking about?”

She nodded after a second delay and looked up at him. He gave her a small smile and was about to put her down when he sighed deeply. “What time do I need to be at your school?”

Her face brightened and she jumped forward to hug his neck and chest. He had to squint a bit as her spirit burned brightly. He rubbed her back with his hoof as another sigh pulled from him.

“Thank ya so much Oblivion! The others will be so happy ta hear yer comin’. Ya can talk bout anythin’ ya want. Ah’ll tell Miss Cheerilee that yer comin’. It’s at the end of tha week.” She gushed and he nodded as he listened to her.

He picked her up and set her down on the floor and she trotted happily from the room. He hung his head and a sigh pulled from deep within his body and he put his forehead against the book and closed his eyes. ‘I must be out of my mind.’ He cursed himself silently for giving into the sad filly. He pulled his head back up and he looked at the book and his eyes found the paragraph that he had left off on and he began to read once more. As an afterthought, his magic closed the door to prevent Applejack from coming upstairs and teasing him for giving in. His hock had stopped throbbing and he moved the book back to the desk and he laid in the growing darkness for several minutes before he pulled the pillow from under the blanket and laid it back in front of him. He listened as the rest of the family began to get ready for bed and he closed his eyes as he laid his head down on the pillow. He looked to the side and his swords sat on top of the desk where he had laid them earlier. He was glad that the filly seemed to have either ignored them or was used to them and did not ask him about them. His body slowly relaxed and he felt sleep washing over him as he allowed himself to sleep.


Oblivions eyes opened as the sound of a rooster startled him awake. He growled as the sound went one for several seconds. ‘That bird needs to shut its trap before I turn it into a meal.’ He groused to himself. He raised his head and he felt several sore muscles sound off as he moved. He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the light of the room and he was soon able to see everything around him in perfect clarity as he pushed the blanket off of his back and moved to get out of the bed. He swiveled his body and his forehooves hit the ground and he dragged the rest of his body out of bed and his hind hooves hit the ground. A wave of pain went out from his right hind leg nearly took him to his knees. He was not able to stop the sound of pain that pulled from him and he lifted the leg from the floor and looked back at it. He could see that it had swelled overnight and it was beginning to throb. He cursed silently and he went still as the door to his room opened.

He looked up as Apple Bloom came into the room and she stared at the swollen leg and then her eyes went to him. He instantly knew that she was going to raise a fuss and he opened his mouth to stop her.

“Applejack!” The filly shouted.

“Shit.” He cursed quietly as the sound of hooves caught his ears.

“Apple Bloom.” Applejack called out as she neared his room. “What has ya yellin’ so early in the… Morn…?”

He could see her eyes going over him as the fact that he was three-legged caught her attention and she cringed at the sight of the leg that he was holding up. The Pegasus was silent as she came into the room and stood just inside the door jam.

“What’s wrong?” She asked him.

“It’s nothing. I…” He started to explain.

“Ah heard ‘im cry out and Ah came ta check and he can’t put ‘is hoof down and…” Apple Bloom rattled off but was silent as a ring of aqua magic surrounded her muzzle.

Magic flowed over his body, from the symbol that appeared on his forehead as he silenced her. “It’s not as bad as she claims. I cried out in surprise. Nothing more.”

“Whoa, Nelly. Tha’ looks more painful than sitting on a beehive.” Granny Smith said as she came to stand in the doorway with her granddaughter and she caught sight of the leg. "Ya ‘urt yer leg yesterday, didn’ ya? Got worse overnight.”

He sighed and raised his head to his full height. “It will be fine. I can stand just fine.”

He looked past them as Mac came to stand just behind them and he looked over their heads into the room. The roan opened his mouth to speak and Oblivion silenced them all with a loud snort. “I did not mention it since there is nothing to worry about. I can still walk well enough and I do not need you to accommodate it.” He explained. “I am perfectly capable of doing things on my own. I do not need to be coddled.”

His hoof reached back to the desk and he swung his swords over his back and buckled the baldric in place. He put the hair tie back into his mane as he moved. He chose that moment to demonstrate that he was more than capable of walking by doing that and he walked out of the room past them. Now that they knew he saw no reason to hide the limp but he refused to limp heavily in front of them. He walked down the stairs and into the growing sunlight outside. The Pegasus sighed and walked to the tree that he had grown fond of and leaned against it as he focused on not listening to the conversation inside. If he wished he could eavesdrop easily enough but he had no desire to do so. His fetlock throbbed as he chose to ignore the signals that it was sending for him to relax and stay off of it. His good sense told him to listen to the signals and it told him that he had been overly short with the family as they were simply worried about his wellbeing.

‘I understand that they are simply concerned. I do not need to be watched over if they are thinking that I will be a burden to them now with an injury. I refuse to be a burden to others and I will do what I have to do to avoid that.’ He thought to himself as his internal musing was interrupted as Applejack came outside and looked to find him.

The orange mare looked around and found him standing under the tree. She sighed and came toward him, her steps clearly determined. She joined him and sat down in front of him. He chose to remain standing as getting back up was more difficult when he was down one leg.

“Okay. Ah need ta apologize fer puttin’ ya on the spot like that.” She started out and he listened, his ears perked to listen. “Ah was surprised that ya had been ‘urt more than what ya said ya were. Ah keep fergettin’ that where yer from nopony looks out fer ya and yer all alone. Ah know ya were hidin’ it ta keep from worryin’ us but we still worry.”

He said nothing for several seconds before he looked at the mare. “I am not interested in being the center of a lot of fuss. It is not needed.”

“Ah know.” She replied and went on. “But like Granny said. Yer family and it’s our job ta worry bout ya. Ya would worry bout us if we were in yer horseshoes, right?” He looked away from her as she spoke. “Ah thought so. Ya stepped in ta help Twilight when the rest o’ us were actin’ the fool. Ya go out of yer way ta help Apple Bloom, Mac, and I and just yesterday ya went and protected Derpy from getting’ hurt. She didn’t have a speck o’ dirt on her from what Twilight said. Ya tore a wing and hurt yer leg in her place.”

He said nothing as he closed his eyes for a moment before he looked back at the now smiling mare. He knew her well enough and he knew her spirit would have told him if she was lying to him and she was nothing but honest, her Element of Harmony on display.

“It’s still not needed to fuss over me.” He began and she shook her head to silence him.

“It is needed. Ya are hurt. Don’t think we didn’t see ya hurtin’ when ya left us behind. Ya can’t put a lot o’ weight on it. Ah’m not tryin’ ta argue wit’ ya. Ah’m just tellin’ ya what we see and we worry bout ya cause yer family. Ya need ta realize yer part o’ this family and this family is worried bout ya.”

The Witcher looked out over the orchards behind him for several seconds before he looked at her once more. “I am well aware that you and the others care AJ. It's just that I am not used to such a thing. I might spend a winter at Kaer Morhen and then I am away from the others of my kind. Sometimes I do not go back to the Keep at all and then I am alone for years on end. As you know I am not a young stallion despite my appearance. Once again asking me to change a century's worth of habits and thoughts are not going to help you in this situation.”

She looked back at the farmhouse and then back to him. “Ah know. But ya need ta realize we think of ya as being close to our hearts. Ah know that’s not how ya think of us and that’s fine. We can’t help but worry. Especially when we know yer hurtin’. So Ah’m askin’ ya ta let us help ya, just a little bit.”

He said nothing as a sigh pulled from him. “Very well. But I will not be coddled. I can still take her to school.” The mare opened her mouth to protest and his magic lashed out and wrapped her mouth in magic to silence her. “I can then teleport back.” He went on as he let go of her mouth. “I will lay quietly but I prefer to be outside. If there is anything that needs to be done close by I will do it.” His magic went back over her mouth as she scowled at him. “I can accomplish things with just enough magic to get it done within reason. That means I will not need to stand up.” He said as he released the magic as she nodded in agreement with him.

“Okay. That sounds fair ta me. Could ya teleport Apple Bloom ta school instead?” She questioned.

“I do not know how to teleport other ponies. I would rather not learn how by using a filly.” He replied and she grimaced.

“That’s a good point.” She said as the grimace fell from her face. “Ah’ll let the others know yer plan and we will set ya up under this here tree fer the day.” She said as she got to her hooves and patted his shoulder.

He managed not to cringe as she patted a sore spot and she trotted for the house. He lowered his body to the ground and allowed his leg to lay still as he fell still. He closed his eyes and his ears listened to the world around him. He began to focus on what magic he thought allowed his Sight to find and see the spirits of ponies he knew. He figured that he needed to focus it and he knew that he was able to find the other Element Bearers but others were more difficult. His ears perked as he listened and he could hear a dog panting by the barn, birds in the orchards, and a beaver chewed through a tree out just past the orchard closest to him. He started as the door slammed and he opened his eyes to see Apple Bloom trotting up to him.

“You should not slam the door little one.” He said to her and she looked sheepishly back at the door. “Ready to go?”

She nodded and he pushed himself to his hooves and made for the front gate. He limped but his pace did not change as he led her away from the farm. Apple Bloom tried running in front of him to slow him down a but he stepped either over or around her.

“Are ya sure ya should be walkin’ that fast?” She questioned.

“Would you rather I teleported and left you behind?”

“Well no, but… Ok.”

He gave her a slight smile as he looked over his shoulder to her. She loped to catch up to him and came to walk beside him. Even with the limp, his stride was still fast enough to make her have to trot occasionally. He did not see the upset look that slowly grew on her young face as she suddenly called out to him.

“Ya need ta slow down. Ah don’t want ta see ya hurtin’.” She shouted.

Oblivion stopped and looked down at her and he sighed and nodded to her. He slowed down as she had asked and the limp grew even more pronounced at a slower pace. She grimaced but seemed pleased that he had agreed with her. Minutes ticked past and they reached the schoolhouse and he pushed open the gate as he came to stand just outside the door. She hugged his foreleg and motioned for him to wait for a second. He watched as she ran into the schoolhouse and returned with her teacher a minute later.

“Apple Bloom tells me that her eldest brother is going to come to the class to speak. I have to admit I thought she meant Big Macintosh but she said that you were older than he is. It’s nice to hear that you’re going to come and speak to the class. Many of the students are quite fond of you so it should be fun for them to hear you speak. Please come by the day after tomorrow around noon. Will that time be all right for you?” Cheerilee asked him.

“That’s fine. I have an appointment tomorrow morning but I will be back in time for the next day. I have no plans. What stories are preferred?”

She gave him a friendly smile. “Anything that you think will hold their attention. Since you are not from around here, tales about where you come from would be a good start.” She advised.

He nodded in understanding. “Understood. I’ll figure something out.”

The Pegasus pivoted on his left heel and began to limp out of sight of the ponies. He knew that he was still keeping the fact that he had magic a secret so he waited for them to go into the schoolhouse before he allowed his magic to cover him completely and he vanished in a flash of aqua mist. He appeared near the front of the house and he heard a shout of alarm.

“By Equestria!” Granny Smith yelped as she looked at him. “Ya appeared outta nowhere.”

“I said that I would not walk back so that is what I did.” He said to her.

He began to walk to the other side of the house when a rope settled over his shoulders and he stopped in his tracks. He looked over his shoulder to see Applejack walking up to him, the other end of the rope in her teeth. She wore a wide smile as he simply looked blankly back at her.

“Now walk yerself over ta that there tree and rest.” She said to him as she looked at her grandmother and then back to him. She motioned for him to lower his head to allow her to remove the lasso. “Ah’ll bring ya a blanket we can let yer wing rest as well.”

“Not that I do a lot with my wings but I see the point.” He pointed out to her and she shrugged as she removed the lasso from around his shoulders.

He watched as she moved away from him and he limped over to the tree and laid down under it. He had a feeling that he was going to be spending most of the day under that tree so he was suddenly regretting not picking up another book from Twilight as seconds ticked past him. He waited in silence as the front door opened and Applejack came back outside. He could see a light quilt, pillow, and his books on her back as she approached him. She stopped next to him and set the books down in front of him and slung the quilt over his back and tapped his thigh to get him to lift his injured leg and she placed the pillow under it to elevate it. He looked back and his swords poked out from the blanket, just the tips of the hilts could easily be seen.

“There ya are. All set up fer a good rest under this sol’ tree. This tree used ta give us some o’ the best apples on the farm. But fer some reason it stopped growin’ ‘em and now all it gives is shade. We thought about pullin’ it down but in the end, none o’ us could go through with it.” She said to him as she placed a hoof on the tree trunk.

“It’s old. That’s why you refused to pull it down.” She said and she looked at him, her eyes wide.

“Did Ah already tell ay bout it?” She questioned.

“No. It’s just a feeling. I have spent most of my life in forests and after a while, you learn to tell when one has been there for a long time and how it seems to speak in its own way. After a while, they seem to have a life of their own and if you listen hard enough you learn to hear it.” He explained and she smiled as she moved away from the trunk of the tree.

“Yer right. We couldn’t let it go. After what ya jus’ said Ah’m glad we left it alone. Ah’ll get ya a glass o’ lemonade. Granny made a new pitcher while ya were gone.” She moved away from him and back toward the house.

The Pegasus was still as he looked at the tree and then back to the yard around him. His ears flicked as he looked over to see Mac struggling to carry several barrels on his back. His magic flowed from the symbol on his forehead and the barrels lifted from the roans back and he looked at them until he saw the Pegasus sitting under the tree. Mac understood what he was doing and pointed to where they needed to go and the magic flowed stronger from him as he moved them to the side of the barn.

Oblivion let his magic fade out and he moved the book she had and one of them propped up the other one as he opened the first one to read where he had left off the night before. He opened it to the last page he had been on and only looked up when he heard the door open. Applejack started toward him with a glass on her back. She looked up and turned to the side. His magic once more covered the cup and it levitated to him and he set it close by him.

“Oh Ah almost fergot. Apple Bloom decided ta go inta town and pick up yer cloak from Rarity.”

“Gods below I forgot about it.” He cursed and put his hoof over his face. “She doesn’t need to do that.”

“Ah told her the same thing. Ah said Mac or Ah would go get it but she was wantin’ ta do it. So she and Ah will go get it after school.”

“Very well. I’ll let it go this time.”

“Besides ya need ta be rested up fer ye date with Princess Luna.” Applejack teased.

He turned his head to her and gave it a slight tilt. “My what?”

She stared at him and her smile faltered as she realized that teasing him was not going to work. “Ah meant yer sparrin’ match.”

“True enough. Hopefully, it does not get in the way too much. I should be fine but resting it is the best option.” He said to her as she turned to walk away.

A slight grin tugged at his mouth as she walked away from him. ‘Nice try. I don’t blush and embarrassment is nearly impossible for me, it is an emotion I lost a long time ago.” He took a sip of the drink she had brought him and he was pleased to find that it was not overly sweet. He chuckled to himself as he looked back to the book in front of him.


A couple of hours ticked past him and he looked up from the book as the sound of hooves earned his attention. He could see Applejack’s spirit coming toward him and she emerged from one of the orchards and she made her toward him. He watched as she joined him and halted in front of him.

“How ya doin’?” She asked.

“I’m fine.”

“How is yer leg?”

“It’s throbbing occasionally. For the most part, it is fine.” He replied easily and moved the leg under the blanket.

“Ah got an idea.” She replied and made for the house.

She was gone for a couple of minutes. He watched her return carrying a couple of bags in her mouth. She reached him and set them down on the blanket by his side. He could feel that they were cold, as it went through the blanket and into his fur. She pulled back the blanket from his leg and tapped it gently. He lifted that part of his leg and watched as she put one bag under it and waited for him to put it back down. He jumped at the sudden cold on the injury. But he laid it back down where it belonged. She laid the other over the top of it and then put the blanket back over it.

“What are those?” He asked her.

“Ice packs. Ah clean fergot all bout ‘em till now.” She explained to him. “If ya keep ‘em on an injury like yers then they will help with the swellin’.”

“Interesting.”

His ears flicked as the sound of trotting hooves caught his attention and he trend to look at the front gate as a familiar purple spirit came closer to him. He could see Twilight after several seconds and he could begin to hear Spike talking to her. At the sight of her, he looked back at the orange mare.

“Ah figured ya could use some company. Ah asked twilight ta come and sit wit’ ya.” She explained. “She said that she was thinkin’ of doing magic wit’ ya so Ah figured it would be a good time fer that.”

“That could prove interesting.” He agreed.

The pair of them waited for the other mare to join then and Applejack began speaking when she joined them. “All right. Ah’ll leave ‘im in yer hooves Twi. Don’t have too much fun ya hear.”

Twilight blushed slightly at her teasing and she looked away from the other mare and to the saddlebags around her barrel. Spike came up to the black Pegasus and he stopped in front of him.

“So you saved Derpy from getting hurt?” He asked.

“I suppose that’s one way to look at it.” He replied.

“That’s awesome. That makes you a hero.”

Oblivion barked a rough laugh. “Hah! Hardly.”

Spike looked uncertain at the stallion's reply. “Then what are you?”

“Unfortunate.” He commented.

Twilight chuckled as she set her saddlebags on the ground beside him and she gave him a look. “So you did get hurt when you protected her.”

He shrugged despite a few pulled muscles and sighed. “A bit.”

“A bit? You can’t walk.” Spike said to him.

Twilight slapped her hoof to the back of the baby dragons head as she hissed at him. “He can walk just fine I have heard. If with a bit of a limp but still he is able. He is just doing the smart thing and letting it rest.”

He knew that she had complimented him to stop him from standing and proving the dragon wrong. He glanced at the baby dragon and snorted in his direction. Spike sat down heavily and laughed nervously. Twilight sat down and her magic began to pull things out of her saddlebags as she looked at him.

“Okay. I was trying to decide what experiments we could do while we sit quietly.” She explained as she paused. "You have already shown that you can fix items and structures at will. Along with being able to overpower a Unicorns magic when you need to. So I would like to try that out later but first, we will try something simple.”

He said nothing as she went back to her saddlebags. “Sounds easy enough.”

She nodded. “So we will start out with simple transmutation. We will be trying to turn this orange into an apple. I am not very good at this type of magic but I am curious to see how you would go about accomplishing it. After that, we can test out your magical strength using weight.” She paused as he looked from her to the baby dragon with a look of mischief.

“Weight, huh? So that is why you brought Spike along.” He quipped easily.

“Yeah! I’m here to help… Wait… Hey!” Spike looked affronted as he realized the teasing insult that had been thrown his way.

Twilight laughed behind a hoof as Spike sputtered. Oblivion kept his head raised and gave a smug look at the baby dragon.

“Never doubt the abilities of a Witcher,” Oblivion advised.

He looked at the orange she had set on the ground in front of him and his magic flowed easily through him as he focused on changing it into an apple. He felt the magic as it layered over the surface of the orange and he watched as its orange skin morphed into the smooth sides of an apple. He set down an apple in front of them and his magic faded from it as he watched them both staring at the changing produce. He opened his mouth to speak as Spike reached out, picked up the transformed apple, and popped it into his mouth.

“Oh no, Spike. That probably doesn’t taste like…”

“Wow. It’s delicious! Best apple I’ve ever eaten.” Spike gushed and looked at the perplexed mare. “If I go and get more oranges can you turn them all into apples?”

She blinked at the baby dragon and her eyes soon flew to look at the black Pegasus. “Any fatigue?” He shook his head. “Disorientation?” Another shake of his head. “Headache?”

“No.”

“Nothing.” She looked even more perplexed as she looked at where the apple had once been sitting on the grass.

“Should there be?” He questioned.

“Well, I guess yes.” She replied and at his look, she went on. “Turing an orange into an apple in itself is fairly simple. It’s getting it to taste and smell like one that’s hard. I can change one into the other but the taste is always off.”

“It usually tastes like an orange with hints of apples.” Spike provided as the mare glared at him.

“I never said I was an expert at it.” She added. “But you didn’t have any trouble bypassing that difficulty and making it taste perfect according to Spike.” She said to him. “Okay, so how did you do it?”

He thought over what process he had gone through and looked at her. “I suppose I went over what an apple smells, tastes, and looks like from my point of view. I focused on what I know of the item and went from there. By focusing on the image and the attributes I was able to create it.” He explained to the best of his ability. “I’m not certain if that method will work for you or not.”

She reached out to her saddlebags and pulled another orange from her bag. Her horn lit up with a magenta spark as she held the orange aloft and closed her eyes to focus on it. He looked to the side as Spike moved to hide close to him after several seconds. He looked from the retreating dragon to the mare and his eyes went wider at the sight of the expanding orange. It was slowly growing in size. He had a feeling that unlike Pinkie Pie this item would in fact explode in their faces. The Pegasus felt magic flow over him as he erected a shield in front of himself and the baby dragon. It would protect them from the incoming explosion and protect the open book in front of him and everything in his proximity. He cast a glance behind him as Spikes' hand landed on his blanketed flank as he hid. Oblivion had closed his eyes and pinned his ears as he prepared for the incoming sound.

BOOM!

He opened his eyes moments later to find pieces of the orange splattered against the aqua shield. Its location had protected the pair of them from being covered in orange pieces and he looked up to the purple mare. While they were untouched the mare was not so fortunate. Pieces of orange covered her fur and sticky pieces were lodged in her mane. She looked at the pair of them and then to the shield that hovered just in front of him. She blinked several times and then a groan pulled from her.

His ears flicked as the sound of drumming hooves caught his attention. “Incoming.”

“What in the hay?!” Applejack shouted as she came out of the orchard close by them.

Mac was right on her heels as they both looked around them for the source of the sound. Both siblings looked over to see the shield and they galloped toward the pair of ponies and the dragon and slid to a stop.

“Wha' in Equestria?!” Mac barked out at the devastation in front of them.

“A simple miscalculation about turning orange into an apple. Nothing more.” Oblivion said to them as the shield dissolved and flowed over the grounds around them, destroying the signs of the exploded orange.

It flowed over the purple Unicorn and removed all of the orange pieces and removed the sticky mess that covered her. The mare looked sheepishly at the pair of them and gave a nervous laugh.

“I’m sorry. I was trying to use Oblivions method of transmutation and it didn’t work very well.” She explained.

“Well. He is a Pegasus so Ah guess the magic is differen’.” Applejack said to her.

“I was thinking it would act the same but I suppose it is a different type than I thought it would be.” She replied.

Big Mac simply nodded. “Ya’ll all right?” He looked at each of them in turn as they nodded. “Then no harm is done. Jus’ be careful.” He said as he turned to go back to work, giving Applejack a gentle push to do the same.

The Pegasus watched them leave and once they were out of sight he looked at the purple Unicorn. “What happened?”

“I’m not sure. I think I may have over thought the process you mentioned.” She admitted with a smile. “I’m not certain though.”

“You do have a tendency to overthink things.” He replied and she lowered her head sheepishly.

“Anyway.” She said to him and raised her head. “You are meeting with Princess Luna tomorrow right?”

“I am to meet her in Canterlot at eleven a.m.” He replied to her.

“Okay. So you need to catch the train around eight in the morning. I can walk you to the train if you… What?” She paused at the strange look he was giving her.

“I need to catch what?” His head tilted slightly as he questioned her.

“The train.” She replied. “It takes about two and a half hours to get to Canterlot from Ponyville. So you need to be up early to get to the train station. You do know about the train?”

“Clearly I have no idea what you’re talking about.” He replied, his tone sharp. “What exactly is a train?”

Twilight looked at him for several seconds as her horn lit and a book appeared in her magic. She flipped through it and then turned it around for him to look at. She showed him what she meant and he found himself looking at a line of metal boxes with smoke coming from the front one.

“And you sit on top of it?” He asked her, his tone uncertain.

She giggled and shook her head. “No, you sit inside it.”

He looked down at the picture and then back to her. He felt something rear up within him and he shook his head. “No. There is no way I am sitting in a metal coffin for hours.” He growled as his magic flowed and a scroll appeared with a quill. He jotted down a quick note and then sent it on its way.

“What was that?” Spike asked as he was now leaning against Twilight foreleg after coming out from behind the stallion.

“I asked Luna to give me a description of where she would like to meet me. That way I can simply portal myself there rather than ride in a metal death trap.” He replied.

Twilights eyes were wide as she looked at him. “You realize that teleporting that far is impossible. I don’t think even the Princess could do that.” She admitted.

He opened his mouth to speak when a flash of aqua magic went out in front of him and a scroll dropped into his hoof. He opened it and read over what had been written.

“Perfect. With this, I have no need for a train.” He said to her.

Twilight got up and came to stand at his shoulder as he showed her the diagram that had been given to him. “That’s the main courtyard that the military uses for training. I have been in it a few times but not enough to know its layout that well. I was usually in the library or in my room.”

He nodded and rolled the scroll back up and sent it to his saddlebags in his room. Twilight sent the book back to the library and closed her saddlebags. She settled back down to sit in front of him and waited as he settled back into the blanket.


Time ticked past and Oblivion looked at the front gate as a light he recognized as Apple Bloom came through it. Applejack was on her heels and the filly was balancing a bundle on her back as she saw him and angled to go to him. The Pegasus and the purple Unicorn waited for her to come to them.

“Oblivion! Ah got yer cloak from Rarity.” She said as she slowed down to a walk as she neared them.

“I can see that.” He said to her as she stopped in front of him beside Twilight. “Thank you.”

“Rarity mighta changed it a bit.” Applejack admitted as his magic gripped the cloth.

Oblivion closed his eyes and unfurled the cloak. The border was now covered in a deep blue cloth. The inside had been covered in the same fabric just slightly lighter. He looked to find that the marking on his flank was also on the right side by the bottom. It was just the wolf emblem without the swords. He placed the cloak on his back above the blanket and sighed.

“Should have known she would do something with it.” He admitted.

Twilight giggled behind a hoof and Applejack nodded in agreement. He had to admit he was glad to have it back and he laid it over his back on top of the blanket.

“Ah’ll get a warm bath started fer ya ta help yer leg.” Apple Bloom said as she spun and headed for the house.

He didn’t bother trying to stop her as she bounded away from them. Twilight looked at it and smiled. “It looks really nice Oblivion. Goes well with your black coat.”

Oblivion laughed. “I’m just glad to have it back so it can hide that I’m a thin pony.” He quipped.

Applejack brayed a laugh and nodded. “Maybe now Granny will stop trying ta force ya ta eat more.”

Oblivion nodded. “Gods, I hope so. This morning's activity enabled me to skip breakfast.”

Spike looked at him. “How can you skip a meal and not be starving?” The dragon's eyes were large.

“Easily.” Oblivion deadpanned at him.

Twilight got to her hooves and moved the remainder of her things back into her saddlebags. “Come on Spike. Time for us to head home and start dinner. Thank you for your help today Oblivion. And thanks for letting me question you about your magic. I’ll work on my transmutation for the next time.”

“Anytime Twilight.” He replied to her.

He stayed where he was as Spike jumped to the mares back once she had her saddlebags around her girth. She waited for the baby dragon to be settled before she set off for the front gate and walked through it. He waited for her to be out of sight before his magic picked up the cloak and the blanket off his back and Applejack reached for them. He gave them to her as he pushed himself to his hooves without using his right hind leg. Applejack walked to pick up the ice packs and set them on her back. He took the blanket and cloak from the mare and laid them across his back, on top of his swords.

“Ya okay ta be standin’?” She asked.

“Should be fine. I was off of it all day so I am assuming it is fine.” He replied.

She nodded and picked up the pillows and set them on her back. He picked up the cup that he had drained earlier and it was sent to the kitchen ahead of them. She stayed on his heels as he limped toward the house. He walked into the house as Apple Bloom came down the stairs and looked up at him.

“It's ready, Oblivion.” The yellow filly said to him with a smile.

Oblivion looked at her and nodded. “Thank you, Apple Bloom. You don’t need to do this again. I forgive you for trying to break into my saddlebags and shattering two of the potions.”

She started and looked at him. “Thanks. But can Ah still get a bath ready fer ya at night?”

“Why in the God's name would you want to keep doing that?”

“Cause Ah want ta. Yer family and ya have taught me a lot. Yer mah big brother.” She said to him. “Can Ah still help ya?”

Oblivion stared at her for a moment before sighing. “If that is what you wish then I won’t stop you.”

Apple Bloom gave a small cheer and hugged his foreleg before she ran out the door. He gave a shake of his head and Applejack took the cloak and blanket off his back and moved past him up the stairs. She was carrying his books and he was pretty sure that she was going to put them back in his room. He moved to the stairs and started up them, three-legged. He made his way to the bathroom and walked inside and shut the door behind him. He removed his baldric and leaned it against the counter. He pulled the bandage off his wing and checked it for any sign of infection and found that it was clean and dry. He stepped into the water and sank down into it and let his muscles and hock soak. He slowly sunk his wing into the water and let them both go limp at his sides as they soaked. He laid his head down on the rim of the tub and let his mind go blank as he laid in silence.


He could hear the others downstairs at the table. He raised his head to look down at the submerged wing. He was pleased to find that the wing had not bled and seemed to be healing on its own. His injuries were healing well and they wouldn't hamper him by very much the next day. After a half-hour, he stood up and used the soap on his fur, wings, and then washed it off. He decided to use his magic to dry off instead of the towel. He was pleased when the magic was able to do what he asked and he shook himself once. Once he had finished he put his swords over his back and moved out of the bathroom and back toward his room. He was silent as he saw his cloak laid across the desktop and he leaned his swords against the desk for the moment.

He moved his blanket back and laid down on the bed and pulled it over his back. Magic reached out and he pulled the book he had been reading onto the pillow and his swords then came to him as well. He laid them under the blanket beside him out of old habit and the Pegasus was silent as he hid them under the blanket. He had not been keeping them close for the past few nights but the fight with the Forktail had him choosing to keep them as close as possible once more. His ears flicked as the sound of hooves made him bring his head up. Applejack knocked on the door jam and she peered into the room.

“Yes?” He asked her and she came further into the room.

“Ya gonna be okay ta spar with Luna?” She asked him, her voice hesitant.

“I should be fine. If I think it’s going to be an issue I’ll put an end to it. I don’t think it will prove to be too much of an issue. A simple sparring match is not worth permanent injury.” He replied.

“Ya need me ta walk ya ta the train?”

“No. I will be using a portal to get there. I asked Luna for a detailed description of where she wished me to meet her. She provided a diagram of the location for me.”

“Can ya do that?” She asked, her eyes questioning. “Ah never heard of a pony going that far wit’ magic.”

“Twilight said the same thing. She claimed it would be impossible to accomplish.” He informed her. “I will be finding out tomorrow if it is possible or not.”

“Ya sure that’s a good idea? Yer injured already and pushin’ yerself too much could hurt ya worse.”

“I know. If I get partway through the spell and it feels like it will be too much I'll drop it and use several portals instead of one big one.” Applejack started to speak. “I am not riding in a metal box.”

“Ya never been on a train?”

“No. They do not exist where I am from. To get anywhere we walk or take a boat if we need to. Some use portals to go longer distances instantly. I am not going to sit in a metal coffin that I have never seen before.”

His tone was certain and she seemed to give up on arguing with him. “Alright. It is yer choice. But ya know yer gonna have ta ride in one eventually.”

“Perhaps. When that happens I will try to be more amiable to the idea.” He retorted.

She smiled and shook her head. “Ya went hoof ta hoof with Nightmare Moon and ya are a bit nervous bout a train?”

“Yes.” He replied, finality in his tone. “Only a fool does not admit to their own faults.”

“Ya make a good point. Knowin’ yerself is hard ta do.” She said as she turned around to leave. “How is yer wing?”

“It will heal overnight. The gash is already smaller and it will either heal tonight or before noon.” He explained.

“That’s good ta hear.” She said as she paused just in front of the door jam. “Just be careful. Ah know ya are looking forward ta yer sparring match. Just don’t overdo it.”

“I’ll take my saddlebags with me in case I need anything to tend to it.” He said as he responded to her request.

“Oh. The mayor heard bout ya helpin’ Derpy and wanted ta reward ya fer it.” He looked at her and shook his head. “Ah told ‘er that ya weren’t out fer glory. Ya did what ya had ta do. Don't ferget bout Apple Bloom's class.”

“Day after tomorrow.” He replied and she nodded.

“See ya in the mornin’.”

The orange mare walked out of the room and closed the door behind her. He looked at the book in front of him and his claws closed it as he flexed them and then they folded back into his hoof. His magic set the book on the desk and he laid his head down on the pillow. He debated for a moment if he should only take one blade or just take them both and not try to separate them. He was fairly certain that they would be using practice blades but that did not mean he should leave them both at home. He was going to have to only use his hooves since if they were in a training area there would be other ponies. He was still keeping his magic as quiet as possible so he would have to fight without it. Which made him choose to bring his own blades after a minute’s debate. He let his eyes close as he listened to the other ponies going to bed as well.


Oblivion opened his eyes and looked out the window next to the bed. His ears flicked as he saw Applejack and Big Mac already in the yard. He had not heard the rooster sound off. He hadn’t heard them get up either. He was immediately critical of how deeply he had slept and he pushed the quilt back and pushed himself off the bed. His hooves hit the rug and he was careful of his right hind leg and he waited for it to react. The pain was barely there and it did not throb. He snorted and looked to his desk. The Pegasus pulled his swords onto his back and buckled them in place.

He reached for his cloak but his claws stopped just before they gripped the black cloth. He pulled his claws back and left it in place choosing to spar without it. His claws folded back into his hoof and he put his hoof back on the ground. He looked back to the window and he could tell from the sun's location that he was in time to still walk Apple Bloom to school. His orange eyes went to the damaged wing and he checked it to see if it needed to be covered or if it had healed enough to be left alone.

“No need for a bandage this time.” He muttered.

The wing had healed enough that he was able to avoid covering it since the cut was now a shallow gash that did not need constant protection. He pulled his mane upon his head and secured it with the binding from Rarity and made for the door. The Witcher pulled the door open and walked down the hallway to the stairs and went down them. He could fee that he still had a slight limp but the fetlock didn’t throb and pain did not lance from the injury as it had days earlier. The kitchen was empty and he walked out the open door to join the ponies outside. Apple Bloom was the first to spot him as his eyes adjusted to the sunlight.

“Mornin’ Oblivion!” She called out as she approached him.

“Good morning Little One.” He greeted her in return and gave her mane a gentle tousle.

“How’s yer leg?” Applejack called out as she came out of the barn.

He walked over to her and he could see her watching his stride and she seemed pleased. “It’s getting better. The throbbing seems to have stopped and the pain is now almost nonexistent.” He reported to her and lifted the hind leg from the ground for a moment before replacing it back on the ground.

“Good ta hear. Ah figured we could let ya sleep in a bit since ya need all yer energy fer your sparring match with the Princess.” She told him with a smile.

“Ah, so that is why I was not awakened sooner.” He replied. “I appreciate the consideration.”

Apple Bloom hopped around his hooves and then began to circle around and under his belly. “Everypony was really excited when Ah told ‘em ya were gonna talk to the class. Ah can’t wait fer tomorrow. Ya can tell us about sparrin’ with the Princess or about Nightmare Moon.” The filly shrilled happily as she stopped just to the side of him.

Oblivion watched her as she came to a stop beside him. “I was told that I needed to talk about where I am from.” She looked up at him, sudden disappointment in her eyes. “Do not worry too much. I will ensure the tales are interesting.”

Her eyes lit up once more and she went back to running around his legs. He leveled a look at Applejack who was holding back a chuckle. The filly was still happily moving around him and he bit back a deep sigh as the filly came to another stop.

“Are you ready to go?” He asked her as her eyes went wide and panic seemed to go through her.

She turned tail and ran for the house and he heard her hooves racing up the stairs. He looked at the orange mare and she shrugged. After a minute he made for the house and poked his head in through the open door. He saw the filly frantically writing on a piece of paper. He moved back into the house and came to stand close to the table.

“Ah fergot mah homework. Ah’m gonna get in trouble with Miss Cheerilee!” She lamented. “Ah don’t have enough time. What do Ah do Oblivion?”

He looked at her and at first, he was going to scold her for not thinking ahead but the scolding died in his throat at the look of sheer panic on her face. “Come on. We will work on it while we walk there.”

The filly put it back in her bag and came to stand with him as he backed up and out of the house. He angled for the gate and they both walked through it as his magic picked her up and he set her on his back. She looked at him as her paper was pulled from her bag and set in front of her.

“Do your work and I will walk us there. I will keep my stride fluid to avoid messing up your writing.” He said to her and she nodded and he moved his swords out from under her and his wing held them tightly against his side.

His legs moved easily under him and he managed to keep his stride from interfering with her writing as he moved. His back barely moved as she wrote. He heard her grumbling and he looked over his shoulder at her.

“Ah have ta draw somethin’. Ah can’t do it on yer back.”

“You’re going to have to.” He pointed out. “Unless you wish to get into trouble with your teacher.”

Her eyes went wide and she went back to her work. He walked easily forward and he looked over his shoulder once more as the schoolhouse came into view. He watched as she seemed to finish and she sat up on his back with the paper gripped in her hoof.

“Ah got it!” She yelled and he pinned his ears at the volume. “Sorry.”

He shook his head as he drew up at the front gate and he was pleased to see that she had finished just in time. “Well done. But next time you have to check your bags if you think you might have forgotten something. Check your bag every time just in case.” He advised.

She nodded and lunged forward to grip his shoulders and neck. “Yer the best big brother ever!”

He blinked at the exuberance and looked back at the filly. “Sure.” He said as she let him go and slid down his shoulder to the ground, her paper still in her hoof. She got to the ground and slid the paper into her bag as the other foals approached and looked at him. Apple Bloom looked at them and she looked up at the black stallion.

“Ah told ya they were excited.” She said as she trotted through the gate to join them.

“So I see.” He replied quietly.

He watched as the mare came out the door and the foals all turned to go inside. Cheerilee waved to him and he gave her a nod in return. He spun on his heel and moved down the road, his stride was still fluid as his hooves moved silently on the compact dirt. His thoughts landed on the title of elder brother and he shook his head as it rang through his ears. ‘A bit of an awkward title. I suppose I should start getting used to it.’ He thought to himself. His stride fell back to have a slight limp as he moved quickly back to the farm.

He let his mind wander a bit as he moved and he looked up at the sun to figure out what the time was and he knew that he had time before he needed to leave. He broke into a trot and his stride leveled out as he trotted and his fetlock no longer hurt. He reached the front gate and trotted through it and he slowed to a walk as he neared the roan stallion. He stopped a few feet behind him and waited to be noticed. After thirty seconds he nearly snorted but chose not to.

“Mac.”

The red pony leaped forward with a snort and spun to face the black Pegasus. “Ya need ta wear a bell.”

He snorted at the thought and looked at the farm pony. “I have some time before I need to leave. Is there anything that needs to be done before that?”

He could tell that Mac was about to say no when he paused as the Pegasus’s magic sparked. “Ya’ll can put these here buckets under the trees. Bout two ta each three. It's gettin' ta be Apple Buckin’ season.”

He nodded as his magic picked up several barrels and he began to set them under the trees that were closest to him. “Apple Bucking? What the hell is that?”

“It’s what we call harvest season. Ya’ll be helpin’ out wit’ it. Starts next week so ya’ll be busy. So ya’ll prolly be takin’ the baskets from the orchard and puttin’ ‘em in the barn. Yer magic will help ya do that but don’t be afraid ta help out more than that. Ah’ll try not ta push ya since its yer first harvest.”

“So this happens every year I assume?” The roan nodded as he spoke. “Interesting. Well since I am here I will do what I can. So shall I put as many of these out as possible?”

“So long as yer not walkin’ too much on that there leg,” Mac said as he pointed to the black stallion injured leg.

“Very well,” Oblivion replied with a slight sigh.

Big Mac nodded and walked away to do something else while Oblivion moved the barrels into place. Minutes ticked past as he moved the barrels and several buckets into place and he heard hooves coming toward him and he let his magic fade as Applejack approached.

“Mac. He has ta use a lot o’ magic ta get ta Canterlot.” The mare admonished the roan as he came toward them.

“I’m fine AJ. This takes very little effort and if I thought it was doing any harm I would have stopped and done the work manually.” He replied and waited for the mare to say more.

“Well, yer done fer now. Rest up since ya have ta try fer long distance.” She said to him and pointed a hoof to the tree he used.

“Very well.” He replied and looked out at the barrels and baskets he had placed. “That should get you started at least.”

Mac looked past him and nodded. “Ya’ll saved me a coupl’a hours. Thanks.” He replied with a smile.

“My pleasure.”

Oblivion moved away from them and limped to his normal tree and laid down at the base of the trunk. His magic lashed out and his saddlebags appeared next to him and they settled on the dirt. He laid his head down on top of them and looked over to see Applejack nodding, clearly pleased with what he was now doing. He decided to let himself doze as he waited for time to pass by him.


His eyes opened after an hour of resting in silence and he looked up at the sun. He could see that it was nearly noon and he pushed himself to his hooves. He moved away from the tree and went to stand in the center of the yard and he pulled his magic to him and he felt it start to channel.

“Wait!”

A shout startled him and he looked up to see Twilight galloping through the gates. He waited as she neared him and she slid to a halt and panted from the run.

“Sorry about yelling at you.” She said as he nodded. “I wanted to get here before you tried to teleport all the way. I’m serious Oblivion. This could be a very bad idea and it could drain you of your magic completely.” She stressed.

He could hear the stress in her tone and he tried to look more relaxed. “It’s still my choice to try. If I think it will fail I will space it out into sections. Otherwise, I do not think it will be as much of a chore as you think it will be.”

He pulled the diagram out of his saddlebag and scanned it once more to ensure he knew where he was going. He put it back in the bag and he looked up as Mac and Applejack had joined him, their expressions concerned.

“Your faith in my abilities is astounding.” He said to them, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

They looked sheepish and looked away from him as he called on his magic. He felt it as it came to his call and he could see it slowly begin to flow over him. Symbols and letters flowed over his body as he focused on where he was going and he could feel the magic gathering over his body. He closed his eyes and he could feel the pressure from channeling the magic as he was doing building against his skin. He released it after a moment and he vanished in a flash of aqua mist.


Twilight looked at the others as they looked at where the Pegasus had once been. “I really hope it worked.”

The siblings nodded as a flash of aqua magic went out and a scroll dropped onto the ground in front of them. Her magic reached out and she held it aloft and opened it to read what was inside. She smiled and a laugh broke from her.

“Made it.” She read aloud and the others began to laugh with her.

She shook her head and smiled as she giggled.

9: Sparring with a Princess Part 2

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He opened his eyes as the teleport faded out and he moved out of the shadow of a building that had been on Luna's drawing. He could see a soft aqua mist fade from his body as he walked out and he watched as she approached him. His swords sat easily on his back and he glanced over his shoulder at the pair of weapons. He turned back to look at her and his orange eyes went over their surroundings. Sword racks full of practice weapons and racks of armor adorned the area. He paused as the mare reached him, a slight smile on her face.

“Thou made it the full distance?” She questioned.

“I did.” He replied.

He looked at her as an armor of blue leather sat on her body, obscuring much of her fur. Her sword sat in a scabbard at her shoulder and her mane was pulled up into a high binding, much like his own. Her smile morphed into a full one as she stood in front of him.

“That is an impressive feat. We are surprised at thy skill, Oblivion Shadow.” She praised.

‘It’s been some time since I heard Old Speech.’ He thought to himself before he spoke to her. “Thank you for the kind words, Luna.”

The mare motioned for him to follow her as she spun on her heel to lead him. He tested his right hind leg and found the pain to be minimal and he anticipated no issue with using it. He put it from his mind and chose to alter his fighting style slightly to make up for the slight discomfort. He lengthened his stride and drew up beside her as they walked further into the training grounds.

“We have chosen to use our actual blade instead of a practice weapon. We think it would have been insulting to use anything less to the skill that thee have already shown.” She said as he walked at her side.

The Pegasus gave her a slight nod in reply. “I appreciate the consideration, Luna. I have no preference one way or the other but if you wish to use the same weapons as we used before then I am agreeable to that.”

She nodded enthusiastically at his reply. She looked at his unarmored body and he chuckled at the look she gave him. “I am going to then assume that I will need armor as well.”

“We can take thee to the armorer to have thee fitted.” She said to him and she paused as he shook his head.

“Not needed.” He replied as he pushed just enough magic into the medallion to activate the armor and still manage to keep the magic itself hidden.

The armor shone despite the shining sun above them. The armor crawled over his body and slid into place. She nodded in understanding and led him to a practice circle and looked at him as he stopped at her side.

“Thou can lay thee saddlebags there if thou wishes. We shall allow thou time to prepare.” She said as she pointed an armored hoof to the side of the circle.

He said nothing in reply and simply moved to the indicated area and his hooves pulled the buckle from the saddlebags and he laid them under the bench. He closed his eyes as he reminded himself that this was a simply sparring match and not a life or death matter. His eyes snapped open as he reached over his shoulder to pull the steel sword out just enough to block the incoming blow. He looked over his shoulder to see a widely grinning Luna looking back at him.

“We apologize for the attack. We wished to see thou reaction. We have not seen a blade drawn so quickly afore. We missed your reach entirely. Thou have our admiration.” She said in response to the look he was giving her and she bowed her head in apology.

He looked back at her as their swords remained locked in place and he allowed a slight grin to tug at the side of his mouth. “Forgiven.” He said to her. “Though I will not be going easy on you this time. My pride will not allow it after that attack.”

Luna pulled her blade back and jumped back a few steps. She lunged at him and he spun to the side and pulled his blade free of its scabbard. The weapon slid over the side of hers and sparks flew from them. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw several ponies stop to watch as the two ponies started their match. He backflipped away from the Alicorn mare and his hooves hit the ground as she lunged after him once more. He lunged toward her and their blades collided violently and he pushed into her blade. She grimaced as her hooves began to slide backward as he pushed her. He lunged forward and sent her away from him, she fought to keep her balance and he waited for her to recover.

He had no desire to harm her and he slowed down for a moment to remind himself that she was not an enemy that he needed to kill to save himself. She recovered and looked at him as a smile went over her muzzle. She charged after him and he tapped one hoof and a golden light went over his body, encircling him. He saw a flash of uncertainty go over her face but she continued to come at him. She held her weapon up to strike at his as he stomped his hoof and a concussion wave pushed her back. She yelped as she was thrown back and he charged, intent on her. His blade knocked hers aside and his shoulder collided painfully with her chest, knocking her to the ground. She looked up at him from the ground as he slid his sword into the ground beside her head. Her eyes were wide as she stared up at him.

“Well played.” She chuckled. “We had not agreed to the use of any magic though.” She whispered.

“It was not that kind of magic.” He replied as he lowered his head to speak to her.

He backed up and held out his hoof to help her up. She took his hoof and he pulled her to her hooves. The light was still flowing over him as she looked closely at him. He reached out and pulled his sword from the ground that he had embedded it in and he backed up to give her some space. She went to pick up her fallen sword and then she turned to look at him.

“How was thou able to accomplish that without the use of magic?”

“Witchers have the ability to use what we call Signs. You have seen two of them. The one that remains active is called Quen, or shield. The one that was used to push you backward is called Aard, or push. That one is basically a telekinetic blast that can move an adversary a way to make room for a counterattack. Those are two of the five that I know how to use.” He replied to the curious look from the mare.

She regarded him for several seconds before her head came up further and a smile came to her mouth. “We are even more impressed with thee, Oblivion Shadow. Those are not magic we assume?”

“They are a form of magic that only a Witcher is able to use. We are taught how and when to use them from a young age. We cannot use magic in the more complex sense but we can use these.” He explained.

“We are impressed. Thou have many skills at thou disposal. That gives thee an edge in battle that cannot be countered.” She spun her sword in her magic for a moment before she dropped it into her hoof. “We are already greatly enjoying our sparring match.”

“The pleasure is mine.” He replied. “Shall we continue?”

The mare brought her blade in front of her muzzle as she looked at him. “Yes.”

She ran toward him and he once more spun to the side of her and his blade slid along hers. He lowered his body and his shoulder pushed into her and he shoved her back, allowing him to move away from the edge of the sparring arena. He then moved to follow her and his sword glanced over the thick leather armor of her shoulder. He made sure to use the flat of the blade as much as possible to avoid cutting the leather and possibly hurting her. Luna gave a low grunt as she leaped away from the larger stallion. He gave a slight grin as he put the gilt of his sword in his mouth and slammed both of his front hooves into the ground. Purple runes skittered across the ground in a circle and surrounded him. The mare looked at the runes for a moment before she charged toward him. He smirked as the mare crossed into the circle and her movements slowed. The runes danced over her as Yrden slowed her down and he lunged toward her, dropped his sword into his hoof, and the sword scored several hits to the leather armor. The weapon scored over her shoulders and chest. She shouted and he allowed her to leap back and evade him.

“That was more of thou Signs?”

He nodded. “That one is called Yrden. It has many names but most call it slow or fade. I use it to fight wraiths and other specters as it forces them to become more corporeal and easier to strike down.” He explained.

She panted and he could see that she was growing angrier at the clear thrashing she was receiving from him. “Thou are full of many surprised. Thou are not from here are thou?”

He barked a laugh and shook his head. “No, I am not. I am from lands outside of Equestria. I am from a place called the Northern Realms.” He did not explain further unless she chose to ask for more information. “If you wish I can explain further. Shall we?”

She nodded and the sparring match resumed as they charged each other.


He watched as Luna panted as she looked at the Pegasus. He knew that Quen was still untouched and he had replaced it a few minutes earlier and now it glowed brightly over his armor. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the assembled soldiers all watching intently. He had seen them cringing when the Lunar Princess had been pushed back or her armor struck. Quen had continued to protect him as his hooves danced over the dirt as he evaded her attacks. Their current battle had only just paused in the thirty-minute battle that they had been continuously fighting. The armor from the Element glowed under the shield that had been protecting it and there was no damage to it to indicate that the Alicorn had scored a single hit to it.

He watched as she breathed deeply and squared her shoulders and looked at him, her eyes focused on him. He read her body and she was ready for one final attack on him and he shifted his stance slightly to ready himself for her inevitable attack. He stood up on his hind legs and his hooves gripped the weapon as he once more shifted his stance. Luna roared out a battle cry as she charged him and he shifted once more to counter her. He spun his body and met her in the middle of her charge. The mare had kept her blade in her magic to allow her to fight him easier and he was ready for her magic to try to outmaneuver him.

She had adjusted her run to his height and he could see that she was determined to have this be her final strike at him. They were a foot apart when she altered where her weapon was held and she angled it toward him. He saw surprise go over her features as he stopped and pirouetted to the side of her. He had used this maneuver on her once before but this time the spin was tighter and he angled the weapon to hit her armor once on the back, in between her wings and then he spun once more and the weapon slapped her across her flanks. She gave a loud yelp and rolled forward to avoid him striking her again. She stopped once she was sitting on the ground and she jumped to her hooves and reached back to rub her smarting flank.

Oblivion said nothing as he stopped his spin and he breathed out a breath that he had held while completing the maneuver. He saw the look of utter shock that was now covering the faces of most of the soldiers and gawkers that had assembled in the courtyard. One pony shook free of his shock and his eyes were wide and anger grew in them as he took a step forward, angling toward the Pegasus.

“How dare you injure our Princess?!” He shouted.

Oblivion turned his head to look more closely at him as the shine of several medals caught the sunlight and they gleamed back at him. He opened his mouth to speak in reply as several ponies began to raise their practice weapons, despite the looks of fear and uncertainty that were on their faces. He was about to raise his own weapon when the sound of laughter caught his ear. His ear flicked to listen as Luna laughed and rubbed her flank with one hoof. She allowed her weapon to sit on the ground beside her as she turned to the crowd.

“Tis fine. We admit defeat. Thou are a pony to be reckoned with Oblivion Shadow. We do not doubt that thou could take on the ponies that would come to our aid despite the numbers. Thou were still going easy on us we think.” She said as her laugh began to fade though her smile remained.

He gave a slight bow of his head with a smirk on his face. “Perhaps.”

He could see the soldiers staring at the spectacle in front of them. Luna was still rubbing her flank as she looked over her shoulder at the Pegasus. A smile crossed her mouth and she looked ahead and shook her head and sighed.

“Please come with us. We will treat thee to a strong coffee after thou have had a relaxing bath. We do not know about thee but we could use a wash.”

She raised her head and turned to face him as she led him away from the arena. He walked to the bench and picked up his saddlebags, slinging them across his back. He slid the sword back into its scabbard as Luna slid hers back into the scabbard at her shoulder. She glanced back to him as he walked several feet behind her and she slowed to allow him to catch up to her.

“I appreciate the consideration, Luna.”

“Return to thous duties!” She shouted back as the soldiers and other spectators stared. “We must thank thee again Oblivion Shadow for coming to spar with us.”

“It was my pleasure, Luna. And you do not need to refer to my full name, Oblivion is fine.”

She smiled and nodded as he spoke. “Follow us.”

She led him across the field and into the castle from a side entrance. He looked around them as the stone walls stretched ahead of him and he noted that the walls were smooth and gave off their own sheen in the low light. He looked ahead of them as the lights of several ponies’ spirits came into his enhanced sight. He watched as they reached the ponies and they bowed deeply to the Moon Princess as they passed by. The Pegasus watched as their eyes then fell upon him and they gave no indication of knowing who he was and why he was walking with one of their Princess’s. His hooves made no sound on the polished floor as she led him down a hallway and then stopped beside one of the doors.

“Here is the room that thou can use. It has a private bathroom adjoining that will allow thee to clean up as thou wishes. We will send a servant to guide thee to where we can sit and discuss matters.” She said to him as she motioned for him to look to the closed door.

He pushed open the door and walked halfway in before he paused and looked back at her. “Thank you, Luna.”

She nodded and turned to leave him behind. He walked into the room and his hind leg closed the door behind him with a solid push of his hoof. His eyes widened slightly at the ornate room in front of him. The room itself was easily the size of the entire first floor of the farmhouse, if not a bit larger. The bed was a four-post bed and was adorned with curtains that could be drawn to hide the one sleeping on it. The room was decorated well and the bed was covered in sheets of dark grey and blue bedding. The more he looked at it the more he could see that pieces did not have any dust or grime on them and looked to have been redone recently.

“There is no way she had this redone for my visit.” He muttered to himself as he walked further into the room.

He walked further into the room and a large chest caught his attention that sat at the end of the bed. He looked at the gleaming floor and the scent of recent staining caught his nose. The scent was faint but he could still tell that the floors had recently been stained. His gaze flitted to the rest of the room and he looked at the large window that was at the other end of the room, dark grey curtains were bundled to the side of the window itself. He looked away from the window and his eyes roved over the rest of the room. He found that there were several doors in the room and he walked up to one of them and opened it. He tilted his head slightly at the room that stretched out in front of him. Several small alcoves were lined up along the sides of the wall and they appeared to have hangers for clothing on them.

“Interesting.” He whispered and closed the door.

He moved to the next door and pushed it open to reveal a large bathroom that was wide enough for him to have turned around easily and probably laid on the floor if he so chose. He reached for his saddlebags and pulled them off his back and set them on the bathroom floor. The Witcher was silent as he looked up into the tall mirror and his armor shone back at him as he recalled it back to the medallion around his neck. The tub was off to his right and it was large enough that he could have folded his legs and laid down in it and still have plenty of room to move. He turned the knobs and the tub began to fill with clear water.

He pulled his baldric off and leaned the swords against the vanity and he sighed as he pulled his mane out of its binding and let it fall to his neck. He could feel the sweat as it had stiffened his fur, though it was not a large amount. While he had won their sparring match he had not worked himself hard enough to sweat heavily. Quen had long since faded as they had been walking and it left him a bit tired from the repeated usage. He waited for the tub to fill and he turned off the water once the water was high enough for him to be submerged. He stepped into the water and slowly laid down to allow himself to relax for a few minutes.

The water was warm enough to soothe any aches and tired muscles as he laid down. His right fetlock was going to be sore but for now, it had held up well due to him altering his movements to accommodate the sore limb. He laid in silence for several minutes before he stood and used the soap that was close by to clean himself off of any lingering sweat marks or dirt. He checked his wings and they were both cleaned and had fared well in the fight. He had thought to use them during the sparring match but he lacked the knowledge of how to properly use them effectively so he had chosen to keep them folded at his sides. Soap bubbled on the feathers and he washed them carefully and looked them over for any damaged feathers. When he found none he laid back down and cleaned himself fully, he refused to sit with Luna filthy.


He came out of the bathroom with his swords and saddlebags hovering in his magic and he laid them down on the bed. He shook himself and stretched his wings and the joints stretched and he heard a slight popping as the joints moved. The great wings folded back into their place and he walked to the chest at the end of the bed and he set his saddlebags inside of it to keep them hidden. They were still locked by his magic but he had no desire to leave them out in the open. He could still summon them to him if the need came. For now, he would leave them hidden where he could easily find them. His ears flicked as the sound of hooves caught his attention. He looked at the door and he could hear the sound of a pony breathing as a gentle knock went out and he spun to face the door. He walked slowly toward it and he could sense that it was only one pony as his ears had told him. He looked back to the bed and his magic gripped the swords that sat on the bed and they came to him and were buckled in place. He rolled his shoulders to ensure they were sitting right and he opened the door carefully. A cream-colored mare stood outside the door. She looked up at him as he was taller than she was and a polite expression covered her face as she looked at him. Her eyes were a yellow-gold color that reminded him of Derpy’s coloring, with a scroll and quill as her cutie mark.

“Oblivion Shadow.” She addressed him and he nodded. “I have been asked by Princess Luna to lead you to the balcony outside of her quarters for tea and coffee. Are you ready for me to show you the way?” She asked him.

He nodded and opened the door to allow himself to walk out and into the hall. She spun to lead him and he closed the door as he fell in behind her. Through his Spirit Sight, he knew that she was close by and they were heading in her direction. He knew that he probably could have teleported to her but at the same time, he was reminded that his magic was a fairly well-guarded secret, and most had no idea he was capable of magic at all.

He followed her and they walked past a pair of guards and toward a dark blue door at the end of the hallway. She pushed the door open and he followed behind her as she led him down a small side hallway and out onto a spacious balcony. She ensured that he was in place before she turned to face him. He could smell the coffee before they reached the table that had been set up and the smell of pastries and other treats wafted over his nose as well. The mare motioned to a black pillow and he went to it and sat down. He waited patiently as the mare bowed her head to him and turned to leave him where he was.

“Princess Luna will be with you shortly, please wait here for her.”

He nodded and she bowed her head once more and left back the way they had come. He closed his eyes as the day was drawing to a close around him. He paid little attention to the time and his ears flicked as the sound of hoof boots on stone caught his attention. He looked over his shoulder and to the side as Luna emerged from behind a curtain and approached the table where he sat.

“Thank thee for waiting.” She said to him as she approached. “We apologize for the wait.”

“No apology is needed, Luna. I have not been waiting long.” He assured her.

She came up and sat down across from him, a smile came to her muzzle as she looked over the table at him. “It is nice to hear a pony address us with our name. It has been a long time since we were addressed so casually by another that is not our sister.” She said to him.

Her magic picked up a teapot and held it aloft and he shook his head. She picked up a coffee pot and he nodded. She filled a cup with tea for her and coffee for him. Her magic set the cup in front of him and he picked it up in his hooves and sipped it as she drank her tea.

“I have no reason to address you as with anything besides your name. If it pleases you I will continue to do so.”

She nodded. “Please continue. It is pleasant to be addressed as such.”

He nodded and leaned back on his pillow. “How are you faring, after being cleansed of Nightmare Moon?”

She paused and set down her teacup. “It has been a… adjustment.” She admitted. “We are not sure how to act around our ponies. Our behavior is how we acted before our imprisonment on the moon. So nowadays it is viewed as being dated and out of touch. Though, thou appear to take it in stride.”

He chuckled quietly and looked back at her. “I have heard old speech many times before so it is not anything new to me. It was always seen as something that is done in formal situations so I have heard it before. Though I have to admit it can be a bit… dated to others who have no experience with it.”

She nodded. “We have heard others speak of it when they thought we could not hear.”

He could see that she was bothered by pony’s talking behind her back but she was trying to hide it behind a mask of indifference. He could see past her as her spirit rolled within her. So long as you are comfortable with it then others do not matter. It is easy for them to talk behind your back but it is up to you whether they are allowed to get under your skin or not.” He pointed out and she shrunk back a bit.

“They do not get to us…”

He barked a laugh. “Luna I am the Element of Spirit and that means I can see past your front.” She looked nervous for a moment as he went on. “Your feelings matter and you can choose to allow them to hurt them or you can be comfortable in your own skin and be proud of what you have done and what you will do in the future.”

“Thou speaks as if thou have been through similar things as we have in the past.” She replied.

“Each of us has our own trials.” He replied. “None of us have had an easy time of things.”

“Though have known others like us?”

“I do not know any who are like you Luna.” He replied as he shook his head. “You are a pony unto yourself with no equal. As I understood the story of what happened to you, you were not looking to harm pony’s if I recall. You were simply looking to be known for what you accomplish each night.” She nodded as a small smile tugged at her mouth. “That in itself is not a flaw, it is in fact a simple desire that is held by nearly every pony at some point in their lives. To be seen as yourself and known for the good that you have done. You were simply overwhelmed by that desire and that fact does not make you evil. I am a Witcher by trade and the medallion I wear alerts me to the presence of illusions among others. When I faced you it spoke of illusion, not evil.”

The mare gaped at him as he picked up his coffee and sipped it before setting it back down in front of him. “Thou are quite wise. Thou seem to have seen much of this world and have learned much due to that. We are thankful that thee was able to see so much and speak so plainly to us.”

“I have no reason to mislead you.”

She lowered her head slightly and looked at him. “We have a question for thee.” She waited as he motioned for her to go on. “How doth thee see us? Thou knows the beginning and the end of our story and…” She stopped as he barked another laugh.

“Your story has not ended Luna. It has merely turned a new chapter. Nightmare Moon has ended, but Luna has not. You have done what many ponies cannot do. You have seen your darkness and have moved on to become a better mare for it. It is now up to you how the rest of the story plays out.”

She gaped at him as a sheen of tears filled her eyes. “Thou are truly wiser than any other pony we have met since our return. Perhaps if we had known a pony like you before we might not have… Lost our way.” He said nothing as she breathed in and went on. “We have been told many things since our return, but none of them rang as truth. Most were pretty words meant to placate us and keep us silent. Thou speaks the truth from thous own experience and you do not wish to placate and silence us.”

“It is not my place to lie to you, Luna. Only you can choose if they speak lies or not.”

She nodded and picked her teacup up and held it out. He picked up his coffee cup and she clinked them together in a toast and smiled. “In honor of our friendship.”

He slightly bowed his head in agreement. He sipped his drink and set it down in front of him as he waited for her to speak further.

“Thou say that thou are a Witcher. May we ask what that entails?”

He nodded and he leaned slightly forward on his pillow. “A Witcher is a pony that is meant to stand between the monsters and ponies of the world. We stand between them and rid the world of the monsters that would do harm to others. If it is needed we those that can cause harm and leave those that are capable of living peacefully.” He explained.

“So thee hunt monsters?”

“We can. We are also able to remove or remedy curses if needed. There are many ways to deal with things that are hard to explain or might require a Witcher and we are there for that possibility. There are many ways to deal a monster, it’s a Witcher's job to see what the best method is.”

“We have never heard of Witchers if we are, to be honest.” She said to him and sipped her tea.

“There are not many of us remaining. I am of the School of the Wolf. Including myself, there are five of us remaining. There are other schools as well but none are creating new Witchers. We are a dying breed.”

“What other Schools remain?”

He paused for a moment. “There are none that currently teach new Witchers but I can name a few of the other Schools that I know of.” She nodded and he went on. “They are Manticore, Bear, Griffin, Viper, and Cat to name a few of them.”

“Thou speak with some sorrow. We are sorry that so few remain. This world will be lacking when they are gone.”

He gave a dismissive shrug. “In time we will vanish. But for now, we continue on our own Paths. We have what we are made to do to occupy us but that is a discussion for another time. We have a visitor.”

She started and looked around them. “Where?”

“Just inside the front door. It has been some time since we last spoke Celestia.”

Luna whirled and glared into the room beyond the curtain as the Sun Princess came forward, looking sheepish at having been found out. “Shame on thee sister. Thou art interrupting.”

“I’m sorry little sister. I had forgotten that you were having a guest today. While I am here though how was your sparring match?” She asked as she came to stand by the table.

Luna looked at the black Pegasus who shrugged. “Our match was quite the sight judging by the size of the crowd we attracted. Though that did not change the fact that we were outclassed.”

Celestia looked shocked as she regarded the Witcher as he sipped his coffee. “Really? You have no equal Luna.”

“We have met out better, dear sister.”

Celestia looked at the stallion with them as he set his cup down on the table. “Congratulations Oblivion. Perhaps we should ask you to train our guards.”

“I do not think so.” He replied as they both looked at him. “I have trained Witchers when I was younger. My training is meant to break ponies and rebuild them into a Witcher, not a guard. Those that cannot survive a Witchers training are left broken. So I will have to decline.”

He watched as Luna suppressed a laugh behind one hoof while Celestia blinked at him for several seconds before she also smiled. “Your tactics must be quite brutal if that is the case.”

“Those who see them from an outside point of view would probably view them as cruel of vicious. Another Witcher would see them for what they are and understand their purpose. They are meant to weed out those that will not survive and separate them from those that will.” He explained.

Luna chuckled. “Reminds us of our dear teacher, Starswirl.” She said and looked up at her sister, who cringed and nodded.

“Oh?” Oblivion asked as he looked between them.

The Princess of the Moon nodded. “Our dear teacher accepted nothing less than the best of us. We can recall many sleepless nights trying to accomplish our tasks. We learned much under his tutelage.”

The Sun Princess nodded as she sat down with them. “Starswirl was a bit of a taskmaster in that regard. It was never quite good enough but he did make us into the mares we are today.”

“He taught us many great things and expected greater things of us when we accomplished one feat or another,” Luna added.

“That is where Luna learned her swordsmanship. Starswirl was a pony of many trades and skills.” Celestia said.

“I had wondered who had taught you,” Oblivion said to her.

“He taught Tia as well,” Luna said to him.

“He did. Though I did not excel in the art as much as Luna did. If you are able to beat her then I stand very little chance of standing against you.” Celestia commented with a laugh.

Oblivion chuckled and looked at the Princess of the Sun. “Your student would be horrified to hear you say you’ve not skilled something.”

Luna giggled as Celestia sighed. “She thinks too highly of me at times. I am not perfect and I have made my fair share of mistakes.”

He saw her glance at the Moon Princess as she spoke. “I can guess your greatest regret.” His voice was bland as he spoke to her.

“You would be right.” She admitted. “But thanks to you and the others I have Luna back at my side once more.” Luna smiled brightly as the elder mare spoke. “Well, I have interrupted your visit for long enough. Though, I would also like to say that I was surprised that you did not wish to be recognized for creating the magic of your own.”

He shrugged. “I do not need recognition for such a small trivial thing.”

“Trivial?” Luna leaned forward as she spoke. “It would take a Unicorn of great power to create a magic that is not known already. Thou created magic as a Pegasus. That should be impossible.”

He had to admit she had a point. From what he had learned a Pegasus had enough magic to fly but not any more than that. “While, I agree that it is out of the ordinary I do not need the recognition that would come with that.”

Both mares shook their heads. “I do still wish I knew how it has come to pass that you were given access to magic,” Celestia said as she looked closely at him. “Are you certain you’re not a Unicorn?”

“I am certain.” He replied with a chuckle. “I have the bit of magic that I use to cast my Signs but that is not enough to do anything more than that with.” He admitted.

“Signs?” Celestia asked him.

“We saw a few of them during our match,” Luna said to her. “Thou is able to cast them quickly with a flick of one’s hoof.”

“They are meant to be easy and simple. We depend on them to be at our call at a moment’s notice. If they are too complex then we would not use them.” He replied.

Celestia listened carefully as he spoke and she gave a sagely nod as she spoke in reply. “Have you thought of how to use that magic beyond what you have created for it?”

“I have not tested it on any pony aside from Twilight. So I do not know how it would respond to a Pegasus or an Earth Pony.” He admitted. “A Unicorn is easy due to the magic being focused and cast from the horn itself. For the others, their magic is focused throughout the body. I have no desire or need to test it further at this time.” He said to her as he held his coffee up to his mouth.

“I’m sure in time you will find further use of it,” Celestia responded. “On that note, I will leave you to your picnic.”

The Sun Princess turned and left the pair behind. Luna waited for her sister to leave before she looked at the Witcher. “Our sister can be very nosy at times.”

He barked a laugh. “I’m sure. I’m certain her reasoning was to check on you after our match. She most likely wanted to ensure that you were unharmed.”

“We are fine. Our dignity took a slight hit but otherwise… Oh. Thou art jesting.” She said as he gave her an amused look.

“Perhaps a bit.” He said to her as he gave a slight nod. “Would you rather I didn’t?”

“Not at all. We enjoy being treated like any other pony. It is a pleasant change from our normal days. Thou do not act as though we are a Princess of Equestria.”

“I do not view you as such.” He admitted as he sipped his coffee.

“Pardon?”

“As I have mentioned I do not bend my knee to emperors. I respect that you have moved beyond your past but that does not mean I will bend my knee. I think that you would rather I treat you as any other versus as a monarch.” He explained.

“Thou art right. We are glad to have a pony treat us so simply. Thou is a pony with a good heart and we are pleased to know thee. Thy frank speech is refreshing and we are pleased to have thee with us.” She said to him as a smile crossed her muzzle as she looked at the food that was laid out between them. “Please try a few of the treats that we have gathered for thee. We had found upon our return that many things had changed, some for the worse. We were pleased to find several of our favorite treats have survived the time. Though now that we have brought thou here we see that thou chooses coffee over tea which makes us think that thee does not like sweets.”

He shrugged in reply. “There are many things that I do not think I will try that you have brought before me. But there are others that I will be trying. So long as there is not a large amount of sugar I will be happy to try them.”


Luna barked a loud laugh as he leaned back on the pillow and she looked up as the sun began to set. She sat up and her eyes flit to him, he could see nervousness go through her expression. He waited for her to speak as she cleared her throat.

“Tis growing late and we must raise the moon for the night to come forth.” She stood and her head lowered as nervousness bit at her. “Would thou care to see us raise the moon?”

He leaned forward on his pillow and nodded. “I would be pleased to see it.”

He saw her spirit grow brighter in response to him and she turned away from him and walked to the far edge of the balcony. Her wings spread slowly and his medallion began to shudder as her horn lit with her aura. He watched as the sun finished falling below the horizon and the crest of the moon raised instead. She slowly lifted up as her wings slowly beat. He felt Luna’s magic surge as she lifted the moon higher into the sky. The stars coming with it as it began to rest in the night sky. His medallion trembled violently against his chest as he watched. He lifted a hoof to stop the medallion from making any noise on its chain. He was surprised when he felt his armor start to move on the medallion. He focused on it and pushed it back into place. Luna’s hooves came back to the stone balcony and he stood up when the magic faded. Luna panted for a moment and suddenly swayed a bit. Oblivion went to her side and she leaned on his shoulder.

“Thank thee. It has been some time since we commanded the moon. It is tiring after such a long period. We thank thee for the support.” She breathed at him.

“Of course.” He replied. “It was quite a sight. Where I am from no pony controls the sun or the moon. They are able to move on their own. When I had heard that the pair of you move them I was curious how such a thing is accomplished.”

Her eyes went wide as she looked at him. “They move of their own accord?”

“Yes. They move through the skies on their own, the stars come out with the moon and then fade with the sun's light. While some stars remain in the day though they are hard to see.” He said to her. “I was shocked to hear that they did not do the same here.”

“So the moon answers to none but itself?”

“True. Same with the sun. But one thing is certain and is no different from here. Both are as loved there as they are here. Where I am from some ponies work only in the day while others are the opposite.”

“And your kind? When do Witchers work?”

“We work in all light. Our eyes are designed to show us the night as if it were the day. Through that, we can track in all lighting. We are as active in the day as we are at night. Some of the monsters that we hunt are active during the day while others are only seen at night. We do not choose, we simply follow our eyes and ears.”

She fell silent as she seemed to be considering what he had told her. “It is good to hear that there are those who view the day and the night as equals. We thank thee for telling us.”

“Of course. I have no reason to mislead you.”

She smiled and pushed off of his shoulder. “We will show thee back to thous room for the night. We insist that thee stay the night.” She added as he opened his mouth to argue. “We admit that we had a room prepared for thee ahead of time.”

“I was thinking of asking about that.”

“We had it decorated in a fashion we hoped thou would approve of.” She admitted, a smile on her muzzle.

“Very well. One moment.” He said to her as his magic gathered.

He saw her eyes go wide at the symbol that showed on his fur. A scroll and quill appeared in his magic and he jotted down a message to AJ and with a flash of magic he sent it to her. “Thank you for waiting.”

The Alicorn nodded and turned to lead him out of her quarters. He stayed with her as she led him back the way he had been brought earlier. They reached the door and her magic pushed it open for him.

“Good night Oblivion. We have enjoyed thous visit.”

“The pleasure has been mine, Luna. Thank you.” He said to her as he walked through the door and it closed quietly behind him.

He stopped by the bed as a flash of aqua magic signaled the arrival of a response to the letter he had sent earlier. He unrolled it after it had dropped into his hoof.

‘Enjoy yer sleepover. Applejack’

He looked at the paper for a moment as he considered what she had written. “What now?” He asked the air around him. “Never mind. It doesn’t matter. She’s most likely trying to tease me from afar."

Magic flowed from him as he held the note aloft and the magic burned through it at his command. He pulled his swords off his back and laid them on the bed beside him as he pulled the blankets back as well. He stretched out his wings and they moved easily as they stretched out and then folded back to his sides. He moved onto the bed and pulled the blankets up and over his back as he laid his head down on the plush pillow.

His mind wandered as he laid in silence, sleep was slow in coming as he laid in silence. ‘How long will I be here? This world is leagues different from my own. Though I admit it has its own appeal and charm. I have found a pony that I can spar with if the need comes upon me. I can use magic with Twilight if I wish to or if she asks. Though the magic itself is a new thing to handle. I would not have been shocked to have arrived here as an Earth Pony but instead, I can fly and do magic.’ His head raised as he flicked the wings under the blanket. ‘Well I could fly if I knew how.’ He admitted to himself as he laid his head back down. His musings paused as a yawn broke from him and he pushed his remaining thoughts to the back of his mind and closed his eyes to allow himself to sleep easily.

Break!


His eyes snapped open as his medallion began to violently shake on its chain. He sat up a moment later and the blanket bunched against his back. He looked to his swords as he reached out to them and slid them into their place on his back. He avoided using his magic as he moved as slowly as he dared, his ears flicked to listen intently around him. The chain that held the medallion made a soft noise as the medallion trembled. He was cautious as he turned to look around him. His wings were tight against his sides as he got out of the bed and scanned the room. The medallion still trembled and he focused on a corner of the room as it seemed to ripple.

“An illusion?” He whispered to himself.

His wings tightened against his body as his swords buckled into place and he looked away from the ripple at the corner of the room, ensuring that whoever it was thought they were getting away with it. He moved slowly away from the bed and his hooves were silent on the floor. His head spun to look at the corner and he lunged forward, slamming one hoof down on the ground. Igni roared over the ground and a high-pitched shriek sounded out as the ripple intensified. The illusion vanished after a moment's delay and he heard cursing outside the doorway. His magic threw open the door and he leaped out of the room. His nose scented the air and the scent of burned flesh caught his attention.

“Now where did you run off to?” He muttered.

His cat eyes narrowed and he could see hoof prints and he lowered his head just enough to keep them bright in his vision. He broke into a trot and followed the trail closely as his hooves kept him moving. Most likely the pony that had been in his room had been burned badly enough to affect their stride and they would not be able to go very far. Igni had a limited range but he knew that he had been more than close enough to do a fair amount of damage. He let his eyes and nose guide him as the scent of burning flesh lingered on the air. A passed by a guard and he gave the guard a sideways glance but refocused on his track.

“Sir? Are you lost?” He asked as the black Pegasus ignored him.

He heard the guard coming up to him from behind and he stopped and looked over his shoulder. He saw the guard startle at the sight of him. He knew that the look of his eyes had most likely surprised the pony and he went back to his tracking. He picked up speed as the tracks in front of him did the same, the pony's steps were growing more hurried. No doubt they knew that he was drawing closer to them. He broke into a controlled gallop and veered around a corner, he saw several ponies jump to get out of his way, dropping some of the items they were carrying. Some of the parcels dropped into his path and he jumped them easily. He saw a group of guards down one of the hallways as he cut to the left, following the trail. He dug his claws in as much as he dared on the carpet and cut down another corner and slid to a halt. A group of four guards blocked his path and they were clearly waiting for him to come around the corner.

“Stop where you are!” One of them shouted.

“Move.” He replied.

“A source has told us that we need to have a talk with you about an impending attack on Canterlot. You need to come with us.” He said to the Pegasus.

Oblivion kept his eyes trained on the trail as he raised his head to his full height. He could see that they did not intend to move and he could see that they were ready to chase him if the need came. He would not run from them, and he gathered his body and charged them. They braced as he neared them and he gathered his muscles and jumped the group. His hooves hit the ground and he continued onward. His ear flicked back and he could hear the guards had fallen in behind him and were now chasing him. He looked back and they were not in sight as he veered around a corner and he knew that he needed to be rid of them if he wanted to continue his tracking. He felt magic flow over him and he looked to his shoulder as symbols flowed over his fur and he stopped in his tracks and pushed himself against a nearby alcove and watched as the guards ran past him. He looked down at his hooves and he could see a ripple going over them.

“Interesting. This magic is showing to be more useful as time goes by.” He whispered, his voice barely heard.

He picked up the trail and moved back through the hallway. He followed them and soon found himself in front of a door. The scent of burned flesh was strongest there and he strained his ears to listen intently.

“I know he will be attacking.”

“How? Did he say that?”

“Well, no.” A voice replied. “But anypony that is willing to attack our Princess for fun is not to be trusted. And then he goes and attacks me. Though I bet he is in the dungeon by now since I told some of the guards on my way here. So they can… Ow!”

“Hold still. Your legs are burned. We have to get them treated. How in Equestria did you get burned anyway?

“He did it.” The voice yelped. “I don’t know how he did it though. He’s a Pegasus and doesn’t have a horn. I know there is something wrong with him. This just proves it. Though I really am not sure how he knew I was there.”

“What were you doing there anyway?”

“I was looking for evidence. I know he arrived with a set of saddlebags so I was going to search them for evidence.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“Second Sight you’re a great clerk for the Princess. You’re not a guard and that’s not your job. What possessed you to think this was a good idea? You have been reading way too many adventure and detective books.” A new voice commented.

“I have not been… Okay, I have read a few but still. That’s not the point. The point is that he’s dangerous and if we don’t stop him he might harm the Princesses and Canterlot.” The pony argued. “You know I’m right.”

“No, I know you’re out of your league.” The other argued. “This is ridiculous.”

“You’ll be eating humble pie when you find out I’m right. He’s already hurt me so what’s going to stop him from hurting somepony else?”

“You invaded his room!” One shouted. “What did you expect him to do?”

“My spell was perfect. There is no way a Pegasus could have sensed that I was there. I’m not sure how he knew but that just proves that there is something wrong with him.” She argued hotly.

He heard a groan from inside and he could feel aggravation as it began to bite at his nerves. His magic flared as he called on a scroll and quill and scribbled out a note to Luna. His magic flared as it was sent to the Alicorn mare. The Pegasus waited until he was certain that the mare had received it and read it before he acted further. He turned around and lined up his flanks with the door. He leaned forward onto his forelegs and gathered his hind legs to kick. He bucked the door as hard as he dared and a scream sounded out from within as the door was thrown off its hinges. He spun around as the door fell to the floor just in front of the mares within the room.

“What in Celestia's name?!” One of them screamed.

Their eyes were wide as he came to stand in the doorway, his orange eyes bright. A pale blue Earth Pony with green eyes, a white mane, and a pot and pan cutie mark stared at him. One of the mares was the one that had been leading him around earlier in the day. The third mare was staring at him, her body trembled occasionally as she watched him. He knew that she was the one who tried to spy on him by the burns on her legs. The rest of her body was green with a magnifying glass cutie mark. He lowered his head and a growl tore from him. The mares huddled together at the sight before them. He had no doubt that they were terrified, they trembled openly as he stood before them. His ears flicked as the drum of hooves caught his attention. He cast a glance over his shoulder as the guards from before appeared, no doubt they had heard the door being bucked off its hinges.

“Get away from them!” He listened carefully as the one that spokes voice trembled slightly. “You are going to the dungeons for questioning.”

He looked back over his shoulder and gave them a slight smile. “I think not.” He said to them as magic covered him and he vanished once more.

“What in Equestria! Where did he go? Lockdown the hallway!” They yelled.

He moved silently away from the door and moved to stand a few feet in front of the small group of mares. He watched as the mares all waited for the coast to clear before they slowly pulled Second Sight to her hooves.

“Come on Second Sight. Let’s get your burns treated.”

The two that were uninjured moved toward the door and were nearly in front of him when they pause to look over their shoulders to the other mare. He stepped forward and side passed to the right and moved to stand behind them, in front of the injured mare.

“You’re not going anywhere.” He said as he allowed his body to appear, the magic fading.

The mare cried out and she pitched back as he reached out and his claws gripped her mane tightly. He knew that he could have easily held her with magic but he chose to keep it hidden in the face of many ponies close by. He lifted her by her mane and she squirmed as he held her aloft her hooves no longer touching the ground.

“Who do you think you are to try to get me arrested?” He questioned.

She looked at him, her eyes angry and her mouth set. “You’re going to hurt the Princesses.” She snarled.

He nearly scoffed as her magic flared and she stared as his own magic flowed and covered her horn erasing her own magic. She stared at him as it faded and she simply hung by her mane in the air. Her eyes had narrowed to pinpricks as she glared at him.

“What makes you think I have any desire to do them harm?” He asked her, his head gave a slight tilt as he spoke.

“You’re a stranger here. You humiliated Princess Luna already and… And you’re not a normal pony.” She argued, even as her arguments fell flat.

He said nothing as she glared at him. “So you’re angry that I fought her fairly and then slapped her across the flank with the blunt of my sword?”

“Yes! Well… There’s more but I don’t have to explain anything to you.” She sneered.

“That is enough!”

Oblivion pinned his ears when he had heard the thunder of hooves from behind him. He looked over his shoulder as Luna came into the doorway, her eyes furious. He watched as she stormed into the room and came to stand at his side.

“Thou have my deepest apologies Oblivion Shadow. We did not think that thees visit would be met with such animosity. We are deeply troubled by this development and beg thy forgiveness for this development.” The Alicorn said to him, her head lowered.

“There is nothing to forgive Luna. Not even you can foresee everything that can happen at any one time.” He replied as he lowered the errant mare to the floor and set her down in front of them. “I did not think my actions would be construed so wrong. Otherwise, I would have acted differently during our match.”

“Thou were going easy on us as it was. We do not wish thou to change anything.” She replied with a growing smile.

“What will you do with this one?” He asked as he looked down at the clerk.

“What indeed,” Luna said as a growl grew under her words. “Thou have shamed us before a dear friend. One of the ponies that is responsible for returning us to thee.” The mare stared up at her, her eyes wide. “If thou would not mind, Oblivion Shadow?”

He caught the look she gave the medallion around his neck and nodded in reply. He summoned the armor and it flowed over his body. The silver armor slid into place and its luster gave off a faint light in the soft light of the room. The Witcher said nothing in reply as the burned mare stared openly.

“This is the stallion who represents the Element of Spirit. One of the Elements of Harmony. Thou tried to have him thrown into or dungeon as a traitor!” Luna thundered and the stallion felt the ground shudder at her volume. “Oblivion Shadow! Our friend is not to be thrown into our dungeons. I will not hear of such an act.”

“What is going on dear sister? I can hear your Royal Canterlot voice on the other side of the castle.” The Sun Princess said as she came into the room, her eyes falling on the black Pegasus. “Oblivion? I would have thought you would be asleep by now.” She said as she approached and drew up on the other side of her sister. Her eyes went wide at the sight of the mare in front of them. “Second Sight! What happened to you?”

Oblivion looked at the white Alicorn as he replied to her question. “I happened to her. I am the one that caused the burns to her legs.” The mare looked at him a clear question in her gaze. “She had teleported into my room and was hiding behind an illusion when I found out she was there. I used one of my Signs to attack her and she fled. I followed her and found her here after she had sent a group of guards after me, they should be standing outside.”

Celestia looked back to the door and she could see the soldiers standing outside the doorway. “By the Goddess what could you have possibly been accused of that would draw their attention?”

“This one.” He said as he pointed a hoof to the burned mare. “Believes that due to her own beliefs and the fact that I defeated Luna in out sparring match that my purpose is to harm the pair of you and perhaps all of Canterlot.” He replied.

“He would never harm us sister. Thou know this well.” Luan interjected before her elder sister could speak.

Celestia nodded at her. “You are right little sister.”

“He is our friend and the only pony who treats us as a pony rather than a monarch. We will…” Luna started to say more when her sister’s giggle stopped her.

“Calm down, Luna. Of course, I believe in him as well. The Element of Spirit would not have chosen him if he were out to harm others. There is no danger of him being held in our dungeons. I don’t think there is a cell that we have that could hold him anyway.” She said with a wide smile.

“We doubt it.” Luna agreed. “A Witcher is not meant to be held in chains.”

He considered what they had said and he shook his head in agreement. “I would not submit to a dungeon unless I choose to.”

“Thou are our friend and thou are in no danger of being placed in a cell.” The blue Alicorn said to him.

He gave a slight nod to her in thanks and the mare, Second Sight stared at each of them in turn. Celestas stepped forward and her eyes took on a harder glint as she looked down at the mare.

“You can go back to your room to rest Oblivion. I am sorry that your rest was interrupted this evening. You sparred with my sister to your victory and you must have needed to rest after that.” She said as she looked down at the mare.

“It is no trouble. I warn you that the room is actually a bit scorched and while I put out the fire it is a bit damaged.” He admitted as an afterthought.

“That would make sense since you used fire against Second Sight. No doubt it smells of smoke as well.” She said and her head gave a slight tilt as a thoughtful look spread over her face. “Please let me have a new room prepared for you.”

“It’s not a problem. I have slept among worse and the scent of smoke will not bother me.” He began but the mare looked back at him and he paused at the look she was giving him. “But if you insist I will acquiesce.”

“One moment.” She said to him. “Treats?”

Her voice carried just enough to be heard out the door if the need came and he watched as a mare came into the room and stood, waiting for instructions. The mare was a light brown with a cream-colored mane and tail with a cake for a cutie mark.

“Can you show him to the Royal Wing and have his things moved to that room? I think room Eighty-four is open and would suit him.” Celestia said to the mare, who nodded.

He watched as the mare, Treats, turned back to the door and two ponies that had been with her came forward at a look from her. “You, go to his room and check for any of his belongings.” She turned to the Unicorn. “Ensure the bedding and other items are fresh and ready for him before we arrive. Move to room eighty-four. Go.”

Both ponies scrambled back away from her and they raced out the door. She came back to the Pegasus and bowed her head and motioned for him to follow her. He fell in at her heels and she led him carefully through the small crowd and down the hall.


He looked up as they reached a set of ornate purple and white doors. She pulled a key off of her belt and used it to open the doors. “Normally a Unicorn uses their horn to open the door. I use a key but you will only need to place a hoof on the door for it to know who you are. Please place a hoof on the door.”

He put his hoof against the door and he felt a coolness go over his hoof and he fought against pulling away from the door. The mare waited for several seconds before she motioned for him to remove his hoof from the door and then follow her once more. He stayed a foot behind her to avoid stepping on her heels.

“Most of the Royal Family lives in this wing and those who the Princesses have deemed to be worthy of a room here. This room will be yours from now on. Whenever you visit it will be ready for you to use as you wish. We will ensure that it is kept clean and ready for when you arrive and wish a place to sleep for the night.” She said to him as she led him down the hall.

He managed to bite back his disagreement about the room being held for him but he chose to let it go. He had a feeling that even if he argued it would be either ignored or argued with. He looked at the doors that were set a way apart and each one was different. Various curie marks and colors adorned each door. She led him up to a set of doors that were open and she paused in front of them before she turned to face him.

“Here we are. Please give me a moment to ensure that the room has been prepared and is ready for you to rest n.” She said to him as she bowed her head to him.

He gave a slight nod and she quickly spun on her heels and trotted into the room. He reached out and his hoof gripped the door and he pushed it away from the wall, allowing him to look at it. The door was a bright silver with black borders. He looked over as the Unicorn from before came out the door and he seemed to be staring at the marking on Oblivions flank. He was about to say something about the look she was getting when the Unicorn turned to the door and pushed them both shut. His horn lit as magic covered the doors and Oblivion was forced to look away at the bright light that came from the doors.

“There.” The Unicorn breathed out.

Oblivion looked at the doors and he could see that his marking had been projected onto the doors and was now emblazoned on them. He bit back a groan and watched as the doors were once more opened and the Unicorn jumped back inside. He could hear quiet speaking as the mare issued orders and the pair of ponies rushed to finish what she commanded of them. They rushed out the door and down the hall and Treats came out to stand in front of the open doors.

“It is ready. We will finish it up properly in the morning when you are out of the room. Kindly excuse the lack of personalization of your own preferences for the time being. Please rest well.” She said as she once more bowed her head to him and he nodded back at her.

He looked into the room as the mare waited for him to go inside. He walked into the room and found his saddlebags sitting on the bed, waiting for him to move them where he wished them to be. He turned to the doors and he watched as the mare gently closed them behind him and he heard her trot away. The Witcher was silent as he turned back to the bed and his claws reached out for the strap of his saddlebags and he held them aloft as he looked around the room. It was almost a mirror image of the one he had started out with earlier so he barely was any changes. He noticed that it was slightly bigger than the first room but other than that it was the same.

“Well. This will do. It seems I’m stuck with it even beyond tonight.” He groused.

His claws gripped the strap and he leaned back on his haunches as he walked three-legged to the chest at the end of the bed and he set his saddlebags on top of it. His magic flowed over him as he used it to see if there was any pony near him or if there were any spies in the room. He found nothing and the magic faded and the aqua mist that it left behind faded to nothing. The Witcher unbuckled his swords and laid them on the bed close to where he would be laying. He moved to the head of the bed and pushed the blankets back as he slid under them. He folded his legs under him and his wings flopped to the sheets and he laid his head down as he pulled the blanket over his back. He closed his eyes and allowed his mind to go blank as he fell asleep.


He awoke to the sun coming through the windows. He opened one eye for a moment before he grumbled and turned to face the other direction. He pulled the blanket over his head and laid still under the covers of the darkness of the blanket. Minutes ticked past him and he finally sighed in defeat. He knew himself well enough to know that once he had awoken he would not be able to go back to sleep. Even though he knew that about himself that did not stop him from trying every time he did not wish to be awoken. It would be nearly impossible for him to go back to sleep now.

He growled and threw the blankets back and slid out of the bed. His hooves hit the carpet and he shook himself free of any lingering sleep. He walked into the bathroom and used the brush that had been provided to brush out his mane and tail and he looked over his wings for any damaged feathers as he replaced his mane into the tie. He spun on his heel and walked out of the bathroom and back toward the bed. He decided that remaining in Canterlot would be a waste of time and his magic flared as he started to summon a scroll to write to Luna. He allowed the magic to fade when he realized that simply sending her a note might be considered rude to the mare. He strapped his swords to his back and moved to leave the room. He pushed open one of the doors and walked out and pushed the door closed behind him. He started to head down the hall when his medallion shuddered. His ears flicked as an angry voice caught his attention.

“Damned leeches! That’s all they are. I’m just a platform for them to increase their own standing.” A male voice called out and Oblivion listened closely. “They don’t see… Me. They refuse to see the pony behind the title. All they want is what they can take from me. I’m adopted by Auntie Celestia, I’m not a Prince by blood. All they want from me is what I can give them to increase their own standing. That’s all they see.”

Oblivion moved to draw closer to the source of the voice and he drew up next to a slightly ajar door. His ears were trained forward to listen as his hooves were silent on the flooring. He looked through the slight gap in the door and his hoof carefully pushed it open wider allowing him to see the pony inside the room. His Sight showed him a pony that was being drowned in anger and sorrow. He could see other things such as malice and pain but chiefly it was sorrow and anger. The pony turned to the door and Oblivion pulled his head back swiftly.

“Oh, Blue Blood when can I meet the Princess? Will you take me to her? I would so love to meet her.” The stallion’s voice was pitched to mock the voice of a mare. “That’s all they ever ask from me.”

Oblivion leaned forward to look through the gap once more. He looked past the colors that were leeching off the pony to see what the stallion looked like past them. He saw a creamy white coat with blond hair and a golden four-point star on top of a dark blue four-pointed star. He was wearing a white collar around his neck, Oblivion assumed it was meant to be more formal. He had never seen such a collar so he was currently unsure what it was called if it even had a name.

He felt his medallion shuddering against his neck and he looked down at it. He backed up just enough to stay out of sight but he could still hear if anything was said. He watched as he realized that the medallion as not shuddering it was the Element that surrounded it. ‘Perhaps the Element knows something that I don’t? Or it can see what is lost on me?’ He thought to himself. He called on the armor and it slid easily over his body and settled into place on his body. The black Pegasus leaned forward and looked through the gap once more.

The white pony’s head had lowered until it was barely above the ground. Oblivion’s eyes widened at what he saw. Standing, or hovering, beside the pony was a dark shape. It reminded Oblivion of some of the wraiths that he had fought before. Though its current appearance was not immediately familiar to him. His eyes narrowed and his vision focused on the wraith. Its body was tall and thin and resembled a human up to its arms, which were unnaturally long and ended in wicked long claws. Its shoulders were narrow and its head was thin and gaunt. A pair of horns rose up from the top of its head and curved back till they looked like they were touching the back of its head. Oblivion suddenly realized that he knew of a creature that was similar to this one. It was called a Hym, which feeds on the guilt and pain of its victim. Oblivion himself had only seen one a few times in his life.

“What could it be feeding off of?” He whispered, his voice barely above a whisper.

As if sensing his uncertainty his armor tightened around him. The crown came forward and a piece of it covered his eyes. He pulled his head back and reached a hoof up to try to pull it out of his eyes. Everything around him went black. His head went forward as he tried to shake it off his head, and a bright light off to the side caught his attention. The aura around the white pony was pulsing. Oblivion turned his head as the colors brightened then faded out. He watched as the Wraith fed off the pony's emotions.

‘His sorrow and pain. That's what it’s feeding off. Interesting so this armor can see more clearly when needed. That pony is in danger. That thing feeds off him too much and it could prove fatal. Though if it is anything like a Hym it won’t kill its host, it might just plunge him into a constant depression to keep that food source going. Hmm. There has to be an emotion that can drive that back. Maybe not destroy it completely but slow it down. I’ve seen love do incredible things but I can’t think of a good way to bring that about. I don’t even know who this pony is. There has to be something else… Maybe a friend could help. But who in this castle would be suitable? They can’t know that they are trying to help him.’ Oblivion paused and brought his head back. His magic pulled the armor back into its normal place, as he tried to consider his options.

He suddenly sighed. “I suppose I am the best option. Though this will prove difficult since I am a novice in this aspect as well. But perhaps that is exactly what is needed.” He whispered.

He pulled his head back for a moment while he cursed silently and then moved into the doorway and pushed it open. “Pardon me.”

The white pony jumped in surprise and bumped into the window sill. He turned an outraged eye to the black Pegasus that had come into his room. “How dare you invade my space? You uncouth foal! Do you know who I am?”

“No.” Oblivion replied, his voice bland.

The stallion stopped his rage short at the blunt response. “Are you serious?”

“I truly have no idea who you are.” He replied.

He had heard his name but it did not ring any bells in his memory. The stallion seemed to be too shocked to be angry now that he was watching the Witcher closely.

“By Equestria. You serious.” He finally breathed out.

Oblivion gave a short nod. “I apologize for interrupting your ranting but I overheard you and you seemed angrier than most. I may not be a normal pony of any station for you to converse with but I have been told I know how to listen.”

“Wait.” The pony stared at him. “How much did you overhear?”

“I heard from when you said something about leeches.” He replied.

The pony lowered his head as he sighed and a groan pulled from him. “So you overheard most of it.”

Oblivion took a step further into the room and nodded in silence. “I will keep my silence if that is your concern.”

“And In exchange?” The pony asked him, his voice miserable.

“I require nothing in reply.” The pony looked at him, his gaze is suspicious. “My silence costs nothing aside from agreeing to listen to you if you wish me to. Each of us has our demons, it is not my place to blame you for yours.”

“Who are you?”

“I am Oblivion Shadow. I apologize for not introducing myself sooner."

“You’re the stallion that Aunt Luna brought here.”

“She asked me to Canterlot for a sparring match yesterday. I joined her for coffee once our match was finished.” He informed him. “And you are?”

“Oh. My apologies. I am Prince Blue Blood.” He replied and gave a slight bow of his head.

“You still seem to be troubled. If you wish we can walk and I will listen. Unless you wish to wallow in despair longer?”

Blue Blood balked at his tone for a moment before he considered the offer. “I… I think I will take you up on your offer.”

The white pony walked up to him as the Pegasus turned to leave the room. Oblivion led him out into the hallway and the Prince closed the doors behind them. He looked nervously at the Witcher and he seemed to be unsure of how to proceed than before. He gulped quietly as Oblivion turned to lead him down the hallway.

“I suppose explaining why I was so upset is a good start to our conversation?” He said, his voice low and quiet.

“I could also guess,” Oblivion replied.

The pony halted for a moment before he jumped to get back in place at the Witcher's side. “That will not be necessary.” He quickly replied as he shook his head. “But…”

“Hmm?”

“What do you think is the issue?” He asked, his voice quieter than before.

Oblivion breathed in and looked ahead of them. “You wish for a pony to treat you as though you are not a Prince of Equestria. You have created a shield over your true self as a way to protect yourself from the ones that wish to use you for their own purposes.” He began and the Prince's eyes were wide as he went on. “You used this shield to hide behind but at the same time, you crave a pony that can see past it and then has the desire to get to know the pony you truly are. But so far no pony has shown any desire to see past it.”

The Pegasus stopped after several strides when he realized that he had left the stallion several feet behind him. He stopped and looked over his shoulder to see Blue Blood staring wide-eyed at him.

“How close was I?” He asked.

Blue Blood breathed out a shaky breath as he slowly walked up to rejoin the other stallion. “You’re good.” He admitted. “I had thought I was hiding things completely. How could you know all of that? We have only known each other for less than five minutes.”

Oblivion began to walk forward once more with the Prince at his side. “I have been taught to see beyond the obvious. I am many things Blue but I am not blind. I understand what it is to try to hide who you truly are behind a mask of indifference and trying to portray yourself as unshakable. You fear ponies knowing what is hiding under your mask because you fear their rejection.” Blue Blood breathed out a breath and shook his head for a moment before the Pegasus went on. “I have spent much of my life looking behind the masks that ponies wear and see what they wished to hide from me. I look for the truth that tries to hide from those around them.”

Blue Blood stayed with him as he looked down at the floor as their hooves carried them forward. A minute ticked past him as he brought his head back up and Oblivions cast a glance at him.

“Your right.” He admitted his voice quiet. “I try to keep them back by pushing them away. It normally works perfectly but you don’t seem affected by it at all.”

“Some ponies can see beyond it while others do not get the point of it.”

“Exactly. Most of them get the point and stay away. But every now and then… They just get the point.” He growled. “They are so focused on what they want to get from me that they do not see what I want.”

Oblivion looked back over the pony's shoulder as the creature leaned over the pony and his orange eyes fell back to the white pony. The stallions were silent as they came to stand close by a balcony. Oblivion moved to stand on the balcony and Blue Blood joined him, his head lowered.

“If it helps I am willing to see beyond your mask. I am only one pony perhaps that is a start.” Oblivion said to him.

Blue Bloods' head came up as his eyes stared at the Pegasus. Oblivion watched as the creature reeled back at the sudden change in its host. “I would...” He started but he quickly looked away and the monster leaned over him once more. “Surely you have better things to do than coddle me.”

“I am not busy, Blue,” Oblivion assured him. “It would be foolish to leave you and allow you to falter as you are.” He replied. “I know of several mares who would… I recall your name now.”

“Now you recall it?” Blue said to him.

“A mare that I know had mentioned wishing to meet you.” He replied as Blue looked sour at the mention of the mare's wish. “Be at ease. She is not after your title. If I know her half as well as I think I do then she has not desired your help to spread her own desires.”

“You mean that?”

“Yes. She is called Rarity and she is the Element of Generosity.” He went on and explained the mare to the other.

Blue Blood looked hopefully for a moment before the monster leaned further over him and he seemed to rescind once more. “She no doubt is…”

“You’re tossing her aside before you give her the chance to know you.” Oblivion pointed out. “I know her enough to tell you that she will see what I do.”

The pony seemed to take heart in his words and he looked at the Pegasus. “Do you know her well enough to say that though, with confidence?”

“I know her well enough. I have only recently come to this area. She is one of the first ponies that I have met here. I have spent all of my life traveling and through that, I have learned to trust my judgment when it comes to the temperament of ponies I meet. She is a mare with class and it shows through her actions.” He looked to the white pony who was now listening intently to his words. “I have your attention now.”

Blue Blood looked down at the floor as a soft blush lit his face before it faded. “I admit that I am interested in meeting her after what you have said of her.”

“She might be the one to help you the most,” Oblivion added.

“I get the feeling that she is not in Canterlot though.”

“No. You would be right in thinking that. She is in Ponyville.” He replied and the stallion’s eyes fell back to watching the floor. “But that is not so far when you think of it.”

They stood in silence for several seconds before Blue Blood sighed and nodded in agreement. Oblivion considered how to help them speak to each other and he was reminded that he had a spell to send letters between himself and others. He found himself looking at the Unicorn and considering the merits or drawbacks of the Prince's learning of his magical ability. He breathed out a quiet sigh and raised his head to look at the pony with him.

“I am going to trust you as well with something that only your Aunts are aware of.” He said and the pony looked at him, his ears intent on what was being said. “I may be a Pegasus but allow me to show you something that will allow you to contact Rarity as well through me.”

He stood in silence as magic flowed from him and the symbol appeared on his forehead and the Prince stared as a scroll and quill appeared in the aqua aura. He stared at the mist that flowed off of the magical aura. Oblivion scrawled nonsense onto the scroll and with a flash, it vanished and then reappeared a moment later.

“I can send and receive letters from those I choose. I cannot send a letter directly to Rarity but you will be able to send it to me and I can give it to her. Through me, you will be able to contact her.” He explained.

Blue stared as the magic faded and vanished as if it had never been there. “You can use magic? You’re a Pegasus who can use magic.” He whispered out as his eyes were wide and staring.

“Yes.”

“How is that possible?”

“I do not know.” He replied and gave a slight shrug of his shoulders.

“I can’t believe it but I have seen that it’s true.” He muttered and he looked up at the Pegasus. “Okay. I trust I should keep this to myself?”

“I would ask that you do.”

“I see.” Blue nearly stumbled over the words as he spoke. “Okay I‘m with you I suppose. My Aunts already know?”

“Yes. They have seen it first hoof.” He assured him.

Blue Blood nodded and Oblivion could see the Hym back up from the pony’s body. Oblivion looked past him to the sun and his magic flared as he brought out a new scroll and quill and wrote a note saying he would be late to Applejack. His magic faded and he waited as Blue Blood breathed in a deep breath and opened his mouth to speak. The white pony startled as a flash of magic went out as a reply came to the black Pegasus.

‘What about Apple Blooms School at noon?’

Oblivion stared at the scroll for a moment before he closed his eyes. “Shit.” He said as the scroll was incinerated in his magic. He allowed it to fade as he looked at the Prince. “Do you happen to know where Luna or Celestia is?”

“Aunt Luna should be asleep at this hour,” Blue replied, his tone cautious. “Aunt Celestia should be at court or in a meeting. Why?”

“I am needing to leave soon and I have not said my goodbyes to Luna or her elder sister. So could I trouble you to lead me to Celestia?”

Blue looked uncertain for a moment before he strengthened and nodded. “Come with me.”

The black Pegasus fell in at the other stallion’s hip as he led him forward. They weaved through the hallways and were soon at a set of doors. Blue looked over at him and motioned to the door with his horn.

“She should be in there with several members of the court. If you are going to get back to Ponyville by a certain time then you must get to train in time.”

“I do not need the train.”

“How do you plan on getting back there then?”

“I will teleport as I did yesterday.”

Blue nodded in understanding and after a moment he went still as his head slowly turned to look at the Pegasus. “What?”

“I will teleport back. I have a commitment at noon that I cannot be late for.” He explained.

“You can teleport that far?”

“Yes.” He said as he approached the doors and his hooves gripped them as he pushed them open.

“Oh no…” Blue whispered as he reached for the black Pegasus’s saddlebags.

His hooves missed as Oblivion moved forward and several sets of eyes turned to look at him. He stopped just inside the doorway and he saw the Alicorn as she looked at him, her eyes laughing.

“My apologies but I need a moment of your Princesses time.” He said to them as he moved into the room and walked behind them to reach her.

The room erupted in noise as he reached her. He waited for the noise to die down enough for her to hear him before he spoke to her. He was tempted to close their mouths as he had done with AJ before but his magic would have been on display if he did such an act.

“Please tell Luna that I greatly enjoyed my time with her but I was reminded that I have a previous commitment that I must return to Ponyville for. Can you pass that along to her? I do not wish to awaken her if she is resting.”

Celestia smiled and nodded at him. “I would be happy to.”

“You have my thanks.” He said to her as he spun on his heel to leave the room behind.

He rejoined Blue Blood outside the room and the stallion as simply staring at him as the doors were kicked close by his hind leg. “Did you really just ask her to pass along a message for you?”

“I did yes.” He said as he moved past the stunned Royal. “Keep up Blue.”

The Prince jumped to stay with him and he stayed by the Pegasus as they moved through the castle. He was working on figuring out how to allow Blue Blood to send him a letter without him being close by. He was able to send to Applejack but that was due to him have magical contact with her before. He nearly paused as he realized that all he needed to do was connect the magic through Blue Blood as he had done with the farm mare.

“We need a good spot for me to teleport without being seen. I also think I have figured out how to allow you to send me letters without them having to be delivered by somepony else.”

“The menagerie would probably work. Very few ponies go there unless they have to. This way.” Blue said as he quickened his stride and Oblivion remained at his hip.

They reached the menagerie and Blue Blood drew up into a separate section of it that was covered on all sides allowing it to be fairly private. “Here we are.”

Oblivion reached out his hoof and set it on the stallion's shoulder and his magic flowed from him and it layered over the other pony’s body and the magic began to gather against Blue's horn and he managed not to jump away as it seemed to seep into the horn. The magic faded and Oblivion set his hoof back on the ground.

“That should work. Hold the letter in your own magic and then think of me and it should connect to it and send it directly to me.”

Bleu looked at him and then to the ground and back to him. “Can you give me a scroll and quill?”

His magic flared as a scroll and quill appeared and the Prince took them from him. Blue motioned for him to follow as he moved to the side of the clearing.

“What's wrong?”

“I am trying to think of what to say to Miss Rarity but I find myself at a loss for words.” He admitted with a sheepish glance.

Oblivion barked a laugh. “Just tell her the truth. She will no doubt appreciate your honesty. Tell her what you have told me and she will no doubt understand you. Try being yourself. I know it is harder than it sounds but for a moment, put aside the shield and mask and write.”

The Prince nodded and set about his writing. Oblivion moved away to avoid seeming as though he was reading what he was writing. He was surprised to see animals that normally would avoid him coming closer. A very large cat with tawny fur and paws larger as his hooves walked slowly up to him. It was easily as large as most dogs that he had dealt with that weighed a few stones at the lightest. He remained still due to the impressive size of the cat. Normally cats hissed and backed away, their backs arched. He watched as it came up and started nosing his right foreleg. The cat sat in silence and Oblivion moved his claws out of his right hoof and scratched the cat's chin. He was even more surprised when it began to grumble a purr at the scratching. He saw Blue Blood out of the corner of his eye and he sheathed his claws just in case. The big cat rumbled still and grabbed his hoof when he stopped. The cat saw the other Unicorn and growled as it ran off.

“None of the animals are used to ponies so I’m a bit shocked that one came up to you,” Blue admitted as he joined him.

“As am I. Cats usually hate me,” Oblivion commented. “Have you finished?”

“Yes. But I admit that I am nervous that it will not be enough to explain myself to her.” He said as his magic held the letter aloft. “I hope she can what I meant when I told her that I do not wish her to know me only as a Prince of Equestria.”

Oblivion set a hoof on his shoulder in support. “Rarity is not a foolish mare. I will not ask what you spoke of to her as it is your business and hers. Give the letter a try.”

Blue Blood looked at the letter in his magic and his magic flared as it vanished and he stared as it reappeared in Oblivions aura a moment later. Oblivion nodded in approval and his magic set the letter in his saddlebag. It faded out and he addressed the Prince.

“It has been a pleasure to meet you Blue Blood. I look forward to our next conversation. Until then I need to see to my other obligations.” He said to him.

“The pleasure has been mine Oblivion. I admittedly feel better after speaking with you. I was not sure how to treat you when you found me in my quarters but I am glad that you did. Till next time.” Blue said back to him.

“Till then.”

Oblivions magic flowed over him as he focused on where he wished to teleport and his eyes closed as the magic gathered and he vanished in a flash of magic.


Blue Blood stared at where the Pegasus had once been and he found himself staring at the spot. He found himself shaking his head in disbelief at the feat that had been performed.

“Quite the feat is it not, Nephew?”

He spun on his heel to see Princess Luna walking toward him. “Yes, it was. I was not certain when he assured me that he would be able to accomplish it. I was certain he was telling tales.” He replied.

“Are you alright Nephew?” The Moon Princess suddenly asked him.

“Yes. Why?”

“Thou seem lighter. Not that we are not glad to see the change. It is good to see thou smiling as our sister had commented that thou seemed melancholy. She was worried that thou did not seem to wish for any company recently. Is there a reason for the pleasant change?”

He fell silent as he thought over the events of the morning. “I think I may have made a friend.” He admitted.

Luna smiled and she came up to stand beside him. “Oh?”

“He didn’t give the impression that he was telling me what I wanted to hear as most have before him. There was no lie.” He said to her.

“He is full of surprises. He is also one of the Elements of Harmony.”

“He is?” He asked as his eyes went wide. “I knew he mentioned that he knew one of them but I did not think he was among them.”

“He is not one to boast of it.” She admitted. “We assure you we speak the truth. He wears the Element with him at all times. If thou had known thou could have asked him to prove it.” She said with a light laugh.

He shook his head in further disbelief as the mare chuckled. “I had no idea.”

“We are glad to hear about your new friend.” She said to him. “He is our first real friend as well.”

He looked at her as she smiled warmly at him. “Thank you, Aunt Luna.”

10: Storytime with a Witcher

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He opened his eyes as the front of the barn filled his vision. A startled yelp sounded off to the side of him and he looked to find Applejack staring at him from the side of the barn. He looked up as Applejack and Twilight both looked at him from the farmhouse.

“Ya’ll need ta warn a gal afore ya reappear like that.” She said as she put a hoof against her chest.

“My apologies.” He said to her.

“Ya ready ta head to the school ta meet with Apple Bloom's class?”

“I will be once in a moment." He replied.

“Ya don’t hurry yer gonna be late.” She advised.

“I know.”

“Hi, Oblivion.” Twilight greeted. “You seem like you’re in a hurry?”

“I am speaking to Apple Bloom's class in a bit and I might need a bit of magical help.” He replied.

“Oh?”

“Can you blunt my sword?” He asked her.

“Why would you need me to…? Oh.” She replied. “You can’t use magic around other ponies and using my magic will be easier than using your own. I get it. Okay, I can blunt it easily enough. How long do you want it to be blunted?”

“An hour or so. Just long enough to keep it from being able to cut a foal.” He responded.

“Okay, I can do that,” Twilight said to him as he pulled the weapon from his back and her magic gripped it carefully in her aura.

He moved to the front door and trotted up the stairs and into his room. He pulled his cloak from within the same wardrobe. The Witcher tossed it onto his back and it settled to cover the swords that were on his back. He moved out of the room and went back outside to rejoin the mares. Twilight was still holding the sword in her magic as he watched as a cover seem to go over the weapon. The cover slipped over the weapon and he watched as its normal luster dulled for a moment before it was restored.

“There. That should do it.” She said to him as she carried the sword back to him.

“Thank you.” He said as the sword was placed in his hoof.

He slipped the blade back into the scabbard and moved the cloak to hide them. He looked to the mares and they nodded in approval at his appearance. His mane was tied tightly in place as he shook his head for a moment before he turned to the front gate.

“Better hurry up.” Applejack said to him. “Ya might need ta run there.”

“I know.”

He broke into a trot as he moved toward the gate and once he passed through it he lunged into a gallop and his hooves covered the ground as he moved. He raced forward and his pace was ground eating as he focused on his destination. Dust kicked up behind him as his hooves were remarkably silent on the dirt path despite his pace. His orange eyes fell on the rapidly growing schoolhouse and he slid to a halt outside the gates. He moved through the gate and neared the front door. The sound of small hooves drummed inside the school and the front door was thrown open to reveal Apple Bloom smiling wide at the sight of him.

“Yer here!” She shouted, glee in her voice.

She jumped down the few small steps and came to him and her hoof gripped his right foreleg. He allowed her to drag him forward and he walked three-legged behind her. Once he was inside he looked at the mare that was smiling at the filly’s antics. Her eyes connected with his and she tipped her head to the back of the classroom. He gave her a slight nod of understanding and he pulled his foreleg free of the filly’s grip and he moved to the back of the room. He could see the foals who had turned in their seats to stare at him.

“Everypony, please face forward,” Cheerilee said to them, her voice gentle.

Several of the foals groaned but they did as she had asked of them. He scanned the room and his gaze fell on the filly that he had seen teasing Apple Bloom. Her spirit was muted and subdued compared to the others in the room. His curiosity was piqued as he looked at her for several seconds but he ultimately decided that she was not in a condition that he would need to interfere. He had stepped in with Blue Blood due to the severity that he had seen. While the filly was muted in comparison to her fellows he did not need to step in to help every sad pony that he came across.

He looked away from her and back to the front as he focused on what the mare was now teaching. If he was seeing it correctly it was a form of mathematics. He had never paid much attention to mathematics beyond what he needed to function day to day. His knowledge of the subject went as far as what he needed for his potions and decoctions, beyond that he did not know. While he was not sure what he was seeing on the chalkboard he knew that if he wished to know more than he could borrow a mathematics book from Twilight should the need arise. Minutes ticked past as the foals took notes and listened closely to her. A small bell sounded off on the desk and he startled slightly as the foals suddenly all spun in their chairs to look at him.

“Okay everypony,” Cheerilee said to them, laughter in her voice. “I know you’re all very excited for Mr. Shadow to speak today but you need to wait for Apple Bloom to introduce him first. Now everypony. Be quiet and respectful.”

Apple Bloom jumped from her seat and quickly walked down the short aisle to get to him. She reached out and gripped his foreleg once more and he followed behind her. She reached the front of the classroom with him on her heels and she turns to face the other foals. The black Pegasus said nothing as she patted his foreleg.

“Its mah pleasure ta introduce mah eldest brother, Oblivion Shadow.” She began.

“Isn’t Big Mac your oldest brother?” A spindly cream Pegasus interrupted.

“He is yeah. But Oblivion is older than ‘e is.” She explained. “He’s not from around here so ‘e can tell us about where he’s from and about bein’ somethin’ called a Witcher.” She looked up at him and he nodded to her as she went back to her seat.

He looked over the expectant faces of the foals as they were now focused entirely on him. “As she said I have only been in Equestrian for a few weeks now. To answer the immediate question a Witcher is a monster hunter. My purpose is to protect ponies from monsters when I am needed to, there are times when I protect the monster from ponies.” He explained. “We are meant to keep the peace between ponies and monsters and maintain that peace should it be needed.”

“You may ask questions of Mr. Shadow but be sure to tell him your name if he calls on you,” Cheerilee added as he nodded in agreement with her.

A grey filly with a darker grey mane that had a thick streak of light grey going through raised her hoof and waited for him to acknowledge her. “I’m Silver Spoon. What kind of monsters have you met?”

He looked thoughtful for a moment before he took the weight off one hind leg. “Many of the monsters that I will mention will not be ones that you have seen or heard about. But I have come across Leshens, various types of Trolls, Elementals, various Wraiths, Fiends, Chorts, and my fair share of Drowners. Each one is different and must be fought and handled differently.”

The foals gaped at him as the names of the monsters were indeed ones that they had never heard about before. He could see the curiosity in their eyes as the spindly foal from before raised his hoof and waved it in the air to get the black Pegasus’s attention. Oblivion tipped his head to him and the colt spoke.

“I’m Featherweight. What kind of monster have you helped before? You said you sometimes help them.”

“I did say that that’s true. Most recently I was called to a village by the alderman.” He paused at the confused looks that went over their faces and he clarified. “By the Elder of the village.” The foals nodded as understanding went over them. “They asked that I find out what was driving the ponies from one of the fields. I was able to ask around the village and none of the ponies were able to tell me much about what had frightened them. After they were not able to tell me anything I went out into the orchards to find out what was out there.” He went silent as several small hooves were thrust into the air.

A filly with various shades of purple in her mane and a greenish-blue coat looked at him, her eyes pleading. He nodded and she lowered her hoof back to her desk. “I’m Lily. Why didn’t the ponies help you?”

“It wasn’t that they did not help me as much as they were able. They were simply too frightened to get a good look at the monster. They did not get a good look at it and they were not able to give me a description of it. Their fears stopped them from trying to get closer and I did not blame them for it.” He explained. “They were afraid that it would hurt them or worse so they avoided the entire area.”

He turns his eyes to a colt with a short mane and tail, a deep green coat, and a pair of scissors for a marking waved his hoof in the air. “I’m Snips. Were you scared to find the monster?”

The Pegasus shook his head. “Fighting monsters is what I have been trained to do. Fear is not something that I concern myself with. While I’m sure fear is there for normal ponies it is not something that affects me, Witchers tend to ignore fear.” He lied as he did not know how to explain how his emotions had been removed to a group of foals.

A white foal with a light blue mane and tail was next to gain his attention. “I’m Shady Daze. How do you fight monsters?”

“I will get to that soon enough. Unless you wish for me to tell the story another time?” The foals lowered their hooves and fell silent as he waited for what they chose. “When I walked into the orchard I spent some time finding any tracks or anything else that might tell me what I was facing. The further into the orchard I went I began to hear something. The closer I got to it the more I came to realize that it was singing. Granted the sound was off-key and it sounded as though somepony was stomping through gravel but it was singing nonetheless.” He paused as they stared. “I saw the glow of a fire ahead of me and I moved forward carefully as I peered around the side of the tree to see what was there. Though I was not shocked by what I found I could see why ponies were afraid. It was a medium-sized rock Troll.”

The foals gasped and leaned forward in their chairs. He said nothing as they watched him closely. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Cheerilee paying close attention as well. “What I was hearing was actually the troll singing and that was why it sounded so off-key. I have met many Trolls and they are able to reason and if you talk to them they will usually talk to you. I knew that I could either attack it right away or I could choose to speak to it.”

“What did you do?” Apple Bloom asked.

He gave her a reproachful glance and she ducked down as she realized her outburst. “I chose to speak to it. I did pull my silver blade just in case it did attack me. I moved out from the tree and allowed the Troll to see me and it charged after a moment's delay.” The foals all leaned even further forward as he went on. “I jumped out of the way but it kept coming after me and I dodged it for a minute. I am able to cut it using the silver sword but I chose to wait and see what happened. The longer our fight went the more I began to notice that it did not seem to be trying to harm me. I realized that it was trying to scare me off and drive me away.”

A hoof hesitantly went up. A creamy white filly with thick glasses and a red mane looked at him and he nodded for her to go ahead and speak. “I’m Twist. Did it really attack you? But not hurt to you.”

“It did attack but it was not trying to harm me. An attack is more of a violent aggressive act and this was not exactly aggressive. It charged me but it never swung its arms to hit me and simply charged and then stopped and then charged again. I realized that I still have the choice to fight it or speak to it. So I gambled a little bit.”

“And?” Cheerilee said and she leaned back in her chair, embarrassed by her interruption.

“I put my sword away and stopped dodging its charge.” He said as the foal's eyes went wide. “It was a couple of feet away from me when it also stopped. It stopped and watched me for several seconds before I told it that I wished to talk, not fight. It accepted that I wanted to speak to it and we both relaxed and agreed not to attack each other. I asked it why it was frightening the local ponies and it took some time to think about it. After a minute of waiting it admitted that it was not trying to scare the ponies but it was trying to go home.” The foals all looked confused as he went on. “I realized that the Troll was not targeting ponies it was simply lost.”

The foals stared and blinked at him as he waited for them to question him. He was silent as several of the foals began to giggle and he gave a slight shrug.

“How could it be lost?” Diamond Tiara shrilled. “How stupid could it be?”

“Trolls are not the most advanced monsters in terms of raw intelligence. But they are able to recognize an insult if it’s thrown at them.” He replied and the filly shrunk in her chair. “It was simply confused and had gotten turned around within the orchard. I tried to tell it where to go but after several minutes of trying to explain things, I gave up and chose to simply lead it to the mountains that it was trying to get to. It took some time to lead the Troll to where it had been trying to go but it was done.” He informed them.

“So you made sure it was gone?” Snips asked and Oblivion nodded. “What did the ponies say?”

“The Troll was the first to thank me and I went back to the village. I informed them that the Troll was gone and they had nothing to fear from it now that I had removed it.” He said and the foals smiled as he finished.

“That was a wonderful story, Mr. Shadow. I’m sure the foals have many questions for you.” Cheerilee said as she clapped her hooves together.

“I will answer as best as I am able.” He looked away from the adult mare and he could see Apple Bloom straining to get his attention with her hoof high in the air. “Yes, Apple Bloom?”

“Ya said ya used a silver sword.” He nodded as she went on. “Do ya have it?”

“I carry it with me yes.” He replied. “I am trained to carry two different swords with me at all times. One is the silver sword I have mentioned and the other is a steel sword.”

The foal’s eyes widened as he rolled his shoulders and the pair of hilts poked out from under the black cloak that he wore. Their eyes were glued to the pair of hilts and he said nothing about them.

“I’m Snails. Can we see it?” A dark orange foal with a green mane and a snail marking asked.

Oblivion considered the question before he shook his head. “I thought you might wish to see it.” He said with a slight chuckle. “I can show you the steel sword but not the silver.”

“What? Just the one?” Apple Bloom asked, a slight whine in her tone.

“The silver sword is more dangerous to handle than the steel. I cannot allow the silver to be handled. Even among my own kind, we do not ask to handle the silverswords of each other. The steel can be handled easily enough but the silver is not meant to be gaped at. The silver is most often enchanted and has oils applied to it to make it more deadly than the steel.”

“Why is that?” Cheerilee asked him.

“The steel sword is meant to fight ponies. The silver is exclusively for monsters. Monsters are often more deadly than ponies so the silver is treated in a way that allows us to kill and remove monsters using the power it has.” He explained.

“So neither of them would be safe for them to look at,” Cheerilee stated.

“I thought ahead, just in case they asked to see them. The steel has been blunted by magic and has been rendered as safe as possible. The silver will remain in the scabbard.” He assured her.

The foals were now staring at the mare as she backed up a step at their gaze. He watched as she closed her eyes and sighed deeply. “Very well. Are you certain that it has been made safe?”

“I had Twilight look at it earlier and she was able to blunt it.” He replied. “I suppose I will have to walk it down the aisles?”

“That will take too long.” Apple Bloom groaned.

He gave her a look and she fell quiet. He looked around the room and realized that putting them in a circle would allow it to be passed easily from foal to foal.

“Can we put them in a circle?” He asked the Earth pony mare.

She looked curiously at him for a moment before understanding dawned on her. “Of course. Okay everypony. Put your desks in a circle for our guest.”

He watched as the foals quickly jumped from their desks and began to push them around the room. He waited as they moved and he stood in a gap to allow him to set the sword in place and keep a close eye on it as they passed it around. Once they had finished each foal jumped back into their desk and waited as they stared at him. He pulled the blade free of the scabbard and the foals stared as the weapon gleamed. The runes that were buried in the blade lit as the rune for fire flowed and lit the blade in red for several seconds before it faded to a dull glow.

“Oooooohhhhhhhh.” The foals all leaned forward as they watched the sword closely.

Cheerilee had gotten to her hooves from her desk and had come to his side to see the steel sword as well. “I have never seen a weapon like that before.” She said to him.

“It is native to my homeland. It has three runes buried within it. It also has oil burned into the blade to help make it sharper.” He replied.

A foal with a dark blue with a darker blue mane and a bow and arrow cutie mark raised his hoof and Oblivion looked at him. “I’m Archer. What are runes?”

“A rune is a small stone that can be buried within the blade if it has the openings for it. The effects of the runes vary depending on what their purpose is. For example, this weapon has a rune that represents fire. That is where it gets the coloring on the blade. If it activates it has the ability to set things on fire.” He said and he saw Cheerilee look at him her eyes wide. “Runes can have other elements buried within them as well. For example, some of them can use ice, poison, and other attributes.” He explained.

He laid the sword gently on the first desk and removed his hoof from it. The foals were staring at it and then at him as they waited for him to explain. Beside him, Cheerilee also waited for him to tell them what to do.

“Okay. You can pass it around easily. It looks like it should weigh a fair amount but it is in fact very lightweight. One of the runes buried in it helps with its weight.” He explained and the foal in the seat, Archer, reached out to the weapon and it slid toward him. “Wrong,” Oblivion said as he started to pick it up. “Put your hoof on the hilt and the other as far down the flat of the blade as possible. That will allow you to hold it easier without it dipping.”

The foal followed his directions and held the sword up so he could look closely at it. After a few seconds, he moved to pass it along to the next foal. The Witcher watched closely as the blade made the rounds to the foals. He remained close in case one of them dropped the sword, his body ready to move to keep it from hitting the ground.

“Can we see the silver too?” Featherweight asked. “I mean not the blade. But the rest of it.” He corrected himself at the look from The Witcher.

He considered the request for a moment before he reached under his belly and unbuckled the baldric. The baldric bumped his saddlebags that he had forgotten to put back in the wardrobe and he cursed himself for forgetting them. He brought it up and the foals stared at the silver encrusted scabbards. “You can see the scabbards, do not try to pull the silver out of its place or I will take both weapons away.” He warned as he set the baldric on the desk.

Silver Spoon stared at the bright silver scabbards and her hooves reached out and pulled it closer to her. He watched as she ran her hoof over the silver threading. He remained watchful as she slowly gave it to Diamond Tiara at her side. Symbols ran the length of the scabbards and the foals were entranced by the sight of them. He stayed back at the two weapons that were slowly passed around.

Apple Bloom raised her hoof once the steel had gotten to her desk and he nodded for her to go ahead. “Is it supposed ta be broken?”

“Come again?” He asked her quickly.

“The sword. It’s broken.” She stated and pointed.

He took two steps forward and reached her desk to look at where she was pointing. He was horrified to see the chip in the weapon and the hairline crack that went with it. He picked it up in his hoof and his orange eyes went over the weapon carefully. He scrutinized the crack for thirty seconds or more before he lowered it back to the desk.

“It’s not so dire that it cannot handle being handled right now. You can keep passing it around.” He said as he gave it back to the filly. He backed up to the place he had been standing and looked at their teacher. “Is there a forge in town?”

She looked thoughtful before she nodded. “I believe so. I don’t know where it is but Applejack might know.”

“I’ll ask her later about it, thank you.” He replied as he looked back to the foals.

He watched as they continued to happily pass the swords around and the steel sword was moved around a bit faster to get it closer to the baldric. It came back to Archer’s desk and the stallion picked them both up and slid the steel sword back into the scabbard and backed up to lean it against the teacher's desk. He would buckle it back in place when he needed to leave.

“Okay everypony. Move the desks back into line please.” Cheerilee called out.

The foals scrambled to do as she had asked and the desks were soon back in their original places. Once they were back in place and quiet she came to stand close by the stallion who had moved back to the front of the room.

“Does anypony have any last questions for Mr. Shadow before our time is up?” She asked.

The foals raised their hooves and the Witcher looked toward the back and pointed at a dark brown foal.

“Have you ever had to fight a monster for real?”

“Many times.” He replied, a bit surprised by the obvious question.

“What kind?” Archer cried out.

“A Leshen and a Forktail most recently.” He replied.

“What's a Leshen?” Apple Bloom asked.

“A Leshen is often called a woodland spirit or a wood guardian. They are found most often within the deep woods or areas that are thought to be too wild for ponies to live. They come in several types, usually depending on where they inhabit and their age. Some of them are as old as the woods they live in so they are commonly referred to as Ancient Leshen. The last ones I came in contact with were Ancient Leshens.” He informed them.

“Did you win the fight?” Silver Spoon asked.

He paused for a moment as he considered her question. ‘I can’t say I won or lost since I did wake up here.’ He thought to himself for a moment before responding to her. “Well… I can say neither of us won.”

“Can we see a rune?” Featherweight asked.

“How do you mean?” He asked.

“I mean, the type of rune it has?” She clarified as she pointed to the swords on his back.

“One moment.” He said as he reached into his saddlebag and looked back as he thought about what he wanted and he pulled out the rune he wanted. ‘Interesting’ He thought to himself as he brought it back around for the foals to see.

The greater fire rune gave off a slight red glow for a moment before it faded to nothing in his hoof. He walked up the filly and set the rune in her hooves. She held it up and looked closely at it as he motioned for her to pass it around. Diamond Tiara took the rune and she looked from it to the weapon. He could see the questions that flickered in her eyes as she finally looked up at him.

“How does it fit in it? It looks too big.” She asked.

“The runes shrink in size when you place them. When it is embedded in the blade you have to use a bit of force to place it. For example, when I placed the runes in that weapon I had to hold it against my leg and push to force the rune into place. With the right amount of force it shrank to fit the space that was built into the sword itself.” He explained.

Apple Bloom held up her hoof and waited for him to nod to her. “How many runes does it have?”

“In the steel sword?” She nodded and he looked over at the weapon. “It has three.”

“What ones are they? All of them are like that one?” Featherweight asked and pointed to the rune that was being passed around.

“Devana, Morana, Dazhbog.” He said and the foals and their teacher stared at him at the names he told them. “Devana can cause a wound to bleed more, Morana is poison, and Dazhbog is for flame.”

The foals looked at the steel sword and the silver that was leaned against the desk and then to him. “So it was bad to hold it?” Silver Spoon asked.

“No. The steel was blunted and protected. The runes themselves can only be activated if they are struck. Simply holding it will not activate them so far as I have seen. I have handled them many times and never had one activate against me.” He replied.

The black Pegasus watched as the rune made its way around the room to each foal. He reached back into the saddlebags and called on each of the other runes he had mentioned. They came into his hoof and he took them to a different foal and they began to make their way around the room as well. He watched as the foals seemed to be more attracted to the Morana rune with its slight green tinge rather than the more muted colors of the other two. Devana gave off a light red glow but did not seem to attract their attention more than Morana.

He watched as Apple Bloom put her hoof up once more and he looked at her to ask her questions.

“Our sis mentioned ya have armor too.” He nodded in affirmative to her and she went on. “Can we see it? Does it have runes too?”

“I don’t use it unless I need it and it does not have runes.” He supplied and he could see the disappointment in their eyes. “It does have several armor glyphs though.”

“What's that?”

“An armor glyph is similar to a rune in that it can be embedded in a piece of armor to enhance the attributes of the armor.” He supplied.

“What kind?” Snips shrilled.

He managed not to cringe at the shrillness of the colt’s voice. “In the armor, I use it has ten glyphs buried within it. It has two Mending, two Igni, two Aard, two Yrden, one Quen, and one Binding.” He replied as he gave the names of the glyphs, and the foals were now staring at him. “As a Witcher, I have the ability to use a skill we refer to as Signs. They are a minor form of magic that we are able to accomplish. We cannot do more than that though.” He explained.

“What do they all mean?” Diamond Tiara asked, for once appearing interested.

“The main glyphs are meant to allow my Signs to be stronger than what they would be normally. Mending does exactly what it sounds like. It allows healing to be faster than normal. On a Witcher it means we heal much faster than we would normally. We have our natural regeneration so it speeds that up greatly.”

“So you heal faster than the rest of us?” Lily asked him.

“Exactly.” He replied.

The foals talked quietly amongst themselves for a moment before they were looking back at him. “And the others?” Archer asked.

“Igni is for flame. That glyph makes that skill even more powerful when used in a fight. Yrden means to trap or slow an opponent or monster so it slows it down to allow me to attack or defend. Quen is for shield.”

He tapped his hoof and the golden light of Quen went over his fur and glowed in place. The foals gasped and stared at the glowing light that covered him. He glanced at their teacher and a hint of mischief went through his eyes as he looked back to the foals.

“I think this one is fine to use for a demonstration.” He said as he looked back at the mare.

“What do you mean?” She asked as a grin tugged at her mouth.

He looked down at the front of her desk where the blades were leaned up against the wooden desk. He walked over to them and pulled the steel from its scabbard. He knew that it had a hairline crack to it but the mare would not be able to worsen the damage with what he had planned. He backed up and held the weapon out to the mare as she stared at it and then to him.

“Go ahead and swing it to hit me. Don’t worry about hurting me. Between Quen and my own abilities it won’t even leave a bruise on me.” He assured her as she looked hesitantly at him.

She looked at the foals who were all leaning forward against their desks for the best view possible. “You’re certain of this?”

He nodded at her as she took the weapon in her hooves. She gripped the hilt with both hooves and lifted it as she balanced on her hind legs. He stood still as she breathed out an uncertain breath but still swung the blade at his back. She yelped as the blade hit the shield and it erupted and sent her back several feet. She managed to keep the blade from hitting the ground as she nearly fell into the wall. She looked at him as the tip of the blade nearly dug into the wooden floor. He looked at the foals as they began to cheer. He turned to the side to show them that he was unharmed, not even a hair out of place. He reached out to the mare and she gladly gave him back the sword and he slid it back into the scabbard.

“And that little ones, is how Quen works.” He said to them. “The last glyph that is in the armor is the Binding glyph and its purpose is to prevent any injury from getting worse. It works in tandem with the Mending glyph.”

The foals listened intently as he explained and hooves went into the air as he finished speaking. Lily caught his attention and he nodded to her to speak. “Do you have any of those that we can see?”

He reached back into his saddlebag and pulled out one of each rune and set them on the furthest desk for them to look at and pass around. He stayed quiet as the glyphs made their way around the room and he walked to the last desk that they would get to so he could collect them all at once. Once they all reached him he slid them back into his saddlebags and walked back to the front of the class.

“Any further questions?” He asked.

Hooves shot up into the air and he fought against hanging his head. He had realized the stupidity of the question right after he had said it. ‘Of course they have more questions. That was without a doubt the stupidest thing to have asked them.’ He thought to himself.

He pointed to Featherweight and the colt squirm in his chair as he spoke. “Have you always been a Witcher?” He asked as he lowered his hoof to his desk.

“For as long as I can recall I have yes.”

Silver Spoon raised her hoof and he pointed to her. “Have you ever tried to do anything else?”

Oblivion saw the sideways look from Diamond Tiara but chose to ignore it. “No. I was trained to be what I am. I can honestly say that I have never desired to be anything else.”

Diamond Tiara raised her hoof and he pointed to her. “What does your cutie mark even mean?”

He chose to ignore her snotty tone as he looked over his shoulder to the hidden marking on his flank. “It has the School of the Wolf where I was trained and that wolf head is the same as my medallion.” He began as the foals closest to the front leaned forward to see the wolf head medallion around his neck. “It also has my swords behind it. It shows the Witcher School where I have trained and the proficiency I have with the swords I carry.” He was guessing about the meaning behind it but decided not to concern himself with the deeper meanings too much if it had any. The foals all seemed pleased with the answer and Diamond Tiara seemed to shrink a bit in her chair.

The foals raised their hooves again as the small bell on Cheerilee’s desk went off. They groaned at the sound and he nearly breathed a sigh of relief that it was over. She got up from her place by the window and came to stand close by him.

“All right, Everypony. Thank Mr. Shadow for speaking today since we are now out of time.” She said to them.

The foals all waved and cheered as he reached for his weapons and pulled them into their place on his back and buckled them in place. He made for the front door and skirted out as quickly as he dared. He made for the road and started to head back to the farm. He breathed a sigh as his hooves carried him silently down the road. He stopped and looked over his shoulder to the schoolhouse for a moment. ‘I must admit this place is very different than what I am used to. In my world, there is really not much chance for a child to grow up to be anything more than what they can afford. Their roles are chosen for them almost before their birth if they live that long.’ He thought to himself as he pushed forward.

His mind kept going over the events of the day and he found himself stopping once more. He looked out over the empty fields as his thoughts rang through him once more. ‘If I am to remain here then what do I need to become? A monster hunter is next to useless in a world without monsters. Do I just choose to become a farmer? I’m not from this world and I am unsure of how I even got here or if I will be taken away from the ponies here. Which begs the question, do I want to go back at all?’ He shook his head after several seconds and tried to banish his own thoughts. He could see the beginnings of the far orchards in his vision as he looked out beyond the fields. He sighed and ultimately jumped the fence and broke into a hard gallop as he moved past the orchards heading for the Everfree.

He had thought for a moment to work with his sword but he was reminded of the damage to it and chose to keep it protected within the scabbard until he could get it repaired. Using it would only make it worse and he nearly kicked himself for even considering it. He galloped past the old trees and let his wings extend above his head. They stayed even with his head to avoid hitting any low branches. The black stallion plunged to a halt and glanced around him. He had stopped in a very small clearing and he closed his eyes and listened to the quiet around him. He could hear the forest rustling around him, small animals running through the underbrush, and larger creatures in the distance. He was not interested in hunting at the moment, though he would before heading back to the farm for the night.

11: Bucking Hell

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Applejack walked toward the schoolhouse as her eyes scanned the fields along the way. She hadn’t seen Oblivion all day and he hadn’t come back from talking to Apple Blooms’ class. The Pegasus hadn’t seemed any different from usual when he got back from Canterlot, but she wasn’t sure half the time what was normal for him or not normal. He tended to hold most everything back unless asked directly. She looked away from the fields and she was surprised to see the foals crowding the gate and they seemed to be watching intently. When they realized that it was her, they all groaned and walked away from the front gate. She broke into a trot and came to stand by the gate as Apple Bloom smiled at her.

“Hey, sis. Where’s Oblivion?” The filly asked her.

“Oblivion takes ya ta school in the mornin’. Ah, pick ya up.” She replied.

“Ah know. Ah thought he would have stayed around and taken me home after talkin’ ta the class.” She explained.

Applejack paused as the filly explained as she turned to take her home and the filly fell into place at her side. “How was the talk he gave?”

“It was amazing!” She gushed. “He’s a great storyteller. Did ‘e tell ya all bout it?”

The orange mare shook her head. “Nah. He hadn’t come back to the farm when Ah left it ta come get ya.”

Apple Bloom looked closely at her before she responded. “So he ain’t home yet?”

“Don’tcha worry none. He’s a big pony and can take care of hisself. He’ll come back home when he’s ready. Did he seem okay when he left?” She replied.

“Kinda. Ah mean he was real quiet. More quiet than normal, even fer him. We asked him bout the last monster he fought and he didn’t seem happy bout it. Then we talked bout the runes and stuff his swords use.”

Applejack stopped and looked at her little sister. “Did he seem angry?” The filly shook her head in reply. “Tired?” Again she shook her head. “Sad?” Apple Bloom paused as she considered the question.

“A little bit Ah think. He seemed ta be thinkin’ when he left.”

“Well, maybe he just needed some alone time. Ya know how some ponies are.” She reassured her despite her own uncertainty.

The pair of them fell back into an easy pace as they headed for the farm. They reached the farm after a few minutes and they walked through the front gate. Apple Bloom ran ahead and Applejack knew she was giving a quick look around for the black Pegasus. The farm mare trotted forward to find her elder brother and found him off to the side of the barn.

“Oblivion come back yet?” She asked him as he looked over his shoulder at her.

“Nope,” Mac responded with his usual drawl.

“He ain’t come back from talkin’ ta the class. Ah figured he would be back by the time Ah got back with the filly. Could he have gone huntin’?” She questioned.

Both of them looked up as a flash of light went off to the side of them. Thick aqua mist falling across the ground for several seconds before it began to fade revealing Oblivion. The black Pegasus gave a loud snort as he stepped away from the spot he had teleported and she watched as his eyes fell on them and walked toward them.

“Where ya been?” Applejack asked him.

“I went to the Everfree to hunt and work on my swordsmanship.” He replied. “Since I did not think you would want me to do the sword work around your trees. They could have been nicked by the blade if I missed a step.”

She nodded in agreement. “Ah ask that ya not harm ’em.”


He fell in beside them as the three ponies moved to walk away from the barn and up a small hill that would allow them to look over a large portion of the orchards. They were located within the north orchard, but it was close enough to the middle that it was treated as a separate space. They remained silent for several minutes before Applejack gave out a sigh and looked to the two with her.

“Boy howdy. We got our work cut out fer us.” She said, and they both looked back at her. “That there is the biggest bumper crop o’ apples Ah’ve ever seen.”

The Pegasus said nothing as he looked away from her and back to the rolling fields in front of them. He could sense Mac shift his weight beside him as he saw him nod out of the corner of his eye.

“Eeyup. Too big fer ya ta do alone. Oblivion and Ah’ll be helpin’.” The red farmer commented.

Oblivion nodded in agreement but remained silent as Applejack spun her head to look at the roan.

“Come on Big Mac. Ah haven’t met an apple orchard that Ah can’t handle. Ah’ll take a bite out of this here crop before tomorrow’s end.”

“That’s what Ah mean. Bitin’ off more than ya can chew is what Ah mean. Good thing Oblivion and Ah are here.” He drawled in response.

Oblivion looked sideways at him and couldn’t help but think that he had spoken wrong. Applejack looked affronted as he glanced over to her and she spun on her hind to look at the pair of them. The Pegasus looked away from her as he saw the annoyed glare that began to cross the mare’s features. She glared openly at Big Mac, who continued to look impassively at the orchard.

“Are ya sayin’ that Mah mouth is makin’ promises Mah legs can’t keep?” She questioned with a sharp tone.

“Eeyup.”

Oblivion nearly slapped his claws to his face at the reply. He then almost took a hoof to the back of Mac’s head in the same breath. But at the same time, he hesitated as he was a hired hand in the same sense that he was new among their family. He paused before offering any advice as it might not have been his place to offer it.

“Why of all the… This is yer sister Applejack, remember? The most loyal of friends and the most dependable of ponies?”

She had advanced on the red farmer as she spoke as the black pony stepped off to the side to avoid being caught in the middle. He watched as the mare pushed her brother backward until her snout was level with his. He looked nervously at the black Pegasus, who shook his head that he would not be stepping in for him.

“But that’s still only one pony,” Mac argued as he looked back at the mare. “One pony plus hundreds of apple trees, just don’t make any sense.” He drawled to his sister as he looked back to the black pony with them and then back to her as the mare’s eyes narrowed.

“Don’t use yer fancy math ta muddle the issue. Ah said Ah can handle this harvest and Ah’m gonna prove it. Oblivion!” She hollered.

“Hmm?”

“Ya’ll are gonna be the judge.” She started as she backed up to allow Mac to stand straight once more. “Mac and I are gonna have us a contest.” She explained once she was certain she had his full attention. “We will split the orchard down the middle whoever finishes first wins. Ya’ll will watch fer who finishes first.”

Oblivion looked between them as he glanced to the roan, who looked back at the Pegasus with a mix of surprise and disbelief etched on his features while Applejack wore a face of determination. He said nothing for several seconds as he considered what had been said already.

“Are you certain about this? Working together will enable it to be finished faster. By doing this all you will do is exhaust yourself…”

“Nope. Nothin’ to it Oblivion. This is how we gonna work it out.” She interrupted as she stomped her hoof.

“I understand that AJ, but still…”

“No Oblivion. Yer the outside pony so ya are perfect ta be the judge.”

He gave a low snort and shook his head. “Very well. Under one condition.” He waited for both ponies to nod before he went on. “I hold the authority to call this whole contest off if it gets out of hoof. Deal?” Mac quickly nodded in agreement, while Applejack paused and then grudgingly nodded as well. “Good. Now if you will excuse me, I need to visit Rarity before it gets too late.”

He spun on his heel and trotted down the hill, leaving the siblings behind.


He walked up to the shop’s front door and he pushed it open carefully. The bell above the door rang out, announcing that the door had been opened. He could see her spirit off to the side and he could hear her voice ring out, asking him to wait. He stood and waited for her to come to him as his magic flowed over him for a moment as he summoned the letter from Blue Blood. He gripped it in his hoof as it dropped into his claws and then folded them back into his hoof as the mare came around the corner. The aqua mist faded as the mare approached him.

“Oblivion dear. It’s so good to see you. I trust your visit to Canterlot was eventful?” She asked as she stopped in front of him. Her tone casual and inviting further conversation.

“It was certainly interesting.” He admitted. “I met a pony there that you might be interested in. But first. Here, this is for you.” He said to her as he held out the letter for her to take from him.

“Why thank you, dear. Did Ditzy take it to the wrong house? Again?”

“No. This one I am delivering.”

“Well, thank you.” She said as her magic gripped the letter and unrolled it and began to read it. Her eyes widened as she read the script on the paper and she looked up at the black Pegasus. “Oblivion darling. You met him and spoke of me to him?”

He nodded in reply. “He was quite upset when I met him. It took several minutes to calm him but I also remembered where I had heard his name. Twilight had mentioned that you wished to meet him.”

“When did I mention him?” She asked, her eyes uncertain.

“During that ticket fiasco.”

She blanched. “Urgh. Not my best moment. I am trying to forget it. I still feel awful for what I said and did to poor Twilight.” She informed him as she looked down at the letter that hovered in front of her. A smile crossed her muzzle. “Do you mind waiting a moment while I reply to him? He said to send it back through you since you have a spell that can send it faster than the mail mares.”

“I have no problem with that Rarity, take your time.”

“Please follow me, my dear. I’ll make some tea or do you prefer coffee? I had heard that you seem to prefer coffee.”

“I appreciate that and coffee would be fine.” He replied and fell in behind her as she spun to lead him off to the side of the main shop. “Thank you for the offer.”

“It is my pleasure darling. Please have a seat.”

The mare motioned for him to sit at a nearby table as she began to prepare some coffee for him. He sat in silence and waited as his eyes scanned the room. He stared at some of the fixtures as he had never seen them before and was not even sure what they were. Others were familiar but most he could not name. The scent of coffee began to fill the air around them and he inhaled the scent, enjoying the aroma it gave off.

“Cream or sugar?” Rarity asked as she levitated the aforementioned items.

“No. Black is fine.”

“Very well dear. Here you are. I will try to respond quickly.” She said to him as a scroll and quill hovered in her magic as she set the coffee down in front of him.

“Take your time. I am in no hurry and I will sit and drink my coffee while you write what you wish to.”

“You are a dear Oblivion. I will not ask you how you met him since that is between the two of you. But it seems that it was a good thing you did. So I am indebted to you for this.” The mare reached over and patted one of his hooves as he held the coffee cup on the table.

The black Pegasus closed his eyes and nodded at her. He opened them a moment later and focused on the coffee in front of him while the mare went to work on her writing. He was pleased to see that she was not rushing and appeared to be truly taking her time. ‘He needs another pony on his side. I am glad to see that she has accepted his letter and appears to be understanding with whatever he wrote to her. I was certain this is how she would react but there is always a chance I could have been wrong.’ He thought to himself as he brought the coffee to his lips and sipped it.

As a Witcher, he had been gifted with patience early in his training and it was once more serving him now. A monster may not return to their lair right away, which meant he had to learn how to wait. Time ticked past him as he sipped his coffee patiently while the Element of Generosity wrote in reply to Blue Bloods words. He held the coffee by his nose as he leaned against the table. She finally set the quill down and her magic waved the scroll in the air for several seconds to help the ink dry before she rolled it up and her magic held it out to him. He took it from her in his own magic, as it flowed and gripped the scroll, and then in a flash of aqua, it vanished.

“He received it.” He informed her once he was certain the spell had connected.

“Thank you ever so much darling. I can’t thank you enough for putting us in contact. I had never considered that being a Prince might be more of a burden rather than a gift. It has certainly made me think more about it and I have decided that I will be as supportive as I can and ensure that he has another friend to speak to.” She said, and a look of curiosity crossed her features. “That reminds me. How are you liking the design I added to your cloak? Quite fancy, no? It goes so well with your black coat and silver mane.”

“It was a bit of a surprise, I have to admit. But I am not one to fuss about a generous gift. While I was surprised by the addition I thank you for the effort you put into it.” He replied as she beamed and he finished his coffee. “Should he respond to you I will bring it over to you. Or would you prefer that I connect the spell to you and I can then transfer it to you through magic?”

“Oh, it’s fine darling. Just means you and I will be able to chat every now and then. I am interested in fashion that is common in your homeland.” She replied with a wave of her hoof.

“I will try to make time to discuss it with you. Thank you for the coffee Rarity and I am glad to know that you have chosen to speak with Blue as well.” He said to her as he set the empty cup on the tabletop.

“Blue?”

He rolled his eyes to the ceiling for a moment as he sighed. “AJ has rubbed off on me more than I had thought. I gave him a nickname.” He replied as the mare hid her smile behind a manicured hoof. “Though he seems to appreciate it.”

“Perhaps it makes him feel like you were treating him as more of a pony and not Royalty?”

“I think you may be exactly right. Anyway, have a good evening Rarity.” He said, giving a slight bow of his head to her as he made for the front door.

“Have a nice evening darling. Don’t overdo it during the harvest.”

He looked over his shoulder and gave her a faint smile as he pushed the front door open and exited her shop. His hooves carried him through town as he made his way back to the farm. He knew that he could simply teleport but he paused before doing it as the sight of a few ponies stopped him. If the streets had been empty, he might have been more tempted. He broke into a smooth gaited trot as he moved through the town and out into the hills.

The Witcher was silent as he moved and soon enough, he was trotting through the farm’s front gate. He walked past the family as they were getting ready for dinner and he quickly went up the stairs and down the hall to his room. The Witcher pulled the baldric and cloak off his body and laid the baldric on the bed close by where he normally lay. He laid the cloak onto the desk behind him as he lay down on top of the quilt, and his magic gripped a book sitting on the desk as he deposited it in front of him. He opened it to the page he had left off on and quickly found the place he had last been reading and picked up from there.

His muscles trembled in places from the training and hunting earlier. He allowed himself to relax as he waited for the trembling to quit. He was used to the trembling as it had happened before and tended to happen when he had not adequately cooled down from training. He chastised himself for not cooling himself out properly. He trained an ear toward the downstairs and he could hear the other as they sat down for their dinner.

‘Tomorrow should prove to be interesting. Considering this asinine challenge of AJ’s this could go one of two ways. It could end up working in our favor or it will most likely end badly for some pony. I will have to keep an eye on it to ensure it does not end up getting out of hoof. Mac relenting to my recommendations will be simple, it’s the other Apple that might prove difficult.’ He thought to himself.

He looked down at the book once more as a soft rapping earned his full attention. He could see the light that shone back at him and he knew that it was Apple Bloom at the door. “Come in.” He called out as he closed the book.

Apple Bloom walked into the room and she smiled brightly as she climbed up onto his taller bed and was soon facing him. “Today was so awesome!” She gushed. “That story was great and everypony loved it. All the others are tryin’ ta get Miss Cheerilee ta ask ya ta come back and tell more stories. Some o’ the colts are wantin’ ya ta show ’em how ta use yer steel sword. Ah tried ta tell ’im, yer, not one fer showin’ off. Ah tried ta tell ’em but they really wanna see it. If Miss Cheerilee says it’s okay could ya come back and tell more stories?”

He considered what she had asked before he replied. “I’m not sure of another story I could tell you. Most of the stories I have are not very… Foal friendly. I have spent all my life fighting so most stories I know are about that.” He informed her.

She seemed to consider what he had said before her smile brightened once more. “Well, what bout the other Witchers? Do ya know any storied bout them?”

“Of course I do. There are many tales from when we wintered together at the Keep, but those are for adults. I cannot think of any off the top of my head that would be safe for foals.”

“So would ya come and tell more stories ta mah class?”

He looked away from her as a sigh pulled from him. “Maybe. I would have to think about it.”

She beamed and nodded enthusiastically. She jumped at him and her forelegs wrapped around his neck as she hugged him tightly. She let him go and turned to jump off the bed and she trotted out the door, leaving him sitting in silence. He sighed once more and shook his head as his magic gripped the book and set it back on the desk across the room. He looked back at the door as the sound of hooves on the carpet caught his attention as Applejack walked into the room.

“Ah fergot ta ask ya how yer visit went.” She said as she looked at him. “Did ya have fun?”

“I enjoyed the visit, yes.” He replied. “Luna and I enjoyed our sparring match and we had a long discussion after it over tea and coffee. We spoke of the changes since her banishment and all that has happened since her return.” He informed her, and then his gaze went to the weapons on the bed beside him. “That reminds me. Is there a forge in town?”

“Ah’m glad ya had fun. There is one yeah. Why?”

“My steel sword has a slight crack in it. Apple Bloom pointed it out while it was being passed around.” She looked at him; her eyes were wide as he went on. “I had it blunted by Twilight if you recall.”

“Ahh, that’s right. Ah clean fergot.” She said to him. “But ya only had the one blunted.”

“They were not permitted to hold the naked silver blade, only the blunted steel.” He replied and she nodded. “They were permitted to handle the silver so long as it remained in the scabbard. If they tried to remove it from the scabbard I would have taken both weapons away from them and that threat seemed to keep them from trying to test me.”

She chuckled and nodded. “Well, that would work. The silver can’t be handled?”

“Out of the two of them, the silver is more dangerous. It’s designed to fight monsters exclusively so it’s a design and the runes within it reflect that.” He explained. “Can you give me a basic idea of where the forge is? I dislike knowing that it is damaged.”

She looked thoughtful. “Ah can take ya to it once the harvest is done. That comes first. Ah just need ta show Mac that I’m the faster bucker and then Ah will show ya right to it.”

“I agree it is important but do recall that I have the ability to call it off should I need to.” He informed her. “Whether you like it or not I will put an end to this little contest of yours.”

“Yeah, yeah, Ah know.” She started, waving a hoof dismissively.

His magic flared and his aqua aura clamped her jaws shut. “Do not brush that off AJ.” He said to her as his aura gave off its aqua mist. “I will lock you in the barn with one of my locks should you get out of hoof.”

She nodded, and then he released her jaws and she rubbed them. “Don’t ferget ta be up early tomorrow.”

She left the room as he nodded in reply. His magic reached out and he started to close the door when a soft knock sounded and he opened it to reveal Mac standing in the doorway.

“Ah know yer gettin’ ready ta head ta bed but can Ah talk to ya?” The red stallion asked him as he waited by the open door.

“Come in Mac. I’m still awake so feel free.” He replied.

The red farmer walked into the room. Oblivion could see his spirit was conflicted and his face held a tinge of anger. Oblivion could see that he was upset and waited as the roan shut the door behind him. Mac gave a thin smile as the door clicked shut.

“Ah know that ya are gonna watch over this here contest that Applejack has made up. Ah know that ya won’t let it get too out of hoof but Ah have a request.” Oblivion laid in silence and waited for him to continue. “Can ya help me with my half?”

“Are you all right?” He asked as he tilted his head, his eyes questioning.

“Eeyup. Just a mite miffed at Applejack. She is goin’ overboard with this here contest hers.” He said as he sighed deeply and looked at the black Pegasus.

“I will watch over her Mac. I will help you as well, but why are you asking me to help you?”

“Applejack didn’t say we had ta do anythin’ alone. She needs ta learn that one pony can’t do it all alone and Ah’m worried her stubbornness could ‘urt herself or somepony else.” He explained.

The black pony thought it over for several seconds before he replied. “Very well. I think you are right that she is focused on trying to outwork you that she is losing sight of the much larger picture. It is likely that she will cause damage to herself and others if she is not reined in a bit.”

“Can ya help out those she might ‘urt? Ah know ya don’t use yer magic around other ponies but just in case can ya use it if it’s needed?” He asked, his eyes lowered as he spoke.

He looked down at the medallion around his neck as it lay against his fur. The Element of Spirit sat dormant in its place and he pushed out the breast collar of it. “I will do what I have to Mac. I will stop her from doing any permanent damage but you are right in thinking she needs to learn.”

Mac looked at the silver breast collar and nodded. “Thanks, bro.”

Oblivion watched him as he turned and opened the door to leave. He looked away from the door as it closed behind the farmer and his orange eyes looked out the window. ‘Bro. Another odd thing to get used to.’ He had already chosen to skip a bath for the night and simply go to sleep. He stretched out his wings, hearing the joints pop due to lack of movement. He brought the right-wing to hold in front of him as he scrutinized the healing gash. The gash had almost completely healed and new feathers had begun to grow in as well. He had thought that it would heal slower than was normal for him but he was pleased to see that he had been wrong in his guessing.

He slowly extended the limb again and he watched as the tips collided gently with the ceiling and close to a foot of their length was bent against the ceiling. He let them fold back against his body and he got up from the bed and moved the swords under the quilt as he pushed the quilt back for him to lay under. He pulled his mane out of the tie that had bound it and the strands fell to lay against his neck and shoulders. He laid his head slowly down onto the pillow as his eyes scanned the window for a moment before he closed them and listened as the rest of the family getting ready for bed as well. Time ticked past as the house went completely silent and he allowed himself to sleep.


His eyes snapped open and his head was swiftly raised from the pillow as he scanned the room for what had awoken him. It was still pitch black outside as he got out of bed. His forelock fell into his eyes and he tilted his head to move it out of the way. He pulled his swords out from under the blanket and buckled them in place on his back. He decided that he did not have time to put his mane in its tie and he chose to leave the room without it. Something was calling on him to get moving and he refused to be the last one to move as needed. He moved silently out of the room and down the hall to the stairs. He carefully went down the stairs and out into the farmyard. His hooves were silent as he began to walk carefully forward.

His claws slid out of his hooves and he kept them out as his Spirit armor slid out from the medallion and the glyphs buried within it glowed for several seconds before they dimmed. He broke into a long trot and his stride was ground eating as he moved toward the north orchard. His eyes narrowed as he began to search for tracks and any other signs that would tell him what had awoken him, besides simple intuition. His skin crawled and he could feel the sweat as it beaded up on his skin as he searched. He stopped as a pair of tracks caught his attention as they were slightly off to the side of the path he was on. He put a claw within the track and he could feel that there was still some amount of heat within, telling him they were new.

“Could be a drowner or a Nekker. But what is one of them doing here?” He asked himself even as he recalled the Forktail. “Though they are not the first I have seen here. The tracks in the ground are similar to each other but there is usually a scent that is there to give them away. Drowners and Nekkers each have a distinctive scent that comes with their presence.” He mused.

He moved away from the tracks and followed them as they remained clearly defined in the dew-covered grass. He stopped and raised his head as a sound caught his ears. He reared up and began to listen intently around him. He scented the air and when nothing came to him he dropped back to four legs. His ears did not hear anything beyond what had stopped him a moment earlier. He broke into a trot as he followed the trail and his hooves were silent on the grass. His ears flicked as the sound of a growl caught his attention. He slowed to a walk as he listened and the sounds of a Nekker made him stop in place.

“What in the hell? Nekkers are pack animals and there is always a group of them. Why am I only hearing one of them?” He muttered, his voice barely above a whisper. “Usually they have five to fifteen in their packs.”

He crept forward so as not to alert his quarry that he was close by. He looked around the nearest tree as the scent of blood, dirt, and death caught his nose. The Pegasus reached over his shoulder and the silver blade slid out of its sheath as he pulled on the hilt. The silver blade gleamed brightly in the darkness and runes skittered across its flawless surface. The blade was forty inches long and razor sharp. He breathed in a short breath as he lunged out from behind the tree, sword at the ready. He scanned the area and found nothing where he had been certain there would be a monster waiting for him. He could tell by the scent that it had been there but it seemed to have vanished in the time it took him to pull his sword. He scented the air and the scent itself was fading fast, leaving nothing behind for him to follow.

“Gods below.” He cursed. “What is going on? The Forktail was similar but the body was taken by a portal once the fight ended. This was closer to ponies than that was though.”

There were faint tracks in the dew-covered ground but nothing explicit. The silver blade was slid back into its sheath. He could tell that the Nekker had been there but seemed to have vanished. The black pony looked up in the trees and even thought about trying to fly up to the tops of the trees but after spreading his wings he decided not to. He couldn’t risk being injured before the harvest later that day. Especially since the Pegasus still had no idea how to fly. He gave a loud snort and shook his head. His magic flared and he used the light from it to illuminate the area around him.

While his orange cat eyes made it easier to see in the dark he knew that he could not substitute pure light. He could have used the Cat potion but he did not wish to use it at the moment. He slid the silver blade back into its sheath as he searched the area and after several circuits of the area, he paused in the center of it. He sighed in defeat and made for the farmhouse, as his armor slid back over him and back to the medallion around his neck. ‘It’s odd that it would vanish like that. Could the portal have come before me and taken it? But why would it take it before I get there? The last portal that held the Forktail appeared upon its defeat but this one might have taken it before I got near it.’ He thought to himself as he paused once more as he neared the barn.

“Could a Nekker have gained magic upon coming here as I did?” He asked himself but shook his head. “No. That’s foolish. A Nekker would not know how to use it even if it had it. There were no signs of burrowing around that area either. Their claws leave very distinctive marks in the soil and the surrounding area. Even if the Nekker vanished the signs would not.”

His voice was barely a whisper as he talked to himself. He looked up at the farmhouse and his Spirit Sight showed him the pony’s sleeping soundly within it. He looked over his shoulder to the silent orchards and the darkness that came from them. He turned to face the orchard and his gaze steeled.

“These ponies are mine to protect and nothing will get near them so long as I am here to prevent it.” He growled. “A Witcher is always for sale but they have earned my protection and I will not allow them to come to harm.”

The Pegasus turned to the house and walked inside as he finished speaking to no one but himself. He stopped once more as the sun began to edge itself over the horizon. He had been paying attention to the time as he had searched the orchard. He walked into the house and up the stairs to go back to his room. He reached the room and walked into it to pull his mane up into its tie. He made sure his baldric was tightly buckled and he turned to leave the room and wait at the kitchen table. He was standing at the table when Mac came down the stairs a yawn pulling from him as he came to the bottom of the stairs.

“Mornin’.” Mac greeted him as he sat down by the table.

“Morning,” Oblivion responded.

His ears flicked to listen behind him as Applejack bounced down the stairs. “Mornin’ boys!” She hollered.

Oblivion pinned his ears for a moment at her volume. Mac greeted the mare as she started pulling out ingredients for their breakfast. Mac looked at the black Pegasus who nodded that he was still with him. Breakfast passed as they ate and then moved outside. Oblivion walked slightly behind the siblings as they walked out to the barn and stopped in front of it. He looked back to the sleeping mare and filly and then looked back to the pair of ponies with him.

“All right you two.” Applejack began. “Mac, ya want north or south?”

“Ah’ll take north,” Mac said to her.

“All right. Ah’ll take south then. Oblivion ya’ll go in the middle and take the baskets from each orchard and get ’em into the barn. If the barn gets filled up with all of mah apples then putting ’em on the side of the barn is fine as well.” She said and turned to look at the apple trees.

Mac looked sideways at the Pegasus who managed not to roll his eyes at her tone. He gave a barely perceptible nod to the stallion as well. The two siblings parted and went to their respective orchards and the Pegasus fell in behind the orange mare. He stayed with her until she reached the far end of the orchard and turned to look at the first tree that was ready for harvesting.

“Well, Ah better get kickin’. These here apples ain’t gonna shake themselves outta the trees.” She said as she looked away from the tree and then her face screwed up into alarm as the ground began to shake under their hooves.

“What in the hell?” Oblivion said as he dug his claws into the ground to ensure his own stability.

“Ow.” She yelped as an apple fell onto her head and her eyes widened as understanding went over her face. “Oh no. A stampede. Ya need ta stay here. Ah’ll be right back.” She shouted and she took to her heels.

Oblivion said nothing as she took off through the orchard. His magic flowed as he teleported to the red stallion’s side. Mac looked alarmed as he appeared several feet away.

“Applejack ran off, talking about a stampede.” He informed the stallion.

“Stampede? She say where?”

“No. But she was headed for the town if that helps.” He replied.

“Stay here and start buckin’ the trees. Ah’ll be back.”

Oblivion opened his mouth to question him as he took to his heels as well. The black stallion snorted and looked up at the trees around him.

“Buck the tree? Seriously?” His horn lit as magic pulled the apples out of the tree and he set them in the baskets. “Rarity wanted some of the first apples in exchange for that fabric.”

Oblivion looked to one of the baskets and after pulling out the rotted or bad apples he put an R on the side of it and set it to the side. He continued with the tactic until his ears caught the sound of hooves. He looked back to see Big Mac coming toward him. The farmer’s eyes widened at the baskets that were set out in a row.

“Ah suppose tellin’ ya not ta use yer magic shoulda been mah first step.” He said to him.

Oblivion gave him a sidelong look as he then looked at the buckets he had already filled. “Seriously?”

“Ah didn’t think ya would use yer magic at all since ya try ta keep from usin’ it at all,” Mac said to him. “Ya need ta do it the traditional way.”

“How long would it have taken you to do this much?” Oblivion questioned.

“Most o’ the day. Ah know yer right about it bein’ easier but we need ta keep with tradition.” The roan replied.

“I see.” Oblivion managed to hold back several cruses as he simply looked at the buckets. “I understand but you have to realize that I have only bucked a tree once and I left a deep indent in the bark.” He informed him.

Mac looked uncertain for a moment before he nodded. “When ya chased down Apple Bloom?”

“Yes. So I do not have the experience you do. You will have to give some instruction if you wish me to do more than pull the buckets to the barn in regards to helping you.” He commented. “Ah. Before I forget I set aside a bucket for Rarity since she had asked for a bucket of apples in exchange for the fabric Applejack requested.”

Mac started at the reminder and put a hoof to his face. “Ah clean fergot about Miss Rarity’s apples. Thanks, fer takin’ care o’ that fer me.”

Oblivion nodded at the thanks and he was quiet as Mac showed him how to buck the trees with just enough force to knock the apples loose from their branches. He bucked a few of the trees and then his magic flowed over him as he picked up the buckets and walked them to the barn. He loped back to where Applejack was bucking her own trees and picked the buckets up from her as well. He repeated the process as the day wore on and he began to question the sense behind not using magic at all. He concluded that he was forgetting that they were Earth Pony’s and did not have magic at their disposal.

“It’s going to be a long few days.” He muttered under his breath.


The next few days dragged past him and he found that his patience was slowly being tested. He had heard from Twilight that the mayor had set up a celebration for the Apple siblings to thank them for stopping the stampede. While he had to admit that it was nice to see their accomplishments acknowledged he also considered the terrible timing of the celebration. He leaned onto his forelegs and his hind legs buckled the tree nearest to him as Mac whistled to get his attention.

The Pegasus was not a fan of being whistled at but he tried to ignore it as the roan began to speak to him. “Applejack and I are busy with the harvestin’. Can ya go into town and got to the party fer us?”

“Why would you want me to go?” Oblivion questioned.

“We’re both busy and we can spare ya fer a while.” He explained. “Please?”

Oblivion sighed and nodded. “Very well. I’ll be right back.”

“Yah might wanna start that way. Ya might need ta run ta make it in time.” Mac said to him.

Oblivion stared at him and his eyes narrowed in aggravation as he took to his heels. His hooves drummed over the compact dirt as he ran towards the town. He would have teleported but he knew there would be many ponies at this celebration so he dared not use it. He drove himself onward and after several minutes he could see the town ahead of him.


Twilight looked out over the crowd as they interrupted her once more. She gave a low growl as the Mayor came onto the stairs and she moved to the side. She felt nervousness bite at her as she had not seen the Apples yet. She had no idea if they were behind the curtain or not. She looked to the side as a cloud of dust came from behind the stage. Her head tilted to the side as she tried to see if there had been a gust of wind but she didn’t feel anything.

“Ah-ahem. And so, with no further ado, it is my privilege to give the prize, Pony of Ponyville Award, to our beloved guests of honor, two ponies of the utmost trustworthiness, reliability, and integrity. Ponyville's most capable and dependable friends: Applejack and Big Macintosh!” She yelled the last part.

She clapped her hooves as the curtain moved aside and she stared at the sight of a very dirty Oblivion Shadow. She realized the dust had come from him as he had come upon the stage moments before the Mayor had begun to speak. Which meant that he had not teleported, he had in fact run all the way from Sweet Apple Acres. She cringed as he was clearly trying not to pant. She could see that he did not look thrilled to be there and she bit back a giggle at the look he gave her and the others.


The Pegasus stallion stayed still as he raised his head to its full height and approached the stage. He hated being the center of attention and even in this world that fact had not changed. He mounted the steps up to the stage and he came to stand close by a ridiculously large trophy. He looked at the shiny golden surface and he fought back a sigh.

“My apologies for being here instead of the Apple siblings. Both are working tirelessly in the orchards and have asked me to stand in for them. I will accept this honor in their stead.” He said, his voice loud enough to be heard by those in attendance. “Now if you will excuse me.”

He reached out and his hoof gripped the trophy and he pulled it onto his back. His wings extended and he was able to keep the trophy from falling with the aid of the wings. He looked at the bulky trophy and he shook his head at the ostentatiousness of it. His hooves carried him off the stage as he moved to go back to the farm.

“Oblivion?”

He stopped and glanced over his shoulder as Twilight approached him. “Yes?”

“Will you give them our regards? And thank them for all of us.” She asked.

“I will.” He replied as he began to walk back to the farm, with the golden trophy sitting across his back.


He set the trophy in the front room of the farmhouse and rolled his shoulders now that he had been rid of the weight. His wings went to his sides and clung tightly to him. He walked out of the farmhouse and his eyes scanned the area around to ensure that there was no pony’s nearby to see when he teleported to the orange mare's side. The mare looked at him as the flash of aqua magic caught her eye. He looked at the exhausted mare in front of him.

“The town says thank you.” He growled at her.

“Mighty kind of ya ta get that fer us.” She said to him.

He had thought she would say more but he watched as she went back to the trees and he gave a light snort and his magic flashed as he teleported to the roans’ side.

“The town says thank you.” He said to him, parroting the exact same words he had said to Applejack.

Mac turned to look at him and walked over to him and hoof bumped him. “Ah appreciate that Oblivion. Why don’t ya sit and rest fer a minute? Ya look a bit tuckered out.”

He blinked in reply and sat down heavily at the offer. He looked down at the ground for a moment before his eyes closed as he sighed. He opened his eyes after a moment and he blanched at the layers of dirt and grime that covered his legs and chest. He looked over the rest of his body and found it was in the same condition.

“Ugh.” He groaned quietly.

Mac chuckled as he bucked another tree. “Ya hunt monsters right?”

“Yes?”

“Ya hunt through mud and Celestia knows what else and yer groanin’ bout some dirt?” Mac teased.

“That’s a different issue. Back in the Northern Realms, there are no readily available baths.” Oblivion replied.

Both of them remained stone-faced for a moment before a chuckle broke from Oblivion and Mac barked a laugh. Oblivion pushed himself to his hooves and his magic picked up the buckets that were closest to him and took them to the barn. The routine fell in once more and he split his time between helping Mac and picking up the barrels and buckets from both orchards.


The next morning began the same as all of the others and he moved from orchard to orchard. He left the barn to find Twilights bright spirit coming towards the barn. He walked out to find her standing a few feet away and once she saw him she came over to him.

“Oblivion. Are you all right? You look exhausted.” She said to him and placed a hoof on his shoulder.

“Well. I can say that tracking monsters is easier than most of the time.” He replied.

“What's going on? You came into town yesterday and you looked pretty rough around the edges.”

He gave a loud snort of annoyance as he tried to brush some of the encrusted dirt from his legs and chest. “Here is the current situation. Applejack is acting like a petulant foal. Before harvest even started Mac commented that he was glad there would be three of us to do the harvesting since pretty much every tree was covered in apples. Applejack took it badly and then challenged Mac to an apple-bucking contest. They split the orchard down the middle and have been going almost nonstop. Mac in the north and AJ in the south. What AJ does not know is that Mac has me helping him for the purpose of teaching her a lesson. She’s worked herself nearly into the ground and I am the unfortunate fool stuck as the go-between. I am this close to calling it off.” He held his forehooves an inch apart.

She looked at him as he finished expiring and she sighed as a cringe went over her. “Okay. How can I help?”

He barked a laugh. “Mac is the easy one right now. His side will be done in a couple of two to three days at most. Applejack will be finished in four to five days at best.” He admitted. “You can try to talk some sense into her but I will warn you that you stand a better chance of getting the world to not turn.”

Twilight bit back a smile behind a hoof as she giggled. “Well, I can try. If I need to talk to you again where will I find you?”

“I’m headed back to help Mac with a few trees, pick up the baskets, and then over to AJ for the same.”

“Okay, I‘ll try to talk some sense into her.”

“Good luck. You’re going to need it.”

He turned on his heel and trotted back into the trees and he found Mac easily enough. Mac turned and held out a glass of lemonade for him. He took the glass and drank down the cool liquid. He sent the glasses back to the kitchen and turned to buck several trees. Time ticked past and he picked up the baskets and made for the barn. As he neared it Twilights Spirit was bright as he approached her. He set the baskets inside and looked at her as he left the barn. He could see the frustration on her face as he chuckled.

“I warned you.”

She huffed and shook her head. “How can one pony be so stubborn?”

He shook his head and chuckled at her. “Well if I heard her right earlier she has several commitments she promised to help with over the next couple of days. I think she is going to go help Rainbow, then Pinkie Pie, and lastly Fluttershy. Given how worn out she is I don’t anticipate this ending well. I did give Mac my word that I would help those that are affected to a degree. So let me know if any of the affected ponies are seriously affected. Since you will be around those affected more than I will be.”

Twilight nodded and then looked at him. “How?” She asked and then her eyes went wide as she realizes what she said. “I mean you can’t heal can you?”

“I’m not sure if I can or not. I mean that I can help sort things out if the need arises.”

“Oh, okay. I see what you mean. I will keep you informed.” She said to him. “Hopefully we don’t need you for anything. You look as tired as she does.”

He nodded as the mare turned for the gate and he trotted into the south orchard and found Applejack standing on once place and snoring. He frowned and walked up to the snoring mare.

“AJ.” No reply. “AJ!” He shouted and she still did not respond. “Applejack!” He yelled and she startled awake at the volume of his voice. She pitched forward, tripped, and fell flat onto her nose. She clamored to her hooves and rubbed her nose with one hoof.

“Tarnation Oblivion, don’t scare a gal like that.” She admonished him with a glare.

“I would apologize. But that would require me to be sorry for it.” He replied as his magic gripped the baskets and held them aloft.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her stick out her tongue at his retreating back. He fought back against further comments and simply walked away from her.


The next morning Oblivion watched as Applejack left them in the kitchen to go and help Rainbow Dash. Next to him Big Mac also had a look of concern etched on his face. Oblivion said nothing as the mare toddled out of the house and he gave a low snort as he shook his head.

“Ya’ll gonna follow ‘er?” The roan asked him.

“No,” Oblivion replied as he held up the paper from that morning. “She needs to realize that her actions will be affecting more than just us.”

Mac looked at him for a moment before he nodded in agreement. “Ya’ll still sleepin’ on the floor?”

Oblivion set the paper down in front of him and nodded. “Yes.”

“Me too,” Mac said to him.

“It’s not fair to have to wash sheets every day just because we are too tired by the end of the day to take a bath. I’d probably fall asleep in it anyway.” Oblivion commented and Mac chuckled. “I do expect a nice long bath after this is over though.”

Mac nodded in agreement. “Ah hear there is a spa in town that maybe we should go ta.”

“A what?”

“A spa.” Mac went on. The ponies there take care o’ ya and ya get ta relax there. They do it all so ya do nothin’ Ah hear.”

“Might be worth it.” Oblivion groused and looked at his dirty fur. “We should make her pay for it.”

Mac barked a loud laugh and nodded. “Oh yeah.” Mac reached out and hoof bumped him in praise as they both got up and left the kitchen to begin their own work.


Oblivions ears flicked as he paused mid buck and listened. His keen ears were able to make out what sounded like his name being called. He turned his head to follow the sound and he was able to make out the distant lights that showed him Twilight was the one calling out to him. He could see that there was a second light with her but hers was drowning out the other and he was not able to immediately tell who it was.

“I’ll be back. I can hear Twilight calling out from around the barn.” He said to the red pony who nodded in response.

He took to his heels and loped toward the barn, his stride ground eating as he moved. As he drew nearer to them he saw that the other pony with her was in fact Rainbow Dash. The closer he got to them he could see that Twilight seemed nervous as he slowed to a trot as he came out of the trees. The purple mare smiled as he drew up to them and stopped a couple of feet away from them.

“I know we had we would have you look into helping anypony only if it was dire. Well, Applejack launched Rainbow through the air and she crashed into my balcony.”

Oblivion barked a laugh at the other Pegasus’s expense. “Okay. So what is broken?”

Rainbow cast her eyes to her wings for a moment before she looked back at him. “Nothing is broken. At least I don’t think anything is broken.” She said as he looked at her. “My wings hurt really badly though.”

Oblivion stared at her for several seconds before his mind caught on to what she had said. “You’re serious?” She nodded. “Twilight. This does not count as an emergency case.”

Twilight looked away from him and to the ground for several seconds before she raised her head. “I know and that’s what I told Rainbow, but…”

“Look. If you can help me you should. I’m one of your friends.” Rainbow jabbed.

Twilights head spun to look at the Pegasus mare. “Rainbow Dash! That is really out of line. You know that he cares about all of us but he’s right. I told you that being sore is not a reason for him to try to heal you. You’re being selfish and you’re trying to take advantage of him.”

Rainbow looked at the mare as she was scolded. “But…”

“No,” Oblivion growled as he glared down his snout at the mare. “You are a child in the form of an adult mare. You think yourself above simple things and believe that another can solve your problems for you. Your injury is minor and will heal in days not weeks or more. You speak as if we are the closest of friends Rainbow Dash. We aren’t.” He said and her eyes widened. “You and I have nothing in common aside from both being a Pegasus. And I have decided that I do not have time to spare for a selfish, self-centered filly.”

His voice fell silent as he spun on his heel and walked away from the pair of them. He could hear Twilight start talking quietly to her as he left them behind and walked into the orchard. He broke into a trot and was soon back with the roan stallion. Mac looked at him as he growled and said nothing in reply to the unspoken question in Mac’s eyes. Seconds passed as Oblivion turned and backed up until he was close to the nearest tree.

“Ya’ll okay?” Mac asked him.

“I am fine.” He replied. “I am… Aggravated nothing more. Rainbow got thrown into Twilights balcony by Applejack. Though I am not sure how it happened, to be honest, I did not ask.” He said as Mac opened his mouth to question but then closed his mouth. “I had spoken with Twilight about trying to heal the ponies affected by Applejack’s folly and have her bring them here. Rainbow was told about it and assumed that I would heal a few pulled muscles for her.”

“That’s all? No broken bones?” Mac asked.

“None,” Oblivion replied. “She may be loyal but she is acting like a selfish filly.”

Oblivion raised his hind legs and kicked the nearby tree. He looked back as the apples fell to the ground and he cringed at the deep hoof prints in the bark of the tree. He looked at the smirking red pony and shrugged in apology.

“It’s all right. Ah’ve kicked ‘em harder than that afore.” He assured the black Pegasus as he patted him on the shoulder and dropped the subject.


He looked up as he came out of the northern orchard with baskets hovering around him, with Mac at his heels. AJ was leaving the farm to go and help Pinkie Pie in town and he almost felt dread rear up within him as he wondered how that task would go. He looked over his shoulder to the roan, who looked uncertain.

“She always has been good at bakin’.” He said to him.

“Hmm.”


Several hours had passed and his ears perked as the sound of a voice calling caught his attention. He turned to face back toward the farm and he saw Twilights spirit out past the orchard. He looked back over his shoulder at Mac who nodded and motioned for him to go ahead.

“Miss Twilight callin’ ya?”

“Yep.” He breathed as his magic picked up a couple of baskets. “I get the feeling that baking did not go well.”

“Hopefully it’s nothin’ serious,” Mac replied.

He gripped several baskets in his magic and made for the barn. His stride was hurried enough to get him there quickly but not enough to tire him. The closer he got the more clearly he could see Twilights spirit and he could see that she was badly upset. He sent the baskets into the barn and quickly turned to address her.

“Are you all right?” He asked her as his eyes went over her, searching for anything that had harmed her.

“I’m okay.” She assured him. “A bunch of ponies in town aren’t though. Applejack helped Pinkie make muffins to be given out as samples this morning. The ponies that ate them are really sick.”

He bit back a groan as he shook his head. “How bad?”

“None of them can keep anything down. Not even water.” She explained. “I’m not sure what you can do to help them since we are keeping your ability to use magic out of the public eye but I figured it can’t hurt.”

He considered their options as he stood in front of her. He looked at her and she was clearly waiting patiently for him to choose their options.

“How many?”

She looked thoughtful for a seconds before she replied. “Ten to twelve I think.”

“Okay, I have an idea.”

“Can I help?”

He was about to tell her no when his eyes fell on her horn. “Actually I think you might be able to help me.”

“Anything.” She said to him as his magic flowed from him.

His saddlebags appeared on the ground in between them. He flipped them both open and began to rummage through them, pulling out several empty vials as he found them. He held one out to her and her magic gripped each one and held it aloft as he found them. He pulled out the twelfth one and Twilight held it aloft as he pulled out a bottle of Alcohest and set it on the ground beside the saddlebag. He continued to paw through the bags as Twilight watched him.

“What are you looking for?”

“White Myrtle.”

“White Myr… What?”

“It’s an herb.”

“Why do we need it?”

“If eaten or swallowed before it’s been treated it’s poisonous. But if used correctly it can be a powerful healer.” He explained as his hoof came out of the saddlebags holding a large clump of the herb.

“How much do you need of it?” She asked as she stared at the herb.

“Not this much.” He admitted and pulled out a smaller section of it and set the rest back inside.

He paused when he recalled that he simply needed to think of the item he needed and it would appear in his hoof. He managed not to roll his eyes at his own stupidity before he began to search for another herb. He focused on calling on Celandine into his hoof and he pulled out a small clump of the flower and set it in Twilights magic as well.

“And this one?” She asked as she held it aloft.

“Celandine.” He replied. “Used in some potions as a healing agent.”

“So you’re going to make a potion for them? They can’t even keep down water.”

“I know. This is absorbed almost immediately. It’s a simpler version of a Witcher Potion called Swallow. This is the version that I developed many years ago to aid somepony else.”

“Why did they need it?”

“They were attacked by a Harpy and it had carved open their abdomen.” He replied and looked up to find her looking horrified at him. “They ended up surviving.” He quickly replied.

“You’re kidding.”

“No.” He replied as he pulled out a large potion vial that held the essence of Drowner brain. “I need a few drops of this.”

“What is that?”

“It’s Drowner Brain technically.”

“WHAT?!”

“It’s fine. It will be enough to counter the effects of the poisoning but not enough to turn it into a Witchers potion.”

“Please tell me you’re joking!?” She gasped at him as he set it down with the others. “You can’t use the brain of a creature.”

“It’s a Necropahge technically.” He replied as she stared at him.

He set the bottle back into the saddlebags and his hoof took hold of the Alcohest and poured a small amount into each vial that the mare held, even as she kept staring at him in revulsion. Her magic fluctuated and he looked at her as he spilled a bit of the liquid.

“Hold still.”

“Sorry.” She replied and looked sheepish. “I’m still having trouble with the brain in a vial thing.”

“It’s fine.” He replied and went back to his work.

He crushed the Celandine in his hoof and placed a few petals from it into each vial and did the same with the White Myrtle. Each vial now held a mixture of herbs and Alcohest within it and he looked back at the mare as her magic held the vials completely still for him to work on. He picked up the Drowner brain and poured a small amount into each vial and she stared at the mixture as it began to bubble and hiss in the vials. He watched as she pulled one of the vials closer to her so she could look at it and pulled her head back at the smell.

“I was about to warn you about the smell.” He admitted.

“Yeah. That was my own fault.” She admitted and giggled at the look he was giving her. “What makes it do that though?”

“There are enzymes in the brain that give it the acidity that would normally fuel the enhancement of a Witcher's body. Without it its useless herbs and Alcohest.” He replied as he watched the vials. “This one we will temper with magic, normally I would have used flame but with you here this will be simpler.”

“So it will do what, exactly?” She questioned.

“It should cleanse them of the poison from the food they had eaten.” He replied. “I have not tested it recently but if it doesn’t work they will just throw it up and we try again.”

“How do you know this?”

“I was trained to know all of this.” He replied.

“You called it by a name earlier?”

He looked at her as the liquid in the vials began to change color. “Oh, you mean Swallow?” She nodded. “That’s what we call a Witchers potion. Its purpose is to help us heal faster and our wounds will begin to close at a much higher speed.”

“Wow.” She replied and looked at the vials. “Okay, are they supposed to turn purple?”

“Yes. It means that I have gotten the measurements right and now we just need to finish them and they will be ready for use.”

“What do we do now?”

“Now it’s your turn.” He said to her. “I would have normally heated them and then spun them to mix them fully but we have you here so that is much simpler.”

“You want me to heat them?”

“Yes. Just enough to get the liquids inside to boil. Then you need to spin them in one direction to mix them.” He explained.

“Okay. Hang on.”

She backed up several feet and his medallion began to shake as her magic grew stronger and he could see the liquids slowly beginning to bubble in the vials.

“Just a bit more.” He said to her and she nodded.

She watched them closely as they began to boil and then she let the heat fade to nothing and he watched as her magic began to spin the twelve vials around her at a slowly increasing speed. He watched closely to ensure that the mare had control of the vials and none of them were loose in her magical grip. She spun them for over a minute before he waved a hoof and she stopped them slowly and held them out to him. He scanned each vial and he picked one up in his hoof and spun it in his hoof to watch the contents. He slowly moved the contents and he nodded that they were ready. He reached back into his saddlebags and pulled out several small corks and began to cork each vial.

“They're ready.”

“So when was the last time you used this?” She asked as he finished putting the corks in place.

“Uhh. It was a few years ago.” He admitted, even though it had been nearly twenty but she didn’t need to know that part yet.

“And it worked?”

“Yes.” He replied as he began to set each vial into his saddlebag. “We tended to the original wound as well but this was able to help her heal and contest the poison that came from the infection.”

“Oh.” She looked much happier now that he had explained the process. “I have to admit I have never heard of what you used to make it but I‘m glad you confident it will work. Shall we?” She said as he got his hooves and buckled the saddlebags in place under his swords.

“Lead on.”

She broke into a lope and he fell in at her hip as she led him to town. His hooves were silent on the dirt as he moved and he didn’t feel any anticipation of the potion's ability to work on ponies. Anypony else would have been concerned just in case it did the opposite of what he had designed it to do, but he felt nothing. The purple mare looked over her shoulder and smiled when she found him still at her hip.

“Almost there.” She said to him and he nodded in reply.

They came upon a tent that had been set up and the Unicorn mare slowed to a walk as they neared it. He looked ahead and a familiar light stood out from the others and he shook his head. “Figures that she ate a few of them.” He muttered and Twilight shrugged.

A creamy white pony came out of the tent and opened it for the purple mare and himself. She had a red cross on her flank and a nurse’s hat adorned her head and she smiled at the sight of the purple Unicorn.

“Thank you for coming back Twilight. We need all the help we can get.” She said as she looked over the mare's shoulder to the thin black Pegasus with her. “Does he need us as well?”

Twilight started and looked back at the Pegasus. “Oh no. He’s just built really lean. He’s here to help. He has mixed up a… medicine that will help them.”

“Some herbal remedy I assume?” The mare sneered.

“Kind of. But it has been used in the past with great success where he’s from. I promise you it will help.” Twilight quickly replied to her tone.

The mare looked skeptical as the stallion walked past her and into the tent. Each bed was occupied by a sick pony that had a bucket close by for them to use. He managed not to wrinkle his nose at the smell of the tent and his hoof went into the saddlebag and pulled out one of the vials with their purple contents. He went to Pinkie first since if she drank it then the others would follow her example.

“Drink this.” He said to her and she looked dubiously at the vial and its contents. “It will help.”

The pink mare looked from the vial to him and then back to the vial, he could see the uncertainty in her eyes as she reached out and took the vial from him. He watched as she leaned back and pulled the cork off the vial. She gave him a small smile and downed the liquid in one gulp. She scrunched her eyes shut and waited for something to happen. He looked over his shoulder to see Twilight watching her intently. He looked back at the pink mare who was beginning to open her eyes as a smile began to cross her mouth. He moved to the next bed and gave each pony one of the vials that held the same mixture Pinkie had used.

“Wow!” Pinkie exclaimed and jumped from her bed and bounced in place. “I feel so much better.”

“Take it easy Pinkie,” Twilight said to her and moved to stand close by her as the other ponies began to drink down the purple liquid.

He watched as each spirit began to recover and he could tell that each of them was feeling much better than they had been. Each of them was now moving on the beds and getting off of them to stand in the center of the tent with the exuberant pink mare.

“I don’t know what you did but…” The nurse said to him as she came into the tent. “But… Thank you. I’m sorry I didn’t believe that you could help when you came up to us.” She apologized as she neared him.

“It’s fine.” He assured her. “I was not upset by it and I do not hold it against you.”

“He’s pretty hard to upset,” Twilight assured her with a laugh.

“I can see that.” She said as she smiled warmly at the stallion.

“Is there anything else?” He asked her and she shook her head. “I advise eating lightly for a day or so and taking it as easy as possible. While it stopped the pain and illness it is still derived from herbs so watch out for anything that lingers.” He advised and made for the tent's exit.

“Wait up,” Twilight called out to him. “I’m sorry I had my doubts about how well it would work.”

“It’s fine.” He replied and stopped to speak with her. “I do not blame you for doubting.”

“I should have had more faith in what you made though.”

“It’s fine.” He replied, his voice a bit sterner.

She smiled and patted his shoulder. “Try to not wear yourself out too much okay. I’ll keep you updated with anything else that happens with Applejack outside of the farm.”

“Thank you.” He said to her and turned to head back to the farm.

He broke into a gallop and headed back to the farm. His hooves carried him through the farm's front gate and his magic flared as he sent his saddlebags back to the wardrobe in his room. He loped the rest of the way into the orchard and rejoined Mac.

“How did it… Go?” Mac asked as the black Pegasus sat down heavily.

“That mare is going to be the death of me.” He cursed as he got to his hooves after a few seconds.

“What did ya need ta do?”

“Applejack helped make muffins and then they were given out to ponies as samples. Twilight came to me when it was found that each pony was now ill and was not able to keep water down.”

“Oh by Celestia.” Mac cursed and shook his head. “How did ya help? Ya don’t use yer magic where others can see.”

“There is more than one way to help. I did not need to use my magic in this case. I was able to use a potion that I had concocted years ago and it was able to act swiftly enough to heal them.”

“Potion?”

“Yes. It contains herbs, Alcohest, and… Other ingredients.” Oblivion replied as he stopped just before mentioning the Drowner Brain to avoid the shock that was sure to follow.

Mac nodded and seemed to accept it at face value. “Ah’m glad ya were able ta help out. Ah think ya outta have a laydown and rest fer a bit.”

“I’m fine,” Oblivion replied as he turned to go back to the farmhouse to deposit his saddlebags back where they belonged.

He saw Mac reach for him out of the corner of his eye as the roan caught hold of his tail. Oblivion growled and looked back as Mac pulled his tail and was able to pull him off his hooves. He sat heavily on the ground and he glared at the red pony.

“Have a rest fer a bit.” Mac pleaded.

Oblivion sighed and laid down in place to placate the other stallion. He laid his head down and closed his eyes to rest for a few minutes. He chose to rest for a little while since Mac was not wrong in saying that he was tired. He could see the exhaustion in the other stallions' gaze and he knew that at the pace they had been setting both of them were in danger of burning out quickly. His ear flicked as the sound of hooves caught his attention. He raised his head as Applejack came around the corner and her eyes were wide at the sight of him on the ground.

“Oblivion! So yer over here nappin’?!” She shouted out. “Apples don’t lay down on the job!”

The angry mare stormed over to him and he was about to get to his hooves when she lunged forward and her teeth sunk into his ear. He was surprised by her choice to bite him when she began to pull on his ear, intent on pulling him forcefully to his hooves.

“Applejack! Let go of me.” He barked at her as the pain went through him originating from his ear. His magic flared and he used it to pry her jaws off his now sore ear. He looked back at her and his orange eyes gave off a stronger glow than was normal for him. “Do not do that again.” He growled as he rubbed his ear.

“Ah told ‘im ta take a minute ta rest. E’s been on the run all day.” Mac explained.

Applejack shifted her gaze from the Witcher as his magic faded from her and she focused on her other brother. “Well, he needs ta make sure mah apples are moved.” She argued.

Oblivion watched as the pair descended into an argument and he sighed. His magic flared as he teleported to Applejack's side and he scanned the area and found the baskets that she had gotten her knickers twisted over. He nearly growled at the sight of the five baskets that were sitting on the ground away from where it looked as though she had left off. His magic gripped them and he galloped back through the orchard with the baskets in his magical grip. He set them inside the barn and galloped back to where the siblings were still arguing. He gave a loud snort as he slid to a stop close by them and they did not seem to have noticed his arrival. He reared up after waiting for several seconds and brought his hooves down heavily as Aard rolled over the ground and pushed them apart.

“That is enough!” He said to them both. “I moved the apples from your side Applejack. You are busting my ass over five baskets that I would have had no issue getting to on my own time?” He said to her and she blinked as he went on. “Mac is correct that he had given me the option to take a moment to rest and I took him up on the offer. You need to get all of the facts before you fly off the handle at the wrong pony. This discussion is over and you need to go back to the Southern Orchard and get back to work.” She opened her mouth to argue with him. “Now!” He barked and she closed her mouth and fled from him.

Mac watched as the mare fled and he looked at the Witcher as Oblivion growled under his breath. Oblivion sat down in place and ran his hoof over his face in exasperation. Mac came to sit down close by him.

“Was it really only five baskets?” He questioned.

Oblivion nodded as he put his hoof back on the ground. “I almost brought them back here with me and dropped them on her. I chose not to since its sellable product technically, wouldn’t want to damage it.”

Mac chuckled and nodded. “Thank ya fer stoppin’ that. Ah just didn’t think it was fair ah her ta be attackin’ ya like that.”

“Your right,” Oblivion replied. “It wasn’t fair of her. I was hoping to scare her enough to go back to her own side to avoid her noticing the almost finished state of this orchard.” Oblivion explained. “She is helping Fluttershy tomorrow now that I think about it.”

Mac looked away for a moment before he nodded. “Ah hope it works out okay. Miss Fluttershy is a sensitive, caring pony.”

Oblivions ears perked at his words and he looked sideways at the other stallion, a slight grin tugged at one side of his mouth. “Some pony hoping she will come around?” He teased.

Mac jolted and his back went rigid. “Well she’s helped us plenty o’ times and she always asks about tha’ farm and mah family and…” Mac caught the look in the black Pegasus’s eyes and he realized he had been teased. “That was low, Oblivion.”

Oblivion barked a laugh. “Not really. That was pretty tame considering what I have done to my fellow Witchers.” He quipped. “Look Mac, if you’re interested in the mare you’re going to have to say something to her. We both know Fluttershy won’t say anything if the feeling is mutual.” He advised.

Mac looked at him and he swirled one hoof on the grass as the Witcher got to his hooves. “Can ya keep that ‘tween us?”

Oblivion shook his head and nodded. “I’ll keep what I know to myself.”

His magic picked up the baskets that were strewn around them and began to carry them back to the barn. He felt the medallion shudder on its chain and he stopped to look around him. After several seconds he realized that it was not the medallion that was trembling it was the Element that surrounded it. He looked down at it and his magic called on the breast collar of the armor and it flowed into place on his body. He waited for anything more to happen but the Element was now still. He felt strength flow into him from the piece of armor and he breathed deeply for a moment as his body recovered.

“Well, that helps me keep going for now.” He whispered as he began to move towards the barn, as the armor poured energy into him.


Morning rolled over the farm and Oblivion and Mac headed toward the northern orchard while Applejack headed out, her dog Winona on her heels. Oblivion looked at the stallion with him and he could see the nervousness in his gaze as the mare left them behind.

“Easy Big Mac. She’ll be fine.” He assured him and patted his shoulder as he turned to the orchard.

“Yeah, Ah know.” He replied and fell in behind the black Pegasus.


Oblivion came out of the barn as Applejack trotted back through the front gates. He set the apples down beside the barn and waited as the mare vanished into her orchard. He watched as the dog walked to her usual place on the side of the barn and settled down to rest. He could see that the dog was tired but not by very much. He was about to go back into the orchard when he saw Twilight coming through the gate. He could see the annoyance written on her face as she trotted up to him.

“This has to end.” She stated.

“Oh?”

“Yes.” She stated and she shook her head. “She terrorized a bunch of baby bunnies, they went through town and ate every piece of foliage they could find and, though I’m not sure how they scared a few ponies.”

“Scared by bunnies?” He asked and she nodded and then shrugged as she sighed. “I see.”

“Yeah. I don’t understand it either.” She said and shook her head once more. “Granted some ponies will faint at the slightest little thing but still. Please tell me she has learned her lesson by now?”

Oblivion shrugged. “She got herself into an argument with Mac and me last night. But I highly doubt that taught her anything. Mac and I will finish in a bit so if you wish to feel free to speak with her. Bring her to the barn when you’re done and she can see how a team works instead of going it alone.” He said to her and the purple mare sighed and started for the orchard.

Oblivion went back to Mac and helped to clear out the last few trees and both of them shouldered the last few baskets and headed for the barn. Oblivion looked out and he could see that Applejack had about a fourth left. If you were inside the orchard then it would be difficult to see the hidden part of the southern edge. Plus in an exhausted state and not thinking clearly, it would be easy to miss. He looked up to find Applejack trotting in front of Twilight.

“Ah did it.” She declared and stomped her hoof as she looked at the two stallions. “How do ya like them apples?” She said as she posed with her head high.

Mac walked over to her and turned her to see the empty trees and then the full barn. “How do ya like them apples?”

She blinked, not comprehending as Oblivion walked up to her and spun her to see the part of the Southern Orchard that she had missed. “What about those apples?”

Her eyes narrowed to pinpricks as she started to stumble out words. “Where did all the apples, what, how?” Her eyes rolled back in her head as she fainted.

Oblivion caught her before she hit the ground and set her down gently. “Okay. Who wants to explain to her that she has been fooled?”

“Ah will. It was mah idea.” Mac said as he stepped forward.

Oblivion nodded as Twilight went to the mare and put her own muzzle a couple of inches from the oranges mares. “Applejack.” She said and then waited for any response from the other mare. “Applejack.”

The orange mare slowly opened her eyes and looked up at the purple Unicorn. “Huh?”

“Oh good. You’re okay. Now Applejack. I completely understand and respect Apple Family traditions. But. You always help out any pony who needs it and never ask for anything in return. You need to put aside your stubborn pride and let your family and friends help you.”

Applejack looked away from her and at the trees that still remained on her side of the orchards. “Okay Twilight, yer right.”

“Now I insist… What?”

“Yes, please Twilight. Ah could really use yer help.”

Twilight sighed deeply and helped her to her hooves. The orange mare was on her hooves and she looked at the two stallions had been silent as the mares spoke.

“Ah’m so sorry Ya’ll. Ah said things that weren’t true and Ah acted like a fool. Oblivion ya were right Ah was actin’ like a filly and Ah should have noticed that yer wearing some of yer armor. Ah should have noticed it since it helps keep ya on yer hooves when yer tired. Ah’m sorry.” She said as she walked up to the black Pegasus.

Oblivion sat down as she wrapped her forelegs around his neck and hugged him tightly. “I know your sorry, AJ.” He said to her. “I forgive you for your foolish pride. Just stop and think next time.” He said to her as she sniffled. “Now I think Mac has something to say to you.”

Mac stepped forward as she turned her gaze to him. “The reason Ah finished mah side so fast was cause Ah asked fer help.”

“Ya what?” She asked as his eyes went wide as she released the black Pegasus and he backed up from her.

“Ah asked Oblivion ta help me finish the first cuz Ah knew ya were gonna go crazy with this here contest a’ yers. Oblivion went around behind ya and helped anypony that got hurt.”

Applejack startled and stared at her brother and then at the black stallion. “What ponies?”

Twilight came forward and explained what they had meant. “Rainbow strained and pulled a few muscles when she crashed into my balcony. Pinkie and a bunch of ponies ended up with food poisoning from those nasty muffins you made.” She explained and the orange mare’s mouth dropped open. “Oblivion was able to make a potion that helped heal them and allowed them to eat and drink again.”

Applejack looked back at the black Pegasus. “And ya have lost some weight as well.” Applejack lamented. “What kinda sister am Ah if Ah didn’t even notice till now?”

The Pegasus shook his head. “It’s fine. It’s nothing I can’t easily recover from.”

Mac stepped up and put a hoof on her as well. “Ah do have an idea though.”

Applejack bolted up and looked to him. “Anythin’.”

“Y'all mentioned that spa thing.” The mare nodded. “Well, he’s been laying on the floor to keep from gettin’ everything dirty so that Granny’s not washing all the time.” He was about to say more when Applejack caught on.

“Ah, course. Ah’ll take ya there myself. Both of ya, mah treat. Ya need ta have yer fur washed and yer mane trimmed. They’ll take care ya.” The mare stood up but stumbled. Twilight went to her side and helped her stay standing.

“I think somepony needs to rest.” The purple Unicorn commented.

The two stallions agreed and stepped back to let her help the mare inside. Oblivion and Mac moved to the barn and shuffled things around to ensure they were stored properly. Oblivion used his magic to shuffle things around as Mac muscled things into place. When they finished both of them made for the farmhouse and walked into the front room to relax for a few minutes. Mac flopped onto the couch and Oblivion stretched out on the floor and he gave a low sigh. His ear flicked to listen as Twilight came into the room and chuckled at the sight of the two of them.

“You two look comfortable.” She giggled as they both look at her.

Oblivion rolled over to look at her and his orange eyes gazed back at her. “Could be worse.”

“Eeyup.” Mac agreed.

“Well. It does seem like she did learn her lesson.” Twilight said to them as she stood close to the doorway to the front room. “I may not have completely agreed or liked the way you went about teaching her but I can’t argue with the results you got. But are you sure the both of you are okay?”

“I think I can speak for both of us when I say we are both a bit drained but otherwise in fair condition,” Oblivion replied while Mac nodded at his words.

Twilight smiled and shook her head as she came into the room and sat down close by where he laid his head down on the carpet. “I’m glad you're both okay. Tomorrow the girls and I will be here to help out with what is leftover. You two can relax and take it easy while we do the rest of the work.” She said to them and both stallions nodded. “Oh. That does remind me though. Oblivion?”

“Hmm.”

“Rainbow mentioned that she wanted to apologize to you for how she acted. She will be with us tomorrow so that will be the perfect time for her to apologize to you. I did give her quite the lecture after you left us.” Twilight explained.

“Good. She needs to learn that just because I might be able to do something for her does not mean I have to.” He replied.

“I agree.”

Mac nodded as the black Pegasus closed his eyes and laid silent. The breast collar of his armor moved with him and he was pleased when it didn’t dig into his neck as his head was down. He was fairly certain that the glyphs buried within the armor were also working to keep him on his hooves. The Greater Mending Glyph was constantly healing him and refreshing his muscles as the day wore on. His ears flicked as Twilight cleared her throat as quietly as possible and he listened as she began to whisper to the other stallion.

“So how has he been doing Big Macintosh?” She whispered.

He heard Mac shift on the couch and he assumed he had moved to allow him to speak to the mare more easily and look at her directly.

“He’s been doin’ well, Miss Twilight. E’ works hard and is not afraid ta speak up and set things right. Even though his magic seems limitless he doesn’t use it very often. He seems to be able to teleport as far as he wants with it since he’s been usin’ it ta move around the farm.” Mac replied.

“Hmm.” She replied and he heard her shift her weight. “I only recently started being able to teleport. Hess far better at it than I am though since he is able to teleport to Canterlot and back in the same day.”

“Ah thought ya were a student o’ the Princess?” Mac questioned.

“I am.” She replied quickly. “But I don’t think even Princess Celestia can teleport that far.”

“Really? How can e’ be better at magic than an Alicorn?” Mac asked her.

He remained still with his eyes closed as they began to talk over him. His own abilities with magic were not something he knew a great deal about. He only had his Signs before he awoke here in Equestria. He had been perfectly content with his Signs and then to awaken and find magic was now at his disposal had been a bit of a shock to him. Magic was not something he had ever wanted to have it now he did have it and he was ensuring it remained unknown aside from a few induvial that he chose. He tuned back into the conversation as Twilight set a hoof on his mane.

“I’m glad he has a family around him now. When I was speaking to him before I got the impression that he did not have that where he is from.” Twilight explained.

“Ah agree. When we mentioned it ta ‘im he seemed ta be uncertain about it and he looked like e’ was gonna bolt.” Mac replied. “He did flinch a few times when we called him brother but he seems ta have gotten used to it.”

Twilight giggled and ran her hoof gently over his mane. “That sounds right. He had mentioned that he never had friends either before now. It’s good to hear that he is getting used to all of us.”

“I can hear you both you know,” Oblivion said to them as he brought his head up and opened his eyes to look at the both of them. “You might want to ensure that a pony is asleep before you gossip about him over his head.”

Twilight sputtered and pulled her hoof back from his mane and looked frantically around the room, looking anywhere but at him. Mac's eyes were wide as he stared at the smirking Pegasus.

“You looked asleep,” Twilight said, her voice quiet.

“I can look that way if I so choose.” He replied.

He gave a quiet chuckle at their expense and got to his hooves. He shook himself and he heaved a sigh as dust fell off of his body. He grumbled under his breath about the dirt as he looked down at the breast collar he wore. He brushed the dirt off of the armor and set his hoof on the carpet as he sighed again. He looked to the front door as Apple Bloom came inside with Granny Smith on her heels. The elder mare had been the one taking and picking up the filly from school. The elder mare looked at him and gave a quiet smile as she made sure the filly was inside and then she turned and went back outside to her front porch. Oblivion said nothing as the filly trotted toward them.

“Wow, that’s a ton o’ apples out there. Did ya’ll finish it all?” She asked.

He shook his head at her question. “No. There is some left but it will be finished tomorrow.”

She came into the room and he saw her eyes fall on the silver breast collar around his shoulders and chest. “Is that part of yer armor?”

“It is yes. It normally looks better than this though.” He replied and looked down at the dirty armor.

“It’s really shiny.” She said to him as she reached him.

Twilight stood up and used her magic to lift Apple Bloom onto her back so she could look at the armor more closely. She reached out and ran her hoof over it, brushing away a layer of dust.

She wrinkled her nose. “Okay, it is dusty. Oh, Ah know. Ya want me ta wipe it off fer ya?”

Oblivion shook his head. “It's fine, Apple Bloom. I will tend to it later. Though I appreciate the offer.” He said as he started for the kitchen.

Apple Bloom jumped off Twilight’s back and followed behind him. “Ya sure?”

He nodded to her and he walked outside.


The filly didn’t follow him outside. She went back into the family room and looked at the two adult ponies. “How did he get so dirty? He hates that.”

“It’s been a very long week, Apple Bloom. We are all dirty and tired.” Mac explained. He was about to continue when the house shook, then a roar of anger came from outside.

Twilight looked to Mac.

“Oblivion.” They both sounded off and took off outside. “Stay, Apple Bloom.”

Twilight reached the kitchen door first and saw that the baskets had fallen over and the apples scattered. Oblivion was standing in front of them, his back arched, and his teeth bared. Twilight searched around frantically. She started to yell to the black Pegasus when he charged forward and raced, at a full gallop, past the barn and into the field behind it. Twilight took off after him with Mac on her heels. The mare raced after him and saw a sword emerge from the air and she saw him hold the hilt in his teeth. Even in the sun, the blade glowed silver. Twilight dug in and tried to catch up with him. She had to skid to a halt when the black pony suddenly stopped in his tracks. Twilight heard Mac coming up behind her, then heard him yelp. She looked back and Mac rolled into her.

“Oh no!” Twilight rolled forward and found herself underneath Oblivion, who looked down at her, he blinked a couple of times, sword in his teeth. “I am so sorry.” She flushed and tried to crawl out from under him. “Eep.” The mare stopped when she realized that Mac was right behind her on the other side of Oblivion's legs.

She looked back at him and found that he didn’t seem angry, more amused.


He jumped a few feet ahead of them and turned to help them get untangled. He slid the weapon back into its scabbard and reached out to help them. He picked Twilight up from under her forelegs and pulled her out from her place half under Mac’s flank.

“Are you all right?” He asked her as he set her on her hooves.

“I’m okay. Just… Mortified.” She said as he backed up from her.

He pulled the red stallion to his hooves as well after he moved back to where the pony was still prone.

“Sorry bout that. Ah slipped on the grass. Mighty sorry, Miss Twilight.” He said to her with an apologetic look.

“It’s okay Big Mac. Accidents happen.” She replied to him and smiled. “Anyway. So what happened Oblivion?”

The black Pegasus said nothing for a moment as he looked over his shoulder to the field and then back to the pair of ponies. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it.”

Twilight reached out and slapped his shoulder with her hoof. “We can’t help if you don’t talk to us.”

He started at the hit to his shoulder but he then shook his head. “That's the thing Twilight, you can’t help. What I sensed is not able to be felt by any of you. Not that you are not capable, it's just that I am trained for it. I sensed something that reminded me of a creature from where I am from. It’s happened a few times now. Just as I get close to it the feeling vanishes. I keep chasing my tail and it's becoming… more aggravating.” He explained.

The mare looked thoughtful as she seemed to consider her options. “Do you have any idea what it might have been?”

“A wraith, most likely.”

He watched as she looked to the red stallion who shrugged. “A what?”

“A wraith.” He replied and then a sigh pulled from him as he looked at the pair of questioning ponies. “A spirit that has departed this world under bad circumstances and is connected to something that they left behind. They can be cleansed, but you have to find the item or person they are attached to. If you burn it that will attract them to you and you can fight them as needed after that.”

“Why in Equestria would you want them to come to you?” Twilight as Mac nodded.

“That is the only way to free them. You have to then defeat them to cleanse their spirit and allow it to move on. Otherwise, they will continue to plague and kill those that get too close to them.” He informed them.

“And you defeat these often?” Twilight asked him.

“They're actually very common where I am from. Ponies attack and kill each other, which can create a wraith. There are many different types so it can depend on what kind they are and when they will appear. If I’m right, the one I was after is a Noonwraith. A Noonwraith is the spirit of a young mare that has died in a violent way right before their wedding. They are driven mad with pain and anger so they wander the fields close by where they died searching for their unfaithful husbands or lovers.” Oblivion stopped and looked to the two ponies, who looked nothing sort of horrified. “Anyway they have the ability to kill ponies and they need to be removed from an area to prevent bloodshed. But unless I see it I can’t be truly sure.” He explained.

He watched as Twilights spirit shifted its color and he prepared himself for what he had learned signaled a shift in her demeanor to one of pure curiosity. “That is so interesting. I never thought that there could be so many types of monsters. How many types of wraiths do you know of?”

“I know of five to ten or so depending on the area.” He replied as he leaned back onto his haunches as she leaned forward.

She leaned forward, intent on listening to what he had to say. He cast a look back and Mac nodded in understanding and he reached out to grip her long tail and pulled her back. She looked back at the pull and she blinked as the realization came over her and she looked sheepish.

“Sorry about that. I got a little carried away.” She admitted as the roan released her tail. “Anyway. Umm, so it’s gone now?”

He looked at her and nodded. “Yes. I can’t sense anything nearby and they are hard to track without a clue as to who they once were.” He admitted as he began to lead them back toward the barn and farmhouse.

Twilight kept turning her head to look at him as she was also picking her way through the tall grass. “So a Wraith is the ghost of a pony?”

He glanced at her from the corner of his eye for a moment before he looked ahead once more. “No. They are the spirit of a pony that has been driven mad with pain and betrayal before they died. Usually, they have a pretty sad tale that comes with them. I have seen mares that were killed by lords they rebuked or by common stallions that pursued them. The mare cast them aside for another or to remain on her own and they lashed out at her for her choice.”

Twilight seemed to consider what he had said before she shook her head slowly. “That is sad.” She whispered. “It’s hard to believe that another pony would do that to another.”

“Where I am from it’s not out of the ordinary. It’s common enough during times of war and conflict. My homeland is far away from Equestria’s peaceful borders so it seems that the war has not crossed the borders.” He lied easily top the mare as he walked on.

“It sounds like a very cruel and violent place.” She said to him.

“It is that’s true.” He agreed. “Equestria is very nearly the direct opposite of where I am from. I will fall asleep here and expect to awaken back in the Northern Realms and find that this had been a dream that I have woken from.”

“It is real though,” Twilight said to him, her voice insistent.

“Perhaps. Or I could simply awaken in the morning to find that it was nothing more than a pretty dream.” He chuckled as he spoke back to her.

He kept walking forward and he realized that the purple Unicorn had stopped and was now several feet behind him. He looked back over his shoulder as she stared at him. Her purple eyes stared at him and then she blinked and looked down at the ground between her hooves. He gave his head a slight tilt as she stared at the ground. Mac nudged his shoulder and he looked at the roan. The farm pony motioned for him to go back and see to the mare that was still behind them.

“Why?” He asked.

Mac rolled his eyes and a short sigh pulled from him. “She’s sad. Ya need ta fix it.”

“How am I going to do that?”

“Ya comfort Apple Bloom all the time. Same thing.” Mac said to him.

Mac moved to the front of the Pegasus and spun him around and gave him a shove back toward the mare. He huffed under his breath and walked back to the silent mare. He looked back as Mac began to walk back to the house ahead of them. The roan left them behind as he moved through the grass, leaving the black Pegasus and Unicorn alone. He walked back to her and lowered his head to her level and his orange cat eyes searched her face. He leaned slightly forward and gave her a gentle nuzzle, similar to what he would have done with Apple Bloom. The mare suddenly hiccupped and lunged forward to wrap her forelegs around his neck and shoulders. He sat down in front of her and held her as tightly as he dared. He ran his hoof gently over her mane and tried to calm her as best as he knew how. Her hooves gripped his fur and mane as she snuggled into his neck.

“You are real and you belong here.” She hiccupped. “You have to be real. Your one of my best friends.”

“I admit that was meant to be a joke.” He assured her. “I may not be very good at joking though. Lack of emotions and expressions do make it more difficult than it should be.”

She sniffled a laugh as she buried her face in his mane. “You’re not just saying that to make me calm down?”

“I did not mean to upset you, Twilight.” He said to her as he ran his hoof over her mane. “I simply meant that this place is so different than my homeland that it is shocking. Where I am from and this place is such a contrast to each other that this place seems like a paradise in a desert.” He explained and she huddled against him. “Besides. When I dream I am not covered in dirt and mud so this cannot be a dream.”

She giggled and nodded into his mane. “That’s true. It’s hard to end up filthy in a dream.”

“It’s impossible.” He argued gently.

She backed up and sat down in front of him. He put his hoof under her chin and lifted her head to face him directly. He ran his hoof under her eyes to brush away any remaining tears. She smiled slowly as he leaned back and she looked at him.

“I just never thought it was so different.” She whispered. “The kingdom you’re from sounds like…”

“Hell?” He said for her and she rolled her eyes. “You can call it what it is and nopony will blame you.”

“I wouldn’t go that far.” She argued. “You just keep so much to yourself and refuse to allow us to help. Well… Refuse is the wrong word. You brush it off and make it seem so small.”

“Where I am from an injury can prove fatal in more ways than one.” He clarified and she listened and he put his hoof down and went on. Infection can be secondary to those that would prey on those who show an injury. Ponies that would seek to rob and kill for what I carry in my saddlebags prowl the roads and prey on those they can. Even an armed Witcher is not immune to their attempts.”

“Why in Equestria would they attack an armed Witcher?” She asked him, her eyes wide with surprise.

“I have no idea.” He said to her as he shrugged. “They will always try to take what is not theirs. They will take even if it means covering their hooves in the blood of others. Showing pain or injury can be a fatal mistake. Showing weakness can prove fatal.” He explained. “It’s like in a wolf pack. A wolf will not show pain since that means the wolf under them could attack them and take their place in the pack. It’s similar to that.”

Twilight looked at him as he finished explaining and she nodded as she understood him. “It sounds so frightening but at the same time… It makes sense the way you explain it. You avoid showing anything to keep yourself safe. Even though we would never dream of hurting you that doesn’t mean we can change how you act just by asking you to.” She said to him and he nodded.

“Come.” He said as he got to his hooves and held out his hoof to her. “I will walk you home.”

She smiled and reached out to grip his hoof and he pulled her to her hooves. He turned to walk at her side as she began to walk forward and he matched her pace. He contemplated how else he could have reacted to her actions but decided that he had handled it well considering his experience with crying mares was almost nonexistent. The mare bumped his shoulder and he bumped her with his hip and she yelped as he nearly knocked her down. She laughed as he watched to make sure she did not fall and she bumped him harder to try to stagger him. As they walked into town she seems to have given up trying to knock him from his hooves and her smile remained on her muzzle. They reached the Library door and she opened the door and turned to face him before walking into the Library.

“Thanks for walking me home. I’m sorry I cried on you like that.” She said to him, her tone sheepish.

“It’s fine. It happens.” He assured her. “I’m here if needed.”

She continued to smile and nodded at him. “Thanks again. Be careful on your way home.” She said and then giggled. “Though if anything did try to come after you I admit I might feel a bit sorry for them.”

He chuckled and nodded in agreement. “Just because I am here now does not mean I have lazed in my training.”

“Night Oblivion.”

“Sleep well Twilight.” He said to her and spun on his heel to leave the Library behind.

The black stallion walked the silent road in his own silence and he looked down at the breast collar that sat around his chest and shoulders and he sighed. He could see that it was filthy but he also knew that as soon as he sent it back to rejoin the other pieces of the armor it would be clean the next time he called on it. He stopped and looked back at the Library and he shook his head.

“It was foolish of me to think that she would not be upset by what I said. Ponies are much more sensitive to things that are common on the Continent.” He berated himself under his breath as he moved to walk down the road once more.

He broke into a trot and the road fell away as he moved back to the farm. The Pegasus soon trotted through the front gate and headed for the farmhouse. He moved to go up the stairs and he could see the light to Apple Bloom's bedroom was on and he moved to look inside to check on the filly. He walked up to the doorway and leaned into the room to find that the filly was sitting at her desk. He watched as she erased a line on her homework page and a frustrated sigh pulled from her as she leaned back in her chair. She leaned her head back and her eyes fell on the Witcher standing in the doorway. She blinked rapidly at the sight of him and her eyes suddenly went wide.

“Yer just the pony Ah need.” She leaned her head back forward and motioned for him to join her by the desk.

He walked into the room and looked down at the blank paper in front of her. She looked at him, her smile wide. “All right. I’ll bite. Why do you need me?”

The filly beamed at him. “Whats a troll look like?”

He tilted his head at her for a moment. “Why?”

“Ah need ta draw an animal from another place. A troll is perfect. It’s not from here and it's sure ta get me an A on this paper.” The filly explained as she bounced in her seat.

“Why not choose something that you know what it looks like?”

“Cause every pony will be drawing somethin’ from here. Ah want it ta stand out. Ya don’t; need ta draw it fer me, just tell me what it looks like.” She explained.

He sat down beside the desk and pointed one hoof to the top of the paper. “Draw a line there.” He instructed.

“Why?”

“Just do as you’re told.” He said to her and she nodded and did as he instructed. “Now put another one directly in the middle of the page.” She was now giving him a confused look but he persisted. “Now put the last one on the bottom of the page.”

“Okay.” She said and did as he had told her.

“Now I will teach you how to draw a troll on your own.”

“Ya can draw?”

“I can, yes.”

“Can ya show me?”

He was silent as his magic flowed and he summoned his sketchbook for her to see. He let her look at a few pages and her eyes were wide as she looked over the drawings. He pulled the sketchbook away from her before she saw monsters or people that she shouldn’t. He set the book down on the floor by his hooves and looked at the paper in front of her.

“Ya are really good.” She gushed. “Will Ah be that good when yer done teachin’ me?”

“You won’t be able to draw just like that with just one lesson.” He said to her. “I have been drawing for a very long time so I have had a great amount of practice. You will develop your own style as time goes on. It will be different than mine if you practice.” He assured her. “Shall we start?”

The filly bounced in her seat and nodded happily. He began to tell her what to do and time ticked past as he instructed her. The filly made her mistakes but he was able to teach her how to use her mistakes to avoid erasing the whole project. His ear flicked back as the sound of hooves on the carpet drew his attention for a moment. He glanced quickly over his shoulder to see Applejack looking into the room. He went back to focusing on Apple Bloom when the filly called his name and he gave her further instruction. He gave her the final direction and she finished and gave a shout of joy.

“Apple Bloom.” He scolded. “It’s late.”

She cringed at his scolding as he had waved a hoof at her to lower her volume. “Sorry. Ah’m just so excited bout it. Is it really what they look like? Can ya draw one?”

“I can show you the one I have drawn before.” He said to her and she nodded happily.

He picked up his sketchbook and began to flip through the pages until he found what he was looking for. He turned it around and showed her the drawing. It was one of his older drawings and it was faded but it was still clear what it was. She stared at the drawing and he could see her face droop a bit as she looked at her own drawing and then back to his.

“Remember that I have been drawing for many years and have had time to practice.” She had started to hold up her own drawing to hold it next to his but he put a hoof on it to prevent her from comparing them. “This is quite impressive considering you did this in under an hour.” He said to her. “You are much better than one of my fellow Witchers. He would not be able to draw his way out of a bag.”

She giggled and held her drawing to her chest. She leaned forward and wrapped one foreleg around his neck as much as she was able. She nuzzled his neck and he patted her back as she leaned back into her chair and set the drawing on her desk.

“Yer the best big brother in all o’ Equestria.” She said as she beamed happily at him.

He could see her spirit burning brightly as he got to his hooves and picked up his sketchbook. He set the book on his back and backed up from the desk.

“Time for bed little one.” He said to her and she jumped off the chair and put the drawing in her saddlebag.

He watched as she went from the chair to her bed and hopped onto the plush quilt and pushed herself under the blanket. He walked to the door as Applejack ducked away from the door jam and he stopped by the door and put his hoof on the light switch.

“Night Oblivion.” Apple Bloom said to him.

“Good night little one.” He said as he turned off the light and closed the door behind him.

He turned to find Applejack standing close by and she smiled as he walked toward his room to set his sketchbook on the desk. He moved into his room and set the sketchbook down and turned back to the orange mare.

“That was sweet o’ ya ta help her. Ya didn’t have ta stay up and teach ‘er how ta draw.” She said as she smiled at him.

The stallion said nothing for a moment. “There is a saying where I am from. Give a pony a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will never go hungry.”

Applejack blinked. “Tha’s true Ah suppose. Though Ah don’t know any pony that eats fish, ‘cept maybe you.” She chuckled. “Yer pretty wise.”

“Every pony where I am from eats what they can get their hooves on. You’re the second pony ta tell me I am wise.” He said as the mare moved past him toward the stairs.

“Who else told ya?”

“Luna.”

“And everypony eats fish?”

“If they can fish for it yes.” He replied as she stopped at the top of the stairs to keep speaking to him. “The Princess said ya were wise as well?”

“Yes. During our conversation. I told her my opinion of her and she informed me that I was wise. She mentioned that I reminded her of her teacher.” Applejack motioned for him to keep going as he paused. “A pony named Star…. Something.” He paused as she tried to recall the full name of the pony. “I’m getting too old to recall everything. Star Swirl.” He said to her and she shrugged.

“Ah don’t know the name, but Ah bet Twilight does.” She commented. “That's what happens ta ya when yer over a hundred years old. Ya start fergettin’ things.” She teased and he shrugged. “Yer birthday cake would be an inferno if we put all those candles on it.”

“My what?”

“Yer birthday cake.”

“Why would you be putting candles on it?” He questioned as she stared at him.

“It’s ta celebrate the year ya were born. We put a candle fer each year. Ya don’t have those where yer from?”

“No. There is no reason for such a thing. I don’t even recall the day I was born on. I have no desire to celebrate such a thing anyway. I have been in this world for over a hundred years, there is no need to celebrate that.”

“We could celebrate the day ya came to Equestria.” She pointed out and he shook his head.

“There is no reason.” He said to her. “I do not even know the exact day I arrived here. I know the general season but there is no need to celebrate that.” He commented as he looked at the mare. “You should be resting anyway Applejack.”

“Ah’m getting’ a sandwich. Care ta keep me company?”

He started to say no to her but then he motioned for her to lead the way down the stairs. “Very well.”

She led him down the stairs and into the kitchen. He sat down in his usual place as she made herself a couple of sandwiches and came to sit down across from him. He said nothing to her as she sat down and began to eat her food.

“Ah hear ya took Twilight and Mac on a merry chase into the fields behind the house.” She said through her dinner.

He leaned his head back in exasperation before he replied. “It was not intentional.” He assured her. “I saw something in the field and went hunting it down. Nothing more than that.”

“Ya made Twilight cry.” She accused.

He sighed and looked at the orange mare. “That was even more of an accident.” He said to her as she grinned through her sandwich. “She asked me what I was looking for and I explained it to her. She was clearly not ready for my reply and it upset her.”

“Ya shocked her ta tears?”

“Basically.” He replied. “Ponies in this area are much more trusting and considerate of each other than here I am from. I did not realize that explaining what a Wraith was would have the effect that it did on her.”

“Wraith?”

“It’s typically a mare that has been murdered or abandoned by a love she had or by a spurned stallion.” He explained and she cringed. “It was a shock that I did not anticipate.”

“Well, ya stayed behind ta comfort her?” He nodded in response. “Then ya did the right thing.”

“I am glad to hear you think so.” He replied, sarcasm in his tone.

She scowled at him for a moment at his tone but her scowl didn’t last on her face. “Ah hear ay met up with Prince Blue Blood.” He raised one eyebrow and she went on. “Ah heard from Rarity. Ah needed ta ask her a question earlier and she was bust writin’ a letter to somepony. She said who she was writin’ and that she would be over tomorrow to have ya send it fer her.”

“I will send it to her when she brings it to me, then.” He agreed.

“She said ya were helpin’ ‘im.” She went on. “Ya went out of yer way ta reach outta him.”

“I truly did not know who he was until further in our conversation. I remembered that she wished to meet him at that gala. I am helping him but that was not my intention to seek him out for her.”

“Ah know. Ya act how ya want when ya need ta. Yer his first friend.”

“Pardon?”

“Ya didn’t have ta help ‘im but ya are. He sees ya as his closest friend and ya don’t expect nothin’ in payment?”

“No. I expect nothing in return.”

“Do ya expect Apple Bloom ta pay ya fer the lesson ya gave ‘er?”

“Of course not. Pay me with what?”

“Exactly. Yer a givin’ pony when it’s needed fer ya ta act. Ya may not be from Equestria but ya belong here with us.” She said and bit into her food.

‘How did she draw that conclusion? I helped a couple of ponies and that is all I have done. Granted I admit it’s more likely to be treated as admirable here rather than in the Northern Realms. I have taken it upon myself to protect them from the monsters that seem to be bleeding into this world from my own. Does that make me one of them?’ He thought to himself as the orange mare finished her meal.

“I‘m not from this area. How can I be one of you when I am nothing like you at the same time?” He asked her.

“Ya don’t need ta be born here ta be one of us.” She reasoned to him. “Yer a pony just like any other. If yer hurt, ya bleed just like we do. Yer one of us and the Element of Spirit wouldn’t have chosen just any pony. That connects us together, the seven of us.”

“Hmm.” He made a noise as he considered her reasoning.

“Yer mah brother and nothing can change that.”

“That’s another thing I do not understand. I’m an outsider, I always have been.”

“That doesn’t matter. Yer family.” She stated bluntly and gazed back at him.

He pulled one hoof up and scratched the back of his head with his claws as a sigh pulled from him. She got to her hooves and moved past him, stopping to pat his shoulder as he considered what she had said. After a moment's delay, he got to his hooves and followed her up the stairs. She looked over her shoulder at him as she moved past his room and went further down the hall.

“Night Oblivion.”

“Good night Applejack.” He said as he pushed the door to his room open and walked inside and shut the door behind him.

The Pegasus stood in the middle of the room for several seconds before he sighed once more and unbuckled the baldric from around his body and laid it on the ground beside where he would be laying. He picked it back up and checked the hilt of his silver sword to see if his teeth had left any marks. He was pleased to see that there was no evidence of his sharp teeth in the wrapped hilt. He laid the baldric back down and he moved to lay down next to it. He folded his legs under him and he left the breast collar in place on his body as he let it keep replenishing him as time went on. He flicked his tail so it would curve around his body and he laid his chin down on top of the strands as he breathed out a deep breath as he closed his eyes to allow himself to sleep.


He awoke to the sound of the rooster crowing. He growled under his breath as he pushed himself up. “I hate that bird.” He muttered and he cast a glance out the window that was next to the bed. The Pegasus leaned his head to the side and let the bones crackle as he pushed himself to his hooves. He picked up the baldric and buckled it into place around his body. His eyes fell on the state of his fur and he grimaced at the caked-on dirt. He gave a deep sigh and went to the door and opened it to allow himself to leave the room. He went down the stairs and out into the front of the house and found Applejack standing in the middle of the front yard. Her eyes fell on him as he approached her.

“Mornin’.” She greeted.

“Morning.” He replied with a slight bow of his head.

He looked up where she was watching and he could see a group of familiar spirits coming toward them. His orange eyes focused on the mares as they came through the front gate and he saw Applejack smile out of the corner of his eye.

“Thanks, fer comin’ Ya’ll.” She shouted at them as they drew closer.

“Well, at least you’re greeting them.” He quipped at her.

“Ah course Ah am. They're gonna be helpin… Oh. Haha. Now yer a funny Pegasus.”

“Only when you make it that easy.” He replied as he began to walk away from her.

The orange mare reached out and grabbed his tail and he stopped in response to the mares grip. “Ah got an idea fer ya.”

“Oh?”

He backed up as she tugged on his tail and she gripped his mane and pulled his head down to hers. “Yeah. Ah heard Rainbow is gonna be apologizin’ to ya. Ask her ta help ya with that memory spell o’ yers. Ya can’t be a Pegasus that can’t fly.”

He tilted his head slightly as he considered what she had suggested. “True.” He replied simply.

The mare chuckled as she released his mane and patted his shoulder. She moved up to welcome the mares as they stopped a few feet away from him. He watched as Rainbow dropped to the ground and her eyes fell on him for several seconds before she seemed to groan silently. She inhaled and held the breath for several seconds before she released it and approached him.

“Hey, Oblivion. Can I talk to you?” She asked.

He looked at her and he saw Twilight look over as the mare’s words had caught her ears. “Sure. Over here.” He said as he led her off to the side.

“Okay, so umm… I…” She looked away from him and swirled her hoof in the dirt in front of her. “Look, what I’m trying to say is…”

Oblivion looked away from her as she stared at the ground and he caught Applejack waving a hoof at him, telling him to wait for her to speak further. He looked back at the light blue mare as she finally seemed to figure out what to say to him.

“Ugh. What I mean is, I’m sorry. I was a jerk to you and you didn’t do anything to deserve it. I deserved to be called selfish and I was wrong to try to use our friendship against you.” She panted when she had finished speaking. “Friends?” She asked as she held out her hoof.

He looked down at the offered hoof and then back to the mare. “On one condition.”

The mare jumped into the air, a smile on her muzzle. “Name it.”

“Help me test out a new spell.” He said to her.

She stiffened and looked at him. She floated slowly to the ground as she looked at him. “How new is it?”

“I have used it once before.” He informed her. “All you would need to do it concentrate on your knowledge of how to fly. For a strong flyer like yourself, this should prove to be simple.”

She looked at him and then to the wings that sat pinned against his sides. “Why?”

“I do not know how to fly.” He explained and her eyes widened at his admission. “I was trained by Earth ponies and Unicorns. Flight was never involved.”

“But how come ya don’t know? What about yer parents?”

“If I knew how to fly before the Trial of the Grasses then I forgot it after it. All memory was wiped clean during the Trial.”

“Oh. So you need to know how to fly? I could just teach you.” She replied.

“Or I can test this spell on Fluttershy. She is such a sensitive and helpful mare. I’m certain she would be able to help.” He said as he looked away from her and to the butter-yellow mare. “Twilight already helped with the creation of the spell so I am sure Fluttershy would help as well.”

He saw Twilight and Applejack holding back grins as he spoke just loud enough for the pair of them to hear him. He started to walk back toward the other mares as Rainbow reached out and grabbed his tail and yanked it back.

“Ow.” He growled and backed up to stand by her.

“No.” She said to him. “So Twilight already helped with this?” He nodded. “Okay, this must be really easy if Twilight can do it.”

He saw Twilight frown as the Pegasus spoke. “It is fairly simple.”

“Then this should be easy. What do I need to do?”

“Focus on your knowledge of flight. Such as how to navigate, angles, hovering, etc. Nothing too difficult I assure you.” He said to her as she released his tail and the long strands fell back into their normal place.

She spread her hooves slightly and stared at him as he came to stand in front of her. “All right focus.” He said to her and she nodded in response. “Granted last time I used his I did it on a Unicorn so I am not sure how another Pegasus will respond.”

He said quickly as the magic flared and he pushed his mind into that same meditative state that it had been in before. He saw her eyes widen before the meditative state held her as well. He closed his eyes and he held the magic in place for several seconds before he felt it flow back on him and he slowly rescinded the magic and let it fade out. He opened his eyes and he watched as Rainbow slowly came out of the same state he had been in. Her eyes flew open as she stared at him, her eyes slowly glaring at him.

“You said that just to rattle me.” She accused.

“Yes.” He replied simply. “You earned a few jabs for how you acted. Since the information I gained will prove useful I will forgive your previous actions.”

He turned to walk away from the stunned mare as he flicked his tail and it slapped her in the face as he walked away. He reached the other mares and he felt Applejack bump his shoulder.

“That flick of yer tail was fer her nearly pullin’ it out?” She asked and he gave her a sly wink in reply.

She chuckled as she turned to the girls. “All right. Ah need yer help finishin’ tha harvest. There’s not much left but we need the help, okay maybe more help than I first thought.” She said as she turned to look at the barn.

He looked over his shoulder and he saw the spilled apples and their barrels. He grimaced as magic began to flow over him. He commanded it to cover the spilled apples and they were lifted up and the baskets and barrels were set down in long lines and the apples placed inside of them. He used magic to find the bruised apples and he held them off to the side in a pocket of magic. He looked at the orange mare and she stared.

“What do I do with the bad ones?” He questioned.

She pointed to a large bin off to the side of the barn and he dropped them inside of it. He recognized it as the bin that the pigs were fed from. The black Pegasus stood in place and looked at the mare as she broke out laughing.

“That makes feedin’ the pigs easier.” She laughed and then went quiet.

He watched as the mares all gathered as they began to decide who was harvesting what spot and he saw Rarity leave the group and come toward him. Her magic held up a letter and he nodded in understanding as he took it from her. His magic flared once more and the letter vanished in a flash of aqua light and mist. He gave her a nod as he confirmed that it had been safely delivered and she went back to the group with a smile. He took the weight off one hind leg as Mac came to join him where he stood. The two of them went to stand by the nearby picnic table and they watched as the mares went about taking care of baskets and harvesting apples.


The black Pegasus watched as Applejack came out of the house with a tray balanced on her back. He could see that she was being more careful than normal as she was carrying glass bottles instead of plastic cups.

“How bout ya’ll take a little break?” She hollered out as she neared the picnic table that the two stallions were sitting close by. “Ah got some fresh apple juice fer ya!”

Oblivion said nothing as the orange mare set the bottles down in spaced spots around the table as the girls came up to the table and eagerly sipped their drinks.

“Ah can’t thank ya’ll enough fer this help. Ah was acting a bit stubborn.” She admitted with a sheepish look.

“A bit?” Oblivion jabbed from a few feet away from her.

She cringed at his tone and she glanced over to him as the others giggled. “Okay, a mite stubborn. Ah’m so very sorry. Ah know the town gave me a prized pony award, but the real reward is havin’ all of you as mah friends and family.”

Rainbow Dash leaned back on her haunches and sighed deeply. “That Apple Bucking sure makes you hungry.”

Spike came out from the shade of the house as she spoke. “I have just a snack for all of you.” He said as he held up a tray with muffins on it.

Oblivions eyes went slightly wider at the sight of dead worms in the muffin's outer shell. He assumed those were the muffins that had made so many ponies sick before. He blanched at the sight of them and he looked over as Mac gagged.

“Spike, I threw those away. Where did you get them?” Pinkie asked him as she cringed away from them.

“From the trash.” He replied merrily.

Every pony cringed away from them as he held them out for everypony to reach for one if they wished. He watched as Spike held them out further and the ponies backed up.

“Sure you don’t want a nibble?” The baby dragon asked.

Oblivion was silent as he caught a pleading look from Twilight and he gave a slight nod in response. His magic flared and the aqua aura covered the muffins and held them aloft. Magic flowed as he incinerated the muffins in place and Spike looked horrified as they were destroyed. Aqua mist still flowed as the muffins were reduced to nothing and then faded as there was nothing to sustain it when he dropped his aura. Applejack sighed off to the side as she looked up at the black Pegasus.

“Thanks fer that Oblivion. Ah don’t need ta be reminded bout mah mistakes.” The farm mare said to him.

He nodded at her in reply and walked away from the mares and up to a pile of hay. He flopped down on top of it and laid his head down between his hooves as Mac joined him and did the same thing. The red pony was quiet as he laid close enough to the black Pegasus to have reached out to touch him should he have wished but not close enough to be warmed by his fur. The pair of them watched as the mares went back to work and slowly filled the baskets and barrels that remained. Applejack went past them and she chuckled as they lounged in place.

“Comfy?” She asked them through a laugh.

“Eeyup,” Mac replied and Oblivion said nothing in response and let the roans words stand for the pair of them.

The mare walked away from them and back to the orchard. Beside him, Mac raised his head and looked over at the Pegasus. Oblivion said nothing as he closed his eyes for a moment and let his senses reach out to tell him if anything moved.

“So ya gonna take this time ta go huntin’ or are ya okay fer a while?” Mac asked him.

“I might,” Oblivion replied as he opened his eyes and glanced to the roan next to him.

Mac fell silent at his side as he watched the orchard. He could see the spirits of the mares as they moved further into the orchard. Minutes ticked past him as he considered whether going out into the Everfree now or later would be better. As time ticked past him he got to his hooves and shook himself free of any straw. He jumped off the pile and looked over his shoulder as Mac nodded in understanding. He walked away from the roan and broke into a trot as he went into the orchard. His hooves carried him easily as he pushed himself into a gallop. He galloped past Twilight and he saw her wave to him as he went by but he did not respond.

He galloped hard until he was into the Everfree and then he slowed down to a trot. He felt his wings shift as they flicked against his sides. While he now knew how to use them he was not in a hurry to do so. He came to a stop close to a clearing that he had used for hunting before and he brought the formerly injured wing up to his face for him to look over. He was pleased to see that feathers were already growing in and the patch that he had plucked was gone. So far as he could tell there were not any scars that had lingered from the gash and he let them hang loosely against his sides as he looked out over the clearing as he started his hunt.


Applejack looked around her as the other mares came back to join her by the barn. Twilight was levitating several baskets in her magic as she set them down by the barn. The purple Unicorn smiled as she looked at her.

“That’s the last of It Applejack.” She said as she waved her hoof at the baskets.

“Thank ye Twilight!” She replied.

The orange mare looked over the orchard and grinned. She was pleased to see the empty trees and that signaled the end of the harvest for the apples. She sighed as she turned to where her brothers had been lounging. She saw Mac still in his place on the haystack but Oblivion was missing. She was concerned for a moment before she reminded herself about who she was worried about. She felt bad for anything that tried to harm him. She trotted over to the haystack and her brother opened one eye sot look at her as she stopped close by him.

“Where’s Oblivion?” She asked.

Mac’s voice was quiet as he replied to her. “Went huntin’.” He informed her.

She nodded as she looked out at the orchard and past it toward the Everfree. “Well, least he’s getting’ a good meal. Ah still feel awful fer how Ah treated him and you.” She said as she hung her head. “Ah was so focused on mahself that Ah didn’t see how ya were hurtin.”

Mac got to his hooves and stepped down the haystack and joined her. He put a hoof on her shoulder and nodded. “We all make mistakes. Ah know he ain’t holdin’ a grudge against ya.”

She sighed. “Ah know he ain’t. He’s not that type ah pony. Even though Ah wouldn’t blame him if he did.” She said to him.

Mac opened his mouth to speak when a familiar black pony emerged from the orchard ahead of them. The Pegasus paused for a moment as he glanced quickly around him and then to the siblings.

“I see everything has finished already.” He stated as he joined them.

Applejack nodded. “Ya feelin’ better?”

The black Pegasus nodded. “Yes, thank you. A good run and a meal will do that for a pony.”

She was relieved as she looked at him. “Ah’m glad yer feelin’ better. Been a long week and ya worked hard.”


The Witcher was silent as the other mares began to gather by the picnic table once more. He walked over with both siblings at his side and joined them.

“Thank ya again girls. Ah know Ah haven’t been a very good friend this week. But Ah’m glad ya’ll’re here ta help out.” Applejack said to them as she looked at each of them in turn. “Ya’ll’re welcome ta stay fer dinner and Ah’ll make ya the best apple pie fer dessert.”

The girls cheered at her statement and thanked her for the offer. They began to separate to accomplish other tasks as the day wore on. The two stallions were chased away from doing any kind of work despite their attempts. Oblivion gave up after a rake was thrown at him and he chose to settle down under his normal tree and relax in the shade. Mac joined him several minutes later after taking a broom to the flank, courtesy of Applejack. Both of them lounged in place while the afternoon wore on.


Oblivion opened one eye as the bell for dinner sounded and the stallion next to him rose and went to the house for dinner. His magic flared and he summoned his book and propped it up and chose to read instead of going inside to sit with the others. He was not sure exactly how long it had been since dinner was called but he looked up as the front door was opened and he watched as Twilight came outside. Her purple eyes fell on him and she smiled as she trotted toward him. He waited for her to reach him before he closed the book and gave her his full attention.

“I wanted to ask you a few questions about your homeland.” She said to him as she laid down close by him.

He looked at her and nodded. “I will answer as best as I can.”

“You don’t have any family? I mean besides your fellow Witchers, who are your brothers.” She amended and he nodded in reply. “So you don’t have any foals of your own?”

He snorted a laugh and shook his head. “No. I’m a Witcher. We’re sterile.”

Her eyes widened as he spoke and her mouth dropped open slightly. “So you can’t sire your own foals?”

“No. None of us can. A Witcher is not born. We are made. It takes years of training and a Trial that we call the Trial of the Grasses to make a Witcher.”

She looked stunned for several seconds before she gave a slight shake of her head. “Applejack mentioned the Trial when I asked her if she knew anything about Witchers, but she said she didn’t know more than what it was called. What exactly is the Trial of the Grasses?”

Oblivion looked away from her as he thought it over. Twilight waited as he paused. “The Trial of the Grasses is an incredibly painful trial which young Witcher apprentices are subjected to. It requires the consumption of special alchemical ingredients and affects the physiology of each candidate. It’s how we get our signature cat eyes, agility, and reflexes.” He explained to the mare. “I and a few others were put into further tests to enhance our abilities further. I took to the Trial easily and recovered quickly from it. So I was put into a trial to further enhance my body and skills. There were six of us on the trial and only two survived it. Myself and one other. It took a few days to come around, but I slept it off thankfully.”

“So you managed to survive it?” She asked and he nodded. “I thought it was a physical test, but in reality, it’s an experiment that is done on you that alters your body.”

“It can also affect the mind. For example, I don’t really remember anything from before the Trial. Bits and pieces perhaps but nothing concrete.”

Twilight looked startled as she stared at him. “You have no memory of your parents or any siblings?”

He shook his head. “I didn’t even recall my name. I was told that I had one but it was not written down and I was fairly new to Kaer Morhen when the Trials were done. So my name was not well known to anypony.”

“So… How are you named Oblivion?” She asked.

“I was given the name by my instructors. I was in a sparring match when I hit my sparring partner hard enough to knock him out and he didn’t wake up for a few hours. Our Arms instructor thought he was teasing me when he called me Oblivion. At first, I didn’t appreciate his humor, and because I complained it ended up sticking.”

“What about your surname?”

“We had one instructor that was pretty cocky when I was there. He was certain no student could sneak up on him or catch him unawares. I took it as a personal challenge and went out of my way to try to sneak up on him. I got caught most often and he teased me about it. But what he didn’t know was that was the plan. It got him thinking that I was inept at the art and he would always be able to sense me.” Twilight giggled and he went on at her urging. “I was able to move into the shadow of the keep and sneak up on him and steal the crossbow off his back. I crept out of the shadow and started using the crossbow right in front of him. He stopped as he caught sight of the weapon and reached behind him for the one on his back and found it gone.”

“Oh no. Did you get in trouble?”

“I thought he would have been furious with me. But he simply started to laugh and commended me for what I had done. He clapped me on the back and asked for it back. I thought about trying to keep it but decided that I had no desire to clean every sword in the keep and gave it back. He started calling me shadow just to try to confuse me with my name and it ended up sticking as my surname. So I ended up getting a full name from the Witchers of Kaer Morhen.”

“It’s definitely a unique way to earn a name.” She chuckled. “But that’s the thing. You earned your name while the rest of us are given one. I guess that’s the difference between them.”

“That’s one way to look at it.” He agreed. “It’s one of many things I earned in Kaer Morhen.”

She paused as her smile seemed to falter. “You lost a lot to become what you are.”

“That’s true. But I gained so much more in kind.”

“Do you remember what you looked like?” She asked.

“No. But I did ask Vesemir once. He said that I had dark brown hair, blue eyes, and came from a small village at the edge of the Northern Realms.”

“So very different from now.”

He nodded as she fell silent. “How did you end up with the other Witchers?”

He barked a laugh at the memory. “I was brought to Kaer Morhen by another Witcher when he opted for a different payment method instead of coin. I was told that he invoked the right to call upon whatever my father first saw upon returning home with the Witcher in tow. The first thing he saw was me. So I was forfeit to the Witcher and taken to Kaer Morhen. According to what Vesemir had been told I did not really argue and went with the Witcher easily and didn’t fight it.”

“So he took you as payment?” Twilight asked him, disbelief in her voice. “Why?”

“He had saved my father from a pack of Drowners, I think, and at the time tradition demanded that the Witcher could name his reward. I was that reward. That Right is no longer used since no School trains Witchers any longer.” He replied.

“You said that before. That no School does the training anymore. Do you ever wish you had not been taken?”

“No. I am fine with how I am. I have no memory of who I was once and I have no desire to search it out. This is all I have ever known.”

“So what about this Trial you talked about. Did all of the foals with you get through it?”

He cleared his throat and looked away from her for a moment before he spoke. “No. Typically only three in ten foals survive the Trial. The rest either die in agony or have to be put down.”

“Put down?”

“That may not be the best subject to broach with you.” He said to her.

She looked indignant for a moment before she spoke to him. “I am not a foal. I can handle what you are going to tell me.”

“The last time I did that you ended up in tears.” He countered.

She opened her mouth to speak but a blush went over her cheeks as she recalled the last time he had spoken plainly with her. “Oh… Right. It’ll be fine. I’m ready for it this time, so I can handle it.” She assured him with a determined look on her face.

He gave a slight tilt of his head at her and went on. “Very well. It means we put them out of their misery. A dagger to the heart is effective.”

She bit back a gasp and put a hoof to her mouth. “You have to kill them?”

“Would you rather we left them broken husks? Understand this Twilight the Trial breaks a colt and then works to rebuild them. Some can’t handle the Trial itself and those that do can still die later. We began tailoring the Trial in later years but when I did it, it was the same for each colt no matter how big or small you were.”

“It was the same for all of you? What if you were smaller than the others?”

“It did not matter. And I was smaller than the others.” He said to her and she cringed. “Death is a mercy for those that fail the Trial. Those that do not wake up and move on are left broken and dead inside. So ending them is a mercy.”

“So when you told Nightmare Moon that you had broken once was a reference to the Trial of the Grasses?” He nodded as she went on. “It sounds like several made it through the advanced Trials with you… No.” She said as he began to shake his head as she spoke.

“Only two from my original Trial group made it and for the advanced trial, there were five more that were added to it. For the advanced trial, I was the youngest at eight years old and the eldest was twelve. From that group, only two of us survived it. Myself and another who was eleven years old.”


“You were so young. What made them think it was a good idea to do that to a colt?”

“I never asked for the reasoning behind it all. I assume it is better to change us before the training to avoid wasting time.” She looked at him as he went on to explain. “If they spend years training us and then have several of us die in the Trial that’s years of effort wasted. So do the Trial first and then train us.”

She nodded as he spoke as she understood what he had meant. “Okay, that makes sense. I don’t like it but it makes sense.” She sighed and shook her head slowly. “It’s such a different place. I never thought such a different place could exist. I keep wondering how we never met ponies from your homeland before but if the borders are so far apart then there’s a chance they don’t even know we are here.”

He quickly nodded in the affirmative to keep her from asking more pointed questions about the distance of his homeland to Equestria. Thankfully she seemed content to drop it and simply sighed in response.

“Thank you for telling me so much. If you need anything please let me know so I can repay you for letting me question you.”

“If I need anything I will let you know. Though I do ask that you keep what you know to yourself for now.” He asked.

She nodded after a moment's delay. “Okay. I can do that.”

He looked over her shoulder as the other mares came out of the house. She got to her hooves and brushed off her purple fur with her hoof. He stood with her and picked up his book and set it on his back. The mares said their goodbyes to them and moved to leave through the front gate. Spike trotted up to the purple Unicorn and vaulted to her back as she moved to the front gate. He started to walk toward the house and through the open door, he saw Apple Bloom run for the stairs. He was silent as he walked in through the front door and into the kitchen. Mac chuckled as he paused at the sound of his laugh.

“Apple Bloom went ta get a bath ready fer ya.” Mac informed him. “We decided that ya should go first.”

He gave a knowing nod and walked up the stairs and down the hall to his own room. He set the book on the desk with the other that he had borrowed and he sighed deeply as he listened around the house. He stretched out his back and he heard several bones pop as he stretched out his wings as much as the room would allow. He reached up and unbuckled his baldric and leaned it against the desk. His claws spread and he folded them back in place as Apple Bloom knocked on the door jam. He looked over his shoulder and the filly smiled brightly back at him.

“It’s all ready fer ya. Mac is gonna take a bath in the mornin’.” She informed him as he turned and moved to go past her in the direction of the bathroom.

“Thank you, Apple Bloom.” He said to her as he moved past her, his magic closing the door and locking it to keep the filly out of the room.

He walked into the bathroom and looked into the mirror as he closed the door behind him. He grimaced at the state of his fur and mane. His fur was matted and his mane was a light brown in color. He looked to the tub and nearly jumped into the warm water as his wings flicked at his sides. He stepped into the tub and laid down and the water sloshed over his back and his wings were covered in the hot water and as he relaxed. The limbs relaxed and fell to the bottom of the tub as he laid in silence. After several minutes he stood up and used the soap to remove the dirt and matted mud from his fur. When he was finished he washed himself off and stepped out of the tub as he used his magic to dry his fur and mane. The aqua mist faded as the magic finished and he let it fade.

“Much better.” He said as he looked into the mirror.

He looked at his now clean body and then moved to the door and walked out into the hall and turned off the light as he left the bathroom. He looked up as Applejack came up the stairs and she smiled at the sight of him.

“Well, yer back to yer normal look. Yer coat looks better and yer mane and tail aren’t brown anymore. She said with a laugh.

“Thank the Gods. Next time we will be doing the whole thing together. No more contests and ridiculous ideas.” He said to her.

“Ah agree. It won’t happen again.” She assured him.

“You learned your lesson and that’s all that matters in the end.” He said to her as he turned to head back to his room. “Oh. Where is the forge in town?”

“Ah can take ya there in the mornin’.”

“It’s fine. Just give me directions and I will be fine. I’ll go after I finish dropping Apple Bloom off at school.” He paused as the mare gave him a bland look.

“Tomorrow we have ta move the apples or they might start ta go bad. So it might be a couple of days now that Ah think bout it.” She said to him.

He sighed and nodded. “Very well. One job comes before another. SO I will do what I can. Perhaps there is a spell that can help keep the apples fresher for longer, that way we do not need to worry about them going bad.”

“Ya think there might be a spell like that?” Applejack asked him.

“I can look.” He said to her. “If not then perhaps I can make one.”

Applejack looked thoughtful for several seconds before a frown crossed her mouth. “If it’s gonna hurt ya then don’t even think bout it.”

“It required very little effort to do the last spell I created so this one should be the same.” He reasoned to her. “Besides I refuse to allow that product to go bad after all the effort that has been invested in it.”

She chuckled as he spoke and finally sighed in defeat. “So long as it don’t hurt ya then Ah’m fine wit’ it.”

The black Pegasus gave an agreeing look as he went to his room and began to scan the magic book he had with him. He flipped through the pages as he searched for the topic he needed and he growled under his breath when he found nothing.

“Damn it.” He growled as he set the book down. “I’ll teleport to Twilights and ask her about it.”

He left his room and went down the hallway to the orange mare’s room. He rapped his hoof on the door jam as the mare spun to face him, startled. “I’m going to go see Twilight about that spell I mentioned.” The farm mare nodded and magic went over his form as he commanded it and he vanished in a flash of aqua magic.

He appeared in the front room of the Library and he looked around as he saw Spike come around the table.

“By Celestia!” Spike shouted and reeled back, dropping the few books in his claws.

“Good evening Spike.” He greeted the baby dragon.

Spike put his hand on his chest as he breathed through the fright as he gaped at the Pegasus. “Jeez. Oblivion you scared me to death.”

“My apologies.” He replied. “Is Twilight around?”

“I’m right here.” She called out as she appeared from the back of the room. “I heard Spike shouting.” She giggled.

“I did not mean to frighten him.” He assured her as she waved a dismissive hoof at his apology.

“What can I do for you?” She asked as he tilted his head and she went on. “Normally you walk or run here so it must be something big if you’re risking a teleport.”

“I have a question for you if you have the time.” He explained. “I figured by this time of night the odds of a pony being here are slim. So I figured a teleport would go unnoticed.”

She nodded in agreement and motioned for him to sit by the table with her. He moved to the table and sat down a couple of feet from her as she sat down and waited for him to explain.

“Is there a spell that enables somepony to keep food preserved longer than its natural life?” He questioned and she looked at him as he went on. “I am asking about preserving the apples for longer than what is normal for them.”

She put a hoof to her chin as he considered his question. She looked at the books on the shelves and considered it as he waited. Her horn lit as she called on several thick books and her magic levitated them to her.

“As far as I know there is no spell like that.” She said to him and he opened his mouth as she held up a hoof to keep him from speaking. “There are short-term ones but they do not last for days on end. They are more for keeping cooked items good for several hours at the longest. I can look to see but I’m pretty sure I’m right.”

He picked up one of the books she had brought down and began to scan it for the spell she was talking about or if there were other ones that fit what he was asking. He finished scanning it and set it next to him and he picked up another as time ticked past them.


He sighed as he set down the last book in his pile and he leaned back on his haunches as Spike began to grumble about putting them all away. His magic gripped the pile and he held it aloft and Spike watched as it levitated close by him. Seconds ticked past and the baby dragon began to point to spaces and the magic deposited the books in their place. Twilight set down the last book she had been checking and shook her head.

“I figured as much.” She said to him as his magic faded as the last book was slid into place. “There is no spell for long time storage like what you’re wanting. Most things that ponies typically eat can be stored and they last for weeks by themselves without help. With the obvious exception of produce, which is normally fresher than hay or oats for example.”

He nodded slowly in reply and his eyes fell to the horse statue in the center of the table as he thought it over. “Hmm. Well, I suppose that answers my immediate question.” He admitted. “I suppose that leaves me with having to look into a way to preserve them myself rather than use a spell that is already in existence.”

Her eyes widened slightly as a smile tugged at her mouth. “You’re going to make another spell?”

“That seems to be my only option.” He replied and she shifted, excitement in her eyes. “Though I am going to need to see if an apple rots in the same amount of time here as it does where I am from.”

“I wouldn’t think they would take differently. Aside from temperature and climate, an apple is an apple.” She replied.

He fell silent as Spike came up to him and leaned against his left leg. The black Pegasus looked down at him as the baby dragon suddenly poked his leg. “Can’t you just give it a timeline? So then it would last as long as you needed it to. Like by stopping time or refreshing the spell?”

Oblivion glanced up at the mare as she was now staring at the baby dragon as well. Oblivion gave a wry chuckle and nodded. “Well put Spike.”

“That’s what I’m here for.” The dragon crowed and then looked uncertain. “What did I do?”

“You pointed out the one thing I had not considered.” He explained. “I had not thought about time as its own entity versus something that exists in the background.”

“Meaning?” Spike asked.

“By using time itself as the catalyst for the spell it will allow me to handle time and how it passes by,” Oblivion explained further. “I simply need to know how to have the spell itself only affect the apples and not the space around it. I would then need to find a way to have time to release the spell individually or if I would need to find a way to refresh the whole or just one at a time.”

Twilight suddenly waved her hooves in the air to stop him from speaking. “Hold up.” She said to him and he fell silent. “You’re talking about warping time itself to slow down or stop so the apples won’t go bad?” He nodded and she shook her head. “That’s insane. Nopony can harness time like that and then focus on it. You’re talking about an aging spell and only the highest level Unicorns can use those.”

He shook his head and she fell quiet. “Twilight, I’m not going to be aging anything. I’m talking about stopping time, not accelerating or reversing it. I have read about age spells and their limits and they are limited to the individual or item you cast them on. I will be stopping time, not altering the apples forward or backward.”

She blinked at him as she processed what he had said and he could see her considering his explanation. Her eyes scanned his face as he waited for her to come to terms with what he had said. She pulled her head back suddenly and he could see the disbelief that was going over her face.

“You don’t know what this could do. Even high-level Unicorn mages don’t mess with time. It could alter the flow of time around the farm and…”

He knew that she was only getting started and his magic clamped her jaws shut. Spike giggled at the surprise that went over the mare's face as she raised her hooves to her mouth and then scowled at the Pegasus. Spike looked up at him and he patted the stallion’s leg.

“Is there any way I could learn how you do that?”

“I doubt it,” Oblivion replied and Spike chuckled at the still scowling mare. “What I will be doing is very small in comparison to what you are probably thinking I will be doing. I understand your reservations but I am certain that I have a firm grasp on the concept behind this spell. If you wish to watch it be performed then you are welcome to come and watch. If I foul it then you can gloat.” He said to her and her scowl broke into a grin as he released his magic from her mouth. “I will be casting it after I drop Apple Bloom off at school in the morning.”

She rubbed her mouth and nodded. “Okay. I will be coming by to see it cast. I think it’s a bad idea, but you have done big things before so I will be pleased if I end up being wrong.” She admitted. “If it gets done then that will be really impressive.”

He nodded to her as he got to his hooves and he nudged Spike off of his foreleg as his magic flowed and he teleported directly to his empty room. His ears flicked as he listened and he could hear that others were already in bed and were asleep. He laid down as well and his mind went over the mechanics that he had to consider for the spell that he had created and he slowly refined its goal and after an hour of direct thought he was pleased that it would work well and would do exactly what it had been designed to do.

“This should be interesting.” He muttered under his breath and closed his eyes.

12: Applebuck Aftermath

View Online

Oblivion awoke with a start as the rooster crowed. The Pegasus gave a low growl of annoyance as he pushed the blanket back. He reached to the side and pulled his swords with him as he pushed himself off the bed. His hooves hit the plush rug and he raised his head to its full height as his neck popped and he tilted his head to the side to allow his muscles to flex. He shook himself as he laid his swords across his back and buckled the baldric into place. He started to move toward the door when he paused and considered that he was intending to use a large amount of magic later in the morning. He looked down at the medallion around his neck and he called on the leg guards of the armor and they flowed down his chest and legs and settled into place.

His hoof gripped the doorknob and he was greeted with Applejack, who had been reaching for the door as he opened it. The mare stared at him for several seconds before she gathered herself.

“Mornin’.” She greeted.

“Good morning Applejack.”

“How did yer meetin’ with Twilight go?”

He gave a slight shrug before he went on. “She was not sure if there was a spell that would do what I was looking for and when I mentioned that I would be making one she was busy trying to convince me that I should not try it. I have already designed the spell and I am certain that I can accomplish it with some effort. I will be casting it after I return from taking Apple Bloom to school.”

Applejack gave a slow nod before she replied to him. “All righ’ Just make sure it’s not gonna hurt ya.” She said to him as she began to turn around and her eyes fell on the guards around his forelegs. “Expectin’ it ta give ya some trouble?”

“No.” He replied easily. “This is a precaution, nothing more.” He admitted to her.

She looked at him for a moment before her eyes softened and she let him go ahead of her as he went down the stairs. He walked down the stairs and came to stand at the end of the table and he settled into his normal place. Big Mac and Apple Bloom had beat them downstairs and he gave a short bow of his head to them in greeting. The filly smiled wide as she reached for her saddlebags and pulled out a piece of paper.

“Mac. Look what Ah drew!” She said and thrust it under her other brother's nose.

Mac looked at the drawing and then to the filly as his side and then to the drawing. “Wha’ is it?”

Apple Bloom's smile seemed to grow wider as her brother took the drawing from her hoof. “It’s a Rock Troll.” She chirped happily. “Oblivion told us bout one when he came ta mah class. He taught me how ta draw one last night.”

Mac looked up from the drawing and his eyes fell on the black Pegasus. “Ya saw one o’ these fer real?”

Oblivion nodded. “Many times.”

Mac cringed as she gave the drawing back to the beaming filly. She put it back in her bag and let her saddlebags hang on the back of her chair. Applejack came down after Granny Smith up and moving and rejoined them. She went to the other side of the kitchen as the aged mare came to her own place at the table and sat down heavily. Apple Bloom looked upset as her grandmother sat down in between her and the black stallion.

“Ah wanna sit by Oblivion. Ah wanted ta talk to ‘im more.” She complained.

Oblivion leaned his head slightly forward to gain her full attention. “Apple Bloom that’s enough. We can speak when I am taking you to school.” He scolded her gently.

She looked ashamed as she nodded in response to his tone. “Ah fergot that ya were gonna walk me ta school again. Ah fergot the harvest was done.” She admitted and looked apologetically at her grandmother.

He leaned back with a nod and he turned his head to look out the window. His wings flicked against his sides as he scented the air around him. He was not sure what the scent was as he turned to look at the stove as Applejack turns to pour something into the Apple Blooms bowl. He watched as porridge was poured and he gave a slight grimace as he got up and skirted out the door as quickly as he dared. He had caught the laughing expression from Applejack and Mac as he moved. He breathed out in relief that he had managed to avoid being told to eat it anyway by Granny Smith. He had eaten well the day before and he did not need to eat anything at the moment. He moved away from the house and came to stand beside his usual tree and he leaned against it as he closed his eyes, allowing his mind to wander for the moment.


He opened one eye and then the other as he looked up at the placement of the sun to tell him the time. “Oh shit.” He muttered as he made for the house and stuck his head into the kitchen through the open upper door.

“Did the time for school change while we were working?” He asked them, his tone serious.

“No.” Apple Bloom replied.

“Ah.” He replied and moved to open the lower door. “Well, if we plan on getting you there on time then we are going to need to run there.”

Applejacks eyes went wide as she looked at the filly and made for the door and looked out. “He’s right.” She breathed. “Ah plum lost track a’ time. Ya need ta hurry.”

Apple Bloom’s eyes went wide as her elder sister confirmed the time and she leaped from her chair and ran for the now open door. His magic flared as he picked her up and she was dropped onto his back. He felt her grip his fur and mane as he spun for the gate. He jumped into a gallop and galloped for the front fence. He jumped the fence and his claws dug into the compact dirt. His wings raised slightly to keep the filly on his back and ensure she did not fall off his back.


Apple Bloom looked up from where she had buried her face in Oblivions mane and she watched as the landscape flew past her. Her brother galloped under her and she gripped his fur as tightly as she could as he moved. She could tell that they were galloping faster than she could on her own but she didn’t have any way of figuring out how fast they were going. She felt apprehension flow over her at the thought of being scolded for being late.

“Faster Oblivion! Ah can’t be late!” She shouted to him.

She heard him snort and she watched as his wings spread from his sides and began to push him forward faster. She watched as their surroundings went by faster and she wondered for a moment how he was able to go faster than he had been before. She had sat on Applejack's back when she was running and she did not seem to be able to go as fast as he was going now.

“Hold tight!” He yelled back at her and she hunkered down against his body.


Oblivion felt the filly move slightly against his back and neck as he flapped his wings just enough to give him more speed without tipping him over. The oversized appendages flapped just enough to help him run faster. He thought about flying but at the same time, he didn’t dare use the newfound knowledge he had gained from Rainbow. He didn’t dare try to fly for the first time with the filly on his back. If he fell she might be hurt as well. He looked up as the schoolhouse loomed ahead of him. His claws folded back into his hooves as he neared the front gate and he leaned back on his heels and slid to a stop at the opening in the fence. He had plunged to a stop and he reached over his shoulder to grip the filly in his hoof. He nearly threw her toward the front door of the schoolhouse but he managed to hold back. She ran for the front door but stopped dead in her tracks as he folded his wings back to his sides.

“Why are you stopping?” He shouted at her.

“Mah drawing!” She wailed.

He blinked at her for a moment before he raised his head and cast a cursory look around them for any pony. When he found they were alone his magic flared and the saddlebags flopped to the ground in front of her. She happily pulled them onto her body and made for the door.

“Best big brother ever!” She yelled as she went inside.

He gave a deep pant as he pulled air into his lungs. “Gods below.” He cursed quietly as he turned to leave the schoolhouse behind and head back to the farm.

“Wait!”

He looked over his shoulder to find Cheerilee coming out the door and trotting toward him.

“Gods what now?” He whispered as he looked at her.

A wide smile was on her muzzle as she got close to him and stopped to regard him. “I’m amazed you got her here in time. Apple Bloom said you ran the whole way. That’s impressive considering the distance from here to Sweet Apple Acres.” She said to him.

“So long as we made it then it doesn’t matter now.” He replied.

“That’s true.” She replied. “There is something that I wished to speak with you about.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, after you came in to speak with the foals last week they have not stopped talking about it. So I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind speaking to them again. Many of the foals would also like to see some of your swords work. Even some of the parents are interested as well. Their children have been speaking almost nonstop about Apple Blooms eldest brother. A story would be fine as well. Even I have to admit that it was quite the story to hear.”


He considered what she had said and his head gave a slight tilt. “I’m not sure what they are hoping to see when it comes to my swordsmanship.”

“I think they are just looking to see how it is done.”

“So a demonstration more or less?”

“That is the impression I got from them yes.”

“I will think it over. Do I need to give an immediate answer to you?”

“Oh no, take your time, please. I haven’t even thought of a date that it would take place on. Though if not the sword then please tell them another story. I’m sure Apple Bloom has heard several of them.”

He gave a short shake of his head. “She has heard as many as they have.”

“Really? I would have thought that they would be common bedtime stories.” She replied, surprise in her eyes.

“Gods no.” He replied with a bark of laughter. “The other stories in know off the top of my head would give her nightmares. I would need time to think of one that is foal friendly.”

“Please consider it and I will let you know if there is anything else.” She said to him.

“Very well.” He replied and she smiled and turned to back into the schoolhouse.

He gave a light sigh as she vanished not the building and he began the walk back to the farm.


He looked at the disturbed ground and he could see the spots that his claws had torn into and he rolled his eyes to the sky for a moment as he walked as much over them as was possible to obscure them. The black Pegasus broke into a trot as he reached the fence line and moved next to it until he reached the opening in the fence. He stopped as a familiar light to the side of him gave him pause. He waited as Twilight trotted toward him, a smile went over her mouth at the sight of him. Spike leaned out from his place on her back and he waved as the stallion gave a slight nod to acknowledge him.

“What happened to you?” Spike asked him.

He looked uncertain as the baby dragon pointed to his legs and he looked down. He scoffed at the dirt and dust that covered the lower portion of his forelegs and the entirety of his hind legs. He said nothing for several seconds.

“Apple Bloom was going to be later to school so I ran to get her there in time. When we reached the schoolhouse I slid to a stop to allow her to run inside in time.” He explained.

“Ah’ve never seen a pony run that fast afore.” Applejack called out as she trotted up the pair of them. “Ya cleared that fence by a foot or so. Guess all yer runnin’ round and jumpin’ fallen trees paid off.”

He backed up to allow Twilight to go through the gate first and the purple mare smiled in reply. Oblivion walked in behind her and he slowly came to walk beside her and he saw Spike look at his back and then stand up on her back. He cast a sideways look at the dragon who smiled nervously and sat back down on the mares' back. After several seconds of them walking side by side Spike opted to jump to the ground on her other side as they came to stand in front of the full barn. Mac looked at him and approached him to hoof bump the other stallion.

“Ah hear yer gonna be doin’ some fancy magic.” He drawled.

Oblivion gave him a short nod. “I suppose you could call it that. The plan is to make it so the apples will last longer and allow them to not spoil as quickly or at all.” The roan looked at him and his eyes widened. “That will give us time to move them as needed rather than move them as quickly as possible.”

“Ah have ta admit, that would be nice not ta have ta rush ‘em.” He admitted.

Oblivion jolted as a spark of aqua magic flared in front of him. He was surprised to see two letters as they now hovered in front of him, encased in his aqua aura. He quickly reached up and gripped them in his hoof to avoid his magic being seen by anypony more than those present. He looked closely at them and he could see the clear writing on the side of one of them that labeled it as being for Rarity. His magic flared as he sent it to his saddlebags for later delivery as he opened the other one.

Oblivion Shadow:

I know that I have not written to you since our meeting in Canterlot. I wanted to thank you for putting me in contact with Miss Rarity. You were right about her character and that I should allow myself to trust her as I trust you. Aunt Luna said that you were her friend as well and that I should place my trust in you as she does. It made me wonder what I had been thinking a friend really was and I came to realize that I did not have an answer for myself. I realized that I did not think of other ponies as possible friends since I considered them to all have an ulterior motive behind their meeting with me. After doing more than a fair amount of considering what I had found out and what I knew of you I have decided to call you a friend and take the chance that you are exactly what Aunt Luna told me about you. So once again, thank you.

You’re Friend,
Blue Blood

P.S. Do you recall the large cat in the menagerie that came up to you? I have spoken to the caretaker recently and he says that there is something wrong with her. He says that she has stopped eating and is even more aloof than she has ever been. I am wondering if she did not bond to you or something like that and she is now missing you. If you have the extra time I would like for you to have a look at her. Perhaps that will help her. When you have the extra time please join me in Canterlot once more and I will give you a proper tour as well. And Aunt Luna says shame on you for not saying goodbye to her personally.

Oblivion gave a slight smile as he sent the letter to his saddlebags with the other one. He turned to look at the barn full of apples and then to the ponies that were gathered with him. They backed up at a look from him and he spun to face the barn. He lowered his head slightly and focused on calling his magic to his command. He felt the magic as it began to flow over his body and he watched as it grew in power and covered the apples in front of him. His orange cat eyes narrowed and he could see each apple as it seemed to pulse with magic.

“Careful,” Twilight whispered.

His ear flicked to listen as her voice caught his attention. He dared not look away from his task and he waited as the magic covered each apple and his Spirit Sight told him that each of them was covered. He began to work the spell he had created to cover each item and lay the spell over each one. He could feel the guards on his legs as they seemed to shift on his legs and he felt them tighten around his legs. He chose to ignore its actions and move forward with what he was doing. Pressure built on his forehead and he looked down and to the side as letters from the Elder Speech began to flow over him and he looked back to his task, choosing to ignore that as well. He held the magic tightly as he felt the pressure built and then he felt it peak and he released the spell in its entirety. The force of the release knocked him back a step and he lowered his head as he breathed.

“Oblivion!” Twilight's shout caught his attention.

He flicked an ear to listen to her. He looked up from where his head hung and he watched as she came to stand close to him. He could see the concern written on her eyes as she lowered her head to be level with his own.

“Are you all right? I told you this was…”

“I’m fine.” He assured her and raised his head to his full height. “It used more force at the end than I had anticipated.”

“How do you feel?” She asked him, worry in her tone.

“I feel fine.” He assured her with an easy tone. “I don’t feel any fatigue, headaches, or anything that would tell me that I had overdone it.”

She stared openly at him. “You’re sure?” He nodded in reply. “You are the most mysterious pony I have ever met. I don’t understand it.”

“What?” He questioned.

“You can teleport to Canterlot, create a memory copying spell, and now you have created a spell that stops time. All of that without the magic draining you at all. And you’re a Pegasus!” She shouted the last few words as if they were poison in her mouth.

He could see the frustration as it flowed through her. Her spirit rolled within her as something close to anger went through her. He watched as she panted for a moment and the others drew up close to them as she closed her eyes and shook her head.

“I don’t get it.” She whispered.

“I do not know either.” He replied to her and her ears flicked to listen to him. “But for now it is not something that we can change. For now, we will focus on whether it worked or not.”

She sighed and raised her head and nodded. “Got it.”

“Well. Will find out if it worked as the days go by.” Applejack said as she stopped close by them.

“It should fade when… Hang on.” He said as his body was covered in his magic once more.

The apples were covered in the aqua aura once more and the mist that came from it began to flow over the ground around them. The black Pegasus altered the details of the spell and then released the magic once more. The mist lingered for several seconds before it faded as well.

“There. Now it will begin to age normally once it leaves the property.” He explained. “I had forgotten to give it away to begin to age once more when I designed the spell itself.”

Applejack smiled widely at him as she regarded him. “Ya are full a surprises.”

Mac nodded in agreement and held his hoof up and hoof bumped the Pegasus. Twilight stared at him once again and Spike shook his head and closed his jaw with a resounding click of teeth. Applejack went to the piles of apples and picked one up and held it in her hoof. She gave it an experimental sniff and smiled.

“Nothin’ different than normal.” She said to them. “No way that ya could tell that it had some fancy magic put on it.”

Spike reached up to her and took the apple from her hoof. He stuffed it whole into his mouth and chewed and swallowed. He looked thoughtful for a second before a wide smile crossed his face.

“Tastes fine.” He informed them. “But Oblivion should make oranges into apples. Those are the best apples.”

Applejack glared at the baby dragon as he finished speaking and Oblivion rolled his eyes to the sky and then back to the dragon among them. Twilight stared at him, her gaze showing annoyance as he looked please with his assessment of the apples. Applejack looked at him for a moment before she looked away and to the black Pegasus.

“Well. Ah promised ta show ya where the forge is in town. Now that this is taken care of Ah can take ya right to it.” Applejack drawled and patted his shoulder.

Twilight looked confused as her gaze fell on him. “Why do you need a forge?”

He looked at her and motioned to the swords on his back. “My steel sword has a crack in the blade. My swords are vital so I need to have it repaired as soon as possible.”

Applejack motioned for him to follow her and he fell in at her side as Twilight stayed at his. Her eyes fell on the baldric around his body and she looked closely at him.

“Why do you have them with you?” She asked him.

“I am a Witcher. I have my swords with me at all times.” He replied, his tone matter of fact.

“Hmm.” She made a noise back at him. “Most ponies are probably scared of them.”

“So far nopony has complained. Even if they did it will not change that they are always with me. Do you recall the fight with the wolves?” She nodded with a shudder. “Do you think I was wrong to have them then?”

She cringed at his reasoning. “That doesn’t count.” She argued. “You hadn’t been in town long enough for anypony to really notice them.”

“They have yet to have any issue with them. Even now they are barely noticed if at all.” He replied.

“Ah don’t see a problem wit’ ‘em.” Applejack added. “Ah don’t mind.”


They reached Ponyville’s center and he raised his head as a familiar scent caught his nose. The scent of burning metal and worked steel drew his focus as it reminded him of the many forges and blacksmiths shops he had been in over the course of his life. Applejack and Twilight stayed with him as his nose led him the rest of the way. He looked up as a building loomed ahead of them and he drew up the open front. He could see the forge itself had been built into the structure of the building and was well tended if the sight of it was any indication.

“Hey! Torque!” Applejack yelled from the front of the shop. “Ah have a customer fer ya!”

Oblivion bit back a cringer and simply pinned his ears at her volume and waited as the sound of movement caught his attention. A steel-gray stallion came from within the store's interior and he paused at the sight of them.

“Geez Applejack. I can hear you just fine.” He complained.

His pale blue eyes glared at her for several seconds before his mouth morphed into a smile as he came forward. He wore a pair of gloves that went over his hooves and protected his fur and skin from embers that might come from the forge itself. An anvil and hammer adorned his flank as he set a thick leather coat aside and came to join them at the front of the store.

“So I am going to guess that my new customer is the Pegasus with you.” He said to her.

“This here is mah eldest brother, Oblivion Shadow. Ah expect ya ta treat ‘im well.” She said to him. “Well, if ya don’t he’ll make sure ya regret it.” She added with a smile.

Torque looked past her and then to the Pegasus as he walked up the last couple of steps to the storefront and waited for him to speak. “Ah haven’t seen a Pegasus yer size afore. Yer a lot taller than any pony Ah ever met.” He said with a warm smile. “So I hear you need something forged?”

“Not quite.” Oblivion replied. “I need something repaired.”

“Really?” What could ya need from… me?” He said as his head slowly tilted to the side as he spotted the pair of hilts that rested over the Pegasus’s right shoulder.

Oblivion watched him closely and waited until he refocused on his face. He reached over his shoulder and pulled the steel blade free of the scabbard and laid it on the counter between them. He watched as Torque stared at the gleaming blade in front of him. The blade was forty inches of the purest folded steel. He could see the hesitation in the other pony’s body as he tried to decide whether he should each for the weapon or not. He could see the lien of markings that went down the center of the blade and Oblivion watched as his eyes scrutinized the blade and he saw the gray pony’s eyes linger on the crack.

“Well. I’ll be honest with you. I have never seen a blade like this before.” He admitted. “Who crafted it?”

“A master weaponsmith from where I am from. I have no way of getting in touch with him to repair it.” The Pegasus explained.

“I have to be honest with you.” Torque said as a sheepish expression crossed his face. “A weapon like this needs a master’s touch. How long would it take you to get home to have it repaired?”

“Months at least,” Oblivion replied. ‘I don’t even know how I got here.’

Torque gave a visible cringe. “That far?” Oblivion nodded. “Okay. Are you okay with me handling it? I admit I haven’t dealt with a weapon of this quality before. I would rather not take it and foul the weapon if I can’t actually handle it.”

The black Pegasus nodded. “You can handle it easily enough. Just don’t make the damage any worse than what it is. I’m sure you will be careful with it but I do ask you to be cautious with it.” He said and Torque began to reach for it as a thought came to him. “Also be careful not to strike it against anything.”

“What?” Torque asked as he pulled his hoof back.

“There are runes buried with the blade.” He replied and he saw Twilight grin out of the corner of his eye.

“How old is the sword?” Torque questioned.

“Runes are used frequently where I am from. That sword is about two months old to answer your question. I implanted the runes shortly before I traveled here.”

“Okay. I’ll be careful with it. Give me a few minutes with it.” Torque said and he reached for the hilt of the blade and took it with him as he moved to the back of the shop and out of sight.

Oblivion leaned back on his haunches and waited as the mares and baby dragon with him relaxed as well. Applejack looked at him and he could see a question on her face as she looked from the forge and then back to him.

“Can’t ya just repair it with magic?” She asked him.

He saw Twilight look at him, curiosity in her eyes. “Gods no.” He barked. “I know nothing about how the weapon was damaged. I also know next to nothing about how it was forged. I will not use magic on something that I do not have a rudimentary understanding of its creation. It was not created with magic but with blood and sweat from a master weaponsmith.”

She nodded as he spoke and looked back to the back of the forge as they waited. A few minutes went past them and he leaned heavier on his hind legs and waited.

“What broke it?” Twilight questioned suddenly. “I know you said you were not sure what did the damage but surely you have an idea.”

Oblivion thought back to the times that he had used the weapon. ‘The fight with Nightmare Moon, no that was fine. The practice in the forest? No. The sparring with… Luna…’ He felt a jolt go through him as he realized when it had likely been damaged. He closed his eyes and slowly put his head back for several seconds before a snort broke from him. After several more seconds, he scrubbed his face with his hoof.

“Damnit.” He cursed.

“What?” Twilight pressed.

“It’s my own fault.” He replied and they all looked at him. “I used it during the sparring match with Luna. I used it differently than I would have normally due to the injury to my leg before the match. I was using my other leg as a lead and that put me in a style that I was not used to. Damn it all.”

“Oops?” Spike commented and shrugged his shoulders.

“What?” He asked, his head giving a slight tilt at the dragon's comment.

“It means a mistake.” Twilight supplied.

“Oh.” He replied and gave a wry chuckle. “Yes. A very foolish oops.”

“So ya broke it when ya were sparrin’ with Princess Luna?” Applejack asked.

“Yes.” He closed his eyes and gave a slight sigh at his own foolishness. “I had to alter my style due to the lingering injury to my leg. Luna’s style is similar to one of the older styles that the School of the Cat used. I was not moving in a way that I was…”

“Holy Faust!”

All of them looked to the shop as Torque yelled and came into view as he bolted around the corner. Oblivion could see that his mane was singed and his face had been blackened. His eyes were wide as he looked back into the alcove he had been in and back at the blade. Oblivion assumed that is what he was looking at as he shook himself.

“You were not kidding about that runes in that thing. I barely tapped it.” He groused as he came toward them.

“I did warn you not to strike it.” Oblivion chuckled.

“I tapped it. With a hoof, not a hammer.” The forge pony replied. “Just how sensitive is it?”

“Apparently it’s more sensitive than I thought it was. The last time some pony else handled it, it had been blunted and suppressed by magic.” Oblivion explained and the stallion listened as he went on. “But to have it examined it needs to be unaltered.”

“That’s true.” Torque admitted as he looked back over his shoulder for several seconds. “That weapon is a lot more sensitive than I thought it would be. I will tell you honestly. That sword is way too advanced for me to handle. There is a forge in Canterlot Castle that is used by the Royals. It’s far too advanced for me and the runes need special handling.”

“I was afraid of that.” Oblivion groaned.

Torque looked apologetic at him before he glanced back over his shoulder. “Okay. Now I need to get it back to you.” He said as he backed up and moved back to the alcove.

Oblivion watched as he came back around the corner with the weapon held in front of him by a pair of tongs that would have normally been used for reaching into the heat of the forge. Oblivion raised one eyebrow at the sight and the forge pony set the blade back on the counter in front of him.

“You were that worried about touching it?” Oblivion asked.

“That thing could have killed me.” Torque pointed out. “So I am reasonably cautious with it. But to answer the question, yes.”

Oblivion barked a laugh and picked up the weapon and slid it back into the scabbard at his shoulder. He looked forward and Torques eyes had gone wide and he was now staring at the other hilt on his back. His eyes darted to the Pegasus’s face and then back to the hilt.

“What about that one?” Torque asked, his voice was almost a whisper.

The black Pegasus looked at him for a moment before he replied. “It’s the second blade I carry. I carry two of them at all times. The steel is to fight ponies. What you are looking at is the silver sword that is used for monsters.”

“Can I see it?” Torque asked. “I have never seen anything like it. Even from here, I can tell that something entirely different than the one I just handled.”

He looked closely at the pony and he watched as his eyes remained glued to the hilt over his shoulder. Oblivion reached back and slid the full scabbard off the baldric and laid it on the counter between them. The steel gray pony stared at the sliver scabbard and then to the hilt with its ornate dual wolf head pommel. He saw him swallow nervously as he reached for the hilt, but his hoof paused in midair as an afterthought.

“Is this one as dangerous as the first?” He questioned.

The black Pegasus barked a laugh. “Even more so than the first.”

Torque looked even more nervous but his hoof fell gently on the hilt despite his nerves. His other hoof went to the scabbard and he gripped it as he slowly slid the silver blade out and into the sunlight. His eyes went wide as he pulled it free and he held it aloft in front of himself. The blade was the same length as the prior weapon but it was a bit thinner and the runes that were buried in the blade glowed brightly down the center of the blade. The silver glow seemed bright despite the sunlight that was beating down on them. The sword was clearly a very specialized weapon with a specific purpose in mind when it was crafted. Torque seemed to know, instinctively, that it was meant to be handled with great care and even then only handled by a select few. He laid it gently on the counter as he looked it over.

“The same pony made this?” He asked.

“No. This one was made by a master smith. I had to travel even further to find a smith that would be able to forge it to my tastes.” He explained.

The Pegasus watched the weapon closely as it sat between them. He could see Spike leaning over Twilights back to get a better look. The baby dragon was quiet as his eyes went over the blade.

“Wow.” He said, his voice was quiet.

“Ya said it Spike.” Applejack agreed. “Ah can see why ya keep it hidden on yer back. Ah don’t think Ah’ve ever seen this one.”

“I do not think you have.” Oblivion agreed.

“You use this?” Twilight whispered as she looked from the blade to him.

He looked at her and nodded after a moment’s delay. “Yes. Why are you whispering?”

She startled and looked away from him. “I didn’t even realize I was.”

“You’ve seen it before.” He said to her and she nodded.

“I have but not up close.” She reasoned.

“That’s true.”

He looked back to the weapon and he could see that the forge pony was still enthralled by it. He reached out and his hoof gripped the hilt and he slid it back into the silver scabbard. He slid it back into place on his back once it was back within the protection of the scabbard. The three ponies watched it vanish into the scabbard and their eyes followed it onto his back. The Pegasus caught the disappointed look from the other stallion and he bit back a smug look.

“How much would it cost to have a steel sword like this one made?” He asked him.

Torque looked at him for several seconds and then a worried look crossed his face. He glanced at the weapon on Oblivion’s back and the Pegasus realized what had him looking so concerned.

“I mean a plain blade in this one’s design. Just a simple blade with no runes or any enhancements.” He clarified.

Torque looked relieved at the clarification and he looked over his shoulder toward the forge. “Forty-inch blade, including the hilt?” Oblivion nodded. “Well. I have plenty of materials and so forth. It would take me about two to three days to complete it and it would cost about…” He put a hoof to his chin as he thought it over. “About thirty-five bits.”

Oblivion nodded and opened his mouth to speak when the orange mare at his side nudged his leg.

“What could ya possibly need the third sword for?” She asked him.

“I would rather not use my main sword for simple sparring or demonstrations. I plan on avoiding the chance of ruining it when I can have a plain weapon made to stand in for it.” He replied. “I can use the plain one for simple jobs and avoid damaging my main weapons.”

“That’s a good point.” She agreed. “Usin’ that fancy blade a yers might be a problem.”

Oblivion said nothing for several seconds as he looked back at the forge pony. “I’ll put in a request for the blade when I am able and ready for it.”

Torque nodded in understanding and the black Pegasus spun on his heel and led them away from the forge. Twilight was at his side as he paused and looked back as he realized that Applejack was not at his side. The mare was a few steps behind him and she rejoined them and a smile tugged ta her mouth as she motioned for him to stay with her.

“Ah should get ya to the bank as well. Need ta set up an account fer ya ta put yer bits.” She said to him as he walked with her. “They have banks where yer from?”

“Yes. Though I rarely use them.”

“Any reason why not?” Twilight asked him.

“I travel over large distances so the money usually sits and over time they come to the conclusion that I am dead since they have not seen me in a while. When there is no movement on the account they tend to take it for themselves, despite that not being entirely legal.”

The mares nodded as he explained and the orange mare led him through town toward a large building that stood just behind city hall. His thoughts went to the crowns he knew were sitting in his saddlebags and he found himself wondering if all the crowns he had were with him. He had noticed that the items that he had stored with Dandelion were now in his saddlebags and that made him curious if the money he had in the banks was with him as well. If it was then he was curious if he would be able to convert it into the currency of this world.

“Is it possible for this bank to convert currency?” He asked the mares with him.

Both of them paused as they seemed to be considering what he had asked. Twilight looked at him as he paused with them.

“I know the largest bank in Canterlot can convert currency but I am not sure about the branches of the bank that are in the smaller towns and cities.” She replied.

“Ah think they can.” Applejack said as she tapped her chin with her hoof. “Ya have coin ta change?”

“I have the coin from the Northern Realms that I am curious if I can exchange.” He explained.

“That’s a fair question actually,” Twilight said to him. “We can ask at least. The worst that can happen is they say no and you would need to go to Canterlot for it.”

Twilight looked closely at him before she seemed to conclude.

“Do you have any coins with you?” She asked.

Oblivion nearly cursed as he shook his head. “I don’t. I did not know we would be coming to the bank.”

Twilight sighed and looked at him. “I’m guessing you need to have a few of them for them to look at?” Oblivion nodded in agreement. “If I can hide you for a moment can you teleport back to get them and back in a couple of seconds?”

He quickly nodded as he understood her plan. “Give me five seconds.”

Twilights horn lit as a shield went over him and he could see that he was obscured from view and his own magic flowed as he teleported.


Twilight kept the spell going as he vanished. She looked at Applejack who was watching around them as a couple of ponies stopped to look at the small dome of magic. She looked closely as a slight change in the size of the shield told her that the stallion had come back. She squinted as she looked into the dome and he was standing there waiting for the shield to go down. She dropped the shield and the Pegasus gave her a thankful nod as she smiled at the sight of his saddlebags. The Unicorn chuckled at the sight of them and she fell in at his side once more.


The group of them went back into motion and they were soon at the front doors to the bank and the doors were pushed open by Twilights magenta aura. They stood in line and waited for one of the tellers to motion for them to approach. The mares at his side were quiet as Spike sighed in boredom. A brown pony motioned for them to come to him and Applejack smiled as they neared the teller.

“Hey Caramel.” She greeted and the pony smiled in reply. “This here is Oblivion Shadow. ‘E works fer me and mah family. We need ta make an account fer him. Can ya exchange currency here?”

“The brown pony nodded. Oblivion stepped forward and waited to be addressed. “Full name is Oblivion Shadow. Typical spelling?” Oblivion nodded. “Profession?”

“Farmhand.” Applejack jumped in before the black pony could respond.

“Age?”

Oblivion looked at him. “Is that necessary?”

The pony looked up at him. “Well it's not required but it helps with…”

“Then I will keep that to myself.” The black stallion replied.

Caramel looked uncomfortable but said nothing. “How long have you worked there?”

“Three weeks to a month.”

“Address is Sweet Apple Acres?” Another nod. “All right, that is started up and ready for use. You can add funds to it when you are ready.” He looked to the Pegasus and waited for him to nod in understanding. “You mentioned the possible conversion of currency?”

Oblivion watched into his saddlebag and a few coins came to rest in his hoof and he pulled them from the saddlebag and set them on the counter. The golden coins shone in light of the lights of the buildings and Caramel stared at them for several seconds. He reached out and picked one of them up and his head gave a slight tilt at the difference between the Crown and the bits he knew.

“I can tell that this is heavier than the Bits we use.” Caramel said to him. “Would it be alright if I took one of them and weighed it against a typical Bit and then did a quick metallurgy on it?”

Oblivion gave a quick nod and leaned back on his heels. He watched as the other stallion took the crown and vanished into the back rooms. He closed his eyes for a moment as he considered the chances of it being more or less than the Bits that were used in this kingdom.

“I had not thought about whether the weight would be a drastic difference or not.” He said and the mares listened as he went on. “I haven’t handled a single bit aside from the small pouches that you gave me that one time.”

Applejack nodded. “Ah’ll deposit yer salary this week. Granny wants ta give ya a bonus fer helping the ponies as ya did.”

He opened his mouth to protest but at the same time he bit back his words and fell silent. He knew enough about the family to know that some fights were not worth fighting. “Very well.”

Twilight giggled behind her hoof. “Decided not to fight that fight?”

“I know when an argument is not going to go anywhere. She and I would go around in circles and nothing would change. I have no desire to teach myself a lesson in futility.” He replied as the brown pony returned.

“Ya okay Caramel?” Applejack asked him as the pony looked a bit shocked.

“I’m okay. Just a bit shocked.” He admitted and set the coin back on the counter with the others. “Did you know that this is pure gold?” He asked as his gaze came back into focus.

Applejack and Twilight both spun to look closely at him. The black Pegasus looked at the brown pony and nodded. “Of course I am aware. I didn’t accept any other payment.”

Caramel gripped the counter in response to the information. He recovered after a few seconds and released the counter. “So, in your village, you were paid in gold?”

Oblivion’s orange eyes stayed on him for a moment before he replied. “I traveled typically. I was never in one place for very long but yes I was paid in gold or an equivalent item.”

“Okay. So I did a check on the weight and metal and the value of this in bits is pretty high.” Caramel explained and the Pegasus waited for him to go on. “The conversion rate for this to between forty-eight and fifty bits to each one of these. We would need to melt it down to get the full metallurgy but I would bet that it would be closer to fifty bits each.”

Applejack looked at him, her eyes had widened just enough to show her surprise. “How many of those do ya have?”

He was silent as he considered what to tell her. If he was right and his saddlebags held all the things that he had been storing in various places were now with him then the number of crowns would be quite high. The Pegasus looked away from them as though he were thinking but in reality, he was not thinking of the amount so much as he was considering his options about what to tell them. If he had all of the crowns he had stored in a bank in Toussaint then the amount would be well over five to ten thousand crowns. Which would be a huge amount to ask the bank to convert and in doing so he would destabilize the area and most likely Canterlot if they needed to call on help from them to convert as many as he needed.

“A couple thousand.” He lied and waited as the others stared at him. “I use them to repair armor and…” He paused as the pony behind the counter wavered.

Caramel wavered and then his eyes rolled back in his head and Oblivion lunged forward to try to grab his fur to keep him from hitting the ground. He missed as the pony fell backward instead of straight down or forward. Applejack lunged with him and her hooves were on the counter as the other tellers turned to stare at the stallion.

“Caramel!” She shouted and went around the counter to check on the fallen pony.

The orange mare fanned his face as she lifted his head to check if he was hurt further than fainting. Spike leaped from Twilights back and went around the counter to check on him as well.

“Gods below.” Oblivion cursed as he craned his neck to look over the counter. “Is he all right?”

“Ah think so.” Applejack said as she motioned for the other tellers to let her handle the fainted pony. “Ah think ya shocked him mighty hard.” She replied.

She scooted back as the pony began to stir and she slowly helped him to sit up. Caramel rubbed the back of his head for several seconds before he began to scan the counter and his eyes fell on Oblivion and Twilight. He blinked furiously and then gave a low groan.

“Easy Pardner.” Applejack said to him as he slowly got to his hooves.

“I’m okay.” He assured her, as he looked at the Pegasus. “Were you serious about that amount?”

“If you’re going to pass out again then no.” Oblivion replied.

Twilight bumped his shoulder with her own and he gave a quiet snort as he nodded. The stallion nodded and managed not to fall to the ground a second time.

“I do not plan to exchange it all. Just enough to get the account going.” He reasoned.

Twilight nodded in agreement. “How much were you thinking?”

“I was going to use ten but upon finding out their worth then I will change that to five.” He explained.

“That sounds appropriate.” She agreed.

Oblivion reached into his saddlebag and pulled out three more crowns and set them on the counter. Caramel reached for them and they were slid into a folder off to the side of the counter. Caramel nodded as well.

“I can put these five into the works to be converted. Give me a few days and I will have an answer about their full value for you.” Applejack came out from behind the counter and stood with them. “I’ll put the amount that we come to in the account as soon as I can. If I see you in the meant time I'll update you.”

“It’s more likely that you will see AJ before me. I give you permission as the owner of the account to inform her of the basic details, such as the value, and ask her to inform me.”

Caramel looked at him before responding. “That was easy and formal.”

Applejack laughed. “He’s not as formal as he used ta be. But ya still needed that confirmation.”

“True. Thank you for your permission. I will hopefully be able to speak to you directly if not then I will talk to Applejack.” The brown pony said to him.

Oblivion nodded and backed away from the counter. He turned to leave with the two mares and dragon on his heels. “I have to admit that I was surprised to hear that the currency here and mine were as different as they are.”

Twilight drew up closer to him and she nodded as he spoke. “Well, a bit is made out of various base metals, such as iron and brass. As far as I know there is no trace of gold or anything in it. It would make sense that a pure gold coin would be worth much more. What are those called where you’re from anyway?”

“We call them a Crown. There are other variations of the same coin but this one is the most common. Some of them as called by a different name such as an Oren or a Floren.” He replied to the inquisitive Unicorn. “A Crown is the most common nowadays and the most often used.”

Twilight trotted to keep close to his side as he spoke to her. Spike leaned on her back and his eyes went to Applejack who chuckled.

“Careful ya hear. She will never run out o’ questions fer ya.” Applejack teased.

Oblivion slowed down and cast a glance over his shoulder to the teasing mare. Her smile fell at the glint in his eye and she gave a nervous smile.

“Which is good fer ya. Yer friends with us so it makes sense ta ask questions… Please don’t tease me back.”

Twilight snorted a laugh at the other mare’s sheepish look. “Easting your words already Applejack?”

“Maybe a bit.” She admitted and caught up with them. “Ah keep fergettin’ that he’s quick with his own barbs.”

“My emotions are greatly dampened so it makes teasing me close to impossible if you’re looking for a reaction from it. I lost the ability to be embarrassed many years ago.” He informed her.

“I know who that was done.” Twilight chirped happily and look at the other ponies with her. “I mean, he told me and I remember what he had said.” She said as she quickly looked at the ground.

Oblivion gave a low chuckle and went back to his previous pace and the others moved to keep up with him. Applejack caught up to him first and she smiled as she spoke to him.

“So ya told her more than ya told me?” She asked.

“She asked.” He replied. “I saw no reason not to reply to her questions about what I am and how it came to be.”

The farm mare nodded and they fell into silence as they made their way toward the library. Twilight trotted ahead of them and reached the front door and turned to look at them.

“Thanks for letting me come along on your errands.” She smiled as she went on. “And thank you for letting me observe the spell this morning Oblivion. I’m still mystified how you manage to accomplish magic at all but I’m learning to let it go and accept it as fact.” She said to him as she chuckled.

He nodded to her as she opened the front door and went inside as Spike waved goodbye to the pair of them. AS they turned to head toward the farm he could see Applejack looking from him to the front and then back to him. A few minutes went past before he glanced at her.

“Yes?”

She startled and nearly stopped in her tracks but she kept moving with him. “Ah was just wondering’. How much is a monster worth?”

“Depends on the monster.” He replied. “A Drowner is worth less than a Fiend.”

She glared for a moment before she huffed and went on. “Ah mean what is the average. Like what is a Fiend worth?”

“The last Fiend I dealt with had a long list of deaths attached to it when I was contracted to find and kill it. After killing it and brings back the head I think it ended up being close to five hundred crowns.”

She looked startled and her nose wrinkled. “Ya cut off the head?”

“Of course. I have to provide proof of its death or they might try to argue and not pay me.” He explained. “Evidence is the best way to ensure that they cannot try to get out of the contract and stiff me the agreed-upon payment.”

Applejack looked sick for a few moments before she gave her head a slight shake. “Ah saw that drawin’ of that troll. How do ya cut off that things head?”

“Slowly and very carefully.” He replied. “Cut wrong and your knife will snap.”

The mare was silent as they walked along the dirt road toward the farm. The mare seemed to brighten suddenly and her eyes fell on him.

“So what story would ya tell the foals this time?”

“I truly have no idea. Showing a few sword exercises is the easier option. All the ones that immediately come to mind are a bit gruesome for a group of foals.”

Applejack looked at him. “What about stories about Witcher's?”

Oblivion barked a laugh and looked to the mare. “Oh, those are most certainly not foal friendly. Especially, if you want a story from Lambert.”

“That bad?”

“Lambert is an ass. He’s a good Witcher, but he’s still an ass.” Oblivion replied.

“How so?”

“Witcher's have a skill called Axii. Basically, it can influence the mind of weak ponies and get them to fight for the Witcher instead of against them. It’s a version of mind control. We also use it to get answers or calm a pony down that might be hysterical.”

“And?”

“One of Lambert’s favorite uses is to use Axii on one bandit then set him loose on his fellows while Lambert watches and kills the ones that remain later.”

“Oh my.” Applejack looked to the road as they walked.

“As I said, he’s an ass.”

“Ya weren’t kidding. What about those sorceresses ya mentioned?”

Oblivion stopped. He looked away for a moment. “I don’t know a great deal about any of them. I have spoken with Triss and Yen at length but I know very little of them personally.”

“Old wound?”

“No. I have never been anything more than another Witcher to them. Geralt is the one that gets himself tangled up with them. I’ll pass.”

“Ah see. So what about stories about him?” Oblivion started walking again. “Did ya do any contracts with him?”

“Actually I did. He and I ran together for a few months once. Were on the Isle of Skellige. Met up with an old friend, a druid, by the name of Ermion. Had to settle a dispute between Jarl's sons. That was a nightmare.”

“What's a druid?”

“It’s a pony that can influence and control the weather, plants, animals, and is a pony that the locals turn to for help when needed.”

“So what happened?”

“Skelligers love to fight, drink and raid and kill each other. They also can never agree on anything except who to fight next. Usually, anyone that isn’t from the isles is a target. Geralt and I were a common target. Though most Skelligers realize that fighting an armed Witcher is a fast way to your death. We came upon Ermion trying to dissolve a dispute between the sons of two Jarls.” He looked at the mare. “The leader of the family. We managed to get ourselves smack in the middle of it and get challenged to combat. No swords, just hooves.”

“That sounds painful.”

“Oh, it was. A Skelliger is shorter than I am but stockier than Big Mac. It's like hitting a brick wall. I don’t even remember how it got started or how we got roped into it.”

“Did you win?”

“Of course. We got beat around the ring by our opponents but the nice thing about being a Witcher is that we can take a few hits and shrug it off. I ended up back to back with Geralt and we switched opponents. His opponent was slower than I am but faster than him. Mine was his height but built like a wall. It took some time but we won. Though we had our fair share of bruises for our efforts. The plus to the encounter was earning a hell of a reputation and the sons were forced to listen to the druid as part of the agreement.”

Applejack laughed. “So ya won but got beat up in the process?”

“True, but we still won.”

“That's all that mattered?”

“Talk to any Skelliger and yes.” He replied with a chuckle. “And in this case, ask any Witcher and that was the case.”

The two ponies chuckled as they walked through the gates. Oblivion went to find Big Mac and Applejack went into the house.

Oblivion helped the red stallion pick up the orchards and waited till they heard the dinner bell.

13: That's a Griffin?

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Oblivion was outside with Mac doing several chores when Applejack pulled him aside. He walked up to her as she waited for him to join her off to the side of the barn.

“Can ya go into town fer me and pick up an order at the forge?” Sher asked him.

“I can. Is there anything else I need to get while I am in town?” He replied.

“Nah. That was it. Ya don’t need ta hurry ta get back so ya can take yer time.” She informed him. “Ya said ya needed ta get a new book from Twilight so ya can do that as well. The order from Torque has already been paid fer so ya don’t need ta worry bout payin’ fer it.”

He made to leave and she turned to leave him to his new task. He walked toward town after calling on the book from his room and laying it across his back. He knew that he would be ignored for the most part so he had left the cloak behind. While he might gather some attention for the swords on his back he was fairly certain they too would be ignored. He moved into town and as he started to go toward the Library his pace slowed as he considered his options.

“It can wait. I need to do as I was asked first.” He muttered to himself and altered his path to head toward the forge.

The Pegasus walked deeper into town and ponies passed by him as he walked. As he had thought, they did ignore him as part of the town’s ponies, he garnered no more attention than that. As he neared the main outdoor market he slowed as he saw Pinkie hiding behind a large shrub. He drew nearer to her and he gave a low nicker to alert her that he had drawn up close to her. The pink mare whirled around to look at him and a look of glee crossed her face. He felt a spike of dread go through him at the look on her face. She lunged up from her crouched position and dragged him to the ground behind the shrub with her.

“Pinkie.” He growled. “What in the Gods…” He was silenced by a hoof to the mouth as she shushed him.

“Oblivion. Just the pony I need.” She whispered to him.

He waited to respond until she had removed her hoof from his mouth and he was able to get his hooves under him instead of laying on the ground on his side. “What is going on?”

“Shhh.” She said to him and he glared as she shushed him again. “I’m watching over Gilda.”

“Who?”

“Rainbow’s friend from Junior Speedsters Flight Camp.”

“And I care about this why?”

“Twilight says I’m being a judgie pants.” She whispered to him.

“A what? And how are pants involved?” He asked her, his voice uncertain as he questioned her.

She reached up and her hooves gripped the sides of his face and he watched as she leaned forward until her muzzle was touching him. “A judge judging pants.”

He rolled his eyes to the sky and gave a silent prayer for strength before he looked back at the pink mare. He reached up a hoof and pushed her back from his muzzle and she finally released his face from her grip.

“Right.” He said to her. “Whatever you just said. That does not explain to me why you, and now me, are hiding behind a shrub.”

“I told you, I’m watching her.”

“Watching her for what exactly?” He asked.

“She’s been really mean to me. I wanted to hang out with Rainbow Dash some more and do more pranks, but then Gilda showed up. I used a bunch of balloons to float up to Rainbows house to talk to her and Gilda was mean and then popped my balloons so I would fall out of the sky.”

“And you’re okay from that?” He quickly asked as she took a breath.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” She assured him with a wave of her hoof. “I fell into the dirt so it was fine.”

Okay.” He replied and shook his head for a moment before he went on. “So you dragged me into the dirt for this?”

“I need your help.” She gasped and gripped his face again, as he once more began to glare at her. “You can watch me watching her tell me if I am a…”

“Stop. For the love of the Gods don’t speak.” He said to her and pulled his face out of her hooves. “So essentially you need me to sit here and then tell you if you’re being judgmental or not?” She gave an enthusiastic nod. “If I try to leave will you let me?” She shook her head. “I thought not. Fine. I will watch over this and see what you are doing and if you’re being fair or not.”

She nodded frantically and then leaned back to the bush and pushed some of the branches out of the way to allow them to look into the market. He leaned forward and his eyes widened as he looked through the branches. He found himself looking at a Griffin, albeit a very small one. She was about the size of the average mare and he looked over his shoulder for a moment as he nearly reached for the silver blade sitting across his right shoulder. He stopped as he realized that she would very likely be fairly harmless and did not warrant a severe reaction with the silver weapon. He looked back through the branches and watched her closely.

His eyes narrowed as she neared Granny Smith with their cart and he grimaced a bit as she bumped into and frightened the aged mare, saying nothing in apology to her. The black Pegasus said nothing as the aged mare looked away and the Griffin stole an apple from the cart and quickly ate it. Pinkie gasped next to him and she quickly spun to look at him.

“I did misjudge her!” She whispered quickly. “She’s not only a meanie pant, she’s a thief.” She looked at him as he nodded in agreement. “No.”

“No?”

“No, she might put it back.” She reasoned and he tilted his head slightly.

“You must be jesting.” He said to her, his voice low.

He looked away from the pink mare and back out the shrub as Fluttershy neared the griffin as she led a group of ducks across the street. He said nothing about the fact that the ducks needed to be lead but he chose to ignore it and went back to watching the griffin.

“All right, little ones. Come this way. Mama Duck you’re in the clear.” She said to the ducks as they followed her closely.

He watched as Gilda turned and ended up bumping into Fluttershy who looked startled at her. “Hey.”

“Please excuse me,” Fluttershy said to her, her voice characteristically quiet.

“I’m walking here,” Gilda growled.

“Oh, um I am so sorry. I was just trying too…”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Why don’t you watch where you are going, doofus?!” The griffin shouted.

He watched as Fluttershy shrunk under her glare and the tone of her voice. Gilda inhaled to yell at the terrified mare further and Oblivion surged to his hooves and stepped out from behind the shrub. His desire to protect the frightened mare showing as he spoke.

“That will be enough.” He roared.

The griffin choked as she had been inhaling to yell and had choked on the breath she had been about to use. His orange eyes were narrowed just enough to make them appear more intimidating as he stood with his head held high.

“Who are you?” Gilda barked at him.

He said nothing for a moment as he looked her over. He could tell that she was trying to frighten him with her tone as she had been doing to Fluttershy. He cast a quick glance to the other ponies and he could see that they had also been frightened by the griffin and were staying away from her. His cat eyes fell back on her and he could see her look away from his gaze.

“I am the last pony you want to meet.” He replied.

“Well. I can still take you on. No matter how you look.” She sneered.

“That’s a rich insult coming from a hybrid creature.” He scoffed.

The griffin blinked at his response. “Who do you think you are anyway? Some great pony protector?”

“I am nothing of the sort. What I am is a Witcher who has fought more than my fair share of monsters and taken out my fair share of true griffins. You are a poor excuse compared to them.” He said as he stepped away from the shrub, even as Pinkie reached for his hind leg to stop him. “I have fought griffins three times your size and came away with their heads as trophies. If you wish to do battle with somepony then you should pick one that will fight back.”

His voice held a clear challenge as he came to stand a few feet away from her. He watched as Gilda looked at the calm stallion, even as his demeanor was calm it was clear that he could easily change that if the need came. He looked at her and he was easily two heads taller than she was and his body was ready for action should the need come. He watched as she looked around them and he saw the other ponies back up to give them room. She suddenly scoffed and backed up a step.

“Fighting a pony is no fun.” She laughed. “You’re too weak to fight me equally.” She sneered and her expression fell into shock as he lunged toward her.

He lunged toward her and he folded his forelegs just enough to come up under her natural guard. His shoulder rammed violently into her sternum, pushing the breath from her lungs. She was thrown off her claws and she rolled backward. Oblivion regained his stance and watched as she gasped for several seconds before she looked up at him. He saw fear as it went through her eyes as she looked at him and he waited for her to pull herself to her claws.

“You will find that I am anything but weak.” He growled. “Come near these ponies again and I will break you like the little bird you are. Now go.”

“I don’t have to…” She began.

“Now!” Oblivion raised his forelegs and slammed them into the ground, Aard rolling across the ground to push her back further.

She stumbled at the push from the Skill and she reeled back as he watched her closely. “You’re crazy!” She shouted at him as she took to the air.

“Perhaps. But at least I am not a bitch.” He said his tone matter-of-fact as he looked over his shoulder to his hind legs where Fluttershy had hidden. “Are you all right?”

The butter-yellow mare looked out from behind him and she looked at him. “I’m okay. That was really brave of you.”

“Brave had nothing to do with it Fluttershy.” He replied to her. “What she was doing was cruel and I refused to allow it to continue.”

He waited for her to come out from behind him as the ponies around him looked on. He looked up as the sound of stomping hooves caught his attention. The Elder Witcher looked up as the ponies around him stamped their hooves in praise of his actions. Their smiles were wide as Pinkie came out from behind the shrub where they had been hiding. She jumped toward him and her forelegs wrapped themselves around his neck and she began to jump up and down, choking him with each bounce.

“That was so superbly awesome and brave! You showed that meanie griffin the door and gave her the boot!” Pinkie shouted as she let go of him and jumped into the air, one leg kicking out.

He watched as she fell to the ground, though her smile did not diminish despite the fall. He watched her toss herself to her hooves and her smile grew even wider if that was possible. Her bubbly antics went on as she looked at him.

“I am so glad you came by. No pony could have done what you did. You’re so nice and…”

“That’s enough.” He interrupted and she scowled for a moment. “I appreciate the compliment but nothing more is needed. Now if you will excuse me I have things to attend to.”

He began to walk away from the pink mare when she lunged out and wrapped her hoof in his tail. He glanced back at her and she wrapped the long strands around her hoof as her smile morphed into an expression that he was not sure what it was called. He waited for her to go on and her smile stayed in place.

“I have a perfect idea.” She informed him.

He tried to flick his tail out of her grip but her hold was like iron. “Why do I get the feeling that I do not have a choice in this?”

She simply grinned maniacally at him, his tail still gripped in her hooves.

“For the love of the… All right. I get the feeling that if I try to walk away I will end up dragging you. If I help you will you let me go?”

“Yuppers!”

“Fine. What is this plan of yours?”

She came to stand by his head, releasing his tail, and put one foreleg around his neck, and pulled his head down to be level with her own. Her other leg wrapped around Fluttershy and the other Pegasus was pulled to be close to her as well. “You guys are gonna help me throw a party for our new friend Gilda.”

“Friend?” Oblivion and Fluttershy intoned.

“Did you see the same fight that I did?” Oblivion asked her.

The mare began to drag them both down the road and Oblivions wings flared from his back as he fought to get his head and neck out of her grip. He knew that if he fought hard enough he could free himself but he ran the risk of harming Pinkie in the attempt. His wings beat a couple of times as the pink mare dragged him and he pinned them back to his sides to avoid harming her and the appendages. She dragged them down the road to Sugar Cube Corner and she released them when they reached the building. Fluttershy collapsed to the ground with a quiet noise and oblivion panted as his windpipe was no longer being squeezed with each step. He pulled his head up to his normal height and rubbed the back of his neck as he looked at the now bouncing pink mare. She motioned for them to follow her and the pair of them followed her after he helped pull Fluttershy to her hooves. She began to pull out boxes of party supplies and she threw one of them toward them and Fluttershy squeaked as she cringed as it came toward them. His magic lashed out and he gripped the box and swiftly put it on the ground to avoid the magic being seen.

“Come on you two. We need to get decorating.” She said as she tossed another box.

Fluttershy squeaked again and closed her eyes as it was thrown toward them. Oblivion reared to his hind legs and his hooves caught the box and set it down next to the other one. He tapped Fluttershy on her shoulder to inform her that it was okay to open her eyes. She grinned sheepishly as she found that the boxes were no longer being thrown at her.

“I can’t believe I am doing this.” He grumbled under his breath as he opened the box and began to look through it. “I know nothing of parties Pinkie. Why am I here?”

Fluttershy reached into the box and helped to begin to pull out various decorations. Pinkie bounced in place as she looked toward him. “You’re here so that meanie Gilda can’t come after you.”

He stopped and his eyes were narrowed at the mention of the griffin. “Seriously? That poor excuse for a griffin couldn’t hurt me even if I allowed it.”

“Well, I know that silly. She doesn’t though. This way she won’t see you until the party.”

He shook his head and a sigh pulled from him. “What am I doing with these things anyway?”

The Pegasus stallion held up several decorations and held them away from his body as if they might bite him. Fluttershy giggled as she watched him handle the décor. The pink mare zipped toward the back for several seconds before she came out from the back holding several slips of paper.

“Help him out Fluttershy. I have invitations to deliver!” She yelled as she went past them, leaving only a pink blur in her wake.

“How does she…?” He asked absently as the door swung for a moment.

“It’s Pinkie.”

He growled under his breath as he looked at the decorations and shook his head. “Right.” He grumbled.


An hour passed and the pink mare returned to find that the décor had been put up in her absence. Oblivion looked up as she stopped in the doorway and stared at the outfitted storefront. Using his magic they had been able to put the décor up quickly while keeping an eye out for any pony that was coming to the store. He watched as she trotted across the room toward the pair of Pegasi as they stood by the staircase.

“This is awesome! Oblivion yer magic is the best thing since icing!” She said as she ran the last few steps toward him.

His eyes widened as she came up to him. “No… Don’t… Hug me.” He managed to say as her forelegs wrapped around his neck, constricting his windpipe.

His airway was choked off and he tried to pull back from her grip and his wings flared. Her grip was iron as he tried to get her to let go. When nothing worked magic flowed over him and he teleported several feet away. He coughed and breathed in a deep breath as he focused on breathing.

“Gods below.” He said as he rubbed his throat. “Now what?”

The pink mare fell forward as he vanished and she fell flat to the floor and then bounced to her hooves. “Now I bake a coffee cake for you and a cupcake for Fluttershy while we wait for the party to start.” The mare replied as she bounced quickly away from them and into the kitchen.

He watched as she vanished and he sighed again as he looked at the other Pegasus. “I’m not hungry.”

Fluttershy giggled and smiled brightly at him. He watched as her smile faltered and she looked down at the floor between them.

“I didn’t mean to seem ungrateful for your help.”

He looked back at her, his expression was uncertain. “Did I seem upset at you?”

“Well, no but…”

“Then I’m not upset. I don’t expect gratitude at every turn. I assume you are talking about standing up for you with Gilda?” She nodded and he went on. “I did what had to be done. No pony deserves to be berated for nothing. You were polite and apologized for bumping into her, her response was unwarranted. I have put nobles in their place, a baby griffin is no challenge.”

She chuckled and they fell into silence for several seconds before the Pegasus mare seemed to think of something. “You weren’t afraid of her?”

“No.” Oblivion chuckled. “I have to ask though. Is that a full-grown griffin?”

She nodded. “I think so yes.”

He scoffed and shook his head. “Gods. That is Equestrias griffin then? And I thought the Sea Serpent was comical.”

She watched him as he spoke and a smile began to tug at her mouth. “What are they like where you are from?”

He raised his head slightly higher as the mare spoke to him. “They would give you nightmares Fluttershy. I won’t be responsible for giving them to you.”

The mare squared her shoulders in reply to him. “They can’t be scarier than Gilda.”

“As you wish.” He said to her in reply. “The ones I am used to are easily three times her size, with claws that are the length of my lower leg, wings that could blot out the sun's light, shall I go on?”

Fluttershy shook her head and he fell silent. “You have fought things like that?”

“Many times.” He began as a crash came from the kitchen and he looked toward the room behind the counter.

“I’m okay!” Pinkie yelled.

He shook his head and looked back at the other Pegasus. “I am still not sure of why I am here exactly.” He admitted to her. “If that griffin wished to come after me then it would be the last mistake she ever made.”

Fluttershy sat down and looked thoughtful for a moment before she spoke. “Perhaps it’s more to avoid Rainbow Dash. Gilda probably told her what happened, so she is probably mad at you. If you’re here then Rainbow Dash can’t get mad at you.”

He shook his head and ran his hoof down his face. “That actually makes more sense. That fool mare won’t ask for my version before acting against me. Element of Loyalty my ass.” He growled.

Fluttershy shrugged absently and tried to look sympathetic. “She is loyal. But I think she will be on Gilda’s side. Even though all of us know that you don’t act unless you have to. Even if she knows that I’m not sure what she will do.”

His shoulders sagged for a moment before he straightened. “Well. We will see how it plays out.” He said to her as Pinkie came out of the back kitchen.

The mare balanced a tray on her back and she smiled brightly as she approached them. “Here ya go Fluttershy, one cloudy cupcake for one of the best helpers in Equestria.” She said as she gave the butter-yellow mare a white cupcake with light blue frosting. “And for the bravest pony in Ponyville, one coffee cupcake.”

Oblivion reached up and took the treat from her and nodded gratefully to her as he took a bite of the snack. He ate the cake in silence and finished it quickly when a thought came to him.

“How many ponies did you invite?” He asked.

“I invited our friends, the Mayor, the Apples, then I asked all of the Day Spa ponies and…” She started.

Oblivion reached out and laid his hoof over her mouth. “The whole town would have been a fine answer.” He said to the mare as she glared out from behind his hoof.

Fluttershy giggled as she finished her treat. “Thank you, Pinkie that was a nice snack.”

Oblivion removed his hoof from the mare’s mouth to allow her to speak in response to the Pegasus mare. “You’re so welcome Fluttershy. You guys are the best party decorating helpers ever!” She called out as she jumped into the air and spun in place.

Oblivion watched as she seemed to linger in the air without the use of wings. ‘There’s a law of gravity broken.’ He thought to himself. He was about to let his thoughts linger on her antics when he shook his head and put it out of his mind, shelving it in the back of his mind as Pinkie being her normal self. Behind him, he heard a knocking sound out and he watched her race across the room to open the front door wide. He watched as ponies began to file into the room and he moved away from the staircase. He moved to the side out of the way and stood still as ponies filed in.

‘Our worlds are very different in most ways but in others, they are exactly the same. Parties are more about mingling and enjoying each other’s company in this world while in mine they are places of political wrangling and employed deception. I must admit this is preferable to the balls and events I have been in but I still would prefer to be anywhere else. This space is far too small of so many ponies. Even if they seem to mingle well even they must feel cramped after a while.’ His musing was interrupted by the arrival of several spirit lights that he knew well. He watched as Twilight, Applejack, and Spike came through the door. Twilight spotted him first and she smiled brightly and he nodded in reply. His orange eyes scanned away from them and he spotted a light blue light coming toward the building. He knew the light to be Rainbow and he could see a tawny light close by her. ‘Here we go.’

The black Pegasus saw the blue mare come into the building and he watched as she scanned the room. Her rose-colored eyes fell on him and he watched her expression darken at the sight of him. The Witcher remained still and silent as she pulled the griffin into the room and spoke to her. Rainbow pointed a hoof toward him and the griffin nodded in response to her. He watched as Gilda flinched at the sight of him and he nearly chuckled in response. Rainbow jumped into the air and her wings carried her through the room until she was in front of him.

“What are you doing here?” She asked as venom dripped from her words.

“I helped to decorate at Pinkie’s behest.” He informed her.

“No. I mean why are you still here then? This party is for my friend Gilda and you aren’t welcome after how you treated her.” The mare said to him.

“Are you even going to ask why I acted the way I did? You know full well that I…”

“Get out,” Rainbow said to him. “You’re not welcome here or anywhere near her.” She snarled.

Her tone caught the attention of the ponies nearest them and they listened in and watched the pair of them.

“Get out!” Rainbow shouted, not noticing that she now had the attention of the entire room.

Oblivion said nothing for a moment as Gilda smirked behind the rainbow maned Pegasus. Her shout had silenced the room and he could sense that he was being stared at with them.

“No.” He flatly replied and sat down heavily.

Rainbows eyes widened at his flat refusal and she hovered upward until her muzzle was level with his own. “I told you to leave and I mean it Oblivion. You’re the jerk that bullied my friend…”

“I’m the jerk?” He barked at her as he got to his hooves. “You are a fool. I acted as I did to protect the ponies that she was mistreating and stealing from. She pranked Granny Smith, which I can let go of since she did not hurt her, but in that same instant, she took an apple from the cart and did not pay for it. Where I am from that would get her beaten. Fluttershy was leading a family of ducks to cross the street and bumped into the hybrid. She realized she had bumped her and quickly apologized for the act. Your ‘friend’ then turned around and began to berate and mistreat her for an accident. I stepped in at that point and put her in her place. I will not allow a pony under my protection to be abused and mistreated. Be angry all you like but perhaps you should get the full story before you start fights that you cannot win.” He argued.

Rainbow stared at him, stunned into silence. She blinked and stared at him and then she shook her head and looked over her shoulder to the griffin behind her. “Is all that true?”

The griffin scoffed and shrugged. “Come on, Dash. You gonna believe that crazy pony instead of me?”

Rainbow allowed herself to float to the ground and folded her wings at her sides. “That crazy pony is one of my friends.” She said, her voice quiet. “Hey, Flutters? You here?”

He looked away from the rainbow mare as Fluttershy came forward from the mass of ponies. The Witcher watched as Gilda glared at the approaching Pegasus and he gave a low growl and the griffin quickly focused on him instead of the mare. The butter-yellow Pegasus stopped close by Rainbow and her eyes took on a determined glint as she raised her head to speak.

“Oblivion is right. She was so mean to me even after I apologized to her. I was leading some cute little ducks across the street and I did bump into her. She yelled at me and I was scared of her so I didn’t say anything to her. Oblivion stepped in and stopped her from bullying me. He did push her but I don’t think he did it to hurt her. I think he was trying to scare her like she was scaring every pony around her.” Fluttershy said in a rush, her shoulder shaking.

Rainbow’s jaw was slightly agape as the Pegasus spoke. She blinked in surprise and spun to face the griffin behind her. “You stole from Granny Smith? And then you tormented Fluttershy for bumping into you?”

The griffin sputtered as she collected herself. “Oh come on Dash. You're gonna believe those lame ponies? You can’t be serious?”

Oblivion reached out, put a hoof on Fluttershy’s shoulder and his hoof gripped her fur and gently pulled her away from the pair of them. He moved the shy mare to stand just behind his shoulder and she seemed to understand what he was doing as she moved to hide against his side. He did not anticipate an actual physical fight to break out between the pair but he was not one hundred percent certain. He was not going to allow the Pegasus mare to get caught in something if he could prevent it.

“These ‘lame’ ponies are my friends. This is not why I wanted you to meet them. Your one of my closest friends Gilda and I wanted you to meet them as well. But I can’t stand with you if you’re going to be a jerk to them all.” Rainbow flatly explained to the griffin who looked shocked at her explanation.

“You're siding with these lame-o’s instead of a cool birdy like me?”

“Is that all that matters?” Rainbow asked her. “Being cool? If that is so important then maybe we have nothing in common like we used to. I forgot that Oblivion doesn’t act out unless he has to. I can’t believe I let myself forget that about him. Fluttershy doesn’t lie to me. But I guess you do.” She growled. “You didn’t tell me everything when you told me what he did to you. You didn’t explain that you had stolen from Granny Smith and you left out how you treated Fluttershy.”

Oblivion stepped away from the butter-yellow mare and moved to block her from the griffin’s sight should anything happen. She stayed close by his tail and he made sure she was protected as he moved to stand next to the rainbow maned Pegasus. He lowered his head to be level with Gilda and his eyes narrowed as he looked at her.

“You heard her. I suppose now you’re the one that isn’t welcome here.” He growled and she stared at him. “If you wish to stay your attitude toward the ponies here will need to be changed quickly. You’re not welcome otherwise.”

“You can’t be serious, Dash. You’re going to let him throw me out?” Gilda asked, her voice pitched.

Rainbow looked at the black Pegasus and her expression set itself as she nodded. “Yup. He’s right. If you’re gonna be a jerk to everypony then you can’t be here. If you can be nice to everypony then I am happy for you to be here. I wanted my new friends and my old friends to meet and get along. But if this is how you’re going to treat them then he’s right and I’ll agree with him.”

Oblivion looked at the griffin who backed up a step as Rainbow Dash spoke to her. “You aren’t kidding. Dash I can’t believe this. You’d pick these stupid ponies over…”

Oblivion reared up, swiveled his body to face her, and brought his hooves down. Aard pushed her backward and she collided with the door jamb as she went out the door. He followed her as she landed in a heap at the base of the stairs. She looked up at the doorway to find the Pegasus stallion staring down at her.

“I find you here when I leave I will pluck you, am I clear?” He growled.

The griffin got up and took to the air, her wings flapping hurriedly. The stallion sighed and he backed up into the room and turned to face Rainbow and the other ponies. Rainbow was watching him and her eyes had gone wide.

“Was what that?”

“Hmm?”

“That magic you used?”

“That wasn’t magic. Not exactly. It’s a minor form of magic that is done by all Witchers. It’s more of a skill.” He replied when he realized she was asking him about his usage of Aard.

“Oh. Pretty cool.” She said to him as she looked at the ponies that were in the room. “I’m sorry everypony. I didn’t realize that she had been such a jerk to so many ponies. I’m sorry she ruined the party you made for her Pinkie.”

The Witcher watched as everypony smiled and he could see the forgiveness in their eyes as they forgave the mare easily. He said nothing about the quick forgiveness and he pushed it to the back of his mind. He stayed among them for several minutes before he began to edge his way out of the building. Once he was outside he made for the forge to get there before it closed for the night. He walked away from the business and his ears flicked back as the sound of flapping wings caught his attention. His orange eyes cast a glance behind him and he saw Rainbow catching up to him, her expression set on him.

“Hey. I know I said I was sorry to everypony inside but I think you deserve a different apology.” She said to him as her wings folded and she stood at his hip. I was a lousy friend to you in there and I didn’t give you the chance to explain why you went after her. It wasn’t fair of me to be angry at you.”

“You had every right to trust what she said to you and take it to be fact.” He assured her. “It’s not wrong for you to choose to believe her words and hers alone. Just try to remember next time that there are two versions to every story.”

She smiled and nodded in agreement. “I owe you one.” She said to him and he shook his head. “No seriously I do. Have a new spell you need to test?”

“Not at this time no. If I think of something I will let you know?” He bargained.

“Deal.” She said and hopped back into the air. “You going to come back to the party?”

“No, I have other things to accomplish.” He replied. “Enjoy it.”

She smiled and turned to trot back to Sugar Cube Corner and he watched as she went back into the party. He sighed and his hooves carried him toward the forge. A minute passed and he could see the forge as it loomed in front of him. He saw Torque in the front of the forge and the stallion saw him and waved. Oblivion broke into a trot and he reached the forge within a few long strides.

“Here to pick up Applejack's order?” The pony asked him.

“Yes.”

“Stay right there. I’ll bring it out to you.”

Oblivion watched as the gray Earth Pony walked into the back, around a corner, and vanish from sight. His orange eyes went to the walls of the forge and he could see examples of the pony’s skills on the walls. The walls carried everything from silverware to shields and he could tell that each one was well made and made from iron and other base metals. Precious few were made of pure steel if he was looking at it right. Curiosity bit at the back of his mind since as far as his experience told him steel was more durable. He could hear hooves on dirt and he pushed the questions to the back of his mind as Torque came around the corner. The grey pony came back into view and he laid a bundle on the counter between them. The Witcher looked at the shape of the bundle and he watched as the item was unveiled. A steel sword was unveiled and he looked at it closely and it was nearly identical to his own though the hilt was simpler in design. The black Pegasus looked at Torque who grinned at him.

“Applejack asked me to make it for you. She was pretty insistent that it remained a secret from you. And I think she succeeded. You’re not really expressive but I think you were surprised.” Torque chuckled.

“I should have suspected something, to be honest.” He admitted.

Torque chuckled and picked the blade up and extended its hilt first toward the black stallion. Oblivion reached up and took the weapon carefully from him to ensure that the blade stayed in the scabbard. He laid it across his back and gave a slight nod to the forge pony. Torque smiled and went back to his forge and Oblivion turned on his heel to head back to the farm. He cast a glance back at the weapon and he shook his head.

“Sneaky little mare.” He muttered.


He reached the farm and paused once out of direct sight and his magic flared as he remembered that he needed to send a reply to Blue Blood. A scroll and quill appeared in his aqua aura as he wrote a reply.

Blue Blood,

I would be glad to come back to Canterlot and get a tour of the city. I am not sure what help I can be off with the cat but I will do what I can to help out. I am free this weekend and I can teleport to just inside the Menagerie to hide my teleport. I do ask that we visit the Royal forge, I need to have a sword repaired. Let me know if this suits you and I will make sure to appear on time. Thank you again.

Oblivion Shadow

He rolled up the scroll his magic flared and sent it. He could sense when the letter arrived and he then moved out of the shadow of the house and then into the house. He mounted the stairs and trotted down the hallway to his room. He removed the baldric and set it on the desk. The new blade was laid down beside it as he looked at how to remove the old blade. His claws gripped the silver scabbard and pulled it off the baldric, the silver stitching flaring as it was removed. He laid it down and picked up the plain weapon and laid it on top of the baldric in the place of the old one and the silver threading immediately flared once more and began to bind itself to the new scabbard. He picked up his Wolven steel and set it into the wardrobe. He locked the wardrobe and moved to leave the room once more. He left the room and closed the door behind him as he moved down the hallway, down the stairs, and out the door. He saw Mac off to the side hauling some of the barrels of apples around the barn and he looked around them to ensure it was just them before he used his magic to levitate them. Mac looked up as the barrels moved and he looked at the black Pegasus.

“Where do I put them?” He asked the red farmer. “You direct and I will place them.”

Mac nodded and the two stallions began to move the barrels around the barn to allow them to place the ones that had been left outside of the structure inside as well. They moved around Apple Bloom as she played close by them. Occasionally her ball would end up under the legs of one of her brothers and they would kick it away for her to chase. She seemed to enjoy the game as Oblivion began picking it up in his magic and tossing it further away from them, forcing her to chase it down. Eventually, she flopped down on the ground as her energy finally ran out. The Witcher sighed as his magic picked her up, as he shifted the blades on his back, and he set her on his back. He felt her nestle down in between his wings as she mumbled something about playing more. A glance from Mac had the Witcher rolling his eyes as the other chuckled. Time ticked past them as Applejack came through the front gate. Mac closed the barn doors as Oblivion looked over his shoulder to the approaching mare. She broke into a trot and he saw her smile at the sight of the filly nestled on his back.

“Ya missed a fun party.” She informed him. “There were plenty of games and a ton of food.”

“I’m certain I was not missed. I had other tasks to do.” He said with a look at the blades on his back.

“Ya got there in time ta pick it up?” She smiled.

“Yes. You did not need to do that for me Applejack. I will repay you when I am able.”

The mare gave a loud snort and waved a hoof at him. “It’s a gift. Ah figured ya might like that more than a trip ta the spa.”

Oblivion had to admit she was right. “True enough. I’m not interested in ponies messing with me.”

Applejack reached upon his back to get the filly off his back but he saw her stop when she realized he was too tall for her to easily get her off his back. His magic flowed over the sleeping filly and she was levitated off his back and onto her sister’s back.

“I will be going to Canterlot this weekend to meet with Blue Blood.” He informed her.

“Sounds like fun fer ya. Be sure ta enjoy yourself.”

“Blue wishes to show me around Canterlot. He believes that a large cat has possibly bonded to me while I was there last. The cat has since refused to eat and seems to be in some distress. I admit I am a bit shocked since cats tend to avoid my kind, they typically can’t stand me.” He replied.

“Well, ya better help ‘er then. Ya might end up with a nice pet fer yerself.” She chuckled. “What kind of cat is she?”

“I am not sure, to be honest. I would say panther but her coloring is more of a tawny color than brown or black. I have seen panthers her size but they are thinner than she is.”

“Wait… Panther?” Applejack held up a hoof and stopped him from speaking further. “So she’s not a little kitty?”

“No. She is far larger than the typical pet cat. Her shoulders would come up to about my chest.” He responded as Mac finished locking the barn.

Applejack's jaw opened and hung slack as she realized how large the feline he was talking about truly was. He reached out to her and closed her jaw and she blinked at him. His magic flared as a scroll erupted from the aqua mist. He held his hoof out and the scroll dropped into his grip.

Oblivion Shadow,

I would be delighted to have you visit this Saturday. Is noon a good time for you? I have a couple of duties to attend to in the morning but after that, I will ensure that my schedule is open. It will be good to see you, my friend. Aunt Luna will no doubt wish to see you as well. If you are amendable then we could have dinner with her that evening. We can discuss more that day and see what plans you wish to make. Thank you for the swift response.

Blue Blood

Oblivion's magic flared as he summoned a scroll and quill of his own to send a quick reply.

Blue Blood,

That plan sounds fine. I will arrive around noon and we can either go to the forge first or later. I am not picky about the timing so long as we go eventually. It will be good to see you as well. Until then.

Oblivion Shadow

He sent the letter and let the aqua aura fade and the mist lingered for a few seconds and then faded out as well. He turned for the farmhouse and he walked inside to find the family assembled and Apple Bloom was rubbing her eyes as she had either been awoken or had just awoken. Her eyes fixed on him and a smile crossed her muzzle.

“Did ya bring my ball inside?” She asked.

His magic flowed and the ball appeared in front of her. She reached out and her hooves gripped the surface of the ball and she pulled it close to her. “Thanks.”

He gave a slight nod as he picked up the paper that was lying nearby. Minutes ticked past as they prepared for dinner and Granny Smith joined them after a half hour.

“Hey, Oblivion?” Apple Bloom suddenly broke the silence with a question.

He said nothing in reply and simply lowered the paper to look at her.

“What games did ya’ll play where yer from?”

He looked at her for a moment before he looked down at the paper and sighed. “Children play in the streets and their games are of hunting or of being knights, I assume. Witchers do not play games so I am not sure of the exact games they would have played.”

He looked up when there was no response to what he had said and he found himself the subject of the entire family’s stares. His orange eyes narrowed for a moment before he set the paper aside and waited for them to speak to him.

“Y'all didn’t play?” The filly asked as she gaped at him.

He shook his head and shrugged dismissively. “There might have been games, had we not been training our whole lives.”

“Not even when yer chores were done?” Mac asked him.

Oblivion barked a laugh. “We did not have chores. We had our training from morning till night and even then sometimes it went into the night. We had to learn from a huge amount of books and other materials about the monsters in the world around us. We had to know how to fight them, what Signs worked best against them, among other things. Swordsmanship took up a large amount of our time as well when we were not studying books. We had no time for games, little one.”

The siblings looked at each other and then back to him. “So ya never gotta be just a colt?” Applejack asked him.

Oblivions ears flicked just enough to focus on her as he heard the sorrow in her tone. “Being a colt never crossed my mind personally. Our lives were kept busy with things that were far more important.” The Witcher replied as gently as he was able. He knew that they were shocked by what he had told them. “We needed to grow up quickly to ensure that we were ready to follow the Path ahead of us. I do not regret my time and I do not regret what I may have missed out on.”

Apple Bloom suddenly stood up on her chair and her hooves thudded dully on the table. “Let’s go play Oblivion.” She stated and jumped off her chair and set her ball on her back.

“What?” He asked her as she rounded the table and came to stand close by him.

“Come on now.” She said as she pushed against his hip to encourage him to stand and follow her.

“Apple Bloom. It’s getting dark out.” He stated as he got to his hooves.

“Can ya make lights with yer magic?” She asked him, pausing by the door.

“I probably can but you recall that we are keeping that secret. What if somepony sees it?” He asked her.

“The others can keep a lookout.” She reasoned and pushed the door open.

He sighed and made for the now open door. He cast a plaintive glance over his shoulder and the remaining ponies simply shooed him outside. Once outside aqua magic flowed over him and sconces of fluorescent aqua hovered in the air and bobbed gently in the air around them. He looked back as Applejack and Mac joined them outside and he watched as the filly came to stand ten feet away from him.

“Okay. We can start out simple. Since ya have never played afore.” She informed him.

She spun and bucked the ball toward him. He sighed again as it reached him and he gave it a gentle kick back toward the filly and she chased it down. She kicked it back to him and it rolled off to the side of him. His magic lashed out and gripped the toy and brought it back to him.

“Nope, no magic.” She admonished from her place several feet away from him. “Ya have ta chase it. It’s more fun that away.”

He closed his eyes as his hoof rested on the ball in front of him. “I fail to see how chasing after this ball is fun.”

“Y'all will see. Ya just need ta try it. Don’t let it stop rolling, just get behind it and kick it.”

He sighed and kicked it to her. She got in front of it and gave it a hard kick to the side of him. He gave a quiet grumble as he trotted after it. He trotted over the top of it and used his left hind leg to kick it back to her.

“Nice kick!” She shouted and chased after it.

He turned back and walked back to where he had started and waited for her to kick it back to him. She kicked it and he trotted after it and returned it to her.

‘Reminds me of some of the coordination exercises we did at Kaer Morhen.’ He mused in silence as he kicked the ball back to her. Minutes ticked past as they kicked the ball back and forth. Oblivion was realizing that the filly was sending the ball further off to the sides to keep him on the move while he was sending it back to be as close to her as possible. ‘Two can play that game.’ He gave the ball a harder kick than before and sent the filly racing after the sphere. His ears flicked as Applejack and Mac chuckled.

“Not sure he’s playin’ with ‘er so much as he just started ta fight back.” Applejack commented to her brother.

“Eeyup.” Mac agreed.

Apple Bloom was beginning to visibly tire and the ball was soon getting away from her. She missed it and had to chase it down as it rolled into the trees. The filly brought it back to them and she panted as she leaned heavily on the ball.

“Okay. Ah think ya got the hang of it.” She panted as she sat down heavily and then fell to her belly.

“Not a very difficult task. We had a similar exercise in Kaer Morhen. It was used to enhance our reflexes.” He responded as he walked over to the panting filly.

“So ya have played games afore.” She accused.

“It wasn’t considered playing since we did not have any fun with it.”

“Why?”

“As a Witcher, we have to be fast to avoid injury. We were punished when we were too slow.”

“Yer teachers were crazy.”

He barked a laugh at her reply. “I can’t argue with that.”

He extinguished the sconces and his magic picked up the filly and her ball. He turned for the house and carried her inside, setting her down on the floor just inside the house. Applejack chuckled as she walked in behind him and Mac followed behind her.

“He gave ya a run fer yer bits.” Applejack chuckled as she ruffled the filly’s bow.

“He’s bigger than me.” She complained.

“You’re the one that wanted to play.” He replied. “Not my fault you picked a fight with a full-grown stallion.”

“Ah didn’t fight ya though.” Apple Bloom said as her head gave a tilt.

“It’s an expression,” Oblivion said to her. “I think that will be enough for tonight. Time for bed, little one.”

Apple Bloom walked to the stairs and looked back at him. “Tell me a story?”

He looked at her for a moment before he shook his head. “Not tonight. I can’t think of any tales that would interest you right now.”

The filly gave a disappointed huff and walked up the stairs. The Witcher looked over to the other ponies and a slight grin tugged at his mouth. “Mostly since the stories I can think of might give her nightmares.” He said and the other two nodded.

14: A New Ally

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For Oblivion the next two days went by quickly as he spoke with the bank once more to discuss the currency exchange. Once it had been decided that their value was set at fifty bits to one he informed him that he had no desire to flood the market and would exchange them when needed. The rest of his time was spent moving and sorting the apples and taking some orders to their buyers. Now that Saturday had come he worked through the morning and it was now close enough to noon for him to teleport to Canterlot. His magic surged and he teleported to land in the menagerie out of sight of ponies. His orange eyes opened to find Blue Blood waiting a few feet away from him, a smile on his face.

“It’s been too long, my friend,” Blue said to him as he approached the Pegasus.

Oblivion gave a slight nod as the other pony approached him. Blue extended his hoof and Oblivion looked down at it for a moment before he bumped his hoof against it. Blue looked startled and Oblivion realized that a hoof bump had not been his intention. Blue barked a laugh and clapped the black stallion on the shoulder. Oblivion took a step forward and Blue turned to stand at his side as they began to leave the menagerie. A twinge of discomfort went through him and he stopped mid-step. The black Pegasus looked back over his shoulder and he sensed Blue stop with him.

“What is it?” The white pony asked as he turned slightly to look back as well.

“I’m not sure.” He admitted. “Something feels… off. What is in that direction?”

“That’s the deeper forest section of the menagerie. Why?”

“Whatever I am feeling is in that direction. Follow me.” He said to him as he pivoted on his heel and turned to lead.

His eyes narrowed slightly as a faint light caught his attention. It was familiar to him, a gentle ocean blue that rippled like the waves of the sea. The closer he got the more he realized that the spirit was muted and he got the sense that it was dulled by pain and suffering. He led the Equestrian Prince deeper into the heart of the menagerie, his hooves making no sound as Blue’s thudded dully on the dirt and grass. A small clearing came into view and he paused at the edge of it. Behind him, he heard Blue stop.

“What is it?” Blue whispered to him.

Oblivions ear flicked back to listen to him but his gaze was trained ahead of them. A light green pony knelt on the ground ahead of them with a tree cutie mark turned to look behind him and his soft gray eyes landed on the pair of them. Oblivion watched him closely for several seconds as he got to his hooves and turned to face them.

“I didn’t hear you coming. But I think she did.” He said as he moved away to reveal a large cat laying on a flat stone.

Oblivion stayed where he stood but after several seconds he slowly came into the clearing and Blue stayed on his heels. The closer he got to her the worse she appeared. Her once tawny coat had faded to a nearly pure white. Her once bright eyes were dull and faded, pain was reflected in them. Her claws had been broken down to the pads and she barely breathed. He felt Blue bump his hip as he stopped five feet away from her.

“What happened to her?” Blue asked, his tone saddened.

“I do not know.” The attendant admitted. “She was the strongest of them a mere three weeks ago. Now she clings to life buy one set of ruined claws. I don’t understand it myself. If I had to guess it looks like she had her heartbroken.”

“No.” Oblivions voice cut into their talk and both fell silent. “Her spirit is fading.”

Blue looked stunned as the caretaker opened his mouth to question the Witcher. His voice died in his throat as the silver armor slid over the black Pegasus. He took a step forward and squared his hooves as the armor stilled in place. He could sense the two ponies staring at his back as he stood before the feline, her dull eyes locked on him as he stared back at her. He took another step toward her and set his hoof on her dull almost white coat. His medallion shuddered and he looked down at it for several seconds before he realized that it was the Element that was shaking, not the medallion.

“Why?” He whispered aloud as he looked back at her. “What can I do for you?”

The she-cat simply stared back at him. He knew that she could not speak to him to tell him how to help her. He could see the very faint outline of her spirit as it fought to go on. It would fade out to almost nothing and then rally once more. He knew that she couldn’t do that for much longer, while he was unsure how to save her he knew that he had to do something for her. His hoof started to pull away from her as magic hummed under his skin. He glanced back and he could see the caretaker remained with them and he could not use his own magic to save her. Not that he was sure he was even able to do so.

“Who in Celestia’s name are you?” The caretaker finally asked him, as he stepped forward as if to try to protect her.

Oblivion said nothing as he tried to understand what to do for her. He was hesitant to use his own magic and he realized that he might have to let nature take its course with her and let her go. He was not sure why, but that option hurt to consider. He did not know her and he knew nothing of her kind but he suddenly realized that he could not let her fall. He ran his hoof over her fur and it was rough and course under his claws. He glanced back to her eyes and he was about to pull away from her when he saw a spark of life that still flickered deep within her. At that moment the world fell into place and his choice was made. He was not going to allow her to fall if he was able to prevent it. He would find a way to avoid using his magic and still manage to save her.

“You have nothing to fear from me. I will find a way to save her.” Oblivion assured him, even though his tone was far from comforting.

He reached out to the spirit that still lived within her and he felt it rise as much as it could to meet him. The Witcher kept his hoof on her for several more seconds before he backed away from her and he tried to still focus on her spirit. He lowered his body into a type of stance that braced his hooves and he went still as the white flame began to dance over the feline’s gaunt form. He heard the caretaker shout from behind him. He gave a slight smile to the she-cat as she watched him closely.

“You’re not done yet.” He said to her. “I will help you to rise again.”

He assumed that Blue had stopped the caretaker from going to her since he did not hear more than a shout from him. The white flame billowed over her and he focused it to go within her and buoy her. He was not sure if it would work since he was not sure what kind of magic he was using but he was as hopeful as he was able to be for its success. Layers of white flame covered the feline, every strand of her fur was coated many times over and her eyes closed as the glow from the flame grew in strength. Oblivion felt his armor begin to tremble on his body as it tightened on his shoulders and chest.

“Come on.” He whispered.

He reached out for more and the flame grew in intensity as it began to cover the ground around her as well. The stone she laid upon was soon covered in it as well. He closed his eyes as he willed the magic to save her spirit and that she was. As he opened his eyes he could see something was wrong with her, more than what he had thought originally. Something was attached to her form and he lashed out at it to dash it from her and free her from its influence. He increased his hold on her and he could feel something within him rear up and push toward her. He opened his eyes and an azure blue spark of flame had joined the white that now circled her. He pushed that small flame into her as he had been doing with the white and he saw her jolt. It had been a small flame but it seemed to have quite the impact on her.

He grit his teeth as the fire billowed ten feet high above them. He groaned and pushed more into and around her. The armor trembled and gripped his body tighter as he strained against the force of the flames he was commanding. He was not sure where the fires had come from but he was going to use them while he had them. He closed his eyes as the fire grew in strength beyond what he had asked of it. A concussion wave went out from it and he was thrown back, though he managed to stay on his hooves.


Blue yelped as the concussion tossed him off his hooves. He felt the caretaker land against him and he slowly got to his hooves and he was surprised to see the Witcher still stood. He felt worry edge its way into his mind as smoke came from the Pegasus’s armor and body. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came from his open mouth. He took a hesitant step forward and he jumped when the black pony groaned and sank to the ground. Blue leaped to his side and kept him from falling completely to his side. He looked down as the Witcher breathed deeply and was pulling air into his body. Blue looked up as a purr sounded out from in front of him.


The black Pegasus looked up as a deep purr rumbled through the air. The she-cat got to her renewed paws as she stood proud in front of them. Aqua blue stripes covered her brilliant white fur, the fur gave off an aqua mist that looked exactly the same as his own magic. Long saber teeth came from her upper jaw and her eyes glowed a brilliant blue that shone brightly in the dim light of the clearing. She stood proud in front of him and he allowed a relieved sigh to escape him as he looked at her.

“Now you are as you were meant to be.” He breathed out to her.

Blue stiffened as the she-cat looked at him and as she approached he could feel the other stallion tremble. She reached him and leaned her head down to oppress her forehead to his, exactly where the Elder Speech would have been had he been using his magic. He looked closely at her as she backed up a step and sat down in front of him. The Witcher sighed again and pushed himself to his hooves. He swayed for a moment and Blue braced him to keep him standing. The she-cat approached him once he was stable on his hooves and she rubbed her head along his chest as a deep purr rumbled through her.

“Well, I’ll be.” The caretaker said as he approached them. “I had no idea that she was supposed to look like this.”

Oblivion looked back and nodded in agreement. “I’m not sure why she was hidden under that magic but it was time for her to be free of it.”

“How did you do that?” Blue asked him, his tone cautious. “You have no magic.” He pushed against Oblivion indicating for the other stallion to quickly lie.

“He’s right. Yer a Pegasus, a pony without any magic, and that looked really magical.” The caretaker pressed.

“I bear the Element of Spirit, one of the Elements of Harmony. That power came from it.” He informed them.

Blue looked at the armor that still sat on his friend’s body and he nodded. “Must have been.”

“That’s what I think it really was,” Oblivion whispered to the Prince.

Blue nodded and looked at the she-cat as she purred. The caretaker walked up to them to get a better look at her.

“Any idea what she is?” He asked them.

Blue shrugged and shook his head. “I have no idea.”

“I have heard old tales of Spirit Beasts. Though I have never seen one before.” Oblivion replied.

“Spirit Beast?” The caretaker pressed and Oblivion simply nodded. “Where do they come from?”

“That I do not know,” Oblivion admitted. “But it does not change that fact that here one is.”

“So your one of the Elements of Harmony?”

“I am, yes.”

“You could sense her as soon as you got here,” Blue said to him and Oblivion nodded to him. “That is why you led me right to her. You were drawn to her and her suffering.”

Oblivion nodded and turned to leave the feline behind with the caretaker. A low growl stopped him in his tracks as he looked over his shoulder to see the feline getting to her paws. Her eyes were fixated on him and her fur gave off an almost ethereal glow as she moved. He turned back to face her and he waited for her to make a move. She walked leisurely up to him, her stride uninhibited and fluid. As she drew up next to him she reared up onto her rear legs and draped herself across his back.

“Gods below.” Oblivion cursed and squared his hooves to allow him to carry her weight easily. “Get off me.”

She responded by rubbing her head against his neck and withers and purring loudly in his ear. He felt his right-wing pop under her weight as his swords dug painfully into his back. He heard Blue Blood chuckle at his predicament and he groaned again. Her long claws dug gently into his skin, they would leave no mark when she removed them. He growled in aggravation and she stilled against him and he looked over his shoulder at her as she replied with a gentle growl of her own. He said nothing to her as she slid off his back and rubbed her head against his shoulder.

“Interesting.” He said aloud after several seconds of simply looking at her.

“What is it?” Blue asked.

“I can understand her. She wishes to remain at my side. My connection of the Element drew her to me before.” He stopped and a look of regret momentarily crossed his face. “Her condition was due to me.”

“How?” The caretaker asked.

“I did not realize that she had bonded to me as strongly as she had. She bonded her spirit to mine last time I was here and my immediate absence made it lash back at her and cause her to fall as she did.” He brought his head down to look her in the eyes as she spoke to her. “You have my apologies. You are welcome at my side until you decide I am no longer worth your effort.”

“What's her name?” Blue asked.

The caretaker startled and stuttering before replying. “She does not have one. I have called her many things over the years but she responded to none of them.”

Oblivion said nothing as he looked at her. Her bright eyes followed him as he gave her a solemn nod. “Sasa.”

The great cat purred and nuzzled him as his head was still level with her own. Oblivion raised his head and the caretaker was looking at the cat with a mixture of pleasure and sudden fear.

“Wait are you planning on taking her?” He asked, his voice frantic. “You can’t. She belongs here.”

“It is her choice,” Oblivion replied. “You cannot enforce your wishes on her. Her life is her own.”

“It’s not me. She belongs to the Princess.” He replied quickly and glanced to the tall towers of the castle that were visible over the tops of the trees.

Oblivion barked a short laugh. “She belongs to nopony. She is her own and she can make her own choices about her life.”

The stallion stepped forward and looked closely at her. “I can’t let you take her. I won’t let it happen.” He spoke quickly as he reached for the feline’s now soft fur.

Oblivion watched as his hoof gripped her fur and she roared as she spun on her rear and her paw lashed out and slapped the pony to the ground. Oblivion reached out to prevent her from going after the fallen pony. His own hoof gripped her fur tightly and she looked back at him as he held her.

“Easy now Sasa, easy. He is not worth dirtying your claws.” He crooned to her, attempting to soothe the angry felines ruffled fur. “I would advise against trying that again.” He advised the green pony.

She walked back to him and crouched down in front of him, laying down in front of his armored hooves. He ran his hoof over her fur and she was once more purring in contentment as she relaxed. He looked to the side as Blue came to stand in front of him.

The green pony rolled to his hooves and his eyes stared wide at the feline and then at the Prince that stood in front of him. “By my right, as a Crown Prince of Equestria, I am gifting this noble animal to my close friend Oblivion Shadow. Should this displease my aunt I will speak with her myself.” Blue said to him as he stood at his full height.

Oblivion said nothing as he could see the Prince mask on full display as he spoke. He glanced from Bleu to the Wraith that hung onto him and he could see that it was significantly weaker than it had been before. Even with the use of the mask now it was not enough to give the Wraith any power over him. He was pleased to see how diminished it had become. He raised his hoof from Sasa’s fur as she had quieted and was silent at his hooves. Blue Blood turned to him and gave a slight nod of his head to head in a certain direction. Oblivion turned to leave with the feline on his heels, he heard nothing from the caretaker at her departure. Blue walked beside him and Oblivion glanced at him to see that he was a bit tense.

“I get in trouble with my beloved Aunt I will be so upset at you,” Blue said to him.

Oblivion barked a laugh and looked at the Prince. “If Celestia gets her knickers in a knot then she can talk to me about it. I am the root of your decision to speak up and I can explain the reasoning if needed.”

Blue looked at him and shook his head at his friend’s choice of words. “That will work, I suppose. Off to the forge then?”

“Lead the way,” Oblivion said to him and stayed at the other stallion’s side as they walked.

Blue moved to walk ahead of him and he could sense that Sasa was right on his heels.


Oblivions nose scented the air as it began to grow warmer the deeper they went into the lower sections of the castle. Blue looked back to see the black Pegasus keeping an easy pace behind him and he stopped and the black pony and feline joined him.

“It’s further in there. Okay. So the pony is named Steel Horn. He’s a… Ummm… There is no nice word for it.” Blue said as he stumbled over the words to describe the other pony.

“An ass?”

The Prince startled at the wording but he nodded after several seconds. Well to put it very bluntly yes. He’s not insufferable just… different?”

“Then we should get along fine. I’ve been treated poorly for most of my life by most everypony so this will not be out of my depth. Bad manners have no effect on me.” He assured the other stallion and motioned for him to lead on.

Blue looked nervous and Oblivion chose to take the lead instead. The black Pegasus entered into a large room with a vaulted ceiling and several systems that seemed to be filtering the air in the forge. He could see enormous bellows and several huge furnaces. As they neared the center of the room Oblivion heard something off to his right and turned to find a pony charging them. He carried a blade in one hoof as he moved to them, 3 legged. Blue yelped when Oblivion shoved him back and brought out his own blade, damaged or not he would use it if he had to. The blade sat easily in his hoof as he reared up to fight standing on his hind legs. The charging pony slid to a stop at the sight of the armed Witcher. A roar shook the cavern as Sasa leaped to his side.

“By Celestia’s ass, what is that?” The pony yelled out and slid to a halt.

Oblivions orange eyes were narrowed as the blade sat in his hoof. He glared at the now still pony in front of him. The pony was mottled shades of brown with a black mane and a bellows showed on his flank. His hooves were covered in thick leather coverings that were tied just above his fetlocks. His mane was cut short, his tail trimmed to the same length. Sasa continued to snarl at his side and Oblivion refused to move, allowing the other to make the first move.

“Are you going to answer me or not?” He asked suddenly.

“Answer what? You charged me for no reason and you expect me to cooperate?” Oblivion growled back at him.

The pony looked stunned for several seconds before he threw his head back and laughed loudly. “Hah! You have some stones between your hind legs.”

Oblivion continued to remain still with Blue behind him and Sasa remained ready as well. Sasa snarled and roared as the anger from Oblivion rolled through her as well. The stallion watched the forge pony closely, his orange eyes remained fixed on him.

“You have nothing to worry about from me swords pony. Even if I had clashed with you that cat of yours would have shredded me in a moment.” The pony said as he walked over to the forges.

Oblivion lowered his blade and went back down to four legs. He put a hoof on Sasa’s side and she calmed under his touch. He lowered his head and slid the sword back into the scabbard as he turned to face the pony who now stood behind a short counter. The other pony had set his own blade down off to the side and was now watching and waiting for them to act.

“So what do I owe the pleaser gents?” He asked as he looked more closely at the black Pegasus and then his eyes went to the silver armor that covered Oblivions form. “Buck me. What kind of armor is that?”

Oblivion said nothing right away but his hackles rose slightly at the pony’s tone. He heard Sasa begin to growl but he stamped out his own annoyance and she went quiet as well.

“It is the armor of the Element of Spirit.” Blue Blood said as he stepped out from behind the Pegasus.

The pony stared at it for several seconds before his eyes went to the Equestrian Prince. “Well, well. Welcome to my humble forge, Your Highness. To what do I owe the pleasure of your presence?”

He could see Blue Blood fighting not to growl at him and holding back his own response. Sasa roared and Steel Horn startled at the volume. Oblivion laughed and looked at the bristling feline.

“My lady does not appreciate your tone,” Oblivion said to him, sarcasm dripping from his tone.

The forge pony looked at the feline and then to Oblivion and a smile came to his mouth as he laughed. “She is a perceptive girl. My apologies.” He said as he looked at the still growling feline. My apologies fine lady. I will try to be more respectful of those you choose to protect.” Sasa sat down heavily and her blue eyes remained on the pony. “I don’t think she believes me.”

“She is a Spirit Beast. She can see your intentions, not just your words.” Oblivions aid to him as the armor began to creep across his body and pooled into the breast collar around his shoulders and chest.

“Remarkable. The Element of Spirit you say? Beautiful. Anyway, you didn’t come here to chat so what can I for you?”

Oblivion walked up to the counter and he pulled the steel blade from its scabbard and laid it down the counter in front of the forge pony. “What do you see, Forge Master?”

He had no doubt the pony could hear the challenge in his tone. His eyes went from the blade to the black Pegasus and a slight smile tugged at his mouth. He looked back to the blade and Oblivion watched as his gaze went over the weapon, intent on it.

“Hell of a blade. Where was it made?” Steel Horn finally spoke up.

Oblivion gave a slight smirk. “The Northern Realms.”

“The hell is that?”

“It is a land very far from here. It is my homeland.”

“I see. Well, the pony that made this should be revered. It’s a blade to write home about.” He said with a chuckle.

“It is the lesser of the two I carry,” Oblivion said to him as he leaned back on his hind legs. ‘Typical bargaining. That should get his full attention. This type of banter is nothing compared to the haggling I have done for my pay.’

Steel Horn looked at him and a smile tugged at the edges of his mouth. “You’re good. But how do I know you’re telling me the truth?”

Oblivion moved his head and his mane was moved away from the hilt of the silver blade. Even in the low light of the forge room, it gave off a glint of silver. “I do not lie when it comes to my swords.”

“By the Greatest Goddess, what is that one?” He said his tone breathless.

“The sight of it will be your reward for an accurate assessment of the blade in front of your nose.” Oblivion bargained and moved his mane to cover the hilt once more.

“Hah! I was right about you. All right you have my undivided attention. What you have hidden behind that mane is certainly worth a careful peek at this one. Pardon me, boys.” The pony said as he reached down and took the hilt in his hoof and retreated into a hidden alcove behind them.

Blue leaned in close to him once the pony was out of earshot. “Are you sure about letting that uncouth pony take it?”

Oblivion gave a dismissive snort. “If he has the bullocks to steal from me then I have sorely misjudged him. Besides in his position, would you steal from me?”

“Absolutely not,” Blue said to him, vehemence in his tone.

Sasa purred and rubbed her head on Oblivion's shoulder and then on Blue Blood. “Why did she get so upset when he spoke about me?”

“She is a beast that is more in tune with the world around her than you and I can. She can no doubt sense what troubles you, are you upset that she took a liking to you?”

“Of course not. I’m actually quite flattered. But that does not really answer my question…” Blue and oblivion both looked up as a shout came from the alcove and Steel emerged with his face singed and half his forelock was missing. “What happened?”

“This crazy blade o’ yer’s has magic attached to it!” He said as he came up to them with the weapon gripped in his hoof as he set it back on the counter in between them.

Oblivion smirked. “Actually it doesn’t. It has three runes buried within the blade itself. One of them happens to be a greater burning rune, Dazhbog. I did forget to mention that if you strike it that might activate the runes buried in it.” He took the weight off one hind leg and leaned into his hip with a look that ensured the other would know he had withheld the information deliberately.

Steel Horn scowled at him for several seconds before a wide smile broke out over his face and a laugh pulled from him. “You are my favorite kind of pony. Too smart for your own good and clever enough to use it.”

“I will accept that compliment,” Oblivion replied.

“All right. There is a hairline crack to the center of the blade. While it isn’t deep in time it will deepen and the blade will be compromised and at the worst, it will break.” He said as he pointed to the crack in the blade. “The runes in the blade will make for a tricky repair but it can be done. It will most likely take me about one week. I have to work the steel a bit and dilute some to…”

“No.” Oblivion interrupted.

“No?”

“You dilute that steel and I will skin you.” Oblivion's expression was blank but it was clear from the glint in his eyes that what he said was a promise, not a threat.

“All right. Make it two weeks.” Steel amended. “Can you suppress the runes?”

The dangerous glint in Oblivions eyes faded as if it had never been there as he spoke. “Unfortunately I cannot. I have had the blade blunted by a Unicorn before but I am not sure if that was enough to lessen the impact of the runes.”

“I know a suppression spell if you think it would work on it,” Blue said to him.

“There is a spell for that?” Oblivion asked him.

“It’s not well known since ponies don’t use runes and other items that explode but I do know it.”

“Why?” Steel questioned.

“It was for a school project many years ago. Obscure magic and the like.” Blue admitted.

“IF you could manage that I would appreciate it,” Oblivion said to him. “How long will it last?”

“It will last for seven days. I can come back and refresh it after four days if you want.” He informed them.

“I would appreciate it.” The black Pegasus said to him and moved out of the way to let the Prince standing in front of the weapon.

Blues aura covered the weapon as Oblivion's medallion shuddered gently on its chain as the magic was brought to bear on the runes on the blade. Oblivion watched them as their normal colors were extinguished and a sheen went over the blade. Blue moved away from it and Oblivion looked at it closely. Steel Horn nodded and picked up a small hammer from close by. Bleu looked alarmed as he raised the hammer and brought it down on top of the runes. Blue flinched and he watched as nothing happened. A visible look of relief crossed both ponies’ faces.

“That works for me. I’ll send fer ya in one week ta refresh the spell if ya don’t mind?” Steel said as he set the hammer aside.

“That would be fine,” Blue said to him.

Oblivion opened his mouth to speak when his ears flicked to listen behind them. The sound of metal hoof boots on stone chimed behind him and he cast a glance over his shoulder. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sasa get to her paws and turned to watch as well.

“Steel Horn! Have you finished my… Oh, my apologies. I did not realize you already had visitors. That does explain why you are not trying to test a new blade on me.”

A stark white stallion covered in royal purple armor with golden accents came into view. He had cyan blue eyes and his mane was a deep blue with a cyan streak running through it. The new pony stopped and waited for a few feet behind the black Pegasus and Blue Blood. His cyan eyes went from pony to pony and they widened at the sight of the large feline.

“What in Equestria?” He said as he stared at the cat, his gaze nervous as the feline sat down and her posture was relaxed. “I have never seen an animal like… her? Or him?”

“She,” Oblivion informed him.

The stallion paused and looked at Blue Blood once more. “Prince Blue Blood. I am surprised to see you here.”

“Normally I would not be here but my friend here needed to see the forge master about a repair. We will be leaving to tour some of Canterlot when his business is concluded.” Blue Blood supplied to the new pony. “Captain Shining Armor this is Oblivion Shadow, Oblivion meets Shining Armor.”

“It’s nice to meet you Oblivion Shadow. If you are a friend of Blue Blood then feel free to call me Shining.” The Captain said to him.

Oblivion nodded. “Just Oblivion is fine.” Oblivion watched as his gaze fell on Sasa and she purred in response to his look. “She is Sasa.”

“A beautiful name for a stunning cat,” Shining replied and Sasa gave a toothy grin in response to the compliment.

Steel Horn moved the sword to the side and looked at the Captain as he moved a few feet closer. “As for that prototype crossbow you had ordered it’s giving me a mite bit o’ trouble. The mechanism is giving me fits.”

Oblivion thought back to the crossbows he had helped make and handled and decided to add his two crowns to the conversation. “The trigger or the draw?”

Steel looked at him as the stallion's orange eyes remained on him. “Trigger.”

Oblivions thought back to what he knew and he paused for several seconds before he responded. “Hoof pulled or magical?”

“Both.”

Oblivion looked away from them and to the side as he considered what he had been told. He thought over the last crossbow he had used and he recalled that the trigger pull had been left open but it was a bit stiff to prevent misfiring.

“Leave the trigger pull open. Don’t enclose it fully and give it enough space to fit one hoof. Stiffen the pull and that will prevent a misfire unless somepony is determined to get it to misfire.” He advised.

The forge master and Shining both stared at him for several seconds as Sasa purred and rubbed her head on his hip. Steel Horn looked away from him and to the sword on the counter. “That… Might… Actually, work. Normally the trigger is closed to prevent it from getting caught. I had not thought of simply avoiding the opening entirely. Stiffening it to prevent a misfire was the last thing I would have thought of.” How in blazes did you come up with that?”

“I have designed and looked over the designs of crossbows before and I am familiar with the concept behind them.” The black stallion replied.

“Well, aren’t you full o’ surprises? So this blade will be done in two weeks. If I have any trouble with it should I send a letter to ya?” Steel asked.

“You can send it to me and I will get it to him quicker,” Blue said to him and Steel nodded in agreement.

“Fair enough.”

“What will the cost of the repairs be?” Oblivion asked and Steel Horn fell quiet.

Steel Horn looked hungrily to the hidden hilt on the Pegasus’s back. “I held up my end of the bargain swords pony. Your turn.”

Oblivion chuckled and nodded. He moved his mane and reached over his shoulder for the hilt. His hoof gripped the hilt and the weapon slid easily out of the scabbard at his shoulder. The silver glowed brightly in the dim light and the runes buried in the blade glowed down the length of the blade. Color’s flit through the glow of the silver and Steel's mouth slowly dropped open. The Witcher held the blade flat in front of him and then slowly laid it down on the counter between them. Ice blue began to flicker down the blade with a tone of red at the edges of the color. Steels magic began to pick it up but Oblivions hoof pushed it back down to the counter.

“It is more dangerous to handle than the steel blade will ever be,” Oblivion explained as the other stared at him.

Steel Horn looked from him to the weapon and then back again. His eyes darted from side to side for several seconds before he stared at the silver blade. “Can I make you a deal?”

“Depends on the terms,” Oblivion replied easily.

“I’ll fix the steel, free of charge if I can handle this one freely.” Steel bargained.

Oblivion watched him for any sign of subterfuge but the pony’s honest gaze was reflected back at him. He removed his hoof and nodded. “Done. Hold the hilt. Any more than that and I am not responsible for any damage.”

“Yes.” Steel hissed and his hoof went to the hilt and he carefully picked it up.

Oblivion watched as he slowly lifted the weapon. He handled it carefully and with a respect, Oblivion was pleased to see. He didn’t move it in a way that would compromise the weapon or the runes that it held. He lifted it till it was level with his eyes and he turned the blade to the side and he seemed to marvel at the thickness of the blade.

“It is remarkably light. The steel was light but this even more so. Same length but its strength would be compromised by the thickness of the blade… How do you use it to any effectiveness? It’s far too light for combat.”

Oblivion shook his head. “I use it to fight monsters exclusively. It’s not designed to fight ponies. Where I am from monsters run rampant and my kind is used to fight them. The steel is exclusively for ponies.”

The forge pony hummed and brought the blade closer to him to look down the length of the blade. “This is a work of art. A blade this fine deserves a name. Does it have one?”

Oblivion shook his head. “It was called a Legendary Wolven silver by the one who made it.”

“Ahh. Legendary indeed.” He mused.

Oblivion left out the fact that it was just a weapon to him and would one day be replaced like the others he had used. This blade was the newest in a long line of silver swords that he had wielded and was not particularly spectacular to him but others disagreed with him. He looked to the others to find them also watching the weapon intently. Sasa had gotten to her paws and was watching the ponies and him as they marveled. Steel Horn finally set it on the counter and his hoof lingered on the hilt for several seconds before he pulled away. Oblivion reached out and took the blade back and slid it back into the scabbard at his shoulder.

“Well. You will never find that blades equal in all of Equestria. Even If I worked a thousand years I could not duplicate it.” He mused. “Anyway. I should have that steel blade repaired for you in two weeks once I finish with the Captain's crossbow.”

Oblivion nodded as the pony left them at the front counter, taking the steel blade with him. Blue Blood tapped his shoulder and they turned to leave the forge behind.

“I told you he was different,” Blue muttered to him.

“I never doubted you Blue,” Oblivion commented in response.

The Prince stopped and looked at the Captain who was still standing close by. “Would you care to join us, Captain? You have lived in Canterlot for just as long as I have.”

Shining seemed uncertain for a moment as his eyes went from the Prince to the black Pegasus and then to the cat that stood at his side. Oblivion gave a low chuckle as he saw nervousness flit through the other pony’s gaze. “She’s harmless. She only acts as she must and even then there is a warning given, nothing more.” He said in an attempt to ease the other’s nerves.

He looked away from her as she purred loudly and a smile crossed his mouth. “Well, I would be happy to help show you around. I have some time before I must appear before the Princess and brief her.”

The stallions walked for the exit to the stuffy forge room and Oblivion gave a slight snort to clear his nose of the scent of worked metal and earth. He followed the other two out of the castle and into the city proper. He looked around him at the storefronts and market stalls as they passed by them. AS they moved it was clear to him that they were well versed in the cities design and knew where things sat and how long to get there. The feline at his side drew a large amount of attention in combination with the Captain and the tall Pegasus. She seemed to enjoy the attention and a type of prancing occasionally graced her stride.

“There it is.” Blue stopped and pointed to a shop close by them. “This is one of the best spots in all of Canterlot. Everypony knows who Donut Joe is.”

The building was plain but it had an appeal all its own due to the smell that wafted out of it. It smelled of pastries and even some coffee wafted over his nose. “What is a donut?” Oblivion asked with a slight tilt of his head.

Both stallions went wide-eyed as they spun to look at him. Shining seemed to recover from the surprise first as he tapped the Pegasus’s shoulder. “By Celestia, you’re not kidding. Okay, we have to go in.” He said and gripped Oblivions fur to drag him forward.

Oblivion allowed himself to be pulled as the scent alone had his interest so it was not an issue of being forced anywhere. The three stallions and one feline walked forward and the front doors were gently pushed open. The scent of pastries and coffee increased in intensity and the Pegasus said nothing as the white stallion stopped pulling his fur. A stallion looked up from behind the counter as the bell above the door shrilled. He smiled warmly at the sight of them and leaned against the counter to greet them.

“Welcome! What can I treat you stallions to? Shining! It’s been a while since I saw you last. And Blue Blood you as well.” The tawny-colored Unicorn greeted them by name and his greeting faltered at the sight of the unknown stallion with them. “Brought somepony knew for me today?”

Shining started pulling him forward once more and Oblivion stayed close by to avoid his fur being pulled out by the roots. “Good to see you as well Joe. This is Oblivion Shadow. He’s new to Equestria and we are showing him around the city.”

“So of course you have to bring to my establishment!” The pony excitedly replied. “Best donuts in Canterlot right here. What kind can I get for you?”

Oblivion looked down at the glass container and the pastries inside it. “I honestly do not know. I have never had a pastry like this before. And before you look hurt or shocked by that where I am from these do not exist.”

Joe looked unsure for a second before he recovered and his smile returned. “All right. I like a pony who knows exactly how to explain himself. Well, what sweets to do like?”

“I don’t,” Oblivion replied with a sigh. “I am not a fan of sugary items. I prefer black coffee for example.”

Joe gave an enthusiastic nod. “I have just the creation for you then.” He said as he moved away from the counter and toward one of the many containers.

“A coffee donut?” Oblivion commented, his tone dry.

“Not at all. But if you want I can probably make one.” Joe replied and oblivion shook his head. “I just created this little beauty.” He said as he pulled one from within the display case and help it up. “It’s a pure cocoa donut. Cocoa itself is pretty bitter to most ponies so they don’t normally like the flavor. But since you seem to prefer the bitter end of the spectrum I think this will do well for ya. Go ahead give it a try on the house.” He said as he set it on top of the counter and nudged it toward the Pegasus.

Oblivion gave the dark-colored pastry a dubious look as he waited for Joe to pull his hoof back from it. He looked closely at it and then glanced at the others that he could see in the case to compare it to them. They were all brightly colored and icing and sprinkles adorned the majority of them. Each one had a hole in the center of it. He had never seen anything like it before but he was not about to be rude to the pony that had offered it to him free of charge. He reached for it, picked it up in his hoof, and gave it a cautious sniff. He could smell the cocoa and he gave it a cautious bite. He had had cocoa before in smaller doses and this was preferable to it on its own or treated as it had been in his experience. The dough was firm but not to the point of being too tough to chew on. He swallowed the mouthful he had and then went to eat the rest of it.

Joe gave a pleased smile at the result. “I’d say that’s a good review.” He laughed and moved back to the case and opened it again. He held out several other donuts and the Unicorns each took the ones they wanted into their magic. Joe placed another cocoa donut on a plate and set it on the counter for the Pegasus to carry. Oblivion turned on his heel after picking up the plate and started to go to the table with the others when a low grumble sounded out from behind him. Sasa was grumbling loudly from her place and Joe was now staring wide-eyed at her.

“By Equestria. Was she with you the whole time?”

Oblivion nodded with a low chuckle. “She might have been behind me. Do you have anything you think she would like?”

Joe looked uncertain but his expression soon faded from uncertainty to thoughtful as he looked over what he had in stock. He looked back at her and Sasa sat down, looked to be ready to wait patiently for him to decide.

“I don’t have anything with catnip or fish. Umm, give me a second pretty girl.” He said as he moved to the back of the shop.

Sasa remained in front of the counter as the pony vanished from sight. A minute passed and Joe returned and walked around the counter with two donuts in his hoof. Oblivion could see that they were plain and did not have anything on them. Sasa looked at the donuts and then back at the Unicorn.

“Sorry girl but I don’t want to make you sick. So a couple of plain ones is gonna have to be good enough for now. I’ll work on a special donut for you for the next time you come.” He said to her and held them out to her.

Oblivion nickered at the feline who looked back at him and then back to the donuts on the ponies hoof. She leaned forward and Joe moved to hold out one of the donuts to her and she turned her head to allow her to bite into it from between her front incisors. She chewed and then went for the second donut with the help of the pony. She purred once she had finished and rubbed her head on his hoof in thanks. He ran his hoof over her soft fur and patted her nose. She got up and walked to where the stallions were now sitting and waiting for her. The great cat laid down beside him and rolled onto her back to bat at his tail. He flicked his tail in response to her and then focused on the ponies with him.

“So what is it that you do Shining?” Oblivion asked.

The Captain looked at him and swallowed the mouthful of donut he had. “I oversee the military within the castle and outside of it. The city guards are also within my scope and I see to their rotations and training.”

Oblivion nodded in understanding and leaned back in his seat. “Interesting. So you are in charge of the security within the palace?” Shining nodded and Oblivion worked to keep a mischievous look from crossing his features. “SO were you made aware of an attack on a guest in the palace nearly a month ago?”

Shining looked uncertain for a moment before his eyes went wide. “What attack?” He asked his tone cautious.

“It was a late-night attempt at subterfuge and information gathering by one pony against another. I believe they had been under the impression that the Princesses were in some kind of danger.” He said as Shining’s eyes widened further.

“How do you know about that? That was to be kept silent at Princess Luna’s request.” Shining asked him in response.

“So I was right. It was nothing then. Just seeing if you were aware.” Oblivion's tone was dismissive as Shining looked even more intent.

“How do you know about that?” Shining pressed.

Oblivion said nothing and took a bite of his donut and said nothing. At his side, Blue put a hoof over his face and sighed. He looked at the white stallion over his hoof and cleared his throat.

“He was here when it happened.” He explained and Shining looked at the Prince, his gaze expectant. “Oblivion was asked by my Aunt Luna to participate in a sparring match with her.”

Shining looked at the other pony for a moment before his cyan eyes fell on Oblivion once more. “That was you?” The Pegasus nodded. “I heard from my guards that it was quite the show. They said that Princess Luna got beat around the center by the other pony. An easy defeat for her.”

“Also true,” Oblivion replied as he reached down to run his hoof over Sasa’s fur. “I greatly enjoyed our match despite the easy defeat.”

“Easy?!” Shining yelped.

“Yes. I have been in one battle or another for many years due to my profession as a Witcher. I held back quite a bit to ensure the fight lasted for longer.” He explained. “It was quite enjoyable for me. Luna appeared to have enjoyed herself as well. We had had coffee afterward and I was asked to stay the night due to the late hour.”

Shining put his head in his hooves and sighed. He peeked over the top of his hooves and fixed the Pegasus with a look. “You didn’t actually slap her across the flanks with the flat of your blade did you?”

Oblivion couldn’t stop the slight grin that tugged at the corner of his mouth. “Perhaps.”

Blue Blood blanched and choked through a bite of his food. He looked at the black pony and his eyes were wide. “I thought that was a rumor.” He muttered and Oblivion shook his head.

Oblivion said nothing further as Shining simply laid his hooves on the table and shook his head. “By Equestria, you really did slap her flanks.” A smile tugged at the Captain's mouth and he tried to hide it behind a hoof.

Oblivion finally gave an affirmative nod and Blue fell into laughter at his side. Oblivion chuckled as Shining began to laugh and shake his head in disbelief. Blue Blood scrubbed his face with his hooves as he laughed. Shining was the first to recover fully and looked at the black Pegasus with a bemused look on his face.

“I can’t believe you actually did it,” Shining said to him. “I have to ask… Why?”

“I admit I may have gotten a bit carried away. I have trained ponies before and that was a common tactic to motivate them to work just a bit harder. If only to try to hit me back and cover their own embarrassment for getting lashed on the ass.” Oblivion replied.

“I can believe it for the most part. I have learned a bit about you in the short time we have known each other. So I’m not as shocked as I might have been once.” Blue said and patted the black ponies' shoulder.

Shining sat back in the booth and shook his head, his amused look remained plastered on his youthful face. “How did the two of you meet anyway? NO offense but you look like you would run in very different circles.”

“No offense taken Captain. He overheard me complaining to myself and barged into my room to ask me about it.” Blue replied. “After listening to him talk I realized that he didn’t care one whit for my position as Prince of Equestria.”

“So there was no formality or was it there?”

“None,” Blue said with a slashing motion of his hoof. “Well… There was some but I don’t; think that it was in response to any title since the first time he met me he had no idea who I was. Any formality that was there was out of habit I think.”

Oblivion shifted and pulled his hoof back away from Sasa’s fur and she grumbled about the sudden loss of his attention. “There was no reason for me to bend my knee or anything of the sort. I treat ponies the same no matter who they are. Bleu is just any other pony to me, same as you or any other.”

Shining smiled. “I have to admit that would be refreshing I think. I’m used to being addressed by my title as well so hearing my name is nice to hear instead of my title only. I would imagine that it is the same way for you as well Blue Blood.” Blue nodded in agreement as he went on. “But how are you with the Princesses? You called Princess Luna by only her name a moment ago.”

Bleu closed his eyes and shook his head. “He treats them like any other as well. Last time he was here he barged into the council room to give Aunt Celestia a note to pass along to Aunt Luna.”

Shining stared at him for a moment before his eyes darted to the Pegasus. “You used the Princess as a messenger?”

“She was the most logical option. I did not wish to wake her by going to her room so giving it to her sister made the most sense.” Oblivion informed him.

Shining leaned back and shook his head. “You DID show the proper courtesy though right?”

“I greeted her kindly if that is what you mean,” Oblivion replied and Shining looked relieved. “Though I did not bow or scrape if that is what you meant. Where I am from I do not even bow to kings, queens, or emperors.”

Blue was the first to recover from the surprise and he sighed. “Geez. At least it was a nice greeting.”

Shining stared for several seconds before he chuckled and sighed in defeat. “Where are you from anyway? It must be a very different place if you need a weapon like what I saw earlier.”

“My homeland is constantly at war with somepony, monsters roam the fields and ponies are always the ones who will suffer the most from it.” He replied. “My kind, Witchers are the ones who are called when monsters get out of control. We keep ponies and monsters separated.”

“Monsters? Like what comes from the Everfree?”

“No. Those are fairly tame compared to what I am used to.”

“Example?”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Blue lean a bit forward to listen closely. “Leshens, forktails, wraiths, to name a few. We are trained to fight them and keep ponies safe from them or sometimes vice versa.”

“Never heard of any of those,” Shining said and Blue nodded. “I’m assuming they are from your homeland exclusively?”

“Not originally. They were brought to my homeland by a phenomenon called the Conjunction of the Spheres. It brought monsters and magic to my homeland among other small things. Originally ponies did not have magic like it. It was brought into our home by pure chance it is believed.” Oblivion informed them.

“And that is why you carry the weapons you do?”

“Yes. They are required. The steel sword is designed to fight ponies and the silver is for monsters. Silver tends to harm monsters more deeply than steel ever could alone.”

“So ponies attack you? Even though you are obviously not an easy target.”

“You’d be surprised how many are willing to try their luck against a Witcher. Why they decide to attack a well-armed Witcher is beyond me, but even a peasant with a short knife could get lucky once.” Oblivion commented with a snort.

“Well, as much as I would prefer to stay here and chat with you I have my duties to perform. Thank you for the nice afternoon. Oblivion was a pleasure to meet you. It was nice to see you as well Blue Blood.”

The captain got up from his seat as Sasa stood up and purred in his direction. He paused and ran his hoof over her fur.

“The pleasure was ours Shining,” Oblivion said to him as the stallion went to the counter paid for his meal, and left the shop. “So what time are we meeting Luna?”

“This evening. She asked that we meet up with her before she raises the moon for the night.” Blue replied to him.

“Understood,” Oblivion said to him as he got up from the booth as well to allow Blue to get out as well. He nudged Sasa out of the way and backed up to wait for Blue.

Blue paid for his meal and led the black pony out of the shop to resume the tour. Blue led him through one of the many public parks and then into the more industrial section of the city. Oblivion marveled at the tranquility of the area. Ponies walked leisurely around with their families, enjoying the world around them. The black Pegasus paused on the sidewalk and watched the ponies. Blue looked back and saw Oblivion standing in silence as he looked around. Sasa stood at his shoulder and rubbed her head on him. The Prince walked back to him and stood in front of him, waiting.

“Are you all right?” He finally asked after they had stood in one place for over a minute.

Oblivion looked at him and gave a short smile. “I’m fine. It's just so...different. Where I am from ponies do not linger in the streets unless they have no other place to go. Beggars on every corner, the streets are blood-drenched, and the scent of death lingers. But here, there is none of that. Not that I am complaining.” Oblivion fell silent once more.

Blue stood silently with him. “I cannot imagine your world, my friend. I must admit that your homeland sounds terrifying. But the important thing is not to dwell on the differences. You are here, now, and this is life in Equestria. It's not perfect and there are troubles but at the same time you have moments like this.” Blue moved a hoof around him. Oblivion's gaze followed his hoof and saw that he was talking about the peace around them. “I won’t say that you should lower your guard. Since I don’t think you can, but to enjoy it when it happens.”

Oblivion looked around once more before he sighed. “Enjoy things when they happen?” Blue nodded. “I’m not sure I know how. I look around and I see the escape routes, ambush points, and places to hide if needed. I’m not able to change my thinking. That is no one's fault but my own.” Oblivion looked back to Blue Blood. “But I thank you for staying by me while I think it over.”

Blue chuckled. “I would not have left you here alone. You are my friend Oblivion. And I am learning that no matter what I will stand with you.” Blue said to him and put a hoof on the Pegasus's shoulder. “We can stand here as long as is needed. You decide when we move on. I like this area of town so I am happy to watch as well.”

Oblivion snorted but did not move. Never, even in other countries that he had been to, was it this quiet and peaceful. His eyes scanned around him, Sasa grumbled to him and rubbed her shoulder against him. The Witcher finally moved forward, though his stride was slow as he continued to look around him. He looked up the street to find a pony-drawn carriage coming down the street. Oblivion chuckled at the sight. As it went past them he paused to watch it as it vanished. The stallions walked forward, ignoring the looks they got due to Oblivion's size and the great cat walking with them.

Blue led him back to the castle to ensure they were on time to meet with Luna for dinner. They walked into the main dining hall and waited for the Moon Princess to join them. Oblivion looked to a door and watched as Luna looked in. She looked at Oblivion then to her nephew, whose back was to her. She gave a mischievous look at him and Oblivion gave a slight nod in understanding. The mare tiptoed up behind her nephew who remained oblivious to her presence. She reared up and was about to shout when Oblivion nudged Sasa and the great cat roared, scaring them both. Luna plopped down onto her rump and stared. Blue Blood went stock still and whimpered at the sound. Blue Blood recovered first and looked to the cat.

“Sasa what in my Aunt's name was that for?!” He demanded even as he looked at the black Pegasus chuckling at his expense. “Oblivion! You made her do that! What if she had startled my Aunts?”

Oblivion pointed his hoof for the outraged Prince to look behind him. He looked back over his shoulder to see Luna sitting on her flanks behind him, looking stunned. “Aunt Luna!” The Prince quickly went to her and looked up to admonish his friend further when the mare burst into laughter. She fell to her back and held her sides as she giggled.

“Thou got us!” She shirked through her laughter.

Blue looked to Oblivion to find him with his front hooves crossed, looking particularly smug with Sasa chuffing happily at him. “Are you okay Aunt Luna?”

“We are fine dear nephew. We wanted to surprise thee but our friend got us both.” She continued to giggle as Blue helped her to her hooves. Oblivion joined them with Sasa in tow. “Thou appear to have made a new friend Oblivion.”

Oblivion looked down at the cat at his side and shrugged. “I suppose you could say that.” He replied and looked back at the mare.

“She is not one we have ever seen before. Where did thee find such a magnificent creature?” She questioned.

“She is from our menagerie, dear sister.” Oblivion looked up to see Celestia walking into the dining hall. “Though I have not seen her in this form in a millennium.”

“So you knew what she is? And you allowed her to rot inside a form that is not her own?” Oblivion said to the advancing Princess.

She paused as she looked at the feline. “I put her in that form it's true. I did it to save her.”

The Pegasus leaned back on his haunches. “Oh?”

“She is a creature of another world. I don’t; know where she came from. But she was not able to return to it. I could not understand her fully but I knew that she was slowly dying in this world. I did not wish to see such a wonderful creature die simply because I could not understand her. So I changed her form so that she was able to live on. She did allow me to look into her dreams and I could see that she is from a world far removed from Equestria. I could not send her back, I did not know how. She was able to tell me through her dreams that she would now wait for her chosen to find her.”

“Chosen?” Blue asked and looked at the feline.

“Yes. A pony that could free her and keep her alive as well. She seems to have been freed by you, Oblivion. The caretaker told me that she was ill and I feared the worst when I went to visit her this morning. It brings me such joy to see her now. Thank you for saving her.” Celestia said to him, a warm smile on her muzzle.

Oblivion looked down at the purring cat at his side. “So you waited all that time for somepony to free you?” He said to her and she growled in reply. She got to her paws and rubbed her body along his, her back arched. A deep purr rumbled through the air as she moved.

Celestia smiled brightly and walked up to her when she stopped and stood once more by the Pegasus. “I am glad to see you well. You have found the pony that you waited so long for?”

Sasa purred at the Sun Princess and her bright blue eyes looked at the black Pegasus. Luna stepped forward and looked at her elder sister. “Will thou be crashing this meal as well sister?”

Celestia shook her head. “No, not this time Luna. Please enjoy yourselves.” The white mare replied and turned to walk out of the room after giving Sasa a gentle nuzzle.

Luna turned to look at the two stallions and clapped her front hooves together. “Please let us dine together.”

Oblivion nodded and he and Blue moved to sit. Luna sat and the two stallions sat in the chairs on either side of her. Luna clapped her hooves and two ponies came out with platters hovering in their magic. Drinks were served and Oblivion sampled the spirits of this world. He shook his head and set it down. ‘If this is the alcohol of this world then I sincerely hope that my saddlebags are as endless as they seemed to be. Which means my own stock is still there.’ He requested coffee and stuck with that as dinner was served. As the evening wore on they retired to one of the great balconies as the sun began to lower in the sky. Luna’s magic raised the moon while the two stallions watched. Sasa lounged at his hooves and purred.

Blue sighed and looked at the black Pegasus beside him. “You have seen her raise the moon before?” Oblivion nodded in response. “I have never thought to ask her about it before. I have watched Aunt Celestia raise the sun many times but I sadly did not think to offer Aunt Luna the same courtesy.”

Oblivion held up a hoof to silence the pony. “There is nothing to regret Blue. I’m certain Luna holds no anger toward you. Ponies are still getting used to having her among them once more. It would be unreasonable of her to expect everypony to immediately be used to her. I have found her to be anything but unreasonable.”

Blue looked stunned before he smiled and looked back at the rising moon. “It is lovely Aunt Luna.”

The Alicorn mare turned back to him when he spoke and her horn went dormant. Her muzzle morphed into a wide smile. “We thank thee nephew. We are glad that thou are here with us to see it. Out friend has seen us raise the moon before but now we are glad to have shared it with thee as well.” She said to him as she went to him and nuzzled him fondly.

Blue Blood smiled brightly at her and nuzzled her in reply. Oblivion looked down at the as Sasa rolled onto her back and rubbed against his forelegs. He rubbed her chest with his hoof as she purred. He looked away from her and back to the ponies with him. “It is getting to be late and I should probably think about heading back. Though I admit I am not sure how to teleport her with me. I have never teleported another living thing.”

Luna looked at him and shook her head. “Thou can stay the night and contemplate how to teleport her safely. I’m sure Celestia would not mind having thee join her for breakfast.” Luna said to him as she held out her hoof to Sasa.

The Spectral Tiger saw her hoof and rolled to her belly and then to her paws. Sasa walked under her hoof and Luna ran her hoof over the soft fur of the cat's head and neck. “It might be best that way then. I can consider how to get her back to Ponyville without harming her.”

Luna smiled as Sasa purred loudly under her hoof and then put her hoof on the ground when Sasa pulled away from her and went back to the Pegasus. “Thou’s room is still yours to use. Thee are a clever stallion so we do not doubt you will find a way to teleport her safely.”

Oblivion nodded. “She and I will stay the night and we will leave in the morning after breakfast.”

Bleu nodded and placed a hoof on the black ponies' shoulder. “I’ll lead the way. It’s time for us to retire my dear Aunt. Thank you again for joining us for dinner. It was a pleasure to watch the moon be raised as well. Thank you for that as well.”

Luna beamed at her nephew and nodded. “We are glad thou liked it.”

Blue Blood turned and Oblivion fell in behind him with a nod to Luna. The Unicorn led the way through the palace and opened the first door for the group of them and he closed it once Sasa had gone through it as well. The black stallion as quiet as he went to his own door and tapped his hoof against it to unlock it as he had been told before. The Prince ran his hoof over Sasa’s fur and then went to his own room and tapped his horn against it.

“Have a good night Oblivion.” He said as he moved to go into his room.

“You as well.”

He pushed the door open for Sasa and gave a delighted growl as she bounded into the room. He watched her run into the room and he closed the door behind them and joined her.