My Little Pony
Disclaimer: Do I own any rights to Hasbro properties? I'm posting this on and a couple of chatrooms I'm a member of. Guess.
Note: This is going to be very dialogue heavy chapter. I swear the action and adventure is coming, but there are a few things that need to be explained coming up, so please bear with me.
A Plea for Help
"Enter," Bernard answered the rapping at the office door.
"You said you needed me, milord," Andrew the Chief Librarian asked as he entered.
"Yes, what do you know about talking Pastel ponies?"
"Oh, well, until earlier today I would have told you they were a myth, and that rumor of occasionally seeing flying Pegasus near our Eastern Mountain range float around the villagers, but nothing substantial. They are a few children's fairy tales and toys sold in the market based around them, but not much else is known about them."
"Bring me the reading materials, anyway, if you would please, Andrew. The castle guards all had the same story when asked of seeing the flying equine today. Obviously, there is some truth to this."
"Here you go, milord," Andrew laid the texts down on the desk in front of Bernard. "I had a feeling our earlier visitor was what you wanted to see me about."
"Thank you, Andrew. Forgive me if I have interrupted any of your duties, you are dismissed."
"Milord," Andrew bowed and left.
"Send a scribe up. My generals have just sent in our armies' current numbers. Tell him I have some enlistment papers they need to copy and have sent out to all the villages and other properties."
Andrew cocked an eyebrow. "That bad, milord?"
"We currently have a thousand strong, with some additional help coming from our west borders to block off the escape routes of our people after they have crossed over. Before Tirac gets here, we will need to have additional troops and militia trained and ready to fight."
"Yes, milord. I will be sure to tell the scribes on my back to the library."
"Thank you, Andrew. Now that will be all."
Andrew bowed again and left the young lord alone again.
After a moment of putting the finish touches on the enlistment papers, Bernard picked up one of the old fairy tale books. He shook his head at himself as he began reading the tale of how a pony produced an offspring by wishing on a mirror.
"'Ello, Megan. Did you do just purchase that little thing?"
"Um, yes, Mr. Carpenter. It's just a colt right now, but father requested another beast of burden to help out at home."
"I see, well. I hope the runt works out fer you," the wood worker said.
He returned to his work and Megan and a disguised Firefly went on their way.
The Pegasus snorted irritably as they walked, as getting comfortable in this new get-up was proving impossible. She had been covered in mud and had a saddle squeezing her wings flat against her back strapped on. She couldn't remember a time more unpleasant, but she stayed silent and bore it. They were passing the Castle Town's main gates right now. At least she could talk some more with her new companion once they were away from the city.
"Thanks," she whispered once they were away. "I owe you big for this."
"Well, it is not over yet. I still have to get you in to talk to Lord Bernard. If you are put away in a cell like he is ordered, it could be a while before you can. What is important is that he learns Tirac also has his sights set somewhere else."
"Still, thanks for helping me out, Meg."
"You're sure they're not coming back," Medley asked.
"Not a single thing bigger than a pony in the air," Gusty replied, bored. "You can probably get going now. Firefly's a couple days ahead of you, you know."
"Alright, then. I'm off!"
Medley took to the air and vanished into the distance. Shaking her head, Gusty started to walk away and back into the castle. Then, she heard the sound of flapping wings. She rolled her eyes, and turned her head to see Medley flying in place, looking sheepish.
"I don't know my way through the witch's Gloom Mountains."
"Medley," a voice called from out front.
"If you want something productive to do, you join us in going to the Moochic."
It was Wind Whistler. She had gathered together Bowtie, Twilight, Applejack, and Shady.
"Ah, right, sure," Medley called back and descended towards the other.
"Brother…" Gusty muttered, and then wandered off.
The group of six headed due East towards the Mushrump.
Meanwhile, due West…
"And here we are," Megan announced. "My family's ranch."
Her ranch was in view, but still a decent distance off.
"It's nice. I don't see a whole lot of animals, though."
"Well, there has been a dry spell for the last few years, but until recently, things were starting to improve again."
"So you're being invaded and there's a drought?"
"Unfortunately, yes. It all depends on how much rain we get, and being so close to the east mountain does not do us any favors."
"So your land has a lot of farms that depend on the rain, huh?"
"Yep, Dongard is largely farms and ranches, with some trade with other lands but we do not really have anything too necessary since everyone has farms. Then there is the magic school. Our wizards bring in a fair amount of money, too."
"Sounds a bit more complicated than things at Dream Castle."
"Well, we ponies just grow what we need to eat, and the only business we really do is trading with the Moochic for tools or books."
"A scatter-brained magician gnome. He's nice enough, but without his assistant Habit, he'd never get anything done."
"So what do you trade for tools and books, and why?"
"Well, we're his meal ticket, basically. Gnomes mostly eat fruits and vegetables like us. And the tools are only bought occasionally. We upkeep the castle ourselves, but things wear out after so many uses. As for books, our bookworms, Twilight, Magic Star, Paradise, and Wind Whistler always have their noses in the pages."
"Speaking of which, how do ponies learn to talk, fly or use magic, anyway? I've never seen anything quite like you before."
"Long story. The short version is my kind originally belonged to a witch named Olivia who hated other humans after they rejected her. She left Gloom Mountain, because she hated what the witch family there did to other people, but the stigma of who she was always caught up to her. So she lived far away from everyone. But she got lonely living by herself. So she whipped up the spell that made us like we are."
"What happened to her?"
"She got old and died, but used the last of her magic to create a stronghold where we'd be safe: Dream Castle, since she would no longer be able to protect us herself. Let's see, I'd have to ask Paradise or Winder Whistler, but that was about four hundred years ago. We have a big portrait of her hanging on our wall. She was real pretty."
"Did you ever meet her?"
"No, silly. Humans live about 80 years at the best of times. No, the only ponies who would have known her are the Flutterponies…or the scatter brained Moochic. I would have loved to, though."
"Flutter…ponies? You said it was just Pegasus, unicorns, and earthponies."
"Yeah, of our group there are just the three. The Flutterponies were where she got the idea to make us talk and do other things. I've heard they live forever, but I haven't actually been to see them."
"Well, why not?"
"They live far to the east, far even for us, and on the other side of the Living Wood. It's harder to get to them than it was flying here. Besides which, according to Paradise and North star, they're huge, ah…what was the word…? Isolationists! That's it! They're huge isolationists."
Megan shook her head.
"Who would've guessed so much was just on the other side of our east mountain in the blank lands."
"Oh yes, there's a big spot on our maps that is just blank, blocked off be our Cursed Mountain, the Crystal Desert, and the Living Wood."
"Yeah, we don't see any humans in our, 'blank lands'."
"How could we? Anyone who tries to cross those mountains ends up hopelessly lost before returning back where they began, minus any valuables."
"Oh, right. That would be the work of the witches of the mountain. They don't like anyone coming up onto their turf. They're the ones Olivia left."
"Witches, huh? Well, that explains a lot, but then why wouldn't our wizards have figured it out?"
"Probably because whatever enchantment they've put on it has been there since the fall of Lumina and Old Umbrae, it's old and deep in the mountain, itself. They've lived there since before us ponies lived in Dream Valley. Olivia was able to tell us all about them and warned us to stay away from 'em."
"I see. Listen, Firefly, we're almost here, right? I don't know how my family would react to you, so I think you should hide out in that grove of trees just beyond our ranch until night fall. Once it gets dark, I'll come to get you and let you into the old barn. It's drafty, and we haven't kept any animals in there since my grandfather died and passed the ranch to father, but it'll have to do. I'm sorry."
"It's alright, Meg. As long as you get me into Dongard castle tomorrow, I'd spend the night in a cupboard if you needed me to."
"Ah, it won't be quite that bad."
"Well, I'll be hiding out if you need me."
Firefly shoved the saddle off with her front hooves, and then it bucked off and flew off, leaving one servant girl shaking her head at herself for what she may be getting herself into. She'd have to get Frederick to back her if she was to get Firefly into Bernard's office, she knew. Fortunately, she knew his fatal weakness: thirst for knowledge and seeing new sights. A brightly colored, talking, flying pony would certainly quality for both of the above.
"Father, I'm home," she called.
"Me-Megan? What're you doin' home already? You work 'til sundown, right," Dirk asked his daughter with a surprised voice.
"Milord let me off the rest of this day, father. It all happened right after a meeting."
From his expression, she could tell he also knew that boded very ill.
Dirk tied a horse to a nearby post and walked over to lean to the fence near where she stood.
"Well, that's how it is, then. We always knew this time might come. Nothing to be done about it."
"Yes," Megan slumped. "Of course."
"Chin up, Megan. It won't be just yet. Come on, help your brother and me finish up the chores, and we'll see about having a good old fashioned family night here."
Megan smiled a bit at this.
"Yes, father," in a much more enthused tone.
"You've done well, Scorpan. Yes, these two will do very nicely. Put them with the others. Now, we will begin preparations for the Solstice."
"Yes…master," Scorpan bowed grudgingly.
He motioned for two guards to take Magic Star and North star away. Rather than following them, he remained in the throne room.
"If it please you…master. What do you want the ponies for? They hardly seem worth the trouble."
"Humph. I will be the judge of what is worth our trouble and what is not, Scorpan. However, since you want to know, their magical and physical make-up makes them ideal for my final goal."
This was the first Scorpan had heard of this. He had always assumed total domination was the final goal, but it now it was sounding like there was more to meeting that than just conquering nations one at a time.
"Yes, these Pastels were altered by magicks long ago, and they are charged with raw magical energy which maintains them. Combined with my power on the day of the Summer Solstice, which will be amplified tenfold, I will be able to transform them into creatures of darkness. They will pull my chariot skyward into the heavens. There, I will bring in the night that never ends, save for where I choose for it to! My power will sweep the land. You know the phrase, you can run, but can't hide? There will not even be a place to run anymore when my work is done. All will be mine, Scorpan. It is for that moment, which everything we have done works towards."
Scorpan stood mouth agape.
"I know you wanted control of the entire continent…master, but the whole world…"
"Yes, Scorpan. The entire world. Everything is now in place. All the nearby kingdoms which might have been able to halt my plans had they ever learned of them will fall or be subjugated before the Solstice, mooting the issue. I have all the components collected to complete the spell. Seventy years of hard work will finally pay off. You see, Scorpan, what separates me from conquerors of the past is that I now have what I need to take the entire world without biting off more than I can chew. All good things to those who wait."
"Wait? Wait for what? Couldn't you have taken the ponies before and completed this on another Solstice?"
"No, it has to be on a Summer Solstice on each hundredth year anniversary of the day the Light and Dark Continents fell. The fabled Myrrh Star will shine only on that day, granting enough added energy to any elemental spell caster to cast the most powerful spells from their body of magic. In my case, the element of darkness, and I know the spell that will grant the Eternal Night!"
"A star…shining in the day?"
"Yes, Scorpan. A star shining in the day, it goes without saying that it's not an ordinary heavenly body. It shines once every hundred years. It shined on the day of the Cataclysm that ended both the old continents, as they attempted to use it as I do. They were careless with it and it destroyed them, forcing the peoples who were not killed in the ensuing chaos to flee and scatter to the four winds."
"It sounds…as if you truly play with fire…master…"
"Indeed. Put your mind at ease, Scorpan. I did not wait and plan all this time to be undone at my moment of triumph."
Scorpan was suddenly very sorry he had asked. He didn't ask anymore, but he mentally slapped himself for not considering what darker purposes Tirac would have in ordering him to take the ponies. He did, however, find it odd that Tirac could know of such things, since this was never found in any history he had ever read on the old Light and Dark Continents.
"In that case…master, I take my leave to check up on our new 'guests', if it pleases you."
"Yes, it does. Leave me."
Scorpan bowed as low as he could stomach before exiting the room. Once outside, his shoulders sagged. He had never realized just how big his master's plans were before. He didn't doubt the truth of Tirac's words. Heaven knows, that throbbing…thing, that he kept in that bag which had laid waste to so many lands before was proof enough for Scorpan.
"Just who are you really, Tirac…" Scorpan asked aloud.
"Hello, Spike. How've they been keeping you busy since I've been gone?"
"Oh, they have me taking care of the Pastels. There's Fizzy and Parasol and those two new ones you brought in."
"So, you've…started bonding with them," Scorpan said, uneasily.
"Oh yeah, they're great. Better company than anyone else around here, 'cept you."
Scorpan's eyes lowered to the floor. This wasn't good. Spike had already made friends with their prisoners, then he'd have to say goodbye as they were morphed into another…darker form of life on the Solstice.
"Damn you, Tirac."
"Alright, we're about to exit Dream Valley, everyone. The way is clear as far as the eye can see," Wind Whistler called down to the group below her.
"We'll be easy targets once we're out there, Whistler," Medley said hovering nearby. "There is a plan beyond 'get to the Moochic alive', right?"
"Negative," Wind Whistler replied after a pause. "This is extremely risky, and there's no way to get there safely if the dragonriders are out there somewhere between here and the Mushrump."
The group shortly thereafter reached the end of the tree line. The ones on the ground level hesitated for a bit before they dared to venture out beyond their Valley. Under any normal circumstances, a trip to the Mushrump would be no big deal, but alas these were troubled times.
The walk across the plains was uneventful, but tense. The ponies never knew a moment of peace of mind while out there. The presence of nearby fauna helped, as the birds chirped and plains dogs went about their business as if nothing was amiss. At last they came to a path. It led the rest of the way to the Mushrump.
"Wait," came Bowtie'a voice just as Shady was stepping out onto it. "Listen."
"Listen for what?"
"Put your ear to the ground," Bowtie instructed.
"I can sense a presence piercing the air," Twilight spoke, using her horn's magic.
"Both of you stay down on the ground," Applejack told Medley and Wind Whistler.
The two wordlessly nodded.
At last the entire crowd could hear the pitter-patter of footsteps coming from the direction of the Mushrump. The ponies retreated further away from the path into some long grass. Before long, some goblins came into view. They walked along the path in a staggered and unorganized formation. They were muttering amongst themselves dejectedly.
"I can't believe the chuffin' Moochic frew us out."
"Quiet. There be dragonriders about. We need ter get hammer and tack to the bloody Goblin Forest by nightfall. Never know wen they'll come back."
"Dawn riders, they burned us village last time."
"They'll be hammer and tack and we'll be 'elpless."
"Hush up. We 'ave work that needs doin'."
"I 'ope the old witch won't be too mad at us."
Soon, the goblins passed out of view, too caught on in their own troubles to notice the Pastels hiding nearby. As soon as the sounds of the green humanoids were long since drowned in the distance, the six dared to finally step out onto the road.
"Looks like we need to get a move on," Applejack muttered. "Goblins have already been to the Moochic's house. Think he's okay?"
"They didn't say anything about harming him, so I imagine so," Wind Whistler responded.
"Let's go, guys," Bowtie said, already walking
The others wordlessly obeyed. They hoped that they would encounter nothing else along the way.
Together, the rancher family herded the last of the livestock into the barn.
"Get, you," Daniel hollered, driving a few goats into their spot. "There you go. Done over here, father."
He pulled the door shut behind them, closing them for the night. Megan tied up the cows while Dirk took the reins of the horses, leading them to their stables for the night.
"You two can go on ahead into the house, alright," he called to his children. "I'll be right behind you."
Dirk finished closing in the animals for the night as the sound of his older daughter and only son disappeared into their abode. The sun was just starting to set when he finished his work and was headed inside, ending the work day for today.
"You're stepping on my dolly," Mary whined.
The boy looked down and sighed as he moved his foot before tromping away to a different part of the abode.
"Daniel, be nice," their mother, Anna, chided.
"It's just a doll. Besides, it's not like the silly little thing matters anymore, anyway," he replied. "It's all comin' crashing to an end, anyway."
"Yeah, yeah, stiff upper lip and all that," Daniel sat down.
"Now, Daniel, you don't know that. At least try to be optimistic. You take life as it comes and make the best of it. It'll all be alright in the end," Anna scolded.
"Besides," Megan piped in, coming in the door. "We have Lord David, Bernard, and Frederick leading us."
"Yeah, like all those other lands had their own leaders before Tirac ran 'em all over. I do not know why we are still here. We should be headin' South to the sea or West to another land," Daniel said.
"Oh, Danny," Megan sighed.
"What is with all the long faces? Looks like dinner's ready! Let is eat, everyone," said Dirk as he entered the home.
Thankfully, Dirk had cut the tension like a fine knife and dinner was very relaxed and enjoyable as the family had small talk about their day and topics of interest. Even Megan calmed down, even if by tomorrow, her job would be on the line if things didn't go well. She was taking a big risk in helping Firefly, but it was worth it if it helped.
"We've arrived," Twilight cheered.
Giant mushrooms stood before them. Thankfully, the rest of the trip had been without incident. The source of their hopeful salvation was before them, and the group galloped happily towards the Mushrump. Before long, the towering fungi were on either side of them and finally, the enormous mushroom that was the Moochic's house was in view.
"Hello, Mr. Moochic," Bowtie called as they neared the door.
"Mr. Moochic, are you home."
"I'm here," came a faint reply from within.
"Come on in, whoever it is. I'm just… Tidying up in here."
"Oh, thank goodness you're home, Mr. Moochic… What happened in here?"
The Moochic's house was a mess. Well, more of a mess than usual. Unlike the usual homey chaos that made up the interior of the home. Today, it was just chaos. The Moochic and his rabbit assistant ran about here and there setting things right.
"Goblins, I presume," Wind Whistler said.
"Oh, deary me, yes. Nasty bunch," The Moochic said while putting some books in their proper place before the bookshelf itself fell over on top of him.
"Oh boy, help him," Bowtie hollered as the group ran to his side.
They hoofed and lifted the shelf off of him.
"Oh my, yes. That was a bit of a surprise," The Moochic said.
He crawled out from underneath it.
"Oh yes, you were here to ask me something."
"Well, yes, you see we've been attacked by dragonriders who work for Tirac," Medley explained. "Is there anything you can do to help us?"
"Hmm. Well, there just might be a way. Now let's see. Tirac…? Tirac? Doesn't ring a bell. Sorry."
It was then that the gnome's assistant Habit the rabbit hopped up with an open tome, a sketch drawing of the Centaur in question adorning one of its pages.
"Hmm? Oh, oh yes! Tirac the Conqueror! Of course," the Moochic slapped his forehead.
He then turned to the little ponies in a matter-of-fact manner: "He wields the Element of Darkness. You'll need the Element of Light to counter him."
"Oh, do you have it," Shady asked.
"Oh ho ho! Don't be silly. No one has the Element of Light anymore. The last people to control its power were the Ancient Luminans of the Continent of Light. You'll have to search their ruins to find it, but I do have an empty vessel that can house it. Now where is it? I know I had it somewhere around here. Perhaps in the cupboard. No… Ugh, a bug! No, in a book? That's not it. That wasn't it, either. Maybe under the couch."
While the Moochic went on his search, messing up the parts of the house that had just been cleaned, the ponies and Habit stood wearing less than impressed expressions. If there was one thing he was infamous for in these parts, it was for his absent mindedness. The ponies sighed; they knew this could take the remainder of the day if he'd forgotten where he put the vessel.
Habit hopped over to the gnome and tapped his shoulder.
"Hmm? What's that. Of course, I buried it in the garden!"
With that, the gnome dashed out into the back yard and began tunneling into the ground with the speed only a gnome could muster, which is actually quite impressive, given that they're natural tunnelers rivaling even dwarves. Within a minute, the hole was three feet deep.
"No, no. That wasn't it, either. Huh, I guess I must have lost it."
He hopped out of the hole, shrugging. Again, Habit tapped the Moochic on the arm.
The bipedal white rabbit produced a small locket from his red overalls.
"Yes, it's the Vessel. The Vessel of Light. Now you can house the Element of Light with this, once you find it, that is."
"Where can we even begin looking," Wind Whistler asked. "The Ancients have been gone for a long, long time."
"That's right, their ruins are everywhere, or have been built over," Medley put in. "It could take forever to find."
"Well, we won't ever find it if we don't start," Bowtie stated, hoping to keep morale up.
"But what if we don't find it," Shady asked, fear visibly taking over.
"We will, Shady," Twilight reassured. "We just have to get a lead, and the rest will go smoothly."
"Countering Tirac. That's a new one on me," Applejack then added. "Well, I guess someone has to, and we've got friends that need saving."
"Right," Bowtie nodded. "I say we start searching right away!"
"But where," Wind Whistler asked.
"Everywhere we can," Applejack replied, shrugged. "Whatever it takes, I guess."
Wind Whistler rolled her eyes. Bowtie and Applejack obviously were underestimating the sheer scope of their search. The continents were that Old Umbrae and Lumina were once the super powers of the ancient world and every land would have some remnant of them somewhere in their borders. She did appreciate the spirit they possessed, though, but what they needed was a plan.
"How can anyone just attain an Element," Shady asked. "What Mr. Moochic said doesn't make sense. I thought Elements were used like magic and have to be learned. Besides, don't they already make up everything around us? At least, that's what Paradise told me."
"Usually, yes," The Moochic said, "But the Ancients had a bypass. They had wizards who discovered how to gather the Element in one place and could condense it into an ore. They were then placed into Vessels like the one I just gave to… What's your name, little one?"
"Twilight, and I'm a third bigger than you."
"Twilight, yes. The Element would then obey the command of anyone who held it who could open it. They were coded with Magicks that made sure only someone of the blood of the Lumina could open it and use the Element. That's part of what made them so powerful. They could make it in masses and send them out to the front lines and never have to worry about wizards or having their magicks turned against them."
"But how do we find a human with blood of the Light Continent?"
"Simple, when the Cataclysm struck the Ancients fled their nations, their power was shattered. So they interbred with those they once shunned as outsiders. Finding a human with blood of one of the nations or the other won't be difficult. Just be careful not to trust just anyone with it. It takes a special person to be handed power and then give it up once it's of no more use."
"Yikes," Shady muttered.
"We still need a lead for the Element," Wind Whistler stated.
"You can look in the Goblin's Forest," The Moochic said plainly. "There's an old city of the Continent of Light where their Mages learned their trade. That'd be the best place to begin looking for the Element Ore. You might want to hurry and get all this done and get yourselves and your chosen Wielder to New Umbrae in a hurry, though. The Conqueror has plans."
"Oh, well, thank you, Mr…"
"No time for thanks! No time for thanks! You have to stop Tirac. Off with you now!"
"Right, well, thanks, anyway Mr. Moochic," Bowtie called over her shoulder as they were herded away by the old hermit.
"Ah, well, now what I was doing? Was I searching for something? Ah, I'm sure it'll come to me," the Moonchik muttered to himself, passing the mess in his living room.
The rancher family had lied down for the night. One could tell they were asleep by the pattern of their breaths. Well, all but one. Megan quietly slipped out of her cot and made for the door in the darkness. She slowly opened the door and gently closed it behind her so as not to wake her kin. Clothed in her nightgown, a robe, and some slippers, she made for the little grove where Firefly waited.
"Firefly. Firefly," she called softly.
"Yeah," replied a voice right behind her.
The girl cried out and jumped a foot in the air. She had been given a fright by the Pastel's stunt.
"Firefly," she exclaimed, quite cross.
"Heh heh. Sorry."
"Well, come on. Let's get you into the old barn. It will not be anything like the castle you told me about, but it will have to do for now."
Once there, Megan opened the door for Firefly.
"Here we go. Again I am sorry I could not do any better, but I cannot have you in the barn we use. Father and Daniel will be up before I will."
"It's alright. See you in the morning Meg."
The girl closed up the barn and headed back the house, yawning. She just hoped this pony wouldn't be the end of her.
"Milord? Milord," Andrew called to the sleeping Frederick in the study.
"Milord, you have fallen asleep in the study."
"Right. Well, I should be off to bed, then. It is just that…"
"I know, Lord Frederick. Have you had any luck?"
"Oh, well, I have narrowed down the possibilities. Let me see…um, yes… Tirac's power is either my guess about the Element of Darkness or he is in league with a high level demon. Possibly one of the Great Old Ones, even."
"Well, then, the solution will be difficult to find either way, milord. Do you require any help with these? May I be of help in any way?"
"Ah, well. I guess I could use some help returning them to the library."
"Very well, milord."
A/N: Aaaand end of Chapter 4. Next time, Megan and Firefly enter Castle Dongard to ask for Bernard's help while the Pastels return to Dream Castle to organize a search party for the Element of Light. Please R&R.