The Dresden Fillies
Disclaimer: I don't own The Dresden Files or My Little Pony, that is Jim Butcher and Hasbro, respectively. This is a fanfiction only. Comments are appreciated, trolling is not. This takes place before season two in MLP and between books five and six in the Dresden Files.
My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, and I'm a wizard. No, don't roll your eyes, I'm serious. How could I not be after all I've seen? Things that go bump in the night are real, and in Chicago I'm the only one who can handle them. Most of my work comes from the police. When a vampire leaves a dead victim or a faerie steals a child, normal investigative methods don't work. I think in the paperwork I'm listed as a psychic consultant. Today, though, I was just visiting Edinburgh, the wizards' capital. The higher-ups of the White Council wanted me to hand in my report over the duel with Ortega personally. I grimaced. The Council was not my favorite group of people, and I knew they were going to rake me over the coals for the way the duel went south. I despite my dread, I was making good time. I was going to arrive in about half an hour. At least, that had been the plan...
The forest was on fire and it wasn't my fault. If the screeching little monsters chasing me hadn't dodged the flames I'd shot at them, none of the trees would be on fire. I was completely blameless for this round of property damage.
There was another screech to my left, closer this time, and I was actually able to see the beast before I blasted. Vearens; they look a lot like gibbons, but these long-armed monkeys were different in some very important ways. Like the hundreds of needle-sharp teeth, the big claws, the large scorpion stinger at the end of a long tail, and the intense bloodlust that made a pack of piranha look like a school of goldfish.
"Hell's bells" I cursed softly, "How do I end up in these situations?" Being a professional wizard and all, I could have taken a single vearen without any trouble, even here on their turf. Hell, I could probably fight a dozen without any serious wounds. Unfortunately, the pack chasing me numbered somewhere around fifty.
One of the faster ones had caught up with me, and it flung itself forward with a howl of fury. "Riflettum!" I yelled as I forced energy into the shield bracelet on my left wrist. It pulsed with magic, and a quarter-dome of translucent blue sprung up between me and the horrifying little predator. The vearen bounced off and smacked into a tree hard enough to bring a rain of bright red fruit down on its head.
"Yeah! How d'ya like those apples?" I yelled, and then started cursing as his friends caught up. "This is not how my day was supposed to go," I panted, complaining to nobody. "I mean, I know the Nevernever is dangerous, but come on 'It's just a short stretch o' forest til you reach the gate to Edinburgh,' " I said, mocking my mentor's accent. " 'No trouble, right boy?' " I jinked to my right and started running along a stream, hoping that fewer trees would mean less pursuit. It didn't. The vearens abandoned the canopy to follow me without hestitation.
My lungs were burning, and my side felt ready to split open. I had to stop soon or I'd just keel over, and I'd be damned if those things got me without a fight. I stretched my magical senses to look for a path back to Earth, but there wasn't anything. The Nevernever connected to everything, so it could take me anywhere, theoretically. It was only a theory because the most horrifying creatures in existence made it their home, and only an idiot would leave the safety of the well-known Ways. In my defense, I had a few dozen good reasons for doing so. Still, I had no idea what part of the world this particular bit of forest might connect to.
I burst through a small clump of bushes into an open meadow and skidded to a halt. The meadow was lovely, a beautiful, serene place, but I hadn't stopped to admire it. I'd stopped because on the other side of the meadow was another pack of vearens, just as big as the one already chasing me. I stared at them. They stared at me. The first pack had caught up and halted at the sight of the new pack. Growls filled the air as both groups started to cautiously spread out along the edge of the meadow. Maybe, if I was lucky, the packs would fight over me and I could use the confusion to escape. The two alphas approached each other until they were nearly eye to eye. I tensed to run, hoping Lady Luck would come through for once.
They nodded to each other and turned to face me, baring their teeth. Their packs did likewise.
Lady Luck is a real bitch. Don't let anyone tell you different.
"Aparturum!" I screamed, ripping open the fabric between the Nevernever and whatever world it connected to here. The vearens couldn't follow me through, and whatever was on the other side had to be better than a hundred bloodthirsty, poisonous monkeys.
Twilight Sparkle woke to the jangling of her alarm clock and shut it off with a sleepy flail of her hoof. It had been another long (though rewarding) night of study, and though she was still short on sleep, Fluttershy was expecting her early. A soft snore still emanated from the basket at the foot of her bed where a little dragon lay. Twilight shook her head with a fond smile; she never had to worry about Spike getting enough rest. She reset the alarm clock and left a list of chores next to it for her assistant.
Still yawning, she brushed her teeth and combed her mane, then put on her saddlebags and packed up the books the previous night's study had turned up: Birds of Equestria and The Illustrated Guide to Exotic Creatures. Fluttershy had found an egg she didn't recognize, and it was up to Twilight to determine what it might hatch into. So, despite the early hour, she grabbed a day-old muffin from the kitchen and headed for the door.
She stepped outside and breathed in the cool morning air. It was shaping up to be a beautiful spring day, and this time Twilight would be outside to enjoy it instead of wrapped up in her reading. She yawned again and chuckled to herself as she trotted down the road towards Fluttershy's cottage on the outskirts of Ponyville. She'd known she had to wake up early today, and she should have gone to bed much earlier, but her search for illustrated eggs had stumbled upon a fascinating book titled On the Theory of Alternate Realities, which she wound up reading until the small hours. The author described some interesting ideas about the nature of reality, but of course the whole study was entirely theoretical. And given the subject matter, she laughed to herself, it was likely to stay that way.
She was well outside of Ponyville, almost to Fluttershy's cottage, when she heard it. There was a noise like an enormous sheet of canvas ripping down the middle, and right before her unbelieving eyes, a jagged tear opened in the world. She only got a glimpse of a strange forest and – were those monkeys? – before a huge, creature filled the tear, barreled through, and crashed into a nearby bush. The hole in the world closed quickly behind it. There was a moment of silence, and then birdsong in the distance began again. There had been nothing dramatic, no bright lights or loud noises. Just a small burst of magic and the… thing. Twilight took a hesitant step toward the bush, then jumped back again as the creature rose to its full height, disentangling itself.
Twilight looked at the creature. She'd seen a lot of strange creatures during her adventures, a hydra and cockatrice among them, but this thing took the cake. She had first thought it wasn't much bigger than a stallion, but as it stood up she realized it was huge, almost twice her height. It towered over her, balancing on its hind legs like an angry bear while its short forelimbs dangled by its sides. The front legs didn't end in hooves, but in hands that were only roughly similar to Spike's; where his short digits were scaled and clawed, this thing's hands were huge and spidery, and she realized with a shiver that it had an extra finger on each hand. They were covered only in bare pinkish-white flesh, with no claws at all.
It's the same color as a peach, A small corner of her mind noted irrelevantly. One of its hands held a long stick, almost as tall as the creature was, carved with dozens of strange symbols, like writing. The rest of the thing was covered in a long, black coat made of some heavy, shiny material she had never seen before. Only its head was uncovered, and she got a better look at that as it turned around. The head was tall and domed like a pony's, but its short, scruffy mane barely covered the top and back, leaving its neck bare. The face had all the right features, but they were weirdly placed and shaped: the ears were round and set low on the sides of its head, the mouth was small, and wasn't a muzzle, leaving the nose to rise like a lone mountain surrounded by plains. The eyes were intense and too small, although they widened as it saw her. Apparently she had surprised it as much as it had her.
Hitting the bush only hurt a little. Getting out hurt significantly more. The branches were tipped in these little thorns that scraped my hands and head. At least my leather duster, spelled to stop bullets and claws, prevented any thorns from sticking me anywhere it covered. It was a bit like wearing body armor to a Nerf fight. But then again, I thought, looking at my scraped hands, there's no such thing as overkill.
Now, I wondered, what fresh hell is this? I scanned the surrounding countryside with rapidly mounting disbelief. The whole place looked too perfect to be real. A gently rolling meadow stretched as far as I could see, dotted with occasional, beautiful trees. In another direction I could see a series of hills covered in hundreds of apple trees, and the road I was standing on stretched to a distant little village that looked adorably quaint.
This place wasn't a faerie tale land. Believe me; most faerie tales (like most faeries) are actually bloody and dark in their original versions. A world this idyllic could only come from one place. How the hell did I end up in a Disney movie? I thought. I heard a small sound behind me, and when I turned around, I got an even bigger shock.
Behind me stood a small purple unicorn, staring at me.
Now, I can say with a minimum of lying that I am a very manly man. I don't drink 'lite' beer, I eat steak without worrying about cholesterol, I don't ask for directions, and sometimes I beat my chest to display my dominance over lesser males. But I swear to all the powers that be, that unicorn was the cutest thing I had ever seen in my life. Underneath the shock of seeing it, I wanted to giggle like a five-year-old girl and pick it up in a big hug. I don't care if that sounds weird, it was that freaking adorable. It was only the size of a large dog, but it had a rounder head than any horse I've ever seen, and its eyes were a pair of large, expressive orbs. Above the eyes was a little spiral horn the same purple as the rest of its coat. Its dark purple mane was styled like hair, complete with bangs and a few streaks of pink. On its hip was a mark or tattoo that depicted a cloud of sparkles around a dark purple, six-pointed star.
It stared at me in what looked a state of shock, but it didn't bolt like a wild animal would. I supposed people didn't regularly tear apart the fabric of time and space to fall out of thin air around here. I stared back and made the mistake of meeting its eyes. The large orbs of soft purple watched me in a combination of curiosity and fear, and as I looked into them, I felt the unmistakable beginnings of a Soulgaze. You have got to be kidding me, I thought even as the magic began.
The eyes are often called the windows of the soul, the truest reflections of person's heart. As poetic and uselessly romantic as that may sound, for wizards it was true. If a wizard and anyone else hold eye contact, they can peer through those windows to see the other's most fundamental nature. Normally, I was more careful. Not only is it wrong to see someone like that without their consent, but they get to see my soul too. I'm not much for introspection, but from people's reactions, seeing my soul is not a pleasant experience. One woman even fainted.
I felt a sudden stab of guilt and pushed thoughts of Susan out of my mind. I hadn't been careful here because there is one very important requirement both people need for a Soulgaze to occur. Something I'd never thought a pony, unicorn or not, lovable or not, would have. Namely, a soul.
I was in a library. Saying it was huge is about as accurate as calling the sun "big". It stretched further than I could see in all directions, and I mean all. The staircase I stood on looked endless, countless floors stretching both above and below me. Books were everywhere, not just on shelves but stacked on reading tables, left in chairs. One had even found its way onto the stairs. I stepped off the staircase, walking deeper into the library. The ceiling was painted to look like a section of the night sky with constellations fancifully illustrated in luminous outlines. The room's light came from large chandeliers shaped like six-pointed stars, each surrounded by a cluster of individual lamps in holders of the same shape. It took me a moment, but I realized they matched the mark on her flank. I wondered about the importance of the symbol, but the rest of the library distracted me. As I walked among the shelves, I noticed that despite the scattered nature of all of books, they were lovingly maintained, with hardly a cracked spine or dog-eared page to be seen. Her collection of wisdom may have been disorganized, but it was obvious that none of it was neglected. The whole place was a temple to a love of learning and respect for knowledge, but it held more as well. On the ends of the bookcases and the walls hung picture after picture of other creatures
There were posed portraits and photos that seemed taken on the spur of the moment, childish crayon drawings and gorgeous oil paintings, bas reliefs and even some small sculptures, all arranged as haphazardly as the books. I saw the same nine or ten creatures repeated again and again, clearly important… people?... in her life. Strangely, they weren't all unicorns. They were all built along the same lines, but apparently the horn was optional – some had wings instead, and others had neither.
The more childish drawings centered around a pair of figures that I took for her parents and a purple-and-green blob - a pet maybe? The more recent images, though, revolved almost entirely around six individuals. The first one that caught my eye was a butter-yellow pegasus with a soft pink mane and tail, her shy smile gentle and warm. I'd thought the purple unicorn was cute, but this one was weapons-grade adorable. There was another unicorn, this one with a pure white coat and a deep purple mane and tail, obviously styled. She looked like a real beauty queen, but her smile had an open, friendly quality that hinted at a much kinder, deeper personality than most socialites I had met. Granted, most of the socialites I'd met recently were vampires, crime bosses, or faeries. Nosy wizards with money problems don't get invited to normal parties.
Pictures of a bright pink pony were hung in the oddest places, making it seem like she was popping up from everywhere. She wore an enthusiastic, almost overjoyed expression that matched the bubbly antics she seemed to be engaged in. I don't think there was a single picture of her sitting still. Another ordinary pony, orange, was never seen without a Stetson and hard-nosed expression that reminded me of my mentor, Wizard McCoy. She was almost always depicted working on a farm, roping cattle, and doing other cowgirl (cowpony?) activities.
I stopped dead in front of a picture of a little purple dragon belching green fire. A dragon? An actual, factual fire-breathing dragon? But he was tiny! Even smaller than the ponies. He was purple with rounded green spines lining his back. I realized this was the purple blob from those early pictures – he'd been with her for a long, long time. He was always shown helping out, at least when he wasn't sleeping. This was definitely not just a pet.
The last of her apparent friends was another pegasus, mostly depicted sleeping or flying, with a particularly cocky look in her eyes. She was blue with a rainbow-striped mane and tail that seemed out of place even among the psychedelic ponies. Whoever they were, it was obvious that these particular ponies were very important to her. She must have loved them all deeply for them to hold this kind of significance in her soul.
The places of honor, though, were reserved for a huge, winged unicorn. She was proportioned more like the horses I was used to, long-legged with a graceful neck and a long muzzle. Her coat was pure white, but her mane and tail were striped pastel pink, green, and blue, and were always depicted blowing in the wind. From her crown and her regal bearing, I guessed this was royalty of some kind, but also something much more to the unicorn.
The Soulgaze ended suddenly and I was back in the sunny meadow, staring at the little unicorn. She had fainted dead away. "Great," I muttered. "I've been here two minutes and already managed to traumatize one of the local population, a sentient unicorn no less, into unconsciousness." I sighed and bent down to haul the poor girl over my shoulder. As I did, I felt a sharp tingle like static electricity, the sign of fellow mage. "Oh, of course she knows magic too! Nothing about this situation was weird enough already."
Well, I couldn't just leave her lying in the middle of the road. I eyed the town in the distance warily, unsure how they would react to a stranger carrying in one of their own unconscious. I checked the opposite direction and noticed a small cottage not too far away. It looked both welcoming and familiar. I started towards it, hurrying a little. "Hope they're friendly," I said to no one in particular. I was almost to it when I realized why it felt so familiar. The quaint little cottage looked like it came straight from the Shire.
"Quick recap then, for the folks at home. I'm carrying a tiny, purple, sentient unicorn mage that I accidently knocked out into a hobbit hole looking for someone to help her. Could it get any weirder?" I groused as I opened the door and stooped in.
"Oh, Twilight, you're here," the small yellow pegasus from the Soulgaze said happily as she turned around. Her face changed quickly to shock as she saw me.
Well, of course they could talk. I wasn't even surprised anymore.
Fluttershy was having a busy morning. She had fed all of her little animal friends early. Now she was busy making a fruit salad for her and Twilight to share after they were done identifying the egg she had found. Her back was to the door when she heard it open. "Oh Twilight, you're here." She said happily, turning around. Then she saw it. It was huge, taller even than the manticore she'd once tamed. Its head nearly brushed the ceiling as it rose from stooping through the door. Its long black coat fell open as it straightened and Fluttershy could see it holding Twilight unmoving in its arms. She was on the verge of full panic when it spoke.
"Okay, this really isn't what it looks like. I found her on the path to your house and I brought her here to get help," It spoke softly, but quickly, in a deep voice "I know I look very scary but I promise I'm not a bad guy."
Fluttershy barely noticed it was speaking. It had knocked out Twilight and now it had come for her and her animals! She knew she had to defend them, but it was so scary. She glanced up at it and it stared down at her, its tiny eyes more intense than those any other creature she'd ever seen. Her heart clutched in her chest, her wings locked to her sides and she started to hyperventilate. The creature looked away quickly and lowered Twilight to the floor, then turned to crouch over her. Fluttershy shut her eyes and whimpered slightly.
"Dormius, dorme, dormius." A soft voice whispered. Fluttershy slumped over her mind going blissfully blank. The last thought she had before she slipping fully into a dreamless sleep was how sad the voice had sounded.
Fluttershy woke up in her bed. Oh, goodness, she thought. What a strange dream. Then she noticed that Twilight was asleep beside her, tossing and turning with a troubled expression. Wait. She didn't stay the night. So did that really happen?
Her question was answered by the sound of off-key singing coming from downstairs. It was a cheerful song, but the lyrics didn't make much sense. What's a yellow submarine, Fluttershy wondered, and why would anypony live in one? The song grew louder and was accompanied by the squeaking of stairs as the creature climbed them. Fluttershy squeaked and pulled her covers all the way up to her eyes. It came into the room, its hands full with a tea tray on which her teapot, three cups and a sliced apple sat. It bumped its head on the low ceiling and muttered darkly, eyeing the offending architecture. Then, noticing she was awake, it stopped muttering and gave her a smile that looked more tired than happy.
"Sorry about scaring you, but I honestly don't mean any harm. I made some tea for you; I didn't know what you like, so I had to guess. I hope the cinnamon spice one is okay." It set the tray down to one side of the bed and sat down across it from her. Now that it wasn't towering over her, Fluttershy thought, it wasn't really that scary. "I mean, you already had teacups, so I brought them even though I have no idea how you hold them, given that you, you know, only have hooves."
"Um… uh," Fluttershy mumbled. "Thank you."
It smiled at that, this time with more warmth, and began pouring tea into two of the cups. She took a cup in both hooves, which seemed to baffle it, and sipped slowly. "It's nice to see that you really can talk. For a while there I thought I'd just imagined it." It said, munching on an apple slice and holding the tea in its other hand. "Mmm, these are good. So anyway, I'm Harry."
Fluttershy had a moment of confusion. "Well, um …. You see. N-not to be rude or anything, but you're not."
"I'm not what?"
"Hairy. I mean, I know plenty of animals and you're actually one of the least hairy things I've ever seen." A frown crossed its face, and she blushed a little. "Not that I'm calling you a liar or anything, I just, um… well…" She trailed off into silence.
It rubbed its forehead with one hand and sighed a little. "Don't worry about it, it's just a name. How about you just call me Dresden instead?"
"Oh, okay. You can call me Fluttershy," she said, giving him a shy smile. "Um… do you mind if I ask you something?"
It put down the tea and nodded. "Is it what I am and where I'm from?" She bobbed her head. "Well, I'm what we call a human, and I'm from another world. I got here by accident. Do you not have any humans at all here?"
"No, I've never even heard of humans before. You're in Equestria. We have ponies, dragons, cows, buffalo, griffins and lots of other creatures, but no humans."
"A world where ponies evolved from men?" it said, chuckling. Fluttershy just looked at it in confusion. It smiled again and extended a hand toward her. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss Fluttershy."
She gave a small smile and shook it. "Likewise, Mr. Dresden."
Author's Note: I could rewrite it. I had the technology. A better, faster, stronger chapter one.