Disclaimer: I do not own My Little Pony. Of any sort.
Warning: The following is an adaptation of the cartoon with OC involvement. If that is not your cup of tea, please respectfully look away.
Warning: This fic may contain canon character OOCness on some level.
This is that "experimental" fic I talked about in the Collision Code author notes. This is already on Fimfiction, posted alongside Collision Code, so there's that.
Hey. I'm Azure Courage. I'm not surprised you don't know me. I hardly ever venture away from home, after all. But can you blame me? Each time I look at the moon nowadays, I almost get this ominous chill, and when I'm not doing unicorn things, I'm trying desperately to hone both my physical body and my magical talent for when that event happens. So the tale goes, it's supposed to happen on a year's Summer Sun Celebration...
It's a pretty busy life here in Canterlot. I've pretty much lived here, and have enough of a grasp on magic to learn additional spells aside from what most unicorns learn through basic education. However, I prefer trying things on my own. Never really saw the point in trying to go higher when my current skillset should work just as well.
Right, you're probably wondering why I'm named that. Well, I have a teal-ish coat, which is pretty close to blue. I also have brown eyes. Oddly enough, my mane and tail are a bit greener than my coat. As for the "Courage" part, I've been told I have that gleam in my eye, and I do believe it. After all, once I feel ready, I'm up for adventure. Why not? You can call me "Azure" for short. Always liked that part of my name better.
You're wondering about this, a lightbulb in the shape of a star, my cutie mark, right? I have a strategic mind, though it's more spur-of-the-moment than my cousin, who can strategize for days at a time. His mark's an entire scroll with indistinguishable writing on it. Though none of the three of us have been at war; his talent came out through playing Risk...I lose every time he gets serious. My other cousin has no real strategic talent like that. I think his talent lies in athleticism, which makes sense. He knows just enough unicorn magic to get by.
And when my two cousins are within each other's company, they are almost guaranteed to verbally argue. If they're really in the mood, sometimes they come to blows.I just don't get it. They act like foals half their age.
Of course, much like my parents, they dismiss my concerns and my need for honing my skills. Maybe I'm just chasing an old ponytale, but I don't feel like taking that chance.
This is a problem, though. Canterlot is far too noisy...then again, it's a big city. The noise pollution is getting on my nerves. I can't concentrate on my training with all this racket...
Good thing I've got a contingency plan, though...I think there's a rural setting not too far off from here..."Ponyville", was it? I've finally managed to pull together enough funds to move.
Right, you're probably wondering about how I managed to do that. Well, if I didn't have the strategic mind, I do have one other talent, though it's not my best. On occasion, I'm improvising poetry in rap form. It actually works better than you think it does. Yeah, Canterlot may be upper-crust, but if I resist the urge to add rhythm, it just becomes poetry. You'd be amazed at how much some ponies will pay for entertainment like that...
I digress, though. Point is, it's time for me to move out, and maybe, just maybe, I'll find a peaceful setting where I can find two things: quiet, for my training; stable livelihood, so I can keep training.
The light cyan unicorn looked towards his belongings, and sighed. Today was the day he was finally going to live in peace and quiet in Ponyville, far removed from the hustle and bustle of Canterlot. He understood it was the capital city of Equestria, but still, the upper crust had to be some of the most obnoxious and rude ponies in the land. There were exceptions, though.
More to the point, none of the city jobs really interested Azure. Sure, some of the jobs in Ponyville, from what he could gather, were so menial that a pony that suffered brain trauma could probably do half of them, but he honestly didn't mind that too much. After all, his main interest was training to preserve the peace.
He almost wondered why none of his family members tried harder to talk him down from this ledge, given what was motivating it. In the saddlebag he would be wearing on the train, contained all the belongings he really needed right off: three books total. One dealt with magic usage in emergency battle situations, a handy little guide that, unsurprisingly, hadn't come in handy so far. Another dealt with martial arts, a gift from his older cousin, Crimson Blitz. The third and final one dealt with the legend he was currently trying to prepare for.
In short, the main reason he'd concentrated on bettering his power: Mare in the Moon. Azure was careful not to mention it around other ponies, lest they think he was insane and commit him to a psych ward. No matter how he thought about it, each time he looked at the moon, he couldn't help but wonder if it was true. Some nights, when he could look at it just right, he could have sworn he'd saw an especially ominous shadow reaching across its face...
No doubt about it, this move, if anything else, would at least knock some sense into him. Only his parents knew about it, and every opportunity they got, they would chide him for it. They probably thought he was joking about it. His cousins, on the other hand, did see his concerns, but did also dismiss it as an old ponytale.
With the Summer Sun celebrations in the past having gone off smoothly so far, to what his family had informed him, nothing was off about those. The night before, everypony would pull an all-nighter and then stay up for sunrise. Then it was about eighteen hours of fighting to stay awake afterward, a challenge that Azure certainly didn't fail at, but he also didn't quite excel at it either due to how often he'd overwork himself.
Also, within the saddlebag: the key for his new home, a small house located close to the brook outside Ponyville. It also contained a quill, a bottle of ink, and several pieces of parchment, upon which he would truly start his recreational writing binge. It'd been how he'd fed his income so far, that and a few odd stints here and there.
At the very least, house payments wouldn't be an issue. He was in such a hurry to get out of there, and all. If his gut feeling was correct, and so far in his life since he'd read that tale it hadn't been, this one would be the year, and with just one week before this year's celebration, he wanted to at least have some peace before the day came.
"Train leaves for another hour, so I've got time to kill..." thought the unicorn to himself aloud. "Parents knew this day was coming, but I guess it'd be bad form to leave without at least trying to wait up for them."
It was then, the spiky-maned pony turned to regard a knock at the door.
"They back yet?" he wondered aloud, setting the saddlebag down on his bed, the bed he'd slept in for eighteen years now. With a sigh, he trotted toward the door. "This is going to be a little hard to do..."
Using a small burst of magic, his horn taking on a cyan glow along with the afflicted door handle, Azure opened the door...
And found himself staring at two unicorns that were related to him, but weren't his parents. No. These were his cousins, essentially who taught him the ropes when it came to the martial arts he currently practiced when he wasn't training with his magic. Though bobbing on his hind legs was still a pain in the rump, figuratively and literally...
"Big day, huh Azure?" asked the one on the right, a crimson unicorn with a black mane and tail. Like Azure's, his was strikingly spiky, but more so than his cousin's in that his mane was far more upright than the blue or green unicorns' manes. "The day you finally leave the big city for some kind of adventure, I'm sure..." This unicorn was Blitz, the one that gifted him with the martial arts book.
"Yeah, and the day you leave to go mingle with ponies other than unicorns..." said the one on the left, a dark green unicorn with a spiky tail and angular mane. "Oh joy..." There was sarcasm in his tone.
"Oh, don't even start," answered Azure. "You know, Virid, that's ancient."
"More ancient than the tomes you've been going by for the past three years, Paranoia?" the angular-maned pony answered. Virid Strategem, the older of his two cousins, did not really care for earth ponies or pegasus ponies. Though he seemed like he could tolerate being around them, three times out of five, he'd make some snide comment about how his "race" could handle magic.
"That's enough, Virid, you know the score by now, and besides, at least we got to pass on something he could use." countered Blitz. "While I can't say I like his going by the ponytale, I don't think name-calling is really necessary. At least he isn't going around telling anypony who'll listen about it."
"So, you guys came to see me off?" questioned Azure, blowing past his older cousins' argument. "I still have about an hour left. Today, I'd figured I could at least try to take it easy...what with the Summer Sun festival coming up, though-"
"Azure, you know, you've been wrong the last three years..." Blitz continued. "Isn't it time to just face reality and come off the ponytale all the same? I can understand wanting to get out of here, but I just don't think the tale's as true. It is a bedtime story, after all."
"This year just might be the year," the blue unicorn stated aloud. "Like you so often reprimanded me during those spars, I shouldn't get complacent. Maybe you're right, maybe it is, but I hate taking chances on the unknown." For a few moments, Azure honestly contemplated telling these two what he saw in the moon recently when he chanced to be outside in the night.
It was strange, certainly. For one thing, he could have sworn he saw an ominous shadow within its face. Another thing, and though he wasn't an astronomer, he couldn't help but feel that somehow, the stars in the night sky immediately around the moon just weren't in their right spot. However, logic won out-he was somewhat sure his cousins were questioning his sanity by this point in their lives, and thus did not convey these concerns.
"Suit yourself, Azure," answered Virid. "So, Ponyville. I hear they don't use magic so much around those parts."
"That's right. There might be a few unicorns in town, though, but from what I can gather, it's mostly pegasus ponies and earth ponies." Azure responded, glad to see the focus was taken off one of the reasons for his moving. "Since the population is smaller, logic would dictate that it'd be quieter than here."
"Can't say I blame you. Sometimes even I want to just get away from it all, but hey, magic is magic..." Virid said, exhaling slowly. "Besides, for what it's worth, I hear the ponies there are not as stuck-up as here."
"Ironic coming from you..." said Blitz, whistling somewhat.
"What was that, Blitz, got something to say to me?" Virid immediately got up, and carefully moved to face the dark red colt that had dared to oppose his opinion.
"Nothing. I'm just saying that of all ponies in this town, you really shouldn't be complaining about others being stuck-up, Virid. Given your stance on the other kinds of ponies..."
"Uh, guys?" Azure tried to intervene, really not wanting his older cousins to go at it right now, even though he knew full well it was useless to try to get between them when they were about to go at it.
"So what, is that 'Blitz' for 'I want you to kick my face in as hard as possible'?"
"Maybe it is, but really, you're the one going to need to see the dentist after we get done here..." This was Crimson, now tensing up, as though ready for Virid to make the first move.
"C'mon, on moving day for me, really?"
"Quiet, Azure, something serious is coming up..." said the dark green unicorn in response, also beginning to tense up. "I'm gonna make you eat those words!"
Thankfully, before the two older unicorns could make this day bad for him, there was a knock at the door, followed by a feminine voice.
"Azie, you still home? Don't tell me you've already up and left us!"
Almost immediately, the blue unicorn turned to his older cousins, who were now standing and whistling as though they weren't about to beat each other to a pulp. With an irritated sigh, Azure Courage immediately shifted his attention to his mom's voice.
"Yeah, I'm still here. Virid and Blitz are here too. Don't know why though..." Azure said. "Given they were on the verge of having it out again and all..."
"Oh c'mon, Azure, they've just got a bad case of sibling rivalry!" This was his father's voice. The door swung open, revealing two older-looking unicorn ponies. The mare had a mix of Virid's color and Azure's color, indicating whose side of the family Virid came from. Her coat was more green than it was blue, but her mane was the same shade of cyan, save for a few light blue highlights.
His father, the colt (obviously) had a mix of red and azure in his color scheme. While his coat was a light shade of red, he had a dark blue mane and tail, which had spikes in it, explaining where Azure got his from. They held a few bags, along with a small box.
"Good thing we caught you when we did, son, knowing you, you probably just couldn't wait to move out of here..." This was his father speaking again. "We actually have a parting gift to give you, something I think will fit you correctly."
The cyan colt's eyes widened, while his cousins merely watched. What did his parents give him? A written apology for all the times they ever mocked him in the past for taking his training as seriously as he did? Nah, he'd better keep dreaming on that one. Azure waited patiently, though he was trembling in place, wondering what it could have been.
His mother levitated the small box in front of him.
"Here, Azie..." Only now did Azure fully register what his mother was calling him, but he blocked it out, not really wanting to spoil the moment. "This is your gift. Go on and open it."
Taking the hold on his own, Azure wet his lips out of anticipation. The lid and bottom were seperated, and the light blue unicorn took a gander at what was inside.
It was a simple cloth strap, dark blue in color. The male cocked his head to one side, a little confused.
"Uh, what...?" He honestly wasn't sure what it was about this band, but the fact it was his parting gift sort of confused and intrigued the colt to no end.
"Turn it around, Azure..." His father said, breaking the short silence.
"Huh?" The cyan colt said, looking to the older one.
"You're looking at the wrong side..."
"Oh..." said the cyan colt, removing the strap from the box, and rotating it so he could see what his parents saw.
"...Courage..." he mumbled, looking at the word in perfect stitching on his parting gift. "My second name..."
"Son, whether or not this year's Summer Sun Celebration actually yields truth to that old ponytale has no bearing on what we, as family members, feel for you." His father finally began. "Yeah, sure, do I wish you didn't bury yourself into training and learning spells that really, only higher-ups in the military should know, practically? You bet I do. But that doesn't change that your name, 'Courage', is true about you in more ways than one."
"From the start, we'd expected you to do brave things, and well, even before you immersed yourself in myths," his mother cut in. "You weren't exactly the wimpiest unicorn in Canterlot."
Did he need to be reminded of all the wacky antics he and his cousins had gotten into when he was younger? When they weren't playing board games, they were off practicing urban manuevers. That was how Blitz discovered his cutie mark. That pony had to have been double-jointed or something; he'd managed to get up on buildings that Virid and Azure just couldn't, no matter how hard they tried. Not to mention, they did play an odd prank here and there, but those days were over.
"We can vouch for that, Azure," said Blitz, moving toward the door. "Not to mention, sometimes you'd make split-second decisions, and most of the time, they'd work out. We'd pull those pranks, and I can almost guarantee that we'd gotten away almost every single time."
"Over time, I guess that's why I have the talent I have now..." Azure said in awkward reflection. "Split-second decisions..."
"But 'Courage' is pretty much what defines you, Azure," his father finally said. "I can guarantee that most other ponies would have abandoned your cause long ago had they taken it up when you did. But no matter how much we tried to talk you down and no matter how much you were disappointed, you never faltered. It's almost like you're not afraid of anything."
Funnily enough, that wasn't true...ever since that one run-in with a beehive, he didn't take too kindly to bees anymore...not to mention that one foalhood camping trip to Colt Ridge...
"So, that's why you get this. Something simple..." His mother said. "Now, go on, Azie, and may you find..." Tears began to stream down her face. "Find success in whatever it is that you do from here on..."
"Oh gosh..." mumbled Azure, feeling his eyes get heavy with tears. Only now did he realize the monumental task he was about to do for sure. He started blinking, trying to push them back in, and yet he knew it was impossible. "You guys..."
He levitated the strap, and after fiddling with a few ideas, finally decided on a way he could put it on. The blue cloth was soon wound and tied neatly around his right foreleg. There wasn't much cloth trailing from the knot point.
It was a happy time, but Azure knew he couldn't stay long. After about twenty minutes, the cyan colt finally said farewell to his family members that he'd lived with for so long.
"See you guys, gotta get out of here!"
Azure Courage took off at a full gallop, running for the train station, with his belongings safely around his upper body.
"Don't forget to write!" Blitz yelled.
"Let us know how that ending goes!" Virid called out.
"...You two took what we were going to say," Azure's mother reprimanded.
With that over, the unicorn began dashing past assorted ponies, most of which were unicorns, but there were earth ponies within the city, heading for the train trip he'd hoped would bring a change to his life.
And by the grace of the sun princess, Princess Celestia, he was bound to get said change...