Author has written 4 stories for Misc. Games, Team Fortress 2, Courage: The Cowardly Dog, and My Little Pony.
Gender: Male (what did you think?)
Interests: I like to read fantasy, alternate history, some science fiction, and now, fanfics on stuff that I know!
Fav Games: Team Fortress 2, Sam & Max series, the Total War series, Battlefield Bad Company 1 and 2, Team Fortress 2, Command & Conquer series, Metal Gear series, Team Fortress 2, anything by Valve, and did I mention Team Fortress 2?
~!!DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO SEE SPOILERS!!~
~!!YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!~
Luna peeked her head through the door to Celestia’s personal study to see her older sibling inside.
The white alicorn rested behind a long and ancient ornate desk, focusing intently on some scrolls displayed in front of her face. Celestia’s multi-colored mane flowed gracefully as if a soft wind blew on it, sparkling all the while. Her intensely attentive expression showed no sign of having noticed her sister entering.
“You wanted to see me Celly?” Luna asked meekly.
Her sister did not look away from the documents. For a moment Luna believed that Celestia had not heard her. Celestia spoke without so much raising her gaze.
“Come on in Luna. Shut the door.”
Luna frowned; while her sister’s demeanor was already oddly tense her tone just aggravated the tension in the air.
Suppressing a frown she walked up to Celestia's desk and patiently waited for her sister to finish whatever bureaucratic duties she had. Celestia's eyes were still locked on those parchments, several of which she was reading at once while she scribbled on another with a quill. Celestia had always been multitasker but even this seemed to be too much to Luna; granted much had changed in the thousand years she had been gone and ponies had generally gotten better at doing multitasking so what did Luna know?
Moments passed as the Sun Princess filed away some of the documents and applied the royal seal on the one which she was writing for it to be sent later. She finally looked up to meet her sister with a small but worrying scowl.
“Sorry if I left you waiting Luna,” she started apologetically, “relocating guards always creates a lot of paperwork.”
Luna blinked. “Why? Is there trouble brewing at the borders?”
Celestia shook her head. “No, and I wanted to discuss it with you.”
The blue alicorn cocked her head inquisitively but remained quiet. A nagging suspicion crept up in her mind.
Celestia continued: "I have heard that you have been seeing some oddities in the starry nights. Is that correct?"
“Aye…” Luna replied slowly. Where was she going with this?
“I received a letter from Ponyville,” Celestia answered with an unreadable expression, “its message… has me concerned, to say the least, and so I decided to see for myself if what it told of is true.”
Luna’s head craned closer to her elder sibling.
“Something… has come to Everfree Forest.”
An involuntary chill ran the length of Luna not at the mention of the dangerous locale but to that of the certain something. Had Nightmare Moon’s warning been correct?
“What do you mean sister?” she asked nevertheless, “what has come?”
“I can’t say: the letter only tells of hearsay and it has no description of the new creatures.”
The night princess snorted. “Not to sound rude, but why does this concern my night stars? It could very well be some of the lesser known animals from the other continents. Minotaurs have been known to migrate to Everfree every hundred or so years, and most of our populace would not know of them.”
“Ah,” Celestia interjected with a wave of her fore-hoof, “but it has been thirty-seven years since their last pilgrimage. You forget that you’ve been away for a long time.”
Luna began formulating a rebuttal but after a very quick calculation in her head she realized that he sister was indeed correct.
“Furthermore,” she continued, “we always hear of reports from the Eastern-South borders of their imminent arrivals, and yet this time we had none.”
The younger princess straightened up. “I see,” she said quietly, her mind working energetically but silently on the implications. “And you believe that the strange night stars are significant?”
She knew the answer to the question, but Luna still had to play innocent to her sister in the hope that she would never have to reveal about Moon’s message. Whether or not Celestia caught wind of Luna’s act was unclear in the tone she spoke:
“I cannot fathom it as being a mere coincidence dear sister, and that is why I needed you here.”
Celestia rose from her desk to her full height and her eyes flashed with an uncanny glow. For a brief second Luna was reminded of a younger Celestia who prepared to banish her own sister. Luna had to work to maintain a straight face and stay seated while Celestia closed her eyes in deep concentration.
Her horn shone with a golden aura and Luna could see Celestia’s lips speaking a soundless incantation.
“Come Luna,” a voice echoed, “let us see what is in Everfree Forest.”
Much to Luna’s relief, she recognized the wordless chant as an ancient spell which they had performed many years ago, far earlier than the banishment. She too closed her eyes and focused.
The study in which they were in was the same, but it was darker and it had an ethereal quality to it now; a soft shine gleamed from the accentuated details of the objects around them. The golden aura behind the ghostly desk had the form of Celestia, its core radiating so brightly that it almost hurt Luna’s eyes even though she was not using them. Luna too could feel herself giving off waves of pulsating energy in this dark world.
Soon the room filled with a multitude of fast-moving vaporous images. They were undefined, blurry and appeared as an abstract work painted with a smudge stick, furiously scrambling in the room in a manner not too dissimilar to that of a swarm of hungry parasprites. Luna knew that she would be able to recognize them in time though.
It had been a long time since she had worked with the spell, but time did not deteriorate Luna’s familiarity with it. The enchantment was a means to identify what forms of life lived in an area; Celestia would always be the primary caster, responsible of setting the parameters and keeping it cast by feeding it with the necessary energy. Her task made it impossible to actually see what she would conjure, so a second caster, Luna, would join in the incantation to identify the misty visions.
Faint words resonated in Luna’s mind. They were phonetically meaningless, but she understood them nevertheless: Celestia was almost done conjuring the images.
The smoky figures finally took shape. They all were clearly recognizable and stopped moving, waiting for Luna’s acknowledgment.
Luna let her mind wander through the ghostly space and observe each of the misty creatures. She drifted past a multitude of birds, some small critters like frogs, parasprites and squirrels before she reached the larger beasts.
A hazy manticore snarled lowly, its wings splayed and its tail poised to strike. By him a cockatrice clucked threateningly and bored down Luna as she passed; an unsuccessful attempt to encase her in stone. A hydra belittled all of the other ethereal creatures with its massive size, so much so that two of its heads were force to lay low despite of the high ceiling. One of the lower heads snapped at Luna.
She kept looking for the intruding animal amongst the mass of images, looking high and low, her mind’s sight unflinching and unwavering. As time passed though Luna began to feel that she would never find a foreign creature and voiced her concerns to her sister. Once more wordless sounds reverberated in response.
Celestia could sense the foreign creature: it was in the room and it had not moved a hoof since it had been conjured.
It hadn’t moved?
It was impossible she reasoned, all of the animals before her had stood still and it was impossible to distinguish anyone of them from afar. Luna observed the study once more and noticed something peculiar: while the images stood in place, they all fidgeted; heads turned, bodies shook, actions were taken without moving from the spot.
And from afar she saw something which stood perfectly unmoving.
She closed in on the static image and began to take in some of the most evident traits: at first glance it appeared like a baby dragon going through its hoarding phase minus the tail and an overly large head. Upon closer inspection she could tell that it was by no means a dragon or similar to one.
If there was a close comparison to this creature, it would’ve been an orangutan but only in the overall body structure. It was mostly bald with the notable exceptions of the top of the head, a patch on the midsection and at joining of its legs. Without taking another second more to look at the dangling… organ, she recognized that this particular image was that of a male. He was perhaps a hoof taller than Luna, about at eye-level with Celestia, and had a well built chest and arms, not bulging with muscles but definitely strong. She examined the head last and noted that, like an orangutan, did not have a muzzle, but a flat face, smaller but pointy chin, a small mouth, an extended nose and large forehead. His eyes were the same aggregate size and shape of an orangutan, horizontally oval unlike the more slanted eyes common in mares.
He stood in an oddly straight but wide stance, knees and legs straight, feet apart, and its hands placed behind his back. He kept his chin out, stomach in and eyes forward. He stared off into the distance, defiantly ignoring the presence of the royal Alicorn.
Luna placed herself in front of the creature to try to get a better look at him. Finally he acknowledged her by gracing her with his attention, his eyes shining with curiosity as he glanced at the princess for the first time. Even though this was not the animal in the flesh, this mirror image was fascinated by the Alicorn and had a voracious look in his eyes. He wanted to know everything about her: her home, her people, her sister, her life, everything.
This insatiable need to know and understand Luna was so overwhelming that she felt intimidated by his stare alone. Behind those lustful eyes she saw a wish — no, an impulse to expand and accumulate, but in a manner which was alien to Luna. Such a concept was not familiar to her but she had seen it before. But where?
Then something clicked: a memory deep within her consciousness surfaced. It was not hers and it was not one she had known of but it was as clear as day.
It jolted her into opening her eyes with a gasp. The creatures disappeared and the study was back to normal. Luna found herself gauging her surroundings, eyes wide, to ensure that she had not just imagined what had elapsed.
Celestia exited the shadow world herself and noticed the uneasiness radiating from her sister.
“What is it Luna?” she asked, her words brimming with concern, “what did you see?”
The younger Alicorn was still bewildered from the encounter with the apparition and from the foreign memory. It cannot be, she told herself.
It just can’t.