A/N: Howdy all! I'm back with cookies and milk, and another chapter...which is even better! I thank you for your patience, as I have quite a few things going on in my personal life that I won't go into. Know only that I am still diligently writing, so chapters will still be coming out fairly regularly. Well, please R&R this one and let me know what you think.
To Alya Spruce - You know it's funny you should say that, because I have way too many readers saying that I'm the best they've ever seen in this genre. While the praise is welcome, I just don't see it...but thanks.
To godzillafan1 - All will be revealed with time, good sir/madam.
To Flamesinger599 - Well I'm glad your interest has been piqued. Here's the next chapter...enjoy.
To ShadowVoltstreaker - I include the details that are important...nothing more, nothing less. Any extra details are just filler material, and it tends to gum up the story...and a good reader can spot filler material from a mile away. As far as my writing style, how do you know I am not, in fact, a sir?
To FireBreath5150 - Well I certainly don't expect any reader to fall in love with a story after only one chapter, so I'm not bothered by your cautiousness. Read on...there's plenty more to come.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters associated with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, nor the original story.
Chapter 2: Divinity
As the first light of day crested the eastern horizon, I couldn't help but revel in the astral sound of the magic coursing through the celestial body of day. Because of the sun princess' magic that was required to pass the days, soft music could be heard by me, as if beautiful chimes were welcoming the new day. I had seen trillions of sunrises on trillions of worlds, and yet every one had been special. Some held a single sun, like this one, others were binary systems. No matter the state or form of the sunrise, it was always special and unique, whether by the state of the situation itself, or because of the beloved mortals that I was sworn to protect.
Not a moment passed in my eternity that I did not revel in my purpose...it was a true gift from the greater powers to have a calling so true and resolute that I completely adored every moment I spent working it. This made sense of course, as I was created to do this, but I didn't mind in the least. After all, few beings alive could say they truly did what they loved...and even fewer of those were eternal beings.
My thoughts were torn from me as I heard a door open within the building I was perched upon. I rolled open my scroll and saw the picture of a lavender unicorn appear, with a six-pointed star mark on her flank, and black hair with a pink and violet stripe in it. I read through the briefing to find that this was Twilight Sparkle, protégé of Princess Celestia herself, local librarian, and the Element of Magic. She was considered to be the most powerful unicorn to have ever lived, save for Starswirl the Bearded, and had helped save Equestria on three separate occasions already, with more to come, no doubt. Her closest friends were Applejack Apple, Pinkamena Diane Pie, Rainbow Tempest Dash, Rarity Belle, and Fluttershy...
The only one of Twilight Sparkle's friends that didn't have a second name was this "Fluttershy", which for some reason piqued my interest. I suppose I shouldn't look too deeply into it, however, as at the moment I had just arrived, and my purpose was to guard them, not make friends.
I sighed and phased myself to become intangible before dropping through the floor and into the main room of the library.
For the next hour, I observed the pony and her small assistant, which appeared to be a reptile of some sort. They busied themselves about the library cleaning, organizing, and studying. Once I actually got a chance to observe the young pony work with her magic, I found it very intriguing. To think that with a simple thought, she could levitate and manipulate many objects all at once.
It was amazing to watch.
To think that of all the worlds I'd visited, this was the first one that had an energy used upon it so versatile and powerful as magic. I was blessed to have been able to see such a thing, and I thanked whatever force allowed me to be the one to watch over this world.
From what I could see, things were safe enough around here, and I needed to get acquainted with the others of this group, so I quickly made my way outside to the crisp morning air and spread my wings before flying to my next destination: Sweet Apple Acres.
My mental request made the scroll change to a map of the area, and I followed the waypoint to my destination, which was a large multi-acre farm on the outskirts of the town. Even though the farmland was clearly named for its chief produce, apples, I could also see many similar fruits and vegetables that humans would eat, namely pumpkins, strawberries, corn, wheat, tomatoes, and even onions. Finding my charge was not difficult, and as I checked the scroll in my hands, I followed the description to one young orange pony, who was kicking apple trees in such a way that they dropped all of their fruit.
In the fields with her was a hulking crimson pony, who from the information provided to me I realized was the elder brother, Big Macintosh Apple. Let it simply be said that I have never actually feared anyone before, but the mere size of this giant was enough to cause me to be wary should my need to remain hidden ever cease to be. There should have been two other living relatives residing at the Acres though...
"Applejack! Granny Smith says y'all need ta hurry up so we can make it ta tha party!" shouted a young yellow pony with a bright red bow.
From behind her I noticed a rather aged green pony approaching, and it was clear that she was the matriarch of this family. I was subtly relieved that there was in fact no danger to report as of yet, and that everything so far seemed to be a fairly standard day for these ponies, which I was pleased with. I found it curious however that just from my initial observations of this world so far, there seemed to be a startling unbalanced ratio of females to males. I decided to let the thought dissipate though, as in my travels, I had come across worlds that did not even have separate genders. With that being the case, I decided to focus on my charges-to-be instead, realizing that it was simply my place to learn their mannerisms and schedules, not befriend them or anything of the sort.
I took a quick note to keep a particular eye on the farmers, seeing as how they provided food, and then took flight towards a large cloud formation in the distance.
As my wings took me to my next destination, I unrolled the divine scroll once more and read aloud to myself.
"Rainbow Tempest Dash. Element of Loyalty, and the only living pegasus to perform a Sonic Rainboom...whatever that is. Hails from Cloudsdale, a floating city made completely of clouds and rainbows, home to pegasi. Lead weather manager of Ponyville and fiercely competitive athlete."
I could not help but imagine that she would make a nice challenge in a number of different events, and in some small way felt a small bit down that I would not get the chance to issue such a challenge.
Oh well...perhaps I could ask the council for such a wish to be granted, in light of my eons of dedicated service.
I landed on the cloud, and was surprised to find that the fibers were actually firm to the touch, yet soft and springy...like a mattress. Looking at the massive tower that was Miss Dash's home, I could not help but wonder exactly how one would go about building such a thing, making it float, and garnishing it with liquid rainbow fountains.
It seemed the more I learned about this world, the more I did not understand. I sighed once more before looking at my map once more and chose my next destination: The Carousel Boutique.
As I approached the rather flamboyant-looking building, I again skimmed over the details of this particular pony. She was Rarity Belle, one of the most talented fashion designers in all of the land. She was the Element of Generosity, as well as a very kind and loving pony overall...if not somewhat overly dramatic at times. Her parents were deceased, but she gave home and care to a younger sister by the name of Sweetie Belle.
As I was reading however, I came across a very interesting warning in my briefing...
WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO APPROACH DURING MATING SEASON
Ah...so like many mammals, there was a specific season where all the females' estrous cycles would synchronize, and depending on the type of society, it would be either the males or females that should be approached with caution.
Apparently this was a female-dominated society in most senses.
What gave me pause was the fact that such a caution was even put in place for me. True, I would never deliberately harm one of my charges, but I was perfectly capable of defending myself if necessary...which only made me wonder exactly how bad such a season could get for these beings, especially for this specific pony.
Why am I having the foreboding feeling that my state of incognito would be breached at some point?
Nonetheless, I still had two more ponies to meet before my rounds were complete, so I made a mental note to keep an eye on this mare in particular, with it being close to springtime, before I flexed my ethereal wings again and shot towards my next destination: The Sugarcube Corner Bakery.
I had landed some time ago, as I noticed what good time I had made the whole day, and instead chose to walk at a leisurely pace towards my objective...which was a building that looked to be made of sweets itself. The other observation I made was the fact that this establishment was apparently very high-demand among the local populace, as ponies were literally lining up to sample the goods it produced.
As I made my way unseen into the building, I opened my scroll again and began to read about this specific pony.
She was known as Pinkamena Diane Pie, or "Pinkie Pie" to most ‒ adoptive daughter of her guardians and employers, the Cakes. She was the youngest of her group of friends, and for some reason it made sense that she was the Element of Laughter. She was known for her frivolous celebrations, as well as her cheery demeanor. Apparently, she also had certain attributes about her that simply did not make sense...but these details were left out of my briefing. I somehow had a feeling that I would discover these at some point, so for the moment I simply let them rest within my mind.
As I observed, I was impressed by the efficiency and skill with which the three ponies attended to their patrons. With a speed that rivaled my own, Ms. Pie was baking goods and bringing them out almost faster than my eyes could follow, while Mrs. Cake took the orders, and Mr. Cake handed out the orders to the hungry customers.
In honesty, the treats smelled amazing.
True to her Element, the pink pony was bouncing around happily, and her antics caused the patrons to smile and laugh in joy as they enjoyed both the treats, and the show. A few musical numbers were sung by the mentioned pony, and she even danced a bit...and before I knew it, I found the corners of my mouth also curling up into a pleased grin as I continued to watch.
Perhaps she was no athlete, but I could tell already that I was going to have to stifle my laughter whenever around her.
I made a mental note to try and spend some leisure time around this pony before exiting the building and taking flight towards a forest in the distance.
My last stop of the morning was a small cottage by the outskirts of Ponyville and a dangerous wood called the Everfree Forest ‒ a wild and untamed place that was as dangerous as it was lush. As I read over the briefing for this particular pony, I found it strange that one so timid took residence in a place so remote and dangerous.
And then I saw the pony I was looking for.
I must have been seeing things, because it looked like the pony was single-handedly (or hoofedly) fighting a large furry predator, easily four or five times her size. It had a long snout, brown fur, and four heavily-muscled legs...but I noticed something odd about the two's little "dance". The predator did not seem to be trying to hurt her at all, in fact it was not even attacking, and it took the pony popping the creature's neck and rubbing its back while cooing softly before I realized two things:
1) I did not want to anger this pony...ever.
2) That was the oddest massage I had ever witnessed...ever.
I did a double-take at the scroll as I watched the young pegasus and whispered, "The Element of Kindness?"
For the next hour or so, I observed the young pony. She was infinitely kind, and was apparently a caretaker for many of the animals in the area, which made her place of residence make more sense. From what I read on the young pegasus, I found that she also hailed from Cloudsdale, and was very close with Ms. Dash. Her parents were two high-class pegasi from a land called Vaporia, though no names were provided (which I assume meant it was not important to my task). Along with all the information was a notice that stated she was very shy, almost painfully so.
I suppose her name makes sense.
Yet again, I was receiving the distinct impression that the council assumed that my stealth would be compromised...or worse, that it was planned to be. Now that I was actually rather paranoid about this, I decided to file that little piece of possible anxiety away for later...if only for the satisfaction to know I was correct. I trusted the council. I mean...I had to. Beyond just creating me, they gave me my calling and the authority to execute it whenever necessary.
My doubt in the council made me feel unworthy...dirty, even.
Still, I could trounce my self-worth later. For now, I had to report to the two princesses what I had observed, as well as the fact that I had found all of my charges. So with that all out of the way I spread my transparent wings and took flight once more towards the capital.
I arrived once more within the beautiful throne room of the palace, but this time there was no night princess to be seen. Oh well, I assume her elder sister would explain things when they met again.
Once again, the sun princess was meeting with ponies dressed in a rather noble fashion (it appears clothing is optional in this world). Because of the fact that my task was to guard, not spy, I decided to stay a good distance away in an effort to not eavesdrop on the goddess' conversations.
Luckily I was not forced to wait long, and as I watched, the princess began to gather up her papers as all but her guards vacated the room.
I took this as my cue and leaned in close to her ear and whispered, "I have returned, princess."
The pony's ear twitched, but did not show any other sign of acknowledgment. She stood and voiced, "Guards, I am retreating to my study now. Good day." The guards posted nodded as she left, and I followed silently after her. As I did so, she continued walking towards a door at the base of a tower, and after walking inside she closed it, locked it, and closed the shutters on the windows before turning and looking around the room. "Christopher?"
I let my shroud of stealth drop, and bowed my head slightly in reverence. "Good afternoon, your majesty."
The sun princess smiled and bowed her head as well. "Good afternoon, Archangel Christopher. I take it your observations are complete?"
I nodded and opened my scroll. "Yes, they are. However, I am rather interested to learn more about Ms. Sparkle, your protégé."
The alabaster pony nodded and took a seat on a large violet cushion near a desk. "Very well, what do you wish to know?"
I tapped my chin for a moment before asking, "I have noticed that she seems rather high-strung for such a young being, and she appears to have a large amount of anxiety that seems to stem from her study habits. Would you happen to know why?"
The princess smiled warmly. "That is simply Twilight, it's how she is. She is quite possibly one of the most intelligent and studious mares I've ever come across. She has a strong will to succeed, but a large amount of anxiety about even the threat of failure. She is still young, however, so I am sure with time that will cease to be." The princess then raised her eyebrow and asked, "If it is not too forward of me, why are you so interested in my student?"
Without blinking, I smiled in return. "If I am to properly guard my charges, I must understand them. I must understand how they think, why they do the things they do, and how they would respond to certain situations. That is all."
The sun goddess' raised eyebrow did not fall. "Is that all?"
I was confused by her question, but nodded. "Yes princess."
The princess eyed me warily for a moment before dropping the stare and smiling again. "Very well. Is there anything else you wish to know about them?"
Over the next few hours, Princess Celestia explained to me all she knew of my charges, from their habits and hobbies, all the way to their favorite foods. True, what sort of sustenance the ponies enjoy might not necessarily be of much use, but I wanted to be thorough, just in case. After all, in my eternity one of the most important things I have learned is that no detail is too small or insignificant. As foolish as it sounds, one of my past charges from millennia ago was saved by my knowledge of his favorite color.
A few times during our conversation, I was forced to cloak myself to keep from being seen as a pony would come to the princess to advise her of something or other, or ask a question. One of the things I found disconcerting was the fact that I envied her...the princess. Every time a pony would speak with her, no matter how brief, I could see love in her eyes for her ponies. To her, they were her children. It was true that I loved all of the mortal races, as one could not properly protect that which they did not deeply care for...but the care and love I felt was rather broad.
That of the princess was focused.
The love in her eyes was strongest whenever the subject of Ms. Sparkle or Princess Luna came up, and every time that gleam of adoration flared in her eyes, my envy grew just a little bit. I remember long ago when I visited one of the human worlds (yes, there is more than one), humans had apparently come up with seven "deadly" sins against the deity that presided over that world...my creator. I found it strange that some humans thought that some malicious actions were worse than others, namely how they believed envy was worse than rape, for example.
Mortals sometimes have a very backward way of thinking.
Nonetheless, I was not upset with the princess for that which she had. After all, she was one of the councilmembers, and it was my duty to assist her with whatever she needed without question. It was not my place to want, or question, or even speak in such a way that was at all disrespectful. My duty to and respect for the council came first, and I had trained myself to forsake selfish thoughts such as the ones I was having at the moment, so I sighed, swallowed hard, and pushed them to the back of my mind.
The problem was, I had momentarily forgotten the princess was staring directly at me, and she noticed this gesture.
Her eyes lit up with concern and she asked, "Christopher, what troubles you?"
My head shot up in surprise, and I smiled sheepishly. "N-nothing, princess. Just assimilating all the new information."
The white pony princess stared at me for a few moments before shrugging. "If you're sure." She then stood and made her way to stand in front of me, and for a moment was completely silent...then she gently placed a hoof on my chest.
I flinched very noticeably.
The only two in my entire history who had ever physically touched me were my two brothers...and only because we trusted each other like no other. The mere trust that most mortals have is nothing in comparison to the trust I held for my two siblings, tempered over an eternity together. Any other who would make physical contact with me caused unbridled anxiety and even fear. I do remember that the humans of Earth had a term for this specific condition:
Chiraptophobia ‒ the fear of being touched.
It was the most important thing that allowed me to care for mortals as much as I did, because at least in some form, I was similar to them.
At my reaction, the princess immediately withdrew her hoof from my chest, and frowned. "I am sorry, Christopher. I did not mean to make you uncomfortable."
As her hoof left my chest, I felt myself calm down and I shook my head. "It is fine, princess...I just am not used to physical contact is all."
The sun goddess nodded sadly. "I understand. You trust few others beside your brothers, yes?" I nodded. "I see." The princess straightened up and smiled warmly. "I only wished to advise you that I know something is bothering you, even if you will not tell me." I flinched again, though for a different reason. The princess simply shook her head. "I will never force you to do anything in that regard. Council enforcer or not, you are still entitled to your privacy. I simply wish to let you know that for as long as you are here, I am not simply your superior...I would be a friend should you need one. You are isolated without your two brothers, so do not hesitate to confide in me if you feel troubled in some way."
For some reason, her extension of friendship affected me far deeper than it should have. I felt emotion bubbling up within my chest and throat, as well as the beginnings of tears at the corners of my eyes. I felt I could not trust my voice, and so for the moment, I simply nodded. Perhaps with time I could learn to trust the goddess, enough to speak to her candidly as I did my two siblings...or perhaps not. What I did know is that when she extended her friendship to me, I felt happier than I believed possible from a mere sentence.
With that thought out of the way, the princess smiled and gestured to the window, which I followed her to. As we gazed into the distance, I could see the beauty of this world amongst the coming sunset, and it made me smile with happiness.
"You can hear it, can't you?" the princess whispered.
I turned to the pony princess and raised my eyebrow in confusion. "Hear what?"
"This..." she responded, and I watched as a bright gold aura phased into existence around her horn, and at the same time, the sun in the sky began to dip below the horizon. Along with the sunset, the beautiful chimes I heard before were in full-force, and now that I was listening for them, they were so much more beautiful.
After a few moments I closed my eyes and muttered, "Yes...I can hear it."
I heard as the princess shifted beside me, and I felt a charge in the air as well. "What you hear is the sound of magic commingling with the divine power that gives me control over the sun...and only one who has been in the company of the council can hear it."
"Why?" I asked in curiosity.
I opened my eyes to see the princess shrug. "I have lived for a mere few thousand years, Christopher. If you do not know, I have no right to either."
I looked away respectfully. "You are one of the council, Princess Celestia. I am just-"
"There is no just, Christopher." the solar princess interrupted sternly. I looked back and caught eyes with her, and noticed she was smiling warmly. "You have fought and won against adversaries I couldn't even dream of conquering, and you've lived far longer than me." The tall white pony then bowed her head in respect. "The council has convinced you that simply because you do their bidding, that you are less than them." The princess' head ascended again to look at me. "This is very untrue, archangel. In many ways, you are far greater than many of them."
I coughed a bit in embarrassment and mumbled, "You flatter me, princess."
The sun goddess smiled again and shook her head. "No...I speak the truth. You and your brothers are far more valuable than you believe...more so than some of the councilmembers."
"I..." I started, only to swallow hard and compose myself, "I would not want to forget my place, princess."
The tall pony smiled at me again and shrugged. "Perhaps I am delving too deep, but I believe your 'place' may be the problem, Christopher. You are much more valuable than you know...and simply by your response, I can tell you are not told so. You are Wrath...and yet also Love."
I sighed and lowered my gaze to the ground in embarrassment again. "I feel it is a handicap sometimes."
"I think it's a strength." the princess whispered carefully. "I believe that a being with your power, but without compassion and love, would be a monster. It is your care for the living that makes you special, archangel. Never forget that. A few of my guards could learn a lot from you."
The question that had been on my mind all day came back with force again, and now that I was speaking to a councilmember, I could not stop myself from asking, "Am I meant to be seen princess?"
I immediately cringed at the slip, but I relaxed just a hair when I noticed the monarch was still smiling. She stepped forward a little closer, but did not touch me. "Yes, Christopher...with time."
"Why?" I asked curiously. "Usually my tasks are on the grounds of 'leave no evidence, and do not be seen'."
The princess actually frowns now, and upon her radiant face the frown is almost...scary...as if it goes against an unwritten law. "Christopher...how much were you told about this task?"
I thought about it for a moment before answering, "Simply that I was to stay for as long as I was needed."
The princess sighed and hung her head a bit...again disturbing me. "Perhaps you should take a seat, Christopher."
That one statement put me on edge, but I complied and took a seat in a lush chair by the window. I looked up at the princess and asked, "What is it?"
The princess looked up at me sadly and took a deep breath. "You are not the first enforcer to come here, Christopher. You are in fact the eighth."
Few things have caused me to go into shock, but this would be one of them.
Then something that has never happened before threatened to happen...my shock nearly turned to wrath. I luckily had a firm hold on myself as I whispered, "What happened?"
The princess sighed for a bit before answering, "The Elements of Harmony, for six of them. Think for a moment of what you know about the Elements...what is the only force in the cosmos that could generate that much power?"
"Life." I answered without thinking...and then it hit me. "Wait...so the Elements...?"
The princess nodded sadly. "There are some things in this world that cannot be bested by force alone, Christopher. The chaos god Discord is one of them, and the corrupted form of my dear sister Luna was another. Because of the magical nature of this world, there are sure to be many more, so the six protectors sacrificed themselves to create the Elements of Harmony, the most powerful benevolent force to have ever existed on this world."
I took this all in, pleased that my question had been answered, but also angry that such an important piece of information had been kept from me for all these millennia. I then raised an eyebrow upon the realization that something did not add up...
"What happened to the other?" I asked in confusion. "You said I was the eighth, and that six of the others became the Elements...so what about the other?"
The solar goddess sighed sadly. "I don't know Christopher, I'm sorry. She disappeared when I was just a young filly, so I don't remember the details, and I've only relatively recently become aware of the council itself." She then looked directly at me. "Regardless of what you and your brothers may believe, the council is powerful, but none are completely omnipotent. That is exactly the reason why there's a council in the first place...to keep each other in check."
I was now very confused. I cleared my throat and asked, "But you are also on the council, princess. Why are you telling me this?"
She again smiled with the infinite love and wisdom that she has. "Because unlike some of the councilmembers, I believe those that enforce the light and good in the mortal realm have a right to know exactly what they're defending."
"But why me?" I asked curiously. "What makes me different that you want to tell me that?"
The solar princess smiles sadly. "Because of the way the Elements work, Christopher. Until another bearer is found, the ponies that bear them are frozen in time...never aging. Considering just how long it was before the last Element bearers passed them on to me and my sister, that could be a very long time...and you deserve to know what you've been tasked with in its entirety."
I let a pained breath out of my mouth as I slumped a bit in the chair. "How long?"
"Two billion years for the bearers before me." she responded with clear pain in her voice.
I looked down at the floor and asked, "How could mere mortals do that without going insane?"
The princess moved just a hair closer, enough so that I could feel the magic energy radiating off of her without searching for it. "Immortals give far too little credit to the mortals, I believe. They are much stronger than any of us realize...even me. That being said, the friendship of their other bearers helps more than anything." She then smiled warmly again, letting the near-continuous grin relax me. "That is why you were never meant to stay completely invisible for your entire time here, Christopher. I may not be able to fathom the things you've seen and been through, but even in my short life I've learned that we all need those that we can connect with and care for in order to live properly...whether we are an eternal being such as you, or a mortal. Without your brothers here with you, you are isolated...you are meant to befriend the Element bearers."
Taking this all in, I nodded softly. "When?"
"You'll know when the time is right, Christopher. I have faith in you." she responded gently.
I nodded with a genuine smile and stood, causing the princess to take a few steps back. "Thank you, princess. I appreciate your care and faith in me...as well as the wealth of knowledge you have provided me."
"Think nothing of it, Christopher." she replied as she turned to the door. "Just make sure to keep a close eye on them...they mean a lot to me."
I bowed my head and answered, "I will, princess...worry not."
I phased from sight as she opened the door, and I slipped out of the tower behind her, again taking flight towards the town in the distance.
As once again the day began to wane, I found myself thinking of a great many things. The amount of information that the princess had provided me with had opened my eyes to the true nature of my purpose here, as well as the nature of the council...not to mention the fact that I now knew that at some point, my cover would be compromised, so I allowed my paranoia to drop.
The thing that did not leave my mind was the final council enforcer that seemingly disappeared so long ago. It did not make sense to me, but I suppose with time I could unveil the truth of what happened to her.
With my mind made up and full of new information, I again perched myself on the observation porch of Twilight Sparkle, and closed my eyes to rest until morning.