A Different Perspective

Long Path, an earth pony living in Canterlot, and his best friend, a griffon named Free Agent, set out in the company of Twilight Sparkle to visit various places and species to look into what makes them different, and hopefully learn how to get along with them better. Things rarely go to plan though, and along the way, they discover things about themselves, and find love, drama, and laughter. Then Chrysalis changes everything, and the fate of the whole world might be at stake. Their lives will never be the same!
This story is set mostly after the events of Conversations in a Canterlot Cafe and builds on the fanon of the series, especially changelings, so you might want to read those stories first for background material.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/246414/a-different-perspective

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28. Chapter 19: We've Only Just Begun Part 3

 

“You Path lord, yes?” Her voice was soft and melodious, and obviously having a hard time speaking Griffish.

“Yes, I am Lord Path.”

“We hear you… look deer.”

“That’s right. I have been looking for the deer herd that inhabits the forests on my land.”

Deer land!” the buck abruptly declared.

Path had no intention of arguing property rights with them. “Your forests, yes.”

“Why look deer?” the doe asked.

“To talk. To learn. To make friends. Do you understand ‘friends’?”

She nodded. “Why friends?”

“That is one of my goals – every race, every species, all should be friends.”

“Griffons not friends.”

“Some griffons are not friends. Many can be your friends.”

“Griffons kill deer.”

That statement stabbed Path’s heart like an icicle. He nodded sadly. “Yes. Some griffons kill deer. I am trying to stop this, and I need your help to make it safe for all deer.”

The doe looked at the buck questioningly. They exchanged a few words in a totally unfamiliar tongue, arousing Path’s curiosity. A new language to learn! The buck looked thoughtful before turning to Path and saying. “No trust griffons when look deer. No trust pony when look deer. Why trust now?”

Why indeed? “If you don’t trust us, why have you come tonight? I have been trying to contact you for a very long time.”

The doe replied, “We see many griffons, many ponies with wings, ponies with… antler.” She tapped her forehead, indicating the unicorn horn. “Big, big ponies with wings and antler. Many not-ponies with strange eyes. Many, many there…” She pointed to one of the windows to the great hall from which were coming the sounds of conversation and laughter. “Not kill. Friends. Friends with deer?”

“I think I understand! You have seen our peaceful relationship between all our kinds, and you are here to make peace between the deer folk and us. Yes?”

The doe’s forehead furrowed as she tried to understand Path’s meaning. She eventually nodded. “Yes. Peace.”

Path was overjoyed. He gestured for them to enter the House. “Please, come in. Come meet friends. Talk to ponies. Talk to griffons. We have food. Eat! Drink! Enjoy!” He managed to encourage them inside, and they nervously followed him to the ballroom door. They hesitated there, a little overwhelmed by the noise and sheer number of people, but Path kept gesturing for them to come in.

Celestia was nearby, and she suddenly noticed the deer. One eyebrow rose in surprise, and she excused herself from the conversation that she had been having with one of the local ponies, and came over to Path and the deer. The buck looked a bit daunted as he craned his head up to look at the alicorn, but the doe seemed more awed than fearful. Then Celestia surprised Path by saying something to them in what seemed to be the same language that he had heard them speak.

The doe excitedly replied, and soon the three of them were conversing back and forth. After a few exchanges, Celestia turned to Path and said, “These two have been sent as emissaries. When their herd saw so many different species coming together for this party, it finally emboldened them to try to make contact with you.”

“That’s pretty much what I figured that they were trying to tell me. I didn’t know that you knew deer-talk.”

“There are many other languages that I have learned over the centuries. Sadly, some of them are now defunct. I haven’t had the need to speak the cervine tongue for a long time, but that’s not important at the moment. They want to know what your intentions are right now?”

“I eventually want to make the same kind of exchanges and relationships with the deer folk as I have been doing with all other species. However, right now I just want them to join the party and enjoy themselves. I want them to see that we are friends. Time enough later for the more serious stuff.”

Celestia smiled. “Would you like me to help them with the communications barrier?”

“Until I get a chance to learn their language, yes. Thanks, Celestia.”

“My pleasure, Path.” She turned her attention back to the deer and said something in cervine. They then wandered off together. The deer seemed a little skittish, but otherwise seemed reassured.

Path watched them, and he could feel his eyes welling up and his throat tightening. At last he would be able to open full relations with the deer folk, and when he had full command of their language, he would beg their forgiveness for allowing one of their kind to be so cruelly killed on his watch.

Twilight noticed Path’s stare and came over to find out what was wrong. “Are you okay, Path?”

Path gave her a small smile and nodded. “Nearly, Twilight. Very nearly now.”

Twilight gave him a hug. “I understand. Come on; time to get back into the party. You can start a few conversations by talking about those deer that you brought in. This is a time for celebrating, not moping!”

“When you’re right, you’re right. I guess that’s why you’re the alicorn Princess of Friendship.”

“Hey, you had your chance a couple of hours ago.”

Path laughed. “Yeah, I did, I suppose. You think I should have kept that form?”

“For what it’s worth, you made a handsome alicorn, but I like my earth pony herdmate just fine. Besides, alicornhood is something that you achieve, not get gifted to you. There would surely have been some catch to Discord’s offer. You were wise to take it on your terms.”

“I agree. I’m glad that I got to experience it for a moment though. It gives me better insight into alicorns in general.”

“Great! If you come up with anything, let me know. After all these years, I think I’m still getting used to being one.”

Path laughed, and feeling cheered up, he allowed Twilight to steer him back into the party.

It was about a half hour later when Luna approached Path with a familiar thestral accompanying her.

“Leatherwing! Good to see you again! You didn’t tell me that you were bringing him along with you, Luna.”

“I’m almost obligated to do so, Path. Leatherwing is now my Royal Guard in charge of External Affairs.”

“Oh? And what does that title mean?”

Leatherwing looked a little sheepish. “Basically it means that I get to chase after the princess if she goes off on one her jaunts, like to the theater restaurant. After my captain finished reprimanding me for letting Her High…” Luna’s glare dared him to break the House Rules. “Er… for letting Luna go out without adequate security, he promoted me and made me personally responsible for Luna’s security on such occasions.”

Luna smiled smugly. “It only took an hour of arguing and a bottle of Eyrish whisky to convince Captain Wingstrike to assign him to me.”

Path laughed. “I bet that’s made your life interesting.”

Leatherwing rolled his eyes. “You would not believe!” he replied as Luna giggled.

“So, have you been enjoying the evening so far?”

Luna replied, “It has been most pleasing, but it’s time for some entertainment, methinks.”

“Oh? What did you have in mind?”

Luna grinned slyly. “It’s time for the Village Ponies to make their comeback.”

Path was startled. “Really? Wow, are you sure?”

“I brought my leathermare costume,” Luna replied smugly.

“I haven’t even looked at mine since that night,” Leatherwing said with perhaps a touch of relief.

Luna grinned. “Fear not! I brought another for you!”

Leatherwing’s smile froze. “Oh. Great.”

Path said, “Let’s go round up the others. We might be way out of practice, but we’re here to enjoy ourselves, so who cares if we’re not perfect?”

Path was unsurprised that Free was enthusiastic, but he didn’t expect Twilight and Roseclaw to be almost as excited. They all raced off to find wherever they had stashed their costumes and rendezvoused in an unused room adjacent to the ballroom to get into them. As they put on their costumes, they made some quick plans on how they were going to play this out.

When everybody was dressed, Free asked, “Does everyone remember the words?”

Twilight replied, “You’re the one who sings most of it, while we only have to remember the chorus and harmonies. I’m sure we can wing it.”

“Okay. Give me a minute to set things up next door. Listen for your cues!” He went through the connecting door and made his way to the dais where a record player and amplifier were set up for ambient music. Conversation died down as his outlandish costume caught the attention of those in the room. By the time he had set up the record with their music on it. The room had almost become quiet.

Free turned to face the audience and held up his forelimbs, talons spread as if to embrace them all. “My friends, you are about to be privileged to witness the return of the Village Ponies! After playing for just one night at the Revelry Restaurant in Canterlot to much acclaim, we have not sung as a group since. Tonight, we return by royal command. Honestly, Luna, you didn’t have to get down on your knees and plead!”

“Thou shalt regret that crack, Free Agent!” came Luna’s voice from the other room, and the audience chuckled.

Free grinned unrepentantly. “Gentles, let me introduce them to you. First, we have Twilight, the cowgirl!”

Twilight entered the room, pranced up onto the dais, and took up a position to one side.

“Next, Luna the leathermare!”

Luna swaggered up to the stage, giving her sister a broad wink.

“Roseclaw the sailor!”

The griffoness did her best to do a sailor’s jig as she approached the dais. It wasn’t great, but the audience applauded her enthusiasm anyway.

“Path the construction worker!”

Path strutted over to the dais and paused to show off in an exaggerated tough guy pose before joining the others.

“Leatherwing the constable!”

The thestral had finally gotten into his role, and he marched over to the dais and sternly surveyed the audience before nodding in satisfaction and joining the line-up.

“And I’m the native griff! Together, we are the Village Ponies! Now how many of you have never been to Canterlot?”

Dozens of limbs were lifted.

“I thought so. Well, it’s a great city, but it can be a little daunting for your first visit, so the Village Ponies have some advice for you. Hit it, Twilight!”

Twilight levitated the needle onto the record and as the opening bars began to play, Free said, “Let us tell you about the Young Mares’ Canterlot Association!”

They sang Y.M.C.A. creditably well for not having any rehearsal, but the crowd didn’t notice any problems, and they applauded loudly when the song was done.

“How are you holding up, Path?” Free asked as they caught their breath.

“I’m feeling perfectly fine. I’m beginning to suspect that Discord pulled a fast one on me after all, and returned me to a perfectly healthy pony body.”

“What about your magic? Has that been restored too?”

“Nope. Still none. After knocking back all that power earlier, I’m not surprised that he would skip that bit. Anyway, I’m not worried about that right now. We have an audience to entertain!”

They gave the crowd their rendition of Magic Night and You Can't Stop The Music, and Free had to disappoint them by telling them that they only had three songs in their repertoire so far. “But when the Village Ponies play once more, I promise we’ll have more!”

The crowd applauded once more, and the group started to leave the stage. Path stepped to the front of the dais though, and held up his hooves for attention.

“Before we return to normal entertainment, I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words. Gathered here today, we have an unprecedented mixture of races from several nations, all enjoying a celebration that started with a dream. Free Agent, Twilight Sparkle, and I started on mission to learn more about other cultures so that we could understand each other better, and promote peaceful relations. Various circumstances turned that into a whole lot more than we had planned, but look at the results! We’ve opened up communications between kingdoms. We fought together to defeat a threat to the entire world. We have begun to build an institution that will be the guardian of knowledge and peace. And along the way, we have met new friends, and even found our true mates. This House has become great in such a short time because of the people who have joined with us and shared our vision. This is far more than a House – it’s a family!”

Path paused as a burst of applause broke out.

“The thing about families is that they always have people of varying tastes and opinions in them, and yet they can still exist in harmony together. We do not have to be all the same. We do not have to enjoy identical things, nor dislike the same things. We just have to be able to understand that there are other ways and tastes, and appreciate them for what they are. Sometimes all it takes is to look at things from a different perspective, and who knows what we might learn together? The stranger you meet today might be your best friend tomorrow!”

There was even louder applause as Roseclaw, Free, and Twilight came back to hug Path, while Luna went to do the same with her sister. Not a few other audience members followed suit with their loved ones or their new friends.

Path had one final thing to say. “Tonight’s celebration is not for the conclusion of our saga, but for the beginning of something glorious! Thank you all for being part of it, my friends.”

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