The Growing Years

This story is a sequel to A Different Perspective
Both the House of Path and Herd Path enjoy strong growth in the years following their establishment. Like all such things though, they both have their highlights and lowlights. These are vignettes in the lives of the children of Twilight, Path, Free, & Roseclaw, from foals to young adults.
This is a series of stand-alone stories of events that occur after the events of A Different Perspective, which I strongly recommend that you read first.
My collaborator, AlaskaIsCold, has written some of these and I mostly just edited them.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/296939/the-growing-years

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14. Blue Streak's Field Trip - part one

“Maximo Coloniam,” Luna stated as she smiled at the rest of the herd.

“What?” Path and Free both asked as they looked at her in confusion.

Twilight stared at Luna. “I’ve never heard of that place, and this is coming from somebody who lived in a library from the age of four to seventeen, then moved to a different library.”

“Ah, well it’s not very well known to Equestrian historians, especially since as far back as I could remember, the last time they had any kind of contact with ponies was somewhere around 100BB.” Luna said.

“100 BB?” Free queried.

“One hundred years before banishment,” Luna replied.

“So what and where is Maximo Coloniam.” Path asked.

“It is a very old way of saying the Grand Colony, the original colony for the thestral race, but it’s so far away that most times it is very difficult to reach it. However, tomorrow there will be a twelve hour period from moon-set to moon-rise that is most propitious,” Luna said as she yawned slightly.

“So you want us to go with you?” Roseclaw asked.

“As much as I would like to take all of you, there are various reasons why I cannot. I wish to take just one person with me, and I would like that to be Blue Streak. If that has your blessing, I think he would enjoy the mini-vacation and learn a lot at the same time. His non-Equestrian upbringing and cultural view will make their culture easier for him to understand.”

Path and Free had already started looking excited about a visit to a long-forgotten land. Path huffed and looked hurt. Free, however, just grinned.

“I think Streak is going to have a wonderful time. Does he know he’s going to go?”

Blue Streak rushed up to Luna with a grin. Around his neck was a translator band and what looked like a camera. He was practically vibrating with excitement. “YOU SAID YES! WOOHOOO!” He ran around Luna so fast it looked like she had a light blue halo.

The lunar aspect chuckled before she activated her horn and stopped the Blue Streak from running. “They said yes, and now I need you to go to bed and get plenty of sleep so you can wake up early in time for our departure.”

“Okay!” Blue replied, and then dashed off.

Twilight smiled at his enthusiasm before she grew serious again and asked Luna, “Is it safe for him? He’ll be visiting a people so far removed from us that they know very little about our society.”

“Although it has been a long time since I’ve visited them, they know I will be arriving, and anyone in my company will be considered under my protection, so there is no need to worry.” Luna turned to Path and Free. “I’ll bring a present back for each of thee to make up for not also bringing you.” Luna giggled and winked before she started to walk out of the meeting room. “I’m going to take a nap; powering such a teleport will be most strenuous.”

# # #

It was a few minutes before sunrise when they all ran out to the field where Luna and Twilight were waiting. Blue was antsy with excitement “This is going to be so cool!”

As Luna prepared to lower the full moon prior to the sunrise, Twilight asked, “I don’t understand why you will be doing this now. I would have thought that you would use the power of the full moon when you are strongest?”

Luna smiled. “Thou art correct, but that is exactly why we will be going now, for while the moon doth set here, it will rise for the Grand Colony, and I will have its power at my beck and call for the duration of our visit.”

“Ah! That makes sense. I had not realized that it was quite that distant.”

As Luna’s horn started to glow, Twilight started to cast several spells onto Blue Streak.

“What was that?” Blue asked Twilight.

“Air spell, translation spell and glamor spell – you’ll understand when you get there.” Twilight chuckled as she took a few steps back.

Luna’s horn was now glowing violently as she slowly turned and aimed at the moon. Blue went to stand next to her. “R-ready, Blue Streak?” Luna strained as the magical matrices started to visualize.

“READY!” Blue Streak screamed out in excitement.

The complicated spell executed and the two of them disappeared with a shock wave that knocked the rest of the herd over.

It was then that Pif who had been hiding in Free’s folded wings, pushed her head out from behind Free’s feathers and squealed, “Big boom!” She giggled in delight.

# # #

The pair rematerialized, but it was not a place that Blue Streak recognized. The sky was black, the ground was a stark white, and he slowly floated down and landed on ground that was soft and powdery. His eyes went wide as he looked around, and then up to the small blue marble floating above them.

“Is that…?” Blue asked, dumbstruck.

“It is,” Luna said with a smile.

“Are we?” Blue looked at Luna.

“We are,” Luna answered.

“Am I?” Blue squeaked out.

“Thou art.” Luna grinned.

“EEEEE!” Blue screamed in delight as he started to run… only to find out that his first two launch steps pushed him far up off the ground. His legs whirred around aimlessly as he floated there in confusion before Luna grabbed him in her magic and set him back down next to her.

“Stay still – we have but a few minutes before I must activate the second part of the teleportation spell, and I need to… well… thou shalt see.” She laughed softly as her form started to shift in front of his eyes. She started to grow taller, her coat darker, her eyes turned draconic and armor appeared over most of her body. She smiled at Blue Streak with teeth that had become much sharper.

Blue Streak stared at her before bursting out, “You. Look. Awesome! Like you can take on a whole army and then eat an entire steak kind of awesome!”

Luna smiled happily. This was why she chose to have Blue Streak come with her. His view, devoid of other cultural bias, made him able to appreciate various cultural interpretations of herself. This one was a form that most ponies feared, but her thestrals loved. The Equestrian public knew this interpretation as Nightmare Moon, the being that nearly doomed an entire civilization. However, the Thestral Colonies knew her by a different name: the Lunar Imperatrix.

Luna started to work her magic on the glamor spell that Twilight had placed on Blue Streak, making his coat and cutie mark darker. It also made his eyes a dark blue. As she worked, she asked, “Thou hast been training with Warfist, correct? When last I checked, thou hast been working with him early in the morning for the past year or so. I believe he called it ‘private encouragement’?”

“Yeah, it’s been about a year and a half now. It took him a month to get me to actually take things seriously, then another two before we were able to find a weapon that didn’t shatter under the forces involved with running so fast. He gave me a long sword and it broke in half in like two days. He says I have to stick to unarmed combat or small bladed weapons,” Blue said as he collected some of the moon dust into a little pile.

“Good – thou must act like thou art training with Warfist whilst we are there. Take it seriously; be disciplined, prim and proper, legs squared, neck straight and the perfect personal guard. They completely embrace pomp and circumstance, so thou must also. Dost thou think that thou can do that just until the party starts?” Luna gave him her most encouraging smile.

Blue perked up his ears. “Sure! I can do that.”

“Excellent! Oh! Hold a moment – I need to make thee a suitable set of armor.”

Luna lit up her horn a little more and the white lunar regolith started to turn red hot as it was shaped and molded. The silicon and titanium present in the rocks mixed and fused until what was left was a deep blue. She shaped it and formed it around Blue Streak making a Lunar Guard styled light armor designed not to interfere with his speed. “Ah that should work. Now let me remind thee that this society is from a different time, and I will have to be very strict. Because of that, thou cannot be familiar with me in public. Thou must always address me as ‘My Empress’. Strength is shown not implied. Hast thou any questions?”

Blue Streak shook his head. “I’ll remember.”

“Ready for the second jump?” Luna asked.

Blue Streak nodded. “I’m ready!”

Luna’s horn charged up again, although this time it didn’t take nearly as long, probably due to her actually standing on her aspect and source of power. With a bright flash, they disappeared from the bleak landscape. Due to the fact they had been in a vacuum just before they teleported, a large cloud of mist condensed out of the air when they appeared and their protective shield dropped. Blue waited until it dissipated, then he looked around and was amazed.

It looked like a scene right of a history book. In the twilight, he could see that they were on top of what looked like a large altar in the sky; maybe they were on top of a building? When he looked around, he caught a last glimpse of the sun to his left as it was called to the other side of Equus to bring dawn to Equestria, while to his right the full moon was rising. The pale white marble at his hooves reflected the light of the bright orb, and when he looked hard enough, he was able to see runes etched into its surface, but he had neither the magical knowledge nor the required linguistics to understand them.

Just then, four flying formations of thestrals approached their location from what he believed to be the four cardinal directions. First seven thestrals of thin build landed, dressed in white togas with silver trim. The second group to land was another set of seven thestrals that rivaled Big Macintosh in their build, and whose togas were of a similar red hue with gold trim. The third group to land was wearing purple and black togas that hid most of their forms. The last seven to land looked rather normal, and their simple togas were tan. Once all had landed, they all bowed in one deep synchronous motion.

“Imperatrix advenit!” Luna proclaimed.

The bat ponies stood up, stomping their hooves as they cheered. Then the thestrals quieted down and waited for Luna to continue, although a few were looking curiously at the earth pony standing impassively next to their leader.

An officer sensed the confusion over the earth pony’s presence, and he stepped forward and kneeled before Luna. “My Empress, why is this earth pony here? There has not been visitor of his kind to the colonies since before the Great Betrayal.”

Blue kept his expression neutral, but he intended to ask Luna about this ‘Great Betrayal’ later on.

Luna locked her gaze with the thestral’s until he averted his eyes. “If thou must know, Captain Night Strike, this is my apprentice, Cobalt. He is my personal guard for this visit.”

The captain however was indignant. “Your apprentice? My Empress, how can this mud pony be worthy of your mentorship?!”

Luna stomped her left hoof hard and narrowed her eyes at the captain. ‘Cobalt’ caught her lead and narrowed his eyes, growling at the captain as well.

“If thou dost think my choice so horrible, why dost thou not challenge him, Captain?” Luna spoke with a sharp edge to her voice.

The captain did not hesitate in the slightest as he started to charge, but he barely made a hoof step before he was staring at a dark blue armored hoof not half an inch from his snout.

Blue Streak tapped the captain on the nose, and the thestral flared his wings to take a flapping leap back with a growl. He reached for his sword only to find it missing from his scabbard, but when he looked back up again, he found himself staring at its point which was centered an inch from his eyes. Blue tapped his nose again with the sword before flipping it to present the handle back to the captain.

Night Strike was becoming frustrated. “You think you are so fast, and you may be able to handle me alone, but the Empress’ Guard must be able to defend against multiple aggressors.” He let out a chirp that Blue Streak could not hear, and four thestrals flew to his side.

Blue Streak turned to Luna with one eyebrow cocked enquiringly.

She considered for a moment before nodding in consent.

Blue Streak braced his legs and waited as all four of them came at him their swords drawn. They all slashed or stabbed the upstart pony… and their swords went right through him as if he was immaterial. They were startled, and only grew more confused as they all kept trying to strike him.

Blue Streak, however, was outmaneuvering them all. To everyone watching, his form was blurring and vibrating, and it was hard to figure out where to strike, but not one of the blows landed. A fraction of a second before a weapon would touch him, Blue Streak would move extremely rapidly just far enough out of its way to miss, and then move back again, giving the illusion that he had not moved at all. After long moments of fruitless effort, the captain chirped again, and his soldiers pulled back and sheathed their weapons. Night Strike did so as well before he nodded respectfully to ‘Cobalt’, and then bowed deeply to Luna yet again.

“My deepest apologies for doubting your choice, Empress.”

Luna nodded gravely. “I will allow thine impertinence to go unpunished this time; it is the Eclipse Festival after all. Everyone is free to go about their business. Captain Night Strike, Apprentice Cobalt, accompany me as I go to speak to the Senate.” Luna started to walk off.

“Yes, My Empress,” both Blue Streak and Night Strike chorused, falling in behind her.

Oh, this is going to be so much fun,’ Blue Streak thought to himself while trying to fight off a smile.

They approached a marble building surrounded by colonnades, and entered. A crowd of thestrals, too many to count and all of them wearing togas the various colors of the city states that they happened to represent, occupied the amphitheater within. The building was filled with the sound of intense debate, but once Luna entered the center of the forum, they all quieted down and bowed.

“Exorior Patres Conscripti!” Luna announced firmly as she began to talk. “As you all know, I have been exploring, investigating, and observing since my recovery from the… proditio.” Luna looked around as the senators started to mumble, clearly displeased with the memory of the betrayal.

“As you know, we are not ready yet to begin talks with Sol proditor… but there is a new faction arising! A faction whose only motivation is the pursuit of knowledge, as well as the improvement of one’s self!” As she spoke Blue Streak could see two groups of thestrals, one wearing pure white togas while another wore red and gold, that seemed a lot more interested now.

“My new apprentice, Cobalt, hails from this faction. He is an earth pony born and raised in a griffon society, and he has benefited of both!”

All eyes were on Blue as he stood there, tensing up just slightly to try to look a little more muscular and impressive.

“I command that the senate bring forth one volunteer from each district who is about to enter his mandatory service. There are three hours before the festival begins. Bring me your candidates before it starts. I will look them over and choose one. He or she will participate in a cultural exchange that will determine if we are ready for the outside world… and if the world is ready for us.”

Luna stopped and looked at the senators as they all started to stomp their hooves in approval.

“I will await you at the Altar of the Moon. Until then, senators.” Luna turned and started to walk out and Blue Streak followed her.

Once they were alone, he spoke to Luna in a hushed whisper. “That was amazing! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything run like that before.”

“That’s because the Griffon Empire is technically a militant-timocracy. Equestria is an absolutist-diarchy, but we are trying to guide it to a constitutional diarchy. Most changeling hives are an absolute monarchy due to their biological and mental make-up,” Luna started lecturing.

Blue Streak rolled his eyes. “Aw, come on… don’t be like Mom. Let’s go explore while we wait for the festival to begin.” Blue was starting to get antsy.

“We don’t have the time to explore right now, but we will have time during the festival since it’s one huge party, but for now...” Luna started to power her horn up for a medium range teleport, “we will be late to watch the honor trials. It is one of the oldest traditions here, and I need to oversee the final match as the winner gains my favor.”

Blue nodded as a thought formed in the back of his mind. ‘Hmmm… Warfist would be proud if I came back with a medal or a trophy from this tournament.’ He just grinned as they both disappeared in a flash of light.

   
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