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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15. Blue Streak's Field Trip - part two

Teleporting was always so disorienting. It took Blue a few moments to gather his bearings before he realized that he was standing next to Luna in the sky box of what looked like a massive arena. The cheering was almost deafening as Luna waved to the crowd. He barely heard one of the advisers murmur to Luna under the volume of the celebration.

“My queen, the final match is ready; we have Champion Nineteen going up against the Captain’s three eldest sons. If he wins this match, it will be his twentieth annual victory, and he will obtain your favor.”

Blue’s interest was sparked as he looked down to the champion. He was a middle-aged looking thestral, with a massive but well-balanced build. He was dressed in brilliant silver and blue, with a helmet which had a bright blue tuft of plumage. His gaze was keen, and he actually kind of reminded him of a thestral version of Warfist.

 

 

Luna stepped forward and raised a hoof. The crowd quieted and she boomed out in the Royal Canterlot Voice, “CHAMPION NINETEEN – THIS IS THE EVE OF YOUR FINAL TRIAL. SURPASS THIS AND MY LAST TASK, AND YOU WILL ASCEND WITH ME TO THE ALTERED REALM. ARE YOU READY FOR YOUR FINAL GAUNTLET?”

The champion nodded once and put on his helmet, raised his spear in salute, and then took a combat stance with shield and spear at the ready.

“SO BE IT THEN! BRING OUT THE FINAL CHALLENGE!”

Blue’s eyes went wide as he saw three blurs shoot across the arena, spiraling around the champion before they came to a landing, encircling Champion XIX. The three brothers gazed appraisingly at the champion, each of them holding dual short swords at the ready. Blue Streak couldn’t help but smirk; the sons used a similar style as himself.

“BEGIN!” Luna shouted, and the three started to slowly move around the champion. When it started, the fighting was explosive in nature as all three closed in on the champion and prepared to hack and slash at him. Their swords never touched him as he ducked, weaved, and used his shield to deflect their weapons. If Blue had to describe it, he would have to say that Champion was free-flowing, using their own actions against them.

The crowd started to cheer as the four kept battling, and soon the champion landed the first decisive blow, when the youngest of the three left an opening, and the blunt end of the spear shot out and slammed into his chest with enough force to launch him nearly ten feet away before he crumpled on the ground, gasping for air. The judge threw a red flag down on the son indicating a kill.

Luna looked over to Blue and she started to grin. His eyes were following all that that was going on, and an idea started to form in her head as she looked back to the battle just in time to see the champion’s shield bash the middle son and bring his staff down against his temple, knocking him out.

The battle was now one on one, and the two circled each other warily before the oldest son charged in and started swinging ferociously. The champion dodged and deflected, but the son was only gaining more momentum and speeding up. The champion ducked under a lunge, dropped his sword and shield, and grabbed his opponent’s hoof before his other hoof slammed into the eldest son’s neck, causing him to collapse. The judge tossed the last flag and the crowd cheered. The champion helped up his opponents, and they bowed to each other and then to Luna.

Luna narrowed her eyes slightly and a glow covered her mouth as she spoke silently. The champion suddenly looked towards Luna with his ears swiveled in her direction. He nodded once with a grin, and he readied himself again.

“What’s he getting ready for?” Blue asked.

“For thee,” Luna said with a grin. “Thou art going to be his final challenge. However, thou must not take off thy hoof shoes.”

Blue was ecstatic. “It won’t be much of a challenge. I’ll beat him in one punch.” Blue laughed a bit as he was floated down to the arena.

“MY SUBJECTS, THE LAST ROUND IS UPON US. THE CHAMPION WILL FACE MY APPRENTICE IN BATTLE. TO WIN IS TO GAIN ASCENSION. TO LOSE IS TO BECOME THE HEAD OF THE WARRIOR GUILD. MY CHAMPION HAS FOUGHT WELL AND WILL EARN HIS JUST REWARD REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME!” Luna bellowed out as the crowd cheered.

Blue looked to Champion. “I’ll try to make it fast, old man.”

The champion just grinned as he set his spear and shield down and assumed a defensive posture.

“Oh, try and make it interesting for me,” Blue said cockily.

When Luna signaled the start of the match, neither of them moved as the crowd cheered.

“Game over,” Blue said as he suddenly took off at the champion.

The crowd suddenly went silent. Nobody saw Blue move – nobody but the champion. They all looked at Blue’s outstretched hoof… and the thestral hoof that blocked that punch. The old bat-pony was grinning while Blue looked at him with wide eyes.

“H-how? Nobody has ever blocked me!”

The champion laughed. “I am more than your common brawler, apprentice.” He pulled his hoof back and punched the shocked pony hard.

Blue stumbled back, not yet falling over but it was clear he was going to have a black eye. Blue let out a loud growl. “NO MORE GAMES!” he screamed out, his pride hurt more than his body.

The champion kept up a defensive posture as Blue raced around him, raining blows upon him that never managed to hit their target. Unknown to the earth pony, the champion was sending out several sonic pulses a second to track him. Every time Blue moved in, he was blocked or countered each time, and the champion either punched or kicked him in a way that would not end the fight. The crowd was screaming in excitement, enthralled by the fight as Blue stopped on the opposite side of the arena.

Baring his teeth as he screamed, “I WILL WIN!” Blue started taking off his hoof shoes. Nobody realized what was happening, but Luna did as she watched Blue Streak stare ferociously at his foe. The champion’s eyes went wide as he also realized what was about to happen. He slammed his shield down just before the arena rang out with the clang of hooves on metal. Champion was pushed halfway back to the edge of the arena, his shield dented with two hoofprints. Blue landed back where he started, hissing in rage, his eyes shining a bright gold and his now-sharp teeth bared.

The last thing that the champion noticed was Blue Streak hovering in front of him, a moment from striking the decisive blow, but he was suddenly covered in a dark blue aura which froze him in place. Luna floated down to the floor of the arena and walked up to the pair.

“I am disappointed in thee, Blue Streak. Thou had but one restriction and thou couldst not follow it.”

Luna turned to the crowd which was waiting in awed silence. “Cobalt has been disqualified! Champion Nineteen is now Champion Twenty, AND HAS GAINED THE RIGHT OF ASCENSION!

The thestrals erupted into cheers and the crowd emptied out onto the main floor as they carried away the champion.

“THIS CELEBRATION WILL BE THE BEST IN AGES!” Luna bellowed out as everyone started to make their way toward the already set up festivities.

Blue blinked and looked towards Luna. “I… lost? I lost?!”

Luna looked at him and frowned. “Thou had no chance of winning in fair combat. I had hoped that this would be a lesson to thee that speed isn’t everything in battle. Now thou must live with the humiliation of disqualification instead of honorable defeat. Perhaps this will serve as a more urgently needed lesson in respecting thy foes.” She sighed before smiling once more. “But for now, this is supposed to be a festival, so how about enjoying thyself before we must head back to Equestria?”

Blue was not happy, but he shrugged it off as Luna passed him his shoes and he put them back on. “Yeah, a good party is just what I need.”

The rest of the party was a blur. Blue managed to run into Champion XX and he apologized to the thestral, who graciously accepted. They started chatting, and actually found that they had a lot in common despite their age difference. Once they realized that, their friendship grew, and they spent the entire night drinking and partying in the traditional ancient thestral style. When Luna caught up with the pair, they were at a table with two other warriors and playing a dice game. As the one side began to stack the dice though, before they could roll them the other side, Blue and Champion stood up and started to bellow out their war song, which by this time in their inebriated state had degenerated into a few phrases.

Glory to the colony!
Honor to the Queen!
Long live the Imperatrix!
Now everybody sing!

The two started chugging on a large glass of ale each and slammed them down next to the four dozen other mugs, knocking over the other side’s dice as they laughed, winning the round. Their entourage was drunk as well, and they joined in the laughter. Luna rolled her eyes and chuckled as she went back to her duties.

Several hours later, the horizon started to brighten as sunrise neared, and Luna found the pair in the middle of what looked like a massive bar brawl. At least a hundred different thestrals were in the fray, and in the center of it all there was the pair fighting together and defending each other. Luna cleared her throat and let her magic flare. The single act was enough to cut through the brawl as everyone settled down.

“Champion, Cobalt, it is time to depart.” Luna said softly before turning and exiting the tavern. The two warriors followed after her and they walked back to the winding staircase that led up to the moon altar. Luna paused there and regarded the four young thestrals who were waiting in the company of the elders.

There were two females and two males, and they stood there with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Luna did not ask anything of them, but merely observed them keenly. Under her scrutiny, both males and one of the females eventually averted their eyes, but the remaining female returned her gaze with fierce determination.

“What is thy name, filly?” Luna asked.

“Moonlight Mist, Imperatrix,” she replied.

Luna considered the filly’s pale fur and silver mane and felt that she was well named. “I hope that thou art prepared for great changes to thy conceptions of the world, for thou art my choice.”

“I am honored, Imperatrix, and I will not disappoint you.”

Luna nodded in satisfaction before she turned to Champion. “Hast thou made thy farewells?”

“Yes, my Empress,” Champion replied.

“Very good.” The moon was low in the sky as Luna started to cast spells on Champion and Moonlight Mist as they stood there, girding themselves for this new adventure.

Luna rose up into the air as she made a big show for all those who had gathered. “This has been a most glorious festival, and I am well pleased. I shall return next year, but until then, my subjects, fare thee well!”

There was a bright flash, and all four of them disappeared. In an extra show, the watchers saw four stars shoot toward the moon, and just before it set, they witnessed four flashes on the moon. They cheered before they dispersed, the festival ceremonies complete for another year.

Champion and Moonlight looked around at the lunar landscape then back to Luna.

“My Imperatrix, is this your domain?” Champion asked.

Luna chuckled. “This is part of my domain, but not our final destination. As I told thee earlier, this is a one-way trip. Thou art unlikely to return, but thou art still my subject, and my Champion. However, it is time for thee and Moonlight Mist to start learning that the world has changed, and I have changed along with it.” Luna shed the imperial form that they were familiar with, and they gasped in surprise at the princess’ new look.

“My Queen… what are you saying?!” Champion asked as he stared at her.

Blue Streak moved up to him and said with a slight slur, “It means that your world is about to get a whole lot bigger, Batty.”

Luna chuckled as Champion reacted to Blue’s changed looks also. Then she looked up to the blue-green marble that was Equus, waiting for the right moment before her horn glowed once more.

# # #

Back on the ground, Twilight, Leatherwing, Path, Cinder, Roseclaw and Free were waiting around the courtyard. The moon was halfway on the horizon, just starting to rise.

“Is she going to make it, or did she decide to stay a few more days?” Path asked.

“No,” Twilight replied, her horn aglow, “I can sense her powering up the spell. She’s on the moon right now, and it feels like she’s bringing back company.”

“How do you know that?” Free asked.

“Because her spell is significantly stronger this time. The most likely way to account for that is extra passengers,” Twilight explained with a knowing grin.

Path’s eyes went wide as he saw four flashes on the moon, and a few seconds later, a dark purple vertical beam of energy speared to the ground in the middle of the spell array, and they struggled to not get blown away. After a few moments, the energy faded, and Luna stood there smiling, flanked by her companions. Blue Streak was still rather drunk and flopped over. Champion, however, stood there as sturdy as ever. Morning Mist just looked about her in bewilderment.

Leatherwing ran up to Luna, only to stop and stare at Champion who was easily two heads taller than him, had more impressive armor, and was practically all muscle. “You… you’re big – bigger than the ex-captain,” he gulped.

Champion looked down at Leatherwing. “I am as big as I need to be. I am the Lunar Imperatrix’s Champion, Victor of the Lunar Gauntlet, worthy of the highest honor.” Champion continued to stare sternly as he opened up his wings, easily dwarfing the smaller thestral.

Cinder went over to Blue and picked him up. “Had a little fun, did you?”

Blue nodded happily and was about to say something before Luna spoke up.

“Let us all go to the main hall. I believe that we all need to welcome Champion and Moonlight Mist to their new home, and begin educating them on life in Griffonia and Equestria.”

They all agreed and started walking into the house with Cinder bringing up the rear as she carried her inebriated boyfriend on her back.

# # #

Warfist looked up from his desk as Blue entered his office. He nodded and asked gruffly, “I trust that your trip was educational?”

Blue Streak grimaced. “Yeah, and in more than one way. I learned a very important thing while I was there.”

“And what would that be?”

“If I’m going to contend with the heavy hitters, I need to get a lot better at combat.”

“That does not surprise me. What do you want to do about it?”

Blue reared up and put both his forehooves on Warfist’s desk and stared at him seriously. “Stop with your silly ‘encouragement’ and start teaching me to be a real warrior.”

Warfist’s beak split in a huge grin of satisfaction. “It’s about bloody time!”

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

Author's Note:

Art of Champion by Foxenawolf added March 1st. His coloration is supposed to resemble that of a Flying Fox, the large Australian fruit bat.

   
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