Where We May Lead

by Shadowmane PX-41

Chapter 1: Prologue

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"I still can't wrap my head 'round all this," said Applejack as she, her friends, and the Pillars of Equestria all gathered outside of the room. "Ya'll are just gonna up and take off again? We barely even got to know you!"

"I do agree that it was a bit of a shock to the system to know that you were all alive and well," added Rarity. "I mean, the ponies of this world have well and truly idolized you. And now you're just going to leave so soon?"

"Your concerns are all touching, ladies," said Starswirl the Bearded, "but I believe that it is for the best. A millenium has passed and this world has grown quite considerably. It would be in all of our best interests to see just what has become of our homes."

"Yes. Many things have transpired since we were trapped in limbo." Somnambula stepped forward. "Without a clear grasp of the current affairs, it might be difficult for us to settle back in to this new Equestria."

"But... that doesn't mean you're going to vanish for another thousand years, are you?" Fluttershy squeaked and brushed some hair out of her mane. "That would be pretty awful..."

"Nay. Besides, I need to see what has become of the Mighty Helm since my departure." Rockhoof took up his shovel and placed it delicately on his back. "My fellow kin might've met a terrible fate, or their morale might be in tatters. Either way, I need to know."

"The same goes for my battalion." Flash put his hoof to his chest. "I need to know that Equestria's still got some good pegasi left to defend it. I mean it has been a thousand years, after all."

"Oh, we've got you covered on good pegasi." Rainbow Dash cracked a smirk and wrapped her left wing around Flash's back. "Don't you worry about that."

"But if you really have to leave again, then we can't really stop you." Twilight ripped Rainbow away from Flash with her magic. "Plus, you have to cut the Pillars some slack, girls. They were trapped in limbo for a really long time. Equestria's gone through so many changes that it might become impossible for them to get acclimatized."

"Especially considering that Ponyville didn't really exist back then." Starlight trotted forward as well. "The new towns, their traditions, and all of their new foods might come as a bit of a culture shock for the six of them."

"Still, should we really just let 'em go that quickly?" Pinkie tilted her head. "I was gonna throw them all a super-big 'Welcome Back To Equestria And Thank You For Saving The World With Us' party too. There was gonna be a super-big cake and everything!"

"Pinkie, darling. I'm sure that we would all love a bit of R&R with the fabled Pillars of Equestria, but after a thousand years trying to hold the Pony of Shadows in limbo, the first thing they'd want to know is how the state of the world's been." Rarity brushed Pinkie's mane tenderly. "Although, I wouldn't mind getting to know a thing or two about beauty myself..." All she was met with was stares. "Uh... outside of the fashion world, that is."

"Still, it's your decision, everyone." Twilight unfurled her wings and stepped backwards. "You can feel free to leave whenever you want."

There was a long silence between both Main Six, and the Pillars of Equestria. It had been a thousand years since these ancient ponies from generations past had walked the world and so many changes had happened since then. Borders had been reshaped, negotiations made, and tyrannical villains felled or dethroned.

The world that Starswirl and his compatriots had come to know might have been reduced to ash and then reborn in whatever image the next generation may have left for them. As the six legendary ponies thought back on all of their experiences and all of the memories they had shared, a nimiety of thoughts ran through their heads. Their homes, families, and friends surely did not exist anymore; they were not so lucky to have lived over a thousand years like them. Now the Pillars needed to see what had been reborn out of the ashes of their world.

"Twilight." Starswirl finally broke the silence with a simple tap of his hoof. "How much of this new world do you and your friends know about? Outside of just a little map in your throne room?" He cocked a brow.

"Me and my friends are lucky to have traveled Equestria on a number of different visits." Twilight conjured up a journal with her Element of Magic emblazoned on to the front. "And together, we all shared our adventures with each other. From Las Pegasus, Manehatten, the Smoky Mountains, Everfree Forest, and even to the Crystal Empire."

"Hmm..." Starswirl furrowed his long, majestic, bushy beard for a good few seconds. "And, would you and your companions be willing to offer an escort?"

Twilight tried to say something, but she ended up choking on her own ecstasy and euphoria. All that she could do was smile and squeal. She was about to take Starswirl the Bearded: Her life-long idol, on a trip around Equestria! If there was any other synonym to describe happiness, it wouldn't even compare to what she was feeling right now.

"I'd be glad to!" Twilight leapt into the air and beamed from ear to ear. Seeing that all eyes were on her, she very quickly fidgeted and thrashed around, trying to collect herself as she slowly flapped back down to the ground. "I–I mean, yes. Yes, I'd be glad to, Starswirl."

"Wait, do you mean you're just gonna take all of the Pillars around Equestria right now?" Sunburst pushed his glasses close to his face. "It's a great honor to be able to show such beloved ponies around, but don't you think that all six of them might be a bit too much, Twilight?"

Twilight just blew a small raspberry out of the corner of her mouth. "Oh, it's fine, Sunburst. Besides, I've handled much harder things before."

"Yeah. Like the time she was freaking out about that little peanut butter stain on one of her books." Spike grinned.

"Can you blame me?! It was a priceless, one of a kind, hardback copy of Starswirl's astrological discoveries!" Twilight threw her forehooves down in front of her face. "If I didn't find a magical spell to clean the book in time, I would've ended up destroying the Anguis Invus constellation! One of his all-time favourite patterns! How would I even be able to face him if I'd let such a terrible thing happen?!" Once she calmed down, the corner of her eye caught Starswirl again. "Uh, no offense, right?"

"None taken," he said. "Besides, it was just a little document. The real stars are more intriguing than just words on paper."

"Your Sunburst friend does have a bit of a point though, Twilight." Stygian turned to face her. "The Pillars are all very resplendent ponies in their own rights. Taking up all six on a tour together would be a very hard task. You would have to devote every waking second to travel..."

"If I may raise a suggestion, Starswirl, Stygian?" Meadowbrook lifted her hoof into the air.

"What is it, Meadowbrook?" Starswirl asked.

"Well, I know that it might seem a tad strange, but what if we all split up?" She asked. "What I mean is, we could all take the ponies we trusted to keep the world safe to show us round. For example, I could take this one—" She walked up to Fluttershy and tapped her on the belly "—and then the other Pillars'd take their own chosen ones with 'em."

"Ah... I see!" Twilight stepped forward. "So what you want, Meadowbrook, is for each of the Spirits of Harmony to go with their respective Pillars of Light, is that it?"

"Exactly." She nodded.

"So that would mean that, logically, Applejack would travel with Rockhoof back to the Mighty Helm's homeland; Rarity would take Mistmane back to the east; Fluttershy would accompany Meadowbrook back home to her bayou; Rainbow Dash would lead Flash Magnus back to wherever he was based; Pinkie would go with Somnambula back to the south; and that just leaves me with Starswirl and Stygian..." Twilight pointed to each different pairing of ponies, who both gave their own respective physical responses. Salutes, waves, smiles, and the odd hat tip from Applejack.

"Wait. What about us?" asked Starlight. "What would me and Sunburst do while you're all going off on your big Equestria adventure together?"

"Well, if it's all the same with your mentor, Starlight, then you could feel free to travel with us." Starswirl gave Twilight a pat on the back and let her give off another squeak before continuing. "I feel like that there is a lot we could learn from the three of you. Both on friendship and on your own styles of magic."

"Starlight, you and Sunburst should definitely come with us! No doubts about it!" Twilight pulled the two of them into a very tight hug, brushing her cheeks against theirs. "Ooh! This is gonna be great! The five of us going around the world together! Just think about all the sights, the experiences, the RESEARCH!"

"Yep. There she goes..." Starlight just gave a weak chuckle.

"Is this... normal for your teacher, Starlight?" Starswirl trotted up and watched this bizarre new ritual happening before his eyes.

"Let's just say she's a little excited about taking you and Stygian around Equestria, Starswirl." Sunburst chuckled.

"That's putting it lightly," chimed Starlight.

Everyone just ended up sharing a laugh between each other as Twilight finally let go of Starlight and Sunburst. Their giggles, guffaws, and even snorts filled the hallways, if only for a brief moment.

"So, it's all settled then?" Mistmane walked forward. "We'll all travel with our own disciples?"

"Yes. Yes we shall." Starswirl tipped his hoof. "We shall all be accompanied by Twilight and her companions. You may feel free to let them know more about yourselves and your versions of Equestria, and they will have the same privileges themselves.

"It might be some time before we see each other again after today, but I just want to let all of you know that I am proud of all of you." A smile formed on Starswirl's face. "At face value, I took all of you for just simple ponies with great tales to tell. But now, after all of this and one thousand years of servitude to our home, I could not ask for a greater set of defenders for Equestria and its' denizens."

"Thank you, Starswirl..." Twilight felt tears beginning to form in her eyes. "I'm sure that we'll do all that we can to keep Equestria safe, even if me and my friends end up keeping a powerful evil trapped in limbo for a thousand years just like you did."

"I know that you will." Starswirl turned to Twilight and shook her hoof.

All Twilight could do was swoon over the hoofshake. Once she was free of his grip, she fell to the ground with a giant smile plastered onto her face. She didn't even want to move, so instead, Starlight ended up carrying her off in a telekinetic aura.

"Well, we'd better be going now." Starlight lead the way, with Twilight draped over her back. "Oh, and don't worry about Twilight. I'm sure she'll be back on her feet in no time."

"I don't think I've seen her fangirling this hard since she first met A.K. Yearling..." Spike followed the five unicorns out down the hallway.

"We'd better take off as well." Flash Magnus flapped his wings. "What do ya say, Rainbow Dash? Up for a little death-defying adventure with me?"

"Who wouldn't be?" Rainbow went airborne and rocketed out of the castle with Flash close to her side. "I'll race ya there!"

"I get to go on a super-duper incredible journey with Somnambula back to her home village!" Pinkie was practically galloping on the spot. "This. Is. Gonna. Be. AMAZING!"

Somnambula just ended up chuckling herself. "I don't think I've seen enthusiasm like that in ages, Pinkie Pie. I trust that you will be a good guide for my travels?"

"Oh, absotivelutely!" Pinkie Pie bobbled her head vigorously. "In fact, I'm a little bit curious to know about your home myself." She began walking, with Somnambula close behind her. "What did you make all of those houses out of? What's the food like? How bad was that nasty sphinx's breath?"

"Come. It is time we make haste." Rockhoof clopped down the carpet. "I trust you're well accustomed with raft travel, Applejack?"

"How could I not be?" She trotted close beside him. "If I didn't have rafting skills, I wouldn't even have found your shovel in the first place."

"True, true." He nodded.

"Well, dearie? Time waits for no mare." Mistmane walked away as well. "And definitely for us."

"Hear, hear." Rarity took her leave as well. "I really should make sure I have everything packed for my trip. You never know what could be waiting for you in eastern Equestria these days..."

Once everyone left, Meadowbrook and Fluttershy were all on their own. Together, the two of them turned away from the doors and made their way out of the castle.

"Y'know, I'm really looking forward to seeing my home after all this time," said Meadowbrook. "I know that Ma and Pa are probably long gone by now, but it'd be nice to see just how much changed aside that."

"Yeah. I'd like to see just how nicely your bayou actually is too, Meadowbrook." Fluttershy smiled once again. "The last times I was there, I had business with a rather angry mob of flashbees. I don't think I even got a chance to see just how the animals there all behaved..."

"Well, take it from me, you'll have plenty of time to figure it all out." Meadowbrook stroked Fluttershy's back. "Everything's back to normal now and I don't think we'll be called on to save the world anytime soon. Whatever peace we can have, we should enjoy it to the fullest."

"I think you and I are gonna get along just fine, Meadowbrook..." Fluttershy looked deep into her eyes as the two of them finally burst out into the daylight and out of Canterlot's castle.

Author's Notes:

So, for those of you who want to know how this story works, it's gonna be a little bit different to the other stories I do. In the sense that, there are gonna be different chapters for each of the different pairings. The chapters will be categorized as such:

*Pinkie and Somnambula
*Applejack and Rockhoof
*Rainbow Dash and Flash Magnus
*Rarity and Mistmane
*Fluttershy and Meadowbrook
*The Five Unicorns (Twilight, Starlight, Sunburst, Starswirl, and Stygian)

If you liked this prologue, then feel free to spread the word, share it all with your friends and followers, and let them know that there's gonna be some adventures to be had with the Pillars of Equestria and their respective Spirits of Harmony.

I'll be seeing you all in the next chapter, whichever one that may be...

Next Chapter: Rarity and Mistmane: Off to the East Estimated time remaining: 3 Hours, 25 Minutes
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