The Messenger held his hand out and the document float up into the air. “Now it is official.” The parchment warped, ripped, and fractured before Lero’s eyes, as if it was coming apart on an atomic level. As the swirling cloud of particles that was once the contract began to collapse, the Messenger spoke again.
“Bellerophon Michealides,” it said, a note of satisfaction in its dry voice, “you are hereby bound by word, Wyrd, and blood to your promise. You shall have your cure in exchange for your loyalty and servitude to the Lady. Upon the 7th birthday of your eldest daughter, you will enter The Lady’s ranks and serve her dutifully until your dying breath. Thus I, the Messenger, do witness and attest.”
The Messenger closed his fist and the cloud was gone. A smile grew on his face. “But before that, there is something you must know, Ridire. It leaned down until its face was level with the human’s. “There has already been an incursion.” The Messenger reached into a pouch on his belt and pulled something out. He handed that something Lero, who felt his blood run cold. It was strip of pink linen, worn from many years of use and dirty from weeks of activity. Lero’s eyes widened. It was just the right size for a child’s bow. A bow a certain yellow filly wore in her red hair.
''Into the Hedge'' is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by BadWolf9510 based upon Divided Rainbow and Xenophilia.For years, Lero Michaelides has enjoyed a peaceful life in Ponyville. He has a home, a job, and a loving family. Even after the Swap turned his world upside-down, he held onto that peace with every ounce of will. Lero’s future looked tough, but he knew that he and his mares -old and new- could weather it together.But there had been always something that haunted him. Something in his past that had followed him to this new world. A force that even the Royal Sisters had learned to fear. It was something that Lero could not fully remember, but had always on the edge of his reason.A face, a voice, a whisper in his ear…Mo ridire…Now his past has finally caught up to him. The Cutie Mark Crusaders have been taken by a twisted evil. Lero and his herd must journey together into the heart of a nightmarish and confront a force beyond all rational thought and morality.Lero will have to confront his past and his sins as they all journey Into the Hedge.
Into The Hedge contains examples of the following tropes:
99% Heroism Rating: Once they all learn that Lero's going to rescue the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Lero is showered in esteem, praise, well-wishing, gifts, free meals, everypony admires him... with the singularly notable exception of Honeydew.
Asshole Victim: Diamond Tiara. Bad as she is, though, ALL the ponies are rightfully horrified at what happens to her.
Cell Phones Are Useless: Not that our heroes actually bring their own cell phone into the realm of the Fae, but at one point The Lost still reminisces about other abducted humans trying to use their phones… which didn't work.
Changeling Tale: While not involving any of Queen Chrysalis’ buglike changelings, this trope is still very much in effect… played in the most classic sense possible when ‘Silk’ abducts the Crusaders and leaves doppelgängers behind to cover her tracks.
Deal with the Devil: The pact Lero forms with The Lady: in exchange for a cure to the Swap, he will re-enter the Lady’s service on the day of his first daughter’s seventh birthday. For the record, Herd Bellerophon still hasn’t figured out how a human man and his pony sweethearts can conceive a child.
Declaration of Protection: Rarity towards Lero, Rainbow Dash towards Lero, and Princess Luna towards all the ponies she rules.
The creature's face sent a small shiver down Lero’s spine. Like the rest of it, the creature’s skin looked to be laid over a bare skull. Cracked lips formed a smile that held a set of sharp teeth. It had no eyes, at least not on its face. Lero could see indentations of where eyes should be, but the sockets were simply covered in more yellow, leathery skin. A pair of brown horns rose up from its forehead, swooping back over its bald scalp and then tapering upwards at the end. A pair of black feathered wings rose up behind the creature and it was here the creature beheld Lero. Along its wings, eight golden eyes opened up and stared at him.
Enthralling Siren: Silk, when the Cutie Mark Crusaders first encounter her in the Everfree forest.
Everypony Is Bi: The majority of the ponies, in keeping with Xenophilia’s setting.
False Memories/Masquerade: The Swapped Fives’ rewritten memories and the Bewitchment which Discord cast on nearly the whole rest of the planet.
Fate Worse than Death: The Lost does not think favorably of The Cutie Mark Crusaders' prospects in The Fae's world.
“So, ma sister,” breathed Pinkie Pie, “she… she’s alive?”
The Lost looked at her. Pinkie and Applejack were both sharing that same hopeful expression. He wanted to lie. God, he wanted to lie so badly. Just tell them that their sisters were dead and gone and spare them both the horrible truth of the matter. Just let them remember their sisters as who they were, just a bunch of cheerful fillies trying to get their cutie marks. But…
“Maybe,” he said. “There is a very good chance that all three of them are still alive.”
Funetik Aksent: All the Apple Family, plus Swapped!Applejack and Swapped!Pinkie Pie.
Good Is Not Nice: The Lost, in VERY stark contrast with the regular Lero. Although just as loving and protective of towards his friends and family, he has no compunction about killing enemies.
Happily Married: Although the members of Herd Bellerophon haven’t taken any official nuptial vows, this is still the nature of their relationship, even Rainbow Dash, the ‘newest’ member, (who hasn’t moved into their house yet.)
“If you were Apple Bloom, then how could you know that language?”
Interquel: Into The Hedge takes place at some point between Chapter 25 and 26 in Divided Rainbow.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: It's heavily implied that The Lost does this to Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle's fetches, when he sends everyone else at the house ahead to Sugarcube Corner.
The Lost paused. “You put up a silencing spell around the library, didn’t you, Princess?”
Luna knew where this was going. “Aye, We did.”
“Put one up on the basement too, if you’d please.” He opened the door. The faint sound of clattering chains came up from the basement. “I may be quite loud when I ask them.”
Jekyll & Hyde: Averted. While there's a much sharper, harder edge to The Lost's personality than the normal Lero, he seems to be firmly on the side of good; and he retains all the same memories of everyone in Equestria as Lero has.
Princess Luna: So let me tell you this, human: I will not allow some foul abominations to enter into my home and snatch my subjects away to become their playthings! Least of all, the sisters of the mares who saved me from my own darkness! I will go into their lands, into the heart of their power, and make them know that Equestria is off-limits to their schemes! They will know to fear Us and Our power! I will send them a message, one that will last a thousand of their lifetimes, that they may never trespass into Our kingdom and that no incursion of theirs shall ever go unpunished!
The Soulless: The ‘Cutie Mark Crusaders’ that return from the forest. They go about their daily lives on an emotionless autopilot. Though theyre not quite so unresponsive as to put up with schoolyard bullying, as Diamond Tiara can attest to...
Trapped in Another World: Lero Michealides' situation to begin with as a resident of Equestria, but he warns his traveling companions that this may befall them as well, once they pass beyond the Hedge. And as of Chapter 5, it does.
Apple Bloom was about to say something when it happened. The walking stick came down and struck the yellow filly across her face with a harsh crack, knocking her to the ground before a hand latched itself around her small throat.