Elements of Discord
Royal Equestrian Intelligence Agent
An MLP:FiM fanfiction by Relative Equinox
Edited by Midnight Shadow
The skies were dark in the area around Ponyville. The super storm from earlier wasn't natural, it couldn't be natural. Scans had picked up some mighty heavy magic signatures emanating from the clouds, but they didn't seem to match any known algorithms that existed within Equestria - or for that matter, any country or nation known by the crown.
The Observers, essentially Equestria's spies, were clandestinely dispatched to scour the city limits for anything suspicious. Pio Neero, one such Observer, was set to lead a small group search out nearby the Everfree Forest's border. Little did he know, trouble was looking for the young former-Nightmare Moon supporter, too.
"Soulstep, run! Go tell the Princesses! I'll distract it!"
Pio Neero yelled at the other Observer as he turned to stand his ground against the whatever-it-was that exuded so much raw power. Soulstep ran off in the direction of Ponyville and Pio Neero readied himself as best he could. He’d been trained for this, it was his duty.
They had gotten a lead, a big lead, on the source of the dark magic that had come from the storm - and it had led them here to the edge of the Everfree Forst. A dark shadow of an alicorn moved out of the shadows towards Pio. He recognized her face; it was Twilight Sparkle, Princess Celestia's protégé who lived in town - it had to be - but she was...different. She’s the source of the power, he realised. Pio felt his heart skip a beat, Where did she get all this power from though? In fear, he looked up at the moon for hope. It shone brightly tonight, that was a good omen at least.
He gulped and bowed his head, "Oh Luna, Princess of Equestria, protector of the good that dwell in your night-" He prayed, fervently, "Grant me, a member of the Eclipsa Family - your loyal servants for hundreds of generations - strength to vanquish this enemy of yours. If I should fail, my lady, grant me forgiveness." He hastily looked back at his backpack and clicked a few buttons on it.
Eclipsa. A family of spies totally loyal to Princess Luna - and during the time that it applied, to Nightmare Moon - for many generations. Known greatly for their use of technology to emulate the Night Magic their Princess used despite being mostly earth ponies, they also showed great fanaticism in their dedication to their sovereign. Those generations of dedication had to pay off here. They just had to. Pio clicked a few buttons on his saddlebag. It began to sparkle in the moonlight and the small, twinkling crystals began spreading across his body. The direct moonlight ran through his pack, through his skin - it made him stong, confident. He dug in his hooves and prepared himself.
The shadow stopped as it got close enough, "Pio Neero. The local brown-nosed, Moon-worshipping spy. About those little slivers of metal you found - they are mine. Give them to me."
Pio's eyes had been wide and staring at the ground in fear, his gaze shot up when Twilight mentioned that. He wasn't usually this scared, it felt like something was trying to pry his body's control away from him. Was this truly..?
"You-you’re T-Twilight Sparkle? Th-the Princess's Protege!?" he stammered, "I-I don't know what you're talking about…" he lied, trying to gather himself and stare his apparent now-enemy in the eye - oh horsefeathers, he swore to himself, that was a horrible mistake. The moment he locked his vision on hers a burning sensation overtook him, it was like he could feel his body melting. The moon's light that had usually made him so powerful and brave could barely be felt.
"Don't lie to me, you fanatical creep. I can sense them…calling to me, coming from you. HOOF THEM OVER, NOW!" she stomped her hooves in frustration, and substantial amounts of Night magic flowed from her as she drew closer. Pio tried his best to stop his legs from shaking and began backing away, desperately trying to think of a solution. He decided to try and stall her.
"Why are you doing this, Twilight? Your friends and Celestia love you and would give you the world if they could-"
"BUT THEY CAN'T!" she hissed angrily, "I do SO much for everypony and I get NOTHING in return! I'll take it - I'll take it myself! I'll kill Celestia and Luna for it if I have to! The Eleme- you know what, you don't need to know. Just…hoof them to me, NOW."
It was obvious that there wouldn't be any waiting left. That comment about 'killing Luna' did not sit well with the religious zealot in Pio's heart, and he straightened his posture, "N-never! I'm not that strong, but I'd die a thousand times rather than let you harm anypony, l-let alone Princess Luna!" he said, scraping at the ground with his hoof and turning a knob on his saddlebag with his mouth. The miniscule crystal shapes became more apparent and spread all over him now.
Twilight tilted her head at his bag, looked up, snickered, then looked back at him, "You really think that the run-off from your little 'Moon Princess' is going to save you?"
Pio ignored her and reared up, "Luna Forever!" he called out before throwing a flashbang grenade-like object at Twilight and disappearing. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. Blinking, she lowered her ears to avoid the effects. She felt a presence behind her as Pio reared and with all his might, brought his front hooves into the alicorn's…block.
She caught his hooves with hers and smiled, "It always DID annoy me how you Eclipsa think you know everything, running around like headless chickens, thinking you’ve covered your tracks so well."
The spy tried to pull away and strike again, but he couldn't get himself off her hooves. Something else was wrong too.
"You shouldn't let Night Magic permeate your body like that." Twilight said with an evil grin. The sparkling crystalline shapes began fading, Pio felt his power being drained. His saddlebag sparked and whirred trying to compensate for the draining power but it was futile. His body began to shake, gradually at first, but with growing intensity, more and more like some cheap gelatine dessert, as the magical strength left him.
Twilight slowly pushed his hooves down as she continued to snarl abuse in his horrified face, "You're Pio Neero, a member of that moon-worshipping family of spies who shamefully follow Luna and constantly lick at her hooves, like dogs begging for scraps, hopeful one day for even the slightest shred of acknowledgement...yet she doesn't even know your stupid little family exists."
The crystalline shapes covering Pio's body were cracking and falling off, piece by piece. He looked up at the moon, the physical symbol and once-abode of the goddess his family had worshipped for generations with a face of disbelief, begging almost. The thought why did you abandon me? ran through his mind as he was forced down to the cold, dirty forest floor.
"And the slightest thought of failing her, even in the most miniscule way, drives you crazy. Oh, that’s not all that’s eating you..." she smiled, evilly, "you have a fillyfriend. How sweet. And there's nothing more you can do to protect her than this. Tsk. Sad. Maybe I’ll visit her next, and her family, and her friends...and there’s nothing you can do to stop me."
Twilight let go of his front hooves and let him fall down in a defeated heap. Shaking like a leaf, the Earth Pony watched as the last few bits of his power crystals chipped away and fell to the ground, where they disappeared. He looked up at his adversary only in time to see her turning around for a rather powerful kick. He took it head-on and went flying backwards, rolling onto his side and tumbling across the ground, bits of silicon and magic dust flying from his destroyed equipment.
"You've taken up more time than you should have." Twilight said, standing over her prey. Her horn glowed, as did the four pieces of metal under his saddlebag on his back. Ripping off his bag, she lifted the small slivers into the air and feasted on what power they had left. She pouted afterwards, "You used up so much of it. Stupid colt. You can have the rest."
Dropping the now-useless pieces of metal onto his broken body, she stepped on his throat, "We can't have you telling of this to anypony, can we?" she said. Pio looked up at her with pathetic eyes begging for mercy. "What's the matter? No witty spy remarks? Oh! Here's one!" she began stepping slowly down on his neck.
No response. She laughed; he wasn't a big catch and his prize was less than satisfactory, but at least she was able to strip one of the proudest ponies in Ponyville of his pride and deny him the soldier's death he wanted so badly. "Rot in the moonlight you so adored in life." she said, unfolding her bat-like wings and taking to the sky, leaving the seemingly lifeless agent to do as she said. She didn't have time for such worthless distractions. She had a world to conquer.