By Mr. Boltitude
(A.K.A Autobot Godzilla)
Nyx ran. She had been running as fast and as hard as she could. The sound of hoofbeats behind her rang in her ears. Tears streamed down her face. Foam lined her sides. She couldn't let anything stop her; It was right behind her. She was out of breath, her chest was on fire. This was it, she was doomed. Then the hoofbeats disappeared. She dared to look behind her. The monster that was chasing her had vanished.
The scared little filly wandered through the wasteland. Her night black coat was matted and ruffled. Her wings were beaten, her feathers torn. The alicorn struggled to regain her strength.
She took in her surroundings. The land was barren and scorched. The sky was blood red and boiling. There wasn't any sign of life, only black rocks, contrasted by a forest of sickly, white, dead trees. She stopped at the base of the largest tree she could find. There was something familiar about this dead lump of wood. When she realized where she was her heart stopped. This was the library. She was home. Everything was gone. She wanted to collapse. She wanted this to end.
Then, one of the trees moved. Nyx looked up. How could one of these trees move? They were petrified, hard as stone. And besides that, there wasn’t any wind. The tree moved again. With growing terror, Nyx realized it wasn’t a tree. It was a stallion, an impossibly tall stallion. His skin was deathly pale. He wore a tattered black suit and red tie, and he had no face. This was the evil that had been chasing her. It walked slowly towards her. She was frozen in place. It grew nearer and nearer. Pressure was growing in her head. With each of its steps the pounding grew worse in her skull.
She had to move. "Move feet, darn it, move!" her thoughts screamed. Finally, her hooves obeyed. She sprinted away, desperately looking for some kind of safety. She ran into a little grove of the skeletal trees. She slowed, the pressure was less intense now. She looked back, the tall pony was a dot on the horizon. She sighed in relief and turned back. The sight she saw nearly stopped her heart. The tall pony was right in front of her. She bolted in the opposite direction. It stepped out from behind a tree in her path. She turned the other way, there he was again. No matter where she ran, he was there.
She just kept running, it was all she could do now. Her hoof caught on a rock, sending her tumbling. She tried desperately to regain her footing, but it was too late. The tall pony was right on top of her. The pressure was unbearable; she was afraid her head would just pop. The tall pony raised its hoof to strike. The little filly closed her eyes and screamed. "Twilight!"
Nyx woke up screaming. Instantly, she was surrounded by warm lavender fur.
"Shh shh shh, everything's okay. I'm right here," came the most comforting voice in the world. Nyx looked up into the loving purple eyes of her adopted mother. The purple unicorn smiled back at her. Twilight Sparkle had been there the whole time, cradling Nyx in her fitful sleep.
"Momma, it was terrible. It felt real," Nyx sobbed.
"But it's over now," Twilight comforted. She nuzzled Nyx's forehead. "C'mon, you want some warm milk?" Nyx gave a little nod.
Twilight lit a candle as they walked downstairs to the kitchen. She put a pan of milk on the stove. "Let's let that heat up for a minute. Now did you have the same dream from before?"
"Almost, there was more this time. I found the library in the wasteland, but it was burned like everything else. It gets worse every night." Nyx hung her head and whimpered.
"Hey now, chin up, Missy." Twilight used her magic to levitate the pan, and poured herself and Nyx two steamy mugs of milk. "Here, maybe this will help calm your mind."
Nyx and Twilight sat in silence sipping their milk. A light rain pitter-pattered against the window. Combined with the milk and the candle light, it had a very soothing effect. Nyx found her eyelids growing heavy.
Nyx licked the last drop out of her cup. She accidentally let a little burp slip out. "S'cuse me. Thank you, Twilight."
"No problem, Nyx. Now go wait for me upstairs and I'll read you a story," Twilight said.
Nyx's face lit up. If there was one thing she loved, it was for Twilight to read her bed time stories. She scampered up the stairs. Twilight smiled at the sight. Then she practically collapsed on the table and groaned.
A small purple dragon poked his head in from the hall. "Did Nyx have another nightmare?" asked Spike.
"You should be asleep," Twilight said.
"You two woke me up. Now, I believe I asked a question."
Twilight sighed. "Yes, she says they're getting worse." She rubbed her temples to fight an oncoming headache.
"It's been over a week, Twilight. Shouldn't we be getting some help?"
"I was hoping I could find a solution on my own, but I've tried just about everything in my psychology books. Well, except for the mind delve, but that's not ever going to be an option for her."
"So what are we gonna do?"
"I'll write to Celestia in the morning. Even if she personally can't help, she'll know somepony that can." Twilight put the mugs and the pan in the sink. She let out a long yawn and headed towards the stairs. "Go back to bed, Spike. I'm going to read to Nyx real quick."
"You know, Twilight, there is one pony who is guaranteed to help us."
Twilight stopped in her place. "You mean him?"
"I'd prefer he stay away from Nyx. Wherever he goes, trouble follows."
Millions of miles away, and a thousand years in the past, a wooden blue box drifted past a crystal moon. Scholars of mid-twentieth century British history would recognize it as a police call box, and they would be wrong. The box was really an alien spaceship, vastly bigger on the inside, disguised as a police box. Inside, a brown stallion frantically flipped switches on the control console.
A grey pegasus with a blonde mane, and a cutie mark of bubbles on her flank, watched as the pony practically sprinted around the room. "Doctor, what's going on?" she asked.
The stallion stopped for a moment. "The phase drivers are acting up again, Derpy. If I can't correct them the whole TARDIS might-"
There was a ghastly grinding noise and everything started to shake. Electrical energy surged throughout the room. A little unicorn filly stumbled into the control room. The static in the room caused her short yellow mane to stand on end "What's going on, Mom?"
"Nothing, Dinky; Daddy's just trying to fix the TARDIS," Derpy answered.
"Well this can only end well," Dinky said sarcastically. She found the nearest seat with a harness and buckled up.
The Doctor hurriedly turned knobs and pressed buttons. "It's okay; I got this. I got this," he assured. Suddenly, a huge jolt nearly sent him and Derpy flying across the ship. "I don't got this! Get ready for a crash landing!"
"Again," Derpy and Dinky sighed.
Brooms and feather dusters floated through the air, suspended in a magical aura. They flitted around the main hall of the library, cleaning away the dust off the bookshelves and furniture. Both Twilight and Spike were sleeping in, so Nyx had decided to surprise them and clean up the library. She was having trouble focusing, however. She couldn't go too fast, or else she might lose control and break something. But she really wanted to finish before Twilight woke up. She decided to stop and take a water break. She surveyed her work, she had gotten more done than she had at first thought. She took a big gulp and used her magic to pick up the brooms.
Nyx had just put the finishing touches on the room, when she noticed something odd. A slight breeze blew through the library, but Nyx hadn't opened any windows. A light appeared for a split second in the hall. Then, it appeared again, accompanied by a strange grinding sound. The wind grew stronger, blowing the books of their shelves and nearly knocking Nyx off her hooves. A big blue box appeared out of thin air. Nyx hid behind a table. She shakily held a broom for protection. She dared a peek at the strange object. It had doors and windows like some kind of house. There were words written on the top of it: POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX.
The doors on the box swung open; thick black smoke billowed out. A brown pony with a spiky mane and an hourglass cutie mark stumbled out of the box. He wheezed and coughed.
"Who are you? How did you get in here?" Nyx demanded.
The strange pony struggled to get his breath between coughs. " *Cough!* *Hack!* Ugh, yes hello, I'm The Doctor. This is the TARDIS, it brought me here.” Nyx thought his accent sounded funny.
Twilight ran into the room. "Nyx, what's going on? Are you-" She stopped when she saw the blue box and the soot covered stallion. "Oh, speak of the devil," she groaned.
"Twilight Sparkle! I see I've crashed into your library again." The Doctor exclaimed.
"Wait, do you know him, Momma?" Nyx asked.
"I used to travel with him in that box," Twilight answered.
"In that little box?" Nyx asked.
"Hold on a minute, did she say momma? Since when did you have a daughter?" The Doctor asked, bewildered.
Just then, a wall eyed pegasus and a small dark lavender filly tumbled out of the TARDIS.
Nyx cocked her head. She thought she recognized these two. The pegasus looked like the town mail-mare, and that filly was her daughter. "Dinky, is that you?" she asked the filly.
The little unicorn regained her breath. "Hey, Nyx, how've you been."
"Wait, you know her?" The Doctor asked.
"Yeah, we go to school together," Dinky answered.
"I didn't know you were travelling with the Doctor, Derpy," said Twilight.
"Well of course I travel with my husband, silly," Derpy replied.
Twilight was blindsided. "Husband?"
"Excuse me, Twilight has a daughter. How am I the only one to not know about this?" The Doctor demanded.
Derpy rubbed her brow with her hoof. "Sweetie, remember when I asked you to go get juice?"
The Doctor smiled sheepishly. One day, Derpy had sent him shopping. He had hopped in the TARDIS to surprise her with some rare Venusian beaver juice. Apparently, something went wrong with his steering, and when he returned, he found he had been gone for over a year. "How many times do I have to say I'm sorry. And that juice was pretty good, you have to admit."
Derpy gave him a dirty look (a quite impressive feat when your eyes look in two different directions).
"Ahem...right, Hello, Nyx was it?" The Doctor greeted.
"Hello, Mr. Doctor," Nyx said cheerfully, yet confused.
"Please, just The Doctor. Now let's have a look at you." The Doctor began prodding Nyx with his hoof. "Right, black coat, purple mane, I don't think I've ever seen eyes like yours on a pony before, so very green." He spun her around and examined her flank. "Your cutie mark seems to be...ah, a shield. What's that mean?"
"Twilight says it means my special talent is protecting other ponies," Nyx explained.
"Oh that's the fun job. Believe me, I should know." The Doctor said. "Only problem is someone somewhere is always in trouble." He poked the horn on her forehead. "Ah, a unicorn just like your mother."
"Doctor, her sides," Twilight pointed out.
"What about her-wha! Wings! You’re an alicorn, Nyx." The Doctor exclaimed. "Twilight, who did you have this child with?"
"She's my adopted daughter."
"How did she end up with you?"
"Now that's a long story."
"Time's not an issue for me."
"And again, husband!" Twilight exclaimed.
Spike ran in from upstairs. "What's all the racket?" He eyed the newcomers and there box. "Oh, it's The Doctor. Wake me up when the monsters, or the robots, or whatever show up," Spike said as he turned back upstairs.
Nyx rummaged through her closet. The adults had sent her and Dinky to play while they had tea in the kitchen. She moved a few boxes and found her old checkers set. She carefully picked it up and blew the dust off the box. "Do you like checkers?"
"It's okay, I guess."
"So...I have some questions," Nyx said as she set up the board.
"Well, what's that blue box thingy, and who's that brown stallion without any sense of personal space?"
Dinky chose to play as the red pieces. Her horn lit up as she made her first move. "That brown stallion is my dad. The blue box is his spaceship and time machine."
Nyx's jaw dropped. "Spaceship?"
"And time machine, and it's your turn."
Nyx moved her checker piece. "So your dad has a box that's really a spaceship, and you and your mom travel with him."
"Sometimes, only if he thinks where he's going isn't dangerous. He's usually wrong about that though."
"It's seems like it get cramped in there."
"I'll let you see the inside for yourself," Dinky said with grin.
They played for several more minutes. Dinky beat Nyx pretty soundly. Nyx just couldn't wrap her mind around what had happened that morning. It had appeared right in front of her, but she still wasn’t sure she wanted to believe in time travelling boxes. Even worse, Twilight had said she had travelled with Dinky's crazy father; that meant she had travelled through space and time. How could her mother have done something like that and never told her? Nyx wasn't entirely sure she was awake, maybe this was all a very weird dream.
"Wait, where did your dad even get a time machine?" Nyx wondered.
"Well he's a Time Lord. They’re sorta all about time machines."
"A Time Lord?" asked Nyx.
"Wait, so he's an alien?"
"We prefer the term Xeno-Equestrian."
Nyx frowned. Now Dinky was just messing with her.
Twilight served coffee and pastries. Derpy nearly exploded with joy at the sight of the plate full of blueberry muffins; the way she gobbled them down frightened Twilight. The Doctor had wished Twilight had served tea, but he decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth.
"So you two are married, huh?" Twilight asked as she took a sip from her teacup. Unfortunately, she hadn't allowed her coffee enough time to cool, and she burnt her lip. She put a napkin to her mouth and did her best to appear nonchalant.
Derpy took hold of The Doctor's hoof; he blushed. "Yep! Nothing brings two ponies together like stopping a Meep invasion," she said.
"Well I guess that explains where Dinky came from," Twilight said.
Derpy wrinkled her face. "You mean you didn't know?"
"No one knew," Twilight answered. Then she realized something. "Hey, wait a minute. You've had Dinky way longer than I've known The Doctor."
"Oh, Twilight, and here I thought you had truly grasped the idea of time travel," The Doctor giggled.
"Still, it's weird knowing your mail-mare and the guy you used to travel with are married, and you knew nothing about it."
"Yes, well, speaking of not knowing things; let's talk about Nyx." said The Doctor expectantly.
Twilight blew on her cup. She carefully took a sip. She closed her eyes and took a deep calming breath. "It all started about a year and a half ago. A crazy cult kidnapped me and dragged me out to the Everfree Forest. They wanted to use a drop of my blood in a spell designed to resurrect Nightmare Moon."
"Oh my, you mean Princess Luna's evil persona, as in separate from Luna?" The Doctor asked.
"Yes, but Celestia found me in time and managed to stop the spell halfway through. But the other half of the spell was already in effect, and Nyx was the result," Twilight explained. "So the cult succeeded in bringing Nightmare Moon back, but they brought her back as a scared little filly with no memory of her past."
"So how did you wind up as her mother?"
"I had dropped my saddlebags in the woods that night. I went back the next morning and found her trapped in a bush, so I took her home, cleaned her, and bandaged her cuts," Twilight said. She stared into her cup; the memories of those early days flooded her head. They made her feel warm and giddy. "I've been doing my best to take care of her ever since."
Twilight helped herself to a cookie. They sat in silence for a few minutes more, chewing at their treats. Derpy started to get antsy.
"Twilight! Tell the rest of the story," Derpy complained.
"I don't think The Doctor really needs to worry about that." Twilight had told him everything she felt he needed to know about Nyx's origins. The Doctor was the last pony she wanted to have a doubt about her.
"But she saved Dinky and me from a monster!" Derpy pleaded.
Twilight groaned. Derpy wasn't going to let this go very easily. "Doctor, all you need to know is that Nyx is my daughter, and she's the sweetest filly in the world."
"But Twi-" Derpy tried to reason.
The Doctor cut her off. "Muffin, let's not pressure poor Twilight here. I can go back and check for myself later."
"Okay," Derpy relented.
"Thank you, Derpy." Twilight said.
She was about to take another sip when a thought occured to her, one she wasn't sure she liked. She had planned to ask Celestia for help with Nyx, but here was The Doctor back in her life. If anypony could help Nyx with her problem, he could. Unfortunately, it seemed anytime The Doctor became involved in anything, things always took a turn for the worst (and ridiculous). She sighed. Against her better judgement, Twilight decided it was worth the risk. "Actually, Doctor, there is one more thing you should know about Nyx."
"For the past week she's been having very vivid nightmares, and they get worse each night," she explained.
"Well, I might have a solution for that," The Doctor said.
"Really, one that isn't dangerous?" Twilight asked cautiously.
"Oh no, we just need to take her to the Singing Lakes. If you spend the night there, you'll sleep peacefully for the next two years."
"I've never heard of that place. Where is it?"
"It's north up the mountains, just a few miles outside of Canterlot.
"Well that doesn't sound so ba-"
"And ten thousand years in the future."
"Please no TARDIS rides, Doctor," Twilight said angrily.
"It's not dangerous."
"Is what you say right before the monsters show up."
Derpy scarfed down her last muffin. She always felt a slight sense of loss whenever she reached the last muffin. "Don't worry, Twilight. The Doctor doesn't go to dangerous places while Dinky's onboard."
"Never takes me anywhere fun is more like it," Dinky mumbled as she and Nyx trotted down the stairs. They had been eavesdropping for quite awhile now.
Nyx tugged at Twilight's tail. "Momma, can he really help with the nightmares?"
Twilight grinned. Nyx couldn't help but notice how tired she looked. "Doctor," Twilght began, "Can I talk with Nyx in private for a bit?"
"Right, I need to fix the TARDIS phase drives anyway." The Doctor ran inside his box and returned with Derpy's saddlebag. "Here, Honey, take DInky and get some more muffins."
Derpy was nearly jumping with excitement. She kissed The Doctor on the cheek, then grabbed Dinky Doo and ran out the front door. Wow, thought Nyx, that mare really likes muffins. The Doctor braved the smoke and ventured back into the TARDIS.
They were alone now. Twilight took another sip of coffee. "So do you really want to go with him?" she asked.
"I think we both want a full night's rest," Nyx answered.
Boy that was true. Twilight looked out the window. The sunlight gently streamed into the room. She closed her eyes and tried to gather her thoughts.
"Why didn't you tell me you travelled with The Doctor?"
"I honestly didn't think he'd ever come back."
"You said stuff about danger and monsters."
Twilight took another sip. "I did."
"Is The Doctor a bad pony? Is he dangerous?" Nyx didn't like the idea of her mother zipping around the universe with a bad pony.
"No, he's a very good pony; he tries to help everypony he meets, but the problems he helps ponies with are usually very big and dangerous. And they usually shoot lasers." Twilight gulped down the last of her coffee. "That's why I didn't want you to know about him. If you did you would probably want to go with him."
Nyx scratched her forehead in thought. "I don't know whether that makes me mad or thankful."
"It was probably wrong of me to keep it a secret from you, and I'm sorry. Like I said, I didn't think I would ever have to deal with it."
The Doctor poked his head out of the TARDIS. "Alright, are you done? Because I just finished in here. Turns out a potato crisp got stuck in one of the actuators."
"We're done, Doctor. We can leave as soon as Derpy and Dinky get back," Twilight said. Nyx's eyes went wide and she smiled.
Derpy and Dinky returned about an hour later, muffin crumbs adorned their lips. They were content.
Nyx had packed her saddle bags. She didn't know what lay ahead of her, but if she needed a scarf or sunglasses, she was ready. She stood in front of the TARDIS door. She gathered her courage and walked inside. Then, she ran back out. She checked all around the walls outside the box. This was impossible, it had to be some kind of trick. There was no way this thing could be bigger on the inside. All the other ponies giggled.
"I love it whenever they see the inside for the first time," Derpy grinned.
They all went inside the box, Nyx a little slower than the rest. They entered a large, roughly circular, control room. Several big screens lined the walls, displaying complicated graphs and charts. A large glass cylinder sat in the center of the room, gears and motors whirred within. A mess of levers, buttons, and switches surrounded the base of the cylinder. The whole room was bathed in soft orange and blue lights. This was crazy, Nyx thought.
Twilight looked around the room. The Doctor had redecorated. Wait, were they forgetting something? "Oh my gosh, we almost forgot Spike. Hold on a sec, Doctor."
Twilight ran up to the bedroom. Spike was napping in his little bed. Twilight giggled when she saw he was drooling. She gave him a gentle nudge. "Spike, c'mon, we're going with The Doctor."
Spike rubbed his eyes. "Ugh, count me out."
"Last time I went with The Doctor, I nearly had my brain put in a giant robot scorpion. Now please let me get back to sleep."
Twilight returned to the TARDIS. The Doctor was wildly pulling levers on the control panel. Dinky was showing Nyx around the place. Twilight didn't ever think she would return here.
"Now, if we're all ready," The Doctor said as he flipped a red switch. The engines roared to life. "Here we go!" The ship gave a gentle shake.
"Did we take off?" Nyx asked.
"We're already there," The Doctor answered. "Outside, you'll find yourself ten thousand years in the future, Equestria's golden age. The most peaceful and advanced period in your planet's history. Go on, take a look."
Nyx bounded for the exit. She opened the door and stepped out. Seconds later, everyone in the room heard a horrible scream.
Twilight raced out towards her daughter, Everyone else followed. Outside the TARDIS was a wasteland. The ground was scorched and the sky was red. The smell of sulfur hung heavy in the air. The Doctor's jaw dropped.
Nyx started to hyperventilate. She was too scared to cry. Twilight embraced her in her forelegs. "This is the place," Nyx said. "This is the place from my dreams. It's real."
Away, in a forest of dead and whitened trees, a tall faceless pony in a black suit stood unnoticed. It silently watched the little party.
Big BIG thanks to Pen Stroke for allowing me to use Nyx, and for suffering through the rough draft of this chapter. If you found this to be even slightly readable, it was thanks to his advice.
Art Done as a Commission By Valcron
What else can you be
when the world can only see
Pre-read and edited by:
ActionScripter - Nightsong - Lightsideluc
Kim Fluttershy Dykas - Vimbert - Var/Varanus - Cloudvent/Filler
Dedicated to my loving aunt.
Among the first to encourage me to write.
She passed away while this story was being written.
She was a 3rd grade teacher, a mother, a wife, and a dear aunt,
And I will miss her greatly.
Amidst dim candlelight, a single unicorn sat with his head bent down, eyes shut. He sat alone at the edge of a still pond, his reflection dancing in the water. The pond was nestled deep within Everfree Forest, the darkened trees and gnarled branches surrounding all sides like silent sentinels.
While most of Equestria had just shifted into spring, Everfree was still gripped by clinging bits of winter. Snow covered the ground and there was a lingering chill in the air. The unicorn’s hot breath left puffs of steam to curl and rise for a few seconds before disappearing into the night.
For a long while, the unicorn had sat in the utter silence on the edge of the pond, with only a few nearby candles for company. The light from the tiny, flickering flames fell upon his black coat, though it wasn’t his natural color. No, his whole body, mane included, had been dyed the deepest black possible. Even his cutie mark had been covered by the dyes, his flank appearing utterly blank.
Only the quiet sounds of the forest were audible, the creaking of the trees and shifting of the pond water. It was a scene of tranquility the unicorn needed to prepare for the task of the evening. Yet, as he took in another deep breath and released it, hoofsteps began to echo across the trees.
“Nexus, we’re ready when you are.”
The black unicorn, Spell Nexus, took in another breath, turquoise eyes opening as he turned to look at the pony who had approached him from behind. “I will be along shortly.”
The pony who had interrupted nodded, disappearing back into the forest. After waiting for the hoofsteps to fade into silence, Nexus lit his horn. As his magic flowed, he reached to his side with the arcane energy, levitating a number of items into the air.
“Our queen, guide me this night,” Nexus said as he turned his gaze skyward, “for it is beneath this full moon that our efforts come to fruition.”
Nexus spoke the words slowly, his voice carrying the tone of a pony well practiced in preaching, whose words could inspire the loyalty of his brothers and sisters. A voice that had drawn great minds and strong bodies to the cause, though at the moment he was speaking only to himself.
The black dyed unicorn lowered his head and touched a hoof to his chest as he said, “Let me be merely a vessel for your will and strength until the deed is done.”
The levitating items drew close to him: a cape of midnight blue with white stars all across its surface, a chest plate, comprised of grayish purple metal, with a turquoise crescent moon set in its center, horseshoes to match the chest piece, and an armored plate for the back of his neck.
“Let me bear your mane,” Nexus spoke as he drew the cape over his back, “both powerful and beautiful, a depiction of the endless sky. Let me stand in uniform,” he continued as the armor began to secure itself to his body, “in the armor that pays tribute to your image and greatness. Let me be your agent this night, for it is you I serve above all others.”
The final piece of armor levitated towards Nexus, a helmet made of the same metal as the chest piece. The unicorn guided the helm carefully, bringing it down across his horn as it fit snugly onto his head.
“May your power be with me, for, tonight, you shall breathe and taste the cool night air for yourself,” Nexus spoke as he rose to his hooves. “You shall look upon the world with eyes of your own, and no longer be forced to share a body with a weak foal as you have in the past. Tonight, you shall be your own mare, never again to be threatened by the Elements of Harmony.”
Nexus stood, looking at his reflection in the pond. He now appeared the ultimate doppelganger of his mistress, taking on the visage of an eager acolyte, ready to receive her power and knowledge. Through the efforts of him and his group, they would see their queen rise again. Yet it was only he that was allowed to look so much like the queen, to lead the spell that was about to be cast. It was his place of honor, one no pony would steal from him.
“Tonight, Nightmare Moon, your followers shall grant you a life of your own, and the tyrants of sun and moon shall fall.”
Mentally prepared, Nexus turned and began to walk into the forest, following the trail that connected the pond to another part of the Everfree. Another clearing, which came into view quickly and was occupied by several unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies moving about the space as they constantly checked their work.
The ground had been cleared of snow, though a few piles were left dotted about the space. On both the exposed ground and on the piles of snow there were wooden bowls filled with oil soaked powders. Paint had been used upon the ground to draw arcane lines of power, and in the air above cloaked pegasi worked to gather clouds, pushing them together to hide the clearing from prying, sky-bound eyes.
All the ponies Nexus saw wore the black cloak of the order except for three, who stood giving orders: a pair of pegasi and an earth pony. They, like Nexus, wore the honored armor, though he alone wore the flowing, star field cape and the helmet, vestments only he had the honor of wearing.
“How close are we, Night Wind?” Nexus asked as he approached the trio.
“Cloud cover is almost complete, and the pegasi only need a few minutes to get their bowls,” the dark purple pegasus answered, staring back at Nexus with her turquoise eyes, a sign of the order. Through the work of a spell, Nexus blessed each of the Children of Nightmare. It was a blessing that carried enlightenment along with special eyes, which bore their majesty’s regal turquoise color.
“Good,” Nexus said before turning to the earth pony, “Stonewall, do you have the items?”
“They have not left my sight since our departure from Canterlot, Nexus,” the earth pony replied, motioning to the bowl that was currently resting on his back.
“And Gray Gale, is our special guest awake?”
“Oh yeah, she just woke up,” the gray pegasus of the trio answered, talking far more casually. “And boy is she scared!”
“That’s because you told her Stonewall would snap off her horn if she tried to escape,” Night Wind snipped.
“Hey, it kept her from trying anything,” Gray Gale defended.
“She couldn’t try anything even if she wanted to. She’s got an anti-magic brace on her neck.”
“You have all done well,” Nexus spoke, stopping the argument before it could go any further. “But now we must all take our places. Stonewall, take the sacred items to the center of the ritual. Gray Gale, Night Wind, prepare your torches and head to the sky.”
The three nodded, going to their assigned tasks while Nexus turned his attention to one side of the clearing. There, lying on the ground, was a pony, hogtied with rope and a cloth bag over her head.
Treading carefully, Nexus moved between the wooden bowls and approached the hogtied pony. When he was a few steps away, the cult leader used his magic to remove the bag. The unicorn captive was now fully visible, her violet coat dirty in a few places from the fact she was lying on the ground. Her darker purple mane was a mess as she looked up at Nexus in fear, undoubtedly noticing the resemblance the unicorn had with a certain fallen princess.
“I’m so happy you were able to join us this evening, Miss Sparkle,” Nexus whispered as he looked down at the purple pony.
“Who are you? What are you going to do to me?” Twilight asked in a panicked squeak, just barely managing to find her voice as she struggled at the ropes around her legs. She had likely tried to use her magic to escape, but she was not just bound physically: a metal brace, secured around the unicorn’s neck, kept her from making use of her magic.
“Inquisitive, though I should expect no less from Celestia’s star pupil,” Nexus replied, his horn glowing as he picked Twilight off the ground. With the unicorn floating in his magic, Nexus walked back towards the center of the clearing. There, the earth pony Stonewall had set up a metal pedestal, upon which he had placed the wooden bowl from his back.
“What we have planned for you, Twilight Sparkle, is very simple. As to who we are... well, consider us simply the loyal servants of Equestria’s true queen, her regal majesty Nightmare Moon.”
“Are you crazy!?” Twilight asked, twisting a bit as she was carried upside down by Nexus’s magic. “Nightmare Moon is gone. How can you serve somepony who is gone?”
“It is much easier than you think, Miss Sparkle. I will not, however, spoil the surprise. For the moment, all you need to know is that your... contribution is appreciated,” Nexus replied as he placed the bag back over Twilight’s head, securing it tightly and placing a sound dampening spell across the fabric. The mare continued to protest, despite the fact her words were muffled by the spell-infused bag.
Leaving Twilight floating in the air, Nexus walked over to the metal pedestal. He examined the contents of the wooden bowl set upon the tall, narrow metal table, eyes glinting in anticipation. Inside the bowl were curled shreds of what looked like paper, but they were a purple color and one of the pieces had a big turquoise crescent moon on its surface.
He then turned his attention to a dagger resting beside the bowl, picking it up with his magic. The stallion then looked back at Twilight, who continued to twist, flail, and shout muffled protests. He drew close to Twilight, and, after lowering her a little closer to the ground, Nexus proceeded to give the mare a swift kick in the stomach.
The kick quickly made Twilight stop flailing, the unicorn hanging limply in Nexus’s magic as she tried to catch the breath that had been knocked out of her lungs. In the moment Twilight hung motionlessly, Nexus drew the dagger’s blade across part of Twilight's leg, leaving a very shallow wound. It was no worse than a paper cut, but it brought muffled screams of panic from the unicorn, as if he had done far worse.
The wound began to bleed gently, a few drops of blood weeping out. Nexus set the dagger against the wound, gathering several drops of blood on the blade before placing it into the wooden bowl with Nightmare Moon’s remains.
“Yes, steal the life from the blood of the bearer the of Element of Magic. Let it give you strength, so that you may shed the rest of her blood with your own hooves, ” Nexus whispered. He then levitated Twilight back to the edge of the clearing, and dropped her unceremoniously at the base of a tree before approaching the metal pedestal.
Slowly, Nexus drew in a breath, releasing it and watching the puff of steam escape into the night air. Then, with one final deep breath, the unicorn leader looked out across the rest of the Children of Nightmare, his voice echoing across the trees as he preached to his fellows.
“Brothers and Sisters, for months, we have toiled in secrecy. We worked behind the backs of the guards and tyrant princesses, putting our own safety at risk. Personal fortunes have been spent along with many hours to bring us to this point. But now we are ready; the spell is prepared.
“Tonight we, the Children of Nightmare, shall see our queen given life, blood, and form of her own.
“Once, she and Luna were one and the same, but the Elements of Harmony could not destroy what our queen was. No, that power could only peel her away from the weak foal Luna, could only trap her essence in these precious shreds. It was a horrible fate, but it is because of the Elements of Harmony’s inability to destroy our queen that we can stand here tonight.
“For tonight, this spell will give the essence of our queen life of its own. Never again shall she be shackled to the meek Princess Luna, and, with our aid, she will come to rule all of Equestria within a year of her tragic defeat.
“Now lend your magic to the spell, for the time of our victory is at hoof!” Nexus called out, rearing back triumphantly before slamming his fore-hooves into the ground.
“Let Nightmare Moon be born anew!”
The cult members quickly went about their work. The unicorns formed a circle around the clearing, their horns glowing as the lines of paint they had drawn on the forest floor came to life with a blue incandescence. Stonewall, one of the few earth ponies walked around the circle and, with a torch, lit the bowls filled with oil soaked powders, which burned with an eerie blue flame. As the fires grew, the air in the clearing became so thick with magic it was almost tangible.
Above the ritual, the cloaked pegasi cult members also held bowls of burning powder. With torches of their own, the armored Gray Gale and Night Shade flew around to light the bowls kept aloft above the clearing.
When all the bowls were lit, Nexus used his magic to take the fire from one, gently holding it in the air and keeping the flickering flame alive. He brought the fire over the bowl containing the shreds of Nightmare Moon and the bloodied dagger, and then dropped the flame inside.
The contents burst into flame almost instantly, Nexus quickly retreating to the edge of the circle to join his fellow unicorns. There, they all began to twist and form the magic in the air, working like potters with clay. They shaped the free magic, molded it, and began to force it down into the bowl that contained the shreds of Nightmare Moon.
After a few anxious moments, Nexus saw what he had hoped for; the blood soaked dagger started to float above the fire. The blood was drawn up from the dagger by the spell and formed into a single crimson sphere before the dagger itself was launched away, its polished metal surface sinking deep into a nearby tree.
Black smoke billowed from the central bowl, the shreds of Nightmare Moon starting to burn. The smoke began to form and swirl around the large drop of blood. The fires from the wooden bowls were drawn in, swirling and orbiting the spell’s focal point like water in a whirlpool.
The drop of blood became encased in a black sphere, and that black sphere began to slowly grow. It drew in the fire and smoke and everything, and grew larger with each passing moment.
“Yes... it is working my brothers and sisters. She is beginning to take shape. Our queen shall soon be-”
The cult ponies jumped probably a foot in the air when a single bolt of lightning raced down from the sky and struck the very center of the spell, sundering the metal podium and wrapping the drop of blood, the shreds of Nightmare Moon, and the wooden bowl in crimson flames.
Eyes turned upward to the source of the lightning; the cloud cover the cult’s pegasi had carefully placed was blown back as a full battalion of royal guards flew down from the sky.
“FREEZE! YOU ARE ALL UNDER ARREST!!!” several of the guards shouted as dozens of other gold armored pegasi landed in the center of the clearing. Still, not a single pony froze, the cultists instead charging the guards in an all out assault.
Nexus stood flabbergasted, watching as the center of the spell and the precious shreds of Nightmare Moon were destroyed. All their plans, decimated by a single surge of magical lightning: lightning that could only have come from one source.
Turning his eyes skyward, Nexus glared at the next figure to float down through the hole in the clouds. With a single flash of her horn, the figure brushed away the rest of the cloud cover like froth from a cup of hot cocoa.
“Celestia...” Nexus forced out through gritted teeth, his turquoise eyes locked on the sun princess as she floated down amidst the fighting, casting back anypony that dared attack her with barely a flick of her horn. Inside him, a hatred billowed. Every fiber of Nexus’s being wanted him to attack, to smite down the sun princess for daring to interrupt the ritual, but he knew better.
“Don’t think you’ve won today, Sun Tyrant. You have merely delayed me at best,” Nexus hissed, his own horn starting to glow. Gray Gale, Night Wind, Stonewall, and a number of cultists gathered near Nexus as magic flowed from the unicorn’s horn. The group then seemed to disappear into thin air, though a number of hoofprints took shape in the soft ground as the now invisible cultists fled into the Everfree Forest.
“Have you apprehended all involved?” the sun princess asked, her eyes locked on the guard that stood before her.
Celestia currently sat in the Ponyville library. After rescuing Twilight, the princess had taken her student home and sent her straight to bed. Twilight resisted a bit, but, after going through such a stressful situation, it didn’t take much to get the unicorn to fall asleep. Celestia had turned the library into a base of operations, keeping guard of her student personally while having her guards bring their reports to her.
“We have captured a great number of those involved, but we believe some were able to escape by using magic to disguise themselves,” the guard reported, head bowed respectfully to the alicorn. “We followed their tracks but they eventually ended, as if they realized their mistake and corrected it before we could catch them. Still, we are continuing to search the forest with the aid of the zebra that reported your student’s ponynapping.”
“Yes, Zecora. Please make sure that she is properly thanked for all she has done this evening. Also, please extend to her an invitation to the palace so that she may join Luna and I for dinner on an evening of her choosing.”
“Of course, Princess,” the guard answered as he raised his head. “Though, if I may ask, what were these ponies trying to do?”
“I do not know,” Celestia admitted. “All we were able to get from the information we gathered prior to this night was that something was going to happen, and that Twilight had her head covered by a thick sack for most of her ponynapping. She doesn’t know enough for us to ascertain this group’s purpose.”
“What about the spell?”
“The spell is not something I recognize. If it is from a book or ancient scroll, then I have not read of it, but it could just as easily be a new spell. A ritual crafted for a specific purpose, though that purpose still remains to be unearthed. Make sure that the details of the spell itself remain preserved; it will need to be studied.”
The guard snapped into a salute. “Of course, Princess. We will gather any evidence at the scene and have it taken to the castle until such time it can be examined.”
“Good. I have no doubt that the spell’s purpose was dark, and I will not stand for my student being threatened,” Celestia said, her eyebrows furrowing with determination. “I want the truth of this revealed, Captain, with all haste.”
“Of course, Your Majesty.”
The unicorn guards searched the area, sweeping it with their magic to try and detect anything left behind. What remained of the wooden bowls were gathered and any unburnt powder was collected together into a single bag. Everything and anything that was not natural to the Everfree Forest was taken from the clearing, though the guards did not extend their search into bordering trees and bushes once it became clear the ritual’s radius ended at the treeline.
All that was gathered was loaded into a waiting chariot, and once the unicorns were finished, the pegasi hitched to the chariot took flight. They rose quickly into the sky before banking towards Canterlot as the unicorns below watched their fellow soldiers until they vanished beyond the treetops.
“All right stallions, let’s go join the groups searching the forest for any of the cult members that might have escaped,” the lieutenant directing the clean-up ordered. “Give higher priority to any that appear to be unicorns; one of them used some kind of crazy magic to get away, and we don’t want that to happen a second time.”
“Sir, shouldn’t some of us remain here?” one of the soldiers spoke up, a newer recruit to the royal guard.
“What for?” the lieutenant snapped, glaring down the soldier that dared to question his orders.
“To guard the crime scene, Sir,” the younger soldier replied, standing in staunch attention as the lieutenant walked right up to him.
“No, we’ve gathered everything of importance.”
“But what if the cultists come back, Sir?”
“Listen close, ‘cause I’ll say this only once,” the lieutenant snapped, glaring down the overly vocal soldier. “Any criminal worth his salt will get as far away from the scene of his crime as possible. These ponies are crazy, but they’re not stupid. They won’t be coming back.”
The younger guard opened his mouth to speak, but the lieutenant continued on, ignoring him. “Besides that, this isn’t the central park in Canterlot. Everfree is dangerous. There are monsters in here that could eat a pony twice my size in a single gulp, armor and all. This isn’t a place where we want to spend any more time than necessary.
“But, if you want to stay here and guard the scene of the crime, be my guest. Just watch out for the hydras,” the veteran guard concluded, beginning to walk out of the clearing. The rest of the soldiers followed behind him, heading out into the forest to join the search. Only the guard who had spoken up did not move, remaining in the clearing as the others disappeared amongst the trees.
He remained there for a minute at best before the lieutenant’s words got to him. The soldier broke into a gallop as he left the clearing, sprinting to catch up with his comrades.
Still, the magic that lingered in the air like a heavy mist began to shift, sparkling in the cool night air as it was drawn to one side of the clearing. There, hidden away by a bush, a black sphere lay amongst the dirt. A sphere which was cast away from the center of the spell by Celestia’s bolt of lighting.
The tiny black ball was nestled into a crook of the cold ground, and from there it drew in the lingering magic, like a magnet attracting metal. It pulled in the energy, and with each ounce it absorbed, it grew larger.
Then, when the sphere had doubled its size, it pulsed. That pulse caused the tiny drops of blood to weep from pores in the sphere’s surface. It was blood had been harvested at the edge of a dagger only moments before, but now it was black and gooey. The life had been drained from the blood, and it was now being discarded like trash.
With each pulse, the sphere excreted more of the dead blood, which formed a smear on the ground. Then, when none of the used blood remained, the sphere’s pulsing shifted. It became a weak, but distinct pattern. A pitter-patter that lived in the chest of almost every living creature: a heart beat. All the while, the sphere continued to grow larger, continued to draw in the magic of the clearing, and continued the process begun by the spell Celestia had interrupted.
Questions, Comments, Concerns?
My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic © Hasbro
I do not own the intellectual properties this fan-fiction is based on.
Things Get Complicated
"Everyone get back in the TARDIS," ordered The Doctor. He bounded towards the blue doors. His hoof was on the handle when he heard Twilight's voice.
"Doctor, can I talk to you for a minute?" she asked.
The Doctor turned around. "What is it, Twilight? I need to-" He was cut short when Twilight delivered a vicious hay maker to his jaw. He stumbled to the ground, sharp pain ripping through his face.
"WHAT THE HAY, DOCTOR!" Twilight boomed in a near growl. Her breathing was heavy; she was practically foaming at the mouth.
Derpy rushed to her husband. "Doctor!"
"It's okay, Derpy, we're all okay. Twilight, Nyx, I am so sorry. I didn't know this would happen. Please get back in the TARDIS." The Doctor begged.
Twilight looked into The Doctor's eyes, and her anger began to turn into alarm. He was scared, very scared. She offered her hoof to the time pony and helped him off the ground.
"We good?" he asked.
"No, but I apologize for hitting you," Twilight responded. She levitated Nyx onto her back and trotted back into the blue box.
Derpy examined the growing red welt that now adorned The Doctor's face. "Wow, it seems like somepony might be holding a bit of a grudge. What did you do to her?" she asked.
The Doctor brushed the black dirt of his coat. "I think it be best for everypony if Twilight revealed that on her own time. Anyway, back in the ship you two." He pointed to the door with his hoof.
Dinky was flabbergasted. "Wait, we're just leaving? Dad, you never want to just leave. You always have to look around first, usually until some bad guy captures us."
"Hey, I've only let that happen thrice, and I never would have let you come-"
"-If you knew it was dangerous. Yes, Dad, I know."
"Hey, don't get smart. Now, in the ship." He once again pointed at the door. Dinky obeyed. Her father wasn't acting like himself, and that was never a good sign.
"Doctor, what's wrong?" Derpy asked.
The Doctor furrowed his brow. "I don't know."
Nyx buried her head in Twilight's fur. She whimpered softly as Twilght rocked her back and forth. Derpy and The Doctor stepped into the ship.
The Doctor rushed to the control console and pulled a small computer monitor in front of him. It flickered to life as The Doctor furiously mashed buttons and pulled levers. A set of coordinates and a date appeared on the screen. The Doctor's ears fell. "Oh that's bad. That is seriously very not good." He ran his hoof through his mane. "Twilight Sparkle, a moment?"
Twilight looked down at her daughter. "I'll be right back, ‘kay?" She got up and met The Doctor at the control console. He whispered something in her ear. "Okay," she said with a nod.
Dinky came up to Nyx and put her hoof on Nyx's shoulder. "You okay?"
Nyx brushed away a remnant tear. She took a deep, mucussy breath to try to regain her composure. "I'll be fine."
"Please don't hate my dad or me for this. Sometimes this old junker goes wonky on us; it takes us places we don't want to go," Dinky explained, tapping her hoof on the glass floor.
"You guys were just trying to help, but please just take me home now," Nyx sulked.
The Doctor had been listening in on the fillies' conversation. "Your wish is my command, Nyx," he announced. He pranced wildly about the controls. He put his hoof on a big lever with an eight ball knob on the end. "I flip this switch and va-vooooom, ooohh, oh, that was a close one."
"What is it, Doctor?" Derpy asked.
"I need to set this location as an anchor point," The Doctor explained.
"A sort of link between this time zone and the TARDIS' engines, in case we need to come back."
Nyx's breathing quickened. "Why would we ever want to come back here?" she asked as fresh tears began to form.
"Oh no no, don't worry Nyx. It's just standard time travel procedure, something I do every time we're about to leave somewhere."
Derpy frowned and cocked her head. "Doctor, you've never-"
She was cut off when the Doctor began to cough sonorously. "*Hack* We'll *Cough* ta-ha-alk when *Wheeze* *Cough* *Hack* Nyx is go-ha-ne." He cleared his throat. "Right, sorry, had a tickle. Now then, let's take you home." He flipped the eight ball lever.
Suddenly, the ship began take shake terribly. Trails of steam erupted from the edges of the room. The lights dimmed and turned red. The shaking grew worse and worse.
Dinky and Nyx held on to each other for dear life. "Oh no! Not again!" Dinky shouted.
Nopony knew how long the shaking went on for, it stopped just as suddenly as it began. Derpy's limbs felt like jelly and she stumbled across the room.
"Everyone alright?" asked The Doctor. He checked the monitor, only to find the screen black.
"Honestly, I kind of want to do that again," Nyx chimed.
Twilight took a shaky step forward. "I think I'm going to be sick." No sooner had the words left her mouth, than she put a hoof to her mouth to plug the oncoming rush of stomach contents.
The Doctor reached into a compartment under the console and produced a small plastic bag. "Here," he said, "consider yourself lucky. On most worlds, equines don't have the ability to relief their digestive systems in an emergency."
"Dad, what happened? That was worse than this morning," Dinky said.
The Doctor pressed every button he could find, but the monitor refused to turn on. One of these days he was going to have to sit down and actually learn how these controls worked. "Bah! The scanner's died. Derpy, sweetie, see if we've landed."
Derpy opened the doors. Sunlight flooded the dim room, causing her to squint. A cool breeze came through the entrance. "It looks like we made it back to Ponyville."
"Excellent!" The Doctor exclaimed. "Now, Nyx, pack your bags and go get our little dragon friend."
"What?" Nyx pondered.
"We're going to stay with Princess Celestia in Canterlot for a few days," Twilight answered.
"Why?" asked Nyx.
"The Doctor was just about to explain that to me. I need you to go to the Library and pack; I have a feeling I might say some words to The Doctor I don't want you to hear. Oh, and have Spike send a message to the Princess telling her we're coming." Twilight reached down and gave her daughter a farewell hug and kiss.
Nyx found it hard to believe that, just minutes ago, she had been walking through her nightmares. Here was Ponyville like it always was, with its wooden cottages and straw roofs, welcoming her back as if this morning had just been another dream. The sun was shining bright, its warmth felt great on her coat. The TARDIS had landed just half a block away from Sugar Cube Corner, the local bakery. The Library was just a five minute walk away.
Dinky came running after her. "Wait wait! Let me come too."
"You sure? I'm just packing."
"Between helping you pack or having to listen to Dad drone on about neutron flow this and time vortex that, I'll go with option A. Besides, we've never really hung out before; maybe this could be the start of a great friendship, or we might end up as mortal enemies. Let's find out, shall we?"
The two made their way down the street. As they passed Sugar Cube Corner, Dinky happened to peek up at the window. A sign proudly displaying the words: "Muffin Sale, All Muffins 75% Off!" hung there.
"Oh wow, I know what I said about hanging out and friendship and stuff, but, um, muffins," Dinky said, shifting nervously.
"Go ahead, but you and your mother have a serious addiction going on there," Nyx called out. Dinky didn't hear her, she had already disappeared into the pink building.
Nyx grinned and continued on her way. There weren't many ponies out today, not unusual for a Sunday afternoon. What was unusual was the fact that Nyx didn't recognize anypony she saw. Some looked familiar, but when she saw a filly she thought she knew, it turned out to be a colt. This happened three times before she reached the Library door. A small but steadily growing sense of unease started chewing at the back of Nyx's mind. She shook it off and stepped inside.
Finally home! It felt so good to be back in the Library. The fallen books and papers from this morning had been picked up, Spike must have cleaned the place once he had gotten out of bed. She tread quietly; when dragons are babies they can take up to five naps a day, and Spike was most certainly not an exception.
She didn't want to pack. She just wanted to draw a hot bath, then eat a big bowl of celery soup. She sighed, then made her way up the stairs to her room.
She came to her door and stopped. Her drawing was gone. The crayon drawing of Spike, Twilight, and herself she had made when she first came to the Library, wasn't on her door. She burst into her room. All her belongings were gone. Her bed had been replaced by a writing desk, and her toy chest had been replaced by a bookshelf. All her pictures were gone, as were her books.
A voice came from behind her. "Um, excuse me, little filly, the Library's closed today. And even if it wasn't, this area is private."
Nyx whirled around. A baby dragon stood behind her. She looked like a copy of Spike; the only real differences were her eyes being slightly bigger, and her skin was a slightly darker shade of purple.
The little reptile's eyes widened in shock. "A-a-Anarchy?" she stammered.
Nyx briefly wondered what this dragon had against regular government. Then, a conclusion clicked in Nyx's brain. Rage built in her belly and she gritted her teeth. Her eyes shown white with energy. "Burglar!" she roared. Raw magical power surged through her horn, and she brought her wings to full spread. "You have fifteen seconds to get out of my home!"
The dragon recoiled and then sprinted down the hall. "Dusk! Dusk!" she called in a panic. Nyx was hot on her tail.
Now Nyx is very intelligent for her age, and had she been thinking properly, she might have stopped to wonder why a burglar would replace all their stolen items with different items. Unfortunately, Nyx was very tired and had had a very rattling day, so she was not thinking properly.
The Doctor laid underneath the TARDIS control console, goggles over his eyes and a metallic, cylindrical, very noisy device in his mouth, tinkering with a jumbled mess of wires.
"Alrighty, Doctor, I think it's time you start explaining. What happened this morning, and why do Nyx and I have to stay with Celestia?" Twilight demanded.
The Doctor spat out his sonic screwdriver. "First off, what do you think happened this morning?"
"I don't know! That's what I'm asking you for," Twilight bemoaned.
Derpy put her hoof to her chin. "If I had to guess, I'd say the TARDIS landed in the wrong time period again."
"That's what I thought too, until I checked the scanner. We arrived at exactly the point in time I intended us to go, barring three seconds," explained The Doctor. He pulled himself out from under the controls and sat up. "We came to the right time, but everything about it was wrong. Something has changed the timeline and I didn't sense it."
"So what changed it?" Derpy asked.
The Doctor took a deep breath and slowly exhaled as he ran his hoof though his mane. "I have absolutely no idea. I can see the ebb and flow of time, the past, present and possible futures, that's why I'm called a Time Lord. But something must have found some sort of blind spot in my vision, because the time-stream was changed from right under my nose. And honestly, ladies, any force with that kind of power over the vortex frightens me, a lot."
Dinky sat slumped over a table. A sign on the bakery counter, reading: Out of muffin ingredients, back in five minutes, taunted her. She had counted the seconds, she had been sitting there for seven minutes, and not a sign of the owners, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, or their crazy assistant. She was just about to give up and leave, when she heard a crash from the kitchen.
"Hello, is everything all right back there?" she called.
A frizzy mess of pink fur stumbled out through the swinging doors, a picture of three balloons on its hind quarters. Dinky was overjoyed to see the Cake's assistant.
"Pinkie Pie, my good mare. Would you please get me two blackberry muffi-"
"Dinky!" Pinkie Pie shouted ecstatically, "I'm so super glad to finally find you."
It was now that Dinky got a proper look at the mare. Her hair was covered in twigs and leaves. She was wearing a strange metallic eye patch over her left eye, and she had a beaten looking bracelet device on her foreleg. And she was missing a tooth.
"Here," Pinkie said, handing a small blue bag to Dinky, "you'll need this. Remember, the password is CHERRY CHYPS, all caps and the 'I' is a 'Y'."
"Hurry, Ms. Pie! They'll be here soon." came a voice from behind Pinkie's head. His accent reminded Dinky of her father's. Dinky looked around to see a white, brown spotted, colt she had never met, duct taped to Pinkie's back, his legs flailing in the air.
Right! Bye bye Dinky," Pinkie said. She pressed a button on her bracelet and disappeared in a blue flash.
Dinky stared at the spot where Pinkie Pie had just stood. She wasn't sure if she wanted to know what had just happened. She jumped when another flash signaled Pinkie's return.
She had a very large mallet in her mouth, which she spat on the ground. "Oh, and if you see either me again, or Rainbow Dash, hit them with this. Don't think, just do. Okay, bye for real!" she said as she disappeared once more.
Dinky needed to sit down. What just happened? What did any of that mean? "And where are my muffins!"
Nyx fired a bolt of white lightning from her horn, blasting at the little dragons feet. She had the thief cornered now. "All right, just put everything back the way you found it, and don't ever come here again, and I'll let you go scotfree."
The dragon just stood there, terrified. "Dusk Shine! Help!" she shouted.
"Barb! What's wrong?" came a voice from behind Nyx.
She turned around. Nothing in all the world could prepare her for what she saw. There, standing in the door way, was a young stallion, who looked almost identical to Twilight Sparkle. His mane was much shorter and his features were more masculine, but he had the same lavender coat, the same dark mane with a pink and purple stripe running through it, the same starry cutie mark, the same caring eyes, the same everything. Nyx's mind went blank, refusing to process what her eyes were seeing.
The stallion looked stared into Nyx's dragon eyes, and his face contorted into a look of surprise, fear, and anger. "Anarchy Artemis?" he asked in shock.
"Wah-what?" Nyx managed to squeak.
"Help, Dusk! She's crazy! She called me a burglar and started shooting lighting at me," the baby dragon pleaded.
"Right then, I don't know who or what you are, but I will not let you break into my home and attack my friend!" Dusk Shine snarled.
"What?" Nyx stammered.
The stallion's horn glowed red. He fired a beam of concentrated magic and hit Nyx right between the eyes. She felt herself slipping into unconsciousness, he must have hit her with a sleep spell.
"Barb, send a message to Prince Solaris. Maybe he can help sort this out." Nyx heard the stallion say right before her world turned to blackness.
"Alright, that should do it. Derpy, hit the switch," The Doctor said from under the console.
"This blue one?" Derpy asked. She toggled the switch and looked up at the monitor, "Still nothing."
"Blast! I hate wiring."
Twilight paced nervously around the room. She tried to take a seat on one of the red seats around the console, but she couldn't stop her legs from bouncing. She had been trying to get The Doctor to explain why she and Nyx needed to stay with Celestia for nearly eight minutes now, but he kept changing the subject on her. Finally, she couldn't take it any longer. She magically dragged The Doctor out from under the controls. "Doctor, explain; what's this all have to do with Nyx?"
"Believe me, Twilight. That's what I'm trying to find out." He tried to return to his wiry mess, but Twilight pulled him back.
"Ehh! Not good enough. Tell me everything you know."
"Well then, where to start? I guess the Big Bang," He chuckled. Twilight was not amused. The Doctor's goofy grin disappeared and he became very grim. "Okay, I'll be straight with you, Twilight. I don't know what's going on, but whatever it is means very bad news for your daughter."
"The reason the time period we went to this morning was supposed to be Equestria's golden age is because Nyx led it there. She'll go on to replace Princess Luna as the stewardess of the moon and co-ruler of Equestria. So if that future was replaced by what we saw this morning, Nyx could be in a lot of trouble." The Doctor connected two wires together, and the monitor screen flickered to life.
"Are you telling me my little Nyx is in danger, and we just let her go out alone?" Twilight asked, concern and anger rising in her voice.
"Well...yes, sorry, but I figured that if Ponyville is okay, whatever happens to change the timeline hasn't happened yet. And I highly doubt this timeline could change with me in it, and I not notice."
The computer monitor began bleeping and flashing a mauve warning screen. The Doctor checked the warning and his ears dropped. "Unless of course we're not in our own timeline."
Twilight was already out the door. She didn't understand most of what The Doctor had said, but if Nyx might be in trouble, she pitied anything that got in her way.
"Wait, Twilight! Derpy, we have to catch her."
"Doctor, I don't understand what's going on."
"Good, just hang on for the ride." And with that, they dashed out after Twilight.
Twilight raced to the Library. The tree was in sight now. Twilight slowed when she saw the Royal Chariot with a full compliment of guards outside her door. Why was Celestia at the here?
A tall, white, regal alicorn stepped out from Library, but it wasn't Celestia. It was a stallion, clad in golden armor; his short, fiery, red mane swirled magically in the air. He held a black limp figure in his magic.
Twilight gasped. He had Nyx; this strange stallion had her little girl. She gritted her teeth and stamped at the ground. He wasn't taking her without a fight. Now Twilight was a very powerful magician, able to temporarily transform objects into other objects at will, but alicorns can control the flow of whole solar systems. This was going to suck and Twilight knew it.
She put all the energy in her body into her horn. She fired the most powerful and deadly spell she knew at the alicorn's head. The red bolt streaked down the street, leaving a thunderclap in its wake. It hit the stallion in a shower of sparks. She was to far away to properly make out his face, but from what she could tell, he only seemed slightly annoyed. Her heart sank as she saw him fire a huge lighting bolt towards her. And then she didn't feel anything.
Derpy and The Doctor arrived at the Library just in time to see a chariot and a mess of ponies ascending into the sky. The Doctor noticed Nyx and Twilight were being carried by the guards. He cocked his head, he could have sworn he saw another Twilight riding in the chariot.
"Wait! Wait!" Derpy called.
"They're too far gone. We need to find help."
"Maybe Twilight's friends can help us."
"Right! If the Element bearers exist in this timeline..." The Doctor saw a shadow cross the corner of his eye. "Derpy, do you ever feel like you're being watched?"
Eye of the Storm
Nyx's eyes fluttered open. Her head throbbed and her throat ached in thirst. She took in her surroundings. She was lying on a big comfy bed, under a blanket of silk. She was in a dome shaped room; an expertly painted mural of ponies frolicking in a field stretched around the wall. A skylight surrounded by purple banners let the sunlight peek in. From the position of the sun, Nyx guessed it was a little past noon. The floor of the room appeared to be made of marble; it was so polished Nyx could see her reflection. A golden sun was emblazoned in the center.
How did she get here? She tried to remember, but everything was fuzzy. She remembered being terribly afraid; had Twilight missed another deadline? Ever so slowly, the events of that morning came back to her. She had to find Twilight. They had to get home; back to the Library, and Spike, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Where she didn't have to worry about time travel boxes or stallions who looked like her mother. Where the only thing in her life that didn't make sense was Pinkie Pie.
She hopped out of the bed and galloped to the doors. They swung open just as she got to them. A tall snow white alicorn with a fiery red beard stood in the entrance. He could easily step on me if he wanted to, Nyx thought.
"Aw, good," he said, "you're awake. Hello, my name is Prince Solaris."
"Um, hi...I'm Nyx."
"Well, Nyx, it looks like we have a lot we need to talk about."
"Maybe sometime later, right now I need to get a glass of water and find my mom," Nyx said as she tried to walk past the royal stallion. He held her back with his wing.
"I don't think you understand me, little one. I need to know who you are and where you came from, it's vitally important."
Nyx sat down and forced tears to form in her eyes. She looked up at Solaris with the saddest puppy dog face she could muster. "Please, sir, just take me to my mommy. I don't know where I am. I can try to answer your questions on the way." Sometimes Nyx was surprised her special talent wasn't crying. It could be so useful.
"Hmm, I don't see any reason why not. Come this way, child." said Solaris. The two alicorns walked out into the marble hallway.
Nyx glanced out arch windows at the skyline below her. "Hey, we're in Canterlot. This is the castle."
"Why yes, this is-"
"Where's Celestia and Luna? Just who are you, mister?" Nyx asked, panic growing in her voice. Was this Solaris pony some kind of invader trying to take the throne? What did he want with her?
"I told you, I am Prince Solaris, Co-Ruler of Equestria and Steward of the Sun. What's a Celestia?"
Nyx couldn't believe her ears. "Um, you know, the REAL ruler of Equestria. This is her castle. I don't know who you are, but I won't let you take over Equestria!" Nyx challenged.
"Nyx, I assure you; this is my castle and I am the ruler of Equestria. I have been for over eight thousand years."
Nyx let Solaris' words sink in. Then she remembered the female baby dragon and the stallion that looked like Twilight, and she came to a vague realization of what had happened. "Oh my gosh! Mister Solaris, do you know if there's a word for when something starts to make sense, and becomes way more confusing at the same time?"
Derpy and The Doctor galloped through the streets as fast as they could.
"Doctor, where are we going?" Derpy asked.
The Doctor skidded to a stop. "Um, good question. We need to find out who that alicorn was. Then we probably need to get the Elements of Harmony together. If that alicorn is hostile, the Elements would be our only real defense. In any case, we have to get to Twilight before it's too late."
"I thought we were worried about Nyx."
"We are. We're worried about both of them. Nyx is going to control the moon, so somepony's going to have to go on to move the sun."
"Oh, I get it!" Derpy exclaimed. Then, a shocked look of realization came over her face. "Oh Celestia! We have to make sure they stay safe!"
"Exactly, the future depends on it."
"So then, where are we going?"
"Let's see...we're close to the market. The Element of Honesty hangs out around here, right? The orange one with the terrifying little sister?"
Derpy put her hoof to her chin. "Well, it's just past noon and it's harvest time, so yeah, she should be."
The couple came to the farmer's market. Everywhere ponies milled about the produce stands, admiring the fresh fruits and veggies. They wandered about till Derpy found a stand surrounded by barrels of big bright red apples. An orange pony, with a blonde mane and a picture of three apples on her rump, worked the stand, her back turned to them.
"Well, this is the place, Doctor," Derpy said.
"Right," said The Doctor. He trotted casually to the nearest barrel. He picked out the biggest apple he could find and carefully looked it over. "Excuse me, Applejack is it? I need you and your friends to help me with something. It's very urgent."
The pony turned around. "Well howdy, Ah don't recall ever meetin' ya'll. How can Ah be of assistance," he said.
Derpy and The Doctor's jaws dropped. Standing before them was a stallion who was a dead ringer for Applejack.
The Doctor began to chuckle. "Hehe, all of reality pulled a 'Crying Game' on us."
Twilight felt a tap on her head, rousing her from the blackness. She was finally getting some good sleep too. "Nyx, stop it," she mumbled. Nyx would sometimes tap her horn when she wanted her to wake up on the weekends. Wait a sec, she had been hit by a sleep spell. She had to get up. Nyx was still in trouble.
Her eyelids burst open. She quickly scanned the room she was in. It was a small, dark, stone room with a heavy door. She saw her reflection in front of her, except something was off about it. Her jaw looked squarer and her mane looked shorter. Then, she realized there wasn't a mirror in the room and she screamed, which caused the stallion in front of her to scream. "What's going on?" she exclaimed. "Is this some kind of joke?"
"That's what I would like to know," the stallion said accusingly. "You look just like me, and not just kinda like me, exactly like me."
"Except I'm a girl?"
"Well, I mean, that goes without saying. I guess this might go over easier if we introduce ourselves. I'm Dusk Shine."
"Twilight Sparkle," she said, offering her hoof. Dusk cautiously shook it. "Where am I?"
"In the Royal Castle in Canterlot," Dusk answered. "Your trial will start in an hour."
"Trial!" Twilight exclaimed.
"You attacked the Prince! What did you think was going to happen?"
"The same thing that will happen to anypony who tries to hurt my daughter."
"You mean that little monster was your daughter?"
"I'm beginning to not like you very much, Dusk Shine."
"She nearly killed my assistant! She's the spitting image of Anarchy Artemis."
"What's an Anarchy Artemis?"
"You're kidding, right?" Dusk Shine asked incredulously.
"Anarchy Artemis was created when my brother, Prince Bulan, lost his way," Prince Solaris explained. "I am tasked with control of the sun, and he is tasked with control of the moon. He-"
"He felt like nopony appreciated the night he created, so he allowed the bitterness in his heart to transform him into a stallion of darkness. So you banished him to the moon for a thousand years. Then he escaped, and this Dusk Shine of yours and his friends had to gather the Elements of Harmony to defeat him," Nyx interrupted.
"Yes...I thought you said you didn't know the story."
"I didn't. I come from a place where this all happened, except you're a mare named Princess Celestia, he's a mare name Princess Luna, and Dusk Shine's name is Twilight Sparkle. She's my mom."
"That's quite a claim, Nyx."
"Oh, that's not the half of it. That's not an eighth of it, actually," Nyx mused.
"That's quite a story yah got there, Doc," Applejack said. He walked with the two strange ponies towards Sugar Cube Corner. "Time travel, alternate realities, another me that's a girl; If Ah understood it, Ah still wouldn't believe it."
"It's The Doctor not Doc, and I assure you; I'll try to make everything clear once we get our friends back," The Doctor said.
"Hey, Doctor," Derpy asked, "If this Solaris guy is this timeline's Celestia, wouldn't that mean they're as safe as we could make them?"
"I don't think anywhere's safe until we can get back to our timeline and fix what went wrong," The Doctor answered.
The trio came to the pink swinging doors of the bakery. "Welp, here we are. Bubble Berry should be here, and Ah think Butterscotch was coming to help Berry set up for the party he's throwin' later tonight," Applejack said.
"Now Berry's the pink one, right?" asked Derpy.
"Yes, mam," Applejack replied.
"And Butterscotch is the...yellow one?" The Doctor guessed.
"You got it, partner."
The little bell above the door rang as they stepped inside. Mr. Cake, who would be Mrs. Cake in their timeline, was behind the counter, polishing it to a perfect shine. Dinky sat at the table closest to the window, having just finished a muffin.
"Welcome to Sugar Cube Corner. I'll be with you in a minute," said Mr. Cake. He added another spit shine to the counter top, much to The Doctor's disgust. "Oh, and Applejack, Berry and Butterscotch are in the back if you want to help them out."
"Well, I guess I'll be back in a sec," Applejack said to the couple. He disappeared into the kitchen.
"Hey guys," greeted Dinky. "I saved you a muffin, Mom. Oh, and apparently all the boys are girls and all the girls are boys." She couldn't have been more casual.
"Dinky! We were totally looking all over for you," lied The Doctor.
"Weren't you supposed to be with Nyx anyway?" asked Derpy.
"There was a muffin sale. I'm only pony!" Dinky pleaded. "Why, where is she?"
"She was taken by this timeline's Celestia. They don't know what she is here," Derpy said.
"So if I had been there, I could have explained everything." Her head sank to the table. "Aw! Now I feel like butt."
"I'm sure everything will turn out okay. It's my fault really. I knew time was going wonky and I still let you two go out alone," said The Doctor. He noticed a blue bag and a giant mallet under Dinky's chair. "What's all this under here then?"
"Oh, Pinkie Pie appeared out of thin air and gave me these," Dinky explained.
"Out of thin air? Tell me, did she have a big bracelet on that made a blue flash?" The Doctor asked.
"Yeah, how did you know?"
"She must have been wearing a vortex manipulator."
"A vertical manywhatnow?" asked Derpy.
"It's a sort of mini time machine, a rubbish time machine. Anyway, did this Pinkie Pie say anything, Dinky?"
"She said the password was CHERRY CHYPS, all capitals and the 'I' is a 'Y'. Oh, and if I saw her again or Rainbow Dash, I should hit them with this thing," she said, brandishing the hammer.
The Doctor pressed his front hoofs together and rested his nose against them. His eyes narrowed in thought.
"What's this all mean, Honey?" Derpy asked.
"I have no idea. Something's altered our timeline, then transported us to an alternate timeline to keep us from fixing it, and now it looks like we're already fighting it in the future."
"Well I'm confused," Dinky said.
Just then a pink pony burst out from the kitchen. "Ah ha! New ponies!" he shouted. Dinky grabbed the mallet and was about to charge, but The Doctor held her back.
"She said another her, right? This is a guy." The Doctor explained.
The pink pony bounced all around the place. "Oh my gosh! Hi I'm Bubble Berry! You guys must be new! I've never seen you around here and I know everypony in town. I don't know if anypony else has said it yet, but I'll say it anyway. Welcome to Ponyville! Oh, I'll have to throw you a welcome party. I know! We'll turn the party I was going to have tonight into your welcome party. I just wish I could have made it a surprise party," he said without taking a breath.
"Wow, I didn't think it possible, but we actually found a pony who talks faster than Dad," Dinky smirked.
The Doctor scratched at the back of his head. "Oh wow, a party sounds really lovely, I mean really, but we have something really important-"
"Wait, Doctor!" Derpy said. "Mr. Berry, you have a friend who's a really fast flyer, right?"
"Well can he go to the castle for us? We have a couple of friends who are with Prince Solaris right now, and it would be really cool if they could make it to the party."
Bubble Berry's eyes went wide and the corners of his mouth went up as high as they could go. "Even more guests? This party is gonna be awesome! I'll go tell Blitz to get your friends right away." And with that he galloped out the door.
"Oh Derpy, that was brilliant!" The Doctor praised. Then he got an idea. "I'll be right back," he said as he headed towards the door.
"Where are you going?" asked Derpy.
"I think I might know someone who can help sort out this mess," he said right before heading out.
A yellow pony with a pink mane poked his head out from the kitchen. He kept his head low to the floor. "Oh hello," he said timidly. "Have you seen Berry. I think the cakes are starting to burn."
...So then Celestia officially put me in charge of raising her," Twilight said. She had been telling Dusk her and Nyx's story. He seemed to be intrigued, but she wasn't sure if he believed her.
Dusk chewed at his lip. "Hmm, I guess that sort of makes sense, but how did you end up in our world?"
"Well, you know The Doctor right?"
"At Ponyville Hospital?" Dusk asked.
"No, the one with the time traveling box," Twilight answered
"Okay, how stupid do you think I am?"
"You don't have to believe me, but at least listen to the whole story. Anyway, The Doctor-" then she trailed off. "The Doctor! Why that miserable, he knew about Nyx this whole time. He pretended to not have ever heard of her, but he knows more about her than I do!" Twilight fumed.
"Whoa! Did I miss something?"
Twilight was about to answer when she heard voices coming from outside the door.
"Then the box started shaking terribly, and we just landed here," she heard Nyx say. Twilight hurriedly opened the latch. She practically tackled Nyx in her haste to hug her.
"Ooof! Hello...momma," Nyx gasped, "too tight." Twilight wasn't known to be the strongest pony, but man, could she give a bear hug.
"Nyx! I'm so glad you're okay."
"Yeah, I was just telling Mr. Solaris about this morning. He said you blasted him in the face trying to save me. That's so cool."
Twilight could almost feel Solaris' stare. "Yes, well, I certainly didn't mean any offense, Your Majesty," she said sheepishly.
"Normally such a crime would be punishable by banishment, or worse. However, after Nyx told me your side of the story, I think some leniency might be in order," Solaris said.
Nyx noticed Dusk Shine gazing at her. "Um, hi I'm Nyx."
"Dusk Shine," he greeted nervously.
Nyx cleared her throat. "I'm sorry I attacked your friend. I thought she was a burglar."
"Well, I thought you were the reincarnation of an evil nightmare being, so I guess we're even."
"So what happens now?" Twilight asked Solaris.
"Well...I suppose you're free to go."
"What!" Dusk shouted. "Your Majesty, can I talk to you for a moment."
"As you wish, student. Ladies, if you would remain here a moment." Solaris and Dusk stepped out into the hall, Dusk shutting the door behind him.
"With all due respect, Your Majesty, you're not seriously just going to let them go, are you? I know they seem nice, but they still attacked us. And their stories are simply ridiculous," said Dusk Shine.
"I know, Dusk Shine. Which is why you're going to watch them for me."
"You'll escort them back to Ponyville and help them find The Doctor," Solaris ordered.
"...But!" Dusk began. The stern glare in Solaris' eyes quickly shut him up.
The Prince knelt down to his student's level. "I appreciate your concern, Dusk Shine. They've given you no real reason to trust them and that filly looks just like Anarchy Artemis. But if they're telling the truth, then you once again get to learn not to judge a book by it's cover."
"And if they're lying and are trying to bring about eternal night?"
"Then learn the most effective form of combat; the best way to defeat an enemy is to make them your friend."
Dusk sat and mulled over what his teacher had just said. Why did Solaris trust these ponies so readily? Heck, for all they knew these could be monsters disguised as ponies, they had just copied him and Anarchy as females. Dusk decided to swallow his fears and obey Solaris. "I'll try my best."
"If we're going back to Ponyville, can we stop for ice cream on the way?" came Nyx's voice from behind the door.
"Wow, that door isn't as thick as it looks," said Dusk Shine.
Twilight and Nyx cantered out of the room. Twilight looked around; she was always enamored by the white pillars and the hanging gardens full of purple flowers inside the castle halls. Her admiration was cut short when a grey unicorn guard came running up towards them.
"Your Majesty!" exclaimed the guard, "A very abrasive pegasus is demanding to see your guests."
They all heard a shouting coming down the hallway. "Do you have any idea who I am! I'm the Element of Loyalty and the best flyer in all of Equestria! You should be asking for my autograph, not trying to kick me out!"
"Typical Rainbow," Dusk and Twilight said in unison.
An electric blue pony, with a mane cast with all the colors of the spectrum, swooped around the stone columns. He made a three point landing right in front of Dusk. "Hey guy, get your new friends and let's go."
"Hello, Blitz, what's the big hurry?" Dusk asked.
"Berry's got that party tonight. He'd be real upset if you didn't make it."
"Oh right, I forgot about that."
"And he said you had to bring your new friends because-" he stopped when he noticed Twilight. "Whoa! Dusk shine, there's two of you...and one of you is hot!"
"I'm both flattered and disturbed," Twilight said.
Dusk rubbed his temple. "I'll explain her later, Rainbow."
"Whatever man, but if we're gonna make it to Berry's party we gotta leave now."
Dusk looked to Solaris. The Prince gave him an approving nod. Solaris watched as the little group scampered down the hall and out the heavy oak doors. He sighed and looked out the the giant arch windows at the land below. Everything appeared to be as it should be.
A great weight fell upon the Prince's heart as he returned to his throne. The truth was he agreed with Dusk. To lay a hoof on royalty was a crime worthy of execution. For a split second Solaris thought he saw a shadow behind him. In that second, it was as if a voice in his head told him to order Twilight back and throw her in the dungeon. He looked around, but there was no one there. He quickly dismissed the idea.
Nyx had said The Doctor had brought them there. Even though it couldn't possibly be his Doctor, he owed that poor time mare more than he could repay. The Prince sighed. That mailstallion would never forgive him for the sins he committed.
The Doctor galloped down the Ponyville streets. He was just a couple blocks away from his house; well not his house, his alternate genderbender timeline counterpart's house.
Beside, it wasn't like he was ever at the house much anyway. Dinky had school and Derpy had her mail route, so he spent his mornings and early afternoons adventurin' through time and space. He generally took his family out to eat, usually on another planet, so evenings were out. And he and Derpy slept on the TARDIS, because he simply could not sleep without the soft hum of the chrono drive in his ears. So it wasn't so much a home for him, more like a parking spot for the TARDIS. He did keep a lovely flower garden in the front, though.
He rounded the corner and came to a stop. He was at the house, but it was a complete mess. The lawn was overgrown, the white paint was chipping away, the straw roof was moldy and decayed, and his flower garden was dead. What was going on here? Derpy would never allow the house to fall to this kind of state.
The Doctor cautiously approached the door. He knocked thrice and waited. After quite some time, he finally heard a stirring from inside. The door swung open, and he was certainly surprised by what he saw.
The stallion before him looked like his wife, but he was quite overweight. His blonde mane was matted, long, and unkempt. He had a short beard that had (what The Doctor assumed were) muffin crumbs stuck in it. Dark circles surrounded bitter sad eyes that looked in two different directions.
"Well this is just morbid," said the stallion. "So what are you, a past regeneration?"
"Um...alternate timeline," The Doctor answered apprehensively.
"Oh...can I help you?"
"Well, I, um, I was wondering if there was another Doctor here."
The stallion's lips curled into a snarl, his nostrils flared. He looked like he was about to cry. "No. No there isn't." He shut the door and The Doctor heard the latch close.
The sun was low in the sky by the time The Doctor returned to Sugar Cube Corner. He heard the sounds of the party coming from inside. He walked in and saw Dinky playing pin the tail on the pony, nine other ponies cheering her on. He was relieved to see Nyx and Twilight there, safe and sound. Dinky stumbled around blindfolded, a purple tail in her mouth. She placed the tail on the picture of the pony on the wall, firmly in its eye. Everypony chuckled.
The Doctor tried to remain inconspicuous, but it was too late. Berry had noticed him.
"Oh hi! I was wondering when you were gonna get here. The party started without you," Berry squeed. "Come here and meet everypony." Berry took The Doctor by the hoof and led him to the rest of the group. Applejack was talking to a white pony with a well kept mane of wavy purple hair. "You already met Applejack. This here is Elusive."
"Hello," The Doctor greeted.
"A pleasure to make your acquaintance, sir," Elusive said.
Before The Doctor could say anything else, Berry shoved him around the room towards a light yellow pegasus. "This is Butterscotch. Say hi, Butterscotch," Berry said.
"Um, hello," Butterscotch mumbled.
Berry shrieked in delight and pushed The Doctor towards Dusk and Rainbow Blitz. "We're all going to be such good friends! Okay, now meet Dusk Shine and Rainbow Blitz. Dusk Shine, Rainbow, this is...um, what's your name by the way?"
"This is The Doctor."
Dusk Shine looked the mysterious pony over. "So you're The Doctor the other me keeps bringing up but never explaining."
"I suppose so."
"Okay everypony, let's dance!" Bubbly Berry shouted. He put a record in the player and cranked the volume up as high as it could go. A fun, fast, little tune came out of the speaker.
Derpy bobbed her head with the music. She felt someone nuzzle her just behind her ear. She turned to see The Doctor, a sad smile on his face. "Hey, time muffin, did you get done whatever you were doing?" she asked. He didn't answer. He gently put his forelegs around her neck and hugged her. "Aww, thanks sweetie."
Silence overtook the heart of the Everfree Forest. Not a creature dared to make a sound. Something wrong and unnatural slinked through the shadows. A nameless faceless entity as tall as the trees around it twisted the growing evening shadows towards itself.
Frustration overtook the abomination. The time lord and the Nightess had reunited quicker than it anticipated. Perhaps it was time to give them a taste of combat across the multiverse. The creature concentrated. Space and time began to rip away in front of him. A tear appeared in the surface of reality, and three dark forms stood in front of the monstrosity.
Twilight and Nyx sat against the wall while the other ponies danced. Nyx did her best to appear happy, but she doubted she was doing a good job.
"So when do we go home?" asked Nyx.
"Well..." Twilight looked at The Doctor. He was sat at a nearby table. His jaw was set firm and he was staring at his slice of cake like he was trying to move it with his mind. "The Doctor has his thinking face on right now. When he snaps out of it he'll tell us what we do next."
Nyx sighed and hung her head. She felt a tap on her wing. Dinky placed a pink party hat with yellow streamers on her head.
"C'mon, Nyx! I hate parties with sad ponies. They stink," Dinky said. She nudged Nyx to stand up. "C'mon, we're about to bob for apples."
"Alright alright, let's have some fun," Nyx said. She got up, and the two fillies ran to play.
The Doctor felt a hot sensation over his cutie mark. He had a pocket taped on his flank and painted to look like his hourglass, so he could carry his sonic screwdriver and psychic paper without drawing attention to himself. And it looked like the psychic paper had a message.
He pulled a little black wallet out of his pocket. A little slip of paper was stitched on its inside. A message in his handwriting began to appear before his eyes.
The things that have happened are happening now.
The Late Great Doctor
The Doctor reread the note twice. This didn't bode well. He scrambled to his feet. He was about to call out to Derpy when another message came through.
P.S. Sorry if Bright Eyes came across as a little off-putting. He really is a great guy; he's just dealing with some things in his life right now. I'd go cheer him up myself, but I'm a tad dead at the moment. Also, DUCK!
The Doctor hit the floor just as a huge tree branch crashed through the window, it grazed his ears and embedded itself in the opposite wall. Everypony was too stunned to move. Then, Butterscotch screamed. They heard a faint whining noise. It grew louder and louder until it was a roar. The Doctor rushed outside to see what it was. Everypony else followed.
A giant, blue, metal shape moved impossibly fast in the sunset sky. It cut through the orange and purple clouds. Elusive noticed it appeared to be covered in some kind of tarp.
"What is that thing? Is it some kind of dragon?" Butterscotch panicked.
"It's a harrier jet." The Doctor said inquisitively.
A voice rang out from above. "Pathetic organics, your doom is at hand!"
To Twilight, the voice was all too familiar and incredibly irksome. "Trixie?"
The jet began to twist and fold. Metal plates shifted around and changed shape. The sound of gears grinding and engines firing echoed throughout Ponyville as a new form emerged in the sky. What had been a cockpit was now a chest; what had been a fuselage was now a body with arms and legs; what had been an aircraft was now a sleek, humanoid, feminine robot. It wrapped the purple star covered tarp around its shoulders like a cape. The metal monstrosity fired flares into the heavens which burst into a brilliant display of golden sparkles.
"Behold, you miserable ungulates, the most beautiful and deadly Decepticon in all the universe! Behold the Great and Powerful Slipstream!" the robot declared.
The First Shot Fired
The robot circled overhead, cackling haughtily. She positioned herself so that the maximum amount of sunlight reflected off her blue and white armor plating. She wanted the pathetic organics below to admire her beauty before she smote them.
"What in Solaris's good green Equestria is that?" Elusive asked in a panic.
"A Cybertronian," The Doctor answered.
"A What?" Twilight asked.
"A Cybertronian, a sort of living machine that likes to disguise itself as other machines."
"Fools!" shouted the mechanoid. "You chatter amongst yourselves in the presence of your doom? You should be on your knees, begging for mercy from the most beautiful and talented Slipstream!" The twin cannons on her arms began to glow purple. "Taste the might of my null rays and perish, organic scum!" Two bright bolts of energy struck down at the little group of ponies.
"Look out!" Dusk warned, but it was to late. The beams hit and there was a blinding flash. Then, nothing happened. Dusk checked himself over. He felt perfectly fine. "Um, did that do anything?"
"Everything seems okay," Butterscotch answered.
"Null rays null rays null rays," The Doctor mumbled in thought. Then the realization hit. He reached into his pocket and grabbed his sonic screwdriver. He vainly tried to activate the little metal cylinder. "Blast! she shorted out my sonic screwdriver."
"Hey! that's kinda tongue twistery," Berry exclaimed. "She shorted out my sonic screwdriver. She shorted out my sonic screwdriver. She sorted out my shonic- ooh, I didn't even make it to three."
"What!" Slipstream wailed. "My null rays had no effect? Impossible! I will rain down my fury upon you! You will fear the name Slipstream!"
"Well this is getting annoying. Ponies with horns, if you would kindly bring her down," requested The Doctor.
Nyx's, Twilight's, Dusk's, and Elusive's horns all started to glow and sparkle with energy. Dinky tried, but she couldn't get her’s to do the same.
"Hey, what are you doing?" Slipstream asked. Rays of color streamed from the ponies' horns. They shot up and wrapped themselves around Slipstream's arms and legs, binding them together. She felt herself being pulled downwards. "Stop it! You can't do this. I am Slipstream! I'm a ranking officer in the Decepticon Battle Fleet. You'll pay for this!" The alien machine landed with a crash. She was totally immobilized in magical energy.
Dinky strained and grunted. Finally, her horn lit up dimly. She put all she could into an attack spell. A little spark sputtered out and fell to the ground. "Y-Yeah! Take that!" She shouted weakly. Derpy put a reassuring wing on Dinky's shoulder.
The Doctor strode up to the captured transformer. "Bah-weep-graaanagh wheep ni ni bong," he said sarcastically. Her red glass eyes glowered back at him. "What, don't care for the universal greeting? Tell me, are you native to this version of reality? Because in my corner of the time stream, your kind is pretty darned extinct," The Doctor said.
"You don't scare me Time Lord. I'll go offline before I tell you anything."
"Well, you've already told me you know what species I am, and you're obviously covering for somebody else, so I know someone sent you here to attack us. So, I ask you again, where are you from and who sent you?"
Slipstream frowned. She was dealing with a smart one, she would need to chose her words carefully. She happened to glance up and see a small dot disappear into the clouds. She smiled wickedly. "Well, Time Lord, all I have to say is that I was hired because I'm a stage magician by trade. My specialties are misdirection and distraction."
Suddenly, an explosion burst behind the group, raining charred bits of earth on the ponies. The Doctor swirled around, only to get thrown by a second explosion only yards away from him. He fell bruised and scratched on the ground. He didn't move. Derpy screamed and ran to him.
"Watch it!" Slipstream shouted. "I just got a fresh coat of paint." She felt the grips on her loosen, the ponies to confused to focus on her. She took advantage of the opportunity, transforming back into her jet form, and rocketing into the sky.
Explosions erupted all around the ponies. Twilight held Nyx tightly. "Where's it coming from?" she and Dusk shouted simultaneously.
Butterscotch started to cry. "I-it can't end like this! Who will take care of the animals if I die?"
"Aw, we're not gonna die," Berry said cheerfully. "There's no way whatever's causing these explosions can pop one of Dusk's shields. Everything is gonna turn out okey dokey." Butterscotch looked up to see that he and his friends were surrounded in a violet aura of magic. The lavender unicorns were indeed shielding them from the flames.
Dinky looked at her father's limp form. "Mom, is he-"
"He's breathing," Derpy answered, "but some of these cuts and burns look pretty bad. We'll need to get him to the hospital."
The blasts kept coming. The sound was deafening and they could still feel the heat through the shield.
"Ugh! This is dreadful!" Elusive complained. "Dusk, can't you wink us out of here?"
"I can try, but... Twilight, can you hold the shield by yourself?"
"No problem," Twilight responded.
The explosions came faster. Derpy was able to see they were caused by missiles fired from above, but she couldn't find the source. Slipstream joined the attack from high in the sky with a compliment of lasers, although she made sure to keep her distance.
Applejack saw a missile impact into the ground just inches from the edge of the shield. He watched and waited, but it didn't detonate. Then, it started spinning around, drilling itself into the earth. That can't be good, the orange pony thought.
"Everyone join hooves," Dusk said. They all obeyed; Derpy and Dinky reached down and gingerly touched The Doctor's hoof. Suddenly, the missile resurfaced inside of the shield.
"Dusk!" Elusive shouted.
From above, Slipstream chuckled as she saw the purple bubble disappear in a flash of fire and smoke.
Eleven magenta flashes appeared into the kitchen of Sugar Cube Corner, as the ponies were transported into the room. They all stumbled around, trying to regain their bearings.
Dusk popped his neck and stretched his legs. "Whoo! Sorry everpony, I'm not good with mass teleports."
Twilight embraced Nyx and squeezed till the filly could barely breathe. "Nyx, are you alright?"
"Hnk! I'm...okay...Twi- light," Nyx gasped. She managed to peel away and give her mother a reassuring grin.
"Could you have cut that any closer, Dusk? Ah' swear, mah eyebrows got a little singed," Applejack complained.
Butterscotch started to cry. "Oh Solaris, that was so scary."
Elusive put a comforting front leg around the pegasus's neck. "There there, man, we're safe for now. What on earth is going on?"
"These folks are from another reality and now a metal giant is trying to kill us," Applejack explained.
"Well...I suppose that makes about much sense as anything," Elusive sighed.
"Butterscotch, right?" Derpy asked, motioning towards the sniffling pony. "If you're anything like the yellow pegasus where I'm from, then you're good with treating injuries, right?"
Butterscotch gave a little nod.
"Then could you please help me treat my husbands burns?"
"Ooh! Let me help," Berry blurted out. "C'mon, Butter buddy, I'll show you where we keep the first aid kit." Before he could say anything, the party pony had grabbed Butterscotch by the hoof and rushed him out of the room.
"Mom, Dad still hasn't woken up," Dinky worried.
"He got thrown by an explosion. The force might’ve caused some internal damage. All I can do is treat the cuts and burns until we can send for proper medical help," Derpy explained.
Dinky looked into her mother's eyes. She had the serious look on her face. Dinky only saw the serious look when things were really bad. Derpy had only explained the facts, she hadn’t offered any kind reassurances or hopeful promises. When Dinky realized the gravity of the situation, it crushed the little unicorn's heart. She glumly walked over to Nyx, who gave her a gentle hug.
The fires raged outside, casting the kitchen in an oragne glow. Rainbow Blitz looked out the window and frowned. "Hey, where is everypony?"
"What d'ya mean, bud?" Applejack asked.
"Well a giant, flying, metal monster just blew a crater in the middle of town. Where's all the screaming and running crowds?"
The farm stallion put his hoof to his chin. "Hmm, maybe they're hidin'. I think- Holy!"
At that moment, the house across the street shattered to splinters. Through the smoke they saw the shadow of Slipstream stomping wildly at the ground.
"I think she's looking for us," Blitz whispered. Another crash shook the building. "Aghh! What do we do?"
"Okay," Dusk began, but he found himself interrupted by Twilight.
"We need to split up and distract it. We know we can handle the robot, but I'm worried about whatever it was that had the missiles. Rainbow Blitz, do you think you can catch that thing?"
"Don't make me laugh. Nothing's faster than me," Blitz replied with a cocky grin.
"Good, can you catch that thing without getting blown up?"
"Well now, that’s the fun part."
At the moment, Butterscotch and Bubble Berry returned with a a white medical box. "Here ya go," Berry chimed.
Twilight took the box and handed it to Derpy. "Okay, kids, stay here with Derpy and The Doctor. Butterscotch and Applejack, come with me out the front. Bubble Berry and Elusive, go with Dusk Shine out the back. Blitz, go up out the upstairs window and try to take out Mr. Missiles. When I say run we run." Another thunderous crash caused the pots and pans in the kitchen to clang and clatter together. "Run!"
The ponies scrambled out of Sugar Cube. Slipstream turned from the house she had just wrecked to see Dusk Shine's group scurry down the street. She laughed devilishly and gave chase.
Berry's ears perked up as he heard the metal stomping behind him. He glanced back and yelped. "Here she comes!" He galloped away as fast as he could.
"You have a plan, right?" Elusive asked the lavender unicorn beside him.
"I have a few ideas," Dusk reassured him.
Blitz tore into the sky. As if on cue, a tiny black dot appeared above him, right before disappearing into a cloud bank.
"There you are!" The cyan stallion ascended higher till he was level with the UFO. He swooped into the yellow and orange sunset cloud. The world went dark, wet, and cold as Blitz accelerated deeper and deeper into the cloud bank. He could just make out what looked like another pegasus in front of him, before it veered out of his vision.
Suddenly, everything was washed in color. Something slammed into Blitz's side, knocking the wind out of him and sending him tumbling through the air. A thunderous boom ripped through the heavens.
Everypony on the ground stopped and looked in awe at the spectacle above.
Twilight gasped. "A sonic-"
"-Rainboom?" Elusive stuttered.
Blitz landed hard with a splash into a pool of brown muck. He desperately wiped the gunk from his eyes and tried to get a view of his surroundings, to try to find what had hit him. He was in a clearing in the middle of a forest. The last rays of the sun cast long skeletal shadows across the swampy ground. The trees appeared to have monstrous faces, ready to chomp at his neck. He had landed in Froggy Bottom Bog.
He checked himself over. His side hurt like mad and a nasty purple welt was already growing, but he didn't think anything was broken. He was fortunate to have landed in the mire; mud makes a great impact cushion. He breathed deeply and relaxed his muscles to float to the top of the swamp. This wasn't the first time he had crashed here, and if he could get to solid ground before whatever had attacked him came back, it hopefully wouldn't be the last time.
He caught hold of some reeds and pulled himself onto the shore. He laid panting for a moment, then shook the mud out of his fur. He got to his hooves just as a horrible screeching sound boomed through the forest.
The silhouette of a pegasus zoomed past overhead. There was something wrong with its wings, though. Two cylinders were attached to foils on its back. Rockets, that pony had rockets instead of wings. With a metallic clank, the mare landed just a meter in front of Blitz. He gasped at the sight in front of him. A mare, a mare who was practically identical to him, stood there with a wicked grin. A metal plate covered her right eye and tapered down her cheek, covering almost half of her face.
"Hey there, handsome. Long time no see," the mysterious, multi-color maned, mare said menacingly. "I've been looking forward to this for a very long time."
Blitz just stood the bewildered. "W-what are you? Are you me?"
"What are you? Are you me?" the mare sneered back. "You sound like a jerk!"
"Why are you doing this?"
"Oh, you wanna know? 'Cause the answer's easy. I'm bad Dash, and you're good Dash. You're a goody little four shoes." The strange doppleganger started doing a silly little dance and singing, "Goody little four shoes! Goody little four shoes!" Then, she socked him right in the jaw. He staggered back, only to take a kick to the shins. All the while, Rainbow Dash kept up her song and dance.
Blitz fell to the ground. Dash smiled, the last rays of the sun reflecting red off her face plate.
"Blitz," muttered the muddied and bruised pegasus.
"My name is Rainbow Blitz!" the stallion shouted as he whirled around and reared up. He bucked with all his might, sending the malicious pony careening into the woods beyond. He chuckled weakly as he rubbed the blood from his jaw. Suddenly, a report of *Rat-ta-tat-tat!* rang out, as bullets whizzed past Blitz's head. He scrambled for cover behind a rock.
Dash emerged from the woods, smoking machine guns attached to both her flanks. She turned, and Blitz was horrified to see that half her body, from just behind her shoulders down to her rear hooves, was made of metal. She was mostly machine.
"Dash, Blitz, I'm the girl with the gun," she said smugly. She hovered in the air and took aim right between Blitz's eyes. "Now this is the part I like, the look in their eyes right before they're killed by another version of themselves. But from you especially, ooh, I'm gonna enjoy this. I just want to thank you first. You made me so much better than I was."
Just as she was about to fire, her communicator buzzed in her ears. Blitz stared up at her befuddled, as she started talking to the air.
"Go ahead, what's your status? Calm down, I can't- what? Well continue with the mission, kill the black one and capture the purple one. What do you mean they captured you again? Stop crying! Hold on, I'll be right there. Lousy heap of garbage, No one can do anything right today," Rainbow Dash cursed into the air. First the tall guy couldn't capture the unicorn, and now the robot couldn't take care of a little filly.
Dash gritted her teeth. Her guns folded back inside her body. She was out of missiles, so she needed to save her bullets to deal with the unicorns. "Well, good looking, payback's gonna have to wait," she said, irritated. She blasted off into the sky, saying some words I, the author, am not comfortable relaying here.
Night fell over forest. Blitz sat stunned in the mud. He couldn't begin to explain what had just happened, but he had to get back to his friends. First things was first, though, he had to get the mud off his wings. He couldn't get airborne with all the gunk weighing him down. He sat, bloodied and bruised, in the cold, scraping the brown mess from his feathers.
Berry stepped out of the kitchen with a plate of freshly baked apple mini-pies. "Here you go, girls, another round of treats."
"Thanks, Mr Berry," Nyx and Dinky chimed. They sat by the window, watching the grown ups interrogate Slipstream. The alicorn filly stuffed one of the treats into her mouth, then instantly found out the value of letting things cool after they've left an oven. Dinky just half-interestedly pushed the pastries around, while Nyx desperately tried to dislodge the traitorous pie.
"Well, it looks like it's my turn to be scared today," Dinky sighed.
"I'm really sorry Dinky. I hope your dad will be okay."
"I know I won't lose him. It's just... Dad always told me that if he was about to die, his body would go through this change. His face, body and even his personality would all be different. He- he might not even be a pony anymore. And I know he would be fine. The Doctor would still be alive, but my dad... my daddy... he'd be gone." Dinky couldn't take it anymore. Her head sank to the table and she broke down sobbing. Nyx ran around the table and put her hoof on Dinky's shoulder.
"Dinky, Dad's waking up," Derpy called from the other room. Dinky's face lit up. The pure joy in her eyes made Nyx giggle. The blonde unicorn bounded into the kitchen. She wanted to wrap her front legs around her father's neck and squeeze as hard as she could, but Derpy held her back. "He could still be hurt," she explained.
The Doctor let out a hoarse whisper. Mother and Daughter leaned in closer to make out his words. "Bag," mumbled the time lord.
"Bag? Oh! The bag that Pinkie Pie gave me. All the craziness today, I forgot all about it," Dinky said. She rushed back to the table and grabbed the blue bag. She galloped back to her family and opened the sack. "It's filled with...a bag of cookies?" She emptied the bag and checked it over twice. All that had been inside were a plastic bag filled with eleven chocolate chip cookies and a note reading, “One for everypony”.
The Doctor wheezed and coughed. “Eat your cookie,” he whispered. “Give one to everybody.”
“It’s a big sacrifice but I’ll do it for you.”
The family ate their cookies. Then, Dinky took the bag and ran out the door.
Nyx yawned. Twilight and the boy versions of her friends were still arguing with the robot, and Dinky had gone back to her mom and dad in the kitchen. That left her alone with a nearly-empty pie plate. The stars were shining bright and it was past her bedtime. She wondered where she would sleep tonight, since she doubted they would fix her problems any time soon. Maybe the boy Twilight would let them sleep in his library. Her eyes got heavier, looked like she would be sleeping there on the table. She just hoped she wouldn’t have the nightmare.
The night lit up and a horrendous popping sounded out. Nyx bolted straight up and looked out. The unicorns had erected another force field. Sparks flickered around it and chewed up the ground. The form of the metal giant rose up behind the glowing bubble.
Without hesitation, the alicorn galloped to the door. Twilight would yell at her for heading into such a dangerous situation, but she knew she could help.
She tried to open the door, but it wouldn't budge. She pushed against it with her magic, but got the same result. What was going on?
Nyx recoiled, as a strip of what looked like blood started oozing from the top of the door. She watched in astonishment, as her own shadow grew to meet the dark red liquid. Her amazement turned to unbridled terror as the shadow stepped off the wall towards her. Its head turned a deathly grey and the blood had become its tie.
sO, At laSt WE mEeT iN ThE wAkiNG REALm, nIGhtESSsss.
It didn’t speak, but it still formed words. It was as if it made space itself know its thoughts. It communicated by forcing its will through the air, and the wood in the building, and through Nyx's bones. The effect was like nails on a chalkboard times a hundred.
Nyx had never felt fear like she did at that moment. She felt a force on her muscles. She couldn't move. She could barely breathe. Pressure grew in her head, and her nose and ears started to bleed.
IT WilL wEep foR tHe CHild.
The monster raised its hoof above the filly to strike. Nyx couldn't run, she couldn't use her magic. Tears welled in her eyes as she tried to get her mouth to work.
NOw you WILL bE NOwhERE.
"TWILIGHT!" Nyx screamed with all she had.
Twilight's ears perked up. She dashed out from the shield towards the bakery.
"Twilight, wait!" Dusk shouted.
Bullets whizzed by her. She felt a pain like a bee sting on her flank. Had she been hit? It didn't matter. She just had to get to her daughter. She busted down the door. All she saw was Nyx standing there, blood running down her face. Instinctively, she cast her most powerful protection and healing spells over her.
Nyx felt the force on her body lift. Her horn glowed white hot, and she blasted the horror with her most powerful attack. The monster stumbled back and fell over. It writhed on the ground, its legs flailing in the air. It reminded Nyx of the time she saw a spider get wet.
"Nyx, what's wrong? What happened?" Twilight asked in a panic.
"It's the monster from the dream. He's here!"
"Okay, where did he go?"
"W-what do you mean? He's right behind you!"
Twilight looked around. "I don't see anything." She grabbed a napkin from the counter with her magic and started wiping the blood off Nyx's face.
Nyx pushed the paper away. "What are you doing? He's getting up! Help me fight him off."
Chunks of wood and dust fell, as something burst down from the ceiling. Twilight and Nyx looked up. A half flesh/ half metal, light blue, mockery of nature hovered above them.
Twilight's mouth hung open. "Rainbow-"
The cyborg pegasus laughed. "Yeah, I get that reaction. Well well, if it isn't Ms. Know-It-All and the little crybaby." She landed and two machine gun barrels unfolded from her sides. "Grab her, Mr. Tall."
A black mist swirled around Twilight's neck. "Hey! What's happening?" She shouted. The facless terror loomed over the unicorn. "Doctor! Nyx! Help!" The darkness engulfed her, and then both she and the monster disappeared into a shadow in the corner.
"Twilight!" Nyx screamed.
Rainbow Dash chuckled. "You got your own problems, squirt." Her targeting systems locked on to the black alicorn. "Say goodnight, sweetie."
With a crack, a mallet slammed into the back of Rainbow's head, sending her sprawling on the floor. "Goodnight, sweetie," Dinky smirked. She whirled her giant hammer around for a second strike. "Mallets are fun."
"Screw this! Rust-bucket, we're leaving," Dash declared. She blasted off through the hole in the ceiling. A blue and white harrier jet joined her in the sky. A green hole appeared in the clouds, and they vanished into it. Then, all that was left in the sky were stars.
"Sorry I couldn't come sooner, the door wouldn't- Whoa! What happened to your face?" Dinky exclaimed.
Nyx ignored her. She fell to the ground and started to cry.
"What in tarnation's going on in here?" Applejack asked. He and the others galloped into the room.
"Where's Twilight?" Dusk asked.
Nyx stood up and set her jaw firm. Crying wouldn't help her mommy right now. She marched into the kitchen.
The Doctor was still lying on the floor. Derpy was applying some kind of ointment on his burns.
"Nyx, what's happening out there?" Derpy asked. Nyx just pushed her aside.
"He kidnapped Twilight. He kidnapped Twilight and they disappeared into thin air. Help me get her back." Nyx demanded from the Time Lord.
"O-okay," The Doctor gurgled.
"What do you need?"
"The sensors on the TARDIS, they might be able to pick up any energy signatur-"
Nyx didn't let him finish. She stomped her hoof on the ground, and she and the time pony vanished in a flash.
"Nyx, wait!" Derpy yelled.
Rainbow Blitz ran through the door. "Okay, I'm back," he panted. "Where are they? There's another me." Then, he found a chocolate chip cookie shoved into his mouth.
"Yeah, you just missed them," Dinky answered.
"What's with the cookie?"
"I have no idea, but it's important apparently."
Nyx and The Doctor reappeared right in front of the TARDIS. The filly tried to open the door, but she couldn't quite reach the handle. She jumped for it but missed.
"Help me, Doctor. There might not be much time," Nyx cried frantically. She could have just used her magic, but her emotions were overriding her thought process.
Painfully and shakily, the Time Lord got to his feet. He nearly stumbled, but Nyx held him up. He pulled out his key and opened the door. He slowly made his way to the controls, Nyx doing her best to support him. Finally, they made it to the center of the room. The Doctor stood up on his hind legs, let out a cry of pain, and fell onto console.
Nyx gasped. "Are you okay?"
"Err, I'm fine. I think I can work the sensors from here," The Doctor groaned. He reached over and flipped a few switches. The monitor above him flickered to life and weird symbols began displaying across it. "Could you tell me what that screen says?"
"There are a bunch of circles. I can't make out- Wait, it says, 'Spacial disturbance detected, tracking particle emissions'."
"Haha! That's," The Doctor started, but then started coughing and hacking. Finally, he regained his breath. "Right, sorry, anyway, we have a lock on your mother."
Nyx sighed in relief. They weren't out of the woods yet, but at least she knew Twilight wasn't lost.
The Doctor turned some knobs and pressed a big green button. "There, I set an anchor point for this timeline. Now, let's go save us a unicorn. Nyx, if you would pull the big lever."
The little alicorn's horn lit up and the big lever came down. The gears inside the glass column began to turn, and the time machine's engines roared to life.
Nyx watched as the mechanism in the cylinder rose and fell. She thought she saw something in the reflection in the glass. Then, her blood ran cold. She saw the image of the faceless monster behind her. She whirled around, but there was nothing there.
"Is something wrong? You look terrified."
"I see the monster that took Twilight."
"Where?" The Doctor asked, his voice stone serious.
"In the reflection," Nyx answered, pointing at the column.
Suddenly, the shadowy creature burst forth from the glass. Nyx screamed as the monster wrapped its hooves around The Doctor's neck.
dIE TImE LOrD
Sparks flew from the control console. A blinding light filled the room.
Bubble Berry looked out the window. "Hey, what's that?"
"What's what?" Applejack asked.
"There's some kind of light outside."
All the ponies in Sugar Cube crowded around the window. There was a white light coming from the center of town.
"My, what a dazzling display," Elusive said.
"I think that's coming from the TARDIS," Dinky exclaimed.
Dusk frowned. "Something seems bad about this."
The light tripled in intensity. Suddenly, the ground started to shake. Derpy hugged Dinky and held tight. Butterscotch screamed. The light continued to grow. The world was engulfed in a blinding white.
Prince Solaris soared through the midnight sky, a full compliment of pegasus guards followed in his wake. Reports had been pouring in about an attack on Ponyville. The Prince gritted his teeth. He prayed he wasn't too late.
The little town appeared on the horizon. "Onwards and prepare yourselves! We are almost there," announced Solaris. Just then, an overwhelming explosion burst from the little town. Solaris doubled his speed till he reached the city's limit. He was shocked by what he saw.
An empty brown waste lay below him. There weren't any buildings, trees or grass. Not a single sign of life was left. Ponyville was gone.
The Other Hooves Daughter
Inspired by My Little Dashie by ROBCankeran53
I stared dull eyed at the blank computer screen in front of me, locked in an epic duel with the foul beast known as writer's block. "I haven't updated in over two months," I scolded myself mentally. "There are people out there who actually like the crap I write. Do not keep them waiting." I exhaled in frustration and decided it was break time. I minimized the document and went online to Equestria Daily. After checking the updates, reading a comic, and listening to really cool new track from Wooden Toaster, I checked the page for my fan fiction.
Fandom Crisis!, my crossover fan fiction of other My Little Pony fan fictions. Boy, had this story ballooned out of control. I had just meant it as quick little exercise to celebrate the one year anniversary of Friendship is Magic, but I missed that deadline by over a month and a half. And, unfortunately, a crossover of all my favorite pony characters was too tempting for me to use any self control. The story grew and grew, until, after only four chapters, there were too many characters and plot threads for me to remember. If I was ever going to get it make sense again, I would have to add a few more characters and plot threads. It was a vicious cycle.
I sighed and checked the feedback. One hundred and fifty-eight comments, that's quite a bit more than I had originally expected. I had read them all before, but I didn't have anything else to do that day. I scrolled down the list. One of the comments caught my eye. A user named Kevin had asked, "Will their be any references to My Little Dashie?" I noted he had misused 'their' for 'there', but hey, when has grammar ever mattered on the internet? It certainly hadn't mattered in my story.
The question got stuck in my head. I had heard about My Little Dashie over and over and over and over again, but I had never actually read it. Those who had said it's pretty sad, and I don't watch ponies for sad. On the other hand, maybe I could use it for a future crossover in Fandom Crisis!. I found the story on the site and clicked the link.
Over an hour later...
The story was pretty good. The tragic tale of a man who discovers a filly Rainbow Dash in a cardboard box and raises her as his daughter. I got a little teary eyed towards the end, I'll admit. I thought it was a tad over-hyped, though. What really put me off was the beginning. The audience surrogate character was a little too close to my actual life for comfort. If the author had made him a Doctor Who obsessive, I would have to check my house for cameras. Mind you, I live in a sunny, little, rural town, and the main character lived in a grey, hopeless, run-down, trash filled, half-abandoned city, so it's safe to say the story probably took place in New Mexico. Also, my parents are still alive. Still, the main character had a life like mine, and he spent all of the first act whining about how crushing and painful it was. Hey, I think my life is awesome, and I'm very happy to be living it. The rest of the story after that was pretty good, but I didn't see how I could use any of it for my fanfic.
I returned to my document. The white void stared back, mocking me. Just then, inspiration struck. I knew what would make a perfect fifth chapter. I put my hand to the keyboard and prepared to type. Then, I heard a whimpering behind me. Shotgun, my dog, was pawing at his kennel door. He looked at me with big, brown, pleading eyes. It was time for a walk. I put on my shoes, got his leash, let the lovably dumb creature out, and away we went.
It was a wet February day. Shotgun happily bounced through a muddy field. I always let him run free until we get close to a house where a dog lives, then it's back on the leash. His ears perked up and he disappeared into a bush, no doubt after some poor small mammal.
My thoughts returned to My Little Dashie. Although I wasn't as enamored with it as much as the internet said I should be, its basic premise spoke to one of my silliest yet deepest desires. I wanted to meet a real My Little Pony. Even if it was just to say hello and pet its mane. I supposed there were only two real life alternatives. You could either buy the toys or pet a real pony, but the official toys were rather ugly and the better fan-made toys were roughly the price of a small car, and real life ponies are fat, miserable, bitey animals that poop on everything.
My train of thought was derailed when Shotgun started barking at something on the side of the road. It was a cardboard box, just like the one from the story. Ooh, this was eerie, I jokingly thought that maybe there really would be a talking filly in the box. Whatever was in there got Shotgun's attention, at least. I was walking over to check it out, when a sudden earsplitting noise caused my poor dog to roll on the ground in pain. I ran to make sure he was okay. He whimpered a little, but he seemed okay. The noise had stopped almost as soon as it had started. I looked inside the box, and the sight I saw nearly caused me to faint.
There was an animal sitting there unlike anything I had ever before. Well, unlike anything I had seen in real life, anyway. I had seen plenty of them in Friendship is Magic. It was little unicorn with giant purple eyes, She had a dark pink coat and a violet mane. She had some sort of silver bracelet on her foreleg, with little lights flickered across its surface. She was smaller than she appeared in the show, but I instantly recognized her as Sparkler.
I was absolutely dumbfounded. My brain refused to process the sight in front of me. It couldn't be real. It just couldn't. She was a TV character. No, less than that, a background pony, a fan character.
"Hello there, human. Could you please leash your dog?" the filly asked.
My brain called it quits and I blacked out.
I felt something warm and wet on my cheek. I opened my eyes to find Shotgun licking me. I shooed him away and sat up. I must had been out for a few hours; it was almost dark.
"Ah good, you're awake. Tell me, have you seen any glowing lights in the sky or unusual liquids bubbling out of the ground recently?" came the pony's voice behind me.
I decided I would try my [a] best to keep my wits about me. I could think of four explanations for what was happening. Number one: I was dreaming. I found this to be the most likely. Number two: I had gone crazy, also very likely. Number three: this was all some very elaborate joke. I had no idea how this was possible, but I liked it better than number four. Number four: this was really happening. Sparkler was real and talking to me.
"Are you just going to stand there slack jawed all day? It's getting cold out here. Do you have somewhere we can go?" the unicorn asked.
I mumbled a bit before I found my voice. "Um, yeah just down the road."
"Well alright then, onwards and upwards."
I was in a daze as the three of us arrived at my door. Shotgun jumped up and down to be let in.
"Say, why hasn't my dog been barking at you any more?" I asked.
"Your canine and I had a little psychic conversation. We managed to come to an understanding," Sparkler replied.
I opened the door and let the quadrupeds into my house. Sparkler hopped up and stretched herself out on my couch, while I put Shotgun in his kennel.
The pony popped her neck. "Oh, that felt good. Believe me, sleeping in box is not all it's cracked up to be. And I don't know anyone who cracks it up in the first place. Say, could you be a dear and fetch me some tea? Oh, listen to me, just barging into your home and making demands. I'm so sorry. Perhaps I should introduce myself. I'm-"
"Sparkler," I interrupted, "a pony from Ponyville, daughter of Derpy Hooves and sister to Dinky. The pony who is lying on my couch asking for tea."
The pony looked around her behind her. "Okay, spooky. Have we met before, or later? That happens to me too."
"No, I know that because you're not real."
"I'm not?" She rubbed her cheeks and then her tummy. "No, I'm pretty sure that I am."
"I mean...you are a fictional character from a TV show, a cartoon. You can't be real," I sputtered.
"A television program? Interesting, could I see an episode, perhaps?"
I turned on my computer and went to YouTube. I found the clip of Rainbow Dash trying to help Sparkler open a jar of peanut butter for a green unicorn filly. The unicorn watched intently. She giggled when it had ended.
"I remember that mare. Little Minty and I must have laughed for ten minutes straight after that," Sparkler smirked. "Alright, up up up. I need the chair."
Her horn began to glow slightly. A magical aura surrounded my keyboard, and the words My Little Pony popped into the search bar. Sparkler pressed a button on her bracelet and pointed her hoof at the screen. Suddenly, a jumbled mess of colors flashed across the screen, and an earsplitting noise blasted from the speakers. Finally, it stopped after about ten seconds or so, far too long.
"What was that?" I asked, snapping my fingers near my ears to make sure I could still hear.
"I got it."
"Everything. Everything on the internet related to My Little Pony. Now, if you'll excuse me for a moment." To my horror she began violently bashing her head against the desk. "Sorry, I saw some things I needed to forget."
"Here you go," I said, handing Sparkler a mug of tea. "Sorry if it's not to your liking. I've never really been in to tea."
"I'm sure it'll be fine." She took a sip and grimaced. "Anyway, I'm sure you have a lot of questions."
"Now there's an understatement for you." I plopped down on the couch and tried to gather my thoughts. "Okay, how can you even be real?"
The filly giggled. "Oh how I long for the simple days, when words like 'real' and 'fictional' had some distinction. Well, I've always been real, just not a part of your reality. Are you aware of the idea of parallel universes?"
"Yes, and I think I see where you're going with that explanation. But how can there a TV show about you?"
Sparkler put her hoof to her chin. "Oh, I wish my dad was here to explain all this."
"Your dad? You mean The Doctor?"
"Yes, indeed." The unicorn took a sip of tea and cleared her throat. "Alright, now normally there are barriers between universes. They keeps matter and energy from escaping from one and potentially destroying another. However, intangible things can sometimes slip through; thoughts, ideas, fears, dreams. It makes it a real pain when you come across an infestation of mind vipers. Anyway, these ideas from other universes can seep into the thought processes of receptive people, usually artists and writers."
"So... how much of fiction is real then?"
"From what I can gather, almost all of it."
I was blown away. I had to get up and pace the room. Then, slowly, a smile of nerdy delight spread across my lips. "So, it's all real, Friendship is Magic and Doctor Who?" Images of all my beloved stories and characters danced in my mind "Oh hey, I suppose this could solve any religious debates! If you want your gods to be real, just go to a universe where they are. If you don't want any god, just go to one where he never existed. Oh, I can't take it!" I collapsed on the love seat. The universe was exploding in front of me. My whole perception of reality had ripped away.
Then, my heart descended into my stomach and my delight turned into abject terror. "Oh dear God, Cupcakes could be real. Sweet Apple Massacre could be real!" The realization was like being punched in the soul. I started to cry, and I felt like I was about to vomit.
Sparkler ran to me and gave me quite a surprise by hugging me. "Easy now. Easy now. Listen, my team and I have been popping about the multiverse for a while now, been doing some cleaning up. We can't make it all go away, but we can make some dreams fail to come true. Now, any other questions?"
I sniffled and looked up at her. "Um, if matter can't get through the barriers, how did you get here?"
"I did say normally the barriers block matter, but something has broken them down. My friends and I modified some old vortex manipulators, and we've been jumping across the multiverse ever since. If we can't find the cause of the universe leaks and fix it, all of reality will be destroyed."
The filly yawned, and, I have to admit, it was probably the most adorable thing I've ever seen. "I've had a very long day and my TARDIS is over a hundred miles away. I know we've just met, but can I stay here tonight? This couch is quite lovely, and I'd hate to sleep in that box again. I'll answer any other questions you have in the morning."
I put our mugs away and handed Sparkler a spare pillow and blanket. "Well then, goodnight, Sparkler. Holler if you need anything else." I said, still sniffly from crying.
The unicorn nodded her thanks, then drifted off to sleep. She started snore in soft little squeaks. Well, if My Little Dashie actually might have happened, then I guess history repeats itself. And like the protagonist in that story, the sight of the sleeping filly made my heart explode twice.
Despite having the secrets of the omniverse revealed to me in less than an hour and given the knowledge that everything that exists is facing imminent doom, I got to sleep pretty fast. However, when I hit my first REM cycle, my dreams became incredibly bizarre.
I found myself in darkness. Then, I heard a a small soft voice call out in the distance, but I couldn't make out what it said. I turned to see a tiny white light in front of me. I walked towards it. As it grew, I looked down. I was walking through snow, following little hoofprints. But I wasn't leaving any footprints.
"Hello! Is anypony there? Twilight!" the voice called. I could start to make out the form of a filly ahead. Then, I saw her horn, then her purple mane, and finally her wings. It was Nyx, illuminating the darkness with her magic.
"Hello," I greeted. She just kept walking. "Hello!" I tried again louder. The alicorn still ignored me. "Can you hear me?" I asked, circling around in front of her.
Nyx let out a yelp. "W-What are you? Are you a ghost?"
"A ghost? No I'm-" I looked down at my hands. They glowed purple, and I could see straight through them.
The pony's horn's glow changed from white to red. "Look, I don't know what you are, but if you’re here to hurt me, you'll regret it."
I quickly backed away. The last thing I wanted to do was get disintegrated by a baby horse (Although 'disintegrated by a baby horse' would simultaneously be the best and worst thing to have written on your tombstone).
There was a flash of purple light, and for a moment I was afraid Nyx had blasted me. Next thing I knew, I was standing in some sort of cathedral. Sinister rays of green light fell from massive jade windows. I looked around to see Twilght Sparkle standing in the middle of the room. Before her stood some shadowy writhing mass. Before I could make out what it was, There was another flash.
Now I was standing in front of a mop. I appeared to be in a broom closet. I turned around, only to be met by a pair of startled yellow eyes that looked in opposite directions. There was another flash.
I jumped when I found myself standing over an inferno. I was on a walkway overlooking a room made of clouds, that was exploding. On the other side of the room, what looked like two Rainbow Dashes were grappling with each other above some kind of machine with an opening at the top. One of the Rainbows was bigger with a more defined jaw, I figured it must have been Rainbow Blitz. The other was dressed in a black cloak with her tail dyed to match. Blitz whirled around and bucked the other pony right in the nose. She stumbled back and nearly fell into the machine. Blitz managed to catch her just in time. There was another flash, brighter than the ones before, and I felt something poking my face.
"Hey, human. Hurry, wake up. We have about four minutes or so. Wake up, human. Hey," Sparkler said, pressing her hoof against my nose. "Ah good, you're awake. Get up and get dressed. There was a massive psychic burst in this room. We have about four minutes before they get here. Listen, I realized something while you were asleep."
"Ugh, a psychic what now?" I asked, still not fully awake. "Who's coming? What did you realized"
"I saw it, human. When I scanned your computer, I saw it, but it just didn't click in my head till now. A story that perfectly described my dad's journey. Well, not perfectly. The sentence structure was wonky and the pacing and editing were all over the place. And the author really should work on show don't tell."
It was at this point that I realised Sparkler hadn't asked for my name and was unlikely to ask for it any time in the near future. I decided to let the issue slide.
"A story? What was it called?" I asked as I put on my shoes.
"Fandom Crisis! I believe."
"I'm the one writing that story."[b]
"You're writing that story? Good, everything makes sense then. Um... and I guess your sentence structure wasn't that Celestia awful."
"You're too kind," I said sarcastically.
"Anyhow, the reason I came to this particular universe was because I've looking for a TARDIS black box. My family fell into another universe and got the TARDIS blown up. They're in a lot of trouble, and they'll be going nowhere fast, unless I can piece the TARDIS back together and get it back to them.
"Okay, what's that have to do with my story?"
"Well, a TARDIS black box transmits data psychically. So if your story is an accurate account of the flight..."
I stared at her for a few seconds. "I don't understand at all. The cast of Alice in Wonderland makes more sense [c] than you."
Sparkler grunted and grabbed my head. "It's here! A chunk of a TARDIS is somewhere in this house and it's beaming the story into your head," she shouted.
Suddenly, the realization hit in my brain. She had explained it all earlier, but I never considered that my story could be real. "So wait, Nyx and The Doctor really are out there? There really is a Trixie transformer? Wait, what was that about beaming?"
The pony searched around the room like a bloodhound. "Oh, where are you? The black box just let out a massive burst of psychic energy. I'm surprised it didn't fry your brain."
Then, my bed started glowing blue. My day had been so weird and confusing, I didn't even question it.
"Ha! Found you." Sparkler exclaimed. She used her magic to rip open my mattress. Slowly, she levitated a strange, crystalline, vaguely leaf shaped object out from the springs. I had to cover my eyes from its brightness.
"What is it?" I asked.
"This is a TARDIS flight computer. This should help me track down all the other TARDIS bits that the explosion sent out across the universes."
I was startled when a barking coming from down the hall. Something was driving Shotgun crazy.
Sparkler nervously glanced at my alarm clock. "Four minutes, yeah they're here. I'm so sorry, but you're going to have to be ready to drop and run. Get outside and sprint as fast as far as you can. I'll hold them off here. Goodbye."
Suddenly, a hail of bullets tore apart my room. We hit the ground just in time. I felt something hairy in my mouth. Sparkler had put her hoof over my face, and I realized I had been screaming.
There was a whir of jet engines. My bedroom window melted away in a blast of super-heated air. Faster than I could see, something flew into the room and landed just inches from my head. I looked up to see a mare with rainbow colored hair leering at me. A metal plate covering half her face glistened in the moonlight. I gulped. It was the evil cyborg Rainbow Dash from my story.
"Hehe, aww look, a human," Dash taunted. "These little monkeys are a little too slow and fragile for my tastes." She tapped on my head with her hoof. "I think I'll let the Equons deal with you."
Rainbow's eyes went wide as purple energy surrounded her. Then, she was thrown violently through the wall. She landed in a twisted heap of splinters. Sparkler tapped me on the shoulder, her horn cooling down from her attack. "Hey, remember when I told you to do that running thing? Now's the time to do that."
I staggered back to my feet. "Yeah, no way I'm staying here, but what's an Equon? I never put those in my story."
An emerald light poured through the window. I spun around to see what I at first thought was a green fire. As my eyes adjusted, I discovered that the fire was contained inside a suit of horse shaped armor. The flickering pony reared up on his hind legs and roared.
Now, I would like to take a moment to point out that soiling yourself in the face of danger is a completely natural biological defense mechanism, and is by no means a sign of cowardice or lack of masculinity. I had had a very rough and confusing day, a psychotic cyborg pony had exploded my room, and a flaming horse monster was about to attack me. I dare you to do better.
"That is an Equon. I'll lead them away. Now. You. Run. Go!" Sparkler ordered.
I ran faster than I ever thought possible. I was about to sprint out the door, when I noticed poor Shotgun whimpering in his cage. I quickly freed him and we dashed outside. The dog disappeared into the bushes, while I ran down the road. Behind me a hellish fireworks display was going on in my house. Lights flashed and bangs and booms sounded out. An epic battle was taking place in my home, one I was going to avoid at all costs. I ran and ran and ran, until the firsts signs of sunrise appeared on the horizon.
I slowly trudged home. My pants reeked, and I was fairly certain I had damaged the bursa sacs in my knees. I couldn't help but once again draw the comparison between my life and My Little Dashie. The hero of that story had met a pony in real life, and became a loving father and grew as a person. I had met a pony in real life and fainted, cried, screamed, pooed my pants, ran away, and torn up my knees. I wished I could find another reality.
The sun had fully come up by the time I got back to my house. Everything was still. Shotgun was waiting by the door to be let in. I left my pants in the yard and went inside, I could clean them after some sleep.
There was a note taped to the fridge. It read:
You'll be happy to know that I successfully escaped from Rainbow Dash and her Equon squad with the TARDIS flight recorder. With the black box in hoof, I can get the TARDIS back to my father and we can get on with saving reality. I also had some of my team cross over into your universe to fix any damages that might have befallen your property. As you can hopefully see, they work very fast. That's the PPPPP for you, always reliable. I doubt we'll ever see each other again.
I sighed. So reality was saved. I needed some ibuprofen.
Derpy and the Rainbow Factory
Based upon, adapted, and gleefully taken from "Rainbow Factory" by Aurora Dawn
Used with Permission
I take no credit for Aurora Dawn's work
In a bubble, adrift in the sea of reality...
"Hurry, Tia! It's getting away."
Two little fillies galloped in a panic through the hedge maze. Alicorns both, one was white as snow, with hair colored pink as a blooming cherry blossom; the other was the darkest of blues in both mane and coat. The young princesses were chasing a creature their father had brought home from a far away land. He had called it a lemur.
"Oh, I wish the little fellow would slow down. It's scheduled to rain in a few minutes," Celestia moaned.
"As long as we get him back in his cage before Mother finds out we let him loose, we should be fine," Luna replied.
"What do you mean, 'We let him out,' dear Sister?"
"Okay, I let him out, but it was just too cute, hanging upside down by his tail. How could I have resisted? Besides, it's obviously your fault. You should stop your little sister from opening things she's not supposed to."
They ran for several minutes more. Finally, they were able to corner the rascally primate. He looked up at the ponies with its big scared eyes.
"It's okay little monkey," Celestia cooed. "We're not going to harm you."
Suddenly, a thunder-crack boomed in the sky. The monkey disappeared into the bushes. The rain came down like a hammer. The girls found themselves alone and soaked in the middle of a labyrinth.
"I'm frightened, Celestia," Luna whimpered.
"It will be alright, Sister," Celestia assured. She raised her wing over Luna as an umbrella.
The rain started really pounding. Celestia could barely see ten feet ahead. The water was coming up to her ankles. What were the pegasai doing up there? She was almost ready to give up and cry, when a ray of sunshine broke through. She looked up and her heart leapt at the sight of majestic white alicorn with a fiery red mane descending from the clouds.
"Mother!" Luna exclaimed.
The High Princess touched down and shielded the fillies in her wings. "What are you two doing out here?"
"We...um...we let the lemur out. I let the lemur out," Luna confessed. "I'm sorry."
"We can talk about it later. Right now let's get you two inside and dried off. Then we can have some nice hot coco," their mother cooed. She glanced up and smiled. "Girls, look up."
The little princesses obeyed and were greeted by the most wondrous sight they had ever seen. A ribbon of shining colors stretched across the sky.
"What is it, Mother?" an astonished Celestia asked.
"It's a rainbow. The pegasai use them to signal the all-clear after a storm. Now come on, before you catch a cold."
Celestia shivered sick in her bed. She curled up in a ball and tried once more to go to sleep. Mother had said to try to focus on peaceful thoughts. Her mind turned to the rainbow that afternoon. How beautiful that was. A beacon of harmony to signify the end of confusion and chaos.
The filly grabbed a tissue and blew her nose. Then, she turned over and finally managed to get to sleep.
A shadow snaked across the room towards her bed. It rose above her, almost touching the ceiling. The blackness melted away from the figures head, revealing the deathly white featureless face underneath. The abomination stooped down to the Princess' ear.
wHEn YoU bECoME HIgH PRiNCeSSss, YoU CaN ORdeR tHE pegAsuSss tO MAke yOU rAiNboWs EVERYdaY
Celestia sniffled and opened her eyes. She was alone in her room. She grabbed another hoof-ful of tissues and tried to get back to sleep. She didn't see the black cloud floating away from the castle.
The shadow reformed in a mountain cave overlooking Canterlot. He looked down at the castle with a sense of accomplishment. The seed had been planted. In several millenia it could reap the harvest of blood.
Eight Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Five Years Later...
The filly ran to take her seat inside the giant cloud stadium. “C’mon, Orion! We’re gonna be late for our final test!” Scootaloo called to a friend of hers. The orange pegasus was in her last year of flight school. She, like every other foal in the school, was terribly nervous of the final test. Those who passed were granted freedom into the world, to find their cutie marks if they hadn't yet , and become working ponies.
A little known, or at least little thought-about fact, was of what happened to the foals that failed their test. While uncommon, one or two from every class didn’t have it in them to perform the rigorous acts and maneuvers. Those that failed their tests were looked down upon in the worst of ways, shunned, and hated. Cloudsdale had always bred a form of nationalism amongst its occupants. If you weren’t the best, or didn’t show the potential of being the greatest, you weren’t allowed to be part of the ‘glorious collective’.
Scootaloo moved a little to the side as Orion, a tall, yet fairly skinny pony, settled next to her. He fluffed his light brown feathers and gave a worried attempt at a smile as he stared around where he sat. They were sitting in the large open waiting room onlooking the coliseum, with all the other graduating pegasi. Just visible in the distance was The Factory. Orion glanced at it, and gulped.
“What’s the matter, Orion? You afraid of getting a dead end job on the snow line?”
Orion chuckled a bit, then closed his eyes and sighed. “No...It’s just...I don’t know. I don’t think I can do this. What if I fail? What if I *don’t* fail, but do just bad enough to still be disliked by everypony? I don’t know if I can take being deported. Where do we even go, anyways?”
Scootaloo gave Orion a friendly punch. “No one knows, you dolt. And we’re not going to fail. Everyone here is going to be fine. I know I will at least pass, ” she laughed. “Thanks to the tips from Rainbow Dash, I’m sure to be fine.”
“Oh, yeah, sure. That reassures me. That’s actually just as, if not even more reassuring, than the psychopathic hate everypony here seems to love to spread.”
“Quit panicking, scaredy-wings,” Scootaloo replied. “The only one here I think even might fail is that yellow pony with the dark green mane. She’s the one who was out sick for that month, you know.”
“Oh, yeah,” Orion remembered as he craned his head in the other pony’s direction. “The one who had that bad case of hoof and wing. She looks pretty confident though.”
“I suppose we’ll see,” Scootaloo trailed, turning to look at The Factory herself. It gave her chills, not of fear, but pride. “I hope I get some cool active weather job. Can you imagine? Everyone in Ponyville or Fillydelphia staring up at me, going ‘There goes Scootaloo! Such an amazing flier! And from Cloudsdale, there can be no doubt!’” She smiled in excitement, forgetting her tension for the moment.
“That would be something, I’ll admit. Mind you, just coming from Cloudsdale...who wouldn’t be in awe?”
“Exactly, praise the Flock.”
“Praise the Flock.”
“Places, places, every pony.” A massive, buff Pegasus walked towards the entrance to the coliseum. “We’re going to do this by name. Your adjudicators are on the east side of the field. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, fly too far west. If they lose sight of you for any reason, you’ll be failed, immediately. Take deep breaths. Stretch your wings one last time. The test will consist of three sections. Weather clearing, Agility, and finally Recovery. Clear the clouds, fly through the hoops, and then fly to the marked elevation. Close your wings for at least three seconds. Any less and you’ll fail, but keep in mind there’s no ‘extra points’ for extra seconds. Finally, recover before you hit the cloud floor. Understood? Any questions?” The instructor paused, and carefully glanced at every single pony in the room. Everyone’s eyes were completely focused on him, and none were creased with confusion. “Alright. Aurora Dawn. You’re up first. Clear, Fly, Fall, Complete.”
The yellow pony nodded and walked quickly up to the starting ramp with purpose. She stared at the watching judges, waited for a nod from all three, and then took off with powerful force. The ramp bounced slightly from the force of the take-off.
Every pony watched as Aurora quickly reached the starting altitude, and then began a direct and purposeful attack on the positioned clouds. With expert timing and intelligent angles, the sky was soon empty of any moisture. Scootaloo and Orion watched with open mouths as the first testee pulled fast and tight turns, expertly shooting dead center through each and every hoop. Finally, Aurora pulled herself up to the proper altitude, hovered, and closed her wings.
The group of students gasped as she started plummeting, down towards the clouds, and counted breathlessly. One...Two...Three. They sighed as they watched her wings open in the correct amount of time, collectively holding that relief.
Suddenly, Aurora’s wings whipped upwards, and the group of students flinched in horror as they all heard the loud, hollow SNAP, only to be suddenly replaced by an unending, piercing scream. Many, like Orion, shielded their eyes with their wings. The others, like Scootaloo, could only watch, terrified, as the blur of yellow, green, and red plummeted into a cloud with a dull ‘thump’.
Wasting no time, the instructor walked forwards again as the three judges simply pointed down and started shuffling papers around. Speaking loudly, as if nothing had happened, he called out again. “Daisy Fields clear, fly, fall, complete.”
Scootaloo and Orion stared slack-jawed, as another pony gulped, than walked forwards onto the path and took off. They turned back to the tuft on the cloud where Aurora landed and stared. As the wind blew the fragments that were thrown up from the collision away, they saw the shivering yellow body attempt to move, only to collapse with a cry.
“Faraday Spots clear, fly, fall, complete.”
Aurora still struggled to walk, wailing with every step. Her legs weren’t broken, she could use them fine, but it was obvious the pain from her wing joints and the loss of her potential life was crushing her. Scootaloo felt Orion shuffle uneasily, tears welling in his eyes as a frown formed on his face.
“Holiday Shine clear, fly, fall, complete.”
“No one’s coming to help her,” Orion seethed through closed teeth.
Scootaloo felt extremely sad for the yellow Pegasus, but couldn’t see herself helping her. She would be failed herself and sent away, far away from Cloudsdale and any familiar place on Equestria, to a place where she and any other failed students could never stain Cloudsdale’s reputation. It was a terrible shame, but Scootaloo couldn’t fail herself. She couldn’t fail her friends, and she definitely couldn’t fail Rainbow Dash. Not after the care and help she had given her Scootaloo’s whole life. She blinked the tears from her eyes, and forced herself to watch the competing students. One after another took off, successfully passed the test, and flew to the east gate, under the judges’ spot in the stands. That’s all Scootaloo focused on. Pass the test. Fly to the gate. Live a happy life.
“Orion Comet, clear, fly, fall, complete.”
“What?” The instructor took a step back, one leg left raised in the air. “You can’t just refuse your flight test. Get out there before you piss the judges off.”
“No. D-Don’t even pretend you care about my future if you don’t care about hers,” Orion defied, unsure about himself. “You say you want me to get a good life, and yet you let those that fail suffer unbearable pain.”
“Get the clop onto that field before I fail you myself,” the instructor shouted menacingly.
“Fine,” Orion spoke sharply, before walking onto the ramp. He stared at the Judges, waited for the individual nods, and the second they came he took off. However, long before the starting altitude, he turned sharply and landed gently next to Aurora. She turned and looked at him, blood running down her forehead and sides, and tears streamed down her face.
“Wh...What are you doing? You’ll fail, like me. You’ll be exiled.”
“I’d rather be exiled from a place that treats ponies like this than live my life while other’s don’t live theirs.”
Aurora smiled, happiness briefly replacing her sadness in her blackened, puffy eyes, until she stumbled again and intense pain flashed across her body. Orion leaned in close, using his wing to brace the yellow pony against himself. He stared up at the judges, beaming hate with his vision. They stared down, unaffected, and simply pointed down, before looking back towards the ramp for the next contestant.
Scootaloo stood shocked, hardly hearing her name called. She moved numbly up the ramp, never taking her eyes off her friend and the pony he sacrificed himself to help. After a brief moment, she shook her head, recovered her thoughts, and looked to the judges. Thoughts crashed through her head as she watched them all nod.
Oh, Celestia. What do I do? I can’t let everypony I know down...but, I’ll never see Orion again...I suppose...I hope he knew that risk when he did that. I’m sure he’s thinking the same right now.
She glanced at Orion. He wasn’t looking at her. She took off, heartbroken. Instinct kicked in as the familiar rush of wind cooled her and blew her thoughts away. She stopped at the right altitude, and then launched again, sensing and seeing every cloud, formulating a game plan. In a matter of a couple dozen seconds, the sky was clear. She did a quick loop in mid-flight, aiming at the first hoop. With a powerful flash of her wings, she propelled forward through the first ring. And then the second, and then the third, expertly turning and drifting. She curved in towards the second last ring, near the bottom of the field. As she descended, she caught sight of Orion and Aurora, almost at the west gate now. Orion turned his head, and smiled weakly.
Scootaloo’s focus shattered. Orion knew what he did. He cared about her. He’d miss her, and he’d never get to say goodbye.
Scootaloo cranked into the bottom part of the ring, falling backwards several feet and hitting the ground. With a sudden intense flash of fear, she flipped herself onto her feet and began flapping her wings, levitating off the ground. Maybe that didn’t count as a failure, she thought. I can still fly. There was a distraction on the field. She spun around to the judges.
Three hooves, pointed down.
Scootaloo started crying there, tears welling up and blurring her vision. This wasn’t right. This shouldn’t have happened. None of it. Orion should have passed his test, and cheered her on from the east gate. She shouldn’t have looked at him, she should have focused on flying. But there was no room for excuses. Defeated, she slowly hovered towards Orion, and settled down next to him. She looked at him through her teary purple eyes. He looked back, offering a smile.
“You did a good job.”
Scootaloo dropped her head and sobbed. She then walked around Orion, lifted a wing of her own, and helped Aurora walk to the west gate. Before them stood a long, unlit hall, with only a cheap sign stuck to the wall, notifying ‘Test Failees’ to proceed down the corridor. They waited, only briefly, to gather themselves and prepare for where they would be taken, and then all stepped forward together.
Against an empty carriage at the end the lonely hall were three imposing ponies, leaning in a disinterested and bored pose. One of them happened to look up as the sorry looking trio stumbled out into the open. They were on the bottom edge of the coloseum, with the vast rolling hills and plains of Equestria visible far below.
“Hey, Boss. We got some ‘dem worthless pegasusses,” the first one called to an even bigger pony on the other side of the carriage. “I suppose it’s get ‘ta work time is it?”
“Cool it, hot shot . There may be more, too.”
“N-no...I was the l-last student to go,” Scootaloo spoke in sobs. Orion could only hang his head. “It... It’s...” She paused, and then breathed deeply, determined to remain as strong as she could. “It’s just us three. Aurora’s wings...they’re broken. She needs help.”
“Ain’t dat just a cryin’ shame, it is. What’s it to us? All da better she don’t come flying back to us no more.”
“We may have failed our damned test, but that doesn’t mean we’re not worth keeping alive!” Scootaloo shouted in a flash of rage. She was determined to hold on to as much dignity as she could.
“Alright, alright, sheesh. Hey, Patches, doctor her up before we head out. I don’t want any blood on dem seats, I just washed dat ting. You otha’ two, in the cart.”
Orion and Scootaloo hopped into the carriage and got as comfortable as they could on the hard seats. They made sure to leave plenty of room for Aurora. As soon as the third of the large ponies finished bandaging her wings, Aurora carefully stepped onto the vehicle.
She briefly caught a metallic glint in the corner of her eye. She spun around and saw a tiny speck flying off in the distance. It was shaped roughly like a bird, but... was that a cape it was wearing? And how could it be made of metal? She shrugged it off; she had more important things to worry about right now then strange birds.
Aurora carefully laid down on the bench in the very back. Scootaloo inched closer to her, and leaned down to talk as the door to the carriage slammed shut. The Boss pony was inside the back, standing by the door, watching each of them.
“So,” Scootaloo began quietly, trying not too speak too loud. “You’re Aurora? I’m Scootaloo. I’m sorry we had to meet like this.”
“Any meeting of a friend is a welcome meeting,” Aurora spoke gently, with sincerity in her eyes. “We did our best. That’s all we can say. That’s all any of us can say. Who’s to say that the city of the deported isn’t a good one, anyways?”
The thought struck Scootaloo as she considered it. No one was ever told about where the pegasi were brought. Most ponies considered it to be some odd land, like where the Zebras hailed from. That made Scootaloo realize something even more profound.
“Hey, if where we’re taken is where Zecora’s from, than there’s got to be a way to get back. It’s not as if we’re banned from Equestria. Flutteryshy, an old friend of mine, she’s a Pegasus who lives in Ponyville. She never passed flight school, she never took her test. They’ve never come and taken her away.”
“Exactly,” Aurora agreed with a nod. Orion overheard, and offered his thoughts.
“I think the reason we’re sent far away is because no pony from Cloudsdale ever wants to admit that someone who failed flight school could come from their city. What a clopping horrible place, now that I think of it. I never want to go back.”
“Maybe that’s why no pegasus ever comes back. They just don’t like Cloudsdale.”
“You damn worthless ponies can hardly call yourself ‘Pegasus’,” Boss spoke from the door. He was swaying ever so slightly as the carriage was lifted and moved to an unknown location. “Useless failures is what you are. No pony comes back from exile, regardless of reason. Can’t even pass your damn test, you three make me sick.”
Scootaloo jumped up from her seat, lifted herself into the air with her wings, and dove legs first at Boss. “You shut the HELL up about us, you have no right to treat others like this!”
Boss raised a hoof and backhanded Scootaloo out of the air, onto the floor. “I can treat you however I want. You hardly classify as ‘Ponies’ to Cloudsdale, or any of Equestria for that matter. Now sit the clop down and shut up until you get to your destination.”
“Where are we being taken, anyways? Not like we can tell anyone now, and I’m sure as the deliverers, you guys should know,” Orion cautiously reasoned.
“Hell if I know. We hand this carriage of f to ponies in suits, and we get a bagful of coins to keep quiet about the whole thing. It’s how it’s always been, for a thousand years.”
The three foals huddled together again, scared of the unknown. They kept quiet as they waited through the unbearable trip, all lost in their own thoughts. Friends, family, loved ones and pets, all would never see them again, and some would never find out why. An hour passed, and then another. Finally, the uncomfortable quiet was broken by a sudden lurch as the carriage stopped in its flight.
“Ah,” Boss smiled. “There’s my stop. You ponies play nice now. Have fun in wherever the hell you’re sent to.” The carriage door shuffled open and Boss hopped out with a gust of cold wind. It was night outside now, with hardly any light to see at all. Scootaloo stared outside, and noticed another figure staring in. It was dressed in a black suit, its tail died an unnatural black. Its face was covered by a dark, loose fitting mask, concealing its mane. All that was visible were rose coloured eyes, staring indifferently at the three ponies inside. They stopped on Scootaloo momentarily, unrecognizing, but she stared back. A second passed. The dark pony slammed the door shut, and the carriage took off once again.
“At least we can talk now,” Aurora whispered in the dark.
But they had nothing to talk about.
The carriage finally shuddered to a stop. The three desolate foals blinked their eyes awake, having all resolved to conserve energy for whatever came next. With a loud scraping noise, the doors shook and swung wide open. Scootaloo blinked against the light.
They were in a cloud building. As her eyes adjusted, she noticed more details. Several ponies, in suits and masks like the rose-eyed pony, were rushing around, some holding clipboards, some carrying briefcases and other important looking items on their backs. The complex was full of machinery and signs. Pipes ran along the ceiling, and a loud ‘whirr’ ran in the background, occasionally joined by loud crashes and alarms. Scootaloo gasped.
“This place...the architecture...it’s all so familiar...I think we’re in the weather factory!”
Orion frowned. “That can’t be right. We were travelling for way too long. We’ve got to be far away from Equestria now, not to mention the city.”
“Actually, Scootaloo may be right,” Aurora mused. “I noticed...it was maybe the same amount of time from when we left the coliseum to the place the carriage drivers swapped, that it was from the swap place to here. But...I don’t know. I’m confused. Maybe that’s just a coincidence.”
“Welcome, mules,” a large and powerful voice commanded. Several of the suited ponies moved to make way for a deep, dark red pegasus dressed in a white lab coat. “You degenerates are probably wondering where exactly you are. Stupid foals, you’re in Cloudsdale! The Rainbow Facility, to be precise. Allow me to show you around.”
“What’s going on here? Do you expect to use us as slaves? Because I’d rather be deported, thanks,” Scootaloo yelled. Orion and Aurora got off their seats and stood behind Scootaloo, nodding in agreement.
“Like you failures have a choice. You’ll be here for the rest of your lives! Oh, I’m sorry, where are my manners? I am Dr. Atmosphere. My degree isn’t a medical one, I shall reassure you; in case you’re picturing some dreadful surgery going on behind the scenes. Strange how so many worthless pegasai get that idea. No, no, my degree is in engineering. I’m one of the Forecolts in this facility. I’m sure you’ve all had the tour of the lower factory, yes?”
The three ponies nodded slowly, unsure of what was going on.
“Excellent! Who can tell me where the tour begins?”
Orion spoke up. “Where the Spectra comes from upstairs and is mixed.”
“Very good. What a pity you’re utterly useless to the Flock, you could have been a smart one.” Dr. Atmosphere smiled sadistically and patted Orion on the head. “But today we’re on the upper floor. Please, follow me, and don’t get too far behind, or one of my helpers will be forced to...encourage you.” With that, he winked at the suited ponies.
With nods, three of them at the rear leaned forward and jabbed each of the foals with tasers, shocking them to the ground. Dr. Atmosphere whinnied in laughter as they all yelped and fell, and continued into a soft chuckle as they all stood up again.
Scootaloo blinked more tears from her eyes, and shook herself, trying to lose the tingling in her nerves. She turned and quickly looked at each of the suited ponies, catching each of them in the eye when she could. None of them were the rose-eyed pony from the carriage. Begrudgingly, she started walked behind the red engineer.
“You simply must be careful in this department,” Dr. Atmosphere began in a tone not unlike the many tour guides in the lower floors. “There’s plenty of nooks and crannies and vents and vats one could fall into. One must be careful not hurt themselves. After all, you’re all hopeless as it is, any more so and even we couldn’t use you.” He glanced behind himself maliciously as the three foals frowned at the insult.
They were walking down a series of halls with vibrating machines and assembly lines lining the way, occasionally ducking under low hanging wires or carefully stepping over steaming pipes. As they walked, though, the building became cooler and cooler . All three were watching, sensing, looking for any way out. They couldn’t find any.
“Now, let me tell you a story. Cloudsdale is where the weather is made. Without us, the rest of Equestria would starve, freeze, drown, and generally be a not-very-happy place. That gives us a special honor, one that can’t be tainted by, er, incompetent foals like you. How could the world look up and trust us if pegasai like *you* are flying around wearing the Cloudsdale name? No, no, we needed to do something with all of you. And then we got a delicious idea, one day, over a thousand years ago. Those were some smart ponies back then, I’ll say. You don’t find too many of them these days," Dr. Atmosphere said.
They came to a big, red, metal door in a cramped corridor. A devilish smile spread across Atmosphere's face. "Well, children, we've come to our stop. Please-"
"Hi!" A grey pegasus with a blonde mane and crazy yellow eyes bounced out from behind Atmosphere. The red stallion jumped nearly five feet straight into the air.
"Agghh! Wha-Who?" he muttered in suprise. He whirled around and glared at this strange mare. "You there! Who are you? Where did you come from?"
"Well, I'm," The pegasus closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, "Dame Derpalina Ditzy Doo McMillian Rosemary Bright Eyes Bubbles Stevenson Stoneface Ashley Christopher Harmon O'Donnel Ramirez Biscuit-Barrel Hooves IV. You can all call me Derpy, or Ditzy on Wednesdays.
"As to your second question, Mr. Hooves and Mrs. Hooves met at a square dance one night and they loved each other very much-"
Dr. Atmosphere grunted in frustration. "I meant, how did you get in this building? Do you have clearance?"
"Well, I think something happened to the TARDIS, then then there was this weird light, and then I swore I saw a purple monkey. Then I woke up here in that storage closet over there." She pointed at a door behind them. "Which is weird, because I passed out in Sugarcube Corner, well, Sugarcube Corner in another universe. So no, I probably don't have clearance."
"In another what now? Never mind, it doesn't matter. You've trespassed in a secure area. You are under arre-" He stopped when he noticed the mare was walking away. "Hey! Stop right there!"
Derpy ignored him and examined the three foals. "Hello there, who are you? And what happened to your wings, kid?"
"My-my name is Aurora. My wings broke while I was taking my flight test." The green haired pony answered quietly.
"Oh I'm so sorry. That must have really hurt." Derpy tenderly put a hoof on Aurora's shoulder. Whoever had tended to her wing had done a mediocre job.
"I'm Orion," the brown colt said glumly.
"Pleasure to meet you all!" Derpy said with an impossibly stupid grin on her face. She turned around to Atmosphere, and her expression changed to one of cold fury. "You know, you are a really REALLY sorry tour guide."
"Umm...excuse you?" Dr. Atmosphere asked puzzled.
"Taking these kids on tour of the weather facility, then having these thugs scare them with tasers, while one of them needs medical attention! Just who the hay do you think you are?" Derpy furiously demanded.
"Madam, do you have any idea where we are?" Atmosphere inquired.
"Well yeah, we're in the weather factory, right outside the Spectra Machine. My dad used to be the engineer for the thing. Oh, I used to love coming here. They would pour in flowers to color the rainbows, and it would release all their scents at once. It smelt so good," Derpy said dreamily. She walked through the steel doors. "Oh...well that's...different." She felt a nudge behind her as the guards pushed her and the foals into the room.
<-Chapter Five Chapter Seven->
A chapter taken from a story, which was based on a song, which was based on a cartoon, which was based on three other cartoons, which were based on a toyline, which was based on another toyline, which was based on an animal.
The lemur was never caught, but apparently it was pregnant. To this day there is a family of lemurs living in hedge maze at Canterlot Castle. [a]