Few ponies ever went anywhere near the Froggy Bottom Bog. There were enough terrifying monsters living in its muck to scare off even the boldest of travelers, and its location in the midst of the Everfree Forest did a remarkable job of isolating it from most of ponykind. As such, it was not the ideal place to construct any kind of building.
And yet, a building there was. Rising out of the mud was a domed, ominous structure overlooking the swamp it was sitting in the midst of. And within this building constructed by pony hooves was probably the strangest gathering Equestria ever saw…
“The Great and Powerful Trixie will now call this meeting to order!” a boastful voice rang through the large, dimly-lit hall. The sound came from a blue unicorn wearing a flashy cape and pointed hat who was sitting at the center of a long table with several other figures.
“Psht. Whatever,” an unimpressed-looking griffon rolled her eyes. She had her front legs crossed and was sitting at the end of the table to the right of the unicorn.
“Silence, half-breed!” Trixie screamed. “You should consider yourself thankful to be addressed by The Great and Powerful Trixie!”
“HALF-BREED?!” the griffon shouted back, standing up on her hind legs. “When I’m through with you, you’ll be lucky if there’s half of you left!”
Three bulky figures who had been sitting between the unicorn and the griffon now stood up. “This not time for fight,” the biggest one grunted.
“Yes!” the smallest one squeaked. “Bigger problem to worry about!”
The griffon glared at the unicorn for a moment, but then sighed and sat down. “These dweebs might have a point. I’ve got a bigger fish to fry.”
“Then The Great and Powerful Trixie will begin this first meeting of the Legion of Gloom!” the unicorn announced, standing up. “Using my amazing feats of magic, I have located all of those who have been wronged by the inferior Twilight Sparkle and her companions! You have been brought here so that we may enact our glorious revenge!”
Trixie sat down. “In order to better understand our fellow comrades, The Great and Powerful Trixie will ask all of you to introduce yourself and explain why you have joined this most amazing of organizations! We’ll start with you, creature,” she added, gesturing at the griffon.
“You’d better watch it…” the griffon growled, then ran a claw over her head to make her feathers more impressive. “Name’s Gilda. I was an old friend of Rainbow Dash’s, until she started hanging out with that group of dweebs. Especially that lame-o Pinkie. Ooh, when I get my claws on that little pink rat…” she emphasized the point by digging her claws into the table, making a horrible screeching noise.
“STOP THE NOISES!!!” the bulky creatures had their claws over their ears, flinching at the sound Gilda was making. “It’s as bad as the pony!”
“What is your story then, foul-smelling beasts?” Trixie said to the three creatures.
“We are Diamond Dogs!” one of them spoke up. “We wanted the pony to find us precious diamonds, but then the noises she made! It was horrible! And after all we did for the pony, in the end we got no precious diamonds!”
Trixie turned to the figure on her left. “And what about you, four eyes?”
The very finely dressed pony Trixie was addressing gave a short huff. “I vill be addressed by my proper name: PHOTO FINISH!” She emphasized her name by speaking it extra quickly while making a dramatic pose. “I, Photo Finish, am ze finest fashion photographer in all of Eqvestria! I just point and capture…ze magics!” she added, emphasizing the last two words while holding her hoof in the air. “I vas the one who discovered ze Flootershy! Ah, her grace! Her innocence! I vould have made millions with her working for me! But Flootershy abandoned me to live out a life of…mediocrity!” she emphasized darkly.
“Well we are after that deespeecable Pinkie Pie!” a sack of flour sitting on the other side of Photo Finish slammed an appendage on the table.
“Yes! We sought to comfort her after her friends abandoned her, but she had the gall to turn her back on us!” a ball of lint sitting nearby said.
“And to think! Her hanging out with that bunch of lo-sers!” a stack of rocks shouted.
“Completely uncalled for…” a bucket of turnips muttered.
However, no one sitting at the table seemed to have heard the four objects. One of the Diamond Dogs gave a confused look at the group of inanimate objects at the end of the table.
“Um, why is there a bucket of turnips, a sack of flour, a bunch of rocks, and a ball of lint sitting over there?” he asked, pointing at the objects.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie…does not know,” Trixie admitted. “They were not here earlier…”
Trixie then stood up again. “Well, The Great and Powerful Trixie’s problems far outweigh your pathetic concerns! For you see, the inferior Twilight Sparkle had the gall to upstage a gifted magician such as myself! After dazzling the simple-minded village folk with the tale of how The Great and Powerful Trixie defeated an Ursa Major, that inferior Sparkle – obviously fueled by jealousy – sought to convince a couple of the simpletons in the village to release a monster and catch me off-guard, to make of a foal of me! I mean…to make a foal of The Great and Powerful Trixie!” Trixie said, catching her mistake.
“And let us not forget the one who made this meeting possible…” a voice from behind Trixie called out. The voice belonged to somepony sitting behind a chair, facing away from the group. “The one who put the money forward to build this secure location and safely transport you all here,” the chair spun around to reveal a white, handsome stallion with a flowing mane of hair.
Trixie looked at the stallion with a sinister smile. “Nopony could forget you, Prince Blueblood.”
The prince got up and trotted over to the table. “As for myself, I was attacked by that ferocious Rarity at the Grand Galloping Gala! That barbarian and her commoner friends sought to destroy the Gala and humiliate me in front of my adoring public!”
“Then let’s kick their flank already!” Gilda shouted, slamming a fist on to the table.
“It is not so simple…” Prince Blueblood muttered. “You see, Twilight Sparkle is none other than Princess Celestia’s prized student. Ms. Sparkle and her friends have close contact with both of the princesses, so we must exercise caution.”
“Then zis is hopeless!” Photo Finish cried. “How are ve to get to them ven zey are so well-connected?”
Suddenly, there was a loud booming noise echoing around the room. Everypony in the room tensed, trying to find the source of the sound. After a moment it came again, and they realized it was coming from one wall at the end of the hall. Trixie approached the wall slowly, reaching up to press a hoof-sized button on the wall. A section of the wall recessed and slid away, revealing the swamp outside.
“Special delivery!” a cheerful-looking gray pegasus with crossed eyes was hovering in front of Trixie, holding out a box for her to take.
“What the…What are you doing here?” Trixie demanded.
“I’m making a cameo!” the pegasus replied cheerfully.
“You’re…what? Wait, are you spying on us? Did you hear anything we said?” Trixie growled.
“Nope!” the pegasus said happily. “I definitely didn’t hear anypony making evil plans about enacting revenge! Heh, that’d be silly!”
“Oh…well…good then!” Trixie muttered. “But how did you find this place?”
“It was on the box, of course!” the pegasus said, pointing at the address label on the package. Sure enough, there it was:
Legion of Gloom
1 Ominous-looking Building
Froggy Bottom Bog, Everfree Forest
“Oh…” Trixie said, unsure what to make of this. She was surprised this cross-eyed commoner could even read at all.
“Sign here, please!” the pegasus said, holding out a clipboard with her mouth. Trixie levitated the quill out of its holder and scribbled ‘The Great and Powerful Trixie’ in curly letters on the sheet.
“Have a good day!” the pegasus called out, sailing off. Trixie huffed in response before closing the door behind her.
“Um, who ordered a package?” Trixie asked the rest of the group.
“That’s me!” Prince Blueblood cried. “This is the important component of the plan I told you of,” he informed Trixie, who now had a look of understanding on her face. The prince levitated the box with his magic and brought it back to the table. “You see, I had contact with the guards who visited Ponyville, who informed me that Ms. Sparkle has two companions who assist her in daily chores. One is a dragon who is far too narrow-minded to be of any help to us.”
The prince opened the box. “But the other…is with us here today.”
At his cue, a brown owl popped out of the box and hopped lightly onto the table, giving a small “Hoo” when he did so. Prince Blueblood backed away a few steps, muttering something about filthy commoner birds.
“Fillies and gentlecolts…and common beasts…” Trixie muttered. “This is Owlowiscious, Sparkle’s number-two assistant.”
“Hoo,” Owlowiscious said.
“Uh, you,” Trixie replied.
“Owlowiscious!” Trixie yelled. “Are you not Owlowiscious?”
“I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU, YOU STUPID BIRD!!!” Trixie screamed, her hat becoming lopsided as Trixie gritted her teeth, breathing hard at the expression-less owl.
“Anyway,” Prince Blueblood continued. “This bird has turned his back on Ms. Sparkle, and is now working for us as an undercover agent! He has infiltrated her library and her circle of friends – they trust him completely! With this bird on our side, we can discover a weakness and exploit it!”
“A brilliant plan, The Great and Powerful Trixie must admit,” Trixie said, looking at the prince wistfully.
“Ah, but not as brilliant as you madam, who alerted me to the source of our ills…” the prince responded, giving Trixie a charming smile.
“You flatter The Great and Powerful Trixie! But please, continue…”
Prince Blueblood then leaned towards Trixie and gave her what looked like a rather clumsy kiss on the lips. He had his front hooves on Trixie’s shoulders, putting what must have been a painful amount of weight on them. But Trixie was returning his kisses with gusto and the slurping and smacking noises they made echoed through the sparsely decorated hall.
“Oh brother…” the Diamond Dogs muttered, flinching.
“I do not approve of zis…unholiness.” Photo Finish grimaced, shielding her eyes from the sight.
“Get a room, already…” Gilda scoffed, rolling her eyes.
Even Owlowiscious, who otherwise looked completely passive, chose to turn his gaze away from the hideous sight.
Chapter Two! >>>
Sweet Apple Acres was in the full swing of summer. The trees were lush and each was dotted with shiny red apples ripe for picking. Applejack was trotting among the trees, pulling a cart loaded with baskets full of apples. Having just finished her day’s worth of apple bucking, she was now heading back to the barn to store the apples until they were ready to be sold.
It had been a perfectly normal day for Applejack, but that was about to change.
A low rumbling noise caught the orange pony’s attention. It seemed to be coming from a clearing in the orchard nearby. Applejack unhitched herself from the cart and trotted slowly towards the clearing, trying to identify the source of the noise. She couldn’t see anything, and what’s more she couldn’t figure out where that noise was coming from. It was almost something she could feel rather than hear, like it was coming from beneath her hooves…
Suddenly, with a thunderous boom that shook Applejack off-balance, the ground in front of her split open, sending up an enormous cloud of dirt and rock. The Diamond Dogs emerged out of the fresh hole in the ground, poking their heads into the air.
“Are you sure this is the right place?” one of them asked.
“I don’t know, there’s too many roots down here!” another shrieked.
“YOU!” Applejack cried, shocked at the sight before her.
“It’s the pony!” the third Diamond Dog said, pointing at Applejack. “Get her!”
But in their haste to capture Applejack, the three wound up tripping over each other as they scrambled out of the hole. This gave Applejack enough time to dash back to the cart and retrieve a length of rope.
“You fellers chose the wrong pony to mess with!” Applejack announced, fashioning the rope into a lasso. She twirled it over her head for a moment before flinging it at the Diamond Dogs, aiming for the head of the biggest one.
But the lasso began to glow and froze in mid-air before it got anywhere near the Diamond Dogs. Before Applejack could comprehend what was going on, the lasso snapped back like a rubber band and wrapped itself around Applejack’s hooves, leaving her lying hogtied on the ground.
“WHAT THE HAY?!?” Applejack shrieked.
“Quiet, foalish peasant!” Trixie trotted up to Applejack, shoving an apple into the earth pony’s mouth to complete the hogtied look. “As to be expected, you are no match for The Great and Powerful Trixie!” Applejack began making sputtering noises through the apple when she recognized her captor.
“We have successfully captured our quarry!” Trixie announced. “Quickly beasts, bring her into the tunnel!”
The Diamond Dogs grabbed Applejack and scurried back into the hole, dragging the earth pony with them. Trixie followed them back underground.
At the Carousel Boutique, it had been a quiet day for Rarity. There hadn’t been many customers and she was currently occupying herself by working on some new designs in the back room. At the moment, she was running some fabric through her sewing machine when she heard the doorbell over the shop door ring.
Rarity trotted in to the front room of her shop to greet her customer. “Welcome to the Carousel Boutique! I am Rari-“ she stopped and gasped when she caught sight of her visitor. “You!”
“Yes, it is I, Photo Finish!” Photo Finish said, posing dramatically at the announcement of her name. “And I have come to see you, Rarity!”
“M…Me?” Rarity squeaked, the word getting stuck in her throat on the way up.
“Yes! I realized I made a terrible mistake! Your fashion designs and grace and beyond compare! I must capture…your magics!”
“Oh my!” Rarity cried. “Are you saying…?”
“Yes! I am to make you shine across Eqvestria!” Photo Finish declared, waving a hoof in the air over her head. Rarity squealed and started jumping up and down excitedly, unable to contain herself with the announcement of this news.
“I merely need you to step outside with me, Rarity,” Photo Finish said, gesturing to the front door.
“Of course!” Rarity cried, regaining her composure. “Anything for Photo Finish!”
Photo Finish held the door open for Rarity, offering her to go first. If Rarity hadn’t been nearly bursting at the seams with the knowledge that she was about to become one of Equestria’s most famous fashion models, she would have thought this gesture of kindness was very strange coming from Photo Finish. But it was too late.
A yellow claw shot out of the air and grasped Rarity around the neck, pinning her to the ground. Rarity tried to scream, but another claw had placed itself over the unicorn’s muzzle.
“Listen pony…” Gilda said threateningly. “One sound out of you and you’re history. Got it?”
“Ve have succeeded!” Photo Finish declared, speaking over Rarity’s whimpers.
“Frankly, I don’t see why I couldn’t have just gone in and grabbed her myself,” Gilda huffed.
“Too uncouth,” Photo Finish said sharply. “Now…we go!”
Gilda took to the air, clutching Rarity in her claws. Photo Finish ran along the ground, following the griffon.
Pinkie Pie was cheerfully hopping around her room on the second floor of Sugarcube Corner. It had been another super happy fantastic pony-rific day in Ponyville, and all it was missing was a party! Now Pinkie just had to figure out what to throw a party for…
“Got any ideas, Gummy?” Pinkie asked, referring to her pet alligator. Gummy stared back blankly.
“I think I have an idea for a party…” a low voice said slowly.
“Yes! Let us ceeleebrate the return of your real friends, Pinkie!” a vaguely French-sounding voice cried out.
Pinkie stood straight up, her body going rigid. She turned around slowly to see a bucket of turnips, a sack of flour, a stack of rocks, and a ball of lint sitting at the other end of the room.
“You’re no friends of mine,” Pinkie said darkly, a sudden and frightening change from her normally cheerful voice.
“Now is that any way to address those who comforted you when you were alone?” Sir Lints-a-lot offered.
“You didn’t comfort me!” Pinkie shrieked, pointing a hoof at the ball of lint accusingly. “You all wanted to make me a jealousy-jealous pants and leave my friends!”
“But we’re your friends, not dat bunch of lo-sers!” Rocky said.
“Come back to us, Pinkie…” Mr. Turnip said slowly.
“Yes! Join us!” Madame LeFlour commanded.
“NO! Stop! What are you doing?!” Pinkie squealed. “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”
Downstairs, Mrs. Cake was looking up at the ceiling with some concern. “Do you think we should check on her?” she said to her husband.
“Nah,” Mr. Cake said, pulling a fresh batch of cookies out of the oven. “I’m sure Pinkie’s just playing with Gummy. See, she’s already quieting down!”
Mrs. Cake seemed satisfied by this. “You’re right, dear,” she said, returning to a tray of muffins.
Prince Blueblood approached the Ponyville library. Fortunately for him, the area was deserted – it would not do to have any of these filthy commoners coming up to him while he was carried out his mission.
Owlowiscious had informed the prince when Twilight would be departing the library to visit one of her friends, leaving her dragon assistant alone at the library. This part of the plan was crucial: they had to cut off Twilight and her companions from their connection to Princess Celestia.
The prince tapped a hoof on the door. After a moment, Spike opened the front door.
“Hi there! Can I help – what…Prince Blueblood?!” Spike sputtered, taken aback. He had never met the prince, but he had seen him from a distance once or twice when he lived in Canterlot.
“It’s customary to bow to royalty, underling,” Prince Blueblood huffed.
“I don’t bow to anyone who upsets Rarity!” Spike growled, shoving a finger into the prince’s chest. “What are you doing in Ponyville, anyway? Here to torment Rarity again?” he said accusingly.
“Actually, I am here to apologize for my actions,” the prince replied. “I realize I treated Lady Rarity poorly and wanted to come to make it up to her. May I enter your place of residence?”
Spike still looked suspicious, but stepped back. “I suppose…” he muttered. “But you better not be thinking of trying anything with Rarity. She’s…already called for.”
The prince strutted in through the door. “Here,” he said, levitating a black jewel out of a bag slung around his mane. “I was informed that you like jewels. Enjoy.” he stated, levitating it to Spike.
“Hey, thanks!” Spike said. “Maybe you’re not such a bad pony after all…” he popped the jewel into his mouth. “Interesting flavor…what kind of jewel is this?”
Prince Blueblood chuckled. “Interesting that you should ask about that. This is a very unique kind of gem…it has been cast with a spell that causes any dragon to eat it to instantly fall asleep. But I see you’ve already discovered that for yourself…” he added with a laugh, looking at the snoozing dragon.
Horn glowing, the prince levitated his bag off his mane and scooped up Spike in one swift move before closing the bag. He turned to leave, the bag floating alongside him, when he almost collided with the gray pegasus with crossed eyes hovering at the front door.
“GAH! What are you doing here?!” the prince cried.
“I think I’m now a running joke! Oh and special delivery, your majesty!” the pegasus said, holding out an envelope. On the address label was written:
Ponyville Library, 42 Pony Way
“Uh, yes…thank you,” the prince stuttered, taking the envelope. The pegasus saluted before taking to the sky. The prince opened the envelope to find it was a colorful advertisement that said in large, bolded letters ‘FIND LOCAL DRAGON CATCHERS IN YOUR AREA!’ On the other side of the flyer was a similar advertisement, this one proclaiming ‘HOT, ELIGIBLE MARES IN PONYVILLE ARE LOOKING FOR YOU!’
“How do they do that?” the prince muttered, marveling at the speed of advertisers these days.
Twilight Sparkle was in a panic. She had left to see Rarity, but found no one at the Carousel Boutique even though it appeared to be open. That was unusual in and of itself, but then she had returned to the library to find the door left open and Spike missing. It was at this point that she ran into Rainbow Dash, who told her she had been looking for Pinkie and having no luck. Dash had since located Fluttershy, but Applejack was nowhere to be found.
Twilight was running through the town square for what felt like the hundredth time when she heard a shout from overhead. “Hey, Twi!” Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were hovering in the air.
“Did you find them?” Twilight asked hopefully.
“Um…Well, we think so…” Fluttershy muttered.
“But that’s not all we found.” Dash said grimly, motioning Twilight to follow. They raced down the street to a spot on the edge of town, where a group of familiar figures were standing…
“We did it!” one of the Diamond Dogs cheered. The Legion of Gloom was standing over the bound and gagged figures of three ponies and Spike. Rarity and Pinkie had terrified looks on their faces, while Applejack was struggling with her bonds. Spike had been outfitted with a wired faceguard which prevented him from opening his mouth and breathing any magical fire.
“Wait…who collected the pink commoner?” Prince Blueblood asked. “I don’t remember her being part of the initial phase of the plan…and why is she sitting next to a bucket of turnips, a bunch of rocks, a sack of flour, and a ball of lint?”
“Who cares?” Gilda scoffed. “We’ve got her and that’s all I care about!”
“HEY!” a blue pegasus was approaching the group, followed by a yellow pegasus and a purple unicorn. “What’s going on here?”
“Ve have been discovered!” Photo Finish exclaimed.
“Well, well…” Gilda strode forward. “If it isn’t Rainbow Dash…”
“GILDA?!?” Dash shouted, so shocked that she stopped moving forward. Fluttershy caught up with Dash first.
“The Diamond Dogs?” Fluttershy said in a confused tone. “…Photo Finish?”
“Prince Blueblood?” Twilight said, looking completely bewildered. “And…Trixie?”
“That’s The Great and Powerful Trixie to you, foal!” Trixie shouted. “And soon you will have the privilege of adding Your Majesty to that title!”
“Your…Majesty?” Dash muttered, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes!” Trixie shouted triumphantly. “I have found an ideal companion in His Majesty, Prince Blueblood!”
“Indeed!” the prince affirmed, locking eyes with the blue unicorn. “I shall marry her into royalty. She shall be Her Majesty, The Great and Powerful Princess Trixie!”
At this Trixie threw her arms around the prince’s mane, kissing him savagely on the lips again. Spike, Applejack, Rarity, Twilight and Fluttershy looked beyond shocked.
“Ummm…” Fluttershy said slowly.
“…what?” Twilight couldn’t comprehend what she was witnessing.
Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, looked unimpressed. “Eh, I’m not that surprised. Those two were made for each other.” For her part, Pinkie looked like she was trying not to giggle uncontrollably.
Trixie finally broke from her embrace of the prince. “Now behold inferiors, as we, The Legion of Gloom, enact our revenge on you who have dared to wrong us!” at this she threw down a hoofful of powder which burst into a cloud of dust that shrouded the entire area. Twilight and Fluttershy coughed and sputtered, while Dash had the presence of mind to lift into the air and make several swoops at the dust cloud, cutting it apart and clearing it away.
But when the cloud finally dispersed, it was to show that the Legion of Gloom had vanished, along with their captives. Unseen to Dash, Fluttershy or Twilight was a well-hidden hole situated at the foot of a tree, which connected to a tunnel leading back to the Froggy Bottom Bog.
Any self-respecting brony will be familiar with the Elements of Harmony, the magical power which Twilight and her friends used to stop Nightmare Moon when Twilight first came to Ponyville. These elements – Kindness, Laughter, Generosity, Honesty, Loyalty and Magic – when brought together by the spark of Friendship, can face down the darkest of foes. These elements reflect the values held most dear by the good ponies of Equestria.
However, there is another set of elements in Equestria, which reflect a pony’s darker nature. These elements are the direct opposite of the Elements of Harmony, and combined they can wreak terrible damage upon the just and innocent.
Take the Diamond Dogs. They sought to ponynap an innocent mare from her friends, put her to work at a task she was ill-suited to handle, give no thanks for her hard work, and collect anything she had received without any payment. The opposite of kindness in every way, the Diamond Dogs represent the Element of Nastiness.
Or Prince Blueblood. Where the Element of Laughter brings joy to everpony around her and can make the darkest of situations easier to bear, Prince Blueblood has only ever managed to bring pain and misery to everypony he meets, be it the servants he treats so awfully or the young mares whose hearts he has broken. He reflects the Element of Sorrow.
And then there’s Photo Finish. Vain and sure of her success, she sought to ignore the wishes of the models who worked for her, seeing them not as ponies of feeling but as mere subjects to photograph and money to be gained. Far from generous, she reflects the Element of Greed.
When it comes to honesty, there is no equal to Applejack. And so it is with her opposite, the self-centered Trixie. Always looking for another crowd to exploit and bolstering her name by telling of deeds she never accomplished, she is the very manifestation of the Element of Falsehood.
Or take Gilda. Unwilling to accept her old friend’s companions, Gilda chose to abandon Rainbow Dash rather than come to terms with the fact that she was no longer the center of the pegasus’ universe, and may never have been. Her willingness to turn her back marks her as the Element of Betrayal.
But the most dangerous element is the last, for it is also the spark that has brought these other elements together. It is the opposite of the order and focus that entails the use of magic. It is reflected by Pinkie’s imaginary friends, for this element is what gave birth to them and what drove the other elements to form the Legion of Gloom, to pursue the dreams of revenge. This last element…is the Element of Insanity.
Mind you, I’m only telling you all this because I thought it sounded cool. There’s no magic or powers involved with these elements, like with the Elements of Harmony. And none of the characters in this story know that these elements even exist. I’m only telling you this because it makes the Legion of Gloom sound way more intimidating and unified than they actually are – the elements have absolutely no effect on the events of this story whatsoever. I’m sorry if you were expecting something awesome to come out of all that text, I just thought it would sound neat. My apologies to anyone who got their hopes up, and I hope this doesn’t effect your enjoyment of the rest of the story.
We now return to your scheduled fan fiction, already in progress…
“Our plan is working perfectly!” Prince Blueblood cried triumphantly. The Legion of Gloom had returned to their headquarters in the Froggy Bottom Bog and were now standing around the still bound and gagged figures of Applejack, Pinkie, Rarity, and Spike.
“Of course!” Trixie said. “What less would you expect with The Great and Powerful Trixie working on your side?”
“Frankly, I didn’t think it was going to be so easy…” one of the Diamond Dogs muttered, only for the other two to nudge him sharply and give him a look that quite plainly said ‘Shut up now.’
“Now ve have to figure out what to with ze prisoners!” Photo Finish pointed out.
“Well, I know what I’m doing with you…” Gilda growled, approaching Pinkie. “I’m going to give you a little ‘flying lesson.’ I’ll just drop you from above the clouds. Don’t worry, I’ll catch you before you hit the ground…maybe.”
However, Pinkie wasn’t paying attention to Gilda, instead focusing on something else in the room. Rarity seemed to have noticed this. “Mmit. My mif mer ahm muck wuv fower, ahm saf wuv rofs, ahm wall wuv mint man ahm vuckef wuv furnis nef to Vinkie?” Rarity garbled through the bandana covering her muzzle, which roughly translated meant “Wait. Why is there a sack of flour, a stack of rocks, a ball of lint and a bucket of turnips next to Pinkie?”
“Don’t be getting too rough with the prisoners yet, half-breed!” Trixie yelled. “We need them as the ransom to get the other three! And The Great and Powerful Trixie will not rest until she has that inferior Sparkle!”
“Nor I, Photo Finish, with ze Flootershy!” Photo Finish jumped in.
Gilda glowered at the two of them for a second before shrugging. “I guess I could afford to wait. There’s still Rainbow Dash, after all.”
“Someone call my name?” a confident voice called out from behind them.
The group turned around abruptly to see none other than Twilight, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash standing at the end of the hall, looking confident and impressive.
“What…HOW DID YOU GET IN HERE?!?” Trixie screamed. “HOW DOES EVERYPONY KEEP FINDING THIS PLACE?!”
“Because there was a spy in your midst!” Twilight said dramatically as a brown owl swept up from behind her and landed softly on Twilight’s back. “You thought that Owlowiscious was working for you, but in fact he was a double-agent! The moment you ponynapped our friends, Owlowiscious told us how to find your headquarters!”
Owlowiscious gave a small “Hoo!” at this. Even through his mouth guard, Spike was able to mutter something through gritted teeth that sounded an awful lot like “Show off…”
“And now,” Twilight continued. “Your days are numbered! Before we left Ponyville I sent off a letter to Princess Celestia, who is sure to send dozens of royal guards here to rescue us within moments!”
There was a loud tap on the wall behind Twilight. The unicorn turned around and pressed the hoof-sized button on the wall to open the door. The gray pegasus with crossed eyes was hovering outside.
“Sorry ma’am, insufficient postage,” the pegasus grunted at Twilight, giving her a dirty look she obviously reserved only for those who dared to cheat the system (at least, it seemed like a dirty look…it was somewhat undercut by the crossed eyes). Twilight looked at the envelope:
1620 Highly Dangerous Situation
Nightmare Crater, The Moon
Under the single solitary stamp was stamped in harsh red letters ‘INSUFFICIENT POSTAGE.’
“Nuts,” Twilight sighed. “And I left my satchel with all my bits at home. Well ponies, I guess we’re going to have to handle this on our own.”
“And how do you propose to do that?” Prince Blueblood announced. “There’s eleven of us and only four of you! You’re hopelessly outnumbered!” He paused for a second. “Wait…eleven? No, there are only seven of us…why did I say eleven?” He muttered, scratching his head.
“Well no matter, you’re still outnumbered!” Trixie shouted.
“Uh…hello?” Rainbow Dash scoffed. “Equestria’s best young flyer, Ponyville’s greatest magician, and the world’s best animal expert here!”
“Vaht does being an animal expert have anyzing to do with rescuing your friends?” Photo Finish asked.
At that moment, there was a massive movement coming from behind Fluttershy. Wave after wave of adorable creatures – small mammals, amphibians, and birds – appeared behind the yellow pegasus, looking steely and ready for battle. Angel the Bunny was wearing a pasta strainer upside down on his head and holding a carrot like an assault rifle.
“Now everybody,” Fluttershy directed the animals. “Please don’t be too hard with them, okay? Mr. Hawk, don’t claw anyone’s eyes out again, okay? And Mrs. Beaver, I don’t want to see you chewing off any limbs this time, all right?” the hawk and beaver Fluttershy were addressing looked ashamed for a moment, but nodded.
“Everypony ready?” Twilight called. “And…CHARGE!!!” she lowered her head and ran at the Legion of Gloom, followed by Rainbow Dash, Owlowiscious and the dozens of forest animals.
It was chaos. The individual members of the Legion of Gloom had dispersed in different directions, each fighting a different battle. Owlowiscious and a few of the chipmunks had already clawed or chewed through the ropes binding Pinkie, Rarity, and Applejack, releasing them within moments. A woodpecker was trying to remove Spike’s face guard but not having much luck, much to Spike’s discomfort.
Rainbow Dash and a contingent of hummingbirds were battling Gilda in the air, swooping and diving at each other. Twilight was taking on the Diamond Dogs, using her magic against their brute strength, while Rarity was facing down Prince Blueblood (literally – Rarity was screaming in the face of the prince, who had decided to cower against a wall). Angel Bunny was dueling Photo Finish, the rabbit using a carrot while the fashion photographer wielded a tripod she got from who knows where. Trixie was now defending herself against a very angry Applejack and a bunch of frogs.
Nopony in the room seemed to have noticed Pinkie shouting at four apparently inanimate objects. “I should have turned you into cupcakes!” she screamed at Madame LeFlour before giving it a mighty buck, ripping the canvas cover and causing white flour to spill on the floor. “And I should have made you into cookies!” she leveled a kick at Mr. Turnip, causing it to crash on the ground and a number of turnips to spill out. Pinkie suddenly stopped and put a hoof on her chin. “Wait, no…that wouldn’t make any sense. Turnip cookies would taste awful! Then again, I’ve never actually tried turnip cookies so maybe I shouldn’t judge before I’ve had some. But how would you make turnips into cookies?” as she was mulling this over she managed to back into Rocky, causing Pinkie to jump several feet into the air.
“Oh, thought you could sneak up on me, huh?” Pinkie shouted at Rocky. The stack of rocks was standing next to Sir Lints-a-lot. “And team up to take me down?” Pinkie hollered. “Well, you’d better be ready for my PINK-FU!” she stood on her hind legs and gave a number of sharp kicks and jabs before swiping at Rocky, causing the top two rocks to fall off and pin Sir Lints-a-lot to the ground.
Pinkie smiled slyly. “You are a formidable opponent, but you are no match for me!” she said in a vaguely Asian accent, somehow managing to speak it aloud and out of sync with the movements of her mouth at the same time.
“What…is…your…DEAL?!” Rainbow Dash gritted through her teeth, diving at Gilda with each word.
“You left to hang out with that lame-o Pinkie!” Gilda shouted, swiping at a passing hummingbird with her claw.
“I thought we went over this!” Dash cried. “What, am I not allowed to have new friends?”
Gilda decided to answer this with by diving at Rainbow Dash, her claws extended and ready to cut, when she was knocked out of the air by one of the Diamond Dogs, who had been sent flying by a spell from Twilight.
“-MOST UNCOUTH, DISGUSTING, PRETENTIOUS, VILE PONY THAT I HAVE EVER HAD THE MISFORTUNE TO MEET!” Rarity’s scream rang throughout the room, interrupted only by a scream from Trixie as a frog landed on her horn, knocking her hat off. In another corner of the room, a surprisingly loud ‘thunk!’ was heard when Photo Finish’s tripod struck Angel’s carrot.
“Zis is the end of the line…for you!” Photo Finish said sharply. Angel gave her a glare that quite plainly said “Bring it, toots.” Nearby, Gummy and Owlowiscious were surrounded by a crowd of animals, but there was no fight here – the alligator and the owl seemed to be taking bets on each of the fights and the animals were placing fruits, acorns, and other items of value to the forest creatures down and going back and forth over the odds of each fighter.
And so it would have continued, had Prince Blueblood not backed into the panel of buttons on the wall behind him.
“STORY TERMINATION SEQUENCE INITIATED” a loud, robotic voice overwhelmed every other noise in the room. It was accompanied by flashing red lights and repetitive sirens and caused every individual in the room to freeze in place, trying to figure out what was happening.
Prince Blueblood backed sharply away from the wall before dashing over to Trixie. “Hold me, my love!” he hollered, attempting to jump into Trixie’s front legs only to pin the unfortunate blue unicorn to the ground.
Twilight looked around her. The red lights were blinking faster, the sirens growing more frequent as the entire world seemed to be shimmering slightly at the edges, falling away from Twilight.
“This doesn’t make any sense…” Twilight muttered. “It’s almost as if I’ve been…”
Twilight awoke with a start. “…dreaming?” she muttered slowly. Her eyes began to focus and adjust to the light…first she could see the book her head had apparently fallen asleep on, drool forming a small puddle on the pages…then she could see the desk with other books and a set of quills sitting next to a couple of empty cups and a glass bottle half-full of a brownish-red liquid…then the rest of the library…and then finally the windows and the morning sky beyond them.
The unicorn groaned and lifted herself off her desk. “That’s it…” she muttered to herself. “I’ve got to start going easier on the apple cider…” her eyes found a plate on the floor littered with crumbs. “And no more Pinkie Pie treats before I go to sleep.”
She yawned and stretched for a second before there was a knock at her door. Twilight grunted and got up to answer it.
“Welcome to the Ponyville Library, how can I-“ she was cut off when her visitor, a gray pegasus with crossed eyes, thrust her face into Twilight’s, giving her an angry and thoroughly disappointed expression.
“Really? Really?! You sunk to the lowest common denominator? The ‘Oh, it was all just a dream!’ set up?” Derpy Hooves demanded.
“…What? What are you talk-“ Twilight was interrupted when Derpy shoved a hoof into Twilight’s mouth.
“Tsk, tsk. Couldn’t come up with a decent ending, so you reverted to the worst of clichés. Oh sure, the idea of a team of supervillains, well that’s just comedic gold, but when the time comes to actually make them do something you drop the ball! And here I was really enjoying myself!”
Derpy removed her hoof from Twilight’s muzzle and turned around in a huff. “STORY! I WANT TO SEE YOUR SUPERVISOR! THIS WILL NOT DO!” she screamed at the sky before taking to the air.
Twilight stared at the receding figure of Derpy, mouth agape and unable to process what had just happened. “The ponies in this town are crazy…” she finally muttered to herself before stepping back inside and closing the door.
<<< Chapter Two!
Author’s note: This is a sequel to my earlier story, Legion of Gloom, so read that first if you haven’t already, otherwise nothing in here is going to make any sense. This story is also my excuse to throw in a lot of Doctor Who references, and while you shouldn’t necessarily need to be familiar with that show to follow along, consider yourself warned.
A sharp crash. Prince Blueblood diving towards Trixie. Sirens. An explosion. Exposed sky. The world melting away. A flash of white. The bedroom ceiling.
Twilight Sparkle’s eyes were open now, staring up at the sunlit room she slept in. She was trying to discern whether this was part of the dream or if she was awake now, before coming to the realization that if she was considering the possibility she was dreaming, then most likely she was no longer dreaming.
She rolled over on her bed, trying to put the images of her dream together to form some kind of coherent train of events. But the more she tried to piece it together the more it was slipping from her and after a moment all Twilight could remember from her dream was a vague feeling of confusion and the fact that she had experienced this dream before.
There was a loud knock at the door downstairs. “Why do ponies always seem to come to the library right after I wake up?” Twilight muttered to herself, lifting herself from her bed. “Well, at least Spike will get it…”
The knock came a second time. Twilight ignored it, brushing her mane instead. The knock came a third time, louder and more repetitive this time.
That’s when Twilight realized Spike was away on royal business. She gasped, causing the brush she had been magically levitating to drop on to her head. Cursing under her breath, she raced downstairs and wrenched the door open.
“I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to take so long!” Twilight gasped. “Welcome to the Ponyville Library, how can I help you?”
“Ah, Twilight Sparkle, I presume?” a cheerful voice rang out. On her doorstep was a brown Earth pony with an hourglass cutie mark wearing a light brown overcoat, standing next to a gray pegasus with crossed eyes who seemed to be staring at nothing in particular at the moment and with her tongue sticking out. The Earth pony was addressing her. “Anyway, don’t worry about taking too long, I have all the time in the world! In fact, I have all the time of several worlds. Possibly even the whole universe, I haven’t actually added it all up yet.”
Before Twilight could think of anything to say to this, the Earth pony had pushed past her inside, followed by the gray pegasus. “Ah, libraries!” he exclaimed, taking in the whole room. “So full of knowledge and wonderment and great stories!” At this he pulled a random book off the shelf and glanced at the cover, which had the word Spiderses printed on it. “Well, mostly great stories,” he muttered, tossing the book on the floor. Twilight was about to object to such blatantly poor treatment of library property (even if it was such horribly written material), but the Earth pony had strolled up to her and was looking intently into her face.
“But we’re here for another great story, one not printed in a book. And you’ll be the one to tell us it, Twilight Sparkle,” he said.
“You…I…what?” Twilight sputtered, not able to make heads or tails of any of this.
“But you can’t, can you?” the Earth pony said, looking deeply into Twilight’s eyes before reaching into a coat pocket and retrieving a small metallic object with his mouth. It flashed briefly and made a sharp reverberating noise as the Earth pony waved it in the direction of Twilight. “Blocked, just as I thought.” He put the object back into his pocket. ”Well Ms. Sparkle, you have a story locked away and I am your key. Disregard that metaphor by the way, because it was horrible.”
“That…this…I…you…” Twilight stammered. “…I’m very confused,” she finished weakly.
“Yeah, he has that effect on ponies,” the gray pegasus said, smiling. “This is the Doctor, and you can call me Derpy.”
“Oy, don’t be introducing me!” the Doctor cried. “I prefer to introduce myself, you know that!”
“But you didn’t. So I thought I would,” Derpy smiled.
“I did too…” the Doctor said uncomfortably, before turning back to Twilight. “I’m the Doctor, by the way,” he muttered in a quiet voice. “Oh, shut up,” he said, catching sight of Derpy rolling her eyes in opposite directions.
“So…what’s this about?” Twilight asked, looking from the Doctor to Derpy and back again.
“Well strictly speaking, only you fully know the answer to that question. So we just need you to come with us!” he exclaimed, pulling Twilight out the door.
“Don’t worry, you get used to it,” Derpy said, winking at Twilight, which only served to make her crossed eye appearance even stranger.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie will call this meeting of the Legion of Gloom to order!” Trixie exclaimed, her voice ringing through the spacious yet dimly lit hall. “First, the Great and Powerful Trixie will go over the minutes of the previous meeting!”
“Oh, for the love of…” Gilda muttered, putting a claw to her forehead. “When we have ever kept minutes of our meetings?”
“Since the last meeting, half-breed,” Trixie growled. “When I assigned you the job of keeping minutes and you agreed!”
“What…I did not!” Gilda cried.
“Actually, you kinda did…” one of the Diamond Dogs said warily.
“As someone who attended the previous meeting, I too can assert to your agreement in this matter,” Prince Blueblood chimed in. “I believe the exact words you spoke to Trixie-“
“The Great and Powerful Trixie,” Trixie interrupted.
“-went as follows: ‘What? Oh yeah. Sure. Whatev.’ Then you placed your earbuds back on and resumed banging your head in time to that atrocious music you listen to,” the Prince finished. “Then again, I can’t be completely sure those were your exact words, since we don’t have the minutes from the previous meeting.”
“Ve are vaisting our time vit zis!” Photo Finish said sharply. “Ze minutes do not matter, ze Flootershy and her companions do!”
“Oui, zat is correct Madame!” Madame LeFlour said, waving her appendages in the air and sitting next to Rocky, Mr. Turnip and Sir Lints-a-Lot. But once again, no one else in the room seemed to hear her. Photo Finish looked sideways at the inanimate objects sitting next to her. “Vaht is a sack of flooer, a bucket of-“
“I DON’T KNOW WHY THERE’S A BUNCH OF JUNK SITTING THERE!” Trixie yelled. “I didn’t put it there, I don’t know who keeps putting it there, and I don’t care! I mean…The Great and Powerful Trixie does not care! Can we just forget the stupid objects already?!?”
Everyone in the room was silent for a moment after this outburst, and for a while the only sound in the room was Trixie’s heavy breathing. Finally, the blue unicorn straightened up in her seat.
“Very well, since we don’t have any minutes from the previous meeting to go over…” at this she glared at Gilda. “Then the Great and Powerful Trixie will explain our next plan to defeat the meddling Twilight Sparkle and her friends!”
“Which is what we should have been doing the whole time…” Gilda muttered under her breath, crossing her front legs.
“Now then,” Prince Blueblood stood up. “My sources in the Royal Government have informed me that Twilight Sparkle is not only Princess Celestia’s prized student, but that she and her five friends are the bearers of the source of an incredibly powerful magic. In fact, it was this very magic that drove the influence of Nightmare Moon from Princess Luna and as far as we know, there is no creature in this world that can stand before its might. Now while the six are the bearers, the objects of the magic themselves are located here in Canterlot.”
“Fillies and gentlecolts…and…other…creatures,” the Prince said awkwardly. “We have found their greatest strength…and their greatest weakness. If we were able to get our hooves on those objects, we could defeat them easily!”
“Brilliant, my Prince!” Trixie exclaimed.
“Ah, but not as brilliant as you, my sweet…” the Prince replied, leaning in for a kiss.
“Here we go…” the Diamond Dogs sighed in unison.
“Before zis…atrocity can begin…” Photo Finish shuddered darkly. “I must ask: vere are zese objects located?”
“It’s an ill-kept secret among the Royal Guard that the Elements of Harmony are locked away in a vault in one of the main towers,” Prince Blueblood explained. “But this vault can only be opened by one of the Princesses.”
There was silence for a moment following this announcement. Then Gilda spoke up. “So you mean to tell me that our best weapon against those lame ponies is completely out of our reach?!?”
“Now now, Gilda…” a new voice said softly. “I wouldn’t say that…”
The voice came from a figure standing behind the table at the end of the room, facing away from the table and obscured by shadow. But even at a distance he was a tall, imposing figure.
The figure bowed his head slowly, as if in thought. “There are locked away, yes…but those are but the physical manifestations of their power. The true power of this magic lies within the spirit of the six ponies who possess them, and those ponies will call upon that power at their time of greatest need.”
He turned to face the Legion of Gloom. “That will be the opportune moment. Push them to call upon that power, and when they are about to use it…” he raised a hoof and smashed it on to the ground, sending cracks spreading from the spot he hit. “…then we strike.”
“Sounds risky,” Prince Blueblood said warily. “You’re saying we have to strike after they call upon the power, but before they actually use it. Our window of opportunity is very small…”
“Oh ye of little faith,” the figure chortled. “Remember who you are speaking to. Was it not I who saved you from the dome in the swamp when your enemies had you cornered? And was it not I who erased their memories so that you can strike from the shadows once more?”
The figure smiled maliciously. “You are speaking to one of unimaginable power. Trust me – this time you all shall succeed.”
“So how do we find them?” Gilda asked, narrowing her eyes.
“We do not need to,” the figure responded. “We merely have to wait…and they will come to us.”
Photo Finish spoke up. “I must ask…Vaht is ze name of zis magics?”
“This magic…” the figure said. “Is called…”
“The Elements of Harmony!” the Doctor cheered. “A pleasure to meet you, each and every one of you!”
The Doctor was standing next to Derpy Hooves addressing Twilight, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Rarity. After grabbing Twilight, the Doctor and Derpy had rather forcefully retrieved each of the others one by one, assuring them that their presence was essential before taking them to a small clearing near Ponyville where there was a blue box with POLICE STABLE printed on the side, similar to the ones that had been common in large Equestrian cities decades ago. The Doctor had led them inside, where to the shock of the six mares they found a large, futuristic room made of metal arranged around a single control station in the middle of the room.
“I know, I know, bigger on the inside, right?” the Doctor had said gleefully, galloping around the room and hitting a few buttons seemingly at random (which, for all intents and purposes, he may have been). After the usual reactions of disbelief and explanations that yes, this was in fact a time machine finally subsided, the Doctor set about explaining their situation.
“You see, an event of crucial importance has occurred in your timeline but for some reason you have a block on your memory centers so you are unable to recall the details of said event except in the form of subconscious images during the stages of sleep,” he said very quickly.
There was silence for a moment. “…Ah…may not have been able to follow all that,” Applejack said in a confused tone.
“Oh, silly!” Pinkie exclaimed. “He said something happened to us but we don’t remember it, except in our dreams!” She seemed to be taking the discovery of a time machine and an apparently mad pony in charge of it all in stride.
“Oh,” Applejack said. “That makes a little more sense…I guess.”
“Actually no, it doesn’t,” the Doctor said. “Why would anypony want to block your memories? What could have possibly happened that somepony…or something…wouldn’t want you to remember?” Once again he pulled out the metallic object in his pocket and waved it over each of the six mares in turn.
“Um…if I may…” Twilight asked slowly. “What exactly is that thing?”
“Sonic Screwdriver!” the Doctor said proudly through the object clenched in his teeth. “Never leave your temporal dimension without one, trust me. Unlocks doors, tracks life forms, controls devices, and performs medical scans, which is what I’m doing with it now.” He ran the screwdriver over Pinkie and spat the device into his front hoof to examine it. “Now that’s interesting…but not important at the moment. Anyway, each of you has the same reading: blocked memory cells that come from the same source.”
“Well, wait!” Pinkie cried. “We’re in a time machine, aren’t we? So let’s just go back and see what happened ourselves!”
“Actually, we already thought of that,” Derpy said, her eyes sliding in opposite directions. “But something kept blocking us. I got to break through a couple of times by delivering some mail, but each time something forced me out before I could learn very much.”
“Basically,” the Doctor continued. “The structure of events you experienced followed a specific, largely predetermined framework, and we could only access it if our appearance fit within that framework.”
“And there’s lot of these frameworks! We call them ‘stories,’” Derpy concluded.
“And here I thought you were just a simple clockmaker and a friendly mailmare,” Rarity said, admiration creeping into her voice.
“Nope!” the Doctor said cheerfully. “But that would make for an interesting story…somepony should really write that. Maybe with ‘clock’ or ‘tock’ in my name somewhere, that’d be cool. Or I can just be called…Bob. I always wanted to be called Bob.”
“So…wait,” Twilight was looking at Derpy. “What you were saying about stories…Is this why you came to my house yelling to me about dreams and clichés and what not?”
Derpy tilted her head, her eyes sliding apart as she did so. “What now?”
“You…came to my house? Yelled ‘story, I want to see your supervisor’ before you flew off? …Remember?”
Derpy’s eyes slid further apart. “…No.”
“Oh. Well…never mind then,” Twilight muttered.
Derpy turned to the Doctor. “I think it’s time we introduced them to the League.”
“Absolutely!” the Doctor cried, dashing over to the control panel in the middle of the room. “Hold on, everypony! Things are about to get interesting.” At that he dramatically threw down a switch and a deep humming noise filled the room, apparently coming from a pulsating object in the middle of the column at the center of the room. The floor beneath them shook and everypony barely managed to grab something to keep them steady. After a moment, the noise and the shaking abruptly stopped.
“Fillies and gentlecolts...” the Doctor said, approaching the door. “Well, I suppose I’m the only gentlecolt here…” he muttered as he opened the door. “Welcome to Trotswood!”
The six mares gasped as they trotted out through the door. The shock was the result of two reactions – one was surprise at the fact that they were now in a completely different location, and the second was their admiration of the breathtaking room they were now standing in. It was spacious with high ceilings, painted gleaming white with splendid décor, fit for royalty. And there was only one city in all of Equestria with architecture this fine: Canterlot.
On the floor was shelf after shelf of fantastic looking equipment. Some of it looked incredibly futuristic, while other items looked like they belonged in a museum. But perhaps the most obvious aspect of these shelves was the clutter: there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the placement of any of these objects. An abacus was sitting atop a tank of green bubbling liquid, which was positioned next to an anvil with several records perched on top. An old compass was pointing at a small silvery thin box with what looked like the icon of an apple with a bite taken out of it embedded on top. A cupcake with an actual bite taken out of it sat on the shelf below. A large computer mainframe with dials, flashing lights and various indicators beeped occasionally nearby. It was too much for the six mares to take in all at once.
“Hello there!” a friendly voice called out. The attention of the six mares was brought to an occupant of the room who had gone unnoticed amidst the architecture and contents of the space. Their greeter was a familiar Earth pony with a pale cream coat, a pink stripe in her navy blue mane and a cutie mark consisting of three wrapped candies. Twilight knew she had seen her around Ponyville before, but she couldn’t remember her name.
“Bon Bon!” Pinkie shouted, bouncing forward to greet her. Twilight smiled. Of course Pinkie would know everypony in Ponyville. Bon Bon greeted Pinkie warmly before turning around.
“Lyra!” Bon Bon called out. “Everypony, all of you, get out here! We’ve got visitors!”
The aforementioned mint green pony stepped out from behind a shelf full of equipment, her face shining as brightly as her cutie mark of a gold lyre on her flank. She offered them a cheery wave before two other ponies followed her out from behind the shelves. One was a gray mare with a flowing dark gray mane and the cutie mark of a treble clef – Twilight recalled seeing her at the Grand Galloping Gala and figured she must have been one of the musicians there. The second pony was a white colored pony with a wild, spiky mane of blue and cyan stripes, a cutie mark of a double quaver and wearing thick black goggles with purple lenses – the same pony who had been the DJ at Rarity’s fashion show for Hoity Toity.
“Everypony,” the Doctor said, stepping forward. “This is Octavia and this is DJ Pon3, two of Equestria’s most talented and yet perhaps most different musicians. You’ve already met Lyra, Bon Bon and Derpy, and I of course am the Doctor.”
Octavia stood up on her hind legs, drawing herself up impressively. “And together,” she announced in a crisp, clear voice which carried through the room. “We are the League of Fanons.”
Within Canterlot’s royal castle, Prince Blueblood occupied the top floor of an entire wing of a building set towards the rear of the complex, furthest away from the public spaces of the castle – the throne room, the reception areas, the dining halls, all that. The prince’s chambers consisted of a private dining room, a living space, multiple dressing rooms, and a single grand bedroom positioned within a short tower extending out of the building. It was from this tower that soft, cooing noises could presently be heard.
“Oh Blueblood, you impress the Great and Powerful Trixie…” Trixie said in an excited, breathless voice.
“You have seen nothing yet, Ms. Great and Powerful Future Princess…”
“Oh Prince, sweep this Great and Powerful mare off her hooves!”
“Your wish is my command.”
“Oh, Prince! Oh, oh yes! Yes! Oh…oooohh…your horn is so biiiiig…”
“Um, Great and Powerful Trixie?”
The last line was spoken by one of the Diamond Dogs, who had entered the room and briefly managed to catch a glimpse of Trixie on the Prince’s bed, holding doll versions of herself and Prince Blueblood (available for $9.99 at your local toy store, comes with hairbrushes and fashionable accessories) in her hooves with the doll’s horns touching together before the Diamond Dog had to dodge a pillow violently hurled by force of magic.
“The Great and Powerful Trixie demands that you KNOCK ON THE DOOR BEFORE ENTERING!!!” Trixie screamed at the now cowering Diamond Dog. The unicorn’s face was crimson and her eyes were ablaze, an alarming contrast to the pale white of the Diamond Dog’s face.
“Sorry, sorry!” the Diamond Dog pleaded, hunched before Trixie with his paws over his head. “I just came to find Prince Blueblood, the newcomer wants him!”
“He’s not here,” Trixie growled. “He’s conducting some royal business, so the Great and Powerful Trixie decided to wait for him. Is that all?”
“Well…no,” the Diamond Dog cringed. “The newcomer wants to see you too. He wants to see all of us!”
“Fine,” Trixie huffed. “The Great and Powerful Trixie will grace this meeting with her presence. Just so long as you remember something very important: you didn’t see anything here.”
“Yes. I mean-no. I mean…I saw nothing,” the Diamond Dog whimpered.
“Okay, hold on…I’m very lost,” Twilight Sparkle announced to everypony in the room. “And I know I speak for my friends in this regard.” Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy gave nods of agreement, while Pinkie just kept turning her head this way and that staring at various objects in the room.
“Firstly, what in the wide world of Equestria is a ‘fanon’?” Twilight continued.
“Well, that’s actually kinda a tricky question to answer…” Lyra replied.
“Alright, remember what I was saying earlier about frameworks and trying to fit into them?” the Doctor asked.
Derpy cut the Doctor off. “Just call them ‘stories’ Doctor. It makes it easier to follow.”
“It’s like this,” DJ Pon3 started. “You all got your story, and we’re in that story too. But you have like an impact in the story and we don’t, but then a bunch of fans of your story were like ‘hey, let’s hear from those ponies too!’ which are us ponies. You dig?”
There was a silence for a moment as the six mares gave DJ Pon3 blank stares. Octavia facehoofed. “That…has to be the worst explanation I have ever heard.”
“Let me try,” Bon Bon said. “You see girls, all of Equestria is like a big story and you six are the main characters in that story. The six of us are also within that story but only vaguely defined, fitting in as background characters to your daily lives. But your story has a lot of fans who were interested in finding out more about our world, so they wrote little stories about us background characters. Eventually, enough of them wrote stories about us six that we began to have our own personalities.”
“Hang on…” Fluttershy said, panic creeping into her voice. “Do you mean to say that we’re all fictional? That none of this is really real?”
“I prefer to think of it more as being guided than being fictional,” the Doctor said. “Remember philosophy class Fluttershy – as Descoltes once said, ‘I think, therefore I am.’ You think, I think, all of us here are thinking, so we must exist in some form or another.”
“I never took a philosophy class…” Fluttershy mumbled quietly.
“I still don’t really understand.” Twilight said.
“You don’t really have to,” Derpy said in a comforting tone. “That’s the beauty of it – you can just go along your daily life and not worry about it, not even have to think about it.” She gave Twilight a warm smile, and this time the crossed eyes actually served to complement her intended message rather than detract from it.
“So how did y’all meet each other?” Applejack asked, clearly wanting to get off these highly philosophical and brain-numbing topics.
“The Doctor found us,” Lyra said. “As you can probably tell, he seems to know a bit more about this kind of stuff.”
“It’s a gift,” the Doctor winked.
“And what exactly do you do?” Rainbow Dash inquired.
“Oh, you know…save the universe, make sure the timestream for this world remains consistent, keeping an eye on you lot,” at this the Doctor gestured towards the six mares. “You know, typical timey-whimey, Doctory…stuff.”
“And don’t forget about me, the Doctor’s companion,” Derpy chimed in. “Who managed to save your hide more than once, if I’m not mistaken,” she added, nudging the Doctor.
“Lyra and I do a lot of the administrative and general support work here at Trotswood,” Bon Bon explained. “And Lyra is just so delightful at that wonderful instrument of hers!”
“Oh, go on…” Lyra said, waving a hoof nonchalantly but blushing nonetheless.
“Music and technical know-how, that’s what I bring,” DJ Pon3 smiled, adjusting her goggles.
“My specialty is also in music, though of a different variety of course…” Octavia explained. “However, I also do a fair amount of detective work for the League. It is incredible what some of these royal ponies say in front of the musicians when they think we’re just focusing on our music.”
“And how did you find out about us?” Pinkie asked cheerfully.
“Ah, well…” the Doctor said, keen interest creeping into his voice. “The TARDIS – that’s the blue box thing you came here in – picked up on some dimensional disturbances around Ponyville, particularly around Froggy Bottom Bog. But as we already explained, we couldn’t get in ourselves to find out what was happening, and any trace of what happened was wiped clean. Except…in here,” he said, indicating Twilight’s head. “Your memory just needs to be unblocked and we can learn what happened.”
“How in Equestria do you suppose we do that?” Rarity asked.
DJ Pon3 held up a hoof. “Just follow me, girls.” She turned around and started trotting to the back of the room, with everypony following her.
“So…” Rainbow Dash was walking astride Octavia and was leaning in to ask her a question. “Octopus, was it?”
“Octavia,” she replied curtly.
“Right, right…” Dash said. “So…I’m still not quite getting who you all are. I mean, this Doctor fellow, what’s so special about him?”
“Well, I’ve puzzled over that myself actually,” Octavia said, looking thoughtfully at the Doctor. “I believe he resonates so strongly with his fans because he embodies the ideal characteristics of a masculine figure: commanding and truly in charge of any situation, brave to the point that he literally laughs in the face of danger, relying not on strength of arms but on intellect and sharp wit, wise and clever beyond any measure…he is what every stallion wishes he could be and what any mare would look for in a companion.”
Rainbow Dash gave Octavia a blank look. “I meant more like…what exactly has he done?”
“Oh,” Octavia said. “I thought we went over this. He’s a time traveler who has saved the universe on multiple occasions.”
“Okay, that…that makes more sense,” Dash replied.
They proceeded to the back of the room, where there was a large bank of computers positioned around a circle labeled on the floor. The computers had blinking lights, multiple toggle switches and buttons and readout screens, but what their exact purpose was couldn’t be deciphered from the appearance of the machine itself.
“Right then!” the Doctor cried. “You lot, stand right here in the middle, in the circle,” he said to the six mares. “On you go, then!”
“Sorry, but what exactly does this machine do?” Twilight asked.
“It scans brainwaves,” DJ Pon3 said, giving a sly smile. “Anything in your mind, it picks up.”
“Basically,” the Doctor began. “The mind scanner will locate your blocked memories, and I’ll use my screwdriver to unblock them so you can remember them. But then they’ll also appear on the monitor here so that we can see them too.”
“Now then…” the Doctor continued, turning to the other members of the League. “This is going to have to be a group effort. Octavia and Lyra, I need you to get your instruments ready.” The two musicians nodded and galloped off. “DJ, I need you to keep an eye on the monitors.”
“On it, Doc!” DJ Pon3 said, giving the Doctor a mock salute.
“Oh, don’t salute!” the Doctor shuddered. “And no ‘Doc’ either, you know I hate that…”
“Sorry sir, you know I forget,” DJ replied, snickering slightly. The Doctor grumbled in response.
A moment later Octavia and Lyra returned with their instruments in tow and proceeded to tune them. “Right then…” the Doctor said. “The experience of having your memories unblocked is a very traumatic one, especially if they’re important in any way. But soft music has a way of making the whole experience much easier to bear, so I need you two to play something soothing while we do this.” Octavia and Lyra nodded as they finishing tuning their instruments, then after a moment began to play a quiet melody.
The Doctor turned back to the six mares. “Now I’m not going to lie, this is going to hurt a little. But close your eyes and try to concentrate on the music, okay?”
The six mares nodded and closed their eyes, listening intently to the wafting notes of Octavia and Lyra’s song. Pinkie seemed to recognize the tune, as she was bobbing her head back and forth in time to the music, humming along softly.
“Doc, I found them!” DJ shouted, pointing at a collection of red icons on the brain scan on the screen.
“Alright…” the Doctor looked at the screen to memorize the location of the blocked memory cells, and then pointed his sonic screwdriver at the six mares. “On three then, ready? One…two…three.”
Twilight had tensed herself for the moment, finding it difficult to focus on the music in her state of anticipation. For a second she heard the noise of the sonic screwdriver before she felt a searing pain in her head, so strong it felt like her head would burst. Something was forcing its way inside her brain, pushing in deeper and deeper. Twilight clutched her head in agony, forcing herself to pick out the distant notes of music she could just barely heard. She tried to focus on them, not thinking it would do much good. But to her surprise, the more she focused on the music the more the pain receded. It didn’t vanish, but it was numbed, and that was good enough.
And then, she could remember everything.
Twilight was battling one of the Diamond Dogs, blasting one of them back with her magic and shielding herself from a blow from another. It was tough, but she definitely had the upper hand, and it would only be a matter of time before she had them beat.
“STORY TERMINATION SEQUENCE INITIATED.” The chaos of the battle suddenly ceased with the overwhelming sound of a loud, robotic voice. Everyone in the room froze, looking for the source of that sound as alarms and sirens suddenly began to ring out.
“Well, not this isn’t fun…” a bored sounding voice echoed through the room. “But I think I’ve had just about enough of this nonsense.” Prince Blueblood yelped and dove on top of Trixie, cowering in fear of this new voice.
Suddenly there was an ear-splintering crash as the ceiling exploded. Twilight braced herself to dodge or magically block any falling pieces of the ceiling, but somehow they never came. The sky was now exposed as the ceiling seemed to just vanish, and it took Twilight’s eyes a moment to adjust to the brightness of the sunlight.
When her eyes finally adjusted, she saw a powerful-looking figure hovering in the air. It was a dark green alicorn the size of Princess Celestia with a long, silvery horn and a majestic wingspan, a mess of blond hair for a mane and a tail, and glinting eyes.
The figure’s horn glowed and suddenly what was left of the Legion of Gloom’s lair began to fade away, leaving only the swamp behind. There was a flash of brightest white, and Twilight suddenly found herself back in the library, her head lying on a desk with a bottle of apple cider and a plate of eaten treats nearby.
One last detail returned to Twilight. The alicorn had said something in a lofty, casual tone as he cast his magic.
“Greetings to you all, My Little Ponies! Allow me to introduce myself…my name is John. But you can just call me…The Author.”
“Okay, so I know I’ve been saying this a lot today, but…” Twilight’s right eye began twitching and she was talking through clenched teeth. “I’m confused. I’m very, very, very confused. And I really hate being confused. So something had better start making sense or Celestia help me, I will not be responsible for my actions.”
Twilight’s friends, having previously seen her in a state of rage and fearing the consequences of being on the wrong end of it, backed away from the purple unicorn as quickly as possible. Bon Bon and Lyra followed suit, not really knowing why they were doing so but deciding that if everypony else was doing it they should do the same. Even Octavia and DJ Pon3, who were already standing a fair distance from Twilight, involuntarily shied away. Only Derpy and the Doctor seemed oblivious to the danger, Derpy staring at nothing in particular with her tongue sticking out and the Doctor pacing back and forth while quickly talking, half to the room and half to himself.
“Oh no, oh no no no…this is tricky, this is very tricky…no, I know exactly what we’re dealing with and it is not good at all…” He finally looked up at Twilight. “Oh, don’t give me that look, the last thing we need now is you catching on fire.”
“…Because it’ll harm you or her?” Fluttershy inquired in a squeaky voice.
“No, because it’ll set the sprinklers off and stain my coat. And short-circuit the computers. And make a general mess of things.” He paused for a moment. “And the harm thing, yeah, there’s that too…”
“Doctor, what are we up against?” Lyra asked urgently.
“One of the scariest things in the universe,” the Doctor responded. “They are ill-conceived monstrosities that lack solid emotions and are far too skilled at any number of traits, whether it flies in the face of the laws of space and time or not. They are too perfect or too imperfect, with a complete disregard for reality as we understand it, serving only to fulfill the ridiculous fantasies of their creator.”
“Fillies and gentlecolts…well, I suppose I’m the only gentlecolt here…and you all are far too old to be called fillies, so I guess ‘mares’ would be better…”
The Doctor took a deep breath and a stern expression crossed his face. “…We are dealing…with a self-insert.”
The other members of the League of Fanons gasped in fear. Lyra gave an exaggerated scream of terror, standing on her hind legs and clutching her head with her front hooves. The Elements of Harmony, however, merely stared blankly at the members of the League.
“…Come again?” Applejack asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh that’s right…” Derpy said slowly. “You don’t know what that is, do you?”
Bon Bon stepped forward. “Okay, you remember what I was saying about stories? Well, a self-insert is when an author inserts themselves into a story!”
“Oh, you mean like an author character?” Twilight inquired.
“Well, yes…” the Doctor said. “Except self-inserts are generally idealized versions of the author. So not only are they in control of the situation they insert themselves into, but they will alter the situation to fit their own ridiculous whims.”
“Very good, Doctor…” a loud, ominous voice rang throughout the room. “And now it is my whim that you all come to visit me!”
Everypony in the room froze at the sound of The Author’s voice. Bon Bon squealed with terror and leaped into the arms of Lyra, who barely managed to catch her in her front hooves and remain standing at the same time. Suddenly the floating image of The Author’s smiling face appeared in the middle of the room, leering down at all of them.
Octavia snorted. “Oh, a floating disembodied head trying to mock us. How very subtle there…”
The face of The Author frowned. “Yes, I suppose you would know a thing or two about subtlety. Gray skin and gray hair…what, were black and white just too vibrant for you?”
Octavia’s normally dignified expression suddenly hardened and she gave The Author a vicious stare. “Oh, it. Is. On.”
“Yeah!” Rainbow Dash yelled. “Who do you think you are, blocking our memories and joining up with the Legion of Gloom?” At this she flew at The Author’s head, but as the head was but an illusion the pegasus sailed right through and crashed into the wall on the opposite side of the room.
“Consarnit, Dash,” Applejack shook her head. “Why is it whenever we meet a big nasty bad guy, you go charging in without thinking?”
“I can’t help it…” Dash muttered quietly, glaring at Applejack.
“What do you want with us?” Derpy demanded, stepping forward.
“Oh, that is just precious!” The Author exclaimed, looking like he was on the verge of giggling. “A cross-eyed mare acting all tough? You are just so adorable looking when you’re angry!”
“Don’t cross me…” Derpy growled, but she was blushing slightly with embarrassment at the blatant mention of her condition.
“Enough of this!” Twilight shouted forcefully. “Answer her question, what is it you want with us?”
“It’s not so much what I want with you…” The Author said casually, his face taking on a mockingly innocent expression. “It’s what I want for them…” at this his horn began to glow, and the images of the members of the Legion of Gloom appeared around him. They all floated there, standing impressively and leering at the Elements of Harmony and the League of Fanons, with the exception of Trixie and Prince Blueblood, who had their hooves wrapped around each other and were kissing furiously, apparently oblivious to their surroundings.
“A-hem,” The Author cleared his throat in disgust. Trixie and Blueblood froze and looked up to see where they were before immediately leaping off each other. Trixie’s hat was tilted to the point that one of her ears was exposed and her cape was disheveled, Blueblood’s bowtie was a tangled mess and his mane was ruffled, and both had several prominent hickies on their necks.
“Hang on,” DJ Pon3 said, pointing at the image of a group of Legion of Gloom members. “What’s with the dust bunny, the turnip bucket, the-“
“Okay, that’s enough,” The Author interrupted. “I think that particular joke has run its course by this point.”
The Author sighed. “Right,” he continued. “As I was saying, it’s not what I want with you; it’s what I want for them. I set something into motion when I put these characters together, and I do not intend to let it die so soon. I could not bear to have my beloved Legion be defeated so soon, not when I have a higher authority to answer to…”
“A higher authority?” the Doctor asked with his eyebrows raised. “And who might that be?”
“My fans,” The Author gushed. “My glorious, glorious, absolutely wonderful fans (this isn’t coming across as pandering, is it?). Oh, their reaction to my story was so positive! So joyful! When I tasted that praise I knew at that point there was no going back. I just had to keep the story going…the show must go on!”
“So you inserted yourself in to a tale of your own making,” the Doctor grimaced. “Well sorry to break it to you, but the fine readers of Equestria Daily (again, not pandering, right?) will not readily accept such blatant self-indulgence.”
“They will if it’s well-written!” The Author spat back. “Their standards may be high (totally NOT pandering) but I will rise up to meet them!”
“Enough of zis!” the image of Photo Finish cried. “You said you vere all-powerful, so destroy zem already!”
“Now what kind of ending would that make for?” The Author chuckled. “We haven’t even finished the second act! No no no, first they must come to us.” His horn glowed brightly for a moment. “Doctor, I have transmitted our coordinates to your sonic screwdriver. We await your arrival!” The Doctor pulled his screwdriver out of his pocket which, sure enough, was beeping softly.
“What are you doing?” Trixie hissed. “You’re giving them the opportunity to attack us?!”
“Hush, loud and boastful,” The Author said. “Everypony, we’re waiting…” At this, the images of The Author and the Legion of Gloom vanished.
The Elements of Harmony and the League of Fanons were quiet for a long moment, staring at the spot where the images of the Legion of Gloom had been. Then finally the Doctor spoke up.
“Right then! Off we go! Allons-y, everypon-y!” he said cheerfully.
“…What, just like that?” Derpy exclaimed skeptically.
“It’s rude to turn down an invitation, Derpy,” the Doctor said, winking.
“Sorry, but did you forget the part about the all-powerful author who can snuff your life out at his whim?” Octavia said.
“I don’t think he’ll resort to such crudeness, at least not right away,” the Doctor explained. “While he may act cocky, I detect a certain lack of self-confidence about him. He’s absolutely terrified at the thought of disappointing his readers (What? Ridiculous! I have tons of self-confidence! I don’t feel any desperate need for approval! …Not that I don’t want your approval, of course…heh…).”
The Doctor continued. “He may have the home field advantage, but the game is still on our terms, at least for now. And do disregard that metaphor, I absolutely despise sports analogies. Anyway, I say we go.”
“As do I!” Twilight exclaimed with a confident look on her face. “Come on girls, we posses the Elements of Harmony! Together, there’s nothing we can’t overcome!” Her friends gave each other warm, confident smiles, their spirits boosted by Twilight’s pep talk. Even some of the members of the League of Fanons looked warmed by Twilight’s statement.
“Then let’s go!” Lyra exclaimed, standing on her hind legs and pointing across the room with one of her front hooves. “To the TARDIS!”
“Some day you’re going to have to show me how you do that,” Bon Bon said in a half-annoyed, half-admiring tone.
“It’s really quite simple when you’ve practiced,” Octavia said in a haughty voice, standing atop her own hind legs and proceeding to walk towards the time machine.
“Show off…” DJ Pon3 muttered under her breath.
Deep beneath Canterlot Castle was a catacomb of tunnels linking a series of subterranean rooms below the city, each one of utilitarian design illuminated by the occasional lamp and decorated by the occasional bit of graffiti, with messages that ranged from the stupid (LUNA + BIG MAC) to the political (Coltbert for President!) to the bizarre (the cupcake is a lie). It was within one of these tunnels that one could hear a deep humming noise, a sort of wheezing sound that got louder as it repeated and a blue box materialized within the tunnel. The TARDIS finished materializing with a loud thud that sounded like a boom in the quiet space as it echoed down the dimly lit hallway. A moment later the door creaked loudly as it was opened and twelve ponies stepped out in to the tunnel.
“Where are we?” Applejack asked nervously.
“Below Canterlot, in one of the old emergency tunnels I imagine,” the Doctor responded. “Why do villains always set up shop in cold, dark places? Is it too much to ask for a little sunshine? At least throw a plant in, spruce the room up a bit.”
“If it’s a plant you want,” a loud, arrogant voice came from down the hall. “Then a plant The Great and Powerful Trixie will grant!”
There was an explosion of smoke, and when it cleared Trixie was standing before them, her cape fluttering behind her even though there was no wind.
“Very nice,” DJ Pon3 said appreciatively. “Think you could show me that smoke trick? Would make quite an entrance at the DJ booth…”
“The Great and Powerful Trixie never reveals her secrets!” Trixie boasted, placing a hoof on her chest. “Now, about that plant…” she grinned slyly as her horn began to glow. Small green shoots began to emerge from the cracks in the walls, growing in size until entire sections of wall began to fall apart as vines tore through them. Another explosion of smoke, and Trixie was gone.
“What do we do?” Bon Bon cried out in fear, gripping on to Lyra again. Lyra strained, struggling to push her off.
“She’s cast a growth spell!” Twilight shouted, looking around at the vines as they wrenched themselves free of the rock and earth surrounding them. “I can reverse it, but it’ll take me a moment!”
“Then let’s hold it off while Twilight works on her magic!” Rarity said to her friends.
“Ah come on everypony, it’s just a plant,” Applejack said. “What’s it gonna do to us?”
A nearby vine chose that moment to lash out at the orange Earth pony, wrapping itself around one of Applejack’s rear legs and pulling her off her hooves before dragging her away from the group.
“Oh, cruel irony…” Derpy said, rolling her eyes in opposite directions.
“Yeah, I forgot to mention…” Twilight muttered somewhat embarrassingly. “She may have also made it sentient.”
“Oh, ya think?!” Applejack yelled, struggling with the vine.
“Don’t worry Applejack, I got you!” Rainbow Dash cried, diving at the vine. She stamped at it with her hooves, but its grip on Applejack refused to slacken. She repeatedly tried to stun the vine and even bit it once, but nothing worked and soon another vine was swatting at Dash, forcing her to fly out of the way.
“Gah, how do you fight these things?!” Dash yelled, frustrated that blunt force was having no effect.
“I don’t suppose we could reason with it?” Fluttershy muttered in a squeaky voice.
“A nice sentiment,” the Doctor replied. “But I have a feeling it won’t be willing to listen. Partly on account of the fact that it has no ears.”
“Out of the way, amateurs,” a haughty voice came from behind them. Before they could turn around, the gray figure of Octavia had rushed past them, running at the vines on her hind legs, clutching her bow in one of her front hooves. She ran towards Applejack and swung the bow at the vine gripping the Earth pony’s leg, which sliced through the vine in one swipe, causing the vine to snap back in pain.
“Wha?! How…?” Applejack exclaimed before she got a good look at Octavia’s bow. The hair of the bow had been replaced by a thin, silvery blade, held in place by the stick frame. Octavia wielded her instrument gracefully, turning around to face the vine currently attacking Rainbow Dash and diving at it. She gave another single swipe, and a large chunk of vine crashed to the ground.
Applejack and Rainbow Dash’s mouths were agape as Octavia nonchalantly removed her bowtie and used the ribbon to wipe her blade clean of plant material. When she was done, she tied the ribbon around the handle of her weapon before standing up to look at the ponies she had just saved.
Applejack was the first to attempt speech. “I…ah…never expected a city pony like you to be…well…”
“A TOTAL BAD-FLANK!” Rainbow Dash hollered, leaping into the air. “Hay yeah, Octavia! Woo!”
“A mare of refined tastes such as I would never resort to such crude language,” Octavia replied, but nevertheless the musician allowed herself a smug smile.
Meanwhile, Lyra, Rarity and DJ Pon3 had surrounded Twilight and were using their magic to hold back the vines while Twilight quietly muttered incantations to herself, her horn glowing softly. The Doctor was pointing his screwdriver at approaching vines, which seemed to retreat each time the Doctor used it. But they were having limited success and would be overwhelmed soon.
Suddenly a bright flash of light emerged from Twilight’s horn and shock waves thrust their way along the floor from her figure as the force of her magic enveloped the vines, causing them to shrink back to normal size and fall to the ground. A moment later the light cleared and the tunnel was dim and quiet again.
Lyra was the first to speak up again. “That. Was. Brilliant.”
“Brace yourselves, everypony…” the Doctor warned. “That was just our first obstacle.”
“I believe that means it’s time to put these babies into action,” DJ Pon3 said, indicating her goggles. She tapped the side of them with one of her hooves and the lenses suddenly turned from purple to green, with readings projected along the sides.
“Cool, huh?” DJ Pon3 said, looking at each of the Elements of Harmony in turn. “And they come with all sorts of functions. This button turns on the infrared vision,” she said, tapping a small button on the side of her goggles, and her lenses took on the mixed hues of reds, greens, and blues. “Uh, Pinkie? You seem to have a…alligator buried in your tail.”
“Oh, I was wondering where he got to!” Pinkie exclaimed, reaching in to her poofy tail with her head and pulling it out with Gummy latched onto Pinkie’s head with his mouth.
“Now Gummy, you should know better that to stow away like that!” Pinkie gently scolded the alligator. “Now get back into the timey-whimey machine, that’s a good alligator!” Gummy slowly walked back into the TARDIS, closing the door behind him.
“…Right,” DJ Pon3 muttered. “Anyway…this button turns on my favorite music,” she said while tapping another button, and soon the sounds of Daft Ponik were filling the hall, with DJ Pon3 banging her head in time to the beat.
“Turn that drivel off!” Octavia hissed. “You’ll give away our position!”
“I don’t think our position is much of a secret now, but point taken…” DJ Pon3 flipped the music off and turned to face down the corridor. Another tap of the goggles and she activated her night vision scope. “Nothing down there, Doc. Just an empty hallway for the moment.” The other ponies nodded and began proceeding down the tunnel.
Several minutes later the twelve ponies emerged from the tunnel into a large, cavernous room that was completely empty, save for four objects: a bucket of turnips, a stack of rocks, a sack of flour and a ball of lint.
“It’s them!” Pinkie squealed in horror, diving behind Fluttershy. The yellow pegasus spent a moment considering whether she should mention the irony of this situation before deciding against it.
“Ah, fer crying out loud, Pinkie…” Applejack muttered. “It’s just a bunch of junk.”
“I’m not so sure…” the Doctor muttered, pulling out his sonic screwdriver before waving it at the inanimate objects, then spat it out into his front hoof to examine it. “Well, this is…unexpected…”
“What? What is it?” Derpy exclaimed excitedly.
“Well, it would seem those supposedly ‘inanimate’ objects are in fact a species of creature which bear some similarities to that of an alien species called ‘the Weeping Angels.’ Usually, they only move when nopony is looking at them.”
“…What…are you crazy?!” Rainbow Dash said. “It’s just Pinkie Pie’s imaginary friends! I’m betting the Legion of Gloom just put them here to freak her out.”
“Ah, so you say…” the Doctor replied. “But everypony was looking at me while I was explaining what those objects were, correct?”
“What’s that got to do with anything?” Twilight asked.
“Everypony was looking at me, right?” the Doctor asked again. The other ponies nodded. “…Then where are the objects?”
Everypony turned back to the room. The objects had vanished.
“Doctor, what are we dealing with here?” Octavia asked urgently.
“Eh, nothing that scary,” the Doctor shrugged. “They’re strange creatures, but they can’t do any real harm.”
There was silence for a moment after this statement. Finally, Derpy exploded. “You colt tease! You stupid, foalish tease! What, were you going to leave us on a cliffhanger there?”
“…Maybe,” the Doctor said, smiling slyly.
Derpy stormed off into a corner of the room, muttering furiously under her breath while DJ Pon3 raised a hoof. “Uh, question Doc,” she asked. “You said they move when nopony is looking. So why does Pinkie Pie seem to know about them?”
“Well, Pinkie Pie is no ordinary pony,” the Doctor said. Pinkie’s friends rolled their eyes, their faces quite plainly saying the same thing: ‘Doctor, you have no idea.’
“Perhaps it’s her Pinkie Sense, perhaps it’s her fantastic knowledge of the loopholes of physics, or perhaps it’s just the fact that she grew up on a rock farm and developed a kin with what otherwise seem to be inanimate objects there, but Pinkie has an ability to see and communicate with these creatures that the rest of us lack. It’s what I noticed when I scanned her with my screwdriver earlier,” the Doctor explained, indicating his instrument.
Derpy rejoined the group. “But you once told me the Weeping Angels were among the most terrifying creatures in the universe. How are they similar to these things?”
The Doctor put a hoof on his chin. “Well, they both move only when nopony is looking, and…” he trailed off. “That’s really it. The similarities end there.”
“Why I oughta smack you silly…” Derpy muttered darkly with her eyes crossed. Neither of her eyes was focused on the Doctor but staring at the opposite sides of his face, which actually made her glare that much more intimidating. The Doctor laughed nervously in response.
“I say, what ever shall we do?” Sir Lints-a-lot cried. “They seem to know what we are now!”
“They called our bluff!” Rocky grumbled, hopping slightly with anger.
Mr. Turnip was a bucket of few words, and he managed to eloquently sum up their situation in one simple yet concise and comprehensive word: “Crap.”
“Perhaps we should rejoin our compatriots in the main hall?” Sir Lints-a-lot offered.
“Oui, that would be wise, I zink…” Madame LeFlour agreed.
The Elements of Harmony and the League of Fanons continued down the tunnel, noticing it and the rooms they were passing through were getting larger and larger the further they traveled. Finally they came to a massive, cathedral-like cavern where, to nopony’s surprise, the Legion of Gloom was waiting for them.
What was to everypony’s surprise was that The Author, who apparently had gotten bored of waiting, had been working on his own lyrics to a familiar song and was now hopping around the room singing it:
All you have to do is go on Youtube for an hour,
See a PMV remix.
Now just watch an episode and start to scour,
For more ponies, it’s an itch!
Sonic Rainbooms and tail twitch,
Add a strange rhyming zebra.
Watch a little more, until you are sore,
And you never get your filla…
Ponies! So cute and cuddly,
Ponies! Marks on their tushies,
Ponies, ponies, PONIES!
“HEY! That’s my song!” Pinkie cried. The Author, who had stood up on his hind legs for the final line, nearly fell over in surprise and looked embarrassed for a second, but recovered quickly.
“Oh, finally!” he said. “I was starting to think we were never going to get the third act going…” He drew himself up impressively, staring down at them.
Octavia stifled a laugh as she looked at him. “Nice horn there,” she noted, looking at the lengthy silvery horn on The Author’s head that seemed even longer than Celestia’s. “Again, very subtle. Compensating for something, are we?”
“Yea-NO!” The Author cried, his wings flaring. “…Maybe. …I mean, absolutely not! …Not at all! …Really…” he stammered meekly. “You…have a very dirty mind for a pony, you know that?” he added in a defiant tone.
Octavia drew her bow/sword and pointed it at The Author threateningly. “Anypony who uses the word ‘dirty’ when referring to me is either an idiot or has a death wish. For you, I’d say you posses both traits.”
“The Great and Powerful Trixie demands attention!” Trixie suddenly hollered, stamping her hoof. “Author, the Great and Powerful Trixie demands to be referred to as a Princess! Join this Great and Powerful mare in union with Prince Blueblood and change her title!”
“Very well,” The Author sighed. “The Great and Powerful Trixie, do you take Prince Blueblood to be your contrively wedded husband?”
“The Great and Powerful Trixie does!” Trixie yelled triumphantly.
“Prince Blueblood,” The Author continued. “Do you take The Great and Powerful Trixie to be your contrively wedded wife?”
“Absolutely!” Prince Blueblood cried.
“Then by the power invested in me by myself, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride, though I would prefer if you didn’t. The Great and Powerful Trixie, as you have married into royalty your title will now be changed to The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie. All will now be forced to refer to you as such from this point forward.”
The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie laughed manically. “At last! Bow before your Princess, underlings!”
“What?!” Rainbow Dash cried. “That’s ridiculous! I’m not bowing before The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie!” She paused for a moment. “Wait…did I really just say all that?”
Bon Bon stepped forward. “After the lies you told in Ponyville, there’s no way I’m calling you anything other than just Trrrrr…” her tongue faltered. “Trrrrr…” she tried again, struggling to form the word. “TrrrTheGreatandPowerfulHerRoyalHighnessPrincessTrixie!” She gasped in horror and stuffed her hooves into her mouth. Lyra couldn’t help but snicker as she watched this spectacle.
“Wait…” Twilight said, sounding confused. “You mean to say every time we refer to The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie, we have to say The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie?” She gasped as she realized what she had just said. “STOP DOING THAT!” she yelled at The Author.
“Why should I?” The Author giggled, bouncing from hoof to hoof with delight. “It’s just so much fun!”
“No it’s not!” Derpy shouted. “It’s stupid and it’s getting old fast!”
“It is not!” The Author cried, obviously hurt.
“Enough of zis!” Photo Finish shouted before leaping down in front of Octavia and drawing her photo tripod out, holding it like a sword and pointing it at Octavia. “It is time to face…your doom!”
Octavia frowned before giving a single clean swipe at the tripod with her bow/sword, neatly slicing it into two pieces.
“…Ah,” Photo Finish replied, looking at the short fragment of the tripod in her hoof. “…zis…may be a problem.” After a moment she dropped what was left of the tripod on to the ground and dashed back to the other members of the Legion of Gloom. “You zere!” she yelled, pointing at the Diamond Dogs. “You have done nothing for nearly two chapters now! Get zem!”
The Diamond Dogs looked at each other and shrugged before quickly tunneling underground, vanishing below a cloud of dust down a deep hole. The Elements of Harmony and the League of Fanons tensed, waiting for them to emerge from beneath them.
“Hold on, I’m on this!” DJ Pon3 shouted, tapping the side of her goggles. They shifted to infrared vision as she started scanning the ground beneath them. “There!” she shouted, pointing at a spot on the ground. “Coming up in about five seconds!”
“Got it!” Applejack shouted while getting herself into position, ready to buck anything that came up.
“Heads up!” Rainbow Dash screamed, shoving Applejack and DJ Pon3 out of the way as Gilda and The Author swooped at them, narrowly missing. Dash took the air, speeding after Gilda while Fluttershy and Derpy rose to confront The Author.
“Alright, now you’ve done it,” Fluttershy said sternly. “Nopony threatens my friends. You got that?”
“Oh my Celestia, Fluttershy’s getting angry at me!” The Author squealed with delight. “That is just so adorable! I think I might be having a fangasm!”
“I’ve had enough of this!” Derpy shouted. “You’re going down!”
“And the other adorable pegasus is mad too!” The Author giggled. “You’re just so cute when you’re-“ he was interrupted as one of Derpy’s hooves made contact with his jaw, nearly knocking him out of the air.
“Okay, good feeling gone,” The Author muttered darkly, wiping the spittle from his face. He reared back, horn glowing, before sending a lightning bolt from his horn at the two hovering ponies before him, sending them diving for cover.
Meanwhile, the Diamond Dogs were wreaking chaos on the group of ponies on the ground. DJ Pon3 continued to scan the ground and was surrounded by Applejack, Twilight, Rarity, Lyra and Bon Bon, who all together were beginning to make headway against the Diamond Dogs.
There was an explosion of dust in front of Lyra, but DJ Pon3 had warned her. The mint green unicorn spun around on one of her hind legs and aimed a karate kick squarely at the Diamond Dog’s head.
She did it perfectly. Unfortunately, the Diamond Dog’s hide was of such strength that the kick caused more pain to the unicorn than the Diamond Dog.
“OW-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow-ow!!!” Lyra yelped in pain, bouncing around on one of her back hooves while clutching the other with her front hooves. Now it was Bon Bon’s turn to snicker.
Rainbow Dash and Gilda circled around each other furiously in mid-air, with Gilda occasionally swiping at Dash with her claws, but Dash swiftly dove out of the way each time.
“You’ve got some serious issues, you know that?” Dash scolded the griffon. “When did you become such a bully? What changed?”
“I DIDN’T CHANGE!” Gilda screamed. “YOU’RE THE FLIP-FLOPPER!” she dove at Dash once again, but this time Dash aimed a kick at her head. However Gilda was too quick and nimbly dodged the attack.
“Too slow, Rainbow Crash,” Gilda chortled. “I know you too well. There’s nothing that can surprise me!”
“SURPRISE!” The griffon turned around just in time to be smacked squarely in the face by a perfectly thrown cream pie. Pinkie broke down into hysterics, rolling on the ground and giggling madly.
“GAAAAAAGGGGHHH!!!” Gilda screamed as the bits of pie were blown off by the force of her anger. “THAT DOES IT! You!” she glared daggers at Pinkie. “You’re gonna be bird chow!”
“Why?” Pinkie asked innocently. “Can’t I be griffon chow?”
“YOU’RE GONNA BE BIRD CHOW, AND THAT’S FINAL!” Gilda screamed. “And you,” she glared at Rainbow Dash. “Are gonna watch!” With that she dove rapidly at Pinkie. Dash followed, flying as fast as she could, but Gilda had a head start. There was no way she would be able to catch up with the griffon before she reached Pinkie.
And that’s when Pinkie experienced an ear-flop, followed by an eye-flutter, followed by a knee-twitch.
The TARDIS materialized on the ground in front of Pinkie, its door opening on its own accord as Gilda sailed right in, smashing into the room within with a loud clatter. The sound of heavy objects falling and glass breaking rang out for a moment before there was a flash of light coming from within the blue box and Gilda was unceremoniously thrown out the time machine by an unseen force. A second later Gummy walked out the door, followed by Angel Bunny. The two gave each other a high-five.
“Well, that’s awfully convenient,” the Doctor said as he galloped towards the time machine, intending to use its power to tip the battle in their favor.
“Not so fast, time pony!” A Diamond Dog burst from the ground in front of the Doctor, blocking his path. The Author noticed what was going on and sent a burst of magical energy at the TARDIS, enclosing it and the two animals within a transparent bubble before it vanished, the time machine and the animals going with it.
“No!” the Doctor cried. “What have you done?!”
“Moved it to a secure location,” The Author replied. “I will not have you calling upon such power…this battle will not be won that easily.”
“Then let’s call upon this power!” Twilight shouted. “Girls, time for the Elements of Harmony!” Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy quickly joined Twilight, whose horn began glowing as shimmers of light appeared around her friends. The physical objects of the Elements of Harmony began to materialize on their necks.
“Legion, assemble!” The Author yelled, pointing at a spot where the “inanimate” objects were already standing. Gilda, Photo Finish and the Diamond Dogs struggled to join them, but managed. Prince Blueblood and The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie galloped over as well, their manes and clothes ruffled and a fresh set of hickies on their necks.
“Yeah, yeah, where were you two this whole time?” Gilda growled at the two royal ponies. “Some magic would have been helpful in this battle!”
“Not the moment!” The Author yelled. “Get ready, on my signal!”
The objects of the Elements of Harmony finished materializing around the six ponies. Twilight’s eyes opened, glowing brightly as she and her friends began to hover in the air. The Doctor looked from the six ponies to the Legion of Gloom assembled before them, and realized too late what was going to happen.
“Girls!” he yelled. “Wait! Don’t unleash that power!”
“NOW!” The Author yelled. Each of the members of the Legion of Gloom placed a hoof or a claw upon one of the “inanimate” objects as Prince Blueblood and The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie’s horns began glowing, establishing a link between the members of the Legion.
The Author’s horn began glowing as the energy from the Elements of Harmony was almost at its height. He unleashed a blast of energy at the Elements of Harmony while at the same time establishing a magical connection with the members of the Legion below.
Suddenly, the Elements of Harmony froze. The expressions on the faces of the six mares, so confident a moment ago, now gasped in horror. They fell to the ground forcefully while the bejeweled objects of the Elements remained hovering in mid-air before floating upward, towards The Author.
“NO!” the Doctor shouted, staring at this scene in horror.
“What’s happening?!” Derpy exclaimed fearfully.
“The Elements of Harmony are now connected to The Author!” the Doctor yelled back. “Their power is now his!”
“But he’s the all-powerful author figure!” Octavia retorted. “What does he need the power for?”
“It’s not for me!” The Author cried triumphantly. “It’s for them!” A pulse of energy flowed from the Elements of Harmony to The Author, which was then channeled down into the Legion of Gloom. They began to glow from the power, watching as their strength was restored and they were slowly transformed into more powerful versions of themselves. Gilda’s wings extended and her claws grew sharper, the horns of the royal ponies bristled with magical energy, and the Diamond Dogs grew even more muscular.
“YES!” The Author shouted. “Now this is a story! Watch, My Little Ponies, as I ensure that my beloved Legion of Gloom lasts FOREVER!”
Twilight and her friends groaned as they tried to lift themselves from the ground, staring weakly at the Elements of Harmony floating above them, now cut off from them.
“No…” Twilight moaned softly. “What have we done… our hope is lost…”
At these words, there was the faintest flicker of energy from the Elements of Harmony, like that of a light bulb as it began to run low on energy. It lasted for but a fraction of a second, but the Doctor saw it, and it gave him the inspiration he needed in the moment.
(Author’s note to Doctor Who fans: If you would like to make the following scene about 20% cooler, I recommend listening to this while you read it.)
“I wouldn’t be so sure!” the Doctor cried, galloping forward before locking the green alicorn above him in his gaze. “Author! You’ve made a terrible mistake with this story! In fact, you’ve made two terrible mistakes…”
“Mistakes?” The Author shouted back. “What mistakes could you possibly be referring to?!”
“Oh, big mistakes, really really huge…” the Doctor muttered darkly. “Didn’t anypony ever tell you? There are two things that you never bring into a fanfic.”
The Doctor gave The Author a sinister smile. “If you’re smart, if you value your continued popularity as a writer, if you have any plans of seeing the respect of your fellow bronies again, there are two things that you never, ever, bring into a fanfic.”
“And what would those be?” The Author replied, raising an eyebrow.
“Well the first is a self-insert, obviously. I mean come on, in a world of such wonderful characters you really have to throw yourself in? Either somepony’s really lazy or really self-indulgent. Or both. Nothing good can ever come from that.”
“And the second?” The Author asked.
“Ah, and the second…” the Doctor said slowly. “…Because some writers just can’t be satisfied with this world on its own terms; some writers just have to pull in a character from a different series they like, regardless of whether their readers would have seen it. The second thing…”
The Doctor pulled his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and pointed it at the Elements of Harmony floating above him.
“…is me,” he finished.
He activated the screwdriver, and the Elements of Harmony shattered, exploding into a million glittering fragments.
Time seemed to freeze as everyone in the room watched as the shattered remains of the Elements of Harmony slowly began to fall to the floor. The fragments of the Elements glittered brightly as they fell, taking of the appearance of a golden snowfall.
But the awesome sight did not last long, as the room began to be filled with a loud, crackling sound and a blinding white light, seemingly coming from the spot where the Elements of Harmony had just exploded. The light filled the room and everyone shielded their eyes from it before finding themselves blown back by the force of a terrific explosion.
After a moment the light began to fade and the ringing in everyone’s ears began to subside. As everyone lifted themselves from the ground, they could see they had been blown back to the edge of the room, the heroes on one side and the villains to the other.
There was no trace of the Elements of Harmony and the members of the Legion of Gloom had been returned to their normal forms.
“Doctor, what have you done?!” Twilight exclaimed in horror. “How could you destroy the Elements of Harmony?!”
“Ah, but I didn’t destroy them, Twilight…” the Doctor said with a glint in his eye. “In fact, they’re right back where you picked them up.”
At this, everyone in the room responded with a loud “Huh?!”
“Yes,” the Doctor began to explain. “You see, the Elements of Harmony are actually energy in purest form. And what’s one of the most basic laws of physics regarding energy?”
Everypony was silent for a moment before Pinkie starting bouncing up and down excitedly. “Ooh! Ooh! Is it that you can’t destroy energy, but only transform or transfer it?”
“Exactly,” the Doctor smiled.
“Well, glad you got the science lesson in there for the kiddies,” Derpy said sarcastically, her eyes rolling in opposite directions. The Doctor chose to ignore this statement.
“But don’t you see what you have here? The purest form of magic, and the only way you can use it is to call upon the magic of friendship! You brilliant ponies, your ancestors created a source of power that’s both indestructible and incorruptible!”
“But if they’re indestructible, then where are they?” Twilight asked.
“Right back where they always were: within you lot!” the Doctor answered. “The big crown thing and the necklaces are just one form of the Elements, and when I cracked those I just released the energy – hence the big boom – and transferred it back to you! Oh, I am good!” he finished with ill-disguised pride in his voice.
The six mares looked at each other before their faces broke out into smiles. Their bodies began to glow again, and a few seconds later they were wearing the physical objects of the Elements of Harmony once again.
“Yes yes, all well and good then…” The Author muttered. “But you seem to be forgetting something. A) We’re still here. B) You still can’t use the Elements against us. And most importantly, C) I am still the all-powerful Author character who can wave his hooves and make you all vanish at his whim.”
“If that was really true,” the Doctor shot back. “Then you wouldn’t let us do what we’re about to do. League of Fanons, assemble!”
The other members of the League galloped forward to form a neat line alongside the Doctor, with Octavia and DJ Pon3 on his right and Derpy, Luna and Bon and Bon on his left.
Bon Bon reared on her hind legs. “League, let us call upon the other Elements!” she cheered.
“Other elements?” Photo Finish replied. “Vaht other elements?”
“Elements that can trump any power you throw at us!” the Doctor cried as the figures of the League of Fanons began to glow brightly. “We call upon…The Elements of Fiction!”
“DJ Pon3,” the Doctor announced. “Because no story about a team of heroes is complete without someone with technical know-how, because it makes the readers feel better about sitting in front of the tele or the computer all the time, represents the Element of…Geekiness!”
“Sweet,” DJ Pon3 nodded appreciatively as a bejeweled necklace with the icon of a pair of horn-rimmed glasses appeared on her.
“Octavia,” the Doctor continued. “Who displayed cool calmness, makes witty retorts and has a totally wicked sword, represents the Element of…Bad Flankery!”
“Hmph,” Octavia hmphed, holding herself up in a dignified pose as a necklace with the icon of a pony skull with two crossed machine guns beneath it materialized around her neck.
“Lyra and Bon Bon,” the Doctor said. “Whose antics relieve the tension of the situation, represent the Element of…Comic Relief!”
Lyra and Bon Bon squealed with delight and hugged each other as two necklaces, each with a comedy mask embedded on them, appeared around their necks.
“Derpy,” the Doctor continued. “Who stands as the character the audience will identify with, always pointing out the flaws in the story and expressing the opinions of the readers, represents the Element of…the Audience Surrogate!”
“Wow, really catchy name there…” Derpy sighed, shaking her head as a necklace with the icon of several question marks shone on her neck.
“And I,” the Doctor said, drawing himself up proudly. “Who constantly dumps background information on to the other characters and occasionally informs the readers of the themes and important aspects of the story, represent the Element of…Exposition!” He reared up on his hind legs as the final necklace appeared upon him, this one with a speech bubble for its icon.
The Author stepped back in horror as the Elements of Fiction glowed even more brightly than ever. “Legion of Gloom! Assemble – we need to take down this threat together!”
“How? The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie sees nothing we can do!” The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie replied.
“GAGH! My own creation dares to question my will?! And that joke is getting old!” The Author cried.
“You see Author,” the Doctor smiled. “When Elements of Fiction such as us call upon this power, they can bring an end to any bothersome aspects of a story.”
“You can’t defeat me!” The Author yelled, his horn now glowing brightly. “I am The Author! I WILL YOUR POWER AWAY! I WILL IT AWAY!”
The Author’s horn sent out a burst of magical energy. Nothing happened.
“It’s time to meet your maker!” Lyra cried, pointing a hoof at The Author.
“I am my maker!” The Author shot back, but looked increasingly fearful as the Elements of Fiction began to float into the air, radiating with energy. The Doctor opened his eyes – they were glowing brightly.
The Author’s gaze grew stern. “You may take me, but you won’t destroy my creation!” With that his horn glowed brightly one last time as the Legion of Gloom vanished from the spot, teleported to Celestia-knows-where.
The Elements of Fiction unleashed a beam of energy which looked as if it was composed of words, hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of words that circled around each other viciously. They encircled The Author, who screamed as the tip of his horn began to flake off into small letters. Slowly he dissolved into words that joined the others racing around him as first his wings vanished, then his head and tail, then his body and finally his hooves until nothing was left.
The words swirled together into a tornado, spinning faster and faster until it began encircling itself, shrinking into a growing ball of energy that finally winked out of existence. The Elements of Fiction stopped glowing as they returned to the ground, looking upon the scene with immense satisfaction.
The Elements of Harmony were looking at the League of Fanons with their mouths agape, slowly realizing what they had just witnessed. Suddenly there was an intense scream as Fluttershy started bouncing up and down. “THAT WAS AMAZING! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!!” she squealed with delight.
When they finally came to, the other Elements of Harmony nodded appreciatively. They and the League of Fanons started congratulating each other, recounting their favorite moments from the battle and admiring each other’s necklaces. A loud humming sound filled the room as the TARDIS, now free of The Author’s influence, rematerialized in the room and Gummy and Angel hopped out.
“Good job, everypony,” Rainbow Dash said happily. “Still, it’s a shame we couldn’t capture the Legion of Gloom…” she frowned as she looked at the spot where they had been standing before The Author transported them away.
“We should inform Princess Celestia about them immediately!” Twilight said. “Then she can put out a search for them!”
“A good idea,” the Doctor replied. “But I have a feeling The Author has made sure they won’t be easily captured. Still, the kingdom should be warned of their treachery, lest The Author ever attempt to write a sequel to this story.”
“Celestia help us if that ever happens…” Derpy muttered darkly.
And so harmony was restored to the kingdom of Equestria once again. The Elements of Harmony returned to Canterlot and explained to Princess Celestia all that happened. Because the League of Fanons (particularly the Doctor) preferred to work from the shadows, Princess Celestia promised to keep what had happened a secret.
The Legion of Gloom went into hiding and none of its members have yet to be found. As of the time of this writing, Prince Blueblood, The Great and Powerful Her Royal Highness Princess Trixie (they’re still working on reversing The Author’s spell), Gilda, Photo Finish, and the three members of the Diamond Dogs are wanted by Equestrian authorities for “questioning,” but no leads have surfaced.
Life returned to normal for the Elements of Harmony after they returned to Ponyville, and life returned to whatever passed for normal for the Doctor and his companion Derpy, who continue to go on adventures through space and time, occasionally aided by the other members of the League of Fanons who continue to work out of Trotswood. DJ Pon3 and Octavia are still popular musicians residing in Canterlot while Lyra and Bon Bon are still widely assumed to be normal ponies living in Ponyville.
Aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor threw a lever to send the time machine traveling through space and time once more. Derpy was standing nearby, her eyes crossed in a look of concentration.
“It just doesn’t seem to add up though…” she muttered quietly. “Here was the very author of the story, and he gets taken out by his own tale?”
“Well, we did use the Elements of Fiction against him…” the Doctor replied.
“But it seems too easy somehow…what if he wanted to get destroyed? Was he bluffing about joining the Legion of Gloom this whole time?” Derpy asked.
“I don’t think he was bluffing, he really wasn’t that good a liar,” the Doctor said. “Unless…”
“Unless what?” Derpy said excitedly.
The two ponies stared at each other for a moment, revelation dawning on them.
“You don’t think…?” Derpy began.
“No…” the Doctor gasped.
“But it all makes sense!” Derpy was practically bouncing with excitement at this point.
“Oh, how could we have been so blind!” the Doctor cried dramatically.
“That wasn’t a self-insert, was it?” Derpy asked.
“Oh no no, it was still a self-insert,” the Doctor corrected. “But it was a mock self-insert. A self-insert whose purpose is to make fun of self-inserts.”
The Doctor grinned wildly. “Derpy, we were in a comedy the whole time and we were acting too seriously to see it!”
Derpy facehoofed. “Oh Celestia, it seems so obvious now!” She paused before looking at the Doctor again. “But what he said about saving the Legion of Gloom after the reaction to his first story…do you think that might be true?”
The Doctor nodded. “Undoubtedly. Which means the first story would have left off at the battle in the Froggy Bottom Bog…”
“When Twilight and her friends got their memories wiped,” Derpy said. “Wait…you don’t think…that’s how he ended it?”
“Waking up in your house to find out the whole thing was a dream,” the Doctor said. “A rather terribly clichéd ending, wouldn’t you say?”
Derpy smiled. “Doctor, can you do something for me?”
“…Oh sure, the idea of a team of supervillains, well that’s just comedic gold, but when the time comes to actually make them do something you drop the ball! And here I was really enjoying myself!” Derpy yelled at Twilight, who was staring back with an expression of confusion and disbelief. Finally Derpy turned around to scream at the sky. “STORY! I WANT TO SEE YOUR SUPERVISOR! THIS WILL NOT DO!”
She took to the air, leaving Twilight struggling to comprehend what had just happened. Derpy sailed over to the edge of Ponyville, where the Doctor was waiting for her, standing next to the TARDIS with a grin on his face.
“Was that really necessary?” he said.
“Twilight might not understand, but hopefully somepony’s watching at the moment,” Derpy replied. “Somepony’s got to make sure he gets the message, and it might as well be now.”
“You’re getting awfully good at this time traveling stuff, you know that?” the Doctor said, holding the door open to let Derpy inside.
“Let’s just hope The Author’s learned his lesson,” Derpy muttered.
Indeed he had. The door of the TARDIS closed and the time machine vanished with another loud humming noise as normality returned to Ponyville once again.
…Or did it?
For as the TARDIS dematerialized, a large boulder that was sitting behind the time machine now became visible. It was a rather plain looking rock, unremarkable in seemingly every way save for its size.
And yet, despite having no visible mouth, it spoke.
“Yes, very good…let your guard down, foalish ponies…become complacent once again while I work from the shadows. I’ve got nothing but time and the patience to bear it…after all, I am a boulder.”
The boulder shifted in place before rolling onto its side. Then it rolled over again, inching its way slowly down the road.
“Don’t think you cast me aside so easily, ponies…” it muttered. “Elements of Harmony, League of Fanons… you all shall hear from me soon enough…”
The boulder paused for a second to deliver his ultimatum:
“Be afraid, my little ponies…For Here Comes Tom!”
<<< Chapter Four