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[RGRE] Villanon by AponymousAuthor

By silvertear
Created: 18th December 2020 10:38:46 PM

  1. Villanon
  2.  
  3. By AponymousAuthor
  4.  
  5. Quick note: I'm just keeping this story as a placeholder as I, and many others, remembered this story very fondly.  I'll keep this story here until I'm told to remove it or if AponymousAuthor comes back and keeps it in his list of stories.
  6.  
  7. First post July 23, 2018 @ 01:08:29 Pacific
  8.  
  9. Original post
  10. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32681303/#32689831
  11.  
  12. >"You won't get away with this, Anonymous! The rest of the Power Ponies will be here soon and when they get here, they'll-"
  13. >You laughed, cutting the short sidekick's pledge to a fitting size for his stature
  14. "By the time they get through my traps, it'll be too late for them! I'll activate my new freeze ray and /ice/ them!"
  15. >Hum Drum looked aghast, staring at the contraption you held in your armored hands
  16. >"You fiend! How could you be so cold-hearted?"
  17. "How? It all started when I was young, an innocent child, unaware of the true nature of- Hey!"
  18. >You had to be careful with whatever you said in this world
  19. >If you were in a dominant position, a single question could force a monologue out of you
  20. >Not that you really wanted to
  21. >You didn't know why, but one of the fundamental laws of this universe seemed to be the law of drama
  22. >It was what dictated that villains monologued and heroes took that opportunity to gain the upper hand, or hoof
  23. >It was what led villains to overly-elaborate death traps, while also making sure to lead heroes to the ways to get out of them
  24. >It could be fought, thankfully, but it was a powerful thing, and if you didn't pay attention to it, it could lead you down a path you didn't want to go, much like you almost had with Hum Drum
  25. "I'm not going to be so easily distracted, my precocious little prisoner. The villains of this world, and I, are of a different pedigree. Where they might fall prey to their own, subconscious whims, I shall rise above-"
  26. >A wall exploded off to the side of your main room, drawing your attention to the six figures currently standing in the smoke-filled opening, each of which had somehow landed in a dramatic pose that made them, and you begrudgingly admitted it to yourself, look rather cool
  27. >You'd been caught monologuing about monologuing
  28. >Talk about amateur hour
  29. >"Villanon! Your crimes stop here!"
  30. >Announced Matter-Horn, soon being followed up by Zapp and co.
  31. >"Yeah! We're gonna rain on your parade!"
  32. >"SADDLE-RAGER SMASH!"
  33.  
  34. >Hoisting your freeze ray up, the sound of it whirring and powering on drew their attention, quietening them down as they focused on both yourself, as well as the weapon
  35. "You're too late, Power Ponies! Once I put you all out of commission, there'll be no pony who can keep me from ruling Maretropolis!"
  36. >You let out a maniacal laugh, your metal armor warping the sound, making it even more sinister than it normally was
  37. >While you might not care for the one-sided nature of the Laws of Drama, it was fun to indulge in them from time to time
  38. >Taking aim, you pulled the trigger, a cold blast surging from the barrel, chilling the room as your ray gun hit the ground barely half a second after Fili-Second started to run, jagged ice spikes growing up from the ground
  39. >Speedsters were some of the most dangerous kinds of enemies, even if they didn't always understand their true power
  40. >Seeing that you wouldn't be hitting her any time soon when she was darting around like that, you cranked up the power, coating the floor around you with a thick layer of ice
  41. >It brought you no small amount of joy to see Fili-Second go skidding across the floor and face-first into a wall, knocking her out
  42. >Your focus on just the one left you in a bit of a pickle though, as your armor indicated a power surge coming from the Masked Matter-Horn
  43. >Pulling to the left, you managed to dodge a concussive blast that slammed into the computers behind you, destroying a few of your non-essential, though still expensive, devices
  44. >She hadn't accidentally opened the cage Hum Drum was locked in, which was a relief
  45. >Twisting around, you fired a second blast from your freeze ray, keeping this shot more focused to force Matter-Horn to focus on blocking it
  46. "Did you really think a cheap trick like that would work on me? You're losing your touch, Matter-Horn!"
  47. >She grimaced, her hooves starting to skid backwards as she fought back against your beam, only for a smile to creep across her face
  48.  
  49. >"No, but it's enough to keep you distracted!"
  50. >Zap flew overhead, making her way to the cage, but before you could stop her, a pair of glowing, pink manacles appeared, clamping down on your wrists, forcing your arm downwards
  51. >To keep from freezing your own legs, you were forced to stop your freeze ray, turning your attention to Radiance and her attack constructs
  52. >"Got her!"
  53. >Radiance said, balancing on her hind legs as she aimed both her fore legs at you, jewelry-encrusted hooves waving towards you
  54. >"And ah got her fancy ray-gun!"
  55. >You shattered one manacle, but not in time to avoid the golden lasso that Mistress Mare-velous looped around it, pulling it free from your grasp
  56. >Seemingly disarmed, the three of them moved in towards you, but they underestimated just how much you had improved your armor since the last time you faced off against them
  57. "You dare approach me so easily?"
  58. >You bellowed, a field of electricity surging out of your metal suit, zapping the three of them, sending them flying backwards
  59. "I am no paltry thief or foal-napper! I am Villanon and you will all-"
  60. >Zap had strong powers, but she wasn't too useful indoors, and she was most definitely not strong enough to completely demolish Hum Drum's cage
  61. >That explained where Saddle-Rager had run off to in the start of the fight
  62. >"YOU TALK TOO MUCH!"
  63. >You only barely managed to raise your arms up to block the colossal pony's blow, the buck sending you flying backwards, denting even your armor
  64. >Hitting the ground, the internal shock-absorbing padding took the brunt of the blow, while your stabilizers helped you roll backwards and onto your feet
  65. "I never picture you as one for subtlety, Rager. Are you really that upset about what I eat for dinner that you'd actually attempt something more intelligent than-"
  66. >"I'M GONNA CRUSH YOU!"
  67. "Exactly."
  68. >Raising a shield, you started blocking more shots from Matter-Horn
  69. >They lacked punch, but worked well as suppressing fire
  70.  
  71. >Behind the muscled-up Pegasus barreling towards you, and the young Alicorn who was pinging at your shield, you could see Mare-Velous rousing Fili-Second
  72. >Radiance seemed to be comforting Hum Drum who'd almost impaled himself on one of the broken bars of his cell
  73. >Mostly because he'd somehow managed to get tangled up in the power cables trailing the ground from the wall to your freeze ray ever since you'd been disarmed
  74. >Zap was...Actually, where had she gotten off to?
  75. >You side-stepped Rager, an extended leg sending her crashing to the ground though it only seemed to make her more upset than before
  76. >Grabbing her by what remained of her outfit, your suit whirred quietly, enhancing your limbs, letting you lift Rager up into the air, using her as cover
  77. >Keeping her this close meant your armor could handle her blows, though above that it also meant you could amp up the electricity coursing through your gauntlets
  78. "I have no use for a struggling shield, Saddle-Rager."
  79. >You stated calmly, pumping her full of enough electricity to down even her
  80. >Lifting her singed form up, you hurled her towards Matter-Horn, sending the two crashing to the ground
  81. >Pausing for a moment, you looked over the damage done, noting what you needed to focus on next
  82. >You were more than certain Rager was down, and she had Matter-Horn pinned under her currently
  83. >Mare-Velous and Fili-Second were standing together, the fast-moving Earth Pony looking ready to get right back to the fight, much like the former
  84. >Zap was still nowhere to be found, meanwhile Radiance had moved Hum Drum to the side to keep him out of the way
  85. >All things considered, this was going pretty well
  86. >You'd lost your freeze ray temporarily, and you'd taken a solid hit earlier, but otherwise you were unharmed
  87. >They'd lost their heavy hitter, and one of their group was currently occupied with the accident-prone sidekick
  88. >Alright, you could do this!
  89. >All you had to do was avoid anything too obvious and you could win this fight!
  90.  
  91. >Lifting your hand up, your gauntlet glowed, charging up a shot inside it, taking aim at Radiance
  92. >Barely a moment before you fired it off, a pink blur moved in, nudging your arm upwards, the force of the blast tearing through the ceiling, up through the roof, revealing the moon above, it's pale light shining down on you
  93. >Damn, did that mean that /she/ had found you for them, or was /she/ just watching?
  94. >"Whoa!Thatwaswaytoopowerful!Ifyou'dfireditatRadiance,shecouldhavegotten/really/hurt!"
  95. >You could tell she was speaking, but it was hard to make any of it out
  96. >Fili-Second darted around you, bumping into you when you swung at her, adjusting you just slightly out of position with each push
  97. >You'd swear she had some kind of sixth-sense about this
  98. >Activating the exhaust panels of your armor, hot air shot out around you, sending Fili-Second tumbling away, and unlike last time, you were ready for the combination attack
  99. >Small lasers shot out from your finger tips, zapping at Radiance, distracting her so that she couldn't pin you down with any Attack Constructs
  100. >Your other hand caught Mare-Velous' lasso, tugging on it to pull her in towards you
  101. >As she flew towards you, you raised on leg up, the underside of your boot connecting with her, sending her backwards
  102. >Just in time, as it turned out
  103. >The moon's light disappeared, and your system lit up, letting you know that there was a huge amount of energy coming in from above
  104. >You turned your head upwards, just in time to see the colossal, pitch-black storm cloud Zap had formed above you
  105. >"What's wrong, Villanon? You looked /shocked/!"
  106. >Moving one arm as fast as you could, you directed your tiny beams up, knocking the light bolt necklace out of Zap's mouth, preventing her from striking
  107. >You should have had enough time to move, only for Radiance to seem to pick up on what the plan was, magical braces appearing around you, locking you in place
  108.  
  109. >"Quick Zap, hit her!"
  110. >Radiance shouted, your struggling causing cracks to form in the bonds keeping you in place
  111. >Above you, Zap fumbled for, and then grabbed hold of, her necklace, raising it back up into the air, the cloud crackling with energy
  112. >Flexing with all your might, you burst free of the iron maiden-like prison, the sheer force of your fight hitting Radiance with the feedback, sending the Unicorn down
  113. >"R-Radiance!"
  114. >Hum Drum ran as fast as his legs could carry him, especially when they were all tangled in cables, over towards Radiance
  115. >As he tripped, you started to move, just in time to hear the sound of your ray gun preparing to fire
  116. >Looking back over at Hum Drum, you realized that he'd been dragging your ray gun around and, when he tried to run, tripped and fell onto it
  117. >Already off-balance, the blast of ice hit you, rapidly starting to freeze your metal-covered body
  118. >It wouldn't be too great a challenge for you to escape from, but the problem came from the light show above
  119. >Namely the massive bolt of lightning that shot down, striking you
  120. >The ice was melted almost immediately, though as it soaked your armor, it acted as one hell of a coducter
  121. >The lightning coursed through your suit, the armor taking the brunt of the blow, though some managed to reach, and stun you
  122. >While you were relatively fine, your armor had not survived
  123. >The strike had fused much of it together, the sheer amount of electricity that Zap had spent all that time creating overloading your suit's tech, essentially leaving your sealed inside your own armor, unable to move
  124. >Looking drown from inside your twisted, fused suit, you could see the Power Ponies celebrating their victory
  125. >The sidekick tripped and managed to help save the day
  126. >Thanks a lot, Universe
  127. >As the girls loaded you onto one of Radiance's constructs, you at least had one thing to be thankful of
  128. >They still didn't know you're a guy
  129.  
  130. July 28, 2018 @ 00:26:37 Pacific
  131. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32691472/#32694496
  132.  
  133. >At first you thought they might just deliver you to the police, have them lock you up, maybe work your suit off, but instead they seemed to be taking you somewhere else
  134. >While they carried you along through the busy streets, you took your time to plan your escape
  135. >Your suit was busted six ways to Sunday
  136. >With enough time, diagnostics had come back online, but even though you could get a read on what was wrong, it wasn't like you could do anything to fix it
  137. >Even if your suit had been fully-functional internally, externally it was a fused-together heap of expensive metal
  138. >Well, not entirely
  139. >The boosters on the bottom of your boots still seemed to be intact, even if your exhausts couldn't open up
  140. >That meant that should you use your boots to fly, you /did/ run the risk of them either melting, or exploding
  141. >If you could even fly while essentially being a statue
  142. >glancing upwards from inside your armor, you saw the moon lingering overhead of you
  143. >The moon was following you and the girls
  144. >Yep, that clinched it
  145. >Escape time
  146. >Doing your best to watch where you were going, you quickly got a handle on what streets the group was heading down
  147. >You knew where their base was located, so you were able to predict which way they'd go to get to it
  148. >Three blocks later, you made your move
  149. >They'd stopped at a red light as they were law-abiding like that and, as they did, Radiance set you down on the ground, allowing her jewelry to refresh itself after carrying you for so long
  150. >The moment you touched pavement, you turned your boosters on, sending the girls stumbling backwards while you rocketed away from them, your back dragging along the ground as you fired away
  151. >A car screeched to a stop and you slammed into the front tire, the impact sending you careening off to the side, the girls quickly regrouping to pursue you
  152. >A lamp post fell to your head and shoulders, spinning you around, pointing you towards an old, derelict building
  153. >Drama, don't fail you now
  154.  
  155. >You hit the doors quite literally 'head-on', blowing them off their hinges as you slammed into a sturdier wall
  156. >The heat in your legs was starting to build up and you switched your boosters off from a moment, their light dulling, casting the main hall into darkness, other than the light of the moon that crept in through any cracks and gaps it could
  157. >Out in the street you could hear the pounding of hooves and the more-subtle flapping of wings
  158. >Still, the room remained dark and quiet, and you started to worry
  159. >Had you fought against the Universe so much so that you could no longer abuse your knowledge of it?
  160. >The noise of the Power Ponies approach grew louder, and you wished you could see them from your current position
  161. >You'd have to gauge when to turn your boosters back on, and you weren't sure if you'd get a second chance after your attempted escape
  162. >"There she is, girls!"
  163. >That was Fili-Second's voice, no doubt about it
  164. >You braced yourself for her arrival, only to hear the sound of meat hitting something deceptively soft, a flash of green passing by your vision, followed by a yelp from the speedster
  165. >Tonight just wasn't her night it seemed
  166. >"Villanon? What an unpleasant surprise!"
  167. >Maneiac?
  168. >Of course you'd get the craziest one of the bunch
  169. >Whatever the case, you shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth
  170. "Maneiac, you need to get us out of here."
  171. >You couldn't feel it, but she wrapped her hair around you, lifting you up and onto your feet so she could look at you, and you her
  172. >"And why is that? Has the Tin Mare lost her heart? I'm not in the habit of helping little colts find their lost dogs, you know!"
  173. >Tact, and bribes, that's what you needed
  174. "Because the Power Ponies will figure out a way to get in here before too long, and we both need to be gone before that happens. Help me, and I'll get you the final pieces you need for your latest scheme."
  175. >Giant, glowing scissors started to cut their way through Maneiac's hair as she thought about your offer
  176.  
  177. >After what felt like an eternity, she finally grinned, keeping her hair wrapped around you
  178. >"Don't you worry, I'll help you find your courage another day! For now, lets ditch their Puny Ponies like they're yesteryear's hairstyle!"
  179. >She pulled back a rug covering a trap door, dropping you into it before jumping in herself
  180. >The Power Ponies tried to follow after the two of you, but Maneiac dropped a few canisters of her patented hair spray, and the heroes needed to back off
  181. >You almost thought you heard them say something about how you couldn't get away for long or whatnot, but it was difficult to hear much of anything when Maneiac was laughing this much
  182.  
  183. -----
  184.  
  185. "No, mind the elbow, I need it to be able to move my arm. Good, now, just crack that part open like- Careful!"
  186. >About three hours had passed since then, and Maneiac had nearly freed one of your arms
  187. >It would have helped had she not constantly stopped, demanding you tell her more about you, or your gear, before she'd continue on
  188. >Thankfully once this arm was free you could complete the rest of your repairs
  189. >"Ohhh, the muscle movements-detector's connected to the...under-armor plating reinforced cables! The under-armor plating reinforced cables are connected to the...wrist-stabilizing anti-carpal tunnel-inducing brace!"
  190. >Also the singing
  191. >Gods above the singing
  192. "Maneiac, concentrate, this last portion is delicate!"
  193. >"Aww, I'm not frustrating you, am I, Villanon? I hope I'm not making you want to pull out your mane! Ahahahahahahahahaha!"
  194. >Another laughing bout, that would cost you
  195. >"Or do you want me to behairve myself? HA!"
  196. >Back to the hair-puns, huh?
  197. >You couldn't wait to be rid of her
  198.  
  199. -----
  200.  
  201. >Finally, six hours after she'd rescued you, you were free
  202. >Your suit was low on power, defensive options, and it wouldn't stand up for too long in a fight, let alone one that involved Saddle-Rager or Matter-Horn
  203. >Still, you could move, which meant you could finally escape Maneiac
  204. >First things first
  205.  
  206. >Much of your cloak had been torn apart during your ground-based escape, so you were mainly left in your armor and your armor alone
  207. >Maneiac had tried to fit some logo-covered shirts onto you, but you'd either incinerated them, or refused to put them on
  208. >Lamenting the loss of a stylish cloak to have flowing in the breeze behind you, you turned to face Maneiac, pointing a finger at her
  209. "You aided me in a time of need. As such, I will find the final piece you need for your latest weapon. Do we have an accord?"
  210. >She giggled, before holding a hoof out towards you, an over-sized grin on her face as she did
  211. >"We do! This was definitely the /highlight/ of my night!"
  212. "...Maneiac I can see the buzzer on your hoof from here."
  213. >She just laughed in response, before opening a door, gesturing to the way out
  214. >"This'll put you on the /fringe/ of town! It should be a /snip/ getting back to your hairdout from there, right?"
  215. "Indeed."
  216. >Marching down the hall to the whine of your armor, you could hear Maneiac calling after you as you left, making sure to remind you that you owed her
  217. >You didn't like being bossed around, but at least you had a solid idea of what your next heist would be
  218. >For the moment though, you decided to focus on getting back home
  219. >Once you were finally out of this armor, you were going to take one hell of a bath
  220.  
  221.  
  222. July 27, 2018 @ 14:36:41 Pacific
  223. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32703958/#32710347
  224.  
  225. >Lounging in the tub, you had some time to take stock in what needed to be done next
  226. >Your old armor wasn't good for much more than some spare parts and a heap of melt-able metal
  227. >Thankfully you kept a spare set or two around just in case of accidents like these, but you'd need to spend some time enhancing it
  228. >Definitely add better defense against large lightning strikes
  229. >1 in 3000 your lightly-singed ass
  230. >With just your helmet on, you reviewed the various parts you'd need, before a side thought teased you yet again
  231. >What about magic?
  232. >Technology was a hell of a thing, and it had let you face down the Power Ponies time and time again, but having another option on top of it would help you out a lot
  233. >The issue was your utter lack of knowledge on the subject
  234. >Looking into your mask, you brought up the list of powerful items you had stored in various sections of Maretropolis
  235. >Just as you'd thought, you lacked much of anything on the 'ancient magical artifact' side of things, which meant you couldn't even study an item on its own
  236. >Closing the inventory tab, you reopened a different one, adding a few more necessary items to your 'shopping list'
  237. >With that marked up, you sunk back down into the tub, planning on enjoying it before you got up to go to work again
  238.  
  239. -----
  240.  
  241. >Three days later, and you were ready to begin your search
  242. >Your latest edition of your armor was semi-covered by your clothes and cloak, both of which had been enhanced slightly in their own ways
  243. >Pulling up your list in your helmet, you decided to go after what you owed in your debt
  244. >While the magical side of things was tempting, you really didn't want to risk another accident and wind up being indebted any further
  245. >Especially given that your first task was to steal a powerful energy-generating device from Luna Enterprises
  246.  
  247. >Luna Enterprises
  248. >A towering, black obelisk that loomed above all but the tallest buildings in Goatham
  249. >While it's look was intimidating, it was what lurked within that you needed to be careful of
  250. >On top of its many other functions, it also served as a sort of research lab
  251. >As such, practically everything in the building was state-of-the-art
  252. >If you weren't a super-powered thief, no criminal would risk doing anything to the place
  253. >For you though, it was one step worse than all that
  254. >The problem was that you knew the owner's secret identity
  255. >By day, she was the elusive billionaire playmare, Luna
  256. >By night?
  257. >Nightmare Moon, a fearsome "hero" who protected the world from the criminal underbelly of Goatham
  258. >One of the best heroes out there, who would be on your ass for doing this
  259. >When you were starting out, you tried to stay out of the way, keep your crimes street-level, and far outside her jurisdiction
  260. >Had you faced off against her back then, you'd have been captured easily
  261. >Now though?
  262. >You might just be able to do this
  263. >First things first, you hit the building with a variety of scans
  264. >Heat, infra-red, x-ray, all of them came up blank
  265. >Next, you compared the schematics of the building to what it was now
  266. >There was no doubt in your mind that it had been changed significantly over time, but even just a base idea to go off of would be a big help
  267. >Next, you checked the comings and goings of employees, noting where they entered and exited from, and when
  268. >Some might think it odd to case a building in the middle of the day, but for your purposes, it was probably the best time to do this
  269. >Luna would no doubt be out there, keeping up the act, leaving her position untouched, meaning you wouldn't have to worry about her for a while
  270. >Regular Ponies, much like the Ponice, weren't much of a threat to you either, so if you could just move through her fortress as fast as possible you could get the piece and be gone before ever even needing to deal with Nightmare Moon
  271.  
  272. >Then it was just a quick hand-off and the Maneiac would be out of your hair
  273. >This could work
  274.  
  275. -----
  276.  
  277. >The next day rolled around, and it was time for your heist to begin
  278. >You had prepared as best you could without making Luna suspicious, and you'd made sure to take note of where she was today, that being lounging on a yacht, drinking in the sun, surrounded by models
  279. >The life of a playmare sure was a cushy one, disguise or no
  280. >Taking to the sky, you flew above the buildings surrounding the target, using them as cover from the watching eyes on the ground until finally you landed on top of the solar panel-covered roof
  281. >Despite her grievances, Luna still borrowed the sun's power, huh?
  282. >You only had a few moments before you'd be picked up as more than some parkour-loving Pony, and so you dashed to your target, the ventilation duct
  283. >For most, opening this would be a challenge, but you just had to lift your gauntlet up, allowing the laser built in to slice through the various screws, severing the grate from it's perch, allowing you entry
  284. >Slipping in, you lightly reattached the grate, just in time for the camera sweep not to pick you up
  285. >With the magnetic grip you'd installed, you slowly climbed down and through the tight-yet-still-fitting vents, being careful not to make more sounds than might be appropriate
  286. >Occasionally you'd glance down through the grates in the vent, looking in at what happened in this building's various rooms
  287. >Experiments, business deals, trades, and more
  288. >Still, much of this was surface-level stuff, and you wanted the big guns
  289. >Arriving at a fork in the road, both of which led downwards, you pressed yourself up against the wall ahead of you, using one of your beams to methodically cut a tiny hole through the metal and concrete wall, piercing into the elevator shaft not too far away
  290. >Perfect
  291. >Amping the power, you began to cut a you-sized hole into the wall, aiming to climb into the elevator shaft when done
  292.  
  293. >Light shone into the shaft as you cut through the final barrier, pulling the circular chunk of wall back, placing it in the vent while you crawled forwards
  294. >Looking in, you used your eyes, as well as your helmets built-in computers to determine exactly when the next elevator would be descending towards you
  295. >Once you'd found it, you perched yourself, ready and waiting for it's arrival
  296. >Five
  297. >Four
  298. >Three
  299. >Two
  300. >Now!
  301. >Shoving yourself free and into the shaft, you extended your hands, locking on to the elevator, letting the rest of you dangle beneath it as it zipped along
  302. >You couldn't use your boosters in the building without running the risk of alerting Ponies to the sound, smell or heat
  303. >Instead, you forcibly pulled yourself up, locking your body against the underside of the elevator while pressing your cloak down over you
  304. >Thanks to your adjustments, it clung to your body, wrapping entirely around you, hiding you from view as you activated the main use you'd changed it to have
  305. >Light refraction
  306. >While you'd yet to crack perfect invisibility, being able to bend light around you so as too appear invisible while not moving worked well enough
  307. >You'd run tests on various cameras back at your base, and it hadn't been picked up, other than being a faint waver in the air
  308. >With this, you could ride the elevator down to the bottom floor of the shaft, then cut your way deeper from there
  309. >If mismatched city plans were anything to go off of, there was one hell of an R&D department down there
  310. >When the elevator came to a stop, and then started going back up though, you realized one of the problems with your plan
  311. >You might be stuck waiting to hit ground floor for a while
  312.  
  313. -----
  314.  
  315. >Somewhere out in the ocean, despite the implications, is a yacht with more than a half-dozen, indecently-dressed Stallions, as well as one Mare
  316. >A Mare whose watch has suddenly started to blink out a warning sign
  317. >A Mare who, after apologizing to her guests, has headed back to Goatham alone
  318.  
  319. -----
  320.  
  321. >You are Anonymous, or as you're much more commonly known, Villanon, and you've finally let out a quiet sigh of relief
  322. >After about seven minutes of going up and down, you've finally drawn to the base of the shaft and can disembark without the cameras noticing you
  323. >Pulling free, your cloak swirling around you, you cut into the floor in a half dozen viable spots, looking for the best place to burn through
  324. >A few seemed to hit solid stone no matter how deep you cut, but one bore fruit, opening up into what appeared to be a maintenance tunnel of sorts
  325. >Opening up a gap large enough to fit, you squeezed your way into it, scanning the passage up and down, making sure that nopony was moving through it and, when your fears had been assuaged, you descended into the darkening depths
  326. >Thankfully for you, considering the fact that seemingly nopony knew just who Nightmare Moon was other than you, it meant there really shouldn't be anypony down here
  327. >As you climbed deeper, scanning your environment for traps and watching eyes, you thought about how ridiculous that was
  328. >Yes, you hadn't discovered the identities of the Power Ponies, but there were multiple reasons for that, one being that they weren't nearly so big a danger
  329. >On top of that, when they weren't in their costumes, they were just regular Ponies
  330. >Luna though?
  331. >She was an Alicorn, one of the rare few, and she made no attempts to hide that fact when she wore the persona of Nightmare Moon
  332. >Considering how few there were, as well as her lifestyles, you'd discovered quite quickly that the two were one and the same
  333. >The same went for her counterpart, though you really didn't need to think about that one as well right now
  334. >Just keeping Luna in your head was worry enough
  335. >You might be able to handle her now, but you'd rather not find out one way or another
  336. >Besides, you'd just found the bottom
  337. >Touching down, you found yourself faced with a dead end
  338. >Again
  339.  
  340. >You could cut through until you found the way down again, as this was no doubt a final precaution against anypony who somehow managed to slip down here accidentally, but you'd been running through your power reserves steadily during this break-in
  341. >It would replenish itself eventually, sure, but constantly firing beams and using magnets and activating light refraction was a draining process on a suit with no alternate power source
  342. >The thought crossed your mind of stealing the device for yourself instead, but you also didn't want to run afoul of the underworld just yet
  343. >Being branded as a liar and a backstabber was not an easy pair of titles to shake
  344. >Taking a minute, you let your reserves ebb into your armor until you felt comfortable cutting through again
  345. >The ground here was harder, no doubt doubly reinforced, but you eventually bored through, revealing the path downwards and into a massive chamber
  346. >It was dark and after a minute spent scanning and listening, it was empty too
  347. >You sprayed a fog into the room, lasers lighting up, giving you a good representation of where to dodge to to avoid them and, after some tricky maneuvering, you landed, safe and sound
  348. >It seemed this was a hub room of sorts, and each of the branching paths led to a different lab, all of which were thankfully clearly labelled
  349. >Not long after you'd arrived were you forcing your way into the room you needed
  350. >Energy
  351. >Power crackled as you stepped inside, sparks flying and electricity surging, a wealth of noise and power filling the room
  352. >The devices here ranged from mostly-developed to barely understood, though the most dangerous items were locked up safely
  353. >Besides, the thing you were after was almost done, stored in a different portion of the room
  354. >A portion which was surprisingly easy to access, all things considered
  355. >It was almost a let down in a way
  356. >You'd really been expecting more resistance when you got into the la-
  357. >The main door behind you slide open, and then shut
  358.  
  359. >"What do you think you're doing?"
  360. >That voice
  361. >Oh fuck
  362. >But this wasn't right!
  363. >She was supposed to be on a cruise for the rest of the day, and so far as you could tell, you hadn't tripped any alarms!
  364. >Turning on the spot, you looked over to the tall figure standing in front of the door, illuminated by the crackling, electrical lighting filling the room
  365. >Unlike most Ponies, she was far taller
  366. >Not as tall as you, of course, but she was approaching head-level with you which made her more imposing than most
  367. >Her dark, blue fur was protected by metal and fabric, a strong, durable, and highly useful costume wrapped around her, one that was somehow both highly protective, yet flexible at the same time
  368. >You couldn't help but feel a little jealous over her resources, and the benefits they provided
  369. >Her own helmet/mask covered most of her head, but you could still clearly see her sharp teeth and glowing, snake-like eyes that pierced into you
  370. >Her wings were like those of a giant bat, spread out to her sides, while in her flowing mane and tail you could see the cosmos swirling
  371. >You'd have been lying if you said you weren't at least a little intimidated
  372. >Still, you had your own cosmic role to play as well, and so you kept your back to your prize while you stared her down, subtly bumping up the glow of your helm's eye sockets, hiding your eyes from view as you spoke
  373. "Merely claiming what I need. Shouldn't you be out pestering children over graffiti?"
  374. >"You're the only stain I'll be cleaning for now."
  375. >Alright, not a terrible line, all things consider- whoa those look sharp!
  376. >Two sharp blades whirled through the air, and you moved just in time to avoid them, one deflecting off your pauldron while the other sliced clean through a section of your cloak, both of which embedded themselves in the wall behind you
  377. >Unfortunately for you, they'd just been a distraction as a stasis beam hit you in the chest, slamming you against the wall, locking you up momentarily
  378.  
  379. >Holding you in place, she walked towards you, making sure to maintain a safe distance from you, even when she drew close
  380. >What a pro
  381. >"Maneiac sent you, didn't she?"
  382. >Okay, how could she even know that
  383. >You hadn't even touched the thing yet!
  384. >You're calling Alicorn bullshit on that one
  385. >Receding the flow of her stasis spell, she retracted it from your head so you could actually speak
  386. >Of course, it was hard when your lungs didn't want to move more than the tiny amount she'd allowed them to
  387. "How'd you...detect...?"
  388. >That was the wrong answer apparently as you quickly found yourself becoming acquainted with the floor
  389. >You were still locked up, but you could hear the sound of a few power tools of an unknown sort whir to life around you
  390. >"Tell us before we cut you out of there."
  391. >The weird, royal way of speaking still seemed strange to you when she was in costume
  392. >Maybe it was just to through Ponies off the scent of who she was?
  393. >Either way, you had your answer for her, and you turned your head around until you could match your eyes with hers, a toggle rising in your helmet that you flipped on at just the right time
  394. >"You first..."
  395. >Your helmet's eyes flared like a flashbang, and you heard a cry of surprise and pain, the stasis spell dropping, allowing you freedom to move again
  396. >The first thing you did being launching yourself back up and onto both feet while you aimed your hands at the staggered hero
  397. >Bringing your wrists together, you spread your palms and fingers like a bowl, focusing a powerful blast directly at Nightmare Moon, the force of which sent her flying deeper into the lab
  398. >It wouldn't put her down for long, but it'd give you a moment or two to reorient and find what you needed
  399. >Looking around, you locked on to the device and boosted over to it, slamming your fist through the container keeping it hidden from prying hands, and not a moment too soon as you heard what sounded like something heavy being through your way
  400.  
  401.  
  402. Aug 5, 2018 @ 16:13:49 Pacific
  403. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32751084/#32760587
  404.  
  405. >Turning to face whatever it was, you saw a heavy table hurtling through the air directly at your face
  406. >All it took was one punch to smash your fist through it, though when you did, you saw what was behind it, a heavy, metal net wrapping around you, followed by a surge of electricity
  407. >In true Nightmare Moon badass fashion, she didn't say any quippy puns like the rest tended to do, she just came at you, no doubt expecting this to have hindered you
  408. >Before your run in with the Power Ponies?
  409. >Maybe it would have
  410. >Now it wasn't anything more than a nuisance, and you tore it off your body, tossing it to the ground
  411. "Is that all you've got?"
  412. >Gotta show confidence
  413. >The more confidence you had, the more determined you'd stay, and the more you could throw her off her game
  414. >Wrenching the device from it's spot, you brought it down, attaching it to your belt, grateful that it wasn't too large
  415. >Now that you had a hold of it, you could start maneuvering your way towards the door
  416. >Raising one hand up, you fired out a few of your smaller lasers, forcing Her to dodge and duck them, leaping like an acrobat and soaring like the latter half of one too, diving behind cover, getting out of your range of sight
  417. >A quick scan revealed that she was able to use some kind of camo to hide herself, which would make pinning her down a nightmare
  418. "Hide all you want, Nightmare Moon, for I am leaving. Consider that a gift, one taken in exchange for this machine. Always remember this as the day that you almost caught-"
  419. >A dark blur moved out of the corner of your eye, two round orbs flying out at your face
  420. >Raising your arm, they bounced off your gauntlet harmlessly, exploding mid-air into huge clouds of smoke
  421. >On top of that, there was something sparkly in the smoke, something that you quickly recognized was throwing your scans off
  422. >Normally you'd at least be able to make out the presence of physical objects, but whatever this stuff was, it was making your scans go haywire
  423.  
  424. >You couldn't even back up because of how close to the door you were, though you'd yet to actually get it open again
  425. >The part that sucked about all this was that you had no doubt in your mind that somehow, through whatever Krav Maga-what's it's Luna knew, she could probably "sense you" despite this mess
  426. >As if to prove that point, a hoof flew from out of the darkness and into your gut, hitting you with a startling amount of force, doubling you over more from the sheer shock of it than anything else, a pose that left you vulnerable to a powerful buck, knocking you back and onto the ground
  427. >You weren't even able to get a read on what was happening, other than the sound of metal horseshoes clinking on the floor
  428. >Rising up, you listened for the sound of those hooves to draw nearer before you opened your exhausts, blasting a load of hot air out from them, clearing a space in the smoke where you could see
  429. >You caught a glimpse of Luna as she moved back into the heavier portions, but instead of following after her like a crazy person, you used your momentary relief to turn to the door panel, recreating the lock combination, the door opening
  430. >With freedom in sight, you moved through the doorway, the last wisps of the smoke clinging to you as you returned to the hub room
  431. >Your scanners took a moment to reset, so you turned to face the smoke, waiting for a glimpse of the hero
  432. >She'd have to come out to face you, after all, and you couldn't imagine she'd be so willing to let you go with her tech
  433. >Any minute now
  434. >Any minute now
  435. >Any...
  436. >Okay where the hell was she?
  437. >The smoke had practically cleared but she was still nowhere to be seen
  438. >Had she retreated further into the room?
  439. "Where /are/ you, Nightmare?"
  440. >You muttered under your breath, helmet scanning the area, picking up nothing
  441. >"Right here."
  442. >Holy fuck!
  443.  
  444. >Hooves slammed into your back sending you staggering forwards, though when you twisted around to face your attacker, two of her throwing, crescent moons hit you, one sticking to your chest, the other attaching to your arm as you raised it to defend yourself
  445. >Thankfully they hadn't pierced your arm or so you could...were they beeping?
  446. >Twin explosions knocked you back onto your ass, multiple warning signs flaring in your helmet in response, only for another pair of moons to emerge from the shadows, one hitting the ground, the other catching your leg, the explosion twisting you around
  447. >Your armor hadn't broken, but it was taking damage and you knew you needed to keep this from going too far
  448. >Rerouting your suit's power supplies, you pumped one hell of a lot into your lasers, making sure they'd have enough strength for your plan
  449. >Two more moons emerged, but you sliced them in half mid-air before lifting your hands into the air, splaying them above your head
  450. >The good thing about this hub room was the fact that it didn't have many places to hide in
  451. >Firing lasers from each finger, You spun in a circle, carving lines into the walls and doors as you twirled
  452. >If you didn't hit her now, that meant she was probably hiding again, which would give you enough time to get the hell out of here
  453. >You spun and blasted until you were nearly out of power and then, the moment before you hit it, you rerouted all power to your boosters, using them to rocket into the air towards your escape route
  454. "Goodbye, Nightmare Moon! Remember the pain of this loss the next time you think to face me!"
  455. >You were almost within reach of the hole, but you couldn't help but notice you were flying slower than normal
  456. "Crap, I must have been running on less than I thought."You muttered to yourself, trying for a burst of speed, only to find yourself sinking lower
  457. >Actually, it wasn't just that you were dropping, it was like your entire body was being pulled back down!
  458.  
  459. >Your reserves were dipping lower and lower as you fought against the force holding you back, only for it to suddenly increase, as if the hand of God had grabbed you, your body falling back as you were pulled to the floor, gritting your teeth when you slammed into the ground
  460. >Turning your boosters off, you struggled to move, but you couldn't budge an inch, your suit refusing to shift or struggle
  461. "The hell is this?"
  462. >Your sensors were going haywire, your displays going on the fritz to say the least as you came to understand what was going on
  463. "A magnet?"
  464. >Metal hooves clicked along the ground as Nightmare Moon undoubtedly approached, walking over to you, staring down at you from above as you lay pinned to the ground
  465. >"You're pretty quick for someone who acts so stupid."
  466. >She was just standing there, seemingly examining you, her large eyes shifting to look over your body
  467. >It would be so set to grab her if you could just move!
  468. >Then again, you'd been pushing your suit hard, so you'd need to wait to refill your reserves before you could do much of anything
  469. >Best thing to do was to buy time, partially because you wanted to find out what Mickey Mouse planning time bullshit she'd pulled for this stunt
  470. "/Why/ do you have a magnet?"
  471. >She snorted, lifting a hoof up to place it on your chest, pressing down with a considerable amount of force
  472. >"You wear a metal suit, why wouldn't we think to prepare for you?"
  473. "Why would you assume that I'd be coming? How did you even know I was here? I don't recall tripping any security systems."
  474. >She didn't respond, but instead she took her hoof off your chest, leaning her horn own instead to place it against the metal that had been exposed from her explosions
  475. >"Shatter"
  476. >Her horn glowed bright, and a bundle of magic pumped through it and into your chest piece
  477.  
  478. >It encompassed the metal, wrapping around it while Nightmare focused, coating it with magic until it was entirely glowing and then, starting from the spot her horn was touching, it shattered
  479. >Cracks surged through the metal before it broke apart into a multitude of little, individual pieces, exposing wires and circuitry, padding and more
  480. >She couldn't see your chest through it, no, but you now had a gaping weakpoint, on top of the fact that you were heaving
  481. >You were thankful to have added the extra padding to your suit after last time, because the force from her spell pierced through the metal, hitting you with a sort of dull impact shockwave
  482. "Fuck!"
  483. >"We want you to tell us the exact locations of your hide outs, as well as where you were planning on meeting Maneiac."
  484. "I'm not so paltry a creature as to give in from such a weak-"
  485. >"Shatter."
  486. "Agh!"
  487. >She broke your left pauldron that time, her hooves clicking on the floor as she moved to your other side, lowering her horn to your remaining pauldron
  488. >"We want you to tell us the exact locations of your hide outs, as well as where you were planning on meeting Maneiac."
  489. "It'll take more than that to make me-"
  490. >"Shatter."
  491. "Rrgh!"
  492. >More chunks of metal hit the floor as you writhed, your protection having once again become a prison
  493. >You didn't exactly think you could face her in a physical fight without it, no, but being able to defend yourself at all would have made this better
  494. >"We want you to tell us the exact locations of your hide outs, as well as where you were planning on meeting Maneiac."
  495. >She spoke while she moved downwards, beginning to move her horn downwards to one of your knees
  496. >You could take the hit, but it would fuck up one of your legs, making it hard to move, on top of potentially breaking your actual leg too
  497. >You tried to gauge how much power you'd restored, but you couldn't make heads or tails of your screens, and you could see Nightmare's horn starting to glow
  498.  
  499. >You'd just have to chance this
  500. >Working as best you could in the conditions, you started to reroute your suit's power again while you spoke up
  501. "Alright! Enough of this, I'll tell you!"
  502. >She paused, horn still glowing, seemingly contemplating whether or not to just go ahead and break your leg before she withdrew her horn, walking back up so that she could look into your eyes
  503. >"Speak then."
  504. "Fine, I plan on meeting her at the old, abandoned Shampoo Warehouse, Suds & Buds, but it's not really going to matter."
  505. >She arched a brow, her horn beginning to light up, clearly distrustful of you, and she bade dry right to be
  506. >You were getting out of here, after all
  507. >She lowered her head, bringing her horn down, touching the tip of it to your mask, but before she could speak the word, you brought your plan into action
  508. >Activating your magnets, you matched their polarity with that of the floor, sending you rocketing upwards as the great magnet below you tried to push you away as fast as possible
  509. >You slammed into Nightmare's chin with enough force to knock her up into the air, her teeth clacking together as you were forced upwards
  510. >Fighting with the propulsion, you adjusted mid-air, shooting straight up into the service tunnel, hurtling upwards until you hit the upper limits of the magnet's reach
  511. >Takin hold of the metal handlebars, you turned off your own magnetism and took a moment to breath, your chest heaving as you calmed down
  512. >A glance downwards told you that you'd gotten lucky
  513. >Nightmare wasn't moving, which meant you had a small window of opportunity for escape before she was up and after you again
  514. >Your grip tightened on the hand holds, and you got an idea
  515.  
  516. -----
  517.  
  518. >About an hour later, you were almost at the meeting place
  519. >You hadn't stopped at any of our hide outs because you wanted nothing more than to complete the drop off and then get the hell out of town
  520.  
  521. >For all you new, Nightmare had installed a tracking device into this or something, and you would much rather let her go beat the stuffing out of Maneiac than track down any of your hideouts
  522. >Pressing open the door of the factory, you strode inside, looking around for any hint of Maneiac, or any other Pony's, presence
  523. >Your scanners were still working, if a little off, and they didn't detect anything at first, not until you were close to the center of the factory floor
  524. >All around you, old machinery stuck of of the walls and floor like the picked-over skeletons of a time long ago, conveyor belts delivery their packages to nothing and no one
  525. >You waited for three minutes before a laugh echoed throughout the old wreck, soft, shifting sounds alerting you to the direction of her approach as Maneiac came into view, using her massive mane to move through the building with ease
  526. >"Villanon! So good you could join me again!"
  527. >Reaching under your cloak, you withdrew the device, holding it up for her to see
  528. "I've completed my side of the bargain and I owe you no more. Consider our business concluded."
  529. >Before you could even set it down, a lock of her mane reached down plucking it from your grasp
  530. >"Ooh, how I've waited for this! /Bangs/ a lot for making the process so easy on me."
  531. >Drawing her mane back, she submerged the device in her ever-shifting locks before turning her attention back to you, a look of amusement crossing her face
  532. >"Why Villanon, you're looking a little worse for hair! Did you run into the wrong end of a razor?"
  533. "Nothing so simple, I merely had to dispatch Nightmare Moon to retrieve this."
  534. >Well that got her attention something fierce, though she seemed skeptical
  535. >"Really? /You/ defeated Nightmare Moon In a mane to mane fight?"
  536. "Don't you mean 'head to head'?"
  537. >"Where are manes kept if not on your head?"
  538. >While you mentally smacked yourself for getting drawn into a conversation with her, she just laughed at the apparent hilarity of her /joke/
  539.  
  540. >"Still, I do hope you got her out of your mane before coming here! I don't need some hero coming by her to shave me from myself or anything!"
  541. >This time it was your turn to snort as you turned around, what was left of your cloak swirling about you as you strode towards the door
  542. "When it come to her, I think you should be more worried about her beating you black and blue."
  543. >"Aww, but I like my hair the Color it is."
  544. >That's it, you're done with this
  545. >leaving the way you came, you took off, flying towards your closest hide out, hoping that this time around, the moon would be looking down on someone else
  546.  
  547. -----
  548.  
  549. >You are Nightmare Moon, and you're pissed
  550. >Villanon had left you trapped under your own magnet's pull after she dropped a few of the metal bars from the service tunnel down onto you
  551. >They hadn't really damaged you, but from the way they'd landed, they'd locked you in place under them, the difficult pose keeping you from being able to do much
  552. >You'd gone through a few of your throwing moons to get the angle right, finally hitting the switch that turned the magnet off, allowing you to pull free
  553. >Gauging the current time, you knew that you were far too late to arrive at the arranged meeting place in advance, though you still headed out from the building
  554. >You'd need to make sure what was going on, and maybe if you were lucky you could catch Maneiac or Villanon after the trade off had been made
  555. >While you flew, you made a mental note to upgrade Villanon's threat level
  556. >You didn't like to admit it, but she'd managed to pull more than one over you
  557. >She'd stolen your technology, beaten you in a fight, and trapped you, keeping you from your work for far too long for your taste
  558. >You'd need to focus on tracking her down after you retrieved your device, assuming she'd handed it off by now
  559. "I'm coming for you, Villanon."
  560.  
  561. -----
  562.  
  563. >You're Villanon, and once again you're debt-free!
  564. >Wearing busted armor and coming to terms with a vital weakness you'd been noticing more and more, but otherwise, debt-free
  565. >Currently you were tinkering with your armor, replacement parts on the way
  566. >Thankfully Nightmare Moon hadn't damaged the circuitry underneath too badly, though she had hurt your pride
  567. >You'd gotten lucky, /very/ lucky
  568. >If the Universe hadn't been nice enough to allow you a magnet of your own, there was no doubt in your mind that you would have been exposed, on top of being caught and disarmed
  569. >Stasis, potential teleportation, cloaking, detection, Shatter, all of it, it had all but disturbingly effective
  570. >On top of that, your regular goody four-hooves, the Power Ponies, also had a wealth of magically-fuelled powers
  571. >Well, you were pretty sure they were
  572. >Magic existed in this world after all, though you could never be too sure what was what without properly examining it
  573. >For all you knew Saddle-Rager's "Hulking up" came from "super-steroids" or something
  574. >You, on the other hand?
  575. >Nothing, just your tech, which could only take you so far, really
  576. >You leaned back in your chair, lacing your fingers together behind your head as you pondered your situation
  577. >If you had some knowledge of how magic worked (other than the barest ideas of it) you could at least prepare some countermeasures
  578. >Unfortunately for you, having not grown up here, you didn't have the faintest idea of what to do
  579. "...I need a teacher."
  580. >But who?
  581.  
  582. >It wasn't like you strayed close to too many circles
  583. >You also hardly had anything to offer a magic user
  584. >As far as you could recall, one tended to stay in their wheelhouse, so to speak
  585. >You also had no desire to put your freedom on the line again and again just to prove yourself to some old Mare
  586. >Even beyond /that/ was the fact that you had no desire to be belittled or looked down upon by some other villain purely because of your lack of knowledge
  587. >In the end, you wound up back to where you'd started, the only logical conclusion being to steal and decipher some magical artifact, but which one to take?
  588.  
  589. -----------
  590.  
  591. Aug 12, 2018 @ 22:42:35 Pacific
  592. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32786381/#32795062
  593.  
  594. >Actually, the more you thought about it, the more you came to realize you knew exactly what to do
  595. >All it would take was a little help from one pony in particular
  596.  
  597. -----
  598.  
  599. >You are the Masked Matter-Horn, and currently, you were feeling pretty good!
  600. >You and the girls still hadn't managed to capture Villanon, but other than the warning from Nightmare Moon (it was so totally amazing to talk to her!), you hadn't heard a peep out of that armor-clad creature
  601. >Honestly, tonight had been pretty normal
  602. >The alarm system for a large, local jewelry store had gone off, so the Power Ponies, Hum Drum included, were on the case!
  603. >Not that there was much of a case to talk about
  604. >You'd all shown up, ready for a fight or something, only to find the store devoid of any living creature
  605. >None of the display cases had even been broken
  606. >"It was probably just some drunk Pony that broke a window then ran, MH."
  607. >Zap had been trying to get you to head out with the rest of the squad, but something just felt off about this to you
  608. "You go ahead, Zap, I'm just going to test something first."
  609. >The Pegasus rolled her eyes, snorting but taking the hint, flapping her wings and lifting up into the air
  610. >"Yeah yeah, just meet us back at the base, okay? Hum Drum's planning on making some pre-historic salad with those veggies we got from the Cave-Pony mixup."
  611. >As mouth-wateringly tempting as that was, you had a job to do
  612. >While Zap flew off, you stepped into the building, taking another look around
  613. >Nothing seemed immediately noticeable, and so you did what you did best
  614. >Raising your head up, you focused on your horn, charging up a spell and then releasing it when the time was right, sending out a soft, magical pulse
  615. >Thankfully the store wasn't too large, so it was easy to see the few living creatures in here other than yourself, mostly picking up on the occasional, small animal and-
  616. >That was way too big
  617.  
  618. >It was sort of shaped like a weird Monkey, squatting on the floor, but the weirdest part about it was that you couldn't see it, despite staring straight at the glowing marking that should be illuminating it
  619. >You shut your eyes again, able to see the figure, but when you opened your eyes to look, there was nothing there
  620. >Well, not nothing, no
  621. >There was some kind of faint waver to the air, like the area was being bent slightly
  622. >Actually no, not the air, but the li-
  623. >A massive gauntlet shot out from the affected space, the movement revealing what had been hidden from you
  624. "Villa-mmf!"
  625. >Her cloak shimmered into view, the fabric reappearing, essentially revealing her trick to you, though you'd need to be able to get away for it to matter
  626. >"Hello, Matter-Horn, I'm so pleased to see you again."
  627. >Charging your horn, you got ready to send a signal to your team, only to find yourself growing sleepier by the second
  628. >Trying to focus, you looked down at the gauntlet, Villanon's other "Hand" holding a bottle of some sort of pink substance they were spraying on you to put you out
  629. >You managed to still force out a signal, though it was weak and slow, but at least they'd know you'd been taken
  630. >Then, you felt yourself fading, slipping into darkness
  631.  
  632. -----
  633.  
  634. >When you awoke, you could feel something cold and metal digging into your legs, as well as around your stomach and neck
  635. >Blinking the sleep from your eyes, you looked at your predicament, finding yourself locked up in some kind of restraining device, a large, cone-shaped object hanging above your head
  636. >Was that supposed to block your spells or something?
  637. >Weird, it definitely didn't seem like Villanon's style
  638. >She was all about fancy tech and how amazing her armor was
  639. >A metal cone was pretty beneath her
  640. >So why would she-
  641. >No, focus!
  642. >You needed to get out of here!
  643. >Shifting as much as you could, you looked around the room, noting whatever cables, panels, tech, and otherwise stood out to you
  644. >There, on the ground!
  645.  
  646. >A paper clip!
  647. >Channeling your power, you raised the clip into the air, starting to bend and twist it, changing it to suit your need
  648. >Before you could launch your escape plan, the metal door on the other side of the holding cell opened up, a huge, imposing figure standing, no, looming in the doorway
  649. >She stepped forwards, metal boots clanking against the stone floor as she approached, coming to a stop barely two feet away
  650. >When you were restrained like this, the paper clip hidden in your mane, the difference between your height and hers became all the more pronounced
  651. "What do you want with me, Villanon?"
  652. >"Straight to the point, Matter-Horn, I can appreciate that. You see, I have a desire, a desire that I believe you to be perfect to fulfil."
  653. >A desire?
  654. >What did that even...
  655. >Oh no, sh-she didn't mean...
  656. "A desire? What does it have to do with me?"
  657. >You tried not to wince as she raised her "hand" up, the metal "fingers" wrapping around your horn, sending a jolt through your body
  658. >A Unicorn's horn was a sensitive thing, much like a Pegasi's wings, which was why any pony touching them typically was somepony you were friends with, or even closer to
  659. >On top of that, Villanon had a dexterous grasp, similar to that of a Griffon, which only made this feel all the stranger
  660. >"It's less to do with you than it is with the knowledge you hold about magic."
  661. >She released you, letting you sink back against your supports, watching as the massive mare sat down, a throne rising up from a panel on the floor to meet her, allowing her to lounge
  662. >"I want to learn how to use it."
  663. >Learn?
  664. "If you think I'm going to teach you a single one of my spells, you're out of luck. There's no way I'd ever help a villain like you!"
  665. >"I have no need for them. Once I gain a greater knowledge of the workings of magic, I will bend it to my will. By then, your spells will be little more than mere parlor tricks in comparison."
  666. >A greater knowledge?
  667. >Something seemed off about this
  668.  
  669. >Like you were missing some part of a bigger picture
  670. >Villanon stood up from her throne, cloak flowing through the air as she turned around, starting to explain his goal, mocking you for how easy it had been to capture you
  671. >While she was caught up in her arrogance, you sent out another pulse to your friends, letting them know where you were, quickly getting a response back
  672. >You almost thought you noticed a second receptor, but you pushed the thought from your mind as you brought the paperclip-turned lock pick up, beginning to attempt to unlock the bar around your neck
  673. >If you could get it loose, you'd be able to aim your horn at Villanon
  674. >"-though none of it has confirmed my suspicions that there is a deeper layer to magic, one not even /my/ technology can reach! What I want you to tell me is..."
  675. >Her voice dwindled as she turned back around, seeing the makeshift key jammed into the lock
  676. >You were so close, but before you could finish, she tore it away from you, examining it for a moment before crushing it in her grasp
  677. >"Trying to leave so soon? You won't be going anywhere until you answer my questions."
  678. >You felt a receptive pulse in your horn, the girls were getting closer!
  679. >Taking a moment to gauge the situation, you knew you had to get Villanon talking again
  680. >You just needed to buy a bit more time!
  681. "Why me? You should have known that I'd never give you my spells, so why would you take me? Unless...do you not know how to use magic?"
  682. >Villanon leaned back, dropping the crumpled metal from her grasp, and you recognized the body language, even if it was different than most anypony's
  683. >You were right
  684.  
  685. >"As if so simple a problem could thwart me! While I may not yet have a mastery of the subject, I am more than learned in enough of the arcane arts to be a match to any number of my foes! Then, once I have an even greater control over magic itself, I'll be an unbeatable foe! I'll pull Pegasi from the air and steal the magic from the Unicorns! The Earth Ponies will shrivel up like husks, and I shall rule this world with an iron fist!"
  686. >That was enough! The ping came in, and you sent one back out, essentially telling your friends "Here I am!"
  687. >Your horn had visibly lit up, right in front of Villanon too, but you didn't care, it was too late for her now
  688. >"What have you been doing? What was that?"
  689. "I don't know why you don't understand magic, but thanks for revealing your weakness!"
  690. >Similar to how it had happened many times before, the wall of this room was blown open, Saddle-Rager and the rest of the Power Ponies standing in the space
  691. >"Hey! Let our friend go!"
  692. >"MATTER-HORN!"
  693. >"we're here t'rescue you!"
  694. >"Why must all these hideouts be so gloomy? Where's the flare?"
  695. >"HeyaMatter-Horn!Wefollowedyoursignalsandgothereasfastaswecould!Ibroughtyousomejuiceifyourefeelingthirstyoranything!"
  696. >"Not so fast! If you try and do anything, Matter-Horn fries!"
  697. >Wait, what?!
  698. >"That platform has a few million Volts of electricity flowing beneath it! If I just press this button, it'll complete the circuit!"
  699. >Dang it, of /course/ she'd rig the thing!
  700. >Now you've dragged the girls into a hostage situation...
  701. >They clearly got the message, hanging back reluctantly, watching for any sudden movements from Villanon while she held the controller
  702. >"I might not have outfitted this place with holding cells with each of you in mind, but I imagine what I do have will work for the moment."
  703. >They hesitated, but when she shook the trigger, they nodded, putting lassos away and powering down spells, even Saddle-Rager slowly starting to shrink down to her more normal size
  704.  
  705. >You had to do something, and fast, but what?
  706. >Looking around the room, you could see some things, but there wasn't anything you could do that would have enough of an effect
  707. >Plus, your head was still angled up
  708. >Wait, that meant your horn was pointed upwards at the cone
  709. >Villanon had probably set it up with the idea of keeping you from casting spells upwards, but given her apparent lack of magical knowledge, she hadn't thought about the danger of standing so close to you!
  710. >With Villanon's focus on your friends, you prepared a heavy concussive blast, pumping as much energy as you could reasonably give, magic starting to billow around your horn
  711. >You had to make sure you angled this just right, as you'd only get the one shot
  712. >"What is that noise you're making, Matter-Hor-"
  713. >As Villanon turned to face you, you fired, the sheer force of the blast pushing you down against your restraints
  714. >The bolt went up, hitting the cone, ricocheting about it before going sailing out, slamming into the side of Villanon's head with enough strength behind it to break through her helmet, ripping her metal mask right off!
  715.  
  716. -----
  717.  
  718. >Jeez, what-
  719. >Agh, your head!
  720. >"How dare you strike me, you insolent-"
  721. >What was...
  722. >Was that Villanon?
  723. >She didn't sound right, like she'd smoked a few packs or something
  724. >Her voice was too low
  725. >You tried to rub your eyes to clear your blurred vision, but found yourself still restrained
  726. >Considering your options, you surveilled the scene, letting your strength return
  727. >Villanon had dropped the trigger and was currently covering her face
  728. >That's right, you'd bashed the metal clean off!
  729. >It was bad that she was still up and very much conscious, but she'd have to fight one-handed if she wanted to maintain her secret identity!
  730. >With that handicap, and how dazed she already seemed, there was a very real chance that this might be the time!
  731. "G-Girls, I'm safe for now, focus on her!"
  732. >They didn't need to be told twice as they rushed in to fight
  733.  
  734. >Saddle-Rager was especially upset over the fact that your life had been threatened, and from the way she charged, she looked like she wanted to take that frustration out on the nearest, metal giant she could lay her hooves on
  735. >Villanon tried to hit her with a few beams, but with how furious the Pegasus was, they bounced off of her, unable to pierce or slow her down
  736. >Her tackle took them through a wall, giving Radiance plenty of time to start looking over the various locks, creating keys and testing them, trying to find which one fit
  737. >Another wall shattered, Villanon getting launched backwards through it, with Saddle-Rager not far behind
  738. >The villain managed to side-step her, grabbing the back of your friend's head, slamming her muzzle into the ground
  739. >Mistress Mare-velous forced Villanon to back off, allowing Rager some time to recover while Radiance unlocked the binding around your neck
  740. >You gave your head a roll, grimacing at the light cracking noises now that you'd actually started moving properly again
  741. >"Don't worry, Darling, I'll have you out of there soon!"
  742. "Good, because the minute you do, I'm going to kick her flank!"
  743. >Lasers cut through the wall, shooting after a blur, Fili-Second distracting Villanon, keeping her off-balance, not giving her a chance to pull back
  744. >Saddle-Rager kept trying to pummel her, and with Mare-Velous' whip, Fili-Seconds bumps and nudges, and Zap's mini-storm clouds, the hulking Pegasus was starting to get hits in!
  745. >The lasso flew out, looping around Villanon's neck and arm, keeping her from dodging Saddle-Rager as the massive Pony hit the villain once, slamming her into the floor, the follow-up stomp casting her through it and into the sewers that ran below the city
  746. >"Mah whip! Dangit, Saddle-Rager!"
  747. >"SORRY."
  748. "Girls, we can't let her get away!"
  749.  
  750. >Don't worry, Darling, I'll have you out of these last few restraints in-"
  751. >There was a crunching sound, followed by three more, Chunks of twisted metal falling to the floor
  752. >"MATTER-HORN FREE, LETS GO!"
  753. >Dropping down onto your hooves, you nodded, the six of you jumping into the sewers
  754. >Villanon wasn't going to be getting away this time
  755.  
  756. -----
  757.  
  758. >Fuck fuck fuck
  759. >That hadn't gone how you wanted it to at all
  760. >Who knew she could hit that hard!
  761. >As your fingers probed your face for damage, it became clear that you're Villanon
  762. >Thankfully, nothing seemed broken, other than a soreness from getting hit in the side of the head so hard it tore your metal mask off
  763. >The big issue now was if any Pony saw your face or heard your voice
  764. >Lifting yourself up from the sludge and discarding the lasso, you took off with your boosters, flying down one of the numerous tunnels, the sounds of the Power Ponies dwindling into the background
  765. >You hadn't learned much, (nothing really) but you could always try again another time, and next time maybe you'd seal Matter-Horn's horn in metal next time, that might keep her from using her magic, or at least severely limit it
  766. >...
  767. >Maybe
  768. >You'd never even learned that much
  769. >Maybe you should go after a villain next time instead?
  770. >There must be at least one who's willing to trade knowledge for something else
  771. >You might even-
  772. >"Surrender. Now."
  773. >That voice
  774. >Kicking your feet back and under you, leaving you hovering in the air, you looked over to the tall, dark figure standing in the shadows of the tunnels, your lights, and those in her mane, the only things illuminating the darkness
  775. >You had your hand about your face in an instant, your hood drawn up to cast more shadow onto you, and you hoped it'd be enough
  776. >"Darkness."
  777.  
  778. >Two symbols lit up on either side of the long tunnel, casting light for only a moment before darkness flooded the tunnel, pure and black
  779. >Despite your suit being it's own light source, it too was swallowed up by the abyss, all light disappearing inside
  780. >Without your sensors, if they'd have even worked in here in the first place, you'd need to get out of this spot
  781. >You began to turn, only to hear one word, your body and armor seizing up, every part of you refusing to move
  782. >"Stasis."
  783. >Your boosters turned off, nothing keeping them going, and then you were flying through the air, slamming into a wall, though the spell left you, allowing you to move
  784. >You could hear the sludge shift just beyond you, and an idea came to mind
  785. >Priming a pulse, you turned, running as best you could down the tunnel towards one of the sigils
  786. >The muck sloshed, and you aimed your pulse down at it, using it as a conducted, sending a powerful electrical shock down the line
  787. >From the feminine grunt you heard, you'd gotten her, hopefully enough so that she'd be momentarily stunned
  788. >Running and running, you emerged from the darkness, your head popping out, only two feel two sharp objects bury themselves into the gaps in your armor, hooking you, letting her pull you back in
  789. >Making a snap choice, you reached back towards the hooks, attempting to grab whatever was holding them, be it a cord, or a Pony
  790. >Luckily for you, it was a Pony
  791. >Swinging your arm hard, you twisted on the spot, dragging Nightmare moon through the air, slamming her into a wall
  792. >She tried to flap her wings against the force of your arm, but it only slowed you a tiny amount, and she didn't even try the second time as you drove her into another wall, and then a third
  793. >Lifting her up by the hoof you were clutching, she groaned, a small trickle of blood dripping from her mouth and, feeling rather upset about this whole thing, you let her go, dropping her into the sewer sludge
  794.  
  795. >That made you feel a bit better about this whole debacle, and with it you began to move forwards again
  796. >Without your mask, you'd have to figure out a way through this place on your own
  797. >Reaching a fork in the proverbial road, you looked down the three potential paths
  798. >There was a faint breeze running down one tunnel, flowing towards you, and you turned to face it, only for a messy blur to emerge from the sewer gunk below you
  799. >Nightmare Moon pushed up from the slime, her flapping wings giving her a boost of speed, a freezing cold blast of ice shooting out from her horn, hitting you in the arm not raised to your face, rapidly freezing it, locking the limb up
  800. >Following it up, was a pair of swings from the Alicorn, her hooves flying out towards you rapidly, the low light making it difficult to see them
  801. >When the first one connected, the horseshoe let out a small explosion of flame, the light illuminating the tunnel, a second strike keeping you staggering backwards as fire coursed over your breastplate
  802. >Catching yourself, you swung at her, only for her to dip under it, hitting your gut with three superpony jabs, the explosions giving them an extra punch, not to mention helping to heat your armor up!
  803. >You had a cooling system built into this thing, but it could only do so much, and with your ability to fight so greatly reduced by your current predicament, you needed to figure out a way to get away, but how?
  804. >You couldn't fight like this, explosions to keep her off would hurt you too, flight would let her follow you easily, and if she had any more darkness traps, you'd be stuck wandering through pitch-black nothingness for who knows how long
  805. >On top of that, the Power Ponies might very well be around-
  806. "Gah! You bitch!"
  807. >One of her strikes hit high, the explosion following it knocking your head back hard, her repeated pummeling having pushed you up against a wall
  808. >That's it, you were going to blow almost everything for one fuck-off blast from your free hand
  809.  
  810. >You took another hit from Nightmare Moon, your armor starting to burn, but it ensured she'd be close enough
  811. >Moving your hand down, your fingers spread out like a claw, your palm and each of your fingertips glowed, a massive blast firing from them, all six points merging into one powerful beam that shot the hero down the tunnel, burning her and sending her tumbling over a ledge
  812. "Mind...ugh...that first step, Doc...It's a doozy."
  813. >You let out a chuckle, bracing yourself against a wall, letting you catch your breath
  814. >Your armor had blackened in the places Luna had consistently been hitting, no doubt trying to force you out of your gear
  815. >You were just glad you actually managed to hit her
  816. >She'd seemed slightly put-off by something right before you fired
  817. >Whatever, it didn't matter, you just needed to-
  818. >"There she is!"
  819. >No, no that's bullshit!
  820. >this place was a mess of winding tunnels, how the hell had they found you so quickly?!
  821. >A mini-hurricane tore down the tunnel towards you, and you took the hit, weathering the storm, letting your suit recharge
  822. >The breeze had just been a distraction apparently, as Mare-velous, Fili-Second, and Saddle-Rager rushed you, Matter-Horn and Radiance attacking from a distance
  823. >Fili-Second ran around you, swirling the slime and grime from the ground up into a wall that spun around you, cutting off your vision considerably, enough so that you weren't able to see the lasso that flew in, wrapped around your arm, and dragged you out and into a buck from Saddle-Rager!
  824. >You flew down the tunnel much like how Nightmare Moon had, though when you got far enough away, the lasso snaps tight again, practically wrenching your arm out of it's socket, dropping you to the ground
  825. "Rrgh!"
  826.  
  827. >You pushed yourself up, facing down the approaching giant, fighting against Mare-Velous' tugging, only for another hurricane to appear, keeping you distracted just long enough that the speedster could get around behind you, striking the backs of your knees, dropping you down onto them in time for another strike from the roided-out Pegasus
  828. >As you spun on the rope, you realized what this was
  829. >This was the run back, where, after a loss, the heroes suddenly become far more coordinated than before and beat the crap out of the "bad guy"
  830. >Said bad guy being you, currently
  831. >Hand still hiding your face, you began to push yourself up, only to feel a heavy hoof press down on your back, pinning you
  832. >"GIVE UP?"
  833. >Not yet, you overgrown seagull
  834. >Your armor was dented, burnt, torn apart, but it was still functional
  835. >Thankfully none of these morons had considered damaging your hands or feet, though maybe that was because they were superheroes and actually temporarily disabling your enemy would be "bad" or "mean" or something
  836. >Twisting your free hand around, as well as angling the bottoms of your boots upwards, you turned your magnets on
  837. >The sewers were old, and not too often well-maintained, and considering these Ponies weren't Nightmare Moon, you wondered if they had ways to keep their metal non-magnetizable
  838. >The pipes around you and the knock-off Hulk creaked, groaned, and then pulled away, screws and bolts and wires joining them as they flew towards you, coming in contact with the massive Mare just long enough for you to power on your boosters, shooting forwards between her legs
  839. >The metal chased you, peeling off of the tunnel as you roared through the stack of Ponies, swinging at the ones you came close enough to, the storm of metal behind you doing the rest
  840. >Right before you got to Radiance and Matter-Horn, you turned the magnets off, flying up and hugging the ceiling, letting the flying scrap hit them, taking them both out of the fight as well
  841.  
  842. >You waited until the brunt of the attack died down, dropping from the ceiling, surveying your success
  843. >The Ponies were down, some mostly stunned, others injured a little more severely
  844. >They'd get over it, but they'd be out of commission for a little while
  845. >Saddle-Rager was really your only trouble ri-
  846. >"SHATTER."
  847. >Wait wait wait, when did she-
  848. >The magic hit your left knee, metal exploding from it while, with a crunch, your leg gave out underneath you
  849. >You couldn't exactly support your entire armor's weight all by yourself, and especially not with a broken knee
  850. "FUCK!"
  851. >Your hand lost it's grip on your face temporarily while you dropped onto your remaining good knee, trying to compensate
  852. >"SHATTER."
  853. >No no no n-
  854. >Your boot crumbled away, sewer slime getting caught up in the blast as she finished off the rest of the bottom part of your busted leg
  855. >No secondary booster meant no easy escape
  856. >You had to fight now
  857. >You swung a fist back and around, clipping the injured Alicorn, giving you enough time to push yourself up and onto your good leg
  858. >She was injured, but Alicorns were unfairly powerful
  859. >Despite the blood and burns, she moved forwards again, slamming her hooves together, creating a miniature explosion, blinding you for a moment
  860. >Instinctively, you raised you arms up to protect yourself, but she slipped that damnably long horn in between them, jabbing your damaged chest piece
  861. >"SHATTER."
  862. >It hit you with enough force to wind you, pushing you back and down, collapsing into the slude
  863. "N-Not yet...You haven't beaten me y-yet, you..."
  864.  
  865. -----
  866.  
  867. >Wincing, you slowly raised your head up and opened your eyes, coughing up some of the gunk you'd gotten in your mouth when that wall of metal hit you
  868. >Looking around, you could see the rest of the girls were starting to move, though Saddle-Rager was already up
  869. >It was kind of weird though, she wasn't moving
  870. >She was just staring at something
  871. >Turning your head to look, you finally got to see Nightmare Moon working
  872.  
  873. >Nightmare Moon was here, and she looked hurt, but not nearly so bad as Villanon
  874. >You knew a good amount of powerful spells, but Alicorns were natural masters of the craft, even if they had their own types
  875. >Nightmare Moon was well-known for how serious she was, as well as for her unwavering determination, though also for her savagery in combat
  876. >Some said it was a product of her supposed age, and others simply assumed it was who she was
  877. >Many agreed that they didn't have to like her methods as long as it got the job done
  878. >Villanon was a villain, and so it would be justified, but still, as you watched this, a sentiment seemed to be shared by the group
  879. >This was hard to watch
  880. >Villanon was fighting back, but every time she swung, Nightmare Moon dodged and hit her with a spell, the word, "Shatter" booming through the tunnel, the echoes warping it's sound, like the statement of an angry goddess
  881. >Another swing, and Villanon lost a part of her shoulder, the rest of her arm being dismantled shortly after
  882. >She was saying something, but Nightmare Moon must have hit her throat or something because she still didn't sound right
  883. >When Villanon tried to stand up, she took the chance to destroy that leg's armor as well, dropping the villain onto her back, though Nightmare Moon didn't stop there
  884. >The muck in the tunnel started to flow, waves being formed as Nightmare Moon just kept on hitting Villanon, almost tearing apart her defenses
  885. >She only paused when her target said something, in a voice so weak it could barely be heard
  886. >"...mercy..."
  887. >Villanon wasn't moving, but the rest of you were, the temporary paused returning the feeling in your legs
  888. >Getting up, the group stood and moved closer, Saddle-Rager no longer at her full size as the seven of you stared at your villain, laying in a broken heap, the still-rippling sludge gently starting to lap at her form
  889. >No...not 'her'
  890. "Villanon's...a colt?"
  891.  
  892.  
  893. Aug 22, 2018 @ 16:56:36 Pacific
  894. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32831917/#32837602
  895. >Unsurprisingly, you hadn't been found innocent
  896. >You were Villanon, soon to become Prisanon
  897. >Apparently a long list of crimes committed, even as a Stallion, was enough to get you locked up in the kind of jail Supervillains got stuck in
  898. >Mostly all you knew about it was it's name and how it was set up
  899. >Tartarus, the eternal prison
  900. >Whoever had added that tagline sure wanted this place to sound impressive
  901. >That's not to say that it wasn't
  902. >The prison was built like a conical onion, meaning it had layers
  903. >Depending on your crimes and your power set you got placed higher or lower
  904. >The more dangerous you were, the deeper you were sent, probably so that it'd be harder for you to get out in the case of a jail break
  905. >That, or maybe the ceiling could collapse and kill you with no one to blame
  906. >Okay, that might have been a bit dark
  907. >Apparently laughter was actually a kind of medicine here, so why shouldn't you make a few jokes at your own expense, huh?
  908. >It was about all you had at the moment
  909. >While you hadn't been expecting it, the court did lean in your favor
  910. >Apparently there was something about seeing a Colt in a wheel chair and a cast or two that really got the water works flowing
  911. >You'd have objected to it more if you hadn't been drugged up on magic painkillers
  912. >Some kind of slick-talking, sympathy-abusing lawyer had managed to alleviate your sentencing, aggravating the defense attorney to no end
  913. >Had you had your way, you'd never have allowed it
  914. >It was a perfect example of why you'd tried to stay hidden for so long
  915. >You neither wanted, nor needed, their pity
  916. >You were a powerful criminal!
  917. >You regularly fought the Power Ponies to a standstill, and there were six of them! (because no one really counted Hum Drum)
  918. >You beat Nightmare Moon herself once!
  919. >You were a name to be respected and feared, and now?
  920. >"Oh that poor Colt, how could Nightmare Moon do something so awful to him?"
  921.  
  922. >"The Power Ponies really ought to be ashamed with themselves. If it were me, I'd have caught him and brought him in right away so he could get the help he needs!"
  923. >"At least he'll be safe now."
  924. >"Can you imagine it? A Colt, hiding from the world in a suit of armor? What Mare hurt him?!"
  925. >"He doesn't even have any magic! The Power Ponies must have been going easy on him."
  926. >How pathetic did they think you were?
  927. >Then there was your "sentencing"
  928. >Since you didn't have any powers, as well as a lack of Magic, you were to be placed in the lightest level they had
  929. >With the /nobodies/
  930. >So /you'd/ be "safe"
  931. >The one thing you had to content yourself with was the fact that the higher up you were, the easier it'd be to escape, but with everything else that came with it, it almost wasn't worth it
  932. >So here you were, being carted up to the monolithic doors that acted as the entrance, huge, obsidian walls that on their own could have made for a great barrier due to sheer weight
  933. >As they creaked open, they revealed a group of four well-armed guards ponies, seemingly waiting for you
  934. >The hand-off, or hoof-off in this case, was made, one of the guards taking hold on the handles on the wheelchair you were strapped down to
  935. >You were pretty sure you could stand on your own, but apparently they were just /that/ concerned, they confined you to a chair for at least the time being
  936. >Once in position, the doors slid shut, cutting off the light from the outside world, plunging you and your four jailers into darkness
  937. >It was so dark you couldn't see a thing, but you wondered if they could
  938. >From the moment they opened the door, you'd been examining them, looking over their gear, their bodies, doing whatever you could to learn as much as possible in advance
  939. >These Ponies had wings and ears that were similar to those of bats, so perhaps they could see in this void
  940.  
  941. >If that was the case, you couldn't help but wonder how much of this place was shrouded in darkness, as it would be a simple, yet effective, method of keeping your prisoners guessing
  942. >This idea was nearly confirmed as the floor beneath you started to move, stone grinding against stone while the five of you began your descent downwards
  943. >A minute or two into your slow, unwavering crawl towards your new home, you heard the shuffling of gear and fabric, a warm hoof finding your shoulder, hot breath rolling over your neck as the Mare holding your wheelchair half-whispered to you
  944. >"Heya handsome, you sure surprised us when we found out 'bout what you've got down between your legs. You need any company once you've got those casts off, you just let me know~"
  945. >You didn't reply, sitting still in your chair, keeping track of where she was touching, as well as where your casts were
  946. >Her hoof ran down your arm until it hit your cast, and you resisted wincing when she gave it a light smack with her hoof
  947. "What's your name?"
  948. >You heard a snicker from off to your right side, while back and to your left one of the Mares angrily whispered to another
  949. >Then the Mare behind you leaned back in, a faint hint of surprise in her tone
  950. >"Name's Hardtime, sugar lumps~"
  951. >You could practically feel her drool dripping on you as you nodded, still looking forwards, ignoring the hooves on your shoulders as well as the light pressure on your chair from where you estimated her hips were
  952. "I'll remember you, Hardtime."
  953. >"Thattacolt~"
  954. >The grinding of stone grew louder still, signalling the quick approach of the bottom of the shaft, prompting Hardtime to pull back to her previous position
  955. >Wouldn't want to look unprofessional
  956. >You all came to a thunderous stop and a new source of stone began to grind, though you couldn't see it
  957. >Maybe they just hadn't opened things up on your side?
  958.  
  959. >It wasn't until you started to roll forwards that you realized that not only was the elevator pitch-black, but so was this main floor
  960. >Still blind, you rolled forwards, stopping occasionally, listening to quiet conversations you couldn't quite make out before continuing again
  961. >Stop start stop start stop start
  962. >Other than counting how long some interactions took, as well as listening as best you could to the sound of hooves on stone, you had no idea where you were In here
  963. >You rolled for what felt like a mile in the abyss that was this prison until you came to a stop once more
  964. >More conversations happened, but this time, you were turned to the left, stone grinding on stone, and then you were moving inwards for ten feet, turning yet again, and then continuing forwards
  965. >Finally, after a half hour of travel, you came to a stop, the clasps on your wheelchair's harnesses coming undone
  966. >Hoofsteps marked Hardtime's retreat, followed by a stone door shutting behind you
  967. >Once they were gone, a new voice echoed into your room, a subtle, artificial tone coming from an unobserved point as the faintest of lights lit up a comfortable, if small, looking bed
  968. >"Bed time, Villanon."
  969. >You waited for more, but when none came, you climbed up and out of your chair, pushing yourself onto the bed
  970. >Once on, the light went out, leaving you to your thoughts, alone in the silence
  971. >One major thought filled your head as you adjusted in the small bed, trying to get comfortable despite it's size
  972. >How were you going to escape?
  973.  
  974. -----
  975.  
  976. >Morning came in the form of dim lights growing brighter, illuminating your cell
  977. >After the darkness that was your trip last night, the steadily building lights were a welcome sight
  978. >Sitting up, you looked around your cell, groggily wondering why it looked as well furnished as it did
  979. >You had a short shelf full of a variety of books(though you didn't exactly feel like reading right now), a small dresser, and a sort of desk
  980.  
  981. >To your left there was a doorway with a hanging cloth to hide whatever was behind it, while to your right was a massive stone door with a thick glass window built into it
  982. >The other strange part of all of this was the fact that everything was made of stone, and not only that, but it looked to have been carved out of the walls themselves, as if this small room had been custom made for you
  983. >Moving slowly on top of the bed, you carefully lowered yourself down into your wheelchair as best you could, deciding to keep on using it for the time being
  984. >With your busted arm, you couldn't use crutches all too easily, and with how sore the rest of you felt still, the chair seemed like the best option
  985. >As you strapped yourself in, you took a moment to examine your chair, looking over it's various parts and how it all fit together
  986. >It was fairly basic, made more for a Minotaur than for someone like you, but it was enough for basic mobility
  987. >They didn't seem to want to leave more advanced technology out around you, which might have explained your one-piece stone room
  988. >Strapping up, you looked up at your ceiling, noting the various gems that had been installed into the stonework
  989. >The rounded ones acted as your lights, shining down on you, while the others...were dormant?
  990. >Maybe they were on?
  991. >There was no outward indication one way or another, which left you wondering about their potential as cameras
  992. >If magical cameras like that were possible, maybe that was how Nightmare Moon had found out you were in her tower?
  993. >Lastly there were what looked like grates carved into the ceiling, though their purpose was less than clear
  994. >Were they where the voice last night had come from, or was it for some more nefarious purpose instead?
  995. >Keeping these things in mind, you opted to visit the far less-secured door first, rolling up and carefully listening
  996.  
  997. >When you heard nothing, you slowly pulled the curtain back, revealing a sort of bathroom, one which was also nigh-entirely carved from the stone of the walls
  998. >The toilet was smooth and looked polished even, while between it and the shower stood a sink
  999. >Everything seemed just a little short for you, but you imagined you'd get used to it
  1000. >What you weren't sure you'd get used to were the variety of gemstones in the ceiling above this room, at least one of which, you assumed to be, a camera gemstone, a fact that was only made worse when you noticed the lack of walls on the shower to hide yourself behind
  1001. >Thankfully, you hadn't eaten much recently, so you could spare yourself that humiliation for the time being
  1002. >Rolling back out, you made your way towards the big door, the glass raised frustratingly high enough above you to keep you from seeing out when you were like this
  1003. >Still, it didn't seem to matter as the moment you came to rest in front of the stone behemoth, that same voice emerged into your room with a odd amount of clarity
  1004. >"Good morning, Villanon. Would you like to leave your cell for the common room?"
  1005. >Considering the surprisingly straightforward question, you decided to return the favor, tilting your head, try to to adjust so that you could catch the origin of the noise
  1006. "Yes."
  1007. >"What's the magic word?"
  1008. >Well wasn't that wonderfully patronizing
  1009. "Am I allowed to leave or aren't I?"
  1010. >"Of course you are, but first you need to say the magic word."
  1011. >Was that word choice on purpose?
  1012. >Whatever, acting childish over this would get you nowhere, better to grin and bear it and remember these interactions for later
  1013. "Please?"
  1014. >The voice returned once again, an unbearably smug tone to it, one that made you just want to reach through whatever communication device they were using to punch them in the face
  1015. >"Please what?"
  1016. "please may I leave my cell?"
  1017. >You took a moment to consider, and then made an addendum
  1018. "Ma'am?"
  1019. >"Good colt~"
  1020.  
  1021. >If it weren't for the different voice and intonation, you might have thought that you were talking to Hardtime
  1022. >Whoever this Mare was, she was enjoying making you bend
  1023. >Just grin and bear it, grin and bear it
  1024. >The door pulled open, revealing an airlock of sorts, a secondary, similar door built in ahead of this one
  1025. >Once you were in between the twin doors, the one behind you shut and, after about a minute, the remaining door slid open, allowing you to finally see what was beyond it, and it was quite the sight
  1026. >A massive cavern yawned before you, your door built into the wall just like many others, if the numerous ones lining the walls were any indication
  1027. >the oddest sight had to be the layout of the space though
  1028. >The main area seemed divided up into three major biomes
  1029. >The most normal one was flat, lightly grassy, and dotted with a good number of exercise equipment
  1030. >There was a large track, weights, punching bags, and more
  1031. >The second area was more towering, raised platforms and tall tree trunks, though the branches had been all but shorn off
  1032. >The area itself was bumpy, though the more you looked at it, the more obvious it became that this was an area better suited for Griffons
  1033. >Lastly, there was the Dragon-oriented zone, no doubt
  1034. >The ground was darkened and hot, lava flowing from one pool to another with plenty of slopes that one could slide down and areas to bathe in, though all the lava seemed fairly distant from the other two biomes
  1035.  
  1036. >Overall, your main question was simply "why"
  1037. >What was the point in creating areas better suited for their potential inhabitants?
  1038. >This was supposed to be a serious prison!
  1039. >Hell, on top of that, you couldn't even see any guards nearby on the grounds, though you did take note of the rather massive door, which was where you assumed you'd been brought in through
  1040. >Wheeling forwards, you did see some Ponies sticking to the flat land and exercise equipment
  1041. >Considering your options at the moment, that seemed like the best place to start
  1042.  
  1043. -----
  1044.  
  1045. Sept 22, 2018 @ 16:58:14 Pacific
  1046. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/32953918/#q32966074
  1047.  
  1048. >Wheeling closer, three ponies became rather evident, two of which were staying close together, while the third seemed to be attempting to balance on top of some of the equipment
  1049. >The one swaying about on the Dumbbells was tall and gangly, a sort of pale white coat adorned with a buzzed-short red mane and tail
  1050. >From what you could quickly tell, they were an Earth Pony, and you figured that the metal weights near each hoof were to keep the Pony from using their natural strength
  1051. >That drew your attention back to the jumpsuit you were currently suited in, as well as the metal collar around your throat that was attached to said suit
  1052. >Looking back at the Pony, as well as the others, the built-in collars seemed standard fare
  1053. >Turning your attention to the other two, you quickly noted a slight change in attire, namely on the dark-and-light-blue Mare
  1054. >Unlike the orange-and-black Earth Pony she was talking to, her legs weren't weighted
  1055. >Instead, there was a sort of small, metal spire rising up from her head, which lead you to believe she was some kind of Unicorn
  1056. >As if she'd noticed you looking at her, her head swiveled, two large eyes finding yours
  1057. >The Colt beside her turned to look at what the Unicorn was staring at, though he seemed less surprised to see you, tilting his head a little
  1058. >"YOU!"
  1059. >For a small Pony, that blue one sure could project
  1060. >Deciding it would be best to avoid confrontation with the dramatically-pointing Mare, you stayed in place, allowing her to continue
  1061. >"YOU SIT IN THE PRESENCE OF THE GREAT AND POWERFUL MARE-STYRIO! COME FORWARDS AND MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN TO THE HOSPITABLE AND WELCOMING MARE-STYRIO!"
  1062.  
  1063. >Alright, now you knew who she was, a fact that was rather entirely displeasing
  1064. >You didn't pay too much attention to the actions of lesser criminals, and a Mare who ran about with what looked like a fish bowl on her head tended not to command much respect
  1065. >Now though, at least when it came to how you'd been imprisoned, you were seen to be at about her level
  1066. >It would have been rather laughable had it or been for the fact that, at the moment, she had more experience and power here than you did
  1067. >Ponies didn't tend to make for terrifying threats on their own, but enough of them ganging up against a crippled opponent could be seriously dangerous
  1068. >Once again, you'd have to play it safe
  1069. >You gripped your wheel with your good arm, moving slowly towards them
  1070. >'Mare-Styrio' appeared pleased about this, dropping back down on to all fours, waiting for you to coast to a stop in front of the pair
  1071. >"Welcome, Villanon, to Tartarus, home of the Devilish Duo!"
  1072. "I can hear you just fine, there's no need to shout."
  1073. >She chuckled, standing on her hind legs, which brought her head to around your level, looking you in the eyes
  1074. >"The noble and generous Mare-Styrio need not obey anypony should she so wish, but she shall grant your wish and talk at a level befitting those of a weaker constitution."
  1075. >She hadn't even tried to hide the fact that she was looking over your injuries
  1076. >Pick your words wisely, pony, you'd be out of these casts in a day or two more, and you all were going to be living in close proximity from that point on
  1077. >As if sensing your prickly countenance, the colt beside her started to speak with a buttery-smooth voice, yet there was a hint of something else to it, something sinister, yet not entirely bad
  1078. >"Mare-Styrio here is trying to welcome you, as well as throw her weight around a little, though given who you are, I can't imagine it was all too effective, hm?"
  1079. >On the money, Colt
  1080.  
  1081. "I suppose I find it difficult to determine just how threatened I should feel in a prison with restrictions in place to bar the use of powers, and on top of that, I don't know what this "duo" consists of."
  1082. >"Ha! We are no mere "duo", we are two of the greatest minds put together as one in this entire level! With the modest and humble Mare-Styrio's mastery of magic added to this, our abilities increase ten-fold!"
  1083. "You can still cast magic?"
  1084. >"Of course! The Awesome and Unbridled Mare-Styrio simply allows the guardponies to believe she is helpless!"
  1085. >Well that was important to know
  1086. >Still, allowing yourself to be caught and imprisoned was usually seen as an idiot's idea for a plan
  1087. >You reminded yourself of the fishbowl and decided to come back to that later
  1088. "So why are you still here then?"
  1089. >She paused her booming proclamations for a moment, looking scattered for less than a second before she was back to her normal, showman (showmare?) ways
  1090. >"Recruiting, of course! What better place to gain a loyal gathering of henchmares than from a prison that holds them? It's like a-"
  1091. >"Hey!"
  1092. >Not recognizing the voice as coming from either of the Ponies you were currently talking to, you adjusted your chair, noticing the tall, thin Mare stomping over
  1093. >She seemed entirely unhappy to see the three of you, though you had no idea why
  1094. >She was another one you didn't recognize, which meant you had nothing to go off of before they arrived
  1095. >Mare-Styrio looked rather upset that her spiel had been interrupted, turning to face the approaching Mare, a distasteful look on her face as well as she squared off with the newcomer
  1096. >"How dare you cut off the clear and charming-"
  1097. >"Can it, Unicrap, I wanna talk to the new colt."
  1098. >The "Unicrap" fumed, still glaring at the white-furred Pony, all while the colt simply rolled their eyes, staying out of things
  1099.  
  1100. "Yes?"
  1101. >Much like with Mare-Styrio, this Mare looked you up and down as well, though their eyes lingered on your legs before sliding back up to your face
  1102. >Her face looked as serious as ever, an odd rage hidden behind those big eyes
  1103. >"The /buck/ are you supposed to be?"
  1104. "Villanon."
  1105. >She shook her head, still glaring at you, taking a step forwards
  1106. >"I don't give a shit what your name is, /what/ are you? You some kind of bucked-up Pony or what?"
  1107. "I'm a Human. Is this going somewhere, or what?"
  1108. >She snorted, taking another step closer to you, though you didn't back away
  1109. >"Well if you ain't some kind of Unicrap or Pegashit, then why the /buck/ are you hanging around one?"
  1110. >Now was that racism, or speciesism?
  1111. >Either way, you already didn't care for this Pony
  1112. >/You/ were a villain
  1113. >This was just low-class
  1114. "I only got here yesterday, and so far, I've enjoyed their company far more than I have yours. Why don't you go back to balancing on your /dumb/bells and come talk to me again when you've grown up a little."
  1115. >Ooh, /that/ pissed her off
  1116. >Quite the vein
  1117. >"You're lucky you're already in a wheelchair, colt, why don't you try and avoid staying in it permanently."
  1118. >With that "suggestion", she turned around, heading back over to the weights
  1119. >Once she was out of earshot, you heard the colt's voice speak up
  1120. >"Making enemies on your first day? Maybe I /should/ have taken Chicken's bet up after all."
  1121. >Adjusting back to the duo, you looked between the two of them
  1122. "So, what's her problem?"
  1123. >The black-maned colt glanced over at the aggressive Earth Pony who was attempting to balance on two sets of Dumbbells, speaking as they turned their focus back to you
  1124. >"Stilts? She's an odd one. As far as I heard, she hated how Pegasi could fly up high whenever they wanted, and that Unicorns, like Mare-Styrio here, could use magic to reach things easily too. Far as I know, that's it."
  1125.  
  1126. >You looked between the two of them, trying to see if either of them cracked up, only for them to return a very serious look
  1127. "You can't be serious. Is that it? She can't reach things on high shelves easily because she's not a Unicorn or a Pegasus, so she became a Supervillain?"
  1128. >"Yeah, that's why she built the stilts."
  1129. "..."
  1130. >The colt tilted his head slightly again, smirking at you
  1131. >"Magically-extending stilts, one that let her get high into the air whenever she-"
  1132. >You head up your good hand to stop him, as you really didn't know how much more disappointment you could take
  1133. >Fucking stilts
  1134.  
  1135. -----
  1136.  
  1137. >Picking up one of the larger weights with your good hand, you got a feel for it, not questioning why it looked as normal as it did despite the nature of Pony limbs
  1138. >"Stilts", as you'd come to know her, glowered at you, but didn't start anything as she stacked objects to stand on, looking more and more smug the higher she climbed
  1139. >Whatever, the whims and fancies of some bumbling Pony didn't really bother you as, among other things, you had information to learn
  1140. "So how many Ponies do we have on this level? I knew there couldn't be too many on this level, but I wasn't expecting three, especially considering all these cells."
  1141. >Mare-Styrio spoke up again, obviously quite enjoying being the center of attention, despite how much, or little, she knew
  1142.  
  1143. >"A simple question, and one that shall be answered in a flash by the all-knowing and wise Mare-Styrio! You see, there are actually a great many Ponies in here! What the guards do though, is divide our free, socializing time up into groups, changing who we are paired with each time. Some days it may be similar, and some it may be completely unique. Be thankful that you were able to be graced by the majestic and fabulous Mare-Styrio on your first day! Most Ponies would climb atop one another for the merest glimpse of her splendor~"
  1144. >The colt added on, clearly enjoying your reactions, subtle as they might be, to the showboating
  1145. >No doubt most others were rather sick of it by now
  1146. >"They tend to keep us in groups of five, and leaving your cell is usually mandatory, unless you're really sick, injured, or something else is going on."
  1147. >As you gestured to your current position, he smiled and shrugged
  1148. >Most likely, they just wanted to make you feel extra helpless on your first day."
  1149. "I can't say I blame them, though it won't excuse them either. Speaking of which, where are the guards located? Considering "Stilts" disposition, I can only imagine that fight shave a tendency to be frequent."
  1150. >The Colt answered again, cutting their teammate off
  1151. >"Noticed those holes in the ceilings and walls around the cavern? There are tunnels in the walls the guardponies use to travel around, and they use those small holes in the walls to cast spells through. That, and firing crossbows."
  1152. "No doubt designed like the slats in parapets, yes?"
  1153. >"You got it. With all of that on top of surveillance gems in our cells as well as this cavern, they've got an eye on us at all times, even if they consider us less than threatening."
  1154. "Do they record sound as well?"
  1155. >"Yep."
  1156. >Worryingly thorough
  1157. >You could have blasted through many of these defenses with your suit, but lacking it, you were severely low on options
  1158. >Not only that, but you had your abysmal magic weaknesses to think about as well
  1159.  
  1160. "What about these collars? I highly doubt their aesthetic purposes."
  1161. >"Well if you liked /that/ sort of thing, I'm sure you'd be happy enough with-"
  1162. >"If you managed to break out of your restraints, or if you get into a fight, the collars will tighten around your throat until you pass out!"
  1163. >Shifting back to Mare-Styrio, she was acting aloof, forelegs crossed like a Human might, though every few seconds shed peek at you
  1164. >Well, why not reward her ego with some praise
  1165. "Thank you, Mare-Styrio, that's very helpful to know."
  1166. >She beamed before seeking to recall who she was, crossing her arms and leaning back
  1167. >"The accepting and praiseworthy Mare-Styrio is glad to hear acknowledgement of her greatness!"
  1168. "Well, considering just how much you know, would you be able to help me with something else?"
  1169. >While the Colt raised a brow, Mare-Styrio saw through you about as well as she probably saw through her costume's glass bowl top, which is to say, not at all
  1170. >"Of course! The knowledgeable and informed Mare-Styrio can do anything!"
  1171. >Despite your efforts, a grin crept across your face, slowing revealing your canines as you looked over at the Unicorn
  1172. >Perhaps today wouldn't be a waste after all
  1173. "I want to learn how to use magic. Will you share your knowledge with me?"
  1174. >You heard what sounded like a muffled snort come from the Colt, but you kept your eyes on the Magenta ones across from you
  1175. >The slow the of gears marked the process going on inside her head before she caught on, large eyes widening further
  1176. >"Y-You wish for the stupefied and Startled Mare-Styrio to t-teach you?"
  1177. "/No./"
  1178. >Oops
  1179. >That one was a little too forceful
  1180. >You were hardly to blame, of course, you'd simply reacted to her rather insulting interpretation of your statement but still
  1181. "I wish for something more valuable, a trade. You share your knowledge on how to use magic, and I will teach you how to do something that I know."
  1182.  
  1183. >She didn't look upset about your minor outburst, though she was fidgeting on the spot
  1184. >"Well I...The totally-prepared and completely-confident Mare-Styrio will pick a topic for later. Do you want to wait a bit, or are you ready to..um..start now?"
  1185. "Will my injuries keep me from being able to fulfill the requirements?"
  1186. >That was a very real problem after all, though considering her life as both a Unicorn and as a Supervillain she should be able to give you a helpful answ-
  1187. >"Dunno."
  1188. >Fishbowl, right
  1189. >"Ah, what the corrective and editable Mare-Styrio means is that this shouldn't affect the basic principles of magic use."
  1190. "So how do we start?"
  1191. >"The MagicMeter™ Soul Test is a multistage Magic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20 second Magic test will begin in 30 seconds. Close your eyes at the start. The focusing starts slowly, but gets deeper every 20 seconds after you hear this signal. "Beep". A single focus should be completed each time you hear this sound. "Ding". Remember to focus on your soul, and focus as long as possible. The second time you fail to acknowledge your soul before the sound, your test is over. The test will begin on the word start. On your mark, get ready, start."
  1192. >Ignoring the strangeness of her explanation, you attempted to follow her instructions, closing your eyes and focusing on your soul
  1193. >Focusing on your soul
  1194. >The soul
  1195. >Focusing
  1196. >Focus
  1197. >...
  1198. >Alright, something clearly wasn't working here
  1199. >Opening your eyes, you looked back over to the blue Mare sitting across from you, noting that the Colt had disappeared
  1200. "I'm not seeing it."
  1201. >"What?"
  1202. "The soul. I'm not seeing it."
  1203. >"Y-You can't see your soul?"
  1204. >And now she looked terrified
  1205. >Wonderful
  1206. "I have a soul, but I don't have any idea about how to "look" at it.
  1207. >"Are you...sure?"
  1208. "/Yes/, I'm quite certain I have a soul. Now is there anything I need to do or feel to activate this, or what?"
  1209.  
  1210. >"Well, do you feel magic flowing through you? You could try to focus on the way your own essence moves and then use that as a mental image."
  1211. >You focused again but still found nothing, no flow, no essence, nothing
  1212. >Again, you tried to focus on anything, but with no real knowledge of magic or what it was like, there were no clues on what you should even be looking for
  1213. "I'm not seeing it. I'm not seeing or feeling anything."
  1214. >"The confused and pontificating Mare-Styrio is troubled by this. For Ponies, our magic is easy to feel. It's a part of us. Maybe...Maybe you can't use magic?"
  1215. >Are you kidding?
  1216. >That's it?
  1217. >Just "sorry you can't do it"?
  1218. "If you have nothing of any real use to offer me other than the ineffective use of magic, this will have been a truly worthless trade. Do you have any spells I can use?"
  1219. >She wiggled on her flank, crossing and I crossing her legs, her eyes looking everywhere but at yours
  1220. >"Not...really?"
  1221. >Incredible
  1222. >You went to leave, only to feel hooves grabbing at you, holding on to your suit
  1223. >"Wait! A-Are we done?"
  1224. >Pausing, you twisted in your seat, looking down at her
  1225. "Yes. I'll fulfill my part of the trade, but I have no desire to remain here at the moment."
  1226. >Using your good hand, you tugged yourself free of the Mare's grasp, rolling away from her, exploring the rest of this massive fitness area
  1227. >The closest space was the colder one, tall, shorne trees acting as spires, snow descending down, coating the environment
  1228. >More magic, of course
  1229. >You couldn't easily move your chair through the snow, but there was thankfully a bare path of hard, packed dirt
  1230. >A minute or two into your trip, you heard a rustling coming from above you, like soft Hoofsteps on wood
  1231. >Glancing upwards, it didn't take you long to notice the orange suit, as well as the Pony wrapped up inside it, hanging from a tree
  1232. >However their hoof was holding on to the clawed-up wood you didn't know
  1233. >"Any luck with the "Prideful and Egotistic Mare-Styrio?"
  1234. >The Colt, huh?
  1235.  
  1236. "Her advice was less than useful in almost any sense."
  1237. >"Oh really? She might be a bit of a dolt at times, but usually she can at least cover the basics."
  1238. "It doesn't help much when her 'basics' don't work."
  1239. >He raised a brow at that, then sprung from the tree he was on to another, slimmer trunk, letting himself gracefully spiral down it until his hooves touch the ground
  1240. >"Well aren't you just a safe full of sunshine. Don't tell me you're already starting to lose it after less than a day in here, or are you normally this bitter?"
  1241. "I don't appreciate being jerked around. Perhaps you enjoy it, but I prefer not to waste my time. The fact that I now have to teach her something for what amounted to nothing has only soured my mood further."
  1242. >"Well I hope you mellow out for all our sakes, considering how long you'll be in here for, and all."
  1243. >You snorted, hand idly tracing the chair's armrest
  1244. "I don't intend to stay forever. Once I figure out a way out of here, I'll be leaving."
  1245. >"Would you like some help with that?"
  1246. >This wasn't exactly a new development, though clearly, of the duo, this was the more competent member
  1247. >It would be good to know what he could do
  1248. "Before I say anything one way or another, I want you to tell me who you are and what you can do."
  1249. >He shook his head, a slight smirk visible on his face
  1250. >"I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that Ponies never recognize me when I'm not in the skin-tight sneaking suit. I'm Cat-Colt."
  1251. >There was a silence in the air, the two of you looking at each other until he spoke up again
  1252. >"I take it you haven't heard of me."
  1253. "Not once."
  1254. >He chuckled, leaning against the tree, one leg crossed in front of the other and yet, the jumpsuit hid it somewhat but not completely, he looked ready and able to spring away at a moment's notice
  1255. >"Well if my name doesn't impress I'll just skip to my talents. I'm an expert safe-cracker, renowned jewel thief, and cat-loving "super"-villain."
  1256.  
  1257. "Does safe-cracking and jewel theft involve security systems?"
  1258. >"You can't get to either without getting through those~"
  1259. >They were sly, that much was clear, but having someone like that on your team would be helpful
  1260. >Plus, since they were a Pony, they probably knew how to figure out how magical traps and locks worked too, though that raised an interesting point
  1261. "So far as I can tell though, you're not a Unicorn. How do you disarm magical traps if you can't cast spells?"
  1262. >He tilted his head, looking into your eyes as if to make sure you weren't messing with him
  1263. "Huh. Didn't think I'd have to get into this, but if it'll help you any, I'll explain how magic works for the three tribes."
  1264. >He moved one hoof out, carving lines into the packed snow with ease, tracing out the shape of a Unicorn
  1265. >"So, magic naturally flows through all living things, with various ways to harness it. Unicorns, for instance, have their horns, which become a sort of focal point. Their magic flows through them and into their horns, though they know how to keep it from escaping unless they want it to, or get too emotional to subconsciously hold it. That's why foals fire off random magic when they're younger, they don't have those mental barriers in place yet."
  1266. >Nodding, you watched as he drew a few circles around the aforementioned horn
  1267. >"Unicorns also learn additional magic so that they can better control their flows, though ponies like Matterhorn are rarities, given just how much they can do."
  1268. >Next, he erased the horn and magic and turned the Pony into a Pegasus
  1269. >"Pegasi's magic flows into their wings, and with their size, it gives them an incredible amount of control over them. It's why they can use their wings to grab things, among other things."
  1270. >Finally, he erased the wings, leaving the an Earth Pony
  1271. >"Lastly, you have Ponies like Stilts and I. Earth Ponies. Notice anything about us?"
  1272.  
  1273. >Looking over the drawing, you quickly checked the outline for any protruding bumps, but came up short, which might have been the answer in the first place
  1274. "I don't see any focal points on you, but is that the point?"
  1275. >Grinning, he nodded, one hoof scratching lightly at the path while he spoke, keeping his eyes on yours
  1276. >"Earth Ponies don't have any one place where our magic gets focused, so because of that, it flows through our entire body, which is why we're as strong naturally as we are."
  1277. >Seemingly finding the point he was looking for, he raised his hoof up, and then brought it down, lightly cracking the hard floor below him
  1278. >"On top of that, our grounded nature leaves us far more connected with the ground, and everything in it. Pegasi have their sky, Unicorns have their magic, and we have the Earth."
  1279. >Drawing his hoof back up, he pulled a tiny, green gemstone sliver out with it, quickly pocketing the sparkling thing
  1280. >Well that was informative
  1281. >No doubt it must be quite ironic that Saddle-Rager was a Pegasus
  1282. >Of course, if that was how magic worked
  1283. "What about Alicorns?"
  1284. >He shrugged at that, smoothing the fracked ground lazily
  1285. >"The way most figure it, they've got so much magic that they need three points, or maybe it's vice versa."
  1286. "So, magic works like a conduit, essentially."
  1287. >"I guess if that's how you want to think about it, sure. For us, we can just focus on it, so it's a lot more natural to us than I guess it is for you."
  1288. "So if I could figure out a source, it might not be as hard to harness as I thought."
  1289. >"Well, you could probably do some crazy stuff with those talons of yours."
  1290. "Ta- Oh, my fingers. Yes, if they served as focal points, that could be quite interesting. For the moment though, that will have to remain on the back burner. First things first, I'd need to find some kind of a source if I can't get any internal magic working."
  1291.  
  1292. >"Listen, I'm running up against a bit of a clock here, so I'll give you this before I go. Next time you're shuffled out, find a Pony named Stygian. He's got some experience in that kind of thing."
  1293. "I appreciate your help, though why do you-"
  1294. >"That gem! Give me that!"
  1295. >Looking up, you saw a Gryphon perched on the top of one of the shorter trees, angry eyes focused on Cat-Colt who still looked nonchalant
  1296. >"If you want it so badly, Vulture, why don't you come get it from me? Or, are you worried I might clip your wings? Oh wait~"
  1297. >The female Gryphon let out a furious shriek before leaping from her tree, using her talons to climb and slide down from trunk to trunk as she approached the Stallion, upon whom a mischievous grin was beginning to grow again
  1298. >"Gotta go! Tell me about your plan next time, okay?"
  1299. >He said, flipping back and out of the way as the Gryphon pounced, dodging backwards while the half-bird pursued
  1300. "Hm."
  1301. >The Gryphon had some kind of metal bands wrapped around their midsection, keeping their wings pinned firmly to their sides
  1302. >If things were staying logically consistent, that was probably what they did to Pegasi here too
  1303. >Good information to know for the future
  1304.  
  1305. -----
  1306.  
  1307. Oct 14, 2018 @ 19:14:11 Pacific
  1308. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/33043573/#33051517
  1309.  
  1310. >It wasn't too much longer after that when you heard a loud siren noise, one that pierced the ears and caused you to wince
  1311. >Listening to it, as well as looking to your various inmates, you quickly came to understand that it was the signal to return to your cells
  1312. >Wheeling towards your door, you looked back, watching which way the rest of them went, quickly deducing who belonged where
  1313. >Being able to pick your targets on the fly might be helpful in the future
  1314. >Before long though, you made it to your door, looking up at the heavy, stone thing, wondering how it worked as it easily slid open, allowing you entry into the airlock, so to speak
  1315. >Once inside, it shut behind you, though you began to wonder what was happening when nothing changed
  1316. >Right as you were about to demand an answer, the voice from before spoke up
  1317. >"Welcome back, Villanon."
  1318. "Yes, a very welcome back for me and all that. Are we going to do this every time?"
  1319. >"Not at all, Villanon, all you need to do is be polite~ Now, what can /I/ do for /you/?"
  1320. "Allow me to return to my cell."
  1321. >There was a pause there, but you waited for them to continue
  1322. >Then you waited some more
  1323. >After about five minutes, by your count, you spoke up again
  1324. "Please?"
  1325. >"See? Was that so hard?"
  1326. >The voice replied in its familiar, patronizing tone
  1327. "It's not that it's hard, it's the intention behind it. I gave you more than enough as a reply, yet you pushed for more still. I will not be broken in like some dog."
  1328. >There was a momentary pause again before the voice returned
  1329. >"Villanon, in this prison, we decide whether you are pampered, or punished. If you want to be treated like a good Pony, you have to /be/ a good Pony. Now, what's the /magic/ word?"
  1330. >Bear it
  1331. "Please."
  1332. >"Please what?"
  1333. >Push your pride down and bear it
  1334. "Please may I return to my cell, /ma'am/?"
  1335. >"See? Was it so hard to be a good Colt?"
  1336.  
  1337. >You didn't dignify them with a response and, a moment or so later, the secondary door opened, allowing you entry into your cell
  1338. >Rolling in, you heard it seal behind you, noting the the almost-imperceptible shift in the air as the seal locked in place
  1339. >You needed to figure out a way out of this place
  1340.  
  1341. -----
  1342.  
  1343. >The next two days passed quickly, if rather uneventfully
  1344. >You were due to be out of your casts, and the wheelchair on the first day, and you were up and walking around on the second, or at least you were trying to
  1345. >You hobbled about your cell, not having been allowed to leave it while you recuperated, and the more you moved, the worse you realized your knee was
  1346. >Nightmare Moon's "Shatter" spell blew through your armor, and the force had been enough to all but shatter your knee
  1347. >The time you'd spent healing had helped restore your leg to a functioning state, but no more than that
  1348. >Even just standing on it was enough to make your joint ache
  1349. >As if in response, on the third day, you got a visitor, and a gift
  1350. >The sound of a loud bell ringing woke you up, causing you to nearly spring from your bed in anticipation
  1351. >Stone ground on stone as the door to your cell opened, revealing a Pony who you remembered very well, despite your brief introduction
  1352. >Hardtime
  1353. >"Hi there, sugar lumps!"
  1354. >You suppressed a groan
  1355. "Why are you here? It doesn't seem wise to visit a prisoner's cell without back-up."
  1356. >She grinned at you, revealing sharp fangs
  1357. >"Now is that any way to treat a friend? Besides I brought you a gift."
  1358. >Turning, her wings unfolded, revealing a large cane topped with a metallic ball
  1359. >She held it out to you ball-end first, still grinning as you examined it
  1360. >"What? It's not gonna bite you, and besides, I even 'polished' it for you in advance because I know you Colts like pretty things~"
  1361. >The head of it /was/ glistening in the light, but given her nature and demeanor, you soon guessed why, grasping the thing along its still-dry length
  1362.  
  1363. "What will be happening with the chair?"
  1364. >She shrugged , her tail flicking behind her
  1365. >"You can keep it. Considering you've been staggering around like some old nag you might like using it more!"
  1366. >With her dig in, she turned around, flicking her tail again, flashing you briefly
  1367. >"You can pay me back later~"
  1368. >While she stepped back though the air lock, you limped into the bathroom, bringing the head of your new cane in and under the faucet, running blazingly-hot water over it, cleansing it of her
  1369. >When you were satisfied with the results, you dried the metal, and then tested the cane out
  1370. >It fit surprisingly well, allowing you to stand while keeping up straight, resting your weight on it
  1371. "Hrm."
  1372. >It was no replacement, and your knee still ached, but it would do for the moment
  1373. >You spared a glance at your wheelchair, and then rolled it to the side in your room, getting a feel for how you moved with it
  1374. >Shifting towards the door, the first one opened, allowing you into the air lock, which sealed tight behind you
  1375. >Before the voice could say anything, you spoke up
  1376. "Allow me to leave my cell, please, ma'am."
  1377. >The moment you said it, the second door began to raise, and you let that distract you from however smug the owner of the voice must be feeling right now
  1378. >Despite your aching limbs, you couldn't help but feel invigorated by the brief freedom from your cell, taking view of the 'Common Room' with a taller perspective
  1379. >Once again, in the distance, you could see Ponies, these ones standing together, with two of them seemingly staring at the smallest one of the bunch
  1380. >Once you were close enough, you noticed ears swiveling, drawing the attention of the group to you
  1381. >Cat-Colt was the only one of the bunch you recognized on sight, though the smaller one seemed oddly familiar
  1382. >from what you could tell, they had an orange coat, with a purple mane and tail and...
  1383. >Was that Chicken?
  1384.  
  1385. >From what you recalled of the mob boss, her name was a sort of reference to her small size, both in stature and uselessly tiny wings despite her mature age, as well as the fact that she had a reputation for brash and risky plans often going far too far
  1386. >Whatever discussion they'd been having hushed as you approached, and a nod from, presumably, Chicken sent Cat-Colt trotting over to you, obviously attempting to intercept as he stood in your path
  1387. >"Villanon, it's so good to see you up and about~"
  1388. "What's happening here?"
  1389. >"Nothing you need to worry your elevated head over. In fact, you're rather lucky you ran into me, you know."
  1390. "Oh?"
  1391. >Nothing good tended to happen when one ran into a thief, but you'd give Cat-Colt the benefit of the doubt
  1392. >For now
  1393. "Are you sure it's not just that you don't want me to join in on your little chat? That /is/ Chicken over there you're talking to, isn't it?"
  1394. >They tilted their head slightly, tail swishing behind them as if they really were a cat, all the while staring up at you innocently enough
  1395. >"No idea /what/ you're talking about, Villanon, but I /do/ know who the last member of our motley crew is. Have you noticed how many of us there are here?"
  1396. "Including myself, four."
  1397. >"Exactly! The fifth one just so happens to live over there and, well would you look at that, they're sitting outside of their cell for once, how convenient~"
  1398. >You looked over to the area she was pointing at, noting that there was indeed a large, stone door, the front of which was currently standing firm against a twitchy-looking Pony
  1399. "Is that Stygian?"
  1400. >Cat-Colt clapped his hooves together with a smile, before setting them back down with an unexpected amount of grace for someone so weighed-down
  1401. >"Oh, you remembered, wonderful~ Yes, that's him, so why don't you go and talk to him, hm? He might very well be able to help you with some of your questions. I hear he's /very/ informative in the right hooves."
  1402.  
  1403. >Weighing the worth of pressing for more information on this peculiar meeting, you decided it could be returned to at a later date
  1404. "I think I'll go hear what he has to say."
  1405. >Your "feline" friend nodded, waving at you as you trudged off, still getting used to the timing of your cane
  1406. >It was nicer to walk than to roll about, but it didn't feel nearly so good as walking unhindered did
  1407. >Still, it served its purpose as you arrived in front of Stygian, looking the Pony over
  1408. >He wasn't any fine specimen, that was sure, thin limbs, a bland coat, and pale, nervous eyes
  1409. >He'd been curled up on the ground until you got closer, finally sitting up, staring at you
  1410. "You're Stygian, correct?"
  1411. >"Me? Yes, I-I am. Who are /you/?"
  1412. "Villanon, and I was told to talk to you about sources of magic. What do you know of them?"
  1413. >He didn't answer, chuckling weakly, looking you up and down
  1414. >"Do you want to know about her? Of course you do, /she's/ the important one, of course, not I."
  1415. "She?"
  1416. >Yes yes, I knew it! Of course she is but then, that's just what she told me, you know? Of course she was- you know that she's right, right? She's so smart, and I...have you seen her?"
  1417. >'Fantastic', another Pony who was off their rocker
  1418. "Can you describe her?"
  1419. >He paused, shifting on the ground, his eyes darting from yours to the ground, and then back up
  1420. >"She's being held beneath us, of course. She's the strong one I'm just...I can't do anything, not even hold onto her a-and she...do you not know her? She would like you. You cast such a large shadow, it...could you move to the side, please? Just an inch is all, please."
  1421. >You humored the Colt, adjusting your position and, as your shadow fully encompassed him, he seemed to relax some, settling comfortably on the floor, pawing at the stone before looking back up to you
  1422. >"Ahh, to be in darkness again, it's so very nice...You know, you remind me of her. You both stand so tall, so strong...Am I rambling?"
  1423.  
  1424. "Yes. I asked you a question when I arrived. Need I repeat myself?"
  1425. >Shaking his head, he grinned up at you, eyes seeming to hold on yours
  1426. >"No no, you want to know about hints like her, yes? I will teach you then."
  1427. "I-"
  1428. >"Do you know what it is like to be swallowed?"
  1429. "I...cannot say that I do."
  1430. >He nodded, probably expecting such a response, though you weren't sure why such a question was relevant
  1431. >Even when he was more competent, like he was currently, his mind still seemed to wander to odd territories
  1432. >"It is a slimy thing. Imagine yourself being consumed, dragged down into the depths of another being, to be used as sustenance. That is how I met her. I was lost and distraught, helpless and alone, and she found me. She wanted...she needed me, but I needed her more, even- even if I did not realize it, she soon taught me. She consumed me and used me, overlapping her form, her mind, her soul, with mine. I gave her myself, and she..."
  1433. >He trailed off for a moment, his eyes sloughing off you, sliding back down to the shadow cast around him
  1434. >he hoofed at it, as if stroking the dark shadows, but his hoof only found stone
  1435. >"She let me live within her and I...I was happy, in my way."
  1436. >He paused again, leaving you to puzzle over him until he spoke again, always needing to collect himself whenever he finished a thought
  1437. >"Do you look for her?"
  1438. "Not her, but something...similar. Stygian, can you sense your soul? Can you feel the flow of your magic?"
  1439. >He nodded, though made no attempt to try it
  1440. >"Without her my soul is...I am not whole, I am incomplete, no matter what the others might say."
  1441. "You see, I /can't/ sense my magic, nor my soul. I know I have the latter, but I don't believe I hold any of the former, nor can I sense either. What I need is a source of magic to draw from, like you and yours."
  1442. >Hoofing at the shadow again, he hummed, staring down at the ground
  1443.  
  1444. "A source, but not her. A soul, but not her, magic, but not her. You cannot...of course, should you..."
  1445. >Again, he stopped, lurking in the shadow you cast, shutting his eyes
  1446. >"Alright, she says...she knows what you want, and she...she can guide you if you...you bring..."
  1447. >His eyes were still shut, his brow furrowed, as tears began to roll down his cheeks, a small, wavering smile emerging
  1448. >"Oh sweet makers...sh-she still wants me, sh-she wants you to bring me to her."
  1449. >What
  1450. >This was a trick, wasn't it
  1451. >A trap meant to ensnare you when you tried to break out
  1452. "Why should I believe you? You really think that if you shut your eyes and pretend, I'll think you can communicate with some creature locked up in this place?"
  1453. >You knew what creature he was talking about, or at least you were quite certain you knew some aspect of it from before, which meant you /really/ doubted the truth in this subject
  1454. >Stygian however, looking more confident now than he had ever seemed before, stood up on all fours, jumpsuit creasing, unused to such a movement from him
  1455. >"When you bond with a "power source", a part of it will always be attached to your soul, and vice versa. You should keep that in mind, Villanon."
  1456. >Fascinating
  1457. "Hm. I think I will. Thank you, Stygian."
  1458. >As you moved away, he flinched cowering in the shade again until it disappeared as you left him completely, walking back towards the still-talking trio
  1459. >You spared a single glance back, watching Stygian as the door to his cell opened, allowing him entrance
  1460. >So this had been timed, hm?
  1461. >Cat-Colt
  1462. >They, as usual, would have the answers
  1463. >Speaking of which
  1464. >"Villanon! How was your talk? Find anything informative out?"
  1465. >You paused, staring down at the friendly Pony in front of you
  1466. >How badly did they want to leave this place?
  1467. >Did they owe anyone a debt?
  1468. >Could they /really/ be trusted?
  1469.  
  1470. "Mm, some things, though far from anything concrete."
  1471. >"Aw, that's a real shame. Given your problem, they seemed like the ideal Pony to talk to, y'know?"
  1472. >Past him, you could see Chicken watching you, looking you up and down, sharp eyes inspecting every facet of your form
  1473. "Yes, the only thing of value that he told me requires multiple steps to be of any real use. How goes your conversation?"
  1474. >"Oh, this?"
  1475. >He replied, his tail swaying slower, as if he was trying to tread cautiously
  1476. >"Well, why don't I introduce you?
  1477.  
  1478.  
  1479. Nov 28, 2018 @ 23:59:18 Pacific
  1480. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/33230596/#33232602
  1481.  
  1482. >Following Cat-Colt, you found yourself standing in front of Chicken
  1483. >You loomed over her worse than most other Ponies due to her short stature, but despite that, she seemed unfazed
  1484. >"Villanon, thank you for joining us. Please, take a seat."
  1485. >Doing so, you carefully lowered yourself down, making sure to agitate your body as little as possible
  1486. "So, what do you want?"
  1487. >Chicken took a moment to stare up at your face before breaking into a grin, chuckling at you
  1488. >"It's not really about what I want at the moment. How badly do you wanted to escape?"
  1489. >It must have been pretty evident based on your face, as she just continued on before you could say much of anything
  1490. >"I have a plan for how we all can escape, if you want to hear it."
  1491. "I'm intrigued. Go on."
  1492. >Reaching into her suit, Chicken pulled out a folded piece of paper, one adorned with a half-dozen notes, calculations, and schematics, your height only giving you a glimpse of the sheet before she raised it to her face
  1493. >"Considering my friends and I's rather...generous donations to these poor, lonely, underpaid guardponies, I've learned more than a thing or two about this place during my time here. With time and effort, we've made quite a few discoveries about the way the guards patrol, how they think, and what activities will trigger what. For instance, did you know that what's left of your armor happens to be in a vault on the fourth floor?"
  1494. >It was?
  1495. >But why-
  1496. >Oh, of course, your armor was considered dangerous, but you, without it, weren't
  1497. >You'd been shown up by your own equipment
  1498. "...I did not, though I do value that information, thank you."
  1499. >Chicken leaned back on her seat, looking up at you, that grin never leaving her face as she peered into your eyes
  1500.  
  1501. >"What if I told you I had a way to reunite you with your armor? A way that, while it might offend your delicate sensibilities-"
  1502. >You resisted the urge to roll your eyes
  1503. >"-it wouldn't leave anypony suspicious of our actions until the moment came for you to seize it. How would /that/ sound?"
  1504. >It sounded pretty damn good, almost too much so
  1505. >So far, you could only identify one creature here as being "on your side" and they were a mumbling mad-pony that was less than a Shadow of their previous self
  1506. "While it might /sound/ good, I've learned not to put my faith in others too quickly. /How/, exactly, is this plan to work?"
  1507. >Fully smiling now, Chicken gestured over to Cat-Colt, keeping her eyes on you
  1508. >"First things first, Cat-Colt here's gonna slip you three specific gems he's managed to dig up. With them, you're gonna use that wheelchair of yours, as well as a bit of his know-how, to make yourself all the tools you should need to get into that vault and repair your suit enough to get it working."
  1509. >Was that really the case?
  1510. >Could you actually make tools with just these meager pieces of scrap?
  1511. "Even if I build these tools, what then? How am I supposed to get the two of us down to the fourth floor of this place? I'm barely considered worth keeping on the first floor."
  1512. >Reaching a hoof out, Chicken grabbed hold of the other Pony who'd been sitting with you all this whole time
  1513. >"Let me introduce you to Montana. She, and her two amigos, have "agreed", so to speak, to be your punching bags for this portion of the jail break."
  1514. "You /want/ me to beat up your "friends"?"
  1515. >She nodded, though Montana seemed less than thrilled about the idea
  1516.  
  1517. >"If you keep roughing Ponies up and getting into fights, refusing to do any favors and just being a general problem, the guardponies will get fed up with you pretty quickly. I, using a mixture of bribes and subtlety, will convince one of the guardponies that the best way to put you back in your place would be to show you something that'd scare you enough to make an obedient little Colt out of you. Then-"
  1518. "They'll take me down to the fourth floor and that will be how I get close to my armor, is that about right?"
  1519. >She laughed, releasing the cowboy hat-toting Pony from her grip, still looking into your eyes
  1520. >"On the money there! Don't worry about the vault, with the tools you'll make, as well as Cat's safe-cracking skills, you'll get to your gear in no time. Once you have it, then comes the next step, which is quite possibly the most important. You'll see a large, crystal orb with some dark gunk in it. I need you to break that."
  1521. >Talk about vague
  1522. "Why exactly? That seems highly specific for something described so frivolously."
  1523. >The orange-and-purple Pony nodded, then she gestured towards the large door that granted access into this massive room, as well as all their cells
  1524. >"When it breaks, the guardponies will turn on all the lights, flooding each hallway, driving away every hint of shadows that they can. Of course, since they're bat ponies, this'll give us a minute or two to use their temporary blindness to our advantage. With the damage you'll be causing before you get back to us, we'll be able to make it out of this place and up to the entrance elevator."
  1525. >You glanced down at the bonds on her wings, as well as those on the others around the rest of you all
  1526. >As if she caught your thought immediately, she gestured upwards
  1527. >"I've got an extraction team for when we pull this off. They'll open the doors and help get us out of here. Once they do, we'll be home free!"
  1528. >Well, it was far from the worst plan you'd ever heard, at least
  1529. >Still...
  1530.  
  1531. "What about me? If I'm causing havoc down there, won't it be hard for me to get back up here in time?"
  1532. >Her eyes widened, mouth opening as if surprised by the question
  1533. >She glanced over at her enforcer who, after taking a moment to stare back at her boss, quickly got the hint, mimicking the expression in time for Chicken to turn back to face you
  1534. >"Villanon, are you telling me that your suit really /isn't/ that powerful? From what I've seen it seemed like quite the powerhouse, too."
  1535. >Pausing, her large eyes swiveled down to the piece of paper, studying it as if searching for a clue
  1536. >Then, she looked back up at you, stared into your eyes, and then shrugged when she spoke
  1537. >"Maybe the Power Ponies really /have/ been going easy on you all this time, huh? Who knew?"
  1538. "What?"
  1539. >Oh, I'm just recalling what Montana here's said to me before. You see, I don't do much fighting myself, so I tend to ask my Enforcers for advice. Ever since word got out that you actually belonged to the fairer sex, well Montana's had a good time laughing at the Power Ponies for ever having trouble catching you! Isn't that right, Montana?"
  1540. >The mare in question reached up, adjusting her cowboy hat atop her red mane, orange eyes shifting off to the side
  1541. >"Well ah...ah s'pose ah sed sum'thin' akin t'that. Jus' seemed a might silly, s'all, Buncha grown Mares like that."
  1542. >You could feel your willingness to join in on this plan building
  1543. >In the end, whether or not the rest of them escaped didn't really matter
  1544. >What really mattered was you getting a hold of your suit, as well as whatever else might have been locked up in that vault
  1545. >With your technology, plus all that you could find in there, you'd be veritably unstoppable!
  1546. "Alright, I'll do it. First, tell me what I need to make, and how, then give me the gems and we can get on with these charades."
  1547.  
  1548. -----
  1549.  
  1550. >Explanations were given alongside drawn diagrams and, while you didn't understand parts of it, you could figure out the rest
  1551. >The fact that a few rare gems, as well as some magic-based schematics, could easily become a powerful set of tools still messed with your head, but if it'd work, then you'd make them
  1552. >After the hand off, it was time to work some stress out of your system
  1553. >You'd been feeling lethargic ever since you'd been placed in that wheel chair, and beating up a pony, mock fight or no, would definitely make for a nice work out
  1554. >Looking at Montana as the two of you got into "position", you made sure to note her apparent strengths, physique being one of them
  1555. >She was an Earth Pony and, while she did have her weights, her legs would still pack some kick
  1556. >Similarly, from the way she was eyeing you up, you figured she was exactly planning on letting you wail on her
  1557. >That was just fine, you'd really rather her face you like an actual opponent and not a joke
  1558. >"Don' worry, ah'll try mah best not t'buck yah too hard~"
  1559. "Oh, I'm not worried."
  1560. >Walking forwards, you steadily approached her, watching her reaction, as well as how she moved in response
  1561. >Surprise, then confidence, followed up by what was most likely a buck
  1562. >Waiting until the last second, you sidestepped, easily dodging both legs as they flew out and past you
  1563. >Ahh, there's the surprise again
  1564. >Good
  1565. >Using the momentum of your turn, you drove your foot into her side, sending her tumbling off to the side
  1566. >Normally you'd have followed after her to hit her again before she could get up, but this time you decided to wait, and then approach her again
  1567. >The guards needed to see this going on for long enough to make them want to stop it
  1568. >"A-Alright, that weren't too bad, but y'best not git too big fer yer britches!"
  1569. >Putting her hat back on her head, she rushed towards you, mane and tail saying behind her as she charged
  1570.  
  1571. >A twitch meant she was going for a head butt, and you brought your knee up to counter it
  1572. >She got it worse, but the impact from her still hurt your good knee
  1573. >You hated the fact that you had to consider parts of your body the "good" anything
  1574. >All it really implied was that the other parts of you were bad
  1575. >"Ow, mah...hold still y'dumb bastard!"
  1576. "I think not."
  1577. >She growled, then leaped for your cane, causing you to yank it out of the way, the quick movement throwing you off balance
  1578. >Keeping yourself from falling, your other foot hit the ground, the jolt of the impact running up your leg, hitting your busted up knee hard
  1579. >Gritting your teeth, you brought the cane down, the moment giving Montana an opportunity to rear up and take a swing at your gut, knocking most of the wind out
  1580. >Taking deep drags of air, coughing and moving back to avoid a follow-up, your cane hit the ground, allowing you to hobble backwards
  1581. >If there was one thing to admire about Earth Ponies, it was their dedication
  1582. >"Ha! Don't feel too good now does it, Colt? Ah'm gonna bend ya'll over mah knee and give ya'll a good spanking!"
  1583. >Looking more confident than before, Montana started to swagger back towards you, a cocky look in her eyes
  1584. >A disgusting thought crawled across your mind, wondering if the guards would react faster if you were being beaten
  1585. >"Now, why don't'cha just hold still and let Ol Montana handle yer-"
  1586. >CRACK
  1587. >Montana's head turned worryingly far as the metal head of your cane struck her jaw, a tooth going flying out
  1588. >There was a moment of disbelief on her face before she started (as she would no doubt have put it) hollering
  1589. >"M-Mah jaaaaw! Buck, mah buckin' jaw y-you-"
  1590. >CRACK
  1591. >Another swing, and Montana was down for the count, her body slumping to the floor
  1592. >A moment or so later, you turned around to the sound of hooves lightly stomping the ground
  1593. >"I think that'll start us off nicely, Villanon. You better take a deep breath now, those collars squeeze pretty tight."
  1594.  
  1595. >As if on cue, the strap quickly began to squeeze shut, wrapping around your throat, cutting of your airflow, before you could so much as yell
  1596. >Choking, you slowly laid back on the floor, not wanting to pass out and hit your head in the fall, all while silently lamenting the loss of cells in your head
  1597. >It would be worth it though, to get out of here
  1598. >While the world went dark and your body shook involuntarily, lungs gasping for air that wouldn't come, you found it hard to hear much of what was being said around you
  1599. >Whatever, you'd find out soon enough
  1600.  
  1601. -----
  1602.  
  1603. >With a sharp intake of air, followed by a few short gasps from your sore throat, you awoke
  1604. >Grunting, your eyes flickered about, taking in what looked to be your cell
  1605. >No questioning or anything, hm?
  1606. >Perhaps they'd just imagined you were defending yourself during that fight
  1607. >Your cane was still there, leaning against the wall just outside of a comfortable reaching position
  1608. >With a grunt of displeasure, you reached out, grasping it by the metal ball on top
  1609. >Getting up into a standing position, the voice came back, speaking to you through some unknown source in the ceiling
  1610. >"That was very naughty, Villanon. I thought we'd agreed you'd watch that temper of yours. If you act like a bad little colt, you'll have to stay in your room, grounded."
  1611. "Oh no, that would be so awful! I was only defending myself!"
  1612. >Ugh
  1613. >Make it believable, at least
  1614. "I promise, I won't be starting any fights."
  1615. >Silence
  1616. >You getting sealed in your room would have been an awful scenario, as you hadn't done enough damage yet to warrant a trip below
  1617. >Likewise, you hadn't decided on how you'd build the three magic "tools" without it being noticed quickly enough to stop you
  1618.  
  1619. >For now, all you could do was wait and hope that they'd say-
  1620. >"Alright, but we'll be holding you to that promise. You'll be allowed back out of your cell in three days, so why not take that time to consider how you might apologize to Montana? I'm sure she'll be apologizing to you too."
  1621. "Alright, that seems fair."
  1622. >"Good Colt!"
  1623. >Fair
  1624. >Hardly, it was just another way of trying to shame and break you down
  1625. >If that Mare really had beaten you to a pulp would you still be forced to apologize?
  1626. >Hobbling over to your bookshelf, you picked out a few and started to read
  1627. >When the drivel that they were was revealed to you, you decided to fake reading them, focusing instead on your plans for the future
  1628.  
  1629. -----
  1630.  
  1631. >Are you short, orange, purple, and a rotten Pegasus?
  1632. >Since the answer was yes, that means that you're Chicken
  1633. >Currently you were in your cell, having a pleasant, and entirely legal conversation with whichever guardspony happened to be talking to you through the intercom
  1634. >You knew most guardsponies by name and could recognize their voices, but the system always garbled things somewhat
  1635. >"-which I just couldn't believe, a Stallion beating the stuffing out of Fancy Jan and Ox? No way, especially not when that Stallion doesn't even have magic! I mean, no offence to you, Ms. Chicken, but if they were mares on MY payroll? I'd send 'em packing!"
  1636. "I quite understand. I'd thought the fight with Montana had been an accident, a slip-up, but now? Well, let's just say I'm looking at them in a different light."
  1637. >"Just my two bits, you understand, right?"
  1638. "Right. Now, considering all this, what do you think about the culprit?"
  1639. >"Villanon? Oh, let me tell you, I don't know what to do with him!"
  1640. >You grinned, glad to hear the pony on the other end of this system take the bait so easily
  1641. "I hear he's been making all sorts of threats on top of his rather violent shows of force."
  1642.  
  1643.  
  1644. >The mysterious mare took a swig of whatever drink they happened to have on hoof at the time before speaking again, a little agitation rising in her tone
  1645. >"Threats and then some! If we let him out of his cell, he beats somepony, and if we keep him in, he just seems right as rain! Then, when we try and punish him, or some innocent guardspony goes to his cell to "unwind", so to speak, he practically throws us out! He doesn't even bother talking to the guardspony assigned to his cell any more."
  1646. >Perfect, he was really starting to frustrate them
  1647. "Well, if I might, I have an idea about how you could handle his whimsy and turn him into a model inmate."
  1648. >Put the bait out and wait for something to bite
  1649. >Guardsponies weren't really supposed to talk to inmates so casually, nor were they supposed to take advice and ideas from them
  1650. >Thankfully-
  1651. >"What did you come up with?"
  1652. >They liked you
  1653. "Just an idea idea I've been playing with for a bit. Why not take him to a mid-level floor and show him some REAL monsters? A little fear can go a long way."
  1654.  
  1655. -----
  1656.  
  1657. >you were Villanon, and it was finally time
  1658. >Cat-Colt, two guardsponies, and you were descending towards the fourth level of the prison on, what your captors assumed to be, a trip to make you more subservient
  1659. >under your baggy jumpsuit, the scavenged remnants of your wheel chair clung to you
  1660. >After your fight with Ox, your cane had been taken from you, but you'd been ready
  1661. >Using what parts of your chair that weren't necessary to the creation of the tools, you'd fastened a brace for your leg and arm, allowing you to walk about without limping or aching
  1662. >It wasn't nearly as good as your suit would be when you had it back on, but then this was just to be a means to an end
  1663. >You adjusted one of your legs to the right in the darkness of the elevator, feeling the comfortable weight of one of the three tools you had hidden on your person
  1664. >Soon
  1665.  
  1666. >Adjusting the other, you felt the weapon you'd use to give the two of you time to get into the vault
  1667. >It was almost time
  1668. >Time to reclaim what was yours
  1669.  
  1670. -----
  1671.  
  1672. >The elevator came grinding to a halt, though the doors, as you noted, took noticeably longer to open than they had when you'd first arrived
  1673. >No doubt this level had additional precautionary measures to it
  1674. >Approximately five minutes later, the doors finally slid open, a fact that you were only able to determine given the crackling sparks of electricity, or some sort of magic, that were playing around the tip of a guard's spear
  1675. >Three similarly-dressed batponies took up positions around the door, spears leveled at your group
  1676. >Once they all appeared in position, a fifth pony trotted closer with firm, calculated steps
  1677. >Even with these "lights", it was still difficult for you to make them out in the darkness of the hallway
  1678. >Unlike the shadows of the first floor, this seemed unnaturally dark, like something had carved out a piece of the night sky
  1679. >This was only the fourth floor?
  1680. >Unlike your guardsponies, who you had little doubts might have tried to play hoofsies with you had you been alone with them, these ponies looked efficient and well-trained
  1681. >They were the kinds of lackeys you'd keep in high-ranking positions
  1682. >"Names and business."
  1683. >The pony on your left nodded, stepping forwards giving a salute.
  1684. >"I'm Allday, and that is Anda Night. We're currently transporting Villanon and Cat-Colt on a tour of the fourth floor for...educational purposes."
  1685. >You were fairly certain the Fourth Floor's head of security raised a brow at that
  1686. >Allday quickly continued
  1687. >"They've been acting up so it was determined that we should show them just how bad this prison can be for those who don't cooperate."
  1688. >That seemed slightly more acceptable and the larger mare nodded, standing aside, allowing the four of you to move forwards with them in the front, and their own guards flanking your group on either side
  1689.  
  1690. >The nine of you moved slowly, an extra guardspony moving in behind you all to keep you flanked on all sides
  1691. >As you made your way down the near-pitch black passageway, you took notes on each door and window you passed, making sure you could recall where everything was located
  1692. >One door was made of harsh metal, a glance inside showing one "Gloriosa Daisy", a rather miserable looking earth pony who was scraping at the metal floor, as if expecting something to appear
  1693. >Another Seemed to be made of extra-thick glass, the frost on the inside not managing to reach out to you as "Miss Freeze" studied what looked like a simple tablet, her wooden desk frozen over
  1694. >A faint nose drew your attention, causing you to turn your head towards a cell with almost no openings to it. As far as you could tell, the only way to get into a "Bullseye"'s room was to completely pull away the door
  1695. >Deeper and deeper you went, passing cells and twists and turns, until you finally noticed what you were looking for
  1696. >A Huge, mirror-like door stood against the wall to your right, with a large plaque beside it that read, "Shadow"
  1697. >You couldn't see in, as it was completely shut, but you didn't need to know any more at the time
  1698. >Now that you knew it's location, you could focus on the vault
  1699.  
  1700. -----
  1701.  
  1702. >Of course it was at the end of the hall
  1703. >Far from the elevator, and a distance away from any jail-breakers
  1704. >For the two of you, however, it was just right
  1705. >You adjusted one arm, fingers brushing against Cat-Colt's ear
  1706. >He quickly shook his head, adjusting his ears three times
  1707. >He was ready
  1708. >Bracing yourself in advance, you took another step, your ankle catching your fellow criminal's extended leg, sending you down to the ground
  1709. >While your guardsponies jumped back, the fourth floor's residents, quickly took up positions around both of you, but you weren't interested in them at the moment
  1710. >Right now, you needed to get Cat-Colt the tool they needed, and so you balled your fist and swung at him
  1711.  
  1712.  
  1713. Dec 4, 2018 @ 00:51:12 Pacific
  1714. (neat art for the story ponybooru.org/images/2394446)
  1715. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/33248196/#33254078
  1716.  
  1717. >There was only enough force behind your fist to make it look believable, and Cat-Colt rolled with the punch with practiced ease, stumbling to the side
  1718. >”What was that for, you bastard?!”
  1719. “How dare you trip me! I’ll beat you to death you stupid Pony!”
  1720. >”Try it, Colt, I’ll make you wish you were never born!”
  1721. >He sprang forwards, headbutting you in the gut, though with your adjustment it didn’t wind you, and let you follow up by grabbing his head and bringing your knee up to his chin
  1722. >He raised his hooves to seemingly stop the blow, but instead it was so he could open the seam on your suit’s leg, allowing him to pull out the tool meant for him
  1723. >You stepped forwards, driving your foot into his side, sending him tumbling back and against the door to the vault, landing with his hooves facing the seam, his body blocking what he was doing from view
  1724. >”Stand down, Colt!”
  1725. >The head of the fourth floor’s security stepped forwards, growling as best a little Batpony could, wings up and out, looking ready to fight at a moments notice
  1726. “You want to fight? Come on!”
  1727. >Maintaining her eye contact with you, you noticed her ear twitch to one side, giving you just long enough to react as one of the guards moved their charged spear towards you, allowing you to raise your other leg, the blade tearing easily through the fabric, allowing you access to your “weapon”
  1728. “Amateurs.”
  1729. >You hand shot down, grabbing hold of the flint-looking bit of metal and crystal, wrenching it free and lifting it into the air
  1730. >”Stop hi-“
  1731. >With your thumb and your eyes covered with your other arm, you pressed the metal down, metal catching on gemstone, sending sparks flying, causing an interesting property of the crystal to activate
  1732. >Chicken and Cat-Colt had informed you that these same gems were used to make lights due to their highly phosphorescent nature
  1733.  
  1734. >The difficulty in creating these magical fixtures came from the way that a little agitation would cause them to momentarily shine with a near-blinding level of light
  1735. >Of course that meant that a bunch of Batponies, who typically operated in low-light at best, whose eyes had adjusted for the darkness, would react in the same way the guards around the two of you were reacting
  1736. >Namely, screaming and staggering about, blinded
  1737. >It would only be temporary, but with Cat-Colt already at work on the door, it would be long enough
  1738. >As the light faded away, you grabbed hold of a spear, tagging each of the Batponies with it, holding it against their writhing forms long enough to put them out of commission
  1739. >It was fascinating to wield the weapon, as you couldn’t determine any natural source of the energy, which meant it was purely magical, making it that much more valuable and so you made sure to gather a bundle of spears together
  1740. >As you stood back up, you could hear the sounds of hooves pounding on stone and wings flapping through the air, the glow of weaponry drawing nearer in the distance, the swelling sight causing you to turn back to your partner in crime
  1741. “They’re drawing nearer, Cat-Colt. Is that door going to be open when they get here or not?”
  1742. >”Just a minute, I’ve almost got..no it’s not that it’s…done!”
  1743. >With a hiss, the great metal thing opened, and the two of you hurried inside. The glow was getting closer and closer and so the moment you were both through, you started to physically force the doors shut
  1744. >Unfortunately for you, they didn’t move, but a few moments of study caused something to click for the Earth Pony
  1745. >With a few clicks and presses, the doors shut, swinging back into position right before a thrown spear could fly into the room.
  1746. >A burst of light from your tinder, and Cat-Colt managed to seal the door, locking those outside out, but sealing the two of you in
  1747.  
  1748. >As the glow of the crystal faded, you could see Cat-Colt turn to you, grinning in that way he did, his head tilted ever so slightly to the side
  1749. >”Well…I hope that armor of yours is good enough to get us out of here.”
  1750.  
  1751. -----
  1752.  
  1753. >With a little help, you’d managed to get the crystal to emit a steady glow, illuminating much of the room, allowing you to better look around
  1754. >The vault itself was divided up into sections, with each one being labelled after a different Villain who’d either been locked up on this level, or who had been using the item or items before their capture
  1755. >After all, your armor was in here even if you weren’t on the fourth floor
  1756. >Before examining anything other than potential traps, you moved to your suit, examining the battered thing
  1757. >Sadly, while you’d had high hopes, Luna had done a number on it
  1758. >Much of the metal plating had been “shattered”, and what was left was sparse and clearly weakened
  1759. >On top of that, it looked like some ponies had attempted to examine it to figure out how it worked, but thankfully your tech had plenty of countermeasures against that, which meant that while your suit was unnecessarily damaged, they hadn’t been able to easily steal your secrets
  1760. >The downside of all this was that your armor wouldn’t really work for a rampage from here to the outside world
  1761. >While you pondered it, Cat-Colt strolled over, a pocket or two looking rather stuffed with whatever valuables he’d found down here
  1762. >He gave your suit a once over before looking back up to you, seeming less than impressed
  1763. >”It’s not quite as shiny as I remember it being.”
  1764. “The problem here is that it’s not nearly substantial enough to work as an escape plan. There’s almost no charge in it, and a lot of it is unprotected. On top of that, with as damaged as some of it is, those charged spears could actually disable quite a few of it’s functions.”
  1765.  
  1766. >He hummed, sitting down on his rump, looking over the armor
  1767. >”Well then, what’s the plan?”
  1768. >With a glance down at his stolen jewels, as well as out and to the variety of weaponry, armor, tech, and more that was in the room, you knew exactly what you wanted
  1769. “I’m just going to have to improvise.”
  1770.  
  1771. -----
  1772.  
  1773. >The Batponies were cutting their way through the door when you finally finished your armor, adjusting the last few scraps of gear that you’d cobbled together
  1774. >Most of the Vault was in disarray as you’d gone through it quickly, picking out the best of the bunch
  1775. >Items that were still intact were left on hand while those that could be disassembled and reassembled were
  1776. >Miss Freeze’s suit and gun became chunks of your armor, with her weapon getting plugged in to your suit
  1777. >From the way Cat-Colt described the thing, it seemed it would require magic to use, and specifically the Mare’s own unique brand of it, but with the way you’d adjust it, you could make it work how you liked so long as you had the charge
  1778. >A few darts and razor-sharp, thin metal playing cards had been added to your arsenal, rigged up to a sort of semi-crossbow that you could easily launch and reload
  1779. >Night-vision lenses had been attached above your helmet’s eye sockets so you could pull them down to see in the dark, and raise them up when you were using light
  1780. >Your scalpel-like tool had been rebuilt and attached to one of your hands, allowing you to point your finger and aim a beam like it was gun
  1781. >Stilts’ stilts had actually been surprisingly durable, and so with some effort you’d been able to fit panels from them around yourself
  1782. >There had been a few other adjustments made, but as it stood now, you were practically out of time
  1783. >The last, and most important piece, had been the power source
  1784. >Frankly, you really didn’t trust what the two of you had come up with, but it was about all that would work
  1785.  
  1786. >Jutting from your chest where the blades from the guardsponies spears, each one of which was still crackling with energy
  1787. >In the center of them, locked down with some metal, was the glowing, green heart of a robot, apparently
  1788. >The strange, no doubt semi-radioactive stone had felt odd to hold, and you’d be grateful to get away from it as soon as you could, but for now it, and the spear heads acting as a makeshift conductor, would do
  1789. >All that needed to be done were the last two portions of this plan
  1790. >Cause some havoc
  1791. >A crash came from the door, hooves and weaponry forcing it open slowly
  1792. >And get back out
  1793.  
  1794. -----
  1795.  
  1796. >First guardspony through the door got hit with a focused blast, one that burned a hole through her armor and dug into her left foreleg, causing her to cry out and fall to the ground
  1797. >The second one got hit with a raw, funneled blast of magic, being sent tumbling backwards
  1798. >The third and fourth found large, metal fists coming their way
  1799. >As the fifth Mare took a step back, the metal amalgamation stepped through the door, looming above her
  1800. >A half-dozen supervillains had gone into this thing, differing and distinct bits of gear and tech adorning it’s body as it deflected two jabs from guardsponies wielding spears
  1801. >As she shoved her spear forwards, aiming for the monstrous machine’s knee joint, it caught the shaft of her weapon, twisting it out of her grasp
  1802. >The last thing she saw before blacking out was the metallic beast swing the spear back at her, connecting with the side of her head, sending her into the side wall
  1803.  
  1804. -----
  1805.  
  1806. >”Break him down! Get that bastard out of that suit!”
  1807. >The head of the fourth floor roared, her guardsponies flying in, throwing and jabbing with their spears, or dodging and using their nets to try and slow Villanon down
  1808. >For them, there was no mistaking just what the thing attacking them was, a ruby-red beam scorching the wall, nearly cutting off a Unicorn’s horn as she tried to peel away some pieces of the villain’s gear
  1809.  
  1810. >”Unicorns, I want his movements slowed! Front lines, if you can’t hit him hard enough, use your nets and slow him down!”
  1811. >Nets flew through the air, each one charged with a variety of elements, but most were cut down before they landed
  1812. >Those that weren’t made it, but were soon tore off, the suit more than strong enough to take the hits
  1813. >”Gas incoming! Move your flanks back!”
  1814. >The guardsponies retreated as canisters flew over their heads and rolled along the floor, detonating once they were close enough, filling the vault and the space around Villanon with a thick, pale fog
  1815. >As a unit, the guards ponies pulled their gas masks up and lowered their goggles, watching and waiting, trying to see if the gas would be enough
  1816. >There was silence at first, before a fist emerged, a gem sparking in it’s grasp
  1817. >”Celestia damn it, fla-“
  1818. >Light surged through the hall, those that hadn’t recognized the source falling back, dropping onto their knees, the shock only being worsened by the way the goggles focused their eyes
  1819. >Those that had managed to avoid being blinded opened their eyes at the sound of heavy footsteps, looking up to see the goliath charging at them, a crimson beam cutting through the air
  1820.  
  1821. -----
  1822.  
  1823. >Be Cat-Colt, watching this rampage from a distance
  1824. >You’d hung back in the vault while Villanon took on the brunt of the opening forces, which only made sense to you
  1825. >You were a thief, not a juggernaut, [spoiler]bitch[/spoiler]
  1826. >Doing your job, you grabbed one of the downed mares that had a similar build as you, dragging her into the vault
  1827. >Stripping her with ease, you quickly did yourself up in her gear, lamenting the reek and, what you sincerely hoped, was sweat
  1828. >Once her riot gear was wrapped tightly around your body, you pulled her mask on, slipped the goggles onto your face, and took up her weapons
  1829. >As light flared through the open door of the vault, you winced, imagining how much it must have been burning out there
  1830.  
  1831. >You were pretty sure you heard calls for reinforcements, which meant you’d need to be quick about these last two parts of the job
  1832. >Digging into the pockets of your suit, you moved a few of the gems out of the way, grabbing hold of the /real/ prize, one of Mare-Styrio’s wearable illusion disguises
  1833. >Attaching it onto your throat and under your new gear, you adjusted through the various different choices until you arrived at the one you wanted
  1834. >With the press of a button, a pre-programmed illusion ran over you, coating your body, wrapping around you
  1835. >You looked down, watching your fur change color, fake wings appearing outside of the gear you were wearing while your teeth grew sharper
  1836. >Soon enough, the illusion settled, leaving you looking like a Batpony under that gear, with even your voice adjusted, thanks to the box on your neck
  1837. >With preparations done, you headed into the hallway
  1838.  
  1839. -----
  1840.  
  1841. >You were Villanon again, and you really had missed this
  1842. >You watched as the guardsponies around you scattered, realizing, or at least assuming, that they weren’t slowing you down
  1843. >In actuality they were, but your weren’t going to let them know that
  1844. >One managed to get in close jabbing at the side of your unguarded knee, sending shocks through your body, but you managed to kick them away
  1845. >A unicorn tried to pull your core’s power source out, but two well-placed darts to her chest took her out of the fight
  1846. >You even laughed as one guardspony that had been lurking behind you with their full assortment of gear darted past you, running down the hallway towards the elevator
  1847. >You stopped only momentarily at Shadow’s room, considering whether to smash the orb inside yet or not, and decided against it
  1848. >Chicken’s plan could wait, hell, you might not even need it any more!
  1849. >No, you definitely didn’t need it, you were strong enough to bust out of here yourself now!
  1850.  
  1851. >Clonking two mare’s heads together, the floor’s boss leapt at you, managing to grab hold of your chest piece, kicking at the stone powering your suit and while admirable, you had bigger fish to fry
  1852. >Namely, revenge
  1853. “When I get through with all of you I’m going to destroy this whole prison! You’re all going to regret ever trying to bind me here! None of you can stop me now!”
  1854. >As if on cue, the elevator opened, a squad of ponies stepping out
  1855. “Ha! If you think just…what, five Ponies? You really think five Ponies can beat me? Bring it on, I’ll- hm?”
  1856. >A beam of harmless, red light cut through the darkness, landing directly on one of your joints and, before you could do or say anything, a high-powered shot blasted down the hall, tearing straight through the metal, wrenching your leg back as if Saddle-Rager had struck you
  1857. “Wha-“
  1858. >Two more shots fired out, one disabling your crossbow, the other glancing off the side of your helmet, wrenching your head to the side painfully
  1859. “Gah, you- How dare you strike-“
  1860. >You managed to dodge the fourth, but as you did, something ran along the ground, shooting up, hitting you in the chest, cutting through your armor, nearly dislodging your power source
  1861. >With a start, you dodged backwards and away from the strange, shadowy thing, only for another shot to catch you, digging into your side, spinning you on the spot, throwing you off balance
  1862. “Enough of this! Begone!”
  1863. >Your finger extended, a beam cutting through the darkness, only for a larger creature to step forwards, a magic spell going off, reflecting the beam backwards!
  1864. >The laser hit your shoulder, boring through it before you could stop firing and even then, they didn’t relent, the guardsponies around you rallying
  1865. >Mares with spears you’d knocked down earlier stood again, ramming their blades and hilts into your freshly-made weakpoints, nets landed around your body, binding you
  1866.  
  1867. >Soon enough, you were forced back, aching and coughing up blood, suit going haywire and your vision getting blurry
  1868. >Trying to get away, you smashed open the door to the room with the orb in it, staggering in
  1869. >You needed to get away for a minute, needed to think
  1870. >Where was Cat-Colt? What was he doing?
  1871. >Where had these damn snipers come from?
  1872. >Were they from a different floor?
  1873. >Still, you could grab one of the guardsponies in here, use them as a hostage, buy yourself some time and-
  1874. >Ow!
  1875. >What the hell?!
  1876. >How hot was this room?!
  1877. >Your hodgepodge suit was starting to heat up, and you had no clue why, the metal burning your skin as you realized that not only was this room bright, but it was also super-heated!
  1878. >You tried to leave, only for a spear to catch you in the side, the volts coursing through it dropping you down onto your hands and knees
  1879. >You tried to get up, but before you could, magic took hold of the stone in your chest, wrenching it away
  1880. >The effect on your battered armor was immediate, limbs that were struggling to hold on shutting down, dropping you to the floor as the various Ponies around you closed in
  1881. >They had you surrounded on all sides, Cat-Colt was gone, the elevator was moving again, and you were out of ideas
  1882. >Using the last bit of power you had let, you fired your beam at the giant, dark orb, grunting as you pumped every last bit of power you could into it
  1883. >Your laser bored through the glass and, as it finally cut through, you felt three spear blasts hit you, making you roar and writhe in your once-again useless gear
  1884. >…
  1885. >Was that it?
  1886. >Nothing had happened with the orb.
  1887. >It couldn’t be all there was, right?
  1888. >How could you have come this far only to be captured again?!
  1889. >No…
  1890. >No no no!
  1891. “Don’t you dare touch me! I’ll kill you all, do you hear me?! I’ll destroy you all!”
  1892.  
  1893. >Lights flared in the hallway as was promised, but by now, the guardsponies on this floor were used to blasts of blinding light, managing to avoid it, cutting off even that avenue of escape
  1894. >With a half-grunt, half-chuckle, the fourth floor’s boss managed to force herself over towards you, looking down at your collapsed form from above
  1895. >A slow grin crept across her face as she knelt down, looking you straight in the eyes
  1896. >”Calm down, Colt. You’re being hysterical.”
  1897. >”WE agree.”
  1898. >An unnatural voice hissed out, the guardsponies shifting, looking around before backing up with a yell
  1899. >Staring upwards, you saw a sea of darkness and teeth rise above you like a great wave, only to come crashing down, swallowing you whole
  1900.  
  1901. -----
  1902.  
  1903.  
  1904. Two Weeks Later
  1905.  
  1906.  
  1907. -----
  1908.  
  1909. >Currently, you were the Masked Matter-Horn, and you were feeling kind of worried
  1910. >Your team, alongside yourself, had been one of the multiple heroines on-call after the disappearance of Villanon from the fourth floor of Tartarus
  1911. >Considering you’d all fought against her- /him/ numerous times, your team had been seen as the ideal ones to come in and help should he manage to escape
  1912. >After all, Chicken, alongside a number of their lackeys and fellow criminal minds, had recently escaped Tartarus as part of a jail break
  1913. >Given the, admittedly minor, information on what had gone down inside Tartarus, it sounded like they’d used the poor Stallion as a distraction while they escaped
  1914. >Yes, he might have been your enemy, but you knew he wasn’t in the right headspace currently
  1915. >After all, he’d tried hiding his real identity from you all for so long, when it wasn’t anything to be ashamed of!
  1916. >There weren’t too many Stallions out there that could claim to be as strong and crafty as he was, even if he put his talents to rather awful use
  1917. >Maybe…maybe he could have just used a friend?
  1918. >He wasn’t too different from you, after all
  1919. >If you’d been led down a similar path as he had been when you first discovered how powerful you were, maybe you’d have turned out the same
  1920. >Of course, this had a rather mixed impact when you brought it up with the rest of the girls
  1921. >You didn’t really blame them for it though, it had been a tough time for all of you these last few weeks
  1922. >Villanon had been at large for a long while, which meant you’d all fought more than a few times, trading blows, nearly catching him, until finally you had
  1923. >Now though, it was like Ponies had just forgotten how dastardly he was
  1924. >He’d, as Zap put it, beat the feathers out of all of you more than a few times, a fact that was no doubt eating at her
  1925.  
  1926. >She was a prideful Pony after all, even more so than Radiance and Mare-velous, so being made fun of for getting beaten up by a Stallion in the past, as well as being yelled at for returning the favor now that the secret was out was more than a little frustrating for her
  1927. >Nightmare Moon hardly seemed to care how much hate she was getting, though she didn’t seem to care about much
  1928. >In some ways, she was like what a heroine should be, no-nonsense and serious, determined to get the job done no matter what, but you couldn’t help but feel like the other side of being a heroine was inspiring other Ponies and making them feel safe
  1929. >If that was the case then…shouldn’t you try and save Villanon as well?
  1930. >From your kneeling position, you looked over to the rest of your team as they sat and waited, watching the door
  1931. >Villanon hadn’t been spotted for two whole weeks until now, which meant you all needed to get ready for a fight
  1932. >Apparently he’d bonded with Stygian’s Shadow, or it had taken control of his body, and the two of them had slipped into the ninth floor’s vault
  1933. >After that, nopony knew what was happening with him, but with all the things down there, whatever came up was liable to be quite dangerous
  1934. >As in, so dangerous they’d needed to call in the /big/ guns
  1935. >Looking up, you had to squint to get a glimpse of Daybreaker, the strongest heroine alive, and maybe dead, too, wielder of the sun’s power, Alicorn, and rumored rival of Nightmare Moon
  1936. >Of course, that was nowhere near accurate
  1937. >The two of them had fought side by side many a times and had even saved each other more than a few times as well!
  1938. >Of course, the news liked to exaggerate their “rivalry” because for whatever reason, Ponies sure loved to hear about Heroines fighting Heroines
  1939. >It seemed pointless to you, however
  1940. >After all, it /was/ pretty obvious that Daybreaker would win any fight that happened to occur between the two of them
  1941.  
  1942. >…
  1943. >Okay, maybe you /were/ a bit of a fanfilly, but it wasn’t like a bit of competition was unhealthy or anything and besides-
  1944. >You were pulled from your thoughts as an incredible surge of magic filled the air
  1945. >It was strong enough to send your senses haywire, your horn sparking as you felt the raw power flooding the area and when you glanced over at the rest of the girls you noticed that Radiance seemed to be feeling about the same as you had been, shaking her head and trying to focus, her horn sparking, constructs fizzling out as she made them
  1946. >Staring back at where this pressure was coming from, you saw a line form, ,drawing across the ground as if by an unseen hoof
  1947. >the line stopped, then traveled upwards, then back across, and then down again, connecting the sides of the rectangle, the center of which faded away, revealing a silhouetted figure, one that you recognized well from all the fights you’d taken part in over the years
  1948. >From beyond the portal, Villanon stepped through
  1949.  
  1950. -----
  1951.  
  1952. >Currently, you were Zap, and you were looking at a whole pile of horseapples
  1953. >Villanon, the powerless, weird, monkey-Human supervillain just…appeared outside of Tartarus
  1954. >He didn’t blow up the entrance or start smashing stuff either!
  1955. >The stupid Stallion just stepped through some kind of weird, ultra-magic doorway like it was nothing!
  1956. >You could feel your necklace tremble against your body, and when you looked over to Radiance and MH, you saw them freaking out, which was /not/ a good sign
  1957. >Other than Nightmare Moon, Daybreaker, Dr. “The Bearded”, and maybe a few others, Matter-Horn was probably the most advanced magic-user you knew, and she looked shocked at what she was seeing, which made you feel just a mite worse
  1958. >You watched the doorway in space disappear casually behind the asshole himself, but didn’t see any sign of a magic user around, which was what was starting to bother you
  1959.  
  1960. >Villanon was /not/ a magic user, he was all about technology and armor and electricity and yaddah yaddah yaddah, so the fact that he wasn’t accompanied by whoever had helped him out of there was certainly odd
  1961. >He wasn’t even monologuing or anything now, he was just looking around in that jumpsuit of his
  1962. >This didn’t make any sense!
  1963. >Lifting your necklace up, you bit down on the bolt, getting ready to bring down “Lightning 2: Electric boogaloo” on him, when you noticed something
  1964. >As far as you were aware, from what little you knew of the place, prisoners wore collars that were built in to their suits to keep control over them
  1965. >What Villanon had on now was certainly not a collar, no, instead it looked closer to a…
  1966. “Oh HORSEAPPLES!”
  1967. >As a Pony with a magic necklace, you’d spent a lot of time, though you’d hate to admit it, reading up about it, trying to find out if there were other magic necklaces out there, and what they might do
  1968. >Standing above any other was a silver and ruby one, a necklace adorned with an unknown Alicorn's likeness, one that was said to hold unbelievable powers and madness for those that wore it
  1969. “Look out! He’s got-“
  1970. >And that was when Daybreaker landed
  1971.  
  1972. -----
  1973.  
  1974. >”THE ALICORN AMULET!”
  1975. >You were currently Daybreaker and this would /not/ stand
  1976. >Against your better judgement, you’d relinquished ownership of the Alicorn Amulet to the head of Tartarus years ago, allowing them to lock it up in their strongest, deepest vault, kept hidden away from the world
  1977. >It was far too mighty a weapon in the wrong hooves, and with only the Pony that put it on able to remove it, it meant that ridding a Pony of it often called for death or destruction
  1978. >Now though, you realized all too late what that hope would cost you
  1979. >You hit the ground, digging a crater into the concrete as you glared up into Villanon’s eyes
  1980. >Your fury was driven by sorrow and anger at yourself for your foolishness, but you’d let the Stallion believe it was for him
  1981.  
  1982. “Relinquish the amulet now, Villanon, and we won’t have to fight. You won’t be judged for what it made you do. There is no need to brawl, but I’m warning you, if you resist all of us here, we /will/ be forced to take you down.”
  1983. >He glanced down at the amulet in question, and then returned his gaze to you, an expression on his face that you just didn’t quite understand
  1984. >It wasn’t one of fear or worry, nor was it anger or drive
  1985. >Instead, he looked relaxed, bemused almost
  1986. >”No need to fight, huh?”
  1987. >He raised a bare hand up, examining his fingers for a moment, and you felt that surge of raw energy yet again, but you resisted the urge to ready yourself for battle
  1988. >You wanted to calm him down so you could get that amulet off of him and he had to trust you for that
  1989. >”You know…on any other day I might have disagreed with you.”
  1990. >You watched as he raised his hand up, magic encircling three of his fingers before he winked out of existence
  1991. >Gone
  1992. >After a moment, you performed a magical sweep of the area to see if you could pick him up, and then a broader one, but you got nothing, meaning that he had either figured out a way to cloak himself from you and your magic, or he had well and truly disappeared
  1993. >You weren’t sure which was a more worrying thought
  1994.  
  1995. -----
  1996.  
  1997. >You didn’t see Villanon again for about a month after that
  1998. >It was like he’d just vanished off the face of the planet
  1999. >Occasionally somepony would report flare-ups of magic, but it never lasted long and before anypony could find it, it would be gone
  2000. >The news cycle had moved on by that point, deciding to focus on other points of interest aside from “Mares unknowingly beat Colt in metal suit”, though there were still plenty of Mares and Stallions who’d side-eye the six of you
  2001. >You were the Masked Matter-Horn again and you’d just caught word that Villanon had been seen nearby, robbing a jewelry store, no doubt to fund some illicit crime he had planned
  2002.  
  2003. >Zap had “suggested” that maybe he was “just looking for some fancy crap to wear” but she’d come with all the same
  2004. >You were sure it wouldn’t be long before Ponies had moved on past what was clearly an awful mistake, though you really hoped you could subdue Villanon without hurting him too badly, especially since he was no doubt feeling even worse thanks to the Amulet’s influence!
  2005. >Daybreaker had told you all about it’s power as a warning, letting other Ponies know that Villanon was no longer in control of his actions, but that the magic power the amulet was granting him was no doubt dangerous
  2006.  
  2007. -----
  2008.  
  2009. >Like a streak of light, you all arrived just in time, able to see Villanon through the store windows as he rummaged through glass cabinets, searching through the various gemstones and crystals
  2010. >He almost seemed to be searching for something in particular, but you couldn’t make out exactly what it was
  2011. >Whatever the case might have been, you all had a duty to stop him before he hurt anypony, or himself!
  2012. >As one, you all took your various entry points, Zap and Saddle-Rager coming in through the skylight above the store while Radiance and yourself took the front door, Fili-Second and Mistress Mare-velous going in through the back
  2013. >Zap burst in first, smashing through the skylight, showing glass down into the room as she flapped her wings, staying aloft in the air
  2014. >”Stop right there, criminal scum!”
  2015. >Radiance and yourself blasted the front door open, charging through as the follow-up
  2016. >”Pay your fine or go to jail, Villanon!”
  2017. >Radiance continued, while your last two teammates came in through the back
  2018. >”ThatmeanshandovertheamuletnowpleaseVillanonwedonn’twannahavetoforceyoutodoitespeciallybecauseweknowyou’renotfeelingokaybutwewillifwehavetorightgirls?”
  2019.  
  2020. >Villanon, for the most part, really didn’t seem to care as he stood there, once again bearing his metal armor, a long, green cloak flowing in the breeze formed by Fili-Second’s rapid-fire speech, his hood up, casting shadows on his metal-clad face
  2021. >There, on his chest, built-in to his armor, was the Amulet, radiating power and, when you focused you could tell that he wasn’t the only thing drawing on it
  2022. >The strange thing, though, was the way he seemed almost warded against your probing!
  2023. >You were certain the Amulet’s magic was flowing…somewhere, but you just couldn’t tell what it was!
  2024. >Did he establish magical blind-spots or something?
  2025. >Then, as if he’d remembered where he was, he adjusted, arms swinging out wide, raw power radiating off of him as he no doubt smiled at you all behind his mask
  2026. >”Ah, the Power Ponies! After my long incarceration it actually feels good to see you all again! I wish you’d told me you were coming though, this place is a mess!”
  2027. >His voice was warped again by his metal in that familiar way, but there was a hint of something else there too, as if a second voice was speaking in tandem with his
  2028. >Also, wait, didn’t he seem a bit…odd?
  2029. >He’d been so angry before but now his tone, warped as it might be, seemed almost…happy?
  2030. >Just how badly was the amulet messing with his head?
  2031. >”You deserve to be in there a lot longer after everything you put us through!”
  2032. >Hum Drum didn’t pitch in all too often during fights, but he seemed interested now, stepping out from behind you, pointing up (and up) at the towering, mechanical menace
  2033. >”Hum Drum! How could I forget about you, of course! I apologize it’s just that I, like most sane creatures, don’t tend to associate the words “power” or “Ponies” with you! Ah ha ha ha ha!”
  2034. >”How dare you, you ruffian! Take this!”
  2035. >Radiance formed a large attack construct in the shape of a hoof, swinging it at Villanon, but he didn’t even bother to move, only saying one word
  2036. >”Shield.”
  2037.  
  2038. >The magical hoof was about to hit him when a thin, ethereal sheen rose off his armor like a second skin, that hoof bouncing off of it without so much as scuffing him
  2039. >Thankfully, you recognized this spell, at least!
  2040. >The other magical he’d pulled had been far too powerful for you to know, but this, this made sense, this was powerful, but still normal, at least
  2041. >”Ha ha, you fool! As if somepony as weak as you could pierce my arcane energy!”
  2042. >”Then whAT ABOUT ME?”
  2043. >Saddle-Rager leaped down from the roof she’d been perched on, growing mid-fall so she could strike Villanon on the way down with hopefully enough force to get past his barrier, only-
  2044. >”Finally! I was getting sick of waiting for you, Saddle-Rager! You’re going to be sitting out of this fight. Banishment!”
  2045. >Villanon raised one hand, magic rising out of four of his fingers, shooting a dark, beam up that struck your angry friend in the tuft!
  2046. >As the spell shot out, you felt that wave of power again, the unmistakable feeling of raw energy flowing out of the Stallion in between you all as, with nothing but a raised hand and a word, Saddle-Rager disappeared as if she’d been wrenched away from reality itself
  2047. “S-Saddle-Rager!”
  2048. >You stood their, mouth agape, as you stared at the spot your friend had been occupying, nothing remaining there but air
  2049. >”You…You bastard!”
  2050. >Zap growled around her necklace, bolt lodged between her teeth as a massive storm began to brew above the store, her eyes filled with rage as powerful lightning crackled above you all
  2051. >There wasn’t enough time to stop her, so you all had to do the next best thing, dodge, or block it some how
  2052. >You raised a shield spell up around Radiance and yourself, and she created an elaborate shield as well, while Fili-Second hauled Mare-Velous out of the way, and no doubt halfway to Goatham before coming back
  2053. >Villanon, however, didn’t budge, just standing there like a crazy pony!
  2054.  
  2055. >Zap’s lightning had nearly melted his suit last time, and this was far stronger stuff!
  2056. >Zap brought the lightning down upon the villain, but as it struck him, he extended a hand upwards, seeming to absorb much of the energy, the rest simply coursing over his suit
  2057. >Unbelievably, as the lightning subsided, Villanon just lowered his arm, examining his palm briefly before chuckling
  2058. >He seemed totally fine, as if he’d been able to easily shrug off a bolt of lightning that might have killed any normal Pony!
  2059. >Glancing up as your barrier faded, you could see the surprise on Zap’s face, her mouth hanging open despite her anger
  2060. >Before she could say anything, Villanon was upon her, his right arm still crackling with electricity as he grabbed Zap, forcibly dragging her down to the ground from mid-air
  2061. >”I’ll admit, Zap, the power in that one certainly /shocked/ me! Still, it was nowhere near enough to do anything but power me up.”
  2062. >Dropping the barrier, Radiance threw her construct at Villanon while you fired off a beam of ice, trying to slow his movement for long enough to free Zap from his grasp, sparks dancing off his gauntlet and onto her, singing her costume
  2063. >With his free hand, he raised it up, pointing a single digit outwards, Magic Missiles firing out from his hand, all three striking the object, shattering it with ease
  2064. >Even your ice barely did anything, crackling along his armor only to be shrugged off and ignored
  2065. >”One second, Matter-Horn, I have to handle Zap here.”
  2066. >Zap wriggled and swung at the Stallion pinning her down, but her hoof bounced off his armor, not budging him an inch, quickly responded by pumping her body full of electricity, the sparks on his arm going wild before fading, Zap’s struggles coming to a stop
  2067. >As Villanon released her and stood up, you could see she was breathing, though it was slow and shallow
  2068. >”Now, who’s next?”
  2069. >This was wrong
  2070. >Villanon was far too strong!
  2071. >Was it all the Amulet’s doing?
  2072.  
  2073. >Was that why he was acting so strange as well?
  2074. >Usually he just knocked you out, or threatened to with a device or a trap, but this time, Zap really looked hurt!
  2075. >You didn’t want to hut a Stallion, and especially not one who clearly wasn’t in control of himself, but you were going to have to, clearly, if you wanted to stop him!
  2076. “Radiance, make a construct around Villanon’s head so he can’t see us! Fili-Second! You have to run and get Daybreaker! Mare-velous, Once Radiance has his head, you have to tie up the rest of him so he can’t break free!”
  2077. >The girls nodded, each taking up their own job, despite how stressed and worried they might have been
  2078. >Villanon, for his part, stood tall, not seeming to care as a ball-shaped construct appeared around his head in the shape of a peal, cutting him off from the outside world
  2079. >Mare-velous’ lasso flew out from her belt, looping around Villanon’s broad body, the rope’s length looping around the rest of him, binding his arms to his sides and his legs together, no doubt bringing him off-balance, enough for you to bring him down
  2080. “You’re going down, Villanon!”
  2081. >Charging up a blast in your horn, you grit your teeth, squeezed your eyes, and tilted your head down, your broad stance keeping you from being sent tumbling as you let loose a massive blast of force
  2082. >The bolt struck Villanon in the chest and, with his height and bound limbs, it sent him teetering over, collapsing to the ground with a heavy THUD
  2083. “G-Gotcha…”
  2084. >Firing off a huge blast of energy like that was always taxing for you, as you were still a Unicorn after all
  2085.  
  2086. >Still, you’d all managed to bring the villain down for the time being, and Fili-Second was no doubt halfway to wherever Daybreaker currently was already, which meant you should be able to-
  2087. >”Sleep.”
  2088. >The Stallion’s metal-warped voice run in your ears, the single word filling your head with thoughts of bed, of relaxing under your blanket on an early morning, snuggling up by the fire with somepony sweet and kind
  2089. >As your head swirled, you shook it, trying to stay awake, but your traitorous eyelids drooped, and soon, you’d collapsed to the ground, the world going dark around you
  2090.  
  2091. -----
  2092.  
  2093. >You awoke with a groan, rubbing your eyes as you opened them, adjusting your off-kilter mask from it’s current position on your face, your foreleg aching from your having slept on it
  2094. >Once you could see, the memories of what had happened came rushing back, as well as what shouldn’t have
  2095. >Currently, aside from Villanon, you were the only one still up
  2096. >Radiance was down, and Mare-velous was slumped against a wall, gasping, forelegs wrapped around her middle, pain evident on her face
  2097. >Villanon, seeming to notice you were awake, reached down, grasping you by your mane, metal digits sinking into your locks as he dragged you to the side, dropping you in a heap at his feet
  2098. >What was he going to do to you?
  2099. >You had to hit him, now!
  2100. >Leveling your horn at him, you summoned up a spell to temporarily blind him, but he grasped head, pulling you back at the last second so your shot went wide, hitting the ceiling harmlessly and fizzling out
  2101. >He squatted down, staring into your eyes, his own no longer visible through the eye holes in his helmet, replaced with a strange glow that reminded you of…something
  2102. >”None of that now. I don’t have much time before Fili-Second gets back, and the timing just won’t be right for Daybreaker and myself, so I’ll have to keep this brief.”
  2103. >His grasp was too tight to pull away from, and so you’d just have to try and reason with him
  2104.  
  2105. >If nothing else maybe you could buy yourself and the rest of the girls some time before Daybreaker arrived with Fili-Second
  2106. “V-Villanon, please, this isn’t you! I know you, you have to take the amulet off before it’s too late! The longer you keep it on, the worse it will affect you, until it drives you crazy…”
  2107. >He chuckled, releasing your face only to pat you on the head, and you could almost feel the unsettling smile behind his metal mask
  2108. >”Oh, Matter-Horn you know, it’s funny. Ever since my talk with Shadow, I’ve never felt more in-control. I’ll see you later.”
  2109. >With that, he stood back up to his full height, strode into the center room, and spoke again, this time in a booming voice, one clearly meant to be heard by everypony in the room
  2110. >”Pathetic! To think I once considered you my nemeses! Remember tonight well, “Power Ponies”, as it shall mark the official beginning of my immortal rule!”
  2111. >With that, he was gone, disappearing from reality mere moments before Fili-Second arrived with Daybreaker in tow, the two arriving to a destroyed room, your defeated team, and the hollow ringing of the mad Stallion’s laughter
  2112.  
  2113. -----
  2114.  
  2115. Jan 29, 2019 @ 23:41:42 Pacific
  2116. (more fanart ponybooru.org/images/2735651)
  2117. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/33452635/#33453921
  2118.  
  2119. >Two weeks later, you received another call
  2120. >Villanon had been sighted robbing the Museum of Magical Artifacts and so, of course, your team had assembled to catch him
  2121. >This time around, he wouldn’t beat you all so easily!
  2122. >Thankfully, Saddle-Rager was back from wherever Villanon had sent her, though you as a collective decided to leave Hum Drum back at the base
  2123. >Villanon, as he currently was, seemed far too dangerous to let your little Colt chase after him as well
  2124. >You’d tried to get Daybreaker, but apparently she was currently on the other side of Equestria, stopping some sort of alien invasion
  2125. “I guess even Villanon doesn’t seem /that/ bad yet.”
  2126. >”Hey, Equestria to Matter-Horn, you there?”
  2127. “S-Sorry! I was just thinking that we should have gotten Daybreaker before coming here is all.”
  2128. >Zap snorted, her own amulet jingling faintly from the movement
  2129. >”Villanon just got lucky last time is all. I mean, Saddle-Rager came back after he left, right? He just surprised us. This time though, we’re gonna get him.”
  2130. >”Try not to sound /too/ eager about getting your hooves on that villainous Stallion, Darling. Ponies might begin to assume you have a ‘type’.”
  2131. >”H-Hey, I’m just pursuing justice and whatever! Besides, Villanon would be lucky to get with me, considering all the stuff he’s done!”
  2132. >”Aw sweet Faust’n now she’s talkin’ ‘bout ‘er kinks!”
  2133. >”Like you’re reeeeeeaally one to talk, Mare-velous! Iveseenhowyoutieupsomecriminalsyouknow!”
  2134. >”Why you- It’s not mah fault that those’re efficient ways t’wrassle varmints!”
  2135. >”Um, girls?”
  2136. >”Riiiiight, justlikewhenyoutiedupZapthefirsttimeyoumetherandthoughtthatshewastheonemessingwiththeweather!”
  2137. >”Girls?”
  2138. >”Don’t worry, Darling, we won’t judge you on your particular ‘interests’, right girls?”
  2139. >”Girls!”
  2140. “Saddle-Rager, quiet, we have to-“
  2141. >”I can see his silhouette through that door.”
  2142. >"Wait what?!"
  2143.  
  2144. >As a one, the group came to a dead stop, looking through the smoky-glass door that led to the concurrent exhibit
  2145. >There stood a towering silhouette, illuminated by the lights in the room
  2146. “Alright girls, on three, we burst in there and grab him before he can cast any spells, got it?”
  2147. >Nods were shared before kicking the door open, your group slamming into the cloak-wearing figure as one, tackling it to the ground
  2148. “Got you, Villa-“
  2149. >As he hit the floor, there was a terrifying crunching sound, and then you could feel him break apart beneath you!
  2150. >His cloak loosened, stiff, mismatched limbs snapping off his body!
  2151. “O-Oh Faust, V-Villanon’s dead!”
  2152.  
  2153. -----
  2154.  
  2155. >Alright, you may have overreacted
  2156. >After an initial panic, Saddle-Rager lifted some of the cloak, revealing that it wasn’t Villanon, but a strange marennequin with his cloak wrapped around it
  2157. “But, why would he do tha-“
  2158. >The universe appeared to hate you as you got your answer in the form of a net that emerged from the floor, unseen beforehoof, wrapping you up tight in it’s grasp, mashing you and the rest of the girls together!
  2159. >”You know, I only expected one or two of you at most to fall for that trap. Good to see you ‘Puny Ponies’ sometimes manage to exceed my expectations!”
  2160. >Villanon emerged from the shadows, walking towards you all as the six of you shifted about, trying to break free, though the net felt as strong as steel!
  2161. >”Ah ah ah, I wouldn’t do that if I was the lot of you. All I need to do is send a charge through the steel wires of that net and you’ll all be hit with enough of an electrical charge to- well, I’m told the results are quite /shocking/.”
  2162. >He threw his head back, letting out a booming, mechanical laugh
  2163. >It was an effective warning though, and you all settled, some more comfortably than others
  2164. “What are you planning, Villanon?”
  2165. >”Yeah! Spill the bean, gene!”
  2166.  
  2167. >”The bean? Really, Fili-Second?”
  2168. >”What? If I said, “Spill the Beans, Genes”, he’d think I was talking about the clothes, or his genetic makeup, Zap!”
  2169. >The Stallion paused for a moment, raising one gauntlet to his mask’s chin, stroking it as he spoke
  2170. >”Oh? You want to hear what I have in store for you?”
  2171. >He dropped his hand down and behind his back, turning away from you all, only to tilt his head upwards to the ceiling, almost contemplatively
  2172. >”You see, ‘Pitiful Ponies’, I now know what I can do to defeat you, once and for all. I’ve realized that part of what makes you all so efficient is-“
  2173. >With his back turned as he gloated about his plan, the rest of you got to work
  2174. >Radiance formed a nail file and handed it to Fili-Second, while you coated the construct with a spell to temporarily improve it’s durability
  2175. >Fili-Second began to saw away at the net, vibrate her forelegs while she cut so that the file dug through the metal like a power tool
  2176. >Beneath you all, Saddle-Rager was starting to get angry, swelling up, using her incredible strength to start forcing the weakening cables apart, meanwhile Zap started up some hail outside, the noise helping to muffle the sound of Fili-Second almost buzz-sawing her way through the net
  2177. >”-and so you see that’s why I’ll be using the Crystal Colt statue with Bolt’s Blaster, turning you all into the little fillies you truly are! From there, I’ll de-age the rest of Equestria until /I/ am the only remaining adult, and therefor the only one who can run for President!”
  2178. >Reaching into his cloak, which he’d put back on during his monologue, Villanon pulled out the statue of the crystalline Colt he’d pilfered from the jewelry shop, as well as the antique Blaster, attaching the two together
  2179.  
  2180. >Using the hand crank, he began to power the device up but, when he turned to face you all, you’d have already begun to move, shifting through the various aisles of old artifacts so that you could flank him and get that weapon as far from him as possible
  2181. >After all, if he was the only adult around, he could set up whatever laws and regulations he wanted!
  2182. >Admittedly it was a bit of a…strange plan when you thought about it
  2183. >”Curses! Escaped, did you? Well you won’t be so lucky now that my device is up and running! I hope you’re ready to go back to magical Kindergarten!”
  2184. >”The only one that’s gonna get schooled is you, Villanon! Now drop the De-Ager!”
  2185. >”Never! Take this!”
  2186. >Zap soared through the air, diving and swaying through the air, keeping out of reach of each blast from Villanon’s weapon, though he was close behind her
  2187. >”Stand still you infernal Pegasi! I’ll rob you of those wings you hold so dear!”
  2188. >He tried to fire again, only for the blaster’s glow to fade, forcing him to growl in annoyance, cranking it up again
  2189. >Six blasts, that’s all he got before he had to recharge it!
  2190. >While he jerked the mechanism, the glow beginning to return, you emerged from your hiding spot, firing a concussive blast at the box, knocking it from the startled villain’s hands
  2191. >”Wha- Matter-Horn! You’re getting a little too accurate with those blasts for my liking. Why don’t the two of you be good Ponies and let me turn back the clock? You can both rethink being heroines while your fathers diaper you!”
  2192. >He reached for the blaster, but Fili-Second was there seconds before him, scooping it off the ground, rushing deeper into the exhibit
  2193. >”SorryVillanonbutbeingaherostoomuchfuntogiveupTHATeasily!”
  2194. >He fired a few blasts off at the speedster, but Radiance formed a shield, blocking them out, while Saddle-Rager tackled Villanon to the floor, pinning him down, a hoof on each limb while she headbutted him in the face!
  2195.  
  2196. >Every slam dug his armored head further into the floor, splinters and broken bits of tiles coming loose around him, his arms and legs twitching as he writhed, trying to get free from the Mare’s grasp
  2197. >”Release me [WHAM] you wretched [WHAM] body-builder [WHAM] of a [WHAM] Pony!”
  2198. >The next headbutt sent him through the floor but before he tumbled free of the now-falling mini-giantess, Marevelous’ lasso snapped down after him, pulling his net in tow
  2199. >Controlling it mentally, she swung the net up, catching him in it, before her lasso wrapped around the broken cables, binding it together
  2200. >With some help, she managed to haul Villanon up, trapped in the netting
  2201. >”WowMarevelousyousurenabbedabigone!”
  2202. >”An’ a mean one too! Y’all reckon ah should throw’im back in where ’e came from?”
  2203. >”There’s only one place I’d like you to toss this ruffian, Darling, and that’s certainly no pond.”
  2204. >”Alright, that’s enough of that.”
  2205. >As if it wasn’t a challenge at all, Villanon disappeared from the netting, leaving behind only a faint mist inside the metal bonds
  2206. >Reappearing behind Mare-velous, he kicked her off the edge, sending the startled heroine plummeting down to the floor below
  2207. >”I’ve humored you all for long enough. You had your fun and your silly banter, and now it’s time for me to win.”
  2208. >Radiance raised a shield up, but Villanon just swung a fist down, punching straight through it, his metal gauntlet slamming into the side of the Mare’s head, smashing her to the ground, knocking her out cold
  2209. “R-Radiance! Villanon, stop! We don’t want to-“
  2210. >Saddle-Rager tried to tackle him, but he caught her forehooves and, with a twist, spun her about mid-air, letting her collapse to the ground
  2211. >That didn’t stop her, but as he raised his boot, an exhaust port opened, a jet of flame shooting out, burning her face, causing your hulking friend to roar, clutching at her burnt fur
  2212.  
  2213. “Saddle-Rager, hold still, let me-“
  2214. >You tried to rush to her side to heal her, but a backhand from the Stallion sent you flying, crashing into a display, various, powerless artifacts falling to the ground around you
  2215. >Looking up, you saw Zap fly up, smashing the sprinklers fixed to the ceiling, the flow of water helping to soothe Saddle-Rager’s burns somewhat
  2216. >Villanon capitalized on this, however, lightning coursing out through the water, shocking everypony who was currently being soaked in the room, managing to catch Fili-Second before she could escape, locking her up
  2217. >She could take electrical-based attacks a lot better than most due to her powers’ origins, but it still affected her
  2218. >Additionally, with her stuck like that, it would be easy for somepony to grab the weapon, and if the mad Stallion got his hands on it, it would be the end!
  2219. >Focusing on a protection spell, three bubbles emerged from your horn like you were blowing them, and you sent them flying across the room, encompassing Zap, Radiance and Fili-Second, cutting them off from the water and electricity
  2220. >Bemused, Villanon turned his attention to you, moving to handle you first, only for Mare-velous’ lasso to come flying up from the previous floor, looping around his neck, dragging the Mare along behind it
  2221. >”Yeehaw! You ain’t gettin’ away /that/ easy, Stallion! Ah’m gonna truss you up and leave you under the Ponice’s Hearth’s Warming tree!”
  2222. >There was no discomfort in his voice when he spoke, both his hands coming together, forming some sort of blue, crystalline sphere in his grasp all while Mare-velous climbed up her lasso towards him
  2223. >”Isn’t that a little off-season, Mare-velous? If it /was/ Hearth’s Warming, it ought to be snowing!”
  2224. >He chuckled and tossed the cerulean sphere upwards, causing it to break once it hit the ceiling and, when it did, a blue blast filled the room, followed by piercing cold
  2225.  
  2226. -----
  2227.  
  2228. >When you opened your eyes, the whole room had been coated in ice
  2229. >Everything, including your fur, sported a shiny, crystal-like sheen, while the water from the sprinklers had frozen on the spot, albeit slightly warped from the physical blast of cold
  2230. >Ice was coating Saddle-Rager and Mare-velous’ bodies, while Zap, Radiance, and Fili-Second’s bubbles had burst, leaving them sealed inside of ice-formed orbs, trapped but unharmed
  2231. >You hadn’t been touched by the water so you’d only had to deal with the brunt of the cold damage and WOW was that painful!
  2232. >It felt like somepony had taken you to get acupuncture done with icicles, and it hurt to move, the frost clinging to your fur crunching when you shifted and adjusted
  2233. >Villanon, however, looked perfectly fine, a trend you were /really/ not liking
  2234. >Even Saddle-Rager’s headbutts didn’t appear to have done anything to him!
  2235. >Humming something, he walked over to Fili-Second’s ice orb and, after forming a second crystal orb, punched his gauntlet through the bubble-shaped wall, a secondary burst of ice coming from inside it, shattering the bubble, replacing it with a smaller, and as you soon came to tell, solid ball of ice
  2236. >His gauntlet heated up, and he started to melt his way through the ice bit by bit, quickly reducing it to water until he found his prize
  2237. >The blaster
  2238. >”Now lets see, the Power Ponies are down again, I’ve got the blaster, and I can start blasting them now unless somepony tries to stop me. Will that be enough to bring Nightmare out?”
  2239. >Walking back into the room, you tried to knock the weapon out of his hand but, as if seeing it coming, he raised one palm up, physically blocking your spell
  2240. >Saddle-Rager burst from her ice-cocoon, as did Mare-velous, but Villanon paid them no mind
  2241. >A charged punch downed the lasso-touting heroine, while an unspoken spell caused the hulking Pony’s eyes to cloud over, turning entirely black as she whimpered, flinching at unseen things all around her
  2242.  
  2243. >”Alright, /now/ they’re all down.”
  2244. >He paused, looking around, his eyes glowing behind his mask before he sighed, and aimed his De-Ager blaster at Saddle-Rager
  2245. >”Now let’s see, what would-ah, got it!”
  2246. >He cleared his voice, put one boot back, and struck a dramatic pose, the blaster beginning to charge, focusing its power through the crystalline colt adorning it, leveled right at Saddle-Rager
  2247. >She still didn’t seem to see it coming, continuing to shuffle about on the spot while Villanon’s weapon grew brighter and brighter
  2248. >”I think being a foal will suit you well, Saddle-Rager! After all, you do enjoy your tantrums, don’t you?”
  2249. >Quick, you had to think of something!
  2250. >Saddle-Rager was going to get hit if you didn’t, but you just couldn’t move fast enough, and the rest of the team was down!
  2251. >The charge in the blaster was still building, growing stronger and stronger but, right before it fired, a pair of small, crescent moon-shaped blades flew through an opened window, one slamming into the side of the blaster, causing the charge inside the weapon to fizzle out
  2252. >The other flew up and through the room, smashing through all the lights before returning to the near-invisible, shadowy figure that slipped through the window
  2253. >Moonlight filled the darkened room, casting an eerie light across the scene, the only other sources of light being Villanon’s armor and faintly glowing amulet
  2254. >It seemed both the villain and yourself knew what was going on here, as the two of you spoke in unison
  2255. >>”Nightmare Moon.”
  2256.  
  2257. -----
  2258.  
  2259. >You are Nightmare Moon, and Villanon was within your reach
  2260. >You’d been tracking him for the last two weeks, but it had been like trying to catch your own shadow
  2261. >Damnably close, and yet still elusive
  2262. >Now though, you had him
  2263. >He’d managed to bring down the Power Ponies with his stolen magic, but you’d be prying that amulet from him tonight one way or another
  2264.  
  2265. >”Nightmare Moon, what a pleasant ‘surprise’. Did it take you this long to find me, or were you just waiting to make a dramatic entrance?”
  2266. >Slipping from one shadow to the next, you moved around the room, circling Villanon and setting down traps as you went, covering your path while also making travel difficult for him if he kept from the main, mostly-frozen over, area
  2267. >Keeping your eyes on him, you could see the shielded eyes of his mask change colors faintly and, upon settling on one color, he began to follow you as you moved
  2268. >”You know, it’s pretty fascinating, all that I’ve learned. Were you aware that Ponies have rather specific magical signatures? Much like how no two cutie marks are the same, everypony’s latent magical energy has some aspect that defines it, and that goes triply so for Alicorns.”
  2269. >It was a little unnerving how easily he kept up with you, not even bothering to turn when you moved behind him, but you could practically feel his eyes boring into you
  2270. >If he could track you in this darkness then subtlety would do you no good
  2271. >You’d have to take the offensive on this, and fast
  2272. >This Stallion could not be allowed the upperhoof
  2273. >Much like the first time you’d faced him in your own tower, you let loose two of your smoke grenades, the sparkling dust filling the air, blinding him so that you could continue to circle until you were behind him again
  2274. >”Ah, back to this, are we? I feel like you’re underestimating me, ‘Nightmare Moon’.”
  2275. >As you silently charged him, you slipped on your enhanced Ponyshoes, ones you’d had custom built after finding out about his escape from Tartarus
  2276. >They were similar to the ones you’d used during your fight in the sewers, but they packed a far more focused punch, one that should be enough to pierce through his magical barriers and allowed you to break down his armor again
  2277.  
  2278. >Before you reached him, you threw three more of your crescent moons out, sending one at his front, and one to both of his sides, hoping to keep him distracted while you moved in
  2279. >As you drew close, a powerful wind buffeted outwards, knocking them, and the smoke, away, forcing you to stand your ground to avoid being thrown back
  2280. >Villanon turned slowly to face you, the wind subsiding, allowing you to gaze upwards at the metallic monster
  2281. >”You know, considering what I’ll be doing after I’m done with you, it’s going to make this far funnier. At least for me. Do you remember what you did to me, by the way? I’ll have you know it hurt quite a bit.”
  2282. >You stepped in and threw out a quick jab, followed by a feint into a powerful straight
  2283. >”Shield.”
  2284. >The magical barrier rose from off his armor, taking the brunt of your attacks, though you could see them cracking it with each strike
  2285. >Villanon took a lazy swing at you which you dodged, slipping under his guard to pummel his gut, weakening his barrier further, cracks beginning to show with every miniature explosion
  2286. >The strain on your limbs was greater by using these, but it was necessary
  2287. >”Oh, right. Ha ha! Do you really think your puny blows can hurt me? I am Villanon, the greatest villain to ever live!”
  2288. “Hrm.”
  2289. >This didn’t seem right
  2290. >He was posturing and showing off, not even bothering to fight as you wore his barrier down, but why?
  2291. >When you’d fought him before, he’d fought back with a ferocity that had nearly taken you down multiple times, and had even put you out of commission for a while
  2292. >Was this really the amulet’s doing?
  2293. >Could his ego actually be this bloated?
  2294. >With a flip backwards, your back hoof struck his barrier, finally shattering it, dropping his defenses to his armor and, using the propulsion of the blast, you landed facing away from him, just in time to buck him with all your might
  2295. >Your kicks had felled marble columns, stone walls, and broken down metal doors, and that was on their own
  2296.  
  2297. >With your additional weaponry, you could match a tank’s firepower and, as your hind hooves struck the Human’s gut, you felt the explosions send shock waves through your legs, the strike causing Villanon to skid backwards
  2298. >You twisted to continue your assault, not wanting to slow down until he was out for the count but as you did, a gauntlet came down, grasping at the place your head had been not seconds before
  2299. >”Just as agile as ever, hm?”
  2300. >Adrenaline helped slow the world down around you as you examined the villain, eyes running over him
  2301. >His armor didn’t even look scratched, and with how easily he was moving, it didn’t seem like your attack had done anything to it, or him
  2302. >Adjusting, you slunk back behind the displays, moving quickly, trying to mix up where you were coming from
  2303. >If your ponyshoes weren’t going to do anything, you’d have to rely on Shatter, then
  2304. >You had one other weapon made specifically with him in mind, but it’d be bad if he managed to escape with it
  2305. >Darting past a display on ancient architect, you started to throw Crescent Moons out, sending the blades arcing through the air at different angles, each one carrying a small, explosive charge
  2306. >Villanon, with relative ease, blew them out of the sky, but the smoke cloud they created made for adequate cover, enough for you to slip in through the clouds, your horn lancing out
  2307. >From the way he flinched, he seemed surprised, for the first time tonight, to see you, and that was just what you wanted
  2308. >He said something, raising both hands, but you could scarcely hear it, your horn rising with you as you pushed yourself upwards, the tip of that darkened spire of raw, magical power touching the Stallion’s neck right as you spoke the spell’s only incantation
  2309. >”Shatter.”
  2310.  
  2311. -----
  2312.  
  2313. >You were Matter-Horn, and something was wrong
  2314. >Something was so incredibly wrong that it felt like reality was being forcibly twisted around you
  2315. >At the moment, only Saddle-Ranger appeared to be conscious, but she was still under the-no, wait, she was free and looking around, blinking in confusion, her eyes no longer twin, inky pools of darkness
  2316. >Zap was probably awake, though still in her ice bubble
  2317. >You were far too distracted to come up with a reason for why, though
  2318. >Your magic was gone
  2319.  
  2320. -----
  2321.  
  2322. >You were Nightmare Moon, and something was incredibly wrong
  2323. >Your gear felt heavy, heavier than it had in years, and your body felt worse
  2324. >Aches and pains that you had kept magically suppressed returned in full force, and you could feel exhaustion beginning to claw at your mind
  2325. >Your wings dropped to your sides, and you found you could no longer feel the magic that near-constantly emanated from your horn
  2326. >In fact, you couldn’t feel /any/ magic at all
  2327. >Nothing except for what was coming off of the Alicorn Amulet
  2328. >It’s magical glow seemed brighter as the very world around you grew dull and grey, magic seeping from it, draining it of it’s vibrancy and life
  2329. “What?”
  2330. >Villanon didn’t seem to have hear you, the armor on his throat unbroken, as if your spell hadn’t reached him
  2331. >”Fascinating. I was wondering what would happen if I used this spell, but it seems that the Alicorn Amulet is strong enough to work while in it. Ironic, hm, ‘Nightmare Moon’?”
  2332. >He looked around, not even caring about you as he examined his surroundings, leaving you to your thoughts as you backed up and away from him
  2333. >Every step you took was agony, your various injuries sustained over numerous years feeling just as fresh now as the times when you had received them
  2334. >If this was a spell that he had cast, then it was beyond anything you’d ever considered possible
  2335. >The only thing that came close to this level of insane magical power was Daybreaker and her sun
  2336.  
  2337. >He had a way to cancel out magic itself, the lifeblood of the universe
  2338. >”Where do you think /you’re/ going?”
  2339. >A metal hand grasped your mane, before you could pull back, dragging you unwillingly towards the behemoth as his cold eyes stared down at you
  2340. >"You know, it really is /fascinating/, ‘Nightmare Moon’, the differences between people with, and without, magic."
  2341. >Your hooves slammed into Villanon’s armor, bouncing off the heavily reinforced metal like a foal, play-fighting with their mother
  2342. >”Without magic, you appear to be a fairly harmless, if larger than average, Pony, while I…”
  2343. >He adjusted his hands quickly, one grasping one of your hind legs just below your flank, while the other slipped in above your withers, fingers squeezing the back of your neck
  2344. >You tried to dig your hooves into your belt’s pouch to find the weapon, but you couldn’t open the pouch as easily as normal, your hooves feeling clumsy and inefficient
  2345. >”…/I/ am still /VILLANON/.”
  2346. >Then he brought your back down onto his knee
  2347.  
  2348. -----
  2349. -----
  2350. -----
  2351.  
  2352. >Things weren't the same after that
  2353. >You were Matter-Horn, and you'd taken Nightmare Moon to the horsepital and had planned to stay by her side while she was rushed through, only to be pushed away by the Doctors and Nurses
  2354. >When you returned to the Crystal Keep, you'd all gotten into an argument
  2355. >Soon, everypony was shouting, until things that should never have been said, were
  2356. >It was a cold, lonely night when the awful decision was made
  2357. >The Power Ponies were disbanding
  2358. >As you watched what had been your team going their separate ways, a troubling thought surfaced
  2359. >What was going to happen to the world now?
  2360.  
  2361.  
  2362. Apr 11, 2019 @ 16:24:45 Pacific
  2363. desuarchive.org/mlp/thread/33720321/#33730529
  2364.  
  2365. >It was a dark, cold, moon-less night when you perched upon the jutting gargoyle, water running over you, the chill settling into your bones
  2366. >The world had become a dark, bleak void, sapping the strength from your very soul
  2367. >Every night you went out to fight crime, only to stagger back home the next day, beaten, bloody, and broken, until you found yourself wondering
  2368. >Did anything /really/ matter?
  2369. >What had you accomplished with your life?
  2370. >No friends, no family of your own, other than your parents, who were slowly dying in their home, like so many other ponies
  2371. >Even your magic which you'd thought was /so/ important turned out to be nothing but a curse that hurt those around you
  2372. >Still, you had a job to do, one that you'd see completed one way or another
  2373. >The back door of the the warehouse opened up, dingy light briefly illuminating the roach-infested alley
  2374. >Only when the light touched the Pony laying further down the alley did you notice them
  2375. >They blended in with the trash so well but then, so did much of this world
  2376. >Still, she wasn't what you were here for, letting you put thoughts of her out of your mind
  2377. >Looking back to the door, a muscular mare poked her head out from beyond the illuminated doorway, glancing around until she saw what both of you wanted
  2378. >The buyer
  2379. >Using a camera, you recorded the interaction, watching them talk until they both retreated inside
  2380. >That was your cue
  2381. >Leaping from your perch, a single Feather Fall spell let you drift down silently onto the roof of the building, unnoticed
  2382. >From there, you moved to the small peephole you'd cut out two days ago, peeking into the building, a hearing-enhancement spell allowing you to listen in
  2383. >"So, you got the goods?"
  2384. >"Yeah, mare, I got it I got it. You have the money?"
  2385. >"Of course, the Blood Breakers always keep their word."
  2386. >Razor Edge!
  2387. >You adjusted, taking in the sight of the huge Mare looming above the buyer
  2388.  
  2389. >More muscles than you could count rippled under her flesh and fur, while fearsome, sharp spikes stuck out from her shoulder pads
  2390. >A half-dozen pouches circled her legs, and her tail was gone, torn off in one of her innumerable fights
  2391. >A huge, razor-sharp Samoorai sword hung in the air, suspended threateningly by her blood-red magic
  2392. >As they spoke, it swayed like a guillotine, just waiting for it's time to strike
  2393. >You longed for Radiance right now, as she would have that sword encased in an elegant sheath within seconds, but she was far too caught up with her destroyed home town and something about "getting all the jewelry"
  2394. >Saddle-Rager was on the run from the military
  2395. >Zap was helping with the fallout of Geponesha
  2396. >Fili-Second said something about "saving her dad from dying" and had run off...somewhere
  2397. >Mare-Velous was off fighting demons or Ares or some such thing on her hidden orchard
  2398. >Lastly, poor Hum-Drum had been killed by Maneiac
  2399. >Even now, your very soul ached with hatred for that monster, insane or not
  2400. >"Alright, here you go, one foal, Colt and all."
  2401. >Stifling your inner rage, you took stock of the scene happening below you, disgust and disbelief rising within you
  2402. >Razor Edge took the foal from the seller, a murderous grin stretching across her face
  2403. >"Finally, everything's ready for the blood sacrifice!"
  2404. >It was time to act
  2405. >Powering up your horn, you blew a hole in the roof, the rubble falling and landing on top of three of Razor's henchmares, knocking them out
  2406. >You dove through the hole you'd created, a hail of blades flying past as you landed on a large shipping crate
  2407. >Razor Edge was one Tartarus of a tough criminal, but foal sacrifice?
  2408. >That seemed like it was a step too far, even for her
  2409. >Moving from one crate to another, you let off a series of weaker shots, ones intended to stun, rattling your enemy's brains
  2410. >It wasn't likely to be fatal
  2411. >"Masked Matter-horn! I don't know how you found me, but you won't stop me this time!"
  2412.  
  2413. >Razor’s sword lashed out, slicing at you, but you managed to roll off the crate right before the blade came down, cutting it in half
  2414. >You dove behind one of her henchmares seconds before she brought the blade around again, decapitating the mask-wearing Pony
  2415. >”Damn it, don’t get in my way!”
  2416. >Scrambling, your magic grasped the hilt of the now-dead Pony’s own sword, pulling it free in time to parry yet another swing
  2417. >Parrying and dodging every swing that came in, the two of you maneuvered through the empty space, henchmares galloping out of the way of their homicidal boss’ swings, the slow ones not able to get away in time
  2418. >Normally you would have helped them, but you had to focus on avoiding each of these deadly swings
  2419. >You couldn’t even really blast her back because she was still holding the foal and, as you were beginning to realize, she was working her way towards an altar set up against the back wall
  2420. >Damn
  2421. “Let them go, Razor, you don’t know what you’re messing with here.”
  2422. >”Of course a pathetic “hero” like you would be afraid of /true/ power!”
  2423. >She reared back, sending her blade flying up high into the air, piercing the ceiling above the two of you
  2424. >A twist of her neck sent her blade through the building with ease, dropping a huge chunk of the ceiling down
  2425. >You managed to jump back at the last second, the debris piling up, blocking Razor from your sight
  2426. >”The next time you see me, I’ll be stronger than Daybreaker herself!”
  2427. >Growling, you dropped the pilfered sword, beginning to charge your horn so that you could blast the rubble out of the way, only to feel the cold steel point of a blade pierce your side, cutting into you
  2428. >Crying out in pain, you twisted on the spot, looking back to see one of the few henchmares that was still up grinning at you, an unhinged look on her face as she buried her dagger in your side
  2429.  
  2430. >Letting the blast you’d been charging up at her, she was sent flying, but the wound was more than enough to inspire the other three, each of them charging you with blades drawn
  2431. >Two Pegasi and one Earth Pony
  2432. “Binding!”
  2433. >You sent your spell out, imagining cords wrapping around one Pegasi’s wings, the mare in question noticing a few seconds too late as her wings slammed together and she dropped to the ground, her chin striking the cold, blood and dust-coated floor
  2434. >Her allies continued undeterred and, as you held the sword once again, you could hear the sound of Razor chanting
  2435. >You had to get there in time
  2436. >You ducked under a swipe from the remaining Pegasi, just barely managing to block the Earth Pony’s swing, her sheer strength enough to push you backwards while the Pegasi looped around for another strike
  2437. >You squirmed under the pressure coming from the Earth Pony’s blade, all of your strength going into holding her back, knowing that slipping up would give her the chance to cut into you
  2438. >The Pegasi flew closer still, readying her blade to stab you while the other Mare nearly had you up against the rubble, keeping you locked in place, straining your magic to hold your blade aloft, the flat of the blade digging into your fur
  2439. >You weren’t sure what to do
  2440. >they were both upon you and you didn’t know how to get out of this position
  2441. >Your mind flashed to thoughts of what would happen after this
  2442. >Razor would complete her ceremony, sacrificing the foal, as well as some of her own soul, for an incredible, costly, power
  2443. >She’d unmask your corpse, and would no doubt take great delight in hunting down and killing everypony related to you
  2444. >In the end, it wouldn’t just be you dying tonight
  2445. >Right as the Mare brought her hooves forwards to stab you, you tripped, a piece of stone catching your hoof sending you toppling backwards
  2446.  
  2447. >With the amount of force and weight the Earth Pony had been using against you, the sudden lack of an opposing force caused her to lurch forwards, her head taking the place yours had been
  2448. >Her ally’s sword pierced the side of her skull easily, a look of shock and horror growing on her as she shuddered, mouth twitching, as if she was trying to speak
  2449. >As you laid there, panting, her blood gushed free of the wound, pouring down onto you, soaking into your costume and fur, while the only remaining henchmare hung there in the air, stunned
  2450. >With only the blade holding her lifeless corpse up, the Earth Pony soon slid free, collapsing on top of you, the weight almost knocking your breath out, but you had enough presence of mind to focus your horn at the only remaining mare
  2451. >With a blast of flame, you scorched her head and wings, sending the now-screeching Pony down, charred fur and feathers adding to the stink pervading the air
  2452.  
  2453. -----
  2454.  
  2455. You took a moment to steady yourself and catch your breath before you hauled the corpse off your body and rolled onto your hooves
  2456. >Your own blood oozed out slowly around the still-embedded dagger, adding to the mix on the floor, but you didn’t have time to think about that
  2457. >The foal came first
  2458. >Digging your aching hooves into the rubble, you forced your throbbing legs to keep moving, climbing up and over the top of the pile slowly, taking in the sight of the ceremony
  2459. >Unnatural, tainted red light illuminated the area, shining out from the altar, casting a huge shadow of the chanting criminal
  2460. >Her sword had been sheathed, a different blade now suspended above the sacrifice, drawing slowly closer with each verse
  2461. >It was curved and ornate, bearing numerous, minor gemstones and incantations, while twin snakes wound around the hilt, forming the small guard
  2462.  
  2463. >Leveling your horn at her you charged, and then let loose, a heavy beam meant to send her flying but as it drew closer, it seemed to wrap around some kind of invisible barrier, peeling off into the distance, slamming into yet another crate
  2464. “What?”
  2465. >You let off two minor shots, both of which seemed to strike this mysterious barrier, being deflected off
  2466. >Pausing her chanting, Razor took a moment to grin back at you
  2467. >”I told you you wouldn’t stop me! Your magic’s nowhere near tough enough to pierce this shield. Enjoy watching me helplessly, Matter-Horn. You’ve lost again!”
  2468. >Razor let out a laugh and then began to chant again, the blade drawing closer and closer still, while the air seemed to grow thick with the stench of the abyss, wisps of unholy power starting to creep out around that barrier
  2469. “Damn it, let me through!”
  2470. >Spell after spell flew out, but they simply bounced off the shield, leaving the Mare inside it unharmed, the tip of the dagger pressing against the foal now, the pain causing it to cry, it’s wails drowned out by the chanting that was growing louder and louder still
  2471. “Razor! Razor stop, don’t do this!”
  2472. >”You’re too late, Matter-Horn, ultimate power, it’s finally mi-“
  2473. >You shut your eyes as a thin, green beam struck the barrier, shattering it in a burst of light
  2474. >When you opened them again, you saw Razor laying on the ground, her spell fading away, and your arch-enemy looming above you, unharmed foal cradled in one gauntlet, lightly suckling on a bottle of milk
  2475. >”Matterhorn. We need to talk.”
  2476.  
  2477. -----
  2478.  
  2479. >You'd been left exhausted after the fight, leaving Villanon to easily capture you
  2480. >He set a gauntlet-covered hand down on your head, and you felt a pulse of his magic, forcibly putting you to sleep
  2481. >It seemed surprising that he didn't just kill you then and there
  2482.  
  2483. >When you woke up, you found yourself in a room that was colorful enough to almost blind you
  2484. >Comical, wide-eyed flowers and bumblebees smiled at you from the walls, still images painted on to disguise the criminal's nefarious ploys
  2485. >A part of you wanted to stay in the bed you'd found yourself in, hoping the covers would keep you trapped until you rotted away alongside them
  2486. >What else did a failure like you deserve?
  2487. >Unfortunately for you, you had work to do, and you'd keep fighting the "good" fight until it killed you
  2488. >Pushing up and out of the comfortable confines, you came to stand on your hooves, accidentally stepping straight into four slippers
  2489. >From the heat, you'd have guessed they were pre-warmed, but you had no clue why
  2490. >It was only as you looked down at them did you realize something terrible
  2491. >You weren't in your costume
  2492.  
  2493. -----
  2494.  
  2495. >One short, disgustingly fragile panic attack later, and you were slowly padding the halls of this strange, cheerful building
  2496. >Perhaps you'd finally snapped and somepony had thrown you in Ark-Ham with the rest of Luna's loonies
  2497. >No, life could never be so merciful
  2498. >Currently, you were only wearing two things, your mask (which had been placed on your bedside table) and the robe you'd woken up in
  2499. >You had to keep your cutie mark hidden, like a shameful brand
  2500. >A strange scent rose into the air, foreign and sweet, reminding you of happier times
  2501. "Long gone now, Matter-Horn, you idiot. Focus."
  2502. >Keeping your snout in the air, you followed this scent down a hallway, a low, musical humming causing your ears to twitch
  2503. >You moved to be flush with the wall, your magic moving a tiny fragment of a broken mirror into place, letting you peek into the room beyond
  2504. >Staring at the broken glass, you were soon granted a bizarre sight
  2505. >There was Villanon, a shirt and pants wrapped around his muscular frame
  2506. >His socks-clad "feet" were tucked into slippers, and covering his body from the front was an apron
  2507.  
  2508. >Overall, he was the picture of what most Mares wanted out of their husbands, dressed up and in the kitchen, Tartarus, he was practically barehoof
  2509. >Well, bare-“foot”
  2510. >Overall, this display of domesticity had your stomach turning
  2511. >Just what was he planning?
  2512. >Stallions could be deceptive things, and Villanon stood out among even the worst offenders, rising to his own peak
  2513. >The only thing you had to go off of when it came to him was that frustrating level of condescension, alongside the humiliation he so loved to dish out
  2514. >Glancing back at the mirror, tilting it slowly to get a good look at his figure again, a second conclusion came to mind
  2515. >If he was wearing his clothes and his clothes alone, then it meant you were at a far better advantage than usual
  2516. >Before he’d gotten the amulet, he’d been dangerous due to his intellect, as well as his suit, letting him go hand-to-hoof with even Saddle-Rager
  2517. >Without it though, you had a Mare’s physique on top of your own magic
  2518. >Sure, Villanon was huge, even when not in the suit, but that tall body also meant he’d be far more top-heavy than you, since you were closer to the ground and had four limbs touching it
  2519. >Making up your mind, you removed your slippers silently, lifting them into the air with your magic
  2520. >As you rounded the corner, the first one flew out, launched like a shuriken with three more following suit, each one delayed just after the other to distract him long enough for you to get close
  2521. >Turning, he didn’t seem startled by your assault, though he raised one arm up to block the soft strikes, leaving you time to leap up at him, a barrier forming around you from the tip of your horn outwards like a fountain, flowing over your body
  2522. >As you drove your head into his gut, you felt your horn run up against some kind of magical barrier, one that repelled you and your own
  2523.  
  2524. >Undeterred, you saw him set the pan back down on the stove out of the corner of your eye, and took that chance to sweep his legs out from under him
  2525. >Again though, even with your moves amplified by magic, his own barrier blocked your blow, physically pushing you back
  2526. >”Careful, you nearly made me drop the pan.”
  2527. >Still thinking about cooking even when under attack?
  2528. >Skidding back over the freshly waxed floor, you diverted the power of your shield up to your horn, shooting a net out to restrain his movements
  2529. >It hit his barrier once again, but instead of being repelled, it used the magic he was putting up as a power source, wrapping around it, and him, growing larger and more durable by the second
  2530. >”Hm, now this is new. Is this something you made to capture Ponies, Matter-Horn, or was it a gift just for me?”
  2531. >There was something odd about his voice, it seemed far too lilting, like he was enjoying this
  2532. >Well, you wouldn’t give him a chance to enjoy himself, not this time
  2533. >As he rotated on the spot, the barrier around him shrinking faster and faster, you caught a glimpse of the Alicorn Amulet behind your bonds
  2534. >Leveling your horn at different points on the villains body, you let three more nets loose, each one merging with the others, quadrupling the strength of the original
  2535. >”Uh oh, this is starting to look bad, isn’t it? Let me ask, do these cords block teleportation as well, or will they move with me instead?”
  2536. >The barrier continued to dwindle until it broke, letting the net snap shut around the Stallion, pinning his arms to his sides, locking his legs up beneath him
  2537. >”Surprisingly strong. Well done, Matter-Horn.”
  2538. “I don’t want your damn praise!”
  2539. >Rushing forwards, you focused on the spot you remembered the amulet being, a new spell weaving around you
  2540. >It took some inspiration from Nightmare Moon, Daybreaker, and a certain forbidden spell crafted by Dr. The Bearded when that Demoness had tricked him
  2541.  
  2542. >You didn’t know the exact effect it might have on a living creature, but at this point, Villanon was simply too far gone
  2543. >If we wouldn’t given up the Amulet, this would have to be the way things-
  2544. >”Anti-Magic Field.”
  2545. >You watched as the world around the two of you lost some of its color, the netting simply melting off the Stallion’s body
  2546. >Without your spell, you slammed into his chest, but before you could hit the ground, his hands found your legs, grabbing at you
  2547. >Strong “fingers” dug into your fur, holding you tight even as you struggled and kicked, his grasp on your hind legs keeping you from easily punching him
  2548. >As he started to walk towards the table set up in the middle of the kitchen, you recognized the effect that was taking place
  2549. >It was the exact same one that happened the night he broke Nightmare Moon’s back
  2550. “You…did you just take away…magic?”
  2551. >”Only temporarily, and it’s not a large area, but yes. I suppose you could think of it as my having closed us off from it. Aside from powerful artifacts, of course.”
  2552. >He set you down on a wooden chair, letting you readjust while he touched the still-glowing amulet around his neck, his fangs on display as he grinned down at you
  2553. >”Now, sit still, would you? The food’s almost done.”
  2554. >With that, he returned to the stove, his back to you while you tried to ponder what was going on
  2555. >The world felt…heavy without magic, even more so than it usually did
  2556. >What little color that was left in your life had been drained away, leaving the room looking dull
  2557. >The bizarrely happy wallpaper and colorful appliances seemed like a mockery of you and your world
  2558. >Did you always feel this tired?
  2559. >”Alright, the food’s-What, did your best friend die or something? Cheer up, I made pancakes and hay bacon, just for you.”
  2560. >A part of you wanted to hate him, but you simply didn’t have the energy
  2561. >Even as he set the plate stacked high with pancakes down in front of you, you could hardly muster the strength to lift a fork
  2562.  
  2563. >Absentmindedly, you tried to use your magic to levitate your utensils, but it didn’t respond
  2564. >No magic…was this how it felt to be Villanon?
  2565. >Did he go through life for all those years feeling this…worthless?
  2566. >Was he always this tired and…you couldn’t even think of the right word to describe it
  2567. >The Stallion in question sat down across from you, his own meal prepared, something meat-based that made your stomach twist about yet again
  2568. >”Are you really going to be like this for the whole meal? Fine then, but you best not try anything, alright? I’d hate to have to be more violent with how I handle your outbursts.”
  2569. >As if it was easy to undo, Villanon’s form tensed for a second, his amulet glowed brighter than before, and then the “field” around you two was gone, magic rushing back in, filling the void
  2570. >It was akin to being hit with adrenaline, your senses felt like they were on fire as they crackled with the joyous essence of life
  2571. >The world seemed just a bit brighter now
  2572. >”I suppose it’s due to the fact that you Unicorns are as dependent on your magic as you are, but you lot always seem to get the biggest kick out of that.”
  2573. >To test that, you focused on the fork resting beside your plate, your magic easily grasping it, lifting it into the air, causing it to twirl before you stabbed it back down into the stack
  2574. “Not that I don’t care for banter, but the less time I spend around you the better. What do you want?”
  2575. >Your knife rose to match your fork, sinking into the thin, soft cakes, easily sawing through them
  2576. >”Why Matter-Horn, I’m hurt. Surely you’ve thought of this possibility before, have you not? The two of us coming to understand one another, maybe even becoming, dare I say it, bosom buddies. It would make your life a lot easier, would it not?”
  2577. >The fork currently holding the plane piece of pancake paused in front of your mouth, slowly returning to the plate as you glared at the incomprehensible Stallion
  2578.  
  2579. “This isn’t some kind of simulation, is it? Or are you trying to mind-control me? Is there something in this food that you’re trying to slip me or what? You really can’t expect me to simply forgive you for everything you’ve done, and if you do, then you’re more air-headed than Ponies say you are.”
  2580. >Villanon laughed at that, a deep, booming below, one that showed off his teeth yet again.
  2581. >"I can assure you, there is nothing in those pancakes, other than my hard work of course."
  2582. "And this! What /is/ this? You should be trying to kill me, taunting me with yet another unstoppable plan or inescapable trap. Why are you acting so weird?"
  2583. >Villanon took up his fork and knife and began cutting into a waffle, slowly moving his blade parallel with the squares
  2584. >"Matter-Horn, have you noticed anything odd about the world, recently?"
  2585. "What, other than the fact that you've taken up being a stereotypical househusband?"
  2586. >He rolled his eyes, but his smile remained, only being broken to take in his food
  2587. >"I was referring to the state of the world, Matter-Horn. You /were/ covered in a lot of blood, you know. Your suit's in the wash, by the way."
  2588. >With that, you stood up from your seat, almost knocking it to the ground
  2589. >You braced yourself, ready for an attack of one sort or another, though nothing came, Villanon just kept eating
  2590. "...What's going on?"
  2591. >He sighed, setting his plate to the side as he rose up as well, his apron fluttering
  2592. >"Lets walk and talk, Matter-Horn."
  2593. >He didn't even give you a chance to answer before he left the room, continuing down the hallway
  2594. >After a moment's deliberation, you followed after him
  2595. >For the time being, sticking nearby him seemed like a better plan than wandering about on your own
  2596.  
  2597. -----
  2598.  
  2599. >A door opened at the end of a series of hallways, Villanon striding through, allowing you to follow
  2600. >You were in a large, empty room, each wall pale white
  2601. >Look at that subtle coloring
  2602. >The tasteful thickness
  2603. >Oh Faust, it even has a watermark
  2604.  
  2605. >Villanon raised a hand, and a mirror rose up from the floor, emerging from seemingly nowhere
  2606. >"Matter-Horn, if you wouldn't mind, would you please stand in front of that mirror?"
  2607. >For a moment you didn't move, expecting some sort of machine or magic to forcibly drag you over to the center of the room, only for nothing to happen
  2608. >Your instincts told you not to trust him, but you mentally reminded yourself of how easy it would be for him to slaughter you right now
  2609. >Walking up to face the mirror, you lost a mental battle of wills and turned your head to look at Villanon instead
  2610. "What am I supposed to be doing here?"
  2611. >"Take a good, long look at yourself, and tell me what you see. I know it's not going to be as easy as when you're in that new, black suit, but with how ripped up it was, it didn't seem prudent for you to wear it."
  2612. "Hrm."
  2613. >Adjusting back to the mirror, you carefully took yourself in
  2614. >The last time you'd stared into a mirror had been in your own dingy bathroom, right before you slammed your hoof into it, fracturing it into a thousand shards, just like your broken heart and soul
  2615. >Your mane was frazzled, sticking up and out like you'd been electrified
  2616. >Your tail was normal, if messy
  2617. >The bandage around your head looked like it had been freshly changed, no doubt by /him/, though your eyepatch seemed untouched
  2618. >All in all, you looked like you felt, haggard, exhausted, and close to cracking
  2619. "Are we done here? I have streets to patrol, you know, I can't hang around playing house with you all day."
  2620. >Seeing his face was still odd to you, as you'd grown so accustomed to the mask, and yet you'd already grown sick of his smile
  2621. >"Not quite."
  2622. >A finger twitched and a large image rose up and out from some hidden slot in the floor, coming to levitate alongside the mirror
  2623. >Glancing at it, you quickly recognized the smiling Pony
  2624.  
  2625. >"Recognize them?"
  2626. >He asked, walking up beside you, a motion that caused your fur to rise, but you held your ground, looking from the picture to him
  2627. "I didn't realize you were such a fan."
  2628. >There on the hovering picture was you from what felt like ages ago
  2629. >You could glimpse portions of your friends in the background, but whatever this photo was, you hadn't been aware of it
  2630. >You were back in your old suit, staring off into the sunrise, your glowing magic catching the sun's rays, tinting them
  2631. >"I was thinking to myself about how much you've changed."
  2632. >You shrugged, looking back to the picture
  2633. "The world's a hard place, Colt. I guess I hardened up some too."
  2634. >You didn't have to look, you knew he was no doubt smiling down at you
  2635. >"Yes, I can tell that you have. Do you know when that photo was taken, by the by?"
  2636. "A long time ago, I can guess that much."
  2637. >"About three to four weeks ago, give or take a few days. Definitely less than a month however."
  2638. >Your still-sore neck protested as you whipped your head up towards him
  2639. "No way. Do you know how long it's been since everything happened? All the things I've gone through? The Ponies I've lost, the lives that have been sacrificed?
  2640. >"Three to four weeks."
  2641. "That's Minotaur shit and you know it. Geponesha was destroyed ages ago, and Coast City was destroyed by Mongrel before that!"
  2642. >"Two weeks ago for Geponesha, and Coast City was only four days before that. Three to four weeks."
  2643. >You stormed out of the room, mind reeling as you tried to make sense of what Villanon was saying
  2644. >There was no way that all that could have happened so quickly
  2645. >There was absolutely no way
  2646. >You tried to rack your brain for some memory of when that picture might have been taken, only to realize the most obvious answer
  2647. >He'd faked it!
  2648. >Villanon knew tech as well as stolen magic, it would be so easy for him to fake something like that!
  2649.  
  2650. >Following a different hallway you'd seen earlier, you found yourself winding deeper and deeper still into the villain's compound
  2651. >You weren't certain of where you were going you were just...going
  2652. >It was a strange thought, but it felt...right to go this way
  2653. >Almost as if you were /supposed/ to take one turn, and then another
  2654. >You found your hoof pressing a hidden panel without any thought in the process, a disguised door sliding open, revealing a large room, empty of everything but Villanon and a smaller figure
  2655. "Wha-"
  2656. >"You seemed upset, so I decided to let you go for a walk before bringing you back. Considering how reluctant you were to accept what I was telling you, I though somepony else might be better at getting through to you."
  2657. >He stepped to the side, revealing the short figure that had been standing behind him
  2658. >You recognized the red helmet immediately
  2659. "Red Hood! I wondered where you disappeared to, but I couldn't imagine you'd go running to Villanon of all people!"
  2660. >Magic flowed into your horn, a few choice spells coming to mind
  2661. >You might not be able to catch Villanon right now, but with how callous he was, you couldn't imagine he'd care too much if you tried to take Red Hood down
  2662. >Your magic faded away as Red Hood began to remove their helmet, a changed, but instantly familiar voice reaching your ears as a long-lost face came into view
  2663. "Hum-Drum?"
Villanon RGRE AponymousAuthor Power Ponies Reversed Gender Roles Equestria

Stallion coming-of-age ritual (aka Motherfuckers) by Anonymous

by silvertear

[AiE] Burning Questions by MINDWAVE

by silvertear

[RGRE] How Villanon Stole Hearth's Warming by AponymousAuthor

by silvertear

Applejack Season (NSFW clop) - by Operafag

by silvertear

[RGRE] Villanon by AponymousAuthor

by silvertear