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Bros in Equestria: Download Copy, Chapters 31-62.

By Mandroid
Created: 19th December 2020 01:03:06 PM
AIE Safe Anon OC Rainbow Dash Slice of Life

  1. Because BiE has a ridiculous number of chapters, this compilation is for anyone who intends to download them to any mobile device.
  3. =BiE 31=
  5. >"You're sure you don't want to come?" you ask.
  6. >Rainbow stops in the doorway. "You know that Fluttershy won't say a word so long as I'm there."
  7. >You didn't want her just flying away again.
  8. >"I know." you say. "It's just...I wish we could all just sit down and talk this out." you cross your arms and pout. Rainbow flies back up to you. "I know Anon, but I'll just make it worse if I'm there." She gives you a kiss goodnight as she flies out. "Good luck!" she calls back from down the road.
  9. >Yeah, you feel like you'll need it.
  11. >You were not looking forward to going to Fluttershy's place alone.
  12. >You doubted she's try anything, but the memory of what she did when you got trapped in that hole nags at you.
  13. > need some backup.
  14. >You head to Mous's room and knock on the door. "Enter." you get in response.
  15. >He sat there hunched over, doing what else? Painting his models.
  16. >"Getting theatrical?" you ask.
  17. >"Someone has to inject culture into this house."
  18. >"He said as he painted the Chainsword of his walking tank."
  19. >"This is a power-bat." he corrected.
  20. >You look around the room. "Holy shit, are there more of these things here?"
  21. >"There are." he says. The entire room was covered, ships hung from the ceiling, troops were positioned around and on top of furniture.
  22. >"Where the hell did you get more!?"
  23. >Mous keeps painting. "Twilight used a duplicate spell on them, even turned 'em grey so I could paint them all again."
  24. >His obsession knew no bounds. Even being trapped in another dimension didn't stop him.
  25. >"Oh whatever. Look, I need your help."
  26. >Mous stops and glances over at you. "Oh?"
  27. >"Yeah, I need to head over to Fluttershy's to try and fix things. Up for bodyguard duty again?
  28. >Mous leans back and stares into space "Does Fluttershy have manticores?" he asks.
  29. >"Heh. Probably not." can't fault him for being cautious.
  30. >"What do you need me for anyway? he asks. You sigh and lean against the doorframe. You can't tell him she felt you up, he'd flip. "This just may be a really tense scene and I'd rather not go it alone, okay?"
  31. >He gives you a disbelieving look. "Please?" you beg.
  32. >Mous sighs. "Fine."
  33. >He climbs out of his chair and slips on his boots.
  34. >"This better not be a waste of time."
  36. >You and Mous trudge along the path into town as it loops back towards Fluttershy's cottage.
  37. >It's colder than last week when you went out with Rainbow, both of you are in your jackets.
  38. >"You know, I'm surprised you were free tonight. Mr. Big Shot Stud." Mous rolls his eyes. "Oddly enough, some couples can date for a few days without moving in together, you should give it a shot." he teases.
  39. >"Tch. What's the point then?"
  40. >You spot Fluttershy's cottage down the road. None of the animals that characteristically congregate outside it are there.
  41. >Not a good sign.
  42. >As you get closer, you see that it's worse.
  43. >The blinds are drawn over the windows, the plants outside look like they haven't been watered either.
  44. >You knock on the door, only for it to squeak open once you touch it.
  45. >"Well, that's not creepy in the least." Mous says.
  46. >You both step into the living room. Everything -seems- fine. The only indicator that anything is wrong is a general layer of dust over everything.
  47. >Everything seemed to just be in a general state of disuse.
  48. >Mous stepped out of the kitchen. "No sign anything's been used in a while, there's some bread that looks like it's been touched though. If she's here, she's eating."
  49. >That was good. No one wanted a starved Flutters.
  50. >You were both put on alert when you heard something descend the stares. It bounced into the living room and started pitching a fit at you.
  51. >Well, at least Angel stuck around. He kept waving his arms in some sort of bunny tantrum, expecting you to understand it.
  52. >"Fuck off rabbit, take us to Fluttershy." Mous said.
  53. >Angel pouted for a moment before he hopped up the stairs, You and Mous right behind him.
  55. >Upstairs was no better than down.
  56. >The blinds were drawn on all the windows, the doors were all shut save for the one at the end of the hall.
  57. >Angel led the two of you into the room.
  58. >Before you sat Fluttershy's bed, empty save for a lump in the covers in the center.
  59. >You grab the covers and whip them off. "Fluttershy..." She was curled up in a little ball in the middle of the bed, the indentation on the mattress was evidence that she'd been there for a while. There appeared to be water stains on the sheets.
  60. >She stirs from her sleep and looks at the two of you bleary eyed. "A-Anon? Mous? W...what are you doing here?"
  61. >You admit that you were a bit upset at the whole situation on your way here, but that was gone now.
  62. >Fluttershy had that effect on people. "We came to check up on you." you said trying to comfort her.
  63. >She rubs her face with her hoof "Oh...I-I'm fine.."
  64. >"No you're not." Mous said. You shot him a look that he just shrugged to. He was never the best at empathy.
  65. >"It's a little hard to believe that, Fluttershy. We've seen the rest of your house." Fluttershy shifts in her bed."Oh...well, I've just been...a bit tired lately and I-I've been napping a lot."
  66. >Shit, that sounds bad. "Fluttershy? Do you want to talk about what happened at the racetrack?"
  67. >You sit down next to her on the bed.
  68. >She lets out a small squeak. "O-oh...that...I-It's nothing Anon, Really. I mean, why should I care if you and Rainbow become special somep0nies and..."
  69. >Her entire body hitches."...And I'm all alone..."
  71. >Oh god. "Hey...c'mon Fluttershy, why would you think you'll be all alone?"
  72. >She's crying freely now. "B-Because I'm not brave enough to get a special somep0ny!" she cried. "When you first came here I thought 'Oh, he's so nice, I'm sure he won't mind my shyness." But I was so shy that I never said anything and then you met Rainbow and it was too late!" Tears ran down her face. "I-I was afraid even on that day when I talked to you. After what you told me, I-I was going to talk to you about it, b...but then I saw you and Rainbow and I-I..."
  73. >You wrap your arm around her. "S-So everyp0ny in town is worried? That makes sense..."She buries her face in your lap. "No wonder I can't believe in one believes in me...
  74. >"Whoa, what?" Mous said behind you. He left his post at the door and walked over to the two of you. "You gave her the pep talk?" What did this have to do with anything?
  75. >"Uh...yeah..." you say. "Well, did you say it right?" Mous asked. Huh?
  76. >Why the hell did this matter? "Something about how we believed in her so she should too, why?"
  77. >Mous leans back and sighs. "That explains it...Fluttershy!" he called out.
  78. >She lifted her head from you. Mous pointed his finger straight at her. It was that one time in your garage all over again. "Listen Fluttershy, never forget. Just believe in yourself. Not in the Fluttershy that we believe in, and not in the friends that you do. Just believe in the Fluttershy that believes in you."
  79. >That hangs for a second. "Mous..." you start. "That was the most retarded damn thing I've ever heard! Please don't tell me that worked on me!"
  81. >"You watch your mouth, boy!" he shouts.
  82. >"No! That's stupid! "Don't believe in us" what, is she supposed to take everything anyp0ny says with a grain of salt!?"
  83. >You stand from Fluttershy's bed as you continue to argue. "No! She's just supposed to find the faith in herself! Not other ponies!" Mous shouts.
  84. >"And how does that help her current situation? Does -that- crap make her feel any better?
  85. >"It's supposed to give her the confidence to-
  87. >The both of you turn back to Fluttershy, she's almost cowering on the bed at your antics.
  88. >You McFucked up, son. "Listen, Fluttershy." Mous sighs. "What I'm saying here is you're a good kid, a little self confidence and you'll have suitors lining out the door."
  89. >"Yeah." you say."Everyp0ny is amazed at your kindness with your animals. And you'd be amazed at how many guys like a little shyness."
  90. >Fluttershy shuffled in her seat a bit. "D-do colts really like shy mares?" she asks as her face turns red.
  91. >"If they're anything like the guys back home, yeah." Mous said. "A...and you're sure?" she asked.
  92. >You turn to her."Fluttershy, they have entire conventions around girls as moe as you." She tilts her head to the side. "Moe?"
  93. >You laugh. "Don't worry about it Fluttershy. Are you okay now?" She shuffled a bit more. "I-If you think that I can do it...I-I guess I can try..."
  94. >That's good. "So, are we okay now? No more tears?" you ask. You're rewarded with what must be Fluttershy's first smile in a while and a nod.
  95. >"Great...we'll let ourselves out." You motion for Mous to follow you as you leave the room.
  96. >The house already looked a bit brighter.
  98. >Mous and you walked down the path to your house mostly silent.
  99. >It felt good to help Fluttershy, a little grope wouldn't make you dump a friend.
  100. >Rainbow and the rest of the girls would be happy to hear from her again. It would suck for the group of friends who had saved the kingdom twice to be broken up by you.
  101. >Mous had been uncharacteristically quiet the entire time.
  102. >He was probably pouting about what you said.
  103. >"...I can't believe you said that back there." you say giggling.
  104. >He gives you a look. "It worked on you."
  105. >"Yeah! Back when we were in highschool!" you tease. "I don't know how old Fluttershy is..." he retorts.
  106. >...should you say it?
  107. >He'll get so pissed.
  108. >"Kitan had a manlier death anyway."
  109. >Oh god. The look on his face is priceless.
  110. >This is what nerd rage looks like.
  111. >He grabs you by your sleeve. "That's it! We're watching the series again! Call Rainbow, this is gonna be a couple day thing."
  112. >You try not to laugh as he drags you home.
  113. >Pretty decent day.
  115. =BiE 32=
  117. >Nine hours.
  118. >NINE.
  119. >CUNTING.
  120. >HOURS.
  121. >This wedding had better be worth it.
  122. >There had better be shit loads of cake.
  123. >You stood in the Fillydelphia train hub and looked around.
  124. >Passing ponies were staring at you with either fear or revulsion.
  125. >It smelled like gas and piss.
  126. So just like Philly back home?
  127. >Looks that way brain.
  128. >You walked out of the train station and headed down the road.
  129. >You kept your eye's high. Fillydelphia certainly inherited the right skyline.
  130. >It almost made you forget where you were.
  131. >You were glad you could get off for this.
  132. >It helped that you were dating your boss.
  133. >She said she'd give you a bonus if you caught the bouquet for her.
  134. Hehe. "Bonus."
  135. >Dammit brain, we've been dating for like, three weeks tops. That's not what she meant.
  136. Yeah, but she wouldn't mind if we thought it's what she meant.
  137. >Piss off.
  138. Someone's afraid.
  139. >I am not afraid...I'm taking it slow.
  140. Out of fear.
  141. >Out of respect.
  142. Respect for what? She kissed you on the introductory date. I'm pretty sure I felt tongue.
  143. >Piss off. I'm done with you.
  144. I can taste your fear from here.
  145. >You frown.
  146. >Your brain was an asshole.
  148. >You cross through the center of the city.
  149. >Chariots were locked in an eternal gridlock in the roads.
  150. >The streets were chocked with passersby and the occasional tourist.
  151. >Every one of them was staring at you.
  152. >You didn't mind it, but goddamn.
  153. >You were glad you lived in a small town.
  154. >The trio of guards that were following you didn't help.
  155. >Ever since the train station.
  156. Just like Earth.
  157. >Seems that way.
  158. >You cross through the center of the city.
  159. >Dammit. Where was this hotel Lyra and Bon Bon said to go to?
  160. >A shouting pegasus in a pavilion catches your ear.
  161. >"This 'order' that the Princesses have set up is against the very nature of the world! Hiding us all away from the chaos of life has made us weak! Complacent!"
  162. >Who's this douchebag?
  163. Religious nut?
  164. >Never a shortage of those in the city...
  165. >You walk away as he starts to yammer about some crap that happened a millennium ago that you didn't give a shit about.
  167. >You finally arrive at the hotel.
  168. >Not a bad place, marble floors, brass accents.
  169. >Swanky.
  170. >You walk up to the front desk and ring the bell on it.
  171. >Some snooty looking pony walks out, he takes one look at you and frowns. "Can I help you...sir?"
  172. >Stay calm, play it co-
  173. Kick his ass.
  174. >Fuck off brain.
  175. >"Yes, I'm here for the Bon Bon - Heartstrings affair.
  176. >He raises his eyebrow at that and levitates a key to you. "I have also been instructed to direct any...pony to the dining hall at 7..."
  177. >You nod and head towards the elevator.
  178. >Racist asshole.
  179. >Your room is midway up, overlooking the north side of the city.
  180. >Cool, no sun in your face.
  181. I wonder if the West side is still dangerous here...
  182. >You look at the clock. 5 in the evening.
  183. >You collapse on your bed.
  184. >Leaving town at the same time you normally woke up was not fun.
  185. >And bullshit could you sleep on a seat not designed for you.
  186. >It would be nice to rest a bit...
  187. We need to talk.
  188. >Or would have been.
  190. >What?
  191. About Lotus.
  192. >This shit again? What?
  193. How do you feel about her?
  194. >I kissed her goodbye today, I'd say I feel pretty good about her.
  195. You know what I mean.
  196. >I really don't...
  197. You can't lie to me. I'm you. The honest side, it seems.
  198. We need to talk about what Lotus means.
  199. >What she means?
  200. Lotus is the first sentient life form we have shown interest in. Ever.
  201. >And?
  202. And that signifies a change. A change in our personality.
  203. >How do you know we weren't a horsefucker this entire time?
  204. Because we'd been here two months and not shown any interest. Even when their immortal god-empress propositioned us. Even when we had our current special somep0ny and her twin sister locked up in our house.
  205. >We were not taking advantage of Aloe and Lotus over Estrus, That's sick.
  206. And Celestia?
  207. >My way is more fun.
  208. But somehow, Lotus gets through. What did she do?
  209. >You know wha-
  210. And why did you reciprocate?
  211. >You were there, you kno-
  212. I know you, you're committed until this thing goes down. Why here and not on Earth?
  213. >...
  214. Well?
  215. >She was nice to us.
  216. >No one is ever nice to us.
  217. >She gave us a job after a look and a test we bullshitted through.
  218. >She was the only pony in town to worry about us after the manticore.
  219. >I don't know where this is going, but Lotus deserves a shot with the guy she thinks we are.
  220. And that's enough?
  221. >If she can get us to date her, who knows what else she can do?
  222. ...
  223. >Yeah. Thought so.
  224. Yo, wake up.
  225. >You wake up in a puddle of your own drool.
  226. >The clock says 6:45.
  227. >Fuck, get up lazy ass.
  229. >The dining hall was nice.
  230. >Big. Very big. Big enough for the hundreds of ponies that were in it.
  231. >The hundreds of ponies now looking at you in silence.
  232. >Shit. Uh...
  233. >"Hi, Everyp0ny!"
  234. Hi, Doctor Mous!
  235. >Eat shit.
  236. >"Mous!" you hear from your side.
  237. >You turn to spot Lyra galloping towards you, Bon Bon right behind her.
  238. >"Finally, the guest of honor has arrived!" she said.
  239. >Guest of honor? What?
  240. >"Nice to see you Lyra."
  241. >"Oh, let me try this out!" she says as she lifts her leg and her horn starts to glow.
  242. >A minty green hand forms at the end of Lyra's hoof.
  243. >You grab and shake the hand. Damn, it feels just like flesh, even down to the heat emanating.
  244. >"Someone's been practicing."
  245. >Bon Bon finally catches up with her bride to be. "Oh...she's been practicing all right."
  246. >She nuzzles Lyra.
  247. >We gave two lesbians hands.
  248. Hands we then shook.
  249. >Gross
  250. Gross.
  252. >"Come meet my dad, Mous!"
  253. >Lyra leads to back to a table being set up.
  254. >Standing next to it is an elderly unicorn with a brushed back mane, a forest green coat, and a red jacket.
  255. >Various medals and ribbons hung on it.
  256. A guard vet, so it seems.
  257. >So it seems.
  258. >Time to impress.
  259. >"Good day, sir."
  260. >You toss up a salute, one that he returns with a smile.
  261. >"Ah, hello my boy. Captain Harmonica, good to see a guest with respect to the guard."
  262. Holy shit, his voice.
  263. >This man could conceive children with his voice alone.
  264. >"Of course, Sir. I have met many guards and respect the work they do."
  265. Getting chased out of Canterlot doesn't count as meeting guards.
  266. >Shut up, I don't want him to talk and make our heart stop.
  267. >"Dad, I was gonna bring Mous along to the party tonight, is that okay with you?"
  268. >Lyra was giving the Harmonica the puppy dog eyes.
  269. >"Of course sweetheart, the more the merrier."
  270. >Harmonica walks off and you approach Lyra.
  271. >"Party?"
  272. >She gives you a big grin.
  273. >"My bachelorette party! We're gonna show these Fillydelphians how it's done!"
  274. Lesbian pony party?
  275. >Shit, I'm game.
  277. >You collapse back on to your bed around 3:00.
  278. >Ow.
  279. >Ow.
  280. >Oh ow.
  281. >Brain, stop trying to kill us.
  283. >Aaaaaah.
  284. >I am initiating emergency consciousness override.
  285. >Piss off brain.
  287. >...
  288. >Silence.
  289. >Good.
  290. >Damn. Lyra can fucking drink.
  291. >Not so much Harmonica...surprisingly.
  292. >Somewhere between the third club and the fire, you sorta spaced.
  293. >Somepony fucking spiked your drink, it's the only explanation.
  294. >Oh well, at least you can think and don't have to move anymore.
  295. >Don't even really have to think anymore with brain offline...
  296. >...
  297. >I wonder how Lotus is doing.
  298. >Dammit. Brain was fucking with you even when he wasn't there.
  299. >It was normal to think about them so often this early, right?
  300. >Right?
  301. >You were still you, right?
  302. >Dammit. You need someone here.
  303. >Brain! Wake the fuck up!
  304. ZZZzzzZZzzZzzZZzzz
  305. >Asshole.
  306. I'm here man.
  307. >Heart?
  308. At your service.
  309. >Oh good, what's our blood alcohol level at?
  310. A little bit passed pissed.
  311. >Shit.
  312. Yeah.
  313. >So, can you help? Why are we thinking about Lotus so much?
  314. Well duh dude, it's because we like her.
  315. >...we do?
  316. Is that not obvious?
  317. >I don't know, we never liked someone before.
  318. Come on man. We may be weird, but we've seen enough cartoons and daytime soaps to know what it's like to like somepony.
  319. >So... is this good?
  320. I'm a bit biased here, but I think it is. Lotus is good for us.
  321. >How?
  322. We've gotten our ass kicked for Anon a bunch of times, now we have somep0ny who'll kick our ass herself if that happens.
  323. >And how is that good?
  324. It makes us think of new options, maybe ones that don't involve hostage situations?
  325. >That only happened once...
  326. Also, you know, we like her. Quite a bit. That's a good reason on it's own.
  328. >Lyra and Bon Bon were well on their way to Canterbury for the honeymoon.
  329. >Here's hoping they actually get out of the hotel room.
  330. >The wedding went off without a hitch.
  331. >No protesters against a same sex marriage, no time traveling blue boxes, no dinosaurs.
  332. What was that last one?
  333. >Brain! Good of you to join us!
  334. What did we drink last night?
  335. >Lol I 'unno.
  336. Where are we?
  337. >Train back home, should be getting close. It's about nine at night.
  338. Why are we still in our tux?
  339. >"Cause all the girls crazy 'bout a"
  340. SHARP
  341. >DRESSED
  342. MAN
  343. >Yeah.
  344. You're a dork.
  345. >You sang along too.
  346. But seriously, why the tux?
  347. >Maybe I just like to dress to impress for special events?
  348. Whoa. Wait. Did you plan something without me?
  349. >It's a surprise.
  350. We hate surprises!
  352. >You pull into the station as you put Brain on silent.
  353. >Bag over your shoulder, you head to the front.
  354. >Where is she...
  355. >"Dressed up just for me? I'm touched."
  356. >You spun around and saw Lotus sitting on a bench, she hopped off and trotted over to you.
  357. >You put your bag on the ground and sit at eye level with her.
  358. Dude, what are you doing!?
  359. >"Hey there pretty pony."
  360. >You had spent the entire train ride back thinking of that, you were very proud.
  361. >You grab her chin and kiss her.
  362. >Longer then you normally did.
  363. >Deeper too.
  364. >You didn't feel obligated to do this, nor did you feel uncomfortable about doing it in public.
  365. >You break off and press your forehead against her.
  366. >"Mous! What was that for?" she squealed.
  367. >Her cheeks were red, even through her coat.
  368. >She was cute when she was surprised.
  369. >"Just happy to be home."
  371. =BiE 33=
  373. >Light seeps in through your windows and wakes you up.
  374. >That sucks, you can see why Mous hates being woken up like this.
  375. >You pull the still sleeping mare laying next to you closer, okay maybe it wasn't all bad.
  376. >Rainbow had stayed at your place every night since your talk with Fluttershy, finally able to know that she wouldn't be ruining a friendship in doing so.
  377. >Rainbow nuzzles into your chest as she wakes up "Five more minutes..." she complains.
  378. >You kiss the top of her head. "Come on lazybones, we both have work today."
  379. >She waves a hoof dismissively. "Buck work...I'm staying in bed today."
  380. >"I'll bet I can get you out of bed." you say as you play with her hair.
  381. >A small laugh is your answer. She asked for it.
  382. >You grab Rainbow by the flank and jump out of bed, ignoring her yelp of surprise as you do.
  383. >You make sure to lean Rainbow against your chest as you carry her out to the kitchen, her moaning at being moved not helping matters.
  385. >Mous is eating at the table when you get out. "Are you always out here before I am?" you ask.
  386. >Mous shrugs. "I get up when I hear you moving around so I can ensure I always get the best seat."
  387. >You roll your eyes and walk into the kitchen, Rainbow still leaning on your chest. "Anon, throw me an apple if your -that- set on moving me this early."
  388. >You pop an apple in your mouth and grab one for yourself. These Golden Delicious were the best.
  389. >You carried Rainbow back to your room after breakfast, she shifted her weight and fell onto the bed again.
  390. >Oh dammit. "I thought that getting some food in you would wake you up some..." you lament.
  391. >You can see Rainbow's grin from here. "Yeah, bad move on your part. I'm gonna have to lay here and let this food digest for a while before I get up again."
  392. >You lay down next to her."I got you out of bed once, what makes you think I can't do it again?" you ask.
  393. >Rainbow smirks at you. "I'm ready for you this time."
  394. >Luckily, force is not your only option.
  395. >You jump off the bed and head into the bathroom. "Okay, you just lay there while I shower, you know, naked and stuff."
  396. >You hear her shuffle around on the bed. "That...won't work Anon..."
  397. >You turn on the water and step in. "Sorry! Can't hear you over the sound of me vigorously rubbing my wet chest!"
  398. >You hear the something jump onto the floor and clop into the bathroom. You wipe the steam off the glass to see Rainbow grinning at you. "You're a terrible special somep0ny, bribing me with sex like that."
  400. >Forty minutes later, you're showered, laid, dressed, and walking out the door.
  401. >You kiss Rainbow goodbye as she takes off into the clouds. "So, does she taste like skittles?" you hear behind you.
  402. >Mous is standing in the doorway behind you, heading out as well. "Skittles?"
  403. >He gives you an incredulous eyebrow.
  404. >Oh.
  405. >Tasting. Rainbow.
  406. >"Haha." you say.
  407. >You walk ahead as Mous waits by the mailbox for Derpy. Something about giving her a hug he forgot about.
  408. >You walked by somep0ny on a stage as you got closer to town. He was ranting about chaos theory or something.
  409. >The library was abuzz in papers when you stepped in.
  410. >Papers were strewn about the floor, books sat open on ever piece of furniture available, a chalkboard with what looked like a time dilation equation sat in the corner.
  411. >"Oh, hey Anon!" you heard from the other room. Twilight came trotting out to great you. "You're just in time!"
  412. >A quick once over told you that Twilight had at least slept, no bags under her eyes and she was keeping balance pretty well.
  413. >"What is all this stuff, Twi?" you ask as you motion around the room.
  414. >Twilight's face lights up like a Christmas tree. "The Princess sent over a special spell that her magisters made and she wants us to help!"
  415. >You grab one of the pieces of paper laying around and start scanning it. "What kind of spell are we talking about?"
  416. >"Why, the spell to send you home, of course!"
  418. >...what?
  419. >A lump forms in your throat.
  420. >"S-She finished that?" you ask.
  421. >Twilight goes back to reading a large tome. "Not yet, but she says she has the base component down. It's our job right now to take care of the stability of the portal."
  422. >Stability, that means she already knows how to send you elsewhere and how to power it.
  423. >The hard part's done.
  424. >This portal nonsense could take a few weeks, a month at the most, but then what?
  425. >How much longer did you have here?
  426. >"R-right, I'll go work this out." you say.
  427. >You sit down at the desk and start crunching numbers based on the magical theory you know, but your heart isn't in it like it normally is.
  428. >How much longer were you going to be here?
  429. >Were you allowed to opt out?
  430. >Should you?
  431. >What would Mous say?
  432. >You admit that you missed your family, but you know that you'd miss Rainbow and all your other friends here if you left.
  433. >Shit, you had a GIRLFRIEND here. One who had been living with you a month.
  434. >It was no doubt that the two of you cared about each other, you didn't want to leave that.
  435. > the same time, you didn't think that writing off your homeworld was the best mode of thought.
  437. >"How's it going?" you heard over your shoulder, causing you to jump.
  438. >Twilight stood behind you. "Uhh. Fine. Fine, take a look." you hand her the paper you had been writing on.
  439. >Twilight's face grows a shocked expression as she reads. "Anon, did you do all this right now?" she asks.
  440. >"Well, yeah." you say. "Why?"
  441. >"Anon, this is incredible! You've cracked the portal stability equation! How did you do that?" Twilight asked.
  442. >You turned in your chair. "Well, it was simple enough. I figured out what kinds of magic we'd need, probably special manipulation and maybe a time tunneling spell if time is different there than it is here, And then I just used general Arcane energy to bind them together." You look up at her. "Is that...special?"
  443. >"Incredibly!" she cried out. "Nop0ny has ever thought of combining different types of magic energy together! We always just kinda brute force it."
  444. >"Well, different ways of thinking, I guess." you say.
  445. >"This'll cut down on the time till the portal is done drastically! I can't wait to get you started on the other aspects!"
  446. >Waitwhat?
  447. >Oh god.
  448. >No.
  449. >Dammit, no.
  450. >You just cost yourself a month of time here!
  451. >Idiot!
  453. >You groan and put your head in your hands.
  454. >Idiot. Stupid idiot!
  455. >Twilight senses something is wrong and approaches you again. "Anon? Is something wrong?"
  456. >You talk through your hands. "Twilight, have you ever wanted something, and then later on your realized you didn't want it anymore?"
  457. >"Did something happen, Anon?" she asked.
  458. >You looked up and saw the concern in her eyes. "It's just...I've built this life here that I love and suddenly, this thing that I should want with all my heart comes along and is ready to take me back to my old one and...I don't think I want it to."
  459. >Twilight puts her hoof on your arm. "Well, I think you've answered your own question, Anon. If you love someplace, you don't try to leave it."
  460. >"But what about my family?" you ask.
  461. >Twilight gets a knowing look in her eyes. "Would your family want to see you again if you were going to be unhappy?"
  462. >"But...what about the spell?" you ask.
  463. >Twilight levitates the paper you wrote on over to her. "You've cracked something important, but we still have a long way to go before it's finished. And when it is...we just won't use it!"
  464. >You give her a bit of a look. "So, we're doing this entire thing just for its own sake?"
  465. >"Nope! For science!" she says.
  467. >Twilight let you off early today and you began to walk home.
  468. >You felt good. Really good.
  469. >You had always figured that staying in Equestria for a long while would be a possibility, but this was the first time you had -chosen- to stay.
  470. >Ah. And there was your main reason for staying flying through the clouds now. "Hey Rainbow!" you call out.
  471. >She doesn't yell back and shrugs at you. "Head back to the house when you're done! It's important!"
  472. >She nods and flies off.
  473. >You can fully appreciate Ponyville now that you can see it as your home. Fillies ride around in wagons, colts and mares wake through the center of town.
  474. >Some wave hello to you, some even say it.
  475. >But all of them have already accepted you.
  476. >And you them.
  478. >You arrive at your house, it would be a few hours till Mous got home, which was good.
  479. >Rainbow lands next to you. "What's up Anon?" she asks.
  480. >You open the door and motion for her to come inside.
  481. >You shut the door behind you and turn to her.
  482. >You run your fingers through her hair. "Rainbow..."
  483. >You find yourself at a loss, how to you tell somep0ny that you didn't have to go back to your home dimension?
  484. >"Oh fuck it." you pull Rainbow close and kiss her as hard and deep as you can.
  485. >She's shocked for an instant, but she catches up quick.
  486. >You walk to your room and collapse on top of the bed, Rainbow already pawing at your shirt.
  487. >You spend the afternoon like that, intertwined in the language of lovers that communicates you're feelings and then some.
  488. >You both finish and simply lay there curled up in each other for a while. " Where did -that-come from Anon?" Rainbow huffed out.
  489. >You feel Rainbow shudder as you plant kisses up her wings and onto her back.
  490. >You stop at the base of her neck and whisper "Just happy to be home."
  492. =BiE 34=
  494. >You were glad you found this ball under your bed.
  495. >It helped pass the time between customers.
  496. >The lunch rush had subsided and ushered in the late day slump.
  497. >The only sound in the spa was the light music playing and the general "thump" your ball was making against the wall.
  498. >Somep0ny opened your door just as you caught the ball.
  499. >It was Lotus. "They can probably hear that racket you're making all the way in Canterlot."
  500. >You get up off the floor and put the ball in your bag.
  501. >"Then they should make more noise and cover me up. What's up?"
  502. >Lotus points behind her. She looks irritated. "We have a customer who just came in asking deluxe treatment."
  503. >Oh hell.
  504. >The Deluxe took a few hours.
  505. >It also usually involved a double massage.
  506. >"So, I guess my number's up?"
  507. >Lotus gets a smirk. "The downside of dating your employer is that you are the first name they call when they need help, let's go."
  508. >Lotus leads you through the spa into one of the bigger rooms in the back.
  509. >Inside was a beige colored earth pony with a blue mane.
  510. >"Mous, this is Pearl Necklace. Wife of Ponyville's Filthy Rich." Lotus said.
  511. >Never heard of him.
  512. >You can guess what his deal is just from the name though.
  513. >"Hello Ma'am, I'll be your second masseur today."
  514. >She gives you a once over. "They say your massages are to die for."
  515. >Word spreads.
  516. >"I like to think I know what I'm doing. Why don't you lay down on the bed and we'll get started?"
  517. >She hops up on the bed. "I-I must admit, I've never had a massage before..."
  518. >Lotus is quick to soothe. "Relax, we know what we're doing, we will take care of everything."
  520. >Pearl Necklace paid her bill and left a generous tip on her way out.
  521. >She should have, she kept you here an hour after closing.
  522. >You and Lotus exit the spa rubbing your faces.
  523. >This was not how either of you wanted to spend your Friday.
  524. >The streetlamps flickered on as you stepped out.
  525. >It was early spring, Winter Wrap Up was right around the corner.
  526. >"Uhg. How a pony with as leisurely a life as her can have so many sore spots to complain about, I'll never know."
  527. >Got that right...
  528. >"You wanna get dinner?"
  529. >Lotus looks up at you disbelieving. "Don't I normally have to drag you out just to get lunch?"
  530. >You shrug.
  531. >"I have been worn down today by the constant dribble coming out of that mares mouth. You game?"
  532. >Lotus looks towards the center of town. "Diner?"
  533. >You jerk your head to the side and start walking, Lotus close behind you.
  534. >You both slump in your seats at the diner, the day's work catching up to you.
  535. >Lotus is staring off into space with a grin on her face.
  536. >You try to follow her gaze only for her to catch you and have her grin grow wider.
  537. >"What?"
  538. >She points a hoof past you near the edge of the patio. "That's where all this started."
  539. >Oh yeah. She kissed you there.
  540. >"I thought all this started when I pulled myself through your window?"
  541. >She traces a hoof around her wineglass but still stares out. "Yeah, but you wouldn't have come to my house if it didn't start here."
  542. >She turns to look at you. "How did you get to my window anyway?"
  543. >"Jumped off a tree branch."
  545. >The two of you find yourselves taking a late night walk after dinner.
  546. >Lotus is silently resting on your back.
  547. >She saw Rainbow hugging Anon around the neck one day and asked you about it.
  548. >The obvious solution was piggy back rides.
  549. >It worked out, she was pretty light.
  550. >This was nice, Lotus just resting on your back, the silence of the road.
  551. Heeeeey maaaaaan.
  552. >God dammit Brain.
  553. >You do this shit on purpose.
  554. Let's rap, man.
  555. >What?
  556. Let's chat.
  557. >About?
  558. The mare on your back.
  559. >Didn't we already have this discussion?
  560. This is a new discussion.
  561. >Joy.
  562. Did you notice how many she put away at dinner?
  563. >We put away quite a bit ourselves.
  564. No, not that.
  565. >Then what?
  566. Look at how relaxed she is.
  567. >So?
  568. So? She trusts you.
  569. >She just doesn't want to walk, Brain
  570. No, this is trust. Trust me.
  571. >I'm pretty sure she trusted us before.
  572. Enough to get tipsy and let you carry her? Not likely.
  573. >So, what's your point?
  574. I just think it's a bit strange for a guy to have claimed to be taking it slow only to now be taking his special somep0ny to his house.
  575. >Wait, wh-
  576. >"Oof!"
  577. >You rub your face.
  578. >You have run into your own door.
  580. >"Dammit."
  581. >You felt movement on your back.
  582. >"Huh? Where are we?" you heard Lotus say.
  583. >Shit.
  584. >You look like a scumbag.
  585. >"Uh...I ran into my house."
  586. >She settles her head on your shoulder. "Cute."
  587. >You think you see a smile.
  588. >"Can I come in?" she asks.
  589. >Whoa.
  590. Wait.
  591. >What?
  592. >"Huh?"
  593. >She gives you a peck on the cheek. "Has anyp0ny ever told you told you that you're cute when you're flustered? I never saw too much of your home when I was last here, care to give me the tour?"
  594. >The last time she was here was during estrus.
  595. >You can see how that would make paying attention hard.
  596. >"Uhh...sure."
  598. >You let Lotus down and open the door.
  599. >You lead her through the house as you throw your bag on the couch.
  600. >She passes right by the bathroom she was locked in.
  601. >Guess she saw enough of that.
  602. Should we be okay with this?
  603. >Hey, if she trusts us, we should trust her.
  604. >You come in on her in your room, she's looking at the models on display. "Quite the collection you have here, isn't it?"
  605. >You sit down at eye level in the middle of the room.
  606. >"It's a hobby."
  607. >She takes a few steps towards you until she is inches away from your face.
  608. >"Is it weird?"
  609. >Lotus starts to nuzzle your face with hers. "Hmmmm...Maybe I like weird?"
  610. >You run your fingers through her hair.
  611. >"That's weird."
  612. >Lotus doesn't respond.
  613. >It seems she's kissing your neck.
  614. >Uhhh...
  615. >Gents?
  616. Uhhhhh...
  617. >Thanks Brain.
  618. Uuuhhhhh...
  619. >Et tu Jimmies?
  620. Roll with it.
  621. >Heart?
  622. Do it.
  623. >Uhhh.
  624. >You keep running your hand through Lotus's hair.
  625. >That damn headband was in the way, get rid of it.
  626. >She eventually leads up your neck and reaches your lips.
  627. >Okay, wow, that's her tongue.
  628. >She presses up against you and pushes you back.
  629. >Way back.
  630. >Lotus, I'm gonna fal-Ooof!
  631. >Okay, she's on top of you now.
  632. We should tell her.
  633. >Lotus breaks the kiss and goes back to your neck.
  634. >Her hoof reaches between yo-HELLO.
  636. >"L-lotus..."
  637. >Lotus works her way back up to your lips again.
  638. >You try to get it out between breaths.
  639. >"Lotus.."
  640. >She breaks the kiss and looks at you with those big blue eyes of hers
  641. >"Lotus, I-I never..."
  642. >She starts stroking your hair and goes down to your ear. "Ssssshhh. Relax, I know what I'm doing... I'll take care of everything..."
  644. >Morning.
  645. >You didn't mind that it was morning.
  646. >You had been up a while.
  647. >You slept on the floor that night, the bed was too small for the two of you.
  648. >Not that space was an issue. Lotus seemed content to sleep on your chest.
  649. >You didn't mind either, the carpet/blanket combo felt good on your skin.
  650. >Lotus stirred on your chest.
  651. >"Morning, pretty pony."
  652. >She rubbed her eyes. "Mmm...good morning."
  653. >She plants a kiss on you and lays back down.
  654. >Silence falls.
  655. We gonna talk about this?
  656. >What do?
  657. Make a joke?
  658. >"So, was it good for you too?"
  659. >Laughter
  660. >Score one for you.
  661. >"Why is it that that's the first question guys always ask?" she says.
  662. >You rub the nape of her neck.
  663. >"Well, we passed out pretty quick last night. And I'd say I have a bit more reason to want a review.
  664. >Lotus giggles again and rolls off your chest onto the floor.
  665. >She scoots up to your head. "Yes. Despite your general lack of experience, you are a proficient lover."
  666. >+10 ego.
  667. >"But, I've had better." she teases.
  668. >You roll your eyes and clutch your chest.
  669. >"Oh, how will I ever recover from such a horrible blow to my manhood?"
  670. >That elicits a giggle as Lotus wraps herself in your arm. "I will admit though..."
  671. >She looks around. "It was a new experience, making love with so many...tiny eyes watching."
  672. >That got a chuckle from you.
  673. >"Don't go pretending you don't enjoy an audience."
  674. >You both laugh.
  675. >" we work today?"
  676. >Lotus presses herself up against you and looks you in the eye. "I think I'm due for a personal day..."
  677. >Lotus starts the same process as last night, working her way up your neck, as you pull the blanket over the two of you.
  679. =BiE 35=
  681. >Twas the night before Winter Wrap Up and all through the town, not a creature was making one tiny sound.
  682. >"Fucking hell."
  683. >Except for one guy.
  684. >He had just dropped off his special somep0ny after a night out.
  685. >"I have lived here for three months, I should not be this lost."
  686. >A voice comes from the alley nearby."Oh, you're more lost then you think."
  687. >The guy is on alert now. Voices in the dark are never good.
  688. >"What if I told you that I could help you?" it asked.
  689. >Cloaked ponies step out from the alley.
  690. >Behind them is their leader. A blue unicorn. "What if I told you I could send you home?" she said.
  691. >The guy was wise to what she was doing.
  692. >"I'd ask what you'd want in return."
  693. >The unicorn chuckled. "Oh, I just need some help in busting out my...patron. He was put away for a while and I could use someone with getting him back."
  694. >The guy was still on edge.
  695. >"And what would you do once this 'patron' of yours was free?"
  696. >The unicorn flips her hair back. "After we help you? Oh, we just want to have a little fun..."
  697. >The guy relaxed a bit.
  698. >The idea raced through his head.
  699. >"Okay. Shoot..."
  701. -The next day-
  702. >The sun was out, and so were the three of you.
  703. >You adjusted your vest a bit. Rarity had done a good job, it was pretty snug.
  704. >Rainbow was letting you lead her along again and Mous was walking in front of you.
  705. >You noticed something hanging off the back of his belt. "C'mon, dude. What'd you bring David for?"
  706. >He glances over his shoulder at you. "Because we're on the animal team? And there are bears and shit out there?"
  707. >Typically paranoid.
  708. >You spot Cloudchaser flying waving at you from up high.
  709. >"That's my cue." Rainbow says. She flies in front of you and gives you a quick peck. "Good luck you two." she says before she rockets off.
  710. >You and Mous enter into the town square and find Twilight directing ponies near a large cart.
  711. >"Hey Twi, we're here to help. Where do you need us?" Twilight gives her clipboard a once over. "Fluttershy is coaxing animals out in the southern fields, think you two can lend a hand?"
  712. >You both throw off a salute and head south.
  714. >You found Fluttershy and her team spread out through a collection of burrows in the fields.
  715. >Most of the dens had little bells affixed to them that got the animals out.
  716. >"Hey Fluttershy, need a hand?" you ask.
  717. >Fluttershy turns to you. It was good to see her smiling. "Oh yes, there's lots to do. Do you to think that you could handle the animals on that hill over there?"
  718. >You two head over to the hill and look over the dozen or so dens. "Guess we just start?" you ask.
  719. >Mous shrugs and makes for the first den. He has his hand over his knife. "Hello? Mister or Missus Hopefully-not-a-honey-badger?"
  720. >You begin clearing out the animals from the other dens as you giggle at Mous's antics.
  721. >The two of you make decent time clearing out the hovels. "Hey, man." you say.
  722. >"Huh?" you hear Mous grunt as he backs out of a den.
  723. >"Did you want to grab Lotus and head out someplace tonight? Double date?"
  724. >Mous gets a far off look in his eye and sits on the ground. "Y-yeah. Sure."
  725. >"You okay dude?" you ask. This wasn't like him.
  726. >He waves his hand. "I'm fine just...never had a date with other people before."
  727. >You give him a pat on the shoulder. "Not worries man, we can keep it cool."
  728. >You dive back into the nearest den. "" you hear Mous say.
  730. >The day wore on and the two of you got every single critter out for Spring.
  731. >You were tired, covered in dirt, and a bit wet. But you felt good.
  732. >You spotted Rainbow up above.
  733. >She must have spotted you too, because she dropped out of the sky and flew in for a kiss.
  734. >"No! No!" you shout as you try and hold her back. "I'm covered in filth and smell like a barn."
  735. >She boops your nose. "You're paying me back later..."
  736. >Of that you had no doubt.
  737. >You all gathered round the Mayors podium to hear her speak. "Congratulations, everyp0ny! Not only have we wrapped up winter, but have done so in record time!"
  738. >The thunder of hooves echoed through the town in cheer.
  739. >Wait, where was Mous?
  740. >"It is with great honor that I declare winter over...
  741. >A firework launched off from behind the podium interrupting the Mayor.
  742. >"...and declare it now..."
  743. >The firework exploded and ended the mayors sentence for her.
  744. >And then everything else exploded.
  746. >The first explosion caused the crowd to panic.
  747. >The second caused them to stampede.
  748. >Or, they tried to.
  749. >Unicorns at the edge of town appeared and fired magical bursts into the air.
  750. >It did an effective job of corralling the already frightened townsponies back into the square.
  751. >You could feel Rainbow trying to pull out of the deathgrip you had her in and fly up high.
  752. >No way. Not with those fireworks going off.
  753. >Eventually, the explosions died down and the panicking crowed was pushed back in front of the stage.
  754. >Your eyes drifted to the stage and saw a group of hooded ponies trot onto it.
  755. >One stepped forward and looked over the chaos in front of her before pulling back her hood.
  756. >Blue unicorn. Light blue hair.
  757. >"Listen, Ponyville! Listen to your better!"
  759. >A collective gasp washed over the crowed.
  760. >"Trixie!" Rainbow shouted.
  761. >Who's Trixie?
  762. >"Come and bear witness to the word of Chaos!" Trixie shouted.
  763. >Twilight pushed her way through the crowed.
  764. >She looked pissed. "Trixie! What are you doing here? This seems a bit beyond you."
  765. >Trixie tossed her hair back. "Well, well, Twilight Sparkle. We meet again..."
  766. >Twilight stomps her foot on the ground. "This is no time for grudges, Trixie! What are you doing here?"
  767. >"Why, simply spreading The Word!" she cries out. "Don't tell us that you have not seen our followers in your tiny town these past months! They have preached the word of Chaos well and drawn many to our cause!"
  768. >'Word of Chaos'? These ponies were a cult?
  769. >One of the ponies behind Trixie stepped forward, flanked by the other two.
  770. >Her hood fell and revealed a purple mare.
  771. >The eyes of which were pried open in a maddened gaze, showing the impossible spirals inside.
  772. >The Holy Mother was the start of this movement, and it is with Her that we shall release the King!" Trixie continues.
  773. >"You don't mean!?" Twilight gasped.
  774. >"Yes!" Trixie said. "We're going to free Discord!"
  775. >Another gasp washed over the crowd. "Free Discord?!" Twilight shouted. "Do you know what that will do,!?"
  776. >Trixie scoffed. "Free the world from the false 'order' that those Princesses in Canterlot enforced? For too long have they been holding us back! It is time that Chaos reigned once again!"
  777. >Twilight scrapped her hoof along the ground. "I'm not gonna let you free Discord, Trixie..." she growled. "Just try and stop me." Trixie laughed.
  778. >A beam of purple magic shot from Twilight's horn towards Trixie.
  779. >The beam stopped short of Trixies face and splashed over the stage behind her.
  780. >It was blocked.
  781. >By a hand.
  783. >You couldn't believe what you were seeing.
  784. >You knew you were seeing it, but it didn't make sense.
  785. >"Mous!?" you called out.
  786. >Mous's eyes met yours. They were colder then ice. "Anon." he said.
  787. >"What the hell are you doing, man!? Why are you helping this psycho?" you cried out as you elbowed your way closer.
  788. >Mous climbed up onto the stage and glanced at Trixie. "We made a deal." he said.
  789. >What!? Deal?
  790. >"For what!? She's gonna give you more figures? Or new boots!? What could possibly be wor-"
  791. >"I want to go home, Anon!"
  792. >Mous stood hunched over on the stage. His face contorted by fury into something grotesque. "I want to go home. I want my family back. I want my LIFE back!" he shouted.
  793. >"So you made a deal with some crazy cult!? Mous, we have a spell that can get you home, just-"
  794. >"NO! It took you three goddamn months to even get this far and what do you have to show for it!? How many things could go wrong and delay you another six month or a year? They have a spell that can send me home NEXT WEEK. All they want is help with something."
  795. >This made no sense...
  796. >"Mous...Discord will turn this place into a hellhole! You can't condemn an entire kingdom, an entire PLANET to that just to send you home!"
  797. >Mous gave you a glare that looked like it could blast a hole back to Earth by itself.
  798. >He turned to Trixie. "Get us out of here."
  799. >Trixie nodded and cast a spell that made white smoke explode from under the stage.
  800. >"Mous!" you cried out as you fought through it.
  801. >You reached the stage as the smoke cleared to find no one on it.
  802. >Mous was gone.
  804. -Mous PoV-
  805. >You followed Trixie down the alley.
  806. >She said she had a carriage stashed back here that you could use to slip away.
  807. >The rest of the town should be too distracted by the smoke bombs to follow.
  808. >Everything was working out.
  809. >Help these assholes, get what they want, and then.
  810. >Paydirt.
  811. >Your new friends darted around a corner.
  812. >You were about to follow when something stopped you.
  813. >"Mous..."
  814. Dammit. Not now.
  815. >You turned around.
  816. >Lotus stood in the alley behind you.
  817. >"Mous..." she said.
  818. >She looked like she was going to break down.
  819. >"W-what are you doing?" she asked.
  820. >Fuck.
  821. >"Go home, Lotus."
  822. >She shakes her head."Not until you tell me what went wrong!"
  823. >You sigh.
  824. >"Nothing. Nothing went wrong..."
  825. >Lotus shifted on her hooves. "S-so was it all a lie?"
  826. >What?
  827. >"No! No, I just...
  828. >"I have to do this Lotus."
  829. >You start backing away.
  830. >"I-It'd probably be best if you forgot about me."
  831. >You glance down the alley ahead of you, you can see the carriage.
  832. >Lotus lowers her head, the tears were flowing now. "Mous...please don't do this..."
  833. >Dammit.
  834. No distractions.
  835. >Yeah...
  836. >"I'm so sorry...goodbye, Lotus."
  837. >You run down the alley and don't stop until you're in the carriage.
  839. =BiE 36=
  841. >The carriage bounced and bobbed along the road and into the forest.
  842. >Being crammed inside with four other ponies made the ride...interesting.
  843. >Eventually, the carriage stopped.
  844. >But not before the riders inside had been dropped into a pile.
  845. >"Whoever's hoof that is has five seconds to remove it before I do."
  846. >The offending hoof is removed as you all climb your way out of the carriage.
  847. >Before you are erected a good couple hundred tents of varying sizes.
  848. >Ponies of all shapes and sizes roam around the makeshift town.
  849. >No...not just ponies.
  850. >Your eyes make out several pairs of griffins as well as several unicorns. You even see a minotaur.
  851. >"Impressed, human?"
  852. >You turn to your side and spot Trixie beaming over her collection of cultists.
  853. >You grunt.
  854. >"Seems pretty organized for a religion supposedly based around the concept of Chaos..."
  855. >Trixie harrumphs. "We will not have a hired mercenary, and even worse, an -outsider- critique our methods. Now, come along. I want you to sit in on a meeting."
  856. First a camp and now a meeting? Is it a Chaos meeting?
  857. >She's a hypocrite, who cares?
  858. >Just follow along until you get what you need.
  860. >The meeting was exactly as bureaucratic as you thought.
  861. >Long table.
  862. >Dozen or so high ranking cult officials.
  863. >The Holy Mother at the end, flanked by Trixie and some pegasus in red armor.
  864. >And you. Crammed between a griffin and an earth pony who smelled like he hadn't bathed in a week.
  865. >Trixie was using her illusionary magic to place markers over a map of Equestria and the surrounding countries.
  866. >"I will re-iterate our plan for those of you who are unaware." she says as she throws a glance at you.
  867. Fuck you too, Trixie.
  868. >"As you all know, Chaos is a state of things. One that is imprinted throughout the entire world almost as much as magic itself."
  869. >Four markers appeared over the map. Two to the North and two to the South.
  870. >"Our goal, is to collect four items that either caused mass Chaos, or are the direct result of it. Using these artifacts, we will tear open a portal and free our lord Discord." she says with a manic grin.
  871. >Everyone else at the table was wearing the same grin.
  872. >You sigh and raise your hand. "What, human?" Trixie asks.
  873. >"Why are we doing this? I mean, I know you want to free Discord, but isn't he a statue in Canterlot? Shouldn't the first task be getting that statue?"
  874. >The rest of the members of this idiot council all moaned like you had just asked why the sky was blue.
  875. >"Discord is not mere flesh, human, He is a spirit. A spirit that is currently trapped in the Tartarian plains. We will use these artifacts to open a portal to Tartarus and allow him re-entry into our world."
  877. >"Isn't Discord supposed to be as powerful as Celestia? Shouldn't he be able to open a portal himself?"
  878. >You hear a sigh from the earth pony next you. "I have a question, why are we even entertaining this ape? He is no true believer, and I fail to see why our plans hinge on him."
  879. >You shoot him a glare. "What, ape? You think you can frighten me? I have fought worse then you in my-"
  880. >He gets no further as you grab his head and slam it onto the table.
  881. >You pull David out of his sheathe and stab him into the table barely a hairsbreadth away from the earth pony's neck.
  882. >"You ponies need to learn that I'm a lot scarier then you are."
  883. >Any traces of arrogance in the ponies eyes had evaporated as he eyed the blade at his throat.
  884. >A flash of light erupts from behind you and splinters over the back of your head.
  885. >You turn to see Trixie standing on the table, her horn still glowing. "That is why we need him. I have word from one of my sources that both this human and the other from P0nyville are entirely immune to magic. We can't overlook that advantage."
  886. >The only time that ever came up was when you first got here and saw Celestia.
  887. >She has spies in the palace?
  888. >Trixie continues to glare at you while the rest of the room looks on edge, the pegasus on the other side of Her Holiness looked ready to jump you.
  889. >"Now, release him human."
  890. >You stare down Trixie for what feels like hours.
  891. >Should just wreck these idiots...
  892. Easy. Remember the plan. We need them.
  893. >Yeah...but they don't need us here.
  895. >You pry David out of the table and re-sheathe him as you walk out.
  896. >"Human! We are not done here!" you hear Trixie shout from behind you.
  897. >You stop and look at Trixie over your shoulder.
  898. >"Four artifacts to summon Discord. I help you get them and then I get what I want. I'm going to assume you aren't a moron and have some way of crossing that ocean on your map, so I'm leaving until you twits come up with a plan."
  899. >You continue walking out of the tent.
  900. >"Come find me when you have something, and not a minute before."
  901. >That went well, what now?
  902. We need food. And a place to sleep.
  903. >You wander around the camp looking.
  904. >Dammit, where is the cafeteria tent, or whatever?
  905. There has to be one with this many cultists.
  906. >Maybe they catch their own food?
  907. >You're interrupted by a trio of colts running past you chasing a ball.
  908. >Shit, they had kids in this mess?
  909. Fucked up.
  910. >"Hey. Kids."
  911. >They all turn to look at you.
  912. >"What are you doing here?"
  913. >The three of them glance at each other. "Uhh...our parents all brought us here, who are you?"
  914. Parents dragging their kids into a doomsday cult?
  915. >It's either that or pay for college...
  916. >"Nevermind, where do I get something to eat?"
  917. >The colts all point to a particularly large tent over on the other side of camp.
  918. >"Yeah. Thanks."
  919. >You can feel them stare at you as you walk away.
  921. >Dinner consisted of some bread and water.
  922. >Can't get too fancy when you're feeding this many mouths in the middle of nowhere.
  923. >At least you were used to the diet.
  924. >It was night, late, the events of the day were beginning to catch up to you.
  925. >Apparently, tents were for actual members of the Cult, so you had to fend for yourself.
  926. >Deciding against sleeping near the outskirts of a camp in the middle of the Everfree Forest, you lean back against a tree next to the conference tent you stormed out of earlier.
  927. >Your mind begins to replay the events of the day.
  928. >You still remember Anon's face when you announced you were working with Trixie, he looked confused.
  929. >Anon always saw the world a bit more black and white then you.
  930. >Contrast to Rainbow's face; the rage of your betrayal was practically carved into it.
  931. >Still, you hope they're okay.
  932. >You didn't stick around to see the aftermath of the smokescreen.
  933. >And then with what happened with Lotus...
  934. >You felt a pang in the middle of your chest.
  935. >Why did she have to be there?
  936. >She better be safe.
  937. >Is she worried about you? Or did she do what you said?
  938. >Maybe you shou-
  939. No.
  940. We can't.
  941. The job is too important.
  942. >You sigh as you remember why you rolled in with Trixie in the first place.
  943. Mind like ice. Let nothing get in your way.
  944. >You take some deep breaths as you center yourself.
  945. >Anon, Rainbow, and Lotus would be fine.
  946. >Whatever they do after this, you're not going to be around to help.
  947. >You eventually succeed in banishing those thoughts and drifting off to sleep.
  948. >Whatever the council came up with, tomorrow would be an interesting day.
  950. =BiE 37=
  952. >Everything was happening in a blur.
  953. >After the scene at the town square, Twilight immediately sent a letter to the Princess.
  954. >Not half hour later, you were sitting on a carriage getting flown to Canterlot.
  955. >You and the rest of the Element bearers were whisked into the throne room.
  956. >Celestia and Luna stood around a table with a map of Equestria on it.
  957. >A stallion was leaning over the map. "If they escaped by carriage, then the Everfree Forest is their only option. But I am hesitant to launch an attack on it with the possibility of Discord returning at any moment."
  958. >Celestia nodded. She looked serious. "Agreed. Our first priority should be to ensure some method of countering Discord. Thank you, General."
  959. >Celestia and Luna approached your little group. "Hello Twilight, everyone. I wish that we could have met under better circumstances."
  960. >"Me too, Princess." Twilight says. "Do we have a plan on how to stop Trixie?"
  961. >Celestia started walking towards you as she spoke. "Trixie and her cult can be handled with conventional means, it is the threat that Discord's return poses that we must plan for."
  962. >She looks down her nose at you. Serious Celestia is scary Celestia. "Anon, I am to understand that Mous has joined forces with Trixie to free Discord, do you know anything about that?"
  963. >Was she trying to implicate you? Was she just being cautious? "I am just as surprised as you are about this Princess, Mous had said nothing to be about his plans."
  964. >The Princess continued to stare at you for what felt like an eternity. "I believe you." she said.
  965. >You let out the breathe you had been holding.
  966. >Good. You didn't need to be thought of as a traitor.
  968. >"As for Discord." Celestia said. "We cannot use the Elements of Harmony as our main weapon again, if they allowed for Discord's return once then they would do so again."
  969. >Makes sense.
  970. >She approaches Twilight."Twilight, as my most faithful student, I ask your help in designing a magical countermeasure with which we can use on Discord."
  971. >Twilight grows a serious look on her face. "You can count on me Princess!" she gives a glance over at you. "However, I would like Anon's assistance. His method of thinking has proven to be very well suited for magical study."
  972. >Whoawhat? Was she talking about that portal stabilizer you put out?
  973. >Celestia nodded. "Very well, Anon will assist you in creating a binding spell." She turns to the rest of the girls. "I must ask that the remainder of the Element bearers stay in Canterlot Palace during this crisis. The Elements are still our trump card and we must ensure you all stay safe."
  974. >Everone but Twilight and Rainbow trotted away. "Twilight." you say as you approach her. "Why in Equestria do you need my help? I got that portal stabilizer out of pure luck, you can't tell me that I can somehow help a group of ponies who have been studying magic their entire lives on a magical problem."
  975. >Twilight wasn't having any of it. "Anon, you were able to stabilize a trans dimensional gateway using a method of magical thinking that has never been conceived before in a fraction of the time it should have taken, that's no fluke. We're going to need that method of thinking if we're going to have a chance of stopping Discord." She turns and trots towards the door. "Come find me in the Arcanium, we have a lot of work to do."
  977. >Rainbow flutters up to you. "You alright?" she asks.
  978. >No. You were not alright.
  979. >Your best friend, your bro who you've known for your entire life had turned on you and was planning to release a being of godlike power and malice for a free trip to another dimension.
  980. >You were pretty far from alright.
  981. >But no reason to worry Rainbow. "I'm fine." you say. "Hey, why don't you go find a room and check this place out? I'll catch up with you a bit later after I'm done with this stuff"
  982. >Rainbow looks worried. "You sure you're alright?"
  983. >"Positive." you say. You give her a kiss and are rewarded with a smile as she flies off.
  984. >You catch up with Twilight and follow her into this Arcanium.
  985. >"Whoa." was all you could say when you walked in.
  986. >The room was a beehive of activity. Unicorns were fetching and reading magical scrolls, brainstorming in groups, and testing theories with magical apparatuses.
  987. >Twilight leads you up to a unicorn who seems to be overseeing everything. "What's the situation Grand Magister?"
  988. >The Magister turns and grows a smile when he sees Twilight. "Good to see you, Miss Sparkle. Always happy to have another mind working on a problem." He glances up at you. "And who might this creature be?" he asks.
  989. >"This is Anon, another mind to work on this problem." Twilight says. You offer a silent wave. "Anon was the one who solved that stability issue on the dimensional portal."
  990. >That seemed to get his attention. "So, you're the one who came up with the idea to combine different types of magic? Good to have you."
  991. >"Now, come see what we have so far..." he says as he leads you back to the unicorns brainstorming behind him.
  993. >You found your way to the room Rainbow had picked out later that night.
  994. >You'd be annoyed that she picked one at the top of so many stairs, but you couldn't be arsed.
  995. >Rainbow was already in bed by the time you got there, you wanted to lay down with her and forget the events of today.
  996. >Instead, you found yourself staring at the moon for who knows how long.
  997. >"You worry about thine companion." you hear over your shoulder.
  998. >You turn around and watch as a dark blue Alicorn descends from the night sky and lands on your balcony. "Princess Luna." you say with a bow. You look out over the sleeping city "You could say that..."
  999. >"You are close to Mous." she said. Got that right. "Mous has been like my big brother since I was three. He was always looking out for me and trying to help me out." Your face falls. "I can't imagine why he would do this..."
  1000. >"We know of the betrayal of one's siblings very well." she says as she turns to you. "One thing of which you can be certain of is that there is always a reason for those so close." You shrug. "He said it's because he wanted to go back to Earth...he said that cult had a way of sending him back." You feel a hoof on your shoulder. Take heart, young Anon. Know that if your bond is as strong as you say it is, then there may be a way to save Mous yet."
  1001. >"And if it's not?" you ask.
  1002. >Luna's face drops. "Then your brother is truly lost."
  1003. >With that Luna flares her wings and takes to the skies.
  1004. >Great...
  1006. >You find yourself at the table in your room after your chat with Luna.
  1007. >You wanted to write a letter to Lotus.
  1008. >You remember finding her in an alley right before you left. She had just been laying on the ground there, crying.
  1009. >She said she talked to Mous before he left the town. It seemed like it didn't go well.
  1010. "Hey Lotus, it's Anon." you start. "I'm writing from Canterlot, they have me helping with researching some way to take care of Discord with a bunch of other ponies, weird huh? I'm sorry to say I don't have any news on Mous or why he did what he did. But, I know that I'm gonna find out. One way or another, I'll find out. Be safe Lotus. -Anon.
  1011. >You wrap the scroll and set it aside on the desk. You can mail it tomorrow.
  1012. >You crawl into bed with Rainbow and pull her as close as you can.
  1013. >Your talk with Luna hit deep.
  1014. >Mous seemed content here, he had never talked about wanting to hurry back home at least.
  1015. >He even started seeing Lotus.
  1016. >Why would he do all of that only to ditch right afterwards? And why would he put the entire planet at risk to do it?
  1017. >Mous had always been a stubborn ass, but he was never malicious, right?
  1018. >Had the Mous you had known all this time been covering up someone who only thought of them self?
  1019. >You sigh as the exhaustion sets in and glance at Rainbow.
  1020. >Could you stop, possibly hurt Mous to save the life you had hear? What would the Mous you remembered do?
  1021. >...
  1022. >He'd put himself down.
  1023. >Which meant that's what you had to be ready to do.
  1025. =BiE 38=
  1027. >You were told to expect trouble.
  1028. >You brought your knife expecting trouble.
  1029. >There was no trouble here.
  1030. >There was nothing living here save for your expedition.
  1031. >"Any of you want to tell me why you're wasting my time here?"
  1032. >"Settle down, Mous." came a voice from above.
  1033. >A pegasus in plain red armor landed next to you.
  1034. >"No, Speedy. I was brought in to counter unicorn magic and steal artifacts. I was not brought here to dig through rubble."
  1035. >The ruins spread across the entire island, as far as the eye could see.
  1036. >You remember seeing the island from above, the entire thing was covered in one giant city.
  1037. >A city you now stood in the corpse of.
  1038. >What interested you more than the state of the island was the name.
  1039. >Gallopfrey.
  1040. >You didn't say anything.
  1041. >Your enthusiasm had piddled out in the three hours you've been here looking for some non-descript rock, however.
  1042. >Still...can't hurt to get more info.
  1043. >"Hey, Speedy, what happened here?"
  1044. >Speedy gazes over the field of collapsing towers and craters. "No one knows. Legend says that Gallopfrey was a beacon of magical study in the time before Celestia and Luna came to power. But by the time modern explorers got here, there was nothing but these ruins." he says.
  1045. >Speedy kicks a rock. "None know what happened to the ponies here."
  1046. >You can hazard a guess.
  1047. >Extermination.
  1048. Enough wonderment, back to work.
  1049. >"Well, I don't want to be in a corpse city any longer then I have to. Let's move."
  1051. >You and Speedy made way further into a large globe structure.
  1052. >"What are we looking for here, man?"
  1053. >Speedy shrugs. "I don't know, the Holy Mother just said we'd know it when we found it.
  1054. >Actually, that was what her escorts said she said.
  1055. >What she said was more along the lines of "We got dead rock find and see-know it."
  1056. >"Why does she talk like that, anyway?"
  1057. >Speedy looks back to you. "Lord Discord speaks to us through her. It's...apparently quite the ordeal."
  1058. >"Why doesn't Discord just talk to us direct?"
  1059. >"Lord Discord isn't the only being trapped in Tartarus. He's one of the bigger ones there, but he was weakened by the Elements of Harmony. If He tried to contact our plain directly, then he would be discovered by Tirek or the Dogfather, maybe even the Smooze or Grogar." he says.
  1060. >"And?"
  1061. >"And even Gods have enemies, Mous."
  1062. >That made sense.
  1063. >Every sentient being had enemies.
  1064. We've made a few for ourselves these last few days.
  1066. >You continued walking.
  1067. >You were lucky you weren't out here alone, most of the members of this cult seemed a mite Xenophobic.
  1068. >Speedy was the first decent one you've met.
  1069. >He was a good kid.
  1070. >"Hey, Speedster, how'd you get here, anyway?"
  1071. >"That's an odd question." he says.
  1072. >"I'm an odd guy."
  1073. >"Well, I attended a rally in Cloudsdale a few weeks ago. Everything they said just made so much sense to me...about the worlds natural state being one of chaos and how ponykind had actually become weaker since the Princesses came to power. I decided to join up and here I am."
  1074. >Typical cult jarg-OHSHIT.
  1075. >The ground below you gave way and caused you to slide down to the bottom of the sphere below.
  1076. >You eventually landed on your ass, Speedy touching down next to you shortly afterwards.
  1077. >"Are you okay, Mous?" he asked.
  1078. >"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fi-
  1079. >You cut yourself off.
  1080. >In front of you was a slab of rock, one no bigger than your hand.
  1081. >Magic of every color imaginable flowed freely out and then back into it, giving the chamber you were in a kaleidoscopic glow.
  1082. >"Get a unicorn here, I think we found what we're looking for."
  1084. >It took a few hours to get the slab of Gallopfreyin rock out of its resting place, but you got it.
  1085. >You were currently sitting in the supersized carriage the cult used to travel in.
  1086. >Most carriages fit maybe eight and were pulled by two pegusi.
  1087. >This one was big enough to fit twenty and had to be pulled by eight pegusi.
  1088. >The perfect size for a strike force.
  1089. >Still, the added size was nice, it let them have a roof.
  1090. >You were currently headed south at best speed to the kingdom of Zebrica.
  1091. >"Anyone want to tell me what the plan is?"
  1092. >The pegasus from the planning meeting, Stormwing, his name was, spoke up. "Our plan is to land the strike team outside of the Zebra temple in Whoazambique. There we will steal the claw of Bangheli, the tiger that was responsible for over a hundred Zebra deaths when he was alive."
  1093. >"What's the welcoming committee look like?"
  1094. >"Celestia and Luna are aware of the significance of the claw, and a small cadre of unicorn magi are on station to help defend it with their Zebra allies." Stormwing said.
  1095. >Unicorns. Magic.
  1096. That's us.
  1098. >"Right. I'll handle the unicorns, you all worry about the zebras. No fatalities."
  1099. >"What!?" Stormwing gasped.
  1100. >"We are leading a war and you expect us to allow our enemies to live!?" he shouted.
  1101. >"You are leading a cult, not a war, and if you want anyp0ny else to think you're right, then you can't leave a trail of bodies."
  1102. >You and Stormwing glaring at each other is interrupted by a voice from the front of the carriage. ""No big pain!"
  1103. >You both look to see the Holy Mother looking at you for a few seconds before her eyes lead her away.
  1104. >"The Holy Mother has spoken, Stormwing."
  1105. >Stormwing grunts in annoyance and trots off.
  1106. >You pear out the window, you can see Whoazambique fast approaching.
  1107. >Pegusi and unicorns line up near the door.
  1108. >You nudge your way to the front.
  1109. >"Alright, I'll take the Equestrian unicorns. The rest of you, occupy the guards and give the fliers time to dash in and grab the claw. Then we leg it back to the chariot and bail, got it?"
  1110. >The drop party nods as the chariot slows down and the doors open.
  1112. >The smell of grass and heat enters your nose as your boots hit Zebrican soil.
  1113. >The temple rests inside a hill a few hundred feet off in the distance, Zebrican guards are already running out with the Equestrian magi already out.
  1114. >You begin a slow walk towards them as the rest of the party falls in behind you.
  1115. >"Steady. Keep pace with me and don't break until the fighting starts."
  1116. >Intimidation is the best weapon.
  1117. >The lead unicorn stood next to some sort of tribal leader and shouted down to you. "Halt! You are on holy Zebrican ground that is guarded by the Equestrian Magi Society! Leave at once!"
  1118. >"Hand over the claw and we'll be gone before you can blink!"
  1119. >He scoffs. "The claw of Bangheli is property of the people of Zebrica! You will not gain it freely."
  1120. >"Then it's a good thing I'm prepared to use force!"
  1121. >The Zebra leader stepped forward. "Who are you to take the claw? It is ours by Zebrican law!"
  1122. >Seems rhyming is a cultural thing for Zebras.
  1123. >You pull David out from his sheath.
  1124. >"I like to see that you can rhyme, but unfortunately, you waste my time. I will allow you all to divert, just give us the claw and no one gets hurt."
  1125. >The leader scoffs this time. "Such a crime I cannot allow, take your soldiers and leave. Now."
  1126. >The time for talk is over.
  1127. The time for war poetry is now.
  1128. >Poetry?
  1129. For fear.
  1130. >Do we know any?
  1131. We know one...
  1132. >This better work...
  1133. >"With blood and rage of crimson red...
  1134. >"I'll fill souls souls with the darkest dread."
  1135. >"You  will see my kind of hate..."
  1136. >"I'll burn you all, THAT IS YOU FATE!"
  1137. >The unicorn shouts. "Stand ready!"
  1138. >"CHARGE!"
  1140. >The battle is joined.
  1141. >The magi commander fires a quick bolt at you, one you deflect with a backhand.
  1142. >His shocked expression says it all.
  1143. That always gets em.
  1144. >You grab his horn and throw him on the ground, a kick to the head takes him out for now.
  1145. >The tribal leader rushes you, you dance around him and ready David.
  1146. >No fatalities.
  1147. >You trace a line along his right side with David, his pain distracts him long enough for you to push him over and deliver a kick to the head.
  1148. >A pair of unicorns get wise and hold your clothes in a telekinetic grip.
  1149. >Now you see why I wore a sweatshirt to a place this hot.
  1150. Yeah yeah...
  1151. >You slip out of your sweatshirt and rush the unicorns.
  1152. >A punch to one's face allows you to grab the other's horn and drive you knife into his shoulder.
  1153. Dude!
  1154. >A casualty is not a fatality.
  1155. >The unicorns companion regains himself, but a quick flick of the knife and a few drops of blood in his eyes are enough to distract him again and allow you to take his knees. A few blows to the head takes him out.
  1157. >A Zebra charges you with a staff. You sidestep and embed David into it, cracking the wood and allowing you to twist it away from her.
  1158. >You toss the zebra into a wall, a double kick to the head later leaves both of you on the ground, but only one of you getting up again.
  1159. >"Mercenary!"
  1160. >You look up to see Stromwing and Speedy flanking a griffin holding a box. "We have the claw!"
  1161. >Good.
  1163. >You leg it back to where the carriage is with the rest of the landing party.
  1164. >You intercepted every magical bolt you could and tried to keep the zebras from giving chase.
  1165. >You pushed a unicorn into the hovering carriage and started to climb in yourself.
  1166. >The Holy Mother was staring right at you.
  1168. >Your shock causes you to hesitate, the unicorn commander finally gets back to his feet and shoots a magical bolt at you.
  1169. >It's heading for Her.
  1170. This'll all be for shit if she dies! Move!
  1171. >You lift your arm to block only to find another body where it's supposed to go.
  1172. >The blast washes over Speedy and throws him to the back of the carriage.
  1173. >"Speedy!"
  1174. >You glance back at the temple, none of yours were still out there.
  1175. >"Driver! Go!"
  1176. >The doors close and you take off, magical blasts tailing you into the sky.
  1178. >You rush back to Speedy.
  1179. >He's still breathing.
  1180. Good.
  1181. >"Medic!"
  1182. >A unicorn pushes past you and begins to cast healing spells.
  1183. >Your rage starts to boil over.
  1184. >You grab Stormwing and throw him to the ground
  1185. >"What's the fucking deal with having the goddamn VIP in that warzone!"
  1186. >He struggles under you. "The Holy Mother attends all away missions! It is through her that we are blessed by Discord!"
  1187. >You bring your fist down on his jaw. Hard.
  1188. >"That's fucking retarded! You needlessly put Her at risk and may have killed Speedy!"
  1189. >Stormwing stops moving.
  1190. >You hear a coughing to your side. "So, what would you have us do, sir?"
  1191. >You wheel around.
  1192. >Speedy's eyes are open at least.
  1193. Wait. Sir?
  1194. >"What did you just call me?"
  1195. >He coughs again and smiles. "In our society, those in command got there by defeating those who previously held the position. Are you not taking command, sir?"
  1196. >Well now.
  1197. Aint that something?
  1198. >You return to Stormwing and slap him awake.
  1199. >"Hey, asshole! Wake up!"
  1200. >Stormwings eyes open and start to focus, you take out David and bring him to his chest .
  1201. >"I am taking command of all future raids. Speak now and be split from stem to stern or forever hold your peace."
  1202. >He remains silent.
  1203. >"Good."
  1204. >You dismount and take a knee next to Speedy and the medic.
  1206. >Taking Stormwings post as raid leader also came with an upgrade in living quarters.
  1207. >You now slept in a small tent with a single cot.
  1208. Better then tree's.
  1209. >Trixie was a bit pissed when you told her you usurped Stormwing, but her anger evaporated when you showed her the two artifacts you found.
  1210. >Speedy was taken to the doctors tent. He would live, but was in no shape to fight.
  1211. >You replaced him with a Griffin.
  1212. >You lay down on your new bed.
  1213. >It was late, you were tired, and you had two more raids tomorrow.
  1214. The life of a mercenary.
  1215. >But still, everything was coming together.
  1216. >Get the artifacts, find Discord, and finish this.
  1217. >Here's hoping Anon doesn't inadvertently cock this up.
  1218. >Your concerns put to rest, you find your thoughts drifting to a place you didn't want them to.
  1219. >To Lotus.
  1220. >You could have very easily died twice today.
  1221. >If you did die, what would happen? Would she grieve? Even if you told her not to?
  1222. >Would she even find out?
  1223. This isn't helping. Thinking like this will get us killed for sure.
  1224. >You sigh.
  1225. >Right. Veins like ice.
  1226. Remember why you're doing this.
  1227. >Yeah...
  1228. >It'll be worth it.
  1230. =BiE 39=
  1232. >"Have we tried maybe sapping Discords powers? Making him not a threat?" you ask.
  1233. >Twilight rubs her head "No, that won't work. Chaos is a state of something, we might as well try and change matter into anti-matter."
  1234. >You sigh and put your head on the table.
  1235. >You had been at this for hours, every idea anyp0ny had had to stop Discord had fallen through in some way.
  1236. >You try to trap him in a cage? He would turn the cage into marshmallows or something.
  1237. >You try to send him to another dimension using the portal spell that would have sent you home? Turns out chaos magic disrupts portals and could open up a black hole.
  1238. >You try to stop time and just raid the cultist camp? Turns out that would collapse all of reality.
  1239. >"Perhaps it is time we went onto more extreme options..." the head magister said.
  1240. >Everyone at the table looked to him. "Discord is a creature of matter, if we can destroy that matter, we can destroy him."
  1241. >Destroy matter.
  1242. >This guy wanted to circumvent a fundamental law of the universe?
  1243. >Would that even work?
  1244. >"Isn't Discord basically a god in his own right? From the reports, he's able to alter matter on a sub-atomic level, couldn't he just reconstitute himself?" you say.
  1245. >The head magister thinks for a moment before frowning is slumping back in his chair.
  1246. >Crap. Nothing was working.
  1247. >Your thoughts are interrupted. "Anon, Twilight, may I have a word with you?"
  1248. >The two of you wheel around and spot Princess Celestia in the doorway.
  1250. >"What is it Princess?" Twilight asks as you approach her.
  1251. >Celestia was still wearing her serious face."I came to see what progress had been made"
  1252. >You sigh. "Not much Princess. It seems that every countermeasure we can come up with would either fail or cause more damage than Discord would."
  1253. >"We must hurry." she says. "The cult could summon Discord at any time."
  1254. >That didn't sound good.
  1255. >"Has something happened?" asked Twilight.
  1256. >Celestia sighs. "A report came in from the magi we had stationed in the Zebra temple of Whoazambique. A group of raiders attacked them and made off with a precious artifact...they were lead by an unknown creature that walked on two legs."
  1257. >Damn...
  1258. >"What's the damage?"
  1259. >"No fatalities, thank the stars. Any fighting was a delaying action for the raiders to make off with the artifact, nothing worse than a few head injuries and a non-fatal stab wound were reported."
  1260. >Non-fatal?
  1261. >That made no sense.
  1262. >Was he with them or not?
  1263. >What was his play here?
  1265. >"It seems that Mous has become a threat. One we cannot ignore." Celestia said.
  1266. >Hold the phone. "Huh? How? Mous may be a nut with a bunch of other nuts, but he's still just one guy."
  1267. >"One guy who successfully lead a raid against both ourselves and our allies and will no doubt lead more in an attempt to summon Equestrias most dangerous enemy." Celestia corrected. You shrunk back.
  1268. >"It is with that knowledge that I must declare Mous an Enemy of the Crown. Every guard in every city and fort will be informed, and his capture will be a priority."
  1269. >Shit. "And...what if he can't be captured?" you ask.
  1270. >Celestias face flickers. "Then we must use more permanent methods."
  1271. >That hit hard.
  1272. >They were talking about killing your bro.
  1273. >And the worst part was that they weren't wrong.
  1274. >You may have admitted that this would be the right thing to do if it came to it, but you were still coming to terms with that decision.
  1275. >Celestia must have caught wind of your little crisis. "I am sorry." she said.
  1276. >You looked up to her. Gone was the face of the stern monarch, it was replaced by one of sadness and guilt. "I know how close you two were. The only thing I can truly say about Mous from our handful of interactions is that he was truly one of a kind." You think you see a smile tug at her lips when she says that.
  1277. >The Princess wordlessly steps out of the Arcanium.
  1278. >You let out a deep sigh. "C'mon, let's get back to work..."
  1280. >A few hours after Celestias visit and you all were still no closer to stopping Discord.
  1281. >Everyone's spirits were down, you were laying your head against the table trying to come up with something.
  1282. >You stared at the table, it amazed you that even magic could make something so flat.
  1283. >Flat.
  1284. >That Flatland movie you watched.
  1285. >First, Second, and Third dimension.
  1286. >...Fourth dimension.
  1287. >Could that work?
  1288. >"Guys." everyp0ny stares at you.
  1289. >Your heart starts pumping as you work this out. "I have an idea!"
  1290. >You rush to the blackboard and draw a shape. "Okay, who knows what this is?"
  1291. >Twilight is the only one to raise her hand.
  1292. >Typical. "Okay, this is a tesseract. It's a fourth dimensional analogue to the cube. My plan is simple in scope, a bit difficult in execution. What I want to do, is create a fourth dimensional prison and put Discord in it. Once he's inside, we toss the prison back into 4-D space and let him rot."
  1293. >The mages mouths grow to grins as your idea starts them on their own.
  1294. >"We can use spacial magic to mold a cube into a tesseract!" one said
  1295. >"We're going to need power, someone set up some arcane batteries for a test run!" shouted another.
  1296. >"I'll start drawing out the proper glyphs and mana lines!" said one as he ran off.
  1297. >Twilight trotted up to you and smiled."See? I told you it wasn't a fluke."
  1299. >You made your way back to your tower room.
  1300. >Everything was coming together for the tesseract prison, they were finishing the runes and running strength tests now.
  1301. >It was earlier then the night before, so you were all set to complain to Rainbow about these damn stairs you had to climb.
  1302. >Or would have been if you didn't spot her eating at the table alone. "Hey you, why the long face?"
  1303. >She turns to look at you and smiles. "Oh, hey Anon. I was just...eating dinner."
  1304. >"Alone? In our room? You know there's a dining room, right?" you take a seat next to her.
  1305. >"Hehe...yeah, I know." she says. "It's just...well, were gonna go up against Discord soon, and I didn't exactly pull off a stellar performance the last time he showed up."
  1306. >Twilight had told you what had happened, ditching her friends and running. You didn't have to be dating Rainbow to know that she'd take that rough. "So, I've been eating up here, ya know? Just...trying to not think about what happened last time." she looked on edge.
  1307. >"Hey." you say. ""How bout we have dinner here together? Just you and me?"
  1308. >Rainbow gets a big warm smile. "Yeah..." she says.
  1309. >Dinner was nice and gave way to bed, which gave way to the two of you working off dinner, which gave way to actually trying to go to sleep.
  1310. >You tossed and turned. This entire thing had a very 'last day alive' feel to it...
  1311. >Last meal.
  1312. >Last night together.
  1313. >Tomorrow you would accompany the guard and try to put down Trixie's cult.
  1314. >And the entire thing hinged on a theory that you came up with by staring at a table.
  1315. >Could you do it?
  1316. >You ran your hand through Rainbow's mane.
  1317. >Yeah.
  1318. >You had to.
  1320. =BiE 40=
  1322. >You scarfed down breakfast and made your way to the chariot.
  1323. >You were hitting the two Northern targets today, it was going to be quite the trip.
  1324. >"Sir, sir!" you heard.
  1325. >One of your new flight lieutenants fluttered up to you. "What order did you want to do today, sir?"
  1326. >You looked over the crude map he had.
  1327. >"We'll hit target two at night, there'll be less guards."
  1328. >"Understood, sir." he flew off.
  1329. >You came up on an interesting sight near the chariot.
  1330. >Trixie, Stormwing, and the Holy Mother were seated around a table with a small black box on it.
  1331. >Members of your raiding party were touching the box for an instant and walking away.
  1332. Curious.
  1333. >"What is this, Trixie?"
  1334. >Trixie glares at you. "Because you refuse to bring the Holy Mother along on your mission, we must gain Lord Discord's blessing another way. This box is that other way.
  1335. >Stormwing huffs. "I still don't know why we listen to the freak mercenary..."
  1336. Oh hell naw.
  1337. >"Because the freak mercenary seems to be the only living thing here who wants the mission to succeed. Leave the hard work to the new generation, Stormwing, stick to the paperwork."
  1338. >Stormwing growls as you eye the box.
  1339. >"Just put my hand on it?"
  1340. >Trixie nods.
  1341. >You place your hand on the box.
  1342. >What was this supposed to-
  1343. >A new presence fills your mind.
  1344. "My, you're an interesting one."
  1345. >VOICE.
  1346. IN OUR HEAD.
  1347. "Why yes, you must be tha-
  1348. >OUT.
  1349. OUT.
  1350. > OUT.
  1351. OUT.
  1352. > OUT.
  1353. OUT.
  1354. > OUT.
  1355. >You return to yourself.
  1356. >You were holding David high above the box. Trixie and Stormwing looked ready to pounce.
  1357. >You re-sheathe David.
  1358. >"Never again."
  1359. It's crowded enough in here.
  1360. "All right! Raiding party, load up!"
  1361. Time for a crime spree.
  1363. >The Griffin Kingdoms.
  1364. >Asgard.
  1365. >Well, the mountains around Asgard.
  1366. >The carriage was chaos.
  1367. >Carefully organized chaos.
  1368. >Griffin defenders harried the carriage as it bobbed and weaved around the jagged peaks.
  1369. >Both doors were open and your heavily unicorn raiding party was firing shots at and griffin to get close.
  1370. >You and the few pegusi you had on board were in charge of keeping any griffins from latching on and throwing them off if they did.
  1371. >You generally were just supposed to fly through the peaks and raise as much hell as possible.
  1372. >And while you did and all the battle-primed griffins chased you through the sky, a team of your griffins would steal the stupid crossbow you were here for.
  1373. Just as planned.
  1374. >When you weren't warding off griffins, you were directing fire.
  1375. >"Aim high up on those cliffs! Cause a rockslide behind us!"
  1376. >Two unicorns fire at the cliff you just threaded your way through.
  1377. >Rocks exploded off of it, causing the griffins behind you to either break, get flattened, or try to wave their way through.
  1378. I thought we said no fatalities.
  1379. >No -direct- fatalities.
  1380. >Okay, situational report.
  1381. >It had been about ten minutes since you first engaged the griffins.
  1382. >If the guards in the warehouse with the crossbow were all chasing you, then it should take your team...
  1383. >Fifteen minutes?
  1384. >Twenty at the most?
  1385. >You hated all this sneaking around.
  1386. >The carriage was rocked as a griffin half again as large as the others barreled his way inside.
  1387. >"A griffin has boarded!" someone called.
  1388. Dammit.
  1389. >"Back to fire support! I have this one!"
  1391. >You take a quick slash at the griffin before he can see you, hoping to end this quick.
  1392. >You trace a line on his cheek but that's it.
  1393. Fuck.
  1394. >You dodge a retaliatory swipe from the griffin.
  1395. >Damn, not a lot of room in here.
  1396. Have to end this, fast.
  1397. >You duck and dodge under a high swipe and deliver a combination kick to the head and swipe to the hind quarters as the carriage lurches.
  1398. Was this driver drunk?
  1399. >"Dammit! Keep us steady dri-"
  1400. >Pain lances up your back and throws you to the front of the carriage.
  1401. DAMMIT.
  1402. RIGHT.
  1403. ON.
  1405. >The cuts feel shallow, not much blood.
  1406. That's it.
  1407. >You bang on the driver window.
  1408. >"GO NUTS!"
  1409. >You grab the griffin by the tail and yank him back.
  1410. >He squawks at you before your fist throws him back.
  1411. >He paws at his face and takes a blind swipe at you.
  1412. >You grab the hand and yell to the nearest unicorn.
  1413. >You hold David out.
  1415. >The unicorn blasts David with an enchanting spell.
  1416. >You can feel the heat radiating off your blade, you can almost see and hear the sharpness.
  1417. >You flip David around and bury him into the griffins claw, he erupts out the other side.
  1418. Dude!
  1420. >The griffin is squawking and screaming about his claw as you rush him.
  1421. >"AFT DOOR, CLEAR A PATH!"
  1422. >You push the griffin with all your might and watch him roll out of the carriage.
  1423. >"Sir!" you hear.
  1424. >You spot your theft team flying through the clouds.
  1425. >"GET IN HERE!"
  1426. >The team dives through the door and lands inside.
  1428. >A black haze erupts from the carriage as you disappear into the clouds.
  1430. Situational report.
  1431. >We got the stupid crossbow, what was it good for?
  1432. It killed a High Thane or something.
  1433. >Right, we got that and booked it. Griffins didn't follow.
  1434. And now?
  1435. >On the way to the next target and gett-ack!
  1436. >You turn to the unicorn bandaging you.
  1437. >"Easy! That's a busy area."
  1438. >The medic was wrapping you in enchanted bandages.
  1439. >They were supposed to numb pain and make the wound heal faster.
  1440. >It was good that the wound was shallow and pain was all you had to worry about.
  1441. >You grab the severed griffin claw from the ground.
  1442. >Huh. It'd make a nice trophy.
  1443. No evidence.
  1444. >Come on, brain, what are the odds?
  1445. Good enough that we don't want evidence.
  1446. >You sigh and toss the claw out the window.
  1447. >"Sit-rep."
  1448. >A trooper approaches you. "We have Canterlot in sight sir, we're keeping low to avoid being seen."
  1449. >"Okay, and where's the mesuem?"
  1450. >"On the south side, sir. The ice should be in there."
  1451. >Your target was a chunk of magic ice. It had apparently come from a really bad argument from the founding of Equestria.
  1452. >"We'll be seen if we land in the middle of town and we have to assume they know who we are. Land us on the ground below Canterlot, as close to the museum as you can."
  1453. >"Yes, sir." the trooper says.
  1455. >You leap out of the carriage and hit the ground.
  1456. >"Alright, small team. You five unicorns and you, griffin. With me. The rest of you, circle around until you see the signal to pick us up."
  1457. >"What's the signal sir?" the ask.
  1458. >"You'll know it when you see it."
  1459. >Your team follows the griffin for a bit until you're directly underneath Canterlot's walls.
  1460. >"Here?"
  1461. >He nods.
  1462. >You turn to the unicorns.
  1463. >"Take us up."
  1464. >Four of the unicorns spread out around you and begin casting.
  1465. >The ground shudders and snaps and begins to rise.
  1466. >You stay low as the levitating chunk of rock elevates you up to the walls.
  1467. >"We're directly behind the Canterlot Museums walls, sir." the remaining unicorn said.
  1468. >"Get us inside."
  1469. >The unicorn begins his spell.
  1470. >A portion of the wall begins to glow and starts fading away.
  1471. >You and the griffin hop of your makeshift elevator and get inside.
  1472. >The rest of your team follows.
  1473. >You motion for them all to get low and take a knee.
  1474. >"Okay, the guards don't know we're here. Let's keep it that way. Where is this ice being kept?"
  1475. >One of your unicorns' horn glows. "This floor, near the North side."
  1476. >"Good. Stay low, stay together, and don't draw attention."
  1477. >They all nod.
  1478. >"Good. Move."
  1480. >You hated sneaking around.
  1481. >Straight up bouts were much more your style.
  1482. >But at least this was going well enough.
  1483. >You and your team sneak through the musea-
  1484. Is that a sombrero?
  1485. >Dude. Steal that shit.
  1486. No. No evidence.
  1487. >Oh come on, when are we going to get a chance to get a sombrero here?
  1488. No. It's too silly.
  1489. >You are no fun, brain.
  1490. >You eventually come up on the safe.
  1491. >"Get it open."
  1492. >One of your unicorns casts a spell causing the lock to open.
  1493. >Inside sits a single pedestal with the ice on top of it.
  1494. >"Grab it."
  1495. >The same unicorn steps up to the ice.
  1496. >That ice was supposed to be the coldest thing on the planet, the chill of discontent.
  1497. >The unicorn levitated the ice off the pedestal
  1498. >Alarms sounded as soon as he did.
  1499. >Fuck.
  1501. >A gate starts closing above the open doorway.
  1502. >"Stop it!"
  1503. >The remaining unicorns all halt the gate with their magic.
  1504. >You wave the ice holder to you.
  1505. >"Double time, let's go!"
  1506. >The ice bearer makes it through the falling gate just as it breaks through the magical bounds.
  1507. >And a trio of guards storm around the corner.
  1508. >"Smoke em out! Back to where we came in!"
  1509. >A plume of smoke fills the hallway behind you as your team dashes to the exit.
  1510. >You bound around the corner and spot the exhibits close to where you came in.
  1511. >A pegasus with a plumed helmet was waiting for you.
  1512. A higher rank, it seems.
  1513. >The pegasus lunges at you.
  1514. >"Wings!"
  1515. >Your unicorns stop both his wings and suspend him in the air.
  1516. >"Door!"
  1517. >The remainder fire concentrated magical blasts at the wall, causing a lovely explosion and kicking up dirt and smoke.
  1518. >"Shield!"
  1519. >All unicorns present drop what they're doing and erect a shield around all of you.
  1520. >The pegasus sergeant clatters to the floor as his backup arrives.
  1521. >"Why are you doing this? What's your plan?" he asks as he rights himself.
  1522. >The carriage arrives to pick you up and your team jumps in.
  1523. >You're about to hop in yourself when you turn to address the sergeant.
  1524. >"Come to us and find out."
  1526. >You get back to camp and throw Trixie her new toys, she's practically salivating over them.
  1527. >"When are we doing this?"
  1528. >"It will take some time to prepare the spell and get everything arranged. We shall be ready by tomorrow." she said with a manic glint in her eye as she trotted off.
  1529. >You're about to head back to your tent when you stop outside another.
  1530. >A bigger one, with two guards posted outside it.
  1531. The Hole Mothers tent.
  1532. >Should we check it out?
  1533. We should.
  1534. >You approach the door and look at the guards.
  1535. >"The Holy Mother want to see me."
  1536. >They step aside and let you in.
  1537. >Idiots.
  1538. No better than the Canterlot guards.
  1539. >The interior of the tent was large and round, but sparse.
  1540. >A bed, mirror, and a desk with that black box were the only fixtures.
  1541. >Apart from the Holy Mother sitting in the middle of the room.
  1542. >She was staring into space, you could see some drool.
  1543. >You begin walking around the room.
  1544. >"So, Holy Mother, let me ask you something."
  1545. >"Gotta talk-think big man and do want." was your answer.
  1546. Right...
  1547. >"Why are you doing this? What's your big play? I figure that you must be up to something if you lead a cult where you advance by getting rid of the last pony to hold the seat."
  1548. >"I hear ever and got block bad bug."
  1549. >"And am I just crazy for thinking I can get a clear answer out of you?"
  1550. >"You crystal look and very good at please you have to help me."
  1551. Wait.
  1552. That sounded almost...
  1553. >Clear.
  1554. >You turn around, the Holy Mothers eyes were clear and she was staring right at you.
  1555. >"Please, you have to help me." she says again.
  1557. >Okay. What goes on here.
  1558. What changed?
  1559. >You were walking around the room, asking her questions, and she started to get clear.
  1560. Where are you?
  1561. >You're standing in front of the desk with the box.
  1562. >'re standing in between her and the box.
  1563. >"What is this?"
  1564. >"I don't know..." she says.
  1565. >She sounds like she's gonna cry.
  1566. >You walk towards her, hoping the effect won't fade.
  1567. >It doesn't.
  1568. >"What's happening here? What's going on?"
  1569. >She sniffs. "I don't know. All I know is that the Voice is gone from my head for the first time in months..."
  1570. >She starts smiling. "It's finally quiet..."
  1571. >You had your own idea about that.
  1572. >"What's your name?"
  1573. >"S-Screwball." she said.
  1574. >"Do you know what's going on here, Screwball?"
  1575. >"I-I know that the Voice has been using me to help get it free...and I know it has gotten a lot of ponies to do a lot of bad things..."
  1576. >She got a far off look.
  1577. >"It didn't always used to be this way..." she said. "I-I had a husband...a mother who loved me...we were trying to have a baby before all this started..." tears are rolling down her face.
  1578. >She looks back at you. Her natural eyes were blue. "You have to help. You have to stop the Voice."
  1579. >...
  1580. We can't do anything. It's too important.
  1581. >Yeah...yeah I know...
  1582. >You sigh.
  1583. >"I'm so sorry..."
  1584. >You start to rise.
  1585. >"No...No! Please! Please don't!" she cries as you start to walk away.
  1586. >"Please don't let it come books talk us aware..."
  1587. >Her voice trails off as you leave the tent.
  1588. >Sleep was hard that night.
  1589. We can do this. Tomorrow is the big day.
  1590. >I know.
  1591. We can't fuck this up.
  1592. >I know...
  1593. It'll all be worth it...
  1594. >It had to be.
  1596. =BiE 41=
  1598. >Today was it.
  1599. >The big day.
  1600. >The day you raid the Discord Cult's camp.
  1601. >The day where your shot in the dark idea was the deciding factor on whether or not there was a tomorrow.
  1602. >Mous had apparently raided a Canterlot museum in the early morning. That had been the last straw for Celestia once she found out, she mobilized the guard at first light.
  1603. >The guard had taken up positions defending both Ponyville and the Magi stationed between Ponyville proper and the Everfree Forest.
  1604. >The cult wasn't just sitting on their hooves though, they were in the trees as soon as they saw you setting up.
  1605. >A standoff ensued.
  1606. >One that's been going on for almost seven hours now.
  1607. >A shadow momentarily blotted out the sun.
  1608. >You looked up and saw both Celestia and Luna descending on you. It was all hands on deck for this one.
  1609. >Celestia eyed you as she landed. "Is everything ready, Anon?"
  1610. >You sigh. "As well as it can be, Princess. Twilight is triple checking everything now so we'll be ready when something happens."
  1611. >The three of you stare out over at the forest. You could see them if you squinted, the silhouettes of movement between the trees.
  1612. >"They are going to draw this out." Luna said.
  1613. >"We will let them." Celestia said. "They think themselves holding all the cards, but we still have a few tricks."
  1614. >Celestia was wearing that look again. It was easy to just see her kind exterior and forget that she had been a politician for a millennium.
  1615. >You looked back at the woods.
  1616. >You wondered what Mous was doing, and how he was going to factor into all this.
  1617. >No way he was on the sidelines.
  1619. -Mous PoV-
  1620. >Anon is standing next to Celestia and Luna.
  1621. >They're all looking right at you.
  1622. Think they can see us?
  1623. >They aren't acting it if they can.
  1624. >You hand the binoculars to the guard you borrowed them from.
  1625. >"Send a runner if anything changes."
  1626. >"Yes sir." he says.
  1627. >You trudge back to the forward camp and find a familiar pegasus.
  1628. >"Stormwing, what do you make of this?"
  1629. >He scoffs. "The foals are simply waiting us out. They'll not be so content to be still once we summon Lord Discord."
  1630. >Leave it to Stormwing to put all his eggs in one basket.
  1631. >"What's your plan if they charge before Discord is here?"
  1632. >His face grows serious. "The plan, mercenary, is to hold them here. We have the advantage in terrain and objective. Each of these soldiers will gladly lay down their life to buy Mistress Trixie the time she needs to summon Lord Discord."
  1633. Brilliant...
  1634. >"Try and keep 'em scared away. Anything for more time."
  1635. >"Finally, we agree on something mercenary." he laughs.
  1636. >Yeah.
  1637. Whatever.
  1639. >You head further into the camp, it was mostly deserted.
  1640. >You head to the cafeteria tent.
  1641. >Inside is everyone who can't fight, the sick or injured, the young or old.
  1642. >There wasn't even a guard posted outside.
  1643. >You look over everyone inside, you spot the three little colts you met on your first night here.
  1644. Pore little bastards probably don't have any idea what's going on...
  1645. >"Hey, Mous." you hear from over your shoulder.
  1646. >"Speedy..."
  1647. >He was laying down in a cot in the corner, his wing was bandaged from the hit he took.
  1648. >"How's it hanging?"
  1649. >He looks around. "Could be worse..."
  1650. Not by much.
  1651. >"So, what's the plan if they get here?"
  1652. >"He rests his head on the cot. "I don't know, we don't have any guards. I suppose we'd all be taken prisoner and prosecuted for crimes against the crown."
  1653. Shit.
  1654. >That sounded bad.
  1655. >Speedy speaks again. "But, we won't be. Mistress Trixie is already summoning Lord Discord...everything will be fixed once He gets here...wait and see..."
  1656. >Speedy laid his head back down on the cot.
  1657. >You look over the crowd of infirm again.
  1658. >"Keep 'em safe, Speedy."
  1659. >You get up and walk out of the tent.
  1661. >You make your way to where Trixie was casting the spell, a small clearing on the far side of the forest from the guards.
  1662. They were going to sacrifice people for time.
  1663. >Trixie stood in the middle of an arcane circle, runes and magical whips of energy floated from the circle into the four items circling her.
  1664. >The artifacts you had collected were starting a light show of their own, those lights then feeding into a portal as tall as you were in front of the summoning circle.
  1665. >The Holy Moth-Screwball was sitting behind her, staring off into space again.
  1666. >Trixie notices you approaching. "Mercenary! Glad you could arrive! Are you here to watch as the Great and Powerful Trixie summons the Lord of Chaos?"
  1667. >Great and Powerful?
  1668. Some ponies...
  1669. >Keep it cool.
  1670. >"Thought I'd offer some additional security."
  1671. >Trixie nods and turns back to the portal. "Not necessary! The Great and Powerful Trixie is moments away from completing the ritual!"
  1672. We're close.
  1673. >You find your mind drifting once more to a place you don't want it to at this juncture.
  1674. Dammit.
  1675. >Against your better judgment, you sigh to yourself and say a small prayer.
  1676. Lotus, wherever today or your life takes you, please be happy.
  1677. >You cover your eyes as a multicolored beam shoots from the portal into the sky.
  1679. -Anon PoV-
  1680. >You saw the beam.
  1681. >Everyp0ny saw the beam.
  1682. >It shot straight up from the forest and begun to suck magical energy from the sky.
  1683. >Guard ponies were rushing around, organizing into ranks.
  1684. >The mages were running around preparing the dimensional prison for the worst.
  1685. >Celestia and Luna stood ready for battle even as they ordered a flier to gather the rest of the girls in case the Elements of Harmony were needed.
  1686. >All you could do is watch.
  1687. >"It's starting..." you say.
  1688. >You think of your bro for what may be the last time.
  1689. >You're sorry Mous.
  1690. >You're so sorry it came to this.
  1691. >But you have to stop this.
  1693. >You are the Great and Powerful Trixie.
  1694. >You were moments from completing the spell.
  1695. >You could feel the chaos flow from the artifacts.
  1696. >You could feel Discord using his magic to stabilize things on his end.
  1697. >You couldn't be happier.
  1698. >You were about to get all the power you deserved.
  1699. >You would remake Equestria in your image.
  1700. >You would watch as ponies groveled at your hooves.
  1701. >You would do six shows a night to a packed crowed.
  1702. >But most importantly...
  1703. >You would have revenge on Twilight Sparkle for humiliating you.
  1704. >She has embarrassed and run you out of town before, and you were about to return the favor a thousand fold.
  1705. >The immortal enemy that she had worked so hard to banish, you would release.
  1706. >The harmony that she tried to uphold, you would destroy.
  1707. >You could hear Discord in your head now.
  1708. "Good, apprentice! Just a bit further!"
  1709. >You redouble your efforts and recite the arcane words in your mind.
  1710. >You can see Discord appear in the portal.
  1711. >"Almost there!" he called out through the portal.
  1712. >A bit more and he would be able to cross over.
  1713. >Pain lances through you and breaks your concentration for a moment.
  1714. >The final magical words remain trapped on the tip of your minds tongue.
  1715. >You begin to feel cold.
  1716. >You look down to see what had interrupted you in your moment of glory.
  1717. >A knife was sticking out of your stomach.
  1719. -Mous PoV-
  1720. >You pull David out of Trixie and toss her out of the circle.
  1721. >"Well, that's over with."
  1722. >You look to the portal, inside it was a being that looked like some first year seamstress's attempt at a doll.
  1723. The portal isn't collapsing.
  1724. >It might be self sustaining.
  1725. Stall.
  1726. >"So, you must be Discord."
  1727. >He was wearing a smug look.
  1728. >"And you must be that interesting being I met yesterday through the link. I see you stabbed my apprentice." he said.
  1729. >You look down at Trixie, she had lost a lot of blood but was already trying to stem the bleeding and cast a healing spell.
  1730. Will it work?
  1731. >It better.
  1732. >You had swiped some manticore poison from the armorer and coated David with it, Trixie would be slowed down just enough to do what needed to be done.
  1733. >"Something like that."
  1734. >He begins to clap his mismatched hands. "Bravo, bravo. A masterful level of deception."
  1735. You aint seen nothing yet...
  1736. >"I would say I'm surprised, but I know how this cult works. Congratulations, new Grand Wizard. Now, continue the spell and let me into the world again."
  1737. >A sound echoes through the forest.
  1738. >A sound that caused creatures spines to chill.
  1739. >The sound of your laughter.
  1740. >That was too rich.
  1741. >Discord looks confused.
  1742. >"You don't get it, do you?"
  1743. >You take a few steps to the portal until you are face to face with Discord.
  1744. >"I'm not here to let you in..."
  1745. >"I'm here to watch you die."
  1746. >"See, I know about how the rest of Tartarus feels about you, and from the look of things..."
  1747. >You gesture behind him. Clouds of dust miles high billowed from behind the Tartarian hills.
  1748. >" don't have too much time.
  1750. >Discord turned to you, the reality of the situation dawning on him.
  1751. >"You see Discord, little Trixie here was so intent on me helping her, that she missed on crucial fact."
  1752. >A smile tugs at your lips as you stare down this Chaos God.
  1753. >"This place is my home and you're not welcome. I have people I care for here, people I love, people I look out for and who look out for me."
  1754. >Your smile is noticeable now.
  1755. >"You think I was going to let you out with all them here?"
  1756. >He steps closer to the portal on his end. "But...I watched you, through Screwball, screw the others. You helped them free me! Why change that now?!"
  1757. This guy serious?
  1758. >"For a spirit of chaos, you sure can't tell when you're being played."
  1759. >He grabs the portal in a temper. "Answer me!" he bellows.
  1760. >"You were the only threat to Equestrian life that was still around. I knew that if you got out, you would hurt everyp0ny here, you would hurt Anon. I decided to take you out of the equation."
  1761. >You cross your arms.
  1762. >"I must say, it was better than my first plan to just stab you to death once you got through. Now I can have a bunch of hell spawn do it for me."
  1763. >Discord put his hands on his hips. "So, what do you want? The power to protect your family and friends? The wealth to never have to worry about anything else ever again?"
  1764. He's nothing if not persistent.
  1765. >"I want nothing you have Discord. You're not in a position to bargain either, I'm holding all the cards."
  1766. >"Oh, we'll see about that." Discord says as he snaps his talons.
  1768. >You hear movement behind you.
  1769. >You turn and see Screwball start to rise.
  1770. >Her normally wide eyes are squinted with rage, the spirals inside are spinning wildly.
  1771. >"Stop...ape. Free...voice." she says.
  1772. Fuck.
  1773. >You reach for David.
  1774. Plan A first.
  1775. >"You're stronger than this, Screwball."
  1776. >She looks at you, he eyes widening.
  1777. >"I had Discord in my head for less than a minute and I had to throw him out. You've had him in you for months."
  1778. >She continues to shamble towards you.
  1779. >"If I can do it, you can do it. Kick him out, Screwball."
  1780. Please don't make us kill you.
  1781. >"Can't...not strong enough..." she says.
  1782. >She was already fighting back.
  1783. >Discord starts to shout "You're right! You're not strong enou-"
  1784. >"OH, SHUT UP!"
  1785. >You crouch down to Screwballs height.
  1786. One hell of a gambit.
  1787. >"Don't listen to him. You're as strong as you need to be, Screwball."
  1788. >She stalls.
  1789. >"Now, take your life back."
  1790. >Screwball begins to shake. "Get...out...of my...head..."
  1791. >The spirals in her eyes recede, bringing forth her natural blues.
  1792. >"Get out!" she cries as she falls over.
  1793. Shit!
  1794. >She's still breathing.
  1795. Good...
  1796. >"No! NO!" you hear behind you.
  1797. Now for this prick.
  1798. >You stomp up to the portal.
  1799. >"You know, before you just annoyed me, but now you've pissed me right the hell off."
  1800. >"Enjoy being eaten alive, Discord. May your name be synonymous with a bad joke."
  1801. >You turn and walk away from the portal. Discord gives it one last go. "Don't you turn your back on me! We can still help each other! I can still send you home!"
  1802. >You look over your shoulder.
  1803. >"I told you. I -am- home."
  1804. >You kick the nearest artifact over and listen to Discord's scream of fury as the portal snaps shut.
  1805. Quick, say something witty.
  1806. >"End of line."
  1808. >Screwball is still breathing.
  1809. >You crouch down next to Trixie, the poison still seems to be hitting her.
  1810. >"Trixie, I hereby take control of the Cult of Discord from you. If you contest, I'll kill your family."
  1811. Harsh, dude.
  1812. >Not in the mood right now, brain.
  1813. >"Why..." Trixie said.
  1814. >Huh? Why?
  1815. >"Were you not paying attention? I explained my reasons to your boss. I'd call him back so he could tell you, but I think he's a bit busy right now."
  1816. >"This was my moment...and you took it away..."
  1817. >Trixie's eyes narrow as she glares at you.
  1818. >"Kill you!" she shout as she pours all she has into a magical blast aimed at your face.
  1819. These kids never learn.
  1820. >You punch her in the face.
  1821. >"Now now, My Little Megalomaniac. We'll get you the help you need."
  1822. >You look down at the puddle of blood and the hastily closed wound on Trixie stomach.
  1823. >"Why, if you're lucky, you might still get to keep your kidney."
  1824. >"Won't...leave..." she huffs out.
  1825. >You cup your hand over your ear.
  1826. >"What's that? Can't hear ya?"
  1827. >Trixie turns her head to you and grins a sick grin. "You won't leave...they won't let you."  
  1828. They?
  1829. >Shit!
  1830. Behind!
  1831. >You wheel around.
  1832. >Everyone is there. In the trees.
  1833. >Every soldier, every magister, every species of the cult was surrounding the summoning circle.
  1834. >And they were staring at you.
  1835. >Stormwing was in the lead. "Wha-what have you done!?"
  1836. >You glace back behind you.
  1837. >Trixie has joined Screwball in unconsciousness.
  1838. >You put her there.
  1839. Will it work?
  1840. >It better...
  1841. >"I've taken control."
  1842. >You turn back to the amassed cult.
  1843. >Now or never...
  1844. >"Forces of Chaos...bow to me."
  1846. -Anon PoV-
  1847. >The lights in the sky were gone.
  1848. >The beam from the portal had pulled back minutes ago.
  1849. >All the cult members in the trees had retreated further into the forest when it happened.
  1850. >What followed was the most tense time of your life.
  1851. >Was Discord free? Was it time?
  1852. >What happened?
  1853. >What you saw however, you were not prepared for.
  1854. >You saw Mous.
  1855. >He was leading what looked like the entire cult towards you.
  1856. >He had his hands behind his head.
  1857. >None of them were carrying weapons.
  1858. >You saw several white flags.
  1859. >...was it over?
  1860. >Mous walked right up to the Princesses, the cult at his rear.
  1861. >He held out both of his hands. "Princesses. Discord is dead. The Cult is over. I hereby surrender them to you."
  1862. >Both Princesses looked they had just seen the impossible.
  1863. >Celestia was the first to speak. "Yes. Well. Guards, bind them and take them in for holding."
  1864. >"I am the leader of the Cult now. I expect my subjects to be treated fairly." Mous said as he shot Celestia a glare.
  1865. >She held his gaze for a moment. "They will be."
  1866. >Mous was shackled and lead away."We also have wounded, they'll need to be seen to."
  1867. >Whoa. Hold on. "Mous!" you call out as you grab his shoulder.
  1868. >He looked you in the eye. He looked...tired. "Wh-what happened? What is this?" you asked.
  1869. >Mous looked you in the eye for a while. "Everything went as planned." he said as the guards lead him away.
  1870. >You turned back to the Princesses. They looked as confused as you did. "So...what happens now?" you ask.
  1871. >Celestia looked at you. "Now, we figure out where we go from here."
  1873. =BiE 42=
  1875. >You sat alone.
  1876. >You were in a cage.
  1877. >Your hands were bound together by a chain, that chain was bound to the wall.
  1878. A bit excessive.
  1879. >We -did- almost lead an insurrectionist cult in summoning an evil god.
  1880. >You sat in Ponyville's jail.
  1881. >Nothing fancy, just iron bars and stone walls.
  1882. >You shouldn't be surprised that their jail was a bit medieval, nop0ny ever committed crimes here.
  1883. Well, at least we'll be remembered.
  1884. >Yeah. As a psychopath who almost got everyp0ny killed.
  1885. We had good intentions.
  1886. >The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  1887. You would rather we not have done anything?
  1888. >...
  1889. >I would rather we not need to have done anything.
  1890. >You lean your head back against the wall.
  1891. >Too late now...
  1892. >The Princesses were being remarkably understanding about all this.
  1893. >They intended to give you a trial tomorrow, let all your crimes be laid bare and have Ponyville decide your fate.
  1894. >You didn't hold your breath.
  1895. Still...not too shabby.
  1896. >Yeah. Could have been worse...
  1897. >Your laments are interrupted as the door to the jail opens and a trio of Ponies walk in.
  1899. >They stared at you.
  1900. >Two alicorns and a unicorn.
  1901. >"Princesses. Blueblood."
  1902. Why the hell is he here?
  1903. >Blueblood looked concerned, Luna intrigued, Celestia just stared at you.
  1904. >"You shouldn't frown so much Princess, it'll freeze-"
  1905. >"Now is not the time for games, Mous."
  1906. Ouch...
  1907. >Guess we're being serious now.
  1908. >You look up at the royal trio.
  1909. >"So, why are you here?"
  1910. >"We have come to hear your account of things." Luna said.
  1911. >"We are curious to know your thought process." Blueblood said.
  1912. >Celestia just stared.
  1913. >"Well then, is there anything in particular you wanted to know?"
  1914. >"Why." Celestia said. Her words were cold.
  1915. >You let out a deep sigh and lean back.
  1916. How do we say this?
  1917. >" it here. Anon likes it here. I've been betting on Anon saying he wants to stay here for a while. I'm not opposed to it, and if your reports about what I said in town square say differently, I was lying then."
  1918. >"I knew about Discord and what he did. So when Trixie asked for my help bringing him back, I took the bait and started planning to sabotage everything."
  1919. >"Why?" Celestia asked again.
  1920. Did you not make that obvious?
  1921. >"I wanted Discord gone. Dead, if it could be arranged. That was the only way Anon or anyp0ny else was going to live a normal-esque life."
  1922. >"Discord had only been a threat twice. The odds of him successfully returning again were low." Blueblood said.
  1923. >"Any odds higher than zero were too high for me."
  1924. >The royals exchange looks.
  1925. >Celestia stepped forward. "Tell me, you expected to succeed at this the entire time?"
  1926. >"I had to. I couldn't allow Discord to come back."
  1927. >"And you expected to simply walk away from it?" she asked.
  1928. >"No."
  1929. >"Then, what did you expect?"
  1930. >"To be dead."
  1932. >The three exchange glances.
  1933. That through them for a loop.
  1934. >"Thou...expected to parish?" Luna said.
  1935. >You nod.
  1936. >"The plan going into this was to either die fighting Discord or get executed afterwards."
  1937. >"Why?" Celestia said.
  1938. >She was favoring that word...
  1939. >"If joining a cult to bring back Discord wasn't enough, I wounded about a dozen ponies and zebras,  personally maimed a griffin, probably got a few more killed, and stole priceless artifacts from at least three sovereign nations."
  1940. >You glare at the rapidly blinking royalty.
  1941. >"Where I come from, people have been executed for less."
  1942. >" did this regardless of knowing that?" Blueblood said?
  1943. >"Why?" Celestia asked.
  1944. >This bitch and the whys...
  1945. >"Because it's my job to keep Anon as safe and happy as I can. That's what big bros do. If I had to sacrifice my life to ensure a world where he and everp0ny else I care about could live in peace, then I would do it."
  1946. >The three of them glance at each other again.
  1947. Uh...might have overdone it there.
  1948. >"Don't get me wrong, I'm not suicidal here. I went with the plan that I thought would give me the best chance of success. I'm just saying that getting off scot free is betting against the odds."
  1949. >The royals fall silent.
  1950. >"Any more questions you wanted to ask?"
  1951. >"No." Celestia says as she steps out.
  1952. >She stops at the door.
  1953. >"But, he might."
  1955. -Anon PoV-
  1956. >You step in as the royalty steps out.
  1957. >You are less than happy.
  1958. >"Mous." you say. "...Anon." was your reply.
  1959. >Mous looks around his tiny jail cell.
  1960. >He looked like crap, his clothes were torn, his eyes bloodshot, he face scarred.
  1961. >"I figure you owe me a chat before tomorrow." you say.
  1962. >Mous sighs. "I figure you're right."
  1963. >"What the fuck man." Mous looks at you with a small grin.
  1964. >No. Fuck that grin.
  1965. >"What the fuck was all this?"
  1966. >Mous sighs and tells you it all.
  1967. >About his plan.
  1968. >About his motives.
  1969. >...About his suspected future.
  1970. >"You know..." you start. "I'm not pissed about the cult. I'm not pissed about the thefts. I'm not even pissed that you plan on dying."
  1971. >You crouch down to his eye level. "No. What pisses me right the fuck off is that you didn't tell me anything." he turns his gaze from you. "I'm your best friend, Mous. Through thick and thin. And you think you can go do something like this and not tell me?"
  1972. >"It wasn't your problem." he says.
  1973. >"BULLSHIT!" You lash out and kick the cell bars.
  1974. >Oh. Are you mad now.
  1975. >"'Not my problem.' What the fuck is that!? I don't call you my bro because I think we're secretly related! If it's your problem, it damn well better be mine! Because I sure as shit know that if it's mine you make it yours!"
  1976. >You glare at him, giving him every ounce of your anger. "...I'm sorry." he says.
  1977. >Ahh...dammit.
  1978. >You lean back against the wall and fall to the ground.
  1979. >You were both silent for a while. "Heh. Did you see any of this coming when we first got here?" Mous laughs. "Not at all..."
  1981. >"So..." he starts. "How's Lotus?"
  1982. >You raise an eyebrow. "Lotus?"
  1983. >He nods. Cute.
  1984. >You sigh. "We found her after you bailed, she was in some alleyway crying."
  1985. >Mous shrinks away when you say that.
  1986. >"As far as I know, she went home."
  1987. >"Good..." he says as he leans his head back.
  1988. >"I sent her a letter a few nights ago, I didn't hear back from her."
  1989. >Mous nods his head. The room goes silent.
  1990. >"So..." Mous opens one eye and looks at you without turning his head. "Did you two..."
  1991. >You play out a series of motions with your hands.
  1992. >Mous sighs and looks forward. "Yes." he grunts out.
  1993. >Well. Wow.
  1994. >Lotus was...impressive.
  1995. >"She must be special...what'd she do to get you to go along?"
  1996. >A smile pulls across Mous's lips. "She trapped me in a cave for a weekend."
  1997. >You laugh and flip him the bird. "Fuck you, man."
  1998. >"I have somep0ny for that." he said before his face fell. "At least, I used to."
  1999. >"Hey man, don't give up." you say as you stand.
  2000. >Mous sighs. "I'm not giving up, I just...I don't want to plan for something and have it taken away."
  2001. >Two knocks come from the door. "Visiting hours are up." the guard said.
  2002. >You turn back to Mous. "Go." he said.
  2003. >"I'll see you at the courthouse tomorrow." you say.
  2004. >Mous grins and nods as the guard leads you out.
  2006. >You sat in the courtroom pews, Rainbow and the rest of the girls sat to your side with the Princesses and some Prince Rarity didn't seem to like on your other side.
  2007. >You even saw Lotus sitting near the back of the room. "I need to be here." she said.
  2008. >Court proceedings in Equestria were a bit different the Earth, it seemed.
  2009. >The judge served as both prosecution and defense, you wanted to point out what a bad idea that was, but Twilight urged against it.
  2010. >Ponyville's own Judge Honor Gavel was presiding over this. "Bring in the accused." he said.
  2011. >The doors at the back of the courtroom swung open. Mous was in the same clothes he had surrendered in, the same chains too.
  2012. >You saw a mixture of emotions play across Lotus's face when Mous stepped in. He didn't meet her eyes, instead just focusing straight forward.
  2013. >Mous was lead to a raised dais in the center of the room.
  2014. >Judge Gavel started things. "We are not here today to determine whether or not this man is guilty, that much is known."
  2015. >Well shit, that sounded bad. "Instead, we are here to determine whether the intentions behind his actions and the presented results are enough to clear him of that guilt."
  2016. >His eyes fall to the center of the room. "State your name, son."
  2017. >"Mous." he says.
  2018. >"Mister Mous, you are charged with accelerating events which could have lead to the release of Discord. You have pled guilty to that." Gavel says.
  2019. >"Yes."
  2020. >"I am told that you had a reason for doing that. Would you care to share?"
  2021. >Mous sighs. "It all started a few nights ago..."
  2023. >The courtroom sat in rapt attention as Mous finished his tale. "And that brings us to where we are now, your honor."
  2024. >The judge didn't look convinced. "From your story, it seems like you got rid of Discord by accident, meaning you committed these crimes without knowing if doing so would help."
  2025. >Shit. That sounded like Mous.
  2026. >"How do we know that you will not commit even more heinous acts to stop a future threat?" the judge said. "To be honest, you sound like a madman who is attempting to justify himself."
  2027. >Shitshitshit.
  2028. >The judge turns to the room. "Is there anyp0ny here who can attest to the character of this man? Any who can convince me that he would not do these things again?"
  2029. >You stand as soon as he finished. "I can." the entire room turns to you. "I've known Mous longer than anyone here. He's been like my brother for over twenty years, and while his actions have always been...extreme,  they've never been malicious."
  2030. >The court room stood in silence...come on, you can't do this by yourself.
  2032. >That royal unicorn, what's his name? Blueblotch? Stands. "When I look at Mous, I see myself. I see somep0ny who has made mistakes and wants to make up for them. I would ask this court to give him the same chance they gave me."
  2033. >On the opposite side of the room, Lyra and Bon Bon rose. "Mous came to our house to teach Lyra a magic trick, I'll admit that it caused an argument at the time, but we wouldn't have been married if it wasn't for that argument."
  2034. >"He's been my friend since he came here!" Derpy shouted from the back.
  2035. >"He tried to help get me to believe in myself." Fluttershy said.
  2036. >"He helped Anon get Poison Joke for me and had to fight a manticore to do it!" said Twilight.
  2037. >Princess Luna stood. "Every misdeed he may have done was for the good of those around him."
  2038. >The room fell silent as Celestia rose from her seat. She cleared her throat "I had a chance to meet Mous on his first day in Equestria. I will admit that he caught me in a...compromising position." Luna and Bloobloo roll their eyes.
  2039. >"He had every chance to make what he found known to everyp0ny he saw, but didn't. I stand with the others in this room. Mous may take extreme actions, but they are never for evil purpose."
  2040. >Mous stares back at everyone in the courtroom with a face that speaks of shock.
  2041. >Someone wasn't expecting this.
  2043. >"Settle down, everyp0ny." Judge Gavel says as he bangs his namesake.
  2044. >He settles his head on his hoof as he thinks. "It is clear that this man, despite the rashness of his actions, meant well." he rises in his seat. "But I cannot, in good conscience, let him go unpunished."
  2045. >"I may be able to help there, your honor." Princess Celestia said.
  2046. >Celestia smirks. "I request that I handle his punishment."
  2047. >Mous whirls around and stares wide eyed at Celestia, she smirks
  2048. >The judge strokes his chin. "Mister Mous." Mous turns back around to the judge. "Would you be alright with Her Highness handling your punishment?"
  2049. >Mous swallows. "I'd prefer it over an execution..."
  2050. >"And are you sorry for what you did?" the judge asks.
  2051. >Mous looks down. "Yes."
  2052. >The judge rights himself. "Then I hereby leave your punishment in the hooves of Princess Celestia. Court dismissed." he slams his gavel twice and steps down.
  2053. >You jump out of the pew and walk up to Mous. "Dude! You're still alive!" you say as you shake him.
  2054. >"Yeah..." was all he said
  2055. >"Well, Mous." comes a voice from behind you. The both of you turn around and face Celestia. "It would seem that your punishment is my responsibility."
  2056. >"It would seem so..." he said.
  2057. >Celestia smiles. "However, I find myself weary after this long ordeal. I'll tell you what, why don't we pick this up again in a year or so?"
  2058. >Mous's jaw drops like a rock. "What."
  2059. >"You won't be needing those." Celestia says as she magics Mous's cuffs off.
  2060. >"Luna, Blueblood, we should be off." Celestia says as her royal family departs.
  2062. -Mous PoV-
  2063. >" just got a whole year reprieve." Anon said.
  2064. >"Yeah..."
  2065. >You were still a bit shocked.
  2066. >And scared of whatever Celestias punishment would be.
  2067. >But mostly shocked you weren't dead.
  2068. >"But not from me." Anon says
  2069. >"Hu-"
  2070. >You get no further as Anon decks you in the jaw.
  2071. >"That's for thinking you could handle this on your own." he said.
  2072. Okay.
  2073. >"I deserved that."
  2074. >"Yeah, you did." Anon says as he helps you off the floor.
  2075. >You and Anon head for the doors.
  2076. >You stop along the way to thank your supporters.
  2077. >Lyra and Bon Bon say it was nothing and Derpy gives you a bear hug.
  2078. Feels good.
  2079. >You step outside and breathe deep.
  2080. Feels great.
  2081. >The sun was going down, Celestia must have teleported back to Canterlot to lower it.
  2082. >"Hey, Mous!" you turn around and spot Rainbow Dash flying towards you.
  2083. >Rainbow stops next to you. "How's it feel to be free, man?"
  2084. Free from everyp0ny but the sex hungry princess.
  2085. >"Good."
  2086. >"Yeah well, before you go think you had everything under control, just know that we had plans to stop Discord ourselves." she says.
  2087. >You laugh.
  2088. >Rainbow starts talking to Anon and gives him a peck on the lips.
  2089. Still got something to do, champ...
  2090. >"You!"
  2091. >You turn around to see a hoof coming at your face.
  2092. >You are punched to the ground for the second time as the guards restrain your attacker.
  2093. >"You killed Lord Discord!" he shouted.
  2094. >The guards haul your still screaming attacker away as you sigh and stand up.
  2095. >"Who was that, Mous?" Anon asked.
  2096. >You stand a rub your cheek.
  2097. >"His name was Speedy... and he was my friend... Hey, I got something to do, I'll catch up with you two later."
  2098. >You wave goodbye to Anon and Rainbow and leave the courthouse.
  2099. >Now...where did she live, again?
  2101. >It was night when you made it to the house.
  2102. >Aloe was walking inside when she caught your eye.
  2103. >"Hey..."
  2104. >"Hey..." she says.
  2105. Awkward.
  2106. >"Is she in there?"
  2107. >Aloe nods.
  2108. >"Can you ask if she'll come talk to me?"
  2109. >Aloe smiles. "Sure, Mous."
  2110. Okay, breathe deep.
  2111. >We can do this.
  2112. We just killed a god, we can do this.
  2113. >I don't know if we can do this...
  2114. >Lotus comes to the door and sees you in the street.
  2115. Thank god, she's okay...
  2116. >She looks surprised.
  2117. >Lotus starts galloping towards you.
  2118. >"Lotus, I..."
  2119. >You get no further as Lotus spins around and bucks you in the stomach.
  2120. Goddamn!
  2121. >You fall to your knees and clench your gut.
  2122. Think she just burst out liver!
  2123. >"Fucking hell! I know I deserve it, but when is everyp0ny going to stop-mmfff!"
  2124. >The words get trapped in your mouth as Lotus kisses you.
  2125. >She then breaks the kiss with a hoof upside your head.
  2126. >"Babe, I'm getting some mixed messages here!"
  2127. Babe?
  2128. >Shut up.
  2129. >"You unbelievable ass!" she yells as she gets in your face.
  2130. >You're too busy clutching your poor ruptured stomach to say anything else.
  2131. >She's pacing in front of you.
  2132. >"Do you know what it was like to be at that trial!?"
  2133. Yes. You were there.
  2134. >"Do you know what it was like to watch the man you love stand accused of all that!?" she shouts.
  2135. What!?
  2136. >"I love you too."
  2137. WHAT!?
  2139. >You turn your brain off. You don't need him here.
  2140. >Lotus looks just as shocked as he was. "W-what?"
  2141. >"Yeah...I-I had a lot of time to think while I was away... I usually ended up thinking about you."
  2142. >Lotus seems to visibly calm down.
  2143. >"There were a lot of times when I just wanted to leave and come find you again...but I didn't."
  2144. >Your stomach didn't hurt as much. It felt weird though.
  2145. >"I-I wanted to tell you in the courtroom today but...well..."
  2146. >You're silent as the idea of what you avoided comes back into your mind.
  2147. >"But...the judge didn't sentence uh, I-I came here right after and...yeah, I love you."
  2148. >You may be fucking this up a bit.
  2149. >Lotus looks you over. "D-Don't think that saying that means I'm still not mad at you..."
  2150. >You look up into her big blue eyes pleadingly.
  2151. >"Please don't let it be. Please promise that you'll hold this over my head and kick my ass if I do this again..."
  2152. >Lotus walks closer to you.
  2153. >"I-I don't want to die, Lotus... I don't want to either get killed or do something stupid and get executed...I don't want what happened between us in that alley to happen ever again."
  2154. >Lotus buries her face into your neck, you can feel tears drip onto your skin. "You big idiot..."
  2155. >You pull Lotus close and kiss her again, and finally let all the crap of the last few days go.
  2156. >Lotus wraps her hooves around the back of your head.
  2157. >"I love you..." you repeat.
  2158. >Let Celestia punish you, let Speedy be pissed, let anyone who wants to think you're a monster think it.
  2159. >You had Anon, you had Lotus. That was all you needed.
  2160. >The next few minutes are a blur.
  2161. >You remember carrying Lotus into her house and up her stairs, and her telling Aloe that the spa would be closed tomorrow.
  2162. >You remember walking into her room and the two of you collapsing on her bed.
  2163. >You remember relaxing for the first time in days.
  2164. >And then you remember nothing more.
  2166. -In Tartarus.-
  2167. >You were Comet.
  2168. >You were a Diamond Dog.
  2169. >You used to work for the Dogfather.
  2170. >But he died.
  2171. >The Dogfather, Tirek, The Smooze, and Grogar all attack Discord together.
  2172. >It took a while, but he finally fell.
  2173. >Tirek popped his head off and galloped away, something about a trophy.
  2174. >Grogar drained every last bit of magic from the corpse and left as well.
  2175. >Smooze just ate the body and seeped into the ground.
  2176. >Dogfather died thought, he was the first to attack and got the brunt of Discord's wrath.
  2177. >Whatever happened before you got here sure pissed him off.
  2178. >The Dogfather should have waited, you thought. Let the others wear him down and then come in yourself.
  2179. >Stupid.
  2180. >He paid for it.
  2181. >"Comet! Comet, look!"
  2182. >Rex cam running up to you, he was holding a necklace. "Look what I got."
  2183. >This was the Dogfather's necklace, the one that gave him his power.
  2184. >Good ol' Rex, you thought as you twisted his neck and took the necklace from him.
  2185. >This opened new possibilities.
  2186. >Yeah, it would take a while...
  2187. >But you could do a lot with this.
  2189. =BiE 43=
  2191. >You finish drawing the last of the numbers on the blackboard. "And that class, is why Home Improvement was statistically the best sit com ever made."
  2192. >You turn to the sitting foals. "Any questions?"
  2193. >Applebloom raises her hand, you point to her. "Mister Anon, how come they never showed all of Wilson's face?"
  2194. >Oh we go. "Well, you see-"
  2195. >You are interrupted by the bell ringing. You glance at the clock; 3:00.
  2196. >"-that will have to be answered another time." you say.
  2197. >The kids grab their things and file out the door, you pack up your charts and graphs.
  2198. >Cheerilee approaches you. "Thank you so much for doing this today, Anon. The kids loved to hear about your homeworld."
  2199. >"Equestria is my homeworld now, Cheerilee, but I get what you mean. Thanks so much for having me." you say as you wave goodbye and step out of the schoolhouse.
  2200. >You take a deep breath as you look around the town.
  2201. >One year...
  2202. >It had been one whole year since you began seeing Equestria as your home.
  2204. >But anniversary day didn't mean you didn't work.
  2205. >You were supposed to meet Twilight near the Everfree Forest after you left the school.
  2206. >You set out down the path.
  2207. >The year had been good to both you and Mous both.
  2208. >Rainbow had officially moved in with you a few months ago, leaving her cloud house to one of Applebloom's friends.
  2209. >You were happy to have her. With the way everything had been going with her it just seemed natural, and you were glad to be able to move your relationship along.
  2210. >Lotus and Mous had fallen into a routine, more or less. They'd go to work together, come back to the apartment, watch T.V., and they'd either sleep there or Mous would take Lotus back home. Only to do the entire thing again the next day.
  2211. >The more you hung around Lotus, the more you liked her. There were times when it seemed like she was the only pony who could actually out-argue Mous on one of his moods. Still, you could see they cared about each other when the sarcasm in the room wasn't so thick you could cut it with a knife.
  2213. >You spot Twilight and Spike near the edge of the forest. "Hey, guys!" you call out.
  2214. >Twilight trots up to you. "Hey Anon, are you ready to get started?"
  2215. >You nod and follow as Twilight begins casting her location spell.
  2216. >Over the past year, small magical rifts had been popping up in the Everfree Forest.
  2217. >The rifts were too small to see, but they could pose a problem if they ever coalesced together. You and Twilight had been making pilgrimages out every so often to track them down and get rid of them.
  2218. >"And all this was from the summoning?" you ask.
  2219. >"Yep." Twilight said. "It makes sense, Trixie punched a hole in space all the way to Tartarus. The hole might not have been finished, but it was still there."
  2220. >You nod and continue patching holes in the universe with Twilight.
  2221. >You wished you could do more, but the patch job involved using magic to seal the holes. Not only could you not cast magic, you were entirely immune to it.
  2222. >It was a bit annoying at times.
  2224. >You eventually make you way into a small clearing.
  2225. >There are four pedestals in a circle, one was knocked over.
  2226. >You could look at the ground and see the outline of the arcane circle burnt into it.
  2227. >"And once again, we find ourselves back where it all started." you say.
  2228. >"No different from every other time..." Twilight grumbled as she sealed the breach.
  2229. >You were always lead here when you came by, every time.
  2230. >Twilight theorized that it was because this was ground zero that caused the breaches to always start here and work their way out.
  2231. >It was a double edged sword. On the one hand, you always had to come back here and it was rather annoying. On the other, you had started to notice patterns in the way the breaches materialized around this one.
  2232. >"That's us. Finding order in the chaos..." you say.
  2233. >"What?" Twilight asks.
  2234. >Shit, did you say that out loud? "Nothing, Twi. That the last of em?"
  2235. >She nods the affirmative. You look up at the sky.
  2236. >Shit, it was already dark out. You were late.
  2237. >"Alright then, lets book it." You didn't want to be in the Everfree Forest at night.
  2239. >You get home around eight, way later then you normally do.
  2240. >Work was picking up every since you helped with the Discord crisis, there was a time when you got home at 5:30...and now?
  2241. >Well, the more things change...
  2242. >You open the door. Lotus and Mous seemed to be involved in some strange ritual where she lays on his back as he lays on the couch and Rainbow was sitting in her usual spot.
  2243. >...the more they stay the same. "Bout time you got home." Mous said. "We made soup, there's some in the kitchen for you."
  2244. >You grab your dinner and sit down next to Rainbow. "So, what'd I miss?"
  2245. >"Grylly the Bear is about to drink his own pee again." Mous said.
  2246. >Dammit. That happened like, every episode.
  2247. >You went to all the trouble of getting pony cable and all you do is watch the same stuff over and over.
  2248. >Typical.
  2250. >The night goes on and soon, everyone goes to bed.
  2251. >You step into your room after Rainbow.
  2252. >Wait, shit, you forgot. "Hey, I gotta talk with Mous real quick. Back in a sec."
  2253. >Rainbow giggles. She was cute when she giggled. "Don't keep me waiting, I had to sit here all night and watch those two together."
  2254. >You chuckle yourself and close the door behind you.
  2255. >You head for Mous's room. "Hey, man I-" you freeze as you remember the first rule of living with a bro.
  2256. >Knock before opening a door.
  2257. >Mous was sitting in his chair, Lotus was sitting in his lap.
  2258. >She had her head buried into his neck and her hooves snaking up under his shirt.
  2259. >He was looking at you wide eyed with her ear in his mouth.
  2260. >Brain.exe has imploded on itself.
  2261. >Mous looks down at Lotus and back to you. Lotus senses the disturbance and adopts the same wide eyed look Mous had. "Dude, party foul." he says.
  2262. >You rebuild your synapses enough to speak. "A word?"
  2263. >"Uh, yeah." He picks Lotus up and places her on the bed. A quick kiss on the forehead and an "I'll be back." later and he's out in the hall with you.
  2265. >"So, what was so important that you had to interrupt Couple's Dance Night?"
  2266. >Ohmygodwhat?
  2267. >"Couple's Dance Night?" you laugh out.
  2268. >Mous gets a smarmy grin. "Couple's Dance Night, The Horizontal Tango, Shaking the Foundation, Waking the Dead, Guttering, Eating the-"
  2269. >You keep laughing. "Okay okay!" You shout as you calm yourself.
  2270. >You sigh and bring yourself back to the reason for coming here. "So, it's been about a year..." you say.
  2271. >To his credit, Mous catches on and rubs the back of his head. "Yeah..."
  2272. >A year since the cult. "What do you think she's gonna do?" you ask.
  2273. >Mous sighs and leans against the wall. "I don't know...on the one hand, she's always been kinda screwy with me. But on the other hand, this is a serious issue..."
  2274. >"Think you'll be coming back?" you ask.
  2275. >"I think so...she probably wouldn't have volunteered if she just wanted to lock me up..."
  2276. >"How has Lotus been taking it?"
  2277. >Mous sighs. "We've been taking it one day at a time. It worked for the entire year, but now..."
  2278. >"Now they're might not be any more days..."
  2279. >"Yeah..."
  2280. >The hallway got quiet.
  2281. >"Well." he says. "If this is my last night, I'm going to enjoy it." he walks to his door. "Night dude."
  2282. >"Night."
  2283. >You open your door as Mous closes his. "Now, where were we..." escapes from behind it.
  2284. >OHGODWHY.
  2286. >Rainbow notices you walked in and rolls out from under your blankets. "Heh. Took you long enough." she says as she starts pawing at your shirt.
  2287. >Your erection had never been more confused.
  2289. =BiE 44=
  2291. >You stomped through the castle.
  2292. >The guard was leading you.
  2293. >You weren't pleased.
  2294. >You come to Celestia's door.
  2295. >The guard knocks. "Who is it?~" comes from behind.
  2296. >"You know damn well who it is, let me in."
  2297. >The door magically swings open and you walk in, ignoring the stink eye the guard was giving you.
  2298. Fuck you too, guy.
  2299. >You cough.
  2300. >"You could at least air out your sex dungeon before inviting people in."
  2301. >Seriously, it smelled like estrus in here.
  2302. >"Come now Mous, the dungeons are on the lower floors."
  2303. >Good to see she's in top form.
  2304. >Celestia sat at her mirror, running a comb through her hair.
  2305. >"If you're still on that rats nest, I can come back in an hour or three."
  2306. >"No need, almost...done!" she says as she rises from her seat.
  2307. >You give her hair a once over.
  2308. >"You look exactly the same."
  2309. >"You charmer you." she says.
  2310. >Celestia steps out onto her balcony overlooking the city.
  2311. >You follow her out, eager to avoid the musky overtones.
  2312. >"Now, Mous. This is supposed to be a punishment, I hope you don't think this is a visit planned for fun."
  2313. >She says that, but you can see her smirking.
  2314. >"I guess we'll just have to make our own fun along the way, Princess."
  2315. >Celestia lets out a throaty chuckle as she leads you out of the room.
  2317. >You and the Princess walk along Canterlot's busy streets.
  2318. >Ponies passing by were shocked to say the least at the sight they were seeing.
  2319. >"Someone doesn't get out often..."
  2320. >"Oh no, I normally just have an escort with me if I walk the city. However, I usually travel either by carriage or by flying myself." she says.
  2321. >"And, why are we walking as opposed to either of those?"
  2322. >"Why, to see the sights of course! And I love spending my time with my best human friend."
  2323. What?
  2324. >Celestia stops walking. "Unless..."
  2325. >She turns her head and looks you in the eyes with a grin. "Mous, are you asking to ride me?"
  2326. >Seriously?
  2327. >"Gotta try harder than that, O' Queen of the Sluts."
  2328. >You start walking again and catch Celestia grinning.
  2329. >"What?"
  2330. >"I've never been called a Queen before." she says.
  2331. >"Keep the name, it suits you."
  2332. >The two of you continue down a street much less crowded then the last.
  2333. >Good. All those ponies bowing was getting weird.
  2335. >"So, Mous. How has this year been to you?" Celestia said.
  2336. >"I can't complain."
  2337. >"We both know you could, but indulge me. Twilight says you've made some new friends."
  2338. Twilight is spying on us?
  2339. >Not weird at all.
  2340. >"A few."
  2341. >"She also said you made one -good- friend."
  2342. >Dammit...
  2343. >"Yes, Lotus. We work together. We had actually been seeing each other for some time before the cult."
  2344. >"Oh? And how do you feel about her?" she asks.
  2345. >Smells like a trap...
  2346. >"I love her."
  2347. Why did we say that?
  2348. >"Oh my~! I would never had expected to hear you say that, Mous!" Celestia teased.
  2349. >"I try to defy expectations."
  2350. >The two of you continue walking.
  2351. >"So, you've been seeing each other this whole year?" Celestia asked.
  2352. >You nod.
  2353. >"Well now, it seems things are getting serious."
  2354. >"I'm committed."
  2355. >Celestia gets a grin. "So, no looking at other mares when she isn't around?"
  2356. What is this?
  2357. >"Nope."
  2358. >"What about her?" Celestia points to a mare across the street.
  2359. >"Nope."
  2360. >"Her?" a pegasus flying over you.
  2361. >"Nope."
  2362. >"What about -her-?" That one was hanging off some guy in a suit, and looked like a hooker.
  2363. >"Nope."
  2364. >"What about this?" Celestia spins around and shoves her ass in your face.
  2365. Oh, come on.
  2366. >You put on your best offended voice.
  2367. >"Don't insult me, I know what's been there."
  2369. >The two of you approach a large building built into the city walls.
  2370. >Celestia stops outside the steps.
  2371. >This place looked deserted
  2372. >"This the place O' Princess of Pony Pricks?"
  2373. >Celestia lets out a chuckle. "That was rather good."
  2374. Oh?
  2375. >You get a grin.
  2376. >"O' Sultana of Stallion Shlongs! O' Countess of Cocks!  O' Duchess of Dicks!"
  2377. >You throw out your arms as you put on your little show.
  2378. >Celestia laughs and starts up the stairs. "Come along, Mous."
  2379. >You follow Celestia inside and enter a large lobby with a single desk in it. A single guard sat behind the desk.
  2380. >He saw the two of you approach. "This way Your Highness."
  2381. >The guard leads the two of you to a small room with a desk in it.
  2382. >You take a seat in the chair at the end.
  2383. >The desk was bisected by the wall, the other side of it was seen through thick glass.
  2384. >Were you at a jail?
  2385. >Celestia catches your attention. "I'll be outside while you do this." she says.
  2386. >The door closes.
  2387. Do what?
  2389. >After a few minutes, the door on the opposite side of the glass opens and a familiar looking pegasus takes a seat.
  2390. Oh hell...
  2391. >You sigh as the pony stares at you.
  2392. >"Stormwing..."
  2393. >"Mercenary." he spits out.
  2394. >"Any reason we're doing this?"
  2395. >Stormwing slumps in his seat. "I'm told that that luminescent bitch in the palace wanted us to have words."
  2396. >Of course she did...
  2397. >"Fine. Let's have words. How's life?"
  2398. >Stormwing grunts. "They treat us like cattle in here. Twenty three hours inside, one out. Not allowed to fly..."
  2399. >"Not allowed to worship a dead chaos spirit?"
  2400. >Stormwing harrumphs. "I have stopped worshiping Discord, Mercenary."
  2401. Well, that's progress.
  2402. >"So, serving time for almost bringing about eternal chaos?"
  2403. >"No." he says.
  2404. >"Oh?"
  2405. >He's starring daggers at you. "I am still serving time because I said I would kill you if I ever got out."
  2406. Oh.
  2407. Well, damn.
  2408. >Can't let him know we thought that.
  2409. >"You would try...but I can see why they keep you here now, at least."
  2410. >We're done here.
  2411. >You bang on the door and have Stormwing taken out.
  2413. >Celestia sent you back into the room when you walked out, said you had two more visitors.
  2414. >The second of which was brought in wearing a straight jacket and a glowing collar.
  2415. >"Trixie, nice to see you. I like the necklace."
  2416. >"Human. Nice to see you're treachery was rewarded." she says with fire in her eyes.
  2417. >You weren't feeling sorry for these fucks. Stormwing was a psychopath.
  2418. >"So, how's it hanging? They ever get you to stop seeing Twilight Sparkles big throbbing horn when you went to bed at night?"
  2419. >Trixie's face flushes. "Trixie will not sit here and be insulted!" she shouted.
  2420. Cute, she doesn't know.
  2421. >See they still haven't fixed the third person thing...
  2422. >"I see your prison garb is a bit different then my last guests, how is psychiatri-"
  2423. >"You thing yourself better then Trixie? You think yourself different?" she asks.
  2424. >"HA! We are the same, human. We both saw what we wanted and took it." she's grinning now.
  2425. >"The only difference between us is that one of us roams free and healthy, while the other is imprisoned and without a kidney!" her she shouted. She had jumped out of her seat and onto her end of the table now.
  2426. Okay...that sucks.
  2427. >Didn't really want that to happen...
  2428. >The aids must have noticed the commotion, because they came in and tried to wrestle Trixie back down.
  2429. >You must have made a face because Trixie got a huge smile. "Remember that feeling, human! Remember the feeling of knowing that you are no different from those you fought!"
  2430. >The guards haul Trixie out, but you can still hear her shout obscenities at you from the hall.
  2432. Right, well, that was annoying.
  2433. >I feel a bit bad about the kidney...
  2434. >The door opens
  2435. She got what she paid for, bitch was lucky...she didn't...lose...
  2436. >Your mind quiets as your last guest is wheeled in.
  2437. >Oh no...
  2438. >No no no...
  2439. >He was in a straight jacket, his mouth locked in a bite-mask.
  2440. >The whole thing was very Lecter-ish.
  2441. >Unlike before, the guards stay in the room.
  2442. >His stare has enough hate in it to destroy a city.
  2443. >"Speedy..."
  2444. >"Don't talk to me, traitor! You don't get to talk to me!" he barks at you. "Traitors don't get to talk to me..."
  2445. >"Speedy...what happened?"
  2446. >Speedy was a good kid, he had punched you after the trial, but you just thought that was emotions playing up.
  2447. >He's all lit up now. "What happened!? WHAT HAPPENED!? WHAT HAPPENED IS YOU KILLED MY GOD!" he bellowed.
  2448. >The guards moved towards him.
  2449. >"Stop."
  2450. >The guards stall as Speedy continues his rant. "You join or society, help us gather up everything we needed to summon Him! AND THEN STAB US IN THE BACK!"
  2451. Technically, it was the kidney.
  2452. >Shut it brain.
  2453. >Speedy isn't stopping. "No, worse than that! You made the entire society meaningless when you KILLED LORD DISCORD!"
  2454. >The room is silent for a while until a sound come from Speedy's side.
  2455. >He's crying... "He...He was the only one that made any sense anymore...and you killed Him. I called you my friend and you killed Him..."
  2456. >"Speeds..."
  2457. >"Shut up! Don't talk to me..." he's breaking down. "You belong in here with us..."
  2458. >That sentence galvanizes him. "You belong in here with us!"
  2459. >Speedy starts thrashing in his bindings, the guards start wheeling him out.
  2460. >"YOU BELONG IN HERE WITH US! YOU BELONG IN HERE WITH US!" he shouts as they take him away.
  2462. >You stepped out of the room.
  2463. >You were shaking.
  2464. >You remembered the Speedy that you talked to on Gallopfrey. The one that was decent to you when everyone else there was distant.
  2465. >The one who took a magical blast to save somep0nies life.
  2466. >To see him turned into that?
  2467. It sucks.
  2468. >You find Celestia standing in the middle of the room.
  2469. >"Okay, I get it. Seeing how I've ruined their lives was my punishment, are we done here?"
  2470. >You wanted to go home.
  2471. >Wanted to see Lotus again and forget all this.
  2472. >"Not yet." Celestia says as the doors to the prison open.
  2473. Great, what now...
  2474. >Two ponies walk in, a mare and a stallion.
  2475. >The stallion was just some unicorn you'd never seen before, but the mare...
  2476. >The mare, you didn't help when you should have.
  2477. >"Screwball..."
  2478. >She trots up to you "Hello, Mous. Princess Celestia" she bows.
  2479. >Her hair is different, she looked bigger, her eyes are natural.
  2480. >"W-what is this?"
  2481. No, seriously, what happened?
  2482. >"Well, when you helped me expel the Voice and closed the portal, it never came back. I spent a few months in a hospital before I got released." she turns to the stallion at her side. "I went and found my old husband, and I am!" she beamed.
  2483. This...this is good.
  2484. >"T-that's great, Screwball."
  2485. >She looked so much better.
  2486. >She glanced up at Celestia. "The Princess told me you would be here today, so I just stopped by to say thank you. Thank you for ending all of that. None of us would be here if you didn't."
  2487. None of us?
  2488. >That denotes more than two.
  2489. She said she was trying for a kid...
  2490. >Guess we know why she's bigger...
  2492. >You and Celestia wave Screwball and her husband off.
  2493. >"Well, come along. I have a chariot ready to take you home." Celestia said.
  2494. >The two of you walk down Canterlot's streets.
  2495. >"Princess, I have to ask..."
  2496. >"Hmmmm~?" she coos.
  2497. >"What was the point of all that? I thought seeing how much I fucked everyp0ny in there up was my punishment, but then you brought out Screwball."
  2498. >Celestia lets out a surpassed laugh. "Mous, I have been around for a very long time...and I've become familiar with taking extreme measures to stop disasters."
  2499. >You glance up at a banner with a full moon on it.
  2500. I'll bet she has.
  2501. >"The 'point' of this exercise was to make you aware of the most important thing in those situations; taking into account the lives that will be affected."
  2502. >Your mind goes back to Stormwing, Trixie, Speedy, and Screwball.
  2503. >Celestia must be a fucking psychic. "There were more that were affected then just the four you saw today, most of them are doing well, luckily."
  2504. That's good.
  2505. >Celestia leads you into the chariot stables.
  2506. >"But, if the trip to the jail was for all that, what was the punishment you told the judge about?"
  2507. >Celestia laughs. "Come now, Mous. A year free? Free to think every day on what horrible plans the Princess had in store? I'd say the judge would be satisfied."
  2508. >Celestia, you magnificent bitch.
  2509. >"Maybe he thought you were the one aiming to be satisfied?"
  2510. >The both of you laugh.
  2511. >You board the chariot.
  2512. >"But seriously, Celestia."
  2513. >She cocks an eyebrow at her name.
  2514. >"Thanks. For all this. I think I needed it."
  2515. >Celestia gets that grin of hers. "That's two you owe me now."
  2516. >You two are left smirking at each other as the chariot flies away.
  2518. >The chariot dropped you off in the center of town.
  2519. >You were able to catch Lotus on the path back you your house.
  2520. >You'll remember the squeal she made when you snuck up on her for the rest of your life.
  2521. >You both decided to forgo T.V. tonight and hid in your bedroom.
  2522. >It was your first night where you weren't afraid of some mystery punishment, you were planning on enjoying it.
  2523. >You like to think you forced Anon and Rainbow to take a night on the town.
  2524. >It was late now.
  2525. >Lotus was asleep on your chest.
  2526. >It had taken eight months, but you two had finally figured out a way to sleep on the bed comfortably.
  2527. >Your mind was going back to the events of today.
  2528. >It still threw you for a bit of a loop, to see what happened to Speedy.
  2529. >Lotus stirred on your chest after a bit. "Are you okay? Your heart is beating out of your chest."
  2530. >Damn traitorous organ.
  2531. >You had been better.
  2532. >"That damn thing, always keeping me up. Take it off my hands for me?"
  2533. >Lotus cocks an eyebrow.
  2534. >"What? It's been a year and I don't see myself giving it to anyp0ny else. Take if off my damn hands for me."
  2535. >Lotus crawls up to your shoulder. "What kind of special somep0ny are you? Dumping that on me?"
  2536. >You roll over.
  2537. >"Come on, it's all noisy and half busted. Do me a solid here."
  2538. >Lotus sighs. "Fine."
  2539. >She gives you a kiss. "I'll hold onto your heart for you."
  2540. Wait, what just happened?
  2541. >Jeeze, pay attention brain.
  2542. >You pull her close.
  2543. >"I love you."
  2544. >She wraps her hooves around your torso. "I love you too."
  2545. >The two of you stay like that as you drift off to sleep.
  2546. >...
  2547. Still in the dark here.
  2549. =BiE 45=
  2551. >You stared at the mana battery on the desk as you align the crystal.
  2552. > to twenty five ratio...
  2553. >You hoped this would work, this mana battery was huge.
  2554. >Oh well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  2555. >Okay...everything looks to be in order. "Hey, Twilight! Can you gimme a hand with this?"
  2556. >The door at the top of the cellar opens. "What's up, Anon?" Twilight asks as she trots down.
  2557. >You gesture to your little setup. "I need a spell, care to provide?"
  2558. >She gives your experiment a glance, there was a mana battery hooked up to a focusing lens that was aimed at a small crystal. "Any spell?" she asks.
  2559. >Not just any spell would do, no..."How about a little light show?" you ask.
  2560. >Twilight aims her horn at the focusing lens and fires a spell.
  2561. >Bring purple light erupts from Twilights horn and gets compressed into the lens as it enters the crystal.
  2562. >Twilight stops the spell as you remove the crystal from its resting place. "Now what?" she asks.
  2563. >"Now this."
  2564. >You toss the crystal on the stone wall. As it shatters, the room is bathed in a soft purple glow
  2565. >The glow dies down after a few moments, but you hardly notice. "Ha-ha! Yes!" you shout.
  2566. >Twilight looks confused. "What just happened?" she asked.
  2567. >You sweep the shattered crystal pieces into your hand. "What happened, is that I was able to apply a magical spell to an object anyp0ny could use. The conversion ratio was horrid, but this is how progress is made."
  2568. >Twilight is all lit up now. "Anon, that's incredible! We have to run numbers on this."
  2569. >The two of you quickly make your way upstairs and work on the conversion ratio issue.
  2571. >You and Twilight work well into the evening, the prospect of portable spells encased in tiny crystals was incising.
  2572. >You got home later than normal, which was later still than when you used to.
  2573. >You walk into the usual scene. Lotus and Mous were curled up at one end of the couch with Rainbow on the other.
  2574. >"Hey guys, what's..." Rainbow shoots a glare at you that causes you to falter.
  2575. >Did you do something?
  2576. >You take a seat next to her. "Hey, is everything okay?" You try to put your arm around her.
  2577. >Rainbow squirms her way out and continues to pout. "Yeah. I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"
  2578. >Okay...
  2579. >Somep0ny obviously doesn't want to talk.
  2581. >The lot of you get ready for bed, Rainbow washing her face as you changed.
  2582. >Good a time as any..."So...can we talk?" you ask.
  2583. >You hear Rainbow shut off the faucet. "Nothing to talk about." she says as she climbs into bed and turns away from you.
  2584. >You sit down on the bed. "C'mon Dash, talk to me."
  2585. >"No." she spits out.
  2586. >Okay...
  2587. >That was harsh.
  2588. >"Come on, did I do something?" you ask.
  2589. >Did you drink all the milk?
  2590. >Leave the toilet seat up?
  2591. >Kick her in your sleep?
  2592. >She wasn't answering. "Did I say something?"
  2593. >Ask if her hair was natural?
  2594. >Accidentally insult her?
  2595. >Call her by an ex's name?
  2596. >Oh god, don't let it have been Brian...
  2597. >Still nothing.
  2598. >"Come on Dash, what did I do? What did I say?"
  2599. >Rainbow throws the blanket off of her. "No!"
  2600. >Then what? "Did Mous or Lotus piss you off? What is it?"
  2601. >"IT'S ALL OF THAT!" she shouts as she storms out of the room.
  2602. >You chase after Rainbow, but it's a futile effort.
  2603. >She's out the door by the time you get to the hallways.
  2604. >What the hell!?
  2605. >"Dude?" you hear behind you.
  2606. >Mous and Lotus are both peeking around the corner, a toothbrush sticking out of each of their mouths.
  2607. >"Do you two have to practice the  'Creepy Simultaneous Action Couple' thing, or does it come naturally. you ask.
  2608. >Lotus giggles to herself as Mous gives you a deadpan look. "Go find her, dingus."
  2610. >You throw your clothes back on and run out.
  2611. >Shit, Rainbow had the advantage in both speed and being able to avoid obstacles.
  2612. >She could be anywhere by now.
  2613. >You run through town looking, but to no avail.
  2614. >What did she mean 'It's all of that'?
  2615. >You spend almost the entire night out there.
  2616. >Pinkie hadn't seen her, neither had Rarity.
  2617. >She went in the opposite direction from Fluttershy
  2618. >Twilight was asleep.
  2619. >You finally got lucky when you asked Applejack. "Saw her flyin' off towards Whitetail Woods. Thought it was might strange to be seein' her out at this hour..."
  2620. >You start running as soon as you leave the farm.
  2621. >Whitetail Woods.
  2622. >There was only one place she could be if she went there.
  2624. >You still remember the path the two of you took.
  2625. >Time had marched forward and the trees had re-grown all of their leaves, but you still remembered.
  2626. >You bound up the hill and entered the cave you had spent the night in so long ago. "Rainbow?!"
  2627. >Silence.
  2628. >You slump against the cave wall. Dammit.
  2629. >That was your last lead.
  2630. >Your mind jumps back over a year.
  2631. >You still remember the warmth of the cave, the warmth of her body.
  2632. >You remember the leisurely days the two of you had spent that February, eating when you wanted, sleeping when you wanted, fucking when you wanted.
  2633. >You had bonded more the just physically over those few days. To think that you could lose that...
  2634. >Your mind jumps back to right before your first night with Rainbow, back to when you were indecisive.
  2635. >"If you want something, you go get it. Period." That's what he said that got you off your ass back on Earth.
  2636. >That's what got you through estrus.
  2637. >And that's what got you off your ass now.
  2639. >"Rainbow?" you called out.
  2640. >You kept walking along the stream.
  2641. >If you were out of leads, you just had to find more. "Rainbow!" you called out again.
  2642. >Still nothing. You keep following the stream.
  2643. >You weren't going to let this happen, not while you still could fix it.
  2644. >You walk through some trees and come across a beautiful lake.
  2645. >This must be the source of that stream.
  2646. >The lake was a small oval cut into the side of the mountain, the moon was reflected on the still water.
  2647. >The reflection of the moon was scattered as a rock sipped across the water, waves radiating out from the impact sight.
  2648. >You follow the rocks flight path, a blotch of cyan and blue is sitting at the edge of the lake.
  2649. >"Rainbow..." you say as you approach her.
  2650. >She just looks up at you."Hey, Anon. Sorry about running out. I overreacted."
  2651. >Her eyes are puffy. "Yeah, what's the deal with that?" you ask.
  2652. >Rainbow sighs. "It's...It's nothing..."
  2653. >You take a seat next to her. "Liar."
  2654. >You flash her a smile and get a small one in return. "It's...It's about Mous and Lotus, and you and me." she says.
  2655. >Okay...
  2656. >"I see the two of them together all the time...always saying how much they love each other..." she's shuffling around. "...and the more they say it, the more I notice that we never do."
  2657. >Wait...that's what this is about?
  2658. >She continues. "And now, you're spending all this time at Twilight's...and I'm afraid I don't mean as much to you anymore."
  2659. >You could see her point, she was the element of loyalty. Thinking that you were stepping out must be hard on her.
  2660. >That didn't stop it from being bullshit, however.
  2662. >"Oh, Rainbow Dash..." you snake your arm around her and pull her close. "What am I going to do with you?"
  2663. >She starts to open her mouth, but you cut her off. "Me? Step out on you? That's ridiculous."
  2664. >You cupped her cheek in your hand as you had done your first time in these woods. Rainbow practically buries her face in your hand.
  2665. >"Rainbow..."you begin. "Right before all that cult crap, I turned down an offer to go back to my homeworld, back to everything I've ever known. But I decided to stay here." you lean in and plant a kiss on her lips, you linger behind a bit afterwards though. "Now, who do you think caused me to do that?"
  2666. >Rainbow doesn't speak, but puts her head in your shoulder. You take the opportunity to wrap your arms around her. "Of course I love you, you silly filly..."
  2667. >The two of you spend however long like that under the stars by the lake before you both head for home.
  2668. >It's early morning, you were exhausted and you should be in bed. But this was more important, you'd call in sick if you had to.
  2669. >You had gotten used to how Rainbow moved in bed over the past year, but that night was different.
  2670. >Your mind once again went back to your first night in that cave, the feeling you felt then showing up now.
  2671. >You're still awake as Celestia begins to raise the sun, Rainbow Dash curled up in your arms.
  2672. >Just as you are about to fall asleep, you pull her close. "Love you, Dashie." you whisper.
  2674. =BiE 46=
  2676. >The sun was low as the two of you walked home.
  2677. >Well, you were walking home. Lotus was on your back.
  2678. >She had become addicted to piggy back rides, it seemed.
  2679. >You didn't mind.
  2680. >"Are we recording Gossip Mare?"
  2681. >Lotus shifts on your back. "We better be. Tonight Silver Lining confesses to Ironhoof."
  2682. >You laugh.
  2683. >Silly mare.
  2684. >Silver Lining obviously liked Crimson Wind better.
  2685. >You continue on your way until you hear something from behind you "Mous! Wait up!"
  2686. >You turn around. Derpy was flying towards you with Dinky on her back.
  2687. >You stop walking as Derpy catches up and lands. She's panting.
  2688. Okay, this could be important.
  2689. >"Well, if it isn't my second favorite mares in the world."
  2690. >Derpy and Dinky both smile at the compliment.
  2691. >"What's up?"
  2692. >Derpy takes a deep breath and regains her composure. "I've been looking all over for you, I tried to catch you at the spa."
  2693. >Oh?
  2694. >"What'cha need?"
  2695. >"A favor." she says.
  2696. >"Shoot."
  2697. >Dinky steps out from behind her mother. "I'm going on a trip for a week and everp0ny I've asked can't watch my little muffin. Do you think you could...?"
  2698. DUDE.
  2699. >HELL.
  2700. FUCKING.
  2701. >"YES."
  2703. >DOESN'T MATTER.
  2704. >Reel it back.
  2705. >"Yes I will watch Dinky while you are gone."
  2706. >Dinky is beaming as much on the outside as you are on the inside. Derpy looks relieved.
  2707. >"Should I steal her away now? Or some other time?"
  2708. >Derpy smiles. "Just stop by my house tomorrow. House number 404."
  2709. Waitwhat?
  2710. >Shut up.
  2712. >You head out at around noon.
  2713. >It was your day off, you gave no fucks about how late you slept.
  2714. >Lotus had been a bit annoyed, Dinky being over meant she couldn't spend the night for the week.
  2715. >You made it up to her.
  2716. >Never got the chance to watch Gossip Mare though...
  2717. >You dropped Lotus off at her place before you made for Derpy's.
  2718. >"Have fun on your little play date." she had said.
  2719. >Cheeky mare.
  2720. >You knock on the door to Derpy's house. Your little friend answers.
  2721. >"DINKY!"
  2722. >"MOUS!" she cries as she jumps up to you.
  2723. >You wrestle with the squirming filly and eventually get her on top of your head.
  2724. >She liked your head.
  2725. >You step inside. Derpy walks out of the kitchen...followed by a brown colt. "Hey, Mous!" she calls.
  2726. >Him.
  2727. >"Hey Derpy..."
  2728. >You start to put the pieces together in your head. You didn't like the picture it made.
  2729. >" two going on a trip together?"
  2730. >Derpy looks back towards her colt-friend. "Yep. He said that he knew of some wonderful places and that he wanted to show me..." she said with a smile.
  2731. >Sweet. If it went as planned.
  2732. >"How nice...Hey, why don't you and Dinky go get her ready?"
  2733. >Derpy nods and leads Dinky upstairs.
  2734. And...they're gone.
  2735. >"Okay, Listen Time Lord."
  2736. >He doesn't stumble, Just looks at you.
  2737. >"I'll be brief, I know your deal and the mortality rate involved."
  2738. >You crouch down to eye level.
  2739. >"If you bring her back dead, or some cyborg, or with the contents of your little box dumped into her brain, or heaven help you, don't bring her back at all; I will find you and break you apart atom, by atom, by atom."
  2740. >He doesn't falter. "I think I can do that."
  2742. >You carry Dinky and her backpack back to your house, Dinky under one arm and her bag under the other.
  2743. >Your mind is elsewhere, however.
  2744. >If he was traveling again...
  2745. >"So...Dinks..."
  2746. >She looks up at you.
  2747. >"What do you think of Mr. Whooves? Is he a good guy?"
  2748. >Dinky smiles and nods. "Yeah, he's really nice! He's fun, and silly, and he helps me with my homework!"
  2749. >"Does he ever talk about himself?"
  2750. >Dinky slouches a bit. "Not a lot...He says that he came from far away and had to do some bad things. He says that some of those bad things happened to people he cared about and that he came here to get away...he gets really sad when he talks about that."
  2751. >Well...damn.
  2752. >Things must have happened differently.
  2753. >"But still, he likes you and your mom, right?"
  2754. >There's that smile. "A-huh! He says that mom and me remind him of why he started traveling in the first place!"
  2755. >That sounded ominous...
  2756. >Still. If this colt is who you think, you can trust him.
  2757. Haha...
  2758. >What?
  2759. "Who we think."
  2760. >Dammit brain, now we have to put money in the Pun Jar.
  2762. >You and Dinky spent the day on your couch, doing whatever mischief the two of you could find.
  2763. >Anon would probably get annoyed at that garlic you put under his bed.
  2764. >Dinky levitated the paintbrush up to the tiny man she held, gingerly painting his shoulders.
  2765. >You glanced down to the collection she had already finished.
  2766. >Each of them was grey with yellow highlights.
  2767. >"Making your mom an army, are we?"
  2768. >"I figure these guys can help her with the mail on rainy days." she says as she rotates the model under her brush.
  2769. >"Atta girl."
  2770. >You get back to your own model and glance at the T.V.
  2771. >"You might like this part."
  2772. >Dinky watches as a lanky man in a suit jumps through a wall on a horse before giving a speech to some clockwork robots. "Hehe. This guy reminds me of Mr. Whooves." she says.
  2773. >"Well how bout that..."
  2774. >Dinky got you in a mood, so what?
  2775. >The universe hadn't imploded on itself yet, so you figured you're in the clear.
  2776. >The door unlatches Anon and Rainbow walk in. "You would not believe what I'm working on wi-"
  2777. >He pauses as he catches sight of the two of you on the couch. "There is a filly on our couch."
  2778. >"Dinky is staying here for the week while her mom is away."
  2779. >Dinky is still paying attention to her model.
  2780. >"Oh. Cool. What's for dinner?" Anon asks.
  2781. >"Whatever you want, just know that we ate all the ice cream."
  2782. >Dinky lets out a small burp in approval.
  2783. >Atta girl.
  2785. >You put Dinky to sleep on the couch and tell Anon and Rainbow to keep it down before you turn in yourself.
  2786. >It takes you some time to drift off, this is the first time in a while that Lotus wasn't here.
  2787. >You'd gotten used to the extra weight in the bed, the presence of somep0ny else.
  2788. >Your years of bachelordom kick in however, and you fall asleep.
  2789. >At least until you hear your door open.
  2790. >Your hand flies over to the desk and grabs David as you lurch up.
  2791. >"...Mous? Are you awake?" you hear from the darkness.
  2792. >"Dinky?"
  2793. >You reach over and turn on the lamp.
  2794. >Dinky is standing in the doorway, her eyes are watery.
  2795. >"What's up?"
  2796. >Dinky shuffles her hooves. "I um...I had a nightmare."
  2797. Oh boy.
  2798. >Big Bro Mode: Engaged.
  2799. >"Come on, shut the door, let's talk about it."
  2800. >Dinky hops up on the end of the bed.
  2801. >"All right, spill."
  2802. >Dinky sighs. "I had a dream about my dad..."
  2803. >You heard the story. "I dreamt he came and said that he wanted me back, and then he took me away from my mom, and Everyp0ny I asked for help said I was better off with him then my mom."
  2804. >You sigh. "Dinky, everyp0ny here loves your mom. No way we'd let her lose you."
  2805. >Dinky doesn't cheer up. "But, what if she does?"
  2806. >You shrug.
  2807. >"Then, I guess I'd have to come and get you."
  2808. >That gets a smile. "What if my dad tried to stop you?"
  2809. >"I'd feed him his horn."
  2810. >Dinky laughs at your joke.
  2811. >You aren't joking.
  2812. >You lie back down in your bed.
  2813. >"Alright poozer, lights out. You can crash with me tonight."
  2814. >Dinky gets a big smile and plops down on your chest as you turn out the light.
  2816. =BiE 47=
  2818. >You were eating breakfast at the table with Rainbow.
  2819. >Miraculously, you had beaten Mous out here.
  2820. >Having Dinky stay hadn't been as weird as you though, which was good.
  2821. >You liked to think you liked kids.
  2822. >As if on cue, you hear a door open and the sounds of feet and hooves.
  2823. >Along with singing.
  2824. >"Pizza!"Mous calls out. Dinky mimics. "Pizza!"
  2825. >"Pizza for breakfast!" he sings and he half walks half dances into the kitchen and opens the fridge.
  2826. >He pulls out a pizza box from the fridge as Dinky jumps up into an empty seat. "It's the thing to eat to make your day the very best!"
  2827. >"Pizza! Pizza for breakfast!" Mous slides a plate with a piece of pizza in front of Dinky.
  2828. >He places his piece down, but doesn't sit until he's done singing. "Sauces and cheeses, they fulfill all your needses! When you eat pizza!"
  2829. >With that he all but falls into his chair and starts eating, Dinky starts clapping her hooves together. "I love the feel the crowd gives..." he waxes. "Especially the cute ones." he says as he ruffles Dinky's mane.
  2830. >Dinky laughs as she digs into her breakfast of champions. "Isn't singing Barry Manilow to a minor a crime in some places?" you tease.
  2831. >"No jury in the world will convict me." he says as he eats.
  2832. >"Tch." Rainbow snorts. "They will if you sing for them with that voice." she says.
  2833. >You laugh and brohoof Rainbow, just because you were together didn't mean you had to lose such base joys as ripping on your best friend.
  2834. >"Everyone's a critic." Mous says with a roll of his eyes.
  2836. >The four of you sat around the table eating in silence.
  2837. >Dinky was sitting next to you, trying to fit an entire slice of pizza in her mouth.
  2838. >Mous reaches over and pulls it from her mouth. "Stop that, you're gonna choke and make your mom mad at me."
  2839. >You chuckle. "Father of the year, mares and gentlecolts."
  2840. >"Nothing so noble." Mous says as he finishes his meal. "I just don't want to explain to Cheerilee that I was late bringing her in because of a surprise trip to the hospital."
  2841. >"Speaking of Cheerilee." Mous lifts his arm and sniffs. "Stay here while I go wash up poozer, then we can head out."
  2842. >Dinky nods as Mous walks off.
  2843. >"So, Dinky." Dinky looks up at you from her plate, she's back to trying to fit the entire thing in her mouth. "Have you been having fun?"
  2844. >Mous could always keep kids happy, probably something having to do with him having the mental maturity of a fifteen year old, but you had never entertained kids you weren't related to.
  2845. >You were curious to know how you did.
  2846. >To your relief, Dinky started nodding vigorously. "Yeah! I'm having lots of fun! You and Mous are really funny when you argue!" she laughs out.
  2847. >Oh yeah, you and Mous got into an argument during movies last night. You don't care what kinds of magnetic fields they have, Lightsabers should go on forever.
  2848. >A few minutes later, Mous walks out of his room and scoops Dinky onto his head. "All set to go to school Captain Whooves?" he asks.
  2849. >Dinky points to the door. "Make it so, number one!"
  2850. >You suppress laughter as the two of them walk out the door.
  2851. >You can't repel cuteness of that magnitude.
  2853. >You and Rainbow left home shortly after Mous did.
  2854. >"Love you." Rainbow said as she kissed you goodbye and flew off into the clouds.
  2855. >Work at Twilights had been all but consumed by your studies of applying spells to crystals, Canterlot was very interested in the idea.
  2856. >The library was loaded with boxes, mana batteries all the way from Canterlot, boxes of crystals from around the kingdom of various purities.
  2857. >You had your work cut out for you. "I'm here Twilight, what's on the agenda for today?" you call out as you tiptoe past the equipment.
  2858. >Twilight is nose deep in a book. "Today we're looking into the flash heating spell on the crystals from the western mountains." she said without looking up.
  2859. >Flash heating, that meant steam. "We headed out to the lake?" you ask.
  2860. >"Yep!" Twilight says as she levitates the book into her saddlebags. "I'll take the crystals and you grab the mana batteries, come on!" she says as she determinately marches out the door.
  2861. >Dammit, you always carried the batteries.
  2862. >And they were heavy.
  2864. -Some time later-
  2865. >The crystal hits the surface of the lake and erupts into a brilliant white light, steam bellows from the a single point at the center of the reaction and cascades across the water.
  2866. >"Okay, test number fifty two: Flash heating spell with western mountain crystal of B level purity got us about 60% conversion." you say as you jot down your findings.
  2867. >"I think next we should-" you turn to look at Twilight. She was sweating, her hair was frazzled and her chest was heaving. "-take a little break." you say.
  2868. >Twilight smiles as she drops down to the ground to rest. The two of you had been testing all morning with her being the only source of spellcasting, she deserved a rest.
  2869. >You ran through your head how this little system you devised worked.
  2870. >The crystal acted as a prison for the magical energies. When a spell was fired through the focusing lens, the mana battery hooked up gave the crystal a minute jump of power. That jump of power kept the spell inside powered indefinitely, the problem was the crystals themselves.
  2871. >Any gem with enough internal lattices could work, you just needed something that could bounce the spell around inside it. Unfortunately, some of the gems you were getting were of poor quality, they were giving a crap conversion rate on some spells. Even the crystals you were using today were only giving about half as good a reacting as if you just used the spell proper, and they were some of the best you'd used.
  2872. >You sigh. Oh well, such was science.
  2873. >You rise to your feet. "You ready to get back to it Twi?"
  2874. >Twilight nods and rises herself.
  2875. >"Cool, I wanna try some of those bigger ones..."
  2877. >You got home around 8:00.
  2878. >You were soaked to the core.
  2879. >You stepped into the house and found Dinky and Mous sitting at the edge of the couch, Rainbow was lounging in her normal spot.
  2880. >"Okay, Dinks. Try shooting a portal over there and I'll handle this..." Mous's eyes drift over to you. "What happened dude?"
  2881. >You sigh as you close the door. "We were doing rapid heating experiments down by the lake today, there was a misfire and I ended up with half the lake dumped on me."
  2882. >Mous glances over you. "I'd call that experiment a success."
  2883. >Dinky giggles at his joke.
  2884. >You should flip him off, he deserves to be flipped off.
  2885. >But there's a filly here...
  2886. >"Whatever, dude. I'm gonna go wash this pond water off." you say as you step into your room.
  2887. >You throw your shirt off and feel a pair of hooves wrap around you. "Whoa now!" you call out as Rainbow nuzzles the back of your neck. "There's a filly in the other room!"
  2888. >"I got that take care of..." she says.
  2889. >You hear the T.V. from the living room turn up. Way up.
  2890. >You can barely hear yourself get pushed onto the bed with over the sounds of science coming from the living room.
  2891. >Ha.
  2892. >You grab Rainbow's ear. "You sly dog..."
  2894. >Whatever was left of the night was spent by having a game stump the four of you.
  2895. >Dammit, you should have been smarter than that. Stupid conduction gel.
  2896. >"Alright Dinks. Bath and bed, let's go." Mous yawns out.
  2897. >The two of them walk out of the room and leave you and Rainbow alone on the couch.
  2898. >You sit there for a while, just playing with her hair as she lay on your lap. It was nice you just shut yopur brain off after a long day of testing.
  2899. >One thought nagged at the back of your mind thought...
  2900. >Oh well, now was as good a time as any.
  2901. >"Hey, Rainbow, what do you think about kids?" you ask, breaking the silence.
  2902. >Rainbows eyes shoot open faster than you can catch. "Uhh...I think there are some issues we'd have to work out first..." she says as she eyes you.
  2903. >"No no." you say. "I'm not asking you to let me stick a baby in you." God, were you not ready for that. "I was just wondering. If we keep this up, what do you think about kids?"
  2904. >Rainbow rolled over. "Kids can be cool...I guess. I just don't really see myself as the world's greatest mom, ya know?"
  2905. >You chuckle. "The Great Rainbow Dash? Backing away from a challenge as small as caring for another life?"
  2906. >Rainbow punches you in the shoulder and laughs. "Buck you."
  2907. >You scoop her up and carry her to the bedroom, she'd probably crash on your lap if you let her.
  2908. >You fall asleep wondering how well you'd do as a dad.
  2909. >And how terrifying the idea of Mous as an uncle would be.
  2911. =BiE 48=
  2913. >Morning of the final day.
  2914. >You were dropping Dinky off back at her place late this afternoon.
  2915. >Dinky sat on your head as you walked her to school.
  2916. >It was for the best, your hands were full.
  2917. >In addition to your work bag and Dinky's backpack, you were giving all the little figures dinky had painted over the course of her week with you to her as a gift. You also had a narrow tube shaped bag over your shoulder.
  2918. >The walk to school was fairly quite.
  2919. >You peer up at Dinky's forelegs hanging over your forehead.
  2920. Hmm...Time to see how much she's learned.
  2921. >"IIIIn West Fillydelphia, born and raised!" you start.
  2922. >Dinky picks up quick. "On the playground was where I spent most of my days!"
  2923. >"Chillin' out maxin' relaxin' all cool."
  2924. >"And all shooting some B-Ball outside of the school."
  2925. >"When a couple of colts, they were up to no good!"
  2926. >"Started makin trouble in my neighborhood!"
  2927. >"My mom took me inside and said she'd teach me a lesson!"
  2928. >"She said "You're movin with your aunty and uncle in Manehattan!"
  2929. Yeah.
  2930. >You reach up and ruffle Dinky's mane.
  2931. >"Atta girl."
  2932. >You hear her giggle. "Hey, Mous?"
  2933. >"Hmm?"
  2934. >"What's this thing?" she asks and points to the narrow tube slung over your shoulder.
  2935. Hehe.
  2936. >"A surprise."
  2937. >Dinky bends her head down and looks you in the eye. "A fun surprise?"
  2938. >You make a face.
  2939. >"Well, you'll just have to wait for the surprise, won't you?"
  2940. >You drop Dinky off at school.
  2941. >"Okay Poozer, we're going on a new plan today. Don't meet me at the spa, I'll be coming here."
  2942. >Dinky tilts her head. "Why?"
  2943. >"For your surprise!" you call back as you walk away.
  2945. >Aloe and Lotus were working you hard today.
  2946. >Penance for ducking out before closing.
  2947. >Double steam room duty, aromatherapy, and then back to your massage room for a trio of customers.
  2948. >No lunch today, it seemed.
  2949. >The door opened and you heard a customer walk through.
  2950. >"Hello, my name is Mous and I'll be-"
  2951. >Your stop yourself as you catch who your 'customer' is.
  2952. >"Oh, hey. What's up Lotus?"
  2953. >Lotus silently walks to your massage table and hops up.
  2954. >She wasn't wearing her headband.
  2955. >"Need something?"
  2956. >Lotus doesn't look up. "Yes, my special somep0ny has been busy all week and we haven't seen too much of each other..." she opens her eyes and gives you a sultry stare. "Can you help with that?"
  2957. >Oh, so this is how she wants to play it?
  2958. >"I'll see what I can do..."
  2959. >You grab some lotion and get to work on her back.
  2960. >It's true, you two haven't seen hide nor hair of each other since you've been watching Dinky, it's fair that she wants some attention.
  2961. >Attention you're happy to provide, to a point. Sex in the workplace was rarely a good idea.
  2962. >Plus it's hard enough getting lotion smell out of here.
  2964. >The massage goes as agonizingly slow as you can make it.
  2965. >"Mmmmm...lower." Lotus says.
  2966. >"That kind of contact is inappropriate for a spa employee, ma'am..."
  2967. >Lotus giggles. "I'm sure your boss won't mind."
  2968. >You work your way up to her shoulders.
  2969. >"Oh, I don't know about that...besides, is it really so hard to just wait until you can see him again?"
  2970. >You drift from her shoulders to behind her ears, a small gasp is your reward.
  2971. >"I hear that waiting can...enhance things."
  2972. >Lotus lets you continue your way around her ears as she speaks. "Ooohh, but the wait has been agonizing so far..."
  2973. >You lean in closer to her ears. "Well, I'm sure your special somep0ny is very sorry that he's made you wait so long...I'm sure he'd want to make it up to you, maybe in a few hours?"
  2974. >You drift up and begin massaging her scalp, she leans into your hands as you work. "If only I could steal him away for a short while..."
  2975. >You crouch down to eye level and head back to her neck. "I'm sure he would if he could, ma'am."
  2976. >Lotus's hoof starts meandering around on your shirt. "What's stopping him?"
  2977. >"Well..."
  2978. >A bell chimes at the back of the room.
  2979. >"Your hour's up."
  2980. >Lotus lets out a deep sigh and opens her eyes. "You..." she leans forward and plants a kiss on you. "Are horrible."
  2982. >You escape from work around 3:00 and head for the school.
  2983. >Dinky and her friends are running around out front.
  2984. >"Dinks!" you call out.
  2985. >Dinky spots you and gallops up to you. "Mous! Do you have my surprise?"
  2986. >You crouch down to her. "I do. Why not go as your friends if they want to come along?"
  2987. >Dinky tilts her head. "It's for them too?"
  2988. >You ruffle her mane. "Let's just say that what I have in store won't be as fun if it's just you and I."
  2989. >Dinky nods and runs back to her friends.
  2990. >A few minutes later, you're leading a group of about ten or so foals to the lake.
  2991. >You find a good spot and begin setting up out of the narrow bag you carried.
  2992. >Two sticks went into the ground with a net in the center supported by elastic strings.
  2993. >"Okay, class. This is something from my world called a "Big Honkin' Slingshot.". We used it to throw everything from water balloons, to snow at each other."
  2995. >You crouch down to demonstrate the size of the net for what you had in mind.
  2996. >"But today, we're going to try something different. As you can see, this net is the perfect size for a small pony. As you can feel, it's early summer and way too hot out. And as you can imagine, that lake would feel great right about now."
  2997. >You look at the faces of the little foals as they start to put the pieces together, smiles forming on them.
  2998. >You point to a chubby grey earth colt.
  2999. >"Up for the first shot, kid?"
  3000. >He nods enthusiastically and jumps into the net.
  3001. >You pull back a little farther to accommodate his weight and watch as he sails through the air.
  3002. >He lands with a resounding splash and surfaces near the center of the lake. "That was fun! Come one guys, the water's great!" he calls out.
  3003. >You turn to the rest of the kids.
  3004. >"Alright, who's next?"
  3006. >The afternoon melts away as the kids line up to be launched into the lake.
  3007. >Eventually, they just forego the slingshot and run into the lake to play.
  3008. >You relax under a tree and play lifeguard.
  3009. >"Rumble, I swear if I have to get you down from another tree!" you call out.
  3010. >Rumble hops from the tree branch he was on and continues to play.
  3011. >Little adrenaline junkie...
  3012. We're one to talk.
  3013. >Quite brain, I'm being lazy.
  3014. >You hear the clip clop of hooves behind you. "Well now, aint that a sight. Playin' lifeguard are ya, Mous?"
  3015. >You know that draw.
  3016. >"Something like that AJ."
  3017. >Applejack takes a seat in the grass a few feet from you.
  3018. >"Applebloom is in there if you're here to get her."
  3019. >"I see her, I'll let her play a bit." AJ says.
  3020. >Silence ensues.
  3021. Aawwwwwkwaaaard
  3022. >"So, haven't seen you in a while."
  3023. >Applejack hadn't been showing up in your bushes for a while, that had you worried.
  3024. >She may be planning something.
  3025. >AJ chuckles. "Nope."
  3026. >"That makes me nervous."
  3027. >AJ grins at you. "Why? Thinkin' I got some master plan?"
  3028. >"I just don't want my house demolished by an apple golem, is all."
  3029. >That elicits a laugh from Applejack. "Naw. I saw you and that blue pony together s'all. Figure you don't need me around with that."
  3030. Whoawhat?
  3031. >"And you're just...okay with that?"
  3032. >AJ gets up as Applebloom wades out of the water. "We had our fun, Mous. But I don' want nothin' with you if you got somep0ny else on your mind the whole time."
  3033. >Old honest Applejack.
  3034. >You lean back against your tree and smile.
  3035. >"Thanks AJ. Y'all have a nice night."
  3036. >AJ gives you a wink as her and Applebloom trot off.
  3038. >The kids all run to their homes as the sun goes down and you let Dinky dry off on your head.
  3039. >You open the door to Derpy's place and look around.
  3040. >Empty.
  3041. >"Hello? Derpy? Mr. Whooves?"
  3042. Horrible space monster?
  3043. >Shut it ya grot.
  3044. >You hear voices coming from the back yard and move to investigate.
  3045. >To your surpise, you see Derpy and Mr. Whooves trotting back to the house.
  3046. >You can see a bit of blue from behind a tree.
  3047. >Derpy spots the two of you. "Muffin!"
  3048. >Dinky must have dozed off, she shakes herself awake. "Mom!"
  3049. >Dinky jumps off your head and goes to hug her mom.
  3050. >You let the two of them have their moment and pull Mr. Whooves aside.
  3051. >"I trust everything went well?"
  3052. >He flashes a smile. "Nary a sight, smell, or hint of danger."
  3053. >Really?
  3054. >"How unlike you."
  3055. >He narrows his eyes. "Hey, I can be safe when I need to be."
  3056. >A-huh.
  3057. >"Was she too much trouble for you, Mous?" you here Derpy ask behind you.
  3058. >"Derpy, she was a dream. And loads of fun on top of it."
  3059. >You reach down and ruffle Dinky's hair one last time.
  3060. >You show the box you'd been carrying.
  3061. >"Your daughter knows her way around a paintbrush. Thought I'd leave a little gift for her."
  3062. >Dinky jumps up and latches onto your chest. "Thanks, Mous."
  3063. D'awww...
  3064. >"Heh. No problem, little poozer." you say as you let her down.
  3065. >You wave goodbye as you make your way home.
  3066. Well, that was fun while it lasted.
  3067. >It was. We'll have to keep an eye on Dinky.
  3068. Think he'll keep the two of them safe?
  3069. >He seems on the level.
  3070. And if not?
  3071. >We tie him to the outside of his box and toss it into the sun.
  3073. >Lotus practically jumps you as soon as you get home.
  3074. >"Anon isn't home yet and I convinced Rainbow to leave...I have you all to myself tonight..." she says as she strokes your shoulder.
  3075. >"What in Equestria will we do this entire time all by ourselves?"
  3076. >"Why don't I show you?" she says as she pulls herself close and locks your lips.
  3077. >You ignore the gasp she makes as you grip her by her flank and carry her to your room.
  3078. >You slam the door with your foot as you make for the bed, Lotus already snaking her hoof under your shirt and trying to pull it off, Lotus breaks away from your mouth. "Let's get this awful thing out of the way, shall we?"
  3079. >You give Lotus a hand with your shirt as she pushes you onto the bed and leaps on top of you.
  3080. >Lotus grabs your face and dives back into your mouth as you wrap your arms around her.
  3081. >"I remember what you did at the spa..." she says as she attacks your neck. "I've decided to get you back by dragging this out as" she says the last part as she trails her way down your bare chest.
  3082. >"Oh no..."
  3083. >"I've been waiting an entire week for this, mister. And you aren't leaving this room until you repay me. With interest."
  3084. >Of that, you had no doubt.
  3086. >The both of you were curled up under the blanket, taking in the afterglow.
  3087. >You have no idea how long or how often the two of you went, but it was dark now and you didn't hear sounds from the living room.
  3088. >You pull Lotus closer.
  3089. >"So, are we even now?"
  3090. >Lotus gives you a long kiss. "We're closer then we were when you got here."
  3091. >"I'm gonna be paying this debt off until I die, aren't I?"
  3092. >Lotus laughs as she settles her head on your shoulder. "I told you, interest."
  3093. >Damned compound interest, Einstein was right.
  3094. >You reach your hand up and stroke her mane.
  3095. >"Missed you while you weren't here."
  3096. >Ahttp://www...I missed you too." Lotus kisses your cheek. "It's awful how alien my own home feels when I sleep in it."
  3097. >"I'm not complaining."
  3098. >Lotus laughs and wraps herself under your arm. "I'll bet."
  3099. >Lotus rests her head on your chest. "It's just as awful to hear ponies talk about why the alien who almost summoned Discord is running around with a young filly all of a sudden."
  3100. >Stupid Discord nonsense.
  3101. >"Eh. I'm a kid at heart."
  3102. >"Oh, don't I know it. Never have I heard somep0ny giggle so much while making love."
  3103. >It's not your fault you're ticklish...
  3104. >Lotus lets out a yawn.
  3105. >"Pretty pony tired out?"
  3106. >"Pretty pony has a specialsomemonkey who tires her out."
  3107. >"I thought you ponies from Stalliongrad had the endurance for long winters?"
  3108. >"Not the endurance to handle the devious western aliens." Lotus teases.
  3109. >You kiss Lotus on the top of her head.
  3110. >"Love you too."
  3111. >You lay your head down and begin to drift off to sleep.
  3112. >"Oh, one more thing dear." Lotus says.
  3113. >"Hmm?" you grunt out.
  3114. >"My parents would like to meet you."
  3115. OHSHITWHAT!?
  3117. =BiE 49=
  3119. >You walk along the edge of the crag further into the waste ahead of you.
  3120. >A Rainbow streak flew across the sky and touched down just ahead of you. "I looked ahead, no sign of any trouble." Rainbow said.
  3121. >She had insisted on coming along with you to look for crystals today, something about Diamond Dogs and the last time they came out here.
  3122. >"Are you really expecting that much trouble, Dash?" you ask.
  3123. >Rainbow hovers a few feet off the ground as her head darts to and fro. "I told you, Anon. The last time any of us came out here, Rarity ended up kidnapped. No way I'm letting that happen to you."
  3124. >How sweet. "My knight in pastel armor." you tease.
  3125. >The two of you continue your trek until you reach the rocky outskirts you came for.
  3126. >It was quiet here.
  3127. >REALLY quiet. You didn't even hear birds.
  3128. >"Stay close, Anon." Rainbow says.
  3129. >"You know, Anon's not my real name." you say.
  3130. >It was true, the two of you had made up names on the spot when you came here and just rolled with them, you probably would have just used your real one if you had known you'd be here for a year and a half.
  3132. >Rainbow glances back at you. "So, what -is- your name?" she asks.
  3133. >You motion Rainbow down and grab her ear.
  3134. >She listens intently as you whisper the name you dropped into it.
  3135. >She pulls away afterwards. "So, that's what names are like where you come from?" she asks.
  3136. >You nod. "Pretty much. But they're a bit different depending on where you go in the world."
  3137. >Rainbow puts her hoof on her chin and thinks. "Nah. You'll always be Anon to us."
  3138. >"What, you don't like my name?" you ask with feigned offense.
  3139. >Rainbow gets a smarmy grin. "It's not the worst name. But I met Anon, not that other guy."
  3140. >She might have a point there.
  3141. >"Well, Anon and the other guy both think we should get what we need here." you say as you start walking again.
  3142. >If this place was as dangerous as Rainbow said it was, you wanted to leave quick.
  3144. >This place felt wrong.
  3145. >The silence you noticed earlier was even more prevalent now.
  3146. >There was no life out here, just rocks and dirt.
  3147. >The sound of the wind over stone was your only indicator that you hadn't gone deaf, and even that seemed quieter.
  3148. >Rainbow had decided to walk some time ago, the atmosphere of the area pushing her to the ground.
  3149. >"Real inviting, this place..." you joke, trying to lift the mood.
  3150. >Rainbow doesn't respond to your joke and the mood stays below rock bottom.
  3151. >You and Twilight had jury-rigged a crystal to be able to detect other ones in the area, but you were only getting faint readings.
  3152. >"Is there any other part of this place we're missing?"
  3153. >Rainbow shuffles her hooves a bit. "There is one part..." she starts. "The Diamond Dogs who kidnapped Rarity took her to some underground tunnels." she points over a hill. "Somewhere in that direction."
  3154. >That sounded promising. "Alright! Let's go." you say, your spirits raised.
  3155. >"Whoa, hold on!" Rainbow yelled. She sped in front of you and stopped you in your tracks. "We are NOT going back in there! What if the Diamond Dogs are still there?"
  3156. >"Come on Dash, it's been how long since you were last here? Those Diamond Dogs have all probably cleared out by now." you say as you try to push past her.
  3157. >"Anon, no! I may play fast and loose sometimes, but even I know this is a bad idea." she says stopping you.
  3158. >You lower Rainbows hoof from your chest. "Dash, I have to get these crystals for my research. It'll just be in and out." you say. "Besides, I have you to protect me."
  3159. >Rainbow's face softens at the faith you put in her. "Okay, but just a quick visit..." she says as she leads you to the cave.
  3161. >The locater spell trapped inside the crystal lead you further then "just a quick visit".
  3162. >You were well underground by now, passing by empty mine carts and steel doors.
  3163. >Rainbow got more and more nervous as you went deeper. "Hey, look sharp. Walk around like you own the place." you tell her.
  3164. >Mous used to tell you that when you got worried, you probably could used him about now.
  3165. >The locator crystal reacts to a nearby wall. You motion to Rainbow. "Stand back."
  3166. >You pull out a small green crystal out of your pouch and throw it at the wall. The crystal shatters and bathes the wall with a green light.
  3167. >The light washes over the rock and seems to dissolve it as it goes, revealing a collection of crystals underneath it.
  3168. >The light dies down. "Alright!" you exclaim as you examine your bounty with your magnifier.
  3169. >Deep node crystals as you expected, decent quality, about five interior refractions...
  3170. >"I telling you, saw light from over here!" a voice said in the darkness.
  3171. >Oh. Shit. You could hear their footsteps, there sounded like a few of them.
  3172. >"And I telling you, there no light here! We the only ones in these tunnels!"
  3173. >They come from around the corner at the end of the tunnel. Three of them, short, center, and tall. They had maces and spears on them.
  3174. >Diamond Dogs.
  3176. >Oh fuck.
  3177. >"Uh...anyone want to play fetch?" you say against your better judgment.
  3178. >The dogs remain stone faced. God that was a stupid thing to say.
  3179. >Rainbow jumps ahead of you. "Alright you three, just back off!" she shouts down the hall.
  3180. >The smallest dog points his hand at the two of you. "See? Told you there were voices!"
  3181. >"What you think we should do?" the big one asks as he picks up his mace.
  3182. >Why the fuck were these dogs dressed for war?
  3183. >Oh well, didn't matter.
  3184. >You reach your hand into your pockets. You had a collection of spell crystals stashed away in the event you had to make a quick getaway.
  3185. >No need for a repeat of the manticore.
  3186. >The lead dog stroked the underside of his chin. "We not need this right now." he said to himself. "Why you in our caverns pony and ape?"
  3187. >Your eye drifts to the node sitting in the ditch next to you. "We came for these crystals, we'll leave once we get them."
  3188. >The dog folds his arms. "Should just kill you..." he mutters to himself. The dogs flanking him grab their weapons.
  3189. >Ohshit. You grab a handful of crystals and get ready to throw them.
  3190. >The dog waves his hand at the two of you. "Don't want to explain how you slipped past. Take your stupid rocks and go. Better not be here when we get back." he says as he turns around.
  3191. >The two dogs flare their nostrils at you as they leave. "Stupid ape not even here for gems..." echoes from the tunnel as they leave.
  3193. >You and Rainbow noped the fuck out of that cave faster than either of you could blink.
  3194. >The massive geode you were carrying didn't weigh you down in the slightest as you jogged through the wasteland and into the forest.
  3195. >Safely outside of Dog territory, you and Rainbow take a breather.
  3196. >"Why *huff* the hell *huff* were those dogs *huff* geared up like that?" you gasp out.
  3197. >"I don't know, Anon." Rainbow says, leaning on a tree. "But I hope your rock was worth it."
  3198. >It was. This geode could be the answer to your need for a higher conversion rating.
  3199. >You and Rainbow rest for a bit before you jump back on the path towards Ponyville, the geode sitting in your arms.
  3200. >Rainbow has gone back to her old habit of wrapping her hooves around you and letting you lead the way. "Hey." you say to break the silence.
  3201. >Rainbow rests her head on your shoulder. "Thanks. For coming along today. It's nice to know that I can count on more the just Mous to tag along for a dangerous job."
  3202. >Rainbow grins. "I'd be a bad special somep0ny if I let you go off and get killed in a cave somewhere." she says as she kisses your cheek.
  3203. >"Special somep0ny..." you repeat to yourself. "That still sounds weird to me."
  3204. >Rainbow laughs. "You're so weird, Anon."
  3205. >"Tch. You like it." you retort.
  3206. >Rainbow laughs again. "Yeah...yeah, I do."
  3208. =BiE 50=
  3210. >It seemed they skip summer in Stalliongrad.
  3211. >The air was temperate and moist, it carried the smell of gas and hay.
  3212. >Everything in this city looked waterlogged, the ponies walking the streets looked tired and irritated.
  3213. >The entire city had an air of dreariness.
  3214. >"You two come from, quite possibly, the most depressing city in existence."
  3215. >Aloe and Lotus shoot you a look.
  3216. >"And I've been to the Griffin kingdoms."
  3217. >Aloe rolls her eyes. "You can't judge an entire city off of your first glance, Mous. Stalliongrad is one of the capitals of industry in all of Equestria!"
  3218. >Lotus throws her saddlebags back over herself and starts walking down the road. "Oh, don't listen to him. He's just grumpy that he has to travel to Canterlot once we get back."
  3219. >It was true. By god did you hate travel.
  3220. >What did you care about some stupid royal wedding, anyway?"
  3221. >The three of you continue down the road. You take the opportunity to look around.
  3222. >"Why is everything here positively dripping?"
  3223. >Lotus looks over her shoulder back at you. "We get a lot of snow here, so when it starts to warm up we get a bit waterlogged"
  3224. >You'd hate to be here during the winter...
  3225. >"And your parents still decide to live here?"
  3226. >Lotus chuckles. "Mama and Papa would never leave Stalliongrad."
  3227. >"Mama and Papa?"
  3228. Not weird in the slightest...
  3230. >The three of you reach your destination, a townhouse on the eastern half of the city.
  3231. >Aloe and Lotus are practically giddy as they trot up the front porch and knock on the door.
  3232. >A blue earth mare opens the door with a big smile. "My little girls!"
  3233. >"Mama!" Aloe and Lotus cry as they lunge at her.
  3234. >You climb the porch as the three of them have their reunion. The girl's mother looks ecstatic "How are my daughters? Are you well?" her eyes drift to you. "And is this the one you told us about, Lotus?"
  3235. Okay, first impression time.
  3236. >"Hello, my name is Mous. It's a pleasure to meet you." you extend your hand.
  3237. A little too much boy scout there...
  3238. >The mare extender her hoof and shakes. "And I am Celtic Kick. It is so nice to finally meet the one my daughters speak of so often."
  3239. >You glance at Lotus.
  3240. >"Only good things, I hope."
  3241. >Lotus gives you a wink. Good, she hadn't mentioned the cult business.
  3242. >"Come in, come in." Celtic Kick mutter as she ushered you all into the house.
  3243. >She calls into the kitchen. "Darling! The girls are home! And they brought a guest!"
  3244. >What follows is the bastard child of an atom bomb and a jet engine. "WHAT!? MY LITTLE GIRLS ARE HOME!?"
  3245. >A brown earth stallion bounds out of the other room and practically stampedes you. "AH! MY LITTLE GIRLS, COME BACK TO VISIT AFTER ALL THIS TIME!"
  3246. >He spots you and trots up. "AND YOU MUST BE ALIEN THAT MY LITTLE LOTUS MET!" he wraps his hooves around you, yet the shouting continues. "YOU WILL CALL ME STRELNIKOV! IS GOOD TO FINALLY MEET YOU!"
  3247. Yep!
  3248. We're deaf now!
  3250. >You're pushed into a living room and plopped on a couch, Lotus hops up next to you.
  3251. >She must have noticed your dazed look. "Yeah, Papa has a good set of lungs. You'll get used to it." she whispers.
  3252. >You really hope so.
  3253. >The obvious questions are taken care of first: What are you and where did you come from? You give the abridged history of your life before you came here and your species, stopping once you landed in Ponyville.
  3254. >Celtic Kick takes a sip of her tea. "So, Mous. How did you meet our daughter?"
  3255. >"YES! TELL US OF HOW YOU KIDS MEET!" Strelnikov says.
  3256. >You swear you can feel the house shake when he talks.
  3257. >Or was that the continent below you?
  3258. >"Well, I met Lotus when I applied for work at the spa." Lotus leans her head on your shoulder. "We got along well enough and things just kinda... took off."
  3259. >Oh god that was a terrible story. You'd have to work on that.
  3260. >Aloe covers for you. "You should have been there to see it, mama. These two acted just like how you and papa did in your old stories."
  3261. >"Did they now?" Celtic Kick chuckles out.
  3262. >"HA! IS GOOD TO SEE OUR LITTLE GIRL TAKES AFTER HER MOTHER!" Strelnikov says as he slaps the table.
  3263. >"Tease all you want, but I can just look at the two of you and see that everything worked out well." Lotus says.
  3264. >"And I don't mind being like your dad, it would be cool to be able to shout like that."
  3265. >You almost go deaf again as Strelnikov laughs at your joke.
  3267. >The five of you sit and talk for a while before Strelnikov rises from his seat. "MOUS, WHAT SAY YOU AND I GO TO BAR? GIVE THE GIRLS TIME TO AWAY FROM US."
  3268. >You glance down at Lotus. "What? He's safe, he doesn't bite or anything."
  3269. >You pull yourself off the couch and chuckle.
  3270. >"No more than you do."
  3271. >You head out and Strelnikov takes you to a bar a few blocks away.
  3272. >The first thing you notice is that it looks like the entire town is in here.
  3273. Stalliongrad must not have a particularly bumping night life...
  3274. >Strelnikov leads you to some stools at the far end of the bar. "BARMAN! RED BAYBALES!" he calls out.
  3275. >The drinks float over to the two of you. You're about to down yours when you see Strelnikov eyeing you.
  3276. >You raise your mug.
  3277. >"To decent drinks."
  3278. >"YA BUDU PIT' ETO." he says.
  3279. >What?
  3280. Must be his native tongue
  3281. >You throw your drink back and start chugging.
  3282. >And chugging.
  3283. >And chugging...
  3284. >You slam your empty mug down on the counter as Stelnikov chuckles.
  3285. >Let it never be said you cannot impress.
  3286. >It helps that Equestrian booze is weaker then the stuff you're used to.
  3287. >The two of you sit in silence for a moment.
  3288. >"SO, MOUS. LET US TALK OF THINGS." He says.
  3289. >Oh?
  3290. >"What kind of things?"
  3292. Fuck.
  3294. >You turn to try and make a joke to let this blow over, but Strelnikov has a deadly serious look on his face.
  3295. >You groan.
  3296. >"You heard about that, huh?"
  3299. >You motion for another drink and down a gulp as soon as it gets to you.
  3300. >"Yeah, that sounds right..."
  3301. >You didn't like thinking about the cult. Not after that trip to Canterlot's jail.
  3304. >He finally looks you in the eye. His eyes are cold, but you can see the determination behind them "YOU HAVE IMPRESSIVE START. BUT I WONDER, WOULD YOU DO BAD THINGS AGAIN TO PROTECT MY DAUGHTER? WOULD YOU STEAL AND LIE AND HURT TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE?"
  3305. >You think about who you're talking to.
  3306. >Then you think about the worst case scenario you can think of.
  3307. >You grab your mug.
  3308. >"I'd do a whole lot worse than that."
  3310. >Strelnikov stares you down for an eternity, seemingly testing your conviction.
  3311. >A smile parts his lips and he throws his hoof around your shoulder. "I KNEW MY LITTLE TSVETOK HAD CHOSEN WELL!"
  3312. >The two of you laugh and order another round.
  3313. >You spend the next few hours at the bar, regaling Stelnikov with tales of your exploits.
  3314. >"So, I'm standing between Anon and this bucking manticore, and it's growling and howling and making a big scene. I get it to chase me all over the area and eventually lop its tail off."
  3315. >Strelnikov grins and nods. "HA! GOOD SHOW!"
  3316. >"Yeah...he got me back, though."
  3317. >You rub the scars on your back at the memory.
  3319. Or a stupendous lack of intelligence.
  3320. >"Strelnikov! Stop making so much damn noise!" comes a voice from the opposite side of you.
  3322. >Strelnikov laughs as this Sickle Star stomps his way over to you. He was a gargantuan red pegasus, his friends followed behind him.
  3323. Dammit...It's Whistleblower all over again.
  3324. >Sickle Star gets right in your face. "I see no friend here. I only see some freak." he spits out.
  3325. >Oh hell naw.
  3326. >"Look, Tinkerbelle. There's no reason to be rude." you stay in your seat. "Why don't you and your boytoys head back to your seats and ignore us until we go away?"
  3327. >Sickle Star doesn't like that. "Maybe we don't want to ignore you! Maybe we make you go away...?"
  3328. >"YOU GOING TO TAKE THAT FROM THIS KHUL?" Strelnikov says.
  3329. >You throw a wink to him as you pick up your mug.
  3331. >You empty the contents of your mug.
  3332. >"Ah...that's good."
  3333. >You bash Sickle Star between the eyes with the mug and knee him in the chin on his way down.
  3334. >You bring down the mug onto his friend on the right side, shattering it on his horn.
  3335. >You kick Sickle Star out of the way and grab the last stallions hoof as he jabs it towards you.
  3336. >"I'm faster than you." you say as you deliver three punches into his ribs and bash his head on the bar counter.
  3337. >You can hear Strelnikov working over the unicorn you blew past as Sickle Star gets back on his feet.
  3338. >Hey scrapes his hoof on the floor twice and charges you.
  3339. Mistake.
  3340. >You swipe a barstool and bring it down on his head in a swift motion.
  3341. >If the fistfight didn't alert the rest of the bar, the shattering barstool did.
  3342. >Might as well make it count, you haul Sickle Star's prone form over your shoulder and toss him behind the bar.
  3343. >Sickle Star apparently had more friends, because another pair of earth ponies rise from their seats and trot towards you.
  3344. >"Oh come on, you too?"
  3345. >You hear a galloping behind before you see Strelnikov sail over your head. "KTO SLEDUYUSHCHII!?" he cries as he tackles one of them.
  3346. Time to wrap this up.
  3347. >You jump up on the bar counter and make for the door, being sure to kick the tackled ponies friend in the face on your way.
  3348. >"Stelnikov! Exit!"
  3349. >Strelnikov delivers two more blows to the pony on the ground before he bounds over him and runs out the door with you.
  3350. >The two of you are halfway down the block before anyp0ny gets out of the bar.
  3352. >Strelnikov and you are still laughing by the time you get back to the house.
  3353. >"YOU HAVE GOOD RIGHT HOOK FOR ALIEN!" he shouts.
  3354. >"You should have seen me before I came here..."
  3355. >The two of you walk inside.
  3356. >"We're home, how're you gir-"
  3357. >You walk in on Aloe, Lotus, and Celtic Kick all sitting down, they were holding their hooves over their mouths smiling. "Oh, Mous. *snrk* Y-You're back. *snrk* How was it?" Lotus says as she eyes her sister and mother.
  3358. >What was going on he-Oh dammit.
  3359. >You sigh.
  3360. >"You told them that I'm ticklish, didn't you?"
  3361. >The girls erupt into furious laughter as the cat escapes from his bag, Strelnikov joins them as you both sit back down.
  3362. >A few more hours of conversation leads you to bed.
  3363. >Aloe and Lotus insist on sleeping in their old bedroom upstairs. You don't complain, they had sweet bunk beds.
  3364. >Unfortunatly, you and Lotus were stuck on the bottom bunk. Aloe's head pokes out from around the edge of her bed. "I better not hear anything down there." she warns with a smile.
  3365. >You grin back.
  3366. >"Don't worry, you won't. We're very quite."
  3367. >Aloe sticks her tongue out and recedes back.
  3368. >Lotus settles in on your chest. "So, did you and Papa have a good time bonding?"
  3369. >"Yeah, we did some stuff."
  3370. >Lotus raises her eyebrow. "Oh? What kind of stuff?"
  3371. >You think back to the events of the night. Strelnikov knowing about the cult, the conversation that followed, the bar brawl."
  3372. >" know. Guy stuff."
  3374. =BiE 51=
  3376. >You stare down your opponent across the table. She was cheating, she had to be.
  3377. >You lay down you cards. "Three of a kind."
  3378. >Let's see her beat tha-
  3379. >"Royal Flush!" Pinkie calls out as she lays her cards down and takes her winnings.
  3380. >"Owch, Anon." Rainbow laughs out behind you.
  3381. >That made no sense.
  3382. >That would mean Pinkie had six aces this game.
  3383. >You don-
  3384. >Rainbow lays a hoof on your shoulder. "Don't think too hard about it Anon, it's better that way."
  3385. >You let out a sigh and lead back, all of you were on your way to Canterlot for a big royal wedding. Apparently between Twilight's brother and some princess.
  3386. >Not that you could tell from looking at Twilight, she was pouting over the horrible slight of not being told about the wedding at the front of the car.
  3387. >You don't see what the big deal is, you and Mous did things without telling the other all the ti-
  3388. >You catch yourself from comparing the relationship Mous and you have to anyone else, it was far too circuitous to think about...
  3389. >Speaking of Mous, where the fuck was he?
  3390. >"Now arriving at Canterlot station, Canterlot station." came a voice over the speakers.
  3391. >"Hey." You say to Rainbow. "I'm gonna find Mous, he's been gone the entire train ride and that makes me nervous."
  3392. >Rainbow nods. "Good idea."
  3393. >You make your way through the train cars. You wanted to give Mous the benefit of the doubt, but he got you run out of Canterlot the last time you were both here.
  3394. >No chances today.
  3396. >You eventually find Mous in, of all places, the caboose.
  3397. >Even more strange, Lotus was sitting in the seat next to him.
  3398. >"Uh. Hey Lotus, what are you doing here?" you ask.
  3399. >Lotus raises an eyebrow. "What? I was invited." she says.
  3400. >"She's my plus one." Mous says.
  3401. >"I don't remember read anything about a plus one on the invitation..." you say as you cross your arms.
  3402. >Mous produces an invitation from his pocket. "Read again."
  3403. >You snatch the piece of paper and glance over it.
  3404. >Was he kidding with this? "Dude, I don't think wedding invitations come written in acrylic paint."
  3405. >Mous waves a hand at you. "Celestia won't care."
  3406. >What? "It's her nieces wedding, I think she'll care."
  3407. >Mous holds up a finger. "Wrong. It's her nieces wedding in Canterlot after I just had to go to Stalliongrad." Lotus elbows him in the ribs. "Ow. No way am I not bringing my special somep0ny along for a nice weekend getaway."
  3408. >Lotus rolls her eyes. "How romantic. Smuggling me into the city."
  3409. >"Hey, I'm not smuggling you. I'm bringing you along regardless of what ponies say." Mous pouts.
  3410. >The train slows to a stop and ponies start stepping out of the other cars.
  3411. >"Fine, whatever. You're funeral, dude." you say as you head to meet up with the girls.
  3413. -Mous PoV-
  3414. >You head off the train and the first thing you notices is all the guards.
  3415. >Damn, this was worse than when you first came here.
  3416. >When you came here, they didn't have a giant purple bubble over the entire city.
  3417. >Lotus notices too. "Are they always this worried about security here?"
  3418. >"It's wedding security, they're throwing anyp0ny who doesn't belong in the dungeons."
  3419. >Lotus elbows you in the gut again.
  3420. >"Ow. Again. Relax, I'm only teasing."
  3421. >Your party comes stops as a white unicorn with a blue mane notices you all and comes to great you.
  3422. Oh no...
  3423. >Anon notices the face you're making. "Dude, what is it?" he whispers
  3424. >"You remember when we had to run out of Canterlot that one time?"
  3425. >Anon nods.
  3426. >"Well, he was in charge of the guards chasing us."
  3427. >Anon adopts the same face as you as you both try to remain unnoticed while he argues with Twilight about something.
  3428. >Eventually, he approaches the two of you. He tilts his head to the side. "Have I met the two of you before?"
  3429. FUCK.
  3430. >"No?"
  3431. >Oh good, that convinces him. "Well then, I'm Shining Armor. Pleased to meet the two of you."
  3432. >Hands are shaken and introductions are made before you nope the hell out of there ASAFP.
  3433. >"I'm not needed for anything at the wedding, so I'm gonna show Lotus around town. You just heading the chapel?"
  3434. >Anon sighs. "Yep. Celestia has me in charge of the light show."
  3435. >Anon brandishes a few of his magic little crystals.
  3436. >"Good luck, knock 'em dead."
  3437. >Anon runs off. "Don't say that! With my luck I'll have a fire crystal in here by accident..."
  3439. >You give Lotus the grand tour of Canterlot. Which evens out to about everywhere you knew about.
  3440. >Celestia had you all staying in the castle during your stay, so there was always something new you could show her.
  3441. >You introduced her to Broblood. He complimented her hair.
  3442. >You showed her the statue/corpse of the god you got killed. "I thought he'd be bigger." she teased.
  3443. >Eventually, the two of you ended up relaxing on the floor of the balcony of your room.
  3444. >Lotus was splayed across your lap as you pointed out various landmarks.
  3445. >"And that's the hotel I got chased out of. And over there is the museum I robbed."
  3446. >"Why do I get the feeling that you'll implcate me in something if you go any further?" Lotus says.
  3447. >The two of you laugh. You reach down and begin stroking her mane.
  3448. >"Sorry I couldn't get you into the wedding."
  3449. >Lotus snuggles into your lap. "Sweetheart, you were able to treat me to a little vacation to Canterlot. That's more than enough." Louts looks back up at you. "And I'm sure Aloe and Caramel won't mind the pricavy..."
  3450. >You shake your head.
  3451. >"I still can't believe he's not gay..."
  3452. >You reach your hand into the bag of sunflower seeds you pilfered. They were apparently Celestia's favorite.
  3453. >That made them taste better. "You going to share any of those with me?" Lotus asks as she looks up at you.
  3454. >You grab a seed and place it between your teeth.
  3455. >"Come and get it."
  3456. >Lotus catches on and steals the seed with a quick peck.
  3457. >"Is that all I get for inventing an awesome new game?"
  3458. >Lotus settles back into your lap. "Use more seeds and I'll have to stay longer."
  3460. >An hour or so later, you were out of sunflower seeds and just laying next to Lotus on the balcony.
  3461. >Games were fun, but you enjoyed just relaxing with her all the same.
  3462. >You hear a slight *clink* touch down on the balcony before somep0ny speaks. "Hello Mous. Enjoying the day, I see."
  3463. >You open your eyes and spot a white alicorn looking at you.
  3464. >"Good afternoon, Sunshine. How's the wedding?"
  3465. >Celestia's little armor things were glinting in the sunlight, she knew how to make her presence known.
  3466. >"The wedding proceeds as planned, I trust I'll see you there?"
  3467. >"I got my good t-shirt ready and everything."
  3468. >Celestia chuckles as you feel a slight shaking on your side.
  3469. >You look over. Lotus has a look of sheer horror on your face.
  3470. She's never met Celestia before, dingus.
  3471. >"Babe?"
  3472. >"The Princess is here. The Princess is here in front of me and I was curled up with my special somep0ny..." she mutters out.
  3473. >Celestia is quick to bring the conversation back. "You must be Lotus, Mous has told me all about you."
  3474. >She turns back to you. "I take it this is the "plus one" your invitation said.
  3475. >"You got it." you say grinning.
  3476. >"How odd...I saw the invitations and I don't remember seeing anything about a plus one..." Celestia says with her own smile.
  3477. >You fold your arms back behind your head.
  3478. >"Must have just slipped your notice, what with all the mayhem of the wedding."
  3479. >You think you hear a giggle. "I'm sure that's the case. Well, I must be off. Take care, you two."
  3480. >Celestia takes off and flies to her room.
  3481. >Lotus still has that look on her face.
  3482. >You can't help but chuckle a bit.
  3484. -Anon PoV-
  3485. >Today was the big day.
  3486. >Everyone stood in silence as the ceremony began.
  3487. >No one wanted to think about what had happened at the rehearsal, with Twilight's little meltdown.
  3488. >The music swelled as the bride entered and Celestia started the proceedings.
  3489. >You glanced over for the third time this hour an-Yep he fell asleep again.
  3490. >"Dude!" who whisper as you elbow him in the gut.
  3491. >Mous's eyes snap open as he looks around the room.
  3492. >"How can you sleep at a time like this?" you ask before your scientific mind gets the better of you. "More interestingly, how can you sleep standing up?"
  3493. >Mous yawns. "Bored."
  3494. >"I thought you loved weddings?' you ask.
  3495. >"Yeah, normal ones. Not ones that are this..." he looks around the room. "Out there."
  3496. >"STOOOP!" echoes through the hall.
  3497. >Everp0ny present wheels around to spot Twilight standing defiantly in the doorway. "Oh, not again..."
  3498. >"Why does she have to ruin my special day?" the bride sobs.
  3499. >"Because it's not -your- special day!" comes a familiar voice. Another round of gasps echoes throughout the room. "It's mine!" says a Cadence identical to the one at the altar, save a bit more haggard.
  3500. >Over your shoulder you hear. "Okay, this wedding got interesting again."
  3501. >The bride says something about brides mates that you don't here. How can there be two of her?
  3502. >"Ah don' understand, how can there be two of 'em?" Applejack says, her thoughts mirroring your own.
  3503. >"She's a Changeling!" the new Cadence cries. "She takes the form of somep0ny you love and gains power by feeding off your love for them!"
  3504. >The Cadence at the altar gets a furious look on her face and erupts in a green fire.
  3505. >When the fire dies down, a new insectoid form has taken its place.
  3507. >"What." "The." "Fuck?" You and Mous say in volley.
  3508. >This Changeling Queen begins lecturing Cadence about Equestria's love.
  3509. >"Dude!" you cry out.
  3510. >"I see it." Mous says. His voice gaining that icy quality it got when things went tits up.
  3511. >"What do we do? Let it play out?" you ask.
  3512. >Mous just nods as he eyes the Changeling Queen.
  3513. >"Ever since I took your place, I've been feeding of Shining Armor's love for you." she gloats.  "Every moment he grows weaker, and so does his spell. Even now my minions are chipping away at it."
  3514. >She's back center stage now. "Soon, my Changeling Army will break through, and then will take Canterlot, and then all of Equestria!"
  3515. >"No. You won't"
  3517. >Celestia slowly steps forward. Her voice is cold and authoritative, like it was when you were dealing with Discord.
  3518. >"You may have made it impossible for Shining Armor to perform his spell, but now that you have so foolishly revealed your true self..." Celestia locks horns with the Queen before she takes off. "I will protect my subjects from you!"
  3519. >Light shoots forth from Celestia's horn and illuminates the room.
  3520. >The Queen meets Celestia's blast with her own...
  3521. >...and overpowers it, sending her crashing to the ground.
  3522. >"Princess Celestia!" Twilight cries as she runs to her mentor.
  3523. >"HOLY FUCK!" Mous shouts as he dashes behind her.
  3524. >You run up to Celestia's prone form, Mous has his hand on her neck. "Pulse is steady. She's breathing." he says.
  3525. >Celestia's eyes crack open. "The Elements of Harmony, you must get them! And use their power to stop the Queen!"
  3526. >As if on cue, the windows shatter as dozens and dozens of smaller Changelings pour in.
  3527. >"MOVE!" Mous shouts as he breaks for the door, the girls right behind him.
  3528. >"Oh, no you don't!" you hear the queen shout from behind you. A lance of green magic strikes the ceiling above the door just as Mous and the girls get past.
  3529. >But trapping you inside.
  3530. >A shrill laugh comes from behind you."You're not going anywhere..." the Queen says.
  3532. =BiE 52=
  3534. >You bounded down the Canterlot streets as fast as your legs could carry you.
  3535. >The Changelings were descending en masse, trying to rout you back to the chapel.
  3536. >They were easy enough to discourage, toss 'em around a bit and they flew off.
  3537. >"What's the plan here!?"
  3538. >You sure didn't have one.
  3539. >"We get the elements and we stop all this, that's the plan!" Twilight shouts.
  3540. >"And the Changelings in our way?"
  3541. >The seven of you round a corner into the main market.
  3542. >"These Changelings are starved of love, if we can get to the element vault before they can feed, we should be able to make it." Twilight says.
  3543. >"Alright, so, the castle?"
  3544. >Twilight shakes her head. "Princess Celestia had the elements moved after Discord almost got out. They're kept in a vault on the other end of the city."
  3545. Nice going there, sport.
  3546. >The girls overtook you as you lagged behind. "Mous, come on! We have to hurry!"
  3547. >You shoot a glance up at the castle.
  3548. >Have to be sure.
  3549. >"You girls go on ahead, I'll catch up."
  3550. >You don't wait for a response and make for the castle stairs.
  3551. >The royal guards, despite not having a leader at the moment, were doing a decent job of holding down the fort.
  3552. >Still, Changelings harried the stallions on the walls.
  3553. >Dammit, where the hell was Luna?
  3554. >You ignore everyp0ny and race up the stairs as fast as you could.
  3556. >You burst through the door into your room.
  3557. >"Lotus! Are you in here?"
  3558. >"Mous?" comes a voice from the bathroom.
  3559. >The door opens and Lotus steps out, she looks worried, but unharmed.
  3560. Oh thank god.
  3561. >Not time to waste, you grab your bag and throw it on the bed.
  3562. >"Mous, what is going on out there!?" Lotus shouts.
  3563. >"Changelings hijacked the wedding by disguising themselves as the bride, and now they're trying to invade the city."
  3564. >You throw your spare clothes out of the bag and dig through the pockets until you find what you need.
  3565. >"You brought your knife to a wedding?" Lotus asks unbelieving.
  3566. >"Yes, and now I'm glad I did."
  3567. >You secure David on your belt and kneel down to look Lotus in the eyes.
  3568. >"Lotus, I need you to hide in here. I need you to lock, barricade, do whatever to the door and not open it for anyone. Even if it's me."
  3569. >Lotus silently nods her head.
  3570. >"If you hear me at the door, ask me where our first kiss was. Ignore everyp0ny else."
  3571. >"Be careful." she said.
  3572. >You promised not to take risks, but damned if you were gonna do nothing during an invasion.
  3573. Do this quick.
  3574. >You pull Lotus close and lock your lips. "I love you."
  3575. >You dash out of the room and slam the door behind you.
  3576. >You stand outside for a moment, mentally preparing yourself.
  3577. Alright. No quarter. Let's go.
  3578. >You run outside to meet up with the girls as a Changeling descends on you from overhead.
  3579. >You don't give it the chance, you grab it and toss it to the ground.
  3580. >David dives into the creature's neck and flies out as just as fast as you continue to run down the path.
  3581. >Alright. The hard one was down.
  3582. >Lotus is safe, we're working on the girls.
  3583. >Anon better be okay...
  3585. -Anon PoV-
  3586. >You were Anon and you were not okay.
  3587. >Oh sure, you were physically fine.
  3588. >But you were still a prisoner of some crazy bug queen while your best friend and marefriend went off to fight an entire army and save the entire city.
  3589. >Mous could handle himself, but you were more worried about Rainbow then you'd ever been.
  3590. >Thoughts kept creeping into your mind of Rainbow laying broken under a never-ending tide of Changelings. It continued to wander about how they treated their prisoners...
  3591. >You shook your head to banish the thoughts and come back to reality.
  3592. >The queen was off delegating orders to her various subordinates.
  3593. >Celestia was hoisted up to the ceiling and encased in a cocoon, while you, Cadence, and a still hypnotized Shining Armor were left to sit at the altar.
  3594. >Cadence was waving her hoof in front of her almost-husbands face. "Darling! Come on, talk to me!"
  3595. >The Queen's laughter echoes through the vacated hall. "You waste your time! Shining Armor's love for you has put him under my total control. He won't move unless I allow him to."
  3596. >"I'll never let you win!" Cadence shouts.
  3597. >The Queen just laughs again. "My dear, you have no say in the matter." She turns back to her lieutenants.
  3598. >Cadence's face falls
  3599. >You lean over. "Hey, it's okay. Everything will work out."
  3600. >Cadence sighs. "I wish that I could believe that...Twilight and the others just have so much working against them, while we can only sit here and do nothing."
  3601. >Aaaaand there goes the mood.
  3603. >You have to salvage the mood, anything to keep the thought of what would happen if you lost this out.
  3604. >You say the first thing that pops into your head. "So, tell me how you and Shining met."
  3605. >Cadence sighs and looks off out the only window that doesn't show a city getting attacked.
  3606. >"I used to foal-sit for Twilight, so Shining and I are old friends. I had a bit of a crush on him since we were young, imagine my surprise when he asked me to the Grand Galloping Gala one year. I guess, Shining Armor has been a fixture in my life since day one. Getting married just seemed so...natural."
  3607. >You lean back and sigh. "I can relate. Rainbow Dash has been with me since I first arrived here..."
  3608. >You here a small giggle escape Cadence. "You and Rainbow Dash? Twilight has told me so many stories about her antics."
  3609. >It's your turn to laugh. "I'm glad to say that I've been a part of those antics for coming on two years now." Your eyes drift over the city. "I wish I could help her now..."
  3610. >Cadence turns back to her fiancé. "I can't stand to see him like this..." a tear rolls down her cheek. "I would give anything to have him back."
  3611. >Poor mare, you could tell she loved him.
  3612. >Wait...
  3613. >Love. Cadence's power was love.
  3614. >That...That could work.
  3615. >You smile as a plan starts to come together. "Oh, thank you John Lennon."
  3617. -Mous PoV-
  3618. >The Changeling takes Lotus's shape as it gallops towards you.
  3619. >They must be able to tell who you love instinctively.
  3620. >Too bad. Ten minutes ago that would have stopped you.
  3621. >You catch it in the air as it dives towards you and push David deep into its stomach.
  3622. >"Hi, honey." you whisper to is as green blood seeps from the wound.
  3623. >You catch Rainbow Dash's wide eyes as you throw the corpse away.
  3624. >"Keep fighting."
  3625. >Rainbow doesn't argue.
  3626. >You return to your task.
  3627. >Green magic rolls off you as you cut your way through the Changelings.
  3628. >Any Changeling who got too close was immediately opened up as it's comrades looked on in what you assume was horror.
  3629. >These Changelings thought they could use Lotus as a weapon against you, that you would hesitate.
  3630. >You were teaching them of their grave miscalculation.
  3631. >These Changelings were surprisingly light, you were able to hold one with one arm without any trouble.
  3632. A side effect of being bugs.
  3633. >You watch as the girls make their own way through the horde of Changelings, each taking on their own doppelgangers.
  3634. >Wait...idea.
  3635. >"Look at me you pathetic insects!"
  3636. >The Changelings turn to glare at you.
  3637. >"Not taking on the form of the one who killed so many of your kind? I'm hurt..."
  3638. >The Changelings let loose a low growl at the mention of their dead and are engulfed in a green inferno.
  3639. >Before you now stands an army of your own clones.
  3640. >You charge the closest, it falters as you kick it down and drive David into his neck.
  3641. >The rest reel in shock, some of them lose their balance.
  3642. Bingo.
  3643. >"They aren't used to fighting on two legs! Come on!" you call to the girls.
  3644. >You wade into the Changeling ranks and get a good look at what your face looks like when you get stabbed.
  3646. -Anon PoV-
  3647. >A Changeling bursts into the chapel. "My Queen! The element bearers have almost reached their destination! Our forces only serve to slow them down!"
  3648. >"Curse those ponies!" The Queen turns to her subordinates. "Ditto! I make for the field! See to it that all goes according to plan here!" she cries as she buzzes off out the window.
  3649. >The Changeling in question takes the Queen's place and resumes giving out orders.
  3650. >You turn back to Cadence. "Okay, she's gone, they're distracted. This is our best chance."
  3651. >Your plan was a long shot, but still better than your Discord Prison idea.
  3652. >Basically, Cadence was going to love Shining Armor out of his trance.
  3653. >Cadence nods and turns to her husband. "This will be easier the more love I can channel." she says.
  3654. >You take your cue and start thinking about everyone you've ever loved. Your family, your bro, everyone you've ever dated, Rainbow...
  3655. >Cadence starts her channeling. "Darling, I hope you can hear me."
  3656. >You recite the names in your head. Family, bro, exes, Rainbow.
  3657. >Her horn begins to glow. "This wedding, the Changeling Queen, all of it doesn't matter to me. When I was trapped in the caverns, and I only had my thoughts to keep me company, one thought kept me going. That I love you, Shining Armor, and that I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
  3658. >Family, bro, exes, Rainbow...
  3659. >The magical glow moved to Shining Armor now. "But, we can't be together if the Changelings feed off our love. I'm ready to give them everything I have, but I need your help, darling."
  3660. >Shining Armor's entire body is glowing now. "So please, come back to me."
  3661. >"C-Cadence?"
  3662. >Everything takes a pink hue.
  3664. -Mous PoV-
  3665. >The girls were trapped by the Changelings.
  3666. >You weren't.
  3667. >You weren't going to let them stop you.
  3668. >The Changelings had gotten faster, better, they were evading your stabs and slashes and generally just being a pain.
  3669. >But still, you cut through them.
  3670. >A shrill shriek fills the air as a magical blast hits the ground a few feet away, scattering the Changelings.
  3671. >You feel something heavy hit the ground and the sound of Changeling magic.
  3672. >The smoke clears and reveals the new arrival.
  3673. >It looks like Anon.
  3674. >It even sounds like him. "Ah, hello human."
  3675. The Queen.
  3676. >"You have made quite the problem for my soldiers.
  3677. H-
  3678. >"However, I am not one of my soldiers, I and the one who defeated Celestia Herself. You cannot defeat me.
  3679. H-how
  3680. >You're shaking.
  3681. >"Lay down you're weapon and save me the time it would take to pum-"
  3682. >"HOW DARE YOU!?"
  3683. >Your outburst silences the Queen.
  3684. >Your world is going red.
  3686. >The Queen moves Anon's hand to her mouth. "Oh dear, you do care for this one...How fitting that he will be your undoing."
  3687. >That gets a smile out of you. But not one the Queen seems to like.
  3688. >"Oh no. That's where you're wrong."
  3689. >You step into the area the Queen cleared.
  3690. >"See, I know that's you. I know you're not the real Anon"
  3691. >You brandish David.
  3692. >"And now, I'm gonna choke you to death with your own insides."
  3694. >This fucking Queen.
  3695. >This fucking slut of a Queen thinks she can kill you while she looks like Anon.
  3696. >You don't give her the chance.
  3697. >You were tired, you were sore, but you didn't care.
  3698. >You slash at her head, missing only by inches as she darts away.
  3699. >She knew her way around two feet, it seemed.
  3700. >The Queen holds her hand out and fires her sickly green magic at you.
  3701. >You relish the look on her face as you bat it aside and begin another offensive.
  3702. >Some fancy blade work nets you a quick slash on the Queen's cheek.
  3703. >One that seals itself with green energy as the Queen laughs, her own voice breaking through.
  3704. Damn. That makes it hard.
  3705. >The Queen's hand sprouts gouts of emerald flame as the fingers on it elongate and sharpen.
  3706. >She lunges at you and swipes with her new claw, you parry her as best you can.
  3707. Shit! That makes it harder!
  3708. >The Queen puts you on the defensive as you backpedal and look for an opening.
  3709. C'mon man! This is their leader! She has the gall to look like Anon! Take her out and this is over!
  3710. >You shout in your enemy's and start a daring plan.
  3711. >A head butt dazes the Queen long enough for you to twist your knife to her, she dodges, but you don't let up.
  3712. >Slashes lead to punches, which lead to stabs, which lead to kicks. Everything you can think of, you throw in at her.
  3713. >Every attack however, is healed the moment it's caused.
  3714. >"Dammit! Stay down!"
  3715. >Your exhaustion is catching up with you as you try for a desperate maneuver to get behind her.
  3716. >The Queen catches on and sweeps out your legs, sending you falling to the ground.
  3717. >The Queen laughs as she plans a foot on your chest, pushing you onto your back. "I win."
  3718. >You glance behind her.
  3719. >Did the city always look so pink?
  3721. -Anon PoV-
  3722. >It was working.
  3723. >The entire chapel was lit up in a brilliant pink glow.
  3724. >Cadence and Shining Armor were floating above you.
  3725. >They had combined their magics, Shining Armor casting his shield spell powered by Cadence's love magic.
  3726. >These ponies were learning about the science of magic, it seemed.
  3727. >Energy was cascading off the happy couple by the second.
  3728. >The waves were passing right through you, but were playing hell with the Changelings.
  3729. >They were getting tossed to and fro, those smart enough to hang onto something being the only stragglers.
  3730. >They wanted love? They were getting all they could handle and more.
  3731. >The waves were bringing forth every memory you had of all the people you loved.
  3732. >Your parents teaching you to ride a bike... Mous standing up for you at school... All your time with Rainbow...
  3733. >Eventually, the waves intensified, throwing even the last Changelings out.
  3734. >Eventually, only one remained. Spitto, or something. "What is this!?" he cried. "How are you doing this!?"
  3735. >You turn to the Changeling as his grips begins to break away.
  3736. >"That's the power of love."
  3738. >It was the after party now.
  3739. >The Bride and Groom insisted on being wed as quickly as possible, a request Celestia was happy to oblige.
  3740. >Mous gave you a pat on the back and said the love magic had saved his ass. He then said he was going to go hang with the DJ after a visit to "Queen Got-Squashed-By-A-Bug".
  3741. >You let him, you had other things to do.
  3742. >You spot Rainbow having a laugh with Soarin after her Sonic Rainboom and pull her aside. "Hehe...What's up Anon?"
  3743. >You find yourself at a loss, all the things you felt today were gumming up your works.
  3744. >"I-I love you Rainbow." was all you could get out.
  3745. >Rainbow chuckles a bit and gives you a peck on the lips. "I love you too, Anon."
  3746. >"No, I mean, it's more than that." Dammit, you were screwing this up. "When I was with Cadence and Shining Armor today, I was worried sick about you. I didn't know what I would do if you got hurt."
  3747. >Rainbow blushes a bit. "T-thats real sweet, Anon. But you had nothing to worry about, see?" she performs a little flourish. "There's nothing in Equestria that can stop The Dash."
  3748. >You laugh a bit. "Yeah...But still. Today, I saw a couple that loved each other so much, they were able to clear out an entire city. And when I saw just how far Cadence was able to take that love, I got reminded of how much I love you."
  3749. >Rainbow opens her mouth, but you speak first.
  3750. >"Rainbow Dash, let's get married."
  3752. >The party is silent.
  3753. >Everyp0ny present is either standing with their mouth agape or just staring wide eyed.
  3754. >You can see Mous lift up some stupid purple goggles he probably stole off his face and mouth "Do it." over and over again.
  3755. >Even the bride and groom were shocked.
  3756. >Rainbow was just as stunned as everyp0ny else. "Anon...I-" she brings her hooves to her mouth as you get down on your knee. "Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh." you hear her say.
  3757. >"Rainbow, I love you more than anyone I've ever met. You're funny, confident, and one of the best friends I've ever had. Certainly my first Equestrian one. I don't have a ring, or a plan, or anything like that. All I have is this feeling inside that says that this is what I want out of my life, to share it with you. So, Rainbow Dash. Will you marry me?"
  3758. >Rainbow's big magenta eyes meet your own, they had tears in them. "Heh...was beginning to think I'd have to use estrus again. Yes, yes of course I will."
  3759. >The party erupts into cheers, congratulations, and a resounding "Qapla'!" from the DJ stand as you pull Rainbow in and kiss her.
  3760. >Music starts, oh god, was he really doing this?
  3761. >You don't even care. The mare you love just agreed to marry you, your life couldn't get any better.
  3762. >Rainbow hovers her way through a dance with you as your best friend and brother serenades you with words that have been on your mind for hours.
  3763. >"Always, I wanna be with you and make believe with you, and live in harmony, harmony, oh love!"
  3765. =BiE 53=
  3767. >It's been a few days since the royal wedding.
  3768. >A few days since you got engaged.
  3769. >You roll over in bed to face your sleeping fiancé, you still can't believe she said yes.
  3770. >You lay on your stomach and start gently blowing her hair.
  3771. >After a minute or two, she grumbles in her sleep and bats at her hair.
  3772. >She cracks open her eyes and glares at you. "You better not pull this stuff when we're married."
  3773. >You caress Rainbow's cheek. "Well...I won't pull it -that- often."
  3774. >You lay there and continue to play with Rainbow's hair as she wakes up. "So, what's the plan for today?" she asks with a yawn.
  3775. >"Well..." you think. "Twilight and I are gonna run some tests on the crystals she found in that cave under Canterlot and after that..." you stop yourself before you give it away. "Well, let's say I have a little surprise for you."
  3776. >Rainbow just eyes you. "You know I hate surprises."
  3777. >You give her your best cat smile, you'd been practicing this.
  3778. >Rainbow groans and shuts her eyes again.
  3779. >"So, what's your agenda?" you ask.
  3780. >"Double duty. Thunderlane called in sick, again, today. As if we don't know where he is."
  3781. >"Heh. Those two gonna scare away all her animals if they keeps this up."
  3782. >Darned kids.
  3784. >The two of you step out of the house, you pull Rainbow into a kiss before she flies off. "Love you."
  3785. >Rainbow grins and shoots off into the sky. "Be home in time for your surprise!" you call up to her.
  3786. >You start your walk into town.
  3787. >Twilight had pulled you aside right before you proposed, she said that she had found some crystals when she was imprisoned and wanted to test your portable spell system on them.
  3788. >You were colored intrigued, those crystals had been growing for years and they were right underneath a city where magic was the norm. The excess energy they had soaked up over the years would be astounding.
  3789. >You step in the front door. "Hey Twi, I-whoa!" you duck as a book levitates right past your head.
  3790. >You really should be used to that by now...
  3791. >Twilight was standing in the middle of the room, staring at a crude drawing of the town parameters on her blackboard while levitating what seemed like half the library around it.
  3793. >Twilight finally takes notice of your presence. "Hey, Anon. We're gonna have to put our crystal research on hold for today, something has the towns leylines completely messed up!"
  3794. >Twilight didn't shout often, this must be serious. More serious than the entire town's utilities being at stake.
  3795. >"Anything I can do to help?" you ask.
  3796. >Twilight turns to you and frowns. "Sorry Anon, but you need magic to alter the leylines here. And putting the spell in a crystal would be uneconomical."
  3797. >She turns back to her blackboard. "I think it best if we just write today off. Besides, don't you have something important to do in town today?" she says with a grin.
  3798. >You feel your cheeks darken. "Oh, you heard about that, huh?"
  3799. >That grin is far too devilish for Twilight. "I may have heard something about it." she says as she grabs you with her magic and pushes you to the door. "Now, go break a leg."
  3801. >Ponyville had a small jewelers in the center of town, a little operation that was in your price range.
  3802. >You had already been talking to Rarity regarding gems, the one you had for this was a small sapphire that you had used a coloration crystal on to make it look more cyan.
  3803. >Neither of you having a horn to put a ring on, you were opting for a simple necklace or bracelet.
  3804. >And now, the hard part...
  3805. >Deciding which one you wanted.
  3806. >You liked this one, but it's chain was pretty long.
  3807. >That one was nice, but it looked like it would snap off at high speeds.
  3808. >This one was neat, but asymmetrical. To hell with that.
  3809. >You stood there agonizing for however long before the clerk spoke up. "Shopping for your somep0ny?"
  3810. >You silently nod as you inspect this necklace for the eighth time.
  3811. >"Pegasus or Earth Pony?" he asks again.
  3812. >"Pegasus." This one would make her look like Mr. T...
  3813. >You aren't paying attention as the clerk heads to the backroom and returns with a small golden necklace and places it on the counter.
  3814. >A pair of golden wings sprouted from a socket in the center and served as the loop of the necklace.
  3815. >The socket looked to be just the right size for the gem you had.
  3816. >It was perfect.
  3817. >You look up at the clerk. "How did you-"
  3818. >"Call it a hunch." he said with a smile.
  3819. >One hell of a hunch.
  3821. >You spent the rest of your impromptu day off back at the house, planning out how you were gonna do this in your head.
  3822. >"You're worrying too much." Mous said. "Just do what comes natural."
  3823. >You were sitting on the couch when you heard the door open.
  3824. >"Uhg. If I never see another raincloud again, it will be too soon." Rainbow said as she hopped up on the couch.
  3825. >"Rough day?" you ask.
  3826. >Rainbow lounges back. "I till ya Anon, I'm good, but doing two pegasus' work can tire a girl out."
  3827. >Perfect timing. "So, would you like your surprise now?" you ask.
  3828. >Rainbow smiles and looks over to Mous and Lotus on the other end of the couch. "You sure? I don't think they'll appreciate that with them in the room..." she says.
  3829. >"You two making love tonight comes as no surprise to either of us." Lotus says.
  3830. >"They have a point." you say as you stand.
  3831. >You turn to Mous. "Meastro?"
  3832. >Mous silently gets up and walks out of the room, he returns a moment later with his stereo.
  3833. >"Rainbow..."
  3834. >Mous hits play.
  3836. > know this song.
  3837. >You turn to your DJ. "Really?"
  3838. >"Best I got, dude." he says as he slowly starts to dance.
  3839. >Rainbow and Lotus giggle at the sight as Lotus joins her boyfriend in the middle of the room.
  3840. >"Go on dude, we'll just be here." he says as he picks her up.
  3841. >You stifle a laugh as you turn back to Rainbow. "Rainbow. I know I didn't have a wedding necklace in Canterlot..."
  3842. >You can see her trying not to laugh as her eyes dart between you and over your shoulder.
  3843. >You control your laughter as best you can. "Well, I went into town today and got you this."
  3844. >Rainbow's eyes light up as they see the necklace. She takes it in her hooves as you produce the identical one from your bag.
  3845. >She brings a hoof to your chin and gives you a kiss. "Thanks Anon. I love it."
  3846. >Her eyes dart over your shoulder as Rainbow bursts out laughing. Your curiosity at its peak, you turn around as well.
  3847. >Mous had removed his shirt and was flossing it between his legs. Lotus was performing some kicking style dance. "Now that you've stopped worrying so damn much, can I interest the happy husband and bride to be in a group dance?" he asked without breaking eye contact.
  3848. >After you picked your sides up out of the crater your bro put them in, you fasten your necklace and do the same for Rainbow. "May I have this dance?" you ask while at eye level.
  3849. >Rainbow giggles. "Yeah, let's show these two how it's done."
  3850. >The four of you end up having a couples dance off in the living room.
  3851. >Despite Mous and Lotus's best efforts, you and Rainbow take the non-existent gold.
  3852. >Only had to break two lamps to do it, too.
  3854. =BiE 54=
  3856. >You sat in the carriage as it sped over the mountains.
  3857. >You hated travel.
  3858. >The early morning sun was shining right in your face, making your already intense no-sleep-headache that much worse.
  3859. >Damn Celestia always knew what way to make it shine to piss you off.
  3860. >You hated the sun in your face.
  3861. >You absentmindedly flip off Celestias big eye in the sky as you try to relax a bit.
  3862. >You had woken up early, way early, and crept out of the house to meet the carriage that would transport you to the Griffin kingdoms.
  3863. >You had pulled Celestia aside after Anon proposed and the party was winding down. She had allowed you to borrow a carriage after you told her your reason for wanting to go, but not without a "That's three you owe me now." first.
  3864. >Fuck her. You helped save her city.
  3865. >You were a bit aprehensive about going back to the Griffin kingdoms, but based on the info you got, you were headed to Talos as opposed to Asgard.
  3866. >If you were lucky, no one would link you to your last visit.
  3867. >You turn to the pegusi flying you.
  3868. >"How much longer?"
  3869. >You expected the wind to carry your voice away, but one of them turned to you. "We're coming up on Gryphus now, we should arrive at Talos in a few hours."
  3870. >You grumble to yourself and curl up into a ball away from the sun.
  3871. >Might as well try to get some sleep...
  3873. >You were getting dragged through the griffin streets.
  3874. >Your escorts were on the ground, their throats ripped out.
  3875. >Griffins from all over came to jeer at you, throw rocks at you, one broke your leg a while back.
  3876. >You were hauled into a big building and dumped on the floor.
  3877. >Some griffin with a helmet and armor walked out. His right talon was severed.
  3878. >Brilliant...
  3879. >"We finally found you." he said.
  3880. >You spit the blood from your mouth.
  3881. >"Took you long enough...have you been sitting on your ass this past year?"
  3882. >He brings his good talon across your cheek.
  3883. >You watch as two of your teeth get throne across the room.
  3884. >"You will be executed for crimes against our nation at dawn. Celestia will not interfere in our justice." he turns to another griffin. "Find his mate and companion. Execute them too."
  3885. >What!?
  3886. >No!
  3887. >You lung at the griffin commander only to be caught in his grip.
  3888. >He slams you down on the ground and stands over you. "Look at the mighty thief now. Helpless to save those he loves."
  3889. >You try to rise but you can't get your body to move. "Anon and Lotus would both be better off if you just died to that manticore."
  3890. >You finally see his face. "Screw you."
  3891. >He holds his talon high over his head. "You know, I think I will accelerate this." he says.
  3892. >His claw comes down on your face as you see the bright sun.
  3894. >You rocket up from your slumber in a cold sweat.
  3895. >You're not dead.
  3896. >Your leg is fine.
  3897. >Lotus and Anon are fine.
  3898. >You're still sitting in the carriage.
  3899. Damn...that was...
  3900. >Yeah.
  3901. >"Sir?" you hear over your shoulder.
  3902. >You turn to one of the pegusi flying the carriage. "We're entering Talos airspace. We will land soon."
  3903. >You wave them off.
  3904. >"Yeah...Right."
  3905. >You bury your head in your hands.
  3906. >That dream was...
  3907. >You didn't want to think about it.
  3908. We cut off a guy's hand, it's normal to feel guilty.
  3909. >Doesn't mean I don't regret it...
  3910. >The carriage pulls around and lands on a small runway.
  3911. >"You two go see the sights, but stay close-ish." you say as you hop off.
  3912. >You notice that Griffin architecture is similar to Canterlot. Every building seemed to be made out of stone, and the city itself was built vertically instead of horizontally.
  3913. >"This shit better be navigable..."
  3914. >You find a decent amount of walkways and ladders throughout Talos, they were functional if unused.
  3915. >You spot the first guard who deems to stay on the ground and approach him.
  3916. >"Excuse me, I'm looking for a Gilda..." you flip the paper with her name over. "...there is no last name here."
  3917. >You toss the paper away.
  3918. >Piece of crap.
  3919. >The guard snorts. "If you're looking for Gilda, you'll either find her at her roost in the south end, or the bar next to it. I've had to take that bitch in three times this month alone..."
  3920. >You wave the guard in thanks before he stops you. "You look rather similar to the description of someone who attacked Asgard last year..."
  3922. LIE.
  3923. >You throw on a depressed face.
  3924. >"Yeah...that was my brother...he's not around anymore."
  3925. >The guard eyes you down. "Move along."
  3926. >Don't have to tell you twice.
  3928. >You arrive at the only roost near a bar on the south end.
  3929. >Asking a passerby revealed that, yes, this was Gilda's home.
  3930. How to go about doing this?
  3931. >Plan A.
  3933. >...
  3934. >Nothing.
  3935. >Plan B.
  3936. >You take your boot off and hock it at the window. It bounces off with a resounding *clunk* and falls to the ground.
  3938. >This time, a griffin opens the window and shouts down to you. "WHAT!?"
  3939. >"Let's chat."
  3940. >Gilda looks fucking pissed. "YOU THROW THINGS AT MY HOME AND WAKE ME UP AND EXPECT ME TO TALK TO YOU!?"
  3941. >"It's about Rainbow Dash."
  3942. >Gilda stares at you silently.
  3943. >"It's important."
  3944. >Gilda retreats back into her house as you retrieve your boot.
  3945. >Eventually, Gilda comes flying out of her window and lands next to you. "Alright dweeb, you have my attention. Now what do you want?"
  3946. >You extend a hand out to Gilda, one she doesn't shake.
  3947. >"Please allow me to introduce myself, I am a man of neither wealth nor taste."
  3948. >Gilda doesn't laugh at your joke and just stares daggers at you.
  3949. Plebian.
  3950. >"Okay, fine. My name is Mous and I am a friend of Rainbow's. I came here today to tell you that she's getting married to my bro and to ask you to come to the wedding."
  3951. Gilda continues to stare at you. "Are you serious?"
  3952. >"As serious as traveling hundreds of miles from home can be."
  3954. >Gilda scoffs and paces on the ground. "Why should I care what happens to that flip flop? Why should I care what she does?"
  3955. >Rainbow had let slip what had happened with Gilda, about what she did to the girls and to Fluttershy in particular.
  3956. >You take a whiff of the air, even in the mountains, you can smell the booze on Gilda's feathers.
  3957. >"Because you still care. And because you're upset about how things turned out."
  3958. >Gilda whirls around and gets in your face. "I don't care what happens to her! And she was the one who told me to get out!"
  3959. >Tears of either rage or grief were forming in her eyes. "Now I'm stuck here with my bullshit job and my bullshit life and the one friend I had who made it worthwhile told me to get out of her life!"
  3960. >Gilda stomped away and sat by the curb.
  3961. These fucking kinds...
  3962. >What's the play?
  3963. Sympathize.
  3964. >"Gilda, was Rainbow Dash your best friend?"
  3965. >Gilda harrumphs."We were best friends since flight school and then she went off and dumped me like that..."
  3966. >"Well, were you being a bitch?"
  3967. >"It's not my fault that Dash's friends were too lame for her!" she shouts. "Hmph. "Stupid fiancé is probably too lame for her too..."
  3968. Easy, seabiscuit...
  3969. >You ignore that insult and pace over to Gilda.
  3970. >"If she's your best friend, the fact that she's happy should be enough for you."
  3971. >"Don't even know why she wants me at this stupid wedding..." she says.
  3972. >"She doesn't. I do."
  3974. >Gilda just looks at you.
  3975. >"What? It's true. This is Rainbow's special day, you being there would probably make it more special."
  3976. >Gilda continues to stare. "Why? Why go through all this trouble?"
  3977. >"Well, apart from Rainbow being my friend, her being happy makes my bro happy, which makes me happy."
  3978. >"So, you came all this way just on the off chance that I would come to a wedding for someone I haven't spoken to in a year, huh?"
  3979. >You shrug.
  3980. >"I'm a bit of an oddity. Plus I can't stand to watch someone have -this- much self pity."
  3981. >Gilda laughs as three horn blasts echo throughout the city. "That's the inspection horn, you should probably get going."
  3982. >"You have home inspections?"
  3983. >Gilda gets to her feet and spreads her wings. "Yeah, recent addition. Something about trying to catch Diamond Dogs hiding out in town."
  3984. >She takes off and hovers in the air for a few seconds. "I'll think this over." she says as she flies inside.
  3985. Stupid kids...
  3986. >You head back to the landing strip just as it was closing.
  3987. >Your ride was hooked up and ready and you were in the air within minutes.
  3988. So. That's one thing taken care of.
  3989. >Yup. Only have a million other things for this to turn out right.
  3990. You know, the happy couple is supposed to handle things too.
  3991. >Yeah. But family is supposed to help.
  3993. >You get home around late afternoon.
  3994. >You find Anon and Lotus. Letting your fears from that nightmare fade away.
  3995. >You examine the significance of the nightmare in bed that night.
  3996. Losing your family is a legitimate fear.
  3997. >Yeah, but the feeling I got during it...
  3998. You were helpless in the dream, it would be different in real life.
  3999. >But what if it isn't and I screwed everyone over with that cult crap?
  4000. You've gone down this road bef-
  4001. >This isn't about breaking up two lesbians, this is about Anon and Lotus dying for our mistake.
  4002. >We're supposed to make sure they don't get hurt and we may have ensured it.
  4003. Was it the idea of them getting hurt or the helplessness?
  4004. >What?
  4005. We know that bad things sometimes happen, we're usually okay with it so long as we try to stop it. But you were helpless in the dream, you weren't able to stop it.
  4006. >You sigh and role onto your back.
  4007. >I don't know brain...I just know that protecting our family was a lot easier when it was just Anon and us back on Earth.
  4008. Do you regret it?
  4009. >You roll over and look at Lotus asleep next to you.
  4010. >As if on cue, Lotus stirs and turns her head to you. "Sweetheart, are you okay? You're tossing and turning..."
  4011. >You wrap your arms around Lotus and pull her close, letting her heartbeat calm you down some.
  4012. >You stay like that for a bit as your worries are pushed away by the rhythmic thumping up against your chest.
  4013. >"Yeah...yeah, I'm okay."
  4015. =BiE 55=
  4017. >You examined the crystal under your microscope.
  4018. >"Hey, Twilight! Have you seen the number of facets these crystals have? It's insane!" you called out.
  4019. >Most of the gems you examined had enough facets that you could count them and guess the conversion rate, but these crystals from under Canterlot had so many that you couldn't even begin to count them all.
  4020. >Twilight nudges you away from the microscope to get a view of the latticework herself. "Wow, I was shocked at how violently the crystals exploded when they were hit with magic. I guess now I know."
  4021. >Explode? That didn't sound good. "So, these things are unstable?"
  4022. >Twilight brought her hoof to her chin. "Hmm...maybe we should test these outside?" she says.
  4023. >You couldn't agree more. You scope the crystals into a bag as Twilight grabs the mana batteries and focusing lens.
  4024. >Bout time you didn't have to carry it...
  4026. >You head back to the lake that you use for all of your experiments.
  4027. >You set up the focusing lens and secure a crystal in front of it. "What do you think we should try?" Twilight asks.
  4028. >Hmmm. "How bout an ice spell?"
  4029. >Twilight nods and aims her horn at the focusing lens. A cold blue light shoots through the lens and strikes the crystal.
  4030. >The crystal adopts a small pulsating light at its core, a chill passes into your hand when you grab it. "Well, that promising..." you say.
  4031. >You wind up and toss the crystal into the center of the lake.
  4032. >The crystal shatters on the water surface and erupts into a howling blast of arctic wind.
  4033. >"Damn!" you shout as the wind knocks the two of you over. Although, you admit that the blast felt good in the summer heat.
  4034. >You and Twilight right yourselves after the blast dies down and gaze at the lake. "Whoa..."
  4035. >Where you were expecting a small chunk of ice, you saw a completely frozen lake.
  4036. >The grass at the edge of the lake, the grass was covered in frost. A nearby tree was minus leaves on the side facing the lake.
  4037. >"Did..." Twilight said "Did all this happen from the crystal?" she asked.
  4038. >You took a step onto the frozen lake. It was completely frozen, right down to the bottom. "We did say the conversion rate would be high..." you think out loud.
  4039. >Your little magic show is causing a crowd to gather. "Hey, what happened to the lake?" you here somep0ny ask.
  4040. >You turn back to Twilight. "Maybe we should clean this mess up and get out of here before they get mad?"
  4041. >Twilight looks around at the gathering crowd sheepishly before she casts an enchantment on the ice.
  4042. >The crowd continues to stare at the rapidly breaking ice as the two of you slink back to the lab.
  4044. >You and Twilight set up your instruments as soon as you got back.
  4045. >Twilight casted a weak spell on the crystal and you immediately threw it under the microscope.
  4046. >"Twilight, are you sure this spell was weak? This thing looks like it could give mustaches to the entire town..."
  4047. >Twilight was pacing around her study. "That makes no sense! The spell I applied to that should have barely given a mustache to somep0ny! How is the spell getting intensified?"
  4048. >What was it about these crystals? All that was special about them was a crap ton of lattices and that they had absorbed some latent magic.
  4049. >An idea forms in your head. "Twilight, can you try and detect magical energies in an empty crystal?"
  4050. >Twilight turns to you. "Of course I can, but what would that do?" she asks.
  4051. >"Maybe help solve our problem." you say as you fish a crystal out and hold it to Twilight.
  4052. >Twilight's horn glows as she points it at the crystal for a moment before she opens reels back in surprise. "These crystals have almost as much magical energy in them as a small mana battery. Is that what you think is effecting the spells?"
  4053. >"It might be part of it." you say as you hook the crystal up under the microscope.
  4054. >You switch to the highest zoom lens, one that would look deep inside the crystal.
  4055. >What you see inside reminds you of a video you saw about the neurons in the brain.
  4056. >You can see the spell flying around through the lattices, but the spell was getting bigger as it passed through them.
  4058. >"Twilight, could the spell absorb magical energy?" you ask.
  4059. >Twilight puts a hoof to her chin and thinks. "Well...arcane magic is applicable to every kind of magic. If these crystals had absorbed enough of it into them..."
  4060. >"...then they could amplify the spells inside of them to an Nth degree."
  4061. >Well, that's one mystery taken care of. "But how do we fix it? We can't have them turning entire lakes into popsicles whenever we use them..."
  4062. >Twilight puts her head on the table in front of her and groans.
  4063. >You were just bashing your heads against a wall here. "Wanna take a break?"
  4064. >Twilight lifts her head from the desk with a frown, clearly not happy about having to stop her research.
  4065. >"So, how's the wedding planning working out?" she grumbles.
  4066. >"Good." you say, trying to raise her spirits. "We thought of having it in Canterlot, but that's a bit out of our price range, ya know?"
  4067. >Twilight lifts her head a bit and a smile grows on her lips. "You know, you -did- help save all of Canterlot from a Changeling invasion. I'm sure Celestia wouldn't mind letting you use the chapel."
  4068. >You look at Twilight disbelieving. "Really?" Twilight silently nods.
  4069. >Well, shit. That would be perfect.
  4071. >Spike bursts in through the door. "Twilight! Ya gotta come quick!"
  4072. >"Spike? What's wrong? Is the lake not melting?"
  4073. >He looks panicked. "No! It's..." he turns and looks back outside as he bites his claw. "Twilight, it'll take too long, come on!" he says as he runs out of the room.
  4074. >You and Twilight follow him and bound down the street.
  4075. >A large crowd of ponies were standing in the middle of town, you could spot Mous standing amongst them.
  4076. >You saw Applejack and Rarity standing near the center. "Girls, what happened?" Twilight shouts as she runs up.
  4077. >Applejack takes her hat off, but it's Rarity who speaks up. "Oh Twilight, it's awful. I just..." Rarity's words catch in her throat.
  4078. >Applejack steps up for her. "We just got this note...Applebloom n' Sweetie Belle's class was goin' on a field trip today and..."
  4079. >Applejack's words die just like Rarity's did as Twilight picks up a note. Underneath the note is a large collection of hair, in every color.
  4080. >"Ponies. We have little ponies. You give gems or you never see them again. - Southpaw Diamond Dogs." She says.
  4081. >No...
  4082. >You crouch down and examine the hair...Red and pink strands catch you eye.
  4083. >You spot Mous out of the corner of your eye. He was hugging a tearful Derpy.
  4084. >Oh no...
  4085. >You walk over to him as he lets Derpy go. "Did they...?"
  4086. >You're taken aback when he looks you in the eye. His eyes spoke of barely concealed outrage.
  4087. >He pushes past you. "Get your things and meet me at the house. If you're not there in fifteen minutes, I'm leaving without you."
  4088. >You can imagine where he's headed with that look... "You're gonna go-
  4089. >"Yes." Was the answer you got as Mous stomped out of town.
  4091. =BiE 56=
  4093. >You were keeping pace as best you could, but Mous was booking it through the forest.
  4094. >You had grabbed a small bag and dumped as many crystals into it as you could, most of them fire and ice spells of varying intensities.
  4095. >You figured you were going to need them.
  4096. >You had caught up with Mous at the house, securing his knife to his belt and lacing up his boots.
  4097. >"Where are they?" he had asked. You had never heard that voice before, that low rumble he had said those words in. It scared the shit out of you.
  4098. >You told him that the dogs were in the wastelands South of town and he took off, you had been running ever since.
  4099. >You had to practically beg him to take a breather every now and then, and even then it was only for a few minutes. You don't know where he got this boundless stamina.
  4100. >You eventually lose sight of Mous as he picks up speed, your calls doing nothing to slow him down.
  4101. >You eventually caught sight of him crouching behind a boulder, he waved you to run over and get down the second he saw you. "What is it?" you asked.
  4102. >Mous put his finger to his lips. "Dogs. Three. On patrol."
  4103. >On cue, a trio of Diamond Dogs stepped out from over a cliff, silently trudging over the blasted landscape.
  4104. >They both carried large maces, but were otherwise unarmed.
  4105. >"Okay dude, how do we deal with this?" No response.
  4106. >You look next to you.
  4107. >Mous isn't there anymore.
  4109. >You look over the boulder to spot Mous making a mad dash for the Diamond Dogs.
  4110. >Shit!
  4111. >You jump up from your hiding spot and run after him.
  4112. >You're still over fifty feet away when the dogs spot Mous as he gets in close to them.
  4113. >David comes out faster than you could see and jumps into the center dogs throat as he falls over.
  4114. >Holy shit!
  4115. >One dog takes a swing with his mace as Mous weaves under it and brings David across its neck.
  4116. >The dog drops his weapon as he falls, Mous grabs in as he dances around the final dogs swings before he blindsides it with the mace. The dog falls backwards from a kick to the chest delivered afterwards.
  4117. >The mace rockets high into the air before it falls on the dog's leg, filling the area with a sickening SNAP!
  4118. >WHAT THE FUCK!?
  4119. >You finally catch up just in time to watch Mous slam David into the dog's chest all the way up to the hilt. The dog cries in pain. "I just pierced your lung. Speak quickly, before I kill you." Mous says, his voice still low and dangerous.
  4120. >"Dude!" You cry out.
  4121. >"Not now!" he shouts back.
  4122. >The dog regains some of his composure. "Nnnggg...What you want?" he says through gritted teeth.
  4123. >Mous grabs the dog by a scruff of fur and pulls him close to his face. "You captured a bunch of young ponies. Where. Are. They?"
  4124. >The dog raises a trembling claw and points to a nearby cliff. "In cave. Have them in cell."
  4125. >Mous follows the claw before looking back at the dog. "Helped. Beg mercy. Beg for mer-kkgg!"
  4126. >Mous slid David out of the dog's neck and stood up.
  4127. >"Dude...WHAT THE FUCK!?" you cried.
  4129. >"What?" Mous says as he stomps to the cave.
  4130. >"You killed him when he was begging for his life!"
  4131. >Mous wheels around and stares daggers at you. "Does this look like the face of someone who wants to hear begging?" he asks.
  4132. >It's silent for a while. This is usually when Mous calms down a bit, but he just keeps that cold stare. "They took children, Anon. Applebloom, and Sweetie Belle, and Dinky." He turns and glances at the guard. "Maybe if this were anyp0ny else, it'd be different. But I don't have a shred of mercy for foalnappers."
  4133. >Mous turns and begins walking towards the cave. "You can run back to the town if you want, but I'm going to get those kids out. And every Diamond Dog that gets in my way is getting cut open."
  4134. >You stand there for a minute as he storms off. Going in there meant that you were signing off on him killing an unknown number of Diamond Dogs.
  4135. >Not going in there meant he would be killed for sure.
  4136. >God Dammit...
  4137. >You rush up next to Mous and keep pace with him. He stares straight ahead when you look at him.
  4138. >"This isn't a revenge slaughter. We get in, get the kids, and get out." you say as you enter the cave.
  4139. >"Fine." Mous says as he brings his finger to his lips and creeps along the wall, knife in hand.
  4140. >You follow suit as the two of you descend into the Diamond Dog mine.
  4142. >The two of you sneak your way through the mine, doing well and avoiding guards so far.
  4143. >That is, until you one spots you from an intersection up ahead.
  4144. >He is about to call for help when Mous rushes him and drives his knife into his stomach.
  4145. >"Where are they!?" he whispered to the dog.
  4146. >The dog grunted in pain and pointed down the shaft to your right.
  4147. >The dog whimpered as Mous started to slowly push the knife further down its stomach, the blood flowing over Mous's hand as it did. "Directions." he said.
  4148. >The dog rattled off directions before Mous stuck his knife in his neck and moved on.
  4149. >You just stood in shock. You had NEVER seen Mous like this before.
  4150. >He was always protecting you and had always cared about kids, but this?
  4151. >This was a whole new monster.
  4152. >The two of you crept through the mine until you heard a symphony of stifled cries coming from a door up ahead.
  4153. >Mous slips his knife under the door and looks at the reflection. "They're here. Two, one on each side. I'll take the one closest if you can take the far one." he whispered.
  4154. >You nod as you dip a hand inside your pouch and grab a crystal.
  4155. >Mous counts down with his fingers and burst through the door, startling the nearby guard as he tackles him.
  4156. >You spot the guard at the far end and toss a crystal at him. It's a fire crystal of high yield and explodes on his chest throwing him against the back wall as it immolated his torso.
  4157. >It was not a pleasant sight.
  4158. >The flames licked off the fresh corpse and lit up the room as Mous dispatched his guard. He grabbed the keys from the dead guard and opened the cell door. "Dinks?" he whispered out.
  4159. >"...Mous?" you heard from the back of the cell.
  4161. -Mous PoV-
  4162. >Dinky stepped out of the harsh shadows the burning corpse was casting,.
  4163. >Despite how dire your situation was, you saw a smile form on her face. "Mous!" she cried as she galloped over to you.
  4164. >You dropped down and caught her as she jumped up to you. "Are you here to rescue us?" she ask as she gripped your chest.
  4165. >"Hey, I said I'd look out for you."
  4166. >You let Dinky down and rise to your feet.
  4167. >"Is everyp0ny here?"
  4168. >"Yes." came a voice from behind the curtain of shadows.
  4169. >Miss Cheerilee stepped out, followed by the foals her were too scared to step away from her.
  4170. >"Are you all safe?"
  4171. >Miss Cheerilee nodded. "They took us in the forest, most of us were too scared to try anything..."
  4172. >"I'm all for happy reunions, but can we get going?" you hear Anon say behind you.
  4173. >You turn around and glance at him, he's leaning against the wall gripping his stomach.
  4174. >He must not be taking ending a life well...
  4175. The corpse is starting to smell, too.
  4176. >"Alright, everyp0ny stay close. We're getting out of here."
  4177. >You lead everyp0ny out of the jail and have them cluster behind you, keeping an ear out for any more patrolling guards.
  4178. >You came up on an intersection when you heard voices.
  4179. >"Who did dis?" a stern, accented one said.
  4180. >"I dunno boss, found him like this on my way through." came another.
  4181. >You and Anon crouch at the corner, you poke David around the corner and look at his reflection.
  4182. >"Three. Two guards. One in that a suit?"
  4183. >A suit? In here?
  4185. >This didn't make sense, why a suit?
  4186. >Cheerilee breaks through your thoughts. "What are we going to do? They'll hear us if we try to sneak by."
  4187. >You think for a minute. This corner was dark, the only light source coming from a torch close to the dogs.
  4188. >You turn to Anon.
  4189. >"Stay behind me and watch for them sneaking past. Once they're don, give me a distraction."
  4190. >Anon nods.
  4191. >"Cheerilee, take your kids out no more than two at a time. This tunnel should be a straight shot, if I'm remembering correctly."
  4192. Smelling a lot of "if" on this plan...
  4193. >Cheerilee nods.
  4194. >"We aint alone here." the accented voice says again.
  4195. >"Got that right."
  4196. >The dogs are startled at your half shout and turn to face you.
  4197. >You slowly walk down the tunnel and get a good look at them.
  4198. >The two guards were different from the normal kind, they carried no weapons and wore no armor.
  4199. >And the one in the middle was indeed wearing a suit. "Who're you!?" he shouted as he got close.
  4200. >You head Anon walking behind you, a few feet back if the sound was an indicator.
  4201. >"Name's Mous, this is Anon. What's the cute little puppies name?"
  4203. >That rustled one of his guards. "Don't speak ta tha Dogfather that way!"
  4204. >Dogfather? Why was that familiar?
  4205. >The Dogfather calms his guard down. "Why're ya here?" he asks.
  4206. >"Reasons."
  4207. >Can't let him know you got the kids out.
  4208. >"What'd ya see?" he asks again.
  4209. >"Buncha dead guard dogs."
  4210. >He and his guards emit a low growl as they take a collective step towards you.
  4211. >Your hand inches towards David as they come forward.
  4212. >"You gonna regret dat, kid." the Dogfather said.
  4213. >Come on...
  4214. >"I doubt that..."
  4215. >"Mous, we're good." Anon whispers.
  4216. Paydirt.
  4217. >"Gonna make you pay for what you did 'ere." the Dogfather says.
  4218. >"Doubtful. Do it!"
  4219. >Anon takes he cue and shatters a crystal on the ground, filling the tunnel with white steam.
  4220. >You turn and begin to run only to feel a gout of heat rush past you and clear most of the steam.
  4221. >All three dogs hands were glowing an angry orange.
  4222. Holyshit, did they just cast magic!?
  4223. >The dogs wind up for another volley.
  4224. >"Run!"
  4226. >"Keep 'em away from tha' portal!" the Dogfather shouts as you run down the tunnel.
  4227. >You barely hear him, trying to avoid the dogs that seemed to be coming out of the walls.
  4228. >You slash one but don't bother checking on him as you run.
  4229. >Gotta go fast.
  4230. >"What the hell! Did those dogs just throw magic!" Anon shouts as he throws a crystal behind the two of you.
  4231. >You nod as you run.
  4232. >"Dog's can't DO magic!" he shouts.
  4233. >"Apparently, they can! Keep moving!"
  4234. >You see the exit in sight, Dinky was standing at the doorway with her class. "Watch out!" she calls.
  4235. >You wheel around just in time to duck a swing from a huge dog.
  4236. >"Shit!"
  4237. >You grapple with him as Anon throws spells at the dogs brining up the rear.
  4238. >You don't see The Dogfather behind them.
  4239. >Your body screams at the work you've put it through today.
  4240. >First a long run to get here and then all this fighting.
  4241. >Ignore it. Ignore every nerve, every shallow breath, every sore bone. Keep fighting.
  4242. >You eventually get the big dog across the neck and turn to the class.
  4243. >"Run back to town! We'll catch u-hrk!"
  4244. >A lance of pain runs through your torso.
  4245. >You look down, a bloody sword is sticking out of your stomach.
  4246. >The dog behind you releases the sword. "Heh...finally got you." he says.
  4247. >You wobble in place a bit before you look at your bro.
  4248. >"A-Anon..."
  4249. >You crash to the ground.
  4251. -Anon PoV-
  4252. >"MOUS!" you call out.
  4253. >You try to get to him, but the dogs just keep coming.
  4254. >Dammit, no!
  4255. >"YOU BASTARDS!"
  4256. >Your hands are a flurry of motion as they dive into your pouch and throw spell after spell at the dogs.
  4257. >Some dogs burst into flame, some are encased in ice, some have the water in their eyes flash vaporized, and some still wither and die under green light.
  4258. >"I'LL KILL YOU!"
  4259. >You'd get revenge!
  4260. >They killed him!
  4261. >They killed your bro!
  4262. >Mous was laying on his side, the sword still sticking through him and the blood pooling from it.
  4263. >You spot the class from the corner of your eye, they hadn't moved. Dinky was staring in tear filled shock at Mous.
  4264. >One of the dogs you saw with the one in the suit leaps forward.
  4265. >You throw spell after spell at him, but he either intercepts them with his own or magics up a shield to block their effects.
  4266. >"Stupid ape can't even cast a spell! Has to use cheap tricks." he shouts.
  4267. >You'll show him cheap tricks!
  4268. >The other dogs back off as the leader wends he way towards you.
  4269. >You toss a crystal at him, expecting for it to cause him to parish in an arcane explosion, only for the crystal to explode in your face.
  4270. >Your magic immunity saves your ass as the magic washed over you, you still lost your balance though.
  4271. >The dog stands over you. "Heh...stupid ape."
  4273. -Mous PoV-
  4274. So.
  4275. >>This must be how dying feels like.
  4276. >Hurts.
  4277. We had a decent run, I guess.
  4278. >>That we did, brain.
  4279. >Can't die yet.
  4280. It was fun while it lasted, heart.
  4281. >>Yeah. I'm calling it quits...lost too much...
  4282. >NO.
  4283. Whoa what?
  4285. >You feel your body resist you as you push yourself up.
  4286. >The nerves around your stab wound flare and tell you to stop.
  4287. >You ignore them.
  4288. >>Come on man! We got stabbed, it's over!
  4289. Listen to him!
  4290. >NOT OVER. NOT YET.
  4292. >You can hear your heartbeat thunder in your ears as you get on your feet.
  4293. Dude, this is crazy!
  4294. >>We're losing too much blood!
  4295. >MAKE MORE.
  4296. >NO DYING.
  4297. >NOT YET.
  4298. >NOT TODAY.
  4299. >You look down at your hand, you still had David, good.
  4300. >You trudge over to the gloating dog-mage.
  4301. This is insane!
  4302. >NO STOPPING.
  4303. >You drive David into the dog's neck and turn to face his backup.
  4304. >They looked scared.
  4305. >GOOD.
  4306. >WE'RE NOT DONE.
  4308. -Anon PoV-
  4309. >You're staring in shock.
  4310. >Mous is upright with a sword sticking through his gut and just stabbed the dog who had stopped you.
  4311. >You don't notice the Diamond Dogs still in the tunnel ask. "How's it still alive!?"
  4312. >If this were a movie, the epic score would be playing now.
  4314. >Aaaaaand just like that, the moment is gone.
  4315. >You swear, even when he's being spectacular, he's a dork.
  4316. >The dogs yelp in fear and run back inside at the sight of the angry bloody demon who killed their commander after being stabbed standing in the doorway.
  4317. >Once they leave, Mous collapses to the ground and brings you back. "Mous!" you cry out.
  4318. >Dinky rushes up to him, tears in her eyes. He grabs her chin. "Hey Dinks..."
  4319. >You take off your shirt as you run up to him.
  4320. >You look him over. Yep, still impaled. "I need to get this sword out if I'm gonna help."
  4321. >Mous braces a hand against the wall, a weak "Do it." escapes his lips.
  4322. >You grab the shortblade and pull it with all your might.
  4323. >It erupts from Mous's back, accompanied by a torrent of blood and a gut wrenching scream.
  4324. >You tie your shirt around him as tight as you can and turn to the class behind you. "Every unicorn, down here, NOW!" you shout.
  4325. >You had to save him...
  4326. >Your hands a pressed tight against Mous's body as the unicorns run up next to a still tearful Dinky.
  4327. >Mous isn't talking, he must have gone into shock.
  4328. >"Alright, every one of you, grab him with your magic and put as much pressure as you can around his wound! We have to get him back to town!"
  4329. >The foals help you float Mous out of the cave as you all run home.
  4330. >Hang on, buddy...
  4332. =BiE 57=
  4334. >You sat on your couch with your head in your hands.
  4335. >It had all gone so wrong...
  4336. >You and the rest of the class had hauled ass back to town, carrying a still bleeding Mous in a magical grip.
  4337. >You had run him to the hospital, barreling through a shocked town as you did.
  4338. >Being immune to magic had bitten you in the ass here. The doctors were unable to cast any healing spells or close the wound with it, they couldn't even use magic to determine any internal injuries.
  4339. >Cheerilee took all the kids back home while Rainbow flew off to an emergency meeting over the Diamond Dogs.
  4340. >It was your job to tell Lotus what happened.
  4341. >Lotus was quiet for a while before she calmly walked out of the spa, breaking into a mad dash to the hospital once she was outside.
  4342. >You caught up with her at the hospital in the room Mous was in.
  4343. >Lotus pulled up a seat next to his bed while you just sat in front of him.
  4344. >It hurt to see your bro hooked up to all those tubes, barely breathing and needing a machine to keep him alive.
  4346. >The door opened and Rainbow fluttered in. She took a look at your face and landed net to you on the couch. "How is he?"
  4347. >You sigh and lean back. "He's stable. They stitched up the wound and started pumping him full of blood, but he hasn't woken up yet."
  4348. >"How's Lotus?"
  4349. >You can still remember her sitting there, silent as the grave. "Quiet. Very quiet. She was still there when I left."
  4350. >Rainbow curled up under your arm. "That could have been you..."
  4351. >You kiss the top of her head. "But it wasn't." You take in the scent of her mane as you remember how close you came to being just like Mous.
  4352. >"What did the meeting decide on?" you ask.
  4353. >It's Rainbow's turn to sigh. "They never came to an agreement. Nop0ny could decide if we should fight or run or just stay where we are."
  4354. >You can guess what she voted for. "Typical government stuff?" you ask.
  4355. >Rainbow dismissively waves a hoof.
  4356. >"I don't know, Rainbow..." you say. "Something about this just feels...different."
  4357. >"What do you mean, Anon?" she asks, fear creeping into her voice.
  4358. >"I don't know...I just think that before this is over, a few more of us might end up like Mous..."
  4359. >The two of you sit like that for a long time, taking solace that the both of you were still able to do so.
  4361. >Twilight took the next day off to study the possibility of magical Diamond Dogs and Rainbow said she could duck work today, so the two of you went to the hospital after breakfast.
  4362. >Mous's room was unchanged. He was still on the bed, having blood pumped into him, with an EKG machine beeping away in the corner.
  4363. >Lotus was still sitting in her chair by the bedside. She turned to look at the two of you once you came in. "How is he?" you asked.
  4364. >Lotus let out a heavy sigh. "No change. I would expect that he wouldn't let this keep him out, but now..."
  4365. >Damn...
  4366. >You take a seat in front of the bed with Rainbow. "Has anyp0ny else stopped by?"
  4367. >"A few of the kids you two helped save came by before school...they didn't stay long." Lotus said.
  4368. >You looked around the room and caught a large get well card on a desk next to Mous's bed. You could see signatures of each of the kids on it.
  4369. >Lotus rests her head on the edge of the bed, she looks exhausted. "Lotus, did you sleep here?" you ask.
  4370. >Lotus stifles a yawn. "I slept a bit..." she said. "Aloe tried to take me home around midnight, but...I wanted to stay here."
  4371. >You look at Mous from across the room. "Come on, Pincushion Man. Don't tell me you're going to let a Diamond Dog take you out..." you say, trying to rouse him awake.
  4372. >The room falls silent.
  4373. >"...Well maybe you can fuckin' try it next time, see how you turn out."
  4375. >You all sit in silence for a moment before you rocket out of your chair. "Mous!?"
  4376. >You run to the side of his bed. Mous's eyes crack open "Not so loud..." he groans. "I feel like I'm waking up to the worst hangover of my life..."
  4377. >Lotus hauls herself up onto the bed and practically dives into Mous's mouth.
  4378. >You turn away until you hear them separate themselves, you hear "Hey pretty pony." whispered as you turn back.
  4379. >Lotus curls up on Mous's chest as he turns to you. "Hey, man. Didn't think I'd be waking up. What'd you do?"
  4380. >You can't stop smiling. "I got the class to float you back and stop you from bleeding out."
  4381. >He reaches his hand up to the bag of blood hanging next to him. "And this?"
  4382. >"Enchanted pigs blood."
  4383. >Mous leans back. "Well, good thing I'm AB positive..."
  4384. >The two of you laugh for a bit, it feels good to be able to do this. "So..." he asks. "Everyp0ny get out okay?"
  4385. >You reach over and hand him the get well card. "See for yourself."
  4386. >A smile tugs at his mouth as he looks over the card. "And the Diamond Dogs?"
  4387. >Rainbow speaks up. "We had a big meeting last night, but we couldn't decide on anything. Twilight's trying to figure out how they could use magic right now."
  4388. >Mous leans back in his bed and sighs. "You think they might try something?" you ask.
  4389. >"Don't know. Don't know this "Dogfather" well enough to guess." he reaches his hand down and strokes Lotus's mane. "Truth be told, I mostly just happy to not be dead."
  4390. >You glance at Rainbow and yank your head towards Mous. She nods in agreement. "Well, I think we'll give you to some privacy..." you say as you head out the door.
  4391. >They probably need it...
  4393. -Pincushion-Man PoV-
  4394. >You sat in your bed.
  4395. >Your head was swimming.
  4396. >The mare you loved was laying next to you on the bed, curled up into your chest.
  4397. >She did a good job hiding it while Anon was here, but you could feel warm drops of liquid seep through your gown.
  4398. >"You keep that up, you're going to ruin this lovely smock they gave me."
  4399. >Lotus laughs a bit and rubs her face into your chest. "Shut up..."
  4400. >You sat there for a while, silently stroking her mane.
  4401. >"You mad at me?"
  4402. >Lotus strikes her hoof on your chest. Not hard, but enough to get her point across. "I am furious at you. I'm furious that you went off and almost got yourself killed again after what you told me after that cult business..." she pulls herself up to your neck and rests her head on your shoulder. "But I'm happy that you came back."
  4403. >You rest your head on hers.
  4404. >"Sorry...That I worried you, I mean..."
  4405. >Lotus pushed herself into a sitting position on your lap, you groan a bit at the proximity to your stab wound before the pain fades. "And another thing!..." she says.
  4406. >She places her forehead on your own. "What's this I hear about you running off to fight only after little Dinky gets mentioned?"
  4407. >"I'm grooming your successor."
  4408. >Lotus laughs. "You ass..."
  4409. >"You love me..."
  4410. >Lotus falls back to your shoulder and kisses your neck. "I do...Celestia help me, I do."
  4411. >You wrap your arms around Lotus as she moves up to your lips.
  4412. >"Love you too."
  4414. >The two of you lay there for a while, communicating your relief at seeing one another again in the best way you knew how. You could feel the weight of the last few hours lifting off her shoulders as you did.
  4415. >You were brought back to reality as the steady beeping from the machine next to you picked up in speed.
  4416. >You break the kiss after who knows how long and lazily look into her eyes.
  4417. >"We probably shouldn't have sex in the hospital...That machine will know and I doubt it's good for me."
  4418. >Lotus falls onto your good side and rests her head. "Denying me my fun like're lucky you're hurt, mister."
  4419. >You settle in as Lotus lets out a yawn.
  4420. >"Tired?"
  4421. >She stretches out. "Somep0ny kept me at the hospital wracked with worry over him since they brought his bleeding body into town yesterday...
  4422. >You close your eyes as the Morphine starts to effect you again.
  4423. >"How fitting, I've been pretty tired since they brought my bleeding body into town yesterday..."
  4424. >Lotus nuzzles your chest as you wrap her in your arms. "Promise me you'll still be here when I wake up?
  4425. >You laugh and kiss the top of her head.
  4426. >"Of course I will...Who the hell do you think I am?"
  4427. >Lotus giggles. "You're a dork, my big crazy dork."
  4428. >You know you should feel touched, but Dammit.
  4429. >Did no one else appreciate these quotes like you did?
  4431. -Back at the mine-
  4432. >They got away.
  4433. >A bunch of foals and two hairless monkeys got away after killing almost two dozen of your guards and one of your magisters.
  4434. >What's worse, the dogs you had chasing them came running back, shouting about some monster that couldn't die.
  4435. >You had to strangle them yourself. This was not what any Dogfather needed, let alone a new one.
  4436. >You fiddled with the tag on your neck, it was the only thing you really treasured. A gift from your mother before she died.
  4437. >It was from before you died too.
  4438. >"Dogfather! Dogfather!" one of your soldiers came running. "What do you want us to do now, Dogfather? The ponies know we're out here!"
  4439. >You thought for a minute. You weren't gonna let them come to you, you'd get whacked faster than the last Dogfather if you did that...
  4440. >"Tell tha mages ta go inta overtime, get dat portal open as far as it can get." you say.
  4441. >The soldier salutes and runs off.
  4442. >It was time to get this started...
  4444. =BiE 58=
  4446. >You left Lotus and Mous to enjoy each other's company.
  4447. >Rainbow latched onto your neck as you both walked out of the hospital and nuzzled you.
  4448. >"This is sudden." you say as you wrap your arm around her. "Those two get you all worked up?"
  4449. >She keeps nuzzling your neck. "Really, Anon? Right here in the street?" she asks in a sultry tone.
  4450. >You know she's playing. No reason you can't as well. Rainbow yelps as you pull her close and launch a counterassault on her neck. "Here...there...anywhere and everywhere." you whisper.
  4451. >Rainbow laughs. "That was lame, Anon." Then she kisses you. "But it was sweet."
  4452. >You chuckle as you continue down the road. "Hey, I proposed didn't I? I'm prepared to fulfill my husbandly duties at any time or place."
  4453. >You walk with Rainbow attached to your neck a bit before your stomach stops you.
  4454. >You remember that you hadn't eaten all day.
  4455. >"But, how bout we go be engaged over breakfast?" you say.
  4456. >Rainbow plants a kiss on your cheek. "It's a date."
  4457. >She flies ahead of you as you walk to the diner. "But don't go trying to feel me up in public." she says back to you with a grin.
  4459. -Mous PoV-
  4460. >The doctor wakes you up when he enters the room.
  4461. >You were always a light sleeper.
  4462. >You check the clock, you've been out for a few hours.
  4463. At least we woke up...
  4464. >Shut up Brain, I'm still pissed at you.
  4465. >"Well, Mister Mous, so we meet again." the doctor says.
  4466. >"Doctor Horse, so we do."
  4467. >He grabs your chart at the end of the bed. "Impaled by a Diamond Dog." That's a step up from a manticore."
  4468. >"I enjoy moving forward."
  4469. >He trots up to your wounded side. "I just need to check your stitches."
  4470. >His eyes drift past you. "Should we wake her up?"
  4471. >You look down at Lotus. She was still curled up on the bed with her head on your chest, fast asleep.
  4472. Daaaawwww...
  4473. >"No. Let's let her be."
  4474. >She needed the rest.
  4475. >Horse lifted up your gown and took a look at the scar underneath.
  4476. >It wasn't pretty. A deep dent sat on the left side of your stomach, accompanied by heavy discoloration where your imagine your blood was clotting. You could see the heavy stitch work that the doctors did to keep all your insides together. You imagine that your back looked similar.
  4477. >"Hmm. Your stitches are holding." Horse says.
  4478. >"That sounds good."
  4479. >He jots some things down on your chart. "It is. With injuries this bad, stitches sometimes get undone by the body itself. If they're holding this long after the surgery, they should be good."
  4480. >You lean back and exhale as he continues to talk. "You're very lucky, Mister Mous. An inch to your right and you'd have nicked your bowel, not to mention how your kidney somehow dodged the blade."
  4481. Well, at least we won't wind up like Trixie.
  4482. >Horse looks down at Lotus and turns around. "I'll leave you to your rest."
  4483. >As the door shuts, your sleeping companion stirs.
  4485. >Lotus rises from her slumber, and looks around. "Huh? Wha?"
  4486. >You chuckle a bit.
  4487. >She rubs her face with her hoof. "Was that the Doctor?"
  4488. >"Mmhmm" you say as you lay back down.
  4489. >Lotus remains in her sitting position. "What'd he say?"
  4490. >"He said that my body is rejecting itself and that I have ten minutes to live."
  4491. >Lotus just stares at you before collapsing back onto your chest. "Don't joke like that, especially after you just got stabbed."
  4492. Seems we touched a nerve.
  4493. >"Hey, you okay?"
  4494. >Lotus shifts around. "I just don't think you should be joking about dying when you almost did."
  4495. >You pull Lotus in closer.
  4496. >"Hon, I have to keep positive. If I let this damn stab wound turn me grim and brooding, then the dogs might as well of taken me out at that cave."
  4497. >Lotus looks up at you, her eyes full of worry. "You don't really mean that, do you?"
  4498. >"Would you have fallen for me if I were a different person?"
  4499. >Lotus opens her mouth to speak, but closes it as she considers your words.
  4500. >You lower the bed so your laying flat and pull Lotus to your chest.
  4501. >Just like home.
  4502. >"I know I wouldn't be able to live with myself is some stupid fear of death cost the mare I love the man she loved."
  4503. >Lotus gives a halfhearted laugh. "What a romantic doublethink."
  4504. >The two of you lay there in silence.
  4505. >You can't fault her for being worried. Near death incidents have that effect on people and ponies alike.
  4506. >Without warning, the building begins to shake and a blue light floods the room.
  4508. -Anon PoV-
  4509. >After Lunch, you and Rainbow went to go hang out with Twilight and try to tackle this Diamond Dog problem.
  4510. >You had been at the library for a while, it was mid-afternoon now.
  4511. >Twilight was levitating scrolls around her as she chased three trains of thought at once.
  4512. >You were checking some old notes by Starswirl the Bearded for any reference on magic in other races.
  4513. >Rainbow was reading Daring Do.
  4514. >Twilight put her scrolls down. "This makes no sense, Diamond Dogs don't have the knowledge of leylines required to use magic. They can't manipulate it the same way we can."
  4515. >You put down the journal you had and look at Twilight. "Twi, I was there. I saw the dogs casting with my own eyes."
  4516. >"But how could the dogs have gotten such mastery of magic so quickly! It's supposed to take years of study for a single pony to learn, let alone an entire race!"
  4517. >Twilight's pride was showing, but her words got you thinking. "Twilight, is it possible for them to steal magic energy from somewhere? Use it to jumpstart their own abilities?"
  4518. >Twilight thought for a moment. "I suppose, in theory. But where would they get the magic to even make that work? I don't think even Princess Celestia could do that."
  4519. >A gizmo at the back of Twilight's study suddenly whirred and popped.
  4520. >Once it stopped, the lights snapped off. "Uh...what happened?" Rainbow asked.
  4521. >Twilight trotted over to her little machine. "This was what I was using to keep track of leyline disturbances in town...but if it's dead then that means...
  4522. >"All the magic in town just got sucked up by something?" Twilight turns to you and nods with panic in her eyes.
  4523. >A low rumble begins to shake the library.
  4525. >You, Twilight and Rainbow rush outside.
  4526. >The rumbling intensifies as you run to town square. You spot cobalt jolts of energy shooting out over the buildings.
  4527. >You all stop in horror as you see a portal the size of a house in the middle of town's square.
  4528. >Diamond Dogs were pouring out of it and startling away any townsfolk still sticking around.
  4529. >What comes out of the portal next is the biggest canine you have ever seen.
  4530. >Almost as tall as the portal itself, the interesting thing about this dog was that it had three heads.
  4531. >Twilight reels back. "Cerberus!? Here!?"
  4532. >What are they, Greek?
  4533. >The dog you spotted in the caves, the one with the suit, was standing on top of the Cerberus.
  4534. >He removed a cigar from his mouth and pointed over the town. "Level it." he called out.
  4535. >The dogs started smashing buildings as Cerberus ran down the path in front of it.
  4536. >Holy shit!
  4537. >You turn to Twilight. She was staring in shock "We have to get everyp0ny out of town, now!"
  4538. >"How could this happen!?" she shouted.
  4539. >You grab her by the shoulders and shake her to get her attention. "It doesn't matter how it happened, we need to save the town, now!"
  4540. >Twilight regains her composure. "Right, all do what I can to alert the town. Rainbow Dash! Go herd everyp0ny you can to the train station!"
  4541. >Rainbow salutes and shoots off into the sky.
  4542. >"Anon, get to the train station and get it ready to go, we need to get to Canterlot yesterday!"
  4543. >You nod and race off to the train station.
  4544. >This was going to have to be fast...
  4546. >The conductors were just as shocked as the rest of the town, but you had gotten them to start up the train by raising your voice a little.
  4547. >Ponies were filing into the train as fast as they could. Fortunately, the dogs seemed more interested in sacking the town then in killing anyp0ny.
  4548. >You warded off a pair of dogs with some ice crystals and allowed the family they were chasing to jump onboard the train.
  4549. >You were still worried sick. You had run to the hospital, only to find it deserted and Mous's room empty.
  4550. >You did, however, find a Diamond Dog with a scalpel jammed in his eye. So you were hopeful.
  4551. >Twilight ran up to you with the mayor. "Anon! Is everypony on board!?" she shouted.
  4552. >"All that came! What about the rest?"
  4553. >There was no way this train could support the entire population of the town.
  4554. >"They're running to the Everfree Forest! Zecora is going to help them hide in the mountains!"
  4555. >As good a plan as any.
  4556. >Mister Cake runs by with his children on his back as Pinkie hops into the train. "Sweetie? Has anyone seen my wife?!" he cried.
  4557. >"Help!" you head.
  4558. >You saw two dogs making off with Ms. Cake over their shoulder. "Sweetheart!" Mr. Cake called out.
  4559. >You bounded down the street and tossed a crystal at the head of one of the dogs, encasing it in blue ice.
  4560. >You were about to do the same for the one carrying Ms. Cake before a knife flew out of the nearby alley.
  4562. >"Mous!" You call out as you run to meet him.
  4563. >He had changed into the clothes he had gotten stabbed in and was wheeling around a bag of blood as it still dripped into him.
  4564. >He held his stab wound as he pulled David out of the dead dogs neck. "In sync even here, huh Anon?"
  4565. >Mous grimaces as he speaks. Lotus helping support him with a worried look. "I'm fine, just off the morphine..."
  4566. >You help Mous get back to the train station before you see a cyan bolt racing across the sky.
  4567. >You see it impact Cerberus in the middle of town, knocking him back a bit. "Yeah! How do you like that!?" it called out.
  4568. >"Rainbow! We have to go!" you cry out.
  4569. >Rainbow banked hard and came racing towards the train.
  4570. >But not without bringing Cerberus with her.
  4571. >You weren't going to let this mutt harm your fiancé, let alone the passengers.
  4572. >You throw not one, but three crystals at the beast, one for each head.
  4573. >The effects of the crystals prove enough of a distraction for Rainbow to get on the train.
  4574. >Cerberus roars in outrage and makes for the train again. "Anon! Onboard, now!" Mous shouted.
  4575. >You jump onboard and shout for the conductors to gun it.
  4576. >Cerberus crashes through the train station just as you clear it and get onto the tracks.
  4577. >Cerberus doesn't follow and proceeds to wreck the train station.
  4578. >You watch as Ponyville, the town you'd called home for the past two years almost, shrink in the distance. Smoke bellowing up from it.
  4580. =BiE 59=
  4582. >You sat on the train as it sped away from Ponyville.
  4583. >The car was packed with refugees, the only reason you were sitting was because you were unable to stand.
  4584. >Pain shot through your torso again. Lotus gripped your arm and helped you lean back. "Easy there...come on." she said.
  4585. >You grunted through the agony of your nerves flaring up again for a few minutes.
  4586. >Aloe and Caramel sat across in the seat across from you. "Mous, are you sure you should be traveling like this?" Aloe said.
  4587. >This pain wasn't doing wonders for your sense of humor.
  4588. >"Better than staying in town."
  4589. >The door behind you opens and a familiar face trots out. "Mous!" she says.
  4590. >Dinky bounds out from her mother legs and hops on your lap, you ignore the pain for your little friend. >"Hey there, poozer. What's up Derpy?"
  4591. >Derpy throws her hooves around your neck and almost pulls you off your seat. "I wanted to thank you for getting Dinky out of those mines."
  4592. >She looks down at your wound. "I heard what happened...I'm so sorry."
  4593. What? Why?
  4594. >"Well...don't be, Derpy. I'd do it again in a heartbeat."  
  4595. >"Let's hope you don't have to." Lotus says.
  4596. >As Derpy and her family walk away, you stop her coltfriend and pull him close.
  4597. >"Any chance you could help this situation?" you whisper.
  4598. >He shakes his head. "I didn't have time to grab anything before we had to leave."
  4599. Damn...
  4600. >He must have seen your face. "I'll help any other way I-"
  4601. >"No." You interrupt.
  4602. >You look down the car at Derpy and Dinky taking a seat.
  4603. >"Just take care of them. We can handle the rest."
  4604. >You hope.
  4606. >The train pulls into Canterlot and the guards start sorting out the refugees.
  4607. >Anon and the girls head to the castle, they were meeting the Princess for a meeting.
  4608. >You said you'd catch up with them.
  4609. >Right after you went to the hospital.
  4610. >You dragged Doctor Horse along so he could give the Canterlot doctors the heads up on your condition.
  4611. >The Canterlot hospital was more equipped then the Ponyville one and they brought out a blast from the past: Magical bandages.
  4612. >The soothing bandages started to work as soon as they were wrapped around you. The doctors said they were soaked in an enchanted mix, and that it seeping into your skin was what was helping you.
  4613. >You made a mental note to watch out for any magical poisons.'
  4614. >You and Lotus made your way to the castle, you wanted to be present for this meeting.
  4615. >"Feeling better?" Lotus asked with a smile.
  4616. >You make a show of stretching, jogging in place, and even jumping up and down a bit.
  4617. >"Mhmm. I tell ya, these bandages should be the standard in every hospital."
  4618. >"Will they heal you faster?"
  4619. >"They numb the pain a good bit, but I'll probably still have to take it easy."
  4620. >You doubt these bandages could keep your guts from spilling out if you popped a stitch.
  4622. >The guards were being pricks and wouldn't let Lotus into the meeting.
  4623. >Anon must have heard your shouting, because he came out and told you to stop being dumb.
  4624. >You were about to go off on him when Lotus assured you that she didn't mind and that you should just go in already.
  4625. >You found Anon, the girls, Shining Armor, several officials, and both Princesses standing around a small model of Ponyville and the surrounding countryside.
  4626. >"Sorry to keep you all waiting."
  4627. >"We weren't waiting, Mous." Celestia said.
  4628. Straight to business again.
  4629. >"We were examining the methods used by the Diamond Dogs to invade Ponyville in the way they did." she said.
  4630. >"What have we got?"
  4631. >Anon sighs. "Not much...the Dogs came out of a portal in the center of town."
  4632. >"A portal that shouldn't have existed..." Twilight grumbled.
  4633. >You jerk a finger towards Twilight. Anon catches on. "Diamond dogs apparently can't use magic."
  4634. >"Hmmph. Tell that to the fireballs we dodged."
  4635. >"But it shouldn't be possible! And even if it was, where did the Dogs get the kind of magic to make a portal so big!?" Twilight shouted.
  4636. >"Twilight, you said the leylines in Ponyville went dead right before the Diamond Dogs came?" Celestia asked.
  4637. >Anon and Twilight nodded.
  4638. >"Hmm...perhaps the Diamond Dogs siphoned the magic from the leylines to power there portal..." she said.
  4639. >"But Princess, that's impossible!" Twilight said.
  4640. >"Evidence proves otherwise, Twilight."
  4641. >Twilight silenced herself.
  4642. >"That still does not explain how they summoned Cerberus..." Luna said.
  4643. >"Maybe it was pack nature?" a voice echoed through the room.
  4645. >Everyone in the room spun around to get a bead on the voice. "Oh come on, dere's no need for dat."
  4646. >Everyone spun back around and saw a Diamond Dog standing on the map.
  4647. >Or well, the image of a Diamond Dog.
  4648. >"Took you mutts long enough ta all get 'ere. Ya kept me waitin'" he said.
  4649. >"Who are you?" Celestia roared.
  4650. >"Easy dame, names Dogfather." he said.
  4651. >Celestia was taken aback by that. "THE Dogfather? How did you get out of Tartarus?"
  4652. >That was where you had heard that name! During the cult crap!
  4653. >The Dogfather laughs. "Heh. I'm tha new one. Took over after Discord took out da last one."
  4654. >"You're welcome for that, by the way."
  4655. >The Dogfather turns to you. "Huh?"
  4656. >"I'm the guy who trapped Discord there. You're welcome for your promotion, Spot."
  4657. >He growls at you. "I got ta where I am on my own, runt. Aint nobody helped me."
  4658. >"How do you have your army? Celestia asked.
  4659. >The Dogfather continues to stare daggers at you for your insult. "Busted 'em out when I got outta Tartarus. Took that fancy guard dog wit' me. You oughta know bout havin' one dog guard another."
  4660. >"What do you want?" Celestia said.
  4661. >Dogfather turned back to the group assembled. "I want what's due us dogs. You ponies keep da world in yur grip. Hell, ya even control tha sun and tha stars, n' I want some a dat."
  4663. >The Dogfather is un-amused. "Ya aint got no choice, dame. We're commin' for ya n' we're gonna take what we want..."
  4664. >The image of The Dogfather vanishes from the table.
  4666. >"Well, shit."
  4667. >The room erupts as everyp0ny tries to figure out what to do.
  4668. >You can't make out a word of it before Celestia silences the gathered ponies with a loud but calm "Stop."
  4669. >Everyp0ny stops talking as Celestia speaks. "We are not going to panic. Panic is what will tear us apart."
  4670. >She turns to a pony in a robe. "Grand Magister, your first instruction is to seal off Canterlot's leylines from any outside influence and ensure that the Diamond Dogs cannot teleport in."
  4671. >The pony nods and trots off as Celestia turns to another. "General, how long would it take the dogs to get here by foot?"
  4672. >The general looks over the map, Ponyville and Canterlot weren't too far away. "Not long. However, if we can contact Cloudsdale, we can have them hammer the area with weather to slow the dogs down. We can also barricade the paths on the mountain that lead to the city."
  4673. >There were times when having your city not touch the ground were a good thing. "Do so immediately. Anything we can use to grant us time should be considered." Celestia said.
  4674. >"Guard Captain. Prepare the royal guard for an invasion. And prepare the citizens of the city as well." She said to Shining Armor as he saluted.
  4675. >Celestia turned to Anon. "Anon, Twilight, you two were invaluable during the Discord crisis. I would like you two to help the Grand Magister as well as devise a method of robbing the Diamond Dogs of their magic."
  4676. >You approach Celestia as everyone else exits the room.
  4677. >"Orders?"
  4678. >Celestia merely gazes at you. "You intend to help?" She wasn't expecting you to volunteer.
  4679. >"Any way I can."
  4680. >Celestia throws a glance at her sister before turning back to you. "Help however you see fit, Mous."
  4681. >With that, she walks out of the room.
  4683. >It was late at night now. Way late.
  4684. >Luna's moon had already risen and was more than halfway across the sky.
  4685. >You had taken a walk down to the area the refugees were set up, you had helped get everyp0ny squared away with a roof over their heads and food in their bellies before you made your way back here.
  4686. >Those hotels might be pissed off at the royal edict telling them to provide shelter, but they could fuck off. Broblood stopped by to help your case when they resisted.
  4687. >You crawl into bed, Lotus was already asleep.
  4688. >You begin absentmindedly flicking her hair before you hear something. "You're worried."
  4689. >You turn to the mare next to you as her eyes open.
  4690. >"I am?"
  4691. >Her eyes spoke of concern. "You only play with my hair in bed when you're worried. What's wrong sweetheart?"
  4692. >You sigh and wrap your arms around her.
  4693. >"Lotus, I think I'm gonna try helping the delaying action. I can't just help refugees while the dogs keep marching towards us."
  4694. >Lotus shifts in your grasp. "Are you sure you're up to it?"
  4695. >The bandages were helping, but you know you shouldn't be pushing yourself.
  4696. >"I don't think it matters. If the dogs are coming, I can't let it slow me down."
  4697. >Lotus sighs and buries her head in your chest. "I know trying to talk you out of it would be pointless...Just please, please, be careful. I don't want to see you back in the hospital again so soon..."
  4698. >You pull Lotus up to your head and kiss her.
  4699. >"I unnecessary risks."
  4700. >What was necessary was still up in the air...
  4702. =BiE 60=
  4704. >You and Rainbow sat at the table in the royal dining hall eating breakfast in silence.
  4705. >The sky outside the window was dark and cloudy, despite it being early morning.
  4706. >Cloudsdale had kicked it up a notch and was dumping six kinds of hell on the Diamond Dogs.
  4707. >Snow battered them without end, hail forced them to take shelter, tornados pushed them far out of the path to Canterlot, and that was just what you saw on your way in today.
  4708. >Unfortunately, it also had an effect on the populace of Canterlot.
  4709. >Shining Armor was absent from breakfast, having to calm down the citizens for fear of a riot.
  4710. >All this did have a rather "End of days" feel to it...
  4711. >An army from hell, a charismatic enemy leader, broken weather. And the only thing standing it it's way were you and the rest of the mages.
  4712. >No pressure...
  4713. >"You worried?" Rainbow asks.
  4714. >"Scared is more like it." you say as you push your plate away. "This is all a bit overwhelming..."
  4715. >Rainbow loops a hoof through your arm. "Come on, Anon! We got you and Twilight taking care of the magic, Mous and the entire all the others taking care of the path in, and don't forget that you got the best flier in Equestria on your side!"
  4716. >You chuckle and kiss her forehead, Rainbow's optimism was infectious.
  4717. >"Yeah, I guess you're right. And we still have the Elements of Harmony ready, just in case."
  4718. >Rainbow's face falls a bit. " were banking on us being able to us the Elements?"
  4719. >You look her in the eyes. "Uh, yeah. Why?"
  4722. >"Easy man, the Dog's can probably hear you from down there."
  4723. >Mous is pacing around the room now. "How did this happen? Why did it have to happen now?"
  4724. >You can't resist. "Well, when a male and a female love each other very much they..."
  4725. >"I know that part! They call the doctor and he gets the machine!" he shouts.
  4726. >Hehe, he's so-wait what?
  4727. >You don't get the chance to ask as Mous continues his little tirade. "This totally fucks up our security..."
  4728. >You take a seat next to him. "Rainbow had the same reaction, what's up man? Why can't Fluttershy help? She can't be more than a few months along..."
  4729. >Mous runs his hand through his hair. "It matters because she'll be thinking differently. It's easy to risk your own neck, but it's a whole other matter to risk someone else's. Especially when it's your kid."
  4730. >That...made a lot of sense, actually. "Also, I doubt Thunderlane is going to want to put the mother of his bastard child at risk. Despite that limp dick fucker putting us in this mess in the first place."
  4731. >You throw your hands behind your head. "Why o' why can't these kids learn the proper way to combat unwanted pregnancy?"
  4732. >Mous gets a devilish grin. "A nice trip down the stairs..."
  4733. >The room is silent for a moment as the joke sets in. Before it is brought back to life with the sounds of uproarious laughter.
  4734. >The laughter fade. "Don't worry man, we'll just have to try harder. For little Thundershy."
  4735. >Mous rises from his seat. "Yeah yeah...go be magical. I have to get the guards on the walls started boiling that oil..."
  4736. >Boiling oil on fur...Not a good way to die.
  4738. >You connect the copper wiring to both the mana battery and the crystal base. "Alright, try it now!"
  4739. >The room takes on a faint blue hue and echoes a slight hum as the device powers up.
  4740. >The device was a mana sink. It had a similar design to the crystals, just on a much larger scale. A mana battery power an anti magic spell. That spell was then sent through a spherical refracting lens, providing an area where mana flow would be interrupted.
  4741. >"Nice work, everyp0ny." Twilight said. "This will trip up the Diamond Dogs for sure."
  4742. >The Grand Magister stepper forward. "Yes. An impressive accomplishment. Apprentice, take this prototype and the supplies down to the artisans. They must begin mass production immediately."
  4743. >The apprentice nods and gallops out of the Arcanium as the Grand Magister approaches the rest of you. "We must now tackle a bigger problem..."
  4744. >You shoot a look at Twilight. "Bigger problem?"
  4745. >Twilight turns to you. "Yes Anon. We may have come up with a solution for the Diamond Dogs magic...but..."
  4746. >"But we may have magically neutered ourselves in the process." The Grand Magister finishes.
  4747. >The significance of that hits you...damn. "Is all magic out?" you ask.
  4748. >"Minor spells, such as our telekinesis will still function. The crystals will drain the mana from any spell that is larger than that."
  4749. >Crystals... "Grand Magister. Would the crystal drain the mana from an already completed spell?"
  4750. >The Magister shakes his head. "Once a spell is self sustaining, There is no need for additional mana. The crystal would be powerless."
  4751. >A smile splits your face. "Then maybe there is a way. "
  4753. >You're back in the meeting room. Mous stood with the General and Shining Armor while you stood with Twilight and the Grand Magister.
  4754. >Celestia and Luna stood at the head of the map. "General report." Celestia said.
  4755. >The general sighs. "It's not good news, Your Majesty. The Diamond Dogs have powered through the plains and will be at the first of our delaying fortifications within the hour. They will be able to strike at Canterlot by the morrow."
  4756. >The room collectively gasps. "How can these Dogs make it this far despite the weather slowing them!?" Luna asks.
  4757. >"Because dead Dogs don't need to sleep, or eat, or stop. They could walk halfway from here to Fillydelphia overnight." Mous grunts out.
  4758. >Celestia remains calm. "And you, Grand Magister?"
  4759. >"We have successfully developed a way to counter the Dog's magic, and have sealed off Canterlot's leylines. Anon has supplied us with a crystal based alternative to our own magic, allowing us to participate in the field."
  4760. >You feel your cheeks darken a bit as Celestia says. "Thank you Anon, your help will prove invaluable."
  4762. >Celestia turns back to everyp0ny gathered. "I believe it is time to tell you what we are all defending."
  4763. >"The City of Canterlot serves as more than our capitol. At the heart of the city, deep underground, lies a regulator for all of Equestria's magical energy. Princess Luna and I believe that The Dogfather will attempt to harness that energy for himself." Celestia says.
  4764. >Twilight speaks up. "But Princess, nothing can handle that much magic! It would kill him!"
  4765. >Celestia closes her eyes for a moment. "The Dogfather is already technically dead, Twilight. And with his magic, he may be able to control it."
  4766. >"We have underestimated our enemies speed and resolve. However I have faith, both in the countermeasures you have developed and in the defenders of the city. So long as we stand in harmony, we cannot fail.
  4767. >The room stays silent as everyone considers the Princesses words. Celestia eventually speaks up. "Friends, you know the enemy we face and their goal. I would ask now that you retire to your rooms, for tomorrow will be an eventful day indeed..."
  4769. >You lay silently in your bed with Rainbow that night.
  4770. >Tomorrow was going to be different then it was with Discord. No numerical advantage, no real ace in the hole. It was going to be a clash of wills, yours and your friends against the Dogs.
  4771. >Rainbow was breathing soundly into your chest, but you knew she was awake. "How is everyp0ny?" you asked.
  4772. >Rainbow sighed. "Worried. Fluttershy and Thunderlane are scared for their foal. Rarity met up with some Prince and got the Apples and the Cakes to hold up in his estate."
  4773. >Rainbow looks up at you. "Do you think we can beat 'em Anon?"
  4774. >You think silently for a moment. "I think we're going to try." Rainbow starts to wriggle around and works her way up to your face.
  4775. >"You're going to fight tomorrow?" she asks.
  4776. >You nod. "That's the plan."
  4777. >Rainbow plants a kiss on your lips. She places her head against yours after she breaks it. "Tomorrow, you're gonna go off and try to defend the city while I have to stay holed up in here as a "last resort".
  4778. >"Dash..."
  4779. >She puts a hoof over your mouth. "I love you, Anon. And before this whole mess started, I agreed to marry you. So before you go out and maybe give your life defending Equestria..." Dash leans forward and plants a long, tender kiss on your lips. "Give me something to imagine that time would be like if you don't come back..."
  4780. >You pull Dash's mouth back against your own. As the night wore on, you reminded yourself that this was what you fought for.
  4781. >For little Thundershy who wasn't even born yet, for Granny Smith to live out the rest of her days in peace, and for Rainbow Dash to have her fiancé come home alive.
  4782. >You would fight for all that, and you would show the Diamond Dogs why they shouldn't have left Tartarus.
  4784. =BiE 61=
  4786. >You could see them out there.
  4787. >Streaming out of Ponyville and scurrying around the ground below like tiny little ants.
  4788. >The winds were whipping and howling as the tornados harried the Dogs.
  4789. >"Private, keep that wall high. We need the fire burning to boil this pot."
  4790. >"Yesh Shir!" The private called back with the ladle in his mouth.
  4791. >You hop down from the wall and grimace as you land.
  4792. >Damn wound...
  4793. >You reached into your pocket and swallowed some of the painkillers the docs gave you.
  4794. >"How many of those did you just take?" General Vizir asked.
  4795. >"Enough."
  4796. >These pills were lighter than the ones you had taken for your manticore wounds, the benefits of having magical bandages as well.
  4797. >Vizir just continued to glare at you. You could guess his thoughts.
  4798. >"You don't like me, Vizir."
  4799. >The general snorts. "A little more than a year ago, you were the one we were calling meetings over. And now the Princess appoints you Chief Logician for the defense of the city."
  4800. >"And that makes you angry."
  4801. >"I just don't think somep0ny almost convicted of war crimes should be put in charge of defending the lives of others." he says.
  4802. >Heh.
  4803. >"Remind me to tell you about the story of the Nazi scientists from my world if we live through this."
  4804. >A chariot pulls up to the castle walls. "Sirs! You're needed at the first barricade!"
  4805. >You were setting up barricades at the entrance and exit of every cave along the route to Canterlot.
  4806. >You can't imagine what's so hard about setting up walls...
  4808. >You and Vizir took the chariot down to the first mountain cave.
  4809. >The railroad that normally served as the entrance was being ripped up, it's metal and wood fortifying the barricade.
  4810. >The small path up the mountain had been blasted away by unicorn magic. Vizir assured you that they could rebuild it.
  4811. >The land before the mountains was a sea of hills as well as a straight shot to Ponyville.
  4812. >It was less than a day ago that you were racing along this path to escape town.
  4813. >Not a half mile from the foot of the mountain, a tornado raged. Snow was piling up by the foot, and hail was falling like rocks.
  4814. >Not your normal summer.
  4815. >The chariot landed and a soldier approached you as the two of you stepped off. "Sirs! We have captured a prisoner!"
  4816. >"A Dog got this far?"
  4817. >"Advanced scout. Take us to him, son." Vizir said.
  4818. >The soldier led the two of you behind the first barricade. A Diamond Dog was trussed up in the corner. "Here he is, sirs."
  4819. >"Where'd you find him?"
  4820. >"He was hiding behind a hill, watching us erect the barricade. We only spotted him after he dug himself out of the snow." The soldier said.
  4821. >"Leave us." Vizir said.
  4822. >The soldier trotted away as Vizir stepped towards the Dog. You stopped him halfway.
  4823. >"Do you p0nies have "Good cop, Bad cop"?"
  4824. >>Vizir gets a glint in his eye. "You might work out after all. You're bad cop, I have a reputation to uphold."
  4825. Yeah, not like we have a reputation.
  4826. >Don't take his side, brain.
  4828. >The two of you walk up to the Dog. It's hands and feet are shackled. It starts to shout. "Not going to talk, ponies! You never mak-"
  4829. >"Be quiet mutt. Before I do it myself." you bellow. The cave adding echo to your voice.
  4830. >Vizir steps over to the mutt. "You'll have to excuse my friend here. He has had a rough day."
  4831. >You flare your nostrils as the dog glances your way. "Why don't you tell me why you're here so that we can all get on with our day?"
  4832. >The Dog snorts in Vizir's face. "A shame. Logician?"
  4833. >You sit down in front of the dog.
  4834. >How are we gonna play this?
  4835. I have a plan.
  4836. >"I killed Discord. Start talking and I won't do to you what I did to him."
  4837. >What.
  4838. Roll with it.
  4839. >The Dog's eyes flare. "That a lie. No way you kill Discord."
  4840. >Vizir interjects. "He did. I saw the wreckage."
  4841. >"Talk."
  4842. >"H-How!?" The dog shouts.
  4843. >"Extreme and excessive violence."
  4844. >The Dog audibly gulps. "Dogfather on his way here. Now. Storms not going to slow him down.
  4845. >"And why is that?" Vizir asks.
  4846. >"Dogfather and other Dogs from Tartarus already dead. They not need to sleep, or eat, and they don't get stopped by weather that isn't tornado."
  4847. >You and Vizir glance at each other.
  4848. >"He going to hit Canterlot with his army. All living dogs going to catch up and make it harder for you to stop us."
  4849. >Vizir has heard enough. He removes the Dog's bindings. "You are free. I recommend you leave this place, we will not be merciful a second time..." he grumbles.
  4850. I thought we were bad cop.
  4851. >The Dog hops over the barricade and runs to the forest. Vizir turned to his men. "Soldiers! Shore up that barricade! We will be expecting Dogs by nightfall!"
  4853. >You ride the chariot with Vizir back to the walls.
  4854. >You land to find some contraption waiting for you.
  4855. >"What is this, private?" Vizir asked.
  4856. >"A countermeasure delivered by the mages, sir. They say it will stop the dogs magic."
  4857. >Hmm...
  4858. >"So...Anon finally delivered."
  4859. >"How does it function?" Vizir asked.
  4860. >The private levitates a scroll in front of him. "Apparently, it only needs to be activated by a unicorn. And then it will cancel most magic in a two hundred foot area."
  4861. >You look down the city walls. There was a lot of ground to cover...
  4862. >"Are they sending more?"
  4863. >The private nods. "The note said that they were producing more of them now. They should be here by night watch."
  4864. >"Good. I want them erected and operational by midnight. We cannot let the Dogs near this city while they can use their magic."
  4865. >You and Vizir step out to the edge of the wall. "This device will help, but I worry about the effect it will have on our defenses."
  4866. >"How so?"
  4867. >"If this device can disrupt the Dog's magic, it may disrupt our own as well." Vizir laments.
  4868. >"Go talk to the mages. If I know Anon, he'll have come up with a solution."
  4869. >"You are sure?" Vizir asks as he glances to you.
  4870. >You silently nod.
  4871. >The two of you stare out over the walls under the dark sky, watching the advancing horde.
  4872. >"Think we can beat 'em?"
  4873. >Vizir sighs. "I have faced Griffins, Minotaurs, and everything in between. But an army from Tartarus..."
  4874. Yeah...
  4875. >You can relate...
  4877. >You were in bed after the meeting.
  4878. >Heavy stuff, getting told that an army was coming for you.
  4879. >Lotus was laying her head on your chest, breathing steadily.
  4880. >You reached down to brush her hair when she spoke up. "Do you think you can win tomorrow?"
  4881. >"I think we can."
  4882. >Just had to play it right.
  4883. >She shuffled on you. "It's just...I spent the day with Aloe and Caramel at the shelter..."
  4884. >She looks you in the eyes. "Everyp0ny is scared Mous. We're all scared that this may be the last night for Canterlot."
  4885. >"I know you and Anon and the rest of the guard are going to do everything you can to stop them, but..."
  4886. >You pull Lotus on top of your chest and hold her close.
  4887. >"Hey now...don't talk like that. I'm not gonna let those dogs take one step inside this city."
  4888. >"Sweetheart, you may have taken apart a cult, but even you can't stop an army."
  4889. >You look down and meet her gaze.
  4890. >"Yeah? Just watch me." you say with a grin.
  4891. >Your infectious grin causes Lotus to giggle a bit before she rest her head again."...Mous? If this were your last night on Equestria, where would you want to be most?"
  4892. >You hug Lotus close to you.
  4893. >"Well, after I spent time with my family? I'd say I'm pretty happy here..."
  4894. >Lotus lets her hooves curl around your chest.
  4895. >"But...this isn't our last night. Not even close. We're both gonna live long, happy lives once this is done with."
  4896. >You bend your knees and scoot Lotus up your chest, the "oop" she makes is adorable.
  4897. >"But hey, maybe I'm wrong. So..."
  4898. >You pull Lotus in and kiss her, as tenderly as you can.
  4899. >"Let's make this "last night" together something to remember..."
  4901. -Meanwhile at the foot of the mountain-
  4902. >You were The Dogfather.
  4903. >These Ponies had thrown the weather at you, and still you came.
  4904. >They had thrown tornados at you, and you still came.
  4905. >They had sent your army to Tartarus, and still you came.
  4906. >They thought some little wooden barricades were gonna stop you?
  4907. >"Get dis damn thing outa da way."
  4908. >Your soldiers got to work hacking apart the barricade, sending splinters sailing through the air.
  4909. >You looked over the mountains, catching the tips of Canterlot's tallest spires over them.
  4910. >You were gonna collapse those spires.
  4911. >You were gonna knock down the walls and send these ponies back to Tartarus in your place.
  4912. >And then you were gonna take the magic away from this kingdom.
  4913. >And then you were gonna turn this whole stinking planet into your chew toy.
  4914. >You looked up into the sky, it was a full moon again.
  4915. >Good. You wanted the Princesses to see you, to see their end commin' for em.
  4916. >The wooden barricade began to splinter and crack.
  4917. >Yeah...just a bit longer...
  4918. >Then you'd show these ponies that your bite was way worse than your bark...
  4920. =BiE 62=
  4922. >You blasted through the last barricade.
  4923. >These damn ponies had put up a dozen of those things.
  4924. >The first was cute, the second was irritating, everything else was just annoying.
  4925. >You eventually just got tired of waiting for your Dogs to chop through it and just blasted it with your magic.
  4926. >You wanted in that city.
  4927. >You wanted that magical regulator.
  4928. >The three headed beast beneath you growled.
  4929. >"Easy, boy."
  4930. >Cerberus hadn't gotten the chance to fight anything since you invaded that town, he wanted it just as much as you did.
  4931. >One of your lieutenants marched up to you. "Dogfather! The live Dogs have caught up to us, we are ready to take the capitol!"
  4932. >You silently nod as Cerberus marches forward.
  4933. >You hadn't been able to get that many dead Dogs out of Tartarus with just the magic that came with being Dogfather, but once you got that regulator...
  4934. >Your living horde had been pulled from all corners of the world, from Equestria to the Griffin kingdoms.
  4935. >No way those ponies could beat you with these numbers...
  4936. >"Boss!" someone called out and pointed to the sky.
  4937. >Against the blackness of the early morning sky, you could make out a hint of gold racing towards the city.
  4938. >"Leave 'im! Let 'em be warned, it aint gonna make a difference!"
  4939. >The Dogs behind you began howling their approval at the full moon.
  4940. >You stare at Canterlot off in the distance, you could see it since you ported into that town, but to see it so close now...
  4941. >For the first time since you had gotten out of Tartarus, you felt excited.
  4942. >You turn to your lieutenant.
  4943. >"Knock dat city down..."
  4945. >The horns sound.
  4946. >The horns that mean the city is under attack.
  4947. >Both you and Rainbow spring up from your bed.
  4948. >"It's starting." you say.
  4949. >You quickly hop out of bed and throw your clothes back on, looping your crystal pouches onto your belt.
  4950. >You bolt out of the room and head to Mous's door. "Dude! Come on, we gotta go!"
  4951. >You open the door as Mous was rising to his feet in front of Lotus. "Yeah, let's go." he says.
  4952. >Lotus looks scared. You probably just walked in on their goodbyes, and if Mous's goodbye's were as grim as his face was now, you can imagine Lotus being left wanting.
  4953. >"She gonna be alright?" you ask as you and Mous bound down the hallway, Rainbow Dash catching up to you.
  4954. >Mous nods. "She's either staying here or going to be with her sister. I told the guards to escort her if she leaves."
  4955. >You exit outside and look over the city. Canterlot is a beehive of activity, guards and soldiers are flocking to the main gates, pegusi are taking to the air, and you can see Celestia and Luna descending from their tower.
  4956. >You can also see over the wall. You can see the writhing mass of fur that constituted the Diamond Dog army. At its head, you see a three headed beast with a single Dog standing on top of it.
  4957. >A chariot settles down in front of you all. "Sirs! We're here to take you to the front!" the lead pegasus called.
  4958. >You waste no time in grabbing Rainbow and pressing your lips against hers. "I love you. Be safe."
  4959. >Rainbow wraps her hooves around you tight before she jumps into the air. "That goes double for you."
  4960. >You and Mous step onto the carriage as Rainbow flies off to be with the rest of the element bearers
  4961. >You grip the edge of the carriage as you fly off to war.
  4963. >You heart is beating out of your chest, your breaths are shallow and your palms are wet.
  4964. >The grim reality of the situation was setting in. You were going off to war.
  4965. >You weren't cut out for this! You were a science major less than two years ago!
  4966. >You look over at your bro. He's standing there, grim faced and arms crossed. He looked like he was denying even the whipping wind to touch him.
  4967. >You lean forward and grip the railing as your stomach turns in knots. "Nervous?" you hear behind you.
  4968. >You silently nod, fearing that any words would come out wrong. "C'mere." Mous says.
  4969. >You push off from the railing only to have Mous grip you by the shoulders hard. "Look at me." he says.
  4970. >Your gaze meets your bros. His eyes have changed, where once they were alive and had a spark of mischief, they were now hollow and cold. "You're scared. That's normal, good even. But right now, you can't be scared. You can't be scared, doubtful, or worried. Not about anything."
  4971. >Mous points out at the Dog horde. "Those Dogs can smell fear. They've lived in hell and will tear you apart if you show any. So don't. Show that that you aren't afraid of them. Smile and scream and do whatever it takes to make them fear you."
  4972. >"You sound like you're turning me into you." you say.
  4973. >Mous smiles as the chariot begins to descend to the walls. "Is that really so bad here?"
  4975. >The two of you step off the carriage and onto the walls. You make your way to the battlement where Shining Armor, The Grand Magister, General Vizir , and the two Princesses were standing.
  4976. >Shining armor held what appeared to be a megaphone and was shouting over the edge of the wall. "Stand down! If you leave this place, I assure you that no harm will come to you!"
  4977. >A fireball impacting the wall next to him was his response.
  4978. >Shining Armor retreats back to the rest of the commanders. "I don't think they're going to cooperate..." he says.
  4979. >The Grand Magister speaks up. "Perhaps a show of force is required..."
  4980. >"I agree with the magister." Vizir said.
  4981. >The Princesses consider their words. "Anon, Mous, what do you two think on the matter?" Celestia asked.
  4982. >You brought your hand to your chin to think. Mous walked to the edge of the wall. "Do they know their magic is out?" he asked.
  4983. >Luna shakes her head. "The mana-sinks remain deactivated for the time being. However, they may be activated at a moment's notice."
  4984. >Mous walks over to you. "What do you think, man?"
  4985. >You glance over the wall at the encroaching horde and bite your lip. "I don't suppose they'll just leave if we tell them their magic is shut off?"
  4986. >Mous crosses his arms. "I don't think that'll work dude."
  4987. >He was right, it wouldn't help. And you were ignoring what he told you on the ride over.
  4988. >Scare em...
  4989. >You glance at Shining Armor's megaphone.
  4990. >Scare them...
  4991. >Your eyes fall back to Mous.
  4992. >A devious smile parts your lips.
  4994. -Mous PoV-
  4995. >After a few minutes of deliberation about what to say, you grab the megaphone and hops of onto the wall.
  4996. >"Care to give me a little more 'oomph' Princess?" you say as you wave the megaphone at Celestia.
  4997. >The megaphone glows white for a minute and you bring it to your mouth as you look out over the assembled Dogs.
  4999. >The Dogs below shrink at the auditory onslaught.
  5001. >A unicorn behind you powers up the mana-sink and floods the area with a blue glow, similar glows pop up along the walls.
  5002. >A few Dogs below try to cast, only to watch their spells fizzle out when they try.
  5005. >The a few of the Dogs back away as the knowledge that they would be fighting magic dawns on them.
  5007. >The Dogs are really looking nervous now. "THERE IS NO HOPE IN OPPOSING THE INEVITABLE..."
  5008. >"LAY DOWN YOUR ARMS, UNBELIEVERS." You form a thumb with your hand and immediately twist it to face down. "AND BOW BEFORE THE FORCES OF THE CELESTIAL EMPIRE."
  5010. >The entire city is silent for a moment as your words sink in.
  5011. >The Dogs haven't stopped staring at the wall with all of you on it.
  5012. >Eventually, one begins to back away from the wall.
  5013. >He drops his weapon and starts a mad dash back the other way.
  5014. >That's all it takes to convince another to do the same thing, and another, and another still.
  5015. >Eventually, hundreds of Dogs are turning tail and running. "No! NO! Get back here ya mutts!" You hear hollered from beyond the wall.
  5016. Nice.
  5017. >You step down from the wall.
  5018. >"How was my performance?"
  5019. >Anon offers a golf clap. "Not bad, but you over annunciated."
  5020. >"You did well, you two. Very clever." Celestia said with her first smile in a while.
  5021. >Vizir practically gallops over to the wall. "This is almost half their host! With the loss of their magic this will be-GET DOWN!" he shouts.
  5023. -Anon PoV-
  5024. >The castle walls shook as a gout of flame the size of a house blasted through the gates. You peered over the edge and saw The Dogfather panting on the ground. "G...Get in there ya mutts!" he shouted.
  5025. >The remaining Diamond Dog began to pour into the city. Engaging guards along the way.
  5026. >A deafening roar echoed over the walls as Cerberus crashed through the Dogs and Ponies in his path and headed for the center of the city.
  5027. >Luna's horn glowed for a moment. "By the stars! Those Dogs! They're dead!"
  5028. >Mous pushed himself off the ground. "Yeah, a scout we caught said as much. At least that explains why our little speech didn't work."
  5029. >Vizir gallops up to you. "We must defend the city! ALL TROOPERS! DRIVE THE ENEMY BACK OUT OF OUR GATES! ABOVE ALL, DEFEND THE MANA-SINKS!"
  5030. >The Grand Magister turns to the Princesses. "I shall gather my mages and push them from the flank." he says before racing off.
  5031. >You push yourself off the ground and rejoin Mous with the princesses. "We must go combat Cerberus, will you two be okay here?" Celestia asks.
  5032. >You nod and Mous gives a thumbs up as Celestia and Luna fly away.
  5033. >You and Mous step to the inner edge of the wall. "How do you want to do this?" you ask as you ready yourself for combat.
  5034. >"Like this." Mous says as he jumps off the wall. In the distance, you hear an eagle cry.
  5036. >"Goddammit!" you shout as you run down the stairs, throwing crystals at any Dogs who were getting close to Mous.
  5037. >Mous pulled David out of the Dog he landed on and picked up the small hatchet it had dropped.
  5038. >You tossed an ice crystal into a crowd of Dogs as Mous carved his way through the ones on the ground.
  5039. >You tried not to pay attention to the Dogs as you hit them with crystals. You still weren't used to killing something.
  5040. >"Come on ya stupid son's a' bitches!" Mous shouted as he kicked a Dog over.
  5041. >You jump off the stairs to avoid a Dog and toss a fire crystal back up at it. "Could you not piss off the army of Dogs trying to kill us?!"
  5042. >"Oh come on, Anon!" he shouts as he buries his hatchet into a Dog's neck. "This is where it's at!"
  5043. >The two of you dance around each other as you take on any Dogs you can.
  5044. >Luckily, years of playing Playstation in your living room together had given you both an idea on how the other thought in times like this.
  5045. >It's as you throw your latest crystal that you feel Mous push up against your back.
  5046. >You also look around to see that you're surrounded by Dogs. "Mous..."
  5047. >"Yeah, yeah. I see it."
  5048. >Shit. "How are we doing this?"
  5049. >"Break on 3. Ready?"
  5050. >You take a deep breath. "Yeah."
  5051. >"Alright."
  5052. >You dip a hand into your pouch.
  5053. >"One..."
  5054. >You grab the first crystals you find.
  5055. >"Two!"
  5057. >Break on two, that's the rule.
  5058. >It serves you well.
  5059. >The Dogs are shocked as you throw your crystals over the first few and slam one into the lead.
  5060. >The best part of these crystals were that the effects they made were magical in nature, you didn't feel a thing from the fire that immolated that Dog.
  5061. >You duck under a wide swing and toss a gas crystal into the Dogs mouth.
  5062. >You dance your way back and toss an ice spell to the ones behind you.
  5063. >You are rewarded with a yelp of pain as you switch to concussion spells.
  5064. >Dogs are flung to and fro by the force trapped in the crystals.
  5065. >"Stupid mutt!" you shout as one gets too close
  5066. >You toss a spell into the air, it spawns a torrent of magical hail that forces the Dogs back.
  5067. >You take the opportunity to fling more concussion spells, throwing the Dogs back again.
  5068. >Dammit. These dead Dogs were tough.
  5069. >Wait. Dead Dogs.
  5070. >You carried a few healing crystals in the event that you had to play medic, you tossed them at the Dogs to test your theory.
  5071. >"Haha! Yeah!" you shout as the crystals break over the Dogs and washes healing magic over them.
  5072. >Healing magic is great for the living, but the dead seem to hate it. The Dogs howl and cry as their dead flesh burns them.
  5073. >You crush to fire crystals in your hands and form rudimentary cones as the magic escapes, gouts of fire erupt from your hands and bathe the Dogs in flame.
  5074. >They run around and try to put their fur out. A few concussion crystals finishes the job.
  5075. >Hey, maybe you're getting the hang of fighting after all.
  5077. -Mous PoV-
  5078. >The old "Break on two" trick.
  5079. >A classic.
  5080. >You relish the face Dog in front of you makes as you jump at him and drive David into his neck.
  5081. >His friends try to help, but a hatchet to the face usually deters people.
  5082. >You don't give an inch and dive back into them.
  5083. >This wasn't gonna be like the mine. Oh no.
  5084. >You were rested, ready, and wearing light chainmail under your shirt.
  5085. >You were set.
  5086. >"Come on you badger licking thundercunts! Hit me!"
  5087. >The Dogs rise to your challenge as you dance under their pikes and maces.
  5088. >These Dogs were strong, but not too bright.
  5089. >They were wearing heavy plate, probably to combat ponies, but David could fit inside the little nooks and get at their flesh.
  5090. >A particularly mad Dog rushed you in revenge for your latest kill, a sidestep and a kick to the stomach brought him down.
  5091. >You twisted David around and slammed him into the Dog's eye.
  5092. >"Oh come on, ladies! Give me a challenge!"
  5093. >A pair of Dogs rush you, lances out.
  5094. >You flip David and the hatchet into a defensive grip and meet then.
  5095. >You step inside the space between the lances and rush the Dogs, making sure to keep the pressure high on both sides so they couldn't break your guard.
  5096. >You get to within inches of the Dogs and break off, flipping your weapons back to an offensive position as you did and burying them in the Dog's necks.
  5097. >You hear a roar from behind you and spot a Dog charging you with a mace.
  5098. >You dig the hatchet out of the corpse at your feet and throw it at your attacker.
  5099. >The Dog taking his eyes off you to inspect his new shoulder wound was his last mistake.
  5100. >You charged him and thrust David deep into his neck, using your momentum to push the Dog to the ground.
  5102. -Anon PoV-
  5103. >You walk up to Mous as the last Dog falls. "Nice work, psycho."
  5104. >He laughs. "Psycho? What about you Sir Killalot?"
  5105. >You roll your eyes and look over the grisly sight. Something near the palace walls catches your eye though.
  5106. >A pair of Dogs, flanking another one in a suit. "Dude, Dogfather!" you shout.
  5107. >The Dogfather turns to you as you shout and starts to run. "Come on!" Mous shouts.
  5108. >The two of you break off after The Dogfather.
  5109. >He leads you through streets, over walls, and even through the market.
  5110. >"How the hell did he get in!?" Mous shouts.
  5111. >"He must have snuck in while we were fighting!" You answer.
  5112. >The Dogfather runs up to a seemingly normal wall on the palace and waves his hands.
  5113. >The bricks in the wall part and reveal a passageway. "Holy hell!" you shout.
  5114. >You and Mous follow The Dogfather down the hallway he made.
  5115. >Up ahead you see a bright purple light. "That has to be the Regulator!"
  5116. >The Dogfather waves his hand. "Take care of 'em!" he shouts.
  5117. >Shit!
  5118. >Mous bounds ahead of you and brings his hatchet and knife to bear. "You take that one! I've got these two!" he says as he throws the hatchet into the arm of the first Dog.
  5119. >You run past the blockade as Mous fights them off and keep running after The Dogfather.
  5120. >You were not gonna let him get that magic! You were gonna stop him for Rainbow and Thundershy and everyp0ny else out there!
  5121. >The Dogfather throws a haphazard spell at you that sails over your head.
  5122. >You return the kindness by tossing an ice spell at his feet.
  5123. >The floor under The Dogfather becomes a sheet of ice, causing him to fly through the air and land in a heap in the center of the room. "Alright, puppy dog. Time to end this."
  5125. >Be like Mous.
  5126. >"Kid, I dunno what you tink you're gonna-"
  5127. >He doesn't finish as uppercut him with a concussion spell.
  5128. >"No talk, nut sack. Just you and me." you say.
  5129. >You were tired of this prick stabbing your, bro invading your town, and scaring your country.
  5130. >"Dat was your last mistake kid..." he says. His hands glow and another wave of fire hits you.
  5131. >For a split second, you think of it as the end.
  5132. >Before you see the fire rolling off you, however.
  5133. >The Dogfather takes this moment to gloat. "Did ya really tink dat a couple'a gizmos were gonna neuter da top dog in Tartatus!?"
  5134. >You extend your hand in front of you and walk towards the fire's source.
  5135. >"I'm a GOD you little runt!"
  5136. >You eventually reach the fire's source and clamp your magic proof hands over his.
  5137. >You look down at yourself, it seems he burnt your shirt off.
  5138. >As the fire dies down, you look into his shocked face. "Yeah? I'm an Atheist." You then head-butt him.
  5139. >The Dogfather reels back and tosses another spell at you.
  5140. >You remember seeing Mous deflect magic with his a backhand once, and you must say that you can see the appeal. The Dogfather's eyes grow wide and take on a slightly purple hue. "I don' get it... Why aint my magic-!?" His eyes grow so big they look like they're going to pop out of his head. "What -ARE- you?!"
  5141. >You reach into your pouch and grab a crystal. An ice crystal, you find out, as you crack the crystal in your hand and watch the ice inch its way up your arm.
  5142. >"I'm the guy who catches strays."
  5144. >Here you go.
  5145. >"I'm sick of you fucking up my home, asshole! It's time to put you down!"
  5146. >You rush him as he prepares another spell, only to second guess himself as he remembers his lasts effect.
  5147. >Well...Mous is cheesy sometimes..."Sub-Zero ice punch!" you yell as you deck The Dogfather with you ice arm.
  5148. >But not that cheesy...never again.
  5149. >Can't let him catch on though. "Ya see, were I come from we have rules!" you shout as you walk over his rising form and grab him by his gaudy necklace.
  5150. >"One! You don't kidnap children!" You slam him with your ice arm and push him back to the ground again.
  5151. >You reach down and pick him up by the necklace again. "Two! You don't invade towns with a hell army!"
  5152. >This time a trio of teeth fly out when you hit him.
  5153. >You lift him up once more time, concentrating all your frustration into your fist. "AND THREE! YOU DON'T TRY TO SUCK UP AN ENTIRE KINGDOM'S MAGIC!"
  5154. >The Dogfather breaks away from his necklace as he sails across the room.
  5155. >He reaches out to you as he lays there. "No...I need dat..." he says.
  5156. >You inspect the necklace as your ice starts to melt. Gold, with a single gem in the center cut like a bulldog face. "Too bad. It's mine now."
  5157. >Underneath the necklace, you feel another. You grab it in your hand and give it a once over.
  5158. >It looked like a golden dog tag. On it was inscribed the word "Comet."
  5159. >You laugh. "You have the same name as the Full House dog? No wonder your plan failed..."
  5161. >It was a few days after you beat The Dogfather.
  5162. >Celestia had deemed it necessary to throw a parade in honor of a city defended.
  5163. >You and Mous were walking through an ecstatic Canterlot as p0nies lined up to thank the two of you.
  5164. >You were frankly flattered by the attention. Everyp0ny else had helped fight off the dogs too.
  5165. >Celestia said it was because you two stopped The Dogfather that you were the stars of the parade.
  5166. >Mous was eating this up, exciting the crowd gathered in front of the palace and rousing them to new levels up joy.
  5167. >That old dimensional prison you came up with came in handy. Celestia and Luna had tossed The Dogfather into it and sent him off to parts unfathomable. Served him right, the Danny Tanner licking prick.
  5168. >The two of you bounced up the stairs to the castle and stopped at the doors.
  5169. >Everyone was there. Luna and "Blueblood" as you learned. The girls. Rainbow...
  5170. >Mous snuck a wink to Lotus as Celestia came out to greet you.
  5171. >The two of you offered a bow. "Rise, friends. There is no need for that here."
  5172. >The two of you rise up as Celestia booms to the crowd. "In recognition for their efforts in defending this city and capturing The Dogfather, I declare Anon and Mous, Heroes of Canterlot!"
  5173. >The crowd roared as Celestia levitated shiny medals over the two of you.
  5174. >Rainbow burst from her place and kissed you as hard as she could. "Hey, you." you said.
  5175. >You glanced over at Mous who was holding his own special somep0ny.
  5176. >The two of you turn to each other. "We did it, dude!" you shouted.
  5177. >Mous smiles back. "Was there ever any doubt?"
  5178. >You're grinning now as your bro holds out a hand.
  5179. >You slap your palm into his and clasp it as hard as you can to the roar of the city.
  5181. =BiE Bad End One-Shot=
  5182. >Anon was dead.
  5183. >The Dogfather was too much for him.
  5184. >You were not happy.
  5185. >They had taken Canterlot.
  5186. >They had taken Celestia and Luna.
  5187. >And after that...
  5188. >They had started to methodically kill off everyp0ny who wasn't a unicorn.
  5189. >The unicorns were left alive only to have the magic sucked out of them before they were discarded.
  5190. >You were not happy.
  5191. >This would not stand.
  5192. >You had said goodbye to Lotus, Anon, and Rainbow's graves before you started your mission.
  5193. >And now, here you stood. In the same arcane circle used to summon Discord so long ago.
  5194. >But you weren't here for Discord.
  5195. >In place of the artifacts, four magic users, both p0ny and dog, now lay in chains.
  5196. >One decided to speak. "Y-you can't do this! They'll kill everyone, not just th-"
  5197. >You backhand Twilight as hard as you can to silence her.
  5198. >"Shut. Up."
  5199. >Twilight shrinks away from you as tears form in her eyes.
  5200. >You reached into your pocket for a catalyzing crystal, something that could kick start any spell.
  5201. >Anon's last gift...
  5202. >You stood there as you prepared to throw away everything you once were.
  5203. Speak the words.
  5204. >You throw the crystal into the circle and stare into the portal it creates from the magic siphoned from your captives.
  5205. >"With the thirty-seven keys of Tzeench, I open the way for my brothers..."
  5206. >The portal shudders and grows.
  5207. >"With the thousand whispers of Slaanesh, I call to them...
  5208. >Screams and moans echo from deep inside.
  5209. >"With the twelve plagues of Nurgle, I fell their enemies..."
  5210. >A putrid stench seeps from the reddening portal.
  5211. >You pause as you contemplate the name of your new patron.
  5212. >"And with the mighty axe of Khorne, I will cut open the world for them."
  5213. >You were not happy.
  5214. >But soon, you would be.

Prose Equus 26: Bleeding Gods.

by MAndroid

Prose Equus 25: Windows to the Past.

by Mandroid

Prose Equus 24: Death Sentence.

by Mandroid

Prose Equus 23: Spooky Scary Symbiote.

by Mandroid

Prose Equus 22: Dust and Crypts.

by Mandroid