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Prose Equus 23: Spooky Scary Symbiote.

By Mandroid
Created: 19th December 2020 02:16:45 PM
AIE Safe Anon OC Adventure Action Drama

  1. Prose Equus 23
  2.  
  3. >You lean on the wall nearby the main doorway into Canterlot Castle. Unicorn crewmembers from the Delphinus carefully walk up the stairs, holding the urn of Etir in their magic, each of them holding down a corner of the spell. The walls line with guards and crossbows, preparing for the worst and your sword hand aches for the weapon on your hip.
  4. “Even with all this, I’m worried.”
  5. >”You have every right to be.” Tyr says next to you.
  6. “Is there a reason we can’t just throw this into the sun? Your mother did it to the last batch and that seemed to work out okay.”
  7. >Tyr breathes a deep breath. “If Mother disposed of the Etir that way last time, it was because she felt that the best thing to do. This time, she has declared that the best thing to do is allow it to be brought here.”
  8. “You think that’s a good idea?”
  9. >”I think fear denies faith, No-name.”
  10. >You roll your eyes.
  11. >”Fear will trap us in a prison of inaction if we let it, and Mother has not lead Asgard astray in all her rule. I trust her judgement.”
  12. “And I trust what I saw when this almost killed me in the desert. The only ones fearless in the world are fools, are you saying your Mother has no fear?”
  13. >”Hardly.” Tyr says flatly.
  14.  
  15. >The two of you watch the urn get lead inside and follow it. Princess Luna and Celestia stand to meet it in the hall.
  16. “Please tell me I don’t have to tell either of you how dangerous this substance is.”
  17. >”Please don’t tell us that you believe after Sombra’s horn, the remains of the Changeling’s spawning pools, and the trace amounts of countless fantastical beasts, you believe we would not take any precautions.” Luna chides.
  18. “Call me paranoid.”
  19. >”Okay Paranoid.” Celestia says, looking at the urn with a critical eye.
  20. >You snort, making sure it’s loud enough to hear your displeasure.
  21. >”Anonymous…” Celestia continues. “I know you’re right to be worried about this, but unless it can affect someone through SIGHT, then we have more than enough protection. The barriers we’ve placed around it could repel an Ursa Major, and have.”
  22. “And if they don’t work?”
  23. >”Then I throw it into my magic mirror and take a hammer to it.”
  24. >You let out a deep sigh.
  25. “Not much of a choice of this is what the Queen ordered, I guess…”
  26. >”Now you know how we all feel.” Tyr says.
  27. >The two of you watch Celestia and Luna escort the unicorns to their magical laboratory, leaving you both to stand and think of all the ways this could go wrong.
  28.  
  29. >You pass what feels like hours staring up at the clouds growing darker as the sun is set. Tyr busies himself by making patrols along the walls while Shining Armor and his men go through decontamination due to contact with the artifact.
  30. >From the corner of your eye, you catch him approaching.
  31. “I don’t suppose…”
  32. >You turn to face him
  33. “that they need our help, do you?”
  34. >”If they did, they’d have asked us.”
  35. “If they’re able to ask and not up to their horns in trouble.”
  36. >The high general walks over to the edge of the wall where you stand and looks down at the city below. “For one who lived as a guard, you have a surprising lack of confidence in your superiors.”
  37. “There isn’t a fighter alive who got to my age putting absolute faith in the orders they’re given.”
  38. >”Yet they still have to follow them.”
  39. “I’m standing here, aren’t I?”
  40. >Tyr grunts and doesn’t meet your eye.
  41. “It’s just…”
  42. >You lean over the railing and let your shoulders sag.
  43. “I’ve served this kingdom for my entire adult life…bringing that crap into the heart of it worries me, even if the ones handling it are old enough to have seen it firsthand.”
  44. >”I very much doubt that.” You hear Tyr mutter.
  45. >You cock an eyebrow and turn to him.
  46. “What was that? Do you know something about the Etir that I don’t know? That the Princesses may need to.”
  47. >”Just follow your orders, No-name.”
  48.  
  49. “Maybe you didn’t hear me before, but sometimes I lived another day because I DIDN’T follow orders! I’d expect a war god to understand that on some occasions, leaders can have the wrong sense of things, even All-Mothers!”
  50. >”And why do you believe that I am in any more privileged of a position than you are!?” The general snaps back.
  51. >Tyr snorts his frustration out and turns back to looking over at the city, locking his jaw as he works back his temper.
  52. “…I apologize, prince.”
  53. >You look back over the city again.
  54. “I’d simply thought that, as one war god dealing with another, that you and your Mother-“
  55. >Tyr releases an uncharacteristic laugh. “You think she tells me anything.” He chuckles through his lips. “If only simply sharing a domain were enough to warrant that…”
  56. “The Queen is not in talk with her highest general?”
  57. >”Not when he is her son. The trust that would normally have to be maintained through dialogue is simply there from my youth. I may be the closest to Mother out of my siblings, but she still keeps my at a distance on many things.”
  58. >Tyr’s eye shifts to the side to look at you. “Unlike you, it seems. I have never gone to the Well alongside her.”
  59. >Thinking back to what was beneath those waters, you eagerly change the subject.
  60.  
  61. “You’re…not missing much. I’m somewhat shocked that the All-Mother’s relationships with her children are so…”
  62. >”Inconsistent?”
  63. “That’s a word for it.”
  64. >Tyr sighs a breath you feel has been held longer than the two of you have known each other. “It is the way it is…”
  65. “Does it have to be?”
  66. >”If you think you can argue another case to her, be my guest.”
  67. >A silent moment passes between the two of you before dusk turns to dawn.
  68. >In a flash, the side of the royal magister’s tower bursts from the inside out and lets howl a great concussion that shakes not only the city but the mountain its attached to. It’s all you can do to hang onto the battlements and plant your feet in the hopes of not being thrown over the side.
  69. >Neither you nor Tyr need to exchange another word between you, both just running towards the main gates.
  70.  
  71.  
  72. >The two of you break through the castle gates and find the guards inside dazed or unconscious, having either been forced to the floor or against the walls. The ones who can stand look around in a fugue trying to figure out what happened. Unfortunately, you don’t have time to help them up.
  73. “GET THESE DOORS AS OPEN AS THEY CAN AND KEEP THEM THERE! WE NEED TO GET EVERYONE OUT OF THE CASTLE, NOW!”
  74. >”S-sir?” one of them asks.
  75. >”JUST DO IT!” Tyr shouts.
  76. >The order of the war god is difficult to ignore, snapping the guard out of his trance. “S-sir!”
  77. >Tyr gallops forward and pushes the doors of the throne room open with his shoulder. The stairway behind the throne room lead to every corner of the castle, it was the fastest way to get anywhere in the castle. All you needed do was get past the thrones themselves and duck into the alcove where the stairway was.
  78. >”WAIT!” Tyr skids to a halt in front of you and holds his metal-capped hoof out, stopping you.
  79. “What?!”
  80. >Tyr nods his chin towards a single droplet of viscous midnight hanging off the top of the chandelier in the center of the room; the moment he does, the droplet releases itself from the carved crystal and falls to the floor, expanding into a wide pool of Etir as sinister lightning strikes outside the windows.
  81. >From the pool, twin figures pull themselves out of the poison.
  82.  
  83. >You recoil backwards as the corrupted forms of Equestria’s rulers drag themselves free of the puddle. Years of swearing to the crown, serving it, and protecting it make this a difficult sight to see. They drop Etir from their bodies and smile from mouths far too wide for them while hissing like serpents. Their movements jittering like bugs after you lift the stone they hide under and shine the sun onto them.
  84. “This is horrible…what…happened to them??”
  85. >”The Etir wears them like puppets, taking root and steering their actions. It will try to assert more dominance over them until it can claim them as hosts.”
  86. “How do we stop it?”
  87. >Tyr doesn’t answer, instead using his magic-hoof cap and extending it into a long broadsword. “I stay here and I keep their attention. While they stay here, you will get everyone out of the castle.”
  88. “That doesn’t sound like a solution to the problem!”
  89. >”Well it is what we have presented to us! Until we find a way to win, we must find a way not to lose.”
  90. >Tyr lowers himself to a fighting stance as the two not-Princesses spread their wings and hiss at the two of you. “When I charge, get to the door. We won’t have much time after.”
  91. “Tyr-“
  92. >”Good soldiers follow orders, No-name.”
  93. >You clench your fist and back away a few steps. Your duty was to the people of Canterlot as much as it was to the two in front of you.
  94. “Fine, but if you die in here I’ll be mad as Hel.”
  95.  
  96. >Tyr chuckles darkly. “Our fates are all written in the Weird…I cannot die this day.” He glances one last time at you before charging forward. “But that does not mean I intend to give these two the chance to try!”
  97. >Celestia has to leap back as Tyr slides across the floor, swinging his blade inches from her face. Using that same momentum, he slams his blade into the ground near Luna and forces her into the air.
  98. >The corrupted sisters hiss in defiance at him, but the general leaps into the air before they can react in time.
  99. >Landing on the chandelier, Tyr readies his sword and slashes at blasts of sunlight from the tip of Celestia’s horn, cleaving them in two and scorching the walls while Luna comes up underneath him, opening her gaping maw wide to bite him like a sand shark.
  100. >While not taking his eyes off Celestia, the general cleaves a beam of sunlight in twain and slices the chain holding the chandelier on the follow through, cutting it from the ceiling and dropping it on top of the corrupted Luna.
  101. >The Etir Princess struggles under its weight while the general gallops across the floor, engaging her sister.
  102. >The young boy in you who wanted to be a guard after seeing how they fought was enthralled into petrification watching the war god move as he did, not wasting a single motion as he engaged the two most powerful beings in the kingdom in a deadly skirmish.
  103. >A heartbeat later, you remember the situation and run out the throne room doors, slamming them shut behind you to seal the fighters inside.
  104.  
  105. “GO! GO! EVERYONE OUT, NOW!” you shout.
  106. >Servants and guards swarm past you like a mudslide and run out into the relative safety of the city. The walls of the castle at your back rumble and quake with the sounds of combat and it’s all you can do to not feel like the roof will collapse on you.
  107. “MARES AND CHILDREN FIRST! IF YOU DON’T SEE SOMEONE WHO SHOULD BE HERE, SPEAK UP!”
  108. >”Sir!” one of the guards shouts. “Prince Blueblood and his entourage are trapped down that hall!”
  109. “Go!”
  110. >You run past the guard down the hall he was pointing to, twisting, and turning through the corridors as cracks move up the walls from the impacts in the throne room. You hear cursing in a foreign tongue through the walls.
  111. “Well at least he’s giving it his best…”
  112. >A rumble, crash, and a scream come from off the path you were running, but that you can’t ignore. You make a sharp right and race down the hall, finding a group of ponies backing away from an undulating tentacle of Etir that’s crashed through the wall in front of them.
  113. “PRINCE BLUEBLOOD!”
  114. >”You there, guard! Do something!” the noble at the front of the group of loud and glitzy ponies shouts.
  115. >You draw your sword and a chill fills the hall.
  116. “What do you THINK I’m doing here?”
  117. >”WASTING TIME WHEN YOU COULD BE HELPING ME!”
  118. “I liked the you I met in the mountains better!”
  119. >You raise your sword over your head with both hands and bring it down on the tendril. At first it’s like cutting into a pile of lard, but as the cold air starts to seep down your wrist like fresh blood, the thick ink of the Etir slows and hardens until even the slightest twitch makes the obstruction shatter like fragile ice.
  120.  
  121. “Whoa!”
  122. >You hold the sword up and inspect it, seeing faint glowing runes near the guard shimmer a cold blue.
  123. “Colder than I thought…”
  124. >You’re almost knocked off your feet when Blueblood and his entourage gallop past you.
  125. >”I’LL BUY YOU A KEEP, I’LL BUY YOU A TITLE, WHATEVER YOU WANT JUST SHOW ME THE WAY OUT!”
  126. “THE DOOR IS THAT WAY, GAH!”
  127. >All but one of them are gone in a flash, with Blueblood shouting “THANK YOOOOoooooouuuu.” Echoing through the halls.
  128. >You walk up to the one who was left, face on the ground and flank in the air muttering something. He looked young, probably got swept up in the lifestyle his parents don’t even know about.
  129. “Hey, come on, we have to get out of here. What are you doing?”
  130. >”Praying.” He says back quickly.
  131. “What?”
  132. >”M-monsters came to the city, I saw them through the window after the shaking started. P-prince Blueblood says Equestria is favored by the Gods now, right? They have to c-come when we pray to them…”
  133. >You blink as you chew his words over.
  134. “They…should, yes.”
  135. >As if on your approval, the boy goes back to muttering his barely audible prayer. You decide to call in reinforcements.
  136. “Come, we need to get you out of here.”
  137.  
  138. >You usher the youth out to the courtyard and fall to one knee, holding your hand to your heart.
  139. >How in the world was this meant to work?
  140. “All-Mother in Asgard…I beseech your aid.”
  141. >You decide to just throw in as much flowery language that you’ve heard this family use as you can.
  142. “The enemy you sent us to face, the Etir, has taken hold of the two most powerful things in this kingdom. Prince Tyr stands before them now, holding them at bay to protect those outside the castle, but I fear it may be too much for even one as mighty as he.”
  143. >You’ve never done this before, you really hope you aren’t messing it up.
  144. “If something isn’t done, I fear Equestria and all of Midgard will get…swallowed up by it. I know you didn’t take me with you beneath the lake to simply let this happen, so once again I beg that you-“
  145. >The skies part, the clouds rumble, a shaft of light shines down at you before a rush of the rainbow bridge descending alights the entire city.
  146. >You blink away the dots when the shaft leaves, seeing what it left behind.
  147. >”…Where is my sandwich?” Loki asks looking as if she was trying to put something in her mouth.
  148.  
  149. >”Slow down! SLOW DOWN! QUIT PUSHING AND EXPLAIN IT TO ME AGAIN SLOWER!”
  150. >You reach down and scoop Loki up flank and all as you run back into the castle, you know from her embarrassed “Eep!” that a tongue lashing is coming, so you cut her off first.
  151. “THE BLACK OOZE FROM THE DESERT IS BACK AND IT’S TAKEN OVER THE PRINCESSES AND IF WE DON’T DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT THEN EQUESTRIA IS GOING TO FALL AND YOUR MOTHER IS GOING TO BE PISSED!”
  152. >You feel like Loki only hears the last part of that when her eyes go wide. “Why didn’t you TELL ME THAT OUTSIDE!”
  153. >Loki hops out of your hands as you kick the door to the throne room open. The corrupted princesses have mastered the use of their wings now, they flap in the air above the general and emit a constant chiming sound from their mouths.
  154. >The same chiming sound you and Loki know brought an end to a Changeling hive.
  155. >At the same time, the General is bleeding from a wound to his head and pushing himself up with his hoof.
  156. “We don’t have much time!”
  157. >”Yes, I gathered that! Get my brother out of there!”
  158. >You draw your icy blade and look to the princesses, you could possibly freeze the Etir on them, but-
  159. “I need an opening!”
  160. >”Must I do every-damn-thing!?”
  161.  
  162. >Loki removes her helmet and whips her hair like a drying dog would, flinging hundreds of tiny follicles into the room. With a pop and a poof, the hairs each individually explode into a copy of the mischievous goddess, filling the room with her and sending the corrupted Princesses on the defensive instinctually. They his and drip over the floor as the copies of Loki turn the room into chaos, each doing something different. Some walk into walls, others babble incoherently. Others look ready to fight and others simply float through the air on a whim.
  163. >Tyr barks out a single laugh. “Heh…seems that…even the Etir knows…we wouldn’t survive…more of you…”
  164. >”If you have enough blood for that wit of yours, then you have enough to fight, brother! Less sharp tongues, more sharp swords!” Loki shouts.
  165. “Got him!”
  166. >You reach the General and pick him up similarly to Loki. He’s heavier by a wide margin, but you can still get him clear of the area. Not for long however, as the Princesses retaliate by sweeping their wings through the air, sending tendrils of Etir crashing into the copies and reverting them back into hair strands. What they don’t smash gets burnt away in beams of raw magical energy.
  167. >”If I keep this up I’ll go bald! We need to separate the Etir from its host! No-name, strike brothers’ hoof with your sword!” Loki shouts, dodging a tentacle.
  168. >You look at your ice blade, noting the same runes glowing on it again.
  169. “Won’t that hurt him worse?!”
  170. >”THE METAL ONE YOU HALF-WIT!”
  171. “Oh.”
  172. >You set the General down and grip your sword with both hands.
  173. “Ready?”
  174. >Tyr wordlessly extends his metal-capped hoof, holding a wound on his stomach with the other.
  175. >Like you did when you chopped the tentacle earlier, you raise your sword and bring it down atop the enchanted metal. The strike of enchanted steel on blessed Uru creates a resounding CLANNNNNGGGG through the throne room.
  176.  
  177. >Rising above the clang is the bestial screams of the creatures taking control of the Princesses. Their heads reared back and jaws hung open with eyes bulging from sockets, they fall to the ground.
  178. >”Again!” Loki cries.
  179. >Faster this time, you bring your sword back and strike it against the prosthetic hoof. The clang echoes just as it did before, getting the same screams from the Princesses.
  180. >You hack at the hoof-cap like you’re chopping down a tree, echoing the toll of metal on metal the entire time until a single shout causes you to stop.
  181. >”LOGI!”
  182. >A ring of orange runes carve into the air around Loki, spinning around her at an increasing speed before they each spew a torrent of flames. The flames wash over the Equestrian rulers while the Etir screams itself raw at being roasted alive.
  183. “Take it easy! We don’t need them char broiled!”
  184. >”If they burnt that easily, then we wouldn’t allow them control over the SUN! HIT IT AGAIN! LOGI!”
  185. >More fire sprays towards the princesses as you strike Uru to steel one more time. With a final burst of fire, Loki’s magical assault combined with your sonic one forces the Etir from the Princess’s bodies into the form of an undulating miasma on the ground.
  186. >”Hh!”
  187. >Tyr shoots up from where he lay and thrusts his metal hoof out. The cap of the hoof explodes outward trailed by a thick Uru chain. Through the fire you can see it wrap around the Princesses and with a great tug, Tyr pulls them out and over to the two of you.
  188. >You kneel down.
  189. “They’re breathing…good.”
  190. >”Not done yet…!” Tyr says.
  191. >You look back and see the remains of the Etir rearing itself upward, somehow manifesting in greater mass despite no longer having a host body as it towers over you almost to the ceiling.
  192. “It must have FED on them!”
  193. >”Get back!” Tyr shouts.
  194.  
  195. >”ᛁᛇᚣᛇ!” you hear from the front of the room.
  196. >A great wind howls from the door and the runes on your blade ignite to a fevered glow that blinds you from your doom for a split moment.
  197. >When you open your eyes back up, the Etir flood is encased in a thick layer of cobalt ice.
  198. >You blink a few more times, clearly seeing the wrong thing and about to be eaten.
  199. “…Huh? Tyr, what is this?”
  200. >Tyr says nothing, looking towards the direction of the wind where Loki is getting her helmet back on and keeping her back to you.
  201. “Well?!”
  202. >Tyr opens his mouth to speak, but Loki turns back to the two of you quickly, looking not a hair different from normal. “It’s nothing, No-name.” Loki turns her eyes to her brother. “Isn’t that right, Tyr?”
  203. >Tyr is silent for a moment before letting his breath go. “Nothing at all…”
  204. >If you were going to press, you forget about it when the ponies at your feet stir.
  205. >”What…happens?” Luna wonders.
  206. >”Did anyone get the number of the train that ran me over…” Celestia asks.
  207. “Easy you two, you’ve been through an ordeal.”
  208. >”Put me through one as well…” Tyr groans, leaning back on the stairs to the throne.
  209. >”Oh dear…sister, I fear we may have done something awful when we blacked out again.”
  210. >”Speak for yourself, sister…” Luna says.
  211. >”I would like to know what in Bor’s name happened.” Loki says, approaching. “We left the Etir in your care because we presumed you could handle it, were we wrong?”
  212.  
  213. >The Princesses push themselves to their hooves with some help. “Taking precautions…”
  214. >”Almost had it behind the wards in the tower…”
  215. >”Then…this most curious chiming sound.”
  216. >You nod your head.
  217. “That’s consistent with what we’ve seen…
  218. >”Only we contained it!” Loki shouts. “Honestly…wait until Mother hears about this.”
  219. >You don’t feel like seeing a tiny princess dress down the two that you’d spent your life serving, so you learn in close and give Celestia a hint.
  220. “Psst. Embarrass her, she’ll back off.”
  221. >The Princess blinks. “We must thank you, Princess.”
  222. >”Hahn?”
  223. >”If not for your intervention, my sister and I would have been…”
  224. >”Let us say ‘worse for wear’.” Luna finishes.
  225. >”Yes…but thanks to your quick efforts, the entity is contained. We may now go with a more secure option, taking it to an entirely separate magical realm where we hold further control in our study of it.”
  226. >”That should have been your FIRST plan.” Loki mutters.
  227. >Celestia smiles, having dialed her in, and offers a bow that Luna mirrors. ”We are in your debt, you have truly made a miracle today.”
  228. >“We grew hearing the stories of the old gods, but seeing what you did, I believe in them now. And you.” Luna says.
  229. >Loki clears her throat and turns away. “Yes! Yes…well…good…” She turns her body to match the direction of her head, keeping her back to you, and walking to the door.
  230. >You watch her go, doing everything she can to keep anyone from seeing her face.
  231. “I think she likes you.”
  232. >The Princesses chuckle.
  233. >”Someone get me some damn bandages.” Tyr says.

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