• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

1 Neutral

About TemplarBrony

  • Rank
    Blank Flank
  • Birthday 12/18/90

Contact Methods

  • Website

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Rosemount MN
  • Interests
    Sonic/Sega,Mlp Fim,Code Lyoko,DBZ,Star Wars and Shin Megami Tensei
  • Favorite Pony
  1. If Sunset Shimmer had a Persona who would it be?

  2. “My faithful student something bad is happening in Equestria. My sister and I have noticed strange spikes of magical energy in the Everfree forest. I know that many of your friends aren’t with you at the moment, so I would like to ask that you simply investigate what is happening in the Everfree avoid making a confrontation with the spell caster at all costs.” Princess Celestia Ever since receiving that letter Twilight Sparkle had been running through the Everfree forest looking for clues as to the source of the mysterious magic that had the princess so worried. She did wish that she had the full elements of harmony with her but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Applejack had been called out to Appaloosa to deal with a small disagreement that had erupted between the settlers and wouldn’t be back for another week. Pinkie Pie was off visiting her family at the rock farm where she grew up, and Fluttershy was also visiting her family. Rainbow Dash was off at a tryout for the Wonderbolts and therefore may not be back for a month depending on how the trials go. Rarity on the other hand was still around Ponyville and despite Twilight’s urgings that it was to dangerous had decided to come along keeping Twilight’s ridiculous running pace and keeping her complaining about the damages being done to her coat to a minimum at the moment. Twilight had been following a small trail of magical residue throughout the forest believing it to be the source of the Princess’ distress and will lead them straight to the caster. Rarity spoke up “Twilight dear, the princess told us not to engage the caster of this spell, you don’t want to Disobey the princess’ orders” Rarity hated to resort to such low tactics as playing upon Twilight’s perfect student attitude to get them out of this forest but it was necessary, they had been in their for three hours and Twilight had analyzed the spells trail and confirmed that it was a summoning spell of sorts and clearly a very powerful one if she could tell what it was without even being nearby. “Rarity we need to find out who is doing this, whoever they are they’re at least as strong as me in magic, the princess needs to know this, besides it will be fine, we won’t ‘engage’ them we’ll just find out who it is and report back.” Rarity wondered if what Twilight said was true or not but continued to walk with her, she wasn’t about to let some horrible wizard get the drop on Twilight and hurt her, Rarity looked up and saw that the had arrived at their destination, she recognized it as the Castle of the two Princesses. Twilight looked over their destination to make sure that she was right, her horn glowed as she analyzed the magic in the surrounding area and found that it was in fact being drawn into the castle. “Whoever this spell caster is they’re drawing power from the Everfree itself.” Twilight marveled at the spell, absorbing the natural chaotic energies of the Everfree was difficult enough, but then simultaneously harnessing that energy and converting it into a spell, marvelous. Twilight began walking towards the castle only to be pulled back by her tail. She turned around and saw Rarity spit her tail out “NO” Twilight stepped back as Rarity raised her voice to Canterlot levels. “If this unicorn is powerful enough to use the magic of the EVERFREE FOREST, one of the most dangerous places in all of Equestria the two of us aren’t going to do much, lets go back have Spike send a letter to the Princess get our friends back and come back here Elements of Harmony blazing” Rarity stopped as she realized her language choices and coughed slightly before saying “Please Darling.” Twilight simply turned and continued walking towards the castle, “I can’t go back without knowing who did this” Rarity followed behind her shouting about how they needed to go home but stopped once they reached the door to the castle and looked inside. On the ground in the middle of the room were some etchings in the shape of a star but with lines. Around the star were lines of an arcane dialect that Twilight couldn’t quite understand and they were all locked within a circle surrounded by candles at each of the stars points, in the middle of the circle was Trixie Lulamoon speaking in a strange language. Before Twilight or Rarity could call out to Trixie she finished the spell. The lines of the star lit up with a dangerous looking red glow Trixie stepped out of the circle and shouted “Yes, give the Great and Powerful Trixie her POWER” as she said that the ground underneath the circle crumbled and gave way to an empty black void, which began pouring out a strange red mist seemingly in the shape of different creatures. Twilight and Rarity both could hear strange voices in their heads speaking incoherently but continued to stare forward at Trixie who found one of the red misty creatures she wanted as she reached out and said “Yes contract with me demon” as she said this she stood on her back hooves and raised her others in the air in a grand gesture as the red mist surrounded her left fore hoof and the strange star appeared on it along with some of the arcane writing. That was when Trixie turned to see her unwitting audience. ------------------------------------------------ Princess Celestia was pacing nervously around the throne room, mentally beating herself for sending her apprentice into the Everfree forest to investigate the source of the mysterious magic. The door opened to reveal Chrysalis being escorted by the royal guards including Shining Armor and Princess Cadence. Celestia put her inner flogging on hold until she finished with the royal business she currently had to attend to. This was the reason that she could not go and visit the Everfree herself even though she wished she could have, Chrysalis of the changelings had wished for an audience with the two Princesses and she had decided to oblige her request. Luna entered the room at around the same time. “So Chrysalis what is it that you wished to speak to me about.” Celestia attempted to keep herself cordial even though worry for her student was causing a great deal of pain. “Celestia I’m sure you’ve noticed that lately there has been a great deal of magical activity from the blasted forest of Everfree.” Celestia’s eyes if others had noticed this as well then the situation was far direr that she first expected. Luna was the next to speak, “So even the changeling queen has noticed the magical flux” her voice downcast, this wasn’t going to end well. “Yes, and I assure you it worries my people just as much as yours” Chrysalis sighed before continuing a slight tone of apprehension in her voice. “We believe that the… energy is well… Demonic.” The word hung over the Palace as the three leaders finally realized the danger that was to befall them. Celestia didn’t want to believe that Chrysalis was right however she was. Celestia began to prepare a teleportation spell so she could help her student only to feel a sharp pain through her horn as she tried. “Argh” the pain of the attempted spell wracked Celestia’s body as she nearly collapsed on herself. “Sister” Luna ran to her sister’s side as the look on Chrysalis face changed to one of horror. “No, its begun” Shining Armor’s eyes darted from his fallen princess to her sister to his wife and finally asked “What has begun.” The alicorns and Chrysalis simply responded “The Shin Megami Tensei; Reincarnation of the True Goddess.” --------------------------------------------------- Trixie could barely believe her eyes, and couldn’t contain her laughter. “Bwahahaha” she called out “So Twilight Sparkle and one of her miserable friends shall be my first opponent, life is good to the Great and Powerful Trixie sometimes” Twilight called out in the nicest way possible at the time “What did you Do, what in Celestia’s name have you done!” Trixie’s laughter stopped and she frowned a little. “This little setup isn’t completely because of me you know” Trixie adjusted hat before continuing “A mysterious pony gave Trixie and several others the details of this spell and told us where to cast it, said it would give us immeasurable power, enough to crush our greatest enemies.” She hissed those last words sneering at Twilight and Rarity all the while as she giggled to herself. “Now feel the wrath of the great demon Ose” the symbol on her hoof began to glow as the small star in the center disappeared and a creature appeared in front of Trixie. The creature appeared in the form of a Leopard standing on it’s hind legs and wearing a green cape around it’s neck and in it’s paws it holds two large blades as long as it’s arms. Twilight could barely believe what she was seeing Trixie summoned some kind of creature, but her horn didn’t glow; she summoned this thing without unicorn magic. Trixie cried out “now kill Twilight Sparkle Ose” she pointed her hoof at Twilight and the creature darted towards her Twilight threw up as powerful a barrier as she could possibly manage as the creature brought it’s sword down upon her shield. The creature’s blade bounced off but at no small cost to Twilight who nearly collapsed from the wave of pain that came with the blow, the creature was so powerful it nearly broke through the barrier of the Element of Magic in a single hit. “Impressive Twilight Sparkle” Trixie gloated “To block a demon’s blade, I’m glad that you’re my rival.” Suddenly a blot of magic shot out at the creature, Rarity stood tall and fired more bolts at the monster, barely phasing the creature. “Please, no simple unicorn magic could really harm Ose” Trixie burst into fits of laughter, she was about to have her revenge and had a powerful demon at her disposal, yeah life is good. -------------------------------------------------------- Sweetie Bell, Scootaloo, and Applebloom had been playing in the area near Fluttershy’s cottage ever since Rarity and Twilight had left. Oh sure, they had been told to stay in the Boutique but how could they find their cutie marks in there. They were playing around near the entrance to the Everfree when Sweetie Bell felt something. “Hey girls I don’t think this is a good idea anymore.” She backed away, whatever the feeling in her horn was it wasn’t good. “Aww come on we’ve barely started” cried Applebloom, “Yeah totally just started” mimicked Scootaloo, “I have a bad feeling, it’s like something bad is here.” Sweetie Bell was starting to get scared now, “Look I’ll show you” Applebloom walked further despite Sweetie Bell flailing in protest. “Stop, really something is happening here.” “Don’t be such a chicken, we have Scootaloo for that” Applebloom joked, her two friends eyes widened Applebloom gulped loudly and looked behind her to see a large creature that looked like a wolf standing on it’s hind legs with a large club over it’s head “Grwar” Applebloom could only look in terror, the others screamed -------------------------------------------------- Ose’s blades came down once again on Twilight’s shield, Twilight cried in pain but still didn’t falter, something that was beginning to annoy the Great and Powerful Trixie. “Give up Sparkle you’ll never make it out of here alive” she parroted, she had lost interest in taunting her rival around the fifth time her shield blocked Ose. “Alright Ose Gale Slash” Ose clasped its hands and its swords together and wind began to encircle it two blades Ose then swung and the wind rushed forward off of his blades and against Twilight’s shield. Twilight’s shield dissipated as she fell to the ground “No” Rarity rushed forward blasting energy at the creature, Ose simply kicked her out the way slamming her against the wall. Twilight looked over at Rarity’s body as she tried to get up to blast the monster again, she looked over at Trixie whose face bore a wide smile as she witnessed what would surely be the end of greatest nemesis, that was when Twilight heard the voice. “I wish for you to make a contract with me” Twilight didn’t understand what the voice meant, “What do you mean?” she asked groggily, “I mean I’m going to kill you” Trixie yelled, clearly she had been performing a monologue about her plans and Twilight hadn’t been listening. “I wish for you to become my master, I wish for you to live through this ordeal” Twilight knew there was only one answer to the voices request; she was going to die if she didn’t. “I’ll make a contract with you” She saw Trixie’s eyes widen. “So it shall be, I’m Virtue, of the clan Divine, I am yours Twilight Sparkle” Shining Armor approached the princess with a measure of caution, mindful of the creatures known as demons that now protected her. One on her left was a bipedal creature dressed in a large overcoat of some kind wearing a mask that covered its face and wielding a large pole-arm who Celestia called Izanagi. To her right was a large winged creature seemingly made entirely of armor that Celestia called Metatron. “What are your orders Princess Celestia?” Metatron looked over in Celestia’s direction and nodded, and then she nodded back. It was bad enough that these creatures were replacing the royal guards in terms of actually protecting the princess but now they were advising her as well! “Send out teams of Royal Guards to all the pony cities and towns of Equestria; go to the graveyards, dig up the graves, burn all of the bodies.” Shining Armor was barely able to keep from shouting, “Why?” “These demons have more power than you know Shining Armor.” Celestia continued “They have the power to save those close to death, and it isn’t very farfetched to imagine that combined with a unicorns power they could raise the dead, we need to keep this contained.” “As you wish your majesty.” Shining had only been walking for a short period, seething in rage at the Princess request. She wanted two demons as her protectors but not the royal guard, not only that but the request she made of him ‘burn all the bodies’ he shivered to think that all this had happened over the course of one day. He didn’t dare imagine what would happen if this wasn’t solved in a timely fashion. As he was walking towards the barracks to tell the other division leaders of what they were to do in service to the princess he came across his wife. Cadence saw Shining Armor brooding at the prospect of her aunt’s request, she did what any wife would do, she hugged him and tried in vain to comfort his broken faith in the princess of Equestria. “I’m sure that all of this will blow over” she lied, “I’m sure things will be normal again soon enough.” Shining knew she was lying to him but took comfort knowing that one alicorn still cared; one alicorn was still as he knew them. He continued his walk to the barracks with his wife walking side by side with him. He saw Princess Luna rushing the other way to Celestia’s room, “What’s going on?” Cadence questioned Shining Armor simply sighed “Things will have to get worse before better.” --------------------------------------------------------- Twilight rushed as fast as she could through the Everfree forest with an unconscious Rarity on her back. The gash on her side slightly healed by Virtue, who used a spell, it called dia, to mend some of the wound, but she would still require medical attention. “Perhaps now you wish that you had punished the Sumner” Virtue had dissipated into the mark on her hoof, which glowed a dull yellow, presumably an indication of the health of the demon, but it still continued to telepathically communicate with its contractor. “I don’t regret it, no matter what she did killing her would be wrong.” Virtue seemed to chuckle at this concept. “You allow even evildoers to live, you would create an interesting world indeed” Twilight didn’t know what it was talking about but continued running, deciphering the cryptic ramblings of her new demon companion would come later as soon as she had gotten Rarity to Ponyville Hospital and hopefully warned the princess of the spell. Once Twilight finally did reach Ponyville Hospital it was dark out and she rushed inside screaming “ER, ER, gravely injured pony coming through” a nurse took Rarity and put her on a stretcher carrying her into the hospital. Twilight finally settled down however began attracting looks from everyone else in the hospital. ‘Why are they looking at me like that’ “It’s simple, you’re covered in blood” she looked at her back to realize Virtue was right, Virtue had healed her minor wound as well but the blood, both from her and Rarity was still a grim sight for most residents of Ponyville. “Doesn’t that mark look familiar?” “Eeyup.” Twilight looked over and saw Granny Smith and Big Macintosh sitting in the waiting room and looking at the marking on her hoof. “It’s a long story” she remarked “Why so hesitant to tell it?” ‘I’m not hesitant, I didn’t do anything wrong’ “If that’s what you think than why not tell them” she beginning to get annoyed at Virtue’s banter especially because it was right, she didn’t want to tell them and risk anypony treating her differently. “Oh, dearie we didn’t mean nothing by it, but we saw Scootaloo and Sweetie Bell had similar marks on their hooves as well.” “Eeyup” Big Mac’s Eeyup barely registered with Twilight as she was already out the door and headed for Rarity’s Boutique, it was bad enough that she and Trixie had demons but little fillies was another story altogether. ------------------------------------------------------- Pinkie Pie was bored, she was really bored. It wasn’t that she didn’t like visiting her family, her mom and dad, her older sister Octavia, her younger sister Quartz, she was fine with seeing them again and talking about old times, but then there was her Pinkie Sense. Earlier that day she had gotten a super duper doozy, which meant that there was adventure to be had, but she knew that it was happening in Ponyville, she just did. “My friends get to go on another adventure” she sighed wishing that she was there. “Sis” she looked over and saw Quartz quaking at the door, “Oh Quartz come here” she wrapped her in a patented Pinkie Pie hug “What are you afraid of me for?” “Not you, outside” Pinkie raised an eyebrow and looked outside her window and saw nothing but felt her sister tugging to follow her. Pinkie decided that she had nothing better to do and walked outside where Quartz led her only to find the bestest thing to happen all day. The clouds, the cotton candy clouds, were raining chocolate rain. She dove under a cloud and started slurping, was Discord the super doozy, if so she should probably get back to Ponyville, but wouldn’t they have sent for her already? She looked around to see if anything else tasty had happened this time around. She saw one of the rocks her family farmed and bit into it. It was Rock Candy! The rocks were candy now too! She ate as many of the rocks as she could before seeing her sister Octavia walking over with an umbrella her face wearing a frown at the image of her younger sister, an element of harmony, rolling in the mud eating rocks and drinking from a cloud, Pinkie blushed and got up, “Yep definitely something funny going on.” Octavia sighed and offered her sister another umbrella, which she refused. “All this chocolate rain will go to waste then” Octavia raised an eyebrow, but moved her umbrella slightly and tasted the rain, chocolate, definitely chocolate. “Father and Mother are missing, I’m going to look for them, try and find a way to stop this madness while I’m gone Pinkie.” Octavia reasoned with her sister. Pinkie nodded in response, “good and that doesn’t just mean eating the rocks and drinking the clouds” Pinkie pouted a little “I’ll find out what all this is about, just leave it to Detective Pinks!” she pulled a detective uniform and hat out of nowhere and a pipe filled with bubbles and began darting around the farm. Octavia laughed and began her walk towards the nearby forest, glad to know that time had not changed her sisters pleasant attitude towards life, she steeled herself and began walking into the forest and began to hear the sounds of a lyre playing in the distance. ----------------------------------------------------- Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo paced around the boutique nervously, when Rarity came home and found out that they had been playing around near the Everfree she wasn’t going to be happy. They were surprised to see Twilight burst in looking ragged and out of breath and covered in blood along her back. “Twilight” Sweetie Bell screamed and backed away from the blood-covered mare. “Your… hooves” Twilight panted in-between large gaping breaths. The two fillies looked quizzically at her and each other as Twilight rushed forward and grabbed their front hooves examining the marks. “Oh those” Sweetie responded, “A monster attacked and then some things called demons came and saved us.” She proudly announced, she and Scootaloo looked at each other and nodded before stepping back and yelling “CUTIE MARK CRUSADER DEMON TAMERS, JACK FROST AND PYRO JACK” the marks on their hooves disappeared and a floating pumpkin, Pyro Jack came out of Scootaloo’s hoof; and a snowman named Jack Frost came out of Sweetie Bell. “These two saved us from a terrible monster Twilight, they’re good right guys?” Frost and Pyro both shook their heads. Twilight admitted she wasn’t expecting that, the demons she had met so far had been Virtue and Ose neither one of which could be described like Jack Frost and Pyro Jack, both of whom just looked to ‘cute’ to be demons. “Looks can be deceiving” Virtue commented ‘those things, a threat?’ Twilight mentally commented ‘they look like plushies come to life’. She sighed as the two kids poked at her hoof. “What’s your demon like Twilight.” “Yeah yours has to be awesome to right” Twilight stopped the two from going any further. “Call them off and lets go to the library, we need to find out what these things are and if they’re dangerous.” Sweetie Bell was confused “Where’s my sister?” Twilight winced she knew that the question would come up eventually. “She’s been hurt really bad, by another demon.” ------------------------------------------------------ Pinkie Pie was on the case of the mysterious Discord like weather and rocks. But by on the case she was mostly just rolling around and enjoying herself. She hadn’t received a pinkie sense that made her think Discord was back so whatever this was it was at least not that. “I wonder why I’m the only one who thinks this is actually cool” “Well at least someone is appreciative of my genius” Pinkie’s eyes darted around trying to find the source of the noise. “Hold on.” The creature appeared in front of Pinkie, it was jet black stood on it’s hind legs and had seemingly no facial features or any features for that matter aside from it’s claws, wings, and a large spiked crown. “Wow, who are you, or rather what are you, I’ve never seen anything like you before, I should throw you a party, oh though I’ve never thrown a party for another species that I’ve only just met before although that sounds like fun, and besides what creature doesn’t like to party!” “You aren’t frightened of my appearance?” “Nope, by the way what’s your name” “Nyarlathotep, the smiling chaos.” Pinkie looked at the creature and simply blinked, “wow that’s a neat name but I don’t think I can pronounce it so I’ll call you Narly.” The creature bellowed laughter, “Yes I like that name indeed” Pinkie laughed with him, well she thinks it’s a him, “So why did you think I’d be scared” “Because I’m a demon.” Pinkie just smiled “But demons are supposed to be super-duper scary and mean and want to hurt people, you said you’re smiling” her logic was impenetrable “The smiling Chaos” she simply scoffed “Doesn’t matter why you’re smiling, you’re smiling, I think kind of hard to tell since you don’t have a face and all, but you’re just having fun like pulling pranks.” “I love to pull pranks!” the creature clapped it’s hand-claws together and laughed heartily again. “But still you shouldn’t do pranks that hurt people and making all the rocks around here candy could hurt my family, so do you think you could undo that and we’ll do some fun pranks Narly” Pinkie stared with pleading eyes at the black blob, “Perhaps, hmm” the creature looked as though it was in deep thought and stared at Pinkie who just stared right back. “Yes you seem very powerful” Pinkie smiled harder “Well I am one of the Elements of Harmony you know” if the creature had eyebrows it would have raised one. “Really now” “Yep, the element of Laughter” she stood tall with a triumphant pose. “That’s perfect, then make a contract with me and I’ll be your demon” “Pinkie looked confused, “My demon? Contract?” Narly continued to float in the air and began his explanation “Well the simplest way to put it would be that I would be your slave, I would fight your battles and create chaos at your command” “But I don’t want you to be my slave silly, I want to be your friend!” Narly looked shocked at the proposal but proceeded to laugh. “I suppose that is a more pleasing title, well then form a contract with me and I shall be your ‘friend’ for life, fight for you and I will dissolve my little spell of chaos here, until you order it again that is, you seemed to enjoy my chocolate clouds.” Pinkie nodded furiously in agreement, “Okie Dokie Lokie Narly, contract is a go!” Narly would have smiled had he mouth to smile with, but then again he would probably always be smiling. ------------------------------------------------------ Twilight searched high and low for some kind of book on demons while she waited for a response from the princess regarding her discovery at the castle. Spike the two Jack brothers and Scootaloo were all playing together and enjoying themselves while Sweetie Bell simply paced in the corner as she had done ever since she heard the news about her sister. “Why would a demon do that?” she finally asked. Twilight hesitated to respond but Jack Frost rushed to his master’s side “Hee-ho, a bad master makes demons do bad things” Sweetie’s head shot up as Twilight winced realizing she would have to share the full details far sooner than expected. “Who was controlling the demon Twilight” suddenly all eyes in the room were on her, “Third book to you’re right” “huh” Twilight looked where Virtue pointed out and saw a dusty tome that had the symbol they all shared on it’s spine. “Ah-Ha demon book finally” Twilight rashly yanked out the book with her magic and fanned through the pages trying to find some kind of info on the demons they all carried as well as the symbols on their legs. Thankfully most ponies in the room seemed ok with changing the subject as Scootaloo and Pyro Jack rushed over to the book to get some answers while Jack Frost simply stayed in the corner with his mistress. Twilight finally found something she was looking for in the book. “A pentagram” she looked at her hoof, “That’s what these things are apparently, the spells on our legs are summoning and containment spells, that allow us to summon the demons without issue or magic, and when the demons are in the spells again they heal their injuries, even really lethal ones as long as enough time has past.” She dreaded the next line “The only way to really defeat a demon, is to kill it’s tamer.” Scootaloo shivered at this new information but Sweetie took it as her queue. “So who hurt my sister?” Twilight hesitated “It was Trixie who made the summoning circle, and it was her demon, Ose, who injured Rarity.” “But you killed her right” Scootaloo looked at Sweetie Bell with horror “How could you even ask that?” “Did you?” Twilight could only shake her head. “She almost Killed MY SISTER” “Sweetie Bell…” Twilight tried to reach out a hoof to apologize but Sweetie ran out of the library with Jack Frost in tow. Spike coughed out a letter and ran after her “Spike” “I’m going to see if she’s ok and try to make sure nopony sees Jack Frost.” Spike ran out after Sweetie Bell as Twilight read the letter he left behind. “Twily the princess has ordered a lockdown for Canterlot because of the demons. She’s ordered the royal guard to round up all the bodies in all the graveyards and burn them to prevent anypony from using the demons to raise the dead. I have to admit I don’t trust this; she’s using demons herself and has locked herself in the grand burial chambers. Cadence has decided to fly out to Ponyville and Pinkie Pie’s families rock farm and is going to try and gather the Elements back in Ponyville and try to get you all into Canterlot. Me I’m off to Appaloosa so I’ll get your friend Applejack, and Storm Cloud of the Pegasus division is going to inform Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash of the coming danger. This is bigger than anything we’ve faced before; it even has the Changeling queen scared and hiding in the palace. Be safe Twily, watch your back. Love Shining Armor Sweetie Bell galloped as fast as she could towards the Ponyville hospital, she didn’t know why Twilight didn’t just have them go there first, learning about the demons was less important than being there for her sister when she woke up right? Spike was trying to keep up with Sweetie Bell and once she noticed that he was following her she slowed down and let him catch up. “I’m not going back there Spike.” “I know but I want to see that Rarity’s ok too you know.” She let Spike hop on her back as they raced over to Ponyville Hospital with Jack Frost still in tow. Once she arrived at the hospital she noticed Applebloom with her family and a bandage on her head she stopped head hung low that she didn’t react faster to the Kobold. “Sweetie, there you are, is that your demon thingie?” Applebloom looked quizzically at Jack Frost, Sweetie Bell reddened when she realized that she hadn’t had Jack Frost go back into the containment spell. The hospital’s staff and visitors looked shocked and started backing away as Big Mac shortened the distance between him and Applebloom. “Help someone broke into the organ storeroom!” somepony shouted after a thief. Sweetie Bell and Jack Frost ran towards the storeroom and saw that the cold air had been turned off and the organs weren’t going to be kept in proper stasis if it did. Sweetie Bell looked over to jack frost and nodded. “Hee-ho you’ve got it boss” Frost saluted and went to work blowing cold air into the room re-cooling the room much to the (pleasant) surprise of the hospital staff. Sweetie Bell was patted on the back, “Thanks for that” nurse Redheart said. “Can I see my sister?” she looked over towards the ER and Redheart grimaced, “alright” she whispered. Sweetie Bell and Spike were escorted to Rarity’s room. The room smelled sterilized as the scents of various medicines and ointments, the sheets Rarity lay on were stained with blood, Sweetie’s eyes flooded with tears as her heart filled with anger. Trixie, she nearly killed her sister, the words from Twilight’s book rang in head “A demon that has made a contract can only be killed if the tamer is killed” “Sweetie Bell?” she looked over at Spike, he didn’t deserve to be caught up in this. Sweetie turned to leave she stomped her hoof and called Jack Frost back into the spell “Hee-ho what’s the matter boss” “We have a demon tamer to…” she could barely finish the sentence, she pictured her sister lying there on the hospital bed barely alive, “…Kill” “Hee-ho, sounds like fun to me!” She snickered at the prospect but she did have to admit, after what this Trixie had done to her sister she would be lying if she said she wouldn’t enjoy it a little. “Wait” Spike ran over to her “I’m going after Trixie Spike, don’t try to stop…” He hopped on top of her “I’m coming with you, and that’s that” he huffed trying to look tough while sitting on her back. She sighed and walked out of the hospital ignoring the questions from her friend and her family, she had a demon tamer to kill “She can’t be allowed to hurt anyone else, its for the greater good, and if Twilight won’t do it, then its up to me.” She had convinced herself fully now, she set off; to kill Trixie Lulamoon. A brilliant light flashed and the same symbol which had been on Trixie’s hoof now appeared on Twilight’s only now she could read what it said Divine Virtue. The star symbol disappeared from Twilight and in front of her appeared a creature. The creature had wings as white and as big as the princess, its body was seemingly made of jade with a glowing red heart at its center. The creature let loose massive blasts of lightning blowing Ose back several feet. “Simply Marvelous” Rarity whispered as Virtue hovered in place in front of Twilight. “So what of you have a demon of your own, Ose her shield is down use Heat wave” Ose held its blades in an X in front of itself as they began to glow Orange. Twilight was told by Virtue telepathically “Command me” Twilight didn’t understand, “My abilities are Zionga, Diarama, and Mahama, command me” Twilight looked at it “I don’t know what those words mean!” she shouted. She didn’t get a response this time as Ose swung its blades out blasting her and Virtue back and slightly wounding her with a cut along her side. “I don’t care how just defeat that thing” Twilight screamed, “Zionga it is” the creature blasted out more lightning all of which connected with Ose making it stumble as it rushed forward to attack the demon, its blade connected but Virtue simply blasted it with lightning again. Ose collapsed on the ground defeated as it disappeared into red mist, which swirled around Trixie’s leg. The star symbol reappeared there and it glowed a deep red. Trixie’s face blanched as she looked at Virtue, “Shall I kill her master, or would thine like to deal the finishing blow” Trixie started backing off looking over to a small hole in the back of the castle she could use to escape, “No, you can’t kill her, there is no killing” Trixie ran for the hole as Virtue spoke again “I assumed that for hurting your friend you would be angrier at her” “What are you talking…” she looked over at Rarity who was lying in a pool of blood with a gash across her side. “RARITY.” Twilight screamed. -------------------------------------------------- “APPLEBLOOM” Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo rushed to their friend who had been knocked out by the wolf creature. She was bleeding slightly from her head but seemed as though she would be ok. Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo heard voices in their heads. “Hee-ho, you all seem really fun” “Yes, Ho-hee perhaps we could contract with you and help you defeat the Kobold” Sweetie Bell hesitated and asked “You could help us?” Scootaloo wasn’t in the mood for thought “Sure whatever you want just Help.” A light materialized around Scootaloo and a creature appeared in front of her it was a pumpkin floating in midair with a cape and a hat and a lantern “Now let’s asphalt this asshole” the pumpkin waved its lantern and a blast of fire burst from it enveloping the Kobold it and it fell to the ground and burst into mist “Hee-Ho so how about miss Bell” “Ok, but can you help Applebloom” “Hee-ho course” the light appeared around Sweetie Bell as well and a small snowman with arms and legs appeared in front of her who waved its arms and a small light appeared over Applebloom and somehow sealed the wound on her head. “Hey guys what happened” Applebloom woke up as both of friends hugged her. “So who are you two?” Scootaloo asked “I’m Hee-ho Jack Frost” “Ho-hee I’m Pyro Jack” “we’re both demons Hee-ho”. The girls couldn’t believe their ears, these two were demons, creatures from bedtime stories and nightmares and they served Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo. “Wow so that must make us…” “CUTIE MARK CRUSADER DEMON TAMERS YAY!” ---------------------------------------------------- Princess Celestia looked out over the balcony the allowed her to see most of her kingdom. Her eyes fixed on the Everfree where the demons would first arrive, and where her student was. “Princess the castles been locked down as you ordered.” Shining Armor reported to her. “Good, we can’t allow any demons in the castle, I want Canterlot sealed off as well and make sure that night guards are doing their jobs, another summoning circle could be placed here as well.” Shining Armor nodded and went off to do his duties. Celestia went back to overlooking her kingdom. “I’m so sorry, to all of you.” She whispered, “I should’ve been more prepared for this inevitability.” Celestia left the balcony back to her room and closed the window behind her as Shining Armor’s shield went up once again, Celestia simply laid in her bed and looked at the pentagrams on her hooves that her usual royal garb covered. “Nothing lasts forever” she allowed the demons to come forth into her room she would be prepared now, the Shin Megami Tensei was upon them and she wasn’t about to be counted out now. Celestia paced back in forth in the royal burial chamber underneath the castle at Canterlot. Her demon companions spoke little until the three felt a disturbance, the same as the one that she had felt in the Everfree forest. “Other portals are being opened” Metatron stated, “So it has begun anew, I suppose there would be no other reason why you have summoned us” Izanagi was probably still bitter about being contained for so long, a little over a thousand years, but it was all for the best. “I wished to create an Equestria where my little ponies could live without the threat of demons or Tamers, clearly I was idealistic when I thought it would last forever.” She bitterly choked on those last words; she believed that she could save the ponies of Equestria from the strife and pain caused by the Sumners and the demons. Luna approached her with her demons, Astaroth a bipedal creature that rode upon a giant snake, and Izanami a large creature made seemingly of darkness with a dress draped over it. “Sister we have unfortunate news” Celestia smiled, her sister had always used the term ‘we’ even when referring to herself because she had always taken council with her companions, she valued their opinions and wasn’t pleased when a thousand years ago she had been told that summoning had been made illegal by her sister. “I’ve… We’ve noticed as well, more portals are opening all over the place, Equestria will soon go back to the way things were, and I must prepare us for that.” Celestia motioned for Metatron to join her in front of three coffins she had prepared in front of her. She walked over to the first one which bore the image of a two clouds each firing a lightning bolt that were positioned on top of one another as if they were reflections. “Cloud Mirror, the fastest Pegasus Equestria had ever seen, you promised me that your body may die but your Loyalty to my cause never would, it appears that this claim must be tested.” She opened the coffin and revealed the magically preserved body of Cloud Mirror, a Pegasus with a dull white mane and grey coat; her cutie mark was the image on the coffin. Celestia’s horn glowed with magic, which flowed into her demonic companion who began casting the spell. A beautiful white light surrounded the body and began to pour into it. The eyes of the previously dead Pegasus blinked open as she opened her eyes. “Princess Celestia?” she was taking coming back to life better than Celestia had dared hope. “My child I apologize for interrupting your time in the eternal sleep however the Shin Megami Tensei has begun anew and I need the help of my old generals.” The pegasus smile as she stretched her legs and her wings, symbols began to take form on her hooves as millennia old contracts were reinstated, she allowed the magic to course through her hooves as she summoned her old demons. “Garuda, Fafnir, its been too long my old friends.” Celestia turned her attention to the next coffin it held the image of the pony inside’s cutie mark, namely that of an apple. “Apple Seed, I’m in dire need of your Honesty and strength” She once again performed the spell and Metatron summoned the pony from death itself. She was a crème colored farm pony with a short red mane, she blinked her eyes open and looked upon her former leader and comrade. “Well shucks Cloud wasn’t expecting to see you all ready for war.” She said this as she motioned at the two demons that sat before their master. “Our contract was only nullified when miss Cloud Mirror died now that she has returned so have we” Garuda had always been the more talkative one as the metallic dragon Fafnir simply nodded in agreement. Apple Seed looked at her hooves and sure as day her contract pentagrams were there almost as if she hadn’t died. Celestia spoke up “I’m sorry to wake you…” Apple Seed put a hoof to Celestia’s mouth “Think nuthin of it Tia’ I’m glad to be back and ready to do what you need, you wouldn’t have just raised the dead for tea and crumpets, something bad is or has happened.” Celestia smiled at her friend, the years had truly been lonely without her three closest friends by her side. Cloud Mirror sidled over to Apple Seed, “Well how do I look” she asked to her up until now dead marefriend. “Considering ya’ll had been dead for a thousand years pretty good.” The two laughed and continued to chat as Apple Tart decided to summon her demons as well. Arahabaki and Girimehkala arose to meet their master and stood to the side as Celestia began her final spell. “Starswirl the Bearded, your Magic was a great boon to aiding me in my quest and now I must ask for your help in maintaining my kingdom.” She opened the coffin to reveal the body of Starswirl, he was the one of her generals to live to old age and would therefore be the most difficult to restore. She gave as much magic as she could to Metatron who used it to summon forth the spirit of Starswirl the Bearded from beyond the Eternal Sleep. Starswirl opened his eyes and saw Celestia standing before him, he looked down at his body it looked as if it were in its midyears once again, and clearly something bad had happened to force him back to Equestria. “Starswirl my loyal friend and companion, I’m afraid that I must ask for your help once again in keeping the land of Equestria safe.” He raised his hoof, and noticed that the pentagrams once again adorned his front two hooves. He released his magic and summoned forth the two creatures that had once helped to give Celestia and Luna the crowns of Equestria. The first was the giant fly known as Beelzebub “Beelzebub it has been quite a long time my faithful demon.” The fly buzzed its wings and looked over at its master “Indeed Starswirl, a thousand years have passed since our last battle together.” He remembered, he also remembered having been told by the Princess after the throne had been won that no demons were to be summoned in Equestria ever again, and he had vowed never to do so. He summoned his other faithful friend a mannequin hung to a circle of flame, the angel Throne. With her three generals assembled Celestia had the perfect defense force and thusly proceeded “Alright so now that everypony is present, the reason I brought you all here.” --------------------------------------------------- Sweetie Bell trekked through the Everfree forest looking for a sign of her sister’s attempted murderer. Spike bobbed along on her back also looking for any sign of the mysterious Trixie. “This would be easier Hee-ho if we had asked where they fought” Sweetie Bell shook her head ‘then they would know what we plan to do.’ Spike looked quizzically at Sweetie, “Jack Frost can talk to me in my head” Spike nodded in understanding, “I get it, that way in a fight you guys could strategize without the enemy hearing you.” Spike caught a glimpse of a fire in the distance, “that way” he pointed in the fire’s direction. “Finally, we’ve found her” Sweetie rushed in the direction of the fire, her revenge was at hand. Trixie was beyond upset; she was devastated by the utter defeat that she had suffered at Twilight’s hooves. ‘Me get beaten by Twilight, gasp, what are the odds.’ She sarcastically bemoaned her predictable defeat and went back to her foraged berries and what small warmth could be gotten from the fire. “Well, next time we see her I’ll crush her.” Trixie chuckled at the go-getter attitude of her newest companion, Forneus. “Yes because she’ll really come after me again, that do-gooder wouldn’t deal the finishing blow to me even after I had wounded her non-tamer friend, she mocks me with her mercy.” Twilight had to have some knowledge of the demons and tamers of lore, and yet she still allowed Trixie her life, all it meant was insult to injury, as her still recovering Ose spoke up “Perhaps you could use that to your advantage, continue to challenge her and perhaps eventually you will succeed if she refuses to finish you off.” Trixie thought about it; it felt dirty to play on Twilight’s natural peacefulness as a way of defeating her but it seemed to be the only way. “So there you are” Trixie turned to face the noise only to see a small filly and a baby dragon staring down at her. Sweetie Bell had finally made it to the campsite that Trixie had made for herself. She was staring down the mare that almost killed her sister, without her demon, ‘fighting her when she can’t use Ose seems cheap’ Sweetie mentally shook away those thoughts, ‘No we have to kill her now, she may hurt others like she did Rarity and those people may not be so lucky.’ Sweetie summoned Jack Frost and prepared for her assault “What do you want with the Great and Powerful Trixie tamer, a fight?” She stood up and Sweetie noticed that while the pentagram on her left leg was indeed out of commission and glowing a dull red, there was another pentagram on her right leg. “You have TWO demons?” Sweetie Bell asked. Trixie scoffed and stomped her hoof summoning forth a demon that looked like a floating manta ray with a crown on its head. “Forneus shall be your opponent.” Sweetie Bell stood her ground and began the fight ‘Jack Frost, use bufu’ the snowman summoned a piece of ice and tossed it at the giant manta, which didn’t even seem fazed by the attack. “Oh no” Trixie laughed heartily, “Ice doesn’t harm Forneus” “Forneus, stun bite” Forneus flew at Jack Frost and bit into him with its large muscled jaw before tossing it into a nearby tree bark. “Jack Frost attack” “No Sweetie Bell it’s outmatched lets run for it.” Spike pleaded for his friend to give up the chase “NO SHE ALMOST KILLED MY SISTER” Jack Frost flung himself at Forneus punching it in the mouth, this barely shook the mighty sea beast as it grabbed Jack Frost in its jaws once again and bit down, turning Frost into mist and forcing him back into Sweetie’s containment spell. Sweetie Bell rushed forward to continue the attack herself but was struck by a large chunk of ice from Forneus and passed out. “Let’s kill her” Forneus licked its lips in anticipation, its first killing in nearly a millennia. Trixie looked at the unconscious form of the filly before her, Twilight’s friend must be the sister she talked about, it was true she had almost killed her despite her not even being a tamer. “Allow me to think on it” Forneus growled at his master, “She ambushed us, no mercy” he opened his jaws to attack but was stopped by Trixie’s containment spell which pulled him back into the pentagram on her hoof. Spike looked over at the pentagram, it glowed a bright green; they hadn’t even scratched it. He looked over at Trixie and took a standing position in front of Sweetie Bell’s body with his arms outstretched. “Ha” Trixie was amused by the dragons posturing, any other day she might have been frightened of a dragon but now she had demons, she could take on a full-grown dragon if she wanted to. She began to walk away. “Hey” Spike nervously asked, “Where are you going?” “I’m allowing the little brat to live, tell Sparkle that my debt is paid, next time there will be no mercy when I beat her.” Trixie walked away and further into the forest leaving Spike and the unconscious Sweetie Bell alone with her fire. ------------------------------------------------------ Octavia wandered through the forest looking for the source of the sound she heard. ‘No’ she thought to herself ‘I’m here in this dreadful forest looking for my parents’ but the sound did intrigue her. It was the sound of a lyre and it seemed to be very well played. She stopped and pulled out her cello from its case, she didn’t remember why she brought it with her just that she thought she would need it. She played a few notes joining in with the far off lyre’s playing. She heard the lyre stop and then resume playing as if it wanted to join in with her. She began playing a sad song and the lyre joined her it felt as though it was a song about lost love and heartbreak punctuated by the lyre. It was a soft melody but felt harsh it felt as though the lyre player was putting his soul into the piece and sharing his broken heart with Octavia. She put the cello away as she finished the melody only to see her parents rush out to meet her. They embraced her and urged her to run the other way but she couldn’t hear them; all she could hear was the lyre’s melody and continued to walk towards the sound deeper into the forest. She eventually stopped in a small clearing and took out her cello once again and began to play. This time the song was meant to be happy, it was a song to be sung and enjoyed in times of great amusement, it reminded her of her dear younger sister Pinkie Pie. The lyre took a little longer to join in this time but when it did it matched her tone and tempo perfectly, even though the two artists were doing this out of nowhere it felt as though they had practiced for years. They would stop and allow the other a solo or a short reprieve and the song was completely devoid of the wrenching heartbreak that the lyre had brought to the last song. This time it was a song of remembrance, of good times long ago still fresh in the mind of the musician playing. Octavia tried to improvise the song while imagining the first time that her sister had thrown her a party. It was her fifteenth birthday and her sister had earned her cutie mark a few days ago and the party was a spectacular event. Octavia poured those emotions into the last few lines of the piece, as her mysterious lyrist played along with her. Octavia put the cello away at the end of the song and sat down on a tree stump. The music that she and the mysterious lyrist played was beyond beautiful and made her feel alive. “You are one of the best musicians I have ever met” a voice in her head, if it wasn’t for the fact she knew it was the lyrist she probably would have scared. “Is that so, you should know, you were playing in synch with me without any rehearsal or anything, it takes a lot of talent to pull that off.” “You were also playing along with me, before you came to the clearing” she thought back to it and realized he, she thinks it’s a he anyway, was correct she had started playing in time with his lyre before her parents found her. “I wish we could play some more” she called out “Yes, perhaps we could” it was at that moment that a creature materialized in front of Octavia. The creature seemed to be a mannequin of sorts, made of wood and other materials held together by metallic joints. His limbs were bleach white, as was his hair, although his body was colored a sky blue and he wore a bright red scarf. But what drew Octavia’s attention was the giant lyre on his back. “You?” the creature nodded its head, “Yes, would you still like to play a melody with me?” he started to play his lyre before Octavia could join in, the song was sad but not crushingly so, it was interpretable and something told Octavia that was the point, that he wanted her to make it a song about something. She started to play her cello, a song that was sad and yet accepting, it seemed fitting to be the encore for their performance together. When the piece was finished both Octavia and the creature bowed to one another. “You do not seem off put by my appearance, why?” Octavia scoffed, “Whatever you are, you aren’t a monster, no monster makes music that emotional.” The creature seemed to laugh at this notion “You believe that a species capable of emotional music is inherently good?” Octavia shook her head, “No, but your music was different, sad and tragic, but then a song of happiness and elation, followed by a song that sad and regretful but accepting of something that has happened.” The creature seemed intrigued by Octavia’s knowledge and her assumptions of his character. “I am a demon young miss” Octavia didn’t bat an eye at this revelation and simply allowed the creature to continue “I wish for you to make a contract with me, I can protect you and perhaps we may compose music together” “Protect me?” “Yes, not all demons are like myself, many are savages wishing nothing but death and destruction in what little life they have, while others wish to allow creatures with plans of treason and tyranny to have their dark wishes granted.” Octavia looked at the creature she couldn’t imagine anything like it harming anypony perhaps the others didn’t look like him, he looked sad and pitiable. “All right as you wish, my name is Octavia.” She reached out a hoof to shake. The creature returned the gesture before disappearing and a strange mark appearing on Octavia’s hoof, “Mine is Orpheus” Octavia smiled “Well then Orpheus I shall properly introduce you to my family and perhaps we should perform for them.” “Perhaps if he hasn’t gotten their first” Octavia stopped cold, “I was hiding here for a reason Octavia, there is a powerful demon making mischief on your property” Octavia ran through the woods as fast as she could shouting her sisters name “PINKIE.” Octavia finally made it out of the forest albeit out of breath. She looked around and saw that the mysterious cotton candy clouds were no longer present and that her sister was no where to be seen. Then off on the horizon she saw one pink outline in the sky and what looked like two ponies playing under it. “PINKIE, QUARTZ” she galloped towards them hoping inwardly that Orpheus really could protect her, although he had said that he was hiding from the creature. She made it over to see that her sisters were playing in the chocolate rain and a large black blob was hovering above them swirling the cloud. “Stay away from my sisters” she shouted at the monster completely out of breath by this point. “Octavia come on join in its fun” Pinkie seemed chipper as ever despite a large black blob creature being overhead. “yeah it is… big sis” Quartz responded in hushed tones, “Incredible” Octavia didn’t like the sound of that “What are you talking about Orpheus, what’s ‘incredible’” “Oh you have a demon too.” Octavia barely registered it all she heard was Orpheus’ response “Your sister tamed the beast of chaos eternal, Nyarlathotep is your sisters contract” Octavia slumped to the ground. Pinkie stood up and introduced her new friend, “This is Narly, well he has a longer name but I can’t really pronounce it so I just call him Narly, anyway he’s like a super cool demon of chaos who can do all the same stuff that Discord did, but he isn’t evil or anything he just wants friends so we became friends and now there’s this thing on my hoof like a tattoo or something, Oh I always wanted a tattoo except I totally wanted mine to be based on Balloons or candy or something like that, something that just screams Party you know?” Pinkie ended her tirade to see her sister still slumped over and barely moving. “That thing is your contract?” “Friend, but yeah he called it something like that.” “That is Nyarlathotep, he is close to a god in strength, and he is the embodiment of chaos eternal, it would take a great mage to control that beast” Octavia could barely believe what she was seeing a God taking orders from her sister!? Equestria is doomed. Twilight paced around the lobby of Ponyville hospital waiting for the go ahead to be able to visit Rarity. Nurse Redheart had come to get her personally to tell her that Rarity was waking up and that she should be able to have visitors soon. Twilight also feared what had become of Sweetie Bell and Spike, whom she had sent Scootaloo after, the two of them hadn’t been seen since they left the hospital with Sweetie’s demon in tow. “Isn’t it obvious, they went to kill the Sumner that you left alive” Twilight mentally hushed her demon, ‘We don’t know that’ she tried to reason ‘they could have just needed some time alone to figure things out, both of them were… are really close to Rarity.’ “Miss Sparkle you may now see your friend” nurse Redheart ushered her to the back of the hospital where the more critical patients were kept. Twilight slowly entered Rarity’s room and let out a sigh of relief that her friend was still alive and kicking. “Twilight” Rarity said almost in a whisper, clearly the painkillers were still doing their job. “Yeah” she could barely manage a few words, it was her fault, “But you are also the reason she still lives” Virtue was trying to make his master feel better but she didn’t listen, she had wandered in their without the Elements or a plan of any kind. “Did you beat Trixie?” Rarity asked, “Yes” “Good” Rarity slumped back a bit “Her demons cape was hideous” Twilight laughed; it was good to see that she was still in good spirits despite what happened. Twilight wandered out to see that Big Mac was waiting for her. “What’s wrong Big Mac?” “Applebloom” he motioned for her to follow him so she did, all the way back to Sweet Apple Acres where Applebloom was nowhere to be found. “She left with Scootaloo” he stated. “Where did she go?” Twilight realized that she should have seen this coming and that she should have gone after Sweetie Bell herself. “To find Sweetie Bell” “What’s this about my sister” the two turned to see a barely awake and heavily bandaged Rarity walking up to them. “Rarity, you should be resting at the hospital…” Rarity raised a hoof in protest, “Twilight I understand your concerns but mine still stand, where is my sister?” Twilight recounted the books contents to Rarity and of Sweetie’s complaint that Trixie still lived. Rarity took the news fairly calmly, “All right that’s al I needed to know” she pulled a large hat from seemingly nowhere and placed it on her head, it was the color of camouflage but quite large and poufy. “I’m coming with you” Twilight shook her head “No it’s dangerous” “Twilight dear listen, you have that magnificent demon with you so if things get dangerous, which I don’t believe they will, then you can simply save us with your new friend, now lets find my sister.” Rarity started walking out of the barn and in the direction of the forest with Twilight and Big Mac following behind her. ----------------------------------------------------- Shining Armor wasn’t having a whole lot of fun at his new post. He had lived his life almost exclusively in Canterlot, the sweltering heat of Appaloosa left a lot to be desired in his book. Not to mention his reason for being there ‘Unearth all the graves and burn the bodies’ he shivered as he remembered the Princess’ words. His men had been secretly infiltrating the gravesite near Appaloosa for a few days now and had been trying to keep a low profile lest the locals get suspicious of the incredibly suspicious activity being carried out by the royal guard of Canterlot. ‘I’m sure the Princess has a good reason for this’ he tried to reason as he wiped another gallon of sweat from his brow, ‘she just couldn’t explain it to me.’ He tried to get his mind off of that for now as he had a different job to do now. He had promised Twily in his letter that he would get Applejack to go back to Ponyville so that they could round up the elements of harmony and go to Canterlot to see if the Princess would listen to them. Apparently Applejack had been all over Appaloosa the past few days, going between the Bison camp and the settlers and staying at various places to try and get a feel for the recent distrust between two groups of Appaloosan settlers. He finally arrived at the saloon where Applejack was allegedly hanging out. He opened up the doors tentatively and wandered inside thankful to see a big familiar cowboy hat at the bar. “Well howdy there Shining, how are you” Applejack shouted to the new arrival. He walked over to the bar and sat down, covered in sweat and out of his Royal guard uniform and dressed in some more casual clothing. “I’m… doing alright” Applejack could smell a lie on anypony but decided not to pursue the issue. “Cadence here with you” she asked as she took another gulp of cider. “No, I’m here on business” he furrowed his brow, clearly whatever this ‘business’ was troubled him, he’s a worse liar than Twilight, guess it runs in the family. “What kind…” “Official business I can’t discuss with anypony” Applejack backed away from that line of questioning, “But I did have something I needed to talk about Applejack.” “Well shoot” “You need to go back to Ponyville, something bad is happening and it’s necessary that the elements of harmony be gathered.” Applejack swallowed her cider “Princess’ orders” “My request” Applejack was confused by this, the Princess didn’t order this? “This is technically behind the Princess back, it has to do with some things called ‘demons’ who have arrived in Equestria, she’s locked herself and all the other royals and such in Canterlot with a barrier.” Applejack some days cursed the fact that she was so good at spotting lies, she wished that she could have walked away thinking that he was spouting a load of hooey but she knew better. Shining was telling the truth, and in this case that was worse. “I have business to finish, I’ll leave tomorrow” Shining nodded and ordered a drink as Applejack left; she needed to be alone for a while to figure this out. Demons, the word rang in Applejack’s head. She had never heard of these creatures and now apparently they were a problem that not even the Princess wanted to deal with. Applejack started wandering towards the center of town near her cousin Braeburn’s home. However as she started to get closer she noticed ponies running to and fro. She galloped faster towards the town’s center when she arrived she saw many of what she assumed were demons. They were floating pumpkins with hats and lanterns, which were spitting fire as the demons aimed them at the passing ponies. Applejack rushed forward and jumped up bucking one in the pumpkin-face-thing. When she came back down she noticed she was covered in pumpkin guts, she heard what sounded like screams and realized all eyes were on her. The pumpkins started firing at her as she dodged around trying to lead them away from the town center. “Applejack!” one of the creatures was tied with a lasso and pulled to the ground as Braeburn emerged from his home. “NO, GET BACK” but her words didn’t reach him as the lassoed pumpkin shot fire at Braeburn who couldn’t get out of the way and was hit. The fire swiftly consumed him as he screamed and rolled on the ground attempting to extinguish the flame but soon his screams died down. Applejack rushed backwards as she kicked the creature in the face squishing it as she had the other one. Fire flew near Applejack who almost didn’t dodge the blazing projectile and started sprinting for the next creature only to see a blast of magic destroy it. “Shining” Applejack yelled out before bucking another one of the pumpkin creatures. Shining readied another bolt of magic and fired three consecutive shots at the next pumpkin destroying it. Applejack looked around, as that should have been all of them only to notice another group of about ten of the creatures floating towards them. “There’s more!” Applejack pointed them out to Shining who prepared more magic. -------------------------------------------------------- Octavia sat in one corner of her family’s home with the demon Orpheus floating next to her. She began to play note after note on her cello while Orpheus followed with his lyre. The two played a melody that Octavia had composed as a filly. A melody about her family and how much she loved them, the song was upbeat and fast-paced as she looked around the room at her father and mother, her youngest sister Quartz and of course her sister Pinkie Pie. Pinkie Pie was seated next to her demon Nyarlathotep, or Narly as she insisted on calling it. Orpheus had told her that it was one of the most powerful demons in all of existence, and yet her sister had tamed it without fighting. As Octavia finished her piece her family all applauded and began digging into the party snacks that Pinkie Pie had provided for them. “That was great sis, even better than you normally do, which is awesome” “Yes, quite enjoyable” Octavia shivered as Narly spoke being a “Tamer” as Orpheus called it she could feel Nyarlathotep’s power, she knew that it would barely have to lift a finger if it wished to wipe her out of existence, even if she had an army of Orpheus’ to defend herself. She sat on her families couch as her parents danced with her sisters and Orpheus sat next to her. “So what shall we do now master” Octavia sipped the tea she had brewed for herself. “My sister believes that she needs to go to Ponyville so we shall accompany her.” Orpheus turned towards the dance floor, where a certain other demon was dancing with her sister. “If you are worried” Octavia stuck out her hoof “I am but not just about my sister.” She sipped her tea again “I’m worried for myself.” She set the teacup down with shaking hooves “You said that demons and their tamers often fought when you had previously been in Equestria” she breathed slow and steady trying not to betray her usual calmness “I’m not a fighter, I’m a musician, if this Nyarlathotep is as powerful as you say then we should stick with my sister, perhaps I’ll learn a thing or two.” She walked over to Pinkie and began a previously rehearsed speech about how as her older sister she would accompany her to Ponyville and make sure no harm befell her sister as all the while Narly watched and giggled. --------------------------------------------------- Shining Armor sunk back, his breathing irregular. How long had he and Applejack been fighting, it seemed like an hour, all around him the bodies of the demons were scattered they were easy to kill but numerous. He saw more of the pumpkin demons amassing near the edge of town rushing to replace their fallen comrades. He looked to his fighting partner and saw she was just as tired; this wasn’t going to end well. “Thou are a very righteous pony, perhaps you would form a contract with us to survive?” Shining heard voices in his head, ‘the demons’ he fired more magic bolts at the pumpkin demons. He looked over to Applejack to see something strange was happening, a white glow was emanating from her and a pentagram appeared on her hoof, she had a contract. Shining watched as the mysterious new demon joined the fray. It was bipedal, had large horns and seemed to be constructed out of solid rock. The demon rushed forward and met the attackers head on tearing several of the pumpkin demons apart. “What is your reason pony?” “Yes, what world do you seek?” The question was strange to Shining, but nonetheless he wondered himself, why was he doing any of this? He went to Appaloosa because Celestia had ordered the bodies of the dead burned, which he had accomplished, but why was he gathering the elements back in Ponyville. ‘Because Celestia has betrayed our trust’ the response came clear as day and quick. Celestia kept the demons a secret, and now with their return she boards up the castle and hides herself within. She no longer deserves to lead, the Royal Guard are ones who carry her orders out, perhaps we should lead. “I’ll overthrow Celestia.” Applejack looked over at him perplexingly as light began to shine around him, “The Royal Guard will lead Equestria, not one ruler but three, three who understand the people and stand by them in times of crisis, not cower in a castle.” It was at that moment that two winged demons appeared in front of Shining Armor. One was covered in blood red armor and held a large spear, the other a long silky green dress and held a book in one arm and a large staff with a cross on the top in the other. “The contract is formed.” The one in armor stated “I am Power, the spear that shall drive thine enemies to death” the creature stated this as it waded in to the crowd of demons, slicing them up as it went. “I am Principality, the staff that shall help lead your world” it stamped it’s staff on the ground and a brilliant white light shone forth disintegrating the demons around it, and causing all of the stragglers to retreat. Shining breathed a sigh of relief as Applejack approached, “Did you mean what you said?” she looked him straight in the eyes as her demon stood by her side, “Yes, I will use these demons to usurp Celestia and the Royal Guard will stand by the people, not cower in fear in some castle and leave them to die” he stamped his hoof to the ground and met Applejacks gaze. “Alright then me and Kin-ki here will accompany ya” he staggered back a bit. “My cousin just died in there Shining, I’m not gonna let that happen again.” The people began to crowd around them and a gold light surrounded Shining, “Alright listen these are orders from the Royal Guard, the new rulers of Equestria.” ------------------------------------------------- Twilight continued to walk through the Everfree forest with Rarity and Big Macintosh at her side searching for Sweetie Bell. Her demon, Virtue, had also asked her something that she hadn’t been able to answer; what was her Reason? He had explained that all the great tamers had a Reason, something that they would do if they were the ones who ran the world. Twilight had initially waved it off as her demon trying to get her to revolt against the princess but started to consider it as she went on. She had seen the demons do things not even the best of unicorns could accomplish, they had healed her from her wounds in her fight with Trixie, they had stabilized Rarity to the point that the doctors could fix her, they had saved Sweetie Bell and her friends from danger. Why were they kept from the world? Why were they kept from her? Twilight couldn’t believe that there were secrets she didn’t even trust her student with. Her prized student, the element of Magic itself! Twilight attempted to calm herself as she continued to walk through the path but found it difficult, she was the princess prized student, Celestia had been like a mother to Twilight, she continued to walk until Big Mac stopped her and she looked up not noticing that she had led them into the middle of nowhere by accident. “We’re… lost?” Rarity piped up groggily, “Eeyup” Twilight just sighed and sat down as her unknowing idiocy had made them lost. “Twilight… you must tell…” Rarity sat breathing heavily as she winced in pain “us… what’s wrong.” “Why didn’t she tell me?” Rarity and Big Mac simply looked at her “Why banish them at all?” “They… are demons dear” “But look at what they can do.” She motioned to herself “Virtue completely healed my wounds after the fight with Trixie, he made you stable enough to survive” Twilight was yelling by this point as she fully realized now what she wanted, “The demons do more good than harm, the only reason this happened is because she didn’t tell anyone about them.” Twilight looked above and saw storm clouds gathering, “a… storm now of all times” “Eeyup” Big Mac’s stoicism elicited a chuckle from Rarity. “I think we’re close to Zecora’s house, I’ll go look, you two stay here, and Big Mac” Big Macintosh looked her way “Make sure Rarity’s ok” she turned and ran as Big Mac simply smiled and Rarity sighed as she laid down against a nearby tree. As time went by neither Rarity nor Big Macintosh said anything simply using the trees as cover from the rain above. The sound of the rain was soothing to Rarity it was a beautiful sound even if she didn’t want to think of what sitting on the wet dirt was doing to her coat. She heard a slight yell off in the distance as though someone was running from something. She forced herself upwards earning a look from Big Mac who then turned in the direction of the sound. Big Macintosh stood up motioning for Rarity to sit back down, ‘what a gentlecolt’ she mused as she slumped backwards. “Help” she could barely hear the voice but she knew it from somewhere. “Help” there it was again; who was it “Help” “Spike.” She finally put it together that the voice was Spike’s. She turned to see Spike running through the woods followed by a small snowman both of them were carrying a filly on their shoulders. “SWEETIE BELL” Rarity got up and ran out to meet Spike and the snowman both of whom dropped Sweetie Bell in front of her and Big Macintosh as the snowman dissipated into mist and surrounded Sweetie Bell. Rarity looked at her sister, bite marks and gashes from claws lined her sister’s body as blood oozed outwards “She is alive albeit not for long” Rarity turned and spun her head in different directions trying to find the source of the voice to no avail. Big Macintosh also looked ahead of them and saw the pack of Timberwolves that had been following Spike as he readied himself to fight them “You don’t really think you can fight them on your own do you?” Big Mac simply shook his head as the Timberwolves approached and he steeled himself to fight them, he would keep Rarity, her sister, and Spike safe. Rarity held her sister and tried to use her magic, her horn simply sputtered and sparks flew as she panted and continued to scream “Come on, wake up” into her sister’s ear. “I can save her” Rarity stopped as the voice continued “I can help you, if you’ll make a contract with me” Rarity shouted back “Whatever it is you want demon I’ll give, my horn, my life, my mane, whatever it is you want just contract with me and save Sweetie Bell” tears streamed down Rarity’s face as she said this “Very well, I shall save your sister then master” a pentagram appeared on Rarity’s left hoof and out of it came a demon. The demon seemed mechanical in nature, it floated above the ground and it’s body seemed made of metal. On it’s sides were two large disks that glowed a bright red matching the color of most of the creature’s body and face. “Recarm” the demon clasped its hands together and began to chant a spell that slowly began to envelop Sweetie Bell. Big Mac gritted his teeth as the Timberwolves attacked, he looked behind him and saw a demon hovering above Rarity and Sweetie Bell and a pentagram on Rarity’s hoof. ‘She’s a Tamer now too huh’ he grinned and looked forward as the first Timberwolf charged he turned around and bucked it hard in the face. A sick crack could be heard all around as the Timberwolf’s face was crushed by Big Mac mighty strike, ‘that weird voice didn’t know nuthin I have no problem taking them on my own.’ His self-congratulations didn’t last long however as the second, third, and fourth Timberwolves all found spots on him to chew. Two latched onto his back legs and one his shoulder; he pushed sideways slamming the one on his shoulder into a nearby tree, it grunted but held it grip, he smashed it again, it whined but only bit down harder. “I could help you” ‘no thanks crazy voice’ he slammed it again as he planted his front hooves and tried to buck the two on his legs, he planted a solid kick in stomach of one but the other simply unhinged its jaw from him for a few seconds finding a new spot to bite after he planted his hooves on the ground again. “You’ll die, or more importantly they’ll die” Big Macintosh stopped as he considered the voices words, it was right, Rarity was hurt and Spike and Sweetie Bell were just kids, one of whom was mortally injured and being helped by the mechanical demon, ‘alright, ya’ll got a deal’ “Excellent, let me just clear a path.” A white light enveloped Big Macintosh and a strong gust of wind swirled around him, sucking the three Timberwolves into a vortex and spitting them out in a pile in front of him. The demon appeared in front of him “My name is Fuu-Ki” Fuu-Ki was a strange sight to Big Macintosh, his skin was blue like the sky, his armor was coated in a darker shade of the same color and in his hand he held a metal rod with two blades on either side. But the strangest thing was it’s head, it had two short horns and where its face should be was an indentation and a small hole. Big Mac ignored the pain wracking his body and stood alongside his new demon companion to fight the remaining Timberwolves. Fuu-Ki rushed forward and attacked before they could all get up and collect themselves after the whirlwind had sent them flying, he twirled his blade in his hands so fast that the wind gathered around it, he stopped and thrust his free palm outwards at one other Timber wolf and a gust of wind blew forth blowing the wolf back and impaling it through a tree branch. The wolf that Fuu-Ki had been charging at leapt at its prey however Fuu-Ki simply twirled around and slashed at the wolf as it was leaping through the air, splitting it in two. Big Macintosh ran at the final Timberwolf punching it with one front hoof and then stomping at its head with both once it was grounded. He breathed in and out slowly as the creature’s crushed head bled outwards. Big Macintosh stepped off of the dead wolf and tried to wipe his hoof against the ground to clear the blood. “You fight well master, I shall enjoy serving you” the creature disappeared as Twilight rushed into the clearing “What happened?” Twilight sat with her friends in Zecora’s home after they had walked there from the clearing. Sweetie Bell was still unconscious however Rarity’s new demon, Kikuri-Hime had healed Big Macintosh so they were all in relatively good health. Twilight still pondered the question, what was her Reason, what would she create? What would she do if she were ruler of Equestria? Would she do anything all that different than Celestia? ‘I would allow the demons to stay’ she thought to herself ‘The breakthrough’s in magic are to numerous, I would allow the demons connected to tamers stay and study them and their magic and attempt to replicate it.’ Virtue chuckled in her head “So that is your Reason, Understanding, I see that I was right to choose you to be my Tamer” Twilight stood up drawing the attention of all others in the room “It’s settled then, I’ll go to Canterlot and convince the Princess to allow the demons that have tamers to stay so we can study them” Rarity looked over at her sisters still unconscious form, that Spike had been attending to ever since they had arrived, “I’m coming with you dear.” Twilight looked over at her friend “Kikuri-Hime saved my dear Sweetie Bell’s life, if the princess wishes to banish her I will fight back, she is a friend to me now.” Kikuri-Hime smiled and bowed in the air next to her master “As you say master Rarity, your battles and the battles of your friend are mine” Twilight looked to Big Macintosh. Big Macintosh hadn’t really given any thought to what he should do, he contracted with Fuu-Ki to stay alive, there wasn’t any alternative motive to it, and he didn’t want to rule Equestria. ‘Just because they’re demons they were banished, that don’t sit right’ he mulled it over as Twilight walked over to him and bowed slightly, “Will you lend me your strength Big Macintosh?” He looked down towards Twilight and thought of how she claimed that demons and their magic could save the world, he thought before responding “Eeyup.” “And I’m coming too” they trio looked over at the bed that Zecora had made before leaving again to pick more herbs, Sweetie Bell stood upright with her head in the air and her demon Jack Frost floated next to her head posing with it’s thumb up while the rest of its hand was in a fist. “Sweetie Bell, this is extremely dangerous” Rarity began “Exactly” her younger sister butted in “I’m a Tamer so ponies may try and hurt me because of it, doesn’t it make more sense for me to be in a group that could protect me.” Rarity opened her mouth to interject but closed it once she realized that Sweetie was right, after all Trixie had attacked both her and Twilight when they didn’t have any demons at all, Equestria was becoming a dangerous place and as the big sister she needed to protect Sweetie Bell. “Alright then, but you will not join us in battle” “Eeyup” “Then it’s settled.” Twilight said as a golden glow surrounded her pentagram, and above it more symbols appeared. “They mark you as the leader of a Reason, a contestant in the Shin Megami Tensei” Virtue said aloud. “The Shin what” Sweetie Bell questioned “The Shin Megami Tensei, the god reincarnation, the one who defeats the previous winner is granted power beyond their wildest dreams, immortality, and they rule this land” Twilight’s eyes widened “Then Princess Celestia…” “Was the previous winner, she chose to make a world where the demons and the corruption she believed came with them wouldn’t be something her subjects had to deal with” Rarity was the first to speak “A land built on a lack of knowledge.” Spike was the next to speak, “rather than let her subjects make the decisions between right and wrong she gave them only one option.” Twilight’s eyes burned, “Not for long, come on then we’ll recruit more ponies to our cause and defeat the Princess, we’ll have to leave our old lives behind; tomorrow we’ll go back to Ponyville, and we’ll see if anypony else feels the same.” Twilight laid her head back against the wall, ‘this is the right choice, I’m sure of it.’ ------------------------------------------------ The Mysterious Mare stood atop a skyscraper in Manehatten looking down across the city. This was the last one, the last place she had to convince some other ponies to open the portals for her. She could have done it herself, but she was unaware of the Princess’ reaction, she believed that she would attempt to stop at least one summoning but instead she created a wall around Canterlot, and locked herself and her nobles inside. She had felt a rush earlier, which was the sign that somepony had created a Reason, she smiled at this, and the Shin Megami Tensei would begin. Another rush hit her, another Reason was made and so soon. She looked down at the city; filled with the weak little ponies that Celestia had raised; unable to help themselves, the demons would cleanse that. She looked at her own hoof adorned with a pentagram and the Praetor symbol above; the praetor symbol being that which showed that she also led a Reason. She released her demon from its cage and it sat upon the building with her. The demon had the body of a great beast and the tail of a serpent with a four-pronged claw on its end, it had ten heads all in the shape of a dragon’s head, it fur and scales were coated black like ash, and it’s eyes glowed a menacing red. “You called, master” the demon seemed to choke on those words, no matter it would soon realize that despite all the masters the demon had she was the greatest. “Satan, I thought you would like to see the beginning of downfall of Celestia’s perfect world” she waved her hoof over at a small fire in the distance. Satan stepped its four massive paws closer to the edge and looked over where its master pointed, demons had begun to pour out of a summoning circle that one of the ponies she had given the spell to had created. She tried to find ponies that were both powerful and easily moldable, she wanted chaos to wreak across Equestria so that when she killed Celestia and unleashed the demons upon the world and allowed them to claim it as their own, it would already feel like home to them. She looked over to the large cliff face upon which stood Canterlot. A grin crept across the mare’s face, this had been generations in the making, and she would be the one to see it happen. “We love you Daring Do!” The crowd cried out as the celebrity walked into the bookstore, a false smile plastered on her face. She sat down at the usual spot, a table set up near the end of the store so that the line could move inside. Inwardly she sighed as she took her position. As she started signing autographs she lamented about her current situation and job title, author and Ex-archeologist. A fan trotted up in a costume of her old nemesis Ahuitzotl, ah how she missed him, he had fallen into a volcano mouth at the end of her last adventure; one of the ones she hadn’t written yet. As she signed his book collection she reminisced on the adventures she had, the adrenaline pumping through her veins, the wind in her mane as she flew through jungles and temples and various other places. She even enjoyed the actual archeological parts as well to a certain extent; she was more a fan of avoiding death traps, but one cannot deny the impact that her findings have had on Equestria’s knowledge of their own history. She continued to sign books for the people of Los Pegasus until the pegasus on a megaphone told everyone to leave momentarily as it was Daring’s lunch break, and after she was finished she’d start signing again. Daring unraveled the simple sandwich and started eating it. She really did miss adventuring, however the publishing company didn’t want her out there adventuring when she was, in their words, ‘older.’ She was only 35 for Celestia’s sake; she could still raid a temple or tomb. However she settled instead into a celebrity lifestyle, guaranteed paycheck, adoring fans, small chance of death, it was consistent, it was normal. Daring nearly choked on the words in her head, normal. She was just a normal mare now, almost nothing like the adventurous no-nonsense adventurer that used to be, the one that fillies and colts around Equestria worshipped through her novels. She sighed as she went back to the sandwich, readying herself for another barrage of fans that would be coming through the doors in a few minutes. “AHHHHHHH” Daring perked up, “HELP” she rushed outside tossing her sandwich aside and ignoring the protests of her publisher, something was happening, something that may require Daring Do. When Daring exited the bookstore she looked to her right and saw something standing in a café. The creature appeared as that of a leopard standing on its hind legs and adorned with a pair of large cannons on its back and spiked gauntlets on its claws. The creature was standing over a small orange filly with small wings that also seemed to have a monster at her side, a winged goat but with a strange looking body. “None can defeat the mighty Flauros,” announced the standing demon, he pointed at the other demon “Not even you Baphomet” he pulled back and punched the demon with his spiked gauntlet. With that the creature disappeared and seemed to fade into the filly’s hoof. “Now for the little Tamer” he reared back another punch as Daring rushed in. As Flauros readied another blow Daring swooped in ducking in front of him and kicking hard in his abdomen with her back hooves causing Flauros to stumble backwards. Daring took her signature hat and placed it on the small orange filly’s head “Hold this for a sec would you” as she darted off to the side to avoid another blow by Flauros. Daring stood face to face with the creature as it snarled at her “You believe you can fight a demon by yourself, little pony” Daring rushed towards him “You really like to hear yourself talk huh” just as she reached in front of him she flopped on her belly sliding under the demon with her previous momentum before straightening up and bucking him again in the back, causing him to stumble forward and fall over. Flauros righted himself as his opponent rushed him again leaping over his still prone form to kick his face. Flauros shot upright but managed to stay upright and a harsh red glow began to surround the cannons on his back. He watched as Daring began circling him staring intently at him with raspberry red eyes. She darted off to the left side, Flauros leaps ninety degrees to the left and lands on all fours and lets loose a blast from his cannon. Daring notices this and leaps on top of a table of the small café and leaps again as the blast of fire hits and blows the tables and chairs sky high also shattering the windows of the establishment. Daring looked from side to side trying to find something, anything that she could use to turn the tables of the fight in progress, there was the café that Flauros just attacked, the bookstore she just left, a massage spa to her south west, and a fruit cart to the north. Daring stood in place waiting for Flauros’ follow up attack. Sure enough the creature lunged at her growling through the air as Daring leapt out of the way and started dashing for the fruit cart. Flauros readied another blast in its cannon and took aim at the sandy brown pegasus who rushed forward and bucked the cart and took aim with a cantaloupe as her ammunition she waited, one, two, and bucked it hard sending it hurtling towards one of Flauros’ cannons. The fruit made contact with the cannon and sunk itself inward lodging itself in the cannon to the point only an inch or so of the large fruit was visible. Flauros let another blast loose this time causing two things to happen; the unclogged cannon shot out straight at the fruit stand blowing it up and sending his opponent flying; the other cannon backfired and blew fire and metal out of Flauros’ back causing him to screech in pain and collapse to the ground. Daring pushed herself up off of the ground and surveyed the destruction around her. The fruit cart was completely totaled as was all the merchandise that once adorned it; the café windows were shattered and the outer area was mostly destroyed but the inside seemed to be alright, but most importantly the demon she had been fighting lay on the ground howling and screeching in agony at its blown out backside. The ponies cheered as Daring Do simply slumped back down, while she Wasn’t too ‘old’ to be an adventurer or a fighter, she was terribly out of practice. “Hey he’s getting away.” One pony yelled as the creature did in fact try to get up and start moving, “Hey!” Daring righted herself and after a few shaky steps she started after the demon, he then stopped and lied on his back with his paws clasped in front of her. “Please don’t kill me, Please” Daring looked at him with caution, while she wasn’t a killer this thing had been planning on killing a little filly and had almost killed several others in its wake. “I know, I’ll contract with you, yes I’ll be your guardian demon, I’ll be helpful once I’m healed promise” the demon kept rattling off apologies and promises until Daring shushed him “What do you mean contract?” Flauros stopped his sniveling and composed himself “What I mean is that I’ll be your servant like the demon that serves that young pony” he pointed to the small filly still wearing Daring’s hat and still lying on the ground near the café, “I’ll serve you and help you fight your battles, there are few demons in the demon realm that are as loyal and trustworthy as me!” Daring could barely hear that last groaning lie though as she leaned in to ask “What is this about a ‘Demon Realm’.” ------------------------------------------------------ The mysterious mare watched silently over the bustling metropolis of Manehatten with her demon Satan at her side. She looked at a small jewel case that lay next to her on the building she sat upon and opened it. Inside there were slots for four jewels however inside there were only one. “The horsemen” her companion stated in a low grave tone, “Yes, I already gave Famine, Pestilence, and Death to a few ponies in order to sow a little more chaos and disorder amongst Celestia’s subjects.” She looked at the red jewel that still sat inside the box, on it was the symbol of a pentagram, and inside it a misty presence swirled waiting to be let out into the world. She looked down towards the city streets were a unicorn stallion was running; the stallion’s coat was white as snow and his blonde mane waved behind him as he ran. “Perfect” the mare got up and grabbed the stone with her magic, however a dragon’s head blocked her path its red eyes staring at her intently “Are thou sure, he seems, cowardly.” The mare cleared her throat and explained “He’s perfect; he’s the kind of pony who expects everything on a royal platter but only barely has the power for it, when he receives war he’ll be easy to manipulate into thinking he’s better then everypony else and deserves more than he has. Blueblood ran through the streets of Manehatten as fast as he could as several monsters ran after him. The monsters were red skinned and wielded large clubs and had two horns on either side of their heads. Blueblood continued running until a mare in a large cloak that covered her entirely stood in his way. “Move peasant” he cried out but the mare simply flipped back her hood back revealing her features to the prince. She had a dark violet coat and a long flowing blood red mane and also a large sharp horn. She began charging a magic spell and still refused to move out of the prince’s way! He continued to run hoping he could charge through her, however she simply caught him in a levitation field. “Let me go peasant there are monsters chasing me!” he shouted at the mare that seemed to ignore his pleadings. “Do you wish for the power to destroy them?” she said in a syrupy voice. Blueblood looked quizzically at the mare that seemed to have lost her mind, they were monsters! Something that seemed to jump out of a filly’s bedtime story and were chasing him through Manehatten! “I could give you power, so that none such as they could stand against you.” A grin crossed her face as, without putting him down first, she levitated a small stone out in front of him. “You’re levitating two things at once, separately?” This was something that allegedly only high-level unicorns like aunty Celestia or her pupil could do, but this random mare could as well? Maybe she could help. “What’s the catch, what do I have to give you for this power?” She smiled brighter “You must simply use it.” She pressed the stone against his hoof and it glowed softly before he heard a voice echo in his head. “Hello ‘master’ I am the Red Rider, horseman of War” suddenly a creature appeared before blueblood even more monstrous than the demons chasing him. The creature was a skeleton, a skeleton wrapped in a red cloak and wielding a large sword, the size of Blueblood at least in his bony hand. He also seemed to be riding on a very large pony with an elongated snout and covered in red armor. The pony he rode on whinnied as the creature dove into battle with the demons that had been chasing Blueblood. Now that he could stop to look he could see that there were twelve of the red-skinned monsters approaching him that the Red Rider began to attack, the odds weren’t in his favor even if he did have a big sword. The Rider rose his blade into the air and a red glow began to encircle it, ‘man he really does like red’, as he brought the sword down a red wave of heat burst forward from it and sliced through all of the demons, cutting them in two down the middle. His captor and savior finally dropped blueblood as she began to trot away. “Wait what do I do now!” She didn’t even look back as she said “Use his power; for what is up to you,” as she teleported away to continue to watch and wait for the time of her war to begin. ------------------------------------------------------- Rainbow Dash flew as fast as she could in the clouds above Los Pegasus. She had been in Cloudsdale for the past few days auditioning for the Wonderbolts but she had boarded the first train to Los Pegasus as soon as she could. Daring Do, her second idol (nothing beats the Wonderbolts), was signing books in Los Pegasus; there was no way that she would miss this. She spotted the bookstore from the clouds above and dashed downwards towards the entrance, nopony was there and she could be first in line! She barreled through the door and just barely managed to stop herself in front of the table at the back where Daring would be signing books. Its at this point that Rainbow stopped to look around and realize that Daring Do and her publisher weren’t the only ponies in the room, nor were there only ponies in the room. A strange Leopard looking creature and a winged goat bookended the table one sitting next to Daring and the other… “Rainbow Dash!” Scootaloo jumped up from her seat as she pointed to Rainbow, who was still in shock. “See Rainbow Dash is the fastest flyer in all of Equestria, and she’s a huge fan of yours Daring Do!” “Scootaloo, what are you doing in Los Pegasus, do your parents know you’re here.” Rainbow tried to sound stern but could barely contain the squeal forming from being in the presence, of the real, live, in the flesh, Daring Do! Daring looked over at Rainbow Dash, “So you know this filly?” Rainbow looked back and gulped back her squeal, “Uh… Yeah, I’m a friend of hers…” “She’s my idol, I want to be just like Rainbow Dash!” Scoots answered. Rainbow smiled a little at the praise and attention, “If my mistress believes thee to be good then I believe this as well, I am Baphomet” the winged goat reached a hand out for Rainbow Dash to shake, which she tentatively returned. “So Flauros you were telling me about the Demon World!” Daring quickly changed the subject away from the domestic child worship and back to the interesting part. “Of course mistress” Flauros cleared his throat for effect; “The demon world is a kind of clone world to your own that had been sealed away many years ago by Princess Celestia.” He growled at the mention of her name, “She sealed all the entrances to the demon world, only recently were portals opened to allow some of us through” “So ponies can enter the Demon Realm now!” Daring was nearly jumping out of her seat at this point, a whole new world to explore, one that ponies hadn’t been near in centuries or even millennia! “Unfortunately no; the portals only allow demons through, since Celestia’s magic still pervades the land.” Daring slumped back in her chair, defeated. “However” Daring looked up “With all the portals opening the Shin Megami Tensei must be beginning anew, that is how your princess received her immortality and boundless power to begin with, if mistress were to defeat her then you could gain the power to reopen the portals yourself.” Daring put a hoof to her chin, it sounded to good to be true, as much as she dreaded having to fight the Princess of the Sun a good adventure such as this would get her back in shape to explore this demon realm. Whatever shiny priceless artifacts this world possessed they belonged in a pony museum. “AHH” a cry from outside shook Daring Do from her pondering as she rushed out to see what was happening; again. Once Daring Do, and Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, had gotten outside they noticed a pony in the middle of the road surrounded by runic writing and symbols that matched the symbols on Scootaloo’s hoof. “The same symbols.” Daring pondered as she looked between the strange pony casting magic and Scootaloo. “Oh yeah these things are like a container for demons.” She smiled proudly, she gasped and looked over to Rainbow Dash, “Hey Rainbow you want to know how I got Baphomet!” “Uh… sure squirt just…” “OK so I was walking through the Everfree Forest with my previous demon Pyro Jack!” Scootaloo and Pyro Jack wondered through the Everfree forest, she and Applebloom had decided to split up and meet back at the clubhouse tomorrow so they could cover more ground in the search for Sweetie Bell. She and Pyro came across a group of the most that had attacked Applebloom earlier, called Kobolds. Pyro fought them back as well as he could but was eventually defeated and called out “Help lord of fire, save my Tamer.” As the Kobolds finished him off the symbols on Scootaloo changed to read Vile Baphomet. Then Baphomet appeared and summoned a wave of fire and killed all of the Kobolds. Then she just kept walking and talking with Baphomet not realizing that she had reached Los Pegasus. Scootaloo held her head proud after she finished telling the story, as if she was proud of getting profoundly lost and somehow finishing a several daylong trek in an afternoon. “Well maybe he can help now.” Daring pointed towards the mass of red-skinned demons walking towards them “Oni, if I wasn’t so beat up I could kill em’ all in a heartbeat,” Flauros puffed out his chest and beat against it like an ape. “Um, well he can’t he’s still beat up from the fight with Flauros.” Daring shot Flauros a look, as Rainbow walked back and flexed her wings. “My turn then.” Rainbow shot out like cannon and smacked straight into one of the Oni. The Oni was sent flying by Rainbow’s head butt and crashed into the pony that stood in the circle of runes. The Oni started after the civilians in the area as the pony in the circle of runes summoned two demons, which looked to be made of paper. “Shika-Ouji, kill that Pegasus!” The two paper demons started after Rainbow as one began blowing fire from its mouth. Daring rushed towards the Oni and began attacking herself since her new demon acquaintance couldn’t help. “Why were you so interested in the Demon World master?” Daring looked over to see that Flauros was standing there and holding back one of the Oni, “I was just thinking of all the great adventures that I could have in your world, or anypony could for that matter!” She bucked an Oni in the abdomen causing it to stumble backwards and get smashed by one of its brethren. “The tombs and temples, the death traps, the thrills! Who wouldn’t want to experience that!” Flauros nodded as he punched another Oni into oblivion, “Then contract with me” Daring looked over and saw that the summoner was well in hand as apparently this Rainbow Dash had summoned a demon of her own, a large man with grey armor and grey hair wielding a large spear. Daring looked back to her own predicament and kicked another of the Oni, “Alright then, but no hurting ponies” she scolded at Flauros. “As thou wishes Master.” Flauros fought off another Oni as a mark appeared on Daring Do’s hoof marking her as another leader in the Shin Megami Tensei. ------------------------------------------------ Applebloom had been walking through the Everfree forest for a while now ever since she and Scootaloo had split up she had felt like somepony, or something, was following her. However she persevered and continued forward as finding Sweetie Bell was more important than feeling mildly put off by the Everfree forest. “This friend of yours is very important?” a voice called out, Applebloom stopped and looked around for the voice but found nothing there, “Who’s there?” she called out. “I am called Black Frost” the voice responded. “Oh boy are you a demon, so I can have my own demon contract just like Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo!” The little filly hopped up and down in place in the middle of the forest. The demon giggled at the display, “Perhaps, I am very strong young filly, it takes one of great power to wield my strength” Applebloom continued to hop in place “I’m strong, I’m strong enough honest!” The demon continued to giggle at the filly and her antics as he materialized in front of her. Black Frost looked very much like Sweetie Bell’s Jack Frost however a lot bigger. Also where Jack Frost was white like snow Black Frost was well Black. The creature assumed a fighting stance when he saw somepony else arrive in the clearing. Trixie had been wandering, testing her demons might against the various creatures that took up residence in the Everfree forest. However she heard the sounds of another pony and went to investigate. When she came across the small yellow filly that was playing in the forest she saw the demon that was with her. ‘Does every blasted filly in Ponyville have a demon now?’ she walked forward and summoned Forneus to the spot. “Young filly you are now challenged by the Great and Powerful Trixie to a duel between demons.” She raised her fore hoofs in the air seemingly forgetting that she didn’t have her fireworks with her. The large snowman stood beside the yellow filly and readied himself. Forneus rushed forward at the large snowman and fired a large chunk of ice from its mouth towards Black Frost. The chunk simply bounced off of the large snowman that then punched Forneus in the snout knocking him back. “What is your Reason miss Tamer, what purpose does attacking me serve?” Trixie raised her head up high “To prove that the great and powerful Trixie is the best, I wish to create a world where the strong are served and no one tries to take advantage of them, because they Fear them.” As the battle continued Applebloom sat back and thought on Trixie’s words, how many times had ponies tried to take advantage of her family because they were weaker than them? The Apple’s were a respected farmer family they provided a considerable amount of the food for ponies all across Equestria. Her thoughts drifted to Diamond Tiara who constantly made fun of her and her friends; did she do that because she was scared of Applebloom? Should she be afraid? Applebloom would eventually inherit her family’s farm and thus the crops that were used to feed Diamond Tiara and her family. So she should be afraid; Applebloom could just refuse to give food to her, Applebloom had the power, not Diamond Tiara. Applebloom’s thoughts drifted further to the brothers Flim and Flam. They had tried to take advantage of the Apple’s as well and had tried to run them out of town! In Trixie’s world that wouldn’t have happened, that couldn’t have happened! “STOP!” Applebloom called out, Black Frost backed off and Forneus did the same. “What is it child.” Trixie responded in an annoyed tone. “I want to join you.” Trixie could barely believe what she was hearing “huh” “Well, I’m a member of the Apple family and we make a lot of the food that everypony eats to stay healthy and survive.” Trixie listened to the child’s story “But ponies keep trying to take advantage of us, they try to hurt us and take what’s ours from us, but in your world, in the world you want to create, that couldn’t happen because since we make so much of the food for the ponies of Equestria we’re some of the strongest out there, ponies couldn’t live without us!” Trixie called Forneus back to the containment spell and noticed that his health was low; the child could have defeated Trixie in a few moments. “Alright, if you wish to aid the Great and Powerful Trixie’s conquest of Equestria then come along.” Black frost finished the contract with Applebloom and she trotted up to Trixie’s side, “Alrighty then lets go!” The two set off back towards Ponyville. ----------------------------------------------------- Pinkie Pie was dreaming about a place made of cotton candy where she and her friends were having a tea party when she was awoken by the smell of smoke. She pulled herself out of bed and sniffed to try and locate the source of the smell, only to notice that it was all around her. She opened her eyes and noticed that her house was on fire. “Mistress” Narly floated to her side and picked her up in its claws floating outside placing her down. A large lyre broke through part of the house and next to it was Octavia carrying the limp body of Quartz on her back. “Narly my family.” “I’ve got them Pinkie.” Octavia ran over and Pinkie noticed that on Orpheus’ back were her mother and father also lying limp on their sides. “What happened…?” Octavia’s question was drowned out by the sound of a fireball hitting the house and causing it to explode in a fiery cloud. “Tamer’s are here huh, well I guess that changes things.” Pinkie looked up to see a large dragon seemingly made of metal hovering overhead with a Pegasus riding on its back. A dull orange glow surrounded the creature’s mouth signaling that it was the one who destroyed their home. Narly jumped up into the air and began attacking the creature stretching one of its claws outwards and smashing the dragon in the side. Pinkie tended to her family as her sister laid them out on the ground and ordered Orpheus to help Nyarlathotep in combat. Nyarlathotep’s attack knocked the dragon off balance and the Pegasus that was on it’s back jumped off, “The only way to really kill a demon that has performed a contract is to kill the tamer” Orpheus mentally communicated with Octavia who didn’t miss a beat, “Orpheus attack the tamer.” Orpheus summoned fire from his hands and shot it at the dazed tamer who simply dodged out of the way. “Please that was nothing” the Pegasus began circling around and around and seemed to create copies of herself with each rotation. She shot downwards and bashed into Orpheus who was blasted back with the force of the hit. Nyarlathotep was still busy beating the dragon to death and so the tamer went back to join her comrade. Pinkie Pie wasn’t paying attention; all she could see in front of her were the bodies of her family, her dead family. She pushed and prodded, she administered every form of first aid she knew but it was no use, her mom, her dad, and her youngest sister Quartz, a filly of only ten years old, they were dead. Nyarlathotep floated down next to his master “The tamer has fled, she had a strong demon but didn’t know how to use it, she seems to be heading towards Canterlot.” “They’re dead.” Pinkie’s mane lost its natural luster and flattened against her. Octavia ran over to her sister with Orpheus back in her containment spell and a soft red glow coming from it. Octavia began to cry as she wrapped her hooves around her sister. “It doesn’t have to be this way.” Pinkie raised her head, “You could fight and defeat Celestia and become the new ruler of Equestria, create a land without death, a world of eternal chaos.” Octavia backed off and fumed. “Leave her be, death isn’t something that you can just casually fix…” “Of Course” Octavia looked over to her sister and saw that the poof was back in her mane. “Yes Narly I can create a world of chaos, of laughter, where nopony is sad because they’re always laughing and smiling.” As the symbol of the praetor surrounded Pinkie Pie Octavia looked back at her smoldering home, at the very least that Pegasus needed to be taught a lesson.
  3. My youngest brother muted the whole show, I mean come on my youngest brother was being a real Jerk off this morning!
  4. Maybe they should make this available for all Gaming consoles including portibles, phones ect.
  5. At the midpoint on the journey of youth, I found myself in a dark forest, for the clear path was lost..." The Gate Spike ran faster than he had ever run before. The dark branches of Everfree cutting at his face all the while, but he didn't care. This day was going to be perfect, the sort of day of which Spike dreamed since he had first arrived in Ponyville. Spike had asked Rarity, the beautiful mare of his dreams, out on a date. She had said yes. Spike had planned a picnic for just the two of them, in the meadow just north of Ponyville... Just south to Everfree. Spike had arrived at the meadow, and saw his beloved Rarity across the way. She had been admiring a flower. Spike noticed she was wearing the fire ruby necklace, a memory they shared from what seemed like so long ago... Oh how beautiful spike found her just then. A shadow emerged from the forest. A great shapeless thing swooped in and engulfed Rarity and dragging her into the forest. Spike was speechless. The baby dragons eyes widened with fear his mouth went dry, he ran to the forests edge, but gave pause... What could he do? A wingless baby dragon with barley a lick of fire on his breath, all alone in such a frightening forest. Rarity’s fire ruby necklace lay on the ground, lost... Spike picked it up and was about to go for help, when he heard Rarity scream. Now Spike was Giving chase, dodging trees and boulders as he followed, barely keeping up with the shadow and the sound of pained screams from his beloved Rarity. Spike desperately needed to catch them... But the baby dragons breath grew labored and his body groaned with every step. They were pulling ahead now, it was no use, Spike would lose them...NO! Tears began to well at spikes eyes as he realized he was about to lose his Rarity. Then Spike ran headlong into something... Something with black and white stripes and a saddle bag. "Spike my friend you seem distressed, do you need to stop and rest?". "Zecora!" spike panted, " you've got to help me! Something came and took Rarity!" Zecora’s pupils became pinpricks, "what? Oh no, which way did they go!". Another of Rarity's screams echoed from deeper in the forest. "This way come on!" spike began to run in the direction of the cries, but was quickly scooped up by Zecora. "You ride Spike, This forest can be quite a hike." Off the two went, quickly making up lost ground and soon gaining up on the shadow. Up ahead, through the trees, they could just make out Rarity, held firmly in the shadows grasp. The look of fear on her face broke Spikes heart. Zecora ran through the forest with practiced swiftness and soon they were yards away from the beast and it's capture But then, with a sudden, almost unreal, burst of speed the monster shot ahead of them into a clearing near the very heart of Everfree. Spike and Zecora entered the clearing right behind them. It was little more than a muddy glade, no bigger around than a pony ball field is wide. The sky above was dark with eerie storm clouds, swirling around without the aid of any pegasus ponies. "Goodness me, what is this I see," Zecora rhymed in shock. At the center of the glade was a scorched stone archway, a wall of grey rock within the arch, the wall embossed with the royal seal of the alicorn sisters. Before it, sleeping in the mud was Rarity, mane a mess and covered in cuts, but still breathing. There was no sign of the shadow. "Rarity!" spike cried in concern, jumping from Zecora and running to the white mare’s aid. "Wait something eludes our site," warned Zecora, “I fear that something isn't right!" but it was too late. Just as Spike was upon Rarity, the sleeping mare was violently jerked upwards and into the air. The shadow appeared, cast upon the stone within the gate. Rarity was suspended in the air by her for hooves... The shadow on the wall seemed to be holding her up. A long deep cackle echoed out into the clearing. Spike took a step back, clenching his teeth, and tightening his grip on Rarities ruby necklace ( how he had managed to hold on to it in the chase, he would never know). The cackling voice spoke... "Awwwww does wittle spikey whiky want his wittle wawity back?". It cooed mockingly. Wait... Spike knew that voice, it was so... Oh no! The shadow upon the wall had taken shape; it had a long slender body, with asymmetric arms, eyes, and horns. A snaggletooth was clearly visible upon the smiling black shadows face. " Spike, what is happening? What is this foalnapping thing?" Zecora asked. "Discord!" Spike accused, "What are you doing here! Put Rarity down!” The shadow laughed again, louder this time, "oh, I could do that. But it sounds so...Boring!" he growled the last word, "I have a better idea. I think I'll keep your pretty little friend for a while, I get so lonely down here you know." Spike was confused now, still angry with the draconequus, but confused too... 'Down here?' "What do you mean?" Spike shouted. "Oh... Celestia didn't tell you? Well why would she, your just Twilight Sparkles little lackey, aren't you?" Discord laughed again, "Let's try a little riddle shall we? Listen closely now because I hate repeating myself..." the stone wall upon which the shadow was cast suddenly began to melt away, opening up into an impossible passage way of powerful magic. "My Wisdom and Hatred is a thousand years old, sealed away and locked up in a stony cold, cast into the darkest pit I was meant to stay, by my chaos goes unchecked by the light of the day, cast upon the ground I can project my own will, and now I'll take your Rarity away and soon I will KILL!" "NOOOO!" spike shouted upon the final verse of the riddle. Rarity was being pulled into the gateway, still knocked out. Spike dashed forward, Zecora right behind. Just as Rarity entered the portal it began to close. Spike made it through and so did Zecora, though just by the hair of her tail. The portal closed... The glade was silent, the clouds dispersed. ............................................ Spike and Zecora flew forward from an archway, exactly similar to the one they had just leapt through. The dragon and the zebra crashed to the ground in a heap. Spike was the first of the two up, he glanced around to see they had arrived in a dark cavern... No sign of Rarity or Discord anywhere." Spike helped Zecora up. "Zecora," Spike asked, "where are we?" Zecora glanced around. "Discord said the darkest pit," Zecora referenced Discords riddle, "that's about the look of it". She was right, it was dark, but wait there was a light, a faint red glow emanated from the fire ruby in spikes grasp. Spike silently thanked Rarity for having worn it. Spike tied the ruby necklace around his neck, it was so warm and comforting and soon it began to glow brighter still. Soon spike could make out features of the cavern. The cave was cold and gloomy, but it was also large, the flat ground went on into the gloom for almost a mile before it hit wall. It must have been ancient by the size of the stalactite on the ceiling... But something was off. Spike had spent his whole life in libraries with Twilight Sparkle... Go figure he leaned something, a fact... A tiny tidbit of knowledge now stuck out in spikes mind through the gloom and panic of losing his beloved rarity. Stalactites where formed from years of water dripping from the ceilings of caves... That water dropped down and formed stalagmites on the floors below... But nothing was there. The floors were flat without any formation, not a single formation anywhere... It didn't make sense... The floor was just covered in gavel and... "Spike we are not alone, something here has left gnawed pony bones!" Zecora warned, confirming Spikes fears. Something was hear, something big, something old, something that ate meat. Suddenly a mighty roar rang out, then another, then another! Three mighty roars echoed over one another, shaking the cave. Something appeared from the gloom. It had been sitting on the other side of the cavern, out of sight. Four absolutely giant legs supporting a barreled body, three heads, three sets of fiery red eyes. Spike remembered it... He had seen it once before from one of twilight's fits... It was Cerberus, the monstrous three headed dog, but what was it doing here? Spike was not granted the luxury on time to put two and two together. Cerberus was charging towards them, teeth bared and ready to rip the baby dragon and the zebra to shreds. Spike turned to run, Zecora stood her ground, she was digging through her saddle bag for something... Spike looked back and saw that the three headed dog was almost upon Zecora... Had she gone crazy? Whatever the case Spike couldn't have his zebra friend chewed to death. The dragon quickly ran to his right, shouting and waving his arms... "Hay dog breath!" he shouted, "comes get me!" It worked two of the three heads where now after Spike, nearly giving the third whiplash as they changed the bodies’ objective. Spike kept running, the dog hot on his tale and gaining ground fast barking madly as it went. Spike tried to look back, lost sight of his footing, and tripped over his own two feet. Spike fell flat on his face. Cerberus caught up to him and pounced upon the baby dragon, pinning poor spike to the floor with its massive paws. Spike closed his eyes and braced himself for the end... He thought of Rarity... Oh how he had failed her. Spike was being squeezed to death between the floor and the weight of Cerberus upon his midsection... Just as Cerberus's three maws came down upon the little dragon... Spike lost conciseness... Spikes Inferno Level one humorless Spike Jolted up, awake...alive. "Ouch!" spike winced, his ribs where badly bruised. Spike hugged himself and looked around, what had happened? The last thing that Spike could remember was being pinned to the ground by Cerberus. "Good, Spike you are alright, you really gave us quite a fright.” Spike looked up. Sitting just a few feet away from him was Zecora. They were still in the cave. "Zecora?" spike coughed, "what happened to Cerberus?" Zecora smiled. "My bag has things meant for my brew, dried flower dust and tree branches too. I called out the dog and he came, and soon we were playing a game.". Just then Cerberus thundered up, proud as a puppy with a large branch in the left heads maw. The monster dropped the stick and sat down, patently watching Zecora, tail wagging wildly. Zecora picked up the stick in her teeth, careful to grab the end without dog slobber. With a quick twist of her neck she sent it sailing across the room. Cerberus thundered off, kicking up gravel as he went, three giant tongues lolling from its mouths. "he may be big and quite a sight," rhymed Zecora, " but his bark is much worse than his bite." Spike smiled and pulled himself together. Rarity... Discord had taken her. Spike and Zecora had given chase. Where were they now? Why was Cerberus here... Why was the guardian of Tartarus... Oh Buck... "Zecora I think I know where we are!" Spike panicked. Twilight had been to the entrance of Tartarus twice, but never gone further in then the entrance where Cerberus lived. It was said that Celestia used Tartarus as a dumping ground for evil too powerful to turn or dissuade. “I have a good idea as well, but why are we pony hell?" Zecora rhymed using the unofficial and somewhat crass nickname for Tartarus. Spike tried to think... Why would Discord be in Tartarus? Actually now that spike thought about it, why wouldn't he be? It seemed a much better place than the royal gardens, where he had originally been stored. "I don't understand," spike said pondered aloud, "why would Discord... How could Discord take Rarity? He was turned to stone by the elements of harmony, he should be powerless.". Zecora tossed the stick for Cerberus again. "Spike didn't you hear? Discord said it all quite clear"... Zecora cleared her throat, and then recited Discords riddle from memory. "My Wisdom and Hatred is a thousand years old, sealed away and locked up in a stony cold, cast into the darkest pit I was meant to stay, by my chaos goes unchecked by the light of the day, cast upon the ground I can project my own will, and now I'll take your Rarity away and soon I will kill.". Spike gawked. How did that Zebra remember all that? Spike could barely remember anything other than the very last of the riddle, let alone understand it. "But what does it mean?" spike pleaded. Zecora’s face turned grim. "Let me say it again slowly, and then perhaps you will see." "ok." spike replied clearing his mind and calming down, “ready". "My Wisdom and Hatred is a thousand years old, sealed away and locked up in a stony cold..." "Ok... So... Discord was turned to stone?". Zecora nodded and continued. "Cast into the darkest pit I was meant to stay, by my chaos goes unchecked by the light of the day." "umm..." that one was harder, " Celestia put him in the darkest pit, down here in Tartarus... But... But down here she can't keep an eye on him." Again, spike got a nod from the zebra. "Cast upon the ground I can project my own will, and now I'll take your Rarity away and soon I will..." Zecora let the poem end before the last word... It still rhymed up right. "So discord is still sealed in stone... But his shadow is doing his work for him... And now he's going -sob- he's going to KILL RARITY!" Spike was in tears now... This was bad. They needed the princess, both of them... And the guards... And the girls... And... And spike couldn't get any of them. The gateway had sealed. Oh, but wait! "Zecora so you have any paper, we could send a letter to the princess for help." "Sorry Spike" Zecora shook her head, "I never do when I hike." Well so much for that. Rarity was in trouble... It was up to them... No, it was up to him to save Rarity. "Zecora, there's no time to loose!" Spike stood up strait and began to look for an exit. “We have to save Rarity!". Zecora nodded. “you speak the truth my dragon friend, but I fear this journey won't soon end". Spike saw it. On the far end of the cavern, just passed where Cerberus now laid, gnawing at his stick, was a rounded silver archway. Zecora scooped spike up onto her back again and trotted over to the arch. Cerberus was uninterested; the stick was the first new thing for him to play with in ages. Spike and Zecora passed through the gate... Embossed upon it were the words... Level One Humorless. "Zecora? What do those words mean?". "Celestia has Tartarus split up like a zoo or a department store, relative peace it's meant to insure." “oh... So this first level is... Humorless? It's just things that aren't funny?". Spike thought was a bit ridiculous. Why lock something up just because it I wasn't funny? They were through the portal... Suddenly everything changed... Spike and Zecora came upon a village square... Stone buildings made up to look like houses where placed about. There was a city hall, a gazebo, market stalls, all made of grey stone. The sky above was dark grey. The grass was grey... No color anywhere. But there was something odd, well, odder. All around there where statues...Pony statues hundreds of them. All of them very detailed grey stone statues, all frozen I laughter, slapping their knees, bro hoofing, and pointing in the same general direction... Down the street. Spike and Zecora exchanged a look. Zecora slowly made her way down the street, spike on her back, being careful to avoid all the statues. Spike noticed fairly early that all of the statues where Pegasus... Odd. As they went, an audible sound came to their ears, the only sound in the whole town of laughing statues... A sound of trickling water. Spike and Zecora came to a junction in the road, the statues where at their thickest here, some peeking out of windows or from on top of roofs to point and laugh. Zecora had to crane her neck to see what was at the center of the pegasus statues, spike atop her head. "Oh..." Was all either of them could say. At the center of the statues was a silver basin filled with water. Sitting in the center of all that was another statue. A pony with a main that hung flat. It was a mare, sitting in the middle of all, crying. The tears that flowed from the mare statue fed the silver basin, keeping it full of water. Spike understood the name of this level now... Humorless... "such a sad place this is to be, it brings a tear to even me.". " why are they laughing at her?" spiked asked, "a little laugh is fine but she's crying." "Why not laugh at her? she's a joke," came a cruel voice. Discords shade appeared. Cast against the stone houses as a large and frightening shadow. “I love to laugh, who cares that someone else can't see the humor in their own suffering?" Spikes claws clenched into fists of rage. " Discord!" he shouted, "what have you done with Rarity!?". "Oh... She and I have been having such fun, say hi Rarity." Rarity appeared in the top window of the stone clock tower. She was banging her hooves against the glass mouthing help. Spike jumped from Zecora’s back and made a run for the tower. The shadow was quicker, as it suddenly cast its wicked self against the stone of the building. "None of that now!" he cackled. Rarity vanished from the window. The tower collapsed into a pillar of grey sand, crumbling down to the ground and tuning to smoke at spikes feet... The foundations the only thing to say it had ever been there. Spike roared to the heavens in desperation. “Oh, what's the matter wittle spiky whiky? Aren't you having fun?" Discord appeared on another building, this time near Zecora. "Let it never be said that I'm not a good sport, so I'll tell you the rules to this little game." "Game!?" spike was disgusted. "Yes game, don't worry it's easy! The rules are simple, on each level I'll present a little puzzle or challenge or something... And if you solve it, I'll let Rarity go... If you fail, no problem, all you have to do is go down another level and try again... You get six tries as there are only six levels. After that I'll give you a choice. But I hate ruining surprises so just cross that bridge if you come to it. Everyone has to play or the game is over and I win. So what do you think?". Spike looked over to Zecora, who gave a determined nod. "Ok Discord, we’re in!" "Excellent! First test! Ready?" Spike nodded. "Good... Now I won't bother with trivia, who knows what random tidbits you picked up from that twilight sparkle over the years... Oh hears an idea! King if the hill... The fountain is the hill, the mare is the flag, I think stones vs skins! Dr. Hooves reference for the win! Start in thirty seconds!" "Wait what?" spike asked, only half understanding the instructions. Discord just started counting down... "29...28...27...26..." "Spike the fountain, that is our mountain!" Zecora pushed her way to the silver fountain in the center of the statue crowd... Spike followed. "... 20...19...18...17..." Zecora and Spike climbed into the silver basin. It was a perfect ring about the size of the main room at Twilight’s house. The water was cold but only went down deep enough to pass spikes ankles. The stone mare at the center sat crying still. Zecora dug into her bag again, producing another tree branch she handed it spike. "This should help you hold your own, from attackers made of stone". Spike gulped. A town filled with stone ponies. Discord had said stones vs skins... This task may prove too much for the zebra and the baby dragon. "...5...4...3...2..." Spike held the tree branch up like a bat, ready for the stone ponies to attack. The branch was heavy, solid, an ideal club for someone spikes size... He hoped it would hold out on stone... "...1... GO!" discord shouted the last word and vanished... All was silent. Spikes eyes darted right and left... Watching for movement, but there was none. The statues remained absolutely still... Spike had been sure that they would all come to life at once and rush them... But they weren't moving at all. Spike looked over to Zecora... She was watching the Pegasus statues too, waiting for an attack... But none seemed to be coming... Spike exhaled a sigh of relief and looked back at the statues on his side... "Buck!" spike jumped a foot in the air as he turned around to see that some of the statues on his side had moved into the silver ring, and where now reaching out at spike with angered expressions upon there stone faces. Spike instinctively swings his club at the closest statue... Smashing its face in... It crumbled to the water and evaporated into nothing. Zecora turned to see spikes situation. Spike looked over to her and shouted a warning, pointing behind Zecora. Zecora spun around just in time to see her own set of pegasus statues Had crossed the fountain threshold and now stood frozen just inches away. Zecora lashed out with her for hooves smacking two of them to smoky dust. The statues had all the consistency of dirt clods. Spike kept swinging right and left smashing each statue to dust. But every time he looked away, the statues would move forward, only to freeze in place when he looked back and smashed at them all over again. Zecora quickly found that hoof boxing was the only way to fight the statues... Bucking involved turning ones back and every time Zecora tried it her hooves would only strike at air. The pegasus statues from thought the town had, at some point made their way down the street and where now standing in a tightly packed crowed around the fountain. Spike and Zecora took steps back, their eyes wide open so as to take in as many as they could with their gave... They whey where exhausted. "They move unseen and freeze when spotted, a devious creature to be plotted". Zecora panted. "Yeah... How many do you think are left?" spike asked. "I do not know, but we still have a long way to go". Zecora replied. Spike blinked... The statues advanced forward a step... He tried alternating winking one eye to the other... All the statues on the right advanced forward, then on the left, slowly encircling him as they came closer. Spike let out a battle cry and ran forward, smashing dozens. The smoky dust from each got into his eyes and burned like chili powder and ash... Spikes dragon eyes could handle it... Zecora however, was tearing up something awful as her vision was obscured. "Spike behind! I Am Blind!" Zecora warned. Spike turned to catch one of the pegasus statues inches from the stone mare. Spike ran forward and blew angry green flames at the winged beast. Spike was surprised to see not his usual lick of flames, but a full burst of powerful fire. The statue crumbled. "Zecora get as low in the water as you can!" spike shouted. Secure shrank to the water and covered he face. Spike used fireblast It was super effective! All the statues on Zecora’s side fell to dust... Spike spun left and let another blast go throwing the now flaming branch as hard as he could into the statues obliterating the rest in fiery fury... But Spike didn't notice the last statue just to his right... Outside his peripheral vision. "That's game!" The Discord Shade shouted, emerging form the dusty smoke. Spike was smiling, thinking he had won. Then he noticed the cheeky grin on the shadows face... Spike spun around, and saw a single pegasus statue, it's hoof extended, touching the crying mares mane. Zecora was still down in the water, she had not been burned by the fire, but was feeling very, very warm at the moment as she rinsed her eyes out. "Oh, so close... For a moment I thought you might win, what did you chug a thing of Lighter fluid on your way down?” Spike didn't answer he was too angry with himself, he had breathed fire, real honest to goodness dragon fire, and it still hadn't been enough to save his beloved Rarity... Why was he so useless? "No matter, you can try again in the next level. I think I'll tweak things to be more fire proof though... Or maybe I'll forget, honestly it's so hard to stay focused with such a pretty mare as Rarity around, I think I may be getting a little crush on her." Discord laughed at Spikes obvious frustration. "Don’t you touch her!" Spike shouted. "Or what? Will wittle spikey whiky punish me for making moves on his wittle cwush?” Spike cursed at Discord and spat fire at the shadow. Discord just laughed as the flames licked at his form. "Oh I love it when they get angry, it's so chaotic!" the shadow moved to the water spike was standing on, "See you at the next level." it purred as it sank into the suddenly deep looking water, and was gone. The last of the pegasus statues turned to dust. Spike threw a small tantrum as discord vanished... He felt so helpless. Zecora walked over to him and put her hoof on his shoulder, quietly telling him that everything would be alright in rhyme. ......................................................... "so how do you think we get to the next level?" spike asked after finally pulling himself together. "I am not sure, I see no silver door". Zecora replied. She was right. Everything in the stone town was blackish grey... Accept the fountain. Spike and Zecora both seemed to have the same thought as they looked over to the silver basin and the crying mare. Upon closer examination Zecora noticed letters embossed along its edge... Level Two: Mean. "this fountain seems to be the key, or more the door actually." Zecora began to look around the fountain, mumbling to herself in zebafeican. Spike, out of ideas looked at the reflection in the now calm water, the dragon fiddled absent mindedly with the neoclassic around his neck, still glowing slightly... Time slowed and reality bent. Spike watched the reflection of the crying mare. It was coloring and becoming, becoming pink! It's mane, its coat all pink... Then a cutie mark appeared three little balloons. Spike looked up to see a weeping pinky pie, her hair deflated, her face stained with tears. "Pinky?" The pink mare are jumped and looked up in surprise at spike. Her bottom lip quivered and soon she was crying again with renewed gusto. Spike looked to where Zecora had been standing... But the Zebra had vanished. Spike climbed up over the water basin and crossed over to his distressed friend. "pinky what's wrong?" spike asked, unsure of exactly what to do. Pinky looked up again saw spike and started crying more. Spike reached out to try and comfort his friend, but found his claw passed right through her like a ghost. Spike jumped back in shock for a moment... But the sight of his friend crying steeled the little dragons resolve. "Pinky, why are you crying?" spike tried again a bit firmer this time. Pinky looked up and gazed into spikes eyes. "Spike, just look at you." she said between sobs, "your life is so sad, how could I do anything but cry?" Spike was taken aback by that...what did he have to be sad about? "I... What?" "Your parents spike, you can't tell me you never thought about them". The water below began to glow with an eerie light as images began to play across it... weaving into one another, the way that thoughts flashed through the mind. Spikes mind was bombarded with images of a single dragon’s egg. "Dragons don't lay single eggs spike." pinky said, "why where you all alone?" Spikes mind filled with horrible possibilities... Had something happened to spikes family? Had Celestia eggnapped him? Had his mother thrown him away? Was there something wrong with him? Did it have something to do with spikes lack of wings? These where all things that Spike had wondered about in the past… but never all at once. Spike thought he would be sick as a knot in his stomach formed. "Now look at you, the closest thing you have to family see's you as a pet, or some kind of servant". Pinky started to cry again. Again Spikes mind filled again with horrible memories of twilight talking down to him, of being humiliated, and of being ordered around... Again and again and again! What was Spike to Twilight? Spikes vision began to blur as tears formed in his eyes... He fell to his knees in desperation, staring down at the images in the water. "But the worst part," pinky sobbed, “the worst part is that Rarity... Spike, Rarity can never love you back! Even if you save her she'll never feel that same way about you Spike! "That's...that's not..." spike was crying now, his own tears feeding the pool. Again spikes mind’s eye was flooded with images. Rarity was a fashion designer... Spike was... Spike didn't even know a servant at best. Rarity was a older, spike was just a baby by his own species standards. Now that he mentioned it, there was the most glaring issue! Rarity was a mare, a pony! Spike was a dragon the biggest meanest most horrible monsters in Equestria... Spike curled up into a little ball and cried in despair. For a moment, all was sadness... Spike was ready to give up. Everything seemed utterly useless, all was for naught. Reality came back into order. Again Spike was standing at the edge of the silver basin. Zecora was inspecting the writing, looking for some way to open the gateway. Spike realized that only a moment had passed. He took in a sudden, deep breath through his teeth, trying to forget the terrible notions that now bounced around inside his head. The sound of trickling water stopped. The mare statue had stopped crying… the fountain basin drained of all water, revealing a new gateway. “It seems the door has been reviled, best we go before its sealed.” Zecora said. “Right,” Spike said “let’s go.” Spike managed to keep his voice steady. The little dragon had a bad feeling about was to come. Despite the looming despair, Spike knew that he had to save Rarity. That was enough to press on.
  6. I would like somepony to help me with this story! Spike = Dante Zecora = Virgil Discord = Lucifer Rarity = Beatrice Luna = Charon Trixie = Phlegyas Fluttershy = Angel of Chastity Applejack = Heavenly sent Messenger Pinkie Pike = A Mare being purged of Gluttony Twilight Sparkle = A Mare being purged of Wrath Rainbow Dash = A Mare being purged of Sloth Crysalis = A Mare within the circle of fraud
  7. Sorry but the story has 100 Cantos.
  8. Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck Some nights, I call it a draw Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle Some nights, I wish they'd just fall off But I still wake up, I still see your ghost Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for oh What do I stand for? What do I stand for? Most nights, I don't know anymore... oh woah, oh woah, oh woah oh oh oh woah, oh woah, oh woah oh oh This is it, boys, this is war - what are we waiting for? Why don't we break the rules already? I was never one to believe the hype - save that for the black and white I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked, but here they come again to jack my style And that's alright; I found a martyr in my bed tonight She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am Oh, who am I? Oh, who am I? mmm... mmm... Well, Some nights, I wish that this all would end Cause I could use some friends for a change And some nights, I'm scared you'll forget me again Some nights, I always win, I always win... But I still wake up, I still see your ghost Oh Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh What do I stand for? What do I stand for? Most nights, I don't know... (come on) So this is it? I sold my soul for this? Washed my hands of that for this? I miss my mom and dad for this? No. When I see stars, when I see stars, that's all they are When I hear songs, they sound like a swan, so come on Oh, come on. Oh, come on, OH COME ON! That is it, guys, that is all - five minutes in and I'm bored again Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands This is not one for the folks at home; I'm sorry to leave, mom, I had to go Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun? My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called "love" But when I look into my nephew's eyes... Man, you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from... Some terrible nights...ahhh... oh woah, oh woah, oh woah, oh oh oh woah, oh woah, oh woah, oh oh The other night, you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me I called you up, but we'd both agree It's for the best you didn't listen It's for the best we get our distance... oh... It's for the best you didn't listen It's for the best we get our distance... oh...
  9. Lyricsmania.com
  10. RAINBOW DASH: Three months of winter coolness, and awesome holidays~ PINKIE PIE: We've kept our hoovesies warm at home, time off from work to play~ APPLEJACK: But the food we've stored is running out, and we can't grow in this cold RARITY: And even though I love my boots, this fashion's getting old~ TWILIGHT SPARKLE: The time has come to welcome Spring And all things warm and green, But it's also time to say goodbye: It's Winter we must clean. How can I help? I'm new, you see. What does everypony do? How do I fit in without magic? I haven't got a clue! PONIES: Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! Let's finish our holiday cheer Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! Applejack: 'Cause tomorrow Spring- Rainbow Dash: -is here! 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here! RAINBOW DASH: Bringing home the southern birds, A pegasus' job begins And clearing all the gloomy skies To let the sun shine in! We move the clouds and we melt the white snow; When the sun comes up, it's warmth and beauty will glow! PONIES: Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! Let's finish our holiday cheer Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here Winter Wrap-Up Winter Wrap-Up! 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here! RARITY: Little critters hibernate Under the snow and ice. FLUTTERSHY: We wake up all their sleepyheads So quietly and nice! RARITY: We help them gather up their food, Fix their homes below; FLUTTERSHY: We welcome back the Southern birds Rarity and Fluttershy: So their families can grow! Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com PONIES: Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! Let's finish our holiday cheer Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here! APPLEJACK: No easy task to clear the ground, Plant our tiny seeds. With proper care and sunshine, Everyone it feeds. Apples, carrots, celery stalks Colorful flowers, too! We must work so very hard, It's just so much to do! PONIES: Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! Let's finish our holiday cheer Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! PINKIE PIE: 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here! PONIES: 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here! TWILIGHT SPARKLE: Now that I know what they all do, I have to find my place And help with all of my heart, Tough task ahead I face. How will I do without my magic, Help the earth pony way? I wanna belong, so I must Do my best today Do my best today PONIES: Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! Let's finish our holiday cheer~ Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here~ Winter Wrap-Up, Winter Wrap-Up! TWILIGHT SPARKLE: 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here~ 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here~ 'Cause tomorrow Spring is here!
  11. In the middle of my Dragonhood I awoke to find myself alone in a dark valley, I can see Princess Celestia raising the sun atop a little hill and I decide to climb it. But my path is blocked by a Hydra, Manticore and Timberwolf. "You can't climb the hill that way," said a voice. it was the Zebra Zecora. I will help you climb the hill, Spike however... ...Before you climb the hill you must go to Tataurus, Purgatory and Heaven.
  12. http//:fimfiction.net/codelyocolt.html
  13. It had started so innocently... Twilight Sparkle had taken a day trip to Canterlot to visit with her brother and search for a few new books to take back to Ponyville with her--even though she lived in a library, she was still in a rural village, after all, and Canterlot got all the latest books more quickly. After doing some book-shopping and spending a pleasant afternoon with Shining Armor and his wife Cadence, Twilight had decided to stop by the palace and pay her respects to her mentor, Princess Celestia. When she'd arrived, however, the princess had seemed unusually agitated about something. "What's wrong, Princess?" Twilight had asked. "Oh, Twilight, I'm glad you're here," Celestia had said, tossing her mane and pawing the floor with a hoof. "My sister unearthed something...strange...in the palace cellar. I honestly had no idea it was there, but now..." She had shaken her head. "Well, we're not entirely sure what to make of it. It's some sort of technology..." The purple unicorn's eyes had lit up at this. "Technology?" she'd asked, tilting her head. While certain things were commonplace in Equestria, technology in general was still a rare enough sight that any new, unusual gizmo or gadget fascinated her. "Yes, and I'm afraid neither I nor my sister are very good with such things," Celestia had said. "I've heard, however, that you've developed quite an interest in machines..." "Oh, absolutely!" Twilight had replied, smiling brightly. "What is it? What does it do?" "That's just it...we have no idea what it does. We can't even figure out how to turn it on." The purple unicorn had rubbed her chin with her forehoof, humming thoughtfully. "Can it be moved?" "Possibly," Celestia had hedged, a hoof raised slightly. "Well...if it can be moved, would you mind if I had it relocated to Ponyville?" Twilight had asked. "It might take a while to study, and I'd really rather study it in my own lab. Besides, if it turns out to be something dangerous, turning it on here in Canterlot could be...well..." "Disastrous, yes," the princess had agreed. "Very well, we'll go inspect it together, to see if it can be moved. If it can, we'll arrange to transport it to the library in Ponyville." By nightfall, the strange contraption had been transplanted to Twilight's lab in the basement of the library. It was a curious thing; black and gleaming with a cylindrical tower rising from a broad circular base. Deep grooves and indentations were engraved into the smooth black metal at seemingly random intervals; these indented areas were a dull amber color. She'd spent all night studying it from every conceivable angle, probing it with her magic, hooking up electrodes to it to try to get a reading on it, even kicking it experimentally a few times. Nothing had seemed to yield any response from the mysterious, recalcitrant object. An hour before sunrise, the weary, exhausted unicorn had slumped to the floor, hooves splayed around her. "I give up," she'd groaned. "This thing just doesn't want to do anything..." She'd trotted upstairs and gone into the kitchen for a drink. After enjoying a glass of cold apple juice, she'd suddenly remembered one thing she hadn't tried. She'd smacked herself in the forehead with a hoof, then, and rushed back down the stairs to the basement, where the cold black machine stood silently, as though daring her to make it work. She had then tilted her horn towards the device and funneled a powerful jolt of magical lightning directly into the cylindrical tower. Abruptly, the amber sections of the device had begun to glow brightly; the entire tower hummed quietly with power, golden light pulsing upwards through it at clockwork intervals. The unicorn had cheered ecstatically... However, after an hour, the thing had done nothing more interesting than glow, hum, and pulse. Twilight had finally gone to bed just after sunrise, leaving instructions for her dragon assistant, Spike, to clean up the library and keep the noise down so she could sleep. Just past noon, Twilight Sparkle awoke to an insistent knocking on the front door. She trotted downstairs just as Spike answered the door, and saw a massive crate supported by two pegasi. As Derpy Hooves was one of the deliveryponies, the crate was listing alarmingly to one side. Using her magic to help the ponies support the crate, she guided them into the middle of the room, where the three of them gently set down the crate. "What IS it, anyway?" Twilight asked. "No idea, sorry," Derpy said, looking at her with one eye and a potted plant with the other. "But it came express from Canterlot..." The two pegasi flew away, leaving Twilight to puzzle over the crate. A moment later, Spike belched out a smoking scroll with the royal crest on it. Unrolling it, Twilight read the letter from her mentor: Dear Twilight Sparkle, You should shortly be receiving a crate of equipment we discovered in a sealed antechamber near where the device was found. It seems to be part of, or at least related to, the device. Hopefully, you can divine some meaning or purpose to all this. Princess Celestia Twilight wasted no time opening the crate; inside was some sort of control panel, to which an array of flat screens had been mounted, and four broad golden cylinders, each twice as tall as the average pony. "Great, just what we need...more weird crap," Spike muttered. Twilight bopped him on the head with a hoof. "Just for that, you can help me get this stuff downstairs," she said. It took just over half an hour to move the new equipment array to the basement, where the black tower was still glowing and humming and pulsing. As soon as the new devices were ten feet from the glowing tower, the screens lit up, assorted text and graphics flashing across them. Spike jumped away from the thing, alarmed. Twilight merely examined them curiously. "Th-this stuff just came to life all by itself!" Spike exclaimed. "I suspect...these screens draw power from the original device, and they have to be close to it when it's activated," Twilight said, stroking her chin with a hoof. "These other things are probably drawing power too, though I can't see what their purpose is at the moment..." Her eyes lit up with excitement and delight. "Isn't this amazing? I can't wait to find out what it is and what it does!" "I can," Spike muttered. "I'll be upstairs having a snack." Ignoring the dragon, Twilight settled down behind the control panel, examining it carefully. She spotted what appeared to be a headset, and levitated it onto her head, adjusting the earpiece and carefully positioning the microphone. "Hello?" she tried. "Testing..." //Who's there?// a voice replied. Twilight jumped. "Who--who is this?" she asked. //...I don't know,// the feminine voice replied. //I just woke up...it's cold and dark here...I'm alone...// A window popped open on the center screen of the control array, and a mare appeared. There was something very odd about her. She seemed artificial...not quite real. She was dusky pink in color, with a neon blue-green mane and sharp gray eyes. She smiled and tilted her head curiously. //I can see you now...I think,// she said, her voice now coming out of speakers attached to the control screens. //Who are you?// "My name is Twilight Sparkle," the unicorn replied. "I'm in Ponyville...where are you?" //I...I don't know,// the strange mare replied. //I've never heard of Ponyville...sorry...// She paused. //Come to think of it, I've never heard of anyplace.// Twilight frowned. "Can you describe the place you're in?" //Yes...// The mare on the screen replied, looking around. //I'm in some kind of...tower, I think. The walls are dark, but there's...hold on. I can show you.// A new window popped open on a screen to the unicorn's left. The interior of the tower was dark and silent, with with lighted squares full of numbers and letters in seemingly random patterns moving serenely up and across the otherwise blue-black walls. The floor was light blue, with a series of glowing concentric circles leading to a point in the center. //Hang on...I think there's something else...// The mare trotted over to the wall of the tower and pressed a hoof against it. A concentric ripple of light expanded from her hoof; she gasped as her hoof passed through the wall. //Oh my!// "Careful..." Twilight cautioned. //Alright.// Taking a deep breath, the pink mare stepped through the wall of the tower. The screen on Twilight's left abruptly flickered and changed to show a rocky desert plain, littered with scrubby plants, brown stone outcroppings, and thick bundles of cable which snaked in and out of the ground seemingly at random, pulsing with energy. //Wow...there's...a whole world here...// "That's the strangest-looking desert I've ever seen," Twilight said. //It's a virtual environment,// the mare replied. //Don't ask me how I know that. I just do.// She paused. //I think...I think I might be virtual too.// "Virtual?" Twilight echoed, head tilted. //I...and this world, I suppose...reside in the memory of some sort of computer,// the virtual mare replied. "Computer...you mean this big black thing we moved here from Canterlot Palace?" She turned the screens around on their base to face the glowing black tower. //Yes! That's it!// the virtual mare exclaimed. //That's the supercomputer. I know, somehow, that this world...and me...are connected to that machine.// "Hmm..." Twilight frowned thoughtfully, then turned the screens back around to face her. "So...you're not real then?" //I suppose not...from your point of view, anyway,// the mare said, a note of sadness in her voice. "Still, this is pretty amazing...a pony who exists inside a machine...a whole WORLD that exists inside the machine...! I've never heard of anything like this! I'm glad I figured out how to turn it on..." //So am I...// The virtual mare paused. //I really wish I could remember anything useful, though. Like who I am, for starters.// "Well, since you're virtual...how about I call you Virtua? At least for now." //Alright,// Virtua replied, smiling. She frowned suddenly. //Something doesn't feel right...I'd better get back inside that tower. I get the feeling...I'm not entirely safe here.// Twilight frowned. "What do you mean?" Just then, something that looked like a hermit crab scuttled into view. A blast of energy shot from aglowing eye located just beneath a strange-looking symbol on its shell, narrowly missing Virtua. The virtual pony shrieked in alarm and galloped back toward the tower, phasing through the wall. She collapsed to the floor, panting heavily. //That was scary!// "And strange," Twilight said. "I think you'd better sit tight where you are, Virtua." She brightened. "Hey! I should go get my friends and bring them down here to meet you!" //I'd like that,// Virtua said with a smile. An hour later, Twilight led Spike, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and Applejack into the basement. The mares looked around wonderingly at the strange equipment. "What--what IS all this?" Dash asked. "I...I'm a little scared..." Fluttershy said, shivering as she eyed the black tower nervously. "It's something called a 'supercomputer'," Twilight said. "But this isn't half of what I wanted to show you. I want you to meet somepony..." She trotted back over to the control panel and tapped a few keys. The center screen woke up, and the window showing the inside of the tower popped open. Virtua's face appeared in the window, and she smiled. //Welcome back, Twilight,// she said. "Whoa, who's THAT?" Applejack asked. "An' why's she look so...weird?" "Applejack!" Twilight scolded. "Sorry about that, Virtua." //It's alright,// the virtual mare replied. Introductions were made, and Twilight explained--with difficulty, as she didn't fully understand it herself--that Virtua was an artificial pony who existed in an artificial world that existed inside the supercomputer. "And there's this big desert-looking world outside the tower Virtua's in right now, but it isn't safe for her to go outside because some kind of weird crab monster started shooting at her," she finished. Her friends stared at her as though she'd grown a second head AND a horn out of her butt. "Uh, sugarcube?" Applejack said, taking a step back and raising a forehoof. "That's uh...nice an' all, but...it all sounds jes' a mite far-fetched, is all Ah'm sayin'..." "Yes, I know it sounds crazy," Twilight said patiently, "but it has to be true, because here she is, and even Princess Celestia had no idea what this supercomputer thing does, so--" "Wow, one of these big tube thingies just opened up when I touched it!" Pinkie exclaimed, standing inside the hollow cavity of one of the cylinders which had arrived with the control array. She started bouncing up and down. "It's so roomy in here! I wonder what it does?" "Pinkie, don't play around in there," Twilight cautioned. As she turned to admonish her friend, her tail brushed against one of the controls on the main board... The tube Pinkie had opened closed with her inside it, and a series of new windows popped open on the screens. "Uh, Twi?" Rainbow Dash said, eyes wide in panic. "Somethin's happenin'..." Twilight spun around, eyes wide as she saw a three-dimensional image of Pinkie Pie appear on one of the screens, along with a series of graphs and other displays that were changing too rapidly for her to follow. With growing horror, she watched as the image of Pinkie dissolved into a wireframe, before disappearing entirely. "Pinkie Pie?! Pinkie?!" //Whoa, there really IS a big weird desert here!// Pinkie's voice came from the speakers attached to the control array. "Pinkie? Where are you?" Twilight asked. //Duh! I just told you, silly! I'm in that big weird desert you were talking about! And I see that tower thingie...is Virtua inside there?// "Virtua? Could you step outside the tower for a minute please?" Twilight asked. //A-alright...// The virtual mare left the tower again, and the view on the left screen changed from the dark tower to the brown desert. The group in the basement gave a collective gasp at what they saw. Pinkie had somehow become virtual like Virtua. She was wearing a spysuit in the colors of the balloons that comprised her cutie mark, and two miniature versions of her Party Cannon were mounted on her sides. "Whoa," Dash breathed. "Well, that was certainly unexpected," Rarity said. //This is so cool!// Pinkie exclaimed. //How did I get here, though?// Twilight's brow furrowed. "I think..." she said slowly, "these cylinder things send ponies into that virtual world...into the supercomputer." "But...you CAN bring her back out of there, right?" Fluttershy asked nervously. "I...think so," Twilight hedged. //You should be able to,// Virtua said suddenly. //I believe what happened to your friend is called 'virtualization', and there is a reverse process called 'devirtualization', or 'rematerialization'.// "For a pony with amnesia, you seem to know a lot," Rainbow Dash said suspiciously. //I just wish I knew anything useful, or could understand why I know what I do know,// Virtua replied. Suddenly, the crab-like creature that had shot at Virtua earlier reappeared...and it had brought along two friends. One of them shot at Pinkie, whose flank flashed blue. //Hey! Ow! That wasn't very nice!// Pinkie shouted. Twilight noticed that an image of Pinkie had appeared on one of the screens, and her lower legs were disappearing from the graphic. "Pinkie? Are you okay?!" //Yeah, I'm okay,// Pinkie replied. //That really smarted though.// "Uh...I don't think you want to get hit again," Twilight said, studying the graphics on the screen with growing alarm. "There's something on this screen that says you just lost twenty life points. I don't know what that means, but it can't be good..." The crab-things started shooting at Pinkie again. She dodged, bouncing left and right. //Okay, I'm getting tired of these mean mean meanies,// she said. Without warning, two big pink balls of lightning blasted out of her side-cannons. Two of the crab-things were hit dead-center and exploded into blue pixels. "Nice shootin'!" Applejack cried. "Yeah, you totally nailed 'em!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed. The third crab, however, fired at Virtua, whose body flashed blue as she was knocked off her hooves. "Virtua? You alright?" Twilight asked, as a new graphic appeared, showing that the virtual mare had also lost a number of life points. //I...think so...// Virtua stood up, wavering slightly, as Pinkie dispatched the third crab. Five more crabs scuttled into view. "Hurry up and get back in the tower!" Twilight exclaimed. //Right,// Virtua said. She turned and galloped for the tall white tower, Pinkie right behind her. However, while Virtua easily phased through the tower wall, Pinkie simply bounced off. //Ow! I can't get in and my nose hurts,// Pinkie complained. Five bolts of crab-fire struck her dead in the rump, and she exploded into a cloud of glowing blue polygons. "PINKIE PIE!" the group in the basement shouted, eyes wide in horror. "No...she can't be...gone..." Twilight moaned in despair. There was a loud hiss, and the group turned towards the cylinder into which Pinkie had climbed earlier. It slid open, disgorging a cloud of steam...and Pinkie Pie, who looked like she had a terrible hangover, but was otherwise unharmed. "Wow, getting shot at that much definitely wasn't fun," she said. She looked around at everypony, blinking. "Um...why does everypony look like somepony just died?" "Because we thought you DID die, you ditz!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed, flying at Pinkie and tackling her with a fierce hug. "Don't scare us like that ever again!" //I'm relieved your friend is alright,// Virtua said from the screen. //I'm sorry about...what just happened.// "Well, it doesn't look like there's anything to worry about," Twilight said, examining the screen on the left. The graphic of Pinkie had turned red and winked out of existence; the graphic of Virtua was slowly regenerating life points. "It looks like when you go into a tower, your life points recover...I wouldn't go out again unless you absolutely have to, and I wouldn't get far from that tower." //Yes, I figured that part out myself,// Virtua said. //But it looks as though if one of you gets virtualized, losing all your life points just means you go back to your own world.// "That means we can totally explore that crazy virtual place!" Rainbow Dash said, suddenly excited. "Doesn't it?" "It certainly seems that way," Twilight replied, frowning. "I'm not sure how much we should really mess around with this, though." The mares and Spike unanimously agreed that it was time for dinner, and left the basement. Twilight apologized to Virtua and promised to come back and talk to her before she went to bed. As they trotted up the stairs into the main floor of the library, nopony noticed the black shadowy vapor emerging from the supercomputer. And as they left to go to dinner at their favorite outdoor cafe, nopony noticed that vapor slip silently through the shadows, to the outskirts of Ponyville. And nopony noticed as the shadow flitted through the open window of a bedroom of the Apple house, surrounding a poorly-made rag doll which had been placed lovingly upon a red pillow on a large bed. Nor did anypony notice the ominous symbol which suddenly flashed in the button eyes of the old doll...the same symbol that had been on the shells of the crab monsters in the virtual desert... //Twilight?// The lavender unicorn opened bleary eyes and looked around sleepily. She had fallen asleep in the lab; the control board for the supercomputer was covered in drool. She yawned and stretched. "Ugh...oh...Virtua..." She ducked her head sheepishly. "I'm sorry...I was just so tired..." //It's alright,// the virtual pony said with a friendly smile. //I'm glad you're awake now, though. It's way too quiet here.// "You still haven't been able to go outside without getting attacked?" //I haven't even tried,// Virtua replied with a sad sigh. //It's just way too risky.// "Yeah..." Twilight frowned. "Well, sometime later this morning my friends are coming back over, and some of them are going to come in there and explore your world." //I can't wait,// Virtua said. //I want to know more about where I am...maybe it'll help me figure out WHO I am.// "I sure hope so..." After finishing her morning chores, Applejack made one last round of the farm before heading over to the library. As she did so, she noticed something peculiar: Big Macintosh was frantically rooting through haystacks, bushels, barrels, and everywhere else. "Uh...Big Mac? Y'lose somethin'?" "Eeeeeyup." "Need some help findin' it?" "Nnnnnope." "Y'sure?" "Eeeeeyup." "Whutcha done lost, anyway? Maybe Ah seen it somewhere." "Nothin' important," the red stallion replied. "...right. Well, Ah'm off. Good luck findin', uh, whutever." Ten minutes later, Applejack was too far away from Sweet Apple Acres to hear her brother's terrified scream. Twilight's friends had gathered once again n the basement lab, where an important decision was about to be made. "Okay, so who's going and who's staying?" Twilight asked. "I'm sure as hay not goin'," Spike said. "It's just too weird." "I'm definitely going!" Rainbow Dash declared, ruffling her wings. "Umm...I'll...stay here, if it's all the same," Fluttershy whispered, curling into herself and lowering her body to the floor. "I'll go!" Pinkie declared. "Getting shot hurt, but shooting those crab thingies was kinda fun!" "I believe I shall pass, if it's all the same," Rarity said, waving a dainty hoof airily. "Ah reckon Ah might as well give it a shot," Applejack drawled. "Right," Twilight nodded. She pressed a couple of keys on the control board, and three scanner tubes opened with a hiss. "In you go!" As her friends stepped into the scanners, Twilight began working furiously at the controls. Windows popped up on the screens, displaying three-dimensional representations of each mare. "Transfer Pinkie Pie...scanner Pinkie Pie... "Transfer Rainbow Dash...scanner Rainbow Dash... "Transfer Applejack...scanner Applejack... "Virtualization!" With a final keystroke, the images of the three mares dissolved into wireframes... ...and appeared in the rocky virtual terrain outside Virtua's tower. //AWESOME!// Rainbow Dash cried. //I'm a Wonderbolt here!// //An' Ah'm...uh...whut th' hay am Ah s'posed t'be?// Twilight activated the viewer that showed what was happening in the virtual desert. Pinkie was once again in her party balloon outfit and armed with her saddlecannons. Dash had acquired a blindingly multihued variation of the Wonderbolts' flight suit. And Applejack... ...was an armored cow. There was really no better way she could think of to describe it. The farmpony's virtual body was encased in armor with a distinctive Holstein heifer pattern. Her normal brown hat had been replaced with a similarly cow-patterned ten-gallon hat that had enormous steer's horns jutting out from the sides. Lastly, her hooves were shod in the gaudiest, shiniest white boots Twilight had ever seen, each with sharp spurs jangling at the heel. Dash took one look at her and exploded with laughter. //Oh man, you look so ridiculous!// she howled. Virtua emerged from the tower, looking around cautiously. She espied the three mares, and her forehooves flew to her mouth. //Oh my...// Pinkie walked up to the tower and tapped it with a hoof. //So how come we can't get inside?// she wondered. //I don't know,// Virtua replied. //But those monsters can't get in either.// "I wonder..." Twilight mused. "Are those creatures a natural feature of that world? Or is somepony or something sending them after you?" The virtual pony shuddered. //I'm not crazy about that notion,// she said. //Well, I'll take a quick flight around and see what's up with this place,// Dash said. She stretched her wings and rose from the ground; as she flew off, a brilliant rainbow trail shimmered behind her. //She's so fast!// Virtua exclaimed, eyes wide. //That ain't nuthin',// Applejack said. //Wait'll ya see 'er really go.// A bolt of energy streaked past Applejack, scoring the ground at her hooves. She and Pinkie whirled to face a new group of crab-monsters; Virtua eeped and galloped through the wall of the tower. Big Macintosh was used to being, well...big. Most of the time, he was the biggest pony in any given crowd. He was rarely around anypony or any creature bigger than him. On this particular morning, however, he had encountered something much, much bigger than himself. Many residents of Ponyville were astonished to see the sturdy red workpony galloping down the road at top speed, looking as though every foul thing in Tartarus was hot on his hooves. Nopony could imagine what could possibly have so thoroughly terrified Big Macintosh. And then they saw what was chasing him. Cue enormous pony stampede. As Virtua charged into the tower, she felt her hooves slide underneath her, and before she could arrest her forward motion, she skidded to the edge of the circular tower floor...and over. She screamed as she fell...and then stopped in surprise as she landed gently on a floor almost exactly like the one she'd just fallen off of. //Virtua? Are you okay?// Twilight Sparkle asked. "Yes...I'm alright. Just...surprised." The virtual pony frowned thoughtfully, then timidly approached the wall of the tower and stepped through. Her eyes widened. "I...I don't believe it..." //What is it?// Twilight asked. "See for yourself..." The viewing window on the left screen flickered and changed, and Twilight blinked. "...what the hay?" //I think...I've found a different sector of this world,// Virtua replied. Indeed, the terrain around the virtual pony was no longer coarse brown desert, but rather lush green virtual forest. "How'd you get there?" Twilight asked. //I...I'm not sure...// //Hey everypony!// Dash's voice burst excitedly from the speakers. //You won't believe what I found! There's a whole bunch of these towers all over the place!// //What?// Virtua cut in. //Did you say there are more towers?// //Yeah,// Dash replied. //You think maybe more virtual ponies live in those other towers?// //It's...possible...// Virtua replied dubiously. //But I don't think--AAAAH!// "What is it? What's wrong?" Twilight cried. //Some kind of bug monsters...// "Get back in the tower!" //I can't! I'm surrounded!// Twilight cursed. "Hang on...there's gotta be some way to send everypony over to where you are..." She began furiously working at the controls, studying incomprehensible window after window of readouts and data. Finally, she found--or hoped she'd found--what she needed. "Okay, gang, I'm sending you to the forest sector!" //Huh? Wait, what?// Pinkie, Applejack, and Dash blinked in confusion as the desert terrain around them blurred and became blocky, and moments later was replaced with green grass and trees. "Okay, that was weird," Pinkie said. "Help! Over here!" Virtua cried. The mares turned, only to find the virtual pony surrounded by wicked-looking giant hornets, stingers gleaming evilly. The eerie eye symbol they'd seen on the crabs was also present on these new monsters. "I've got this!" Dash cried, charging into the fray. As she picked up speed, the rainbow contrail behind her became a blazing rainbow flame; she plowed through the hornets, which caught fire and exploded in showers of blue polygons. A lone crab scuttled out from behind a tree. Applejack charged it, lowering her head like an angry bull. The ridiculously long horns on her absurd hat caught it up and pierced it, and it too vanished into blue polygons and nothingness. "Aww, nothing for me to blow up?" Pinkie pouted. "You'd better get back in the tower, Virtua," Dash said. "Right..." the virtual pony agreed. Before she had taken a single step, however, she stiffened, eyes wide. "Did...did you all feel that?" "Feel whut?" Applejack asked, tilting her head. "I felt...some kind of...pulsation..." "Oh! Oh! Maybe you have a Virtua Sense, just like I have Pinkie Sense!" "...huh?" //Ignore her,// Twilight said abruptly. //What do you mean you felt a pulsation?// "I don't know...it's just..." //Twilight! Something DREADFUL is happening outside!// //Huh? Oh--excuse me a minute everypony.// "I wonder what's goin' on?" Dash asked, looking up at the digital sky, worry creasing her brow. "Somethin' sure as horseapples don't feel right," Applejack said, frowning. "I agree," Virtua nodded. "I feel like...something bad's about to happen..." Twilight stepped out into the bright sunlight, only to find chaos erupting all around her. "What...what..." "It's some kind of terrible monster!" Fluttershy squeaked, ducking behind the unicorn and peering out from between her legs. "I saw it--everypony's running right for the Everfree Forest, and it's right behind them..." "A monster? What kind of monster?" Twilight asked. "I couldn't say for sure," Rarity answered, "but it was certainly the most hideous thing I've ever seen." "And it was HUGE," Spike said. "Like, dragon huge." This observation was rather unnecessary, as whatever had stomped through the town had left considerable destruction in its wake. Twilight shifted her hooves uncertainly, torn between competing disasters. Her friends should be okay in the virtual world, she knew...or hoped...but this monster, whatever it was... "Spike?" she said. "I need you to go back down to the lab and keep an eye on everypony in the supercomputer. You don't need to do anything except make sure Virtua doesn't lose all her life points. I'm pretty sure if she does, she'll disappear for good. If the others lose all theirs, they'll--" "Be okay, I know," Spike said. "I just need to watch what's happening then, right?" "Right. Fluttershy, Rarity? You're with me. We're gonna follow that monster." "Oh goodness...oh dear..." "FLUTTERSHY!" Twilight snapped. "Now is NOT the time! Ponies are in danger!" Fluttershy's jaw tightened, her eyes hardened, and she nodded. "Right." Soundlessly, she took off, following the path of destruction. The two unicorns were soon galloping behind her. Spike watched them until they were specks on the horizon, then turned and walked down to the basement. "So...what d'y'all reckon we do now?" Applejack asked. "I think I'll take a look around," Dash replied. "Virtua, get back in the tower. Pinkie, AJ, you two look out for monsters. If any more show up, take 'em out." "Got it!" Pinkie chirped, saluting. A few minutes later, Dash returned, brow furrowed. "There's a whole bunch of towers here too," she reported. "And one of 'em's glowin' red." "Red?" Applejack asked, tilting her head. "Yeah. Red. Like, really angry red." "That's weird," Pinkie replied, looking up at the tower they stood at the base of. "This one and the one back in the desert were glowing blue." "I know," Dash said. "I've got a really bad feeling about that red tower." //Did you hear that, Virtua?// Spike asked. "Yes," Virtua replied, studying the walls of her safe haven with a puzzled frown. "I don't know what it means, but..." "Oh...my..." Fluttershy said as she got her first good look at the terrifying monster. "It's even more hideous than I thought!" Rarity exclaimed, collapsing on her handily-summoned fainting couch. Twilight's left eye and right ear twitched. "It's...it's my old Smarty-Pants doll," she said flatly. "Your WHAT?" Rarity exclaimed. "My Smarty-Pants doll. I made her myself, when I was a filly. She was my favorite toy..." She frowned. "I never did find her after that whole mess with the Want-It Need-It spell..." "Well, darling, I'd say you just found her," Rarity drawled. "Why did...you make such a huge, scary doll...and make it so poorly?" Fluttershy asked timidly. "She wasn't this big when I made heWHAT DO YOU MEAN POORLY?" "Nothing!" Smarty-Pants turned to face the three mares, and let out a terrifying bray that shook the ground. Her massive button eyes flashed...and in each enormous mismatched eye, a staticky grey symbol flickered... ...the same symbol on the monsters in the virtual world. "Did...did you see THAT?" Rarity exclaimed. "I sure did," Twilight replied, mouth set in a grim line. "I don't know how, but whatever made Smarty-Pants grow big and alive and...and evil...is in that supercomputer." She scowled. "I've gotta get back to the library. You two...just...keep her busy. And don't hurt her! She's very precious to me!" "Us...hurt...HER?" Fluttershy demanded, eyes wide with fright. But Twilight hadn't heard her, as she had already teleported several times and was halfway to the library. Twilight appeared with a pop and a flash, startling Spike, and hurriedly levitated the headset onto her own head. "Virtua!" she called. "This is Twilight! Can you hear me?" //Yes!// "Everypony else hear me okay?" //Loud an' clear, sugarcube! How's everything out there in Ponyville?// "Wrecked," Twilight replied. "Listen, did anypony see anything unusual there?" //Yeah,// Dash said. //One of the towers in this forest is glowing red.// Twilight rubbed her chin with a forehoof, then nodded. "Right. I think...you need to get Virtua to that red tower without anything killing her." //To the red tower?// Virtua asked uncertainly. //Are you sure about that?// "No," Twilight admitted. "But whatever's been sending those monsters inside the supercomputer is causing trouble out here in the real world too." //No way!// Dash exclaimed. //Whut kinda trouble?// Applejack asked. "...no time to explain," Twilight said hesitantly. "Just...trust me. I really think getting Virtua to that red tower is what we need to do." Virtua stepped out of the safety of the tower and joined the three virtualized mares, who nodded grimly at her and moved to shield her. Wordlessly, the four mares set off into the forest, Dash taking point. For several minutes, nothing happened. The tension was thick and heavy in the air. "I see it," Pinkie whispered. "Wow, it reminds me of that time you had that really really bad zit, Dashie..." The malevolently glowing red tower loomed ahead of them. "Might take us a spell t'git there," Applejack said softly. "Ah reckon--" A hornet divebombed her from above, stinging her right in the flank. She let out a holler and bucked straight up, sending the digital menace flying into the trunk of a tree. Pinkie shot it with her saddlecannons, and it disappeared. "Dang that hurt!" Applejack grumbled. //You just lost ten life points, AJ,// Twilight cautioned. //Be careful.// "Right..." A few seconds later, an entire swarm of hornets descended upon the mares. Pinkie's cannons spat blazing pink electric death at dizzying speeds. Dash zoomed around, setting hornets ablaze with her rainbow flame trails. Any bugs that got too close to Virtua, Applejack dealt with, either by horn or hoof. After a few minutes of intense combat, no enemies were left, and only Dash had lost any life points. "Oh yeah!" the rainbow-maned pegasus cheered, pumping a hoof. "We totally kick butt!" "Sharp, POINTY butt!" Pinkie added. //No time to horse around, girls,// Twilight admonished. //You've gotta get Virtua to that tower right away!// It only took the quartet a few more minutes to reach the base of the tower. Unfortunately, they encountered a welcoming committee. "Okay, whut th' hay are THOSE?" Applejack said. Two large iron spheres barred the group's path to the tower. "Big...metal...ball...thingies?" Pinkie ventured. The spheres split open vertically, revealing glowing eye-symbols. They flashed red, and two massive vertical waves of fire spread out, creating perfect circular walls of death. "Big metal fire-wall making ball thingies!" Pinkie yelped as she dove for cover. Virtua scrambled out of the path of the attack, but was clipped on one hoof, and let out a cry of pain. Dash flew down to check on her. Applejack didn't make it out in time. "Son of a buckin' b--" "APPLEJACK!" Dash cried. //It's okay, Rainbow Dash. She's safe. She's back in the lab.// "Oh, yeah, right," Dash replied, heart hammering. "Still, that was scary." //Virtua, you lost twenty life points, and you don't have a whole lot,// Twilight admonished. //Whatever you do, don't get hit again.// "I'll try not to," the virtual mare said. The iron spheres had closed up again. Pinkie started shooting at them, but her lightning balls just bounced off the smooth metal. "Okay that's not fair," she pouted. "I bet you can only blow them up when they're opening up to shoot," Dash said. A moment later, the spheres opened again, their malevolent eyes glowing. Dash frowned and charged the one on the left. The air in front of her began to shimmer, and a sonic boom shook the forest. A rainbow shockwave spread out from the pegasus; the sphere she had charged exploded violently, while the other was merely rolled over onto its side. "Get it now, Pinkie!" Dash cried. "Right!" Pinkie fired again; this time, her shots struck true, and the second tank dissolved into polygons. "You're all clear, Virtua!" Dash yelled. "Get in the tower!" "Right!" With a firm nod, Virtua cantered through the outer wall of the tower. She had expected the inside of the red tower to look more...dangerous. She had expected, perhaps, an ambush, more monsters... Instead, the tower was as peaceful and serene inside as any other she'd seen. The virtual mare trotted slowly toward the center of the floor; as she crossed each of the concentric rings, they lit up brightly, with an echoing digital chiming sound. Once she reached the center, she found herself lifted into the air; she tilted her head back, eyes closed, as she ascended to another level. She landed gently on a floor almost to the one below; the rings here made the same pleasant echoing chime as she crossed them. When she reached the dot at the center of the circle, a holographic display appeared in midair before her. She reached out with a forehoof and tapped it. Her digital hoofprint pulsed brightly, before words appeared on the screen: As soon as these words finished forming, the shimmering displays scaling the walls suddenly plunged violently downward. Somewhere at the base of the tower, a surge of energy erupted skyward... Fluttershy and Rarity trembled in each others' grasp, watching with wide-eyed horror as the crudely crafted giant doll closed in on them, killing intent in her mad, mismatched button eyes... ...and then suddenly, Smarty-Pants shrank back to her original size and fell limply to the ground with a faint, comical squeak. The virtual mare examined her flank, where a cutie mark depicting a graceful ballerina made up of zeroes and ones had appeared. //Looks like you were right, Twilight.// Twilight wiped sweat from her brow with a hoof. "I'm glad it worked. Good job, Virtua--" //Digital Dancer. That's my name...I finally remembered.// The virtual mare beamed happily out of the viewer window on the control monitor. //And I know what this world is called now, too. It's called Lyocolt.// "Lyocolt?" Twilight asked. "Weird..." //I'm still not sure where this world came from, or where I came from for that matter, but...at least now I know who I am.// "That's great, Virt--I mean, Dancer." Twilight tilted her head. "Any ideas about that...whatever-it-is we just fought?" Dancer shifted uncomfortably. //Yeah. There's...something in here besides me. Something evil. I don't know what it is, but...// Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie emerged from the scanner tubes. Dash shook herself violently. "We gotta shut this thing down, Twi. We gotta shut it down NOW." "No," Twilight said firmly. "If we shut it down, Digital Dancer..." //No, I agree with Dash,// Dancer replied. //The supercomputer is too dangerous to leave running.// "But..." Twilight looked around at her friends, and at the virtual mare on the screen, then sighed and lowered her head. "You're right." She frowned. "I'm not sure how to shut it down, though...I mean, I barely figured out how to turn it on in the first place." //There should be a master bypass switch on the supercomputer mainframe,// Dancer said. "There aren't any switches on it anywhere," Twilight replied. "I've examined every inch of it. And this control board doesn't seem to be able to turn it off..." "A good buckin' oughtta do it," Applejack said. She backed up to the supercomputer, reared, and... ...bounced off a forcefield. "Yeah okay can't buck this bronco," the farmpony muttered around a mouthful of floor. Twilight scowled and probed the forcefield with her magic. "It's...strong," she said. "I can't break through it..." The mares and baby dragon looked helplessly at one another. "So...what do we do?" Spike asked. //We do what we did today,// Dancer supplied at length. //Whenever this...thing...launches an attack in your world, we find the red tower, and deactivate it.// Twilight nodded thoughtfully. "I guess...until we understand more about Lyocolt and the supercomputer, that's about all we can do..." In a trampled, twig-and-leaf-strewn forest clearing on the very edge of Ponyville, a large red stallion bent his head and gently picked up an old, battered, poorly-crafted rag doll. With a happy sigh of contentment, Big Macintosh trotted home. "Good morning, Dancer." //Oh, good morning, Twilight!// the virtual pony replied. //Did you sleep well?// "More or less," the unicorn replied. "I just wish I knew what happened to my Smarty-Pants doll after..." She sighed. "Oh well. That old doll's been at the center of chaotic episodes that completely disrupted Ponyville twice now. It's probably for the best if she's lost..." Dancer tilted her head. //But she was important to you, right?// "She's just an old rag doll," Twilight said dismissively. "So, what have you been up to?" //I've been trying to find out more about this world,// Dancer replied. //It's been difficult, because a lot of the data sectors in the supercomputer appear to be corrupted.// She frowned. //Some of what I have found is puzzling.// "Oh?" //I...don't think I had a virtual form until you turned on the supercomputer,// Dancer replied. //It's as if I was formatted as a pony when the system started up. And I think...whoever created the computer, and this world...wasn't a pony.// "Wasn't a pony? What do you mean?" //I'm not sure. Some of the data I've extracted references things that make no sense. I can't explain it,// Dancer said, shaking her head. //And like I said, the entire memory core here is a complete mess. I do know two things, though. //There IS something else in here with me. When you turned on the supercomputer, it woke up.// "Yeah, we kinda figured that out." //The other thing,// Dancer continued, //is that somepony left a message. It's heavily encrypted. I've started decoding it but it might take most of the day.// "Be sure to let me know when it's done," Twilight said. "Anything we can learn about all this will help. Especially if we're expecting any more incidents like yesterday..." //In the meantime, let me tell you what I do know...// The walls of the cottage shook as the throb of pounding bass pulsed through the floor. A unicorn wearing purple shades nodded her head in time with the beat as she stood behind a turntable. After what the neighbors would say was far too long, the noise level tapered off. Still nodding and softly beatboxing to herself, the mare trotted up the stairs from the basement to the living room, then headed to the bathroom to drop something other than sick beats. In the empty, quiet basement studio, a shadowy mist seeped up out of the very foundation, oozing up the cables snaking from the turntable, and settled into the still-spinning record. As it revolved, the faint, staticy image of an eerie concentric eye superimposed itself onto the record... //There are five sectors,// Dancer said as a wireframe map appeared on the right-hand screen, displaying four detailed, differently-colored sectors arrayed around a black sphere adorned with the same eye symbol that had been on the monsters that had attacked her. //Desert, mountain, forest, and polar...and one that doesn't appear to be accessible. I think there used to be a holographic world map of Lyocolt, but...// She frowned. //It looks like a lot more hardware is supposed to be connected to the supercomputer than actually is.// "I've got...four screens, four scanners, and a control board," Twilight said. //Hmm...yes, you're definitely missing some components.// Dancer shrugged. //I don't think it really matters. I mean, you can talk to me and send your friends into Lyocolt...// "I'd like to make the next trip over, actually," Twilight said. "It'll be easier for me to understand what's going on if I'm right there where it's all happening." //Alright.// Dancer tapped her chin with a hoof. //Also, I'm trying to figure out why your friends couldn't access the towers. According to my data, anything except those monsters should be able to enter towers.// "Maybe they've been sealed somehow?" Twilight suggested. "Somepony fixed them so nopony but you can get in?" //Possibly,// Dancer replied. //I'll look into it. Now, let me explain some of the finer points of what you can do from your end...// An hour or so before lunchtime, Vinyl Scratch was chilling out on the living room sofa, flipping through a trade magazine and sipping a cold glass of asparagus juice. Her roommate, the snooty and somewhat uptight cellist Octavia, trotted into the room, looking rather cross. "Scratch? How many times have I asked you not to leave your infernal pounding noise running when you're not in your studio?" The unicorn blinked. "Huh?" It took her a moment to realize the floor was vibrating. "That's weird," Scratch muttered, setting aside her magazine. "I coulda SWORN I turned it off..." "Well, you didn't," Octavia said sniffily. Scratch rolled her eyes. "Pop a gasket, why dontcha? I'll crank it down. Sheesh." Twilight's friends piled into the library after lunch; the six mares and Spike descended into the basement lab. The unicorn had explained that Digital Dancer had new information for all of them about the supercomputer. "The message has finished decoding," Dancer informed them once they had all taken positions around the control screens. "It's a video recording...I'll play it now." A flickering video image appeared of a creature the likes of which the ponies present had never seen. Bipedal, with pale, hairless ivory skin and two arms. A thick, not quite shoulder-length mane of pinkish-silver hair, meticulously styled. Sharp green eyes, lined ever so slightly as though with age, magnified by silver-rimmed spectacles perched on an impossibly small nose, which rested above a flat, thin-lipped mouth that, like the eyes, seemed to be lined with age. This being was clad in a dark rose-pink sweater and a maroon skirt, over which it wore a pristine white lab coat. //Greetings,// the strange creature spoke in a feminine voice that, to the ears of those present, seemed somewhat aged, yet still firm and clear. //If you are viewing this message, then a terrible mistake has been made. //My name is Dr. Aelita Belpois. Please listen carefully; it is imperative that you, who have somehow reactivated the supercomputer, are made to fully understand the danger you and everyone you know and love are now in. For in reactivating the supercomputer, you have almost certainly reawakened the most dangerous virtual entity in the history of artificial intelligence. //By the time you discover this message, it will almost certainly already be too late...XANA is likely already awake, and won't rest until you are dead. //XANA is a multi-agent artificially intelligent entity with the capability of manifesting and controlling digital aspects in the physical world. In order to do so, XANA must activate the command towers located within the virtual world that resides inside the supercomputer. The computer is unique in that it generates a form of energy which can manipulate reality. XANA uses the towers to take control of this capability, and uses it to attack the real world. //In the past, we have been able to stop XANA on several occasions, but despite our best efforts, we have been unable to completely destroy him. We are also unable to dismantle or destroy the supercomputer itself, for reasons which are far too technical and complicated to explain here. Our final, desperate act was to place the supercomputer aboard a missile and launch it into a collapsing wormhole. According to my husband, the odds of the supercomputer surviving this journey, let alone ending up anywhere that life exists, are impossibly small, but having spent much of our lives fighting XANA, we were unwilling to take any chances. //We have programmed a guardian intelligence, created from my own personality engrams, to serve as a monitor and defensive weapon against XANA. In the event XANA awakens, this guardian must be safely delivered to any activated towers--towers that have turned red--and deactivate them. //You must be extremely careful to avoid allowing the guardian program to be destroyed by XANA's monsters. You must also take care to work swiftly, because any damage XANA causes in the real world will be irreversible. We were forced to lock out the 'Return to the Past' program because using it increases XANA's power. Whatever you do, DO NOT attempt to unseal this program! It will only make fighting XANA that much more difficult for you. //I wish you the best of luck, and I am deeply sorry that this burden has now fallen upon you.// The recording faded to static. Twilight looked around at her grim-faced, horror-stricken friends, and at the virtual visage of Digital Dancer. Her ears drooped. "I...I'm sorry, everypony. This...this is all my fault..." "There's no way you coulda known, Twilight," Dash said. "Yes...please do not blame yourself. Why, we have dealt with forces which threatened to destroy Equestria before. We can certainly do so once again!" Rarity added. "Yeah! This XANA thingie's no match for our friendship!" Pinkie chimed in. "It...it couldn't possibly be worse than Discord..." Fluttershy said quietly. And then the entire library started to shake. "SCRATCH! TURN. IT. DOWN!!" "I can't! It's stuck! I--AAAAAH!!" Vinyl Scratch collapsed to the floor of her studio, blood trickling from her ears. Upstairs, a similar fate had befallen Octavia. The possessed sound studio cranked the bass even higher. Twilight's ear twitched. "Okay, I've TRIED to be nice about that mare's obnoxious music, but this is the last straw..." "Oh, come on, Twilight," Pinkie said. "Scratchy's music rocks! Well, no, it's more like it...wubs?" "Wubs me th' wrong way, y'mean," Applejack muttered. "Yes, I'm most definitely not wubbing this," Rarity complained. "Yyyyyyeah whenever you ponies are through making bad puns?" Spike said, digging in one ear with a claw. //Everypony, listen!// Dancer said urgently. //I'm sensing pulsations--// "We're ALL sensing pulsations," Twilight said through gritted teeth. "It's this mare who lives nearby, she's a DJ--" //No, I mean evil pulsations,// the virtual mare clarified. //I think XANA's launched another attack...// The purple unicorn groaned. "Wonderful." She shook her head. "Pinkie, Dash, you go deal with Vinyl Scratch. Applejack, Rarity, you're with me. Fluttershy, Spike...you'll have to work the scanners." "Oh, no...I couldn't possibly..." Fluttershy said nervously. "Would you rather go to Lyocolt and fight monsters?" Twilight asked. The yellow pegasus let out a frightened squeak. "Well...when you put it that way..." //Don't worry, I can talk you through it,// Dancer assured the timid mare. "And do I get any say in the matter?" Rarity demanded snippily. "No," Twilight replied curtly. The white unicorn sighed theatrically. "Oh, very well then..." //I've located the activated tower,// Dancer said. //It's in the desert sector.// "We'll be right there," Twilight said. As the two unicorns and Applejack stepped into the scanner tubes, Fluttershy perched herself nervously in front of the control board, while Spike put on the headset. "Oh my goodness," Fluttershy whispered. "So many buttons..." "It's not that hard," Spike said. He pulled a roll of parchment out from underneath the control board. "See? Twilight wrote it all down just in case." //And anything she missed, I can help you with.// "Um...alright..." Fluttershy's eyes scanned the parchment. "O-okay...um...scanners on..." She began nervously pecking at the control board with her hooves. //Set the transfer coordinates,// Dancer prompted. "Coordinates set," Spike said after a moment of furious hunt-and-peck typing. Fluttershy consulted Twilight's checklist, then began tapping controls clumsily with her hooves. "Transfer Applejack...transfer Twilight Sparkle...transfer Rarity..." "Scanner Twilight," Spike said into the headset. "Scanner Applejack...scanner Rarity..." Fluttershy's hoof mashed down on the Enter key. "Virtualization...I hope..." The three mares landed lightly on the dusty brown digital terrain; Dancer was already waiting for them nearby. "...okay now see, y'all don't look like some kinda rodeo clown out of mah worst nightmare," Applejack groused. Twilight Sparkle was clad in a facsimile of the black spandex catsuit she had worn during the misadventure involving the Royal Canterlot Library and a time-travel spell. Green-tinted wraparound sunglasses covered her eyes, and a ninja sword was strapped to her flank. Rarity sported a tasteful, elegant black-and-gold karate gi. "Oh, this IS rather nice," Rarity said, examining herself. "Quickly, the tower's this way!" Dancer said, turning and trotting off down a narrow pass. The ground beneath them trembled; angry red ripples pulsed through the ground, moving in the direction the virtual mare was heading. The others quickly fell in behind her. After several minutes of travel, Dancer suddenly skidded to a halt, rearing. "Stop, everypony!" she cried. A gaping chasm stood between the four mares and the activated tower. "Wonderful," Twilight said. "Now I wish I'd made Fluttershy or Rainbow Dash come with us." "I forgot to tell you this," Dancer said, "but you really don't want to fall into chasms like this. If you do, you can't rematerialize in the real world--you'll be lost forever." "No fallin', gotcha," Applejack replied. "So...any idea how we get across this here canyon?" "I have an idea," Rarity said, as dozens of needles limned in a pale magical aura darted away from her, trailing strands of light. As the others watched, she started to sing while she worked. "Step by step, putting it together...stitch by stitch, need to make it strong enough to walk on...I'm sewing...us a briiiiiiiiidge..." And with a few minutes' work, she had done precisely that: constructed a stylish and sturdy virtual cloth bridge. The others stared at her as she trotted onto the plush fabric. She turned to face them. "Well? What are you waiting for?" The others glanced at one another, shrugged, and followed her. As they crossed the bridge, Dancer turned to Twilight. "Your friend is amazing," she said, "but...was it really necessary for her to sing?" Twilight shrugged. "Sometimes the ponies around here just break into song for no apparent reason. You get used to it." "SCRATCH! OPEN UP!" Dash yelled, pounding on the door. "Maybe she can't hear us?" Pinkie suggested. "No DUH, with all this noise," Dash replied. "Oh well, only one way in..." She flew back several feet from the door, then rammed it full-speed. The door gave way with a loud crash and a shower of splinters. The noise became almost unbearable. Dash futilely covered her ears with her hooves. "Here," Pinkie said, passing her some earplugs. "I always keep earplugs stashed all over Ponyville. In case of earplug emergencies." While Dash was inserting her earplugs, Pinkie rushed into the cottage. She reappeared just as Dash walked into the living room. "Omigoshomigosh! Dashie! They're out cold! Both of them! And I can't stop the music!" Dash raced downstairs, observing the two unconscious mares. "Oh man, that can't be good." She trotted quickly over to the spinning turntables, studying them for a minute. She started turning knobs, then pulling loose cables. Nothing seemed to work; in fact, the music grew even louder, and Dash was thrown off her hooves. As she stood up, she shared a glance with Pinkie, and they gathered up Scratch and Octavia and carried them upstairs and out of the cottage. Once they were a safe distance from the horrific noise disturbance (and had drawn a crowd of onlookers), they removed their earplugs. "You think that XANA thingie is behind this?" Pinkie asked. "I dunno, but it might be," the pegasus said. "We'd better get these two to the hospital." "The tower's just ahead," Dancer said. //Um...everypony?// Fluttershy said timidly. //I think there's...m-monsters...coming r-right at you...// "We see 'em," Applejack said, skidding to a halt. "Ugly critters." Three enormous, red, crab-like monsters, each with four long, spindly legs, blocked the path to the tower. They glared hatefully down at the four ponies with an array of glowing blue-white eyes. The now-familiar symbol of XANA was emblazoned across the tops of their shells. The center crab fired a laser blast at Rarity; the ground at her feet briefly reverted to wireframe. "Really! How uncouth!" "You need to attack their weak point!" Dancer said nervously, sidling to the edge of the path to take cover behind a large rock. "An' just where th' hay is THAT?" Applejack asked. "Only one way to find out," Twilight muttered. Her horn glowed, and her sword rose into the air, spun to face the giant enemy crabs, and flashed toward them at surprising speed. It glanced off the shell of the nearest crab, doing no appreciable damage and angling off to the right. A forest of gleaming needles appeared around Rarity and flew at the crab which had shot at her. Two of them embedded themselves in the symbol on its shell; the monster flinched and shuddered, legs creaking and groaning as it stumbled. //That's it!// Spike called. //The eye symbol on their shells is the weak point! It doesn't look like it, but Rarity just did massive damage!// "Got it," Twilight said, eyes narrowed as she brought her sword around again. Dodging a laser blast that got entirely too close, she turned her sword and struck again. This time, it buried itself to the hilt in the XANA symbol on her target's shell; the crab twitched spastically for a moment before exploding into blue polygons. Rarity's crab had recovered slightly, and taken a shot which actually hit the white unicorn. She scowled and hurled more magic needles at it. After four more hits, it joined its brother in oblivion. Applejack, meanwhile, had taken three hits from the remaining crab as she tried to move into position to attack it. She leaped high into the air, twisted her body around, and rammed the horns on her ridiculous hat into the crab's weak spot. It dropped to the ground but failed to explode; an assist from Twilight finished it off. "Okay, looks like the coast is clear!" Twilight said. "Dancer, hurry up and deactivate the tower!" "Right!" Dancer replied, charging full-tilt at the side of the tower and phasing through. The virtual mare trotted slowly toward the center of the floor; as she crossed each of the concentric rings, they lit up brightly, with an echoing digital chiming sound. Once she reached the center, she found herself lifted into the air; she tilted her head back, eyes closed, as she ascended to another level. She landed gently on a floor identical to the one below; the rings here made the same pleasant echoing chime as she crossed them. When she reached the dot at the center of the circle, a holographic display appeared in midair before her. She reached out with a forehoof and tapped it. Her digital hoofprint pulsed brightly, before words appeared on the screen: As soon as these words finished forming, the shimmering displays scaling the walls suddenly plunged violently downward. Somewhere at the base of the tower, a surge of energy erupted skyward... The pounding dub music that had been shaking a large section of Ponyville abruptly cut off. Vinyl Scratch and Octavia had been rushed to the Ponyville Hospital, where Nurse Redheart had examined the two unconscious mares, and informed Pinkie and Dash that they'd make a full recovery in a few days. Relieved, the two ponies had returned to the library. After sending a letter to Princess Celestia and doing some nice relaxing reading, Twilight paid Digital Dancer one last visit before tidying up the library and going to bed. "I think I'm starting to understand more of what's going on here," Dancer said, studying the holoscreen. //What do you mean? I thought Dr. Belpois' message explained everything pretty clearly.// "Not entirely," the virtual mare replied. "I think XANA was originally imprisoned in the supercomputer, and then escaped...but somehow, was driven back into the supercomputer, which it looks like at some point he was trying to destroy from the inside. Now, though, it looks as though he's taken a different approach--he's sealed himself inside the core of Lyocolt and fortified it." //Turning his former prison into a stronghold?// Twilight asked. "Exactly." //So that's why there's a barrier protecting it...// "Which XANA probably created after Dr. Belpois tried getting rid of him by shooting the supercomputer into that wormhole." The walls of the tower suddenly began to pulse an angry red. "What in the--?!" Dancer glanced wildly about, eyes wide as she reared in alarm. The concentric symbol on on the floor changed from soft blue to bright red, and a holographic display flashed into being in the air before the virtual mare. She stared at it and gasped. "It...it can't be...!" //What's wrong, Dancer? What's happening?// Twilight asked. "It's XANA...he's...reconfiguring Lyocolt..." //He's doing WHAT?!"// "Reconfiguring..." Data began to fly across the holographic display rapidly as Digital Dancer ran her hooves across it, eyes darting from side to side as she frantically attempted to make sense of and, if possible, reverse whatever the malevolent virus was doing. After a few moments, she collapsed heavily to the floor, and the tower returned to its normal, serene blue. //Did you stop XANA? What's happening?// Twilight asked nervously. "I..." Dancer sighed. "I couldn't stop it. XANA is too powerful, and the program he executed was embedded in the virtual environment before I was even created." //So...what did he do, exactly?// "See for yourself," Dancer replied, absently reaching up and tapping a forehoof against the hovering screen. On the screen to Twilight's right, the virtual map of Lyocolt and its five sectoors appeared once again. "This is Lyocolt as it was when you reactivated the supercomputer," the virtual mare explained. She tapped her screen again, and the map changed, exploding violently outward and reconfiguring itself into something completely unrecognizable, with multiple sectors and no sign whatsoever of the ominous black sphere. //What the...?// the unicorn gasped, startled. "This is Lyocolt as it exists now," Dancer said. "XANA has merged the existing virtual world with another virtual world he absorbed at some point in the past. There were five sectors; now there are ten." //Ten sectors...// "There are well over a dozen towers in each sector," Dancer continued. "With that many towers at his disposal, XANA...may be too powerful for anypony to stop." //We'll stop him,// Twilight promised. //And maybe we can find a way to get you out of there and into our world.// "I'd like that," Dancer said with a smile.
  14. Snips and Snails remind me of Wario and Waluigi!

    1. Daring


      Cool story, does it come with a sequel?

    2. Trickiert


      Waluigi is best pony.

  15. If you've ever played Sonic Adventure or Sonic Adventure D.X.you can find a game featuring Nights in theCasino area. Casinopolis has two Pinball games, one is Slot Pinball and the other is Nights Pinball! Nights is also an playable character whom you can unlock in both Sonic Riders and Sonic Riiders Zero Gravity!