Revolt Against the Sun
The creatures were getting closer. They seemed to be revelling in their prey’s fear, taking their sweet time to make sure they knew just how much trouble they were in. Every once in a while, Dash’s randomly swinging hoof would glance off something. Swinging again in the same place resulted in nothing. It was as if they were taunting her, assuring her that they were right there, within hoof’s reach, and that they could see her perfectly well despite her and her friend’s complete blindness.
“Alright, Doc! Any time now!” She was beginning to breathe more heavily. The burst of energy she’d gotten from the shock of the magic was wearing off, and the weariness of hauling The Doctor up the side of a mountain was setting in again.
“Really? Even now? Ugh.” He rolled his eyes, though he knew she couldn’t see it.
Dash grumbled something and backed up another step. The chanting grew more and more intense. Dash was forced to lower her hooves to the ground, unable to keep defending herself. If ‘defending’ were really the correct term.
“Victorious! Victorious! VICTORIOUS!”
As the jeering grew to a head, Dash suddenly felt a clawed hand grab her throat through the darkness. She felt her eyes go wide, and her breath caught in her throat. Every muscle in her body stiffened. Just then, she felt one other sensation. Her tail straightened and, though just barely, brushed against the stone door behind her.
The bang was as loud as a gunshot. There was a brief flash of light, and the thing that had latched on to her neck went flying off into the crowd. The chanting immediately stopped, and the confident sounds of success changed to incoherent muttering and scuffling feet. The Doctor rubbed his eyes, then strained to look over towards his companion.
“Dash? Dash, are you alright?” He asked. The flash had taken him by surprise, but he’d managed to catch a glimpse of something. The color white. Whatever these creatures were, they were stark white. “Dash?” His eyes whipped around out of habit. She wasn’t responding. Still, he was sure he sensed movement behind him. “What are you doing?”
“Trying to...open the...door. Duh.” Dash grunted, as if straining against something. Indeed, she had thrown herself against the door and was pushing with all her might. When her tail had brushed the door, she’d felt the energy run straight through her and blow that...thing...off the top of the mountain. After being shocked a second time, she figured if she was going to die, she’d rather be electrocuted by magic than whatever these guys had in store. And actually, when she started attempting to force the stone slab aside, she realized: It didn’t really hurt. It was annoying, a little achy, and really weird feeling, but it didn’t hurt. “You gonna help or what?”
The Doctor stood, mind boggling at this pegasus. When he’d so much as touched the door he’d received quite a bad shock. Perhaps the magic was weakened after all this time and so many discharges? He tentatively reached a hoof towards the door and promptly had his theory disproven by a massive jolt of pain that shot up his leg. “Aack!” He clicked his tongue. “Er, I’ll just...cover these guys.” He shook his head and turned around. The shouts of the cheering crowd in front of him had turned to unsure grumbling and mild shuffling. They were wary about what happened to their unfortunate ally. “That’s right you lot, stay where you are. One more step and it’s the zapper for the lot of you!” He called bravely, grinning confidently in the dark, just in case the creatures could see.
Slowly, the barrier beneath Dash’s hooves began to yield. Hardly more than an inch at a time, the door swung inwards. Behind her, she could hear the shuffling growing a little more rapid. They were getting restless, and restlessness could lead to bravery. She took in a deep breath and pushed harder, beating her wings behind her and thrashing her tail about, in case anything came close.
“Come on, Dash...” The Doctor muttered to her. “Any second now...”
She was too busy bracing herself against the frame to give the agitated reply that popped into her head. Once more, she felt a claw brush across her leg for just a second, but another flash and another crack gave the second would-be attacker the same treatment. At this point, Dash was just getting used to the tingling sensation of being a conduit to a lightning bolt.
She groaned and gave one final heave, the door finally open just enough to slip through. “Alright, go!” She called, propping the door open. The scuffling as The Doctor backed slowly and unsurely towards the door was echoed a thousand times as the group of white creatures tentatively closed in more. Dash moved around the edge of the door, but the moment she took her weight off of it the door had begun to close. She scoffed and grabbed onto it, pulling it inwards as The Doctor tested his steps, finding the opening with only a few minor shocks to his tail. Dash bit her lip, waiting for word from the stallion that he was inside.
“You have not escaped us forever.”
The voice emitted from a source meer inches from The Doctor’s face. He jolted a little in his surprise, bumping against the door and receiving a rather harsh shock to his side. He froze in place, now knowing that he was face to face with something he couldn’t see.
“The tyranny of the day has been brought to an end, and now this world is ours. You may have your shack, but we have everything. We. Are. Victorious.” A throaty laugh accentuated the statement of superiority.
The Doctor calmed his breathing while the creature spoke. In response, he hardened his eyes. “Name yourselves.”
“What?” The creature stopped laughing.
“Name yourselves. What are you called, oh great ‘conquerors?’” He threw a sarcastic spin on end of his sentence. The huff from the creature showed that his snark had hit the spot, but they both knew a physical outlash could lead to a disastrous end for the creature.
There was a pause, as if the creature was unsure of how to respond. Finally, slowly, it began to speak. “We are...The Other.” Silence settled atop the mountain.
“Doc...” Dash groaned. “I can’t hold the door much longer. Hurry up!”
“Alright, Miss Dash.” He backed up a few more steps, keeping his eyes fixed in the same position. When she let go, the door slowly ground across the floor and, eventually, shut with a light ‘boom’.
Both of the ponies relaxed and sat down.
“Well...now what?” Dash was the first to speak up. She looked around her at the interior of the building. “Still can’t see a thing, and now we’re trapped in this stupid rock!” She kicked the ground with her hoof as her voice echoed around the room.
The Doctor sighed, shaking his head. “Now we rest. We’ll be safe for now, and we need to use the time to think. If we can figure out what these things are, we can fight them.”
The mare didn’t have any better ideas, so she reluctantly nodded her agreement. “The sooner we can kick those things out of Equestria, the better.” She grumbled, glaring at what she assumed was the ground. The lack of light was starting to get to her.
“Alright.” The Doctor began matter-of-factly. “Let’s put together what we know.”
“They don’t exist during the day, isn’t that what the Princess said?” Dash strained her ever-tiring mind to remember the conversation.
“Hm, that is what she said. But I don’t know if that’s right. Rather, they’re not here during the day. We can’t interact with them, and they can’t interact with us.”
“Yeah, that’s really helpful...Um, there are a lot of them?”
“Undoubtedly. A veritable army. Though they’d have to be in order to pose any real threat. What else have we got?”
“Why am I the one bringing up all the details? Aren’t you the super-genius-alien-dictionary whatever? You know as much as I do!” Dash growled at him. Honestly, her head was just starting to hurt from trying to dig up any useful information.
“Oh, right, sorry! I just like hearing things aloud. Helps me organize it all in my head.” He put a hoof to his chin and thought. “Well, some of them were talking at the same time. I suppose there could be a sort of psychic link between them. A hive mind, but not a perfect hive mind. Some individuality still left in there which makes them that much more dangerous...”
Dash frowned, not understanding a word of what The Doctor was talking about. “Yeah, sure. Um...they got to us pretty quick. Right after the day ended it was like “Woosh” and there they were.”
“Ah!” The Doctor shouted suddenly, his voice echoing off the walls. Dash leapt to her hooves, swinging her head around wildly as if it would help anything.
“What!? What is it!? Did one of them get in!? Did they get you!? Where are you, you little runt, I’ll, I’ll...!”
“No no no! That’s it, you’re brilliant! Oh, why didn’t I think of it before?” The Doctor bounced a little in place. “They WERE right on us, weren’t they! But how? How could that be?”
Dash quirked an eyebrow and settle down a little. “What are you talking about?”
“Dash, remember what the Princess said. It’s been five thousand years! But mere seconds after the sun went out they were all ready to jump to the attack! They remember clearly what their goal is!”
“Five THOUSAND years, Dash! Five THOUSAND years! Even if they lived that long, keeping that goal in mind for that long without wavering at all and coming back like nothing happened; it’s not just hard to believe, it’s impossible!” He called, again letting his voice echo for a moment. “Dash, I think I have our answer, but blast it all this darkness is getting to me. We need to find some sort of light.” He turned to feel along the wall, but wound up just running into it.
“Yeah, you’re telling me. But what are we supposed to do? We don’t have magic, or a flashlight or anything.”
The Doctor thought about their predicament for a few moments before responding. “...There’re no windows.”
“In this room, there are no windows. We would have seen them from the outside. There are no windows whatsoever.”
“What’s your point?” Dash glared in the general direction she thought his voice was coming from.
“And, if there are no windows it doesn’t matter how bright it is outside, it would be pitch black inside. So how were we supposed to see when we got in here?” He grinned a little. He was onto something and he knew it. “Let’s see, magic can run by keywords, sometimes, right? Erm...Light! On! Illuminate!” He frowned when his initial plans didn’t work. He rose his hoof off of the ground and knocked it twice against the stone floor. Again, nothing. “Aww, no clop on clop off? Hm...”
Dash sighed and shook her head. He was being as useful as usual. “Doc...”
“For the last time,” He said, now becoming rather exasperated with the whole thing. “Stop calling me Doc! I am The Doctor!”
The moment the last words left his lips, the walls began to slowly fade into sight. A light, very dim but growing stronger, sprung to life in the center of the ceiling. Soon enough the pair could see the shocked expressions on the other’s face.
“What?” The Doctor turned his gaze to examine the entire ceiling, sweeping his head around. “But, what?”
Dash blinked out of her surprise and chuckled a little. “Oh yeah...she did say she was expecting you!” Perhaps finally being able to see again was affecting her brain abnormally, but the giggling fit she’d had earlier returned.
“Hah! I suppose so!” The Doctor grinned triumphantly. “Lookit that, who’d have guessed!?”
The light stopped growing brighter. It had settled rather like a candle, fluctuating only slightly in its intensity. As the duo looked over the room for the first time they saw that it was just that: A room. No secondary doors leading to smaller rooms, no grand pillars, it was a simple room. One wall was decorated with two tapestries that showed an artistically rendered Luna gracefully encircling the world. Directly between the two hanging artworks, there was a raised platform made of the same gray stone as the rest of the shack. A short distance over the stone, curled up into a rather small ball, floated a midnight blue pony.
“...Princess Luna...” Dash stepped towards the slumbering demi-deity. She looked so small and fragile, hovering in place, her mane flowing behind her like a waterfall. Her tail, deep blue and as liquid as her mane, curled around her form, partially hiding her face from view. Her eyes were closed softly, and her chest heaved gently with her easy breathing. She looked absolutely peaceful.
“She’s in hibernation...” The Doctor approached, squinting at the Princess. As he did, the light pulsed brightly for a moment, Luna began to slowly lower to the stone table beneath her. The moment her mane touched the ground, her eyes began to slowly open, glowing brighter than the magical light above them. She slowly unfurled her tail and extended her legs. Her hooves gently touched the ground, and she quietly turned her head towards the door. She seemed to ignore the ponies present at her awakening, and she immediately began striding across the room.
The Doctor watched in mild awe for a moment before he put two and two together and leapt into action. He ran alongside her, tripping a little in his haste. “Princess Luna! Wait, you have to wait! Don’t banish them yet, I think-”
Her horn glowed and the stallion was silenced. She slowly lifted him off the ground, but did not alter her stride towards the door. “We can feel that there is no day, no night outside.” The royal voice shook the mountain top. The power of her words alone sent a chill down Dash’s’ spine. “The foul beasts that plague our land have done something to our sister. They shall be vanquished to a realm of eternal light from which they cannot escape! We shall ensure that they do not trouble a single pony ever again!” Her voice was getting louder. As she held The Doctor several feet off the ground, he flailed his legs a little and attempted to speak, but to no avail.
Dash took off, flying up to him and grabbing his back leg, attempting to pull him out of the spell and back to the ground. “I gotcha, Doctor!”
Luna stopped in her path, only a short distance from the door, now. “That voice...We know that voice. But it is...it cannot be!” Her voice had softened, and she turned her head to finally look at the two struggling ponies. “...Rainbow...Dash?”
She released her spell, and both The Doctor and Dash tumbled to the floor with a cry of surprise. The princess strode up to them. She blinked, and the bright glow in her eyes disappeared, replaced by the large, blue irises. The Doctor coughed a little, rolling to his feet and stumbling a moment. “Hoo! You do pack quite the punch, Princess!”
The Princess regarded him cautiously, then eyed Rainbow Dash again. The mare groaned. The Doctor had landed right on top of her. He seemed to be causing her quite a bit of physical pain and exhaustion today. She sat up and shook her head, looking up at the Princess.
“...Is it really you, Rainbow Dash?” She seemed unsure, pulling her head back and narrowing her eyes suspiciously. Dash suddenly remembered that they were displaced in time by nearly 20,000 years. She laughed nervously, pushing herself to her hooves. “Aaaah, yeah. I guess this is a little...um...”
“Strange.” The Doctor finished, brushing himself off.
Luna’s gaze turned towards The Doctor. “My apologies...” The royal tone had fallen off, and she sounded much more natural. “My memories are...still falling into place. However, if you are here then...” A light of recognition came to her eyes. “You are...The Doctor!”
“At your service, Princess!” He bowed deeply, then stood up and grinned.
“Of course...” Her eyes left him and returned to the door. “I thank you, both of you, for awakening me. However, I intend to finish this now.” She narrowed her eyes, and the glow returned to them. “These things hurt my people, my city, and my sister. I shall show them the true fury of the royal family.”
“Wait, waaaaaait wait wait!” The Doctor again dashed to her side, evening his stride with hers and looking up at her once again. “We can’t banish them yet!” Though she appeared rather annoyed with another interruption, his urgency gave her some pause. He grabbed onto his chance. “I think I’ve got them figured out. I think I figured something very important!”
The Princess quirked an eyebrow, and her question was obvious enough that she didn’t bother to ask.
“I know, I know. But hear me out! They don’t just disappear during the day! They remember everything like it just happened. They seem to be the same ones. If that’s the case, and we think about it a bit, we can come to a very important realization! They’re not just gone, they’re GONE!” He grinned. “During the day, they completely cease to exist. They disappear from time and space entirely. Probably into a parallel universe where there is massively stretched time! Five thousand years of daytime to us is like a few seconds to them!” He grinned even wider.
“So if I were to blaze the sun across the sky, eventually they would simply return? Then I will destroy them with force. It shall be the longest and the last night of their lives!” The Princess scowled, stomping closer to the door.
“No no! You’re missing the point! The ponies from the attack on Canterlot. They just disappeared, right? Well, where do you think they went?”
Dash straightened up behind the pair. She’d felt left out of the conversation, but when she realized what The Doctor was saying, she couldn’t help but jump in. “They were taken! So, so they’re in that place! With the...stretchy time thing!”
“Yes! Exactly! And if that’s the case...”
“Then they’re still alive! And that means...”
“My subjects...could still be saved?” Luna showed signs of shuddering. Her eyes had gone wide, and she’d swung around to face them once more. Her expression betrayed her shock, and her legs wobbled just a bit beneath her. “And...my sister?”
The Doctor paused for a second. “Princess Celestia would have passed out before anything else. If we act quickly, we can save her and bring back all the ponies taken in the attack on Canterlot. We can save them all, Princess! Every single beautiful one of them!”
In the past several hours, Rainbow Dash had felt disbelief, glee, shock, fear, trepidation, anger, sadness, pain, terror, desperation, fatigue, awe, and no small amount of electrocution. But now, as she watched The Doctor’s hard set eyes, his confident grin, his puffed out chest and his steady stance, she felt something else take over. For the first time since she’d seen Princess Celestia in the state she was in, she felt pure, unfettered, unshakable hope.