The sky was dull, overcast, and gray, which Earl should've expected because it was the middle of autumn. He couldn't remember the last time he had fully seen the sun. The man simply sighed and continued down the side of the road, loosely gripping his baseball bat . It was Earl's occasional path, he would walk around his neighborhood a few times a week to check for survivors and sometimes just to kill time. There usually was nothing, he had already scavenged most of the houses on his block so now it was simply a possible rescue mission. The trips around his neighborhood were really the only thing that had kept Earl sane over the last few months. It gave him hope that he might actually find someone who isn't trying to chase him down and use his guts as a three course meal.
Earl approached the nearest house a few moments later and worked his way up to the porch. Examining it, he saw a few dried blood stains splattered across the tattered wood. He flinched slightly as a ghastly smell from the home entered his nostrils. After a few coughs the man raised his bat in one hand and slowly pushed the screen door open to search the vacant home. Upon entering, the door slammed shut behind him, making a large crash. Earl cursed under his breath and nervously looked around the room. Luckily, nothing had heard his mistake.
"Hello?" Earl called out.
"Is there anyone here?"
The room stayed completely silent as Earl waited for a response.
"I'm not infected. If there's anyone here, you can come out. I won't hurt you."
Still no response.
Earl sighed loudly and aimed his head to the floor. After a few moments he lowered the bat down to his side once more and turned to exit the home. Before he could reach the screen door, he tripped over a small stuffed animal and came crashing to the ground. A piece of his tooth flew out of his jaw and a small pool of blood formed under his mouth.
"Oh you've got to be kidding me." He said, his voice accented by the flowing blood.
He cupped his hand over his mouth and used his bat as a support to pull himself up. After wincing at the pain of his chipped tooth he Glanced into the kitchen. He saw a towel sitting next to the oven and quickly walked over to it, careful to avoid anymore mishaps with small toys. After successfully wiping the blood from his face he slowly bit down on the towel to stop further blood flow. Earl's heart instantly dropped in his chest as he heard the screen door creep open. Footsteps began pounding down the hall from the kitchen loudly as Earl frantically looked around, trying to find a place to hide. He had usually tried to avoid any contact with the infected. being 16 doesn't exactly make you the strongest fighter and despite Earl's larger size, he followed that stereotype very closely. In other words, he couldn't fight for shit. After a few moments of frantically scanning the kitchen and finding nothing, Earl knew that he had no other option. He slowly raised the wooden baseball bat over his head as the footsteps got louder and closer. His arms started to tremble and his knees were slightly shaking. A single bead of sweat fell from his forehead and his usually pale face was turning red. The creature responsible for the loud footsteps rounded the corner of the hallway and stared angrily in Earl's direction. It was a human, but had been long dead. The creature's jaw was hanging open and it's blank white eyes stared menacingly into Earl's. A single sustained moan erupted from it's throat as it slowly shambled over to Earl. The human was infected, there was no denying that. It was...
Earl still couldn't believe the stories were true, they had all seemed so unreal. But, with all the advances in medical science and technology, any nightmare is possible. The zombie continued approaching Earl, who only tightened his grip on the wood of the bat and prepared for a fierce swing. A few seconds later, the undead human reached its hand toward Earl and he swiftly launched the bat over his head and into the skull of the infected. It connected with a loud, sickening crack, sending a shock wave through Earl's arms. He retracted the bat after his blow and the infected human fell backwards and collided with the ground. Without hesitation, Earl quickly walked over to the walking corpse and swung the bat at it's head again.
Earl threw open the screen door to the house and charged out, his light-grey shirt was colored red with fresh blood stains. He threw his also blood-stained bat on the ground and fell to his knees on the front lawn. Everything inside of him wanted to scream after the horrific act he had just committed, but the fear of drawing more attention bottled his emotions. He began breathing heavily as tears rolled down his cheeks. He sank lower onto the soft grass and wept for a few moments, the gruesome images still fresh in his mind. He had only killed 3 of the infected so far, so he was not familiar with the situation of taking life yet. Each death caused by his hand weighed on his heart and brought him spiraling deeper and deeper into insanity. He grunted loudly to clear his throat and wiped the tears from his eyes. After a few moments, Earl regained his composure and reached for his bat. He used it for support again as he slowly picked himself up off of the cool grass. Before leaving he glanced back to the house.
"I'm sorry." He said quietly.
Over the next few hours, Earl continued cautiously searching houses, but found nothing.
"Another unsuccessful day." He said with a sigh as he made his way back home.
On the way back, something caught his eye at the playground across from his house. He let his curiosity get the better of him and quickly looked around before running over to the gate. He lifted the latch, threw the small chain link fence open, and started towards the playground. Earl's curiosity had definitely payed off because, before him layed a small purple pony.
"Well, it's a zombie apocalypse, but now I have a freakin' life-sized plushie." Earl said sarcastically as he knelled down behind the 'plushie'. Earl knew exactly what it was from and who it was.
For Earl was a brony.
He rolled the object over and examined the mark on it's flank. It matched Twilight Sparkle's, along with the colors of her mane and the color of her coat. Earl was shocked to see how much it actually looked like the real character.
"Somebody must have worked pretty hard on this one." Earl said under his breath.
He rolled it over again and looked around for some sort of tag and sew line, but was confused when he found nothing. Another confusing aspect of the situation, was that it was warm. Earl simply shrugged and threw the 'plushie' over his shoulder.
"Fluttershy's the best, but this is still pretty cool." He said to himself with a chuckle.
Happy to see that some sort of light was brought to the situation, Earl smiled for the first time in weeks as he walked across the street to his house.
He cautiously opened the door to his home and walked over to the nearby dining room to put his discovery down. After placing it on the table, he walked back over to the door and shut it loudly before turning multiple locks and dead-bolts. Content with the security of the front door, he walked back over to the table to pick up the 'plushie' once more. The man cheerily made his way through the archway that led into the living room and turned right to walk up the stairs. He rounded the hallway and continued down the corridor until he had reached his room. After opening the door, he softly layed the 'plushie' down on his bed and went to secure another series of locks.
A few hours later, Earl was balled up in the corner of the room, rocking back in forth.
"It didn't move... It didn't move Earl, you're just seeing things." He said quietly to himself.
After examining the 'plushie' for a few hours, Earl thought he could see it's chest moving up and down rhythmically. Almost instantly he chalked it up to growing insanity and convinced himself that it was all in his head. Successfully consoled, Earl stood up, shook his head, and examined the time of day outside using his window. It was getting late, the hidden sun was about to fall beneath the horizon and shroud the earth in darkness. That's when the infected are largest in numbers. Earl nodded to himself and walked over to the closet to retrieve a pack of candles. A soft glow entered the room as a flame erupted from the match in Earl's hand. He touched it to each of the candles' wicks' and the glow grew stronger. He blew the flame on the match out and began placing candles at various points in the room.
"The last thing I need right now is to go insane." Earl said to himself as he drew the shade to the window.
Content with the calming state of his room, he made his way over to the bed and crawled in. Instantly, he was greeted by the soft sensation of the sheets and his eyes grew weary after the long day. He took off the blood-stained grey shirt and threw it into the corner of the room. It landed softly on a stack of other blood-stained clothing. Earl sighed happily and put his arm around the 'plushie' before slowly drifting off to sleep.
Earl's eyes quickly shot open and he looked around the room worriedly. Relieved to see that another nightmare had ended, he wiped some sweat from his face and looked towards his window. Through a small gap in the shades, he could see a small amount of light creeping over the sky.
"Dawn." He said quietly to himself.
Earl sat up and yawned loudly before looking down at his 'plushie'. To his surprise, it had disappeared. The man raised his eyebrow and looked around his bed. Still no sign of it. He shook his head and laughed slightly.
"Maybe that was a dream."
After stretching his arms for a moment, Earl lifted himself up off of the bed and walked over to the closet. He threw the sliding door open to reveal a massive supply of food. Most of it was packaged and processed, but it could last anyone pretty much a lifetime. Weeks of looting the supermarkets had contributed to this large collection of assorted foods. Earl examined a few of the packages and reached for one that read "Cliff Bars". He ripped it open and sunk his teeth into the soft, chewy granola before approaching the door. His mouth fell open and the chewed bit of Cliff Bar fell to the floor as he examined it. Every lock on the door had been undone. After the sudden discovery, Earl walked over to a nearby dresser and set his snack food down. He then reached for a leather holster and pulled out a small pistol. After reassuring himself that the gun was loaded, he slipped the gun back into the holster and strapped it to his left leg. He reached for another nearby weapon, a sharp bowie knife. He took a few moments to swing the knife and test it's weight. Finally, the man reached for a small flashlight and shoved it into his pocket. After acquiring all the pieces of equipment he walked over to the door, knife in hand. Earl cautiously walked through his hallway and approached the stairs. Most of the house was still dark, Earl had made the decision to draw most of the shades a few weeks back. After making his descent, he stopped dead in his tracks.
A faint tapping could be heard from the kitchen directly in front of him. Earl assumed they were footsteps and tightened his grasp on the knife.
"Hello?" He called out nervously.
The footsteps stopped.
"Is there anyone there?"
The footsteps continued but started getting louder and closer.
"Hey, woah! I've got a knife!" Earl threatened.
The footsteps stopped again.
"If you can understand me I'm assuming you're not infected."
"I-infected?" A voice called out from the darkness.
It sounded like a girl's voice, but was extremely worried. Earl was instantly surprised by the fact that someone had actually answered him.
"Uhh, yeah... Infected. Hang on a sec, I've got a light." Earl replied. He reached into his pocket with his free hand and pulled out the small flash light.
He clicked it a few times but it gave know response.
"Damn, hang on a sec." He said smacking it with the handle of the knife.
After a few moments, a bright white light shined from the tip of the flashlight, right in the direction of the voice. Earl only saw a blob of purple as his eyes adjusted to the sudden appearance of light.
"Ahh! Hey!" The voice said again.
Earl quickly aimed the light to the floor.
Earl's eyes finally fully adjusted to the light and he saw what had made the voice. Standing before him was his "plushie" from earlier. The air instantly escaped his lungs.
"Twi....Twilight... Sparkle?!" He managed to say.
The purple unicorn's mouth was agape as she stared at Earl, his mouth wide open as well.
The two stared at each other for a good ten minutes before one of them spoke up.
"I...uhh..... I guess it's safe to say that you're not a stuffed animal..." Earl said, dumbfounded.
Twilight had never seen an odd creature such as a human before. It stood on two legs, had no sort of coat or fur, and was relatively big and fleshy. A small patch of black, which seemed to be hair, rested on top of it's head and ran down around it's chin. It was hard for her to tell in the darkness, but it looked just as scared as she was. A few seconds later, the odd creature raised his knife higher and towards the purple mare.
"How are you-? You're not infected?! Are you?!" it shouted.
Instinctively Twilight shouted back.
"No! I mean, I don't think I- What are you talking about? Where am I?! And what are you?!"
The creature lowered the knife and it's demeanor seemed to calm a bit.
Earl's heart was racing, he had no idea what he was thinking raising his knife to the confused cartoon character.
If it is really her, she wouldn't have any intention to hurt me. he thought as he shoved the knife into his pocket.
"Uhh... sorry about the knife. There's been a bit of an... accident. It's just for safety, I assure you." He said, calmly putting his hand up to show the knife was put away.
She obviously doesn't know what a human is...
"I'm Earl, and I'm a human. You're on earth." Earl continued slowly approaching Twilight.
I literally just had to explain what species I was and what planet I'm from. What the hell...
The purple unicorn calmed a bit after the knife disappeared and was relieved to find that he was, for the most part, friendly.
"Earth....?" Twilight replied.
She shook her head after a few seconds and continued.
"Well... My name is Tw-"
"Twilight Sparkle." Earl cut in, finishing her sentence.
Her expression quickly changed to puzzled.
"Yes... How did you...?"
Earl's face turned a bright red as he ran his hand over the back of his head.
Hey, I'm Earl and I know pretty much everything about you and your friends! Perfect introduction... he thought to himself.
"I'll uhh... I'll explain later." He said, walking up and examining her.
No sew lines, no tags, it was warm, and I thought I saw it breathing. Wow, how have I survived this long?
Twilight scanned the room nervously before looking towards Earl, every shade was drawn and the front door had over 20 locks on it. She quickly noticed that the human was staring at her with a dumbstruck expression.
She cleared her throat loudly.
"Well... Um, Earl. Would you care to explain to me more about what you are and where I am?" She asked, slightly annoyed.
Earl quickly shook his head and snapped back to reality.
"Oh, right. We should go upstairs though, it isn't exactly safe here."
Fear smacked Twilight in the face like a freight train at the sudden talk of danger.
"Why what's wrong?!" She asked worriedly.
And now I've freaked her out. He thought.
That is a gross understatement.
"We just need to get upstairs and everything will be alright." He said in the nicest tone he could muster.
Twilight calmed a bit and nodded solemnly. Earl motioned for her to follow and the two cautiously made their way upstairs.
"Stay close." He said as the neared the top of the stairs.
Earl was never too careful about things before the world went to shit, but now he took every precaution possible when doing anything. Even if it was the most menial task, such as taking a fictional cartoon character up to his room to describe to her that she has just landed in a world where everything is going to try and skin her and use her organs as dinner. He quickly drew the knife and crouched slightly, slowly reaching the top of the stairs. After checking both corners he continued down the hallway and turned the final corner to his room.
After securing the final lock on his door, the human walked over to Twilight and sat down on the bed next to her and sighed loudly.
"Alright. Shoot." He said calmly.
"What?" The mare asked, confused.
"I haven't talked to anyone in about two months so I figure this would be a pretty good opportunity. Any question you have, I'll answer it."
A weight was instantly lifted from Twilight's chest as the words processed in her mind.
Twilight quietly cleared her throat.
"What is earth?"
"It's the planet you're on right now, probably very similar to your world. But there's no unicorns or pegasi."
Earl waved his hand in the air informatively
"Or mythical creature things..." He continued.
"And how do you know so much about me?" Twilight asked.
Earl sighed loudly again as he tried to find his next words.
"There is a T.V show, and it's about you and your friends and the adventures that you have in Equestria."
Twilight's mouth flew open.
"T.V-? How in the name of Discord...?"
"Don't believe me? You, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Apple Jack, and Fluttershy are the elements of harmony. You used said elements to defeat Nightmare Moon and ever since you've been living in Ponyville studying the magic of friendship." Earl said.
The purple unicorn's mouth fell even further open and her eyes grew wide. After a few moments she shut her mouth and stared at the human.
"Alright, so you're not lying..."
"Nope. In this sort of situation, lying wouldn't be beneficial to either of us."
Twilight nodded and aimed her head to the floor.
"Next question?" Earl said, dropping backwards to lay on the bed.
"What's the 'danger'?" She asked quietly, worried about the response.
Earl stood up and circled around the room for a moment.
"Are you ready for another shocker?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.
Twilight simply nodded and stared intently at the human who sighed loudly yet again.
"A virus. A disease..."
Earl put his hand on his chin and pointed to the pony a few seconds later.
"Have you ever read a book about zombies?"
The purple unicorn nodded once more, to which Earl replied with a simple nod and a 'think about it' expression.
Twilight nodded nonchalantly and looked around the room. After seeing the knife and the blood stains on the human's clothing, it hit her, and her mouth fell open once more.
"It came about two months ago. Killed basically everybody and left me alive for some reason." Earl continued, walking over to his window.
"Ever since then, I've been just surviving."
Twilight nearly fainted at the realization. Earl looked towards Twilight and took in her worried expression, the human face-palmed again.
God I am just being Dr. Smooth today.
He walked over and sat next to her as tears started to roll down her face.
"Hey, come on." He said, in a calming tone.
He put one of his arms around the unicorn and used the other to wipe the tears off of her face.
Now I am consoling a fictional cartoon character... I'm insane.
"I'm... I just want to go home... This is way too much..." Twilight said in between sobs.
Earl looked down as sadness started to weigh on him.
"It's alright," He said looking back up towards her. "I can help you."
"But what if one of them gets me?!" She screamed.
Earl looked around worriedly.
She's going to attract a whole goddamn crowd of those bastards here...
The human quickly turned her head towards his.
"I will not let that happen. Alright? You're safe with me."
Twilight heard the stern town in his voice and saw the determined look in his eyes.
"OK..." She said quietly.
She sniffled and looked to the floor as Earl got up and looked through his food stash.
Why didn't I grab horse feed? He thought as he frantically searched for something that might have cheered the crying unicorn.
Screw it, this has oats. He thought as he grabbed a cliff bar and ripped open the packaging.
Earl walked over to the bed and sat down again.
"Here." He said softly as he held the bar out in his hand.
Twilight looked at the cliff bar in his hand and then back at Earl.
"It's food... They're pretty good." He said.
The human ripped off a small piece and put it in his mouth.
"See?" His said in between chews.
He quickly swallowed the small bit of snack.
Twilight smiled slightly and took the small granola bar in her hoof. She brought it close to her face and sniffed it for a second. It wasn't long before the aroma of chocolate and honey convinced her to take a bite. She smiled contently at Earl and swallowed after a few moments.
"Thank you." She said softly.
"Don't mention it." He said standing up.
"Now, down to a more pressing matter."
Twilight stopped chewing and looked up towards Earl.
"How did you get here?" He asked, with a puzzled expression.
Twilight lowered her head once more as the thoughts of home entered her mind. She was possibly light years away from her friends, her family, her mentor...
The thoughts weighed on her mind as a single tear fell from her eye. Earl sat down next to her and wiped it away.
"Uhh.. you can tell me, you know, when you feel comfortable." He said in his most comforting tone.
Twilight shook her head and cleared her throat.
"No... It's fine." She replied.
The purple unicorn looked up towards the ceiling and took in a deep breath.
"I'd found this crazy book. It was called... something about portals and an inter-dimensional portal theory. There was a really difficult spell at the end of the book that was supposed to open up said portal. I wanted to try it so I used all the strength I had, and it actually opened."
She shook her head and sighed.
"It was too strong for me to even react... Pulled me right in."
Twilight cocked her head in Earl's direction.
"And then I woke up in this... world." She continued.
"Are you hurt at all?" He asked, slightly worried.
The purple mare looked down at her coat and examined her forelegs.
"I don't think so..." She said looking back up at him.
Earl then noticed how tired her eyes were. The shock of the situation was most likely the only thing keeping her awake.
"Alright," He said walking over to the window.
The human examined the time of day, roughly 6:00 A.M, from what he could see.
"You're welcome to go back to sleep if you'd like." He said walking back over to the bed.
"It's best to make sure you're wide awake when it comes to how this world works."
Twilight nodded and looked around the room for a place to sleep.
"Just use the bed," He said. "I'll guard the door and make sure things are OK."
She looked over her shoulder to the bed, which actually seemed warm and inviting, and nodded again. As she crawled over and layed her head on the pillow, Earl walked over to his dresser and began un-equiping his weapons. After making sure the pistol was set to "safety" and secure inside of it's holster, he layed the knife down and reached for a small metallic device. He shoved the device in his pocket, reached for his baseball bat, and sat down on the floor in front of the closet.
"Hey." Twilight said, sitting up on the bed.
Earl quickly snapped his head up to look at her.
"Thanks..." She said nervously.
The human smiled and nodded, and began pulling the metallic device from his pocket, along with a tangled mess of chords. Twilight smiled slightly at his response and calmly shut her eyes before drifting off to sleep.
For the first time in a while, the feelings of hope and happiness had completely grasped Earl. Seeing this character and actually realizing that she was real, despite how insane it was, reminded him of time before the infection. He thought about the times him and his friends had gotten together to watch her show, and how awesome things felt while he was viewing it. Earl smiled and pressed a button on the small device. He was instantly greeted by a glowing screen that showed a small apple symbol.
There's only one thing that can make this better. He thought as his smile grew wider.
After cycling through various screens on the device, he came to his selection, and began straightening out the white chords from his pocket. He took one end of the chord and connected it to the bottom of the device, then took the other two and placed them into his ears. Another keeper of Earl's sanity was something he had been familiar with since he could remember; Music. He pressed a small bar on the screen and layed his head back against the wall as the soft melodies of a song began to ring in his ears.
"Mom?" Earl called out to the upstairs.
There was no response.
He quickly shook the tired out of his eyes and itched at his arm.
"Mom, is everything ok?"
Still no response.
Earl was starting to get worried. He threw the television remote to the couch next to him and stood up.
"Mom, seriously. This isn't funny."
He quickly shot up the stairs and threw open the door to his parent's bedroom. Earl's father was hunched over the boy's mother as chomping and chewing noises echoed throughout the room.
"Dad?! What the hell?!" Earl said.
He swiftly ran over to his dad and threw him off. What he saw under his father would burn in his mind as long as he lived. The body of his mother was laying dead on the floor, with various bite-marks along it's neck and chest. Fear quickly turned to rage in Earl's heart as he turned to his father.
"What did you do?!" he shouted angrily.
His father gave no answer, only stared at him with two dead, white eyes.
His dad began shambling towards him with a hand raised.
"No! Piss off! I'm calling the cops!"
Earl quickly charged out of the room and pulled his cell phone out of the pocket on his jeans. After trying "9-1-1" a few times, he angrily threw the phone down the stairs.
"You're the freakin' COPS! YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO BE BUSY!" He shouted as the small plastic square tumbled down the stairs.
Earl's father forcefully slammed open the door to the bedroom and continued to shamble towards Earl.
"I don't know what the hell you did to mom, but you're sure as shit gonna' pay for it!" He screamed as he shoved his dad over.
The shambling corpse fell to the floor as Earl tried to run away, but his father quickly grasped his ankle and sent him falling to the floor.
"God damnit! What is your problem?!" Earl shouted.
His father's corpse payed no mind to the harsh comments and continued crawling over to Earl.
Earl's father crawled onto him and pinned his arms to the floor. He quickly tried gnawing at the worried boy's face.
"Dad, seriously!" Earl shouted, terrified.
He managed to get one arm free, and threw a forceful punch into his father's jaw, knocking him a few feet to the right. Surprised by his sudden burst of power, Earl swiftly crab-walked a few feet backwards before returning to his feet. He continued down the corner and ran into his room. After a few moment's of searching, he found his base ball bat resting at the corner of his closet and grabbed it. By now, his father had returned to his feet and was shambling down the hallway towards Earl's room. The boy quickly raised the bat at his side.
"Dad. I don't know what the hell is wrong with you. But if you don't cut it out I swear to god I'm going to crack your skull open!"
The corpse didn't acknowledge the threat and simply continued down the hall way.
"You asked for it..."
Earl charged down the hallway and swung the bat fiercely at his father. It connected with a sharp crack and sent blood flying across the wall in the hall way. The body of his father fell dead without any further movement. Earl's rage quickly subsided and his mouth fell open as he saw his father laying before him.
"Dad?" He called out in a choked tone.
The corpse remained motionless.
Earl sank to his knees as tears began to fall from his face.
"Dad... I... I'm sorry! You wouldn't stop! I..."
Another shambling corpse appeared before Earl in the hallway. He quickly glanced up and his heart sank even lower.
Earl suddenly woke up screaming. After a moment, he took in his surroundings.
They ask no quarter....
He quickly ripped the chords out of his ears and threw the small metallic device across the room, then sunk lower onto the floor and let his head fall to his hands.
"God DAMNIT!" He shouted, before punching the closet.
Twilight simply watched silently after she had sprung awake from the screaming. Her expression was a mix of confusion and terror. Earl stood up and charged over to the window to check the time of day.
"10 O'clock..." He said under his breath.
Earl turned to the bed and noticed Twilight staring at him, his heart immediately sank.
"I...uhh..." He said awkwardly.
Her stare continued.
"I'm really sorry you had to see that."
Earl sat down on the bed close to Twilight, but she instantly backed away from him in fear. The human ran his hand across the back of his neck and stared at the floor.
"I can normally keep my composure..."
Twilight was whimpering at this point.
Is he infected now?! What is wrong with him?! She thought as the situation processed in her mind.
Earl heard the whimpering and looked towards her.
"I wouldn't ever take anything out on you, that is a promise."
He reached his hand towards her, she pulled away quickly.
"Living this way can get to me sometimes." He said as tears welled in his eyes.
Earl was closely nearing his breaking point.
"Please, just... just trust me, I'd never do anything to hurt you." He said as the tears began to fall.
The word rolled around the unicorn's mind. Trust was one of the most important things in any friendship, Twilight knew that very well. If Earl was the last human on this planet not affected by the disease, she was going to have to trust him.
After a few moments she nodded.
"Thanks..." He said, aiming his head back to the floor.
Although Twilight had understood the situation and accepted his trust, she could tell something was still bothering him. The purple unicorn moved closer to the crying human.
"What happened?" She asked softly.
"My parents..." Earl said, clearing his throat and wiping his eyes. "They... were the first infected I encountered."
A ray of sadness instantly entered Twilight's heart as she heard Earl's words.
"My dad... was just eating my mom..."
The human's crying intensified as his head sank lower into his hands.
"I did what I had to!...."
Twilight extended her foreleg and put her hoof on Earl's back.
"It was me or them..."
Twilight swallowed quickly.
"I... I understand... OK?" she said worriedly.
Earl wiped his eyes once more and nodded. He crawled up onto the bed fully and set his back against the wall. After a few moments, Twilight crawled over to him and sat down next to his arm. Several minutes of silence later, the purple unicorn spoke up.
"How can you live... with that?" Twilight asked.
She quickly scanned the room.
Earl shook his head and sighed.
"I don't know..." He said calmly. "I honestly can't answer that."
Earl put his arm around Twilight and hugged her slightly.
"Thanks." He said, after breaking the hug.
The human stood up and paced around for a few seconds as Twilight watched.
"Water!" He said extending his index finger.
Twilight grew a puzzled expression.
"The water tank ran out yesterday... We've got to go find some." Earl continued.
Water tank...? Twilight thought.
After a few minutes she simply nodded and stepped down from the bed as Earl began unlocking his door. After it had been unlocked, he opened it for Twilight, then proceeded to grab a shirt and retrieve his bat sitting next to the closet. The two made their way downstairs and Earl quickly approached the refrigerator, he swung it open and pulled out two water containers with filters resting on top of them.
"I hate to ask, but can you take one of these?" Earl said, awkwardly.
Twilight nodded and her horn began to glow. Within seconds, she had taken one of the pitchers from Earl and levitated it just in front of her. The human was immediately taken back by her action and stumbled a few feet.
"That still works here?!" He asked, shocked.
She looked at the pitcher and then back to Earl.
"I guess so..." She said, confused.
"Well, there's just... No magic here so I assumed...."
A thought quickly entered his mind.
If she can use her magic to do that... He thought.
The purple unicorn noticed his expression.
"Something on your mind?" She asked, tilting her head slightly.
Earl quickly shook his head and snapped back to the situation.
"Uhh.. No... well. Nothing, I'll tell you later." He said.
The human motioned for her to follow and both walked through the archway that led to the front door. After deactivating the numerous amount of locks, Twilight was instantly greeted by the smell of fresh air as the door opened. Since she had only been conscious inside of Earl's home, she expected the whole world to have the musty smell, but was instantly gratified as the familiar air from home greeted her.
Twilight and Earl walked close together for about an hour before finding a small stream just outside of the neighborhood. A question had been burning on Twilight's mind ever since leaving the home and she decided to speak up as Earl opened the first container and began filling it.
"So..." She began awkwardly.
Earl looked up from the stream and glanced in her direction.
"...we are from different... 'dimensions'. Correct?"
"Correct." Earl said calmly as he continued harvesting the water.
"You seem awfully... understanding... about this whole situation." The purple mare continued.
The human stood up and put the cover back on the water filter before sighing loudly.
"When you see some of things I've seen," He said, putting the container down on a nearby rock. "everything becomes believable. For all we know, this could just be our imagination, or a dream."
He reached over to the still levitating container.
"May I?" Earl asked calmly.
Twilight realized she was still levitating it and quickly released her grasp.
"Oh, right." She said with an awkward smile.
Earl caught it and lowered it down to the stream as well.
"I guess that makes sense." She said, taking in the calming sights of the river.
"You seem pretty O.K with the situation yourself." He said with a slight chuckle.
Twilight returned the slight laugh and nodded.
"Let's just say I'm glad I didn't fall into the hooves of those... things." She said.
Earl looked up with a puzzled expression.
"Hooves?" He asked.
Earl extended his hand and moved his fingers around.
"Hands." He continued.
Both of the survivors instantly laughed for a few minutes before glancing in to each other's eyes. Both instantly knew the emotions felt by either party.
Because at that moment...
An inter-dimensional friendship was formed.
"I still can't believe she did that..." Earl said with a chuckle.
"Yeah," Twilight replied, laughing as well. "just flew onto the dragon's snout and talked him down."
"She was honestly the last pony I expected to do that. I mean, maybe Rainbow Dash, but never Fluttershy..."
Twilight nodded as a slight sadness entered her heart.
"Those are my friends..." She said with a forced smile.
Earl noticed the change in demeanor and stood up from the nearby rock he was sitting on. The human reached over and put his hand on her back without saying a word. Twilight forced a smile but cheered up slightly. The two unlikely friends had spent the past hour discussing some of their adventures and events with friends and family. For the first time during the infection, Earl was genuinely happy. It helped recover his slowly fading insanity when he had someone to talk to.
Or somepony... He thought.
He chuckled slightly and smiled widely as he recovered the two water containers from the side of the stream. The human extended one of the containers towards Twilight.
"If I could trouble you again, ma'am?" He said jokingly.
Earl quickly noticed Twilight's terrified expression as she stared across the shallow stream. He turned around and nearly dropped the water at the sudden realization. Three infected were advancing from the trees.
The human glanced back and tried to plan an escape, however he soon realized that climbing up the steep hill to the nearby road would take to much time. The infected would be chewing on them before they even neared the road.
"Twilight, stay close, I'll handle this." He said, as calm as he could.
His voice echoed through the forest and only further grasped the intention of the carnivorous creatures.
Twilight's mind wrapped around the terrible images of the creatures. Their skin was a sickly grey and their eyes were a shining white. All she could sense from these savage animals was a feeling of death, and fear. Some of the skin had even been ripped from one of the zombie's torso and it's muscle tissue was shining in the day light. The ghastly moan that escaped the open throats of these creatures rung in her ears.
"Twilight?!" Earl called to her.
She instantly broke her gaze and nodded.
"Can you get me the bat?" He said.
Earl maintained a defensive stance as he pointed his finger to the nearby weapon, his enemies now making their way into the water. The purple unicorn looked in the direction of his point and quickly levitated the thrashed wooden bat over to the human. Earl extended his arm to catch the bat and wrapped both of his hands around the handle. He rested the blunt object against his head for a moment and closed his eyes.
"God, forgive me for what I am about to do." He said quietly.
The infected had reached the middle of the stream.
"Twilight, look away." He shouted in a slightly choked voice.
The mare gave no acknowledgement to his words and continued staring, awestruck by the gruesome, flesh-eating monsters.
The first infected had crossed the river and was raising it's clammy claw towards Earl.
It's me or them... He thought, trying to keep his composure.
The human swung the bat fiercely from his side in a perfect batter's swing, It collided with the undead maniac and sent it flying sideways. Earl instantly followed up with several more cracks to the creature's skull as it layed defenseless on the ground. Twilight could only watch in disbelief as Earl defended them both. The human had seemed so gentle to her over the last hour. From what she had gotten to know, she would have never expected him to act this violently.
After making sure the zed had successfully been dealt with, he turned his attention to the next advancing attacker. This zombie was raising his hand as well, but Earl quickly swung the bat, which collided harshly with the creature's arm. It recoiled back for a few moments and it's arm now hung limply, freshly torn from it's socket. Earl wasted no time and immediately continued his rampage as he swung the bat upwards and smacked the infected under it's jaw. It swiftly flew backwards and splashed into the flowing stream. Again, Earl kept cracking away at it on the ground for several moments.
"Earl!" Twilight screamed, terrified.
The final infected had reached the side earlier than expected and shoved Earl to the ground, causing the human to drop his bat. Almost instantly, it jumped onto the defenseless human. He quickly raised his arm and blocked the zombie's attempts at gnawing his face off. A few seconds later a large purple glow appeared around Earl and separated him from his enemy. Earl looked around worriedly, now trapped in a large, spherical, purple ball. He then noticed Twilight standing on a nearby rock, her horn glowing brightly. She grunted loudly and the sphere seemed to explode, sending the Infected stumbling back a few feet. Newly freed, Earl searched around frantically for his bat, which suddenly floated past his face. He reached his hand out to grasp it, but to his surprise it floated right past him, and instead collided fiercely with the zombie's head. He spun around and saw Twilight's angry expression, her horn still glowing brightly. After the realization, he turned back and saw the creature laying dead in the dirt, his bat laying next to the deceased corpse.
Well, now I know for sure she's real. He thought.
"Wow..." He said, shocked.
He retrieved his bat and turned to Twilight once again, then saw her head in her hooves. As the human approached her heard Twilight sobbing.
Of course she's never killed anything... that was her first... He thought as his mouth fell open.
Earl moved next to Twilight and put his hand on her back once again.
"C'mon. Let's just go." He said softly.
Twilight sat on a couch in the living room as Earl put the containers of water inside the refrigerator. After storing them he walked over to the living room and sat down next to Twilight.
"The first one is always the hardest." He said after a few moments.
Twilight stopped shivering and looked up to the human.
"You just need to know," He said, looking into her eyes. "Those things aren't alive anymore. They're nothing more than tortured souls who aimlessly walk the earth and only have one objective. Eat."
He put his hand on the unicorn's shoulder.
"You did the right thing, and I can't thank you enough for saving me." Earl continued.
Earl pulled the cartoon character close and hugged her tightly.
I'm hugging Twilight Sparkle. Seriously? This is just... He thought, once again dumbfounded.
Twilight returned the hug as she processed his words.
They aren't alive...
The phrase rolled around her mind for a moment. After breaking the hug, Twilight wiped the tears from her eyes.
"Thank you." She said, clearing her throat.
Earl nodded and stood up from the couch and walked into the kitchen.
They aren't alive...
Twilight kept repeating the phrase to herself.
After a few moments, Earl returned with two glasses of water.
"Fresh from the stream." He said, smiling and extending a glass to her.
She forced a smile and levitated the glass from the human's hand. To her surprise, the water tasted amazing, and calmed her almost instantly. Earl gulped down the whole glass with in a matter of seconds and sighed loudly before setting it down on a nearby coffee table. He looked at her with a serious expression.
"Let's talk about magic."
Twilight's expression instantly changed to ecstatic and her eyes were glowing with excitement.
"I didn't even think of that!" She said, almost jumping for joy on the couch.
Earl smiled and rested his hands on the back of his head as he reclined himself onto the couch.
"Yep, I figured if you used magic like that to get here, and it still works, we could use it to get you home." He said, happy his explanation was met with a positive reaction.
After a moment the purple mare frowned slightly.
"I was barely able to do it last time though..." She said quietly.
Earl was quickly taken back by her change in demeanor.
"What do you mean?" He asked worriedly.
"I had to exert all of my energy just to get the portal to open for a few seconds."
"You can do it again, right?"
Twilight's frown grew larger.
She looked down quickly.
Earl sighed after realizing her change in emotion.
"Hey," He said, putting his hand on her shoulder. "Sorry for the pressure. But if something can get you home, and off this dead rock, I think it's worth a shot."
Twilight nodded and smiled slightly.
"Alright?" The human asked with a smile.
"Alright." Twilight said with a slight chuckle.
"Alright," Earl sang happily as he sprung up from the couch.
He breathed deeply.
"Well, I'm so hungry I could eat a h-" Earl quickly cut himself off.
Twilight raised a brow and grew a puzzled expression.
Wow, I'm a dumbass...
"Uhh... Never mind, I'm hungry, we should eat." Earl said with a nervous smile.
The purple unicorn shrugged and laughed as she followed the human upstairs.
After securing the locks on his door yet again, Earl threw open the closet door and looked through the selections.
"God, why can't microwaves still work..." He said to himself as he eyed a box of Hot Pockets.
Twilight raised her head from a laying position on the bed.
"Microwave?" She asked.
Earl turned around with the box in his hand.
"Yeah. It's a machine that cooks things with nuclear energy and radiation and stuff..."
"Nuclear energy, isn't that dangerous?"
Earl chuckled slightly, turned back, and placed the box on the shelf above him.
"Welcome to Earth."
Twilight wasn't sure what his statement was supposed to mean, but simply shook her head as Earl walked over with various wrapped foods.
"Uhhh... So I've god Nature Bars, Cliff Bars, Some Trail Mix, I think this is oatmeal." He said, fumbling through the packaging in his hands.
The purple unicorn then realized how hungry she really was.
"Whatever you'd suggest." She said with a smile.
Earl nodded and handed her two Nature Bars and the bag of Trail mix. She levitated them in front of her face for a moment.
"So how do we get to the food?" She asked.
Earl was about to take a bite of his bar before realizing that she didn't have hands, or knew how packaged food worked.
"Oh, right. Give me one second." He said.
The human jumped off of the bed and started deactivating the various locks on his door.
"What are you doing?" She asked.
"Grabbing a plate." He said before Twilight had a chance to respond.
He charged down the stairs and ran into the kitchen. After searching through cupboards for a few moments, he found a small plate and quietly shut the cupboard. Earl wasted no time in getting back up the stairs, staying anywhere in the house too long other than his room made him uneasy. When he entered the room, he saw Twilight looking out of a small gap in the drawn shades. He secured the locks and walked over to her side, to examine what she was staring at. An infected was outside going crazy, It was screaming loudly and violently flailing it's limbs in every direction. The human turned and noticed the worried expression on her face, and gently pulled her away from the window.
"It's alright, OK? If any of them get in here, they have to deal with me." He said, trying to calm her.
It worked, but only for a moment as the screams from outside grew louder. As the ghastly sound from outside entered her ears she only became more frightened. Earl quickly pulled her close and put his hands over her ears, the horrid sound was getting to him as well.
"Shhh... It'll be OK." He said shakily, trying to calm the now whimpering unicorn.
The screaming only grew louder, and Twilight dug her head into the human's chest. Earl had began shaking and tears started to well in his eyes.
It can't get in, It's not alive. It can't get in, It's not alive. He repeated in his head over and over again.
"It can't get in, It's not alive. It can't get in, it's not alive." He began frantically saying out loud.
Twilight payed no mind and continued trying to get the ghastly scream out of her mind.
It continued scratching at their ears like nails on a chalkboard.
It wouldn't stop.
Earl slowly opened his eyes to find that his room was completely covered in a thick sheet of darkness, a sharp pain was sustained in his chest. He quickly looked down but couldn't see anything in the darkness. After a few moments his eyes adjusted to the darkness and he found Twilight resting her head on his chest, but her horn was stabbing him. He slowly pulled away from her, groaning at the pain of his stab wound. After successfully getting up without waking her, he examined the unopened packages of food from earlier.
It's the zombie apocalypse, why do I keep falling asleep?! He thought to himself.
He shrugged it off and reached for the plate he had obtained earlier.
After about an hour Twilight slowly lifted herself from her laying position and glanced around the room. A soft glow danced around the room as the light from a few various candles flickered. Earl was sitting on the floor with his metallic device again, bobbing his head slowly. She then noticed a small plate of food in front of her. The two Nature Bars were used as eyes and a few various nuts from the trail mix were placed in a smile, creating a culinary happy-face. Twilight chuckled and smiled. Earl shot his head up at the sudden appearance of sound, but calmed a bit as he found the source.
"I thought you'd like that." He said with a smile, noticing her expression.
"I do," She said with a laugh. "Thank you."
"No problem." He said as he began flicking across various screens on his device.
Twilight smiled wider and began eating her meal. The taste surprised her, she didn't expect anything from this desolate world to bring her some sort of joy, But the various tastes helped calm her.
After she had finished, she glanced towards Earl, who was bobbing his head again.
"Hey." She said softly.
"Uhh.. Earl?" She said slightly louder.
Earl snapped upwards and placed his hand on his bat.
"What? Oh, hey." He said, taking his hand off of the weapon.
Earl took one of the small white wires out of his ear.
"What is that?" She asked, pointing her hoof towards the small device in his hand.
"This?" Earl asked, raising the device in the air. "It's called an Ipod, it plays music."
Twilight tilted her head slightly.
"How does it...?-" She asked, confused.
"I don't really know, I just use it." Earl said with a laugh. "Do you want to hear it?"
Twilight smiled brightly.
"Sure." She said.
Earl returned the smile, got to his feet and walked over to her.
"OK, so you just kind of... uhhh..." He said, examining the earbuds.
Well that's probably not going to work. He thought.
"One sec." He said before darting over to the closet.
After rummaging through the closet for a second Earl returned with a pair of studio headphones.
"These used to be my dads." He said, plugging them into the device. "Here."
Earl put the headphones over her ears and the fit was surprisingly comfortable for her.
"Alright, just listen."
After cycling through the screens for a moment, Earl finally found the perfect selection.
Twilight looked around worriedly for a second, but could make out that Earl was trying to tell her something.
It's just part of the song. She could make out.
Earl smiled and walked back to the dresser and sat down next to his bat.
She'll be busy for a while. He thought.
A few seconds later, the purple mare's eyes grew wide and her jaw fell open.
A girl who likes rush. That's rare.
"In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big." Twilight sang happily as Earl walked over to his dresser.
After securing the gun to his leg, he began air guitaring and making various sounds with his mouth. Twilight fell to the floor and began laughing, but Earl simply shrugged and continued.
"I'm still just wondering how the music plays from that thing, and how they got all of those songs on there..." Twilight said, catching the breath from her laugh.
Earl shook his head and smiled.
"Before the infection, this place was pretty cool." Earl laughed. "I thought I told you that."
Twilight simply shrugged and returned to her hooves. The human continued gathering various items, ending with his baseball bat as he approached the door.
"Come on." He said, as he began opening the locks.
Twilight's expression quickly flipped to worried.
"We're going out there?" She asked, in a slightly choked tone.
"Yeah, we need to try something."
The last lock clicked loudly and Earl held it open for the purple unicorn.
"I've got your back, Trust me." He said with a smile.
Twilight forced one back and walked out of the room.
Ever since Twilight had levitated the water pitcher out of his hand, Earl had thought about her magic. What it could do to help him, how he could benefit from it. But, one of his primary thoughts was how she could use it to get back home. The human examined the desolate houses as the two friends strolled down the block.
She definitely doesn't belong here, especially with these freaks. He thought.
"I know, I know for sure.... That life is beautiful around the world..." Twilight sang quietly as the two walked down the empty street.
"I didn't know you'd like them too." Earl said, slightly surprised at the tune.
"Hmm?" She said, raising her head to him as she walked.
"Well, I don't know. I just expected you would hate half of the music I showed you."
"No I thought it was all... Entertaining." She said, after searching for the correct term.
"Even Jerry Was A Racecar Driver?"
Twilight shifted her head to the left.
"That one was a bit strange..." She said nervously.
"Ehh, that's why I like it, they're not afraid to..." Earl looked around for a moment.
Twilight had stopped walking.
"Hey, Twi, c'mon. We've got to... oh" Earl said, walking back towards her.
The purple unicorn was staring wide-eyed at a pair of arms dangling from a nearby trashcan. Both looked small, like a child's, and one of the limp limbs was carrying a small stuffed animal. Earl knelled down next to her.
"Hey, look at me." He said calmly.
Twilight broke her stare and quickly looked towards the human, tears nearly flowing from her eyes.
"What I have in mind can get you away from all of this." He continued. "OK?"
She quickly wiped her eyes and nodded her head.
With that, the two continued down the road.
Earl had grown accustom to consoling the pony on a regular basis. He had come to understand that horrors such as the ones now experienced in this world, were not even part of the deepest, darkest nightmares in Equestria. The human was surprised at how she reacted to all of the changes, but was nevertheless glad that she had manage to keep sanity.
Earl rounded the final corner on his block and approached a large chain-link fence.
"Keep a lookout." Earl said.
Twilight nodded and the human continued on his short path. Upon reaching it, he found that a large padlock had sealed their destination shut, which Earl had expected. He withdrew his bat out of the makeshift holder attached to his bis back and began furiously smacking the device that lie between him and the inside of the gate. After a few swings, he became slightly exhausted. Breathing heavily, he re-sheathed his bat and instead pulled the gun out of it's holster on his leg. He turned towards Twilight.
"Cover your ears." He said sternly.
The purple unicorn obliged and soon after a loud Bang! followed by a flash of light erupted from Earl's hand.
"What was that?!" Twilight shouted, retracting her hooves from her ringing ears.
"A gun." Earl replied, kicking the gate open.
He motioned for her to follow and after she regained her hearing abilities, she obliged again.
"This looks like an open field." Twilight said, confused.
It was an open field.
"This is an open field."
It was clearly an open field.
"Why are we in an open field?"
Even the field would have been annoyed by this conversation, had it been alive.
Earl sighed loudly.
"We need to get you home Twi." he said after a few moments.
A confused expression quickly shot across the mare's face.
"As much as I enjoy you being here, we need to try and get you home." He continued.
"But you said you could protect me..." She said, worriedly.
"And if I can't?" He shot back, "I don't want to watch you die. That would be too much for me."
Twilight looked down at the ground and prodded at the exposed dirt.
"So you're getting rid of me?" She asked, in a slightly choked tone.
Earl face-palmed quickly and walked over to Twilight, knelling next to her yet again.
"Two months ago if I would have found you, I would have kept you and we would have been amazing friends." He said, slightly wincing at his sudden corniness.
Twilight looked back up and smiled weakly.
"But, right now, you can't be here. It's way to dangerous for you." Earl continued.
Twilight swallowed weakly.
"Alright, but what are we doing here?" She asked.
"I need you to try the spell again."
Twilight's expression quickly changed to sadness.
"I told you, I could barely do it last time."
She looked down again.
"Twi. Come on. Look at me." He said, trying to cheer her.
Twilight looked up and met his eyes.
"Think about home... think about Spike, your friends, the elements, the princess. They need you."
The mare's expression changed yet again, but now it was determined.
"Alright, stand back." She said, turning away from Earl and focusing her attention on one spot in the field.
"I'll stand guard, you'll be completely safe." Earl said raising his gun and turning around.
Earl stood and watched the road for a few moments, slightly saddened by having to let her go.
It's for the greater good... He thought to himself.
His thoughts were soon broken as an extremely bright white light, followed by a loud unidentifiable noise, erupted behind him. He swiftly turned around and found Twilight's horn as the source for the sudden outbreak of unexplainable energy. The bright white light was shining high through the cloud cover, bathing the ground in a bright glow. This light could be seen from miles away.
Oh, shit. Earl thought.
Twilight continued trying with all of the force she had, but to no avail, the portal refused to open. A few moments after Earl had noticed the light, it instantly went out, as suddenly as it had appeared. She lowered her head in shame and turned back to the human.
"It's no use Earl... I can't do it." She said quietly.
After a few moments of no response she looked up and saw Earl's expression. His eyes were as wide as they could get and his mouth was wide open. Twilight's only feeling was that she had let him down.
All this human has done for me and I can't even start a portal?! She thought.
As the words flew through her mind, tears began to fall again. She stood up from her crouched position.
"I'm sorry, OK?!" She layed back down on the ground. "I'm sorry..."
Earl held his blank expression as he stared up to the sky, trying to process what had just happened. After a few more moments, he unsheathed his gun from the holster yet again, his hands shaking.
"Twi-Twilight." He said, terrified.
Twilight lifted her head as she heard the fear in Earl's voice.
"What?" She asked, getting worried as well.
Earl shakily pointed a finger to the tree-line just beyond the field, where multiple infected were shambling towards them. Only, several weren't shambling, but were sprinting.
They can run?! Earl thought.
Twilight looked in the direction of his point, fear instantly struck her as she saw the zombies coming towards them.
"They can run?!" She shouted to him.
Earl was frozen in place. Every infected in at least a twelve-mile radius would be coming to investigate the light.
"We need to move. Now." Earl said in a choked tone after a few moments of silence.
Twilight turned and ran back to the gate as Earl continued to watch in terror as the carnivorous creatures sprinted towards them.
"Earl!" Twilight shouted desperately.
The human instantly broke from his trance and one thing became clear.
It was time to run like hell.
Earl instantly broke into a savage sprint towards the unicorn, motioning for her to continue onward. When he reached her she broke into a sprint as well. As the two rounded the corner, however, they saw more infected shambling across the road in front of them. One of the flesh-hounds noticed and let out a ghastly scream before sprinting towards them.
"What do we do?!" Twilight screamed.
"Get behind me." Earl said as he shoved the mare behind him.
Fighting his nerves, he pointed his pistol at the running zombie's direction and quickly pulled the trigger. The bullet flew from the gun and launched itself into the maniac's upper-torso, causing it to stumble a few feet as it's blood coated the road slightly. To the survivor's demise, it continued sprinting after recoiling for a second. Earl swiftly pulled the trigger a few more times, luckily hitting it in the head once. It fell to the floor a few moments later.
"OK, go!" He shouted as he continued down the road.
The rest of the infected on the road simply shambled about, trying to grab at Earl and Twilight. Their speed stopped the fleshy claws, however, and they were able to make it through the crowd untouched. The sprinting infected from the field were close behind however, and simply shoved their shambling brethren to the floor. Earl tried to run backwards and lay a few shots into their pursuers, but instantly fell to the ground and did a quick backwards somersault. The human was slowed but not stopped and continued anyway.
"How in the hay did you do that?!" Twilight shouted as the two continued.
"Just keep running!" Earl shouted back as the two neared the corner by his house.
He stopped and let Twilight go ahead as he layed a few more shots into the sprinting zombies. He quickly ceased fire when the zombie's gap began to shorten, and ran inside after Twilight.
Earl slammed the door shut and with incredible speed, activated every lock on the door within a matter of minutes.
"Upstairs, now." He shouted over the sound of sudden pounding at the door.
After the locks had been secured, the two made their way upstairs and took cover in Earl's bedroom. Twilight ran over to the corner and sat down covering her head with her hooves, shaking, as Earl paced around the room.
"Shit.... shit. SHIT!" He shouted. "The whole god damn state of Washington must be out there!"
Twilight began whimpering.
"Hey!" He shouted to her.
She quickly snapped her head upwards worriedly, her eyes still wet.
"Sorry..." He said, calmer now. "It's not your fault." He continued, trying to calm her.
Yes it is. Yes it is. Yes it is. Yes it is. Yes it is. Yes it is. Yes it is. He thought quickly.
The human shook the thought from his mind and waited for Twilight's response. She shook her head fiercely and Earl extended his hand to help her up, which she gratefully accepted. He pulled her close to his face and spoke low.
"You need to get that portal open, OK?" He said.
Twilight nodded and returned to her hooves.
Earl returned the nod and approached the closet door. After throwing it open, he reached for the top rack and pulled down a large pump shotgun.
"For emergencies only." He chuckled to himself.
Twilight saw the massive weapon and almost cowered at it's presence.
Earl had made a sudden realization over the last few moments...
it was time to kill.
"Twilight," He said as he walked over to the dresser. "I have an answer to your question."
The purple mare looked at him, puzzled.
"What question?" She asked.
"How I live like this." He replied.
The human reached into one of the drawers and pulled out a massive bag of shells. He quickly turned back and began feeding the small red killing devices into the shotgun.
"I live, with the hope that there is going to be another tomorrow."
He began feeding the shells more angrily.
"I live, knowing that this world is still beautiful. That this world is still turning, and that I," Earl punched his chest. "am still breathing. That is a fact."
He took the shotgun in one hand and re chambered it with a sharp click-click!
"And if I have to use a deadly weapon to protect that fact for you and me, so be it."
Earl aimed the gun at his door and fiercely gripped it.
"Get that portal open Twi... go home."
The human pulled the trigger and a shell flew through the top hinge of the door.
Another shot hit the bottom hinge.
"I'll take care of the downstairs. You just use this." Earl motioned around the room to Twilight. "The fear, the anger, the sadness. Use it."
Earl grabbed the bag of shells from his dresser and shoved it into his pocket before sending a sharp kick through the door, sending it flying into the hallway.
After Earl had taken his leave, Twilight jumped up, new determination in her heart.
I'm still breathing, the world is still turning. Let's do some bucking magic. She thought.
The unicorn's horn began to glow, and she focused all of her thoughts on home. Her friends, her family, her assistant, her library, all flashed through her mind as she tried to create the portal.
Earl stomped towards the stairs as he saw one infected crawling to the second floor and swiftly kicked it back down, causing it to knock over a few others.
Fear had turned to sheer rage in the man's heart. He no longer held any sympathy for these lost souls.
"You putrid, soulless, meat sacks want to eat ME?!" He shouted.
"COME GET A FUCKING TASTE."
As Twilight focused all of her magic ability, a thought entered her mind.
In a world where I feel so small, I can't stop thinking big.
The phrase spread across her mind like a raging wild fire.
Think big... she thought.
Slowly, the bright white light began to manifest itself again. Growing larger and larger by the second as Twilight's muscles screamed at her to stop working. She payed no mind and continued her train of thought.
Home, Spike, my library, think big...
The first shot punched it's way through the crowd with incredible force, planting itself firmly in the wall behind three infected after it cleanly made itself right through their flesh.
Earl worked his way partly down the stairs as another infected sprinted up. Another shot quickly sent it reeling backwards, most parts of it's head still not intact.
The human was unmoved and simply continued walking down his stairs. Those were his stairs, this was his house, that was his friend, this was his gun, and it was time to do some damage.
As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he looked around the living room, where only three infected were wondering about. He then noticed the sliding glass door had been completely shattered, despite the boards he had previously nailed to the frame to keep it shut. But the pounding still continued at the door, waiting to break any second. Earl took the moment to reload the two shells he had used earlier. If Left 4 Dead, Halo, and Call of Duty had taught this teenager anything, it was that an empty clip is not your friend. After placing the fresh carriers of death into his barrel, he wasted no time in dispatching the stragglers wandering in his living room. Walking up to the first one, he tossed his shotgun to his right hand, and with his left, unsheathed his bat. With all of the force he could possibly muster, he slammed the tattered wood down on the flesh-freak's head, causing it to indent profusely while spreading blood across the floor. Needless to say, it fell dead as Earl watched, unmoved again. It's two zombie brethren quickly noticed and approached him, to his advantage, they weren't runners. With a single arm, he raised the shot gun and sent one of them flying backwards as blood painted the wall behind them.
The next one, disemboweled.
The shots startled Twilight immensely, but she did not break focus. As the lyrics and thoughts continued to race in her mind, the size of the light grew. It had began to manifest itself into a wide circle, wide enough for her to jump through. After it had reached the maximum size, a small ball of energy erupted from Twilight's horn and traveled slowly to the light. A massive wave of energy immediately knocked Twilight to the ground and the bright colors from her home were shining through the now open portal.
"I, did it?" She asked, shocked at her own achievement.
She returned to her hooves and literally jumped for joy.
"I DID IT! YES!" She shouted happily.
Earl would've heard her shouts of pure joy, if he didn't hear the front door colliding with the floor first. Wasting no time, he ran over to the archway and saw a massive amount of infected making their way into his home. After reloading two shots into his gun, Earl swiftly raised his weapon to the crowd and began sending a barrage of shots into the wall of dead meat. He was able to kill a large amount of them, but twelve miles of zombies isn't going to be gone after 8 shotgun shells. The human nearly went white as the gun clicked.
"EMPTY?!" He shouted angrily.
Seeing the advancing crowd, the human briskly made his way upstairs, reloading his shotgun the whole way and dropping most of his shells on the ground.
"You've got to be kidding me!" He shouted as he watched the bag of ammunition tumble down the stairs.
Knowing it was a lost cause, the human continued running upstairs, a sprinting infected close behind. As he reached the top, he turned and was a few feet away from the sprinter.
I've always wanted to do this... Earl thought to himself.
He reached his right hand over the barrel of his weapon and flipped it over, so that the stock was sticking up i the air. Without hesitation, he slammed the stock of the weapon down on the head of the sprinter, causing it to fall to the floor and twitch. Flipping it back over, he landed a shot it it's skull to be sure of death.
As the rest of the crowd continued up the stairs, Earl continued throwing shells their direction, killing a large amount of them. As the kill count rose, the gun began to click again.
"Oh, you are a reaaaaaal bitch." He said angrily.
Making his way back to the room Twilight was in, he was able to reload 4 shots into the weapon,
but then he tripped.
Twilight quickly turned her attention to the hallway as Earl crawled into the room, wincing in pain.
"What happened?!" She asked worriedly.
Earl propped his back against his bed and readied his gun.
"I.... twisted my.....ankle..." He said, breathing heavily.
Earl looked towards portal and then back at Twilight.
"What are you still doing here?!" He shouted.
The infected suddenly appeared around the corner to the long hallway.
Twilight glanced towards the attackers and then back to the human.
"I'm not leaving you here." She said.
Earl was extremely taken back by this. He glanced to the portal again.
"Are you CRAZY?!" He said, raising his shotgun to the advancing infected.
A few shots rang out before Twilight could answer.
"Well that's just lovely!" Earl screamed as he threw the shotgun down the hallway.
"I'm not crazy, OK?" Twilight said.
She glanced towards the crowd again.
"Just trust me..." She said sternly as she turned back to the human.
She had trusted him so many times.
And now it was time to return the favor.
Earl nodded after a few moments as the infected inched closer to his room. He quickly stood up, wincing slightly at the pain in his ankle. Before approaching the portal he examined his room. Was he really about to leave this world? Enter a completely new dimension? What if he didn't make it through the portal?
As the thoughts entered his mind, he knew one thing was for sure;
It was a hell of a lot better than getting eaten alive.
"Are you ready?" Twilight asked.
Earl nodded nervously.
The two friends approached the portal slowly as nerves crept up on the human.
Twilight quickly jumped through and a small flash of light seemed to whisk her away. Earl looked around once more.
I'm leaving you today. He thought.
With that, he jumped into the portal as well, and with a quick flash of light, the last uninfected human on the planet was gone.
But the portal remained open.
(Note: Part 2 will be in the same story, it's not a sequel thing. So yeahh.)
Earl slowly regained consciousness, but kept his eyes shut. His head felt as though a forest fire was rampaging through it, and it throbbed harshly with each heartbeat. He didn't want to open his eyes, it would only lead to more pain. Over time, he realized he could hear music, faintly playing next to him.
I was brought up to believe the universe has a plan...
His eyes quickly snapped open, and were instantly assaulted by a barrage of light. Earl groaned loudly and shut them quickly. After a few moments, he could hear a door opening across from him.
"Hello?" He said, slightly choked.
"Hey." Twilight replied.
Earl instantly opened his eyes again and sat up, trying to block the sun with his arm. He then noticed how colorful everything seemed. Everything was bright and vibrant, and happy. From the decor he assumed they were in Twilight's library.
"You're OK?" He asked worriedly.
"I'm fine." She said with a smile.
The purple unicorn levitated Earl's music player from the table next to him and used her magic to shut it off.
"Well that's good to hear." He said with a content sigh as he layed back down.
Earl was relieved to find that he had been placed on a soft bed that was surprisingly the right size for him.
"What happened?" He asked, shutting his eyes again.
Twilight walked to the edge of the bed and looked at him.
"We went through the portal, but the massive amount of magical energy knocked you unconscious." she said calmly.
"You didn't get knocked out?"
The mare chuckled slightly.
"I've been around magical energy my entire life."
Earl replied with a nod and cringed slightly at the growing pain in his skull.
"God, is this headache part of that too?" He asked, rubbing his head.
"No, that was a side effect of the spell."
"Aghh... what spell?"
There was no response.
Earl quickly snapped his eyes open again and looked towards the unicorn. Her expression was completely blank as she stared back at him.
"I'm still really surprised it worked..." She said, slightly awestruck.
"What worked?!" He asked, starting to get worried.
"What spell?!" He asked, leaning towards her.
Earl unfortunately leaned too far and came tumbling out of the bed and down onto the hard wood floor. Twilight's expression was still blank.
"Well?" He asked, still on the floor.
Earl then tried to return to his feet, but, almost naturally, he was on all fours.
"What the..." He said to himself.
After falling to the ground again he looked at his hands.
But they weren't hands.
"You turned me into a freakin' pony?!" He asked, naturally returning to all fours again.
Twilight backed away defensively.
"I'm sorry! I just didn't want to bring an unknown creature through town, so I found this spell-" Twilight said.
She was instantly cut off as Earl wrapped his newly acquired forelegs around her.
"Uhmm..." She said awkwardly.
Earl pulled away and looked down at his coat, which was a light gray color.
"Thanks! This is... just amazing." He said, moving his hooves around. "I'm a pony."
"You're handling this a lot better than I thought you would..." Twilight said, in the sustained awkward tone.
"Are you serious? Ever since I saw the show I thought of how awesome it would be to come here!" He said cheerily.
Earl quickly ran his right hoof through his mane, but hit something pointed on his head before he could reach the back.
"What is... YOU MADE ME A UNICORN?!" Earl shouted, a massive smile plastered across his face.
A few seconds later, a familiar purple dragon opened the door and nervously walked into the room.
"Uhh.. Twilight, is everything OK in here?" Spike asked.
Earl spun around quickly.
"Spike! I'm a freakin' PONY!" He shouted happily.
The dragon raised an eyebrow and looked towards Twilight, who simply rolled her eyes and motioned for him to leave. Realizing she was OK, Spike simply shrugged and left, shutting the door behind him.
"Wow, is he OK?" Earl asked, raising his eyebrow as well.
"He doesn't know you." Twilight replied.
"Oh... that's a very good point. My bad." Earl said, running his hoof through the back of his black mane.
"It's fine, just calm down a little bit. I know you might be excited, but you can't go letting everypony else know that you're from a different world. You might raise some... suspicion."
Earl simply nodded and continued examining his new body.
A thought suddenly flashed through his mind and he instantly spun around, trying to look at his flank.
"What is it?!" He asked frantically.
"What is what-?"
"A baseball bat?" Earl asked confused.
"Well, yeah. The spell used what my knowledge was of you to create the mark. The thing I remember most is the uhh.... stuff with your bat..." Twilight said, looking to the floor.
"Hey," Earl said, trotting over to her. "That's all over now, alright? You're home, we're safe, I'm a pony."
Twilight looked up to him and smiled.
"So, a baseball bat, huh? I kinda like it." Earl said, returning her smile.
The purple unicorn nodded happily.
"Oh, one more thing," Twilight said. "The spell only lasts two days, I'll have to find a better version of it if we want to make the spell permanent."
Earl nodded and looked around the room. Everything was even more colorful than in the show. The warm glow of everything seemed so inviting, so happy. Earl had never felt so much pure joy since he had been alive.
A thought quickly wormed it's way into his mind and he turned to Twilight, his mouth agape.
"Can I meet the Elements?" He asked after a few moments.
The bright portal was still shining far out in the Everfree Forest, and after a few hours, the new inhabitants of Earth were making their way through the portal. Aimlessly wandering around, chewing om random on bits of vegetation, growing hungrier and hungrier by the second. As time went on, the zombies were able to corner a few small creatures, but it was hardly enough to quell the massive amount of hunger that was coming over them. They hungered for something more, and a lot of it....
As the two began wandering through town on the way to their first stop, Sugar Cube Corner, Earl glanced over to Twilight and realized he was substantially taller than her. He looked down at his body once more and noticed how big he actually was.
"Great, even here I'm bigger than everyone else." He chuckled quickly to himself.
"Huh?" Twilight asked, still trotting next to him.
"Oh, nothing." Earl quickly replied, laying his eyes back on the road in front of him.
The purple unicorn simply shrugged and continued as well. After a while, Earl had grown accustom to the warm and inviting colors and no longer stared in awe at every small detail.
"Hey." Earl asked as the two turned the corner and neared the final road to Sugar Cube Corner.
Twilight stopped and glanced towards him.
"Yes?" She replied.
"Did anything else make it through?" He asked in a slightly hushed tone.
The unicorn glanced around for a second before pulling him aside.
"Yeah, some other things got pulled through."
Twilight rolled her eyes around as she searched for her thoughts and was mouthing words slightly.
"The bat, the.. gun thing and-"
"The small one."
Earl sighed in quick relief that the massive shot gun hadn't made it's way into this world, hiding it might have been a problem, seeing as now he probably couldn't even carry it.
"Alright, you said 'and'?"
"Yes, and the music player."
"Awesome, I thought I was just hearing things." He said with a chuckle. "Alright, where's the bat and stuff?"
Twilight glanced to the floor and quickly back up, with a slightly worried expression.
"The music player was right in front of me, but everything else was kind of scattered.... I just really wanted to get us out of there..."
"It's perfectly fine. I've got my music so right now I don't really give a fuu-"
Twilight raised an eyebrow.
"....Freakin' anything." Earl smiled sheepishly. "We should uhh... get moving."
The purple mare chuckled and continued down the road.
Pinkie Pie, who was carrying a large tray of cupcakes, instantly dropped it and gasped loudly as Earl and Twilight walked through the door.
"Twilights back guys!" She screamed, before sprinting over to Twilight and nearly suffocating her in a hug.
Twilight smiled slightly and returned the hug. As both mares held each other, Earl had to resist screaming and jumping for joy as he noticed more of the elements sitting at a nearby table. He settled for a glazed look in his eyes and a dumb looking grin on his face. Rainbow Dash, Apple Jack, Rarity, and Fluttershy were sitting at the table Earl had noticed and quickly spun around to see Twilight.
"Twi, is that you?" Apple Jack asked, surprised, as she stood up from her seat. "Well I'll be, it is you!"
The orange earthpony sprinted over and joined in on the hug.
"C'mon Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash said, levitating herself up from her seat to join the now group hug.
The normally shy yellow pegasus wasted no time in running over to join in as well, followed by Rarity.
Now, Earl was standing awkwardly next to the group of friends as they had their joyous reunion, the dumb smile still plastered across his face.
"Gosh, you were gone for so long!" Fluttershy said as the group hug was broken.
"Sorry about the scare," Twilight said.
She quickly glanced to Earl nervously.
"I was doing some really serious studying."
"Eggggggggg-head." Rainbow Dash said as she hovered above her friends, just loud enough for Twilight to hear.
Twilight rolled her eyes and shared a laugh with the rainbow-maned pegasus for a moment.
"Well we sure are glad ta have yah' back," Apple Jack said with a smile. "Even if yah' didn't go anywhere."
The five friends shared a laugh before glancing in Earl's direction. Pinkie instantly gasped again.
"Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh! Who is that?! I don't know him! Ohmygosh, I could know him!" She said in her usual hyper-active tone.
She dashed over to Earl and began wildly shaking his hoof.
"Hi, I'm Pinkie Pie!" She said happily as she closed her eyes and smiled.
Earl could only stare, his eyes as wide as they could go as the pink mare shook his hoof.
After a few seconds of no response, things got a little awwwwwkwarrrrrddd......
"Uhhh, Pinkie?" Rainbow Dash said, raising an eyebrow.
The pink earthpony opened her eyes and slowly stopped shaking his hoof.
"Twilight?" She asked, spinning around.
The purple unicorn chuckled slightly.
"That's Earl, he's new in town." She replied with a smile.
Pinkie returned the smile and spun back around.
"Well, it's very nice to meet you Earl! That's a weird name, I've never heard a name like Earl before, I guess it rhymes with things that are cool. Like pearl, or-"
As she went on, Earl quickly fainted and fell to the floor with a harsh thud. Pinkie Pie continued talking but Apple Jack raised an eyebrow at Earl's sudden loss of consciousness.
"He's uhh.... a bit, socially awkward..." Twilight said with a worried grin.
"Uh-huh..." Apple Jack replied.
"Earl? Eaaaaaaarrrrrrllll?" A voice called out to the former human.
His eyes quickly shot open and he glanced around wildly. There, right above him, the Elements of Harmony were staring at him worriedly.
"Oh, uhh... hey." He said, the dumb smile returning to his face. "What happened?"
"You fainted." Twilight replied, rolling her eyes.
"Oh... well then..." Earl said, returning to his hooves as the six ponies backed away.
"Should I introduce myself again?" Pinkie asked cheerfully.
Twilight opened her mouth to speak but the pink earthpony proceeded to introduce herself a second time anyway.
"Hi I'm Pinkie Pie!" She said happily as she shook his hoof again.
To Twilight's surprise he returned the hoof-shake and smiled widely.
"Hello Pinkie Pie, pleasure to meet you! I'm Earl." He said.
Pinkie's smile only brightened further as the former human spoke.
After breaking the hoof-shake, Earl glanced around at the other ponies in the room.
"So you're the Elements?" He asked, his dumb smile returning.
All of the mares in the room nodded happily, besides Twilight, who shot him a look that said;
What are you doing?!
To which he replied with a look that said;
Just go with it.
The purple unicorn simply nodded and smiled along with her friends.
"I've heard a lot about you guys, Twilight's told me some stories to. It's amazing to meet all of you!" Earl said, his awkwardness fading.
Each of the elements humbly smiled, except for Rainbow Dash.
"Always happy to meet a fan." She said in a slightly smug tone as she floated over to Earl. "Did she tell you the one about my simply amazing Sonic Rainboom at the Best Young Fliers Competition?"
"Of course, that was one of my favorite epi-"
Twilight's coat almost turned white in fear as Earl stopped himself.
"-Stories... One of the best."
Rainbow Dash instantly smiled and threw her hoof into his shoulder.
Earl winced slightly but forced a smile.
A massive explosion quickly ensued and the room was suddenly filled with streamers, banners, and various party foods. Everypony in the room instantly knew about Pinkie and her famous party cannon, but Earl huddled up in a ball on the floor and screamed.
PLEASE GOD NO.
GOD PLEASE NO GOD NO PLEASE.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" He shouted.
After a few moments of silence, Earl opened his eyes and found the Elements staring at him yet again. He quickly noticed Pinkie was the only one smiling, and that she was right next to a smoking party cannon.
"Oh...." He said returning to his hooves. "I remembered a bad dream..."
Another awkward silence.
"Sorry if I scared you good buddy, I just wanted to throw you a party really quick, you being new and all!" Pinkie said happily, breaking the silence.
Earl glanced towards Twilight who simply shrugged.
"Alright," Earl said with a smile. "Let's party!"
A faint clopping rang through the main throne room of Canterlot Castle as a stone-white pegasus wearing bright golden armor quickly stormed in. Two guards instantly stopped him at the door before entering.
"Woah, woah... State your business soldier." One of the guards said sternly.
"I... have urgent news.... for the princess." The pegasus said weakly as he gasped for air.
The guards glanced at each other quickly and nodded, letting the young pegasus guard by.
As the pegasus neared the princess he instantly fell to the floor and bowed.
"Princess." He said, in a respecting tone.
The princess nodded and the guard returned to his hooves.
"What is the matter my subject?" She asked in her usual motherly tone as she noticed the guard's frantic breathing and worried expression.
"I bring some discerning news from the Everfree Forest, just outside of Ponyville."
Princess Celestia quickly raised an eyebrow.
"Continue." She said, curiously.
"A group of our scouters spotted a massive manifestation of light in the forest last night. We sent a detachment to watch over it."
"Well, what seems to be the problem?"
"Unknown creatures flooded through the light for several hours before it finally went out."
"These creatures are unlike anything we've ever seen before, we think the white light might have been a portal of some kind."
"Mhmm... Are the creatures any sort of threat?"
"We have confirmed reports of the creatures killing and.... eating the animals in the forest."
Celestia raised her eyebrow yet again.
"I'm sorry, did you just say eating the animals?"
"That is correct ma'am."
"So they are a threat?"
"As of right now, we are assuming that the creatures are hostile, yes."
The princess stopped and thought for a moment.
"Send a detachment of guards to put up a barrier around the forest." She said.
"Yes, your majesty." The guard said.
He quickly saluted and ran out of the throne room, in the direction of the barracks.
"I need a moment, hold all meetings for the rest of the afternoon." The princess said to her nearby assistant, stepping down from the throne.
"Are you going to try Ms. Sparkle again, your majesty?" The assistant replied.
"Yes, Spike wrote me today saying that she had returned. I need to see if she knows anything about the situation." Celestia replied.
With that, the princess left her throne room and continued up the winding staircase to her personal quarters.
For the rest of the day, Earl relaxed and partied with his new friends. The thoughts of his destroyed world never even entered his mind for a second as he just enjoyed his time in the new pony form, in this new dimension. As everypony else was distracted, Earl quickly made his way over to one of the various tables littered with food, where his "favorite character" was standing. Awkwardly, he inched over to the yellow pegasus and tapped her on the shoulder. She squeaked slightly and turned around, almost terrified.
"Oh, um, sorry!" Earl said quickly.
Fluttershy noticed the light grey unicorn and smiled slightly.
"Oh, my, um I'm sorry." She said softly.
"Sorry? For what?"
"Oh well, you were trying to talk to me, and I, um..."
"Ah, it's no problem really." Earl said, returning her smile.
Fluttershy nodded and both of them looked back to the party. Rainbow Dash had incited a "cupcake war" with Apple Jack.
"Geronimo!" The orange earth pony screeched as she jumped through the air, slamming the small desert cake into the cyan pegasus's face.
Earl chuckled and looked towards Fluttershy again.
For the love of everything holy, do not make this awkward. He thought to himself.
"Uhhh... your mane looks really nice tonight." Earl said, the dumb smile returning to his face once more.
The yellow pegasus blushed profusely and tried to hide behind the complemented mane.
"Thank you..." She said, so quietly that Earl almost had to ask her to repeat it.
He nodded and turned back to the party.
Nice one, Dr. Smooth.
"So, um, where are you from?" Fluttershy asked, her blush fading.
Earl was quickly surprised by the question, he thought he had blown ever talking to her again.
"Oh, I'm from Earth." He said, using his hoof to grab a glass take a quick drink of some Apple Cider.
"Earth?" She asked confused.
Earl instantly spit the cider from his mouth and it landed on a nearby rainbow-maned pegasus.
"Hey what gives?!" She shouted across the room.
Earl waved his hoof apologetically and turned to Fluttershy, thinking of every fanfic he has ever read to try and think of a city name.
"Uhhhh, Sanfransiscolt. There's a lot of Earth ponies there so me and my friends took to calling it Earth." Earl said, with a worried expression.
Fluttershy smiled and nodded.
"I've heard of that place, seems nice." She said.
That's a real place?! He thought quickly.
The grey unicorn simply shrugged it off and continued with his smooth moves.
"It is nice, maybe I'll take you there someday." He said with a flirtatious grin.
Fluttershy raised an eyebrow.
"Um, that would be nice." She said awkwardly.
Hey, I just met you. Want to see the world with me?
Earl face hoofed at his thought and simply continued watching the heated cupcake battle.
A few seconds later, a familiar small purple dragon threw open the door to Sugar Cube Corner.
"Hey Spike!" Earl shouted with a smile.
Spike again raised an eyebrow as the unknown unicorn called his name.
The former human face-hoofed yet again.
Spike shook his head and ran over to Twilight, crouching just in time to avoid a flying cupcake of death.
"Sorry there pardner!" Apple Jack shouted.
Spike waved and continued towards the purple unicorn.
"Twilight, I've been trying to find you all day! There's an urgent letter from the princess for you!" He said.
Earl quickly noticed Twilight's expression had turned to concerned and trotted across the room towards her. At that moment, Earl sensed a flying desert treat coming right for his head. Instinctively he closed his eyes and pictured holding his arm up to block the cupcake, but after a few moments nothing happened. The wincing unicorn opened his eyes and saw the cupcake floating just above his head, surrounded by a bright blue glow.
"Hey, no magic!" Rainbow Dash snorted angrily.
Earl's eyes instantly went wide and the glow disappeared, dropping the cupcake in place.
"Uhh.. sorry." He said.
Shocked and confused, he continued across the room and followed Twilight out of the building.
"Hey is everything alright?" He asked, as Twilight walked down the steps of Sugar Cube Corner, levitating the urgent letter in front of her face.
Spike eyed the grey unicorn with a puzzled expression.
"Twilight, who is this guy?"
Earl extended his hoof to the dragon.
"Sorry about earlier, I forgot you don't know me. The name's Earl, Twilight's told me a lot about her number one assistant.
Spike's face instantly brightened and he grabbed Earl's hoof.
"Really?! What did she say?!" He said, shaking it furiously.
"She just told how freakin' awesome of an assistant you are." Earl said, trying to get on good terms with the dragon.
Spike smiled widely and broke the claw/hoof-shake before turning to Twilight.
"It was supposed to be for your eyes only so I didn't read it. What'd she say?" Spike asked, returning to Twilight's side.
"Yeah, everything OK?" Earl asked, slightly concerned.
The purple unicorn rolled up the note and levitated it back to Spike before turning back to Earl.
"Princess Celestia wants me to go to Canterlot so she can talk to me about... the portal."
Earl's eyes went wide.
"I think you'd better come with me." She continued.
The grey unicorn backed away defensively.
"Me? Wouldn't she be mad if she found out?" He said.
"Found out about what?" Spike asked.
"Nothing, it's not a big deal Spike." Twilight said.
She turned to Earl.
"I don't know, but you were there too. I think it would be best."
He swallowed quickly and nodded.
Let's go tell your deity that I'm an alien from a zombie infested planet... He thought before following Twilight back inside.
The purple unicorn used her magic to quickly open the door.
"Hey girls. Sorry, but Earl and I have something important we need to do." She said.
"Awwwwwww...." Pinkie Pie replied with a frown.
"Something important?" Rainbow Dash asked, with a smug grin and a wink.
Twilight simply glared at her.
"Ahh well, It was great to meet you darling." Rarity said.
"Yeah, Earl... It was umm, nice to meet you." Fluttershy said quietly.
The rest of the elements finished their goodbyes and the inter-dimensional friends left the building quickly.
"Spike, can you go home and tell the princess we're on the way?" Twilight asked.
The assistant raised an eyebrow.
"But it's already night." He said, questioning her statement.
Twilight nodded and continued down the road, towards the train station. Spike shrugged.
"OK then, Later Earl!" He shouted and ran off.
Earl watched as Spike ran off, and then quickly caught up with Twilight.
"We're leaving now?!" He asked worriedly.
"The princess said it was urgent, I don't want to keep her waiting."
The former human nodded, understanding the current situation, but a nervous fire had began to burn in his stomach. Twilight walked up the steps of the platform and approached the counter with a sign that read "tickets".
"When does the next train to Canterlot leave?" She asked with a smile.
"In about ten minutes, 7 bits a ticket."
Twilight nodded and turned back to Earl.
"Wait here, I'll be back in just a second." she said as her horn began to glow.
Before Earl could say a word, the unicorn disappeared in a flash of light, only to return a few seconds later with a small bag in her mouth. Dumbfounded, the grey unicorn simply stared in awe.
Twilight emptied the bag of coins on to the counter, it was exactly 14 bits. The pony behind the counter happily took them and handed the purple mare two tickets.
"Let's go shall we?" She asked turning around.
"Uhh, sure." Earl said, breaking his dumbfounded stare. "But, can you teach me how to do that?"
Twilight rolled her eyes and nodded as she walked over to the train, Earl following close behind.
The train ride had been going for a while as the two ponies sat in silence, which suited them both fine. After a while, however, Earl thought about the magic he was able to use at Sugar Cube Corner.
"Hey." He called said to Twilight.
His voice echoed across the emptiness of the room as Twilight sleepily shook her head and turned to him.
"Yeah?" She asked.
"When we were at the corner, Dash threw a cupcake that almost hit me. It would have been nothing... but, I thought about when I was still a human and closed my eyes, imagining that I was putting my arms up to defend it."
"I levitated the cupcake." Earl replied with a nervous chuckle.
"Hmm... well unicorns come up with their own way of levitation, I guess yours is just using mental 'arms'."
"That makes sense."
Earl looked around the train car, the bright colors were starting to fade and only the soft glow of candles lit the room. He was still afraid of night, multiple run-ins with the infected at this hour never turned out good.
"How do you levitate?" The grey unicorn asked, turning back to her.
She thought for a moment.
"Honestly, I don't remember," She said with a chuckle. "It just comes naturally."
"Well you did teleport us here and turn me into a pony, I guess levitating would probably be nothing for you."
Twilight blushed slightly and smiled shyly as she rested her head against the window, shutting her eyes.
"Thanks." She said quietly.
"Don't mention it." He replied.
Over the next two hours on the trip, Twilight had fallen asleep, and Earl tested his levitation skills. To the former human's surprise, imagining that he still had arms allowed him to successfully levitate objects. Just as the grey unicorn had levitated a small vase, the train came to a harsh stop, and the vase fell to the floor with a sharp crash.
Realizing the train had reached it's destination, he walked over to Twilight's seat and gently shook her awake.
"Hey, Twi, we're here." He said, as softly as he could.
After a few moments she raised herself up off of the bench and yawned. Her eyelids opened and revealed two shining purple irises, fixed on Earl. His eyes instantly went wide and his mouth fell open.
"What? Is something wrong?" She asked, slightly worried at his changed expression.
"Ohh... um... no nothing, we're just uhhh... here." He said, still staring at her shining eyes.
"Huh?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.
"The train... it stopped, we're in Canterlot."
"Oh, uhh... OK."
Twilight held her raised eyebrow as she got on all fours and approached the door. Earl's expression remained the same for a moment but he quickly shook his head and snapped out of it.
So? She has pretty eyes? No big deal, I don't care. He thought as he approached the door.
One of the workers entered the train car and held the door open for Twilight as Earl made his way over. The pony instantly noticed the broken vase on the floor and glared at Earl.
"Uhhh... somebo- somepony broke that..." The grey unicorn said as he slipped out of the train car and onto the platform.
As the two walked through Canterlot towards the castle, Twilight examined the darkness outside.
"Wow, how long was I asleep?"
"Almost the whole trip, you were sleeping like a foal." He replied, pleased that he was getting the hang of their "horse lingo".
Twilight laughed as well.
"Hey, I was tired." She said.
"Eh, it's fine you're kinda cute when you're asleep." Earl said.
He instantly stopped and his expression immediately turned sour.
YOU'RE KINDA CUTE WHEN YOU- Nope. No. I wonder if there is anyway to use this magic to sew my mouth shut... He thought.
"Thanks." Twilight replied as she continued walking down the path, blushing slightly and smiling.
Earl raised his eyebrow as high as it could go and continued walking as well.
"Uhh, you're welcome?" He replied awkwardly.
Twilight looked up towards him.
"Nope," Earl ran his hoof through the back of his mane nervously. "Nothing at all."
He sprang a quick nervous smile and continued walking. The purple mare simply shook her head and chuckled again.
The two soon neared the main gate of the castle, where multiple guards were standing on the wall above them.
"Halt! State your name and business!" one of the guards shouted down to them.
"Twilight Sparkle. I'm here for an urgent meeting with the princess." Twilight nervously replied.
The guard instantly calmed.
"Oh, my apologies Miss Sparkle. Please proceed."
The purple mare nodded and motioned for Earl to follow.
Even at midnight, the bright colors of the garden entryway were shining brightly. Earl gazed at them intently as he followed Twilight to the massive front door of the palace.
"Good evening Miss Sparkle," A guard perched in front of the door said as he held the massive entrance open.
The guard looked behind her towards the large gray unicorn.
"Earl." He replied with a smile.
"Mister Earl, welcome to the Canterlot Castle."
Both ponies made their way in to the large entrance room lined with paintings and various sculptures. Twilight motioned for him to follow and the two made their way through the various corridors of the castle. Earl was speechless as he walked through the halls, the massive size of the structure and the decor had been the most impressive thing he had ever seen. After a while, the two reached a large winding staircase, two guards standing confidently at the bottom step.
Again with the security...
"Go right ahead Miss Sparkle, Princess Celestia is expecting you." One of the guards said as both of them moved out of the way.
Twilight smiled to them and began making her way up the steps. As Earl approached, however, both guards returned to their position and remained speechless.
Earl sighed loudly.
"He's with me." Twilight said, walking back a few steps.
Both guards glanced to each other and nodded before moving out of the way once more. Earl simply nodded and walked up the steps with Twilight. As they reached the top of the steps, the nervous fire began to rise in Earl once more.
"Do I really have to go in there?" He asked Twilight.
She turned and looked at him with an expression that said really?
The gray unicorn glared at her for a second.
"You'll be fine, I'm sure she'll like you." Twilight said, rolling her eyes.
"She probably wouldn't like where I'm from..." He replied with a slight laugh.
"C'mon, we don't want to keep her waiting."
Twilight put her hoof on the door and slowly pushed it open.
"Princess Celestia?" She called out.
I know I'm going to find someway to buck this up.
"Twilight Sparkle!" The princess said happily as the purple mare walked into her room.
Twilight smiled and bowed before the princess. Celestia raised an eyebrow as Earl nervously entered entered the room.
"And who might you be?" She asked.
The grey pony's face instantly turned red.
"Oh me? I'm Earl." He said, approaching the princess and extending his hoof.
Twilight's expression quickly changed to worried.
He....didn't bow. she thought.
To her surprise the princess actually took it and shook it gently.
"Well, my subject, I regret to inform you that this is a private meeting." Celestia said, slightly commanding.
"Princess, he's with me. I would appreciate it if he could stay as well, with your permission of course." Twilight said worriedly.
Earl turned and saw Twilight on the ground, bowing before the princess.
Why is she...?
"Shit!" Earl practically yelled before bowing before the alicorn. "I'm really sorry I forgot to bow, my apologies."
Twilight face-hoofed as she returned to her hooves. She looked at the princess who gave an approving nod.
"Very well then." The white alicorn said. "Please take a seat."
Twilight instantly sat down and waited for the princess's next words, but Earl looked around.
"Where?" He asked.
The purple mare face-hoofed yet again.
"Ohhhh." Earl said as he looked towards Twilight.
He instantly sat down and waited as well, as Celestia shook her head and chuckled.
"Well, Twilight, and friend, I called you here today to tell you of a possible threat to Equestria." The princess said.
The white alicorn raised to her hooves and walked over to a nearby window. Earl quickly noticed how tall she actually was.
"A bright light manifested itself in the Everfree Forest last night."
The nervous fire burned even more inside of Earl as the words entered his mind, a single bead of sweat fell from his forehead.
"I remember seeing that. But how could it be a threat, princess?" Twilight asked, trying to keep her composure.
"Some creatures were spotted flooding out of the portal and into the forest." Celestia continued.
Both Earl's and Twilight's eyes simultaneously went wide and their mouths fell open.
"Creatures?" Twilight asked, her voice slightly choked by fear.
"That is correct, my student." Celestia replied, still looking out of the window.
By now, Earl had nearly fainted and was fighting to stay conscious. Twilight glanced over to him with a terrified expression and mouth the words;
I have no idea what happened.
Earl payed no attention to her as he stared at the princess, trying to process the situation.
Maybe it's not the zombies... he thought, trying to console himself.
"The creatures were said to be eating the animals in the forest."
Nope, that's zombies.
The thoughts swirled around Earl's mind like a deadly hurricane. There were zombies in Equestria.
Celestia turned away from the window and returned to her seat.
"I've sent a detachment of guards to put a magical barrier around the forest, and so far none of the creatures have been able to leave the forest."
They took my world, I'm NOT letting them take this one.
"I know what these creatures are." Earl said, standing up.
Twilight's eyes went wide again as she shot a look to Earl that screamed what do you think you're doing?!
"You do? How?" The princess asked, intrigued.
"I've..... studied them before, there's no need to explain anymore. I know exactly what we're dealing with. You said none have been able to leave the forest, right?" He replied.
"That is correct." Celestia said with a nod.
"OK, that is very good. If one of these creatures gets into a crowed area, it will be a huge problem. They all... carry a virus, and it's highly contagious."
"How am supposed to believe that you know about a species that I haven't even seen before?" Celestia asked, raising an eyebrow yet again.
"He's telling the truth." Twilight said returning to her hooves.
Celestia glanced towards Twilight, dumbfounded.
"Please princess, trust me." Earl asked desperately.
The princess glanced back and forth between Earl and Twilight, neither of them seemed to have the look of a liar, and the princess has always made good judgements.
"OK, my subject, I will trust you." Celestia said. "What do you propose we do about this situation?"
Earl quickly thought of another solution other than simple extermination. But after a moment, it was clear, that was the only option.
"I need your best soldier." Earl said after a few moments.
"I beg your pardon?" Celestia replied.
"The best soldier on your guard, I'll take him with me to the forest and we will deal with the infection."
"I am supposed to trust you with my best soldier."
"Princess, please. I promise you this is the only option."
After a few moments Celestia nodded.
"Alright. You two can stay in the castle for the night, and I will inform my best guard about the situation."
"Thank you princess." Earl said, with a quick bow.
Celestia nodded and turned to Twilight.
"You're quarters have been left untouched since you left for Ponyville, would you see Earl there?" She asked.
The purple unicorn nodded and bowed.
"Thank you princess." She said before leaving the room.
Earl nodded the princess and followed Twilight down the steps.
"Earl?" Celestia called out before Earl left the room.
He quickly spun around.
"What do I call these creatures?"
Zombies wouldn't exactly be the inconspicuous name right now.... He thought.
"Call them zed's." He said.
With that, Earl turned and left the princess's room.
Twilight remained silent as the two walked through the halls in the direction of her room. After reaching their destination, she opened the door and walked right to a nearby chair to sit down. Earl could only watch as the mare broke into tears.
"Woah, woah. What's wrong?!" He asked worriedly as he shut the door and ran to her side.
"It's my fault! Equestria is going to fall and it's all my fault!" She spoke loudly between sobs.
"Why would it be your fault?"
"I left the portal open!"
Earl's heart sank and he remained silent for a second as she continued to sob.
"Hey, it's alright, OK?" He said putting a hoof on her shoulder.
She quickly shrugged it off of her and continued crying.
"No, it's not alright. This is my fault!"
Earl sighed and took her face in his hooves, directing her attention to his eyes.
"I'm going to fix this OK? I'm not letting them take this world too." He said sternly. "I promise, alright?"
Twilight dried her eyes and nodded.
Earl put his hooves around her the rest of the way and hugged her tightly.
"It's going to be alright. I'm going to fix this." He said to her softly.
Earl broke the hug and looked around the room until his eyes fell onto the bed. One bed.
Of course there is only one bed, why would things ever be not awkward? He thought.
"Uhh, maybe we should get some rest." He said, extending his hoof to help her off of the chair.
She gladly accepted it, returned to her hooves and walked to the bed. She raised an eyebrow and confusion spread across her face as Earl remained still, gazing aimlessly around the room, obviously trying to avoid looking at her.
"You said we."
"Yep." Earl replied, still looking around.
"So what are you-"
"There's one bed."
"Haven't things been awkward enough today?"
Twilight rolled her eyes.
"What about the first night you found me and thought I was a... stuffed animal?" she said.
"That was different." Earl replied.
The grey unicorn thought for a moment before breaking his gaze on the room and looking at her.
"You're right, screw it."
He trotted over to the bed and jumped in.
"OK goodnight." Earl said as he instantly shut his eyes, trying to avoid any more awkwardness.
Twilight rolled her eyes and layed down as well.
"Goodnight." She said with a chuckle.
Earl's eyelids slowly inched open as he was awaken by a knocking against the door to Twilight's room. He quickly looked around for a moment and noticed his foreleg around Twilight, holding her close as she nuzzled his chest.
"What in the FUCK?!" He shouted as he jumped up from the bed, terrified.
Twilight was quickly jolted awake from the sudden obscene outburst and looked around the room worriedly.
"Earl, what's going on?" She asked, trying to rub the tired out of her eyes.
"What's going on in there?!" A voice asked from the other side of the door.
The purple mare's expression quickly changed to puzzled.
"Shining?" She asked, surprised
"Shining?!" Earl asked, more worried than surprised.
Twilight glanced towards Earl as she held the same puzzled expression.
"Yeah, my brother." She said, slightly hushed.
"I know!" Earl replied, his tone changing to hushed as well.
"Oh, I don't know, I just don't think the captain of the royal freakin' guard would like it too much if he found me in bed with his little sister."
"You were just sleeping-"
"It's different, he's a guy and.... whatever, what is he doing here?"
"I don't know."
Earl glanced up towards the door as Shining opened it and walked in.
"Twi, is everything OK? I heard shouting." Shining asked from the other side of the door.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Twilight said with a smile as she crawled out of the bed.
Shining noticed she had just woken up and quickly glanced to an unknown gray unicorn.
"Who is this?" Shining asked without breaking his gaze.
"That's Earl, he's a good friend of mine." She replied walking over to her older brother.
"Earl? The Earl that talked to Celestia last night?!" Shining asked worriedly.
Twilight nodded and raised an eyebrow.
"Why, is there a-"
Before she could finish, Shining Armor quickly bowed.
"It's a pleasure to meet you sir, Celestia briefed me on the situation last night."
"Sir?" Earl asked raising an eyebrow.
"Well of course," Shining said returning to his hooves. "Princess Celestia has required that I treat you with the utmost respect for this mission."
Twilight's heart immediately dropped and a terrified expression shot across her face. Shining quickly noticed.
"Something wrong Twilly?" He asked.
"I'll be right back." Twilight said before darting out of the room.
Earl was stone-faced.
Why would she....? he thought.
The grey unicorn's eyes went wide as he made the realization.
"You're here for the mission in the Everfree, aren't you?"
Shining Armor quickly saluted him.
"That is correct." He said, holding his salute.
"Aww... shit." Earl replied running out of the door.
"What? Is that bad?" Shining asked.
Just before Earl had left the room, he spun around and glanced towards Shining.
"No, it's fine, glad to be working with you." He said.
Shining nodded as Earl slipped out of the door frame. A few seconds later, however, the grey unicorn peeked his head back into the room.
"and you can drop all of the 'respect' stuff, we're cool."
"I hate that shit anyway." Shining said as he walked out of the room.
Both quickly shared a laugh and sprinted down the hallway after Twilight.
Earl was the second pony to make it into the throne room and heard Twilight talking to the princess.
"You're sending my brother to do something as dangerous as this?!" She yelled.
Earl shook his head and decided to let them have their moment. He turned back and saw Shining running towards the throne room as well.
"Woah, woah. Let's let them have a second." He said as he stepped in the way.
"What?" the white unicorn asked.
"We should let them just talk for a second. I need to uhh... brief you some more anyway."
Shining shrugged and started walking the other direction.
"If you say so." he said as Earl caught up with him.
"Let's head back to Twilight's room." Earl said.
As the two reached the room, Earl looked around nervously and shut the door.
"Alright, so I've got a question. How do you normally deal with a threat around here?"
"Subdue the suspect."
"Disarm, put in custody, ect."
"Oh, OK, well the zom- ZEDS, can't be disarmed alright?"
Shining raised an eyebrow.
"What do you mean."
"They have to be killed."
"Disemboweled, Beheaded, burnt, stabbed, shot, etc."
"Why would we kill them?"
"Because, they don't stop. They don't stop attacking until they are dead."
"Are you serious?" Shining asked, his expression changed to shocked.
"Dead serious. They'll try and eat you too."
"I'm not joking Shines, it's a real problem, but if we don't deal with it, there's going to be serious hell going on here."
"How do you know all of this?"
"I've uhh... studied them before, I know a lot about them."
Shining aimed his head to the floor, he was speechless.
"Uhh, OK. Thanks for the heads up." The white unicorn said, glancing towards Earl.
Shining quickly realized something.
"Is that why Twilight-?"
"Shit... she's gonna be worried sick!"
"It's alright, you'll be fine." Earl said, taking his leave from the room.
"How can you be sure?" Shining Armor asked.
Earl stopped walking.
"I'm a professional zed-killer."
With that he left the room, feeling like a complete badass.
A few hours later, the three were on a train, making their way back to Ponyville. Twilight caught up with her brother for most of the ride, leaving Earl to think about the violent moments he was going to have to face over the next few days. After a while, Shining broke away from Twilight for a moment and approached Earl.
"Hey, dude." The white unicorn said, getting Earl's attention.
Dude? Earl thought.
"Yeah, what's up?" The grey pony replied
"How do you expect we do this with just two ponies?"
"What do you mean?"
"If we're taking on an entire zed army, shouldn't we have at least one more member of our group?"
"That makes a lot of sense actually."
It made a lot of sense that Shining made sense, that was part of his job.
"Who did you have in mind?" Earl asked.
"That I don't know yet, we should look when we get back to Ponyville."
"Agreed." Earl glanced back to Twilight. "How's she holding up?"
Shining glanced at his younger sister as well.
"She's better. Still worried about me, but better."
"Mind if I talk to her for a second?"
"Yeah that's fine."
Earl nodded and hopped up from his seat.
"Twi?" He asked, nearing the purple unicorn's seat.
She quickly looked up and Earl noticed the sadness in her eyes.
"Hey." She said looking back down.
Earl sat down next to her and put his hoof over her shoulder.
"What's up?" He said.
"I'm worried about my brother..."
"I told you I'd take care of this, that means I'll take care of him too."
Twilight remained silent.
"I can't have my brother die... I just can't."
"Twilight, he's not going to die. If anypony is dying out there, it's going to be me."
The purple unicorn looked up and met his eyes.
"I don't want you to die either! If you haven't noticed I actually care about you a lot!"
He hadn't noticed.
Earl's face turned a slight red as Twilight wrapped her hooves around him and hugged him tightly.
"Uhh... I care about you a lot too." He said awkwardly.
Twilight broke the hug and sunk down yet again, the sadness still visible.
"Thanks...." She said softly.
Earl nodded and got up from his seat. He could faintly hear the conductor yell from a few cars down.
We'll be arriving in Ponyville in about ten minutes. Ten minutes ladies and gentlecolts.
A few moments after the train screeched to a stop, the three filed out of the machine and out into Ponyville.
"So who are we looking for?" Earl asked Shining quietly.
"Somepony who looks like they can fight, that's for sure." Shining replied.
"Maybe you should get Twi home, and then work on it."
Shining looked towards his little sister.
"Alright," Shining said looking back towards Earl. "I'll get her home, you keep an eye out."
Earl nodded as Shining and Twilight broke away from them.
For about an hour, Earl simply scanned various groups of ponies. Nopony had seemed to fit the description of "zombie killer".
Doctor Whooves is probably busy saving the universe or some shit... The grey unicorn thought as a light brown earth pony trotted by, Derpy flying close overhead.
"Earl!" A familiar voice shouted from across the street.
He quickly snapped his head up and saw Shining approaching him.
"Hey, Twilight OK?" Earl asked.
Shining raised an eyebrow.
"You sure do ask about her a lot." He said with a chuckle.
Earl lowered his head and chuckled as well.
"Yeah..." The gray unicorn said.
"She's doing fine." Shining replied.
Earl brought his head back up and continued scanning the town.
"Get anything yet?" The white unicorn asked.
"Nope, the whole town is like, 70% chicks and the only dudes don't look like they can fight for shit." Earl replied.
"Chicks?" Shining asked, puzzled.
Earl turned to him.
Shining's puzzled expression didn't change.
"Girls, mares, etc."
"Ohhhhhh. Why do you call them that?"
"It's just a thing we used to do back home."
Shining began scanning the town for a moment as well.
"Well, now isn't exactly time to reminisce. We've got work to do. I'll handle this." He said.
The royal guard took a few steps forward and spoke loudly.
"Attention, citizens of Ponyville I am Shining Armor, Captain of the Royal Guard." He shouted over the dull roar over the townsfolk.
Everypony in town instantly stopped and waited for the captain's next words.
Well that would've saved me a lot of time. Earl thought, rolling his eyes.
"As you know, there is a grave danger in the Everfree Forest..."
OK, now you just stirred up the freakin' hornets nest...
To Earl's surprise, nopony broke into frantic panicking, and everypony in the crowd stayed still.
"Me and this colt are going into the forest to deal with the problem." Shining continued, pointing at Earl. "We ask-"
The white unicorn was instantly cut-off by the sound of applause.
"YEAHHH!" A giant white pegasus shouted over the noise of the crowd.
Shining turned around and nodded in the pegasus's direction.
"NO! For god's sake, not Snowflake." Earl instantly said, terrified.
If there was one thing that annoyed this former human, it was Snowflake. Shining Armor shrugged and turned back.
"Citizens, please." Shining shouted over the cheering.
It instantly stopped and everypony fell silent again.
"We need assistance from one more pony, if any of you know of somepony who can help us fight, please do not hesitate to let us know."
The ponies in the crowd glanced around at each other.
"Somepony who has enough power to fight."
Every pony in the crowd instantly turned and looked across the town, where two members of the Apple Family had just entered Ponyville. They all instantly pointed a hoof in a large red stallion's direction.
"uuuuuuhhhwhat?" The stallion asked.
"No! I ain't lettin' yah take my brother!" Applejack yelled as Shining Armor and Earl approached them.
"AJ, please. We-" Earl pleaded.
"Only mah friends can call me AJ!" the orange earthpony quickly retorted, cutting him off.
Not friends, ouch... He thought.
"Miss, please we need his help." Shining quickly said.
"Ah really don't see a problem-" Mac started to say.
"The answer is NO!" Applejack replied, not realizing her brother was speaking.
"Well, hang on a-"
"Applejack, seriously, he's our only option." Earl said, promptly cutting off Big Mac again.
"Can ah at least hear-"
"Find another option!" Applejack said, cutting off Mac for the second time.
"HEY." Mac shouted, as anger started to rise in him.
Shining, Earl, and Applejack instantly fell silent.
"Sis', ah want to at least hear what the problem is." He said, returning to a calmer demeanor.
Applejack looked between her brother and the two unicorns.
"Fine." She said, walking away from them for a moment.
"What seems ta be the problem?" Mac asked.
"Have you heard about the invasion in the Everfree?" Shining asked.
"Sure ah have, the Zed invasion?"
Wow... that actually stuck. Earl thought with a slight smirk.
"Alright, well what about it?"
"Me and Earl here are going to deal with the creatures, if the situation is left alone it could become a huge problem."
"Deal with em'..."
"Kill them." Earl said.
Macintosh raised an eyebrow. Earl, for the first time in this new land, was intimidated. Mac was the only pony he had met so far that was taller than him, and could probably knock him out cold with a single punch. The perfect Zed-killer.
"Kill em'?" The red earthpony asked, slightly puzzled.
"That is correct." Earl replied.
After a few moments of awkward silence, Earl explained further.
"The Zeds will eat everything, including the ponies, if we don't. They don't stop eating and they don't stop killing unless we kill them."
"Ah see." Mac said.
He quickly glanced back to his sister and sighed.
"I don't think mah sis' would like that too much." He said.
"C'mon Mac. She'll be fine." Earl said.
"How'd you know what my...?" Mac asked, raising an eyebrow.
He quickly shrugged it off and thought for a moment.
"Ah guess she'll be alright, ah mean, it's not hurting her at all, right?"
"So you're in?" Shining asked.
"Alright." Earl said, glancing towards the sky to check the time.
7:30... He thought.
Luckily for him, the sun worked just as it did in his world.
"OK, so let's meet outside of the forest at about... 10, tomorrow." He said, looking back to Mac and Shining Armor.
"Tomorrow?" Shining asked, raising an eyebrow.
"It's best not to fight the Zed's at night."
Shining nodded and started back towards Twilight's library.
"Sound good?" Earl asked, turning back to Big Mac.
The red earth pony nodded and both of them walked off in opposite directions.
"Hey, Twi?" Earl said, knocking on her door.
After a few seconds, Twilight opened the door and rubbed her eyes.
"Earl, what are you doing? It's midnight." She asked, her voice cracking slightly.
She used her horn to produce a small of amount of light and gasped at the sight before her. It was Earl, but he had returned to his human form.
"Yeah, this hurt like hell." Earl said, noticing her shocked expression.
She quickly nudged him inside and shut her door.
"Did Shining see you?" She asked worriedly.
Earl shook his head.
"He's been passed out for about an hour." The human said.
"Alright, just hang on a second." She said, trotting over to a nearby bookcase.
She returned few moments later with, what looked like, an old scroll.
"Uhh, it might hurt a lot, being awake this time." She said nervously, looking up from the scroll.
"It's better than getting tagged as a Zed." Earl replied.
Twilight raised an eyebrow.
"Why would anypony think you're one of them?"
"Zombies are just former humans, I look a lot like them."
The purple unicorn shrugged.
"OK then... are you ready?" She asked.
Earl nodded and shut his eyes tightly.
It was only a few seconds before a massive amount of burning pain shot through Earl's veins. He was using every ounce of strength he had not to scream in pain. The burning sensation only lasted a few minutes, but left his head swollen and pounding. When he opened his eyes, he could feel the change in his body and sighed happily, his head still throbbing. He quickly returned to his hooves and rubbed his head.
"Annnnd here comes the head ache..." He said.
"Sorry..." Twilight said sympathetically.
"Ah, it's fine. I've taken worse hits." Earl replied forcing a smile. "Thanks."
"It was no problem." The purple unicorn replied with a smile.
"No, I mean really, thanks for everything." Earl said. His smile had become genuine. "You took me away from certain death, you turned me into a pony, introduced me to all your friends..."
Earl started trailing off.
"...What I'm trying to say is just thanks. I never could've asked for more."
Twilight smiled and blushed slightly.
"Well you saved me a few times..." she said.
Earl smiled and the room went silent for a few moments.
After what seemed like an eternity of silence, the former human leaned close and kissed Twilight on the cheek.
"OK, so that seemed like it was going to go a lot better in my head-" Earl said awkwardly, pulling away.
He cut himself off as he noticed Twilight's expression. She was smiling widely and blushing profusely.
"Oh, well uhh, yeah..." Earl said backing out of the room. "So that happened, hope you liked it, and uhh, goodnight."
Earl forced a smile and started out the door.
"Goodnight, Earl." Twilight said in the softest tone she could muster.
Earl smiled as his face turned a bright red and shut the door. Walking back to the guest room, he thought for a moment.
Did I seriously just...?
After Earl had woken up, he walked down the stairs and found Shining still sleeping on a couch in the main room. Twilight, who was studying as usual noticed him and greeted him with a warm smile.
"Good morning." She said.
"Morning." Earl said returning the smile.
"How'd you sleep?"
"Pretty good actually. No more head ache."
Earl chuckled as he trotted the rest of the way downstairs.
"Well that's good." Twilight said, laughing slightly. "Are you hungry or anything?"
The grey unicorn thought for a moment and just then realized how hungry he was. He hadn't eaten since taking Twilight to the clearly open field.
"Yes, very much actually." He said as his stomach rumbled loudly.
Twilight nodded and shut her book.
"I can get you something if you'd like."
Always wondered what Appljack's apples would taste like... he thought.
"Sure if it's no problem." Earl said.
He raised his eyebrow.
"Have any apples?"
Twilight nodded and trotted to another room.
"Yeah, I actually got some from AJ a few days ago." She said from the other room, presumably the kitchen.
Due to the nature of the zombie apocalypse, Earl hadn't eaten anything fresh in over two months. Anything that wasn't processed would taste amazing to him at that moment.
After a few moments Twilight returned with two apples, literally glistening before the former human. Wanting to practice his levitation, he closed his eyes and imagined his arms reaching out and picking up the apple. When Earl opened them, a familiar blue glow surrounded the apple as it floated towards his mouth. He quickly turned to Twilight with a massive grin on his face. She smiled, but quickly broke into laughter as the apple collided harshly with his face.
"Well, I've got it for the most part..." He said, recoiling from the hit and taking a bite of the apple.
After the two had finished, Earl noticed Shining was still asleep.
"God, that guy can sleep like a freakin' rock." He said with a chuckle.
"Yeah, I used to pull pranks on him all the time." Twilight replied, laughing as well.
"That reminds me. Before he wakes up, there's a few things I needed to do."
"Well you said my bat and gun made it here as well, right?"
"Is there any way you can use a spell or something to show me where they were?"
Twilight thought for a moment.
"I'll see if I can find a memory transfer spell."
Twilight smiled as she stood up and began scanning her shelves. Earl quickly walked over by her side.
"There's one more thing." He said.
"Yes?" Twilight replied, still scanning her shelves.
"When I find the weapons, I need some way to hold them while I'm not using them."
The purple unicorn turned to him.
"What did you have in mind?"
"Maybe a belt type thing?"
Twilight thought for a moment.
"I know just the pony who can help."
A sharp ringing noise erupted from a bell above the door as Earl entered Rarity's boutique.
"Welcome to Carousel Boutique, I'll be with you in just a moment!" The white unicorn shouted from the other room.
Earl shrugged and waited patiently for a few moments before the pony came out from one of the various back rooms. She was wearing her red librarian-style glasses and was levitating a small piece of fabric.
"Oh that just won't do." She said, using her magic to toss it into the corner. "Now then,"
Rarity looked up towards her customer.
"Hello! I remember you, Earl was it?" She said with a smile.
"That's right. I was wondering if I could put in an order for a special piece of uhhh... equipment."
"Equipment?" Rarity asked, raising an eyebrow. "I'm sorry dear, I don't sell equipment here. I sell only the finest clothing."
"Does a belt count?"
"A belt! Oh why didn't you say so?"
That accent is going to be the death of me. Earl thought.
"Uhhh, I don't know." He said awkwardly.
"Well, what is so special about this belt?"
"I need it to have slots, so I can securely carry a few things."
"Alright, I believe I can manage that." She said, levitating a notebook in front of her to write down the order. "Mind if I ask what for?"
Earl shifted nervously.
"Well, I'm going in to deal with the Zed invasion-"
Rarity gasped, promptly cutting off the gray unicorn.
"The Zed invasion?!" She asked, shocked. "Darling, that's much too dangerous!"
"It's fine, I've dealt with things like this before."
Rarity raised an eyebrow but shrugged a few moments later and walked into her back room.
After a few moments of waiting, a familiar yellow pegasus entered the boutique.
"Oh, um. Hi Earl." Fluttershy said quietly as she walked into the store.
"Hey." Earl said with his friendliest smile.
"Um... have you seen Rarity?"
"Yeah, I just put in an order. I think she's back working on it. Want me to get her or something?"
"Oh, no. That's OK." She said.
A few minutes of awkward silence later, Rarity walked out of her back room with Earl's special-order belt.
"Alright, and here you are." She said, laying it on a counter next to her register.
"Nice, how much do I owe you? Twilight lent me some-" Earl said as he walked to the counter.
"Oh for the stallion who is helping get rid of those ghastly Zeds, no charge." Rarity said with a smile.
Earl was surprised but accepted the gift nonetheless.
"Oh, well thanks Rarity." He said with a smile.
Well, she's generosity. That actually makes a lot of sense... He thought as he fastened the belt around his mid-section.
"Zeds?!" Fluttershy asked, terrified.
The shy pegasus immediately darted to the other side of the room and hid under a nearby couch.
"No, no, Fluttershy, it's fine. Earl here is going to take care of the problem.
Fluttershy instantly flew out from under the couch and right in front of Earl, inches from his face. Her expression was purely ecstatic.
"Really?!" She asked.
Earl backed away a bit.
"Uhh, yeah. I'm going in today."
"Thank you so much!!!" Fluttershy shouted as she wrapped her hooves around the grey unicorn, nearly crushing him with a hug.
"A few of my bunnies got lost in the forest before the guards came. I've been worried sick about them!"
"Please, if you see them-"
"Uhh, Fluttershy. Would you be a dear and stop choking Earl?" Rarity said, noticing the unicorn gasping for air.
Fluttershy quickly noticed and pulled away to hide behind her mane.
"Oh, my. I'm sorry." She said quietly.
"It's.... fine." Earl said, gasping for air. "I'll see if I can find your bunnies."
"Thank you." She said, even quieter than before.
After a few more moments of awkward silence, Earl started towards the door.
"Well, ladies." He said, waving his hoof back at the two mares.
"Goodbye Earl, stay safe!" Rarity shouted.
As Earl neared the house, he looked up to the sky and tried to determine the time. From his knowledge it should've been about 8:30. He quickened his pace and arrived at the library a few seconds later.
"Twilight?" He called out.
"In here, I found your spell." She called back from one of the other rooms.
Walking in, he noticed Shining Armor still asleep. The grey unicorn simply rolled his eyes and made his way into the room Twilight had called out from.
"Hey." She said, giving him a warm smile as he walked into the room.
"Uhh, hey." He said in an awkward tone, blushing slightly at her recent changes in attitude towards him.
"Check this out." She said, levitating a book in front of him.
He scanned it for a moment and realized it was written in some sort of foreign language.
"Uhhh, yeah. That looks like it would work." He said, bullshitting his way out of a reading lesson.
"Alright," Twilight replied, using her magic to shut the book. "Come here."
Earl obliged and made his way to the room. Twilight's horn began to glow and she moved closer to him.
"This one shouldn't hurt."
The former human nodded and the unicorn touched her horn to his head. After a few moments, Earl felt no change.
"I don't think it worked..." He said.
"Close your eyes and think about me." The purple mare replied.
Earl shrugged and closed his eyes as thoughts of her entered his mind. Instantly the darkness turned into a deep blue and a glowing teal-colored trail was guiding him out of the room.
"Holy shit." He said opening his eyes again. "That's awesome, Thanks!"
Twilight blushed and quickly turned away in an attempt to hide it.
Before Earl could make his way out of the room Twilight called out to him.
"Hey, uhh, Earl?" She said shyly.
The grey unicorn spun around and raised an eyebrow.
The purple unicorn caught up to him and spoke low.
"About last night, and all of the things that have been going on between us, I just kinda wanted to... uhh.." She said.
"Everything OK?" Earl asked.
"If you wanted to do something, go ahead and just do it. We've got to wake up Shining and-" He said, pointing his hoof in the direction of the living room
Twilight quickly closed her eyes and leaned in to kiss the former human. He instantly put his hoof back down on the ground and accepted it, closing his eyes as well. After several moments, Twilight pulled away and opened her eyes. Earl's were still shut tight and he remained motionless.
"OK, so, I thought you were gonna be like 'I like you' or something. But that was just fine." He said awkwardly.
Twilight blushed and laughed slightly.
"Words cannot express how OK I was with that." He continued.
"I'll go wake up Shining." She said with a smile leaving the room.
"Yeah, you can do that, I'll... just............. be......." He said trailing off.
Twilight walked out of the room and shut the door.
"What in the FUCK?!" He said, seconds after the door had shut.
My apologies for the shortness of this chapter. I had intended to put it in with Chapter 17, but completely spaced.
"Wh- what? I'm awake, I'm awake." Shining said sluggishly as Twilight shook him awake. "What time is it?" He asked with a yawn.
"It's about 9, we should get going." Twilight replied.
The purple unicorn turned to the room Earl was still in.
"Earl!" She called out.
The grey unicorn continued standing in the same spot, an awestruck expression on his face.
"Earl?" She asked, walking back into the room.
He quickly snapped back to reality and glanced towards her.
"Oh, yeah. Right. I'm ready." The former human said awkwardly.
Twilight chuckled and nodded before leaving the room, Earl following behind. He nodded towards Shining, who nodded in return, and quickly trotted towards the stairs.
"What are you doing?" The purple mare asked.
"I need to grab something important." He said before reaching the top of the stairs.
After entering the door to his room, he made his way to the nightstand, where his Ipod was waiting. He retrieved it and secured it into one of the many slots on the belt before making his way back downstairs. Twilight noticed the music player.
"Important, huh?" She asked, rolling her eyes and smiling.
Earl shot her a grin.
"Hey, Shining. We'll catch up with you in just a second." Twilight said, glancing towards her brother.
Shining raised an eyebrow and slowly walked out of the library.
"Here." Twilight said, levitating the scroll from earlier to him.
"What's this for?" Earl asked taking the scroll.
"Just in case it wears off again." She said.
Earl nodded and secured the scroll to his belt as the two walked out of the door.
"So should we get Mac?" Shining asked.
Earl nodded and the group made their way to Sweet Apple Acres.
After reaching the farm, the three waited while Mac argued with his sister, for about a half an hour. The heated argument consisted of topics like "What if you get hurt?" or "Who's going to look after the farm if you're gone?". Moments later however, Big Mac greeted them outside of the farm house. On his back was various camping supplies.
"What's with all the gear?"
"If we're gonna' be stoppin' an entire zed army, it's gonna take 'couple days dontchu think?"
Earl shrugged, he hadn't even thought of that.
The grey unicorn smiled as he noticed the next piece of equipment on Mac's back, a large shovel.
"I see you've brought a weapon." He said with a grin.
The red stallion glanced towards his back, then back to Earl with the same grin.
"That reminds me," Earl said, glancing towards Shining and raising an eyebrow.
Shining rolled his eyes and tapped his horn with his hoof.
"What's your weapon of choice, smart guy?" Shining asked.
Earl glanced towards Twilight and grinned.
"I'm sure I'll find something out there." He said, looking back to Shining and Mac.
The white unicorn raised an eyebrow but shrugged after a moment.
"Alright then, let's get moving shall we?" Shining said.
Earl and Mac nodded, and the four made their way to the forest.
When the four approached the forest, all of them immediately noticed the massive magical barrier around it. As Shining got closer, a nearby guard saluted him.
"Shining Armor, Earl, and Big Macintosh. We're Team one." The white unicorn said, returning the soldier's salute.
"Alright, ponies who aren't participating in the operation cannot come any closer," The guard said, glancing towards Twilight. "My apologies ma'am"
Twilight nodded and looked towards her brother.
"I'll be fine, alright?" Shining said, wrapping his hooves around her.
"Alright, love you." She replied, tears welling in her eyes.
"Love you to, Twilly."
After breaking the hug, she glanced towards Earl.
"I'll watch after him." The former human said as Twilight hugged him as well.
"Watch after yourself, too." She whispered to him.
She broke the hug once more and glanced to Big Mac, who gave her a simple nod. She returned the nod and backed away from the three.
"Good luck guys. Stay safe." She said, before leaving.
Each of them nodded and started following the guard.
"Every night a pegasus scouter-team will meet up with you to discuss the number of Zeds remaining. That will be Team 2."
"Understood." Earl said as the guard led them towards the magical barrier.
"Starswirl, 12, 27, 95." The guard shouted towards one of the unicorns powering the force field.
The pony backed away from the shield and a small opening appeared.
"Good luck gentlecolts." The guard said.
The members of the group nodded and one-by-one made their way through the opening.
After everypony in the team made their way into the forest, they stared into the darkness for a few moments. Mac and Shining shared a few nervous glances, but Earl simply closed his eyes and bowed his head.
Just get this done, and start a new life. He thought.
"Let's go." Earl said in a grim tone as he walked into the darkness.
"Earl!" Shining shouted. "We've been walking for two hours! Where are all these "Zeds" you told Celestia about?!"
The captain was clearly annoyed, but Earl payed no mind, he kept scanning the forest for signs of infected activity. So far, he had found only snapped twigs and scattered footprints. Now he was scanning over a ghastly pile of animal remains.
"Celestia saw them too Shines, I'm not messing around here." The grey unicorn said, scanning the dirt path before him.
More footprints. Earl shut his eyes and let thoughts of Twilight enter his mind, he was quickly greeted by a teal glowing trail directing him further into the forest.
"C'mon." Earl said as he walked farther in.
"No!" Shining said angrily.
The former human quickly stopped and tuned around.
"What?" He asked, sharply.
"You heard me."
"You're kidding, right?
"Two hours, and we haven't seen even one member of this 'Zed Army'? I'm starting to think you're full of shit Earl." Shining replied, nearly shouting now.
"Hey, keep it down! You want them all to come at us at the same time?!"
"Want what to come?! Your imaginary monsters?"
"Shining." Big Mac quickly cut in.
The white unicorn glanced towards the large red earth pony.
"Ah think he knows what he's talkin' about." Mac said.
Shining glanced between Earl and Mac before sighing and continuing down the path.
"Fine." He said under his breath.
"C'mon dude," Earl said catching up with him. "We've got a lot to deal with right now, the last thing we need to do is fight."
Shining nodded and the group continued.
After a few minutes of walking, Earl stopped the group and closed his eyes again.
"It's close!" The grey unicorn said with a smile. "Just a little bit longer and we should find it."
As Earl sprinted down the path, he was quickly greeted by the sight of a massive burn scar on the ground in front of him.
"Woah, what the hell came through here?" Shining said as he caught up to Earl.
"Maybe a fire by the looks of it." Mac said.
"No..." Earl said, approaching the burn mark. "I know exactly what it was." He continued under his breath.
Earl briskly searched the land around the burn mark but found nothing.
"Where the hell is it?!" Earl shouted angrily.
"What are you looking for?" Shining asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Uhh, just watch my back." The grey unicorn replied as he searched around some nearby trees.
Shining shrugged and scanned the tree line.
"What do you think he's looking for?" Shining asked, his eyes still glued to the forest.
"Beats me," Mac said with a shrug. "But if it's something that can help, ah reckon we give him a sec."
"Yeah, I guess that-"
A ghastly moan faintly entered Shining's ears.
"Woah. You hear that?" The royal guard captain asked nervously.
Mac looked around, then raised an eyebrow.
"What?" He said, confused.
The moan sounded again, louder.
"That!" Shining said, hearing it again.
"Ah honestly don't know-"
Another moan erupted from the treeline at a much higher volume.
"What in the hell was that?!" The large earth pony shouted.
"Earl!" Shining shouted nervously.
The ghastly sounds produced were nothing like the two ponies had ever heard. It menacingly rung in their ears, chilling them as the noise continued. The former human was too lost in his searching to notice, however.
"What?" The grey unicorn asked, still searching.
"Me and Mac are hearing things." Shining said, shaken by the sound.
"Uhhh, that's cool. Just one second."
The dense tree cover of the forest contributed to the extremely low amount of light. Shining and Mac could barely see a few feet in front of them.
Foot steps quietly sounded next to the two a few moments later.
"Eh, maybe it was nothin'." Mac said.
"I don't know," Shining said. "It sounded pretty- GAH!"
The white unicorn quickly disappeared from Mac's view, followed by struggling grunts and more ghastly moans.
"What the?! Help!" Shining shouted.
His voice sounded exactly where he used to be, Mac noticed. He quickly trotted over to where his team mate had been standing and saw a creature on top of the white unicorn, pinning him to the ground.
"Mac! Earl!" Shining shouted as the creature began gnawing at his face.
"Earl, get over here!" Mac shouted before gripping his shovel in his teeth.
The large red earth pony sprinted a few more feet and quickly grimaced at the thought of killing anything. Slightly hesitantly, he swung the shovel at the creature and knocked it off of Shining Armor. The white unicorn quickly stumbled to his hooves and backed away.
"WHAT WAS THAT?!" He shouted, as he dusted himself off.
"I reckon it was one of the-" Mac started to say.
He was briskly cut off as a second creature shoved him to the ground. Caught off guard, the red stallion simply fell to the ground with a thud. A deafening bang quickly erupted from the trees nearby, in sync with a massive flash of light. Shining flinched and stumbled back a few feet and Mac looked around quickly for the source of the ear-piercing sound. Earl came out of the tree-line, levitating a smoking metallic device beside his shoulder. The blue glow surrounded the metallic-colored device and only made it shine more, providing a small amount of light to the forest.
"Zeds." He said, finishing Mac's sentence.
The red pony glanced to his right and saw the creature laying dead next to him.
"What is-? And you just.... Holy shit..." Shining said, shocked.
"Heads up." Earl said, securing the pistol into his belt.
The grey unicorn then levitated another item, a long, painted black, wooden bat. He quickly charged over to Shining, who flinched and backed away.
"Woah, woah!" The white unicorn shouted as Earl approached.
The former human had other plans. He used the magic to swiftly swing the baseball bat at another nearby Zed, the one who had just pinned Shining. It connected with a harsh crack and sent the infected human falling to the ground. After a few more hits, it's head exploded, spreading the contents across the grass for anypony to see. Shining flinched slightly as the sickening image entered his mind. After wiping the bat on the grass, Earl re-secured it to his belt and turned to the other members in his group.
"Rule number one," Earl said. "For fucks sake, be attentive."
"What the hell are those things?!" Shining asked.
"Theres a lot of things..." The grey unicorn replied.
"Those things." Shining said, pointing at the items in Earl's belt.
Earl levitated the gun out from it's slot on his belt and in front of his face.
"A Colt 1911 I think... I know it's a .45 caliber." He said, reading the words engraved on the side.
The former human put it away.
"It's formerly known as a gun, it shoots pieces of metal, and it makes bad things go away. This," He said as he unsheathed the bat, proud to be showing off his weapons.
"Is a baseball bat."
"Mighty affective if ya' ask me." Mac said as he walked over next to Shining Armor.
"Yeah..." The white unicorn said raising an eyebrow. "Where exactly did you find that?"
"I uhh.. left it here, when I was studying last week." Earl replied nervously.
"Uh huh..." Shining said, his brow still raised.
Trying to change the subject, the grey unicorn walked over to his most recent victim.
"And that was exactly what you thought it was, a Zed." He said.
Shining and Mac both nodded.
"Now you see what we're up against." Earl continued as he levitated his bat back into the belt. "And we should probably get out of here, because there's going to be more coming."
Earl had come to know the downsides of firing a gun during the zombie apocalypse very well. Where there was a large amount of light and sound, there was a large amount of zombies. He had just painted a target.
Earl continued to lead the group across multiple dirt paths as Luna's moon rose over Equestria.
"Hey, Shining, how's this scouter team supposed to find us anyway?" The grey unicorn asked.
"The guards generating the shield can pinpoint the locations of anything inside of it. They relay the info to the scouters, and the scouters tell us how many Zeds are left." Shining replied matter-of-factually.
Freakin' magic... Earl said as he shook his head.
"Makes sense." The former human replied.
It didn't make sense to him.
A faint crunching of twigs was heard by Earl to his left. He immediately sunk down near a rock and motioned for the others to as well, which they obliged to. Earl was never the most attentive person before the apocalypse, but he quickly learned that paying attention would save his life over anything.
"Sounds like just one." The grey unicorn said quietly.
"So, what do we do about it?" Shining asked, glancing at the darkness.
"You're going to kill it."
"We're going to be facing a lot more than one at a time later, might as well get used to an encounter."
"Alright, well where is it?"
"That I don't know. Can't you do a light spell or something?"
"I can't use any other type of spell while I'm using battle magic." Shining replied.
His expression quickly changed to puzzled.
"You're a unicorn, can't you do a light spell?" He continued.
"I uhh... never learned how." Earl lied.
"It's simple. OK, close your eyes."
Earl shrugged and shut his eyes.
"Now, here's the hard part. Think about light." Shining said in a jokingly dramatic tone.
The grey unicorn opened one eye and glared at him.
"I'm serious." The white unicorn said sternly.
Earl shut his eyes once more and thought about light. The sight of it, the warmth it produced, how much they needed it. Just as Shining expected, a light manifested itself at the tip of Earl's horn.
"See? Simple." Shining said with a smile.
"Seriously?" Earl said as he opened his eyes and noticed the horn glowing "Thanks."
"No problem. I'm not much of a teacher, but if you ever need a spell-"
"Uhh, guys?" Big Mac quickly cut in.
Both unicorns glanced upward and saw a single Zed slowly approaching them, Shining instantly jumped back a few inches.
"Hey, woah. Calm down." Earl said, unmoved.
Shining breathed deeply and calmed himself.
"Use everything you've got, and aim for the head."
The white unicorn was no stranger to violence, but killing. Killing got to him. The worst he'd done is knocked somepony unconscious for a few days, but never killed them. Shining wondered whether or not he would have the power to kill something.
He steadied his breathing, planted all four hooves sternly on the ground and concentrated on his target. Almost instantly, his horn began to glow brightly. Earl was now glancing between Shining and the Zed eagerly. Finally, a green, glowing, bolt of energy erupted from Shining's horn and hit the Zed directly in it's chin, causing it to fall back and scream in pain. The white unicorn glanced towards Earl.
"Finish him off!" Earl quickly said.
Shining nodded and hesitantly trotted over to the downed Zed before glancing over to Earl. The grey unicorn did an informative stomping motion and pointed to the creature's head. Shining knew what it meant, but dreaded the thought. Realizing it was what he needed to do, the royal captain guard held his breath and raised his two front hooves. In a split second they came crashing down on the Zed's skull, causing it to explode in a mess of red liquid. After the ghastly deed had been completed, Shining backed away and glanced towards Earl worriedly. The grey unicorn replied with a nod.
"I... just killed something." Shining said, his voice slightly cracked.
"That you did." Earl said, making his way over to the white unicorn and putting a comforting hoof on his shoulder. "It get's easier, trust me."
Shining nodded and looked back towards his victim.
Earl decided to let Shining take the moment to reflect on his first kill, it would help him come to terms with the fact that he had just ended a life. The former human felt nothing when killing these creatures, but knew how it felt before he had learned to deal with it.
After a few more moments, another twig snapped a few feet from Earl and Mac.
Christ, there must be a lot of them. Earl thought.
"You're up big guy." Earl said creating the light once again.
Mac simply nodded and took the shovel in his teeth once more as he sighted his target. Another Zed was shambling towards them. Having gotten his first swing out of the way, the large red pony was less hesitant in slamming the weapon against the creature's head. It fell to the ground with a sharp thud as Mac further approached it. With one hoof, Mac stomped the Zed's head, causing a familiar splatter of blood and a sickening crack. Grimacing slightly, he walked back to Earl, who was honestly impressed.
"Uhh.. Wow." Earl said.
He glanced towards Mac and caught the look in his eye. He was obviously changed by seeing the level of violence but was trying to hide it. Earl put his hoof on Mac's shoulder and nodded before turning back to Shining.
"Shines." Earl called out.
The white unicorn broke his gaze on the victim and looked towards Earl.
"When is the scouter team supposed to meet us?" The grey unicorn asked.
Shining Armor looked up to the sky and examined the moon's position.
"Half an hour." He replied, looking back down.
"Alright." Earl said, glancing towards the tree line.
He spotted a small area where the tree's were not as dense and pointed his hoof towards it.
"Let's hang out there until the team meets up with us." The grey unicorn said.
The other members of the group nodded and followed as Earl approached the small clearing.
Big Macintosh had set up a small fire to create light amongst the dark clearing. After what seemed like hours, a familiar boyish mare voice sounded from up in the air, just beyond the trees.
"Starswirl 36, 40" It said in a hushed tone.
"Render 12, proceed." Shining replied almost instantly, still staring at the fire.
A cyan mare wearing a camouflage vest flew out from behind a nearby tree, followed by two other pegasi, bearing the same attire. Earl remembered the flowing, rainbow colored mane and tail, and the violet-red eyes.
"Rainbow Dash?" The former human called out, surprised.
"Earl?" The mare replied, surprised as well.
"What are you doing here?" He asked.
"I'm the leader of the scouter team." She replied, raising an eyebrow. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm the leader of the killing- uh... team one."
"Oh, well. Nice to see you again." She said with a smile, despite the circumstances of their situation.
She quickly looked to the other members in the group, as well as Earl.
"They told us that only 4 of the Zeds are gone, what have you guys been doing?" She asked.
"We've only seen four. Do they know where a large group of them is or anything?" Earl asked.
"Uhh, I'd have to get that info and tell you at tomorrow's meeting."
A thought quickly entered his mind. The Zeds would go to a place that held light and other living beings, most likely a house. He thought of the only pony, well, zebra that lived in the Everfree.
"Can you find me Zecora's hut, Dash?"
Rainbow Dash nodded and motioned for the two other pegasi guards to hold their positions. Earl waved to the other guards awkwardly a few moments after Dash had left. To his surprise, the grey one on the right with a blonde mane waved back and smiled. A confused expression instantly replaced his smile.
Who the hell put Derpy on the scouter team?!
After a few more moments, Dash returned.
"Her hut is just over that hill," She said, pointing in the direction she had flown from. "In the swamp."
Earl nodded and thanked her.
"C'mon guys." He said returning to his hooves once more.
Before Dash had flown away, Earl got her attention and motioned for her to come closer.
"Yeah?" She asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Can you tell Twilight that her brother is alright," He said.
He quickly glanced over to Shining and Mac, who weren't paying attention to him, and then back to Rainbow Dash.
"and that I miss her." He continued in a low tone.
Dash grinned wickedly and nodded.
"I'll let her know." She said before flying off with the other two scouters.
I WAS TOTALLY RIGHT! She thought, the wide grin still plastered on her face.
As the group made their way over the hill to Zecora's hut, they were greeted by the warm sight of candlelight emanating from the shack. A small flutter of happiness worked it's way into Earl's heart as he motioned for the team to continue. Four Zeds wandering around outside of the shack had taken noticed of their arrival and promptly started shambling towards them. Without a word, the three readied their weapons and began their attack. Mac charged towards the crowd, knocked one down, and ferociously began slamming the shovel until the contents of it's head had been mixed with the soil on the ground. As Mac continued, Earl levitated his bat from it's holster and swung it across the faces of two zeds while Shining shot another spell of battlemagic towards the final Zed. The green bolt dug itself right through the skull of the undead creature, briskly sending it to it's death.
"Cover me." Earl said as he approached the door to the hut.
Mac and Shining nodded and stood on opposite sides in front of the shack, scanning the treeline for more Zeds.
"Zecora?" Earl called out.
There was no response.
The grey unicorn tried to push the door open but soon realized it was locked. After pondering the situation for a moment, he spun around and launched his back legs into the door, sending it flying through the house. Mac raised an eyebrow and glanced towards Shining, who simply shrugged.
Upon entering, Earl received only silence, a bad sign. After walking around and examining the scene for a moment, he saw one of the most gruesome sights ever witness by pony or human eyes.
The zebra in question had been ripped completely in half.
The former human fell to his haunches and simply stared, awestruck by the image before him. Such agony and pain was spread across the poor zebra's face, and a massive amount of blood had pooled itself a few feet away where Earl was sitting. Tears slowly started to fall from his face, staining his grey coat.
Something from my world did this... He thought, as the tears fell faster.
The look on her face would never leave Earl's mind. It was a symbol of nothing more than death and sorrow.
"FUCK!" He shouted, slamming his hooves to the ground.
Shining and Mac both exchanged nervous glances outside.
"Earl?" The white unicorn asked.
"Just stay out there Shining." He replied sternly.
The grey unicorn returned to his hooves and noticed a long trail of blood, leading from the zebra's upper-half, all the way out of the opened back door. Carefully, he approached the doorway and glanced towards the darkness. Three Zeds were crouched over the bottom half of Zecora, and loud crunching and chomping noises echoed throughout the forest.
The sadness instantly turned to rage in Earl's heart.
"HEY!" He shouted towards the small crowd of Zeds.
They made no movement. Earl responded to this by kicking up some dirt on to the crowd.
"I said HEY, mother fucker!" He shouted again.
One by one, the Zeds glanced up and saw their next meal. With blood-drenched faces, they approached the furious unicorn with their hands raised. Before the first one could get close enough, Earl reached out and wrapped his hoof around the clammy claw of the infected, twisting it until he heard the bones snap. As the creature screamed in pain, Earl threw it to the ground and drew his bat. He wasn't going to kill these ones, he was going to make them suffer.
The next Zed shambled towards the unicorn with it's hand raised as well. Earl spat harshly into the zombie's face, causing it to stumble back a few feet and give him a perfect opportunity to attack. With as fierce levitation as he could muster, he swung the tattered baseball bat towards the legs of the infected. The two skinny limbs buckled with a sickening crack and it fell to the ground, waddling around and trying to return to it's freshly broken legs.
Hearing the noise, Shining and Mac trotted through the house, not even noticing the gruesome corpse.
"Earl?!" Shining shouted as he made his way out of the back door, followed by Macintosh.
Shining quickly noticed the seasoned Zed-killer making mince meat of his enemies and backed up.
"I think he's got it..." The white unicorn said, noticing the look in Earl's eyes.
Earl payed no mind as his team mates arrived, only focused on doing as much damage to his opponents as possible. As the final zed approached, he swung the bat again, with even more force. It connected with the creature's jaw, sending multiple teeth flying from it's mouth and causing it to turn sideways. Earl immediately replied with another shot from the opposite direction, causing the same effect as the zombie fell to the floor. Upon noticing the first Zed crawling back to it's feet again, he swung the bat and delivered a killing blow to the creature, sending it flying away from the hut and into a nearby tree. The second Zed was still struggling to return to it's broken legs, but one more blow from Earl sent the contents of it's head flying across the ground in a bloody mess.
One final Zed, but Earl wanted to make it personal. He released the magical grip on his bat and charged over to the infected. Furiously, he stomped his bare hooves onto the Zombie, pounding it's intestines and bones into the soil until nothing remained intact. After savagely ripping apart the flesh-freak, Earl backed away and fell to his haunches once more, breathing heavily.
After several minutes, he turned around and glanced towards Mac.
"Let me... see your... shovel." He said, still breathing heavily.
The red earth pony obliged and hoofed the shovel to Earl, who levitated it and began digging a hole nearby.
"Earl, what's going-" Shining started to say.
Mac nudged him and shook his head. The white unicorn fell silent.
After several more minutes, Earl dropped the shovel back on the ground and walked into the house. He returned a few moments later, levitating the upper-half of the fallen zebra. After reaching the newly dug hole, he slowly levitated what remained of her into it, and began showering the dirt over her. After her remains had successfully been concealed in it's final resting-place, Earl bowed his head and held a moment of silence for the rhyming zebra.
"Let's barricade the hut and just stay here. This is all I can take for one night." Earl said, glancing towards Mac and Shining Armor.
The two simply nodded as Earl trotted past them and into the still glowing hut.
"Alright, so I've got some barriers up over the windows and doors, is that...?" Shining said, slowly trailing off as he walked into the room.
The white unicorn quickly noticed Earl staring blankly at a wall, his face holding no emotion. Shining turned around and glanced towards Big Mac who was still in the opposite room.
"Is he alright?" Shining asked quietly.
Mac glanced towards the room Earl was in and then back up at Shining, giving him a shrug.
"I'm fine." Earl called out, his eyes still fixated on the wall. "It's just not every day you see some shit like that."
"Ah know whatchu mean." Mac said, walking past the royal guard captain and into the main room with Earl. "Never thought ah'd see somethin's insides until today."
Shining raised an eyebrow. Out of all the ponies to be affected by the violence, he never expected Mac.
"Uhhh..." the white unicorn said, confused at what he should do.
"It's fine Shines." Earl replied, finally breaking his stare on the wall.
"Alright, well I'm gonna go get some sleep. Been a long day, you know?" Shining said, backing out of the room.
Earl simply nodded.
"So shit is really getting to you?" Earl asked, turning to Macintosh after a few moments.
Mac sighed and took a seat on the ground next to the former human.
"Eyup." He said.
After a few more moments, Mac raised an eyebrow and glanced towards Earl.
"How come you're tore up by this? I thought you were the Zed expert." He said with a chuckle, trying to make light of the situation.
Earl chuckled slightly in return.
"Nah, killing these things doesn't effect me anymore..." He said, looking towards Zecora's pool of blood. "It's just seeing somebody else dead..."
"Ah think that'd be tough." Mac replied, glancing towards the blood as well. "Did you know her?"
Earl didn't personally know the zebra, but had seen her on the show to know enough.
"Yeah. She was pretty awesome." Earl replied.
"Ya think the girls knew her?" Mac asked, referring to the elements.
"Shit..." Earl replied shaking his head. "I've got to tell them now."
"It's cool. I'll help ya out."
"Thanks Mac." Earl replied extending his hoof towards him.
The large red earthpony instinctively met it with his own, creating a faint crack.
A real brohoof... Earl thought with a slight smirk.
After a few minutes of silence, Earl glanced towards Mac and noticed the miserable look in his eyes. The thoughts of taking life swirled around the earthpony's mind like a wildfire of guilt. The grey unicorn felt it necessary to console him with one of his most famous techniques.
"Here," He said, levitating the Ipod out of his belt.
After scrolling to the artist he wanted, he set it to 'repeat all' and handed the device to Mac.
"What in tarnation is this, Earl?" He asked.
"Just put these on." The former human replied, levitating the headphones to him.
The stallion was confused but obliged anyway.
"Just sit back and enjoy the music." Earl said as he hit play.
Mac raised his eyebrow for a moment as the music started, and quickly took the headphones off.
"How the hell did you just do that?!" Mac asked, shocked.
"Uhh... magic." Earl replied.
"Oh." Mac said, putting the headphones back on.
Well, I just found my new explanation for everything... Earl thought.
Soon the miserable look in Mac's eyes faded as he listened to the music. Minutes later he removed the head phones.
"Wow, ahm surprised I've never heard that." He said. "Just one thing..."
"What?" Earl asked, raising an eyebrow.
"The singer was sayin' the name wrong the whole time. What the hell is a California?"
"It's a state..."
"Ah think It's pronounced Coltifornia..."
"The yellah one." Mac said with a chuckle.
Earl raised an eyebrow.
"Well fuck me running. You've got the hots for Fluttershy?!" Earl asked, surprised.
Mac simply chuckled and nodded.
"Dude, you could land her in a second."
"Heh, you're a funny guy." Mac replied.
"I'm serious, why haven't you talked to her at all?"
"Well, ah mean, the work on the farm, and uhhh, takin' care of Apple Bloom and..."
"Really? Those sound like excuses..."
Mac shot the grey unicorn a quick glare.
"Hey man, just sayin'." Earl replied, throwing up his fore legs in defense.
Mac chuckled and sunk back in his seat.
"What about you lovercolt?" The earth pony asked.
Earl laughed and sighed.
"Uhh... I don't really-"
"It's Twilight, aint' it?" Mac said, cutting him off.
Earl glanced quickly towards the sleeping captain and then back to Mac.
"Woah dude, keep it down!" The grey pony said in a hushed tone.
"Ah knew it!" Mac said with a laugh. "Well shucks, why didn't you just say so?" He continued.
"I don't know..." Earl said, trailing off. "We're not exactly from the same place, and some other shit like that..."
"Well shit, that shouldn't matter. You're a pony, she's a pony. Seems fine tah me." Mac replied.
Earl thought about his statement for a moment. He was one of them, and he wasn't going home anytime soon.
"I don't know, I'll deal with that later." Earl said, standing up from his seat.
He walked over to one of the magically barricaded windows and examined the time of night. The sun had slowly been making it's way over the horizon for a few minutes.
"Shit!" Earl said. "We need to get some sleep." He continued, glancing back to his newly acquired friend.
"Ah don't think I'm gonna' be sleepin' after what happened today." He said.
"Whatever man, I'm gonna try." Earl said, promptly taking a sleeping position on the floor.
A few moments after Earl had shut his eyes, he heard Macintosh call out from the other side of the room.
"Hey, Earl." He said, waking the grey unicorn.
"What's up?" Earl replied.
"Any chance ah could borrow that music thingy of yours?"
The former human chuckled as he levitated the Ipod towards Mac and hit play.
"Just be careful with it."
Discord himself couldn't have been responsible for the sight lying before Earl. Ponyville, destroyed. By the very creatures that killed his home world. There were fires raging throughout every building, practically the entire town was engulfed in a massive flame, and Earl was at the heart of it. As he cautiously walked the streets, avoiding all of the fire he could, He instinctively called out.
"Twilight?!" He shouted over the roar of the flames and screaming.
"In here! HELP ME!" The purple unicorn replied, terrified.
Earl followed the voice to a nearby house and threw the door open. One of the creatures, which he had despised so much, was making a meal of the defenseless mare. In an instant, the grey unicorn's body went limp as he fell to the ground. More zombies began flooding through the door, staring at the tasty animal before them. Without hesitation they began devouring Earl's flesh as he screamed in pain...
Earl briskly snapped awake , gasping for air and sweating profusely. He glanced around and let out a relived sigh, he was back in Zecora's hut.
Just a dream... He thought, trying to calm himself.
But it had felt so real to him, it almost hurt to think about what the zombies had done. He could feel their teeth ripping through his coat. After a moment he shook his head wildly, trying to rid his mind of the terrible nightmare.
"Freedom, 35" A voice said faintly from outside of the house.
Earl would recognize that voice anywhere.
"Uhhh... Charlie, Delta, 31... Fuck I don't know, just come over here." He replied.
Rainbow Dash chuckled and appeared before one of the windows, as she tried to enter, however, she was blocked by Shining's magical barricade.
"Hey, what?" She asked, confused.
"We had to barricade the house," Earl said, trotting towards the window. "I thought you were only supposed to meet us at night?"
"I know, but I've got something on a 'large group'. Like you talked about last night?"
Earl glanced towards his still-sleeping teammates.
"It might be a little bit before we can take care of them." He said.
"That's fine, it's not like the Zeds are going anywhere." She replied with a laugh.
Noticing Earl's serious expression, she coughed awkwardly and continued.
"So yeah... there's a lot of hills here, so It might be a bit confusing."
The rainbow maned pegasus pointed her hoof in the direction of the horde.
"It's about half mile that way, across 2, maybe 3, hills." She said.
"Alright, thanks Rainbow." Earl said with a smile.
"Yep." She said, returning the smile.
Both of them turned away to leave, but Rainbow Dash quickly remembered something.
"Oh, hey Earl!" She said, turning back around.
"Yeah?" the grey unicorn asked, spinning around as well.
"Your maaaaaarefriend said; 'I wish he was here, oh, how I wish my snuggle bug cutie constable could be with me here again. Oh, woe is me!'" She said mockingly.
Earl narrowed his eyebrows and held a slightly annoyed expression. Rainbow Dash chuckled.
"C'mon lighten up!" She said.
"What did she really say?" Earl asked, his tone switching to annoyed as well.
"She said she misses you too. A lot. And she hopes you're safe." The cyan pegasus replied.
Earl smiled widely and Rainbow Dash groaned loudly before leaving. The grey unicorn simply shook his head and walked over to his teammates.
Upon reaching Big Mac, he realized the music player was still spitting out slightly noticeable music. He simply shrugged and levitated the device and headphones away from Mac, shut it off and secured the to his belt. Walking closer, he placed a hoof on the red earth pony's shoulder and shook him awake.
"Hey, Mac," Earl said loudly.
After a few moments, Macintosh's eyes slowly creaked open.
"We've gotta get moving." he continued.
The earth pony yawned loudly and jumped up to his hooves. As Mac stretched his limbs, Earl approached shining and did the same.
"Woah, uhhwhat?!" Shining asked worriedly.
"Hey, chill out. It's Earl."
"Oh... Shit." Shining said, rubbing his eyes.
"Yeah," The captain said, standing up. "Just some messed up dreams."
"I know how that is." Earl replied as the three entered the same room.
"So what's goin' on?" Mac asked.
"Dash dropped by earlier. She had some info on a large group of Zeds about a half-mile away." Earl replied.
Shining raised an eyebrow.
"So we're just going to charge right into a massive group of dangerous creatures?" He asked.
"How else are we supposed to exterminate them?" Earl asked.
Shining shrugged and continued listening.
"Now, I say we leave now to save some daylight. Sound good?"
Both members of the group nodded.
"Alright, well. Lets-" Earl said approaching the door.
Upon reaching it, he had forgotten about the magical barriers completely and slammed face first into the slightly invisible shield.
"What the fu.... Shines." He said, annoyed.
Mac and Shining laughed for a moment before the white unicorn used his horn to take down the barriers. Earl simply rolled his eyes and lead them out.
"Are you serious?!" Shining asked as the three approached the edge of the final hill.
"Well shit, I didn't think there would be that many..." Earl said, noticing the massive amount of infected before him.
The horde had to have been roughly 150 Zeds strong.
"What do you reckon we do?" Mac asked, also nervous.
Earl scanned the horde. He could take out a few with his pistol, but that would just draw more attention, and he only had one clip. Shining could use his magic, but probably wouldn't be able to take out the whole horde.
"Shit..." Earl said turning away from the group.
He was simply delaying the inevitable. There was only one way to exterminate all of the Zeds, and each of them knew it.
"Fuck it." Earl said, turning back to them
The grey unicorn levitated his bat from the belt and raised it high.
"LEEEEEEEEROY!" He screamed at the top of his lungs as he charged down the hill.
God, I've always wanted to do that... He thought.
Mac and Shining both raised an eyebrow and glanced towards each other.
"Did he just run in?" Shining asked, dumbfounded.
"JEEEENKINS!" Earl shouted again, this time a few feet from the horde.
Mac shrugged and grabbed his shovel in his teeth. The large red earth pony let out a fierce battle cry and charged down the hill as well. Shining shrugged, readied his horn and did the same.
As Earl reached the bottom of the hill, he swung his bat fiercely, meeting the faces of several Zeds and alerting a few more. Blood fell fresh from their mouths as the Zeds hit the ground. Without wasting any time, Earl stomped each of their heads and continued his full-on assault. Soon, Mac and Shining entered the fight. The white unicorn began picking off several enemies with his battlemagic, while the large red stallion charged into the group, sending several Zeds flying through the air.
"Earl!" Shining said, glancing towards his teammate.
The grey unicorn spun around to find a Zed inches from his face. A bolt instantly struck right through it's skull, briskly sending it to it's death.
Earl glanced towards Shining who gave a simple nod and went back to the slaughter.
As Mac continued rampaging throughout the crowd, he had attracted the attention of most of it. Glancing back, he realized a large amount of Zeds staring at him angrily.
"Uhh, guys." Mac said nervously.
The zombies continued approaching Mac with no reply from his teammates.
"GUYS!" Mac shouted.
The Zeds were now inches from him.
Earl heard the scream and glanced towards the earth pony, who had recently been pinned by the creatures.
"Shit!" Earl shouted.
He quickly drew the pistol from it's holster with levitation and Aimed it towards the crowd. With near perfect accuracy, he sent a bullet flying right through the skull of Mac's attacker, followed by a barrage of bullets to other nearby Zeds.
"What the hell?!" Shining shouted, startled by the blast.
Earl ignored his teammate and watched in terror as the crowd turn their attention to him instead.
Thanks gun. He thought.
Mac, newly freed, jumped to his hooves and began fighting again, not noticing that most of the Zeds were now fixated on Earl.
As the grey unicorn tried to fire the gun once more, he was greeted by a familiar clicking sound.
"You've got to be KIDDING ME!" Earl shouted, throwing the gun at the crowd and sprinting off towards the tree line.
A few moments later, Mac and Shining had finished off the last of their enemies.
"Yeah!" Shining shouted victoriously.
"Wait, where's Earl?" Mac said, finishing off his final kill.
Both ponies looked around nervously before finding a large crowd of Zeds moving in to the treeline. After exchanging a nervous glance, they ran towards it.
Earl was furiously swinging his bat at the crowd as he backed away. He soon realized that the crowd was too large and simply turned to run. To the unicorn's demise, he had backed himself right into a corner of rocks and thick trees.
"FUCK!" He shouted angrily, throwing his bat towards the crowd.
This is it... He thought as he backed himself as far as he could go.
Terror instantly entered the former human's heart as he fell to his haunches and closed his eyes before the horde.
God dammit I wish I had my shotgun... He thought angrily.
The thoughts of the powerful weapon entered his mind a few seconds later. The feel of the weapon, the shells, it's power, the wood finish. His horn began to glow as the thoughts of the weapon swirled in his mind.
"Well this is it. Do your fucking worst!" He shouted with pure anger in his voice, his eyes still shut tight.
Twilight, home, Mac, Shining, Equestria. The thoughts ran wildly across his mind. How would they deal with the infection with out him? What if the zombies escaped the forest?
At that moment, Earl's fear and anger had reached peak. The unicorn was shivering and sweating profusely.
If only I had my shotgun...
The thought of his weapon entered his mind once more, and instantly, a massive booming shot rang out through the forest as Earl was savagely thrown backwards against the rock. The grey unicorn opened his eyes and found a few Zeds flying backwards through the air, flesh ripped fresh from their bodies. His eyes wandered up to his horn, and to his surprise, it was smoking.
No. Fucking. Way.
Glancing towards the advancing crowd, he closed his eyes quickly and thought about the shotgun once more.
"Why isn't it working?!" He shouted angrily.
It was then he realized one of the most important aspects of the weapon.
A wicked grin spread across Earl's face as he aimed his horn towards the crowd. With one thought, a massive, heart pounding boom sounded throughout the forest as a large blue bolt surrounded by smaller bolts escaped the grey unicorn's horn. The blast immediately sent multiple Zeds flying through the air and tearing flesh from several others.
Nearby, Big Mac and Shining nearly fainted from the deafening sounds that had erupted form the forest.
"What the hell was that?!" Mac asked, looking around wildly.
"How the hell should I-?" Shining replied.
"THAT'S RIGHT! COME GET A TASTE!" Earl shouted from beyond the treeline.
Shining glanced nervously and saw multiple bright flashes through the trees.
"Holy shit... I think that's Earl!" He said, turning to Mac. "Let's go!"
The two ponies took of towards the treeline as the loud booms continued.
"Oh you picked the WRONG day to PISS ME OFF!" Earl shouted, laughing maniacally .
Most of the crowd had been dealt with at this point and only a handful remained. Mac and Shining soon reached Earl's position and watched as he continued sending bolts flying through the remaining infected, each shot followed by a distinct 'Click-click'.
After all of the Zeds had been dealt with, Shining and Mac were staring awestruck at the bloody mess.
"Oh, hey." Earl said nonchalantly, his horn still smoking.
"How?" Shining said, the only words he could muster.
"I uhh... remembered this battlemagic spell." Earl said.
"Dude, you've got to teach me that one! I thought I knew every battlemagic spell, but that, wow." Shining said excitedly.
The white unicorn noticed Earl's expression, which was completely terrified.
"Earl?" He asked worriedly.
The former human simply pointed his hoof up at the rock behind them. Both Mac and Shining turned and were greeted by the ghastly sight of Zeds lining the top of the rock above them. Hundreds of the snarling flesh-freaks stared down at then menacingly.
"Well, shit." Mac said, terrified as well.
"Zecora's hut, NOW!" Earl shouted.
"What the hell is that noise?!" Shining asked in an exhausted tone as he sprinted away from the massive horde.
"Don't worry about it, it's saving your ass isn't it?!" Earl replied, firing several more shots into the crowd of Zeds.
Shining shook his head while the three sprinted back to Zecora's hut, zombies close in pursuit.
"Where the hell is it?" Mac asked, exhausted as well.
Earl glanced around the treeline wildly before catching a small glimpse of the run-down shack. The grey unicorn pointed his hoof towards the hut and turned back to the crowd.
"Go!" He shouted, firing more bolts into the attackers.
Both Mac and Shining took off towards the hut, while Earl stayed for a moment to downsize the massive group of approaching flesh-freaks. Despite the massive power behind his magic, the grey unicorn was only to kill a few more before retreating towards the shack.
As Shining approached the front door, Mac quickly pulled him away.
"We go in there, we're gonna be dead as a doornail." the large earth pony said.
"Well what the hell do we do?!" Shining asked worriedly.
Macintosh looked around the outside of the house for some sort of other escape. As he eyed a nearby tree, inspiration struck.
"Shines, use your magic on that tree." He said pointing at the object of his attention.
The white unicorn wasted no time in firing a precision bolt at the tree, putting a large dent in it. After the bolt had been fired, Mac sprinted over towards the tree and bucked it in the direction of the house. Just as he had planned, the tree slowly toppled onto the house, landing with a massive crash and providing a way to the roof.
"Mac, what the hell?!" Shining asked, shocked at his plan.
The red earth pony began making his way up the tree and onto the roof of the hut as Shining watched. With sudden realization, the royal captain guard made his way up the tree as well.
"Where's Earl?" He asked upon reaching the roof.
Almost on cue, Earl advanced from the treeline, sprinting towards the house. To his teammate's surprise he ran directly into the hut.
"Uhh, Earl we're up here!" Shining shouted.
Before another word could be said, Earl slowly walked out of the shack levitating several candles.
I hope to god this works... He thought.
The grey unicorn cocked his imaginary arm backward and threw the candle stick towards the crowd. To his surprise, it connected with one of the advancing Zeds and within seconds it was catching fire. Newly reassured in his plan, Earl continued launching candlesticks into the horde, catching a large amount of it on fire.
"Alright, coming up." Earl said, walking to the side of the house and making his way up the tree.
"Dude..." Shining and Mac said, nearly in unison, as they saw the massive amount of burning Zeds.
Earl shook his head and walked to the opposite side of the roof. He was instantly mortified by the sight before him.
"Sp....s....sp..." Earl said, his voice choked by fear.
"What?" Mac said, breaking his stare on the burning horde.
He walked over to Earl's side and saw another massive horde of what appeared to be Zeds, but they were running.
"SPRINTERS!" Earl shouted at the top of his lungs as the Zeds neared the home.
"What the hell are Sprinters?!" Shining asked worriedly.
"They Sprint, you dumbass!" Earl said, readying his horn. "I'm sorry, you're not a dumbass."
With that, Earl released a barrage of shots at the army of Sprinters, sending several flying but not even putting a dent in their numbers. Shining nodded and began sending bolts into the crowd as well.
Mac, who had no means of ranged fighting, turned to the other side of the shack and examined the fiery horde. His heart dropped in his chest as he saw them walking into the hut, setting it aflame as well.
"We've got a problem!" Mac shouted as the flames grew higher.
Shining turned around quickly as Earl continued firing.
"Holy shit, Earl!" He shouted.
The grey unicorn broke his glare at the crowd and stopped firing.
"The fuckin' shack is on fire!" The white unicorn shouted over the roar of the crowds and the flame from inside.
"No!" Earl shouted looking over the ledge and noticing the flame. "NOnonononono! Shit!"
He turned towards Shining.
"Can't you do like, an ice spell or something?!" Earl asked.
Shining glanced towards the growing flames.
"I can give it a shot." He said walking to the middle of the roof.
At that moment, Earl noticed the Sprinters climbing the side of the hut.
"Mac!" He called out, pointing a hoof in the direction of the advancing enemies.
The earth pony nodded and both approached to deal with the Zeds.
Almost immediately after approaching the middle, Shining Armor's horn began to glow, and a cold sensation surrounded the rooftop.
"I can keep us from burning, but I can't stop the fire unless I'm right next to it!" Shining shouted towards his team mates.
"Yeah, that's fine. Can I get a hoof over here?" Earl replied shakily.
Shining quickly nodded and joined the defense. After a moment he noticed the large amount of blood that covered both of his teammate's coats and cringed profusely. He decided not to look down at his own coat for the sake of his sanity.
For several minutes, the group continued fending off the seemingly endless horde of Sprinters. After a while, Shining and Earl's energy was nearly drained.
It may be better than dealing with bullets, but this fatigue fucking sucks... Earl thought as he breathed heavily, exhausted by his efforts.
Everypony in the group had grown weary, and fear was setting in.
"Guys." Shining said, barely producing the shots needed to fend off the horde.
Earl and Mac continued fighting as Shining grew dizzy.
"I don't think we're gonna make it...." Shining said, nearly falling.
Earl stopped his shots and turned towards his companion.
"Don't talk like that dude, We've got this. We're gonna make it out, and-" Earl shouted.
A sharp pain quickly entered Earl's left shoulder as he tried to console his friend. Sheer terror entered Earl's entire body as he turned and noticed the source of his pain.
One of the Sprinters had landed it's teeth right into the grey unicorn's shoulder. As pain set in, Earl let out a sickening, horror-driven scream. As the sprinting Zed forced it's teeth farther, Earl was forced backward, still on his hooves. The Zed used all of it's force to try and shove him down, but to no avail, the former human stayed up and only moved backwards. Speechless, Shining could only fiercely tap Mac to alert him, and pointed in Earl's direction as the Zed pushed it's teeth harder. The former human's screams were louder now, and more ghastly. Mac turned and tried to trot towards Earl to free him, but the Sprinter pushed Earl harder, and soon both of them were falling from the other side of the roof.
In Earl's mind, everything slowed to a near halt. He looked around wildly, examining the fire, the Zed eating his shoulder, his teammates shouting in terror as he flew through the air. All that he had worked for, all the time he had survived, and it was ending here. The former human was unsatisfied, and the anger and disappointment of the situation filled his heart. A faint glow began to form at the tip of his horn. After what seemed like an eternity, Earl collided with the harsh ground, sending a wave of pain over his body, along with his flesh being ripped. Further more, the Zed had used his body as an object to dampen it's fall, therefor, it took absolutely no damage and continued pulling on his shoulder with it's teeth.
After one final thrust of it's teeth, a large piece of flesh gave way and was ripped clean from Earl's shoulder as his blood sprayed across the dirt. Another bloodcurdling scream of pain erupted from Earl's throat as the Zed spit his flesh away and sunk it's teeth into his chest.
I killed my parents... To die like this?! He thought as the pain began to overwhelm his body.
His horn began glowing brighter.
As the Zed pulled, another piece of flesh flew from the unicorn's chest, coating it in blood, which Earl had lost a good amount of. The former human's eyes began to roll back into his skull as the pain took his body, and held it tight.
I saved a cartoon character's life.... To die like this?!
The Zed chomped on the newly ripped flesh.
I BECAME ONE OF THEM, TO DIE LIKE THIS?!
"I AM NOT FUCKING DYING LIKE THIS!" Earl shouted at the top of his lungs as his eyes began to glow brightly.
Shining's eyes instantly grew wide as he noticed Earl's glowing eyes and horn. He immediately shoved Big Mac over and sat close to him. After a second his horn began to glow and the two were protected by a small dome of magical energy, similar to the one around the forest.
"Shines, what the f-" Mac started.
"Trust me dude." Shining replied, cutting him off.
Before another word could be said, a massive white light erupted from the outside of the shield, enveloping everything inside of the massive magical shield over the forest.
I'm not dying like this...
"Get him in there, NOW!" A voice called out from the darkness.
"We're losing him!" Another voice echoed.
Earl was conscious, but couldn't gather the power to open his eyelids.
"Don't you dare lose him, do you hear me?!" A familiar voice said.
Shining...? Earl thought.
The grey unicorn could feel himself moving, but still wasn't able to open his eyes to examine his surroundings.
"You're going to be OK, alright?" A mare's voice said softly into his ear.
A few moments later, Earl lost consciousness.
Earl suddenly woke up with a loud gasp and examined his surroundings. From what he could make out, he was sitting in a hospital bed, bandages sprawled out across his chest and shoulder. The bright colors stung and stabbed at his eyes for a moment until they adjusted and the constant beeping reminded him he was still alive. He traced a chord going from his foreleg to a small machine producing the noises.
They have these here too apparently... He thought.
"Uhh.... Hello?" The grey unicorn called out weakly.
"Holy shit, I think that's him." He heard Shining say quietly in the hallway.
Seconds later, Shining walked into the door.
"Yeah, he's awake." He called out the door with a smile.
The white unicorn made his way into the room fully, followed by a familiar purple unicorn.
"Twilight!" Earl said happily, sitting up in his bed.
Instantly, the chords attached to the unicorn pulled him back to an awkward laying position. Twilight chuckled for a moment and approached the side of the bed as Shining sat down at the other side of the room.
"Yeah, I'm here." She said softly.
Earl reached his hoof out to the smiling mare, which she took gratefully.
"So yeah, anypony want to explain why the hell I'm in a hospital?" Earl asked glancing between the two.
"Well after you leveled the whole forest, you were in-"
"Woah, woah. Hang on." Earl said, interrupting the royal guard captain.
Shining raised an eyebrow.
"Leveled the whole forest?" He asked.
The white unicorn nodded, his eyebrow still raised.
"The whole thing is a crater now."
It was then that the memories of their "final stand" hit Earl like a freight train. He instantly retracted his hoof from Twilight and sunk as far as he could into the bed.
"Get away from me guys." He said grimly.
Twilight and Shining both exchanged nervous glances.
"What are you talking about?" Shining asked worriedly.
Earl closed his eyes and waited for what he thought was the inevitable.
Get bit, and you're one of them... He thought as tears welled in his eyes.
"I'm sorry guys..." Earl said, nearly bursting out in tears.
After several minutes of silence, the grey unicorn opened his eyes to find Twilight facehoofing and Shining staring at him worriedly.
"Shining, can you give us a sec?" Twilight said, still facehoofing.
Shining stood up and slowly walked out of the room, his eyebrow still raised. Instantly after the door shut, Twilight began her explanation.
"I saw that you'd been bit..." She said.
"I know, that's why you need to get away! I don't want to hurt you!" Earl said in a hushed tone.
"Well that's the thing."
Earl raised an eyebrow and Twilight sighed.
"What was the thing that bit you?" She asked.
"A zombie..." Earl replied confused.
"What did it used to be?"
"and what are you?"
"A pony....OH...." Earl stopped and facehoofed.
God damnit I'm an idiot... He thought.
Twilight chuckled and took his hoof again.
"As long as you stay like this we're fine." She said with a smile.
Earl nodded and wrapped his arms around her for a moment, happy to be holding her again. Upon pulling away, he realized one more thing.
"Where's Mac?!" He asked worriedly.
Twilight moved her hoof to his healthy shoulder.
"Mac's fine, He's the one who got you here. He just had to leave after a while." She said, trying to console him.
"After a while?" Earl asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well yeah..." She said, looking to the floor.
"How long have I been out?" He asked nervously.
After a few moments, Twilight sighed.
"About a month."
Earl was extremely taken back by this.
"How?!" He asked.
"That spell put you into a coma." Twilight replied.
Twilight glanced towards the door.
"You remember what Shining said about you leveling the forest?"
"You leveled the forest."
The grey unicorn's expression quickly turned to dumbstruck as he stared at Twilight.
"Seriously?" He asked, slightly choked.
"When a unicorn's fear and anger mix, in addition to the pain you must have been feeling..." She said, looking at the bandages across Earl's chest and shoulder.
"It triggered, somewhat of a 'natural defense mechanism'. Only yours was very powerful."
"Why? I don't even know magic." Earl said, still shocked.
"You're strong willed." She replied with a smile.
Earl blushed slightly and returned her smile.
"So I'm assuming all of the Zeds are gone too?" He asked awkwardly.
Twilight simply nodded, and Earl sighed.
It was then he made yet another realization.
"How am I still a pony if it's been a month?" He asked, confused.
"I've been here most of the time and when other people weren't, I made sure the spell stayed active." She replied.
"Thanks." Earl replied with a relieved sigh.
After a few moments, he asked yet another question.
"Isn't Princess Celestia gonna be pissed that I leveled an entire forest?" He asked.
"She just didn't want anypony to get hurt, and luckily the shield protected everything outside of the forest from the blast." Twilight replied.
"Well... Somebody did get hurt." Earl said aiming his head downwards.
"I know... Shining told me." She said, sorrow slowly creeping into her voice. "Let's just not talk about this now, alright?"
Earl simply nodded and took her hoof in his again.
A few moments later Shining entered the room with a smile.
"Everything OK now?" He asked.
Twilight and Earl both nodded.
"Well then, doctor said you're good to go. Your wounds should be healed and they just need to have you sign a few things." Shining continued.
Earl nodded once more and slowly pulled himself out of the bed. To his surprise, he was able to return to his hooves quite easily. As he started to walk however, the pain in his shoulder appeared. Although dull, it annoyed him exponentially. Noticing the wincing, Twilight and Shining quickly approached him to help, but he wove them away.
"I'm gonna need to get used to it somehow." Earl said with a slight chuckle.
With a shrug from Shining and Twilight the three left the room and approached the front desk.
"Ah, you must be the hero." The mare at the desk said with a smile.
"Hero?" Earl asked, glancing towards Shining, who simply shrugged.
"Well it's not every day you stop an invasion." The mare replied with a smile, handing him a piece of paper.
Earl returned the smile and examined the paper.
"Just sign at the bottom." She said, hoofing him a quill.
He levitated it from her and thought for a moment before writing something down. After a second, he levitated the paper back to her.
"Uhhh, alright then Mr... umm... Z." The mare replied, examining his signature.
"Wait." Twilight said. "Can I see that?"
The mare shrugged and gave her the form. After reading it, Twilight leaned close to Earl.
"That's not your name..." She said quietly.
"I know. But Earl isn't exactly the best pony name." He replied. "Trust me."
"What does that even mean?"
"It's just something people used to call me back home." Earl replied, levitating the form away from her.
Twilight raised an eyebrow but shrugged a few moments later.
"Alright, so where to?" Shining asked upon exiting the hospital.
"Let's go pay Mac a visit." Earl replied.
"So, do I have to call you that now?" Twilight asked as the three made their way to the farm.
Earl shrugged, slightly wincing at the pain when using his shoulder.
"You can call me whatever. I think it would just make things seem less... odd."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you're Twilight Sparkle. He's Shining Armor, you have friends named Rainbow Dash and Rarity and stuff... and then there's 'Earl'." He replied with a chuckle.
"I guess that makes sense..." Twilight said. "I think I'll stick to Earl, though."
"Whatever works." He replied.
As the three approached Sweet Apple Acres, they noticed a familiar orange earth pony working in the front-most fields. After a moment, Applejack noticed them, specifically the bandages covering half of Earl's body. The mare approached them as they walked through the mane entrance of the farm.
"How ya' feelin'?" She said, walking along side the grey unicorn.
Earl glanced towards her and smiled nervously.
"Better, thanks." He replied.
"Well sure. Ah came and saw you a few days ago, you looked pretty beat up." Applejack continued sympathetically.
"Yeah, they got me pretty good." Earl said with a slight laugh.
"Good ta see you're alright." The earth pony said with a nod. "What brings ya to Sweet Apple Acres?"
"Here to see Mac, is he around?"
"I reckon he's out by the barn." Applejack said after thinking for a moment.
"Thanks." Earl said.
Before he could make his way to the barn, Applejack pulled him aside.
"I also just wanted to say thanks. Ya know, for lookin' after him. Ah don't know what I would do without him around." She said.
"No problem." Earl replied, shooting her a genuine smile.
The earth pony tipped her hat to the group as they made their way to the barn.
Upon reaching it, the pony in question was pushing a bale of hay into the tall red barn.
"Mac." Earl called out.
The red pony flinched slightly and looked towards the voice.
"So, I'm alive." The grey unicorn continued with a slight smirk.
Mac returned the smirk and walked towards his friend, extending a hoof.
"What is this?" Earl asked, staring down at the hoof angrily.
Mac raised an eyebrow.
"Fuck that, you saved my life." Earl said, approaching the earth pony.
The red pony was confused as the grey unicorn bro-hugged him, but shrugged and returned the bro-hug regardless.
"Eh it wasn't too much trouble." Mac said.
"Either way, thanks." Earl said.
The grey unicorn then looked towards Shining and Twilight after a few moments of silence.
"So....... what's next?" He asked awkwardly.
"Well, me and Twi haven't been home in a few days." Shining said with a shrug.
"SURPRISE!" Pinkie shouted as the group entered her library, followed by a blast of streamers and confetti.
"Holy sh- Pinkie hey!" Earl said, terrified by the sudden appearance of the pink pony.
Shining and Twilight looked around the room, it had been lined with streamers and various colored banners. Along with tables of food neatly set up in front of the bookshelves.
She hopped over to the grey unicorn, holding a small card in her mouth.
"Here." She said, her voice muffled by the card.
He levitated it from her mouth and was greeted by yet another terrifying blast of confetti. After flinching and screaming like a complete bitch, he opened the card and read it's contents;
Thanks for stopping the nasty Zeds!
You're invited to a party in your honor tomorrow at Sugar Cube Corner!
"So, you threw a party to tell me you're throwing a party?" Earl asked, slightly confused.
Pinkie simply nodded with a bright smile on her face.
"That is possibly the greatest idea I've ever heard." Earl said, completely serious.
"I know right?! I come up with ideas like this all the time!"
"Uhh, Pinkie. He just got out of the hospital today, don't you think it's a bit early to have a party?" Twilight asked.
The pink pony gasped loudly.
"It is never too early for parties." She said, in a serious tone.
"I think I'll be alright." Earl replied glancing towards the purple unicorn.
After a moment, she turned to Pinkie and nodded.
"Alright, we'll be there." She said.
Pinkie's smile returned to her face and she happily trotted towards the door.
"Oh and by the way, I had Spike send a letter to the Princess saying that you were awake. She wants to make an appearance tomorrow!" Pinkie said before calmly shutting the door and leaving.
"Well that might have been important to know first..." Earl said rolling his eyes.
"Calm down, she probably just wants to congratulate you." Twilight said reassuringly with a smile.
Earl glanced towards her and met her bright smile with his own.
After a few seconds of the two unicorns staring at each other, Shining rolled his eyes and walked away.
"I haven't slept on a real bed in a month, later." He said, entering one of the other rooms.
With Shining now gone, Earl and Twilight stared at each other awkwardly for a few moments.
"So... I missed you." The grey unicorn said, breaking the silence.
"I know, Dash told me." Twilight replied, blushing slightly.
"What did she say exactly?" Earl asked raising an eyebrow.
Twilight thought for a moment and held a hoof to her mouth to fold back laughter.
"OK, C'mon what was it?"
"She said; Your coltfriend said he missed his little purple puff ball of love and that he wishes he could be close to you again." Twilight replied, bursting out into laughter.
Earl held an unamused expression for a few moments before laughing as well.
God damnit Rainbow Dash... He thought.
"What'd she say I said?" Twilight asked.
"I don't know, but it was bullsh-"
The purple mare raised an eyebrow.
"...Probably a lie." Earl continued, catching himself.
Twilight rolled her eyes.
"Well, I missed you too." She said with a smile. "I'm glad your back though."
"Yeah me too." He replied, returning her smile yet again.
Another few moments of awkward silence.
"So like, should we...?" Earl asked, pointing his hoof to himself and then to Twilight.
She blushed and nodded before he leaned in to kiss her lightly.
"You make things so awkward..." She said with a chuckle as he pulled away.
"Well, sorry. I'm not to good at interdimensional relationships." He said sarcastically.
"It's fine." Twilight said, shaking her head and chuckling again as she approached a nearby window.
"So about the spell..." Earl said.
the purple mare turned around and awaited his question.
"When was the last time you reactivated it?" He asked.
"Yesterday. We just have to remember to do it tomorrow night and everything will be fine." She replied with a smile.
Earl nodded as she turned back to the window, noticing the time of night. She yawned and approached the stairs.
"It's been a while since I've been in my bed too." She said with tired eyes.
"I've been doing nothing but sleeping in a bed." He said with a laugh approaching his room, the one Shining Armor had walked in to.
"And Shines took my room..." Earl said.
He glanced towards Twilight and saw her raising an eyebrow.
"We still have my room..." She said.
Earl's heart nearly stopped and his face turned a deep red.
"Well I mean, there's like- and you know..." He said, stumbling over his words.
Twilight rolled her eyes and continued up the stairs.
"Are you coming?" She called out, her voice slightly muffled by the walls.
"Yes." Earl replied, grabbing a cupcake from on of the nearby tables and sprinting towards the stairs.
As Earl slowly opened his eyes, he was greeted by the warm sunlight shining through one of the library's many windows. To his surprise, the grey unicorn's dreams hadn't been plagued with awful nightmares of his new friends dying, or memories of his broken home world. Relieved, Earl glanced down towards Twilight, who was laying with her forelegs wrapped around him, nuzzling his chest and breathing softly. For once, Earl had woken up without feeling threatened by anything. He was in a new world, with new friends, and no zombies. He had completed the mission, no matter how odd the result was. Glancing around the room, he realized how routine the bright colors had become, much like the violence on earth. Earl would have honestly traded Zeds for bright colors any day. A feeling of hope fluttered in his chest as he took in his surroundings, This was his home now.
Moments later, Twilight awoke and slowly opened her eyes, glancing around her room. After a moment, her eyes met Earl's, which immediately caused the grey unicorn's heart to explode inside of his chest.
"Good morning." She said, her voice cracking slightly.
Another heart explosion.
"Good morning." Earl replied shakily with a nod.
Almost straight out of a cheesy romance movie, the sun shining from outside met Twilight's eyes and made the purple irises glow brightly. Yet another cardiac explosion took place in Earl's chest.
"How are you feeling?" The purple unicorn asked.
Earl looked down towards his bandaged wounds, forgetting that they had even existed. A dull pain set in at the realization.
"Better. Having you around helps." Earl said.
Having you around helps?! Wow, congratulations Dr. Smooth. Earl thought, scolding himself for the cliche' nature of his complement.
To his surprise, Twilight smiled brightly and nuzzled his chest once more.
"Well I'm glad you're alright." She said happily, her hooves wrapping around him tighter.
Something about the situation didn't feel right to Earl. She was a cartoon character, and he was a savage killing machine, forged in the fires of a situation destined for certain death. He wanted to pull away from her, tell her how wrong it felt, but Macintosh's statement entered his mind before his body could make any movement.
You're a pony, She's a pony...
The phrase rolled across his mind for a moment, eliminating any doubts he had thought of before.
I am a pony now. He thought.
The grey unicorn glanced towards Twilight, his eyes closely fixated on the unicorn. She was closing her eyes tightly, enjoying the moment of being with him again. He knew she cared about him, and he honestly cared about her. They've survived together, saved each others' lives.
I don't exactly want to live my life here alone.
"I'm better than alright" He said, running his hoof along her shoulder. "I'm perfectly fine."
Hours later, Twilight, Shining Armor, and Earl made their way to Sugar Cube Corner. Twilight had expected Earl's decision to help, but Shining questioned it. To him and Mac, Earl was simply a seasoned killer, not a friendly guy.
I guess I have a lot to learn about him... Shining thought as they made their way into the building.
The three were instantly greeted by the smell of fresh baked goods, and the bright and colorful decor that filled the nearly glowing room. As expected, Pinkie appeared in a doorway upon hearing the small bell ringing on the door above them.
"Hey! You're early!" Pinkie said happily. "Get it Earl-y? Because your name is Earl?!"
Earl chuckled for a moment.
"Yes, that is pretty clever." He said with a smile.
"Well what are you doing here so early?" She asked, holding her famous bright smile.
"Just looking to help." Earl replied.
Pinkie's smile only brightened and she glanced towards Twilight.
"He's a keeper." She said, doing what could only be explained by Earl as teleporting next to Twilight and nudging her in the midsection.
Earl simply rolled his eyes as he thought of the various times he had seen her defy the laws of physics in the show and smiled as she suddenly returned to her position in the door way.
"Well, you can help Vinyl-"
"VINYL SCRATCH?!" Earl nearly shouted with a bright smile.
A white unicorn with a two-toned blue and aqua colored mane and large blue tinted shades looked up and glanced around.
Earl moved closer to Pinkie, threw his hoof around her shoulders , and leaned close to her ear.
"You're telling me you got Vinyl Scratch to come play at this party?" He whispered.
"Mhm, she actually offered!"
If everypony kept surprising Earl like this, his heart was likely to cause a massive nuclear explosion that would destroy all of Equestria.
"Freakin' just- wow Pinkie." Earl said, pulling away from her and smiled brightly. "Thanks."
"No problemo!" The pink pony said, trotting back to the kitchen.
If Earl was, at any point, asked what his favorite background pony was, he would mostly likely jump to his recently transformed feet and shout "Vinyl Scratch". Then, proceed to slap you across the face numerous times for thinking it could be anypony else. Needless to say, he was shaking and nearly breaking into a sweat as he approached the stage Vinyl was setting up on.
"Uh, hello." He said awkwardly, grasping the unicorn's attention.
Upon looking up, she smiled widely and raised her hoof towards towards him.
"Well, if it isn't the stallion of the hour, give me some!" She said, her hoof still raised.
Instinctively, Earl met it with his own, creating a loud crack as they connected. The grey unicorn had almost expected this reaction, due to her playful and carefree nature depicted in the community. If Coltifornia was real, they were most likely getting a lot of things right.
"Heard about you stopping the Zeds, kick-ass dude." She said.
That's three ponies now who know how to cuss. I love it... Earl thought.
"Thanks." He said smiling widely.
While the two continued a conversation about various music, Applejack and Big Macintosh had entered The Corner.
"But yeah, I just don't have a lot of music with me right now." Vinyl said, nodding in the direction of a box that seemed to hold records.
"Earl!" Mac called out, his voice slightly muffled by the object in his mouth.
As the grey unicorn turned, he saw a familiar small, metallic device flying towards him. Upon levitating it, he instantly recognized what it was.
"Hope ya' don't mind, ah borrowed it for a while." Mac said as Earl levitated the device closer to him.
The grey unicorn nodded and turned back to Vinyl.
"Problem solved." Earl said, shaking the device in his magical grasp.
One after another, a massive amount of ponies entered Sugar Cube Corner to attend the party. Earl was stone-faced at the large crowd nearly taking up the entire room. Making his way around the crowd, he sprinted into the kitchen and next to Pinkie Pie.
"Pinkie, how many did you invite?!" He asked nervously.
"I only invited you," She said with a shrug. "The rest must have just seen the flier I put up at town hall."
"All of these people from one flier?" The grey unicorn asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well duh, you're only like, super famous now for stopping those stupid Zeds." She said.
Earl shrugged and walked back out into the main room of The Corner, he wasn't sure whether all of this fame was good or not.
Happy the crowd hadn't noticed him, Earl made his way towards the stage and approached Vinyl Scratch.
"So, how does this thing work?" She asked, levitating the Ipod in front of her face.
"Well you just kinda hook it up to some speakers." Earl replied. "Can you do that?"
"Sure, I have a spell just for that."
Of course... Earl thought.
The white mare layed the small device next to her famous turntables and pointed her horn towards it. After a moment, a soft glow manifested itself at the top of her horn, followed by a soft glow around the Ipod.
"Uhhh... I think it's broken." She said glancing towards Earl after the spell had been completed.
"You have to pick the song first." Earl said levitating the device in front of him, using his mental fingers to manipulate the screen and select a song.
Within seconds a faint sound was erupting from Vinyl's large speakers, stacked on opposite sides of the stage. The unicorn smiled upon hearing it and turned it up slightly louder.
"Well Fillies and Gentlecolts, are you ready?!" Vinyl asked, levitating a microphone in front of her.
The crowd turned towards the stage and cheered loudly.
"Let's hear it for the stallion of the hour!" Vinyl continued, pointing a hoof towards Earl.
The former human's coat nearly turned white as everypony in the room stared at him. Being the center of attention was the last thing Earl had wanted. Fortunately the ponies cheered and stomped their hooves on the ground, creating a roar of applause. As Earl smiled nervously, Vinyl levitated the mic in front of him, expecting a few words. He glanced between the microphone, audience, and Vinyl nervously for a few moments before leaning forward to speak.
"Uhh, we're gonna' party, and stuff." Earl said awkwardly.
Rainbow Dash, who was standing near the back of the crowd face-hoofed and leaned next to Pinkie.
"He's worse than Fluttershy..." She said.
For the next hour, Earl simply enjoyed the party. Greeting most of the townsfolk and receiving various thank-yous for stopping the Zeds. After a while, Earl glanced towards Mac, who held a furious expression.
"You OK?" Earl asked, walking over to the large red earth pony.
"Over there." Mac said, keeping an angry stare and pointing a hoof across the room.
It took a moment for Earl to notice what was happening as he looked in the direction of Mac's point. Rainbow Dash was standing in front of Fluttershy with an angry expression, while Fluttershy cowered behind her. In front of them were two pegasi, laughing at them and pointing their hooves mockingly at their faces.
"It makes me sick." Mac said angrily.
"Well, don't let those guys talk to your chick like that!" Earl replied.
"Your girl like that!"
Mac raised an eyebrow but lowered his head a few moments later.
"Ah don't know..."
"Dude," Earl said punching Mac in the shoulder. "You just stopped a freakin' Zed army with me. Those two dicks will be nothing!"
The red earth pony shrugged.
"You sure?" He asked.
Earl thought for a moment, before turning and bolting towards the stage. After waving to Vinyl, he picked up the Ipod and turned to the perfect selection.
As the song began to play, Earl jumped off of the stage and made his way to Mac.
"Now I'm sure." He said.
Mac smiled wickedly and began approaching the situation while Earl stayed a small distance away.
"C'mon just one dance with the yellow one!" One of the ponies said, pointing towards Fluttershy and chuckling.
"She said NO!" Rainbow Dash spat angrily.
"Just like all the other stupid mares in this town..."
"What did you say?!"
"Is there a problem here?" Mac asked.
Without turning towards Mac, the colt simply flipped him the hoof.
"Piss off." The pegasus said.
"Excuse me?" The large red earth pony said.
This time the pegasus turned around and was instantly greeted by the sight of Mac's angry expression. The pegasus's mouth quickly fell open and his expression turned to terrified. The other colt, however, advanced towards Mac.
"And what if there was?!" The other colt asked.
Earl scanned the room trying to find Twilight. Upon finding her, he grasped her attention and pointed his hoof in her direction.
Baby I'm howlin' for you. He mouthed along with the song, with a wink.
Twilight smiled and rolled her eyes before walking off.
"Ah think it would be best if you just left em' alone." Mac said, his tone growing angrier.
"Screw you, you stupid ass farm boy!" One of the colts said angrily.
"I think it would be in the best interest of everypony that you two shut your fucking mouths, and leave my party now." Earl said, now standing beside Mac, his horn glowing faintly.
The sound alone struck fear into the hearts of the pegasi, sending a shockwave of terror down their spine.
"Y-your party?" One of the Colts asked. "You're Za-?!"
Earl simply nodded before he could finish and elbowed Mac in his midsection.
"And this is Mac. He will hurt you." The grey unicorn continued, pointing towards the exit. "There's the door."
The pegasi wasted no time in spreading their wings and dashing out of Sugar Cube Corner without another word.
"Wow, thanks guys." Rainbow Dash said.
Instantly Earl began pulling the rainbow-maned pegasus away, leaving Mac and Fluttershy.
"Hey Fluttershy, Mac has something he wants to tell you!" Earl shouted, nearly dragging Rainbow Dash away.
Mac simply glared at the grey unicorn for a moment before glancing towards Fluttershy nervously.
"Hello Mac." Fluttershy said nervously, forcing a smile.
Rainbow Dash broke free from Earl's grip.
"You're kidding right? Fluttershy and Big Mac?!" She asked, surprised.
"Nope. He's obsessed with her." Earl replied, slightly exaggerating the situation.
Rainbow Dash pumped her hoof in the air.
"Yes!" She shouted.
Earl raised an eyebrow.
"Man I'm good at calling those..." She said walking away.
After a while, the Ipod was on a streak of playing nothing but 60s' music, which was driving most of the ponies at the party crazy.
"What the hell is this?!" Shining Armor asked, annoyed at the song as he approached Earl.
"Hey dude, don't disrespect the Beatles." The grey unicorn said in a serious tone.
"You're telling me you don't hate this?" Shining asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Good point... I need to pull these ponies out of the 60s'." Earl said, approaching the stage.
"The what?!" Shining asked, confused.
Earl payed no mind to his response, and simply walked up to Vinyl to retrieve his Ipod. He scanned the crowd for a second and saw Mac and Fluttershy talking, a bored expression across both of their faces. After sifting through screens for a moment, Earl grinned wickedly as he tapped the screen with his imaginary finger.
A single bass note erupted from the massive speakers, nearly shaking the entire town.
Mac's ears instantly raised upon hearing the sound and he quickly glanced towards the stage. Earl was still holding his wicked grin. Macintosh knew exactly what he was trying to do. Mac began bobbing his head to the beat, growing more and more powerful as the instruments intensified. Both Earl and Mac raised their hooves into the air and belted a loud scream, shocking nearly everypony in the room.
After the lengthy screech had ended, Mac slammed his hoof on the ground in sync with the pause in the song. What happened next, shocked even Earl.
"All around the world, we can make time, rompin' and a stompin' cause' I'm in my prime." Mac sang, bobbing his entire body rhythmically to the beat.
No. Fucking. Way... Earl thought for the second time in Equestria.
Applejack was shocked by her brother's sudden change in demeanor and quickly rushed to the stage.
"Born in the north just want to entertain ya', cause' I'm down from the state of Ponyvania." Mac continued as various members of the crowd began bobbing their heads as well.
"How in the hay did you do that?!" Applejack asked Earl upon reaching the stage.
"Do what?" Earl asked.
"I try not to whine but, I must warn ya, about the mutha fuckin' girls in Coltifornia." Mac sang, most of the crowd now bobbing their heads and dancing as well.
"Mac! You- you broke him out of his shell!" Applejack shouted. "He woulda never done something like this before!"
"Alabaster baby said; Hallelujah. Good god girl, I wish I knew yah."
"Oh, well I don't know, I just know what kind of music he likes." Earl said with a chuckle.
"Well thank yah' kindly. I've been tryin' to do that for months." Applejack said, tipping her hat to him "You're not so bad."
"You're not so bad yourself." Earl said with a smile.
"I know, I know for sure." Mac sang, glancing towards Earl and pumping his hoof in the air. "That life is beautiful around the world."
Earl raised his hoof as well and smiled.
After the song had ended, Vinyl Scratch called Earl over to the stage.
"Yeah?" He asked.
"We've got time for one more song before Celestia gets here, mind if I use a personal selection?" Vinyl replied.
Earl shrugged and nodded.
"Sure, why not?"
Vinyl smiled and nodded before levitating a record over to her turntables. With a small amount of levitation, she lifted the needle and placed it on the small black disk. Earl hated techno. He had despised it ever since he could remember, but if he could stand listening to any techno song, it would have been this one.
Everypony in the room instantly cheered upon hearing the song. Earl was surprised to find that it was actually a song in Equestria, but was even more surprised that it was so famous. Upon looking at the crowd of know dancing townsfolk, he saw Twilight standing on the outside of the group. Making his way to her, he got her attention and reached his hoof out to her. The purple unicorn smiled brightly and took it. To her surprise, Earl lead her away from the room and into the kitchen.
"What's going on?" Twilight asked raising an eyebrow.
"Well, I wanted to dance with you, if that's OK?" Earl asked nervously.
"Of course that's OK," Twilight said with a smile. "But why are we in here?"
"I suck at dancing."
Twilight smiled and laughed loudly.
Almost instantly the two began awkwardly dancing throughout the kitchen. The moves were shaky and out of time, as if neither had danced a moment in their lives.
"You're not that bad." Earl said with a smile.
Yes she was.
"Neither are you." Twilight replied, returning his smile.
Yes he was.
As the song began slowing down, the two slowly moved closer, until Earl's whooves were around her midsection and her head was resting on his shoulder.
"I change shapes just to hide in this place But I'm still I'm still an animal Nopony knows it but me when I slip, yeah I slip I'm still an animal." Earl sang softly into her ear, causing her to blush deeply and smile.
"I may have to hide what I really am for the rest of my life here." Earl said quietly. "But, I've got you."
The grey unicorn pulled away and stared into her eyes.
"And as long as I've got you," Earl chuckled. "then fuck the world."
Twilight smiled, rolled her eyes and leaned forward. Earl leaned forward as well and met her in a deep kiss for several moments.
For the rest of the song, Earl and Twilight simply sat on the floor holding each other. But, as it ended, the two could hear muffled voices from outside.
"Make way for Princess Celestia!" A voice shouted.
Twilight poked her head out of the kitchen and glanced around the room. Everypony was standing still, but the princess hadn't entered Sugar Cube Corner yet. She motioned back to Earl and the two left the kitchen to join the crowd outside.
"Make way, make way!" One of the royal guards shouted.
Almost instantly two guards entered the front door of the building, followed by the towering white alicorn behind them, her mane magically flowing as usual. Everypony in the room instantly bowed before the princess, including Earl. He had learned his lesson last time.
"Good evening my subjects." She said in her regal, yet motherly tone.
Upon hearing her words, the ponies returned to their hooves and eagerly awaited her next words.
"Tonight we are here to honor a hero. Somepony who came about in the face of danger and helped us quell an alien invasion!" The princess said.
Well when you put it like that, I just sound like a freakin' god. Earl thought with a smirk.
After the announcment, everypony turned towards Earl, cheered loudly, and stomped their hooves to the ground. He replied with a modest nod and a quick wave.
"Please come forth." The princess said.
Earl swallowed nervously and approached the white alicorn.
Please, nothing fuck this up...
Upon approaching her, she reached one of her hooves and rested it on his shoulder.
"Earl," She said. "I cannot thank you enough for your actions of bravery, along with your two companions; my royal guard captain, Shining Armor."
A large applause followed after his name, to which he replied with the same reaction as Earl.
"and Big Macintosh of Sweet Apple Acres!"
Another applause, this time directed towards the large red earth pony. Celestia looked back towards Earl.
"I would like to officially recognize and welcome you as a citizen of Equestria!" She said.
This was it, Earl was home. Officially made a citizen of the magical and cartoonish land that he had seen a thousand times before. Something still felt wrong to him, however. He turned to the crowd and raised a hoof in the air with a forced smile, followed by yet another round of applause.
It was then, Twilight noticed something and her heart nearly fell through her body. Earl's eyes were now bloodshot and fading in color. His face was showing signs of fatigue and his movements were slower and more awkward. She quickly came to the realization;
they had forgotten the spell.
Almost immediately after the thought entered her mind, Earl stumbled for a moment before coming crashing to the ground. His arrival to the hard wood floor was met with a barrage of loud gasps from the crowd.
No... not now, please not now... He thought.
An uncontrollable scream erupted from the grey unicorn's mouth as an excruciating pain entered his stomach, and worked it's way through his limbs. Nopony had heard such a scream of pure pain before. It shook them to the core as the ghastly sound continued. Earl was cringing at the massive hurt growing inside of his stomach, he took one hoof to cover his stomach to dull the pain, but to no avail. The pain continued burning his insides like a forest fire. His right foreleg uncontrollably flopped out onto the floor and began to twitch profusely. Everypony watched in terror as the limb extended to a reasonably longer length, followed by five thin fingers that extended one by one. Seconds after the foreleg had been transformed, the left one followed a similar pattern. Next to go, was his horn. The transforming creature's scream only intensified as the magical horn dug itself back into his skull, sending further shockwaves of pain throughout his body.
"Everypony stand back!" One of the guards shouted, confused by the situation.
The townsfolk did as told as Earl's back legs began to sprout out as well, growing similar digits as the ones on his hands. His coat began disappearing , leaving nothing but a bare, fleshy, skin behind. When the transformation had been completed, Earl was laying on the floor, breathing heavily and back to his human form.
The princess could only watch, dumbfounded as the unicorn before her was suddenly turned into a human. The room fell silent, save for Earl's heavy breathing. Twilight had nearly broken into tears.
She's going to take him away... she's going to banish him somewhere, and put him in a dungeon in the place she banished him to... She thought.
Earl unknowingly stood up, but something was off about him. All of the ponies could recognize him, due to the distinct facial features he also held when in his pony form, but his eyes were stone white. Twilight glanced up and sheer terror entered her heart. She remembered those dead, lifeless eyes.
"Earl? What is going on here?!" Celestia asked, her tone more commanding.
A ghastly moan erupted from Earl's throat, a moan that further shook the already mortified ponies in the room. Soon, the realization hit Mac and Shining like a bag of bricks. Earl was a Zed.
"Everypony stay calm, we can handle this." Shining said, trying to stay calm himself.
Earl's corpse simply stood there, the loud moan still crawling out of his throat. It was as if something was keeping him from making meals out of everypony in the room.
"Shining!" Mac said, pulling the captain aside. "How in the hell are we gonna to handle this?! That's Earl, ah mean, I think it's Earl."
"It is Earl, but he's one of them now. Remember what he taught us?" Shining replied hastily.
"Ah know, but maybe we should try something else, Ah'll be right back, you just try to reason with him."
Before Shining could further scold Mac's plan, the red earth pony took off towards the kitchen.
Princess Celestia was about to speak, but Shining had beat her to it.
"Princess, please, I know how this may look, but I beg you. Just give me one second, I can try to reason with him." Shining said sympathetically.
The princess didn't like the situation, but trusted Shining as much as any other pony. With a simple nod from the princess, Shining cautiously approached Earl.
"Earl, can you hear me?" Shining asked.
The shambling corpse only twitched and looked around the room.
"Earl, please. I know you're in there!" Shining said, his tone growing angrier.
Earl's eyes came to rest on Shining once more, but his expression was quickly changing.
"Dude, Come on. Don't do anything you'll regret." Shining said, noticing the hungry look in the creature's eyes.
Without further warning, Earl's corpse advanced forward at an alarming pace. Shining shook his head and readied his horn to kill the former unicorn. Shining closed his eyes tightly, knowing he would regret this moment for the rest of his life.
Shining opened his eyes as Earl fell to the floor, unconscious, but still breathing. The royal guard captain glanced towards Mac, who was holding a large frying pan between his teeth, which he quickly spit to the floor.
Celestia glanced towards the corpse, realizing now what it was. She thought back to their meeting, and remembered her faithful student, who had introduced her to him.
"Twilight Sparkle?!" She called out amongst the crowd.
The purple mare nearly fainted as her name was called. She kept her head low and advanced through the wall of ponies in front of her, all of them shocked and appalled by the recent events. Two of Celestia's guards pulled the unconscious corpse outside of The Corner for further investigation, while Twilight stood shamefully before the princess.
"I want an explanation. Now." The princess said, angrily.
"Well?!" The princess asked angrily.
Twilight lowered her head again as the harsh tone rung in her ears. She had fallen for something that wasn't of her world, and now she was paying the price. It was crazy to her, she had read so many stories about aliens being evil and wanting to destroy Equestria, and that was true for the most part. But she had met one that had been caring of her from the second they met, and even became one of her kind. She glanced out of the front door to Sugar Cube Corner as two royal guards dragged the motionless Zed away.
No, that's not a zombie. That is Earl... She thought, trying to convince herself that a piece of her coltfriend was still in there.
The purple unicorn knew that Celestia had a way to fix him, to turn him back into one of them and cleanse his body of the infection.
"He's an alien, from a planet he called earth..." Twilight said, bowing her head further.
Celestia and the crowd remained silent for a few moments, which the purple mare took as a signal to continue.
"Earl is a human, Earth was where all of his kind lived." Twilight continued.
She looked up and glanced towards the crowd, then back to Celestia.
"A virus broke out in his world and killed all of the humans, but brought them back to life, different..."
"Different?" The princess replied partially annoyed.
Twilight looked up towards the princess, meeting her eyes.
"They came back to life, and ate any living being that wasn't already infected, and anything they bite, catches the virus." She said, her voice nearly trembling.
Multiple ponies in the large crowd gasped and conversed for a moment.
"Silence!" Celestia shouted.
Instantly, everypony in the room fell silent.
"How did you get to this world?" Celestia asked.
"It was a trial for a new spell I had found, but it was too powerful. The portal sucked me right in." Twilight replied.
"So, you practiced an extremely dangerous spell without my permission, got lost in this crazy dimension, brought back an individual from said land, who was infected with a disease that causes him to-"
"No, he wasn't infected when I met him!" Twilight shouted.
The princess's eyebrows narrowed as her most faithful student rudely interrupted her.
"He took me in, kept me safe from the... Zeds." She continued. "If it wasn't for him, I would be dead."
"We would all be dead." Shining said, advancing from the rest of the crowd.
Celestia blinked and disbelief as another pony began defending Earl.
"Earl's homeworld may have been the cause of the Zed problem, but there was nothing he could do about it. But he didn't turn away, he helped us." Shining said.
Most of the ponies in the crowd nodded in agreement.
"Princess, ah too would like to speak on Earl's behalf." Big Macintosh said, emerging from the crowd as well.
Celestia simply nodded, still dumbfounded.
"You've all seen Earl, right?" Mac asked, glancing towards the crowd.
Most of them nodded.
"And did he seem like a flesh eating maniac to you?"
The ponies all shook their heads at once.
"Earl got bit, it's as simple as that. It's still him, still the pony who helped save us, just in a different body."
Twilight smiled weakly, happy to have somepony on her side of the argument.
"Please, Princess, you must be able to help him. Change him back, cure the infection, something!" Twilight pleaded.
"I cannot have some monster simply roaming about in my kingdom!" Celestia said.
"Celestia please, you can change him back, I know you can."
"Of course I can, but..." Celestia said but trailed off.
The whole situation seemed unreal to the regal sister.
"Ah'll vouch for him." Applejack said, advancing from the crowd as well.
"I too speak on his behalf." Rarity said emerging from the crowd next.
Twilight's smile brightened.
Next to approach was Fluttershy, she simply walked out of the crowd and sat next to Rarity, hiding behind her mane.
"I uhmm.. I think so too." She said softly.
"He may be an awkward one, but I'll vouch too." Rainbow Dash said, flying overhead the growing group of ponies approving of Earl.
"I know I do!" Pinkie said happily, "teleporting" next to the group.
"I'm sure everypony here would!" Rainbow said, raising her hooves to the crowd.
Everypony instantly cheered loudly and stomped their hooves on the ground.
Twilight glanced towards the princess, who was now smiling, and grew a puzzled expression. Celestia gave a simple nod before slowly making her way out of The Corner, followed by the massive group of ponies inside.
"If my star pupil, the captain of my guard, the elements of harmony, and most of my subjects speak on his behalf, then I guess I have no choice." Celestia said, returning to her regal, motherly tone.
Everypony in the crowd smiled but remained silent as Celestia bowed her head over Earl's unconscious body. Slowly her horn began to glow, brighter, and brighter until most of the ponies in the crowd were shielding their eyes from the light. The glow floated towards Earl, and surrounded his human form completely.
One final flash erupted from the middle of the crowd with a loud hum of magical energy,
followed by dead silence.
"Is he dead?" Mac asked, staring wide-eyed at the lifeless corpse on the ground.
Earl was returned to his unicorn state, but had been lying on the ground for a good ten minutes. Celestia closed her eyes and bowed her head, waiting. Tears fell slowly from Twilight's face as she stared at him, limp on the cold ground. Shining made his way over to his little sister and put a hoof around her, in an attempt to console the crying unicorn. Tears were nearly falling from his face as well. After a moment, Twilight broke away from her brother and approached the grey unicorn. She fell to the ground and took her hoof in his for a moment, caressing it, hoping there was some way he could escape his fate. Just as everypony was about to bow their heads for the final time and pay their last respects, a faint light began to glow in the unicorn's chest.
Twilight immediately jumped back upon seeing it.
"What's happening to him?" She asked weakly, glancing towards the princess.
Celestia simply stayed silent, her eyes still shut tightly. The light began to grow brighter in Earl's chest. Slowly, it began to branch off through all the veins in his body. The crowd watched as the light spread, until every vein was glowing brightly through his grey coat. Everypony in the crowd stared, awestruck, as the light traveled through his every vein.
"What's happening to him?!" Twilight asked again, her tone slightly angry.
Still no response.
Seconds later, Earl sat up slowly and opened his mouth to reveal the bright light shining through it as well. A booming, ghostly, scream erupted from his throat, nearly bringing everypony in the crowd to tears. Continuing the devastating shout, Earl's eyes shot open, revealing two glowing white irises. After several moments, he fell to the floor as the glow dissipated from his veins. Followed by yet another dead silence.
Celestia finally opened her eyes and looked towards the grey unicorn. A long string of violent coughs came from the unicorn lying on the ground.
"Well.... that fucking hurt..." Earl said, trying to catch his breath.
Everypony's eyes instantly went wide, save for Celestia, who had expected that reaction. Without hesitation, Twilight sprinted towards the grey unicorn and wrapped her hooves around him. Causing him to recoil and grunt loudly as the force hit him in the chest.
"Oh!" He said, forcing a smile. "Hey Twi." He continued, running his hoof through her mane weakly.
Seconds after, the crowd cheered loudly and stomped their hooves on the ground yet again.
"Yah had us worried there for a second." Mac said, placing his hoof on Earl's shoulder, who was still sitting on the ground.
"I had myself worried..." Earl said, slurring his words slightly. "Do you know what it feels like being a Zom....-"
Before finishing his sentence, Earl collapsed in Twilight's forelegs, causing most of the crowd to gasp again.
"Please remain calm my subjects." Celestia shouted. "He is perfectly healthy, he just requires some rest."
A sigh of relief quickly ran through the audience.
"We should get him back to the library." Shining said, walking up next to Twilight.
The brother and sister both quickly glanced up to Macintosh in sync.
"Ah'm assuming you want me to carry him again?"
Earl jolted awake a few hours later, in Twilight's room. After returning to his senses, he glanced around the room, taking in where he was.
"Twilight?" He called out weakly.
Within moments, the purple unicorn walked through the door levitating a candle. After setting the candle down, she approached the bedside.
"How are you feeling?" She asked, taking his hoof in hers.
"Better than earlier," He replied. "It's not every day you get to be a freakin' zombie." He continued with a chuckle.
Twilight nodded in agreement and laughed as well.
"How'd that work out for you?" She asked.
"I wouldn't recommend it."
"Well, you won't have to deal with it anymore."
"Yep, Princess Celestia completely cleared it from your bloodstream."
Earl smiled brightly and looked down towards his hooves.
"She also changed you back," She said, noticing his examination of the hooves. "Permanently."
The grey unicorn glanced back to Twilight and ran a hoof through his mane, trying to process his sudden realization.
"I guess I'm really one of you guys now." He said, looking into her deep, purple eyes.
"Yeah, you're one of us." She said softly.
Earl reached up from the bed and wrapped his hooves around the unicorn, hugging her for what seemed like hours. After breaking the hug, Twilight remembered one more thing.
"Oh, get up for a second." She said, excited.
Earl raised an eyebrow but crawled out of the bed nonetheless as Twilight levitated the candle over to them.
"Look." She said.
"I don't understand what I'm supposed to-" Earl said, looking back to his flank. "Holy. Shit."
The former human finally realized the source of Twilight's excitement.
Earl's mark had changed.
"How the hell did that happen?!" He asked, surprised, with a bright smile on his face.
"Well, Celestia's magic changed you into the true version of yourself. My spell just ran off of memory." She replied.
Earl nodded and glanced back to his new mark.
"This is literally the most bad ass thing I have ever seen."
The mark consisted of a crossed shotgun and black baseball bat, in front of a dark blue shield.
"So, my special talent is killing zombies?" Earl asked raising an eyebrow.
Twilight simply rolled her eyes.
"I think it would be more 'protecting everypony' than anything else." She said mater-of-factually.
After examining his mark for several more moments, he glanced up to Twilight, who was holding a bright smile across her face. For the first time, they were finally safe. No Zeds, no infection, no worry about Earl turning into a human. Nothing. He was going to start a new life here, and he was going to make the most of it. The former human concluded that he had seen enough violence to last a lifetime, and knew it would all end here. Without another word he approached Twilight, brushed part of the purple mane out of her eye and kissed her, just as passionately as the kiss the held at Sugar Cube Corner. After the kiss, he simply held her in his forelegs for a few moments, while she happily nuzzled his chest.
"I think I'm going to get some sleep." She said after several minutes.
"Alright," He said with a smile, breaking away from her. "I'll be up in a bit... there's something I want to do first."
Twilight nodded and made her way to the bed, as Earl approached the door.
"By the way, were to you keep like, paper and pencil?" He asked.
"Uhh, I have quills?" She replied.
"OK, they're on the desk, downstairs."
"Alright," Earl said, grabbing the door behind him to shut it. "Goodnight."
"Goodnight." Twilight replied softly, with a smile.
A few hours later, in what seemed like the dead of night, Earl had finally finished writing. He dropped the quill he had been levitating for the last few hours and examined the paper. It was exactly what he wanted to say.
"Hey." Shining called out from across the room.
The grey unicorn was instantly started and spun around quickly, his tail knocking over the ink well onto his work.
"Oh, shit. One sec." He said, spinning back around to fix his work.
A large ink stain covered one spot of the note, but Earl simply shrugged and levitated it away.
"What's up?" Earl said, turning around again.
"I'm heading back to Canterlot." Shining said.
"It's a bit late..."
"I'm just taking the last train, it's cool."
"We said goodbye earlier."
"Alright, well," the grey unicorn replied, shrugging and extending his hoof. "It was a pleasure, thanks for everything."
Shining looked down at the hoof with a disgusted expression.
"What is this?" The white unicorn asked.
Earl raised an eyebrow.
"Fuck that, we just stopped an alien invasion." Shining said, hugging Earl.
Earl chuckled and returned it.
"Well, you take good care of Twilly, alright?" The royal guard captain said, breaking away.
Earl nodded and sarcastically saluted Shining. The white unicorn chuckled and returned it before exiting the tree house.
With a smile, Earl made his way upstairs and into Twilight's room and trotted over to the bed. He was instantly greeted by the cool sensation of the sheets and the warm aura of the mare next to him. Before closing his eyes, he shook his head and thought of his final task.
Just one more thing... He thought.
Earl glanced towards the window upon waking up and let Celestia's sun shower him in warmth. Today, was the first day without danger, and he enjoyed it. As Twilight finished writing her own note, she turned to Earl.
"Alright, it's finished." She said with a smile.
Earl returned her bright smile and trotted over to the desk. When he had reached it, Twilight levitated the note before him, allowing him to read it.
Dear Princess Celestia,
Over the last few days, I learned a very powerful lesson. It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, or, in some cases, what you've done in the past. Love and friendship knows no boundaries, and we should accept everypony, and everything for who and what they are.
Your faithful student,
Earl nodded and smiled. The grey unicorn could've sworn that was covered in another episode, but shrugged it off regardless.
"Just one more thing..." Earl said, levitating a quill.
Twilight watched as Earl etched the words "Thank you" on the paper, followed by his signature. The purple mare nodded solemnly as the grey unicorn glanced towards her. She rolled the paper and left in on her desk for Spike to send later. As she walked over to grab her saddlebags, she turned to Earl once more.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" She asked.
"It needs to be done." He said.
Twilight smiled, she knew going there would be a tough decision, but it was the right one on his behalf. He had witnessed her death, and know it was time to pay his last respects. Without another word, the two left the tree house and began making their way down Ponyville. This time, Earl let the warming colors become new to him again. It helped calm him for the task he was about to complete. The grey unicorn glanced down to his own saddlebags one more time, mentally reassuring himself that he had brought the note and his bat. He shrugged upon thinking about the blotch of black ink that covered one spot of the note.
It didn't land anywhere important...
As the two walked, they were greeted by various ponies. Offering further congratulations or just a simple warm and inviting 'hello'. This was nothing that Earl had ever experienced. On earth, everybody had always been too busy to stop and say hello to their fellow neighbors or townsfolk. It was then the memories of home worked their way into his thoughts. He stopped walking for a moment, closed his eyes, and shook his head.
No. I'm here now. He thought.
Twilight raised an eyebrow but just chalked it up to nerves as the two began walking again. After a short while, Twilight and Earl passed one of the many restaurants in Ponyville. To his surprise, he found Big Macintosh and Fluttershy sitting across from eachother at one of the various tables outside. The yellow pegasus instantly recognized the two and gave the a shy wave, causing Macintosh to turn around and look. Earl returned the wave and nodded towards Mac, who smirked and gave him a nod, as if to say thanks.
As the two neared the outskirts of Ponyville, Earl was greeted by the ghastly sight of the massive crater he had created. He stumbled over his hooves for a moment and nearly fell over, still staring at the destroyed forest. Twilight quickly noticed his actions.
"We can go back..." She said.
Earl shook his head and regained his balance. With a few more steps, they were finally in front of where the entrance to the Everfree used to be.
"I... did this." He said aloud in disbelief.
Earl shook his head.
"I fucking did this..."
Without another word Earl reached into his saddlebag with his mouth and picked out the large black bat that had been protruding from it. Levitating it from his lips, he walked closer to the entrance and dug a small hole with his hoof. After he assumed the hole would be deep enough, he stabbed the blunt end of the baseball bat into the ground with as much force as he could muster, causing Twilight to flinch and stumble backwards a few inches. Earl then reached in his sack for the note he had written and unfolded it. Tears fell slowly from his face as he read the words etched on the tattered paper. He slowly placed it on the ground, making sure it was secure.
Earl closed his eyes, holding back further tears, and held a moment of silence for everything that had died in this infection.
Twilight made her way over to him and layed a comforting hoof on his shoulder.
"Earl." She said softly.
The grey unicorn looked up into her deep purple eyes.
"It's over." The purple mare continued.
Earl wrapped his hooves around her once more, grasping her tightly, leaking tears onto her shoulder. He couldn't believe it, he had survived the zombie apocalypse. He had gone up against immeasurable odds, and due to a stroke of sheer luck, he made it out alive. Upon pulling away from the hug, he stared into Twilight's eyes for a moment.
"Thanks..." He said.
Twilight nodded and smiled.
"We should uhh.. get out of here." Earl said, growing weary of looking at his destruction.
The mare glanced towards the forest and then quickly back to him, with a second nod.
Without another word, the two made their way back to Ponyville, ready to resume their lives, free of an infection...
The halls of the dead house that had once been Earl's, suddenly came to life as five distinct flashes lit up the blood stained walls of the home. Another portal had appeared, and out stepped a weary human, followed by four others. The first human let out a loud groan as he fell to the floor and grabbed at his back.
"Gah... Totally forgot about that.... oh god...." Earl said.
One of the nearby female humans with purple and pink colored hair stepped forward and raised an eyebrow.
"Uhh... no one else is hurting, right?" She asked, glancing to the rest of the group.
The human rolled his eyes and returned to his feet, then turned to the purple-haired girl. He stared for a moment at the realization that she wasn't wearing clothes, but quickly turned away a moment later.
"Twi, your, uhh..." He said.
"My what?" She replied.
Earl's heart dropped in his chest and he looked down. To his relief, he was wearing a familiar grey shirt and jeans. He sighed and returned to his feet, shielding his eyes at the realization that everyone else in his group were also not "decent".
"One second." Earl said before darting out of the room.
One of the tall male humans, with orange-blondish hair, turned to the human next to him with an eyebrow raised. The other human, shorter, and with a blue and light-blue colored hair style shrugged. Earl returned a few seconds later, holding a massive amount of clothing in his arms.
"OK, put this stuff on. We got you as humans, now you need to.... act like one." He said, throwing it on the ground before the group of people.
The blonde-haired man raised an eyebrow yet again.
"For fucks sake Mac, just do it." Earl said, turning away.
Mac looked to the other human next to him, a blonde haired girl with a ponytail, and shrugged before sifting through the pile, followed by the others.
After several minutes, the humans were dressed, and Earl turned back around. He quickly noticed something was off about the blonde haired girl.
"One sec AJ." He said before walking into the other room.
A few seconds later he returned with a faded brown stetson and threw it to her. She smiled and reached her hand out to catch it, but the hat slipped right through her fingers. She quickly looked down at the newly acquired hand and sighed before reaching to pick up the stetson.
"This is gonna take some gettin' used to." Mac said, examining his new hands as well.
"Calm down, we're just going to look for some survivors." Earl said.
Mac shrugged and glanced around.
"What happened to all the color?" The blue haired man said, glancing around as well.
"Welcome to Earth, Shines."
After searching around the house for weapons, Earl returned to his room, holding several deadly tools. He walked down the line and handed each human something different. Shining, a butcher's knife, Mac, a large 2 x 4, AppleJack, another baseball bat, and Twilight, a shovel. The purple haired human raised an eyebrow.
"You said they would've died out by now..." She said.
"I said they most likely would have. It's just a precaution babe." Earl replied.
Twilight nodded and tested the weight of the shovel in her hands as Earl walked down the hallway.
"What are you doing?" Shining asked.
Earl smiled as he reached down and retrieved his shotgun.
"Getting one for myself." Earl said.
He continued down the hallway, motioning for the group to follow.
The group cautiously made their way down the road leading away from Earl's house, cautiously gripping their weapons while Earl loaded shells into his shotgun.
"Just looking for survivors guys. Try to avoid any fights." Earl said.
"Got it." Twilight and Shining said in unison.
"Right Mac, AJ?" Earl said, glancing over his shoulder.
His face nearly went white as the sight of a single shambling Zed was taken in. The creature slowly and awkwardly walked out to the street, approaching Mac and Applejack. Macintosh glanced to Earl nervously, the zombie now only a few feet away. The black-haired human cringed slightly and tightened the grip on his shotgun. It had been so long since he had killed, could he still do it? Take another life?
"What's wrong with em'?" AppleJack asked, dumfounded.
The creature was just barely skin and bone, nearly snapping it's bones as it walked towards them. A single exhausted moan erupted from it's through as it dragged it's feet across the pavement. Macintosh simply put his hand on his sister's shoulder and tightened his grip on the wood his other.
"Look away sis." Mac said, readying his weapon.
As Applejack turned away, a loud boom erupted from across the street, and the Zed flew, spreading blood across the side of the road.
Everyone in the group instantly jumped back, while Earl stayed still, holding the now smoking shotgun firmly into his shoulder. Mac looked between the dead creature and Earl for a moment, before putting an arm around his sister's shoulder and guiding her away from the corpse.
"They're not dead?!" Shining asked worriedly.
"They're weak. Most of them have to be..." Earl said, trailing off and looking in a random direction.
Shining raised an eyebrow.
"They have to be what-?"
"Shhh...." Earl said, cutting him off.
The blue-haired man narrowed his eyebrows, but quickly returned to a normal expression as a low roar became audible.
"It's a truck..." Earl said.
"A what?" Twilight said.
The object of discussion soon appeared over the horizon within seconds. It was a large green rig, with a large un-covered trailer in the back, holding what looked to be more humans. Earl's heart quickly dropped in his chest.
"What in tarnation is that thing?!" Applejack asked worriedly, as the massive machine approached them.
"It's a truck." Earl said, tightening his grip on the shotgun.
As the truck neared the group, it stopped a few feet from them, and out stepped a tall man, wearing a green dress shirt and pants adorned with various medals. He approached the group with a smile on his face.
"Afternoon, folks." The man said.
Earl nodded as the group remained quiet.
"Why don't you put down the gun there boy."
Earl lowered the shotgun.
"Well now, let me introduce myself, I'm Colonel Jackson."
"Well then Earl, glad we found yah' right now, pretty dangerous out here."
"Ohh, surely you and these.... lovely ladies.... would like some extra protection?" The colonel said, glancing to Twilight and Applejack. "Me and the boys are holed up nearby. Food, water, weapons. We're the last men on earth."
"We're fine, thank you."
I've seen enough zombie movies to know where this is going.
The colonel chuckled.
"Come now. Drop the weapons, come with us. We'll take you and these beautiful women with us to safety."
"Ah'd appreciate it if you stopped talking about my sister like that." Mac said, an angry expression present on his face.
"We're not coming, thank you for the offer, but we're fine alright?" Earl said.
"Son, I don't think you get it. We're the last guys on earth left alive-"
"You don't know that."
"-and we can protect you."
"One, you don't know that, and two, we can protect ourselves."
"Well, at least let us protect these lovely-"
"One more word about the girls and the shotgun comes back up."
The colonel shifted awkwardly, his expression becoming annoyed.
"The law is dead, you have no authority over us any more, alright? Now let us just continue in peace."
"Whatever kid, how about you just let me take the girls instead?"
"How about you go fuck yourself?"
The colonel's eye twitched and he motioned back to the truck.
"Boys, come on." He said angrily.
At his command, a large number of soldiers got up from their seats in the truck and ran to his side, all of them crouching in front of the group and readying their weapons.
"It would be in your best interest if you came with us..."