Twilight Sparkle: History’s Greatest Monster
A Fanfiction by Potato Joe
Waking up was one of Twilight Sparkle’s favorite things. It was the part of the day with the most potential, the most promise. Anything could happen after you woke up - you just had to get up and do it.
So she grunted, let out a yawn, and sat up, wondering why her mouth tasted like mint.
Opening her eyes, she found herself in a Canterlot palace room. Spotting the bathroom she hopped out of bed and trotted inside, commencing with her morning business. It was odd, since she didn’t remember going back to Canterlot, but sometimes her memory wasn’t the best in the morning. Her right eye felt odd and the vision seemed a little fuzzy, but she might have slept on that side of her face funny.
After a shower, brushing her teeth, and a solid mane combing - it was in a bizarre shape, like something Rarity would have suggested for a ball or gala - she trotted back into the bedroom. She still felt a little sleepy - and noticed the sun just starting to come up over the mountains. She went to the window and stared for a short while, enjoying the sight. Canterlot had the best view in Equestria and the setting and rising sun just didn’t look as splendid in Ponyville.
She was about to turn away and check her day planner when she noticed a small yellow speck flying among the orange sky.
Then she stumbled back as she heard anti-air cannonry begin firing, the loud percussion of thunder spells shaking the castle as lightning arced into the air. The little yellow dot bobbed and weaved, avoiding the onslaught of deadly magic with stunning skill, growing larger. Soon, Guardpony fliers had taken to the air to confront the dot, which seemed to be a yellow pegasus, but as they neared they were thrown away with single kicks and stomps.
Whatever was heading for the castle was an unstoppable force of destruction. And Twilight was too agog to do anything but watch as it slowly became evident that the force of destruction was Fluttershy.
Albeit, Fluttershy outfitted with armor bearing the symbol of Princess Celestia and combat horseshoes.
With a crash the pegasus burst through one of the windows, bellowing a warcry as a flood of earth pony guards burst through Twilight’s door. Unicorn Special Oponyrations Magicians began to phase through the floor and ceiling and more pegasi entered through the shattered windows.
“Lord Librarian!” called a familiar voice. Twilight didn’t turn to look at the source, too mesmerized by Fluttershy’s ability to suplex members of three different species of ponies with a single move. “Lord Librarian, we need to get you to safety!”
Twilight realized there was a hoof on her shoulder. Turning, she found Trixie, that strange illusionist that had come by Ponyville once, standing at her side. Rather than a mage's hat and robe, she was wearing the vestments of the Royal Courtier of Canterlot - albeit with a wand tucked into her sash.
“Uh, what?” Twilight asked, not having payed attention to the earlier statements, too enraptured by the melee.
“Twilight Sparkle! Your reign of twisted evil is at an end!” bellowed Fluttershy, her voice a petite scream of berserker rage. She charged, tossing several soldiers out of the way as she smashed towards Twilight.
“Lord Librarian, get behind me!” declared Trixie, leaping in front of Fluttershy and putting up a magical barrier - only to have it crushed and have herself be knocked to the side. As Trixie was laid out with a buck that Applejack would have been proud of, Twilight noticed that the warshoes that Fluttershy were wearing were enchanted to allow her to break magic.
Then, Fluttershy looked up at Twilight, affixed her with the Stare, and charged.
Twilight couldn’t move. One of her best friends seemed intent on attacking her. She didn’t know what to do - and with the Stare freezing her, she had few options.
So she teleported across the room, behind a wall of stout looking earth pony knights.
Fluttershy let out an adorable little gasp of shock as she smashed face first into an armoire. Moments later, she was tackled by a platoon of rowdy soldiers who immediacy subdued and manacled her, removing her shoes and armor in seconds. One struck the struggling Fluttershy with a kick to the face, drawing a snarl and several decidedly uncute swear words from the trapped pegasus before a bit was fitted to her so that she couldn’t speak.
“D-don’t hurt her!” blurted Twilight. The knights stumbled away from her in shock as Trixie struggled to stand.
“You heard the Lord Librarian!” barked Trixie as she wiped tears from a bruised eye. “She wants the little rebel for herself!”
Twilight was already lost, but when the soldiers let out evil chuckles and stood aside, panic and fear crossed Fluttershy’s face. Prompted by everyones attention, she found herself walking towards where Fluttershy lay struggling with her bonds. Twilight paused a few steps from where her friend lay, glancing around the room.
She had to think, figure out what was going on, and stop it.
So, details she could observe. The Guardponies were not in normal Equestrian armor - in fact, the only set of normal armor was the stuff they’d taken off of Fluttershy. They all seemed to be outfitted in some sort of Legion of Doom type armor - their faces were masked, the metal was dark and scary, and there were pointless cosmetic spikes. And where Celestia’s crest should have been was Twilight’s.
Next: this bedroom seemed to be Celestia’s, only refitted for Twilight. There were several portraits of Twilight in military uniforms covered with medals - oh, and all the portraits wore a monocle. The walls had swords on them and one of the bookshelves had such lovely titles as “Torture Made Uneasy”, “Taxation and Tyranny - A How To Guide”, and “Coping With The Urge To Monologue”.
Finally: outside, Twilight could see the grounds of Canterlot seemed to have turned into a stereotypical supervillain fortress, albeit with more of Twilight’s favorite plants. And, for a Fortress of Evil, the sparsity of gallows and tasteful lava moat arrangement was rather fetching.
Deduction - Twilight had either taken over the world in her sleep, been transported into a dimension where she had taken over the world, or had ate some of that pepper and onion casserole that always gave her weird dreams. Given that she knew it would take at least three days to get a lava pit the size of the one outside of her window built - not to mention a week for all the floral arrangements - she knew she hadn’t conquered the world while asleep.
So, either a dimension shift or a casserole.
“Neigh, let her suffer in the dungeon first,” she said, trying to sound aloof. Fluttershy relaxed. “In fact, make her comfortable in the dungeons - bring her something to eat, a soft bed, and some soothing strawberry and daffodil tea. I want her to be at her best.”
Everypony looked confused.
“L-lord Librarian, why would you treat this... Celestian scum... like some sort of honored guest?” asked Trixie, trotting forwards.
“Because, I want her at her best so I can crush her more fully, you foal!” Twilight roared, banking on this epic bluff working. Trixie stumbled back, caught off guard. “Only when she is relaxed and secure can I truly destroy her! Now, she is merely a prisoner, helpless and terrified of me! But, with a proper battery of massage, flavorful and nutritious meals, and perhaps a hooficure, she will be a normal pony again - and it has been too long since I took the time to crush a mere commoner!”
The Guards were shaking while Trixie’s face lit up in delight.
“Lord Librarian, I am sorry for not understanding!” she declared, rushing over and kissing Twilights forehooves. “I should dream of one day behind half as mad and evil as you! Guards! You heard the Lord Librarian! Take this wretch to the dungeon and then fetch her whatever is necessary to give her the time of her life!”
“Oh, and see to it she has that bruise on her nose looked at,” Twilight added.
Trixie blinked, looking to her.
“So I can give her a new one?” sighed Twilight with exasperation. Trixie let out a cackle at this and raced from the room, leading the Guards and the captives away.
“Your sick game won’t work, you monster!” Fluttershy called, slipping the bit from her mouth so she could speak. Twilight’s ears pinned back in shock at her friend’s tone. “I won’t enjoy a bit of it! Sic Seffer Tyrannus-”
“Sic Semper, I think,” corrected Twilight.
“Oh,” said Fluttershy, blinking. She then returned to her shouting. “Sic Semper Tyrannus! The rebellion won’t rest until you’ve been turned to stone and the Sisters freed!”
And then the doors slammed shut and the guards dissipated, leaving Twilight alone for the panic attack that struck a moment later.
“Wait, what?” gasped Pinkie Pie, watching as the view from the crystal ball faded. “She can teleport now?”
“Great,” grumbled Rarity, wincing as the glow around her horn and the crystal ball faded. She’d overtaxed herself so that she and Pinkie could watch Fluttershy’s infiltration, only to find out the situation had worsened. “We can hardly go ahead with the plan as scheduled, then - I imagine that she could simply teleport from the torture chambers after we spring our ambush.”
“Yeah, this is bad news,” sighed Pinkie, giving a little shiver. “Ooh! Pinkie Sense!”
“What, are the Guards nearing our hideout?” asked Rarity in alarm.
“No, no, just... a weird one,” said Pinkie, looking confused. “I’ve never felt like this before. Nose twitch, funny spine, liver contractions?”
“... liver contractions,” said Rarity, giving Pinkie a look of disgust.
“Yeah, I don’t know either,” replied Pinkie with a shrug. “Maybe it has something to do with teleportation? It’d be useful if it did, I could maybe figure out the when and where of her poofing or something!”
“Before we go down that road, we need to inform the rest of the Celestians of this latest occurrence - and start on a new plan to rescue Fluttershy,” said Rarity, cutting Pinkie off. The white-coated unicorn stood, shaking slightly and jostling her immaculate armor. “I’m sure Applejack would like to know that her brother can stop digging the tunnel, at the very least.”
“Yeah, not much use in having to tunnel in if we aren’t using the whole ‘tunnel in and capture the bad girl’ plan,” agreed Pinkie. She turned and followed her friend outside into the small camp in the Everfree forest where the other Celestian rebels hid.
“What’s up?” asked Applejack, looking up from the stewing applesauce she was cooking. Nearby, Rainbow Dash sharpened a sword on a whetstone in silence and Zecora trained several of the new recruits on where the weak points were in a Special Oponyrations Magician’s armor.
“Bad news, everypony! The Evil Egghead can teleport now!” Pinkie blurted out.
“Aw, fiddlesticks,” grumbled Applejack, tossing her ladle into the applesauce with a huff of anger. “Is there anythin’ that witch can’t do?”
“Get a date?” chuckled Rainbow Dash, testing out a sword by slashing a falling leaf out of midair.
“Might as well have Big Mac stop on the tunnel,” sighed Applejack, trotting off. Rarity and Pinkie Pie sat down around the campfire.
“So, we need a new plan,” said Rarity, glancing around the meager camp. There were few enough ponies here as it was, and to Rarity’s eternal shame even fewer unicorns, but the night hid their numbers and made it feel like they were alone. Of course, even with what allies and soldiers they had, their chances were just about the same. The self proclaimed Lord Librarian had nearly conquered all of Equestria now, and as rumors of the tyrant’s pet dragon and mad experiments spread, fewer and fewer ponies were willing to try and fight back.
The good old days of the Sisters’ rule seemed so far away, and yet, it had only been a few years.
“Then listen up, because I’ve got a doozy of one,” said Rainbow Dash, trotting over and sticking a knife in their map of Canterlot. “All we need is about three good thunderheads...”
TO BE CONTINUED.
Dressing oneself in someone else’s clothes was kinda weird.
Double if they were the exact same size as you, but wore a Tin Tyrant brand spiked plate mail, a monocle, and socks with a skull pattern.
Twilight would have elected not to wear the socks, but it seemed a shame not to finish the outfit - besides, the greaves of her armor would chafe a little if she didn’t have any underarmor lining, so it was not just personal style, it was practical as well.
But the weirdest part about wearing someone else’s clothes, when you didn’t usually wear clothes, was looking in the mirror and realizing that you looked good. She cast a striking, cutting figure, like a scoundrel of the highest caliber content to lavish herself in the most modern of villainous styles.
Twilight Sparkle sometimes regretted how much she was learning about fashion from Rarity, but if it had to be said, the fact that her armor had the type of clasps and riveting that were in vogue with today’s evildoers was strangely empowering.
Nonetheless, she was wearing evil clothes and had to prepare herself to pretend to be an evil her... who had taken over the world... and made at least one of her friends into a berserk rebel... and had written all over the pages of the latest Daring Do novel.
With a pause, Twilight looked back to the nightstand in shock.
In the melee before, the book had been knocked over and had fallen open to a marked page that was covered with scribbles. Many of them looked like homework corrections, judging by the red ink. Twilight rushed over and levitated the book up - she was well aware that the Twilight from this world - or onion and pepper casserole dream, as that theory was still pending - was evil, but this was another sort of depravity. Writing on a book? Especially this copy of Daring Do novel since it was collector's edition!
Oh, my, it was worse than that. The marks appeared to be Evil Twilight’s analysis of where the villain was making mistakes. True, it was detailed and well thought out, but to write on a new, luscious tome such as this? It was the worst sort of roguery! And she’d missed the part where Daring Do was able to loosen the ropes binding her to the idol because they’d used cotton cords to bind her instead of flax - if you had to make notes such as this, you might as well do it right.
Twilight ‘hmmed’ to herself as she noticed a few other missed mistakes, as well as a typo in the printing, and found herself agreeing with some of the notes in the margin. Evil Twilight was at least clever - she seemed to be mining the new traps with Rainbow Dash in mind, seeking to use what Dash would expect the traps to do to imperil the pegasus. Brilliant, really - as a fan of the series and a rather impetuous pony, Rainbow Dash would likely try and solve one of these traps as her hero Daring Do had. That would allow for some very easy tweaks to send the accursed pegasus to her grave - simply change the snake ejection pattern, rotate the column of griffoglyphs slightly to change the puzzle’s solution slightly...
“Oh, Celestia!” blurted Twilight, tossing the book away as she realized what she’d been thinking about. She’d been planning ways to kill Rainbow Dash! And they were good plans too!
It was like before, when Trixie had asked her about why Twilight wanted Fluttershy’s bruise looked at. Twilight had simply responded without thinking, like it was a natural thing she would say. But it wasn’t her - Twilight didn’t really want to hurt Fluttershy. Did she?
Twilight focused, trying to fix the word in her mind.
NO. She did not want to hurt anypony.
It had to be something to do with this world/casserole. That was it - maybe her mind was changing. An idea quickly flitted into her head and she cast a spell to keep magics from affecting her - and instantly, the eye with the monocle went out of focus.
Removing the monocle, she found her sight was normal again.
Passive magic tended to be more subtle than active spells, but harder to resist. Twilight knew that fact well, having encountered poison joke before. She’d likely be able to keep the effect at bay for a while, but not forever, meaning that she needed to find a way to get home quick. Or, barring that, find a way to permanently weaken her regime so that the rebels, whoever they were, could easily overthrow her.
With a long sigh and a toss of her mane, she left her chambers and began to search for an advisor who could explain more about what was going on.
Fluttershy was no pony to trifle with.
But, weeks in the Everfree, eating little but what Applejack could cook up had left her a hungry pony. True, Pinkie could whip up the odd cookie when they weren’t both on a mission, but Fluttershy was a lover of salads... and hay fries... and honeybreads served with mushrooms...
… meaning that Fluttershy was definitely a pony to truffle with.
Before her sat a steaming plate of perigords. She’d tried to resist - obviously, any food she was served would either be poisoned, have a truth serum in it, or would at the very least be spat in. But the haute cuisine dish set in front of her was simply irresistible, even in the dank of the dungeons... the well lit, surprisingly not dank dungeons.
“Does madam prefer classical or romantic accompaniment to her meal?” asked the stallion with the violin, tuning it slightly. He was definitely from Prance, as was the tablecloth, silverware, and candles in Fluttershy’s cell.
“Oh, please play something you like,” she said politely, dabbing at her mouth before launching into another ravenous assault on her plate. The ambiance was really lovely, which was probably what that stupid-head up in the castle wanted. The musician began a slow, beautiful serenade as she devoured the delectable dinner, only stopping her gobbling to gulp down goblet-fulls of the most terrific tea she’d tasted in years. Strawberry and daffodil - how had the Lord Librarian known what kind of tea that Fluttershy liked best?
But, that was a question everyone was always asking about Twilight Sparkle - how had she done that?
How had she trapped the Sisters in stone? How had she mind controlled the entire Equestrian Guard? How did she make steel look so slimming? And now, how did she know what kind of tea Fluttershy liked?
It were questions like that that made the mare so terrifying.
Years ago, Twilight Sparkle had been an ordinary unicorn, though one noted for her unusual skill with magic - she’d been Celestia's personal student. And then in a few short months, she’d conquered Equestria and solidified it under a tyrannical hoof, having defeated her mentor in a sound, swift duel. The Celestian rebels were laughably outmatched, having rarely scored more than a moral victory. As Fluttershy considered the sauce on the last bite of her dinner - it was perfect - she thought fondly of her childhood as an awkward but happy little filly, back when she could have eaten anything she wanted, whenever. Those years seemed so far away as she rubbed her full belly.
“Madam, the masseuses are here,” said the stallion, bidding her farewell and vanishing with her dinnerware. He was replaced by a pair of mares that instantly got to work, giving Fluttershy the best backrub and hooficure that one could get while manacled to a wall. The pegasus felt her eyes drooping a little as the knots in her muscles and the pain from the fight were kneaded away.
If this was Twilight’s new torture method, Fluttershy decided she would volunteer to be captured more often.
But she kept focus, even if she was guiltily enjoying everything. She was a prisoner and a rebel commander, so of course Twilight Sparkle herself would lead Fluttershy’s inevitable interrogation. And when they got down to the dungeons and were about to begin, the other rebels would spring a trap - they were already close to finishing with the tunnel under Canterlot when Fluttershy had attacked. And then, they would have Twilight at their mercy - and they would not be nearly as nice as these masseuses.
Giving a little giggle at the thought of taking a few kicks at Twilight once they’d sealed her magic and taken back the land, Fluttershy gave herself fully to the pampering, dedicated to trying to enjoy it more than the Lord Librarian had hoped she would.
“Now, what is the status of the legions?” asked Twilight, walking alongside one of the last ponies she would have expected to be one of her chief lieutenants - Prince Blueblood.
She knew him. He was a jerk, a twit, and a boor, but he wasn’t a traitor... or even evil-ish! At least, her universe’s wasn’t. This universe had replaced him with... an exact physical copy who had a maniacal love leading armies of knights to ravage any countryside available.
Who wore an eyepatch with a frowny face on it.
“Ready as ever, my beautiful lordship,” he said with a haughty and flirty tone. “All of the legions are, as ever, well trained, well prepared, and lusting for the most violent sport available. With but a single exalted command, you could unleash me, as well as send them rampaging straight to the ends of the earth.”
Twilight rolled her eyes. He wasn’t as subtle as the Blueblood she was used to either, even if he was more muscled - a lifetime of siege warfare and pillaging apparently made for a firmly toned flank.
“That won’t be necessary, thank you,” she responded politely, drawing a cute little pout from him. “Now, how are my other lieutenants doing?”
“Oh, well enough for themselves, I suppose,” he said with flared sigh. “I suspect that Trixie is off somewhere plotting new ways to adore you and Flim and Flam have tinkered with an infernal contraption or two today, but the brothers so rarely do anything more than tinker. It’s unforgivable, really. If I promised to build you a death ray, I suppose I’d do it - their last one hardly slowed that rebel unicorn down at all, though it did at least light her tail on fire - I’ve rarely laughed as hard as I did at that sight!”
Twilight’s mind boggled, trying to take it all in and not react and understand everything she was hearing; no easy task to be sure.
“Now, that little pegasus minx is probably putting the Shadowbolts through formations - I do wish you’d give me control of them, Lord Librarian,” continued Blueblood as they walked down the West Hall of Canterlot. Gone were the portraits and statues that Twilight was used to, replaced with a ghastly array of torture devices, weapon racks, and disorganized bookshelves. Evil Twilight seemed to have no idea how to alphabetize or even the faintest clue what the Decimal system was! “I’m simply dying to have their commander serving under me and to have your most elite airborne soldiers at my disposal. And, if I may say so, while a powerful warrior, Derpy is hardly the best strategist.”
Twilight stumbled slightly as her brain hiccuped. Derpy? Sweet, goofy little Derpy? Was one of her... evil subordinates? And Blueblood was really so boorish as to say what he’d just said?
Aw, but that little frowny face eye patch took his persona from harassing jerk to overly flirtatious scum, so she couldn’t stay mad at him.
No! She could - she refocused her magic shield and felt more proper disgust at the Prince’s statement.
“And, last and least of all, your lizard is as he always is - hungry,” finished Blueblood as they came to an intersection in the hall. “So, my most majestic master, will you be joining me on the parade grounds to inspect the troops or seeing what disaster those idiots have cooked up in the laboratories?”
Twilight paused. She needed to sound aloof and evil, but if she went over the top, Blueblood might catch on. It was a small chance, as he had roughly three brain cells total and the two big ones seemed more focused on mares than intrigue, but it was a chance. It seemed simple enough, though - play to his ego, tell him what he wanted to hear, like the bad guy in the Daring Do novels did with his subordinates.
“I think it would be best to save what little remains of the laboratory while I still can - idiots can so rarely be left unattended,” she said, taking a rather harsh tone while sticking her snoot slightly into the air. “And run the anti-air crews through a few extra drills. Their performance this morning was unacceptable.”
“Of course,” he said with a bow before cantering off happily. With a sigh and a stomach churning in revulsion, she turned and began to make her way into the lab.
“This is not Twilight.”
“Release me, you spineless rebel scum!” bellowed what looked like Twilight Sparkle, sounded like Twilight Sparkle, but was decidedly not Twilight Sparkle. Spike, the other Elements of Harmony, and princess Celestia were assembled in the dungeon where they had manacled the unicorn to the wall.
Manacled, after she had built a giant robot suit and launched an attack on Canterlot castle.
“How do you know?” asked Rainbow Dash, looking to Applejack. Applejack, who had been the one to make the bold declaration, took a step forwards before speaking.
“Well... my first hint was when she shot lasers from her eyes.” Everyone nodded their heads at Applejack’s assessment - that had been rather telling. “‘an the whole evil cackling, bizarre ranting, and monocle thing. I didn’ even know that monocles were somethin’ ponies really wore.”
“At least, outside of the more prestigious Canterlot events,” said Rarity.
“But the biggest thing is that, well, she just... doesn’t seem right to me,” replied Applejack, giving a little shudder. “And right before she went all bonkers, Pinkie had those weird liver feelin’s-”
“And I’ve never had that show up in my Pinkie Sense before!” interjected the pink pony.
“Which means one of two things. This ain’t Twilight, or Twilight’s gone evil,” said Applejack, concluding her speech. “An’ I don’t think she’s gone evil.”
“So, then, if this isn’t normal Twilight, who is she?” asked Spike, his worry visible in the nervous stream of smoke rising from his nostrils.
“I do not know...” said Celestia, taking several steps forwards. Twilight snarled, struggling in her bonds. “But I can feel the magic of chaos in her, though it is quickly fading. I imagine that in a day or two she may calm down and be able to be questioned.”
“I’ve cursed you before, you miserable matriarch, and I’ll do it again the moment I escape!” ranted Twilight, flashes of laser vision flaring from under the enchanted blinders on her face. “Now release me lest I become truly wicked in my wrath!”
“...oh,” she said, pausing a few moments later. The purple unicorn took a deep breath “Sorry everpony, I was having a bit on an episode there. When I get stressed I still have the urge to monologue and shout doom to ponies.”
“... so, did you like, just un-become evil... or...” Rainbow Dash’s question trailed off awkwardly.
“No, definitely still evil, just more lucid,” explained not-Twilight Sparkle. “Now, seriously, we need to get me back to my home dimension while we still can. I’ve a very delicate scheme to take over the world in the works and if I am not there personally, an entire planet could be destroyed.”
“What?” exclaimed Spike in shock. “Take over the world? Destroy the world?”
“It’s a scheme that’s been done to death, I know,” said Twilight with a little shrug. “But I’m sure you agree, a conquered world is better than a vaporized one.”
“I don’t think it’s safe to send her back if she’s got some sort of world destroyin’ plan in the works!” stated Applejack. “Nopony with a scheme like that can be trusted to start with, an’ she’s right out told us she’s bad!”
“True, but there’s a world in danger and you seem a heroic assortment,” observed Twilight, before a rather wicked grin took to her lips. “And, as the more valorous sort, I should think that you will be forced by your conscience to choose the lesser evil.”
There was a short, tense silence, followed by the begrudging acceptance that they had to help Evil Twilight not destroy another world.
Stepping into the lab, Twilight didn’t know what to expect.
She had good reasons to be clueless. One, there wasn’t usually a laboratory where the East Ballroom was. Two, she didn’t know who was working in it. Three, she was in an alternate dimension. And four, they hadn’t properly documented what processes were being executed on the door’s warning placard, indicating they cared little for proper laboratory procedure - so they were either careless, evil, or both.
Taking a deep breath, Twilight Sparkle magicked the door open and stepped inside.
“Ooooh dear,” she gasped, realizing she was in a weapons production facility.
A vaguely familiar pair of ponies were at work on some sort of machine that had tubes, nozzles, knobs, levers, screens, strumpets, buttons, and an anglomatic press that was somehow set at a six hundred and sixty-six degree angle. They didn’t seem aware she was inside yet, which was good - she needed a moment to take in the fact that there was a cabinet labeled “Doomsday Devices Powered by Zap Apples” next to a cabinet labeled “Doomsday Devices Not Powered by Zap Apples”.
Oh, and some sort of bottling plant producing what was obviously some sort of mind control serum for mass distribution, a Zap Apple based gauss redactor, and a door to the “Want-It-Need-It Warhead Storage” center.
As she stood gaping at the rather impressive arsenal, noting that there were several fire safety violations near one of the thermite detonators, she grappled with the horror of any version of her in any world needing such a stockpile. That moment of distraction was just long enough for her to be noticed.
“Well, look, good brother, it’s our great lady Sparkle~” said Flam of the Flim-Flam Brothers, giving a great mad laugh as he bounded down the side of the hissing device he’d abandoned. “That villain, that schemer, that scoundrel most matriarchal.”
Twilight put her brain on standby for a moment.
“But, wait, dear Flim - it’s much much earlier than she normally comes to the laboratory,” commented Flam, slithering down next to his brother. Gone were the dapper swindler clothes and the bushy, trustworthy mustache - now, they’d gone full Snidely Whiplash, with striped vests, black capes, top hats, and a mustache that shone with a sinister, waxy shine. “And I fear she may be seeing if our work is merely perfunctory.
“Or perhaps she needs a new death ray—”
“No, she obviously has plenty—”
“Or another mutant beast—”
“Flam, she’s got over twenty!”
“I can say with aplomb that she doesn’t need a bomb~”
“And our serum has the soul of every Guardspony under her control~”
“So she must be here for the Super Vicious Orphanator Six-Thousand!”
“Ah, no no no, ah, no,” she said quickly, cutting them off before the first bridge began. Both of the brothers, about to launch into their song and dance, stumbled over each other and cartwheeled into a beaker-covered table. There was a hiss of acid as a cloud of smoky vapor filled the air. Twilight fell back coughing, moments later realizing the danger they were in.
She quickly cast a spell to disperse the fog and saw they were desperately gasping for air, chemical spots burning their coats. A quick cleaning spell removed the acid from them and the floor and a simple first aid spell cleared their lungs.
“... oh... dear,” grunted Flam, panting where he lay. “M-my lady... I mean, Lord Librarian, please excuse us for this mishap—”
“We can make it up to you—”
“We’ll mix up new toxins during our break, we promise—”
“Uh, it’s, um, okay,” said Twilight awkwardly, giving an armored shrug. Why were they apologizing? It had been an accident - and besides, they were the ones who got hurt! “You both are breathing better, right?”
“Uh, yes, Lord Librarian!” said Flim, hopping up and letting out a cough. His brother followed a few seconds later, standing weakly. “W-we are ready for any task - COUGH - you wish of us.”
“... uh, yeah, you two should... um... take the rest of the day off,” said Twilight, looking over them. “You two just got exposed to a whole lot of chemistry, you really should take it easy.”
“... really, Lord Librarian?” asked Flam, looking shocked.
“W-well, you have been doing a wonderful job lately!” said Twilight, realizing she was supposed to be evil. She cursed herself for forgetting - obviously, evil Twilight would have called them foals, punished them, and stuff like that. “And, while I may normally treat you as the foalish idiots you are, from time to time everypony needs a break.”
She paused, looking at her hoof as if it was more interesting than them, just to make sure they knew that this wasn’t anything important.
“Or, at least, I have read that - it was one of those older tomes on managing one's subjects the sisters wrote - mostly good for a laugh, but there were a few decent ideas in it.”
“T-thank you, your Lordship!” said Flim, looking shocked and happy. Which was odd, considering he’d been gassed a few moments before. “We’ll just tidy up first, if we may—”
“If? You will,” said Twilight, turning and marching out of the room. Her heart was beating so fast she thought it might explode, but those acting classes that Rarity had put herself and her friends through before they’d been in that Hearth's Warming Eve play were really paying off. “I suppose I can tolerate clumsy, but we can leave being filthy to the earth ponies, can’t we?”
As the door shut behind her, her eyes bugged out.
The racist comment had just slipped out. She’d heard such things from unicorns, but it wasn’t polite to say even amongst purely unicorn company. And she’d just realized that every one of evil Twilight’s lieutenants were unicorns. She wasn’t just an evil tyrant who wrote on books. She was an evil racist tyrant who wrote on books!
She quickly dashed off down the hall to find out where Derpy and the Shadowbolts were, because she desperately needed to affirm to herself that she wasn’t actually a unicorn supremacist.
The Shadowbolts were at least easy to find - the sound of thunder and lightning drew Twilight to the roof. She found a group of pegasi flying circuits under a front of black storm clouds, dodging bolts of lightning.
Mostly dodging bolts of lightning. One of their number had been struck and went down in a pillar of smoke.
“Soarin’!” barked a goofy voice. Twilight looked at the top of the clouds and saw Derpy barking out orders in a black hooded uniform with a lightning bolt pattern. It looked good on her - true, more severe than Derpy usually looked, but it added authority to her already strange presence. “The goal is to not get killed!”
With a puff of dust, Soarin’ struck the lawn below.
“Soarin’! Did’ja die?!” barked Derpy, launching more lightning at the Shadowbolts. “Because if you did, I’m taking your muffin! And don’t forget, that’s the only food we’re getting today!”
“I-I think he’s really hurt!” called one of the other pegasi, weaving through the crackling energy.
“Gah!” growled Derpy, leaping off the cloud and flying down to the injured pony. “What am I doing wrong? The more I try and train you, the more you guys die!”
“Uh, hey!” said one of the Shadowbolts, pausing now that there were no bolts of lightning to dodge and noticing Twilight’s presence. “C-commander! S-she’s here to see you!”
Derpy, who had been giving the singed by alive Soarin’ a quick check-over, looked up in horror at the roof. One eye fell on Twilight, the other swirled in fright. The gray pegasus leapt into the air and scrambled towards where Twilight stood, quickly prostrating herself in front of Twilight.
“I-I’m sorry!” she bawled in a tone that filled Twilight with guilt. “I didn’t see you! Please, Library Lady, only punish me!”
Given everything that had happened lately, it was at least slightly heartwarming to find out that somepony cared about someone - “only” punish her? Who else would Twilight punish? She reasoned a really over the top bad guy might harm everypony, but group punishment was rarely effective.
“Oh, it was no offense,” Twilight said, the bored tone becoming easier with time. Derpy looked up with a gleeful smile that made Twilight’s stomach churn. “I was merely coming up to glance over your training.”
“Oh, thank you, Library Lady!” said Derpy, crawling over and kissing Twilight’s forehooves. Twilight shivered involuntarily - that was really weird and she didn’t like other ponies doing that.
“Hmm... though, let’s say I had been needing to speak to you... who would I have punished?” Twilight tried to phrase this carefully. She wanted to sound like she was reminding Derpy what could have happened. There were a few tense seconds as Derpy looked up at her.
“M-my daughter Dinky,” said Derpy, backing away and looking down.
Twilights stomach ran cold.
“A-and how would I do it?” The question just slipped out of her mouth.
“Y-you’d send her back to magic kindergarten,” replied Derpy. “Again. B-but you're not gonna, right? I didn’t screw up this time, did I?”
“No, no nonononono,” said Twilight quickly, shaking her head. “Just... checking! Byenow!”
Twilight ran down the stairs back into the castle, ducked into a side room, and slammed the door shut.
She was threatening somepony’s daughter? Routinely? With being sent back to magic kindergarten? Sweet Celestia, that was almost as bad as writing in books! That explained why Derpy was one of her followers - if Twilight was some sort of unicorn supremacist, it made sense that someone with a unicorn daughter might serve her - or was it willing? Flim and Flam had made a mention of some sort of mind control earlier.
Curiously, in the grip of her panic, Twilight was slowly becoming aware that this room was the map room on the third floor and that it was curiously identical to the one from normal Canterlot. It was dusty from a lack of use, but completely unchanged - even if the layout had been similar in other halls and chambers, the decor of the rest of Canterlot had been modified.
Wait... there was a faint smell in the air. Of... mint.
That didn’t make any sense, if the room wasn’t in use. Moldy parchment would have a stronger odor, unless the mint was fresh. She reasoned that the mystery would be good for getting her mind off of the fact that she was a racist overlord for a few moments and stood shakily, taking a few steps and looking around as she searched for the unimportant but distracting smell.
Spiders... ew, no... some maps of mountains, outdated by centuries... ah, there was another whiff of the scent. Twilight followed, snuffling slightly, as the faintest of breezes lead her to a bookcase.
It was in perfect order.
Twilight felt herself relax involuntarily. The sight of the books, a collection of atlases, in chronological order, was a strange comfort to her in this weird world. All those horrible things that she had seen and the other her had done couldn’t be purged by this, but it was wonderful to see that order could be brought into this world. The thought sounded stupid to her, but she was desperate, desperate for any sort of non-wrongness.
But that didn’t answer where the smell was coming from... unless...
Yes. She tossed up a little dust and watched it waft about near the bookcase. Yes, sadly, her suspicions were true. The kind, gentle, unassuming bookcase was a front to a secret door. She paused, considering if she wanted to know what was behind it, then mused it was for the best - at the very least, it could be a good hiding spot.
Absentmindedly, she reached out and pulled on a book at random and the wall lurched, the bookcase lifting up and a passage revealing itself. She dashed inside before it shut, then lit the room with her horn.
And found herself face to face with Discord.
Who was in a bottle.
Yes, there was a draconequus in a bottle, looking grumpy and immobile. Now that Twilight was aware of her surroundings she realized the room reeked of powerful magic. Her quick mind began to scramble for answers as she stared, eyes focusing in on the narrow, glowing auras of the spells.
Discord was being contained in the bottle by an ingenious series of spells that Twilight had never seen before. If he tried to use his magic to break out, it would use twice as much to cancel what he had done. And he couldn’t just break the bottle, since he didn’t have enough room to move. He seemed grayer in color than she remembered and his eyes definitely looked duller.
Next, came why he was in the bottle. It was attached to a small still of some sort that bubbled, lit by an interior heater. It seemed to be converting magic - Discord’s - into a liquid of some sort, then boiling off most of the chaos using a hotplate and a banishment spell, then purifying the remainder and adding drops into a beaker.
With curiosity overpowering her better judgement, she walked over and took a sniff of the resulting brew.
It smelled like mint.
With terror, she remembered the first thing she’d noticed when she woke up that morning - the taste of mint. Did that mean she’d drunk some of... whatever this was? Why would she do that? Twilight wondered how anypony could get such an idea in the first place!
Wait, there was another scent in the air. A little staler and fainter. Taking a step back, she jostled against a stool she hadn’t noticed and sent it clattering over, the sound of breaking glass following. She focused the light of her horn downwards... and found the broken remains of a half eaten onion and pepper casserole on the ground.
From inside his bottle, Discord let out a menacing, if strangled, laugh.
“I told her to watch what she ate after consuming my magic,” he wheezed breathlessly, his dull eyes focusing on Twilight. “So, my little hero, are you here to save me from the big, bad, you?”
Twilight let the words ring around in her head for a little bit.
Then, she danced a jig.
Discord was obviously confused by this, and dancing in a dark room when broken glass is around your hooves is generally asking for comical injuries, but it had to happen. Twilight had to celebrate.
“Whoo! Yes! I’m not evil!” she cheered, shaking it as it ought not be shook. “I knew something was wrong with everything! But now it all makes sense! The me from this world went evil because of of you, not because-”
“-you are the worst pony?” interjected Discord, trying to shield his eyes from her so called “moves”. This statement brought Twilight to a pause - then to a panic as the cessation of motion nearly sent her tumbling over onto the broken casserole. After she had stabilized, he continued. “Because it wasn’t I, if you can believe it, who made you, you. And, I dare say, I couldn’t make a pony as truly horrid as you if I tried.”
“Liar,” Twilight spat out immediately. She knew who/what she was talking to. Discord would obviously start trying to manipulate her, like he had in her world.
“No, its true,” sighed Discord, the glass fogging up at his exhalation. “You don’t even have to take my word for it. Ask when you had my statue removed from the garden, where I was sharing a pedestal with my fellow immortals. Because it was a week ago.”
“... a week...” said Twilight, not believing him. At least, not wanting to. She lacked the data to either support or deny his statement, meaning it was only a feeling... but....
“And this beautiful chemistry brewing between us? Brand new, as of the moment you broke the curse that kept me motionless,” he continued, twitching his limbs slightly. “It’s rather odd, really. Normally, being cramped like this would be a horrible fate, but now I can at least wiggle. If it wasn’t for the fact I am being slowly melted alive, I would have to say it was an improvement.”
“A week?” said Twilight again. Her moment of joy had been totally crushed. She knew that Evil Twilight had ruled this world for years - so if it was only a week, there was no way that Discord had done this to her.
“I see you are one of those slow-witted heroes who parrots villains’ shocking statements,” moaned Discord, rolling his eyes to the heavens. “Please, at least tell me you don’t have to scream and hover in order to power up your magic - yes, it has only been one week. Of being boiled alive. I am blameless, innocent, magnificent, and not culpable for anything gone wrong in this world. Now, if you’ll let me out-”
“-then I’ll send you back whence you came.”
Twilight trotted over to the burner and turned it off.
“So that’s a yes?” Discord hissed hopefully.
Twilight turned and trotted to the door.
“Wait! Wait! Wait,” he called after her. “I can offer more things! This is the part where we bargain! Please!”
“Discord, in my world, you broke out of your statue, nearly destroyed Equestria, and mutilated and enchanted my friends.”
“...ah,” sighed Discord, wincing. “So, I take it that that roguish devil left you rather... put off from draconequus, then?
“Yeah, wasn’t a good start.”
“Well, at the risk of sounding needy and repetitive, let me out and we can start anew. Or at least, you know, stay here.”
She could tell that Discord had swallowed some of his pride with that last sentence. And he seemed lonely, bored, and rather pathetic. Twilight didn’t even bother looking back as she shut the secret door, not willing to risk exposure to Discord to feed some misplaced feeling of mercy.
“Your wonderfulness,” said Trixie, appearing at Twilight’s side as Twilight ambled aimlessly, trying to find the dungeons. Twilight was starting to feel tired - the armor she was wearing was rather heavy. “We’ve readied the torture rooms - as soon as you are ready, we can begin on that rascally rebel.”
Twilight mmm’d, choosing a neutral statement. She was tired, shell shocked, and hungry, so she needed to be careful; watch what she said and not sending any messages that could be misconstrued.
“I must say, Lord Librarian,” Trixie said, slinking closer as they trotted. Twilight was starting to feel a little uneasy with the look that was forming on Trixie’s face. “I-I can’t wait to see what you do to her. Whenever I’ve watched you torment a prisoner, it’s been so... magical. So wonderful, to watch your hooves and horn at work.”
Twilight looked away to hide her bulging eyes. Really? Trixie would just say that, in a hall, to Twilight? How would Evil Twilight react? Blueblood had been rather forward, but hadn’t reacted to her not reacting. Would reacting or not reacting give her away now, or would her inability to control her reactions do that?
“A-and I have to say, Lord Librarian.” Trixies breath was now drifting past Twilight’s armored ear, the warmness wafting the smell of epimedium. “T-that... I’ve always wanted... to... I’ve always dreamed of...”
Twilight was too shocked by what was happening to realize where she was walking and ran nose first into a pillar.
“Lord Librarian!” burst Trixie, looking shocked.
“Ow!” moaned Twilight, having fallen back on her haunches while she rubbed her aching nose. Of course, it was one of the few places that wasn’t completely armored - next time, she’d have to wear the faceplate with her armor as well. It was simply impractical to leave such an obvious target open. “Sorry, sorry, I was distracted. I was thinking about a-a... plot! I was thinking about plots!”
Trixies ears twitched.
“I-I mean I was plotting about you! Thinking about you! I mean, thinking about what you were asking while thinking about a plot!”
Judging by the dilation of Trixie’s eyes, her flustered smile, and the rising sexual tension between them, Twilight’s attempts to salvage the situation were going as badly as she thought they were.
“I’ll start tutoring you in torture spells!” Twilight babbled, mouth racing to try and fix the situation. “Because that’s what you wanted, right?”
“Spells - er, yes!” stuttered Trixie, looking both heartbroken and weirdly excited. “Yes, Lord Librarian, that is exactly what I was going to ask you to do to me. I mean, for me.”
“Ha.” Twilight was only able to chuckle out a single forced, static chuckle as she stood. “Yes, for you.”
“Yes,” replied Trixie, looking to the side.
There was an awkward pause as they stood together.
“I’ve... got to go. You know, torture and murder and maim, the usual,” said Twilight, pointing a hoof at the wall, then at a mirror, and finally down the hall. “So, um, later!”
“Oh! Oh, wait, one, um thing, my Lord,” said Trixie moments before Twilight took her first step. “I did, um, need to know when you wanted to start torturing the captive. The pegasus pinion press has a peculiar piston problem and the probability of predicting performance problems is painstaking and problematic.”
She paused a moment before continuing.
“So, if you need it before tonight, it might not work - we’re trying to fix it, but it will take time,” she finished.
“I don’t need it, so, um, don’t hurry,” replied Twilight, glancing back. Trixie looked nervous and awkward. Reflexively, Twilight gave her a comforting smile. “If I need to press any pinions, I guess I’ll just have to wing it.”
A wicked smile cracked on Trixie’s lips as Twilight snapped her head back forwards, grimacing in horror at what she’d just said.
After a quick lunch - Twilight couldn’t eat, so it was veeeerrry quick - and another trot around the castle to double check the layout, Twilight felt she couldn’t put it off any longer. She had to go see where Celestia’s statue was.
So she elected to put it off a little longer by sneaking down into the dungeons to check on Fluttershy.
A teleport here and a teleport there allowed her to completely bypass every guard and servant, meaning she could avoid any sort of detection. Not that she needed to, but she felt it would be best to start avoiding ponies - she wasn’t going to keep her cover long at the rate things were going.
Fluttershy seemed to be doing well - she was snoring softly on a freshly wrangled cloud. Other prisoners were at least being kept in tolerable, if still dungeonesque, conditions. They had hay and water, most of their limbs, and the unicorn jailers didn’t seem to be inclined to random torture.
Which probably meant Twilight liked to do most of the torturing herself, which was a wonderful burden to bear.
Returning to the surface she dodged around Blueblood and a phalanx of what appeared to be pirates, Trixie, who was berating the servants for not repairing Twilight’s room quick enough, and Derpy, who was allowing the doctors to apply ointment to her charred troops while devouring a platoon’s worth of muffins. Not to mention, innumerable guards, advisors, evildoers, ruffians, a tour group, lowlifes, and a runaway Super Vicious Orphanator Six-Thousand.
She didn’t do much other than dodge - it was surprisingly hard to go places where there weren’t evil ponies eager to kiss her hooves, which was totally gross. Twice she stumbled across a maid who screamed in terror, begged for forgiveness for something, and then when Twilight said nothing was wrong, rushed to kiss Twilight’s hooves. It sent shivers down Twilight’s spine - not the good kind! Not the good kind, more like the kind you got when a frog landed on your face.
In the end, she had to return to the dungeons - it was easier to stay hidden there.
With a weary sigh - her muscles were wobbly from the weight she was bearing and her horn felt like it was hollowing out from all the spellcasting - she slipped down the stairs to the dungeons. She wanted to scream. It was too much. Too much information, too much weirdness, and too much wrongosity. It was only a little after noon and she didn’t have the ability to go on. She needed a break - both in the sense of a short rest and some sort of fortunate occurrence that would redirect her from this state of helplessness.
Glad she was alone, she sat on the stairs with a groan, popped off her helmet, and slumped against the wall.
“Applejack, it just seems silly to stop diggin’ when we’re almos’ there!”
The voice was muffled, but definitely coming through the wall. And it was Big Macintosh. By Celestia, she could even hear the hay stalk swivel as he spoke.
“Mac, the plan is a dud! An’ we don’t know if we’re really close anyways-”
Good old Applejack.
Twilight leapt into the air, feeling giddy and refreshed. Of all the ponies in the world, Applejack was the best possible pony to have run into. Applejack always knew if somepony was lying or being untruthful and Twilight knew herself to be easy to read, if Pinkie Pie’s poker tournament had taught her anything. If she could talk to Applejack, the mare would know Twilight was telling the truth, no matter what Twilight said!
Even if it was crazy!
Like saying you were a non-evil version of yourself from another world!
And Applejack and Big Macintosh were likely to attack on sight like Fluttershy had!
“What the hay, it’s worth a shot anyways,” sighed Twilight, knocking on the wall with a hoof. “Hey! Hey, can you hear me?”
“W-wha? Mac, you hear that?” Applejack sounded alarmed, which was fair. Twilight had her ear pressed to the wall and cast a spell to make it easier for sound to pass through rock - Ha! And even Spike had thought that one was useless! Who was laughing now? Ha ha, hoo, woo. “Shoot, somepony heard us talkin’!”
“Yes, but don’t worry!” said Twilight, hoping they didn’t just run off.
“Don’ worry? About a voice when we’re tunneling into Canterlot? Do you take us for idiots?”
Twilight had feared Applejack asking that question. It wasn’t that Applejack wasn’t... competent... in her own ways. She had to be to run a farm, after all. But she wasn’t exactly smart, was she? Twilight didn’t feel that “smart” was a descriptive term that fit her well, no, not at all.
“Yes, but not in a rude way!” she blurted out. “You’re likely highly intelligent in a physical sense, or, um, at least... persistent enough to achieve goals normally outside of your range of ability! Really, Applejack, for an earth pony, you’ve always proved yourself surprisingly useful!”
Twilight facehoofed as the awkward silence bloomed.
“Look, I’m a non-evil Twilight Sparkle from another dimension,” the purple unicorn said with a long suffering sigh, hoping that dropping that kind of shocker would at least get a response that Twilight could gauge out of Applejack, for good or ill.
“Oh,” came the reply. Applejack sounded like she’d been struck. “Uh, yeah, so. You aren’t any Twilight Sparkle I’m used to dealing with, that’s pretty apparent.”
Thank goodness, Applejack was still herself.
“Because I don’t think she’d be dumb enough to say what you just said and try an’ convince me of anythin’,” she continued. “ So, miss... whoever. What are you doing?”
“Making a total mule of myself?” sighed Twilight. She winced again, then realized she hadn’t checked her magic shield in a while - it was weakening again. “Sorry! It just slipped out. I’m, um, being affected by the ambient magic of this world. It’s slowly making me evil. And racist.”
“... our world... is making you racist.” Twilight could hear Applejack’s cocked eyebrow; how was that even possible. “Uh huh, right, movin’ on. So, we were here to bust Fluttershy out-”
To Twilight’s consternation, hoofclacks started coming down the stairs.
Twilight shushed as loudly as she dared and cancelled the spell. Moments later, Trixie descended, the mare’s face lighting up as she saw Twilight.
“Ah! Lord Librarian!” Trixie had obviously been stalking for her. “A-are you ready?”
“Yes!” said Twilight emphatically. A plan and opportunity was falling into place. “Have Fluttershy brought to the deepest chamber immediately.”
“Yes, my master!” squeaked Trixie. She bowed, then looked up at Twilight with starry eyes. “W-will I be starting my lessons under you today?”
A bead of sweat rolled down Twilight’s cheek. Her brain raced, trying to figure out what an evildoer would do when doing this kind of... doing.
“No, not today, my cutest cohort,” said Twilight, reaching a hoof out and stroking it along Trixie’s cheek. She’d read this scene in a book once - the big baddie was stringing along an eager bad girl with empty promises. Trixie shivered at Twilight’s touch, leaning in slightly. “It wouldn’t do to simply start you with such... roughness, as I have planned for today.”
The larvan sexual tension from before had now emerged from its cocoon not as a caterpillar, but a majestic butterfly of homoerotic office romance and Twilight only had herself to blame for that.
“I-I understand, Twi-Lord Librarian!” Trixie stammered, eyes fluttering as she bowed again. She then rushed off, leaving Twilight alone with a pounding heart.
She focused and returned to the plan. Because that was totally where her mind was right now.
“Okay, so, I’m gonna get Fluttershy free,” said Twilight, recasting the spell on the wall. “And I’ll bring her back here and teleport over to you.”
“Why don’t you jus’ teleport, you know, out?” asked Applejack. “Can you?”
“Thirty paces is about my limit,” she explained. “It’s really hard magic. B-but you’ll still be here, right?”
“Well... um, yeah, I guess,” answered Applejack, sounding very unsure of everything. “What reason do we have to trust ya?”
“... none?” replied Twilight honestly. “And, um, I’ve never done a jailbreak before, so I might not even pull it off, so, uh, there’s that too.”
“... right,” said Applejack, obviously grimacing. “Well, let’s... let’s give this a try.”
“Just stay right there! I’ll be right back!” Twilight felt herself filling with cheer as she spun to make her way down the stairs. Things were finally starting to go right! She had an escape route! One that would lead her to safety with a group of highly trained killers who hated her! Now, all she had to do was break a crazed fighting machine out of her own jail, sneak past her own guards, and escape her own castle.
Twilight wondered briefly if it wouldn’t be simpler to risk taking Discord’s deal.
Fluttershy was a little surprised to wake up affixed to a torture rack.
Normally, they used the pegasus pinion press - obviously, they were still having problems with the piston pacing and pressurization, meaning today’s pain would be of a less patented pastiche.
Not the best thing to wake up to after getting the first teeth whitening in five years - not that she was complaining, oh no. Fluttershy was very happy with how her mouth felt - the dungeon’s dentist had been very polite and professional as he cleaned the plaque and tartar. It was sad that Fluttershy would enjoy something like that so much, but it had made her feel so... so... normal.
“Oh no,” she whispered, eyes opening and darting around as she realized what she’d just realized - that the evil plan to relax her had become a reality. She’d been broken - in a massage sort of way - and was now a soft, easy target for her captor.
“Nopony enter until I ask for it!” barked a familiar voice, causing Fluttershy to jump. The door to the torture room opened and then slammed shut and Fluttershy saw the armored form approach her - a moment later, Twilight Sparkle was there, an obscene look of joy on the mare’s face. Fluttershy wanted to punch that smile right into the back of the Lord Librarian’s skull.
“Okay, we need to get you off of this,” said Twilight, focusing on the bindings on Fluttershy’s wings and legs. Her horn glowed for a moment and the locks opened and the rope untied. “Alright, can you move?”
Fluttershy stared at her blankly for several seconds.
Then she put Twilight in a headlock.
“Gak!” gasped Twilight, her neck armor denting in as Fluttershy squeezed. “F-flut-ter! P-ple-ase!”
“That was the stupidest mistake I have ever seen anypony make!” cackled Fluttershy, pinning Twilight against the wrack and squeezing tighter. Twilight let out an adorable little wheeze as her lungs struggled for air. Fluttershy threw the manacles onto Twilight’s forelegs. “And it played right into our hooves!”
Fluttershy looked around triumphantly, expecting the stone walls to burst forth with rebels. They did not.
“I’mgunnadie,” Twilight gargled, eyes bulging out of her skull as she writhed feebly in Fluttershy’s iron grasp. That, coupled with the lack of reinforcements, gave the pegasus pause. The Lord Librarian had never been as strong as Fluttershy was, but she could easily overpower Pinkie Pie or Rarity. She should have at least been fighting back. As it was, it was more like fighting a bookworm. “Pleascantbreath.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” said Fluttershy, releasing her. Twilight wheezed a gasp of breath, coughing, and a moment later Fluttershy realized what she had just done. “Oh! No no no!”
She grabbed Twilight again and shook her angrily, retightening her grasp as Twilight’s mane flopped around from the violent motion.
“No no no! Shame on you - you don’t get to beg for mercy after all you’ve done!” spat Fluttershy, watching with pride as Twilight again began to gasp for breath. Fluttershy looked around again before frustration began to overtake her. “I don’t know what’s going on!” the yellow mare said with exasperation. “The trap was supposed to spring by now! Oh, you didn’t stop them, did you?”
Fluttershy wasn’t sure if Twilight was shaking her head or just being shaken, but it looked like a no.
“Oh. So... am I... early?” asked Fluttershy in confusion, glancing around. She crushed Twilight’s esophagus a little to ensure compliance as she mused over the situation. She had, after all, achieved her main objective of capturing the Lord Librarian, but without a way out, it didn’t mean much. Twilight’s eyes were rolling back into her head as Fluttershy puzzled over this unfortunate evolution of events.
“Well... I guess it couldn’t hurt to check the door,” she decided, letting Twilight go and socking her in the face. The unicorn collapsed unconscious as Fluttershy trotted to the door. She pressed an ear to the keyhole and didn’t hear anything, but looking through she could see a hall with several guards. Nopony she couldn’t handle - and too few of them to even slow her down.
Unless she was hauling an evil butt along with her - glancing back to where her would-be captor lay unconscious, she felt a little spike of joy at the realization that she had decked the witch and a little annoyance at the fact it would be harder to move her now that she was comatose.
With a little sigh, she resolved to wait a few minutes to see if her friends showed up.
Looking back, she noticed the Lord Librarian was lying in a rather awkward position. Feeling bad for a moment, Fluttershy trotted back over and began to move the tyrant into a more comfortable pose, tucking some of the Lord Librarian’s cape under the side of her armored head for a pillow.
“Wait...” she said aloud, realizing what she had just done. This wasn’t somepony that deserved mercy - and this was the second time she’d given it! Now that she was thinking about it, something seemed wrong about the Lord Librarian - she seemed softer, more trustworthy, like a bookish friend who you hadn’t seen in years.
Obviously, there was some fiendish magic at work, and Fluttershy resolved to figure out what it was.
ANNOUNCING - Cover Art Contest!
Looking for cover image of Twilight Sparkle, in a monocle, in a pose like evildoers always take. Can be armored or not. Winner will get their image displayed and a full credit on the story description and in the chapter debuting it. Second and Third Place will also get mentions in the debut chapter.
PM me with the link to the image before Dec. 1 and I will put it on my blog so people can vote on it.
Twilight Sparkle had been decked in the schnoz.
This was a rather novel experience for her. Oh, sure, she’d been in some scrapes and battles for the domination of Equestria with the forces of evil, but she’d never been punched right in the nose. It hurt. A lot. More than it ought to - she’d been turned to stone, had a piano dropped on her, zapped with lightning, set on fire more times that she could count... but whoo, oh, ow did her nose hurt.
Also, she had nearly been strangled to death by one of her best friends.
As the life fluttered back into her eyes, she was a little surprised by that turn of events. But, as she applied some critical thinking to the events leading up to her adorably violent throttling, she did realize her mistakes. One, this was not her Fluttershy - this was crazy action hero Fluttershy. Two, she’d never really explained to crazy action hero Fluttershy what was going on. And three, Twilight hadn’t gotten the faceplate for her helmet yet - her nose would have been delightfully safe had she been wearing it.
“Oooh, I’m getting so nervous!” whispered Fluttershy, pacing around. Twilight lay still, observing the yellow pegasus through barely opened eyes. Fluttershy was agitated and skittering around the table Twilight was lashed against - though there was a pillow, so it wasn’t that uncomfortable of a resting place - and seemed to be confused. Fluttershy seemed to be talking to herself to calm herself down, but of course, being Fluttershy, it just made things worse. “Where is everypony? I know they were going to be ready, I mean, they said they’d be ready... I must be early, I knew I’d mess this up! Everypony is going to be so mad at me!”
Wait, was this crazy action hero Fluttershy?
Then, suddenly, there came the sound of beating on the door.
“Lord Librarian!” called a soldierly voice. “Lord Librarian, is everything alright in there? We haven’t heard any screaming!”
“Eeep!” eeeped Fluttershy, covering her mouth with her hooves a second later. She trotted in place for a moment, then her face lit up. “Uh, everything's under control. Situation normal!” she called in a pathetic approximation of Twilight’s voice. It sounded more like Big Macintosh.
“What happened?” asked the guards.
Twilight winced. They bought it? Fluttershy sounded more like a guy than Twilight's voice! Twilight decided that if she ever took over her own world, she would personally handle the hiring of her guards to make sure they were not idiots.
“Uh, we had a slight magical malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now,” stammered Fluttershy, as amazed that it was working as Twilight was. “We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?” She ended with a nervous chuckle.
“Thats not the password!” barked the guard’s voice. A moment later the door to the torture room burst open and a dozen unicorn soldiers poured in. They were all heavily armored and had horns sharpened to a lethal point. “Ha! You stupid rebel, you think we’d reuse the old codes?”
“Grr!” squeaked Fluttershy with penultimate malice, dropping into a combat stance.
Twilight mentally accelerated for a moment, mulling over the situation. One, she’d just found out that Evil Twilight used a spytalk like code word system, which was a problem - and confirmed that her guards were stupid, even if well trained in cloak and dagger type interactions. Two, that she had a thing for soldiers who actually responded to danger, unlike Celestia’s guards - when those big, brawny stallions had broke in to save her it had set her heart aflutter.
She filed both thoughts away as notes as she took control of the situation.
With a burst of magic she teleported between the two groups of combatants a moment before the fight began. She put on an angry scowl, flared her magic for scary effect, and started ad-libbing.
“You idiots!” she roared at her soldiers. In unison, they fell backwards into a cowering company of cowards, fearing her rage. “You fools! Do you honestly think I needed your help? And now you’ve ruined my plan to gain the rebel’s trust! Get out! Get out before I turn you into something unnatural!”
Shrieking in terror, the soldiers fled.
“And close the door!” she bellowed after them. One ran back, gave a sheepish grin, and shut the dungeon door. Twilight counted to three to make sure they were gone, then let out a sigh.
Just as Fluttershy pounced.
This time, Twilight was ready and teleported to the other side of the room. Fluttershy landed where she had been, instantly rearing and spinning. She spotted Twilight’s new location and lunged!
So Twilight teleported Fluttershy back to the other side of the room.
“Die!” shouted Fluttershy, leaping again, wings straining as she flew - only to be teleported back to where she started.
“Okay, Fluttershy? This isn’t going to work,” explained Twilight, trying to keep her tone neutral.
“Sic Semper Tyrannus!” shouted Fluttershy, attempting to strike again.
“Fluttershy! Stop attacking me for a second!” sighed Twilight, teleporting the pegasus again. “And I was wrong earlier, it’s actually ‘sic semper tyrannis’, not ‘tyrannus’.”
“Oh,” said Fluttershy, pausing as she poofed back into existence. “Sorry, I’m not very good at one liners or battle cries.”
“I’m sure you’re good enough, Shy,” said Twilight, feeling bad as she saw Fluttershy look down at the floor. “Besides, battle cries aren’t that important, or, really, practical.”
“I know, but Rarity and Rainbow Dash both want me to work on my quips and shouts,” sighed Fluttershy before stomping her hooves slightly. “But I just can’t get it right! I just don’t have the volume or wit like they do! I just can’t roar and it makes me want to - to - scream!”
“Well, maybe jokes and yelling work for them, but that’s just because they aren’t you and you aren’t either of them,” said Twilight, trying to buck up her friend’s ego a little. Twilight had only meant to end the fight, not to make her feel bad. “Dash is loud and I’m sure Rarity has some scalding taunts, but if that’s not part of who you are, don’t try and be them!”
Fluttershy smiled weakly, looking up at Twilight.
“Gotcha, bitch!” she declared, darting forwards with alarming speed and lethal intent—
So Twilight summoned a door between them, which Fluttershy rammed into face first.
“Alright, it’s been too long,” declared Applejack. She looked to Big Macintosh and the other rebels in the tunnel. “Do we want to do this or back out?”
“It’s your call, sis,” said Big Macintosh, looking over the wall of the nearly finished tunnel. “One good kick to this wall an’ we’re in. But ah bet there’s plenty of traps in there.”
“Aw, heck, let’s try it anyways,” sighed Applejack, tightening the strap on her barding. Everypony let out a cheer and began to arm themselves. “Mac, send a messenger back so they know what’s goin’ on.”
“Apple Bloom!” barked Big Macintosh, looking around the tunnel. He heard the squeak of surprise and pushed aside several ponies, revealing Apple Bloom, who had dropped a knife she’d been wielding in shock.
“H-how’d you know ah was here?” she asked nervously, chuckling as Big Macintosh took the helmet off of her with a brotherly scowl.
“You always are,” he said with a shrug. “Anyway, we can count on ya sneakin’ around our missions. Now go on, Bloom. Take the message on back. The ponies at base need to know.”
“B-but ah want to help!” whined Apple Bloom, trying to jump up and take the helmet back. In her cobbled together armor she could barely get off the ground, but Big Macintosh still held it far out of reach. “Ah want to go rescue Granny with you guys!”
Big Macintosh and Applejack both froze as everypony else continued to prepare for the coming battle. In the dim light of the dusty tunnel, it was hard for Applejack and her brother to share a glance.
“Bloom, Granny ain’t here,” said Applejack, trying to keep her tone even. “Ya’ll know that. She’s... elsewhere.”
“... Ah know, but there might be a clue of what happened to her in there!” squeaked Apple Bloom, starting to tear up. “Ah want to find her! We don’t ever even talk about her no more! An’-an’ I miss her!”
“Bloom, Bloom...” sighed Applejack, pulling her little sister close. Applejack was now struggling with her own emotions. She was keeping a lid on them, which was good, because Big Macintosh looked just about ready to burst into tears. “Bloom, ah know you miss her. We all do. And Ah know we don’t talk about her much, but that’s because it hurts too much. With her... gone, an’ all, we just have to deal with it.”
There was a short, awful silence.
“Ain’t Granny Smith on an undercover mission?” asked one of the troopers, looking at Applejack quizzically.
“Gaw, shout it to the whole tunnel why don’t ya?” groaned Applejack, shooting him a death glare to silence him. Apple Bloom’s eyes had sprung open and were filled with joy while Big Macintosh began to bawl quietly. “Yeah, you heard the colt, Bloom; she’s doin’ a special mission. We were tryin’ to keep it a secret, so don’t tell nopony.”
“Oh, good,” sighed Apple Bloom, hugging her sister tighter. “Ah thought she was dead and ya’ll wern’t tellin’ me.”
“Bloom!” exclaimed Applejack, her voice returning. “Why? Why would ya’ll think that? We ain’t lied to you like that, not ever!”
“Well, Ah knew something was up,” said Apple Bloom, sighing in relief. She then looked to Big Macintosh, who was wiping his cheeks dry. “But Mac always gets all teary when we mention her.”
“My... my birthday’s come an’ gone,” he mumbled, blushing slightly. “An’ it’s the first one ever where Ah didn’ get a pie from her. An’... an’...”
“Ah know, Mac,” sighed Applejack. “We all miss her pies. An’ the farm. An’ everythin’.”
“Ah don’t miss the farm,” said Apple Bloom with a shrug. “Bein’ a rebel is way more fun.”
Applejack and Big Macintosh stared at Apple Bloom.
“Ya’ll just run back to base, missy,” said Applejack curtly, putting her down. “And wash that mouth out, because ah don’ ever want to hear you badmouthing Sweet Apple Acres again.”
Apple Bloom looked shocked for a moment, then swore nastily and galloped off in a huff.
“Alright, alright, sorry for the wait,” sighed Applejack, looking to the soldiers who’d been watching the family drama. “Who’s ready to kill some suns’a’dawgs?”
The troops let out a warcry.
“Alright! Move out!” barked Applejack, bucking the wall open. With a single kick the exposed bricks fell in, revealing the stairs of the Canterlot dungeons. “He-yah!”
Then the rebels stormed in and rammed into the platoon of guards hastily exiting the dungeon, reducing what was an attack plan into a disorganized melee.
“I’m so, so sorry, Fluttershy,” Twilight said again, watching the pegasus press the cold compress on tighter.
“It’s okay,” mumbled Fluttershy, wincing. She and Twilight were trotting down the dungeon passage, making it hard for Fluttershy to keep the wet towel on her bruised eye. “Y-you did warn me you were going to give me another eye injury.”
“But I didn’t mean it!” said Twilight, trying to make sure Fluttershy believed her. After hurting Fluttershy she’d been able to end the fight and explain things, and to Fluttershy’s credit, she’d believed Twilight’s crazy story. “I’m not evil! I wouldn’t normally hurt anypony!”
“Oh, I know that! Now!” said Fluttershy, looking worried. “I didn’t mean to insinuate anything. I just... well, I don’t even... I mean...”
“We’re both real sorry,” sighed Twilight, trying to cut Fluttershy’s apology parade off early. “Let’s just drop it - we need to focus on getting out of here.”
“So, I don’t know the dungeons too well,” said Twilight, looking around. There were doors, stairwells, and passages everywhere, but she only knew the ones that lead right back to the main parts of Canterlot - and that would be a risky place to go. She sighed, taking off her monocle and magicking some of the dust off of it. She hated the dungeons. They were dirty, scary, and hard to get out of. True, that was a list of ideal traits for a dungeon to have, but—
Twilight froze as she realized what she was doing.
“H-how long have I been wearing this?” she asked aloud, coming to a halt and staring at the monocle. She’d taken it off earlier, when she’d realized how she could block this world’s ambient magic, and never put it back on consciously. But now, she was wearing it - and even with her magic shield raised, her eye wasn’t going back into focus.
“Oh, you put it on while you were explaining how you met Applejack,” replied Fluttershy, looking to Twilight in confusion. “D-don’t you always wear it?”
“No! I have perfect vision!” exclaimed Twilight, feeling her heartbeat begin to rise. She began to pace around Fluttershy. “I get my eyes tested every year! I’m already dorky enough, I don’t need glasses too! And, and I only need to wear this thing when my magic isn’t protecting me from this world anymore!”
“S-so you are turning evil?” Fluttershy seemed surprised, like she hadn’t believed Twilight’s explanation earlier. “I-I didn’t believe you earlier!” she said, confirming it. “I was just going along with you because it seemed polite! S-so that means... if we don’t get you back to your world...”
“I’ll become evil!” squeaked Twilight, scrunching her eyes closed. She needed to relax, since she could feel her panic rising. True, she’d understood the situation before, but now, now it seemed more real. More dangerous. “An evil jerk! Ooh, I don’t want to be evil! I don’t want to torture ponies! I don’t want to rule the world! I don’t want to threaten ponies with magic kindergarten, wear spiky armor, or write in books!”
“... write... in... books?” Fluttershy said quietly, losing Twilight for a moment.
“Eeee! I don’t want to be here!” Twilight cried, losing control of herself as emotion and stress overtook her. “I don’t want to be in this stupid world! I don’t want to be in this stupid dungeon! I want—”
“—to be home in the library, I want to be out of this stupid incomplete armor, I want to be back in a world that makes sense!”
“Twilight?” Fluttershy said, a little louder.
“And I don’t want to be stuck with a stupid, interrupting pegasi!” shouted Twilight, snapping at the yellow mare. Fluttershy stumbled back into a corner as Twilight spun. “What? What is it, you insipid, feather-butted cloud kicker? Oh, do you miss the sky? Oh, is the ground too hard on your hooves? I don’t have time for your little problems, you cowardly, plant loving filly! I am having the start of a complex emotional breakdown and—”
“I just went crazy, didn’t I?” she asked sheepishly, blushing as Fluttershy stood back up. Twilight strained and put up a stronger shield around herself, her horn glowing continuously as she did so. “I-I’m back in control, Fluttershy.”
“T-that’s good,” said Fluttershy, regaining her composure. “I-I know what you’re going through. Must be so, so awful, but... but if you do go evil, I’ll have to kill you.”
Twilights ears pinned back. It would never stop being weird to hear Fluttershy say stuff like that.
“And, um, before?” said the yellow mare with a weak, nervous, sorry-I-told-you-I’d-kill-you smile. “I was interrupting because I figured out which way to go.”
The two mares galloped for the stairwell that Fluttershy pointed out and began to race for the surface. Twilight felt a little of her shame burn away, but not much. She was starting to lose it - she couldn’t last in this world forever and that was a problem. The stress would get to her - she knew how well she’d dealt with stress in the past and knew she’d be in bad shape soon.
At least, mental shape.
She started to wheeze as Fluttershy continued, unfazed. Twilight was really tired now, what with being strangled, wearing armor, and not usually needing to run up stairs for long periods of time. Slowly, she began to fall farther and farther behind Fluttershy, feeling her muscles burn in agony.
As Fluttershy vanished around a curve, pulling away from Twilight, the unicorn had to wonder what kind of shape her evil counterpart was in.
“So... that was a disaster,” groaned Applejack, tying the bandage on her hind leg off. They’d defeated the guards, but the strike force was now in no shape to continue on the mission.
“Eeeyup,” grunted Big Macintosh, kicking the last of the unconscious guards into a pile. He was pretty beat up, but he’d managed to avoid getting stabbed. Many of the other rebels were in a wounded state - these guards kept their horns very, very sharp - but luckily, there was nopony dead.
“Let’s move, quick - we can still close the tunnel behind us and get away without getting caught,” decided Applejack, hopping back into the mineshaft and gesturing for everpony to follow.
“We’re retreating?” shouted one of their soldiers.
“Course we are! This mission’s a disaster at every level!” barked Applejack, silencing any dissent. “Now get your behinds out of here, we need to—”
Everypony was shocked to see Fluttershy appear from the stairs below, nursing a blackened eye and without her armor, but alive and well. As the troops began to file out of the stairwell, Applejack hopped out of the way and ran to her friend.
“Applejack, oh, it’s so good to see you!” exclaimed Fluttershy, hugging the orange mare. “And you wouldn’t believe what’s happened!”
“Ah think Ah can guess - Twilight fed you some story about being not evil?” sighed Applejack, hugging her friend back - Applejack hadn’t liked the risk of letting Fluttershy be captured on the off chance that they’d be able to ambush Twilight in the dungeons, but now that Fluttershy was safe, she knew at least some good had come of her decision to go ahead with the rescue attempt. “Because she told us the same thing.”
“S-so you know!” said Fluttershy, looking overjoyed. “Oh, good, because we need to move quick, because—”
“Shy, it’s a lie,” sighed Applejack. Fluttershy froze. “Ah know, it’s a good one. Even Ah believed it. She told us she’d be coming back with you. But there were guards lying in wait for us.”
“Oh, she might have been late because of me,” said Fluttershy bashfully.
“Ah don’t think—”
“I knocked her out when she freed me.”
“... ah,” That certainty changed Applejack’s assessment. However, the mare still had reservations. “Still, we can’t just trust her. It’s too wacky a story.”
Both mares glanced down the stairs. Twilight Sparkle was weakly climbing up the stairs in her full plate armor, but she seemed too drenched in sweat and too out of breath to really move.
“Please... don’t leave me... wheeze...” Twilight didn’t seem to be all there at the moment. And the Twilight that Applejack was used to, the Lord Librarian, wouldn’t be reduced to this state by a little running. “… got to… get... to school... mom will... kill me... gasp... if I don’t get an A on the test....”
Twilight then gave a little choking sound as her eyes rolled back in her head and fell unconscious.
“... right,” said Applejack, trotting down the steps and poking the prone unicorn. “So, uh, Ah guess... Ah guess we could take her.”
“Do we have any unicorns with us?” asked Fluttershy, trotting down a few steps. Twilight’s horn was still glowing with magic and there was still a faint shield around the unicorn, but Fluttershy knew that was the protective spell Twilight was using to keep herself sane, not something dangerous to them. “It’d be easier to levitate her.”
“Naw, somepony has to carry her,” grunted Applejack, biting down on an armor strap and pulling. She gasped and let go. “Geez, ah don’t know if it’s the armor, but she’s pretty heavy!”
“W-when I was strangling her earlier she did feel kinda... pudgy,” said Fluttershy with a blush. “A-and now that you mention it... she is... kinda...”
Fluttershy swallowed, then said in a quiet, tiny voice “... fat.”
“Yeah, she’s a hay bale, all right,” sighed Applejack, struggling to push the undulated unicorn up a few steps. “Hey, Mac! Get down here and help me carry this lard butt into the tunnel!”
“Are we really taking her with us?” asked Big Macintosh, trotting down.
“Ah guess,” sighed Applejack, shucking off some of Twilight’s armor. It lightened her... but not by much. “Geez, don’t they have diets in her dimension?”
With some effort they got the unconscious unicorn into the tunnel and had several troopers and Big Macintosh carry her away. Applejack and Fluttershy collapsed the entrance, then began to cave in the tunnel as they retreated, ensuring they couldn’t be followed.
It was hard work, but neither mare was in a bad mood - all in all, the mission had been a success, of sorts. They had Twilight Sparkle captured, Fluttershy was safe, and nopony was dead. Though, injuries were high.
And one in particular had Applejack’s attention.
“So, uh, Shy?” she asked before bucking a support beam in half. She and the pegasus galloped away from the falling rock, deftly dodging the collapsing gravel. “How’d you get that shiner?”
“Oh, is it really bad?” asked Fluttershy, blushing as she broke a boulder supporting a side passage’s roof. “I haven’t seen it yet.”
“Shy, looks like you looked into an inkwell, it’s so black!”
“Oh, I hope Zecora will have an ointment or something for it,” mewled Fluttershy, obviously worried about her appearance.
“How’d you get it, anyways?” asked Applejack, skidding to a halt in a central chamber where several tunnels spread out. It was an old diamond dog warren they’d found. If you took the wrong turn, you’d be lost in seconds - but Applejack knew the way and led on.
“I, um...” Fluttershy trailed off, blushing deeply. “Promise not to laugh?”
“Rebel’s honor,” swore Applejack.
“I ran into a doorknob.”
She might not have laughed, but she hadn’t promised not to snort.
As Twilight slowly woke, she swore vengeance on Celestia.
Such a thing made her feel like she was little. It had been years since she had wished her mentor any ill. There wasn’t much point in loathing a defeated foe, especially when one had so many real ones.
But today, as the sun poured though the window of her cell onto her, the Lord Librarian was seething in her desire to push the heavenly alicorn into a wood chipper.
Hopping out of bed, Twilight set to checking the perimeter of her cell. It was a laughable jail - the walls weren’t electrified, there were no respiratory-failure causing molds to impede a prisoners long-term ability to maintain a fighting physique, and there were silk sheets on the bed.
Twilight snorted derisively as she looked over the plush pink mattress and fluffy covers. No prison of hers would enable a convict to wake up feeling good.
The perimeter was, sadly, secure. Too secure for Twilight’s estimations - Celestia was too trusting of ponies. It seemed that somepony more military-minded had reinforced the cell - and that meant there was a chance that in this dimension, her brother was still free.
Twilight did not like that idea, not one bit.
“ Breakfast!” she barked, banging on the door of her cell before trotting to her desk to work on the dimension-bridging magitech blueprints. She had a lot of numbers to re-crunch before her ‘friends’ returned with the supplies for building the device. It would work, though not in the way Twilight had told them.
With a evil grin, she telekinetically grabbed a compass and slide rule and got to work.
She’d forgotten how easy it had once been to trick ponies. A little white lie, an omission of a fact, and a few flirty manipulations had once been able to get her anything - loyalty, treasure, even power. But as she’d grown, ponies had begun to learn her techniques. By the time she conqured Cloudsdale, everypony knew you could only trust the Lord Librarians word for as long as it took her to get somepony to stab you in the back.
But with these fools...oh, it would be so easy. There wasn’t anypony with a chance of catching her machinations - except for, perhaps, the goody-two-horseshoes dimension version of her brother.
The door opened and she turned, expecting the guard. She sighed and winced when she noticed it was a guard commander. Shining Armor, to be exact - proving once again that the advice from one of her favorite books, “ Tempting Fate - The Classic Mistakes of the Would-Be Villian” was something to follow - should always be followed. Page 27, paragraph two - ‘ Never speak of or think about the one pony who could foil your plans. They will inevitably show up for no good reason.’
“ Hi.” he said awkwardly, levitating a tea-tray over to her and setting it on the desk. It was set with an amazingly pleasant looking breakfast - most of her favorites were on it, from pulpy orange juice to sugared oatmeal. “ How’s it, Evil Twily?”
“ I assume you’re here as some sort of intimidation tactic?” growled Twilight, picking up a piece of toast - burnt on one side, crisp on the other, and buttered evenly - and taking a bite. It was just like her mother had used to make for her, before she’d put Mom and Dad in the salt mines.
“ Yeah. Standard techniques, bring ponies to visit the prisoner to make the prisoner uncomfortable. Celestia also wanted somepony to buff up the spells keeping you here. We’ve moved an entire unicorn platoon to counterspell duty.” he said in a professional, matter of fact tone.
“ Hardly sufficient.” chuckled Twilight, looking over her brothers form. She’d forgotten what he had used to look like. “ So, they tell me you married Cadance.”
“ They tell me you’re a jerk.”
“ The pink pony said you were mind controlled by a bug queen.”
“ They tell me that your deathbot got taken down by the palace gardener.”
“ They tell me that Mom and Dad aren’t slaves in a forced labor camp here.”
They stared at each other for a moment. The focus in Shining Armors eyes flickered for a moment - he was obviously not used to hating his sister.
Then, he cast a tickle spell on her ears.
“ AAA! AH AH AH!” she gasped, collapsing to the ground in delightful agony. “ NO NO! NO - he - NO - ha ha - no! - HA HA HE HA!” The spell was unmerciful, just like when they had been little. He always used this spell to mess with her, one of the reasons she’d taken her brother down early in her plan to seize power. It was her greatest weakness and he knew it.
When he stopped, she lay panting on the floor.
“ Twily asked me to stop doing that a few years ago.” Shining Armor said with an amused chuckle. “ But you are not her. So, I think I’ll use the spell whenever you step out of line. Oh, and I taught it to all of the guards.”
“ I will murder you.” Twilight hissed, trying to struggled back up. Her hooves were still unsteady as she wheezed.
“ Would you do that anyways?” asked Shining with a curious smirk. She scowled - it was rather obvious that she would. “ Well, got to go. I have a long day of watching your every movement ahead of me. Oh, and for some reason, Mom and Dad send their love.”
He trotted out. Twilight wanted to hurl a knife at him, but she both couldn’t - she lacked any knives - and found herself unable to even move. His last line had...stung.
Why had it stung?
Twilight hated her parents! She’d done monstrous things to them while they begged for mercy! Why would getting ‘their love’ via a pithy message by her brother suddenly fill her blood with ice?
With mounting horror Twilight realized that she wasn’t wearing her monocle and that her vision was perfect.
This dimension was starting to corrupt her.
Twilight woke up, her body feeling like it was on fire.
“ Oooooh, Celestia.” she moaned, rolling over. Her bed was lumpy and the sheets felt coarse. As a little bit of consciousness flowed into her brain, she started to remember the events that had led up to her passing out.
Her throbbing strangulation bruises filled the rest in.
Standing on aching hooves, Twilight found herself in a dingy looking tent. The cloth it was made from was dirty and old, as was her bedding, and there were no adornments. Spotting the exit, she trotted over and peeked outside.
A pair of glaring guards met her gaze, causing her to squeak and tumble back.
“ Morning, sleepybutt!” chirped a voice from behind her. Twilight spun and found Pinkie Pie standing behind her, dressed in combat gear like the stealth suit she’d worn in the Crystal Empire. “ How’s my little tyrant today?”
“ I’m...I’m not the Twilight you’ve met.” said Twilight, still trying to wake up and get her bearings. “ I explained it to Applejack and Fluttershy, I’m-”
“ From another dimension? Yeah, we know!” Pinkie Pie hopped around her with a broad smile on her face. “ Me and Rarity figured it out while the assault team were out! The liver squeezings were pretty new, but a little bit of Pinkie Sense Science and we zeroed in on dimensional conbobulation!”
“ Rarity’s here?” Twilight couldn’t contain the excitement in her voice. She’d feel a lot safer around a unicorn. “ Actually, who all is here? I’ve only met Applejack and Fluttershy...is Rainbow Dash around?”
“ You know Dash?” asked Pinkie Pie, sounding surprised.
“ She’s one of my best friends in my world - in fact, I’m friends with you, Applejack, Fluttershy, and most importantly Rarity!”
“ Wow!” Pinkie Pie’s legs folded as she sat back, looking stunned. “ You’re friends with all the resistance leaders!”
“...the resistance leaders?” asked Twilight, taking a moment to process the fact. “ Wait, okay...I’ve seen what Fluttershy’s become...and Rainbow Dash is, well, Dash...and Applejack I can kinda see...but what does Rarity do?”
“ She’s one of the few unicorns with any real magical talent on the rebels side.” said Pinkie Pie with a sigh. “ Some unicorns either joined you, most got mind controlled by that stuff the Flim-Flam Fiends cooked up, or are foals born to earth pony or pegasus parents. And we’ve been losing those - we’ve had a lot of them run away when food was short and join with you.”
“ Not me! I’m good me, not evil me!” said Twilight quickly.
“ Oh, yeah, forgot!” Pinkie Pie replied with a sheepish grin. “ So, I’m supposed to take you to be debriefed by the resistance leaders. Don’t try and escape or I’ll shank ya!”
“ You don’t need to worry.” said Twilight, wincing at the thought of being stabbed by Pinkie Pie - she had no doubt the mare could be an enthusiastic ‘shanker’ if pressed. Pinkie gestured to the door with one hoof...and kept another by the dagger in her belt.
Trotting outside with Pinkie Pie close behind, Twilight found herself in the Everfree Forest. A camp, hidden beneath the trees and built into both the tree trunks and embankments, stretched in all directions. Ponies were at work everywhere, training in combat, repairing weapons, and tending wounds.
Every single eye fell on Twilight within seconds.
With a nervous chuckle she followed Pinkie Pie’s directions. Everypony here looked hungry and weary, which is how Twilight felt at the moment - but she’d only been like that for a day, while the rebels could have been like this for years. To their credit, the dirt ponies looked like they were faring better than the pegasi or very few unicorns - though few had seen enough meals in a long time.
As Twilight passed by one of the training fields, she noticed two familiar dumbstruck faces - Snips and Snails. She had always liked them, even if they were idiots - the fact they were here at the training fields meant they were at least good hearted idiots.
“ Wow.” said Snails as Twilight passed.
“ Heh - I didn’t know evil overlords were your type.” chuckled Snips, nudging Snails with his elbow. “ Thinking of betraying the rebellion?”
“ N-no!” protested Snails, looking shocked. A number of ponies nearby were now watching him as closely as they were Twilight - and a few had looks on their faces that Twilight didn’t like. “ I just like her flank!”
Snips fell over laughing.
“ Oh, come on!” said an aggravated Pinkie Pie, skidding to a halt. She looked to Twilight, then to Snails, then to Twilight’s flank. “ That haybale does it for you? Come on, Snails, I didn’t have you pegged for a chubby chaser.”
“ Chubby?” Twilight couldn’t choke down a snarl as she whipped around to face her friend. “ Chubby? Pinkie, I will have you know that my body-mass index is perfectly healthy! In fact, I’d have to put on a lot of weight to even be considered chubby!”
“ Yeah, yeah, you tell yourself that, cupcake.” snorted Pinkie Pie. “ Come on, do you think anypony is buying that?”
“ Uh...just to be honest and fair...I kinda agree with Snails.” said one of the colts nearby, having stopped practicing with a mace.
“ Yeah, she’s not fat. She’s actually really pretty.” said a stallion nearby. A bunch of nearby mares shot him hateful looks. “ What? Back before she took over Equestria, all the mares used to look like her!”
“ I have never had hips like that.” said Pinkie Pie, jabbing a hoof at Twilights butt. “ And I doubt that any-”
“ Oh! Wait, wait, wait, I know whats going on here.” said Twilight, cutting her off. Everypony looked to her expectantly. She explained in a slow, easy to follow tone. “ Years of calorie anxiety and hunger have made everypony here a lot leaner than normal. Mares, when they have lower than healthy body fat, tend to lose their curves. What we’re seeing here is a comparison between a society of undernourished individuals and one pony who’s been on a more secure diet.”
Everypony blinked, then muttered quietly.
“ Uh, and Pinkie Pie...” said Twilight, trailing off as she looked to her friend, who did not look convinced at a thing Twilight had just said. “ In my world, you’ve been on a diet for two weeks because you ate so many cakes that the doctors said that you were risking creating a gravity well in your tummy.”
There was a short silence.
“ What kind of cakes?” asked Pinkie Pie, a curious look on her face as she gestured again towards the rebellion commanders tent.
“ All of them.” said Twilight with a sigh, returning to the task at hoof.
“ Even carrot cakes?”
“ Uh, yeah.” Twilight replied, caught a bit off guard.
“ Guess I’ll have to tell my husband I like him even in parallel realities!” said Pinkie Pie with a giggle.
Twilights brain stopped, as did her body, as she slowly processed that thought.
“ Y-you’re married?” Twilight said, turning to Pinkie Pie in shock.
“ Well, duh, how else do you think I had a foal~” laughed Pinkie Pie, but she stopped a moment later. “ Oh, wait, I’m not married in your world? Oh no, that means your version of me never met my Carrot!”
“ Carrot?” said Twilight, brain entering overdrive. It ran down a list of ponies that would possibly be romantically compatible with Pinkie Pie AND had the name Carrot and only came up with one. “ D-did you marry Carrot Cake?”
“ Yep! He hee - I must know him in your world, right?” Pinkie Pie looked excited as she pressed for information. “ I met him a little while after I ran away from my families rock farm.”
“ You ran away?” asked Twilight.
“ Yeah - I got sick of rocks. I wanted to have some fun.” said Pinkie Pie, looking confused. “ I thought you said I was your friend - did we never talk about that?”
“ My Pinkie left the farm when she got a cutie mark for throwing parties and moved to Ponyville because she heard it was a fun place to live.” explained Twilight.
“ A party cutie mark? That sounds amazing!” said Pinkie Pie, plonking into the air. “ I mean, I love to party! I always thought that’d make more sense than the Recon and Intel cutie mark I got!”
“ Wait, you have a combat cutie mark?” asked Twilight, looking to Pinkie Pies thin and bony flank. A pair of goggles and a trenchknife were there, set against Pinkies pink coat. “ Oh...wow.”
“ Yeah, it’s not a fun one, but it’s a good one to have.” said Pinkie Pie, looking at her cutie mark proudly. “ You should see Dash’s, though. It looks so badass - she didn’t get it until the first time she took down a squad of Shadowbolt’s - it a lightning bolt striking a skull!”
“ Wait, so she didn’t get a cutie mark for doing a Sonic Rainboom?” asked Twilight.
“ A sonic what?” Pinkie shook her head. “ No, nope, nosireeno. She got one for aerial blitz tactics.”
Twilight then looked to her own flank. Her stars were still there.
“ Uh...what is my cutie mark here?”
“ It looks just like that.” said Pinkie Pie, gesturing to Twilights flank. “ Huh, why do you have the same cutie mark in both worlds?”
“ Because I got my cutie mark for magic....but in my world, at the same time as I got mine, Rainbow Dash did a Sonic Rainboom - it’s a really advanced flight trick that causes a huge rainbow. It spread throughout Equestria and we all saw it - you, me, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Rarity!”
“ Huh.” said Pinkie Pie. “ That sounds really neat! We were all connected! We’d have to have become friends!”
“...which means I might know why Evil me became evil!” said Twilight, realizing the link. “ We were linked! We didn’t know it, but we were! Without you guys, I must have turned evil because I was always alone - even though I didn’t have any friends in my world, there was that underlying connection!”
“...so the only reason you didn’t try and take over your world...” Pinkie Pie trailed off.
“...is because...of you guys.” said Twilight.
“ Wow. Heavy stuff!” giggled Pinkie Pie. “ I bet you lose a lot of sleep over this tonight!”
“ Yeah.” muttered Twilight.
“ Now march, prisoner.” grunted Pinkie Pie, jabbing Twilight with a hoof. “ Lets get back to the whole ‘save the world’ thing before anypony in Canterlot realizes you’re gone.”
Elsewhere...in darkness...a pair of glowing blue eyes open.
“ LordLibrarianScan.exe has failed. Target_Lord_Librarian is not within acceptable bounds.” announces monotone voice. The darkness fades the eyes brighten, revealing a gleaming, armor covered cybernetic stallion. Hisses fill the air as power and oil hoses begin to disengage from the mechanized being, falling to the ground around him.
Ten feet away, a pair of mule janitors look around in shock, desperate to find whatever switch they just bumped.
“ What did you do?” howled one, fumbling with his broom.
“ I don’t know! I didn’t touch anything!” protested the other.
“ BROBOT online.” announced the synthesized stallion, stepping free of the machines that once refueled it. “ Beginning LordLibrarianSearch.exe.”
“ W-we need to go report this!” said one of the mules, looking to his co-worker. “ We need to get out of here!”
The mules froze as two baby-blue beams of light fell upon them.
“ Are either of you aware of the location, possible clues as to the location, or ponies who may know the location of the Lord Librarian?” inquired the shining stallion, taking heavy, pounding steps as it advanced on them. “ State your answer clearly or you will be annihilated.”
“ No!” cried the mules in unison as one hopped into the others forearms.
“ Very well. You may go.” announced the cyborg. The mules hesitated for just a second...and then fled from the room, knocking a stack of books that were by the door.
“ Running ExasperatedNagging.app.” announced the BROBOT, it’s mithril-coated horn glowing for a second. “ Dang it, Twily, stop leaving your books everywhere!”
Several seconds later, ExasperatedNagging.app terminated and the BROBOT resumed the search for it’s master. It got to the top of the stairs before it tripped over another pile of books Twilight had left haphazardly lying about, causing it to tumble down the stairs and run ExasperatedNagging.app again.
“ - then, we’ll do another strafe of the southern towers and the earth ponies will move in to neutralize ground support. I’ll then wheel back up to distract the Shadowbolts while our other fliers recover - “
“ Uh, hi.” said Twilight, awkwardly trotting into the building where Pinkie had led her. It was built into the side of a gulch, but Twilight recognized the materials - it looked like wood and brick salvaged from Ponyville. Inside was small and dimly lit, but comfortable - there were chairs and tables. The center table was covered in maps and diagrams, which Rainbow Dash was using to outlay a very complicated looking plan.
“ Oh, hello.” said Fluttershy, standing up as Twilight entered the room. Twilight winced, noting the mare still had a black eye. “ I hope you slept okay. We have to ask you a lot of questions today.”
“ I’m more than ready to answer anything I can.” said Twilight with a nod.
“ Thats good.” replied Fluttershy, giving Twilight a soft smile. Twilight then noticed the box of torture tools next to where Fluttershy had been sitting - obviously, if she hadn’t been ready to talk, they would had made her. The presence of the horrible implements didn’t help Twilights wildly fluctuating nerves, though the kind smile on Fluttershy’s face did ease her fear.
“ - then, a triple loop to shake off Derpy. While I do that, we move the second team in to mop up the enemy wounded and recover our own casualties.” Rainbow Dash continued on and on, obviously in her own world. She was nudging model knights and soldiers around on the map with her nose and drawing boxes and lines with a marker. It looked like she had been doing so for hours.
“ Well, Rarity’s on her way.” announced Applejack, emerging from a back room. She gave Twilight a careful look, then took a seat next to Rainbow Dash at the table. “ So...Twilight. How...are...you?”
“ Okay.” said Twilight awkwardly. Pinkie Pie moved her to a seat at the table and made Twilight sit down. As Pinkie did so, she placed a hoof on Twilights shoulder - it was a reflexive, push the prisoner into place type of touch - but it made Twilight shiver. As Pinkie Pie took her own seat, Twilight brushed at where the ponies hoof had touched Twilights coat - it felt dusty and unpleasant. “ If it’s too awkward for small talk, we can just sit here and wait.”
“ Sounds good.” said Applejack. Everypony sat and stared, expect for Rainbow Dash, who was now wheeling around toy siege tower and using it to knock over plastic walls while making sound effects like “bwoosh” and “krakaow”, occasionally adding in a “baboom” or “krakajamma” for good measure.
A short while later, Rarity entered. Twilight felt herself relax as the mare took a seat next to Twilight at the table - the mare was not as beautiful as the Rarity she knew, but had the same composure and poise. And, Twilight noted, the same perfectly sanded horn.
“ And then we swoop in for the final attack run-”
“ Dashie, you might have missed this, but we’ve already captured Twilight Sparkle.” said Rarity, setting out a tray with several cups of weak looking tea. “ So, while your plan is no doubt an advancement on modern military technique and a spectacle for the ages, it is somewhat redundant.”
“...what?” said Rainbow Dash, blinking as she left her trance. Rarity nodded towards Twilight, whom Dash looked to with bugging eyes and sputtered shock. Twilight was surprised too - when Dash turned she noticed that one of Dash’s ears was missing. Jagged scars, like lightning bolts, stretched from where her ear would have been down her neck and cheek. “ W-wait, what?”
“ She surrendered to Fluttershy.” said Applejack.
Rainbow Dash sat still for several seconds.
“ Wait, what?” asked Rainbow Dash.
“ She’s a non-evil version of herself from another dimension. Ah don’t really understand either, but Pinkie and Rarity say it checks out.”
“....wait, what?” asked Rainbow Dash, brain still trying to catch up.
“ And now we have to wait for the feather-brain to evolve to a point we can continue the conversation.” sighed Twilight, rolling her eyes. She froze an instant later as she realized what she had said. “ I’m sorry!” she sputtered a moment later, looking around as she blushed with shame. “ I’m sorry, it just slipped out!”
Rarity gave her a look of absolute disgust.
“ ...moving along past that...comment.” said Rarity, her tone seething but calm as she returned to the current task - debriefing Twilight. “ You claim to be Twilight Sparkle, but not one we know. Pinkie has verified this, as have your unclothe outburst, and we’d like to know a little bit more about the situation. Do you know why you are in our world as opposed to our own?”
“ Evil me was experimenting with Discords magic.” said Twilight, face still flushed with shame. Everypony gasped in shock. “ She was siphoning off his magic to use herself. Something went wrong when she combined it with...well, a type of casserole that always give me weird dreams.”
There was a short silence.
“ Wait, what?” said Rainbow Dash.
“ Onion and pepper casseroles give me weird dreams, Discords magic is chaotic and does weird stuff, thats all I know!” said Twilight meekly, looking around. Nopony seemed to be buying or understanding it, but Applejack wasn’t calling her a liar, so they didn’t interrupt. “ I happened upon a secret lab where I found this out - Evil me didn’t exactly leave properly indexed notes!”
“So...then. I assume you are not normally such a...well, less of a loathsome individual compared to what we are used to in this world?” asked Rarity, continuing the questions. She looked unnerved, but steady - the Discord bomb was a big one to drop on anypony.
“ I’m...I’m a normal pony...kinda.” said Twilight, wincing as she prepared to say what she had to say. “ We’re all friends, actually. And we’re all Elements of Harmony - a group that has protected Equestria from a number of threats.”
“...I refuse to believe that steaming pile of manure.” said Rarity, snarling slightly before looking to Applejack. “ She can’t be telling the truth. I could never be associated with a unicorn supremacist, and from what I have heard from Fluttershy and the slight she directed at Dash-.”
“ Ah’m afraid she’s telling the straight truth.” said Applejack with an uneasy look. “ She, uh, did say our world was making her racist.”
“ Wait, what?” said Rainbow Dash.
“ Oh, it’s true - she tried really hard to not say things, but they kept slipping out when she got stressed.” interjected Fluttershy. “ When we were breaking out she apologized several times after insulting me for being a pegasus.”
“ Oh, thats...” Rarity trailed off as she looked to Twilight again. “ That is different.”
“ Sorry.” said Twilight, looking at her hooves. “ I think that when my focus slips I take on some of the traits of Evil Twilight. I’ll try to keep her...unicorn-centric views under control.”
There was a short silence as everypony else looked to each other uncomfortably.
“...uh...Good Twilight...I need to break some news to you.” said Applejack, wincing as she glanced between the assembled ponies. Twilight looked up and braced herself. “ There’s a bunch of things the Lord Librarian is and they’re all mighty awful. But...uh...she ain’t a racist.”
There was a short silence.
“ Wait, what?” Twilight blurted.
A metallic clanking woke Trixie up from a rather lurid dream.
She vowed to kill whoever it was that had disturbed her. It wasn’t often she dreamed of being the Lord Librarians favorite harem concubine...okay, yes, it was. She had the same dream every night, sometimes twice. But it was a good dream and she was frustrated at having her fantasy left unfinished.
“ Who dares awaken me?” she roared, sitting up in bed as she levitated her wand from her sidetable. The glowing rod crackled with dark energy as she looked around the room, searching for the signs of the armored interloper. A thought struck her - the Lord Librarian usually wore armor...and had been in a surprisingly sensual mood the previous day... “ U-unless it’s you, Lord Librarian.” she stammered, flushing deep red as hope and warmth spread though her body. “ T-then, Trixie is ready to service you. I-I mean ready to be serviced! I mean, at your service!
“ Commencing Scan.” announced a monotone stallions voice from behind her. She whirled around and was shocked to find the old BROBOT inspecting her with glowing eyes. “ Scan Complete. Scans indicate small presence of Lord Librarians DNA is present on your cheek - tissue appears to be hair from a forehoof. Running QuestionGenerator.exe.”
“ Oh, Lord, who turned this rustbucket on?” sighed Trixie, putting down her wand as the old cyberpony’s brain clunked along. It was what remained of Twilights brother, who had been a Royal Guard of some note before the coup. The Lord Librarian kept it around for some reason, even though the tech was outdated and the programming unstable. “ What are you doing out of your tower, you stupid, short-circuited synthetic stallion?”
“ QuestionGenerator.exe concluded. Judging from the presence of Twily’s DNA on your body and your lodging near her quarters, you are presumed to be one of Twily’s pleasure slaves. Is this correct? Y/N.”
“....Y.” said Trixie, her heart skipping a beat at the thought.
“ When were you last used/ravaged/dominated by Twily? Please state your answer in hours, rounding down.”
“ Thirteen hours ago.” Trixie knew it was a stretch - it hadn’t been more than a caress of a cheek and a promise of torrid torture tutoring, but the spark had been there.
“ Timeframe has been established. Thank you for your data input.” announced the BROBOT, stepping off of her bed. “ Running SiblingJudgement.app. Geez, Twilight, if you’re into mares, at least go for the pretty ones. This pleasure slave totally has a dude-horn.”
Trixie’s eyes bulged as she choked down a storm of seething and sinister swearwords. A ‘dude-horn?’ Sure, her horn was a little large and pointy, but it was still feminine! It was majestic! Shapely! She polished it daily! There was nothing unattractive about her horn!
“ Continuing LordLibrarianSearch.exe.” announced the BROBOT, trotting towards the door before Trixie could muster the hate to throw a pillow at him. She magicked the door shut and lay back with a groan - how dare that malfunctioning mechanical moron claim she had a ‘dude-horn’! She vowed to have it vivisected, vaporized, and...
A moment of weakness hit her and she hopped out of bed and trotted to her mirror. Looking at her forehead, she did see that her horn was, while feminine, a bit bigger than normal for a mare. Perhaps...perhaps she did need to grind it down a little. And the point was too sharp - practical for stabbing, but a bit to manly.
Angry, but curious, she wondered if a little sanding might help her finally seduce her dark mistress...and decided it was worth a shot, summoning a belt sander and getting to work giving herself the most whorish horn she could imagine.
“ Let out a slow breath.” said Fluttershy gently, releasing her grip on Twilights neck slowly.
Twilight complied, finally regaining control of herself. She’d had a panic attack after discovering that she was a racist and Evil Twilight wasn’t, which was understandable, as it fundamentally rewrote large chunks of what Twilight knew about herself and the situation she found herself in.
During the attack, Fluttershy had been kind enough to restrain her. While Twilight might have preferred to go a day without being strangled and pinned down by the yellow mare, her other options had been a shanking by Pinkie Pie of electrical vaporization by Rainbow Dash, fates which were statistically more lethal than mere asphyxiation.
“ All better now?” asked Fluttershy, letting got of Twilight and allowing the unicorn to stand up. Twilight nodded as she slowly regained control of herself. “ Oh, good.”
“ Sorry.” mumbled Twilight, mind still reeling. “ I...I thought...this world was changing me...into her.”
“ Well, apparently, you thought wrong.” said Rainbow Dash crossly. She was still braced to attack.
“ B-but I was never racist in my world!” Twilight protested. “ You were my friends! I had other pegasus and earth pony friends! I even had a zebra friend!”
“ Then why are you becoming racist?” asked Pinkie Pie, twiddling her knife in her hooves non-chalantly. “ I mean, it’d be weird if you just happened to become like that at the same time you came to our world. Maybe it’s your repressed thoughts or something?”
“ I’ve never thought that kind of thing!” protested Twilight.
“...uh...well, Twilight, lets be fair.” said Applejack, trotting over and putting a hoof on Twilights shoulder - and pulling it back when she saw Twilight wince reflexively. “ Everypony likes their race best. You might not hate the others, but you’re proud of your own kind, aren’t ya? Everypony’s proud of their race.”
“ Yeah! I mean, sure, flight and magic are useful and all, but Earth Pony dicks for the win!” giggled Pinkie Pie.
“ Pff, those oversized battering rams don’t get the job done any more effectively and they lack the elegance of a unicorn...s....” Twilight froze as she realized what she was saying. “ Oooh....my. Oh my.”
“ Yeah. Ya see?” chuckled Applejack, a slight blush on her cheeks. “ So, uh, that’s all I got. I still don’t know why it’s happening now.”
“ You said Discord was mixed up in this?” asked Rarity, flicking though a half-ruined spellbook back by the table. She was looking up draconequus, obviously trying to find out more about what to expect. “ That could explain any number of oddities. Are you sure it’s him?”
“ I’ve already met and defeated him in my world.” answered Twilight, wincing at how un-humble that sounded as everypony looked at her in surprise. “ We defeated him. With the Elements of Harmony. It was close and pretty awful. I don’t think I could mistake him.”
“ Wait, you and us defeated a dragon?” asked Applejack, looking shocked.
“ Uh, no, draconequus...the dragon was a different incident.” explained Twilight. “ Well...the dragons. We’ve met a bunch.”
“...okay, lets get a few things straight - are we friends or allies in your world? And what are these Element things?” asked Applejack, looking shocked at the prospect of multiple dragons.
“ The Elements of Harmony are six magical artifacts that we are specially attuned to that allow us to channel the ambient magic of all ponykind. We’ve used them to save Equestria on...”
Twilight paused her explanation as she tallied the number of victories in her friends past.
“ Five separate occasions.” concluded Twilight. “ Not counting the dragon, parasprites, or the time Mayor Mare’s spagetti fundraiser dinner went hideously wrong. But more important than the Elements, we’re close friends. I met you all when I went to Ponyville and I’ve stayed there ever since.”
“ All you did to Ponyville here is carpetbomb it.” muttered Applejack sadly.
“ Logical - as a major community not far from Canterlot, it presents an obvious fallback position for the Guard if Canterlot is seized by coup and OH!” Twilight froze, catching herself as she began to analyze population dynamics relations to the stability of a centralized state. “ I’m sorry! I-I didn’t...”
There was a short, tense silence.
“ Back to the matter of this meeting.” said Rarity curtly, gesturing that everypony return to the table. They took their seats quickly, Twilight’s guilt over what she had been saying making her stomach churn. She kept checking her shield spell but it didn’t seem to be fading or wavering anymore -was that no longer helping her?
“ We, having removed the Lord Librarian from Canterlot, need to act quickly.” declared Rarity, magicking the maps clear of Rainbow Dash’s models and notes. Laying out a diagram of Canterlot, she continued. “ If we can destabilize the castle and capture several key ponies and facilities, Equestria will quickly fall back to us - without the mind control potions and fear of their commanders, I have no doubt the Legion will quickly surrender. We need you to give us any information you can on Canterlot and it’s layout. Could you mark where patrols and important facilities are on this map?”
Twilight looked over the map for a few moments, then focused her magic.
Everypony hopped back at the map lit with a purple glow, but then they focused back in as they saw what had changed. Every room on the map was named and described in great detail and smaller, moving names indicated ponies and their roles. Traps and dangerous areas were highlighted in red and treasure chests were noted in blue.
“ Whooooooaaaaah.” said Rainbow Dash, eyes racing over the map as she followed the movements of the Shadowbolt’s names. The appeared to be on maneuvers on the airfield again, the complex patterns making it hard to follow any individual pony. “ Okay, okay, this is cool.”
“ How...did you...this?” Rarity sputtered, the stunned jealousy in her tone obvious to Twilight - it was the one that any magician had after seeing a spell for the first time.
“ It’s a simple Dungeon Mapping spell.” said Twilight with a shrug. “ I noticed it was in place while I was evading the guards to get to Fluttershy. The whole castle’s enchanted with the spell, so as long as you know how the incantation works, it’s easy to bring up. They probably have dozens of maps like this in the facilities.”
“ No wonder we never got anypony into the castle undetected.” moaned Pinkie Pie, facehoofing as she glanced over the register of names and rooms. “ Just stick a half-dozen guards in a room and have them stare at this any nopony could ever sneak it Look! There’s Granny Smith in the ventilation shafts right now - it even has her labeled as a Spy!”
“ G-granny Smith?” sputtered Applejack, rushing over. Everypony looked, finding that the elderly pony was indeed snaking though the castled air ducts. “ Shoot! If we can see her, she has to be in danger!”
“ Nothing we can do right now.” said Pinkie, putting a foreleg on her friends shoulder to comfort her. “ Lets just get to work and get a plan going to take over the castle. With this new map it should be super easy, so we’ll save her before anything goes wrong!”
“ Uh, so...” Rainbow Dash looked to Twilight while everypony else fussed over the map. “ This is, you know, the coolest piece of intel ever. Uh...but...okay, do you have, like, a spell to bring a book to life? Like, make it more...uh...”
“ Daring Do?” said Twilight with a knowing smile.
“ Yeah.” sighed Rainbow Dash, her one ear pinning back in embarrassment. “ I know, it’s just a silly little series, but it’s my way of escaping from...you know, all this. It’d be nice if it was a little more immersive.”
“ Daring Do is your favorite in my world.” said Twilight. Rainbow Dash cracked a smirk, obviously glad to hear it. “ When I get a chance, I can put a narration spell on it so that when you read a characters lines, they'll have their own voices in your head, and a spell to make the illustrations animate and act out their scenes. It’ll only take a few minutes.”
“ Thanks.” replied the pegasus. She gave Twilight a odd little smirk. “ You know, for a unicorn supremacist, you aren’t all that -”
A few moments of silence passed before a shriek brought attention back to Applejack and the Map.
Granny Smith had just broken through a vent and fallen into the Legions Barracks.
With creaking over old bones and the squeaking of flesh-tight latex, Granny Smith hopped onto her hooves, her black headband fluttering in the air-conditioning. Around her on every side were Legionnaires, scrambling for their weapons. She was outnumbers by dozens - not to mention many of her foes were unicorns.
“ Back off!” she hollered, spinning around to make sure nopony had stepped forwards yet. “ Don’t make me tan any of your hides!”
“ Heh.” chuckled a large stallion, drawing a sword. “ An old mare like you making threats? Are you sure you want to do that? Might go better if you just -”
“ Sonny, I’ve been kicking tail since before you were a speck in your pappy’s eye.” growled Granny Smith, facing the darkly armored knight. “ So you and your boys best clear a path and let me out.”
“ Or what? You’ll take off your belt and spank us?” snorted the stallion, drawing derisive laughter from the looming soldiers.
“ Oh, I’ll do more than take off my belt.” chuckled Granny Smith. “ I’ll take it all off.”
The soldiers paused for several seconds as she let their imaginations start up.
“ Oooh, yes. I’ll take off every ounce of latex and let it all hang out.” said the elderly mare with an evil tone, taking a step forwards. “ You ever seen what happened to an old mare who’s been wearing plastic for a week straight? You ever seen that old biddy take out a pair of fans and do an erotic dance, just for you? No, you ain’t ever seen anything like that. You’ve still got a pecker.”
Stopping in front of the stallion, she poked him in the chest.
“ But, believe you me, if you do not get out of my way right this instant, I will perform a poledance routine designed for mares one fifth of my age who ain’t supposed to have anything like the number of liverspots I’ve got. Your willy’ll bite itself off and flee from the room crying like a kicked dog.”
Every stallion in the room had eyes as wide and as white as dinner plates.
Granny Smith snorted and stamped her right front hoof. An instant later, the room was empty, save for a mote of dust or fluttering hair which was all that was left of the once mighty horde that had surrounded her.
“ Heh, young colts.” chortled Granny Smith, smiling as she trotted to the door.
“ I agree.” said a silken voice from the hallway. A second later, the armored and towering form of Prince Blueblood appeared, blocking the exit. “ No appreciation for the finer things in life.”
Granny Smith took a step back. This was bad - this unicorn was one of the top soldiers in the Legion...and his reputation was that he had rather exotic proclivities. The kind of proclivities that even a hickory switch couldn’t sort out.
“ Fine wine, fine art...fine mares.” said the Prince, levitating a glass of champagne to his lips and taking a tiny sip. “ And, you of course, know the secret to the better things is a little age.”
“ Back off, bucko.” said Granny Smith, glancing about - there had to be a knife or club somewhere.
“ Oh, come now. Make good on your threat.” said the Prince, licking his lips. “ I am here, blocking your way, obviously trying to engorge this already rowdy encounter.”
“ That’s a path that leads to madness, boy.” said Granny Smith, bracing herself as she stared down the Prince. “ You might want think you want to give it a try-”
“ Oh, I know, I know....” chortled Blueblood, the Frowny Face on his eyepatch drawing Granny Smith’s attention away from his gaze. “ Stare not into the abyss and all that...though I still think I’d really like to.”
Several tense seconds passed.
“ Well, boy, you asked for it.” muttered Granny Smith, biting down on the quick-release on her jumpsuit. “ Last chance to run. I suggest you get out of dodge while you’ve still got a ding-a-ling. I ain’t foolin when I say it’ll bite itself off.”
“ Don’t make me beg.”
SNAP! went the bodysuit, tearing away. FLAP! went the skin, sagging downwards.
“ Mmmmmmarvelous.” said Blueblood, flicking his eyepatch up so he could watch with both eyes as Granny Smith began to shake it as it ought not to be shook.
“ I’ve never seen a map light itself on fire before.” said Twilight, helping Rarity extinguish the hellfire that had issued forth from the square where the Legions Barracks had once been.