Princess Luna, having escaped her overprotective guards from leading her somewhere once more, had flown into her sister’s bedroom, a rolled-up newspaper in her magical grip. Princess Celestia, who had been bombarded with the monotonous suffering of today’s council meeting, was recuperating with a few Daring Do books and a cup of warm Darjeeling tea by her bedside.
“Dearest sister?” Luna began, landing quietly in front of Celestia, who was buried in her current novel, Daring Do and The Cursed Amulet. The Sun Goddess jumped at her younger sibling’s silent entry and sudden speaking, almost spilling her tea upon the sheets.
“Please let me know you’re there, Luna. In case you can't see it, I’m holding in my magical grasp, a cup of tea that is the temperature of the Sun,” Celestia responded curtly. She sat up in her bed and closed her book. She gave her steaming tea a small and cautious sip.
“Forgive me, Celestia,” apologized Luna. “But I thinketh that thy tea must wait....”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, please taketh a glance at today’s newspaper. Page four.” Luna hovered the newspaper over to Celestia, who replaced the blue aura of her younger sister’s magic with her own golden aura. Interest piqued, she unfurled the newspaper and turned to the aforementioned page number. She raised her eyebrows at its contents. Other than the article written entirely in both English and Equestrian, there was a colored photograph of a burning barn. On its right were two cropped pictures that Celestia knew all too well. On the top picture was Jace Romero, giving a small grin with arms crossed. On the bottom was none other than Praxis Moradov, winking and giving a toothy smirk like he wanted his snapshot taken that way.
It was a bad time to take another sip of tea as Celestia read the article.
REVERED HUMAN AND ABHORRED SATYR SAVE FILLIES FROM FIRE
She spat out her hot tea in surprise.
“Celestia! Wouldst thou be more careful?” said Luna, wincing as the expelled fluid sprinkled her front. She removed the tea with her magic. She looked into the mirror and grinned a little at how her coat was now untainted with the combination of both Celestia’s drink and spittle.
“Eheheh, sorry, Luna,” said Celestia, smiling reassuringly and going a little red with embarrassment. “This is all just... shocking.”
“Yes, I knoweth. Readeth on, please. I have not had time to do so, for the minute I saw it, I had to rusheth it over to you.”
Celestia cleared her throat and began reading.
“A raging barn fire had occurred in Sweet Apple Acres on the twenty-third of April, 18:00. Three fillies, who are known as the Cutie Mark Crusaders: Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Applebloom, were locked inside of said barn before the fire began. Praxis Moradov, Vinyl Scratch, and Jace Romero, AKA Craimer Xegen, were performing a concert in the hopes to raise the former’s renown. Unfortunately, the concert had begun to spell disaster when Praxis and Jace fled the scene towards the flaming barn. Once they had gone inside to rescue the fillies, Jace immediately set to extinguishing the flames.”
“I wonder how he did it?” Luna interrupted, pondering on Jace’s method.
“I don’t know either, Luna. It might be magic, for all we know,” Celestia said. She
continued on with the article.
“While three lives were saved, one was not. Big Macintosh, a hardworking owner of Sweet Apple Acres, had passed away that night from a fallen support beam to the back, splintering his ribs and spine and puncturing his lungs. Jace and Praxis proceeded to carry the body into the Everfree Forest.”
“Poor Macintosh,” she added, giving a hefty sigh of melancholy.
“I know. I simply hopeth that he is in a happy place,’ Luna concurred in equal sadness.
“‘When we got to the forest,’ Jace Romero said as reporters stopped him in the middle of his morning jog, “I wanted to use a faster way to dig Big Mac’s grave, but Praxis? No, he wanted to do it all by hand. Literally. Out of pity and frustration at his stubbornness, I helped him. But he sent me to bed inside his house about fifteen minutes later, I think.’
“When reporters asked if Praxis is still a dangerous creature, Jace gave a short bark of laughter. ‘No,’ he told them, ‘I don’t think he’s dangerous or evil in the slightest. He’s just simply misunderstood and mistaken by everypony, that’s all. Me and Vinyl think that he’s a pretty good guy.’
“Rumors say that he had assisted in lifting Cloudsdale’s supply of rain with the other Pegasai, due to the two sonic booms that rang throughout the vicinity, both of which not belonging to Equestria’s fastest flier, miss Rainbow Dash. But nopony knows what became of the heroic satyr as he vanished from the scene once more.”
“What?” asked Luna incredulously. “The satyr is capable of FLYING?”
“No, silly,” chuckled Celestia at her sister’s remark. “He’s apparently fast enough to run across water. Though I’m wondering if he vomited from how fast he was spinning around that reservoir.” She gave another hearty chuckle at the thought of a nauseous Praxis, clutching his stomach as if his life depended on it.
“Wait... all this time... we were thinking that he was evil... and we were WRONG?” Luna was even more shellshocked.
“I... I guess so.” Celestia was baffled. She was almost never wrong, and she counted on her streak of being correct to keep her from being wrong. She was stunned when she realized her opinions of Praxis were false. “Who knew? I think we owe him an apology?”
“*Sigh* Alright. Let us go.”
The two sisters came to the balcony and immediately took off to the sky, looking back to see if the Royal Guards were following them, to insist that they stay within the safe barriers of the castle walls.
“There is nopony in sight, Celestia!” said Luna audibly over the sound of the wind whipping them.
“Good! I assume he’s still in Ponyville?” asked Celestia.
“Well, let’s hurry!” With that, the two goddesses flew down the mountain, doing their best to stay under Mach 1. They didn’t want to alarm Canterlot’s residents and blow their cover, but they didn't want to wait until morning for them to talk to the satyr.
In a matter of minutes, they reached their destination. They flew up into a high cloud to hide from the citizens of Ponyville. They scanned the area for the satyr, only to see that he wasn’t there.
“Strange,” Luna said. “This IS where the infamous satyr is rumored to reside... correct?”
“Hmm... Let’s check the Everfree Forest, or Froggy Bottom Bog,” Celestia told her.
“Very well,” the other said. They kicked off of their cloud and went to check on the Everfree Forest first.
"No, he's not there either," Celestia grumbled. Her Detection Charm picked up nothing but her, Luna, and the many animals in the forest, but no Praxis.
"If Praxis could survive the Everfree Forest," started Luna, "surely he’d be bored by now from all the creatures that dwell there."
"Hmm... good point. Froggy Bottom Bog?"
"Froggy Bottom Bog."
They reached their other location and landed precariously upon a cliff. “Oh, pony feathers! I nearly forgot to raise the moon!” exclaimed Luna. She was so surprised by how her duty had slipped her by, she had forsook the Equestrian Old Speak.
The qualms about her moon’s orbital period were dispelled instantly by a monstrous roar, followed by three voices shouting the same thing.
“PRAXIIIS! LOOK OOOUUUT!”
“Sister, what was that?!” Luna said, looking around for the source of cacophonous noises. The moon was raised into full position, reflecting the sun’s light and shining down upon all of Equestria.
“I think it was Jace Romero, Pinkie Pie, and Vinyl Scratch!” Celesta answered, remembering who owned those voices as she located what and who had emitted those sounds. She nudged her sister and informed her of the noises' source. They gasped when they saw it.
Jace, Vinyl Scratch, and Pinkie Pie were at a treeline, staring at a massive black hydra that had engulfed Praxis with one of its heads.
“NOOO!” Luna and Celestia shouted in unison.
“Dear God... no... NO! PRAXIIIS!!!”
“Jace! There’s no point!” Vinyl told her boyfriend. Jace arose to try and fight the hydra long enough to get it to regurgitate his friend, but was pulled back by Vinyl’s magic. Pinkie Pie, whose mane and tail were now long and straight, was weeping loudly, her waterfall of tears making the dirt sopping wet. “He’s gone!” Vinyl shut her eyes and bit her lip, resisting the urge to cry alongside the pink companion.
“Fuck that! I did this kind of shit for Coal, and I can DO IT AGAIN!” He got up and let out a cry as his scythe revved up. “Come at me, you hentai reject!”
“RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWRRRRR!” it wailed, swinging its tail at Jace, who bent over backwards to dodge the large limb.
“That the fuckin’ best you got?” Jace’s mouth morphed and his lips rotted away. His teeth grew out to razor sharp points. The teeth were jagged and bloodied. His eyes blacked out and it looked like he didn’t have eyes anymore. “RAWWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRR!” His screech was five times louder than the Hydra’s. “Let’s. Fucking. PLAY.” His voice was distorted and sounded demonic, giving Pinkie Pie and the Princesses (their presence unbeknownst to any of the others) a violent shudder.
He raised his Chain Scythe high above his head and brought it back down to the ground, sinking the blade in the earth. He ferociously yanked back his weapon along the ground. The serrated blade had ripped another blazing seam in the soil. A small army of the horrendous demons from earlier that afternoon had reappeared again. They climbed and hookshot out of their fiery grave with their detachable blade-arms and their adjacent clawed hands. On Jace’s demonic “Fetch!”, the Lost Souls began to attack the hydra to the best of their abilities.
Their efforts were futile, however, when the monstrous leviathan started to smack the demons with its tail, crushing them with its heads, and stomping them with its massive feet. The hydra had vanquished its attackers in a matter of minutes.
“Oh, Goddamnit,” swore Jace. “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself.” He channeled the necessary magic to activate the titanium barbed-wire’s revolutions. The jagged edges began to move again. Jace smiled wickedly before getting ready to assault the hydra.
That’s when he witnessed the hydra’s chest beginning to move a bit. The leviathan began growling and grimacing in pain. Jace look closer at its chest... only to receive a large dollop of the hydra’s blood in his face.
“OK, that’s not cool,” he mumbled, wiping his face of the blood. He saw five long black talons tear through the flesh of the monster’s chest. The hydra roared in pain as the talons carved a quintet of jagged, bleeding lines in its belly. A certain someone’s head emerged from the gory seams he had made. Jace went wide-eyed at the escapee's transformation.
The white vitreous fluid of his eyes were black, the brown irises being replaced with a fiery gradience of red, orange, and yellow, the pupils reduced to paper-thin slits. The skin was pale, yet was adorned with bizarre, black tribal markings that dotted him. His horns curved upward at the tips. His black hair, eyebrows, and beard were pure white, but were tinted red in many places from the hydra’s blood. His sharp-toothed grin of madness was replaced with a fanged grimace of fury. He launched out of the hole he made in the monster’s belly and landed in front of Jace, back turned to him. The hydra was still standing, yet was enraged that its meal had narrowly escaped.
“Ya miss me?” Praxis told Jace, turning his head to see the altered human become more... humane as the powers of Death stopped affecting him. Jace raised an eyebrow at Praxis’ voice. It was deeper, colder, gruffer, and rather satanic.
“Ho...how did you-?” Jace asked him, his voice returning to normal. But he was cut off.
“I’ll explain later,” was Praxis’ answer. He turned back to face the bleeding hydra. He walked up to it, leapt up to meet it face to face, and swung his right fist at its middle head. It was sent back a couple of paces from the terrifying strength of the punch.
“I--” Another left punch, this one to the left head’s neck as he went down. “--didn’t--” He jumped again to attack the right head, only to give a roundhouse kick to the left head that tried to bite him. “--come this far--” He swiped a right hand at the right head of the now dazed leviathan, slicing its eyes out and blinding it before landing. “--to be--” He leapt into the air, high above the monster’s heads, frontflipping in a cannonball position. “--DINNER!!!” He punctuated the word with a double ax-kick to the middle head. He could feel its skull crack underneath his hooves as the head plummeted sharply to the ground and landing with a vicious thud. Praxis landed in front of the fallen head and smirked.
“Now... to end this.” He leaned back and sucked in as much breath as he could before he let it all out in one tremendous wail.
If Jace’s roar bested the hydra’s by fivefold, then Praxis’ had bested Jace’s by twice the volume and power. Black sonar rings seem to erupt from his mouth and expand outwards and forwards as he wailed. The goggles that Praxis forgot to return to Rainbow Dash and Vinyl Scratch’s sunglasses had broken from the sheer strength of the Demon’s Scream. Trees lost their leaves from the blow and were almost uprooted. Insects were blasted away and were either smashed upon a boulder or forced to drown in the swamp. Murky swamp water was viciously turned-up in a brown and slushy tsunami. The hydra’s limp middle head was flapping in the blow of the Demon’s Scream, the other two fighting to not get their necks broken. The strength of the Scream was lifting the gargantuan monster off of its large, flat feet and into the depths of the Bog’s thick jungle. It landed in the depths of another massive swamp, causing a tidal wave of murky brown water.
Pinkie, who had stopped crying and returned her mane and tail to being incredibly poofy, was slack-jawed at this. She was feeling an onslaught of different emotions: happiness that Praxis is alive, fear that he is beating up that hydra, curiosity at how he transformed, the seemingly endless list of Pinkie Pie’s goes on.
Jace's jaw was in danger of falling to the floor, arms slack, back hunched, and knees bent. He resembled a shocked, modern-day neanderthal. “Hooooooooolyyyyyyyy shit,” he droned monotonously.
Vinyl Scratch’s eyes were the size of dinner plates, her now broken shades falling off of her face and landing in the soggy earth, which was caused by Pinkie Pie’s crying. “No fucking way....” she whispered.
Princesses Luna and Celestia were all of the above. They were both glad that Praxis was alive, but terrified that he had defeated a hydra. They could tell that he was getting stronger as the days passed. Their eyes were constricted, appearing like mere pinpricks in the whites. “Did... did you see that?” Celestia inquired in a surprisingly calm voice to her sister.
“Indeed,” Luna replied in that same tone. “What happened?”
“It appears that the infamous monster Insanity has given him a blessing and a curse.”
“Oh. Dost thou careth to explain?”
“Do you remember that bizarre emblem upon his belly? You know, when he,” Celestia gulped and exhaled a heavy sigh. “destroyed the wall of the Royal Foyer?”
“Ahh... THAT emblem. I merely thought ‘twas a tattoo. Thou dost know how artistic Zecora can be in her free time,” remarked Luna.
“I thought so too, until he cringed when I touched it. It pulsated and transformed him when,” she sighed again, trying to suppress a sudden surge of anger, “when Admiral Charcoal blatantly disobeyed me and tried to kill him.”
“Hmm... what didst thou do with thy admiral?” Luna asked.
“Luna, knock it off with the old Equestrian Speak. This is today, and nopony other than me and a few ancient ponies are gonna understand ‘thou’, or ‘didst’, or ‘thy’.”
“Sorry.” The Moon Goddess ditched her incessant habit of speaking once more with a small frown. “So what’d you do to Charcoal?”
“Much better. I sentenced him to four years in prison. It doesn’t matter if you want an alienated creature dead, if the princess wants him alive, then there should be no arguments. He let his prejudice and hotheadedness get the best of him.”
“I also remember you telling me about that. Now that I think about it, I agree with Praxis: how in the hay did Charcoal get into the Royal GUARD, let alone become an ADMIRAL?”
“He was pretty good when it came to setting booby-traps and coming up with effective strategies. That’s why his Cutie Mark was a lit bomb with a compass rose on it.”
“You memorized his Cutie Mark, Celly?” Luna’s question was rewarded with a look of annoyance at the nickname. “Er, sorry,” the younger sister apologized.
“That’s not important, Lu-Lu.” It was Luna’s turn to shoot a look of annoyance to her elder sister. “What’s important is how he transformed. It either happens when his life depends on it, or when something else occurs... rather routinely, as a matter of fact.”
“What do you mean?” Luna was curious at what her sister had to say.
“He changed the moment the moon came up, correctly?”
“Yeah, but... you don’t mean...”
“I’m afraid I do. When the sun goes down, Praxis will morph into that horrendous version of himself. He will be doomed to forever walk Gaia as a creature of the night. A Weresatyr,” said Celestia darkly.
Luna was a little perturbed by the name. What kind of all-powerful princess with ubiquitous eyes and ears gives a dangerous being the absurd name of “Weresatyr”?
“...Celestia, I TOLD you that Stephanie Mare’s books are utter garbage.” She was unamused.
“You honestly think I’m joking about this?” Celestia cocked an eyebrow to her sister again.
“I don’t think, I know.”
"Well, I'm not. I've done some research on Insanity when I heard about him. On one occasion, he enters somepony's dream and infects them, leaving them with his mark, the Curse Seal. His sword, Dementia, is an evil parasite who poisons the mind of its host."
"And this means?"
"This means... that Dementia is in Praxis' head right now."
"But he hasn't become..." Luna pursed her lips at the thought of saying it. "the Weresatyr last night!"
"Hmm... maybe Dementia had triggered something in Praxis' mind."
"Triggered something, my plot."
“Fine, then. Fifty Bits says he transforms back to normal by tomorrow morning, and reverts back to the Weresatyr by the following evening.”
“Fifty Bits? You’re on, sis.”
“G...good riddance,” he coughed. The Demon’s Scream had nearly slain him. Several parts of his body were cut and bruised from his tremendous exertions. He fell to his knees and began crawling to the swamp to cleanse his face. A sudden rush of nausea began filling him. Almost against his will, said rush began to intensify, leaving Praxis no choice but to vomit to the side. The smell of putrid bile plagued his nose, leaving him temporarily inept at breathing the fresh air he had missed.
His consciousness was waning. His vision faded in and out, his hearing becoming distorted. He fought hard to stay away as the blood from his spontaneous wounds were absorbed by the sponge-like earth.
The last thing he remembers was falling to the floor with a thud, seeing Jace and the two mares coming up to see if he was alright, and seeing two large equine silhouettes take to the skies.
He wished that he wouldn’t stay as this monstrous form permanently. He prayed that he could just simply revert to being a normal satyr again
But his wish wasn't granted. His prayers remain unanswered.