Return of The Traveler
(Takes place during “Return of Harmony”)
Discord smiled unexpectedly at my Super Aura.
“Well, that is certainly unexpected, but nothing I can’t deal with,” he mused, fondly scratching the Fu Manchu beard on his chin.
I didn’t say anything in response. For now, my Aura was taking full control of my heart, body, and mind. Pure, raw power coursed through my veins into my entire being, driving out my weariness and clearing my vision.
“Oh, the silent treatment, hmm?” Discord yawned. “I’m SO scared. You have all of your abilities enhanced, but what’s the point of that? After all, I made you promise not to use you-”
A magic bolt shot out from my hand, scorching the tips of his horns. He snarled in rage as he felt them with his eagle hand, before a devious smile flashed across his face. “You broke the rules!” he triumphantly crowed. “That means I get to-”
“Be silent,” I coolly stated. My fingers snapped, summoning an orb of purple magic to my palm. “I’m not using my power. I’ve already said that, you imbecile.”
“You dare to speak so glibly to a GOD?” he asked incredulously.
“I dare to do a lot of things to anyone who would harm the ones I love,” I responded, my voice never rising from the calm, collected tone of a sage, or scholar. I thrust my hand forward, and the orb shot forward like a bullet. Discord narrowly avoided it by lifting his head off of his shoulders.
“That’s another strike against you Om-”
The chaotic being was dumbstruck.
“Come again?” he asked.
“I’m using the powers of the Elements of Harmony,” I stated. Faster than anypony watching could comprehend, I lifted a few inches into the air, and sped towards him in a multi-colored blur. My arm stretched back, and shot forward with a bright orange light encompassing it.
Discord went flying from the force of the blow, and slammed against his throne. Before he could react, I was on him again, slamming my fists rapidly into his face. He twisted out of my grasp and teleported into the air.
Continuing from where I left off, I said, “You see, you failed to account for the ponies at the end of those Elements. Thanks to them, I’ve got their combined strength and power coursing through me. I have Twilight’s magic, Rainbow Dash’s speed, and Applejack’s strength.”
Discord scoffed, and rolled his eyes in a bored manner. “Of course you do…”
“Another fun fact: I have Pinkie Pie’s own brand of chaos.”
Without any warning, I had appeared from above his field of view with a glowing pink pie in my hand.
“S’up?” I asked him, a hint of my old smile on my face. As he opened his mouth to respond, I shoved it down his throat, and pushed him away with a buck that Applejack would be proud of.
Erm, technically it’s her strength, so…um…never mind.
Once again, I rushed towards Discord and prepared to unleash another haymaker. This time, however, Discord was expecting it. His tail extended suddenly, snatching me by my ankle. With surprising rage, he lifted his throne into the air with his own magic.
Punctuating each word with another strike, he shouted, “YOU. WILL. NOT. MAKE. A. FOOL. OUT. OF. ME!” His tail flung me uncontrollably into the air, where he rushed at me again, murder in his eyes.
Just as he came within arm’s reach, I did an impromptu aerial roll. He shot past me, while I regained control and flew in the opposite direction. I could literally feel the rage and anger rolling off of him.
While I fled, he followed in close pursuit, small tendrils of lightning leaping off of his horns. He lifted his hands up to the sky, shouting, “I AM A GOD, A TRUE MASTER OF CHAOS AND DECEPTION! I RULED EQUESTRIA BEFORE THOSE PATHETIC UPSTARTS! YOU ARE NOTHING TO ME!”
As he ranted, a dark mass of thunder clouds had appeared above him, slowly forming a gigantic storm that mimicked the draconequus’ body. With a dark smile, he flew into the heart of the storm. Lightning flashed across the storm’s eyes as Discord’s magic brought it to life. A thunderous roar shook the land, making my ears ring in protest.
And then, the storm broke.
Deadly green arcs of electricity shot out of the storm, hurtling directly towards me. I was barely able to call up a pink shield to protect me from the worst of the blast, but I doubted I could handle another direct shot like that.
“That’s right, little Traveler! RUN!” The Discord-storm laughed, sending more electricity at me.
Unfortunately, that was all I could do, until I had time to come up with a plan. Until then…
I poured on the speed, leaving a beam of rainbow colored light in my wake. Never once slowing down, I weaved through the forest, attempting to try and hide myself in the thick foliage. No such luck, however. Discord could see my every move from his storm, and time and time again, I had to dodge another deadly bolt of lightning. Ancient trees covered with moss fell every time he launched another attack, barely missing me each time. Occasionally, I would try to counter with one of my own magic attacks, just to let him know I was still alive and kicking. I didn’t want him to return to Ponyville while he was still angered.
If that happened, he would attack my friends.
And that was something I refused to let happen.
[I'd suggest listening to the final boss theme from "Sonic Colors", especially the MLP theme mash up.]
That phrase kicked my brain into overdrive, instantly speeding up my thought process. Without any hesitation, I rose into the air, and rushed towards Discord’s storm. A vapor cone started to form around my body, my eyes watered violently thanks to the speed I was flying.
With a final shout of effort, I broke through the sound barrier, and left a rainbow colored trail in my wake. Suddenly, I was speeding through the skies at impossible speeds. Everything should have been a blur. I shouldn’t have been able to make out anything around me. Yet somehow, I could make out every fine detail on the dark cloud that formed the head of Discord’s storm…especially the small remnants of the hole that Discord had originally entered from.
So, let’s recap: Rainbow Dash’s speed, plus Rarity’s fine eye for detail and precision, combined with Applejack’s raw strength…equals one hell of a human sniper shot.
I tore through the storm, using Pinkie’s Pinkie senses to avoid all of the lightning that would attempt to stop me from getting to my target. Reaching a hollowed out section of the storm, I found Discord standing in the center of it all, controlling everything with his magic. Never once slowing down my charge, I pulled my fists back, and brought them crashing down on his neck.
The storm dispersed as quickly as it had appeared, cut off from Discord’s energy. I didn’t stop there though. My arms stretched to incredible lengths, drawing once more from Pinkie’s own cartoonish abilities, as I started swinging in a violent circle, gaining more and more speed, until I let go of the trickster god, sending him crashing into the forest.
He shook his head, dazed from the crash, as I grabbed him by the throat using Twilight and Rarity’s magic. I brought him close to my eyes, and unleashed what was probably the most powerful move I could borrow from my friends.
“Look deep into my eyes, Discord,” I commanded. Forcing his head to meet mine, I stared into them, and let Fluttershy’s stare do the rest.
The draconequus flailed about in my grasp, trying to free himself from the soul-baring power that was The Stare. When I felt he had had enough, I tossed him aside, smirking as I did so.
“You…you think you’re so clever,” Discord gasped, as he strained himself to stand up again. “You think…you think that you have beaten me? I have all of chaos on my side! And you? What do you have? Well, go on then. Finish off another hated enemy. Destroy another monster that the ponies will tell their children to convince them to behave.”
I shook my head in pity.
“Discord…I don’t hate you. I only feel sorry for you. You had all of that power, and you used it for your own selfish being. Look at the ponies, Discord. Did you see how they acted when I used the Mask against you? When you weren’t torturing them?” I asked in a sorrowful voice. “They laughed with you. They truly enjoyed your chaos. It was being used for something other than your own enjoyment…and that made you truly happy, didn’t it?”
His only answer was a weak snort.
“I’m sorry, Discord. Sorry that you never once felt the true power of friendship. Sorry that because you never got to experience that, you underestimate its true potential. Look at me, for instance. All of this power I’ve been using against you?” I snapped my fingers, and a bright multitude of colored sparks flashed into existence. “That’s not mine. That’s the power of Twilight Sparkle. Rarity. Fluttershy. Pinkie Pie. Rainbow Dash. And Applejack. That’s the gift that Harmony and friendship have bestowed upon me.”
Discord once again tried to send a barrage of lightning at me, forcing me into the air. As he attacked, I nodded my head wearily, and said, “So be it.”
The Elements of Harmony gave me one final burst of energy. I placed my hands together with my fingers fanned out, as lights started to jump off of them.
The lights took on an orange hue.
Bits of cyan mixed with that of the orange.
Soft pink light floated out, and merged with the others.
Elegant violet streaks of energy snaked out to join the growing beams of light.
Bright red bits of fire erupted from my fingertips.
Magenta colored pieces of raw magic, life in its basic form, flowed out to combine the rest of the lights into one rainbow colored orb.
My hands started to glow a vibrant, healthy emerald color, while the rainbow charge of magic grew in size and pressure, causing my arms to shake violently. Putting every single ounce of energy into this attack, I willed the magic to release itself all in a single burst.
“ETERNAL HARMONY CANNON!” I shouted.
The magic broke free, arching towards Discord in a glorious rainbow wave of pure harmony. The rainbow engulfed Discord in a blinding explosion of light, banishing him once again to his prison of stone.
Drained, and utterly spent, I fell to the ground.
“It’s good to be The Traveler,” I panted, before passing out.
You know, sometimes I wish I could have normal dreams. Just once, I’d like to have a dream where cupcakes and muffins dance around me in a parade, worshipping me as their new Head Emperor C.E.O, while I was shooting a rocket launcher into the sky at a green polka dotted Galactus.
Something that doesn’t make sense, that’s just a normal dream that doesn’t mean anything at ALL.
Instead, I was in a white room. There weren’t any other details. It was just a vast expanse of pure, white…nothingness. No sound, no smell…nothing.
Well, there was a draconequus standing impatiently in front of me.
“Oh, good to see you’re finally here,” he greeted me. He crossed his arms as he waited for me to get my bearings.
“Discord…? Where are we?” I asked, confusion evident in my voice. I noticed that my clothes were entirely white as well, and that I could see Discord clearly without my glasses.
“Well, I’m currently on Equestria, imprisoned within a statue…or at least, my body is. My mind, however, is free to wander as it pleases,” he chuckled.
That didn’t sit right with me. “What do you mean by ‘wander’?”
“Oh, I’m just making sure my pieces are in place. You know how much strategy and forethought goes into a chess game,” he laughed. “Don’t worry, this is an entirely new Equestria. You know how it is with different Gods and realities.”
“I’m still worried,” I muttered.
“Actually, I should thank you for inspiring me to do this,” he mused. “In fact, you, Neutra, and Torrentican are the inspiration behind all of this. You three are champions for just the respective powers of Good, Evil, and Neutrality. Embodiments of Creation, life, and universes! Do you know how many Gods are sending their own champions to Equestrias all over the multiverse because of that? Or, I guess the term ‘pieces’ would be more appropriate.”
“Is that what you wanted to talk about?” I snapped. “Did you just want to get the last word in before you went bye-bye?”
He sighed, and quickly become somber. His fingers snapped, and a table materialized between the two of them. Two elaborate wooden chairs made of the same white stuff of the room appeared as well. Sitting down in the chair closest to him, he beckoned for me to do the same.
Once I was seated, he leaned forward, a glimmer of curiosity in his eyes.
In a calm, measured tone, he said, “Sean Nathaniel Brandenburg. You’re definitely an odd one. Everything you do is somehow predictable, yet surprising nonetheless.”
“What do you mean?”
“Imagine that someone, a complete stranger we’ll say, was in trouble. You don’t know if he’ll reward you, or stab you in the back, or whether he wants to die or not. For all you know, he might be the crucial part of a plan to destroy a terrorist organization, or maybe a sacrifice to stop the return of a demon. He might even be a wanted fugitive, or a key witness to a murder case.” He leaned forward onto the table, locking his fingers together. “The question I want you to answer for me: What would you do?”
I considered the question for a long moment. My first impulse was to say that I would save them in a heartbeat, but something told me that wasn’t it exactly. Was that the truth? Or is there something more to it than that?
Discord patiently waited for my answer, reclining in his seat as he did so.
Finally, I had an answer:
“Discord…I don’t know what I would do. There are too many people out there who I don’t know. If I see someone in trouble, I guess I’ll just have to do what I always do,” I slowly said.
“And what would that be, my dear Traveler?” Discord asked.
“Follow my heart. If I did what my head told me, I’d take too long. But my heart…somehow, it just knows. I’m not talking about my clairvoyancy either. It’s something deeper than that. Something I can’t explain,” I admitted. I stuck my hands in my pocket, and leaned back in my chair.
To my surprise, Discord smiled softly. It was only a little unsettling, to be honest. Sure, he had just been trying to kill me, but it was understandable. He was a god, and a force of chaos. Chaos is pretty unpredictable, but a necessary part of life.
In a soft tone, he said, “And that is exactly what I meant. For you, that answer is completely predictable. But for anyone else, it’s completely surprising. Normally, that might be considered a bad thing…then again, this is your life, isn’t it? If your ‘heart’ tells you to be happy about it, then you’re probably happy.”
I didn’t understood what he meant by it at the time. Looking back on it, I…think I get it.
Discord laughed once again.
“What’s so funny?” I asked him.
“I never told you where we are,” he cheerfully said. “Do you realize how much of your own life energy you put into that final attack?”
“That’s right! You put too much into that attack, and died! I managed to pull you out of your conscious while you were recuperating on another world, so I could have this chat with you. When you wake up, you’ll be free to return to Equestria, or go on another journey and return after. It doesn’t matter to me at all.”
Discord stood up, and caused the table and chairs to disappear.
“So…I died again,” I dryly commented. “Fourteenth Death, caused by putting too much life into an attack. I guess I had to make that mistake eventually.”
Both of us shared a weak laugh at my pathetic attempt at making light of the situation.
“Well, if it makes you feel better, that attack should ensure that I don’t break out for a good long while…or at least, until you decide to free me!” Discord said, scratching his chin in a mockery of my signature beard scratch.
Wearily, I pinched the bridge of my nose. In an aggravated tone, I said, “You know, Discord, maybe I won’t have to free you. Maybe the power of harmony will decide you should get a second chance. Who knows?”
He hesitated, before sticking his hand out. I clasped his eagle’s hand in mine.
The God of Neutrality smiled. “It was good to have a decent challenger this time. You put up an excellent fight.”
“Yeah. Hey, maybe if you do become one of the good guys, we might end up becoming friends,” I joked.
“In another world, that’s going to be the truth,” he cackled.
With that, he pulled his hand back, and slapped me across the face.
After the awards ceremony, the girls had returned to Ponyville in a slightly mournful mood. There had been no word from Omnius after they had discovered Discord’s statue sitting in the Everfree next to a massive field of flowers and tree saplings.
In the mean time, they had gone to the ceremony awarding them for resealing Discord, and been awarded their medals. To them, it didn’t really matter. As long as Ponyville and Equestria was safe, then they had won.
Night had fallen when they had returned to Ponyville.
“Do you think he’s alright?” Fluttershy finally asked them after they had stepped off the train from Canterlot.
“I’m sure he’s okay!” Pinkie Pie said optimistically. “He’s probably on a new world now!”
“Why didn’t he say goodbye then?” the shy Pegasus insisted. “He always said that he would say goodbye before he left, but…”
“Don’t think like that,” Applejack said, wrapping a forehoof around her shoulders. “Who knows? He’s always doin’ random things like that. What do you think, Twi?”
Twilight thought about it for a moment, before shrugging. “I don’t know. Either way, he can’t really…die, per say. We’ll see him again soon enough.”
She lifted her eyes to the starry sky above them.
“He told us that whenever he was needed, he’d go to them. For now, we’ll just have to wait…at least we know he’s out there.”
A star twinkled in response.
I shot up in my bed. Hesitantly, I put my hand to my face, making sure I was all there. Everything seemed to be in order.
“Guess I’m okay then,” I yawned. Frowning, I realized that my room looked…different. Instead of the usual dark blue paint, it was set in a light green color. My shelves were in odd places, and the wrong books were there.
“What world am I on? Ye Gods, have I gotten so used to Equestria that it’s really bugging me that I’m not used to a new room?”
Maybe that was a sign that I needed to start another adventure on a new world. I’ve been on Equestria for an incredibly long time. With Discord gone, there weren’t any pressing threats that I needed to worry about. Hell, even if there were, I’m a Traveler. I can Travel through time, remember? If they ever need me again, I’ll return…
Just as I always have.
"Live and Learn, sans souci, and Esperanto."
Hmm…feels like I’m forgetting something. Then again, it’s probably something I shouldn’t worry about. I’ll try to look on the bright side of things for now. Hey, maybe I’ll be able to relax for a little bit without having to worry about anything involving an apocalypse! Just relax with my friends, have some shenanigan related days where embarrassment is the main priority.
I stepped outside of my door, and into the large foyer of a mansion.
“Nate!” a semi-robotic voice called from above me. “You’re just in time! There’s been some sort of time-space disturbance over the city. Reed Richards discovered traces of Power Cosmic leaking in as well. We don’t have much time, we need to move!”
Of, freaking, course.
No rest for the Eternal…heh, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tony and I raced outside, him flying into the air with his Iron Man suit, and me hopping on my hover board. All around us, the city seemed to be going straight to hell in a hand basket, with heroes and villains everywhere duking it out.
Well. Looks like I’m needed again.
It’s good to be The Traveler!