Ancient city lay in ruins, fires around where it could burn. Bodies lay on the ground, blood soaked walls, pillars, and soil. A young stallion was panting heavily as he stood over a strange gateway of sorts; the roars of some creature could be heard, fading away deep into the gateway. The boy was clad in ancient clothing, covered in his own blood due to injuries. His fur golden and hair silver. His sapphire eyes gazing deep into the gateway.
“Father….it is done…Tartarus will house this beast….forever…” he said before collapsing from the wounds on his body, eyes glassing over as he drew his last breath. This brings us now to our current day, many years in the future. Shadow was getting some supplies packed for him and the cutie mark crusaders, today they were trying for Archeologist cutie marks. So he of course was going with them to ensure they’d be safe. Rainbow Dash, having heard what they were up to from Scootaloo, saw this as an opportunity to be like Daring Do and jumped on board. Shadow packed the last of the supplies and left the clubhouse, seeing the girls all talking, excited to do this. Shadow gave each of them their supply pack to carry before putting his own over his shoulders. It was at this moment he noticed Dash was wearing a Daring Do hat.
“Dash….why on earth are you wearing that?” he asked
“Cuz I wanna” she said plainly. Shadow just sighed before looking toward the Everfree Forest.
“Let’s get a move on” he said. They all nodded before venturing forth into the Everfree Forest. It was very humid within the forest, the air rich in heat which made them sweat as they walked. Ducking under high vegetation, stepping over logs, et cetera. They came to a clearing at the most convenient of times, they were tired and the sun was setting.
“Hey Rainbow Dash. Get some firewood. And make it quick” he said. She nodded eagerly.
“10 seconds flat or your money back” she said before zooming off. Shadow just rolled his eyes before turning to the girls.
“You can help me set up the camp” he said. They all smiled happily.
“Yeah! We might have cutie marks in tent pitching” Applebloom said.
“Or fire starting” Scootaloo said, earning odd looks from the others. She just smiled nervously, “or maybe not…”
Dash returned with the firewood, grinning ear to ear “10 seconds flat”
“Try 20 seconds.” Shadow said with a slight grin. Rainbow just stuck her tongue out at him before setting the wood in the fire pit Shadow made. Soon they had a fire going, and just in time too. The moon began to rise into the sky. The dancing flames kept them warm during the cold night.
“Do you think we’ll find any ruins?” Sweetie Belle asked in anticipation.
“Hopefully” Rainbow Dash said, containing her excitement. Shadow just watched and listened as the girls talked. Suddenly he heard something move and turned his head in the direction of the sound. He watched the bushes near the campsite where he believed the sound came from, awaiting any other sound that would follow it. No sound came however, leaving Shadow perplexed.
“What’s wrong Shadow?” Applebloom asked, the other girls stopping their conversation and turning to Shadow when they heard Applebloom.
“Thought I heard something. Probably a squirrel.” He said.
“What if it’s a pack of Timber Wolves?” Scootaloo asked, a little frightened at the possibility.
“Timber Wolves?” he asked out of curiosity
“Yeah, Twilight told me they are a type of treant. A living creature made of wood, and they’re wolves” Rainbow Dash explained for him.
“Fascinating…” Shadow said, keeping his ears open for any sign of danger.
In The Bushes
Something was moving around, attracted by the sounds of Shadow and the girls. Moving what looked like a clawed appendage, the darkness was too great to make out any shape. It slowly parted the bush in front of it, getting a good look at the 5 travelers. It saw as the one with black fur turned, having heard the slight rustling sound. The creature remained still, making sure the one with black fur wouldn’t notice its presence. Watching as they stayed around the campfire until it began to die down. At which point they went to their tent for some shut eye. The creature slowly moved from its hiding spot, going to what was left of the fire. It was looking around as if to scavenge. Turning its gaze toward the tent and moving toward them, reaching an appendage to touch one before it heard stirring and backed off. It looked around a bit before it heard a pack of Timber Wolves nearby. It growled lowly before charging toward the sounds. Shadow wasn’t asleep yet, and neither was Rainbow, though they were trying their best. Shadow’s eyes shot open, just as fast as Dash’s when they heard cries of pain.
“Those are Timber Wolves…they sound like they’re being attacked” Dash said softly, hearing what sounded like a battle off in the distance, suddenly it all went quiet. And not the peaceful quiet, a very eerie quiet. The kind of quiet that would make you sweat, and cause your hair to stand on end. Shadow had felt this eeriness not too long before hearing the wolves get decimated. Whatever was out there, even Shadow had some fear to it. Though he did an excellent job at hiding it, Dash however was panting quietly out of fear. Not liking this silence at all, especially after hearing the commotion that preceded it.
“Dash, relax.” Shadow said quietly. “Try not to think about it and get some rest, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover” he said, closing his eyes and falling asleep. Dash nodded, unable to answer thanks to the lump in her throat, somehow managing to fall asleep with her adrenaline still flowing.
The sun rose the next morning, the light shining onto the tent and clearing. Shadow of course was the first to wake up. He quietly got up and exited the tent, taking a deep breath of air as he stood there for a good minute or two before going back into the tent and waking the others. They were reluctant, but got up anyway. He got out the food they packed and they all had breakfast. After which they packed up camp and set out on their journey. Shadow of course, leading the way as they walked. He noticed a small opening in the canopy, not even 3 minutes from the camp site. Though that didn’t surprise him, and neither did what was inside the clearing. The battered and broken bodies of Timber Wolves, “seems we found where all that noise came from” he said
Rainbow looked over his shoulder and noticed the dead bodies, their abdomens torn open and whatever was inside was gone, eaten most likely. The dirt still had signs of recent disturbance, the trees were stained with blood and impact marks from whatever hit them. Scootaloo looked up at Rainbow, wondering why her idol/sister had a look of absolute terror on her face.
“Rainbow? What’s wrong?” Scootaloo asked, Shadow looked at Rainbow Dash. His expression seemed to be telling her to hide the opening from the girls. And she seemed to read that and went up before getting on her belly and extending her wings, blocking the views of the Crusaders.
“What the hay?” Applebloom asked, having just about seen what was in the clearing. So of course she got a little bummed and steamed.
“come on girls, we came to find ruins, let’s go” he said as he moved them along, once it was clear Dash got up and caught up to them. The crusaders were very curious as to what was just hidden from them, and Scootaloo was starting to worry about Rainbow Dash. Since she seemed very disturbed. Just as she was about to ask Rainbow what was wrong for the second time Shadow made them stop. Pointing toward an area just past the trees, it held no canopy and upon exiting the tree line they saw it was what they were looking for. Ruins of an ancient civilization, the crusaders, and even Dash beamed up when they saw the ruins that lie ahead.
The stone of the city was sand color, and some of the buildings were still intact. Some had collapsed thanks to nature. Others were probably already in that shape before this city met its end. The 5 of them stood at the edge of the forest, a slight inclined drop to the city below.
“Okay, let’s get to that city, but be very” Shadow said, before noticing the crusaders, and Dash were already sliding down the incline. “Careful…” he finished before going after them.
“Wow…” they all said in unison as Shadow landed beside them. Gazing with wide smiles at the ruins. Walking into the now dead city with gusto.
“What do you think happened here?” Applebloom asked.
“Based on the condition of the ruins…I’d say a battle took place here when the civilization fell. A big battle at that.” Rainbow Dash said, using what she learned from a fictional character to analyze the ruins. Daring Do might be fictional, but its information regarding ruins were spot on, from traps to status. That and Dash was going off of hunches as well. Shadow was looking at a building in the distance, it seemed the most intact. They made their way to the building, stopping a few feet in front of a staircase that lead to its entrance
“Must be the capital building” Shadow said.
“No, look at the outside, there’s no remnants of high class statues to mark the building as the capital. My guess is, it might be where they recorded their history” Dash said, which that in and of itself was pretty impressive for someone who has no expertise in this field. The crusaders beamed at what she said before running up the stairs.
“Hey! Wait up!” Dash called out as she and Shadow gave chase. Entering a large room, which was full of what were left of some relics. A nice hole in the wall at the back of it, as well as stone tablets with writing on them. Paintings were present on the walls, well what was left of them anyway. Plants were growing through the stone, which would mark the time these ruins were standing and full of ponies a long time ago.
“What do these say?” Sweetie Belle asked, referring to the tablets. Scoot went over and tried to translate what she saw.
“Bird, water, eye…what?” she asked, getting frustrated. Shadow shook his head with a grin as he pulled out Tails’ handheld device and set it to translate mode. Tails had given it to him so he’d be able to record another society’s history, if the ruins were found that is. He walked over and pointed the device at the tablet, soon getting a translation that made him groan.
“Leave it to Tails….” He said, the translation of the text being botched English, meaning he’d have to translate the translation to make sense of it.
“What’s up?” Rainbow asked, looking over her shoulder at the words on the hand held. She bit her bottom lip and snorted a bit before falling to the ground in pure laughter.
“Laugh it up” Shadow said as he looked at the translation. “If I’m right, this tells about how the king led his people to prosperity in light of the recent monarch” he said
The crusaders had excited smiles, but as the day dragged on they were now bored out of their minds. Only 3 hours had passed and already they figured this wasn’t their special talent. All the tablets talked about was how everything was going great, from crops to population.
“This is boring…” Sweetie Belle said, earning nods from her friends. Scoot leaned against the wall, yawning.
“I figured it would be more excite-“ Scoot couldn’t finish, since she felt her body move backwards. She apparently had triggered a hidden switch. A section in the middle of the room opened up, revealing a staircase that went down.
“That works.” Scoot said, getting a little more excited. Shadow and Dash turned to the sound of stone moving and noticed the stairs.
“My guess is they put all the past history stuff down there” Dash said.
“Let’s find out” Shadow said before they all began to descend the stairs. It began to get really dark.
“This is scary…” Applebloom said before hearing Scootaloo scream in terror. Shadow held a hand to his ears, the scream having echoed in the dark abyss and hurting his ears.
“Sorry Scoot” Dash said, having accidently bumped the filly. Shadow took out a green emerald and immediately the area was filled with its light. The crusaders sighed in relief, glad to have light. They continued their trek down the stairs. They came into a large room once they reached the bottom.
“Wow, big room” Scootaloo said, her voice echoing a bit. Shadow noticed some torches that still had kindle in them, using a chaos arrow about the size of his finger he sparked and ignited them. Putting away the emerald and looking at the tablets and wall. The crusaders soon had a sense of déjà vu, since they were bored once again. The history in this room was similar to upstairs, only it was about how the king’s actions were bringing ruin to the ponies.
“Dagnabbit” Applebloom said, bored and wanting to go home already. “Stupid ruins!” she said in frustration before bucking the nearest wall. A rumbling was felt not too long after that, and a wall opened to reveal a passage. Shadow looked at the crusaders, who seemed to be excited again, though it was less prominent. He led them down the passage, Dash getting a little excited again. She felt just like Daring Do, and she liked it. They entered a small room, though it still had plenty of space for them all to move around. What was in that room is what made Shadow feel uneasy. And that was putting it mildly. On the wall, immediate to their left once they exited the passage, was a mural. A mural telling of a great tragedy that is yet to come, a warning, a prophecy, call it what you want. He moved closer to the painting, noticing no stone tablets, just writing on the wall beneath the mural.
“What the hay is that?” Applebloom asked, referring to the mural.
“It’s a mural, it tells of a future event. Plainly stating how to prevent it, or how it will resolve itself” Dash said, not too sure she was right, though she was close. Shadow looked at the painting, which was all black. Two rubies in circular cuts were on the painting, as if to be eyes, and multiple sterling silver crescents adorned the wall as well. Shadow brought out the handheld and scanned the wall, doing his best to translate the translation.
“Great doom and catastrophe await. The evil of the past has sealed the fate. Every soul will perish in this darkest hour. A beast will rise, its form will tower. Beware the deadly Stalker, for it is always watching.”
“The Stalker? What on earth is that?” Scootaloo asked.
“Whatever they painted on this wall would be my guess” Rainbow Dash said.
“I think that’s all we’ll find. Let’s head out of here.” Shadow said, leading them all back outside the building. The sun was almost completely set, the moon was starting to rise.
“Looks like we’ll be camping here” he said before reaching to remove his bag, suddenly stopping when he heard a stone from a nearby building fall. He turned his gaze toward there, keeping an eye on it.
“What’s up Shadow?” Dash asked, Shadow just shook his head.
“Must be the structural integrity failing on the building over there” he said before managing to catch something move.
“Who’s there?!” he shouted at what moved.
Near the building
Whatever was watching them at the campsite was back, it was hiding in the shadows. Watching them, it saw they were planning to camp there. Moving a bit to get a better position, inexplicably causing a stone in the wall to fall and hit the ground. It noticed the black and red one stop and looked in the direction it was hiding in. It hid itself as best it could, hearing the cyan and rainbow one talking with it. It moved again, hearing the black one call out to it. It had been seen, seeing it as feeble to keep hiding it jumped out from its hiding spot into the open. Standing right in front of them.
Shadow felt the blood in his veins chill at the sight of this thing, it was covered in a pure black veil of mist. This confirmed by the fact you could see the black of the mist coming off its body like steam. It had two blood red eyes, a white faded pupil in the center of them. It towered over them, about the size of a gorilla and was even standing with a similar posture. Its arms looked big and strong, legs stubby but most likely very powerful. It had claws at the ends of its arms, the same sterling silver as in the painting. It was releasing a low growl as it stared at them. The crusaders were terrified of this thing, hiding behind Shadow and Dash as best they could. Dash felt all the blood leave her face as she looked at this thing. It was big, scary, and most importantly, it was real.
“This must be that Stalker thing” Shadow said, the beast growled before lunging straight for him. Shadow used Chaos Control to teleport them out of the way. Hiding the Crusaders in a nearby building before turning to the beast. It turned slowly to him, its breath visible and just as black as the rest of it. Shadow could make out a mouth and teeth as he watched it growl. It charged toward him and dodged the attack, tossing a Chaos Spear at its back. The beast roared when it was hit, though it was unfazed by the attack.
“Not good” Shadow said as it charged at him again. Dash who was finally able to snap out of her stupor flew at high speed and tackled the beast, slamming it into a building before flying over and landing next to Shadow.
“too bad for you freak!” she said to the creature before getting scared as it stood back up and roared at her.
“What is this thing made of?” Shadow wondered as the creature charged, managing to grab him as he dodged. Slamming him into the ground and trying to crush him. Dash managed to get enough distance to speed up at the beast. Pivoting at the last moment to buck it in the jaw. She smiled when she saw its head move from the impact, but it was nonetheless unfazed. Swatting her away easily. She landed near the crusaders, groaning in pain. Shadow concentrated as best he could as the air left his lungs.
“Chaos Blast!” he shouted, pushing the beast off and away from him with the red violent energy. Shadow ran to the girls, grabbing hold of them before using Chaos Control to get them back to town. The beast saw they disappeared, but one thing didn’t. Their scent, it tracked their smell and began to climb the incline, making its way through the forest and toward ponyville. Though it did it in leisure. Not going too fast or slow as it faded into the darkness, seeking out any suitable meal.
Shadow and the others appeared inside Twilight’s house, now safe from that thing.
“Oh, you’re back” Twilight said, having still been awake, smiling at them. She made her way downstairs to learn what they found. Once she got close however, she realized the crusaders were trembling, Dash looked pale, and Shadow looked like he had fought something.
“What happened?” she asked, concerned now. The crusaders threw themselves onto her, crying in relief and fear.
“It was horrible Twilight. A big monster came and attacked us” Scootaloo said.
“Monster?” she asked, looking to the others for confirmation.
“That’s pretty accurate as to what that thing was” Shadow said.
“Yeah” Dash agreed, “big nasty thing. Black body, silver claws, red eyes. Mural said it was called The Stalker” she said, describing it. Immediately upon hearing the description Twilight’s eyes widened and her face went pale. She started to tremble as tears began to well up and fall from her eyes. It was like she was in a trance. She then let out a scream of horror, as if she were staring down the beast at that moment before fainting. Shadow caught her before she fell, worried about what just happened.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Equestria
Metal Sonic was gazing over the horizon, his cold metal body motionless as he just sat there, near a treeline. Gilda was getting comfortable in a nearby tree, trying to fall asleep. Metal kept gazing, his eyes never moving from where they were fixed. Metal was soon alerted by his sensors that something was nearby, turning his head he began to try to locate the source. Soon realizing that it was coming from the treeline. As soon as he was able to pinpoint a specific area his sensors began to go crazy. He yelped a bit from the overload of signals, it was as if whatever it was, was everywhere at once. Soon the signals all stopped and a silence fell.
“What’s with you?” Gilda asked, having heard the yelp.
“Something triggered my sensors” he said
“Sure it was a squirrel” she said, brushing it off. “You aren’t scared of squirrels are you?” she teased.
“I don’t recall squirrels being able to be in one spot, then everywhere at once, then nowhere” he said. Gilda just arched a brow.
“Well maybe you got a screw loose” she said, stifling a giggle from her own pun. He was about to say something before stopping. Gilda noticed his eyes were looking off to the side, she turned her gaze in time to see something plow into the tree, knocking her out of it. Landing with a hard thud she stood, growling as she turned to look at what it was. It was the creature that Shadow and the others encountered, and it was standing right in front of them. Its faded pupils shifting between the two of them as guttural sounds escaped its mouth.
“What in the name of?” she wondered before the beast charged at her. She managed to dodge it, seeing as it turned and tried to grab Metal. He dodged before firing a laser from his hand, the beast growled as a hiss of heat was heard from the shoulder Metal struck. The beast seemed unfazed turning to him and charging closer, swatting him toward the treeline and through a few trees. The trees crashed loudly into other trees as well as the ground, kicking up dirt.
Gilda was up in the air, watching as it happened. She growled before diving at the beast, running her talons along its back as she passed by it. The beast howled from the injury, before turning to her and roaring in rage. It then did something she didn’t expect, it jumped very high able to grab her as it began to descend. Slamming her into the ground, dazing her. It then grabbed her leg and began to move its arm back and forth, slamming her into the ground repeatedly before tossing her towards the trees. She collided with the solid trunk before falling down to the ground, unconscious. The beast slowly made its way to her before a laser straight to the face made it howl as it covered its face with its hands. The hissing of heat audible from where it was hit, which was right where its nose would be. The beast recovered quickly and charged at him.
“Black Shield!” Metal said, as a rhombus made of black surrounded his body, inverting his color and protecting him. The beast swung its claws, breaking the shield easily and causing him to stumble backwards. “Impossible!” he said, seeing that his shield was destroyed so easily.
The beast roared and charged at him, grabbing him by the legs and slamming him against the trees. The creature did it with such force that the trunks tore apart and the trees fell. Metal desperately tried to aim at the beast, firing wildly and missing. He began to hope for a magic bullet, something that would make it stop. He got his wish as a laser struck one of its eyes, causing it to howl in pain as it dropped him. Metal scrambled to get up, going over to Gilda and shaking her to get her up.
Gilda stirred out of unconsciousness, looking up at Metal. “What?” she asked in confusion
“No time, gotta fly” he said as he took her hand and ascended into the air. Once the disorientation wore off she started to flap her wings and turned to look at the beast as she flew beside Metal. Both of them out of jump range of the beast.
“Try and get us now!” she taunted. The beast roared before hunching over. Its back began to shift before two large bat like wings, shrouded in that same darkness sprouted forth. It began to flap its wings and lifted into the air.
“That son of a bitch can fly?!” she said in shock and horror. Metal just looked at her, gripping her hand before flying off at high speed to avoid the creature. It roared as it began to fly after them, managing to get closer and closer to them.
“We need to go faster!” Metal said, going into turbo drive and pulling Gilda along as they flew. Distancing themselves. Gilda did her best to keep up and help them gain some speed. After what seemed like minutes, though it was only seconds Metal stopped, allowing Gilda to catch her breath.
“What’s up?” she asked, panting.
“It vanished” he said before his sensors went off, though it was too late, the beast appeared behind them and swatted them forcefully into the ground. Descending slowly toward the crater it made that they now lay in. Metal whirred and electricity crackled as he stood. Gilda was in and out of consciousness from the hit. He watched as the beast got closer, preparing to end them. The sun was beginning to rise, Metal could tell from his environmental sensors. The rays soon broke the tree tops and shone onto the beast. It flinched at the light and ran off to the shadows. Hiding itself away until night. Metal just watched that and sighed in relief, figuratively of course before entering standby mode and collapsing.
Twilight began to wake up, her head spinning as she slowly sat up. She began to gather her thoughts, trying to piece together what happened last night. All she could remember was Rainbow Dash describing something, then a name. She couldn’t quite remember it, her head hurting too much to continue thinking about it. She turned her head when she heard something coming up the stairs, it was Shadow coming up to check on her. The sight of him made her smile happily.
“Nice to see you’re awake” he said, a grin on his face as he walked over and sat down beside her. “How you feeling?” he asked
“Head hurts, but other than that I’m fine” she said, looking right into his eyes.
“Well Spike is handling breakfast, so when you’re ready come down and eat” he said about to stand up and leave before feeling her forelegs wrap around him.
“Please stay” she said softly, not wanting him to leave. He turned to her a bit and wrapped an arm around her, to hold her close. To comfort her as best he could. She just smiled happily, though he wouldn’t say it out loud she knew what he would say in that situation.
With Sonic and Dash
The two speedsters were walking side by side as Dash told Sonic all about what happened.
“Wow…so this Stalker thing is pretty freaky?” Sonic asked. Dash nodded, remembering how shaken she was by it. Something jarred her from her thoughts when she fell head over hooves into a hole. Wanging her head against something and groaning as she raised a hoof to rub where she took the hit. Sonic chuckled at the scene before recognizing two other figures in the hole
“Metal Sonic!” he said in surprise.
“And Gilda too” Rainbow Dash said.
“What do you think happened to them?” Sonic asked
“No clue, looks like they got quite a workout. Metal looks banged up” she said before something caught her attention, it sounded like weak mumbling.
“…Dash….” Gilda finally managed to get out loud enough. Dash turned to her and saw that she had one eye half open and was struggling to keep it that way. “…help…us….” She said before losing consciousness once again. Dash looked up at Sonic and he nodded, going into the hole to help her get Gilda and Metal out of there.
Dash took Gilda to Ponyville Hospital while Sonic carried Metal to Fluttershy’s Cottage, knowing Tails could do something.
Tails was relaxing with Fluttershy, the sounds of the animals soothing as they just sat on the couch. Tails’ arms were wrapped around her as she leaned on him, his scent and warmth relaxing her more. Their tender moment however, didn’t last due to frantic knocking on the front door.
“Who could that be?” she wondered as she got up and flew over to the door, opening it to quite a surprise. It was Sonic, carrying Metal Sonic.
“Tails, little help?” he asked as soon as he saw his friend. Tails nodded and went over to him leading him to where he’d work on Metal.
“What happened?” Fluttershy asked.
“Don’t know, me and Dash found him and Gilda in a crater” Sonic said, “and Gilda didn’t look so good”
“Well we’ll find out soon enough” Tails said, running diagnostics on Metal to see what he could do. “This will take a while though” he said as he watched his handheld as it went to work.
“Okay Ms. Dash we just have a few questions to ask.” Nurse Redheart said. Dash just nodded, hoping to be of any help.
“Now what happened?” she asked
“Well to Gilda? I don’t know. But I was talking with my friend and fell into a crater, that was where I found her.” Dash said.
“Is that all?” Redheart asked, earning a nod from Dash. “Okay, have a seat.” She said. Dash nodded and sat down.
5 hours later, Dash looked up to see the doctor, hoping for good news.
“How is she doc?” Dash asked. The doctor looked at her and smiled.
“She’ll be fine, she just has a broken wing, arm, leg, and a few bruised ribs. Other than that she’ll be fine within a month. You can go see her if you’d like, she should wake up soon” the doctor said.
“Thank you so much doctor” she said before heading to Gilda’s room and pushing the doors open. The first thing she saw was Gilda, all hooked up to different things with 3 casts on.
“You’ve seen better days huh Gilda?” she asked her, gazing at the sleeping griffon.
Canterlot Palace that night
Silver, Blaze, Marine, and several of Luna’s guards were gathered.
“Never thought I’d see only Luna’s guards here” Silver said.
“Must be serious” Blaze pointed out before all the guards were brought to attention by Shining Armor. The princesses entered the room after that, looking at the group of no more than 20 that stood before them, including Silver Blaze and Marine.
“I’m sure you’re all wondering why we’ve called such an urgent meeting.” Celestia began, “well it appears we’ll be needed in Fillydelphia. We’ve been getting reports like wildfire from there”
“To clarify, the reports are of grim and gruesome detail of scenes where ponies have been disemboweled.” Luna said. Some of the guards getting a nervous sweat at this point. Silver was downright shocked, same as Blaze and Marine. Shining did his best to keep his composure, going so far as to ask, “Do they have any leads?”
“No they do not.” Luna said. “In fact, they’re puzzled by all this” she added.
“We’ll get to the bottom of it” Silver said, his naivety and good intentions speaking for him. A sound brought their attention to Trixie, who had just entered the room.
“Allow me to go too. I know where Fillydelphia is and I’m familiar with it.” she said.
“very well, might I suggest that Chaos Control of yours to travel the distance?” Luna asked, Trixie nodded. Silver handed her the white emerald, knowing that Trixie was all good intentions.
“then make haste, and do be careful” Celestia said before watching as Trixie used Chaos Control to warp her, Silver, Blaze, Marine, and 17 guards to Fillydelphia.
The streets were empty this night, police tape could be seen going across said street. Marking buildings that housed the bodies of the unfortunate souls that had perished recently. The police were chatting, trying to piece it all together when a bright flash of light caught their attention. They put their hooves up to shield their eyes. When the light finally died down they put their hooves down and saw Trixie, Blaze, Silver, Marine, and the guards. Trixie and the guards they recognized easily, the other three not so much.
“Trixie? And Luna’s guards? The hell is going on?” one officer asked
“we’re here on royal business to look into what has happened here” Trixie said. one guard going up to the officer to show proper confirmation that what she says is true.
“very well, mind your step and please, if you got a weak stomach,” the officer said as he pulled out a paper bag. “don’t be shy to use this” Silver graciously took the bag, already having a feeling that he’d need it. the officers lifted the tape for Silver, Trixie, Blaze and Marine. The guards remained outside to survey the area and to protect them.
Upon entering the crime scene Silver felt his stomach flip, there in front of him were 3 bodies, a mare, a stallion, and a filly. All 3 dead, and their abdomens torn open and vacant of any organs from what could be seen where he was standing. Blood was on the walls, ceiling, furniture, all splattered or smeared. While beneath the bodies were pools of the vital red liquid.
“my god…” Blaze said as she took in the sight of the grizzly scene. Silver was able to keep his food down, feeling sadness for the loss of life in the room.
“this was no murder” Trixie said, examining one of the bodies. “these wounds were made by no blade or magic. Magic tends to leave clean wounds, no tearing.” She added
“so no blade, or magic. What did it then?” Blaze asked
“I’m not sure, we’ll have to see other crime scenes” she said before going to the officer to learn of any other crime scenes.
“even children…whatever this thing is…it’s got no conscience.” Silver said.
“I’d wager this thing is just like an animal, all it cares about is its own survival” Marine said. Silver nodded, feeling the need to stop this thing at all costs rise within him. Blaze then put a hand on his shoulder and walked with him and Marine to leave the house.
“there is one other crime scene, a camp ground. One survivor” Trixie said when they left the house. She got out the emerald and used Chaos Control to get them to the camp ground.
The officers at the camp ground were currently guarding the only survivor. Not wanting such a precious recollection of what happened to fall away.
“sir, we’ve got a report from in town, Luna’s guards as well as 4 others will arrive shor-“ the officer couldn’t finish, since a blinding light cut him off and the subjects in question appeared.
“I think they’re here” the captain said. “greetings, I’m Captain Hooven. You must be on the investigation team” he said
“yes indeed we are, where is the survivor?” Trixie asked. Hooven pointed to a nearby shack.
“he’s real shook up by all this. Be careful with how you approach” he advised.
“thank you” Trixie said as she began to walk towards the shack.
“I’d like to see the crime scene” Silver said
“you aren’t going alone.” Blaze said causing Silver to grin nervously.
“it’s that way, just follow the flares” Hooven said. Silver and Blaze nodded before setting off.
“I’ll stick with ya for extra security Trix” Marine said before they both entered the shack.
In the Shack
Trixie and Marine walked in, shutting the door behind them. Trixie could see one lamp and several beds. There was a table near the lamp, sitting at the table was a stallion with blue fur and blonde mane and tail.
“hello” Trixie said softly as she got closer. He heard her, but didn’t acknowledge her. His head in his hooves and his gaze distant.
“hey mate? You alright?” Marine asked, he looked up at her and sighed.
“no….no I’m not..” he said.
“my name is Trixie” Trixie said as she sat. “this is my friend Marine. We’re here to learn what happened”
The stallion shook his head, his expression turning more frantic. “it was a nightmare….but I can’t wake up from it…” he said, scared to death. Trixie looked at him, knowing this was going to take a while.
With Silver and Blaze
“why did you want to see the crime scene?” she asked him. Silver turned to her before returning his gaze to in front of him.
“I want to see…just how bad this is…” he said, his gaze showing some determination to get to the bottom of this and end the nightmare.
“so naïve” she said to herself, worried Silver was getting in over his head as they continued down the path.
In the Shack
“let’s start from the beginning. What’s your name?” Trixie asked.
“Carl.” He said
“that’s a nice name. tell me Carl, what do you do here?” she asked
“I’m a counselor and captain of the Fire Watch” he said
“Fire Watch?” she asked
“It’s a night time security operation. We take turns walking our respective areas, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Like fires” he said, warming up more.
“And I’m to guess tonight’s fire watch is where it all began?” she asked. Carl seemed really shaken from hearing that, memories hitting him quickly.
“I’m sorry, take your time, walk me through the night if you can” she said
“all of them…dead…even the…” he said, trailing off.
Silver was shocked at the sight before him, he felt as if he was going to throw up. There in the camp ground center were broken cabins, and the bodies of adults and children, all of them missing their abdomens. Blood staining the soil and anything near it, like the cabins and light poles.
“holy mother…” Blaze said as she looked at the gruesome scene. “even the children…this thing is a monster”
Silver clenched his fists, anger welling in him at the sight of such pure unadulterated evil. “we’ve got to stop this thing” he said before wincing and covering his nose. The smell of blood was intoxicating.
“any ideas?” Blaze asked, covering her nose as well.
“one” he said before holding out his arms and focusing his power, the field of bodies glowing a soft green color. “I can probably find the one responsible if I use my power to track any residual traces of the victims. Blood, organs, anything” he said, continuing to focus.
Somewhere nearby, Something was watching Silver and Blaze, silent as the night it hid itself away in.
“anything?” Blaze asked, Silver shook his head slowly. Still focusing, he began to feel something. His tracking seemed to be working.
“wait. I think I got something” he said with a smile. His smile soon faded and was replaced by a look of horror as he quickly whirled around to look behind him. His breathing was a little more faster as he began to sweat.
“what’s wrong?” she asked
“whatever I found….it’s nearby…and it…AGH!” he screamed in pain, holding his head.
“Silver!” Blaze called out worried.
“it was…everywhere…at once…” he said as the pain soon lifted. “now…it’s nowhere” he said. Blaze was shocked by that, but was soon jarred from that as she grabbed him and dove to the side. Avoiding a clawed appendage slamming into the ground.
“what the?” Silver wondered before seeing the creature. It’s dark exterior, silver claws and ruby red eyes standing before him. “yipe…” he said.
The beast walked closer, growling lowly before a fireball struck it in the face, making it reel back in pain. “come on!” Blaze shouted as she took Silver’s hand and ran back toward where everyone else was.
“it was horrible….I thought it was going to kill me too…if it weren’t for the police” Carl said, finishing his story of what happened.
“my lord.” Trixie said softly, completely amazed by what this creature was capable of. Just as she was about to ask another question the door slammed open, Blaze and Silver entering and out of breath.
“Blaze? Silver? What’s wrong?” Marine asked.
“I think we found what did this” Silver said. “it was all big and black, red eyes and silver claws”
Carl gasped at that “that’s the creature!” he shouted “oh my god! It’s going to kill us all!” he shouted.
“get ahold of yourself!” Trixie shouted “we won’t let it hurt you, so calm down and stay inside” she said.
Carl looked at her and nodded “okay…I believe yo..” he couldn’t finish, the wall to his left breaking apart before something grabbed him and crashed through the right wall. The 4 heroes just stood there in utter shock.
“let’s go!” Trixie said before leaving the shack with them. They went around the building to see the creature. What they saw was the beast biting into Carl’s belly and pulling out the organs as it ate.
“lord have mercy” Marine said. after its meal the beast looked up at them and roared before charging. They moved aside and watched as it ran past them.
“what is that thing?!” Trixie asked, as she gritted her teeth.
“that’s the killer” Silver said before it turned to them and roared. Silver used his mind to lift a few rock and hurl them at the creature. They hit but had barely any effect. Blaze then conjured some fire in a circle around the beast. Trixie used some offensive spells to do damage to the creature. It roared before jumping out of the fire, unfazed by any of those attacks. Silver smirked, having conjured up a blade of psychic energy, waiting for the beast to land before launching it. The blade made contact and sliced through the beast, he smiled as he saw the arm of the creature fall off. It let out a piercing howl of agony from the loss of its limb.
“gotcha!” Silver said triumphantly before watching in horror as it picked up the severed limb and put it against the stump. Within a few seconds the arm began moving again, fully re-attached. “son of a” he said before dodging a charge from the beast.
“okay. Dismemberment doesn’t slow it down any” Marine said, getting her battle gloves on. “let’s see if it knows how to wrassle” she said before charging at it. It turned and swung a claw at her, she grabbed it and smirked as she lifted the beast and tossed it to the ground before jumping up and punching the beast right in the stomach once it hit the ground. It grabbed her and threw her into the shack, making the whole thing collapse on her.
“dammit” Trixie said through gritted teeth as she charged another attack. Silver getting multiple psychic blades ready. Blaze seeing this charged forward, alit with flames. She fired a few fireballs at it before conjuring a fire whip and using it to whip its eyes. With each crack of the whip, a sound of agony was heard from the beast. She then wrapped the whip around its arm before conjuring another and getting the other arm. She smiled as she jumped behind it and got her feet on its back, pushing as hard as she could while pulling the whips with her arms that were fully outstretched.
Silver smiled and fired two blades, each cutting the restrained limbs off of it. Trixie tried her hand at this blade thing and conjured a magic blade that she aimed at its legs, cutting off said limbs. The beast howled in utter agony as its stumpy torso fell to the ground with a loud thud.
Silver then quickly made sure to use his power to lift the limbs and keep them away from the beast. The sound of wood panels and beams being moved and tossed could be heard as Marine got out of the pile of lumber.
“we beat it?” she asked as she approached the non-moving torso.
“I’d say so” Trixie said, smiling in triumph over this victory.
“so, this is our culprit?” Hooven asked as he approached the scene, staring in wonder at the creature.
“was is more like it” Silver said with a smile.
“well in this case, I’d prefer it that way. We’ll take it from here, thanks ever so much” he said as a team of officers came and secured the limbs and body of the monster.
“it’s no trouble. We were glad to help” Blaze said.
“let’s go home” Trixie said, the guards and her friends gathering around her before she used Chaos Control to take them back to Canterlot Palace.
Fluttershy’s Cottage, the next morning
Metal began to enter his reboot, all systems coming online and his eye panels lighting up. He noticed he wasn’t where he remembers before entering standby. His gears whirred and joints clicked as he slowly sat up. Looking around, trying to figure out where he was.
“up and at em I see” Tails said as he entered the room. Metal glared at him before holding up his arm to fire a laser, but all he got was bells and whistles.
“yeah, sorry, disabled all weaponry, gadgets, and your lower half. You aren’t going anywhere for now” Tails said before Sonic entered behind him.
“yeah I’d like to know what, besides me, put you in that crater” Sonic said, taunting the bot a bit.
“why should I tell you?” Metal asked in an annoyed tone.
“because if you do, I’ll undo all my locks and you’ll have full control over your body again” Tails said with a grin. Metal just looked at the boy with absolute hatred, but knew he had no other choice. It was true, he couldn’t move his lower half.
“very well, I will tell you, on the condition you free my legs first, and take me to Gilda” he said. Sonic and Tails arched a brow at the odd request, but shrugged as Tails undid the lock on his lower half. Allowing Metal to stand again.
“she’s at the hospital, follow us please” Tails said before going with Sonic and Metal to the Ponyville Hospital.
Dash had just arrived at the building, going to check in on Gilda. She was about to open the door before the sound of metal clanking on the tile floor caught her attention. She turned and saw Metal Sonic with Sonic and Tails in the lobby. Her eye twitched as a shocked grin appeared on her face, she was stunned by the sight of that. She was even more surprised when they walked up to and stopped in front of her.
“heya Dash, here to see Gilda too?” Sonic asked with a chipper smile.
“ummm, yeah” she managed to say before opening the door, allowing all 4 of them to enter.
Gilda looked up and was shocked to see Metal enter the room, “aw, you came to visit me” she teased the bot. Metal just looked at her.
“hardly” he said coldly. Tails and Sonic just shook their heads, expecting that from Metal.
“well, this is hardly just a visit. We want to know how you two ended up in that crater” Tails said.
Gilda looked up at Metal and he looked back at her before they turned to the other 3 and nodded, telling them about their encounter with the creature and how it ended for them.
“so some big black monster that can fly and screw with your sensors…” Sonic said as Tails was busy working on undoing the locks on Metal’s equipment, a deal was a deal. “not only that but an apparent fear of sunlight” Dash added.
“affirmative. Were it not for the sun, I do believe Gilda and I would be no more” he said, Gilda nodding sadly. Just as Tails finished undoing the locks the door flew open and Twilight entered the room, looking frantic and out of breath.
“Twilight?” Dash asked
“big trouble…the Princess has summoned all of us for an emergency meeting. Shadow is gathering the others as I speak, we’re supposed to meet him at the palace” she said. Dash, Sonic and Tails all had serious looks on their faces before going over to Twilight. She took out her red emerald, concentrating on pulling this off.
“Chaos Control” she said, the 4 of them warping to the palace, or rather where they were to meet the princess inside the castle.
Shadow turned when Twilight arrived with the other 3 in a flash of chaos energy. He couldn’t help but smile at her achieving such a feat. The others stood there, wondering what the news was. Silver, Blaze, Marine, and Trixie all looked very concerned.
“thank you for coming on such short notice” Celestia said. “as you know strange things have been occurring throughout Equestria. Just recently, Fillydelphia fell victim to this. Many died in a single night.” she said.
Everyone but the 4 who were there seemed concerned about it.
In a Lab Somewhere
Ponies were walking around, taking notes and doing tests to figure out what this thing was. Looking at its severed limbs and torso. No real conclusions could be reached, not even the most experienced of zoologists were having an easy time of this. Unbeknownst to them, the limbs began to pulse and move whenever they didn’t look. They decided it was time for a break and left the room. At this point the chest began to visibly rise and fall.
“to continue,” Celestia said as she brought out a book.
“what’s that?” Shadow asked.
“a bestiary” Twilight said, recognizing it. Shadow turned to her, concerned about what was going to happen next.
“yes, the very bestiary that traumatized you when you were but a filly Twilight” Celestia said rather sadly as she opened the book to the very page that Twilight was on when it scared her terribly. Celestia focused her magic into a glyph on the page, soon a magical representation of the very beast that Silver and his friends fought appeared. It just stood there, above the book, just an illusion.
“this is a creature known as The Stalker” she said. Twilight was trembling as she gazed at the illusion. Subconsciously leaning against Shadow, which he noticed and responded by wrapping an arm around her to help calm her.
“so the name of that thing we killed is The Stalker?” Silver asked. Celestia looked at him with a grim expression, Silver immediately got chills.
“don’t tell me…” he said, slowly realizing it.
Small grunts escaped the beast with each exhale, the limbs still pulsing with life. Its black shroud of an exterior extended outward like tendrils and wrapped around the limbs, bringing them to its body and reattaching them. The Stalker slowly sat up and let out a mighty roar before busting through the wall and making its way to the break room.
“it is still very much alive, Silver” Celestia said. “your efforts were incredible, but alas, not enough to stop this creature.” She said
“Princess, Dash and I encountered this creature at these ruins in the Everfree forest. Where exactly did it come from?” Shadow asked. Celestia looked at him and sighed.
“long ago, about 1500-2000 years ago those ruins were a bustling and thriving civilization. They were very prosperous, though they sealed their own fate. A hermit came to the walls of the city, requesting food and shelter. The king of course with his cold heart refused any charity to something so filthy and low class. The hermit pleaded with the king, but still was turned down. The hermit revealed himself to be a wandering nomad, SwirlStar, StarSwirl’s great great great great grandfather. He put a curse on the city, stating that their own negativity and darkness will be their undoing. Then he left, no other words spoken. 10 years later, the civilization fell in a single night. The curse SwirlStar left on them had stored enough negativity to spawn a creature as ruthless as it is dark. The Stalker, was born that day, and it was determined to fulfill its goal of killing off all it saw. Which meant it would leave the city and find other civilizations and kill them off. A young colt stood against the beast, though he failed in saving his people and the city, he succeeded in sealing the beast within the depths of Tartarus. Afterwards the boy died from his wounds and overexertion” Celestia said. the others looking in utter fascination at how this creature was born, and what its purpose was.
“Gilda and Metal said they fought it, said it was scared of the sunlight” Sonic said.
“about 500 years ago it got free of Tartarus. Fearing it would find enter the cities of Equestria I confronted it and used enchanted sunlight to repel it into Tartarus and renew the seal” Celestia said.
“they also said it could fly” Dash said. Celestia looked shocked at that.
“strange, it didn’t have wings when we fought it” Silver said.
“it has the ability to alter itself temporarily to achieve its goal.” Celestia said “which at this point would be to kill you and your friends Silver. You did dismember it”
Silver immediately got scared, knowing this thing was gonna come at him with determination.
“so what do we do?” Knuckles asked.
“set up a trap” Vector said with a grin. “we do that, it’ll come running and we can end it right then and there”
“Vector is right. I’ll leave it to you all, good luck” Celestia said. they all looked at one another, knowing this was going to be a long night.
The entire facility was aflame, blood and bodies littered the halls and outside ground, The Stalker having gotten its fill it now set out for its next objective. Silver and his friends, it ran quickly, trying to cover as much ground as possible as quickly as it could.
“how you feeling?” Shadow asked her, the poor thing still trembling.
“a little better” she said.
“what happened when you found that book?” he asked, she looked at him
“I was a filly, recently enrolled into Celestias School for Gifted Unicorns. I had been given permission to look at the library and read some books, I found one that was interesting. The bestiary, I opened it, using my magic to activate the glyphs and observe illusions of the various creatures.” She said, pausing as she sat down with him on the couch.
“I guess I let my excitement get the better of me, I turned the page and activated another glyph, though I accidentally set it to predation. Meaning I’d see how it hunted, when I looked up I saw this huge black thing with red eyes lunge at me, of course it was just an illusion….but I was severely scared, to the point I assumed the fetal position and just cried in utter terror.” She said, a few tears falling as she recalled every detail.
“your mind repressed it, and it wasn’t until recently that it was dug up” he said. she just nodded, feeling him wrap his arms around her and hug her.
“I don’t know if I’d be able to handle the real thing” she said sadly. “of course you can, I’ll be right there with you” he said. she just looked up and smiled at him.
“I’ll try” she said softly
Outside Ponyville, That Night
“I’m still not sure about this” Silver said, standing in a field, waiting for tall dark and gruesome to show up.
“don’t worry, you’ll be just fine!” Vector said, before sinking back behind the bush he was standing near and turning to Charmy “he’s dead” he said quietly, causing the bee to giggle. Shadow just rolled his eyes, watching and waiting with the others. Twilight could feel each of her nerves burning from the anticipation and anxiety.
It felt like hours had gone by, nothing happened, no sign of the creature. Just as they were about to call it off they heard a mighty roar in the distance. Shadow turned his gaze and saw The Stalker making a beeline for Silver. “Silver move!” he called out, Silver nodded and did just that. Managing to dodge the creature. Twilight looked at the beast, stricken with fear at the mere sight of it.
The others all jumped out, surrounding the beast, ready to fight. It looked around, growling intensely as it looked at each of them. It jumped high into the air before coming down fast, they moved aside as it crashed into the ground, making it shake from impact.
Knuckles punched the ground, making a few large rocks rise up before he punched a few, Applejack bucked the rest, sending them at the creature. It held up its arms to guard against the incoming attack, the rocks breaking on impact. Rouge took this opportunity to sneak behind it and throw some bombs, which exploded on contact and made the beast howl in pain as it was sent forward from the force. Knuckles and Applejack dove down to avoid the creature as it flew past and slammed into a tree, toppling it easily. The beast stood and roared in rage before charging toward them again.
Tails aimed his arm cannon and fired, blasting the beast right in the head and causing it to fall over from the impact. “Boom headshot” he said with a grin.
The beast stood and charged at him, he dodged a claw swipe and used his tails to fly above it before firing more shots at the beast. he flew over it and landed behind it, taking out his spring loaded boxing glove and hitting The Stalker with it, knocking it onto its belly. He smiled in triumph, the beast stood and did a 180, smacking Tails with its arm and sending him into a tree. It then went over to him and picked him up by the leg before smacking him against the tree, severing the trunk. It then slammed him into the ground and prepared to deliver a final blow.
“NOOO!” Fluttershy screamed in terror as she watched, tears falling down her face. Sonic zoomed in at this moment and jumped into the air before delivering a kick to The Stalker’s head, sending it reeling while he picked up Tails and carried him to Fluttershy. He laid him down and turned to the beast with a serious expression.
“oh Tails…” Fluttershy said as she continued to cry, happy he was still breathing.
“you’re gonna pay for that” Sonic said before rushing at the beast. entering Spinball and taking out its legs, causing it to fall before he jumped into the air and used bounce attack repeatedly on its head. He slammed into it over and over and over again, making a small crater as he relentlessly slammed into this things head. He finally stopped after about a minute, panting as he stood near this thing. It wasn’t moving and he was grinning ear to ear, that stopped when he heard it growl as it picked itself up and stood. It roared before vanishing into the darkness.
“what?” Sonic asked before he felt himself getting tossed around like a ragdoll, the others soon found themselves in similar situations, hitting the ground, trees and anything else.
Twilight and Fluttershy excluded since they were still in hiding. “what is it going to take to stop this thing?” Twilight wondered. “the Princess said it is a negative entity…what’s positive?” she wondered before it dawned on her. She ran out there and stood, her element on her head. The beast reappeared and roared.
“Citizens of Equestria! Lend me your strength!” she called out, focusing her power to broadcast this message. It didn’t take long for her to feel their positive energy flood into her.
“what is she doing?” Shadow wondered before a bright light caught his attention. There above her was a giant Heart of Pure energy, the very heart of Hearths warming. “holy hell…” he said, watching as it grew and grew in power and size. Soon it was ready.
“everyone! Get out of the way!” she called out, everyone did as instructed. The beast looked up and seemed to have fear in its eyes. She launched the Heart and it collided with the beast, The Stalker did its best to resist it. grooves in the ground from it trying to stop its own end. Everyone had a smile that soon faded when the beast and heart stopped moving. The Stalker held the heart and began to push it toward them.
“oh no…oh no…oh no” Twilight said in horror.
“girls, the elements!” Applejack called out before they got their elements on and went over to Twilight. She smiled, focusing her power. They too did the same, soon firing a Harmonic Blast. It struck the heart but immediately faded, not strong enough to push back against the monster.
“Horse Apples!” Rainbow said in frustration. Twilight began to think, they needed something stronger. The beast was getting closer, lifting the heart to toss it.
“The emeralds!” she said, having finally figured it out. All 7 were laid out before them. She concentrated and felt the emeralds surge power into her and her friends. The Stalker threw the heart and it began to zoom in on them.
“Super Harmonic Blast!” the 6 cried in unison, the attack being a beam of rainbow surrounded by a rainbow double helix. It hit the heart and sent it back at the beast, managing to swallow it into the heart. The Harmonic Blast encircled the heart as it began to beat. The roars of agony could be heard as they watched The Stalker get torn apart with each beat until nothing remained. The Harmonic Blast then shot the heart into the sky where they both exploded with a brilliance so magnificent it made the Sonic Rainboom look wimpy. It lit up the sky and they all watched in utter amazement as the nightmare finally ended.
3 days later
Life had pretty much gone back to normal, Tails had his leg in a cast for another week. Twilight had a newfound confidence in herself, and Pinkie threw a huge party in celebration of their victory.
“Shadow, I want to thank you” Twilight said. he looked at her with an arched brow.
“if it weren’t for you, I’d probably not be where I am now” she said with a smile. He stood up and walked over to her, giving her a hug. “no problem” he said softly.
“it’s what I’m here for” he said