Medieval – Just a Tool
Rarity's group arrived in what appeared to be a ruined monument, the portal behind them being the remains of a statue. It looked like the sun had just risen in this world. Fluttershy immediately ran forward on all fours and breathed in happily while DASH-379 walked ahead and scanned the environment.
“Forest!” Fluttershy cheered, “Trees! Fresh air!” she fell back onto the ground and relaxed, “Feel much better here!”
“Ack! Fluttershy, stop rolling around in the dirt!” Twilight scolded running to their animal like companion, “Didn't you just take a bath before coming here?!”
“Huh… I am picking up an abundance of odd energy,” DASH said, “I cannot get an accurate reading on it.”
“What about Lavos' energy?” Rarity asked, “Can you get an accurate reading on that?”
DASH-379 looked around for a second, and then shook her head.
“Sorry, but negative,” DASH said, “I am picking it up, but it does not feel like it is in the world, if that makes any sense.”
“What? Like it's enveloping it?” Rarity asked.
“Correct,” DASH said, “We will have to explore this area if we are to learn more.”
“I wonder where that castle was,” Twilight said dusting an annoyed Fluttershy off, “You know, the one that appeared on the warp gate.”
“That is a very good question,” DASH said, “It would have to be important for the warp gate to show us.”
“By the way, where did that area come from?” Rarity asked, “The warp gate chamber.”
“How should I know?” DASH-379 asked resting her hands on the back of her head.
“Well, you were made in Machine,” Twilight stated.
“What? Just cause I am a robot I should know everything?” DASH asked, clearly offended, “I believe you humans would call that racist.”
“What?! No no! I didn't mean it like that!” Twilight covered, “I just figured with you being made there, that information would have been downloaded to you.”
DASH turned to Twilight and activated her cannon presenting it, “Do you see this? This is what I was built for. I am strictly a combat machine. Yeah, I can learn pretty much anything I want, but at the end of the day, this is what I am meant to do.”
“So… you were created to fight… and destroy…?” Rarity asked sadly, “That's it?”
“Pretty much,” DASH said, not even visibly fazed by that.
“But… doesn't that make you sad at all? To know that you were made for one purpose and that's it? To never be given a choice as to what you want to be?” Twilight pressed.
“I have never thought about it,” DASH admitted, “I am a robot, a machine. Basically, I am a tool to be used by humans, just like your spear, Twilight's bow, or Fluttershy's daggers. Even right now, I am a tool being used to assist you.”
“No!” Fluttershy of all people shouted, catching everyone's attention. When they looked at her, she was looking down trembling, fists clenched tightly.
“Fluttershy?” Rarity asked.
“You not tool like daggers, or bow, or spear! You friend! Come with us as ally, not as tool!” Fluttershy stated. DASH-379 looked at Fluttershy intently, and then walked on ahead.
“I will begin searching for civilization,” DASH said, “Please stay close to me.”
“DASH!” Fluttershy called out, her plea going unanswered as their mechanical companion continued to walk ahead, “DASH is friend. She say so herself, so why…?”
“I guess we have to remember, she may have a personality and emotions, but DASH is still a machine,” Twilight said somberly, “Also, there is that part of her malfunctioning.”
Twilight and Fluttershy walked after DASH-379, but Rarity stayed behind for a bit thinking about her behavior, and relating it to her own Rainbow Dash. She had a tendency to push her more sensitive emotions aside to preserve her strong image. Rarity wondered if DASH-379 was similar in that regard.
“What is mal… func…tion?” Fluttershy asked as Rarity ran after them, “Keep hearing big word, but not understand.”
“It means I am not working properly,” DASH explained, still not turning to them.
“Not working properly? I not understand,” Fluttershy said running to DASH's side, “You not broken. You are friend, DASH. Friend fine just as is.”
DASH tightened her fists in frustration, looked down covering her eyes with her bangs, “Fluttershy…” she said through gritted teeth. Before anyone could say anything, she stopped suddenly and held out her arm, “Hold!”
“What's going on now?!” Twilight said, immediately pulling out her bow.
“I am detecting an unusual signal around us,” DASH said, “It seems… non-organic, but not mechanical either.”
Rarity looked around them and saw shadows take form around them. The shadows turned into black upright creatures with glowing red eyes that still looked like living shadows, and there were a lot of them.
“DASH! Do they feel like Lavos?” Rarity asked pulling out her spear. Fluttershy drew her daggers and DASH got in her fighting stance.
“Scanning,” DASH said, “Affirmative! I am picking up the same energy as you and Lavos from these creatures!”
“Then we're in the right place! Everyone, get ready!” Rarity commanded. The four of them spread out and engaged the creatures, which seemed much stronger than what they were used to fighting. At least, Rarity noticed that she was having a harder time with them.
She swung her spear at three to build up energy, and then jumped away charging up her element. Feeling much stronger, she set her spear down and held out both hands, firing two Shadow Balls at the monsters. They took the attacks head on, but they didn't seem to hurt much.
“Um… problem dearies…!” Rarity said picking up her spear and backing away from them.
“These enemies have a black attribute!” DASH shouted doing a spin kick knocking a shadow monster back, “Your elements will only have one third their usual effectiveness!”
“Well isn't that lovely!” Rarity groaned.
“Hold on,” Twilight said, “DASH, what is black weak against?”
“All elements are weak to their opposing colors!” DASH explained, “Blue and Red, Yellow and Green.”
“And Black and White,” Twilight said, “Got it!”
Twilight, feeling invigorated, spun around firing her arrows at all the shadow monsters she could. She then charged up her white element, held her bow above her as if to shoot at the sky, and fired an arrow. It then exploded into tiny white shots that hit every shadow creature, doing massive damage to each one (Star Shower).
DASH charged up her yellow element and fired her Charged Shot at a shadow monster that tried to hit Fluttershy, killing it. Fluttershy looked at DASH in surprise.
“Are you okay, Fluttershy?” DASH asked lowering her gun. Fluttershy nodded but then gasped in shock.
“DASH, behind you!” she cried. DASH turned around just in time to see one of the shadow monsters charge up its own black element and fire a Shadow Ball at her, knocking her back.
Fluttershy gritted her teeth in anger and rushed at the shadow monster in question slashing with her daggers. Once it seemed like she gathered enough energy, she charged up her green element, and spun around using her Tail Spin attack to hit every shadow creature present.
“Well wasn't that fun?” they heard a familiar voice ask above them. They all looked and saw Pinkamena standing on a tree branch looking down at them.
“I was wondering when you'd show up again!” Rarity said pointing her spear at the demonic looking jester, “I know about Lavos!”
“Ooh, do you now?” Pinkamena asked smiling evilly, “Feeling big and bad now that you know the mastermind behind your pain and suffering?”
“So you don't deny it!” Rarity said, “Lavos is the reason for everything! What happened to my world, Sunset Shimmer being captured, and even you! All of it is because of Lavos!”
“Well, I can't say all of it is Lavos,” Pinkamena said shrugging her shoulders, “But you're right about Lavos being more or less the reason for all of this.”
“You seem pretty loose lipped today!” Twilight said pointing her bow at Pinkamena.
“Well, sure you know what Lavos is, but what can you do about it?” Pinkamena asked. She snapped her fingers as more shadow monsters appeared around the group, “It's not like you can fight Lavos. Even if you knew where he was, killing him would be impossible. You can't hope to kill a God.”
“Lavos not God!” Fluttershy shouted, “Lavos is monster! You are monster!”
“Aw, is that any way to talk to an old friend, Fluttershy?” Pinkamena asked with an evil smirk.
“You not friend! Rarity friend! Twilight friend! DASH friend! You monster that lead attack on village!” Pinkamena laughed.
“Oh, this is rich! You guys still don't know what's happening here, do you?” Pinkamena said, laughing so hard she almost fell off the branch.
“What's happening…?” Rarity asked. DASH scanned Pinkamena while she laughed.
“That woman is completely consumed by the energy that these creatures are made of,” DASH explained, “She's giving off the same reading.”
“Of course I am Rainbow Dash,” Pinkamena said, “I'm just like them, a pawn to be used by Nightmare Moon, the harbinger of Lavos.”
Wait? What did Pinkamena call DASH-379?
“Now shadows, let's continue the party!” Pinkamena said jumping off and getting in her fighting stance, “This is so much fun, I can't take it!”
“Twilight, help me deal with her!” Rarity commanded, “Fluttershy, DASH, deal with the shadow monsters!”
“Got it!” Twilight said.
“Understood!” DASH said. Fluttershy nodded. Twilight and Rarity ran forward to face Pinkamena.
“Now then, let's see what you've learned since I last left you,” Pinkamena said. First thing she did was rush over to Rarity and swung her bladed hoop around. Rarity managed to block most of those attacks, and then began swinging her spear in retaliation.
While that was going on, Twilight used some of the energy she had left over to charge up her element, and then pointed her bow at Pinkamena, “Rarity, move!”
Rarity jumped away, and Twilight fired her Ray Shot at Pinkamena, actually knocking her back a bit. Before Pinkamena could retaliate, Rarity charged up her element and fired her new Twin Shadow Ball move at her. Pinkamena took the attack, and then dusted herself off looking surprised.
“Huh, you know, that actually hurt a little,” she said, sounding impressed, “Good job, Rarity!”
“Quit talking like we're friends!” Rarity screamed rushing over to Pinkamena and slashing with her spear wildly. Pinkamena met her assaults with her own attacks, and the two met in a weapon clash.
“But Rarity, we are friends,” Pinkamena said, pretending to sound hurt, “You and I are best friends, remember?”
“The Pinkie Pie I remember wasn't such a heartless monster!” Rarity screamed pushing back against Pinkamena's hoop.
“So I guess your Rainbow Dash was a combat android, your Fluttershy was an amazon warrior, and your Twilight was a happy student her whole life with lofty dreams, right?”
Rarity wanted to fight that, but then realized what she was saying. These versions of her friends were similar, but they weren't the same. All this time, was she just clinging to the closest things to her friends she could find?
“You know I'm right, don't you Rarity?” Pinkamena asked evilly, “You didn't bring them along because you cared about them. You brought them along because they're the closest things you have to the friends you remember. That's why you hate me so much, isn't it?” she giggled, “It's because I act so much like your Pinkie Pie you can't take it.”
Rarity looked at Pinkamena when she giggled again, and actually saw a brief flash of her Pinkie Pie giggling in the exact same manner. It made Rarity sick to her stomach.
“It hurts, doesn't it?” Pinkamena asked getting real close to Rarity, “Seeing your Pinkie Pie turned into such a heartless monster?” An arrow shot between them, forcing Pinkamena to jump away.
“Stop putting weird thoughts into her head!” Twilight demanded, “I know I'm not her Twilight, but as far as I'm concerned she and I are friends!”
“Now who's putting weird thoughts into her head?” Pinkamena asked, “You're confusing the poor thing.”
She was right to a degree. Rarity was horribly confused. Were these versions of her friends extensions of them, or were they completely different people who Rarity was clinging to because they had the same faces. As those thoughts ran through her mind, she felt a dark feeling consume her, and a black aura engulfing her.
“No… they're my friends…” she said to herself, falling to her knees, “Even if… they're different… they're…”
“Rarity!” Twilight cried. She was about to run to her side, but Pinkamena charged up a black element. She then threw her hoop at Twilight knocking her to the ground. As Twilight cried in pain, Rarity somewhat snapped out of her daze.
“T-Twilight…?” Rarity asked. DASH and Fluttershy finished their fights and turned to them.
“We help?” Fluttershy asked.
“Yeah! Hurry!” DASH commanded. She and Fluttershy ran toward Pinkamena, DASH-379 firing at her with her arm cannon. Pinkamena spun, flipped and blocked all of her attacks, and then met Fluttershy's daggers with her blade. Pinkamena kicked Fluttershy back and spun her blade on her arm knocking Fluttershy to the ground, but DASH flew over to her with a flying drop kick.
Pinkamena fell back from that, and then fought DASH close quarter, DASH mainly slashing with her arms and kicking. She raised her leg blocking Pinkamena's hoop with her knee and glared at her.
“Ooh, you're a strong one!” Pinkamena said, “Look like state of the art machinery Rainbow Dash, or should I call you… Athena.”
The second she said that, something hit DASH, who flinched as if in pain. She staggered back, holding her head in pain.
“That… name…!” DASH said, “Athena…? What does that…?”
Pinkamena took that as her chance to rush over to DASH and slice her with her bladed hoop, doing massive damage to the combat android and knocking her into a bush out of sight.
Pinkamena charged up her black element again, but this time held out her hand. Behind her, a large shadow appeared and cat eyes shined through. A second later, hundreds of black cats made of shadows rushed past all of them as they stood up, knocking Rarity, Fluttershy, and Twilight back to the ground.
Pinkamena laughed out loud, “Looks like your journey ends here, Singularity.”
“Everyone… can you stand…?” Rarity asked trying to stand.
“I… can't…” Twilight said lying helplessly on the ground. Poor Fluttershy tried to rise to her feet, but then fell back to the ground, and Rarity couldn't find DASH-379 anywhere.
“Well, time to put an end to the show,” Pinkamena said, “Let's end this with a bang!”
Just as she was about to charge up an element to finish them off, fireballs shot down at her rapidly.
“W-what the…?!” Pinkamena asked. She looked ahead and saw a squad of about five knights run to the scene. The leader in the middle wearing fancy silver armor with a red cape, a matching helmet that completely covered their face, and holding a fancy looking broad sword and red and silver shield with the symbol of a golden apple in the center.
“Men, protect the injured!” a powerful voice said from the knight in the red cape. A voice that was somewhat genderless, but sounded somewhat familiar to Rarity.
“You again?!” Pinkamena fussed, “What are you doing here?!”
“What I was trained to do,” the red caped knight said, “Protecting the weak! Teacher, please be with me!” they charged up what looked like a red element, and then pointed her sword at Pinkamena. Instead of one fireball though, they rapid fired hundreds of fireballs almost like a machine gun, forcing Pinkamena to do a series of back flips and then jump into a tree.
“Damn it! I won't forget this! You'll be joining your teacher soon enough in oblivion!” Pinkamena seethed before jumping away. One of the other knights was about to run after her, but the leader held their hand out stopping him.
“But sir!” he exclaimed.
“We have other things to worry about,” the leader said, “Let's focus on the task at hand here.”
“Sir, look here!” one of the knights cried out. The leader ran to his side as he examined Twilight, “This girl looks like the castle Wizard.”
“Odd,” the leader said thoughtfully. Rarity finally gathered enough energy and rose to her feet slowly, catching the knight's attention. Oddly, they all gasped in shock when they saw her.
“Ugh, thank you for helping us,” Rarity said, stopping when she noticed the looks she was getting, “Um… is everything okay…?”
“What in the world…?” one of the knights said looking at Rarity with wide eyes. Rarity turned to the leader and saw they were trembling.
“It's… not possible…” the leader said, “You're… supposed to be…”
“Is… everything… alright…?” Rarity asked as Fluttershy rose to her feet next to Rarity.
“What do you make of this…?” one of the knights asked the red caped knight.
“Take them with us to Canterlot,” the leader said, “Viceroy Luna will want to know about this.”
The knights all gathered around Rarity and Fluttershy, while the knight holding Twilight stepped back carrying her over his shoulder. Sensing tension, Rarity and Fluttershy pulled out their weapons.
“Hold on, what's going on?” Rarity asked. Rather than answer, two of the knights lunched at them. Fluttershy tried to fight them off, but was easily overpowered due to her weakened state, but got frantic as they grabbed her wrists.
“NO! NO!” Fluttershy screamed, “NO MAN TOUCH ME AGAIN!!! NO MAN!!!”
Rarity tried to fend them off with her spear, and for a while seemed to actually be doing a pretty good job, as none of them were able to even get close to her. The leader gripped their sword and rushed at Rarity clashing swords with her spear.
“That technique… that fire in your eyes…” the red caped knight said, “It's not possible though…”
Rarity pushed the red caped knight back and then charged up her black element. She fired her Shadow Ball at the knight, who jumped away and then gripped her sword tightly in anger.
“So that's it,” the red caped knight seethed, “You're one of them!” the red caped knight stood up and charged up their red element and launched three Fire Balls at Rarity, knocking her back into a tree.
“RARITY!!!” Fluttershy screamed. The red caped knight walked over to Rarity as her vision began to darken.
“Lock them up,” the leader said to their men, “We're getting to the bottom of this, one way or another.”
PERIMETER IS NOW CLEARED
DISENGAGING STEALTH MODE
Once all the knights had left, DASH-379 faded into view, leaning against a tree and holding her arm in pain. Her entire body was sparking, and she was breathing heavily watching the carriage that now had her friends held captive.
“Must… rescue…!” DASH said, slowly beginning to walk after them. Something sparked in her leg and she fell to her knees screaming in pain.
POWER OUTPUT AT 18 PERCENT
FURTHER STRAIN RUNS THE RISK OF IMMEDIATE SHUT DOWN
DASH-379 slammed a fist on the ground in frustration. She didn't know why she was reacting like this. Her systems were telling her to stop or else she'd probably deactivate. Normally she listened to her systems, as they never steered her wrong.
But something else was telling her she had to move, regardless of her current situation.
A malfunctioning machine like you doesn't stand a chance against a superior model like me. You should have stayed scrapped.
“Malfunctioning… machine…?” DASH said, SPITFIRE's words automatically playing back in her CPU. Was her irrational behavior because of that malfunction? Was she really a mad machine, disobeying her programming?
Was that… why she was thrown away…?
I am a robot, a machine. Basically, I am a tool to be used by humans, just like your spear, Twilight's bow, or Fluttershy's daggers. Even right now, I am a tool being used to assist you.
That was the truth… right…? She was just a tool. A machine designed to be used for… what? What was she made for? Why couldn't she remember anything?
Ooh, you're a strong one! Look like state of the art machinery Rainbow Dash, or should I call you… Athena.
DASH-379's head started hurting again as that name played in her head over and over again. It felt significant to her, but she couldn't for the life of her remember why? Actually, it felt more like the memory file was being blocked.
What was… Athena?
“What… do I do…?” DASH asked herself, “My systems are telling me to cease action… but something else is saying-” another spark cut her off as she cringed in pain, “I… don't know… what…”
You not tool like daggers, or bow, or spear! You friend! Come with us as ally, not as tool!
“Fluttershy…” DASH said. She saw images of how afraid Fluttershy was as the knights grabbed her. That fear seemed almost irrational, like she was traumatized or something. Was she okay right now? Was she panicking?
Would those men actually try to hurt her?
POWER OUTPUT AT 16 PERCENT
FURTHER STRAIN RUNS THE RISK OF-
“Shut up!” DASH-379 said, forcing her systems to cease warning her of her situation. She could find a safe place to let her nano-machines begin partial repairs, but once she could stand, she needed to get going. She didn't know whether or not she was being irrational, as she couldn't trust own programming at the moment. For now though, she knew one thing.
Her… friends needed her.
Unknown to her, something was watching her intently from the bushes. It had begun following them for a long while, trying to keep an eye on them, but couldn't reveal itself just yet. The creature, an oddly colored wolf, backed out of the bush and narrowed its eyes, thinking about what just happened.
It's not time for me to intervene yet.
When Pinkamena made it back, Nightmare Moon immediately knew that she had failed. Unlike the last few missions, Pinkamena was to actually complete the corruption of the Singularity, but when she returned alone, Nightmare Moon knew that punishment was in order.
So when Pinkamena arrived, the first thing she did was strip her of “that” power, setting her “free”. Then she chained her to the ceiling and began firing her with her black magic, now that she was no longer protected by her black element.
Pinkamena screamed in pain as her mistress fired black electricity through her body. She stopped and let the gothic jester hang helplessly.
“Please… no more…” Pinkamena begged. Nightmare Moon loved seeing her like this. Without “that” she was so helpless.
“You have failed me,” Nightmare Moon said, “You returned empty handed, and let that girl defeat you.”
“She… had a white adept with her…” Pinkamena said through her tears, “And that knight from before came at the last minute and-” she was cut of by her own screams as Nightmare Moon resumed her torture.
“How do I know you didn't just chose to leave of your own free will?” Nightmare Moon asked, “You could have exerted your own will over my own.”
“N-never…!” Pinkamena cried, “Mistress… I beg you… give me another chance…! Please…!”
Nightmare Moon considered it, and then relented on Pinkamena's torture.
“I will keep you here for now,” Nightmare Moon said, “I must see how to rectify this situation, now that the Singularity has found not only Athena, but “her” student. As long as you remain with me though, she will have no choice but to fall.”
“Why…?” Pinkamena asked, tears of anguish falling from her eyes, “Why do you have to torture her…? Why can't she… just die… peacefully…?”
“I wasn't the one who chose her for this fate,” Nightmare Moon said, “If you want to ask anyone that, you should ask my foolish sister.”
With that, she left Pinkamena hanging in her cell, and then moved to another wing of her dark castle. In a hidden section below the castle, Nightmare Moon went to her special prisoner. This one was completely naked, her multicolored hair hanging loosely over her chest and down her back as she knelt on the ground in front of the back wall of her “cell”, her hands chained to the wall behind her and a black band over her mouth keeping her silent.
“The Singularity is here now,” Nightmare Moon taunted the helpless woman before her, “Isn't that wonderful news?” her prisoner looked up at Nightmare Moon, eyes wide in horror, “You're knight has her now, but I plan on bringing her ito my side one way or another. There's nothing you can do in this world, Celestia.”
Nightmare Moon patted Celestia on the cheek, and then stepped out of the cell. Inside, Celestia closed her eyes and let her tears flow freely as she thought of the helplessness of her situation.
If what my other selves tell me is true, they should get here soon.
Oh… I just pray for “her” safety. As long as she lives… there's still hope.