Chaos’s Touch, Discord’s Machinations
Ch. 1: What did you do?
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to MLP or any of its related properties.
Twilight sighed in relief. The Elements had worked this time. With the power of friendship, they had conquered the God of Chaos. The mismatched creature now dark grey stone stood in the center of a now normal Ponyville. Well, as normal as Ponyville could be.
The purple unicorn turned to her six friends. All of them were their proper vibrant color and not the dulled grey from Discord’s influence. Each of them smiled, knowing that they had won the day. Now all that was left was to return Discord to Princess Celestia’s garden and enjoy some much needed rest.
Her violet eye turned back to the stone statue, studying the silent scream on Discord’s lips and his arms held up to defend from what Rainbow Dash called the ‘Rainbow of Ultimate Flank Kickery.’
Sadly, Pinkie Pie had decided to also refer to their Rainbow attack the same way and had gone so far as to add glitter to the title. It’s best not to ask how she did it with the dialogue bubbles.
Twilight’s eyes squinted, When did that get there? Slowly, she moved closer to the solid statue. Her eyes were on the neat scroll held in one upraised claw. Tugging on the scroll with violet magic, she studied the pure white parchment. The orange seal of wax caught her attention as well as the emblem imprinted on it. It was eight arrows pointing in each direction. A shiver went down her spin. The rest of her friends saw the twitching fur and the unnatural straightness of her spine.
“What’s wrong Twi?” Applejack asked, worry bleeding into her voice.
Instead of answering, she broke the seal. It was an incredibly small message written by a steady hand.
‘When you find out what’s missing, give me a call.
Discord Q. Draconequus
A. K. A.
God of Chaos
Lord of Disharmony
Bringer of Doom
Undefeated Ballroom Dance Champion
The Number One Cheese head till the End of Time
Doctor of Parallel Physics and Paradoxical Timelines
Best Buds with Santa Christ
A Nightmare to The Nightmare on Elm St.
Last of the Draconequus
Fragment of the Twisting Shifting Central Chaos’
“What does that mean?” the raspy voice of Rainbow Dash asked, looking over her lavender shoulder at the letter.
“I don’t know.”
Before they could continue, a scream wrenched across the open street. With whiplash speed, all eyes turned to find a blue Earth pony with a pink swirly mane running full speed towards the Mane 6. Behind her was a lanky stallion with dark yellow fur and a noticeable under bite.
“Mr. and Mrs. Cake,” Pinkie Pie called, her smile fading at the looks of horror in the married couple’s eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Have you seen Pumpkin and Pound?”
With a sinking in all of the Mane 6’s stomachs, each knew their troubles where only now starting.
0 0 0
The sun had long since died into the horizon. Night graced the inhabitants into a fitful slumber. The search throughout Ponyville had been long and hard. The results were as dark as the sky. No one had wanted to believe what had happened. Many stared angrily at the statue as it was removed from the town by a pair of Royal Guards followed closely by another coach carrying the Elements of Harmony.
Twilight paced back and forth in front of the two thrones of the Sisters. Her mind was reeling. When did Discord take them? She remembered seeing Big Macintosh burying a stick in his mouth, Sweetie Belle was dancing around Ponyville in a poke-doted tutu, Scootaloo was flying around the sky filled with cotton candy clouds upside down, and then there was Spike. He hadn’t been affected by Discord’s magic. He was nursing his aching stomach.
Now however, there were no signs of any of these ponies. All six of them simply vanished into the air.
The rest of the crew was not doing well either. Rarity held a handkerchief in her magic, frantically dabbing at the black lines of liquid running down her cheeks.
Applejack wrung her cowboy hat between her hooves. Her mind was focused on the face of little Applebloom, looking up to her big sister and asking, “Where’s Big Mac?” No matter how far she ran, Applejack could not find her big brother.
Rainbow Dash hovered several feet off of the floor, making slow clockwise rotations around the great throne room.
Pinkie Pie appeared the worst. Her hair lay flat against her scalp and neck, tears running from her bright blue eyes.
Fluttershy wrapped one arm around her pink companion. This was a semi-selfish action. She wanted to comfort Pinkie Pie and to lean on her for support. The Cake twins were so young and so innocent. And then there was Rarity’s little sister. She was such a sweet little foal with a lovely voice. Fluttershy thought Sweetie would be a wonderful singer. Scootaloo was so full of energy. A little loud at time, but she had good heart. Spike was the best baby dragon she ever met. Not to mention the only dragon. Then there was Big Mac, the silent stallion of Sweet Apple Acres. He seemed nice, but always working on the family farm.
The room was full of dark negative thoughts spinning and twisting inside themselves. A twisting dark cycle of emotions struck at each of the mares’ hearts. They continue to stew in their dark defeat, feeling the weight of such innocent lives held in the hands of a twisted creature like Discord.
The tall double doors opened, Princess Celestia and Luna stalked into the room. Held within her gold aura, Celestia held a roll of untarnished parchment. Twilight caught sight of the broken orange seal. “We’ve searched the castle high and low. We found this,” Celestia’s voice was calm, but strained at the edges creating a over enunciation of her words.
“Neither me or my sister can make heads or tails of this script,” Luna’s head lowered in shame.
The Mane 6 gathered around the two rulers of Equestria, their eyes and ears focused solely on the pair. Celestia read aloud:
‘The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?
The boundaries which divide this world from the parallel world are a vague imprint of a shadow among the river of time and space.
Assume the dream is unreal and this is one of many dreams.
There are other worlds, Princess of the Sun, and other Daemons. These waters are deep.
Careful which doorway you pick. You might unleash something worse trying to look for your little ponies. It’s not the first time you condemned lives for the safety and security of your ponies.
Be careful if you do bring your ponies back. They won’t be the same, forever more.
The Princess of the Sun looked up from the neatly written words to find the confused horror written across her ponies’ faces. The shadow of a vein pressed out against her pristine white coat just below her horn.
“What does it mean yur Majesties?” Applejack finally broke the silence, her knees where shaking.
“I believe,” she began, “That Discord has sent you siblings into another world.”
“Another world?” the six mares echoed.
“Do you mean a parallel universe?” Twilight spat out, her mind diving down that singular thought. “Why would he do that? If Discord had that kind of power, why didn’t he use that against us?”
“We believe that the vile creature has sent them far away from out time,” Luna sighed, “Thee siblings could be in any conceivable when and where. There is no limitation to what may befall them.”
“What can we do about?” Pinkie’s soft voice encroached, a tremor wracking her lips and tongue.
The two Sisters exchanged concerned looks. Celestia finally broke the silence, “With the help from the Elements of Harmony, we can create a doorway and pull the six back into our world.” She didn’t want to harm the looks of hope in her little ponies’ eyes, but they needed to understand the full ramifications of such work. “But it will take time. They first must be located before the spell matrix can be made to bring them back.”
“How long will that take?” Rainbow Dash asked rapidly. Rarity however ignored the rude behavior and decided not to reprimand her.
“With help from family members, we can search for their connected essence in the mutliverse and locate them. We should be able to find them in a matter of weeks, hopefully days,” Celestia’s face did not lighten at the delivery of this news.
Pinkie felt the block of ice in her stomach, “What’s wrong Princess?”
“Time flows differently between worlds my little ponies,” she finally managed to say. “A day in our time could be more in the next world.”
Silence stifled the air, wrapping around this glittering spark of hope.
“What the hay does that mean Princess?”
“Lady Applejack, it means that the pony we pull back will not be the same one that Discord originally took.”
Celestia placed a hoof on her sister’s shoulder, “That’s assuming he didn’t alter them before they left.”
“Like when he made us all grey?” Rainbow scratched her head, trying to process the information.
“It could be anything Rainbow Dash,” Celestia nodded solemnly.
Fluttershy’s soft voice forced its way into the conversation, “We could always ask Discord to help us. Maybe we can make a deal with him.”
The returning silence was thick. None of them wanted to contemplate what could occur from releasing Discord once again on this world. Twilight shook her head. The corners of her eyes were red and irritated, “No. We can’t risk it. None of us can put the other ponies in that kind of risk.”
A glow of hot resentment filtered into the hearts of her friends. But they couldn’t deny the rationality of such a decision. None of the Mane 6 could force that on the other ponies, leaving them and the two Princesses to remain in silent turmoil.
But they would find them. Nothing would change that.
Dry dark air surrounded six unconscious forms, pressing the moisture from their bodies. Slowly they stirred, waking from their restless dreams on the worn floorboards of an old dilapidated house.
“Oh,” a high pitched voice emitted from the body of purple scales and green fins. Spike rubbed at his temples, his head pounded with an unforgiving drum beat. He scanned the dark, dusty room. No furniture could be seen, only the splitting wood of the walls, peeling paint and cracked countertops. Lines of light split the shadows inside the small building from the boarded windows.
A soft scuffling brought the dragon’s attention towards the center of the room, “Scootaloo! Sweetie Belle!”
“I’m up! I’m up!” Scootaloo mumbled, pulling herself up to blink blearily at the dark shadows and blinding shafts of light. Sweetie Belle groaned, rubbing the area around her horn.
More movement caught the dragon’s eye. Turning, his jaw dropped at the sight of the other three ponies. “Big Mac?” Spike incredulity was a true understatement as his mind ground violently to process what he was seeing.
The colt shakily stood on his long legs. His coat was bright red, hair a shaggy orange and the well known freckles could only mean it was Big Mac. But he was so small. He barely stood two inches above Spike’s head.
“Who are all ya’ll?” his voice quivered, fear spilling from his eyes.
“Well…” the purple dragon began, but the calls of the two infants cut in. Their cries of fear, hunger and pain acted as a knife and cut into the ears of all those around them.
“What do we do?” Sweetie Belle called, holding her ears close with her hooves.
Mac moved to the nearest one, a unicorn with curly orange hair and blue eyes wailed at him. Gently, just like Applejack, he lifted the little filly to his barrel and began to rock her back and forth muttering comfort into her ears.
Scootaloo turned to Sweetie Belle, neither of them knew what to do while Pound continued to scream his discontent with the entire situation. Spike however was quick to follow the red colt’s example. It took some time, but eventually both filly and colt settled down enough to hear themselves talk.
“Spike what’s going on?” Sweetie asked, she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and needed some kind of answer.
Spike eyed the red colt, their green eyes met and he could feel the younger child’s fear. “It… it must have been Discord,” the dragon slowly said. It made the most sense. Only a god could transport them and perform an age spell powerful enough to affect Macintosh this badly. Most age spells would wear off in a short amount of time. All he remembered was the draconequus leering down at him with sparkling red and yellow eyes.
“I guess the first thing we should do is figure out where we are,” Scootaloo slowly added, shifting her weight from hoof to hoof in anxiety. She made her way to the front door, thin lines of light outlining the gaps between door and wall. After a few attempts, she finally managed to reach the door knob. The door burst open in a gust of wind. Heat swept through the room followed by the outside dirt.
“Hey girls, I don’t think we’re in Ponyville anymore,” Scootaloo awed at the bright sun and shifting landscape of a barren desert surrounding the waystation. The red rustic sand and deep purple, crimson mountains in the distance cast an unknown eldritch air on the small group. She turned her purple eyes towards the silent barn bleached white under the unforgiving sun.
Spike turned to the red colt, “Hey Mac, she just called us girls.” He only snorted in response. It was a natural phenomenon since he was outnumbered by so many girls on an almost constant basis. Sweetie Belle helped Scootaloo close the door while the two boys started exploring the cabinetry with the foals now complacent, hoping to find something of use. Yes they were afraid, but exploring kept their minds from spiraling into this crisis and the fear.
“What’s this?” Mac’s voice called out. The purple dragon shuffled towards the colt as Scootaloo and Sweetie finally managed to slam the door shut. Inside the dusty cabinets, sitting inconspicuously next to several rusting pots and pans was a large fabric bag the color of baby blue.
Tucked into the zipper line was a scrap of paper. Taking it delicately between his sharp talons, Spike read aloud, “Wait for the Gunslinger.” He turned to the small group, Pumpkin and Pound looking at the older children with childlike curiosity. “What’s a gunslinger?”
“I don’t know,” the white unicorn eyed one of the boarded up windows above the counter top. The soft howl of the wind and the tap-tap-tap of sand assaulting the building enticed the feeling of alienation and solidified the uncomfortable feeling behind their rib cage.
“What do we do?” Mac asked, he didn’t know any of these ponies and dragon. He was home, helping his Pa paint the barn. Little Applejack was with Ma in the kitchen. This dry desert wasn’t home.
Before they could continue, Sweetie lifted her hoof in the air. “Shhh. What’s that?” All of the children perked up, trying to discern what she was talking about.
Then they heard it.
The soft crunching of gravel filtered from outside. Something large was close by. The four older children exchanged worried looks before rushing to one of the boarded windows with the sound of thunder.
Trudging through the open space between the barn and the single story home were two of the strangest creatures the children had ever seen. The tallest was the largest pony they had ever seen, its shoulder was at equal height with its two legged partner. No not a pony, a horse. The sun reflected off the rich brown fur and dark mane. The saddle was worn and weather beaten, with a rolled up blanket just behind the seat. Two long strange looking devices of metal and wood where held in specialized holsters beside the bags on each of the horse’s sides. The two legged creature held a set of leather reigns connected to a harness around its jaw and head.
Spike’s eyes studied the two legged thing. It had to be close to Princess Celestia’s height, with gangly limbs. He was swathed with louse blue fabric creating an overcoat of shifting fabric. Its trails flowed in the wind over a similar pair of colored pants. Dark brown boots ground the sand as the thing moved forward. A second layer of the dark grey and a final layer of silken material could be seen from the small gap under its neck. Dark leather was wrapped around each wrist of the thing. The dragon studied the round tanned fingers. “It’s a monkey!” he whispered harshly.
The others shushed the dragon, their eyes on creature. A light red silken scarf was wrapped around the walking monkey’s neck, protecting it from the sun’s harsh glare. A pale white masked covered the things face. Black glass protected the sensitive eyeholes from the countless grains of sands flying at his face. A rough brown hat sat atop the creatures head, obscuring the things light brown hair. Two metal instruments were strapped to each of its long legs, the holsters wrapped around his waist in a cross formation. Little bronze metal capsules glinted in the sun along the thick leather belts. A bandolier crossed the things chest with filled pouches completed the alien warrior look. A hilt could be seen just over the things shoulder.
“What is it?”
“It’s a monkey.”
“Money’s aren’t that big.”
“How would you know?”
“I saw them at the zoo. The monkeys weren’t that big and the apes weren’t that small.”
“It looks weird.”
“Ah know… weird looking. Is it a boy or girl? Ah can’t tell.”
“Who cares! It’s still weird!”
While they were bickering, the children forgot about the human. Their high voices where very good at traveling the distance between him and the ponies. From his position outside the rest station, William leaned slightly towards his mount, “I think they forgot they where hiding.”
“SHHHH! We’re supposed to be quite. I don’t want that thing to find us.”
At least one of them has sense. Also thing? I feel like I should be offended.
“He can’t hear us! He hasn’t even looked our way.”
“What if he comes in here?”
“We don’t know if he’s friendly.”
“He’s scary looking! He’s gotta be bad.”
“What are we gonna do?”
“Oh! Oh! I know! Cutie Mark Crusaders Trap Makers!”
“Sweet Celestia please no!”
“Your right Scootaloo! Mac, Spike, you take Pumpkin and Pound over there while Sweetie and I get some rope and set a few traps.”
I just… I can’t even… What? What? What!? There is so much wrong with the conversation they are having and I feel like it’s a little racist. I am not a monkey! I am a man! William continued his pace, his hand on the reigns and leading the stead into the barn. The shadow was a welcomed break from the heat of the sun.
Leading the creature to a nearby stall, the gunslinger proceeded to remove the saddle and pat down the faithful beast. The cloud of dust hovered over the enclosure while the human pulled the feeding bag from a strap attached to the saddles. The horse munched noisily as he left the pen. A heavy machine sat at the end of the barn. A thick metal bucket sat next to the well pump. Even in the darkened barn, the faint outline of a drop door was tucked away in the far corner.
With a flip of the red switch, the machine filled the room with a pleasant humming. Cold refreshing water spilled from the nosily, pumped deep from the bowels of the desert. He would investigate the trap door later. Now he had to water the horse. The poor beast whickered after a few buckets of cold water filled the water trowel.
The trip had been difficult to put it mildly. Normally he would never have taken a horse through the Val Kali region. But no transport could be procured in such a short time. And no one wanted to take him across this thrice cursed plane of existence. But since before my father and his father has the world been twisted.
The Convergence had replaced the mild Midwestern plains with this desert of alien life and unbearable heat. This land was a trail of endurance. It’s shifting sand dunes, rocky mountain valleys and poisonous creatures where but a small trial compared to the sun. It bore down constantly on the red sands with unforgiving heat.
Drawing another clean bucket of water, William leaned against the wood post. The structure was old, older than his entire race going by the scratchy writing next to the control pattern. Thankfully it was well made. Thankfully the atomic batteries held deep in the earth were still functioning. It still stood as a testament to the long forgotten race.
Silently, he slipped the protective mask off and placed it gently onto the earthy floor. The yellowing white metal reflected the light of the open barn door. With both hands, he sipped the chilled water. The gunslinger was grateful for the relief to his dry throat. He still had a full water skin on the horse, but this water was so refreshing. It chilled and soothed his insides. Slowly he splashed water over his heated face and hair, spreading it across his weathered skin.
Slowly, the human’s mind returned to the high voices spilling from the rest house. By the tone of their voices, lack of awareness and attitude they could only be described as children. They were far too young to have learned the Rules. Why where they here? To what purpose would anyone in their right mind leave children in this mercilessly landscape?
Something was not right here. The strange feeling of uncertainty forced the hair on the back of his neck to stand up. He had to resist the urge to rest a hand on the sandalwood of the revolvers. He would find out soon. But first the gunslinger could take a moments respite. Slowly he sipped on the clear water, mind elsewhere.
When the sun was about to set on the west, William approached the front door. He waited for long enough to find out just what surprises he would find. The strap of one of his water skins hung over his shoulder, the water softly sloshing against his back.
“Finally! He’s here! Get into places ponies!”
“I’m not a pony. You do know that right?”
“Shut up Spike!”
Those are words I would not have expected.
His hand quickly wrapped around the knob and threw open the door. The major failing of the children’s plans was the fact he did not step through the threshold. A skillet clattered loudly to the ground. Across the floor on the other side of the building was a purple dragon, a red equine with freckles looking after what appeared to be a small orange unicorn and a tan Pegasus. Uhhhhh.
“Go!” The high pitched yell emitted from both sides of the door.
What occurred next could only be described from the human’s perspective as a little white unicorn and orange Pegasus flew through the air holding rusting pots and pans colliding at high speeds. Apparently the pan above was suppose to stun the human, then these two tiny equines where to come in for a heavy blow to knock him out.
Spike watched from a distance, wincing as Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo collided painfully together. To his surprise, the creature was no longer wearing his mask. A set of pale blue eyes appeared to glow under the shadow of the hat’s rim. A series of scares lined the face giving it an older look. Short stubble gave his chin and cheeks a rough look. None grew on the deep gouges that stood vertical across the creature’s features.
Their eyes met and William spoke, pointing at the two ponies, “I had nothing to do with this.” Calmly, he stepped over the twitching groaning forms without a second glance.
The red colt shivered as the blue eyes swept over him. There was something wrong about those eyes. They held within them an inferable suggestion of control and grace that could only be obtained through years of hardships.
William stopped halfway into the home, keeping enough distance so the younglings would not be disturbed or threatened by his presence. Silently, he took a seat with crossed legs watching the four in front of him. The dragon’s green eyes studied him. The green eyes watched the grace he moved with, the hand that lifted the hat from his head and placed in on a knee.
Before either could speak, the red colt said, “Mah pa has a hat like that.” Spike and William turned to Mac. The young colt flinched as both eyes found him. “Sorry,” he mumbled.
Blue and green eyes found each other again, the human saying, “That’s alright. No harm done.”
The purple dragon asked, “Who are you?”
With a raised eyebrow, he responded, “William Jenkins. And you?”
“Spike the Dragon and this is Big Mac,” the dragon motioned towards the red colt. The human hummed, He’s not exactly big. “Why are you here?”
“I could ask you the same thing.”
Before they could continue, two raised screams rushed from behind the human. With ease, he simply ducked under the two ponies flying at his head at high speeds. Much like those who fail to learn from history, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo collided and fell to the ground in two crumpled heaps between William and Spike.
Spike tried to hide the fact he was worried about the girls, he needed to focus on the creature sitting before him. He threw out any random question in his head to try and divert the stranger’s attention from his two friends. “Are you a gunslinger?”
William was genuinely surprised at the question. He took a moment to contemplate how much he should reveal to the small creatures before him. By the way they were looking distrustfully at him and the way they tried/failed to attack him without provocation. They were scared.
He decided the best course of action would be to act warmly and honesty to them. It was the only way any progress could be made with the children. “I am the Gunslinger from the high peaks of Mt. Kunai. Why would you ask?”
“It’s kind of a long story,” The dragon responded with a guarded expression. The alien face before him didn’t hold any deceit, but he had to be sure. The ‘William’ before him slowly held out the water skin for the dragon and the ponies.
“If it’s a long tale, than let us palaver with wet whistles and honest lips.