No Matter Where: Side Effects

by Clean Karma

Episode 1: Sour Apple Achers

If you tell the truth all the time ponies won't tell you personal things, even if you can help them.
If you lie all the time ponies will never believe what you say and thus never want to hear you.
Which is worse?

The town of ponyville, only recently had it begun to grow. Ponies wearing Stetsons and boots walked the dirt paths merrily doing work of some kind. Some were selling their wares, some pulled carts, but all had a smile on their face, happy to do their work. there were no foals, likely still in school as it was mid day. there were very few buildings but that made sense, there were hundreds of apple trees and barns along with homes were likely in the midst of these.

One pony was not smiling though. He wasn't frowning or upset, but he wasn't smiling. He had a black coat and a grey mane and tail. He wore a neck tie along with a grey jacket and carried a doctors medical bag. On his nose were a pair of light blue circular glasses. He contrasted greatly with the brightly colored ponies around him. His horn shone slightly in the sunlight as though it had been polished. No pony paid him much mind. As he trotted down the pathway he turned down a long path with apple trees on both sides of it. Before he could however, a blue earth pony taps his shoulder. The unicorn turned his head to look at the earth pony.

"Heya mister. Ah don't think yer gonna want tah go that way." He said, "Some strange disease has been spreading across the families around here and all the sick ones have been heading that way. It mahgt be contagious."

The mysterious unicorn nodded and replied in a low voice, "That's why I'm here." He turned his head back to face down the path again, "I'm...a doctor."

The blue pony shook his head, "We've had twelve doctors go in there...none of them came back."

The unicorn responded, "Well then, count me as number thirteen then." He began walking down the path. Behind him the earth pony was surprised but he rushed alongside the Unicorn and walked beside him silently. The two said nothing for ten minutes of the journey. As they walked the trees began to look more and more decayed. The first to break the silence was the mysterious blue earth pony.

"Name's Big Blue. Parents didn't have much of an imagination. What about you."

The unicorn didn't respond at first, taken aback from the sudden introduction, "Karma, Professor Karma if you want to be formal."

"Ah thought you were doctor."

"Well I am." Karma said calmly, "Technically that is. I am a Professor in title but my skills entail more than one trait."

Blue nodded his head, "So yer like them young'uns that run around doing odd jobs n' stuff?"

Professor Karma chuckled, "More or less. Is that the place over there?" Karma motioned with his head down the path at a house that stood to the left while the path went on.

"Nope." Blue responded, "That's the Core's house. The place we're looking fer is down yonder a little ways."

As they passed the building an ominous chill seemed to emanate from the wood. It's window frames were brown, possibly originaly yellow and the curtains were torn. The very area smelled like death. Karma scrunched his nose in disgust. Wanting to avert his thoughts from vomiting he asked a lingering question, "Why did you decide to come with me?"

Blue didn't respond immediately but when he did, he didn't avert his gaze from the path, "Because it's my fault." Karma didn't speak so Blue went on, "I...I'm the cause for this disease. I'm the one who let it spread. If I had just left it alone my family wouldn't be in this predicament."

Karma listened to the words but noticed something, "You don't have an accent."

"Never have." Blue replied, "I've been keeping that up since I was five. Before you ask why just think about a colt trying to fit in from the big city in a place like this. My parents didn't want me around. You think a city colt like me would be here otherwise?" He only stopped once he noticed Karma's stare. The Unicorn sighed and spoke.

"You've taken a bite haven't you?"

Blue chuckled sadly, "Well I wasn't the first. I know that. Oh look, we're here."

Karma looked forward again and saw the barn. It was large as far as barns go but it looked taller Blue remembered it. The front door hung open slightly. Death wafted from inside and stung their noses.

Suppressing a lurch from his stomach Karma stated, "Well, let's not dawdle." He opened the door. The smell, stronger than ever, assaulted them. Wind escaped from the large structure. Karma stood undeterred as Blues face began to scowl on it's own accord. The barn was dark inside with only a single window near the top of the other side. A beam of light emitted from the window similar to an arrow burrowed deep into the ground.

Before they could move however the sound of footsteps sounded. A pony began to step into the light. Blue stpped forward to help but was stopped from a slight bit of blue telekinesis from karma.

"Wait." He said to the large earth pony. Turning his head to the pony he asked in a foreign voice, "Servus! Excuse me sir! My name est Doctor Hoofenstein. I am here with my assistant to address ze current krankheit academic. May I en--"

"Doctor?" the figure asked in a raspy voice, slightly gurgling. From the tone he could tell it was a mare. Another voice rose from the darkness, "A Doctor?" along with several others.

"Another doctor is here?"

"Can he help us?"

"My stomach is making strange noises. Can you make it stop?"

From the darknes rose more and more figures. They stumbled out of the dark, most of them holding their stomachs. Some held their throats and covered their mouths. As they began to step out of the barn Blue started to take a step back in fear but Karma remained standing in place. As they neared him Blue could see their faces and all the fear in his mind was washed away with afresh blast of horrified sadness. Every pony there was crying, tears burning their eyes as they made their way to Karma. When they stopped he spoke.

"Ponies! I am sorry to inform you zat zere isht no cure!" He paused for a second to gage their response, "But I do know ze cause! I vould be greatly appreciative if you vere to give me ze Apple you all ate from."

A deathly silence deafened the little area. All the ponies turned to Blue. He stared back at them smiling. He opened his mouth but his voice was different, lower or guttural sounded.

"Χαίρετε. I am Thánatos. I have only to say one thing before your demise Professor."

Karma held his breath in anticipation.

"Ta stoicheía tha epiviósoun!" as he said these words Big Blue turned and ran. He fled into the woods leaving the other's behind. As he did he laughed to himself at foolhardiness of those incompetants. To think that they expected the Elements to simply die. That Professor was especially a fool, "He is more than a fool. Epísimos. He's--"

"On your back."

Turning his head around Blue saw Karma standing on top of him with a blank stare, but something was different. Blue rolled over on the ground to rid himself of the unicorn. When he came upright once more he looked around but saw nothing.

"Hello Thánatos." Blue jumped to his left as the voice sounded right next to him, "It's been a logn time since I last encountered you."

Blue looked behind to see nothing but shrubbery. The Karmas voice came from all directions. He yelled, "Psémata! I have never met you before!" He struck a tree breaking it in half.

"Oh I don't expect you to remember me personally. You've never done your own work before." in the blink of an eye something flew over and behind Blue. He turned around struck another tree.

"Miló! If you have something to say them you better pes to!"

With a chuckle Karmas voice resounded from under Blue, "Oh I count on it."

Professor Karma Log #221

Thánatos showed up today. With the Apple of Lies no less. Makes sense now that I think about it. Who else could lie so splendidly after consuming a treat such as that. I'll miss our little adventures but I'm afraid I have two new artifacts to keep hold of.
Note to self: send message to Princess Luna to have a proper burial for the poor ponies in the barn.
I guess that's all I can say for now. The Apple of Lies is in Hallway O and I'm tired.
Goodnight Susan