The green-haired young man turned his full attention back to Mumm-Ra, who had risen from the ground. Beneath Mumm-Ra's blue-grey skin, broad, taut muscles rippled. The red sigil on his chest glowed the same unearthly red as his beetle-like eyes. "Who dares?!" Mumm-Ra roared, arms spread wide, cape billowing behind him.
Scarf blowing dramatically in the same wind, the man who had saved the two camp counselors took a defiant step forward. "I protect people like them from monsters like you," he said confidently. "I am Deku, and I am a hero!"
Mumm-Ra laughed. "You are a hero, are you?" he sneered mockingly. "I, MUMM-RA THE EVERLIVING, have killed heroes by the score! One mere boy cannot withstand the tremendous might of my eternal evi—"
"ONE FOR ALL FULL COWLING, MISSISSIPPI SPINNING SHOOT!"
Deku disappeared. A sudden burst of wind nearly took Timber off his feet. Electricity crackled around Mumm-Ra as Deku reappeared with a thunderclap. Mumm-Ra roared in pain as he was sent crashing through the forest.
Smoke curled from Deku's boots as he landed, facing the direction where Mumm-Ra disappeared. Energy sparked and crackled around his entire body. With another roar of thunder, he took off like a shot, scattering leaves and loose debris in his wake.
Timber and Gloriosa looked at each other, astonished.
"Let's...let's get outta here," Timber suggested. Gloriosa nodded mutely. Timber gingerly helped her up, then carried her back to Camp Everfree as quickly as he could.
* * * * *
"So in your world, everyone has superpowers?"
A group of the castle's residents were gathered in the cafeteria, where Mina Ashido was being brought up to speed on the situation, and was filling the others in on her story in turn.
"Almost everyone," Mina said, sipping an iced coffee. "There are a lot of people who are still born without Quirks, but it's more rare to be completely normal with each generation." She shrugged. "Of course, not every Quirk is super useful. I mean, things like 'can control your breast size at will' or 'farts sleeping gas' aren't really anything to brag about, you know?"
"Wow, yeah, that sounds super lame," Rainbow Dash said.
"But a lot of people have really strong Quirks, too," Mina continued. "That's why our world has Hero Schools. High schools designed specifically to train kids like me to hone their Quirks so they can become pro heroes one day!" She waved a hand absently. "Or at least, y'know, make the best use of your Quirk to do something else if you decide the hero path isn't a good fit."
"And everyone goes to these hero schools?" Miles asked.
"Not everyone, no," Mina said. Making a sour face, she added, "And it's not like everyone who has a good Quirk uses it right. I mean, we've got criminals and even villains to worry about, just like before the world changed."
"Villains with superpowers as a normal everyday thing?" Kim Possible asked, pulling a face. "Yikes."
"So what's your superpower?" Rainbow asked. "Super speed? Flying? Laser eyes?"
Mina laughed. "No, my Quirk is Acid. I can make acid from my body! I can control how strong it is as well as the viscosity, so I can either make corrosive acid that can melt through things, or I can make slippery, weak acid that I can slide around on." She demonstrated by spreading a thin layer of gelatinous acid along a length of the table and sending an empty water bottle skidding down it lengthwise.
"Huh," Miles said. "Is that why your skin is pink? Because of your acid powers?"
"Yeah," Mina said. She glanced around the table. "Guessing here pink skin is just a normal thing, but where I come from, it's a little weird even in a world of weirdness." She smiled. "But I think it gives me my own appeal, and it doesn't bother anybody else at all, so I'm happy just the way I am!"
"Has anybody else noticed something strange about the pattern forming with everybody showing up in this world?" Marinette spoke up suddenly. Everyone looked at her. "I mean, think about it. Almost no normal people have shown up here since this all started. Nearly everyone we've met from another world here either has super powers or super skills or technology that gives them special abilities, or isn't even human at all. Other than Anna and a couple of others, nobody who's shown up here is just a regular person who can't do anything special."
"I didn't wanna say anything about it, but that's been bothering me too," Kim said, frowning. "This collapse thing is supposed to be all random and chaotic, but it seems like it's dropping nothing but weirdos, freaks, superheroes, and supervillains here."
"And that's not random and chaotic?" Rainbow Dash asked.
"Well, it is, but think about it," Kim continued. "We haven't run into any dumpy middle-aged men with beer bellies from another world, or babies, or housewives, or grandpas, or just normal people who can't do anything special or stand out in any way." She shrugged. "I dunno, it just seems to me like the rules here are working in favor of crazy weird things and ignoring normal things."
"It's probably because chaos magic is the source of all this," Sunset Shimmer said, a thoughtful frown on her face. "Chaos attracts chaos...I think. I'm no expert on chaos magic." She drummed her fingers on the table. "I know somebody who is, though," she said suddenly. In a flash, she teleported out of her seat.
* * * * *
Mumm-Ra bared his teeth and growled as he grappled with Deku, bringing to bear all the godlike might bestowed upon him by the Ancient Spirits of Evil. "You are strong, whelp," he snarled. "I will acknowledge that strength. But know this: your death was assured the moment you thought to challenge—"
A knee caught him in the gut, crumpling him. Deku swung him around in a wide circle, letting out a tremendous yell as he slammed Mumm-Ra into a stout, sturdy tree trunk. Bark flew and wood chipped and splintered. Deku powerbombed Mumm-Ra to the forest floor, then jumped high into the air, spinning in one place as he extended a foot downward.
"ONE FOR ALL FULL COWLING, DAKOTA DRILL SHOOT!"
Mumm-Ra rolled to one side, avoiding the direct impact, but the shock from Deku's kick sent him tumbling across the forest floor. He rolled to his knees, clutching his chest, and glared hatefully at his new enemy. With a roar of pain and hatred, he flung a handful of fire at Deku which caught the hero right in his face, then transformed into a withered, dessicated bat covered in moldy bandages and flapped weakly away.
Deku yelled in pain and confusion as he patted out the cinders in his face, shaking his head and blinking against the pain. "GAH! Where did that...go..." Grunting, he staggered over to a tree and leaned against it, breathing deeply. After a moment's rest, he straightened and took off into the forest, eyes blurry and dry, heading in the same direction he'd seen the two victims go.
* * * * *
Sunset Shimmer stood in front of the portal to Equestria and took a deep breath.
The spells that forced body change had broken down completely on both ends of the portal; they'd discovered this when Anna had decided to step into the portal when nobody was looking, and was escorted back by Starlight Glimmer at just about the moment Elsa noticed her absence and started to panic, lowering the temperature in the castle by twenty degrees. Still, going through the portal with things the way they were now could cause all kinds of problems, but...
Steadying herself, Sunset stepped into the portal and emerged on the other side still human.
Starlight Glimmer and two humans looked up. "'Sup?" a human male with bleached hair asked.
"Sunset?" Starlight asked. "What's going on?"
"There's...someone...I need to talk to," Sunset said. She fidgeted for a moment, then added, "I'm...a little nervous about this, though. For a lot of reasons."
"What's wrong?" Starlight asked. "Wait, you're not thinking about making up with Princess Celestia right now, are you? I mean, it's kinda not the best time for that, right?"
Sunset flinched. "Oh, you...know about that." She shook her head. "N-no, I'm not—it's not Celestia I need to talk to. It's..." She swallowed. "Discord."
"Oh," Starlight said, frowning. "Why are you so nervous about talking to Discord? I mean, he's just Discord."
Sunset's eyes bugged out. "Are you ins—he's DISCORD!" she exclaimed. "As in DISCORD Discord!"
"Yeah, so?" Starlight shrugged. "Insanely powerful and dangerous chaos magic aside, Discord's not so different from anypony else."
"Well that was certainly a ringing endorsement."
In a bright flash, Discord appeared in the flesh. "Ah, so this is the infamous Sunset Shimmer! I was wondering if I'd ever get the opportunity to meet and/or annoy you."
Sunset grimaced. "Discord," she said with trepidation. "I, umm...I could use your help with something."
"Only too happy to help, if it won't take very long," Discord said. "Celestia has me pretty busy reining in all the chaos this whole collapse of reality thing is causing. Good job on that, by the way," he added with a grin. "I don't know how you managed it, but this is chaos on a scale I could only ever dream of!"
"I didn't do it on purpose!" Sunset cried. "Anyway, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. It's about how all this got started—"
Discord held up his lion paw. "If you're going to ask me to snap and make it all better, I'm afraid that's a no-go," he said. "Everything that's happening is way beyond my power to stop. If I'd been consulted within the first, oh...four hours or so, I might have been able to fix it, but—"
"I wasn't going to ask you, but thanks for mentioning that," Sunset said. "Actually, I just wanted an opinion on a theory we had about the incursions." She bit her lip. "We know the source of this whole problem is some sort of chaos magic. Well, someone pointed out that everyone and everything showing up in my world is, well..." She gestured broadly. "Chaotic. It's raining superheroes, supervillains, monsters, robots, and things like that, and almost nobody normal is showing up from other worlds."
Discord nodded thoughtfully. "So it's attracting movers and shakers and cosmic butterflies," he said. "That makes sense..." He frowned sourly. "Actually, it bothers me that that makes sense. Chaos isn't supposed to make sense." He tapped a talon to his chin. "I don't suppose I could pop over and examine the source of all this?"
"Of course," Sunset said. "You being the spirit of chaos and all, I'm sure you'll notice something about it Twilight didn't."
* * * * *
Aerith Gainsborough was not having what one might call a good week.
First, there'd been the creepy man in black who'd bought a flower from her, whose smile had chilled her to the core. Then there'd been the monsters swarming throughout the city. Then she'd been trapped in a cage in the church, and it had been the Turks of all people who had freed her, which led to a tense encounter she'd wanted no part of. On top of everything else, Zack was nowhere to be found—asking around, she'd gotten vague wind of him having been sent out on a mission with Sephiroth.
And now, she was backed against a wall in a dead end alley, whimpering in fear, her dress ripped, as a man bore down on her, leering at her. He was tall, tanned, broad-shouldered, and muscular, with long brown hair and a goatee. His eyes were full of scorn, lust, and fury. He wore leather trousers, leather boots, and a studded leather vest, all in black. He looked her up and down, licking his lips. "Yeah, you'll do," he decided. "I've had a really rotten day, I need to be amused. You'll amuse me, won't you?"
"Please," Aerith whimpered. "Please, just...don't hurt me...leave me alone..."
He struck her once, and her cheek stung. "Don't. Talk. BACK TO ME!" he bellowed in a sudden rage. "You belong to me now, understand? I—"
Something white wrapped itself around his neck, cutting him off. Aerith watched, heart hammering wildly, as he was dragged from the alley, struggling to tear away whatever force had overcome him. He was all the way in the middle of the street when he finally managed to free himself; he knelt in the road and punched the pavement hard enough to crack it considerably. "VERY! DISAPPOINTED!" he thundered. He looked around, eyes wild with rage. "WHO! DARES!"
His eyes and Aerith's eyes both locked on the only other figure in the vicinity at the same time.
An unassuming woman stood in the middle of the street. She had long, unkempt brown-black hair. She wore glasses with large frames. She was dressed in a long brown skirt, a white blouse, a brown vest, a necktie, a tan trenchcoat, and sensible, flat-heeled brown shoes. She was unremarkable in every way except perhaps for being rather generously endowed. A suitcase on wheels stood at her side.
Any way you looked at her, she was some office worker or librarian, no one of consequence.
The man who had attacked Aerith stood, schooling his face into a swaggering snarl as he sauntered toward the woman. "Was it you?" he asked coldly. "Because I promise you, I can have just as much fun with you as I'd have had with her. Maybe more." His snarl turned into a venomous leer. "Maybe a lot more."
The woman bowed her head. Her glasses shone eerily in the harsh electric lights of the slums.
Her suitcase flew open. Hundreds of tiny white objects flew out, swarming around the assailant, cutting and biting his skin over and over again, filling the air with a terrifying cacophony of buzzing and flapping. Aerith turned away, sick with horror, as blood spattered all over everywhere. One of the flying white objects spun away from the carnage, landing two feet away from her on the pavement, soaked in blood. Aerith hesitantly reached for it, frowning in confusion as she curled her fingers around it and picked it up.
It was paper.
Just an ordinary scrap of paper, apart from being soaked in blood.
The would-be rapist's screams trailed off into a wet, throaty death gurgle. The terrible buzzing and flapping of hundreds of deadly pieces of paper died away to nothing.
Aerith slowly stood and walked to the mouth of the alley.
The man was dead. The woman was gone.
Blood-spattered paper littered the street.
* * * * *
Discord blinked as he stared at the dildo. His eyes widened, and his red irises shrank to pinpricks. "Oh," he said quietly. He cleared his throat hesitantly. "Well. This is awkward."
Sunset rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I know, haha, Sunset broke reality with a magic dildo, let's all laugh."
"Well, yes, that," Discord said. "It's just, well..." He coughed. "I, umm...I know exactly what this is."
"You do?" Sunset and Sci-Twi both asked.
"Yes, as a matter of fact," Discord said with a nervous chuckle. "Mind, I have no idea how it got here or what it's doing in...in that..."
Sunset felt dread creeping down her spine. "I'm not gonna like this, am I?" she asked quietly.
"Ah...not as such, no," Discord said, poking his fingers together. "So do you want the bad news, the worse news, or the really awkwardly uncomfortable news?"
"Umm...I guess in that order?" Sunset ventured, dread gnawing its way into her soul.
"Alright, well...the bad news is, what you're looking at here is the birth of a new Spirit of Chaos. A new, well...me." He frowned. "Probably a far more powerful Discord, too, considering the way it's breaking reality."
Both girls blinked. "It's...it's an egg?!" they cried simultaneously.
"Ah...yes and no," Discord said. "The worse news is that there's absolutely no way to stop this. I don't think even Twilight's little scheme will stop this. Even the Elements of Harmony wouldn't be able to contain this."
A heavy aura of doom descended upon the room. "So...we're all doomed? That's it?"
Discord shrugged. "Never give up hope," he said. "If I've learned anything from my pony friends, it's that you keep fighting until the bitter end."
Sunset sighed. "Alright." She frowned. "What's the awkwardly uncomfortable news?"
Discord edged away from the two girls, laughing sheepishly. "W-well..." He cleared his throat and tugged at his 'collar' with a talon. "Funny story. I, umm...sort of misplaced one of my testicles a while back, couldn't figure out for the life of me what happened to it. Aheh..." He pointed at the dildo, which was radiating chaos magic, breaking reality, and was now in all probability hatching into Discord Junior. "Found it," he croaked in a weak, sheepish sing-song.
Sci-Twi's glasses slid down her nose. "You lost a—how do you just LOSE a—"
Sunset, on the other hand, was slowly draining of color as the implications set in. Color which was rapidly replaced by a brilliant nauseated green.
She dashed out of the lab, locked herself in the nearest restroom, and threw up violently and repeatedly. Both Discord and Sci-Twi could hear her throwing up from down the hall.
Discord rolled his eyes. "Oh, sure, I had relations with a hairless ape without even knowing about it and she's the one who's throwing up." With an annoyed snap of his talons, he disappeared in a flash, leaving Sci-Twi alone with—
"Nope," Sci-Twi said, edging out of the lab, never taking her eyes off Discord Junior until she was safely out of the room.