White Box

by chrumsum

True Colors: The Troll Sequel

Before we begin, a history. If you know this bit, go ahead and pass on it.

On May 21st of 2012–my birthday–I released what can succinctly be described as a trollfic. In order to have a bit of fun on my birthday, I decided to herald the calls for a sequel to White Box in a very tongue-in-cheek, not-so-subtle manner. What resulted was a horrible, ridiculous story which portrayed Canvas in a less-than-sincere light.

As I promised in an earlier journal, I removed it exactly 24 hours after posting, before the bastardization of a story could move much further up the featured box. Some people laughed at it, some people took it way too seriously, and most people were bewildered in trying to figure out what had just happened. This story has remained hidden away from the world as my own nasty, regrettable secret. I didn't want to become more renown for a trollfic that parodied my most well-known tale. And as a result, White Box: True Colors vanished from FimFiction.

Most doubt it ever existed. Those who knew usually held it over my head as my dirty secret.

Until now.

I pick up my brush.

For the longest time, I stare at that branch, its thick lumber, its silent majesty. Swaying slightly in the invisible breeze, it beckons to me. This is it, isn’t it? This is what’s waiting for me. My brush wavers uncertainly.

What lies on the other side? Whiteness? Blackness? Nothing at all?

Letting my brush roll into the grass, I collapse, placing my head in my hooves. My skull is buzzing and tightening, and pictures flash through the folds of my brain.

“Your name is Canvas. You’re a painter.”

“They’re trying to make you remember what they’ve made you forget!”

“Everything is going to be gone!”

I feel my teeth grind against each other, the pressure rising with the pounding in my ears. My eyelids tighten and hide the fake, colored world with darkness. The voices and thoughts get louder and louder, and I’m not sure if I’m screaming. One voice grows above the rest.

“Do you know why you’re here?”

“I’m here because She’s afraid of me.”

Suddenly the voices are silent. Shaking, my hooves slowly come away from my eyes. The voices are gone, but they’re still there, bristling with a furious hum as they await.

Because She’s afraid of me. My existence has been damned out of fear and prejudice. I’m doomed here, doomed to this white box, doomed to this tree branch, doomed to fading into nothingness as my thoughts become as thin as the paint on these walls.

Another voice comes forth, and hisses.

“Vengeance,” it drones, “Vengeance.”

The one word repeats itself over and over, becoming more shrill and more wrathful each time, driving the cowardly voice deep into the crevices of my mind.

“Vengeance,” I whisper along with it. No more would my fate rest in the hooves of another. No longer would I be imprisoned by the cold resolve of powers that considered me beneath them.

She’s afraid of me? Then I’ll give her something to be afraid of.

I take my brush, and I begin to mix the colors. Apart, they are beautiful and distinct, each haunted by a soul that cannot be tamed, even through painting. But together, joined in a discordant harmony, they become cold and malleable. Balancing each addition, my brush swirls and stirs the paint, and I admire my creation.

“Gray,” I say, dabbing the color with my hoof. I smile slightly. The color is so natural, so intrinsic. It had been waiting somewhere in my mind, untouched and solemn. Never judging, never impatient, I awaited my return after all these long years of being apart. Spinning the palette in my hooves, I start laughing. I don’t know why.

This laughter doesn’t feel like joy. It feels like pain, it tastes metallic and it rages in the most primal of levels. Vengeance. Freedom and vengeance, a chance to defy every card fate’s cruel hand has allotted me. The hairs of the brush gliding against the palette, I blend the colors into all the shades I will need, checking them off in my mind the way Twilight marked her clipboard. I falter and stop. I would see her again. I would see Twilight Sparkle. My muscles tense and harden with resolve. Stepping to that corner, I paint it in thick, confident strokes. Caustic colors, bitter colors, dead colors. Nodding at my handiwork, I back up to a safe distance.

Twilight Sparkle’s last words to me come back.

“My name is Canvas,” I say to no one in particular, painting my hoof and letting the image solidify, “I’m a painter.”

I sweep my brush one more time with a shade of oblique shadow, glimmering with the light of the white box.

“But don’t take my word for it,” I say smugly. I slide the shades onto my snout.

“C4 yourself.”

I click the detonator, and the white box explodes.

I trot forward, the dust and rubble of the white walls raining around me like a glorious rain. The smoke billows away, revealing the now tarnished roundup. White-suited guards cough and scramble about in a panic, like headless chickens. Gawking, a few stop in their tracks, staring in horror at me and my shades. The stocky stallions eventually get their wits together and paw at the ground menacingly.

With a smirk, my brush creases the ground with a furious intricacy. Kicking the image out from its two-dimensional plane and into existence, I stand on my hind legs and catch the weapon with my forehooves. I smile to the pathetic guardians that so often beat and abused me.

“I’d like to pay you gentlecolts back,” I snarl wickedly, flicking off the safety, “but I’m a little short on bits.”

The barrel of the minigun begins to spin and whine vindictively.

“Do you accept lead?”

Gyros shrieking, I press down on the trigger, and the massive firearm balks and spits fire. Bullets streaming from the flying barrels, the guards fly back from the unseen pellets, splaying against the walls and collapsing into crimson heaps.

Laughing as the metallic shells clatter upon the concrete floor, I advance towards the center of the room, turning to douse every corner of the prison with bullets. Screaming melodramatically, a guard named Wilhelm collapses and tumbles off the top rail of the catwalk and cartwheels to the ground. The golden chain of ammunition flows across my shoulder and into the minigun.

“Waaahhhhh!” I holler, guffawing heartily, “Waaahhhhhh! Cry some more!”

A few more guards try to rush me from a corner of the room. I turn them into swiss cheese before they can even get close. My surge of adrenaline suddenly stops as the minigun’s barrels become silent and whirr with a metallic click. Shaking the weapon with disappointment, I sigh as another guard charges me, screaming in defiance.

“Here, hold this,” I say dismissively, and smash the barrel of the weapon into his skull.

Snagging a ring of keys from his belt, I throw them with ninja-like accuracy into the locks of the other cells. Out of sheer abject terror, they turn by themselves and unlock the plain white cages. The dazed ponies within stumble outside, sheltered eyes blinking erratically. Gaping at the carnage, they look from me to the slaughtered guards. Whispers of “what happened” and “are we free” and “what in Equestria is going on” rumble through the massing prisoners.

Painting myself a great rock in the center of the room, I clamber atop it, raising a hoof triumphantly.

“Bretheren! The time of the tyrant has come to an end! Too long have we suffered in silence within this cold cell, rotting from the fear of feeble gods! We are the ponies that Equestria deserves, they can take our lives but never our freedom, and my name is Maximus!”

Immediately, a cheer went up among the easily swayed crowd. A brown-gray stallion with a bandanna over his mouth and a guitar on his flank stepped forth and bowed.

“You haff my guitar, if you will take me,” he said humbly.

With a sweep of my brush, I place a glistening electric guitar into his waiting hooves. He stares at the glossy finish with glowing eyes. I give him a nod of trust and confidence, and place my hoof on his shoulder.

“Then keep on rockin’,” I tell him proudly, “Be our jukebox hero.”

The alarm rang fiercely in the gleaming white corridors. A squad of unicorn guards swarmed into the hallway before the central prison block of the compound. Their hooves clattering on the steel and concrete, they hunkered down behind cover wordlessly, shooting silent glances to each other. The two foremost guards at the head of the pack exchanged glances, and nodded silently. They focused grimly on the door ahead that led to the roundup. A signal was given, and a hum went up among the guards as their horns sparked and charged.

Staring, waiting, they watched the white door with deadpan patience.

A moment passed. Then another. The guards wavered expectantly, the door unmoving and stoic.

Suddenly, there was a crackle and a hiss, followed by a radiant white spark sputtering forth from the edges of the wall. The guards tensed their horns. A crack split the tense air, and with a violent burst of flame, the door blasted off its hinges in a puff of gray smoke. Screaming victoriously, unicorns, pegasi, and earth ponies stormed through the gaping hole. The assembled guards opened fire, bolts of energy zipping from their pulsating horns. A few brave ponies fell, and the escaping unicorns charged their magical appendages as well and returned the barrage of energy. A guard took a superfluous wound to the shoulder, and died instantly.

Before another shot could be fired, what little of the wall to the roundup remained crumbled away in a burst of sound.

A massive, monolithic amp of my creating towered menacingly over the feeble soldiers, its speakers bristling in anticipation. And standing before it was a glowering Smooth Song, his guitar slung over his shoulder, and hanging between his hooves as he stood on his hind legs. With a vindictive chuckle, he slashed his hoof across the strings.

Somewhere in Equestria, a severely hung over DJ moaned and tossed in her bed.

The amp bucked like a farm stallion and kicked a fierce throb of undiluted guitar solo from its twin speakers. Cracking the walls and rupturing the fabric of time and space itself, the arc of sound blasted through the awestruck guards. They never stood a chance. Their heads burst spectacularly, one by one, from the almighty power of rock and roll, dropping them like flies. Twirling the smoking guitar, Smooth Song sheathes his weapon of choice and strikes my hoof heartily. A distant clatter of hooves advertises the approach of more guards. I put a hoof on Smooth Song’s shoulder.

“I think it’s time to raise the roof.”

With a wry grin, the stallion raises his guitar once more, it’s smooth glossy finish glittering in the light of the hallways. Tearing his hoof across the steel strings, he blasts another fierce chord from the pulsating amp. The ceiling begins to crack and rupture from the onslaught of dissonance and chaos and, like a drill, the music tears through the miles of stone and concrete, punching hole to the sky.

I twirl my brush like a baton, and paint myself a fuel tank, two handles, and straps. Slinging the improvised jetpack over my shoulder, I take the controls in my hooves and rocket upwards in a roaring blossom of smoke and fire. The wing lashes at my mane and tears up my eyes as I throttle through the cavern towards the ever expanding light at the end up the tunnel. And as simply as crossing the threshold over a door, I burst outward. I’m outside.

Suddenly, the sky is vast. Suddenly, the world is huge. The eternal, sprawling canopy of clouds and sunshine spreads across the shimmering landscape of trees and mountains. Soaring higher and higher, the clouds give way to me as I puncture the skies like the pegasi of Twilight Sparkle’s stories. Now the tears aren’t only from the whistling wind. It’s more beautiful than anything I could have ever imagined.

I reach the pinnacle of my ascent, and the jetpack stalls and hovers, slowing me to a gentle wobble. It sputters passively as my eyes greedily take in every aspect of the marvelous tapestry that has been out here waiting for me for what seems an eternity. The rivers, the forests...everything she had promised and more. My eyes turn now to the city below, where ponies, like ants, seem to stop in place. Are they in awe? In terror? Does it even matter? Letting my gaze wander through each perfect cranny and twist of the streets, I finally settle on the one building I was looking for.

It had to be the one.

A passing white cloud serves as a perfect medium for my next painting. Painting it fiercly and eagerly, I grab the cloud and angle it just so, ensuring that my creation lined up perfectly with the building below. With a single motion, I pull the monstrous steel beast from its canvas and, straddling it, begin to fall.

“And so that’s it then,” Celestia says solemnly. The glittering white matriarch tilts her head downwards towards her morose student. Twilight Sparkle stares at the marble beneath her hooves, as if hoping the tiles would slide away and swallow her up, away from the prying eyes of her teacher. “You simply left him with a palette? After all you’ve learned about who he is and what he can do, you left him all the power he could possibly need to return once more?”

Throat choking up, Twilight nods imperceptibly. Her mane swaying in front of her eyes, she tries to return Celestia’s gaze with as much courage as she could muster.

“I had to. You couldn’t see him, you couldn’t understand what he’d gone through. It...it wasn’t fair. I had to give him a chance,” she says, her voice cracking. Her eyes glimmer with repressed tears, and her sincerity softens the princess’s heart as she sighs softly.

“He’s too far gone to return to his old ways,” whispers Twilight with a bitter smile, “His mind is broken beyond repair. I just wanted to give him a chance to enjoy what he is one last time. Is that so wrong?”

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, Twilight Sparkle,” says Celestia vaguely, “Is that even the most predictable of ponies have ways of surprising you.”

With a shattering crash, I drive the missile I’m riding on top of through the window of Celestia’s palace. With a small burst from my jetpack, I dismount and land on all fours before the dumbfounded ponies, sliding my shades back onto my eyes. For the longest time, nopony spoke. Celestia’s mane flutters with an incandescent spectrum of color, her jaw hanging slightly. Twilight Sparkle looks from me to the missile, stuttering as she tries to articulate an answer.

“Canvas...what...how...” she fumbles, voice shrill, “How did you escape?!”

“It’s all about thinking outside of the box,” I respond simply.

“What...what is the meaning of this!?” huffs Celestia indignantly, her wings flaring with rage, “What do you think you’re doing here?”

“I’m here to kick flank and chew hay,” I proclaim, removing my shades, only to place them back on my snout.

“And I’m all out of hay.”

Her brow contorts in digust. “Are you speaking in one-liners? That’s pathetic.”

I lower my shades and give her a critical stare. Scoffing, I twirl my brush non-chalantly. “Well excuse me, princess!”

The furious monarch stamps her hoof, and a crackle of furious energy sears the room in a blinding arc of light and magic. Her eyes flare angrily, and the air around me seems to thrum with a violent energy. From all across Canterlot, ponies gasp and look skyward as the sun flares and brightens angrily. “Enough of this nonsense! This is your final warning to surrender, before I show you who you’re trifling with!”

I don’t say a word to her. I simply smile pleasantly. Then before she has a chance to blink, I whip my shotgun out from my jetpack.

“Hey princess, I got a new element for you.” I give the weapon a sharp pump.


I pull the trigger, and I paint the castle walls the color of Princess Celestia’s brain. Twilight Sparkle’s eyes bug out in horror.

“Did you just--”

I don’t let her say another word. Firing up my jetpack, I rocket forward and sweep her off her hooves, soaring upwards through the hole made by the giant warhead. She doesn’t even have the strength to speak.

“You...you just escaped from a high security prison, crashed a defused warhead through the palace of the princess, assassinated her, and then kidnapped me,” she said numbly, her eyes blank. As we tear through the stratosphere, I give her a quizzical glance.

“Who said it was defused?”

There’s a blinding white flash on the horizon, followed by an ear splitting roar of thunder as the nuclear weapon detonates in a furious white bubble of atomic flame. In an instant, Canterlot and miles of land all around are engulfed in the apocalyptic conflagration. The light from the explosion shimmers against my shades.

Flying through the eternal emptiness of the clear Equestrian skies, I hear the majestic cry of an eagle as it passes overhead. I feel something swelling in my eyes. It’s the sound of freedom.

“This is madness,” mumbles Twilight Sparkle in my arms.

“No...” I tell her, a masculine tear rolling down my cheek.

“This is America.”

And then they had sex.

The End