Perfect Harmony – Destination
Damian was everything but content. He didn’t particularly like the fact that he had two demonic creatures as companions and helpers, nor did he like the place he was sent to by God. As he went out of the cave he has woken up in, he took in the surroundings. The rays of light were barely breaking through the foliage. So thick and dense was the flora here. He was in some kind of a forest, the sounds of wilderness apparent all around him. The fresh and crisp air was a warmly welcomed change from the stuffy air of California Maximum Security Prison. The muscular biped closed his eyes, analyzing all that he has done in this land thus far. His mission clear in his mind, Damian put all his maniacal desires to the side for now and allowed his calculating and logical part to take over the steering wheel for a while. He opened his eyes and turned around, a plan already formulating in his mind. He entered the cave again just to see the two of his associates staring at each other slightly confused.
“High time we properly talked, don’t you think?”
He asked emotionlessly not expecting an answer. The horse reacted right away, startled by the sudden echo of Damian’s hoarse voice, the hell-spawn on the other hand simply shifted its gaze towards the human. Damian approached the two, who visibly tensed. This was only expected as he indeed wasn’t exactly diplomatic with them. He wasn’t about to blame himself though, before God has spoken to him, he was sure these creatures were his enemies. He sat down in front of the two, beside the bonfire, folding his arms and shifting his sight from one atrocity towards another. He suddenly stretched his arm forward and with his index finger he pointed at the horse. The movement was so sudden that the latter recoiled back a little bit.
“You, Clean Street, was it? You are one of the creatures that dominate this land…”
Clean Street visibly confused and scared, managed only to nod slowly.
“As far as I am concerned they are a crime against nature, something that has to be wiped from existence!”
Clean Street shuddered, the vicious, venom-dripping look the Human was giving him and the madness in those eyes were beyond unnerving.
“However, It’s not me who has the right to judge what is good and what is wrong. God spoke to me and as his humble servant, my personal opinions don’t matter. I was given a mission and you two are my allies. This means we will work together, whether you like it or not…”
Discord was surprised at what the biped said. He thought there is no rationality in it. That there is only pure torrent of… Well not chaos, but more like evil. Nevertheless both Discord and Clean Street didn’t answer to this statement, they just kept looking at the human. That is until Clean Street suddenly rose up, pure anger visible on his face
“I don’t like it… I won’t help YOU with anything! You murderer!”
Clean Street shouted, all his fright forgotten, he became infuriated. How can a creature so violent and evil like that simply kill somepony and then nonchalantly ask for help?
“I don’t care, kill me if you must! I refuse to have anything to do with you!”
Clean Street stood up and was prepared to simply leave the cave, go back to Canterlot and just forget all about what he saw… Or be stabbed to death… Either was better than participating in a MURDER. Damian’s look was locked on Clean Street, his gaze followed the latter, until the pony went past Damian and Discord and was near the exit from the cave. Damian didn’t change his position.
“You’re a coward…”
The human said firmly, but monotonously.
Clean Street stopped in his tracks and turned his head in the direction of the voice, his body still being turned towards the exit
“You’re a weak coward Clean Street…”
Damian said with the same voice. Clean Street’s eyes went wide, as he remembered a very painful memory. A memory of his evil parents and the words his own Father used
“(…) We did everything, but look at him! Still weak, still scared, still pathetic! (…)”
“I AM NOT WEAK!”
Clean Street roared as he turned around towards to the human. There was silence for a while, suddenly disturbed when Damian whispered
“You hate them don’t you?”
Clean Street’s mouth hung open, his eyes still widened as rage slowly disappeared, replaced with confusion.
“I heard what you said Clean Street. Rulers of this Land, you hate them… Don’t you?”
Clean Street was unable to respond to that, thousand thoughts a second passing his mind. Thousand questions…
“You want revenge… You want to show them the pain and suffering you had to endure for so long…”
How did this murderer know about his past?! He didn’t want any revenge… He didn’t… But the Goddesses allowed all these horrible things to happen to him… They said they are protecting all their subjects, but did nothing to help him… Why should he admire Celestia and Luna? Why should he love them?
Discord remained silent, but unbeknownst to all, he was smiling ever so slightly. This human was one manipulative bastard. He would gladly take part in this beautiful scheme, as he himself loved to toy with others, but unfortunately he was forbidden to interfere… he supposed… He still didn’t quite get what he was truly forbidden to do, what “interfere” meant… Nevertheless he wasn’t about say anything for now.
“If you walk away now, you will never get that revenge… You will live the rest of your life in self-pity, knowing you could fulfill your desire, but didn’t… And why? Because of a petty moral code? “
Clean Street was internally torn. He knew the human was speaking the truth, he wanted revenge more than anything else. He wanted to see both royal sisters in pain… On the other hoof he would become the same as his parents, evil and dread inspiring, doing things only for his personal gain, not caring about the goods of others. Also he would consciously agree to hurt other ponies.
“I hope you know that the moral code you cherish so much was created by none other than the objects of your hate… If you walk away now, you lose. Stay and I promise you… You will have your revenge.”
Something clicked in Clean Street’s head. The biped was right… All the good and evil were defined by none other than Celestia and her sister. Everything he believed was right or wrong was imposed by them. The rules all of the ponies lived by, the friendship and love dogma, all were created by the royal sisters. This was it for Clean Street, he will no longer live like that. Every day in Canterlot he spent abiding the laws of those he despised the most. It was slowly destroying him from the inside. But this creature, this human, had the ability to truly help Clean Street fulfill his desire. Dead silence fell over the cave, no one dared to move an inch for what seemed like hours. Until…
“You have a deal…”
Clean Street’s voice echoed through the cave, sealing the Alliance and making Damian smile wickedly.
“I’m glad you saw reason Clean Street… Now, please take a seat, we have much to discuss…”
Clean Street, still somewhat torn up, not sure if his decision was the right one, went back to the spot he left not long ago.
“Before we venture into this land and begin our mission, there are few things I need to know… And you two can provide the answers…”
Damian’s expression was as serious as ever as he shifted his sight towards Clean Street. The latter was much calmer now, not as jumpy and frightened as before.
“What exactly are the Elements of Harmony?”
Discord expression turned sour as he remembered his enemies, those who so easily defeated him. Clean Street on the other hand was surprised at the question. He also realized he doesn’t really know what is this whole “mission” thing about.
“Well… They are… Weapons against all that’s evil, they purify it… Oh, and they are embodied within six mares…”
Damian smiled cruelly, his cold eyes showing depths of his insanity.
“Do you by any chance know where are they located?”
He asked, excitement in his voice
“Err… Yeach… But what could you possibly want with them?”
Clean Street asked starting to suspect where this conversation was going.
“Oh, it’s rather simple Clean Street. You see God gave me a very simple request. My and now also your mission here is to eliminate these Elements, as they are blasphemy that has to be ended…”
Damian answered calmly, still smiling disturbingly. Clean Street shook his head with disbelief, was about to protest and end this madness… He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Discord, who was, similarly to Damian, smiling in a disturbing way.
“Oh, I know what you wanted to say Mr. No-horn. As righteous and honorable as you are, consider this…”
Discord suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke, just to appear next to Clean Street, his paw resting on the latter’s neck in a friendly manner.
“Who used Elements even before the six mares that are now considered “heroes” of Equestria?”
The former Chaos God almost spat out the word “heroes”
The pony lowered his head in thought…
He answered with a question of his own.
“Ding, ding, ding! Correct!”
Discord said happily, looking at the pony
“Aaand, what does that tell you?”
He asked, feeling he already won the argument.
Clean Street again lowered his head, thinking deeply. If the elements were previously used by the royal sisters… And they are very powerful weapons… They would be a perfect way to keep any opposition to their rule at bay, dubbing all that didn’t agree with them as “evil”. Giving the elements to some six random ponies was at the other hoof a very cunning way of proving that both sisters indeed were not using Elements to keep their rule secure and didn’t have control over the tools of order. However if the six ponies controlling the elements were loyal to the sisters, the latter could still easily manipulate and control the weapons, pointing out the evil-doers and leaving the cleansing to the loyal mares. It also seemed that destroying the elements was not really evil. After all, according to the Chaos God, they were upsetting the balance. Destroying them would be in fact good and a favour to the World. Realization struck Clean Street as he rose his head up and looked at Discord, still not quite believing in his discovery.
The pony stammered. Discord simply laughed warmly, taking his paw from the pony and motioning for Damian to continue.
“Now, where are they exactly?”
Damian asked patiently
“All of them are in Ponyville… And that is, err… To be honest I have no idea where we really are right now…”
Clean Street answered truthfully
“Oh that’s simple! We’re in Everfree Forest and Ponyville is straight north!”
Discord said instead, somewhat proud of his precise teleportation magic.
“This is the town I saw from the Orchard I presume?”
Draconequus only nodded.
“And the six Elements… We know how they look like?”
Both Discord and Clean Street answered in unison to that
Damian let out a laugh
“This will be easier than I thought! Now, First One…”
He turned his head towards the former Chaos God
“Call me Discord, please…”
The latter said firmly
“Very well, Discord… God picked you as my guide and so I have a question for you…”
Damian stood up and walked over to the spot, where he was bound by the two.
“The Lord sometimes speaks in puzzles…”
He leaned down and picked up his military blade
“One of which was - only those who saw both white and black can see you for who you truly are.”
Discord observed the human, getting nervous when the latter picked up his blade.
“What do you think it could mean?”
The former Chaos God struck his beard, thinking. Damian rose up to his full height and turned around to his two allies, throwing up his blade and catching it skillfully by the handle. Clean Street was mesmerized by the human’s agility and didn’t let the knife out of his sight.
“I might have a theory…”
The Draconequus finally said as he looked up at the human
Damian motioned for him to continue
“Hmm… First time we met, in highly unpleasant circumstances I might add, you didn’t exactly look as you do now… To me at least…”
The murderer raised an eyebrow to that
“What do you mean?”
The former Chaos God coughed quietly, preparing himself for an explanation
“You see, you actually seemed to look like a Pony…”
The psychopath snickered
“You’re kidding, right?”
Discord shook his head in disagreement
“You were, by all means an indigo Unicorn with a horn, scarlet colored magic and all that…”
“I am pretty sure I’m not and I wasn’t a possessed animal… ever…”
“I don’t mean you WERE a pony, you only looked like one… Quite an unique looking one as a matter of a fact.”
“But I didn’t see him as a pony! He looked like himself all the time!”
Clean Street budged in. The Draconequus turned his head towards the latter.
“Yees and I believe there is an explanation to this right here. You said you saw death, didn’t you Clean Street?”
Discord asked the no-horn unicorn
“Well, yes… I did…”
The former Chaos God smiled happily
“The Universe sa-“
“You mean, God?”
Discord was rudely interrupted by the human
“Fine, GOD said that only those who saw both black and white can see our bald friend for who he truly is…”
He said rolling his eyes
Clean Street turned his head to the right in slight confusion
“You mean, I saw him as… a creature he really is, because I saw death, but also love and friendship?”
Discord clapped his paws joyfully
“So it is some kind of… camouflage?”
Continued the pony
“I would think of it more like a very sophisticated illusion spell. However it isn’t a spell, Damian was granted some kind of ability or power…”
The Draconequus pointed at the biped
“Movements of his body were somehow translated into similar movements of his pony camouflage. Moves impossible to achieve by the pony illusion were instead translated into levitation magic and similar… Brilliant really… Brilliant but impossible to accomplish without an extremely potent magical power source…”
He said on one breath
“Like Elements of Harmony?”
“But he doesn’t have any magic in him!”
Clean Street protested
“He has… something in him. I felt some kind of power when we first met him, but can’t quite put my finger on it. It probably fuels the illusion…”
“Wait… you didn’t see him as… whatever he is, before… God (?) Spoke to us… You’re thousands of years old, but never saw anypony die or suffer?”
The unicorn asked with disbelief
Discord let out an uncertain laugh
“Well… I didn’t do that kind of chaos…”
Clean Street narrowed his eyes
“You’re shitting me…”
The Draconequus waved his hand dismissively
“It’s not important, I saw death when we entered the Orchard and I can see past the illusion now, no point pondering over the past”
The pony snorted, which only bought him a death glare from the former Chaos God. They both didn’t get to continue the talk, when a maniacal laughter made its way through the cave. It was their slightly psychopathic friend…. Shivers went down Clean Street’s spine…
“This is perfect! This makes everything simple!”
Damian shouted out. Then he suddenly turned serious again, looking at Discord
“This illusion… There is no way of breaking it, except for seeing death?”
The former Chaos God scratched his head
“I’m not sure, but it doesn’t feel like conventional magic, so I suppose it’s not easy to dispel.”
The human nodded confidently and turned to Clean Street
“So how many of… Equestrians… could possibly have seen death?”
The unicorn snorted dismissively
“I would say, about 1%?”
Damian’s smile went wide, defying the rules of physics and biology, showing his white teeth and slightly longer than average human’s fangs
“Excellent… One last thing gentlemen. Please tell me how does my… Pony-self look like?”
Discord lowered his head, trying to remember every detail from their first encounter
“First of all the color of your illusion’s coat is indigo, it also has the same markings as you on its face. It has no mane… If I remember correctly the eyes are ice-cold blue in color. Oh also the tail is… bare… No hair there either, which makes your illusion attention drawing.”
He answered finally, a hint of self-satisfaction in his voice. One of his real perks was his near photographic memory. Made things a lot easier sometimes.
“Bare tail? Really?”
Asked Clean Street, not quite believing the former Chaos God
“Yes… Also the cutie mark… I don’t really know what it was supposed to represent…”
Discord continued with much less satisfaction. Actually he was irritated, he hated not knowing things and Damian’s illusion cutie mark was a mystery to him.
Damian asked leaning forward, not sure if he heard correctly
“A Cutie Mark”
Discord and Clean Street answered in unison.
“What is that supposed to be?”
To the human it sounded like another diabolical feat about these talking horses
“Essentially it’s a mark that everypony gets eventually, one way or another telling him or her what is their special talent.”
Clean Street answered as if it was the most obvious thing ever. Damian on the other hand let out a hearty chuckle
“It sounds silly…”
“It’s not silly! It’s really helpful!”
Obviously the human hit a sore spot
“Your race has to be really stupid if it needs guidelines and limited freedom, just to know what they want to do with their lives…”
Discord snorted and then let out a full blown laugh, dropping to the floor and rolling on his back. Clean Street’s face became red as a tomato
“I… You’re stupid!”
He shouted back and with a huff turned his back to them, obviously hurt.
After full minute of laughter the Draconequus stood up from the ground and wiped a tear from his eye.
“Oh Second One, this was pure gold!”
Damian simply shrugged
“So how did that Cutie Mark look like on my illusion?”
“Like I said, I don’t really know what it is supposed to represent, but to me it looked like a serpent of some sorts, forming a perfect circle with its body and… Eating its tail…”
Damian looked a little surprised
Both the pony and the Draconequus blinked twice, making really good poker faces.
“You don’t know what an Ouroboros is?”
Damian sighed, it was like explaining a new word to a child… And he wasn’t really good with children
“In the World I come from an Ouroboros is a symbol seen in many religions and cultures. It represents cyclicality, repetition, unity, renewal but also unending lust.”
“Oooh… I get it…”
Discord’s expression was priceless. It was confusion mixed with child-like interest. The pony on the other hand put a hoof on his chin, thinking.
“But why does your illusion show something as… non-pony like, instead a simple and recognizable Cutie Mark?”
It was a very smart question coming from the Unicorn. Damian shrugged, not really willing to ponder over that
“I don’t know, but honestly it matters not. We can blend in safely between the townsfolk now.”
He finally answered as he stood up with the intention of leaving the cave and carrying on with his holy mission. Both of his allies did the same as they ventured out of the cave, into the forest. The sun was coming up slowly, delicately dispersing the deep shadows of the Everfree Forest. Some spots however seemed immune to light, as the darkness still held them in its cold embrace. The sounds of wilderness, fresh air and the hum of nearby brook made a peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere. Clean Street immediately calmed down, allowing his stress to slowly disappear.
He said, a sincere smile on his face
Damian nodded, also somewhat allowing the atmosphere to overwhelm his senses. The former Chaos God however was not in the mood for all this, so he walked past the two and gave them a disapproving look. The pony’s peacefulness however quickly disappeared when he remembered an important detail he forgot to mention during the conversation.
“Err… Damian, There’s still a small issue…”
The human was looking up through the tree branches, towards the blue sky
He asked calmly
“What do you intent to do with the Elements when we find them?”
Damian took a deep breath and lowered his head. Immediately a sick grin spread over his features
“Oh you know… Whatever God has intended”
He chuckled grimly
Clean Street involuntarily shivered
“A-and what would that be?”
He asked, not sure if he really wanted to know
“First stab the heart, and their soul is torn apart…”
Damian rhymed. This was enough for Clean Street to figure out what Damian would do with the six mares. Clean Street slowly nodded, realizing that he would be helping to execute somepony… But if it meant that the Princesses will suffer…
He stuttered out.
“Hey! How long are you two going to stand there? Move it already!”
It was the Draconequus, shouting from a distance. This seemed to break Damian’s grin as he started to move north with Clean Street right behind him.
Rainbow Dash was in the middle of her well-deserved nap. She picked a particularly soft cloud, which was very stubborn and liked to move on its own sometimes. Clouds aren’t supposed to move on their own, so why was this one moving? Maybe it came from the Everfree? In all honesty RD didn’t really care. It was soft so it was as good for a nap as it can be. The sun was delicately shining in her face, this would annoy most ponies, but RD really liked the sun. It was always close when she was flying and she was used to its warm touch and pleasant heat it always gave. So there she was on a moving cloud, napping blissfully, with the sun to keep her company. This was sure going to be a good day. Dashie smiled involuntarily through her sleep.
RD lazily opened her eyes, thinking that she simply imagined hearing something. Of course if it was somepony calling for help, she would immediately go. Who else would save somepony if not the fastest flier in all Equestria? Now she wasn’t particularly in the mood though.
She sighed, of course she didn’t imagine it, she was about to continue napping, but NOO, somepony just happened to need help now. She moaned angrily and took a look over the cloud. It seems that the latter moved over to Sweet Apple Acres. Someone needing help on the Acres? Sounded pretty impossible. She was proven wrong when another shout for help came to her sensitive ears
It sounded like… AJ?
RD said to herself irritated and spread her wings flying down towards the source of the shout with amazing speed, leaving a streak of rainbow behind her. She quickly reached the location and landed down powerfully, while having a smug grin on her face. AJ needed help with something and that happened very, very rarely. She couldn’t pass up the chance to wipe this fact into her friend’s face. Her eyes were closed as she (according to herself) announced her presence in an awesome way
“Have no fear! Rainbow Dash is here!”
She opened her eyes, expecting AJ to be stuck under a pile of apples or a branch, but what she saw wiped all her expectations and for the first time inspired true feeling of chocking fear in the Element of Loyalty. Indeed there was AJ sitting on the ground, but her face was wet from tears, as she was swaying forwards and backwards while holding an unconscious Apple Bloom in her hoofs. Next to her was a maimed body of a green pony. RD looked down and realized she was standing in a puddle of blood. Her lips twitched, as her eyes became wide as saucers, she took a step back, not immediately able to comprehend what was going on, she shivered and felt bile building up in her stomach, coming up through her throat. She quickly turned around and vomited on the ground in shock. After taking a few deep breaths, her mind slowly caught up with the situation at hoof. She turned back to AJ, trying not to look at the corpse. RD was still shivering, but tried to put it aside as she trotted around the puddle of blood and approached her friend.
“A-Applejack… A-are you o-okay?”
Of course she’s not okay you dumbass, there’s a freaking CORPSE lying next to her for crying out loud.
She scolded herself in her mind.
AJ didn’t seem to notice Rainbow Dash though as she was still swaying and mumbling something incoherent to herself. Despite the dread she felt, the element of loyalty couldn’t simply leave her friend in such catatonic state. She leaned closer to Applejack and shook her with her hoof. This only made the traumatized mare shiver slightly.
Rainbow Dash said louder shaking her friend again. This time the element of honesty shifted her gaze from nothingness towards Dashie.
“She’s dead… She’s dead… She’s dead… She’s dead…”
RD felt a cold shiver run down her spine as with terror she looked at Apple Bloom. The latter was unmoving in the hoofs of her sister, but keen eyes of the Pegasus noticed that her breast was moving up and down and this meant breathing. Rainbow calmed down a little and decided to use more extreme tactics to snap her friend out of the horrible trance.
She shouted loudly and smacked her friend with her hoof enough to make AJ fall down to the ground from her sitting position. Dust went up in the air as AJ entered a coughing fit. After a while she blinked a few times and realized she’s on the ground, also in the middle of the Orchard.
“Ow… What in tarnation?”
AJ manage to stammer. Rainbow let out a calming breath, as it seemed that AJ woke up from whatever trance she was in.
“Applejack, can you hear me?”
She asked, just to make sure. AJ shook her head a few times and started to stand up, only to realize she was holding her little sister in her hoofs. Then everything came back to her as she remembered all the events. This time however she didn’t break down, but started to sob as she again sat down and looked at RD still holding on to her sister’s limp body
“Rainbow… Apple Bloom is… Why did this have to happen?!”
AJ screamed, unable to contain her sorrow. Rainbow approached her friend, still trying to forget about the corpse
“AJ, your sister is just unconscious, look… She’s breathing…”
The Earth Pony wiped her tears with one hoof and took a closer look at her sister. Indeed the little filly was breathing and just unconscious. Immediately forgetting about all the terrible things, AJ was filled with relief and even a hint of happiness.
“Mah little angel… you’re fine… you’re just fine…”
AJ whispered smiling sincerely and hugging her little sister tight. RD put a hoof on her friend’s shoulder also smiling.
“Rainbow… Ah… thank Celestia you were near… This… Everything 'ere is just…”
RD simply nodded
“I know AJ, I know… How about we get out of here, get Apple Bloom home and try to calm down before we start digging into this?”
RD was also shaken up, her muscles twitched once in a while, still unable to calm down after the image she was forced to see. AJ shook her head in agreement
“Ah would like that…”
Rainbow Dash took Apple Bloom out of AJ hoofs and put the filly over her back, helping her friend to stand up soon after that. The two mares then slowly trotted towards the Apple family home not exchanging a single word through the whole trip.