What do you fear?

by Venficus

Chapter 2

It was dark when the young colt opened his eyes again. Blinking, he stood up, his senses on high alert as his eyes grew used to the dark. Metal walls and long conveyor belts greeted his vision as he looked around, a cold feeling of dread welling up inside him inexplicably as he took in his surroundings. A strange smell saturated the air, mixed with oil and aging metal. It was familiar, yet not at all comforting as he took his first shaky steps in this dark place.

"Well, well, well...What have we here? A young pony, lost and alone in his own mind..." A disembodied voice echoed in the darkness as Nightfire let out a high pitched startled yelp, looking around wildly for the source of the voice.

"Who are you? Where are you? What do you want from me?!" Nightfire heard his voice crack as he backed up, his eyes searching for the origin of the voice. He nearly jumped a foot in the air when his flank bumped into something, knocking it over and sending a clatter of falling objects echoing in the silence.

"Such a scared and frightened little child, aren't you?" The voice echoed behind him and he froze, feeling something soft brushing his back. Within a second, he was on the floor, backing up as his eyes fell upon...a mop? It seemed to have fallen over when he had backed up and knocked over...whatever he had knocked over.


A loud sound filled the air as he once more searched frantically for the source. A light flickered briefly, just long enough for him to catch a true glimpse of his surroundings. It appeared to be a factory of some sort...


Another loud noise sounded through the air, and there was yet another sudden flash of harsh light, making him freeze in stark terror as he glimpsed a dark shadowy figure in the corner of his eye. It was shaped like a pony, but one made out of wispy dark shadows.


"Oh, it looks like I've been spotted." The light faded, and something brushed against his nose, making him cry out in fright, stumbling backward.

He hadn't even seen anything there.


The next loud sound was far louder than those previous, and as before, the lights came on. This time, however, they stayed on.

Nightfire screamed, clumsily getting to his feet as he truly saw the figure from before. No more was it a mere shadow, but a unicorn cloaked in shadows. He was older, a fully grown stallion with a red and white mane and tail, and a midnight black body. Shadows clung to him, billowing out like black cloth in a breeze.

Something was WRONG with this...pony, if he was truly a pony. Nightfire wasn't sure why, but this pony frightened him beyond belief. The mere sight of him made his heart pound like a drum as he slowly backed away, his breath coming in short gasps.

Blue eyes narrowed at him as he retreated, the mystery stallion taking a step forward, his lips set in a grim line as he advanced on the cowering child. "You fear me." He stated, a hint of malice in his voice.

The figure spoke the truth as Nightfire felt every fiber of his being screaming at him to flee, to run away from this horror.
This wasn't right, this....pony...he was DANGEROUS. Nightfire needed to run, needed to hide, needed to ESCAPE...!

The black unicorn seemed to read his mind as he laughed harshly. "Oh no, you can't run. Not now. The wheels are already turning, and no amount of running can save you from me.

THUD! Hiss.....

"Who....who are you, and what do you want with me?" Nightfire felt his back hit a conveyor belt, blocking his escape backwards. The unicorn laughed, suddenly flickering out of sight, leaving behind a whisp of darkness.

"Who am I? Its not polite to demand a name before giving your own, betrayer." The voice hissed from behind him.

Nightfire shot forward as fast as he could, stumbling over some inconveniently placed...shackles? He kept going, his eyes searching for an escape route.

Suddenly, the unicorn was there, standing before him a snarl of fury on his face as he glared down at the small pegasus, who abruptly turned as fast as he could, his hooves slipping momentarily on cold concrete floor as he ran though an opening in the wall.

What he saw there made him freeze in his tracks. Cages lined the walls, and in each cage was a pony made of shadows with no discernable features. Some paced their cells, and others seemed to be frantically pounding the bars. A few lay down in a corner of their cage, looking around as if expecting something to come and take them away to some horrific fate. The strangest thing was that they made no sounds at all. Nothing could be heard except the pounding and hissing of pistons.

Belatedly, Nightfire realized that he had stopped for too long as he was seized from behind and the world blurred, sharpening to reveal him shackled to a platform.

"Frightened little pony, shackled to his fate~ When Halcyfer comes a callin', he struggles with his hate~ Run little pony, for soon you'll hear the bells~ Flee little pony, from your self-made hells~ The unicorn seemed to materialized from the shadows of the room, making his way to stand before Nightfire as he softly hummed what sounded like a nursery rhyme aside from the strange lyrics.

"P-please....let me go.." Nightfire whimpered softly in fear, struggling against the shackles binding him as the Unicorn drew closer. "I-I just want to go home..."

"Home? You foal...You don't have a home. You don't deserve a home. You don't have a family, you don't have friends, and you're living on borrowed time. You WILL pay for your betrayal." The unicorn hissed, slamming his right front hoof against Nightfire's face, making him cry out in pain. "Now, I will ask you a single question for now, so listen carefully.

What is your name?"

"N-Nightfire..." Nightfire whimpered weakly, unsure of why he was being asked this.


Nightfire let out a scream of pain as the unicorn shouted and slammed his hoof into the young colt's chest with boneshattering force.

"What is your NAME?"

"M-my name is Nightfire!"

"WRONG!" The unicorn turned and bucked him in the chest with his back legs. Nightfire cried out in agony as he felt something crack, pain lancing through his chest as he struggled to breathe.


"M-My name is Nightfire...!" He managed to wheeze, before he was introduced to more pain in the form of a broken leg via another powerful kick.

"Your name isn't Nightfire, betrayer! I ask ONE MORE TIME! WHAT. IS. YOUR. NAME?!"

"My name is Nightfire! Th-That's what my parents named me, so please stop..!" Nightfire managed to choke out, pure terror in his voice as he coughed up a bit of blood.

"You've lied for the LAST TIME! YOUR. NAME. ISN'T. NIGHTFIRE!" The Unicorn seemed to have worked himself in a rage as he drew back, and suddenly, Nightfire was compelled to consider how sharp the unicorn's horn was as it was coated in inky black shadows. He didn't even hear himself scream as the tip was driven into his chest.

He was falling when he next opened his eyes. He didn't know how he knew that, only that it was true. Darkness surrounded him, suffocating and greedy. An inner glow from his body was all that kept it at bay.

He blinked, looking down at his chest.

A white glow was nestled on his chest. No, IN his chest.

A movement caught his eye and he looked to his left. Two eyes stared at him, and four tendrils of darkness shot out of the abyss, causing him to squeak in alarm, flailing wildly in an attempt to flee from them.

His attempts failed, and the shadowy cords wrapped around his legs, fixing themselves around them and solidifying into obsidian black cuffs, each inset with a blood red gem.

The front right gem flashed.

Front left glowed with inner light as he looked down at the anklet.

Back left joined its frontal copies in casting a bloody red light.

All four gems shone brightly, as he shook his hooves in panic. [This wasn't right; this can't be good! Get off, get off, get offgetoffgetoffgetoff!

A dark, familiar voice growled from the darkness. A familiar voice; one he wanted to remember, but at the same time, wanted to forget.

Pony of the Endless Battle, Know that You are Dissonant!

The gems all flashed brightly, and Nightfire knew no more.

Scootaloo sat in the clubhouse, staring at the strange colt they had rescued. The other two slumbered on as she and her idol watched him silently.

"What do you think is wrong with him, Rainbow Dash? He just screamed and passed out for no reason..." Scootaloo whispered, looking up at Rainbow. "He knew who I was, yet I've never seen him before tonight."

"I don't know, Scoots. He called me Mom, I think. I don't understand it either. Neither of us have seen him before, so how did he know who you are, and why did he call me Mom?" Rainbow Dash never considered herself good at all this egghead stuff, but she was dying to know.

"Maybe he's from the future..." Rainbow thought aloud. "Like that time with Twilight..."

"Or maybe an alternate universe. Sweetie Belle read a book about that once. It sounded kinda cool, the way one small change could change the course of history. She had some really complex theories based on a book she once read. Something about somepony called a Time Lord, I think."

"Hmmm..." Rainbow put a hoof to her chin, thinking hard.

The colt on the floor stirred, his legs twitching. "D-Dissonance...Th-Thy name is...No...nononononono....not....mustn't...I don't want to....not me...notmenotmenotmenotme...the seal...Halcyfer keep him...Halcyfer...must take...."

Rainbow moved forward and poked him lightly. "Nightfire...? Nightfire, wake up..."

The colt's eyes shot open as he leapt to his feet and backed against the wall, his eyes searching the room wildly for some unseen horror. "I-is he here? Mom, is he here?!"

Scootaloo and Rainbow shot each other a look and advanced slowly and nonthreateningly at the small pegasus, side by side and aiming to calm him before he went into hysterics. Well, worse hysterics.

"Calm down, Nightfire, it's just us. You're in the Cutie Mark Crusader's Clubhouse. You screamed and passed out at the edge of the Everfree." Rainbow said, trying to soothe him with her voice. It seemed to work as he seemed slightly less frantic, his eyes filling with tears.

"Don't worry, you're safe now, Nightfire...now quiet down, or you'll wake Sweetie Bell and Applebloom." Scootaloo whispered insistantly, looking over at the two sleeping fillies.

"O-Oh....I-I'm sorry, Scootaloo...I-I just..." The tears in his eyes finally fell as he lunged at the two, wrapping them both in a hug as he sobbed. "M-Mom, I had such a horrible nightmare! Th-the Monster was chasing me through the everfree forest...Why does it want me, Mom? I never did anything to him!"

Scootaloo squirmed in his hug, looking up at the clearly uncomfortable Rainbow Dash. The two just stood there as the colt sobbed quietly.

"D-Don't worry Nightfire...we're here..." Scootaloo said comfortingly, The two stood there, whispering soft words of comfort to the distraught colt as his sobs slowly dwindled to sniffles. Five minutes later, he was silent and still.

"I think he's asleep, Scoots...can you see?" Rainbow whispered.

Scootaloo nodded, slowly slipping the colt off of her. With Rainbow's help they managed to gently lay him down on the floor without waking him.

"What are we gonna do about him, Rainbow?" Scootaloo asked after they had him settled in.

"First thing tomorrow, we'll take him to Twilight or something. She'll probably know what to do..." Rainbow replied. "For now, we should sleep. We've had a strange night."

Scootaloo nodded, agreeing whole-heartedly with the older pegasus. She snuggled up to Rainbow, eying the sleeping colt with a look up curiosity before closing her eyes and slowly drifting to sleep.

She wasn't sure what caused her to awaken, but Scootaloo awoke some time later. Looking around she noticed that though the sky outside was dark, there was a red flickering light outside. A soft whimper caught her attention, and she looked back.

Nightfire was curled up in a ball as far away from the window as he could get, trembling uncontrollably. It only took Scootaloo a moment before she realised something was wrong.

Very Wrong.

Sweetie Belle, Applebloom and her older sister were nowhere to be seen. "Nightfire, where did my friends and Rainbow Dash go?!" She demanded, her heartbeat speeding up as slight panic set in.

"S-Scootaloo....pl-please...g-get away from the window...Th-The Monster is back..." Tears filled his eyes as he curled up tighter, whimpering in fear.

Scootaloo blinked, going to the window dispite his warnings and gazing out.

Horror filled her being as she gazed out.

Fire. Fire covered everything in sight. The farm was burning, and beyond it, so was Ponyville. She heard, rather than felt herself gasp.

Something cracked at the foot of the treehouse.

She looked down, and froze.

Something stood at the base. Something tall that stood on two legs. It wore a black suit, and the two oddly long front legs ended in short, white stubby...claws..? It's face, or lack thereof, is what scared her most. If it had eyes, it would be looking straight at her.

She watched in terror as two more creatures strode out of the nearby shadows, joining the first.

Sh shrieked is she felt something pull her back into the treehouse by her tail. A frantic look back revealed a trembling, but determined Nightfire, trying to pull her as far back as he could.

She glanced back at the window and; seeing the blank pale not-a-face in the window, screamed and propelled herself back and crashed into Nightfire.

The creature outside seemed to melt through the wall, slowly drawing closer to the two frightened ponies, its claws outstretched, reaching for them.

"I-it's just a dream....S-Scootaloo...D-Don't worry....They want me...Y-you can go free..." Nightfire whimpered, a small trace of hopelessness slipping into his voice as he made his way in front of her. "Y-You can't have her! T-take me if you want, but leave her out of this!" Nightfire turned his back to the creature, his eyes tearing up as he looked at her. He raised a hoof as a single tear slipped down his face.

"Wh-What...?" Scootaloo managed before Nightfires hoof impacted the side of her face. The last thing she saw before snapping awake was Nightfire's face filled with despair, fear, and resignation.