Last Night A DJ Saved My Life

by 2D

Chapter Four: Collapse

Last Night:

Chapter Four: Collapse


Goodnight, sweet prince: I love you so.


There was blood.

Warning lights flashed in the corner of my vision, archaic runes describing numerous injuries, broken bones and split kidneys: as if I couldn't feel them rending me from inside out. The blue and orange messages continually flashed up in my eyes, refusing me the rest I so bitterly deserved. Sodden concrete lay around me and jutted up against me, fresh with my own blood, that of a sinner. I lay there so utterly still. Afraid. It was like few days before, save now I didn't want to die.

The room had come crashing down on me the second I leapt from its walls, toppling over as the ancient spire came down with it. It had crashed into the ground at a diagonal position, tilting to the left like a morning paper-colt's frown. The walls were painted with a dim white light which was faint in this new darkness, the air was still like a dead stallion's grip. It was a macabre melody of destruction, and I was laid in the middle of it all.

The area around me had been crushed down and raised up once more, the old bloodstained ground encasing me as I fell. It rose up around my back and over my neck, trapping me and forcing me to look upwards through the shattered skylight - up at the sparking remains of a spire, chunks of its own frame falling and disturbing the silence. There was light coming from somewhere, I couldn't tell where, it simply was. A twilight hue, painting everything in a sad shade.

The world seemed to cry for not just me, but all of the damned. Still as I looked onwards and upwards at my own doing, the warnings flashed. They made small noises of unimportance throughout the process, keeping me in this world and out of death's embrace. Was there an end to the whining? No, there was only the shrill noises. I could feel my body react with each pulse of the suits dying power, like I was tied into it.

I subconsciously paid attention to the noises that warned me of greater demise, and in turn they paid attention to me. There was a sharp crack of pain as the Ark Pylons inside the suit began to power up once more, a flash of burning heat as they bubbled and boiled into my flesh: scarring the decrepit mess of ruined blackened skin. Arcs of power crawled along the floor like tendrils of hope, yet pain, each movement draining more of my vision.

I tried to move my left hoof to the side in order to prop myself up, but there was no response. I tried the same with my right hoof, attempting to grasp a small outcropping of concrete: but failed. Whoever had lingered in the back of my head, was gone. His presence as distant as Celestia was from me and others. He simply wasn't there any more, probing my thoughts came up with nothing but emptiness.

I had to make it on my own. I placed both my hooves on either side of my charred and broken corpse, pushing against my exhaustion with all my might as I struggled to get up. I began to rise from my position slowly and surely, the battered legs managing to hold my weight with strain. There was a sharp crack and I wailed in pain, falling to my left and rolling down the small huddle of dirt kicked up from my fall. Blood from my right leg hit the floor with a sizzle, the components in the suit heating me up to a blaze.

Struggling onwards with gritted teeth and sheltered eyes, I used the nearby wall to lift myself up to standing height, propping myself against it for stability. The loose wires connected to long forgotten processes lit up as I touched the wall, causing me to open my eyes in surprise. I wasn't doing that, not purposefully at least, so what was? The suit? Him? I couldn't tell, so instead I looked over the room in the now much brighter conditions.

The once baronial and imposing room had been reduced to a sickening mess of tangled wires, bloody ashes and crumbled concrete. Its old and impressive brownstone walls had been chipped down to nothing, only the skeleton of an old age to remind of what glory was. The walls were a mess of broken floors and door-frames, and I could now see that it wasn't just the room I had been in: but the building's frame, that had come down atop me. In the back centre of the room was a location that took the spotlight, metaphorically of course. A mound of earth ripped up by a collision much more powerful than expected, crackling fire rending the ground apart. Bloody streaks ran down the sides and pieces of bone littered the epicentre of the site.

My entrance was less than graceful.

Above me and balanced on the weak and crumbling frame of this ancient building, lay the spire. It was old, so very old. It was carbuncle among the damned Elderlane, derelict and burnt-out rooms agape with black expressions: inviting death for any and all who explored its inner depths. There were cables hanging lose from the ripped walls of the building, the long gone war time structure still wired up for conflict.

Looking up at the mutilated building which I had ran from as it came down, I couldn't help but admire the construction effort. It wasn't wasted, nor unneeded or pointless: everything on that spire had a purpose. Looking back down to my current surrounds I began to search for some kind of exit, knowing that it wouldn't be the door frames, collapsed into themselves. Limping down the wall to one of the old and now lopsided staircases, I traced it along the walls and upwards silently.

It would take me up to a small jutting edge of rubble which had once been connected to the spire, a pillar that had been part of the old tip, or what was left of the shattered tower. It branched upwards to an antenna array of sorts, which had curved downwards and appeared dented. There was a huge crack travelling throughout the structure, which only just missed the array: so entering might be hard.

I grasped onto the stairwell and pulled myself up, it was a slow and painful process. Standing atop the lopsided staircase I began to climb up the labyrinthine mess of debris, each step causing pain to jut through my front right leg: the fetlock crumpling at every turn. The walls were falling apart as I crawled up the stairwell towards the shattered plateau, the twilight becoming clear as I scrambled towards the light.

As I scrambled up the ruined columns and atop the skeleton of the old age building, I looked upward towards the light in search of an answer. There were many pipes running along the metallic sky with the other concrete spires acting like supports alongside newer ones, each individual tower in a different need of repair. There was a flash as all the pipes opened their valves, spewing godforsaken Lighting Oil out in a spray of electrical impression: raw power flooding through the streets of a dead city.

I could feel the blast hit me like a train, stripping flesh and metal from me as the blow ripped through my face. I flew backwards off of the raised rubble and collided with a metal grate, flying through it and tearing my skin open with fresh wounds: breaking the old chain links. There was a large jolt as the entire platform came to life, both the ripple and the suit coursing electricity throughout.

As I lay on my back in severe amounts of pain, the Lightning Oil passing through me like a conduit, the platform began to rise with a groan. A distorted howler sounds and the decrepit metal doors shudder loudly, sparks flying off the sides as they open slowly and show a tattered, blackened, rusted landscape.

Turning my head to look at the elevator panel I groan at the missing buttons, and seeing the lights flashing as the car begins to crawl upwards. The howler cuts out and a groan sounds as the carriage suddenly shoots upward, quickly rocketing up the sides with sparks flying in and just missing my own skin. I stagger to a stand as the whole car begins to shake and the sides begin to tilt into the building, my eyes looking down into the large wasteland below.

The dangling elevator track limply hangs out the side of the fallen spire, cables and rails hanging underneath the unstable behemoth. Incredible amounts of damage had been done to this section of the building, floors reduced to rubble and left on display: the elevator track broken and unhinged in the fall. Part of the building had collided with one another further ahead, the gigantic spire went from horizontal to non existent as the crown fell apart.

Panicking as the car began to speed throughout the crackling ruins, towards the rubble. Pounding against the wall for a way out did nothing, even though the metal was rusted and bent: I was far too weak to break it. I couldn't cast a spell without fear of killing off my Starswirl gland even more, and my horn feels like it's been shoved through a shredder.

There was a violent shudder throughout the entire spire as something went down, a huge explosion sounded and a white flash blinded me for a few seconds. Then I was hit by a wave of sound and air as the blast threw the ancient elevator off the tracks and through a wall, into the room beyond. My skin bubbled and popped as the armour I was wearing seared my skin, forcing me to feebly climb my way out of the grated hole and into the ruined room.

As I fell to the floor, my first thought was about how dirty this place was. The old age army cots and tables had fallen apart, the wood becoming a soggy mess under-hoof. Something around, or above here, was dripping water into the room. The floor was littered with old newspaper clippings, decayed clothes, food residue and bones. Limping from the smouldering elevator and towards the door in the dim room, I spotted a small corpse tucked into the corner.

A foal.

It didn't feel like such a bad thing at first glance, the body seemed age old and decrepit. Shuffling my way over to loot a few supplies, to replace the ones that I lost, it didn't occur to me to check anything besides the pockets. I found a small mirror, a useless broken pocket watch and an old candy bar: little more than mold. It was when I actually checked the face that something inside me stirred, something deep and meaningful. As I turned the cheeks skyward and looked into those poor, frightened eyes, I saw that it was fresh.

I couldn't believe it, as I walked towards the door. Was that foal one of the runners we hear about? Children who live in the Elderlane with parents, surviving the grey death and scavenging? If so, why was the child alone? My uneven hooves got me over to the door in silence, the battered and scratched thing had odd pieces of wood missing. The paint was chipped and different colours in places, and the infectious grey rust had coated the bottom of the door like a plague. Nails jutted out from the frame unevenly, a truly sorry state of disrepair.

Placing a firm hoof on the handle I turned it and pulled the door towards me, the decaying lump of wood creaked like nothing before as I give it another tug. It got stuck halfway and I pulled again, and again, and again even. The door splintered halfway and I let out a small groan, moving my hoof back I slam into the door and watch the wooden shards fly about the room.

Stepping outside I shut what remains of the door behind me with a small snap, never noticing the stallion staring at me in shame. Through the chipped and split wood they did stare, staring so much stumbled down the empty and sodden hallway, blood trickling amongst the dirty water and broken bones cropping out from flesh.

I slammed my hoof against a door to my left and listened to the satisfying crunch of wood breaking from my force alone, the decaying papers shuffled around the slosh filled hallway from the sudden shudder: the old spire itself giving a low groan as it slides down slightly. Looking upwards in hope of answers I notice a large hole in the ceiling, with pipes and metal cables jutting out from inbetween the flooring.

Dirty water slinks down from the hole and falls in thin and even rows, covering the floor around me and the old papers in grime. Occasionally a piece of paper might fall down, or a few bits of rubble. But mostly it was rank water, followed by the stench of decay.

The barren grey corridor before me shudders with each passing second, every few moments there was a chunk of rubble falling or a wire snapping: the building's eerie melody of ruin. The water swirled around my hooves as I made my way towards a break in the hall and outwards, hoping to find my exit soon. Warning lights had faded and the suit had finally died, the small power it had left with now gone also. I was defenceless.

I stumbled for the exit but lost my balance midway, falling out of the hole and down to one of the support beams bellow. There was a solid crunch as the concrete block tipped the wrong way and split another in two, which in turn fell apart. Soon enough the entire spire was falling apart, the dilapidated structure becoming a heap of rubble as I slid to a halt atop a more secure building.

Taking a few tentative steps forwards and away from the crumbling death-trap behind me, I looked out across the skyline with hope. I could see a possible exit from here, the ruins of an old Lightate factory had punched a hole clean through to the Downzone: already there was water streaming down, and grey death floating upwards. The twilight was unmistakable.

For a short time I just continued onward into the illuminated abyss of the dead city, there was no real path to follow save for the wretched and mangled skeletons that had been warped by the great sweep of plague. The dusty rubble soon became much smoother and more dry against my hooves, the dusk bank ending as I reached a concrete wall spanning the width of the area out around me. There was a faint green glow coming off of an old terminal besides a set of heavy steel doors, the colossal chunks of metal barring the way to my freedom and beyond. I looked up at the huge doors with a small grin, running my eyes across the barren walls for a moment.

I groaned and tried to think of another route before deciding to examine the walls for myself, finding the symbol I was looking for on the concrete slabs. Scribbled on the walls were the last words of what seemed to be well over a hundred dying ponies all clamouring for safety from the plague. I drew in a deep breath and turned my light away from the solid concrete wall and back behind me, checking for any possible invaders in the darkness - seeing nothing but the dusty old bones of the innocent which littered the floor.

I grimaced slightly as I thought of all these ponies withering and dying within this crumbling city. Did anybody know they were here? Were they lied to about the safety of this place? Was the plague killer back then? I would have questioned more but my suit drew me from my thoughts as it fired up once more - the joints attempting to operate with a horrible noise similar to that of rusty metal being torn. It was about to try again and I began to stamp the ground in a feeble attempt to stop the process.

It stopped, barely: and I was given time to use wisely. Making my way over towards the terminal set against the wall, I peered into the console and scanned over the words. It was old, incredibly so: the encryption was less than pathetic by modern standards. The issue was that I'm not a tech kid, I grew up exploring my backyard as opposed to working on machines. The only kid I knew back then who actually worked, would be Big Macintosh... but he's an Apple, they're made to work hard.

"Now I wish I hadn't spent so much time... well, what did I do as a child?" I muttered to myself as I looked down at the console, pushing the thought out of my frail mind as a newer one came along. "Stalliongrad," I muttered to myself, attempting to bridge a connection with the suit. Nothing. Again, I tried to trace the synthetic nerves to an access point, but it seemed the VI had burnt out: it just wasn't there. The only method of getting it working again would be to take the armour off, and take a look at the circuits. Couldn't be that hard, right?

Attempting to pry off my helmet resulted in nothing but a hurt neck, trying to decouple the locks around my legs didn't do anything besides squeeze my bones. I even tried to remove the spinal lock, but that just overloaded my already dying nerves. I was lost as to why none of my armour would unlock. At first I thought that maybe it simply was fried from the Lightate flashes, the crash: but no, after looking at myself in a piece of shattered glass it all became clear.

Eyes which had seen enough blood to chill every street in the neighbourhood, lines running down the face and neck still unhealed: reminders of a vicious encounter with biologically crafted hunters. Broken bone jutting from a front leg, poking out from the skin and in-between the armour plating with a bloody trail. A mane that was torn and burnt in places, half of it missing across the blackened face. Glass shards welded to the left side of the face, alongside with the jawline and upper half of a standard helmet. Body armour that was covered in dents and holes where muscle had been torn, some armour missing entirely while the rest was welded to flesh: small tufts of dead fur clumped between. Broken teeth, a horn that was still crackling with ark energy and the face of a scared stallion.

"What... what have I..."


Suddenly out of nowhere I was pinned against the ground, my face buried into the dirt and my body screaming against the act. As teeth clamped down on my exposed and mangled flesh, something sparked. Adrenaline, pumped through my veins at the speed of death.

Launching sideways onto my foe, I lashed out with a mighty kick to whatever jaw it had. There was a loud thump as I jumped up, spinning around just in time to see the Neo-Shifter launch itself at me. I threw my hoof forwards as it came, connecting with a horrific snap as it pummelled into me.

We rolled backwards into a pile of skeletons, the dusty powdered bone filling my lungs as they screamed for clean air. Sharp chitin ripped through my armoured skin and opened a fresh wound, causing me to headbutt the hunter directly. I screamed as my inured horn impaled itself right through the beast's skull.

It merely slid back wards and ripped itself off the make-do lance, blood and blue synthetic brain spewing across me. I dodged to the left as another strike came down, jumping up and sprinting over towards a nearby wall. I jumped and grabbed hold of a ledge, just as the creature grasped my leg.

I kicked it off with enough force to break bone, using the momentum to propel myself up onto the platform. With the elevated position in the twilight, I went to run for an escape but was attacked by another two. They came for my throat, and succeeded in digging their hungry teeth into me.

I swung around wildly and sent one of them flying, running into a nearby wall and winding the other who fell off me. I tried to throw a bolt at it with my horn, but did nothing but create smoke. It used that time to get back up and kick me in the jaw, sending me flying into the ground.

They set upon me like ravens as I struggled to rise, tearing my skin off in small strips and using metallic blades to rend me open. During the unseaming they dove right into the Ark Reactor inside my suit, and kick-started the matrix. I could feel a rush of power like no other as I leaped upwards and sent their skulls into one another.

Grabbing them by their spines as I landed, I threw them into the concrete floor. One went down for the count as its neck snapped, while the second pounced with the blade bearing. I braced for an impact as it came closer, throwing a stream of ark lighting at the beast as it closed.

The blade sliced right through my right leg and split the bone completely, rending the flesh and causing me to fall onto one knee. The only thing keeping the leg from falling away was my pull and armoured links. I could feel it: the desire, the pain and anger bubbling up.

It was weird that I remembered an old saying as I kneeled there, crackling with both my own and this suits energy. "Be brave, Sunny."

"Why do I keep hearing that name?" I muttered bitterly as I sucked up my pain, taking a step forward but falling down straight after. "What does it mean? Who is he?!" I screamed to noone in particular, looking down at my own wounds as tears flooded down my cheeks: they merely burnt to nothing as they collided with the electric storm gathering around my broken body.

I looked up to the face of my best friend, and worst nightmare.

"I'm always here, Twisted. You know I can't leave after what you did, not now, not ever." He said, not looking me in the eye as his face shone against the twilight backing. "I can't answer your questions, I can't guide you and I can't give you what you need: I can only keep you safe. You need to find out those answers for yourself." There was a few moments of silence between us as my body lay still against the concrete, dying, slowly.


"I don't know. I'm sorry."

"You never know, do you?" I muttered to myself, feeling the burn of uncontrolled mana crawling up my legs as my horn began to fluctuate and the Ark energy built up. "What can I do, Sunny? Where do I even start looking? I've been around for twenty two years, and I've never found the answer. Even back in Ponyville I couldn't fi—"

"You've been around for two years, Twisted. Ponyville is nothing more than a crater the size and scope of old Canterlot, you know this better than all of us. You were there." He spoke the last words darkly as I limped to a stand, my leg trailing beside me as I looked over across the dead city.

"I don't remember any of it, Sunny. It's all a blur, my past is gone I can't... I can't remember."

"You should start by being brave, Sunny."

I looked back and he was gone, simply ran off and left me here to die. I could feel my body slowly shutting down, the magic overdose having killed off the nerves one by one. I'd have to find a way out soon, it was my only way to live past this. Limping over to the edge of the plateau I had fought upon, I looked down to see that the last Neo-Shifter had chewed his way through the wall checkpoint: leaving a blood trail for me to follow, and a kill to get. Before I set off on the dangerous trek, I decided to check if my gear was still hanging around. Forcing open the metal saddlebag and searching painfully with magic. I finished the search, only finding the letter Vinyl had given me. "Might as well... open it." I muttered as my leg gave way slightly. Flipping the seal and pulling the letter out, I saw three words in calm scripture.

Fight for me.