Private Golden Shield awoke from her bed with a scream, clutching her head in her hooves. She was drenched in sweat, her coat and mane matted against her messily.
“Private! Are you alright?”
Golden Shield was yanked out of her panicked mindset by her fellow guards, who had rushed in her chambers to see if she was alright. She looked around her room wildly, uttering phrases like “Who…? What…?” before she finally remembered where she was. Canterlot, the guard barracks. They had been called to remain on watch ever since that...thing had escaped. Increased hours led to some of the guard staying overnight in the barracks, so that they could rise for their early shifts.
“I-I’m fine…” Golden Sheild said, climbing out of bed rather clumsily. For the past few nights, sleep had been hell for her. She’d been suffering nightmares and breaking out into fevered sweats. It had started when the one referred to as ‘Nemesis’ had knocked her unconscious. The guard medic had examined her, but she had no physical injuries as far as she could tell, and the ambient magic that unicorns held within themselves made them highly resistant to illness, so what was wrong?
She continued her uneven trek over to her comrades, who clustered around her.
“You don’t look fine…” her captain said, looking at the white private with some uncertainty. “You should get back to bed. I’ll take your shift.”
“Captain...I’m f-” Golden Shield never finished her sentence, as her body gave out on her just then, and she slipped into unconsciousness.
~Present Day, Twilight Sparkle~
“...what was that doohickey he had? Ah’ve never seen anything do sumthin’ that destructive, even magic!”
“It looked like a really mean version of my party cannon!”
“Owwww Pinkie...my ears still hurt…”
Twilight awoke to the sound of bickering, her eyes fluttering open as the haze left her sight, and the events from before the blackness of sleep took her rushed back into her mind. She was vaguely aware of something soft wrapped around her head and ears, though she could still hear the conversation going on around her plain as day.
“Maybe if we’ll leave him alone, he’ll go away…”
“But we CAN’T leave him alone! You heard the Princess, if he does what he wants, Equestria will be destroyed!”
“I agree with Rainbow Dash. His presence here simply can’t be tolerated! I mean, did you see what he was wearing?! It’s a crime to all things fashion!”
“Oh, Rarity,” Twilight heard something between a giggle and a snort. “You always make the funniest jokes!”
“Um...girls? I think Twilight is waking up…”
At this, Twilight gave a slight groan. the conversation in the room had ceased, and Twilight could see her friends watching her. They were all in similar states, bandaged, bruised, though if they were up and talking they were in better condition than her. With another groan, she tried to climb out of bed.
“Now take it easy sugarcube, Nemesis really put a number on ya.” Applejack trotted up to her friend with a worried expression on her face.
Rainbow Dash made a gesture with her hoof. “Pfft! As if! This is only a scratch, once I’m outta here I’m gonna find that ugly jerk and make him pay!” She made several jabs with her hoof before flying around the room, showing off several of her ‘signature’ moves before Applejack caught her tail in her mouth, bringing her to a stop.
“Hold up there now sugarcube! We can’t just rush in without a plan! You saw what he did to us when we tried to use the Elements of Harmony on him, what’s to stop him from doing that again?”
“Pft! That old trick won’t work a second time! I have some new moves up my sleeve-”
“And what if he does too? That’s what ah’m saying, we know nothin’ about this character other than that he’s a big’un who totes around some kind of a doohickey that causes explosions! With that kinda’ magic, who says he can’t do more?”
“Applejack’s right.” Twilight said. She’d managed to get out of bed with Fluttershy’s help, and was now walking towards the center of their group. “As much as I hate the idea of him roaming Equestria, we need a plan. Where are the Princesses?”
“They went back to the castle.” Rarity spoke up, looking out the window towards Canterlot castle. “They told us to come and meet them when we were all awake.”
Twilight’s eye twitched. “...How long was I out?”
This drew several nervous laughs from her friends.
“Oh, not long…” Rainbow said, rubbing the back of her head with her hoof.
“Yeah, not long at all! Kinda like um…”
“Four days!” Pinkie said, a happy smile on her face as she shouted out what everypony else was afraid to say.
“...FOUR DAYS?!” Twilight shouted suddenly, becoming a blur as she rushed around the room. “Oh nononononono! This is not good! Can you imagine all the damage he’s done by now? Not even that- can you imagine all the ponies who have probably come to the library looking to order a book, and HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO?! Or how many tests I’ve failed because I’VE BEEN UNCONSCIOUS?! Or all of the SCHEDULING TIME THAT I’VE MISSED?! Of all the worst things that could happen, this is The. Worst. Possible. Thing!!!”
“Hey!” Rarity spoke up suddenly, but was interrupted by Pinkie Pie.
"Ah, don't sweat it Twilight! Thanks to the plot mechanics, it doesn't really matter if it's been four days or one! Now that you're awake, the story can continue!" The pink mare bounced up and down, tittering in happiness. "Oooh, shiny!" She jumped over to another bed, touching the reflection of the sun that shown upon the bed frame.
Everypony in the room looked at Pinkie Pie for a second, before Applejack rolled her eyes and trotted towards Twilight again. “Though I don’t really understand it, Pinkie’s right. Ya shouldn’t stress out about it now, we gotta go meet the princesses first.”
Twilight looked around at her friends, then took a deep breath. “You’re right. We should go, we don’t want to keep them waiting.”
And with that, the six friends made their way towards Canterlot castle.
~Nemesis, Present Day~
I was pissed.
Okay, scratch that, I was furious.
I swatted a stray tree branch out of my way as I stomped through the shrubbery, growling under my breath.
Funny thing about one thousand years? Shit changes. A lot. I must’ve come across three different towns I’d never seen before until I heard a group of merchants talking about the forest they’d just passed through. I followed the path for a day, managing to stay out of sight until I reached my destination. The Everfree forest.
After marveling at the idiocy of ponies building a small village named ‘Ponyville’ right next to the forest that their kind feared so much, I slipped into the greenery and began my search. Unfortunately, due to the natural chaotic magic of the Everfree, absolutely nothing was as I remembered it.
I punched a nearby tree out of frustration, causing it to shake and topple under my strength. At least give me some kind of point of reference! Even the god damned castle would be nice to see at this point!
I heard a twig snap.
My reaction was immediate. I turned, aiming my rocket launcher at the source of the disturbance. Darkness shrouded the area, but I knew nothing in here would attack me. Even predators knew better than to flock to their own deaths.
Whoever’s there, you might as well come out! I know you’re there! Several minutes passed. I was tightening my grip on the trigger before finally, a distinctly equine-like form emerged from the shadows. At first, I assumed she was a pony, but the designs on her coat hinted at something else.
“Have no fear, for there are no enemies here.” Her accent hinted at something of foreign origin.
If anyone should be showing fear, it is most certainly not me. Who are you and what are you doing here? The last time I was around, no one, and I mean NO ONE, lived in the Everfree. Having run into something else alive here aside from some pony-eating monstrosity of myth was suspicious to say the least.
The zebra bowed her head. “Zecora is what I am called. I am hesitant to state my intentions, lest I be skinned bald.”
I looked her over carefully before lowering my weapon. So long as you mean no harm to me, I mean no harm to you.
She smiled. “This is good my large friend. For some creatures here, you may not wish to offend.”
I’m aware. I said with a slight grin.
“Now, to answer your second question, I am a potion maker in these parts. I make potions for everything, from making one grow extra eyes, to indigestion.” She said the last part with a slight chuckle.
I blinked. A zebra that lives in the forest and made potions? It made sense I suppose, especially considering where zebras came from in my old world.
Remembering my old home made some other memories stir themselves as well…
~Nemesis, 1175 years ago~
Let me get this straight, I asked, staring at Discord with an incredulous expression. You can bring this here? I pointed at the object I had drawn. A minigun, specifically Nemesis’ minigun from the game.
“Oh Nemmy, do you doubt my trans-dimensional capabilities? Honestly, it’s as easy as swatting a fly!” As if on cue, a fly flew into one of his ears, appearing to fly behind his eyeballs and then exited the other.
I blinked again, before grinning. Well what are you waiting for?! Make it happen!
~Nemesis, Present Day~
You seem like you know this place pretty well. I don’t suppose you’d recall seeing a metal door built into the ground anywhere around here would you?
The zebra rubbed her chin with a hoof. “If my memory serves me right, I do believe I may have the answer to your plight. Come, follow me, and I shall take you to your destination, deep within the Everfree.”
I nodded and followed her. In hindsight, I probably could have been a little more cautious, but I was simply eager to get my hand son all my old toys again.
It was a short trek through the Everfree later that we came upon a small hut decorated with trinkets and masks that looked like they might be from India. They vaguely reminded me of the old man’s shop from Comic Con.
Looking around here, I can feel like I’m starting to remember… I took a few steps forward, retracing my steps with a memory that hadn’t been touched in nearly a thousand years.
A decisively metal sound came from the ground in front of me, about where my foot had struck. I bent down, brushing aside some dirt and forest debris that had accumulated over the years. There it was. Rusted, and probably didn’t open very well anymore, but it was still there.
“Alas, all my efforts to open it have been in vain. I fear we may never see what’s inside that you seek to recl-” She was cut off as a heavy metal screeching sound pierced the air, causing her to fold her ears back against her head. A mangled, unusable metal door frame landed next to her.
With a grunt, I jumped down into the hole I made, bending my knees as I landed. The familiar and metallic clang! that sounded made me suffer a bit of nostalgia. However, what met my eyes next ignited my fury once more.
Gone. Everything was gone. Drawers were pulled out, tables wiped clean, walls devoid of any decoration, all of my weaponry and planning that I had spent years making was gone.
Those sons of bitches… an inhuman growl ripped from my throat. I heard the repetitive sound of hooves on metal before a smaller metallic noise landed next to me.
“Oh my, I do hope this wasn’t your home. Everything has been wiped clean, leaving only chrome.”
It might as well have been… I sighed, sounding defeated as I ran a hand over my bald head. So what do I do now…?
Zecora examined the room for a bit, running her hoof across the dusty walls and tables before turning towards me. “Excuse me if I am being rude, but what serves to put you in such a sour mood?”
Let’s just say that certain ponies shouldn’t mess with what they can’t hope to control. I turned my back to her, gripping my launcher a little more tightly. Thanks for your help. I’m in your debt Zecora, if you ever need my help, simply shout for it, and I’ll be here as quickly as I can.
“Wait! Surely I can at least have the name of one who acts so irate?”
I hesitated before glancing behind me. My name is Nemesis. Then I leapt through the exit, sailing into the air once more.
~?????? Present Day~
A brown unicorn stallion overlooked the Everfree, a pair of binoculars in his magical grip. He waited, until he saw what he was looking for. A hulking bipedal figure in a black overcoat, leaping through the Everfree. He lowered his binoculars, his horn lighting up brighter before it flashed, and he spoke with a deep voice.
“He’s back. Release the B.O.W.s.”