~Present Day, Twilight Sparkle~
Twilight and her friends reached the castle in record time, however that wasn’t the issue. Actually getting into the castle was going to be a massive problem, as there was currently a massive mob of ponies surrounding the bottom of Canterlot Castle. Not just the usual gaggle of Unicorns either; ponies from all over Equestria gathered together here upon hearing the news that their princesses and the elements laid beaten, and now they sought answers.
The amount of yelling and shouting was a heap on Twilight’s ears, but what came shortly afterwards made them all go quiet.
The sheer volume of the voice made everypony flinch, and then they all bowed as Princess Luna emerged onto the balcony of Canterlot Castle. Even from this distance, Twilight could tell she looked tired, her flowing wavy mane from earlier was frazzled, and her fur was unkempt and messy.
”Our subjects, we know you are all confused, worried, and afraid. But fear not, for even in a state of recovery, our sister and we are exhausting every resource necessary to remove this threat from Equestria.”
“But what is it?!” One mare called out.
“If it defeated you, surely it won’t have a problem coming after us?!”
The crowd exploded into argument and shouting again. princess Luna’s eyes glowed white, storm clouds beginning to gather overhead.
”WE SAID SILENCE!” Immediately all ponies cowered into a bow.
”OUR SISTER IS TRYING TO RECOVER, AND YOUR SHOUTING AND ARGUING IS NOT HELPING HER SITUATION! HAVE YOU NO FAITH IN YOUR PRINCESSES? HAVE YOU NO BELIEF THAT WE ARE DEALING WITH THIS SITUATION IN EVERY WAY THAT WE CAN?”
A white hoof emerged from the doorway behind Luna, and laid itself on her shoulder.
”...but we ARE dealing with the situation! … Is it not proper to use the royal Canterlot voice? … But sister you are in recovery! … She sighed. ”Very well…”
After several confused murmurs, Princess Celestia emerged onto the balcony as well, and every pony bowed once more. She looked even worse than Princess Luna, if that were even possible. Her royal regalia was gone, showing multiple bruises across her body. Her mane was frazzled, and she appeared to be limping slightly. Ribs showing gave the impression that Celestia hadn’t eaten in days. Twilight Sparkle was appalled that Nemesis could reduce her mentor to...this.
“My little ponies,” Celestia spoke softly, a smile warming her features. “I know you all must have many questions, but we cannot answer them for now, and for that I deeply apologize.” Her smile turned into a serious expression. “What you must know is that this creature, or Nemesis as he goes by, is an enemy from long ago who escaped his stone imprisonment. He seeks to bring Equestria to its knees by bringing a plague unto our fair kingdom, a sickness that seems to follow him wherever it goes. One of our own, a unicorn guard pony, has already fallen ill. Please, I must ask all of you to return to your homes and keep a watchful eye out. If you see this creature, DO NOT approach him. Seek out the nearest guard pony and inform them. DO NOT try to engage him. He is dangerous and unpredictable. However, he will be captured again swiftly, of that I can assure you. He will not be a threat to Equestria much longer.”
There was some murmuring again, but no one dared to speak above Princess Celestia.
Princess Celestia bowed her head. “Thank you for your time.” She limped back into the doorway, followed by a downcast Princess Luna. Slowly, the giant mass of ponies began to disperse. Twilight hesitated for only a moment before turning back to her friends. “Let’s go, she wouldn’t have asked to see us if it wasn’t important.”
As the six friends made their way to the castle, Twilight couldn’t help but recall what Celestia had told them about their enemy shortly after Discord’s capture…
“It all started one thousand years ago.” Celestia stood next to her sister, who were both standing next to the fallen statue of Discord. “The land was still under Discord’s rule, and Luna and I were working feverishly to undo all of the chaos wrought to the region, as well as trying to protect our little ponies.” Celestia sighed deeply.
“It was during the confusion that he came.” Luna spoke up. “He came from the forest surrounding our castle. The Everfree has always been known for strange magic, but never had it produced something the likes of him before.”
Celestia continued. “By the time we had got there, untold damage had already been done. Some houses were in ruins, and our little ponies were in a panic, and he was there yelling at the ponies. All we could make out was him yelling ‘Stars’.”
Rainbow burst into laughter, earning a glare from Twilight in kind. “Sorry Twi but c’mon, seriously? How would you like it if I just flew around town one day and started yelling ‘staaaars’ at everypony I saw?” her grin widened.
“Grah, staaaars grrrr!” Pinkie suddenly growled, causing Rainbow to laugh even harder.
“I assure you he is no laughing matter.” Luna suddenly stepped forward, causing Rainbow Dash and Pinkie to go silent. “It may seem odd, but he single hoofedly was able to defeat my sister and me in combat the very same day that we found him. None of our magical spells could affect him. We managed to hurt him minimally, enough to cause him to bleed, but he fled back into the forest before we could do any real damage.”
“That was when we discovered one of his ‘other’ abilities.” Celestia spoke up, drawing everypony’s attention to her. “A great sickness rapidly swept through the town he had appeared in, causing all of our little ponies to fall ill. The doctors couldn’t figure out what the sickness was; it wasn’t natural. We could only assume that he had something to do with it.”
Fluttershy gasped, holding one hoof to her muzzle. She knew how tough it was to treat sickness since cared for her little animal friends all the time when they were sick, but to tend to an entire pony population who had suddenly fallen ill… “Th-they got better right?” Fluttershy spoke up, quickly hiding her face behind her mane as the princesses looked at her.
Celestia smiled. “They did, thanks to a very special group of ponies. Unable to determine what the sickness was, my sister and I hired some of our best scientists at the time to take a sample of Nemesis’ blood and study it. They went on to found one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies known in Equestria today.”
Twilight’s eyes widened. “You don’t mean…”
“Yes, the company you all now know as Ellura. They began to research Nemesis’ blood and sure enough, they found some similarities between it and the virus causing the sickness. They’re heroes.” Celestia frowned. “But Nemesis didn’t stop there.”
“Ellura continued to develop after that,” Luna said. “But Nemesis attempted to stop them at every turn, wanting them to stop making the cure for the virus he was spreading around.”
“He showed up in towns all across Equestria, and sure enough, the sickness appeared wherever he did.” Celestia said, closing her eyes. “He sometimes appeared with new weapons, sometimes with old ones, always attempting to stop Ellura from getting the cure to other cities and towns, and always causing untold amounts of destruction and mayhem. It was only a matter of time until we found out that Discord was helping him.” Celestia looked angry now, glaring at the statue of Discord. “It wasn’t enough for him to just cause miserable chaos, he wanted my little ponies to fall to the sickness that monster created…” The six friends flinched at Celestia’s unyielding glare at the Draconequus.
Luna spoke up now. “Once we captured Discord, it was actually he who told us of Nemesis’ vulnerability. The weapon he carries around, I believe he referred to it as a ‘launcher’, has some sort of inherent magical property that deflects all magical spells that could have an effect on him. Once we found that out, we predicted his next appearance and met him there, relying on physical force to knock the weapon from his grip. Then we were able to subdue him with spells. After reciting his sentence, it was simply a matter of using the elements to lock him away into stone, so he could never do Equestria harm again. But now he has escaped, and seeks to bring Equestria to its knees, as he did in the past.”
Twilight looked to her friends. Applejack grabbed her stetson and nodded, Rainbow Dash punched at the air with her hooves, Rarity put on some sort of decorated camouflage hat and nodded, Pinkie had a serious face on but was jumping up and down in place excitedly, and lastly, Fluttershy was hiding behind Applejack. Twilight looked back to the princesses.
“Princesses…” Twilight began, sticking her chest out. “You can count on us!”
But they hadn’t been able to count on her. Due to her own stupidity and hesitation, Nemesis knocked them all out and escaped once more. And now he was somewhere in Equestria, roaming free, spreading his disease around with no pony to stop him.
The group of friends finally reached the stairs and rushed through the ornate front doors, which guards opened for them as they drew close. It wasn’t a long gallop from there to the throne room, where Celestia and Luna stood in hushed conversation.
“Princess…?” Twilight’s vision was immediately taken up by white fur as Celestia suddenly wrapped her hooves around her student.
“Twilight, thank goodness. I was so worried that Nemesis had seriously hurt you, or worse…”
Getting over her initial surprise, Twilight hugged her mentor back before disengaging. “I’m fine Princess, but...what about you?!” Upon closer inspection now, it really did look like Celestia had been starving herself. Her ribs were showing, and her normally pristine white fur was covered in bruises, her usual flowing mane was dull and lifeless.
“This is the price I pay…” Celestia sighed, limping away from the group. “Nemesis got the better of me, and though his sickness cannot seriously afflict us, I have not been able to eat for the past...several days without becoming violently ill.”
Twilight Sparkle blinked in surprise. Of all the ponies she knew, she had always considered Princess Celestia an untouchable beacon of light. Yet here she was, looking like somepony you might find homeless on the street rather than the regal Princess that they all knew.
“Princess…” Twilight began, then narrowed her eyes and puffed her chest out. “What’s our next course of action?”
Twilight blanched. “Wh...huh?”
“Nothing, Twilight.” Celestia closed her eyes, giving a deep sigh.
“HUH????” All of her friends repeated, growing quiet as Celestia suddenly erupted into a coughing fit.
Luna took her place at her sister’s side. “We have no doubt that the scoundrel seeks refuge in the everfree once more, but due to the chaotic nature of the Everfree itself it is next to impossible to find him there. Unfortunately, the most we can do is...simply wait for him to show himself.”
“After all he ‘done you want us to just sit there and do nothin’?” Applejack spoke up.
“Sit there? Of course not.” Celestia recovered from her coughing fit. “We need you to keep your eyes and ears alert. You six are the closest to the everfree, and we have no doubt that he will show some signs of activity soon. When he does- we need to know. Any activity from the Everfree whatsoever- we need to know. Do you understand?”
Twilight looked disappointed at the prospect of not being able to do anything instantly, but she sighed and nodded.
“Good. Now, my little ponies, I suggest-” celestia erupted into a coughing fit once more, and Luna spoke for her.
“Return to Ponyville, element bearers.” Luna looked sad as well. “Waiting and watching is the best we can do for the moment. Keep the elements near you at all times.”
Shortly after, the six friends made their way down the front steps of the castle, looking downcast. Even Pinkie Pie wasn’t her usual bubbly self.
“We done goofed…” Applejack spoke up.
“Hey, it wasn’t our faults!” Rainbow spoke up, flying above the group in a sudden display of ferocity. “He may have surprised us with that explodey trick this time, but next time I see him, I’m gonna be all like woosh!” She began darting around, probably in an example of how she’d beat Nemesis. But Twilight couldn’t focus.
“Don’t look so down on yourself darling.” Rarity said, frowning at Twilight. Her face rose into a smile, but Twilight could tell it was forced. “We’ll get him soon. I know we will.”
“I hope so…” Twilight gazed up at the moon now hanging in the sky. “...for Equestria’s sake.”
~Present Day, Nemesis~
I could not fucking believe it.
One thousand years. ONE THOUSAND FUCKING YEARS, and they couldn’t even bother to keep their library updated?!
Tome after tome of what was probably some long forgotten spell fell to the floor with a clatter as I pawed through the shelves with a snarl.
Absolutely nothing. I had found information regarding the company for sure, but it was old, outdated, and I was certain they’d probably changed their name since then. The bastards were sneaky like that.
Celestia and her damned biased self. Her ponies were such the perfect example of good behaving little lapdogs, she couldn’t even wake up and smell the coffee without one or two of them sneaking around to stab her from behind!
With a roar, I tossed the book case over, causing it to crash to the floor. The bookcase shattered, its contents spilling out onto the ground. I regarded it with distaste before moving on, but something caught my eye. A scroll with a particular glow to it. I picked it up, unrolling it and glancing through the contents. I’d taught myself to read Equestrian a long time ago, so I could at least read the title. Summoning signs...hm, this might come in handy… I tucked it away into my back pocket for later, and continued to look through the book shelves.
My mind drifted to past events. When I had first arrived, I had no idea what was going on. I came across a town of ponies and tried to get more than one word out. I wanted to ask them where I was, something, any other than what was coming out of my mouth. In my confusion I had pulled the trigger on my rocket launcher and found out that not only was it really fucking heavy, but it was REAL too. It caused a nearby house to explode, and after trying to apologize profusely, those two came and attacked me. What was a man like myself to do in that situation? I defended myself, they managed to stab me with their horns and buck me a few times, but it wasn’t any serious damage, and I was able to escape. They had tried to cast spells on me, but they all either stopped short, went around me, or simply obliterated before they hit me. Even Celestia’s sword broke upon contact with me.
It wasn’t until I met Discord in the everfree did I find out it was actually my Rocket Launcher that was protecting me. Old merchant at the stand back at the con must’ve been more than what he let on.
I got ready for another fight at seeing Discord at first, but he didn’t attack me. He said he could hear what I was ‘saying’ but I hadn’t been saying anything. Turns out whenever I held the launcher and ‘thought’ at Discord, as weird as that might sound, he could hear me.
Discord and I quickly became friends. I told him everything about what had happened to me, up until my most recent meeting with the sisters, and he laughed, agreeing that they could truly be ‘real blowhards.’ He also commented about a strange energy signature I seemed to carry that was leaking out of me. This led me to wonder if, along with Nemesis body, did I inherit the virus too?
I left Discord to go check on the town I had recently escaped from. Imagine my surprise when no one was infected, but I had caught word of a company that had used MY blood to create a cure for the sickness that had recently swept through the town.
I was not having that. Ponies did not need to have a sample of the virus to play with. I went to find out where the sample was being held, but the princesses engaged me again. I managed to fend them off and destroy the shipment that was carrying the sample to another town, but little had I known that three more shipments were already sent off to three other towns.
Discord had offered to find a way to send me home, but I couldn’t do it. I needed to stop the virus from spreading in this world, it was my fault and I needed to make it right.
It wasn’t long before I heard about the group of ponies establishing themselves in other cities. I went to intercept them, but by the time I had gotten there, reports of the virus began to sprout. There was no doubt the greedy bastards were experimenting with the virus to see what they could do, some of their ‘test subjects’ up and told me that once I began trashing their labs. They were testing the virus they had gotten from me on creatures, playing with it and making more and more abominations of nature, right under the princess’s noses, who were all but blind to it because of how perfect they believed their ponies to be.They were playing with power they could not hope to control.
I hunted. I sought them down through every nook and cranny I could find them in. I never killed, but I sabotaged. I destroyed. However, greed is a heavy anchor, and evil runs deep. The princesses, their minds clouded and their ignorance obvious, attempted to stop me at every turn. Discord helped me, I drew plans and he made them a reality. I built up my weapon collection.
Eventually, the bastards grew wise to my tactics, and began deploying B.O.W.s to defend their assets. Did it help? No. The B.O.W.s went wild and started an outbreak. They had no idea how to control what they created, so I had to, and I could only hope that the princesses could see what they were too stupidly blind to see in the past.
Discord got caught. He ratted me out like a bastard, and the princesses were able to disarm and capture me.
I had been gone from the world for a thousand years, and if those mutated timber wolves were the only things I had seen thus far, I was utterly horrified to think about what else they might have been able to create.
Still nothing. I growled and tossed the decrepit book behind me. There was nothing here. This library was too ancient, I needed a library that was more up to date.
The small village I had passed on the way to the Everfree caught my mind. Surely they had a more current library. I might be able to find out the name and the locations of the company with some more information from the library, maybe even a map since Equestria had changed so radically. I was about to head out when something made me stop.
I heard something akin to a hissing noise, but it quickly turned into laughter. It was coming from just around the corner. I quickly darted behind a bookcase I hadn’t knocked down, peeking only my head out to look.
A deformed claw grasped the side of the wall, an elongated muzzle peeking out from around it. The claws were incredibly long, but they looked rotten. The muzzle was pulled and stretched out, wide enough to make room for razor sharp fangs stretched into an almost sadistic-looking grin. The creature’s face...it didn’t have any eyes. Maybe it once did, but where there should have been there was only skin.
Not even skin...gods, this creature’s muscle was pushing out from underneath its rotting fur. It was standing in a crouched position, sort of like you’d expect a predator preparing to leap for prey to look. It had what looked to be canine, or dog-like proportions. I might’ve mistaken it for a dog even if it wasn’t standing on two legs. It tapped its claws on the wall a few times, then stuck its nose into the air and inhaled deeply. It let out a sound that sounded something akin to a giggle. It was unnatural. Everything about this creature screamed ‘B.O.W.’
It creeped into the room, continually sniffing. its malformed ears gave a twitch every now and again as it continued its strange barely-suppressed-laughter sound.
It was looking for me. So those Timberwolves hadn’t been there to begin with, those bastards actually sent B.O.W.s out to look for me. Were they stupid?! What if one of them got away?!
The sound of a giggle snapped me back to my current predicament. The creature was quickly creeping up on my right side. He would find me soon, but I think killing this thing might be considered more of a mercy than anything else. I didn’t know if there were more of them around, so I needed to kill this one quickly. Just as its claw tapped the ground next to my foot, I lashed out, grabbing the monster and throwing it into a nearby wall, then smashed into it with my body. It didn’t die. It clawed futilely at my body before raising its head and letting out a massive shriek, some venom-like substance dripping from its fangs. I smashed my palm into its head, silencing it immediately.
However, much to my chagrin, I heard several other similar shrieks echo around the castle.
I disposed of the body I had in my grip and started to run, smashing through a nearby window and tumbling into the grass outside. I quickly climbed to my feet and continued to run, clearing the gap between the forest and the castle with a massive leap. I looked back and, sure enough, several figures stood perched in the window I had broken out of, their ears twitching. I heard scurrying in the grass not far from my position.
They’re fast… I picked a direction and beat it, I didn’t want to think about fighting them right now. They likely outnumbered me and I had no idea what they were capable of. Branches scraped against my sides, and I barely dodged trees every now and again, but I could still hear them crawling behind me. The pitch black of the forest at night had not deterred them. Why should it? they didn’t have any goddamn eyes.
I emerged into a clearing, looking out over the village I had passed on my way here. It was a quiet night and the little town looked peaceful. The flag hooked onto the pole at the top of the tallest building in the small village swayed gently in the breeze. And I was bringing hell straight to them.
I stopped, my heels digging into the dirt as I turned to face my pursuers. They stopped just short of me, their progress ground to a halt as they cocked their heads to the side in confusion. One sniff though, and they surrounded me instantly. I could hear laughter all around me, high-pitched giggling. This is what would happen to Equestria if I didn’t stop the bastards who had created these monsters.
With only a moment’s hesitation, the monsters stopped, then all leaped at once. I rushed forward to meet them, some primal instinct in my mind ground against the inside of my skull. I needed to kill these things before they killed anyone else. With a cry of rage, I let out a loud
Then the battle began.