~Present day, the Everfree forest~
“Oh come ON Spike, we’re not going to get anywhere with you going at a snail’s pace like that!”
Spike was hugging himself, glancing around nervously as he ran to catch up with the crusaders. “W-why did you three even want to come in here anyways? D-don’t you know the stories t-that ponies t-tell about this place?”
“Oh pfft, those?” Scootaloo rose her head a little higher, trotting forward with her chest stuck out. “Come ON, they’re just stories. Rainbow Dash wouldn’t be scared, so why should we?”
Spike made a deadpan expression. “But you’re not Rainbow—”
“Look, how would we ever get our cutie marks if we didn’t do something dangerous now and again?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“But you three do something dangerous all the time—”
“Look Spike, no one SAID you had to come with us. We just wanted to go to see Zecora to see if she’s heard anything about that monster that’s been let loose on Equestria here recently. Could you imagine the cutie marks we would get if we caught it?!”
“Cutie Mark Crusaders Monster Beaters!” They laughed and unison before rushing ahead. Spike grumbled and ran to keep up with them.
“Look, I never said I WANTED to come in the first place. You three told me to come over to Rarity’s house. I thought I was gonna see her, but then I remembered that Rarity was still away with Twilight on that special mission. Besides I couldn’t just let you three go into the forest by yourselves; could you imagine the look that Rarity would give me if y—”
“Hey, who’s that?”
Spike sighed, giving up on getting a word in anymore. He crept up next to the Crusaders, who had taken a spot in the bushes. Spike peeked out, spying a peculiar looking brown stallion with a brown mane, blonde streaks cutting through it at spaced intervals. His tail was cut short, jutting out from his flank slightly and matched the color of his smoothed-back mane.
“...What?” An annoyed voice echoed from the stallion’s glowing horn.
“There was an anomaly.” The stallion’s voice was measured, almost afraid. Spike could tell he was being very careful with his words. “A tall biped matching the target. There was a large pyramid shape on his neck and he carried a large knife-”
“I don’t care who or what the anomaly was!” The annoyed voice cut the stallion off. “You had best make sure those B.O.W.s do not cause a scene, Overlook. The LAST thing we need are the media, or worse yet, the PRINCESSES looking into it. Do you understand me?”
“You had better make sure that you do. If this operation continues as it has, I’m going to need a replacement for some of my specimens. And a careless field agent who can’t even tell when he’s being watched is high on my list RIGHT NOW!”
The glow from the stallion’s horn ceased and he whirled on his hooves, turning to face the bush where the group was hiding.
“Run!” Spike shouted, pushing the CMC out and following quickly behind.
“Hey!” he heard the stallion’s voice behind him, followed by the sound of pounding hooves.
Spike ran as fast as his short little legs could carry him, making sure the CMC were a good distance in front of him before he stopped.
“Spike!” They called after him, turning to go back to him.
“No!” Spike said, pointing to ponyville. “Keep going! I’ll hold him off!”
The Crusaders looked torn, but with tear sin their eyes they nodded and ran. Spike turned to face the approaching stallion…
Only to find the stallion standing right in front of him. “My my, aren’t you a brave little dragon? And such a fine specimen too…” Spike fell onto his back with a gasp. “I’m sorry to say that your efforts were in vain.” The stallion lifted his head to look behind Spike. Spike followed suit, his eyes growing wide as he saw the Crusaders slowly stepping backwards, a pack of red glowing Timberwolves stalking towards them.
“No!” Spike said, struggling to get up. But then he heard the ringing of magic, and his entire world went black.
The first hit struck me from the side, knocking me off of my feet with one of those things on top of me. I pushed against it, its venom-drenched fangs snapping shut an inch from my face. I had no idea what sort of venom these things carried, but I was in no interest to find out. I pulled my feet in and kicked, sending the thing into the air with a screech. I stood up quickly, shooting a tentacle from my hand that pierced through its midsection in mid-air.
I glanced behind me, noticing two more approaching from my rear. I turned, pivoting my weight as I brought their friend around and smashed him into his allies as hard as I could. I heard the satisfying sound of crunching bones as the trio spiraled into the darkness, hitting something with a resounding crack. They were down.
I heard the sound of scurrying coming from my side, and I turned. I raised my launcher just in time to have another one of the B.O.W.s latch onto it, its fangs trying to find purchase against skin that wasn’t there. I pried it off, throwing it to the ground. It began shrieking, but I brought my foot down, and with a wet splat it went silent.
The only indication I had before an attack was a flash of light in the moon’s glow before I felt something cut along my belly. I growled and punched out, but it avoided my blow. It crouched below it, then rose up in an uppercut sort of fashion. However, I was faster. I brought my launcher to my front just in time; the clash of claws on metal causing a spark to light up the darkness for just a moment, and in the flash of light I could see more coming.
I let a snarl rip from my throat, smacking my launcher into the side of its face and causing it to stumble. I grabbed its head within my massive hand and held it up in the air, my free hand beginning to smoke. The creature shrieked and writhed in my grip, its claws slashing against my arm, but it was not going anywhere. I pressed my smoking hand to its face.The creature writhed for a moment more before going silent.
I dropped the body, turning to face my new opponents. There were more of them than I had thought before. They were stalking towards me in greater numbers.
I raised my launcher.
I pulled the trigger, the sound of a jet echoed for only a moment, then there was a massive mushroom-shaped plume of flame in the night, and the sound of several monsters shrieking in agony.
I liked it.
Two impacts onto my back caused me to roar in frustration. I managed to remain standing, but the creatures were digging into me with their claws, and I was certain they were going to bite soon. I turned, and fell, smashing all of my weight into the ground below me. The two creatures writhed underneath of me, jaws snapping in my ear. I turned on the ground, one got away but I grabbed the other by its head, crushing it in my grip.
I was seeing nothing but red. It felt like my mind was on fire as I listened for the sound of what I presumed was the last one. Where did you go you little fuck…
I heard scurrying, but it was going away from me, towards the peaceful village.
I immediately broke into a sprint. The creature tried to run, but I grabbed it by its neck. it shrieked and clawed again, but all of the shrieking in the world would not save it.
I grabbed its legs with my other hand, then held it in the air above me and pulled in opposite directions. The creature cried, its screams urging me on to keep pulling. the screams died into gurgles and, oddly enough, just before it died I could hear it give a giggle.
Then it gave, and I was left with two halves of a B.O.W. in my hands and a shower of blood raining down over me. I threw the pieces to the ground, breathing heavily as I surveyed my surroundings. Seeing nothing, I took in a deep breath, I rose my head to the skies and I roared.
Then I collapsed, falling onto my hands and knees as I tried to catch my breath. My vision swam and faded from the blackness of sleep to the dim light of the moon. I had dropped my launcher at some point, I didn’t feel its weight on me anymore. That wasn’t what bothered me though, what bothered me is that I wanted more. Upon seeing nothing else to kill, I felt dissapointed. I was actually saddened at the prospect of not causing anymore bloodshed.
And I hated it.
What… I thought to myself, glancing around at the destruction I had wrought. Blood and body parts laid scattered about the area, a crater where I had shot my weapon scarred the ground a few hundred feet to my right. The monster’s bodies were scattered about the area, and I noticed I had not escaped the battle completely unscathed. Nasty injuries tore across my arms and torso. Angry red, but I didn’t feel any pain from them. In fact, even though I felt like I should be exhausted, I actually felt like I could run a marathon and still want more. ...What’s happening to me?
Questions. Only more questions. Questions that couldn’t be answered. Not for now, at least. The library. I thought, finally forcing myself to stand. The pounding in my skull gradually died down, and my mind cleared up enough that I could think straight again. I need to get to the library. It will have what I need. It HAS to.
Begrudgingly, I grabbed my launcher laying nearby and, sparing one last look at the carnage, before making my way down towards the peaceful little village.
It wasn’t a long trek, in fact it was mostly downhill. Once I reached the village called ‘ponyville’ I stuck to the shadows. There were still some lights on in some of the houses, but for the most part the village was quiet. Better safe than sorry, though.
I kept tabs on the central structure of ponyville, what I assumed was town hall since it was the biggest structure around. It wasn’t long before I found what I was looking for, a large tree with a ‘library’ sign hanging in front of it. I made sure no one was looking before I tried the door. Locked, of course. I’d need to find another way in.
I snuck around the side of the tree, looking for some kind of second entry. Bingo, a window. I tried opening it. No good, it was lo-
I went through the window, lowering it again behind me. When I turned, I saw precisely what I was looking for.
Lots of fucking books.
Oh this is gonna be funnn…
I began my search, careful to place books back where I had found them once I finished looking at them. i may have tossed one or two behind me though. Maybe.
Magical quantum theory… an entire book on the history of the wonderbolts...Equestrian history? I leafed through that a bit. I did get mentioned once but there was no mention on what the company was called today. I let out a growl and shoved the book back where I thought I had found it, continuing my search.
Nothing. I’d been searching for at least an hour now and I had absolutely nothing to show for it. Whoever owns this place keeps it too damn organized- The sound of hooves outside caught my attention.
shit…! I looked around in a panic, seeing a large open closet door. I quickly shoved some books back onto the bookshelves and darted into the open door, trying to remain as quiet as possible.
“Thanks for walking home with me, Applejack…” Twilight yawned.
“Aw shucks sugarcube, t’aint no big deal. We apples sometime pull 24 hours shifts, especially when the zap apple harvest comes in, so ah’m used to it.”
Twilight was only half listening, her mind still racing about seeing her teacher in such a sorry state. About everything really. She breathed a heavy sigh and she felt Applejack bump her in the side.
“Don’t be so down on yerself, we gave it the best we could.”
“I suppose so…” Twilight trailed off. “I just wish we could have done more.”
“We’ll have our time to shine when the varmint shows his face again. In the meantime, we still on fer that picnic tomorrow?”
Twilight brightened, having nearly forgotten about the picnic she had scheduled with her friends the very next day. “Yes,” she nodded. “Most definitely.”
“Good. Ah’m gonna head back to the barn now, sleep tight sugarcube!”
Twilight waved after her friend, then unlocked her front door with her magic, trotting inside with a hum. Maybe this wasn’t as bad as she thought. She switched the light on, and immediately her bad day got a whole lot worse.
“No…” she uttered, stumbling up to the bookcase. “Somepony...MESSED UP MY ORGANIZATION! SPIIIIIKE!”
Twilight snorted, grinding the floor with her hoof as she looked for her slacking assistant. Instead, she saw a note.
“Twilight, went over to Rarity’s to help the Crusaders with something.
“...Huh.” Twilight raised an eyebrow, making her way towards her closet where she kept her favorite smarty pants doll. “I suppose I can bug him about it tomorrow, he does deserve a good night’s rest after—” She stopped mid-sentence as she opened the closet door, and saw a massive, hulking bipedal figure taking up the entirety of her closet.
Nothing was said for several minutes. The two simply stared at each other for what felt like hours. There was a beat. Then another. then, tenderly, Nemesis reached up onto the shelf above the closet, offering her the doll she was looking for.
...I can explain?
Twilight said nothing at first, but then she took in a deep, deep breath….
Oh God, whatever you do please don’t—
Look, I’m trying—
IF YOU COULD JUST SHUT UP FOR ONE MINUTE—
YOU KNOW, I READ SOMEWHERE THAT LIBRARIES WERE SUPPOSED TO BE A QUIET PLACE! TELL ME MS. LIBRARIAN, IS THAT TRUE?!
The purple unicorn jumped backwards, her hoof grinding on the floor as she narrowed her eyes at me, her horn glowing.
“What in Celestia’s name are YOU doing here?”
Looking for something. If you could just—
“Looking for WHAT?”
Look, if I was here to hurt you, do you think I would have been hiding in a closet?
The unicorn hesitated at that, when there was a sudden knock at her door.
“Twilight! You okay?”
I gave her my best puppy dog eyes, which, given my body, probably seemed more like a “I’m going to kill you and everything you care about” look. She blanched, looking back towards the door. She hesitated a bit before replying.
“Everything’s fine, I just noticed some of my books weren’t organized properly.”
There was a chuckle, before the voice replied. “Ya’ll got me worked up over nothin’. have a good sleep, Twi!”
“You too!” Then she turned to face me, her face serious. “You have five seconds to explain yourself before I call her back here and we lock your flank away in stone for another thousand years.”
You think I couldn’t get away by then? Do you really think, if I thought I was in any danger, I’d still be here right now?
She let out a frustrated groan before slamming her hoof on the floor.
“Would you just explain why you’re here and...why you look like you’re hurt so bad?”
I blinked, looking over myself. Yep, I was still covered in blood, cuts and bruises. Evidence of my rampage from earlier. I sighed.
That’s not important right now—
“Not important? You show up in MY house, hiding in MY closet where all of my PERSONAL articles of clothing HAPPEN to be located, and you show up COVERED in blood none the less, and it’s not important? If you’re going to lie to me about why you’re here, at least tell me why you look so beat up so I can get you some medical treatment!”
I glanced back in the closet, and upon seeing the articles of clothing stashed away there, my horror grew. Okay, first off, NO. SO MUCH NO. Second of all, I don’t need medical treatment. My wounds will heal on their own. I let out a heavy sigh. She hadn’t lowered her horn this entire conversation. You’re making me nervous. How can you expect me to explain myself under all this pressure?
“You hurt the princess. Very badly. You sent Canterlot into a panic, and if that’s not enough, you’re the most wanted enemy in ALL of Equestria. Give me one reason I should put my horn down.”
...Point taken. To be fair though, I warned her.
Twilight snarled, the glow on her horn growing.
Okay, okay. I came here looking for information on a company that was around during the time I was free. They’ve changed their name since then, but they were the ones who developed the ‘cure’ for the sickness that… I sighed. ...that I started.
Twilight’s ear twitched, and her head raised slightly. “...You mean Ellura. One of their bases of operation I know of is in Manehattan, but why would—” Immediately, she slapped a hoof over her mouth.
I grinned. Thanks, little purple pony.
“It’s TWILIGHT SPARKLE.”
Thanks, Twilight. I made for the window again, but I stopped as a blast hit the wall next to me.
“You think I’m just going to let you leave?”
You’re really going to try and stop me?
She hesitated again, her ears falling low. “...Why?”
“All of it...why are you trying to stop such good ponies from stopping something that you yourself started? I don’t understand how somepony can be so cruel…”
Trying to… I couldn’t help it. I laughed. Twilight, I’m afraid you’re just as much of an idiot as your princess is. When someone gets ahold of something powerful, they want to control it. Not everyone in the universe has the best of intentions, though they may state otherwise.
“...What do you mean?”
Why don’t you ask your princesses? And with that, I slipped out the window and disappeared into the night.
~Canterlot Hospital, Golden Shield~
Golden Shield hated hospitals. It wasn’t because that’s where horror stories or even that she was scared of them, she just didn’t like them. They made her feel weak.
Her parents and sibling were crowded around her bed. After her episode in the barracks, her officer had rushed her to the hospital. Doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her, she showed no signs or symptoms of any kind of virus that they knew of, and as for right now they could only wait and see what would happen.
Golden Shield’s mom caressed her hoof, smiling at her daughter. “How are you feeling, honey?”
“Sore…” Golden Shield shifted her body, trying to get comfortable. Part of her golden mane went over one of her blue eyes. “And really really embarrassed… I think I’m the only one who got put out of commission after that monster attacked…”
“You’re not the only one.” her father answered, giving her a smile. “Some of the other guards were knocked out and had to go to the hospital too. In fact—”
Golden Shield’s dad was interrupted as several ponies in radioactive suits suddenly stormed into the room.
“Is this the patient?”
“Commence with extraction.”
“The mare, the stallion, and the foal as well?”
“They’ve touched her, they’re coming too.”
Before anypony could react, the ponies in the radioactive suits began to seize the family.
“What is the meaning of this?!” A doctor stormed in, but was stopped by one of the ponies.
“This patient has been confirmed to have a very deadly virus, the same one given off by Nemesis. We can’t have anyone near her, and anyone who does gets quarintened.”
“Mommy! daddy!” The small foal cried as the ponies took him away.
“Stop! What are you doing?!” Her mom was dragged out the door as well.
“Get your hooves off my wife! I swear to Celestia—” It took several guards to subdue him, but they overcame him, and he too was dragged out, kicking and screaming.
“No!” Golden shield reached out to her family, but could do little more as one of the ponies placed something over her face. “That’s it sweetheart...sleep, we have plans for you…” And then Golden Shield’s world faded to black.
I had made a cave my temporary home as I plotted out my next move, the glow of the campfire I made casting eerie shadows on the walls. I ignored it for now, and instead reached into my back pocket to fish out the scroll I had gotten earlier from the old castle.
“Some kind of summoning spell...it almost looks like…” The scroll suddenly exploded into light, and I turned my head away. It floated out of my grasp, hovering over the campfire as it unfurled itself. I stood, transfixed as it turned into a portal. Through it, I could see millions of other dimensions. Some akin to the same situation I was in, some in different situations, but I had no doubt in my mind that what lay before me was nothing short of incredible. A rider with a flaming skull. An armored warrior with a taste for battle. A powerful alchemist turned into a pony. It was hypnotizing, and I was reminded of what it had been like to hold Pyramid Head’s sword. I thought, not for the first time, if this is what he went through every waking second.
If you wish to transcend the dimensions, offer an object to be your medium.
Wordlessly, I reached into my pocket and produced a vial. It wasn’t much, but the way the liquid swirled made it look like a DNA strand. It pulsed, moved, writhed, as if it were alive. It was the first sample of the virus I had acquired from Ellura, it was ancient and its cells were long since dead, but it would work.
The vial floated up to the scroll. Somehow, I knew what I needed to do next. The words came to me, as if whispered into my ear.
I am Nemesis. The Hunter. The Pursuer. Those who would seek to harm others for their own benefit are my prey. If you need my help, simply take this vial in your hand, and call upon me. I will aid you in kind. Your enemies will flee before my wrath, but there will be nowhere they can run, nowhere they can hide that I will not find them. I will hunt them down.
The vial seemed to glow, then it shot into the portal that the scroll had created. The scroll glowed briefly before it too vanished in a flash of light. I blinked, holding my head with a hand as a massive headache set itself in. Ugh...Either I’m going crazy or that was a really BAD idea…