Mane-iac's Return

by Art Inspired

Part Four: Tag Teams

With blurred vision, the Mane-iac awoke with a throbbing headache. Her friend stood over her, shaking her back with her hooves, trying to bring the green themed mare back into reality. Everything around her, though, still remained hazy, and she seemed to be unclear of where she was. “What… happened?”

Poison slowly spoke, “We got new powers. I think.”

The floor beneath their hooves felt colder for some reason, but not as chilly as the air around them. Upon lifting her frame, Mane-iac found her body to be more heavy, or more specifically, her mane was even denser than her body itself. “What the…?”

As she tried to lift them up and into view, the eight, new eyes engraved into ebony plates looked at her, each a different color. They looked like stop lights. Red, green, yellow, and blue, too. Whatever this was, it wasn’t easy to take in. Under the eyes, as the ebony metal curved down, it met into a sharp point seemingly dense enough to pierce concrete, but that was just about all there was, it’d seemed.

As for Poison Joker, she had radically different powers. Her mane had grown slightly, and was a shade deeper than before with pedals randomly hanging from her loose strands. Inside, lively roots stirred around. Poison’s true and new nature was much darker than her friend’s. An increased potency with her fumes made things that much more dangerous for normal ponies untouched by the gifts of superpony strength. Among other such gifts, Poison knew she would need assistance figuring out what her newer powers could really do once harnessed.

“Seems we’re all done here,” Poison said, turning around towards the chasm. “I suggest we-”

“Wait,” Mane-iac voiced. “What happened?”

“What do you mean?”

“Our powers, what do they do?”

Poison looked onwards at the window across the way; some trees could be seen beyond the glass. “I’m not sure. I can… feel power coursing through me, but…” She turned around with a sigh, and finished, “I don’t think we’ll ever really understand what’s happened to us until we see an expert.”

The Mane-iac’s new, eight appendages rose towards the air, backing up slightly while the owner looked to the left. “Not sure if this is a good idea. After all, who’s your contact, and how is he gonna know what… what these things are?”

“She,” Poison corrected. “And, she’ll know. She’s a scientist, after all.”

Suddenly, out from behind Poison, a figure dropped through the window, the mysterious being closing the entry way behind him. “Hey!” the Mane-iac shouted.

As her partner in crime turned around, a reptilian figure leaped forth, grabbing the stalactites and swinging his way over. “Freeze!”

“Not a chance!” Poison’s mane released a swarm of thick branches at Hum-Drum, slashing the air and rocks he leaped forth. The stone he was holding at that time was sliced through like butter, and he fell to the floor screaming. With that taken care of, Poison turned around to ask, “Think he’ll live?”

A clanking noise was heard behind her shortly followed by sharp reeling. The moment Poison turned around, she was caught off guard by the teen dragon holding onto some sort of grappling gun with one claw. The other had a communicator. “Hum-Drum reporting in. They’re here, but be warned…” He glanced at the two suspiciously. “Looks like we’re a little late. They’ve got the upgrades.”

On the other end, loud enough to make even Poison jump a little from the other side, somepony yelled back, “They’ve got my power booster?! Those wretched, thieving, no good doers are going down!”

As it clicked off, Hum-Drum put it away in his apparently new and much more useful looking utility belt. This one had all sorts of pockets, and gizmos that probably did all sorts of things. Noticing it, Mane-iac asked, “These five months seemed to have hardened you, Hum-Drum.” She gave him a wicked smirk.

“Hmph, Matter-horn helped me figure out some things, so now, I’m not the little guy that was always in the way.”

“What is it you do?” Poison asked forwardly, humoring him.

“I mostly deal with petty thievery and drunken brawls.” He smiled while going for what seemed to be explosives. “Been too long since I helped take down a crazed, super powered psycho.”

With them flinching a little, he threw what he had down to the floor in front of them. Immediately, the air was filled with a dense, white, purple and orange smoke. In that instance of surprise, Hum-Drum got his chance to escape after having fulfilled his job admirably. Now, it was the others’ turns. Coughing from the impact, both the villainesses backed away from the edge. As the fog separated, two beings emerged, both recognizable.

“My, my, they really did get a power upgrade.”

“Yep, which means we don’t get to hold back, do we sugarcube?”

The Mane-iac snarled at the shadowy figures and leaped forward. However, the moment her hooves touched either one, she seeped right through, falling over and into the pit. Luckily, her mane stopped her from landing on her back just in time. They’d punctured through the metal itself, all eight, and once she found out how safe she was, Mane-iac stood like she always did; with her mane hoisting up her entire body. Though, this time around, she seemed more like a spider. Up above, Poison slithered down so she could make certain her friend was alright. “Ever considered looking before you leap?”

“Yes, indeed,” Radiance shouted down from the other side of where Mane-iac fell from. She and Mistress Mare-velous floated down from the railing using a magic carpet, and landed in front of their enemies. “I say you turn yourselves in!” Radiance commanded. “You’re not leaving here without a good fight, and you know it.”

“Yeah,” chimed Mistress. “Y’all gots one of two options that’ll work. Either give in now, and we’ll administer the antidote. Resist, and we’ll force it on the two of you!”

Poison turned to ask, “You’ve fought with these girls before, right?”

Mane-iac responded forwardly, “Naturally. They’re two of the seven Power Ponies I’m used to dealing with, Hum-Drum being one of them.”

“How powerful are they?”

Acting as though they were getting ready for a football match, Mane-iac began pointing out their flaws and strong points she’d been able to pick up. “For example, when properly provoked, Mistress Mare-velous may swish her lasso at you.”


With her unbreakable blades, Mane-iac caught the rope and began swinging the mare in the air, giggling at the predictable move. Unfortunately, five months away from battle still left Mane-iac rusty. As a consequence, she didn’t see the huge, lavender wall made of shimmering sparkles headed right for her. Hastily, Poison snatched her ally out of the way by instinct alone. Were it not for the long stretching roots flowing from her scalp, Mane-iac would’ve been dealt with then and there.

“Darn it all,” Radiance scoffed. “I missed!”

Meanwhile, Mistress got to her hooves, holding her head. “Seems you were right, Radiance. Ah really don’t have any new moves.”

“Yes,” she concurred. “I think it best if you took on… Umm, excuse me, who are you again?”

Radiance looked over at the Joker curiously. With a hoof pointing to herself, Poison questioned, “Lil’ old me?”

“Yes, you, with the… Are those flower petals?”

Poison snickered, “Actually, they’re poison joke petals, if you want to get technical.”

This struck fear into Radiance. “P-P-Poison Joke?”

Mistress Mare-velous huffed, “No way!”

Mane-iac commented, “You must have quite the name. Not even my name reaches out like that!”

Radiance stepped forward. “Killer! Murderer! How many lives?”

“Too many to count!” Poison admitted, almost delighted to hear of her potent influence.

She swung her hooves open to crouch down in an intimidating manner with that same, maddening smile. Then, the air became cold again. Silence overtook the four juiced-up beings that distanced themselves from each other, and for a moment, Radiance and Mistress understood, even if they mixed things up, they’d be at a disadvantage. Nopony knew what sort of mystic abilities these two possessed. Even worse, with them being undiscovered, Radiance and Mistress were basically facing the unknown in a completely threatening form.

Mistress speculated, “Maybe we should choose a more open area?”

“My thoughts EXACTLY!”

Instantly, Poison Joke lashed out, impaling the heroines while shooting them clear through the establishment’s glass exit. They tumbled to the grassy ground, spores ripping through their coats and costumes. Using her horn’s might, Radiance took care of the parasites that gnawed away at her attires with a miniature blast, and made quick work of her partner’s problems as well. Though, this left them little time to prepare for the two threats that launched themselves clean out of the laboratory.

First, Mane-iac, taking control of who she fought by whacking the orange maned mare to the sidelines. Immediately after her followed Poison Joke, leading Radiance away from the other two, into the far off woods. Of course, the unicorn wasn’t letting herself be felled so easily, for she’d already started gathering energy. The faster those roots curled around her hooves and neck, the sooner she’d be able to blast her enemy clear across the sky.

Meanwhile, Mane-iac allowed her opponent to recover, only to watch in disbelief as the mare began screaming out in agony. Undoubtedly, even Radiance would hear her friend’s cries. “M-mah shoulder! Ahh!”

She held on tighter than she would anything else in the world, a tear or two escaping as she tried to relocate it. As for the mare standing across from her, she simply teased, “Haha, you’ll probably never be swinging that lasso straight again!”

However, with a ‘pop’, and a ear-piercing, “Hyah!” Mane-iac was lashed backwards from where she held her ground harder than even she could comprehend. She didn’t even really catch the fact that she’d basically cut the tree she had been standing in front of in half until a few random piled of leaves came tumbling down through the air. Along with the upper portion laying down on top of Mane-iac, Mistress Mare-velous felt it right to explain, “Had… mah hoof dislocated p-plenty of times to come slashin’ back twice hard… Now, time for the antidote.”

The tree laying down in front of her snapped in half, Mane-iac bursting out, but before she could send Mistress Mare-velous packing, an explosion in the background threw them both off momentarily, but the hero of this tale was unfortunately more worried than Mane-iac was, and didn’t see yet another devastating blow coming her way. This time, she was knocked even further, and right for where the purple beam of light emitted from. Too bad the battle Radiance gave was also in vain.

With that, there was no doubt in her mind, that the two Power Ponies they faced were finished off. If they still had any amounts of fight left inside, it’d be a meaningless attempt to continue on when so much energy had already been lost during their struggles. So, the villains regrouped before the beaten bunch… and what a sight it was. If anything, Mane-iac and the Poison Joker might’ve taken things a bit too far.

“What should our next course of action be,” Mane-iac asked, her mane swinging to the side as she quickly questioned the Joker. “Disabling them is a must for me to resume my work, but what about you? Once we both know what we’ve got running through our systems, where will you go? What will you do?”

The ever fertilizing companion shook her head, and said, “Firstly, these two are going into a coma, and so will all the rest of the Power Ponies, every last one of them!”

Mane-iac gulped, and said nervously, “I told you, limits are a must… It’s appreciated that you’ll help me deal with the others, but what kind of coma are you speaking of? How long will it hold them?”

With a devious smirk, like it was all just one big game to her, she simply said, “Forever and ever…” Mane-iac blinked with an unmoved expression. “It’s simple,” the Joker wheezed. “We’re not killing them! The scientists, and doctors are killing her by not having a cure… for this.”

With a green and blue striped root loftily wiggling before the purple coated pony, she watched critically as slimy seeds began spewing from Poison’s cranium. “This is a toxic breed, and once within their brains, it never comes out, and keeps them forever suspended in… limbo, so to speak. The only way to cure them is at the get go, when it’s first administered.”

Showing interest, Mane-iac ventured further by asking, “How do you administer it?”

Smiling that much more gleefully, the mare across from the Mane-iac began shoving her tentacle-like appendage straight into Radiance’s right nostril. Just like that, a few were planted. Seeing as how Mane-iac didn’t protest, Poison continued to do her dirty work to the lasso wielding warrior as well, and with that, she was finished. “They’re basically done for,” she mentioned while backing away. “Follow me into the city.”


Poison blinked at Mane-iac’s response. “Hey, you cool?”

Looking away from the two unconscious heroines, she stated, “I’ll meet you at Dunkard’s rooftop, across from Element Street.”

Poison looked at her, unsure of the reasoning behind the sudden splitting up ordeal. “....Wwwhy?”

“Because,” her friend said firmly. “I need to get used to these new developments, and some alone time wouldn’t hurt.”

Poison didn’t believe the excuse, but went along with it nevertheless. However, the second she was out of sight, and out of mind, Mane-iac quickly removed the seedlings by gripping the small, straggly vine that could be seen sticking out of each mare’s noses. Like a cork to a bottle, they came free rather easily, but with blots of green and red blood dripping from the bottom. She hastily discarded them, and stood back, an unsatisfied look on her face.

“Tying you up and leaving you girls here for now will do, because like I said... Murder is just too much for me… I have to have limits.”