Oh goodie. Here comes Robbie the pigeon. How are you doing Robbie?
The pigeon responded by pooping on his shoulder.
Oh wonderful. I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with you. Discord mentally sighed. He would kill to be able to move his eyeballs; the exact same thorny rosebush he had been staring at for the past two weeks had become rather boring. It hadn’t been a thorny rosebush at first of course, but plain roses were just so dreadfully boring! It took a shameful amount of time and exertion, but eventually he was able to make the plant sprout thorns. it was promising, last time it had taken him at least five hundred years before he was able to influence anything outside of his stone prison at all. He suspected it had something to do with the massive surge of chaos coming from the general direction of Ponyville. Discord relished in the power he received, and went mad with glee as he thought about what must be happening in the small town to cause so much chaos in one place. Soon enough though, he remembered his situation and mentally frowned. Deeply.
Maybe this time I won’t be stuck in here until my mind rots on the inside out from insanity… Discord grumbled to himself. But then, something happened. A twist, something unexpected. A presence that caught even the lord of chaos himself unawares, and that was saying something! Oh my… if Discord could grin, he would. Someone's been peeking...and it's me!
To Auric Fulcrum, Master of Psynergy, Wielder of the Flames of Alchemy, Slayer of the Wise One, Knight of the Eclipse, Lord of Eureka, Blade of Understanding
First off, I would like to thank you for your letter. My universe's Discord and I are not on good speaking terms, but next time I see him I will show it to him.
I count my acquaintances few and far in between in these troubling times, and even less so my friends. My Equestria does not yet know of what it is I am trying to do for them, and Celestia as well as this world's version of the Umbrella Corporation has me on edge. I am unsure of my standing with this world at the present moment, but it is good to know that there are others out there in the same boat as I am. I would like to believe that they can count on me, as much as I on them.
That said, I have enclosed my summoning sign within this letter. It's not much, but if you need a hunter, a pursuer, a monster on your side, I will stand by you.
A friend and a fellow Displaced, Nemesis
I looked the letter twice over, making sure I’d said everything I’d wanted to. I frowned at the word ‘Sincerily’
That sounds too personal...perhaps, ‘best regards’? I looked over at the pile of balled up papers hastily thrown into the corner of the room. I hesitated for a second before I pulled out my summoning item. ...Fuck it. The vial lit up in response. Auric Fulcrum. I ‘spoke’ clearly. The vial glowed a translucent blue and the letter in my hand vanished. The vial returned to its normal state. I sighed and leaned back into the chair I’d been sitting on for the past two hours, stewing over the events of the past few days in my head.
I’d be lying if I said we’d made any significant progress towards bettering our situation, even after Gilgamesh’s speech there were some ponies around town who were against being cooped up in here with a bunch of ‘flank backward hicks’ as they put it. Nobles from Canterlot, who had been here on ‘royal business’ when the town was attacked. Personally I thought they were a bunch of stuck up snobs, but Princess Luna had done a fine job of putting them in their place when they started jeering at the town folk. I don’t think I’d ever seen anyone wet themselves quite so hard.
Twilight, Rarity, Pinkie, and Rainbow Dash had helped with the housing for Fluttershy and Applejack. Luckily there was a house for sale at the time, and with some furniture lent from their friends, Applejack had a place for her and her family to stay. Fluttershy was staying with Rainbow Dash, who had pulled her cloud mansion down into the magic barrier so she herself would have a place to stay. As for her animals, most of them were tame and were allowed to wander Ponyville so long as they stayed out of trouble. The community was even working together to make a temporary home for them.
I myself was perfectly fine with sleeping on the ground. Rarity said she had an extra room, and I even tried it for a bit, but the bed was too small for my massive frame and I continuously hit my head on the ceiling. I stuck to sleeping outside, and in the everfree when I could get to it without being seen by the quarantine on the outside of Twilight’s barrier. While I was out, I’d made several runs to sweet apple acres and some of the nearby farms to retrieve food for the ponies, but the harvest was already running low. I wasn't sure how long we could play this waiting game before we ran out of food.
As for the ponies from Ellura, we’d kept them in the town hall and under close watch and interrogation by the Lunar Guard. The town hall also apparently doubled as a Police/Guard Center, though I’d hardly seen any guards around when the town wasn’t under attack, though Luna insisted that they were there.
Luna… My thoughts wandered back to the events of about a week ago. I remembered the massive battle, how so many ponies had gotten hurt or maybe even worse trying to keep Ellura out and away from Ponyville. Princess Luna had gotten shot and I...I’d lost it. I completely lost control of myself. What if I lost control again, and there was no one around who could stop me? What if I—
A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts. I released a sigh and slowly rose to my feet, then bent down again as I hit my head on the low ceiling. Damn pony houses… I grumbled as I rubbed my head and jerked open the door.
Fluttershy was there to greet me. She had her saddlebags on and some kind of paper in her mouth. Upon seeing me though, her eyes widened and her wings, which were previously open, snapped shut.
“O-oh my...I didn’t disturb you did I?”
Nah, just writing a letter to a friend. Twilight had been kind enough to lend me her study room so that I could write in silence. I stepped outside, then frowned at the lack of a breeze on my face. That was one thing I missed, and why I’d often venture outside the barrier.
“Oh...was it Gilgamesh?”
No, another Displaced. one who’s helped others far more than ask for any in return. Anyways, was there something you needed?
Fluttershy tilted her head at the word ‘Displaced’, then brightened up. “Oh...yes!” She raised her head, urging me to take the paper hanging from her mouth.
What’s this? ‘Ten ways to calm down before you lose your cool: anger management tips.’ I frowned again and lowered the paper, giving her a deadpan look. And why do I need this?
“Well, me and the girls were talking about what happened, and you do lose your temper rather easily…”
I growled and threw the paper on the ground. I do NOT lose my temper!
Fluttershy hid her mouth behind her hoof and began to giggle. I was confused for a moment before I realized what I’d done and put a hand over my face. Shuttup. I bent down to pick up the paper I dropped.
“You don’t have to read it Nemesis, we just thought it might help.” She smiled at me. “Anyways, I also came over to ask if you wanted to accompany me to the marketplace. The salesponies were nice enough to hold a sale on some of their products today, since ponyville doesn’t have any income coming in at the moment…” She trailed off, frowning a bit. “Besides, nopony hardly even sees you anymore, you’re always off by yourself or doing something.”
Yeah, there’s a reason for that. I grumbled.
“I think some pony interaction will do you some good, so could you please come with me?” She gave me her best puppy dog eyes.
I mentally groaned. Fine, but if you start making me take part in any songs, I’m gone. Not that I could sing anyways.
She smiled widely. “Deal!” Fluttershy turned and began to trot off towards the marketplace.
I poked my head back into the library. Twilight, I’m going out! Upon hearing nothing in response I figured she must’ve been out or asleep, so I closed the door and followed closely behind Fluttershy.
“It’s two bits for a tomato, or four bits for two.”
“Oh...but last week it was only one bit.” Fluttershy frowned. I stood not far off, watching ponies trot around the marketplace. They all spared me a wave or a smile, and I returned a wave in kind. It’s so different from the time I first arrived here, I thought to myself. I watched ponies move from stand to stand, still smiling despite their situation.
“Look lady, I ain’t compromising. Two bits, take it or leave it.” I frowned at that and turned, noticing Fluttershy cower under the stern gaze of the salespony. I made my way over toward her.
Hey, look. Her gaze turned towards me, and her eyes widened. We’re all in some tough times right now, is one bit less really going to kill you?
“Hmph.” She frowned, settling back down behind her stand. “Speak for yourself, bud. I’m counting every bit I’ve got left, especially since you, the princess, and those other ponies trapped us all in here!”
What? I narrowed my eye.
“Don’t look at me, go talk to the pony who’s been speaking nothing but sense all day.” She pointed towards the center of the marketplace, where a large crowd of ponies had gathered around an elderly looking stallion, who was shouting something I couldn’t make out.
Wait here, Fluttershy. I strode over towards the crowd, keeping an ear out for what the stallion was saying.
“...and why should we trust the word of some bipedal freaks? How do they know what’s best for us pony folk?!”
”Yeah!” the crowd voiced. Most of them, I noticed, seemed to be made up of ponies who were from out of town. I noticed Pinkie Pie and Rarity off to the side of the crowd, frowning at the scene. I quickly made my way over to them.
What’s going on? I asked, watching the crowd of ponies hoot and holler as some of the ponies in the marketplace frowned at them.
“Oh, hello Nemesis.” Rarity smiled at me, then frowned again as she looked back towards the crowd. “Nothing to worry yourself about, just a bunch of uncultured brutes who wouldn't know thankfulness if it came up and bit them in the flank!”
“Yeah, what she said!” Pinkie shouted, waving her hoof in the air. “You wouldn’t have a flank if you weren’t...thankful…” Pinkie looked back at her friend. “Rarity, that doesn't make any sense!” Rarity just face hoofed.
“Well if it isn’t the guilty ones themselves!” the elderly pony spat on the ground. “You still expectin’ us to stay in here until we all starve to death?! Well I won’t go down without a fight, I tells ya!”
“Hey!” A wall eyed grey pegasus mare shouted from the marketplace crowd. “That’s no way to talk to them! They and the Princess risked their lives to save us!”
“Risked their lives? Hah!” The stallion spit at the ground again. “What’s the worst that woulda happened?! A few days in quarantine? Some antibiotics? I woulda taken that over slowly starvin’ to death under some magical doohicky!”
“Did you not hear anything they said?!” Rarity shouted out suddenly. “Ellura would sooner use you as a science experiment then let you go!”
“And who do you swear that by? Princess Luna?” The stallion snorted. “That mare can’t see past her own muzzle! She gathered us all up in here just so she could have some ponies appreciate her ‘eternal night’!”
That was it. I suddenly stormed through the crowd, which parted as I approached. I walked up to the stallion, who narrowed his eyes and stared at me defiantly.
Do you know where Princess Luna is, right now? His eyes looked into mine, searching for some kind of answer. She’s in the hospital because of a bullet wound, a bullet wound she took while protecting you, I gestured out towards the crowd. protecting them, I gestured towards the town hall. and protecting this town. So I’d think twice about what you say before disrespecting her, on account that you’re not dead, or worse, because of her.
I turned and started walking away, back towards Pinkie and Rarity. You should go see Fluttershy at the tomato stand, I doubt she’s going to be happy with me anyways. I stomped past them and into the streets.
I continued to walk for a bit, stewing over the stallion’s words in my head when I heard a voice call out to me.
“Nemesis!” I turned and saw Twilight galloping towards me. I turned and continued to walk, and she slowed to a canter as she walked beside me. “I heard the whole thing. You shouldn’t let that stallion get to you, he gets on everypony’s nerves.”
It’s getting to me anyways. I’m going out for a walk.
“Where are you going to go? Ellura’s got the entire outside on lockdown right now, it’s too risky to open the barrier right now, even just a little bit.”
I don’t know then, maybe I’ll—
“Nemesis, the Hunter, the Pursuer. I call on you; come to me!”
Then a portal opened directly under my feet.
Aw, shi— I immediately fell through, and the portal closed quickly behind me.
Twilight was left staring at the spot where I’d just been a moment ago, her eyes wide and her stance in mid-canter. She turned towards where the portal opened and poked it with her hoof. “...Nemesis?!”
The portal opened in front of me again as I fell through. I twisted in mid-air, managing to get my feet below me. Trees rushed up to meet me, and I broke through several branches before I reached the ground, landing with a crash and flinging dust into the air around me.
Huh, first time I didn’t come back to where I left from. I looked around at the trees, adjusting my newest weapon which was wrapped diagonally around my torso, a chain that glowed with an eerie light. I’m glad I was able to help them, both of them. Damn though, I hate rednecks.. I cracked my neck before making my way through the forest.
I knew the layout of the everfree by heart now, and it wasn’t long until the hill that overlooked ponyville came into sight. It definitely wasn’t the small town I remembered, the quarantine was still set up around the barrier, but it was good to see that it was at least still standing. However, as I looked closer I noticed something peculiar happening near the quarantine. I could see a large, black figure. Ponies were darting around it and using magic and some sort of ropes to try and subdue it.
That doesn’t look good… I broke into a run, leaping over the small hill and landing at its base with a crash. I quickened my pace, and as I got closer I could finally make out the large figure the ponies were wrestling with.
Cerberus. Ellura were using long poles and ropes to try and bring the immense dog down, who was putting up one hell of a fight. he flung Ellura employees around and stomped on the catch poles they tried to use.
What the hell is Cerberus doing here? I saw some of the Ellura employees loading their guns off to the side, and aiming at the dog. There’s no way Celestia could know about this…she would never allow this. I growled as I broke into a sprint.
The gun-wielders turned to look at me, quickly trying to change direction to point at me but I was already to them. I plowed through their formation, sending them flying in every direction. I continued my sprint and jumped, smashing through a catch pole that had caught Cerberus by one of his throats. The dog howled at his new-found freedom and quickly began to fling the ponies off of him. I helped as best I could, smashing through some nearby quarantine tents and plowing over machinery and throwing ponies away from him.
When we were done, Cerberus turned, and looked straight at me. He lowered his heads and began to stalk towards me. I backed away slowly. Shit, I need to get back into Ponyville, but how-?
Suddenly, cerberus leaped, pinning be beneath one of his paws and...began to lick me.
Pfft! Quit it! Oh god, it’s so slobbery! Bleagh! Knock it off! Cerberus obeyed, backing up a few steps and sitting down, then stared at me expectantly. His tail wagged furiously. I climbed to my feet and wiped myself off. Ugh, this is why I prefer cats… Cerberus whined and laid his three heads down. I blinked, then reached out and began to pet one of them, softly. Cerberus whined harder. And you’re supposed to be the guardian of tartarus? I rolled my eye. Just go home, this is no place for you to be right now anyways. Cerberus stood and barked loudly, then leaped over me and began to run off in another direction. Oh wow...did he actually listen to me…? After Cerberus was gone, I could hear the voices of ponies around the outside of the barrier yelling and rushing towards me.
“Take him down!”
I cursed and ran, laying a hand on the barrier. Twilight, can you hear me?! I need you to open the barrier here, just for a second! Please!
A couple of seconds passed. I glanced behind me and noticed the Ellura ponies getting closer. I turned, hunching over as I roared at them. They didn’t seem deterred, and were quickly loading weapons and grabbing their gear.
C’mon Twilight… Much to my relief, I hear the ringing of magic behind me. I quickly darted through the new opening. I heard several shouts before they were quickly cut off by the closed barrier. I breathed a sigh of relief. Whew. That was close. I turned, and was immediately met with a very unhappy looking Twilight, with Spike on her back. Oh, uh…
“We need to talk.” She turned and began to walk towards the nearest street. Spike turned and gave me a shrug.
I sighed. Right. I followed close behind.
“Where did you go?” She asked without looking back at me.
It’s kind of hard to explain, mostly because I myself don’t even know how it works. Basically though, there’s lots of other versions of Equestria, and all of them have someone like me.
“You mean like Gilgamesh?”
Exactly. And from time to time we tend to call on each other, I just got back from helping a time lord and a hot head, for instance.
“Mhm.” I flinched. She didn’t sound any less upset. “Well, after you made your sudden departure, Princess Luna and the Night Guard made some progress with their interrogations.”
I immediately came back to reality, my tone growing serious. What did they find out?
“We identified one of their higher-ranking ponies. We even have him in custody.”
Which one is he?
“Watchful Overlook.” Spike answered for her this time, glancing between her and me.
I remember that name, wasn’t he the one who kidnapped you and those three young fillies?
Spike nodded affirmatively. “Yeah, he’s apparently pretty highly regarded in their group too. They’ve got him in the interrogation room now.” Spike sighed. “Between us three, I’m kind of hoping he’s reluctant to talk, after what he did to us, what he showed us…” Spike’s eyes became hard. “I don’t think I can ever forget that.”
“Nopony’s asking you to forget, Spike.” Twilight glanced back at him with a smile. “But we do need to get him to talk, and he’s not talking to anypony so far. We were hoping you…?”
Persuasion tactics. Right. I sighed. Just get me into the room with him, I’ll see what I can do.
We’d arrived at the town hall while we were talking. I made my way inside, ducking under the low doorframe and followed Twilight down some stairs. This levelled out into a dimly lit wooden hallway, lined with several doors. Twilight took the door closest to her left, and I followed her in, being careful not to hit my head on the low doorframe. Inside, Bronze Mane, Princess Luna, and several of her thestrals sat staring through a window. They turned as we entered, and Luna gave me a tired smile. “I wish we could meet under better circumstances our friends, these are trying times for all of us.”
Definitely. I smiled at Bronze Mane as well, then I leaned down to look through the window, where I could see the pony named overlook from earlier. he was sitting in a chair, looking smug as another thestral spoke to him.
“We can’t guarantee your safety if you don’t cooperate with us,” The Thestral spoke, frowning deeply at Overlook’s smug expression. “If you help us out we might be able to get you some protection from legal proceedings, but we can’t give you anything if you don’t give us anything.”
“I’m not stupid, bat pony,” Overlook leaned back in his chair, giving the guard a curious look. “You can pretend you care and try to intimidate me with your good cop, bad cop routine all day, but I fear my boss far more than I fear any of you.” My eye narrowed. “He can do far worse to me than anything you’re capable of.”
Let me talk to him. I spoke, causing Luna and Twilight to look over at me.
“Are you sure? He’s refused to talk about anything to any of the officers, do you think you can make him talk?” Bronze Mane asked me.
I’ll make him scream. I said, stepping out of the room. I stood outside of the interrogation room, waiting for the other thestral to leave before stepping in myself. Overlook looked surprised to see me, but his smug smirk remained.
“So, straight to the big guns, eh?” He leaned back in his chair. “What are you gonna do? punch me? kick me? yell at me? Threaten my family? My friends?”
I simply stared at him, before calmly placing a hand on the table in front of him. So, this boss of yours. What was his name?
Overlook sneered. “Like I’d just tell you? At least humor me with some effort here.”
I’d suggest saying it out loud, it’ll help you remember. Wouldn’t want to forget. That’s one of the side effects of your medicines isn’t it? Amnesia? I leaned down to stare at him face to face. So tell me, what would your boss do to you if you told us anything here? Slowly, I let a tentacle slip on of my hand, and let it work its way across the table towards him. Overlook’s eyes widened and he leaned away from it. Would he make you his new test subject? Inject a foreign virus into your system that makes you puke blood for three days straight? The tentacle worked closer towards him and he watched it with his eye twitching slightly.That’s all well and good, but do you know where your boss got that virus from? Slowly, Overlook shook his head. He got it from me. Overlook’s eyes widened. And that bit your boss would use on you? That’s after he’s tested it on other ponies. Do you know what it’s like to live with a pure, raw, untainted virus burning through your veins? The tentacle grasped the edge of his side of the table and slowly began to reach out towards him. Overlook backed up towards the wall now, his eyes wide. Agony. Pure agony. First comes the itching. Then the rotting flesh. That’s right, I said rotting flesh. You literally get to watch as your own skin falls from your body. The tentacle reached out more. Overlook looked alarmed and he pressed himself further back against the wall. Then comes the cravings for flesh. Yeah, can you imagine what that would do to a pony? I mean, with us humans it makes sense because we’re omnivores, but to do that to a pony who doesn’t naturally eat meat? I shuddered. I don’t even want to begin to think about that.
Am I? haven’t you just spent the last few years of your life watching the same exact thing happen to other, innocent ponies? His eyes widened. Yeah. Imagine that, just ten times worse. The tentacle stretched out more, nearly touching him.
“O-okay! I’ll talk! Just please, don’t hurt me!!” The tentacle continued forward, unheeding of his words. “Wh-what?! STOP! PLEASE!”
Why should I?
Do you know how many other ponies begged for this to stop? Begged for release as this virus stripped away everything that made them sentient?! made them alive?! Why should I show you mercy you’ve never given to others?!
The tentacle inched closer. “P-please! I don’t…!”
You deserve what’s coming.
Overlook slid to the floor, hiding his face behind his forelegs as he began to weep.
“Enough, Nemesis!” Princess Luna appeared in the room with a flash, forcing me away with a burst of magic. I slid a few feet backwards, but glared at the cowering form of Overlook.
“C-Canterlot…” Both Luna and I turned to look at him. “C-Canterlot...that’s where the training facility is...thousands of B.O.W.s are housed there as they go through training…”
I huffed and stood up, turning to leave without a word. Luna watched me go, concern written in her features. I began to storm up the stairs when I heard the familiar sound of hooves behind me.
“Nemesis, was all of that true?” I heard Twilight’s concerned voice. It made me flinch, the last thing I needed right now was sympathy.
Was what true?
“What you said about the cravings for flesh...and...the rotting...and…” Twilight’s voice trailed off, as she trotted in front of me, staring upwards to look me in the eye. “Is...is that really how you feel? All the time?”
I snorted, staring towards the set of doors leading to the outside. I slowly walked past her. Twilight, you have no idea. Twilight quickly trotted after me.
“Where are you going? You heard him yourself, there are literally thousands of those monsters in that training facility! You can’t possibly expect to handle all of that on your own!”
I glanced back at her. I won’t be doing it alone. Just lower the barrier in the usual spot near the everfree in about five minutes, okay? Without waiting for a response, I leaped high into the air, leaving her with a stunned look on her face.
It wasn’t long after the interview with Nemesis that Overlook found himself thrown back into his cell. He shook on the ground for a minute, remembering the look in Nemesis’ eye as he told him all of the things the virus could do.
“Lies...they had to be…” He remembered the writhing screaming ponies from the test labs below, but he had simply been made to retrieve them and he never wondered what went on in the labs below. He closed his eyes. “Inkwell will surely have my head for this…”
Overlook slowly let his head sink into the floor, until the sound of hoofsteps caused him to jerk his head up. Slowly, in the shadows, he could make out a figure approaching him, something held in its magical grip.
“I thought I was told I would not be disturbed for the rest of the night?”
The object in the stranger’s magical grip came into view. It was a gun.
Overlook’s eyes widened as the weapon was trained onto him. “W-wait! I have more information! You can’t just-!”
The sound of a gunshot could be heard resonating throughout the room, followed by a soft thud. The stranger lowered the smoking weapon. The figure ensured it hit its target before it opened the cell, positioning the weapon into Overlook’s hooves, then closed and locked the cell again as it slowly began to trot away.
Before the figure left, it cast one last glance at the dead pony.
“Absolutely pathetic.” Then it closed the door, and all was silent.