• Published 16th Jul 2013
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Transformed - the flying spaghetti monster



A new stallion shows up in Ponyville, garnering a lot of attention from the mares. But watch out, he is not what he seems!

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Chapter 7: Trapped In Purgatory

Transformed



Chapter 7: Trapped In Purgatory



Princess Luna came in through her balcony, horn aglow, carrying Ravage in her forelegs. The room lights came to life, as the balcony doors closed behind her, and the windows soon after.

Two bat ponies, forsaking their invisibility spell, came out of shadows from another tower to see the blinds and drapes hastily closed. “Unless I miss my guess, the Princess doesn’t want to be disturbed,” the stallion of the pair said. His mare partner nodded, and the pair dissolved into ambiguity, reclaiming their place in the darkness to keep watch.

Luna never worried about her things in the high tower, and she liked to flood her space with the alpine air, even on cold nights. With rhythmic wing beats, she hovered over her bed and placed Ravage atop the silken sheets and pillow covers.

The shivering pony immediately drew in his legs around himself to conserve heat. > Gotta think. Gotta get out of here! < The Decepticon feared that turning on his blood heating system may not have escaped detection by such a powerful pony.

Away from Luna’s body heat, the earth pony continued shivering. “Are you alright, Ravage?” she asked, water vapour accompanying every syllable as she settled onto the floor. “Oh my! Let me get a fire going.” She turned toward her oversized fireplace, pointing her horn at it. A raging flame spewed forth, the colour of which matched her magic aura, as each log was instantly turned to fire. The heat could be felt immediately, and Ravage’s shivering calmed down.

Luna put on a coy smile, admiring her newly relaxed stallion. Turning away, she started humming a tune from antiquity, her horn glowing once again.

The Dark Princess took a few of bouncy steps with her hips swaying and tail swishing to whatever she was humming, and letting loose a piece of regalia before repeating the process. Ravage watched the bizarre display, constantly trying to think of a way out. Her chest piece came off first, and then her crown, followed by her front right shoe which she threw into a bookshelf. She gave him a mischievous look before turning around. Slowly approaching with the same reckless abandon, she ejected one hind shoe, and then the other which rolled with a haphazard bounce, like a football, and wound up in the fire. The disposal of each garment was all in time to her bouncy tune. She finally made it to the edge of the bed, propping herself up on her one shoeless hoof, and dangling the other hoof, applying a gentle agitation that made her look like a kitten playing with a toy. She held a look to Ravage, smiling almost evilly as her last piece of hoofwear came off. It hit the floor with a metallic thud that made the end tables tremor. It might as well have been an engine block in Ravage’s terrified state. Suddenly, she pounced the Decepticon, pinning his forelegs under hers.

Luna looked down at Ravage, grinning with lascivious desire. His eyes were closed, and his head was turned to the side. He was shivering again, but this time from fear; she could feel his rapid heart rate against her chest. He’s very frightened, she realized. “Ravage, I’m not going to hurt you.”

He opened his eyes back up, and turned his head to look up at her. > I’m not dead yet. That’s a good sign. < He dared not resist Luna’s immortal strength.

Luna sighed, and fell to the bed space beside her chosen partner. She knew this kind of fear well. She once liked it. Not always, of course, though she could not tell which came first: her appreciation of the fear and terror in others, or her awful transformation.

The Princess of the Night turned onto her side to face Ravage, who had calmed down considerably. “Ravage?” He turned his head to her side. “Ravage, I need your help.”

The Decepticon stallion looked incredulous, almost mocking, “My help?”

“Times have changed, as you mentioned earlier. I do not wish to force myself upon any pony. Can you forgive my over exuberance?”

Ravage nodded, waiting for the princess to continue. He was happy just to be alive.

“Though it pleases me to see that many pony families kept up a lunar bent during my imprisonment, and I know how easy it would be to acquire a willing stallion or mare to share my bed for a night, I feel,” Luna paused, trying to find the words to describe her feelings best, “I feel a connection. With you.” She studied Ravage’s reaction.

The Decepticon’s eyes narrowed in thought. “I do not understand.”

Luna chuckled softly, “It’s a magical connection.” Ravage yielded nothing in his expression. “Alright, can you explain how I sensed you nearly a week before you came to Ponyville?” The Princess believed that Ravage had a familiar feel about him. She felt it before, then more strongly when she observed him in the dreams of Ponyville’s mares, and more strongly still when she first saw him the previous Friday night. That night, his proximity caused her sense of him to spike, and when she searched the lakeside it didn’t take long for her to find him. While the Moon Princess couldn’t pinpoint why she felt as such, she knew that there was more than met the eye about him.

Ravage thought a bit. Sensing other ponies, even specific ones, could be high-level magic involving the first and second thaumic fields, and he made a mental note to ask Twilight. What was he doing around a week before the last Friday? His new body came online, on Cybertron. Could Princess Luna have actually felt it?

“Luna, are you certain it was me?” he stated, trying to downplay the significance of the alicorn’s assertion.

Now Luna’s eyes narrowed. “Positive. I am a Princess of Equestria, Ravage.” She reached out with a foreleg, placing it over the disbelieving Decepticon. “Your existence didn’t cause a disturbance until recently.” Gripping the pony bot, she pulled him in toward her, chest to back, lying on their sides. “You and I were meant to be together. I can feel it. Fate has decided it!”

Ravage felt her wing cover his body like a blanket. “To what end?”

Luna breathed in deeply the scent of Ravage’s coat. Her eyes widened with surprised at first, and then her face contorted into a scowl when she smelled another mare. She then realized the true depth of her stallion’s question. “I believe, my sociable little pony, we will discover that for ourselves.”

Faking reproduction nightly was not on Ravage’s to-do list. He tried to get up, but Luna’s grapple was at least as strong as Devastator’s grip. At that failed attempt, her irritating giggling spewed out.

“Going somewhere?” She tightened her hold. “The best thing is, the longer you’re with me, the stronger our bond gets,” the smiling Princess observed.

With brute force off the table, Ravage had only his wits to fall back on. Oh, he had wits alright. He smiled broadly as his face cast an evil sneer at the ultimate mental challenge he had just thought up! “Uh, I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Oh…” Luna released Ravage immediately, whereupon he calmly proceeded to the lavatory. She levitated over a book to read while he did his business.

Ravage closed the door behind him, and tried to collect his thoughts. What really bothered him was what she said about her bond growing stronger. His pupils shrunk to the size of dots (pony physiology!) as he figured out the extent of Luna’s sensing powers. > Could she learn to detect me wherever I was? <

He scanned Luna’s rather sizable washing quarters. An ornate sink and mirrors, with their metal parts either made of or plated in gold; a surprisingly simple toilet; a wall dedicated to towels, clothing, and feminine hygiene products; and finally, a substantial shower and tub. Ravage quietly moved the shower curtain to the side, revealing a window. Smiling, he opened the window to scan his surroundings.

Proximity Alert: multiple pegasus units.

Ravage looked toward the open sky, and saw nothing at all, but his infrared tab was flashing in warning. Upon switching to heat detection, the sky came alive with pegasi – bat pegasi! There were at least two dozen patrolling in the distance, but two more closed to within a few body lengths of him. He closed the window.

Luna turned a page of the novel she was reading. It was a guilty pleasure, these Daring Do books, but she found the main character’s quick wit, nerves of steel, and unstoppable determination were too likable to dismiss easily. Actually, she saw a lot of Daring’s characteristics in Ravage. Only he was darker. The Princess’ eyes lit up at an epiphany. Was Ravage dark? That would be something she could sense now, since the bond should have grown strong enough. A toilet flushed as the Earth pony reappeared. Luna mirthfully tapped her hoof on the space beside her.

Ravage needed no translation matrix to know that she wanted him back in her hooves. With no other options available, he crawled back onto the bed and allowed himself to be reinserted, thus resuming the same cuddling position. He felt the side of Luna’s snout rubbing into his neck, much like Fluttershy had done earlier. Her forelegs held him fast. A gentle breeze rinsed over his exposed flank every time her tail made its sinuous wave. Her body was warm, and surprisingly soft. Though he hated admitting it, he felt secure, and without planning it, he wriggled against the mighty Princess. What power in the galaxy would be foolish enough to challenge Luna? His head was propped up under one of the Princess’ soft pillows with her magic, and he relaxed further.

In the fog of exquisite comfort, he recalled the evening’s events. The smell and taste of all that amazing food was how it began. His Magic lesson with Twilight was dispatched, but that no longer bothered him. Did he really play all those silly games with those ponies? Did he really dance?

He danced with Fluttershy. He knew there was a problem when his heartbeat sped up at the thought of her, stirring up emotions he didn’t know how to quantify. Ravage tried to avoid intimacy. He tried so hard! And yet, the notion that he and Fluttershy could have been doing the exact same thing, cuddling as he was, seemed viable. The yellow mare pointed out that her place was warm, well stocked and had tea. Those were obvious properties, why specify them?

Ravage recalled the moments when Fluttershy clung to him, or nuzzled him, and albeit cautiously, he felt satisfied. His eyes had closed as thinking of the gentle pegasus mare relaxed him even further. He had planned on escaping from Luna, getting what sleep he could, and reporting for work on time as usual, but his tired body had other plans.

Luna felt Ravage’s form go limp, succumbing to her realm of rest. She smiled, soaking in the sensation of his intimate proximity. Oh yes, their bond was indeed growing stronger, and it revealed something that she suspected during the day of the libido nocta party, but now she was sure of it. The Princess looked down at Ravage’s serene from. The scene contrasted with what she knew to be true. “Are you dangerous?” she whispered.

She cast the Purity spell, one which not only caused his body to fluoresce, indicating his status, but it also registered on Luna’s emotional state. What she found was shocking.

He had not done murder. That was the big one. He would have given off a blood red glow, and Luna would have felt the anguish of the families who lost loved ones in the process.

No, his aura was stainless. Impossible! Even the purest of ponies were soiled with sin. Yet, not Ravage, as his body glowed the white of innocence. Only baby ponies would glow so cleanly. The serenity Luna felt was indescribable, yet she cancelled the spell.

“Pure as well as dangerous,” she uttered quietly. Luna knew he was different, but this was puzzling. Her brow creased in concentration as she raked her mind for an answer. Was there a magical force masking his true nature? Luna can sense any kind of magic, so that was unlikely. Equally unlikely was a miscast Purity spell, as the Princess had practiced magic for so long that if she were to write out her knowledge she would fill volume after volume of spell books, and never finish for years. A pure, dangerous stallion he was.

Luna pondered on what could possibly make Ravage a threat. He didn’t radiate anything forbidden that the Princess’ magic could detect. He was not really dark, although the pursuit of purity had been known to be very corruptive to sapient life. He had no magical power, and yet he was difficult to locate, even with the Night Dweller spell and teleportation.

Also, why was he swimming around a dam at night? Certainly, that could be added to the list of things about him that didn’t make any sense. From conversations with her sister, who often spoke of letters from Twilight Sparkle, he had a knack for understanding advanced magical concepts even though he poured concrete for a living. On top of that, he grew up in nowhere in particular, just ‘rural Equestria’. That left a lot of missing information.

Nevertheless, Luna felt strongly for him. They had a magical bond that was a real as the stone on which Canterlot was built. She liked him from the day she first laid eyes on him. In spite of his simple and polite exterior, she knew Ravage was destined for big things. “Hmmph, all the more reason for you to be my special somepony,” she stated.

Bad nightmares were occurring in a couple of foals and Luna knew it was time to do her duty. She teleported away and went to work.


=^.^=


Proximity Alert: Unit Princess Luna.

Ravage was awakened a couple of hours later by his early warning systems. It was a good thing too, as the fire had died down considerably, and the chill in the air had returned. Before he even opened his eyes, a summary of Luna appeared in his vision, though away from his center of view. With the database updated, the display showed known strength and speed parameters in bright green text, as well as a spinning three-dimensional model of the Princess up in the corner.

The Decepticon pony heard no hoof steps; only wing beats. He could hear Luna shuffling about her things and make a bathroom trip. Though his body was groggy and tired, he felt it was time to get out. Since she works at night, Ravage had hoped her return visit would be brief.

Deciding to keep his eyes closed, he turned on his infrared, but the excellent view of the south wall wasn’t going to help his case. His pony body loved to twist itself into a multitude of configurations during sleep, and he felt fortunate that his skeleton and joints were made of combat ready alloy.

Ravage felt himself being lifted and moved; he was being straightened out. Cracking open an eye just a touch, he could see that it was Luna’s magic that was doing this. Bad mistake, because now his heat sensing plates saw Luna perfectly. She was hovering, and looking contemplative, that is until her face contorted with mischievous ideas. With gentle wing flaps she hovered over him. And then, she tried to interface! Floating down upon the hapless Decepticon, she entangled her legs with his body, elevating his head and neck with one of her forelegs. Bringing her face in close, she maneuvered in to start mouth pressing when Ravage opened up his eyes widely. Startled, she made a squeaky, effeminate noise jumping back into a hovering position.

“Affection is a two way street.” Ravage heard Rarity use that line earlier that evening. Though he had no idea what she was discussing, he knew what it meant.

Grinning like a filly with her hoof caught in the cookie jar, Luna rubbed her forelegs together and her hind legs together in embarrassment. “Hee hee…” Luna knew there was no way out of this, and yet she still had the urge to deny any wrongdoing. “Just, making sure…” she stuttered, “Um, you looked like you could use some company?” Ravage’s glare did not diminish. “Oh. My. Goodness, would you look at that. Somepony’s having a nightmare!” With a flash of light that illuminated the entire room, she teleported away.

Ravage hopped off the bed and transformed. He ordered his battle network to search for Luna while he stepped in the bathroom. Standing, and keeping the light clicked off, Ravage’s indicator lights were the only source of light inside Luna’s lavatory with the moon’s light blocked by the shower curtain. He attempted to set up an uplink with his ship in the Everfree Forest. Within just a few moments of communicating with his satellite network, “Got it!” he stated triumphantly.

The interior of Ravage’s ship lit up like a Christmas tree, as the Decepticon spy uploaded instructions to construct machine parts for his plan to capture energy from the dam. It was a lengthy operation and needed to be started as soon as possible. The ships screens glowed with designs being generated. One by one, he approved each design to make water proof housing, copper coils, fan blades, anchoring systems, and a microwave emitter, including infrared safety alarms, among other devices. The ponies had embraced wireless power distribution, so why shouldn’t the Decepticons? An hour later, he was done, and his ship started constructing the parts.

Ravage’s battle network had located Princess Luna perched atop the mountain that Canterlot was on. She appeared to be in a relaxed sitting position, ignoring the freezing winds, and hypoxic environment. “And it’s time to go,” Ravage declared out loud.

Ravage began to formulate his escape plan. He felt there were two routes: through the castle, or down the wall. The castle was full of guards, and unfamiliar territory; outside the tower was also full of guards, but the wall was easily traversed using small anchoring pins hidden within his hooves. “The wall it is.”

He reviewed video of the wall he saw when he flew in with Luna, getting a feel for its texture. Also, he opened the bathroom window, and disenabled the locking mechanism by unbolting it and keeping it on the sink counter for later use. He doused the fire with water from the tub and a fancy bucket he found near Luna’s supply of alcohol.

Transforming into pony mode, he waited outside the bathroom with the door open and listened. As expected, sounds of attempts to shut the window by the guards, mixed in with some pretty unique curse words and phrases, carried on for about ten minutes. Eventually they kept it shut by jamming tooth picks in the framework.

Working entirely in infrared, Ravage pulled off the shower curtain and laid it flat on the main room floor. He then took the wet ash and smeared it over the curtain’s entire surface. Spinning his turbines once again, he blew air over the filthy shower curtain trying to get it to dry. The best part about this plan was that if he couldn’t go through with it, he could easily wash and reinstall everything, and Luna would never be the wiser. In the middle of drying, Ravage forced the bathroom window back open. He kept an eye on the open window to make sure the guards didn’t come back to the alien sound of his turbines.

Once dried, Ravage cut off a small piece and went to the window. The guards did not approach when he stuck his hoof out this time. While not perfect, the shade of the dirty curtain was close enough for the pony bot.

Using rope that hung one of Luna’s soap bars, Ravage tied a portion of the curtain around his neck, forming a makeshift cloak. The window was more than large enough for a pony to get through. Slowly backing out while the satellites monitored the area for heat signatures, Ravage crept out the window. Using his pins, he slowly scaled down the wall. One meter away, two meters away, four… The farther he had moved away from the window, the faster he descended. It helped that the window was on the side of the wall opposite the Moon’s glare. Soon, he reached the ground! He had noticed several bat ponies making the rounds overhead, but not one came to investigate the open window. The curtain, as well as his ability to reroute his blood supply, must have almost completely blocked Ravage’s body heat, all the while looking like the stony wall.

Discarding his curtain cloak, Ravage moved in behind a thicket of brush and waited. His battle network reported that Luna had moved away from the mountain peak and it hadn’t located her new position yet. Angle Precise, one of the chief engineers whom Bo and Micah work for, lived in Canterlot and sometimes showed up at the job site at around quarter to seven, arriving by train. That meant a train for Ravage to catch in and around five to five-thirty. If only he could wait it out that long. And then, the bathroom light came on!

Ravage smiled in anticipation of the scolding to come. Did Luna not yet understand why he tried to escape her?

Error Port 32,453: Unauthorized Access

> Here it comes. <

Incoming Audio Message: ‘We are not amused!

I couldn’t imagine why,’ his thoughts laced with sarcasm.

We have saved thy life, and this is how you thank us!?

How thankful would you be if your host started feeling up your body without your permission?’ Ravage waited for Luna to form a response, yet none came. ‘You can’t keep your hooves to yourself.

Luna stood mortified, soaking her shower curtain in the tub, not that she was at all surprised at him escaping practically right in front of her guards. She easily fixed the window and curtain, good as new. It was a good thing the frustrated alicorn didn’t have any servants around to witness this embarrassing event.

Saving him did not guarantee unfettered access, as she had hoped. Did she really try to violate him? Luna thought about it briefly. She did. The Princess of Lust was not accustomed to her playmates rejecting her advances in her own bed, yet that is what Ravage did. The Purity spell indicated he had babe like innocence, and this led to only one possibility. ‘Ravage, are you a virgin?

Thanks to his research on love, Ravage knew of the definition. ‘Absolutely I am.’ > And that’s the way it’s going to stay. <

The Equestrian populace overwhelmingly embraces the opposite position, my friend,’ Luna stated, keeping to more modern language.

Let them. I care not for intimate coupling.

The Night Princess was taken aback. ‘Were you raised in a glass decanter?’ she paused briefly, trying to think of a possible explanation, ‘Or, were you that isolated? Since I feel it is the latter, I command you to show yourself and be returned to me at once. You’ll thank me obsequiously once I’ve removed this virginal curse.

No thanks. I’m good.

Ravage’s defiance was getting on her nerves, and the Princess gritted her teeth in anger. What kind of stallion was this? She caught herself though, and using the time tested stress control routine, she inhaled deeply and pushed her troubles away from her.

Besides, Luna reluctantly came to the realization that she really did violate his trust. In most other cases, Luna getting down with her bedmates was practically expected. Simply being in her bedroom was all the permission the Princess needed. This was not so with Ravage. Of course, that failed attempt was also Luna’s first since her return to Equestria. Could it be that society itself had changed so much? In spite of being allowed to do literally anything she wanted, the Equestrian royalty needed a sense of purpose behind every action. They valued being responsible.

Luna and Ravage had a date coming, and they had to remain on good terms. ‘Ravage, I’m sorry. You are correct. I need to be more vigilant over my desires. I’ll talk to you later, okay?

Alright,’ he responded, his terseness due to character, not actual anger.

She terminated the mental link. It was time to plan! This brought a smile to her face, as Luna loved to plan. Though Ravage was brought in against his will, she learned a great deal. He was dangerous, pure, virginal, intelligent, stealthy, and she ached for his company. The Moon Princess’ smile gained an air of evil to it when she made a significant realization. “Any mare that dates him is going to be sorely disappointed.”


=^.^=


Luna’s guards did not pursue him, and he walked out of the castle grounds without the night guards so much as looking at him. Ravage just walked out in the open, quietly traversing Canterlot’s streets at night, using the satellite network to guide him toward the railway. His body protested its overextended use, as his eyelids were heavy and even his legs were tired; he had to find a place to transform, preferably close to the railway station. A clock tower indicated that it was after one in the morning, and going by the twisty route the satellites determined, it was another twenty minutes to the train platform. Work was going to be hell the next morning.

It was not surprising that Ravage found solace in the dead of night. Canterlot was spotless; the architecture of its largest buildings and majestic bridges with their sweeping curves and use of non-conventional shapes actually reminded him of Cybertron, especially with their colours dulled by the darkness.

Weather Update: Fog Warning.

Viewing the details, Ravage discovered cold air was creeping in from the north. The valley below was becoming blanketed in a thick fog. From hot and humid to cold and wet in one night, such was the climate of the region. He wondered if he could fly through it; his jet engines may be loud, but it was night time. Strange noises in this land could easily be chalked up to being of unknown magical origin. All he had to do is descend about fifteen-hundred meters and he would be deep enough into the fog that the bat pegasi shouldn’t see his heat profile, even from his jet exhaust. His radar, satellites, and infrared vision would allow him to get right to his access hatch, his ‘door step’. The Decepticon smiled as he did the calculations: eighty minutes to the launch point; ten minutes to fly home at the most! The plan allowed him to be able to pack a lunch to bring to work as well, instead of paying for a meal. Skip waiting for the train! Most notably, Ravage would be able to fly again, an activity he missed greatly since starting his mission here. He picked up the pace toward the train station, as he would have to start his descent from the platform.


=^.^=


Ravage entered the fog where wisps of water vapour started to occlude the stars and the Moon. There were trails, but they were barely recognizable. A couple of old campfire pits and debris with symbols of royal origin pointed at the possibility that the guards or military personnel trained here from time to time.

Ravage felt like galloping, in spite of the exposed roots, as it was the surest way to flying and safety in his base. He paused for a bit, and made his decision, smiling as he would be home even sooner using the ponies’ world renowned galloping speed. Suddenly, the roots beneath his hooves became soft and moved about. Ravage looked downward to see that the roots had come alive! Like snakes, they slithered about – and then they wound themselves around Ravage’s lower legs and midsection! The shocked Decepticon stallion tried to wrench himself free, but was suddenly sucked down beneath the surface. A multitude of warnings went off in front of his vision as he was roughly dragged down some sort of earthen tunnel, dust and mud assaulting his eyes and ears as he went. The ground suddenly vanished as he fell through air, and with a thud, Ravage stopped harshly.

Shaking his head, he noticed he was unable to wipe his face off, with all four limbs still restrained by the living roots. Instead, he used his long neck to clean his face by his withers. Finally able to see again, he took stock of his situation. Clearing his eyesight turned out to be almost useless, as he was in a dark, dank underground chamber. A faint, reddish light seemed to emanate from stones sprinkled on the walls; small roots dangled from the top of a cavern barely large enough to fit a Constructicon in vehicle mode. The trickle of dirt debris continued sporadically. For a second time since he arrived in Equestria he heard the sound of his own heartbeat, a sound that heralded the coming of dark forces, and for a second time that night he became frightened. The stallion bot had faced a myriad of different situations, but nothing quite like this. He gathered information using his infrared vision, and tested the roots’ strength which held fast around the back of his midsection, and blocked his weapon bay doors. There was no way he was able to transform trussed up like that.

Cackling laughter sounded off somewhere forward. The targeting system identified the source of the sound coming from a jagged tree stump directly in front him. Checking the infrared, nothing changed. But then against all logic, it smiled at the bruised pony bot. It was some sort of creature! Baring his teeth angrily, Ravage leered back, his warlike mind busy thinking of ways to destroy the bizarre looking thing.

“You not happy?” the living trunk needled in a nasal, raspy voice.

“Why did you entrap me?” Ravage asked calmly, wishing to see his captor set ablaze.

“Your soul become food for Golgok! Happy, smiling ponies taste best.”

Ravage’s head turned to the side, still staring at the trunk thing. Does he mean my spark? “And why my soul? What do you get out of it?”

“Shut up!” Ravage was suspended in midair by the enchanted roots. Abruptly, they squeezed the pony bot, the torque forces twisting and constricting his body, making him cry out in pain. The trunk thing laughed maniacally at the agonizing pony’s misfortune, and squeezed again! Ravage figured out its game quickly and willed himself to stop screaming, in spite of the intense pain. “It doesn’t matter which pony’s soul if me get gems,” the vile thing explained. Figuring it must have sent its prey into shock, it put Ravage back down, whose face was reeling from the experience.

It animatedly tore itself free of the long roots that held its catch. With lopsided hops on wooden protrusions that were its ‘root feet’ the thing rollicked away from Ravage, leaving the Decepticon by himself.

Though sore and aching, Ravage tried resisting his bonds again. This time they were not as rigid as a couple of centimeters of play could be yielded from the restrictive roots. After waiting for his odd looking captor to leave, Ravage tried to chew through them. Ten minutes later, no progress had been made, as he was bound in a way that forced his forelegs together making it physically impossible to reach them with his teeth. Evidently, Equestrians had been captured this way before and the hunters had adapted their tactics to evade pony biting forces.

Physically exhausted, Ravage hung his head low. He needed to think; to be creative; to circumnavigate his way out of this hopeless situation, but his vulnerable pony form brewed a stew of potent negative feeling.

How different would things have turned out if he just had tea with Fluttershy? That’s what she wanted to do before he left, he was certain of it now. She was just asking indirectly. Without a doubt, Ravage would have preferred to have spent time with her than with these roots. Her floral scent and gentle disposition weren’t all that bad, were they? They were just different ways of communicating without speaking, and from working with Soundwave, Ravage had come to appreciate many different ways of delivering information. What he found unusual about Fluttershy was how seldom she flew. Suddenly, his face lit up from the sensation of a good idea.

He should have been flying! Right then – in the air. The fog would have covered his trajectory, yet somehow he ended up in this cavern.

Going into his transformation protocols, he isolated the controls for his wings – devices not normally used in pony mode. Without any roots to block them a brief yellow light around the tissue interfaces preceded a whir of solenoids and hydraulics, and Ravage’s wings spanned out. Jet motors were exposed, among an array of shiny machine parts and a litany of indicator lights; his organs were shielded by flexible armor. He reasoned that since his flight steering was assisted by thrust vectoring, and the wings were somewhat adjustable, he may be able to use the hot exhaust to burn through the roots. The odd looking pony with wings coming out from his sternum studied the area behind himself, looking for something to burn. He turned on his jets, but even idling, they were incredibly loud. The trunk thing was gone for at least twenty minutes, presumably to fetch this Golgok character, so he decided to keep going. The stallion bot was indeed able to deflect the hot gases onto the offending roots, at least the ones on his hind legs, and without burning himself. It worked! Ravage was shaking his head though. “Maybe one day I’ll actually use these things for flying.”

Forty-five minutes later, Ravage was severing the last root on his left front foreleg. Once his hind hooves were free, he used the anchoring pins hidden within them to cut the other roots. He let them remain curled up around his limbs and midsection in case Golgok showed up. Gravely sounds of shifting earth were heard, and the tired pony bot looked to the source. He found the tunnel he was dragged down was closing up, as more and more earth magically deposited itself, eliminating the pony bot’s only means of escape.

Ravage was not impressed. He just wanted to go home and go to sleep. This stupid country had been messing with him in the worst way. Never in his life had the Decepticon ever needed to deal with emotional input from a living body.

He was receiving ceaseless attention from the mares, whereas he would have normally preferred to have been hidden and out of sight. Why try to maintain their high opinion of him? He may have been unable to escape Celestia-1 without their guidance. Ultimately, avoidance of mares was impossible, whether or not he pursued his mission objectives. Whether they showered him with delicious free food, showed him how to play good sports, or showed him the discipline of Magic, he had benefitted greatly from retaining a good rapport with Equestria’s mares. Fluttershy in particular seemed to create bouts of positive feeling just by thinking about her. Ravage gasped at the realization. He could have transformed to try to mitigate his emotions, but it was too late. The tired Decepticon pony was developing feelings for them! As unacceptable as that was, Ravage didn’t deny it.

“NO!!” he barked defiantly. This lack of ability to shut out these primitive feelings that resulted from mere neurochemistry would be dealt with. He classified this mission as the most challenging ever, not because of the strength of his opponents, but because of having to be forced to devolve to their level and live in the roiling seas of emotion. Ravage was cold and calculating, not warm and nurturing, and just a fraction of his battle record proved it. His objectives were: acquire energon, complete his mission by deducing how magic works, and leave the planet. And leave he shall! Once his mission was completed he was to return to Cybertron where his spark would be restored to his old body. Surely, the so called thaumic fields were responsible for the radio interference he was dealing with. He just had to get out of the tunnel first.

There was, of course, another objective ordered by Megatron.

Faint noises coming from down the tunnel caught the pony bot’s attention. At around the same time, the living tree trunk creature waddled back. Ravage had to ask, “What are you, exactly?”

“Me diamond dog! Or, used to be.” The noises got louder, closing in on an intersection, which was a tunnel fork. It started to glow green as the creatures got closer. Guttural, hellish sounds and noises of otherworldly denizens could be heard, and were slowly rising in volume. “Hear that? You die soon!”

Ravage found out about the diamond dogs during the research phase. They were enemies of the ponies, and lived their entire existence underground. “How are you going to kill me?” the Decepticon asked in a challenging way.

“Golgok stone you, then take your soul!”

“I was unaware souls are a commodity.” Several stony, deformed creatures stumbled and bumbled into view. In the light, they were too blackened against the glowing emerald background to be discernible, but in infrared Ravage saw the body parts of several creatures, as well as tree parts strewn together; torn up logs with pony legs; a pony head walked on branches like a spider; other creature parts were attached together like some grotesque anatomical jigsaw puzzle. The clambered over each other and some even crawled on the ceiling.

Following them, a great creature larger than the largest stallion, strode into view. Its lizard-like body resembled a something between a dragon and a snake. It had six legs, as well as a long neck and tail; shimmering, green scales armored the integument. Glowing, dagger-like spines erupted from head to tail, looking like a thorny brush; these were causing the green illumination. The head was angular and swept back; the thing’s face was draconic, with fleshy whiskers hanging turgidly from the snout. Its featureless eyes also glowed, but from a more yellow kind of green.

Unbelievably, it carried an air of aristocracy with its snout held high as it was. “Oh my goodness gracious, a child of Celestia,” he spoke in a refined tone and language. Ravage was reminded of that rich human hunter from decades ago who had almost managed to capture Optimus Prime, but before he did he bested some powerful Decepticons, including Astrotrain. It was as if he had come back as this six legged monstrosity. Ravage just smirked at the group; such silly bodies they had! The reptile’s air of indifference vanished. “Come on boy, scream in terror. Beg for your life like a good pony,” he spoke, still looking away, realizing something was different about this catch.

“Golgok, I presume?” Ravage asked calmly. He was ready to open fire in a moment’s notice. Without any means of escape, however, talking to his captors was the only viable option that could lead to an exit.

The lizard finally looked directly at Ravage. “Why yes, I am,” his words flowing out evilly while his eyes burned brightly. He wondered why his prisoner was so fearless. Ponies can’t turn to stone at his gaze unless they show fear! Not a problem; he hid more powerful magic that he could rely on. “Silvertail?”

“Yeah boss?” the trunk thing responded.

“This is an earth pony. I said unicorn. Can you not tell the difference?”

“Ohhh, uh, sorry boss. It dark outside!”

Golgok leaned his head backward with his long, serpentine neck and a foreleg covered his eyes dramatically, “Uh, I had so relished a unicorn soul to devour.” Upon recovering his stately posture, he looked disgustedly at Ravage. “Now, if he were a foal, his soul would have been all the more sumptuous, but as you can see, it can only taste,” he paused, looking for the right word, “gamey,” gesturing toward the pony bot. Ravage remained unmoved, and unimpressed. The reptile, despite his dislike for the Equestrian race, had become interested in the uncharacteristically calm pony. “What’s your name, boy? A little small talk may let you live longer.”

“Princess Luna.”

Golgok returned a disappointed face. “The Princesses can change form, but I haven’t ever heard of them changing gender.” Though, being one of the princesses would have explained the lack of terror.

They can transform? This was a stunning revelation, and it showed on the Decepticon’s face.

“Oh, you didn’t know that?” the hexaped spoke, calm as the calmest lake on a windless day. “It’s how they walk among their people.” He leaned in to punctuate his point, “It keeps them sane.”

“An insane Princess,” Ravage mused, looking toward the ceiling, trying to imagine it. “Now what would that be like?”

For a brief moment, Golgok appeared shocked, but then bellowed in laughter at Ravage’s question, and his minions laughed with him. “You have character, boy,” the reptile complimented, “A pity nobody else will get to enjoy it after this morning.”

The Decepticon counted his ammunition. Golgok’s entourage started closing in. Ravage looked toward Silvertail, “Tell me, minion, do you think these roots are strong enough to hold me?” he asked of the jagged tree trunk creature.

Silvertail appeared insulted. “What? You no escape me! I hold you better.” The annoyed trunk creature stepped back onto the roots he left behind, fully intent on demonstrating the pain that constriction can cause. Yet, the roots wrapped around Ravage’s body did not move. Something was wrong, and it was written all over its bark encrusted face. He looked at Ravage with a mixture of curiosity and confusion, and in spite of the darkness, he was finding out why the roots did not squeeze at his whim.

“Any last words, earth pony?” the lizard beast mocked.

With a quick whir of hydraulics that took less than a second, the weapon bay doors opened up, and Ravage’s machine guns assembled their attack mode from compact storage. “Yes.” The face of confusion was the last emotion Silvertail expressed as Ravage’s guns came alive; deafening blasts accompanied cones of white hot flame that followed the heavy bullets. The tree trunk creature was reduced to wood chips in less than two seconds.

Golgok was spared by Ravage, and the shocked reptilian and his minions were back-pedaling away from the carnage. “How – how dare you!”

Ravage slowly walked toward the last remaining threat, turning on his weapons’ laser sights, causing Golgok to gasp once again at this terrifying new magic. “I’d like to introduce my associates: Fifty, and Cal,” he threatened calmly. He then looked toward the remaining deformed creatures, “Get out.” They scurried off like rats leaving a sinking ship.

“I, I, I…” Golgok sputtered, desperately trying to back away from Ravage, but the pony bot was much more nimble. He had never faced an opponent like this.

“Go ahead, Golgok. Give me a reason to kill you.” Ravage remained calm, for he actually needed the lizard to remain alive until he got out of subterranean Equestria.

Golgok stopped in his tracks. He was certain that if he tried to run, Ravage would bring him down with those brutal weapons of his. He couldn’t deliver his more powerful stoning spells either; they required a couple of minutes of uninterrupted concentration to implement. Sitting on what counted as his haunches and grimacing, he brought his forelegs and mid legs in front of him, and started rubbing his palms together. “Uh, perhaps we can make a deal?”

“Oh?” Ravage uttered softly.

For a moment, Golgok studied the two pins of laser light on his chest. “I, I have information!” Satisfied with his offer, he smiled wryly. “Yes, information.”

“’Better be good,” Ravage said, unimpressed.

“Oh yes, ask me anything,” Golgok offered, still smiling falsely.

Deciding to give it a go, it didn’t take Ravage long to think up something useful. “What is a diamond dog’s soul doing in a tree trunk?”

“Ah! Good story. I exist to devour souls, you see. To do this, I first turn my victims into stone, a state tantamount to death. My methods keep the victim’s soul intact, whereupon I can either devour it, or I can transfer it to some other inanimate object. In any case, I need to break the stone open.” Golgok was still grinning madly.

“Why not eat food?” Ravage challenged.

“Dear boy, my dark magical power simultaneously gives me everlasting life, health, and frees me from mortal bindings which need a constant flow of food and drink.”

Ravage was still unimpressed. He wasn’t going to be on the planet for much longer, and he had no need of this drivel. “Well, this has all been interesting, but I still need to get out of this slag-forsaken pit!” he growled. For all his self-control, anger seeped into his words.

The great lizard had a moment of bewilderment. For all the millennia he had lived, he had heard many phrases, but ‘slag-forsaken’ was completely foreign, even with the changing times. “Of, of course!” He grabbed the tip of one of his spines and broke it off. “I need to place this on that wall, there,” he explained, pointing to one of the muddy walls. “It will create a passage to the surface.” Ravage motioned for him to do so.

As soon as Golgok placed the spine piece, a green glow of magical energy expanded from it. A sphere of green light forced itself upward, and at an angle, magically displacing the earth from around it. Soon, the surface was revealed! Fog started to ooze in.

For a brief moment, Ravage was happy, and a rare joyful grin graced his face. He maneuvered himself into the tunnel, walking backwards with his guns constantly pointing at Golgok. The Decepticon backed up into the new tunnel a bit, before motioning him to come forward.

Golgok took a couple of apprehensive steps forward. “Surely, you don’t mean for me to go to the surface? Princess Luna is up there!”

“It’s foggy. She won’t see you. Now come,” he ordered, use his foreleg to motion his former captor to follow him up. The lizard took more confident steps, keeping up a slow pace with Ravage. “Why do you fear Luna so?”

“Let’s just say that some of us don’t forget history,” he retorted, slowly creeping up the tunnel he made. “Have you seen her true form?”

“Dark blue with a mane made of stars?”

“No.”

Ravage was puzzled at the response. “No?”

Fear seeped into his heart as Golgok neared the surface, but he kept it under control. “The pony you’re describing is her minor form she uses to conserve magical power.”

Ravage would have noticed his rear hoof traversing onto the surface if he weren’t so engaged in Golgok’s words. “Nightmare Moon?” The now trembling lizard nodded. “I thought Elements of Harmony excised her powers.”

“Don’t be absurd!” Golgok rebuked, completely serious. “The Elements of Harmony only contained her dark powers. They are old magics, as old as history, and cannot be destroyed. Celestia make a grave error in banishing her for only a thousand years, the sentimental fool!”

Ravage looked away and pondered a bit. “But the pony race has existed longer than the Princesses have.” It was then that he heard the scurrying. He looked to see a hole closing up and Golgok was gone.

But he was free. Free at last! All at once, Ravage forgot about this Nightmare Moon nonsense and transformed, his machine guns storing themselves as he did so. Immediately, he activated his jets and attained an altitude of about forty meters. He quickly reconnected with his satellites and plotted the most direct course back to his ship. He cared not if it took him over Ponyville, and with a roar of his jet engines he drove headlong toward his destination.

Two-hundred kilometers per hour; five-hundred kilometers per hour, surpassing Luna’s top observed speed; eight-hundred kilometers per hour. He maintained this speed and enjoyed the abject freedom of flight, disregarding his normally incessant need for camouflage.

In just a few minutes, he approached the outskirts of Ponyville. A rather nasty idea occurred in his head, and he sneered as he pushed his jet engines as hard as they could go. In under half a minute a Mach cone started forming as he cleared twelve-hundred kilometers per hour. “Wake up ponies!” he yelled harshly. And then, he flew above town hall…

BOOM!

Just seconds later he landed by the access hatch, and after making sure nobody was around, he let himself in. He stayed in robot mode, since he would have had to rise in less than two hours anyways. He couldn’t wait to see the results of his very satisfying prank. He felt he owed it to them after all he had to go through since he got this crazy country.

Ravage proceeded to his radio room. Since the main computer was busy guiding the manufacture of parts, he tried once again to reach his fellow Decepticons.

“Ravage to Cybertron. Come in Cybertron!”

Author's Note:

Golgok sounds like Megabyte.

A quote like this >' Quote.'< means Ravage is thinking in machine language.

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