• Published 6th Sep 2013
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Five Score: A New Hive - bossfight1



Chris, on his twenty-fifth birthday, begins going through some inhuman changes. Set in the Five Sco

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Chapter 33: Love, and the Pain it Brings

Chapter 33: Love, and the Pain it Brings

I gaped as I watched the figures swarm out of the portals in the distance and converge on Ponyville.

“Well, have fun!” Discord said cheerfully, talon still raised for another snap. “I’m off to deal with your new besties.

Snap. He vanished.

“COWARD!!” I roared, before yelling over my shoulder, “HERE THEY COME!!”

The swarm spread out into a thick line, both in the air and on the ground, forming a wall between the portals and the town. The ponies stood with us, bearing looks that ranged from determination to barely-constrained terror. Still, no one was fleeing; in fact, it seemed the knowledge that a battle was waiting on the far side of the portal was enticing ponies to flood out at a greater rate.

I turned back towards the encroaching army; they were close enough that I could make out its forces. Griffons, minotaurs, dragons and diamond dogs… Likely, Discord had offered them some prize, perhaps an empty promise of leaving their lands alone, if not some form of wealth, like gems—a deal I easily saw the dogs quickly agree to—in return for their allegiance..

“There are so many…” Echo began.

Numbers don’t make a victory, I said. Just keep as much attention on us as possible; whatever the Mane Six are doing, we need to buy them time to beat Discord.

The army was fast approaching now; it seemed they’d be able to smash through entire buildings from their momentum alone.

Be ready… I called to the Royals, who relayed it to the rest of the swarm. Hold fast, and make them pay for every last inch.

The army was meters from the town now. I glanced down to see a dozen diamond dogs, bearing a variety of clubs, approaching the first line of the swarm. One of them glanced up at me.

Here we go.

I dropped down. Hard. I landed hard enough to send a cloud of dust out from around me. I’d landed right in front of the dogs, who each gave a surprised yelp, unable to halt their advance due to their momentum. I lit up my horn and blasted three of them, sending them flying back. A pair of them, undeterred, charged forward and raised their weapons over their heads. One of them was tackled to the ground by a pair of drones, while I stood fast against the remaining dog. He swung his mace downwards.

With a single, upward motion, I swung my right foreleg up, changing it into a thick, chitinous club. My transfigured leg met the mace, the impact sending a violent, yet oddly relaxing, vibration through my bones. The dog’s mace was sent flying upwards, spinning in midair; as the dog watched it in surprise, I swung my leg into his gut. The dog fell to his knees, clutching his stomach and coughing.

I raised my club over his head for a finishing blow, when I stopped.

I was still iffy on ending a life… I’d done it a few times before my banishment, sure, but… my life as a human may have changed my outlook, some would say ‘softened’ me.

The middle of a war is kind of a poor place to have doubts about killing… Chrys said in my mind.

I clenched my teeth.

I brought the club down. Hard.

The moment the club made contact and I felt the dog drop to the ground, unmoving, I immediately flew upwards, panting heavily. My face became damp with cold sweat, and the roar of the battle gaining momentum around me began to fade out.

Hey… Chrys said. You gonna be okay?

I took a deep breath. ...Think it’ll be healthy to keep it all… stowed away until we’re done here?

...Probably not, Chrys replied. But it might be best. It’s WAR, Chris… These griffons, these minotaurs, they made their choice.

...Alright… I replied. I won’t like it, but…

It’d be worse if you DID like it, Chrys said.

I took another deep breath. Sound returned to me, and I got my head back in the fight. With no immediate threat to me or those nearest, I glanced around. My swarm was outnumbered by the griffons in the air, but they were using teamwork, striking in teams of two and covering each other. There were fewer minotaurs on the ground, though each one could easily cleave through five of my brood. For every griffon or minotaur, though, two or three of my brood were tangling with them, dodging their swings and hitting them hard and fast to take them down. Even those on the ground, who had managed to evade my brood, were tangling with the ponies, who were mostly beating their opponents with sheer numbers. Already I could see a few griffons flying away from the battle, likely seeing that their chances weren’t that good, even with Discord on their side.

The real threat of this battle, though, would be Discord himself.

While I was glancing about, a screech from above made me spin around. A griffon full-body tackled me, sinking its talons into my sides. Yelling in pain I shifted my leg into a blade. I plunged it into the griffon’s chest, causing it to give a much louder shriek of agony. I pulled the bloodied leg from its chest and, wrenching myself free of its grasp, kicked the griffon to the ground.

Another griffon suddenly landed on my back; my wings suddenly felt as though they were being put through a shredder as the griffon started tearing into them. Screaming in agony, I swiftly flipped, causing the griffon to lose its grip and fall off me. With my wings in agonizing tatters, I began to fall; I lunged forward and latched myself onto the griffon, sinking my blade into its gut. With both the mortal wound and my weight, the griffon started losing altitude.

We fell.

I lit up my horn in an attempt to mend my wings, but I was suddenly tackled on either side by two more griffons. The dying griffon fell from my grasp, while my latest aggressors began stabbing me on either side with their talons. Even between the two remaining airborne, I was still heavy for them to keep aloft; in fact, they seemed to make sure I wouldn’t survive my fall. My brood noticed that I was under attack, but they were too busy holding back the other griffons. I heard Echo calling out to me, desperately.

No…

I fought weakly against their attacks, but the pain of their attacks was practically blinding me. I yelled in pain as I tried feebly to turn, to shake off the griffons, to free myself, but nothing worked.

A third griffon suddenly latched onto my front, grinning maliciously. He reached back, talons gleaming, as though to slice my throat...

I felt myself land on something hard, yet it wasn’t the ground—we were too high up, and it felt more like something had… caught me.

Something enormous suddenly grabbed the griffon grasping my front and pulled it away; a wet ‘splat’ that followed told me all I needed to know what happened to it next. The griffons on my sides were giving confused squawks before they, too, were yanked away.

Shaking my head, I looked up at my savior. I was in the claw of a sizable blue dragon. “Are you alright?” He asked in a deep, rumbling voice as he shook his other claw free of blood and feathers.

I frowned in surprise at his concern. “...Yes? Thank you…”

A dull ‘thump’ told me the dragon had flown us safely to the ground. He gently placed me on the ground, where I stood shakily, clutching at my wounded sides with a foreleg. “I’d say I’m surprised as to your chosen side, changeling…” he said. “But then, I’ve heard tell of your race’s near extinction in Discord’s rise to power, so, honestly, it makes sense.”

I nodded slowly, then glanced around the battlefield; in the air were dozens of dragons, roaring as they charged Discord’s forces. Many of the more intelligent ones among them took this as a good time to cut their losses; they did an almost casual about face and fled in the opposite direction. Some of the diamond dogs started burrowing into the ground with panicked whimpers.

I glanced up at the dragon. “I’m rather lost as to your allegiance, though… Who are you?”

“I am Varn,” the dragon said. He gestured to his kin, who were dispatching Discord’s army so easily I briefly wondered if my brood could just let them do all the work. “And believe me… We’ve long awaited this day… The day the Elements would return, marking Discord’s downfall.”

I felt an enormous grin spread across my face; this would put things in our favor. I gave him a cheerful shrug. “Works for me.”

Varn gave me a small smile. “We’ll grant what aid we can; just ensure the safety of those less trained in combat.”

I nodded and lit up my horn; a pleasant warmth flooded my body as I mended my wounds. I stretched my newly-mended wings and took to the air. I closed my eyes to call to the brood.

The dragons will aid us. Give them what aid you can, target anything that slips past them.

We got this.


“Digit?”

I looked away from the fluffball back towards the portal; standing in front of it was a pegasus with chocolate-colored fur, a light brown mane and tail, and a cutie mark depicting a partly sketched brain. The pegasus was standing shakily, trying to find her balance—like anyone who needed to adjust to gaining two additional legs.

“Liz?” I said.

“This…” Liz said slowly. “...is gonna take some getting used to…”

I frowned for a moment, then glanced back at the fluffball. She was gone. “Uh…”

“Something wrong?” Liz asked.

I turned back to her and shook my head. “Never mind. Look, can you get the hang of walking real fast?” We glanced up at the ceiling when some thunderous crash from above shook dust from the rafters.

“Guess I’ll have to…” Liz said. She glanced down at her hooves. “I remember Chrys saying to act like I’m on my hands and knees…” she mumbled as she took a few cautious steps forward, her legs rigid. She glanced towards the stairs, where the ponies were rushing up towards the surface. Another crash from above nearly made Liz trip. “...I’m starting to understand why Chrys preferred I stay back home, actually…”

“You wanna go back?” I asked.

Liz seemed to think about it for a moment, then shook her head. “I’m not letting Chrys do this alone,” she said as she continued forward, steadily improving her pace and growing more comfortable. Liz strode stiffly into the line of ponies and climbed laboriously up the stairs; she hung off to the right so the ponies who were better accustomed to their new bodies could pass her. I hurried up behind Liz and, ducking underneath her, lifted her up on my back and carried her up the stairs.

We got to the main floor and hurried among the bustling line of ponies outside. What I saw made my jaw drop; Ponyville was completely enveloped in battle. Earth ponies and unicorns were combatting minotaurs and diamond dogs on the ground, while pegasi were fighting griffons above. Though the bulk of the battle seemed to lie on the outskirts of town; I could see the rest of the swarm fighting alongside a large number of dragons (?!), keeping most of the focus on them and not the ponies.

“Chrys!!” Liz said, pointing with a foreleg. I followed the (very general) direction of her gesture and, after some searching, saw Mom, fighting three griffons, who were looking like they were questioning their chosen allegiance.

“We have to get to her!!” Liz said, climbing off of me. She immediately made to walk stiffly through the battle, as though hoping she wouldn’t be noticed.

No!!” I cried, grabbing her. “We’ll be killed that way! We’re going around!”

Liz opened her mouth to argue, but groaned. “Fine…”


Watch the right flank!! I commanded as I swung my leg-mace; it connected with the side of an unfortunate griffon’s head, causing him to drop to the ground like a stone. My swarm quickly shifted to meet a small group of griffons, who had endeavored to slip around Varn’s brood and try to catch us off guard.

We’d been going at this for about an hour. I didn’t want to criticize the Bearers for taking so long to take Discord down, but I didn’t see us handling this battle forever. We’d taken some hits, but none of the brood had fallen yet, thanks to the dragons. Still, it was only a matter of time before fatigue would start taking its toll.

“Chrysalis!!” I looked up to see Varn circling overhead. He pointed with a claw towards the middle of the battlefield. I turned around.

There he is…” I hissed. Discord was, with an almost bored expression, tossing away anyone who attacked him, usually turning them into some random object. He had teleported into the middle of the fray, catching the ponies off guard. I took to the air, blade-legs twitching in anticipation; all it would take was one good swing...

Varn!!” I glanced up again; Varn was looking over at a red dragon, who, in turn, was pointing towards the portals where Discord’s forces had spawned.

Something else was pouring from the portal, on the ground and in the air.

I felt a pang in my stomach.

Changelings. Hundreds of them… yet they were changelings in shape alone. They looked like zombies; each drone had clearly seen some horrid fate, and had been reanimated by some purple goo that leaked out of the corners of their mouths. Instead of the usual angry buzzing a changeling swarm usually gave off in the face of combat, I could hear a faint chorus of choking sounds emanating from the corrupt swarm. Adding to their zombie-like appearances, the changelings’ flight was less like that of an insect and more like a wing-propelled missile; no real sense of purpose or intellect, more like they had just been tossed at us and told, ‘kill.’

They were nothing more than… Husks.

“Mother?” Echo called. “Are those…?”

I nodded. Prima’s brood… though they’re even farther from real changelings than before.

“What do we do, changeling?” Varn called.

I glanced between the oncoming swarm and Discord, who had noticed me and was giving a cheerful wave. I grinded my teeth, but kept my head. “We deal with those abominations!!” I called up to Varn. “Just wipe them out!!”

“Like how you nearly wiped us all out?”

I turned at the voice; it was deeply distorted, almost sounding like something out of Lovecraft, but I recognized it, its calm air somehow piercing the din of the battle.

Varn let out a roar of surprise as something landed heavily on his back, bringing him speeding towards the ground. With a deafening slam the blue dragon crashed to the ground, a horrid, purple monstrosity standing just above his wing joints.

“Prima…” I whispered. I thought she was horrific before, but… words failed me at this point. Her once orange mane was now stained with purple, and the liquid all of her Husks seemed to be made of was leaking out of every orifice in her body. She had grown to roughly twice my size, the wounds she’d sustained from our last encounter still evident; it looked like Discord was aware that she needed some healing, but endeavored to half-ass it. The leg she’d lost had been regrown, though it looked more like a piece of vaguely hoof-shaped metal had been implanted in the stump. She still had only one functioning eye, and, though it looked the same as when I’d last seen her, I could see something that terrified me more than any change she had gone through.

Just before she’d been taken by Discord, I remembered seeing a pleading look in her eye… a sign that part of her was aware of just how far she’d fallen, a look that seemed to carry a plea for merciful release…

Now, though? There was nothing but blind fury, hatred, madness

Whatever Prima had been before—before our battle back in Augusta, before Discord’s offer of power, before our people’s near-extinction… it was gone. There was only… this.

Varn made to sit up, but Prima fired a single blast from her horn. The red energy flew through the top of his head; his eyes widened in surprise before his head fell to the ground, and he moved no more.

“NO!!” I roared. I flew towards Prima, yelling in rage, blades at the ready.

Prima’s horn lit up again; a red field enveloped me, halting my momentum. With a single toss of her head, Prima sent me flying towards the edge of the battlefield.

I landed heavily and skipped across the grass; after a few disorienting moments, I quickly righted myself and pressed my hooves to the ground, skidding to a halt.

Prima was flying towards me; my swarm overhead was shifting, ready to focus on her.

No. I called. Keep her own swarm at bay.

“But Mother--” Echo began.

Do it!! I ordered. The swarm lingered for a moment, but soon focused again on the Husks.

Prima landed a few meters away from me, scowling. “I’ll say this, Chrysalis…” she said, her voice quavering, as though fighting to keep from outright charging me at that moment. “When you would kill our whole race, you’d rather we’d die fighting.”

My legs returned to their normal forms, and I straightened up. “Prima… Look at yourself… Do you honestly think siding with Discord has made you fare any better?”

“Under my leadership, we are stronger than ever!!” Prima snarled. “With but a thought, I strengthen our numbers in a matter of seconds!!

She screwed her face shut in concentration. From one of the points where the purple slime was leaking from her body, the substance bubbled madly. A single bubble swelled to rather unsettling proportions, growing until it was roughly the size of a dish tray. Then, with a splat, the bubble burst. A Husk, drenched in the slime, fell from the burst bubble with a wet splat, twitching for a few moments before rising, instantly ready to charge into battle.

Prima tightened her face even further; from three more spots, more bubbles of purple slime grew, swelled and burst. From each, a new Husk was born, ready to join the battle.

The four newborn Husks immediately took to the air and flew towards me. With an almost deadpan expression, I lit up my horn and fired a volley of blasts. Each blast hit the Husks directly in the face, causing them to drop to the ground. They each gave a single, sickening twitch before they liquidized; much like Prima’s false kin from Augusta, only leaving a purple stain instead of green.

Prima glared intently at me, yet the maddened, almost frantic spark in her eye told me her ‘improvements’ weren’t just physical. “Prima…” I said. “What did he do to you?”

Prima’s expression softened somewhat, though she didn’t back down. “I toiled for my failure…” Prima said. “I watched… as the babies Discord had promised me… died, in my grasp!!

The pity I’d been feeling for her for the past week suddenly returned with a vengeance. “...P-Prima, I…”

“And it was because of you!!” Prima suddenly roared. “You would ruin our kind’s best chance at living, flourishing, once again!! Yet Discord… he forgave me!! He gave me a second chance, granted my children—my beautiful children—life!!

I gestured at the Husks that were combatting my own swarm. “If you call that life!!” I yelled. “These things are… aberrations!!

That might’ve been the wrong thing to say. Prima’s face suddenly lit up with a mad fury. “They fare better than they would under your rule!!

She galloped forward with a monstrous scream. I charged forward with a scream of my own, using my wings to propel myself forward.

At a mere moment before collision, I swung my blade at her side; her chitin had been vastly strengthened, but not enough that my blade didn’t sink in an inch or two. The blow made her veer off course just enough that she didn’t barrel through me. Taking the opening, I wrapped my other foreleg under her stomach and, lifting her hulking form just an inch above the ground, carried her in the opposite direction. We only made it a few meters before I had to drop her, letting her skid painfully along the ground behind me while I spun back around.

She very quickly recovered, however, and by the time she was on her hooves again, she was feet away from me; she used her momentum to close the distance and, with a snarl, transformed her foreleg into a nasty club. I barely had time to react (or feel a twinge of annoyance at her stealing my shtick) before the club slammed into my right side. I tumbled head over hooves through the air before rolling across the ground.

Once I managed to right myself, I stood up; my right side was brutally cracked from the impact, and I was fairly certain I had a broken rib or two. I mended what I could before Prima started flying towards me to push the offensive.

I hovered a few feet in the air, changing my other foreleg into a matching blade.

“Come on, come on!!” I bellowed.

Prima took the challenge, and charged me again. I charged as well, my horn lit.


“Digit, slow down!!” I called, quickly waddling along behind her. We were a fair distance from the battle, sticking to ducking around buildings and through alleys to avoid the eye of Discord’s forces. We were nearing the portals where they were emerging; I still didn’t know what I, myself, was planning on doing, but I wanted to know I’d at least been here in the end… At her side.

Digit glanced back and slowed down, giving an apologetic look. “Look, I can carry you…” she began.

I shook my head. “It’s fine, we just need to…” I trailed off as I noticed a black cloud emerging from the distant portal, moving towards Chrys’s swarm and the dragons aiding them. They grew close enough that I could see what they were. “Oh my god…”

Digit followed my gaze. “...Holy shit…”

Changelings… Horrible, horrible changelings, more corpses than anything else, leaking some purple fluid and lurching forward, almost without purpose. Digit glanced back at me, a look on her face implying she regretted bringing me here.

A boom in the distance made us jump; one of the dragons, a blue one who had been lingering in the air, was suddenly brought down to the ground with a terrible crash. Something, equine-shaped, was standing on its back; it shot a red beam into its head, killing it instantly.

“NO!!” I followed the voice; there was Chrys, charging towards the dragon’s killer. I started moving closer, and, to my horror, realized that it was Prima. Prima caught Chrys in midair and tossed her bodily towards the far side of the battlefield.

“Chrys!!” I yelled, galloping after her, through the battle itself.

“Liz, no!!” Digit yelled. A minotaur, clutching a wounded arm, lumbered around the corner and noticed me. I gave a frightened whimper, but didn’t think to stop moving. He smiled sadistically and moved to grab me; I made to run around him, but I was too slow--

The minotaur was suddenly tackled to the ground by Digit, who was snarling like a rabid animal. I knew she’d handle him—her sweetness only carried to those she cared about. I charged through the main battle, towards the far side of town.

Towards Chrys.


Prima and I were locked in a furious grapple. I had dug my hooves into the ground and was pushing against Prima, who was doing the same. Our horns were locked, sparking furiously. I raised my blade-legs, but she caught them with her own forelegs.

“Still so stubborn, even now!!” Prima spat, her voice sounding more frantic than spiteful. “Still so intent on having our kind die for the sake of your damned ego!!

“You think I’m here for me?!” I yelled; with a yell of exertion I managed to push Prima back a few inches. “Yes, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t here to give Discord a much deserved beating!! But it’s not vengeance for me alone!! It’s for everyone he wronged!! All the lives he’s ruined, twice over!!

“Yet you would still risk our extinction!!” Prima screeched; she pushed me back a foot, gaining ground in our little reverse tug-of-war. “You would still throw yourself and your brood towards a battle you cannot win!! You would doom us all to oblivion… AGAIN!!

I KNOW!!!” I pushed Prima back a good ten feet, with strength that caught her off guard. She needed to plunge her hooves a good four inches into the dirt to end the push.

I KNOW I NEARLY DOOMED US ALL!!” I screamed; my horn was practically burning right now, giving off an intense heat that poured through my entire body. “I KNOW IT WAS MY PRIDE, MY FOOLISHNESS, THAT NEARLY HAD US WIPED OUT!! THE BLAME LIES WITH ME AND ME ALONE!!

With another yell, I wrapped a magical grip around Prima; I practically judo flipped her over my head, and slammed her head-first into the ground. Shaking her head, Prima quickly rolled over and lunged at me. I thrust a blade forward, where it dug an inch into her thick chest. Prima shrieked in pain as I spun around and hurled her as far as I could, away from the battle. Prima quickly got back on her hooves, but I was already charging my horn, filling it with every ounce of energy I could spare.

Before she could react, I let out a scream and fired a thick, pulsing beam of energy that struck her right in the face. The beam sent her flying back as though she was caught in a wind tunnel, searing her chitin, mane and wings.

After a few seconds, I stopped channeling the beam. The energy I’d put into it left me winded, panting heavily as I fell to one knee like I’d just run a mile. Yet, I could tell from Prima’s stirring shape in the distance that I wasn’t done. Ignoring my exhaustion, I flew over to her; she was lying on her back, purple liquid seeping from her countless wounds and burns. She looked to be dazed from the blast, yet she was stirring. I landed, standing over her and ready to smack her down if she got back up.

“But you weren’t the only one given a second chance, Prima!” I said. “My new life showed me just how far we’d fallen… Abductions, conquest, feeding off of the dreams of those we’d taken… We’d already become monsters, myself more than any other!! And when I began to remember everything… I saw that we could change… I saw we could forsake those monstrous ways, I saw we could be better!

“You would have us lick the hooves of those we’ve fed off of for generations!!” Prima hissed.

Again, the mania in her voice showed that these words might not be her own; it seemed Discord’s improvements also blinded her to seeing anything other than his way.

Yet I had to keep trying. If I could get through to her, maybe… maybe she’d just stay down… Maybe she could be helped. She’d suffered enough. “Prima, we’re a race that feeds off love,” I said. “We should be willing to love in return.”

A flash off to the side, in the distance, made me look over; I couldn’t be sure, but I was pretty sure I could see… rainbows?

Something plunged straight into my stomach. I gave a low, agonized groan, looking down at the chitinous blade that was embedded about halfway through my gut.

“You’re even more foolish and weak than I thought…” Prima hissed, pressing the blade even further; I felt it pierce something that might’ve been important. Her horn lit up.

There was a crimson blast, and I was sent flying back. I rolled and skidded across the ground, feeling a sharp pain from my wound with each impact. I finally came to a stop some distance from the battlefield, leaving a thick trail of blood. I dully placed a hoof over the wound, my breath becoming quick and shallow.

I lit up my horn in an attempt to mend the wound, but could make little more than a spark; I’d put most of my energy towards that beam. I glanced up; Prima was approaching, a bad limp in her hind leg.

“You would have been better off remaining a human…” Prima said, grinning viciously. “But then, you didn’t have that much choice there…”

I made to stand up, but the wound sent a horrid pain throughout my body that made me fall right back down; this was not just some shiv wound. I coughed up some blood, feeling it drip from my lips as I watched Prima get closer; she was a few meters away, her blade still dripping with my blood and thirsty for more.

“You speak of our kind feeding off love?” Prima asked with a chuckle. “My brood… We no longer need it!! We don’t need ponies, humans, anything!! We only need Discord… and his will.”

A hungry look entered her eye. “And Discord’s will… is for your blood, and the blood of your swarm, to stain this land!!”

“GET... THE FUCK… AWAY FROM HER.”

There were only a handful of times where I wasn’t happy to hear that voice. This was one of them. I glanced at the source of the voice.

She may have been in an unfamiliar form—a pegasus, brown coat and mane—but there was no mistaking Liz. She was scowling furiously at Prima, not caring about her chances.

Prima stared at her, baffled.

Then she began laughing. She turned to me. “And here lies the cause of your weakness, Chrysalis… Your talk of peace? Of a ‘better future’? It would lead to an even faster demise than that which your foolishness wrought, twenty-five years ago. Yet it was this one who softened you… filled your head with the folly of peace.

She turned to Liz. “You seem to have fed plenty from this one… I’d say you’ve had your fill.”

Her horn lit up. Liz tensed.

And I did the most cowardly thing I’ve done in my entire life.

I closed my eyes, unwilling to watch.

I heard energy discharge from Prima’s horn. I heard Liz scream. I heard her hit the ground. I heard Prima’s blast strike flesh.

...Then I realized that those sounds were out of order.

I opened my eyes.

Liz was laying to the side of where she’d been standing, shoved to the side and staring at the one who had shoved her.

As I realized who had shoved her, the pain in my gut seemed to vanish, or perhaps I simply stopped noticing it.

Digit was standing some distance behind where Liz had been standing, having been sent stumbling backwards by Prima’s blast. Her brow was furrowed, as though she was confused. She slowly looked at the smoking hole in her chest, a faint impression of shock lining her face.

She slowly looked up. “...Mom?”

I wasn’t sure if she was addressing me or Liz.

She fell to her knees.

Liz’s mouth opened to let out a wail of anguish, but I didn’t hear it. I no longer heard anything… Not the roar of the battle, the angry buzzing of my swarm, nothing.

I slowly turned to look at Prima, who was looking rather confused before she looked at me.

Our eyes met.

I began feeling… numb. There was no rage, no anguish... My vision seemed to blur, practically blinding me to everything except Prima.

I stood up, no longer feeling the pain in my gut. I began walking towards Prima, as though in a trance.

She scowled and fired several more blasts. I was only barely aware of the glow from my own horn, and the thick barrier that somehow held against every blast that made contact. I kept walking forward.

Prima’s scowl deepened. She limped forward and raised her blade when she was mere feet away.

As she swung it horizontally, I changed my own foreleg into a blade and swung it upwards.

My blade sliced cleanly, right through her leg, sending the transformed leg spinning upwards. Prima gazed at the stump, eyes wide in shock and horror.

As she stared at it, I caught the airborne blade with my magic, reared it back and brought it straight through her throat.

It was only when the blade had completely pierced her neck that I could hear everything again. And the first thing I heard was me screaming so loud my throat felt like it would tear like paper.

After a few seconds, the scream died in my throat. Prima swayed where she stood, coughing up the purple fluid. She fell to her knees, staring blankly at the blade that had completely impaled her neck.

All over her body, the purple fluid began to bubble, quickly swelling and encasing her body.

Prima fell to her side, staring up at me; the fury, the madness… it was fading from her one eye. Within seconds, I could see… Prima again.

She coughed up more of the fluid, and lifted her head.

“F-F… F…” Her voice was quivering. Tears were brimming in her one eye.

“F-Forgive me…”

Her head fell to the ground. The purple fluid in her body swelled, completely enveloping her. Then it… melted, leaving a thin purple puddle. Lying in that puddle was Prima—the real Prima, as she had been before meeting Discord. Her severed leg, also returned to its true shape, lay a few inches from the gaping wound in her neck.

I glanced towards the swarm; the Husks were suddenly dropping like flies, all hitting the ground and melting into puddles of purple slime. My swarm was giving a loud, victorious cheer, but I could see two of them breaking off and speeding towards us—Shift and Echo.

I heard a boom behind me. I turned to see another rainbow-colored light show in the distance, this one I recognized as a Sonic Rainboom.

...Was this Dash’s way of saying… we’d won?

“Chrys!”

I snapped back to the present and looked to Liz, who was cradling Digit in her arms—or, forelegs. I hurried over, feeling the pain of my wound but choosing to ignore it. I knelt beside Liz and took Digit in my forelegs. “Digit…” I said softly.

The wound in her chest looked like she’d been stabbed with a molten rod; it had completely cauterized, hiding any damage within. Digit didn’t seem to be in pain… which I considered to be both good and bad. “Hey, Mom…”

I glanced up at Liz; her face was stained with tears. As I lit up my horn in an attempt to heal Digit, Shift and Echo landed right behind Liz and knelt beside us, casting looks of horror at their wounded sibling.

“Hold still, sweetie…” I whispered, aiming my horn at her chest.

I began casting the mending spell. The wound in Digit’s chest began to mend…

But stopped. I blinked in confusion and put more towards the spell; I was still exhausted from the fight, though, and didn’t have much left to spare.

I kept channeling the spell, but the wound wouldn’t mend… It was too grave. “No, no no no…” I kept trying, over and over again.

“Chrys?” Liz asked softly.

“Just give me a second!” I said, more harshly than I meant. I was gritting my teeth with the effort, now, but I just couldn’t make it mend any faster. “No, no, come on!!” Tears were flowing from my eyes, now, but I didn’t care.

“Mother…” Echo said softly, her voice cracking. “...Mother, healing spells can only do so much…”

“It has to work…” I said. “It has to…”

“Mother, please…” Shift said, laying a hoof on my shoulder.

I shook it off. “NO!!” I pulled Digit closer; her eyes seemed to be slowly paling. She was slipping. “Digit, please…”

“Mom…” Digit said softly. She reached up and put a hoof to my chest. “...Mom, it’s… it’s okay…”

“No, no, it isn’t!!” I choked, biting back a sob. “Baby, please, please…” Liz was openly sobbing now, pressing her head against Digit’s. Echo was quietly crying, Shift gently holding her and trying his best to comfort her. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the rest of the swarm approaching; ponies who had finished cheering at the sight of the fleeing army took notice of me, some approaching out of curiosity.

The swarm was hovering overhead now, realizing what had happened and keeping silent, save for the buzz of their wings. The galloping of hooves made me glance to the side; Trixie, bearing a limp and a deep gash down her side, was hurrying to our side. She gasped in shock at the sight of Digit and came to a halt; she was hesitant in coming any closer, but a subtle beckoning from Echo encouraged her to slowly approach, standing alongside Echo and Shift.

Digit smiled at each of us, the cheer I’d known her for shining through, unhindered. “...’s good, to be with… with the ones you love…” She said, her voice falling into a mumble.

“...With your family…”

Her smile seemed to freeze in place. Her blue eyes glazed over. Her hoof fell from my chest.

I put a hoof to her cheek. “...Digit?”

Nothing.

“D-Digit?”

Nothing.

“Digit… Digit…”

I broke down. I buried my face into Digit’s burnt chest and began sobbing. “Oh, god, please, no…”

I felt Liz press her head against mine as we wept. I could hear Shift, Echo and Trixie sobbing quietly; some of the swarm above was sniffling quietly, too.

One. We’d lost one of our own.

Years ago, that would have been nothing.

Now? It was one too many.

There was a ‘crack’ in the distance.

“...Chrys,” Trixie said.

I slowly looked up. In the distance behind Liz, Discord had just appeared; he was gravely wounded. His lion’s paw was missing a few fingers and bleeding profusely, and several bones in his body appeared to have been broken, judging by the way he was clutching at his chest in agony. He looked as though he was having trouble standing.

This wasn’t the state a demigod would find themselves in.

Discord didn’t seem to have meant to appear here, judging by the look of shocked surprise on his face when he noticed the massive number of ponies around him. His gaze trailed around the battlefield, and he noticed me.

He gave a nervous smile.

His leg moved as he prepared to turn around.

My vision was a blur for a moment. When it cleared, I was suddenly hovering right in the prick’s face. Discord yelped in surprise and made to stumble back.

I grabbed his neck in my magic and pulled him close, squeezing tight enough that he could barely breathe.

For what I presumed to be the first time in his existence, there was fear in Discord’s eyes.

I wanted to end it—end him. I wanted to slice him to ribbons, I wanted to tear him apart in my magic, I wanted to turn into something small enough for him to swallow, plunge down his throat, return to normal form and burst out of him in a mess of gore.

I wanted to fulfill the promise I’d made all those years ago.

I. Wanted. To kill him.

My breathing was ragged and vicious now. Discord was wincing in fear, bracing himself.

I noticed something in the distance behind him. Shining Armor, Big Mac and the Bearers were hurrying over; Discord was likely making a vain attempt at fleeing. They all bore their own wounds of varying severity. Dash seemed to be in a worse state than any of them; her legs looked bloody and broken, and her cyan coat was stained with blood. She needed to be supported on either side by Applejack and Fluttershy to walk.

The sight of them—the way they, too, had suffered at Discord’s hands… I felt my rage simmer down somewhat. Discord had just about brought my people to extinction, and laughed it off

...But this wasn’t just about me. It was about them. About the Bearers, about Shining, about Big Mac, about all the ponies whose lives he’d ruined.

It was about Equestria.

Discord was looking somewhat confused why I hadn’t done anything yet.

I pulled him closer.

“I wasn’t the only one you wronged.”

I turned around and hurled Discord over my head, towards the crowd of ponies, who seemed more than happy to take him.


I stared at the broken form of Discord, laying bloodied but breathing on a stone slab, surrounded by the Bearers, Shining and Big Mac. Surrounding them were tens of thousands of equines, myself, Liz, Trixie, Shift and Echo standing some distance from the front. Liz was sitting at my side, foreleg wrapped around me as I absentmindedly stroked her head.

“This is it, then?” She asked.

I nodded slowly. “Mmhmm.”

“What do you think?” Liz asked. “I mean… What now?”

“For Five Score... to the power of four.”

I shrugged. “We… do what I’ve been stressing about. We live.”

“Your powers removed, your mind marooned.”

Liz glanced around. “...Here? Or back on Earth?”

“Your treason and crimes we can never forgive.”

“I’m thinking, we… find a Royal or two who can handle any of the swarm who stays here… And I think we’ll go back to Earth.”

“So we sentence you to a life of a worthless captive.”

Liz nodded. “...And… Digit?”

“You will live a million lives on Earth as a common horse,”

I took a deep breath. “...We’ll bring her home.”

“Forced to serve man endlessly, and without remorse.”

“But what’s home to you now?” Liz asked; her gaze fell. “What’s home to me?

“Reflect on your moral sins and heinous actions,”

I nestled my head on hers. “For me, it’s wherever you are.”

“As you endure mindless work for countless generations.”

Discord’s broken form was then lifted by some unseen force; the look in his eyes indicated he didn’t see much point in resisting at this point. I couldn’t tell if it was genuine remorse (ha!), if he was wondering where he’d went wrong, or if he was already formulating some revenge scheme.

Whatever it was, he’d have somewhere around eternity to think things over.

There was a flash of light.

He was gone.

The crowd erupted around us, cheering and crying. Before I could say anything, Liz suddenly reached up and turned my head towards hers.

“Shall we get started on that weird life, then?” Liz asked.

I put a hoof to her chin. “I’d have thought it already started.”

Author's Note:

I'm... not exactly happy it took me over a month to get this churned out. But between various distractions (AKA lots and lots and lots of Hearthstone, Diablo 3, One Finger Death Punch, South Park: Stick of Truth and various other things that distracted me from writing), it was to be expected.

But after the epicness of today's season finale I finally felt the urge to get my arse back to work. Sorry for the long wait.

So I'm gonna get an Epilogue together for y'all, and then I'm gonna have a Slice of Life series of stories.

As always... feedback. I want this story to end on a high note. I didn't expect it to get so many faves/likes, and it gave me the confidence to write more fics. I already have Dread posted, and a few other ideas I've been tossing around, with some already started.

See y'all next time.

Long live the Swarm.