• Published 4th Mar 2012
  • 23,954 Views, 2,955 Comments

The Dresden Fillies: False Masks - psychicscubadiver



Sequel to the Dresden Fillies: Strange Friends. Everyone's favorite wizard returns to Equestria.

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Epilogue

The Dresden Fillies: False Masks

Written by: psychicscubadiver
Edited by: SilentCarto and frieD195
Story Image by: wyrmlover
Beta-reader: Coandco

Disclaimer: I don’t own The Dresden Files or My Little Pony, that is Jim Butcher and Hasbro, respectively. This is a fanfiction only. This story takes place before Discord’s return in MLP and between books six and seven in the Dresden Files.

Epilogue

Bookmark was in the room again. It was a ten by ten square with no windows, no door, and no chance of escape. His horn was no longer bound, but something in the twisted carvings that covered every inch of the walls prevented him from using magic. He was chained in place, but that was almost an afterthought. Once again, there would be nothing he could do to stop what was coming.

“You sicken us,” Luna said. She hadn’t been there a second ago, but now she stared down at him in furious contempt. “You pretend to be a victim with ‘noble ideals’, but your charade fools us not. The sole thing you desire is power, and the stench of your unchecked ambition disgusts us.”

Just as always, he couldn’t speak. Bookmark’s throat worked uselessly, but no sound passed his lips.

“Tis just as well that our sister gave us leave to administer this sentence. The pain of anypony, even one so vile as you, upsets her.” Luna glared at him, her horn lighting with a midnight blue aura. Thousands of symbols in the walls around them glowed a similar hue. Her eyes turned neon white, flaring with power. “We, however, are more practical.”

He tried to scream as the pain overtook him, as magic tore into him, ripping out the one thing he truly valued, but as always, he suffered in silence.

……...

Bookmark awoke howling in pain and terror. He knew it was a dream, only a dream, but that was little reassurance to his racing heart. Inch by inch, he brought himself back from the edge of that visceral terror. It took several minutes of deep breathing to fully calm down, shorter than most of his ‘morning fits’, but still far too long for his liking. He still shuddered at the memory of his dream, the same one he had had every night since his magic was taken from him.

That recurrence might be – no, had to be – deliberate. He had read ancient tomes that claimed that Luna held power over the land of dreams. Evidently, she had not seen his punishment as sufficient. In truth, the process had not hurt, nor had Luna said a word as she administered his sentence. He had screamed obscenity after obscenity at her, but she had merely completed the ritual without even appearing to register what he had said. It was worse than if she had taunted him. That, at least, would have meant she respected him enough to speak. Instead, he had been treated like an unpleasant task to be quickly finished and forgotten. Never before had he felt so helpless, and he swore he never would again.

He crawled from his bedroll, and glanced in the mirror out of habit. His eyes had gotten colder and harder since the night of the ritual, but the biggest change was the Old Equish glyphs inscribed upon him by the magic of the ritual. His skill in linguistics allowed him to read them, but few ponies today would understand the word ‘murderer’ inscribed on his forehead or ‘traitor’ encircling his neck. Some of them might have even confounded experts in the field, like the glyph across his shoulders that roughly translated to ‘summoner of unclean spirits’. Still, the glyphs themselves had a threatening mien, all sharp lines and harsh points. Not that it mattered. There probably wasn’t a single pony in Equestria by now who wouldn’t know why he wore the marks.

Bookmark wanted to shatter the mirror before him with a telekinetic strike, but that ability was gone. Which only made him angrier. He stomped out of his tent, hungry and frustrated. It was not the best way to start the first day of his exile.

The entire Council of Thirty had been given the same sentence, except those three who had given evidence against them. When I return in my power, I will take my time killing them, he growled mentally. Almost everypony had asked for an individual trial, but it had made no difference. The public defenders had been useless despite their ‘best efforts’, and judge after judge had followed the precedent established in his trial.

Right now they were in an unspecified field not far from Canterlot. Guards surrounded their encampment, less to watch them than to keep out unruly ponies wishing to ‘teach those murderers a lesson.’ Bookmark sneered at the thought of those small mobs. They didn’t have the nerve to actually kill anypony, ‘murderer’ or not, but they would give him and his quite a beating, given half a chance. Some of the guards had been ready to give them more than that, but Captain Shining Armor obeyed orders without question. Thus they had been left, if not in peace, then at least not in pieces.

Ponies stared at him as he passed; both the guards and his followers. The latter tried to pretend otherwise, but he could feel their eyes upon him. Everypony had gone through the process, but only he screamed at night. Only he had nightmares that left him shaking and weak. He ignored their stares and the way their eyes not-so-subtly followed him. Breakfast was laid out for them, their last meal as Equestrian citizens. The bread smelled fresh and wonderful, the glazed donuts were hot and glistening, and the fruit succulent. They must not have told the chefs who this meal was for.

He was one of the last ponies up, but still there was plenty of food waiting. Many of the Thirty appeared to have stuffed themselves, certain they would never taste such goodness again. Rather than take food from the table, he swept a portion of it clean – with his hooves, damn that Twilight Sparkle. Good food tumbled to the dirt, but he paid it no heed. Once his hooves would have shaken, but the anxiety that had plagued him was gone. He had lived through the worst Equestria had to offer, and though damaged, he was not yet beaten. A crowd gathered, ponies muttering to themselves at his actions. The guards only watched impassively, no doubt hoping he’d start a riot and give them the opportunity to ‘enforce the peace’. Bookmark climbed the table, using it as a stage to address his followers.

“My fellow ponies,” he began, staring at them icily. “You are idiots. What did all of your attorneys and days in trial get you? The same thing I got for mere honesty? What a surprise.” The Thirty had started to look angry, but as he continued their faces had fallen into shame. The guards watched stoically, but more than a few of their jaws had begun to clench. “Equestria and her citizens hate you. There is no mercy here. There is no kindness. The grand and wonderful Princess Celestia has offered us passage to another country should we make the trek to Manehattan. How can we refuse such generosity? Who wouldn’t take an offer to be eternally under her watchful eye even as she punishes us? For my part, I intend to make my way south, into the wastelands. Follow me if you will. There, we can be our own ponies, not still indebted to a self-confessed tyrant. We can build a new land where more is expected of its citizens than blind loyalty. Together we can do it. Together, we can transform this from a cruel punishment to an opportunity. Those distant hills will ring with our laughter, not our tears. Follow me to our new life; we don’t need our magic to be better than the slaves here.”

There was no applause or cries of joy to greet his speech. Yet, one after another, the Thirty bowed their heads to him. They would accept his lead once again. He nodded in satisfaction. It had been tricky to improvise after his unexpected sentence. Though he had never doubted his ability to succeed, Bookmark had prudently planned for failure as well. All possible outcomes: life imprisonment, exile or even a death sentence (though he had considered the last extremely unlikely), had been prepared for. Then that damned Twilight Sparkle had upset all those careful plans with a punishment he’d never even heard of. Still, the first step in his hastily improvised scheme was complete.

“Impressive,” a commanding voice stated, bitingly sardonic. Captain Armor strode into the crowd of ponies, and the Thirty parted for him without hesitation. “If I didn’t know you were a murdering sociopath, I’d suggest going into politics.” He shifted his tone and spoke to the ponies cringing around him. “Personal feelings aside, I am here to remind you that you must leave this encampment by sunrise, which is scheduled to occur in thirty minutes. Any belongings you do not have packed up by that time will be left behind. You are not to enter any Equestrian city or town on your journey. This is a provision for your safety, considering the public outrage at the crimes you have committed. Any questions?”

Silence was the only reply.

“Dismissed,” he announced, and ponies scrambled back to their tents to get everything packed away. They each had carts, various supplies and keepsakes they had been allowed to collect from their homes, and enough food and water for two weeks. Those provisions had been part of Bookmark’s plan for exile, and had proven useful here. Bookmark jumped down from the table and hurried towards his tent, only to be stopped by a wall of magic.

“Hold on, fearless leader,” Captain Armor said. “We need to discuss what route you’re taking so my pegasi can keep an eye on you.”

“Due south,” Bookmark replied, dispensing with any games. He needed this conversation over. There were too many things he couldn’t afford to leave behind. “We will skirt Ponyville and travel through the Everfree Forest.”

For a moment, Captain Armor was silent, then his eyes hardened. “You know I won’t send my troops into that deathtrap. You think you can lose them, but I’ll set ponies to watch the entire border. If any of you survive the trip, we will find you.”

Bookmark smirked. “You aren’t going to try convincing me not to go?”

Seldom had Bookmark seen so much loathing in a glare. “I obey my orders in both letter and spirit, but that doesn’t mean I have no opinion of my own. I hope none of you ever make it out of that forest.”

Captain Armor released the shield spell and turned to walk away. Bookmark knew his time was running short, but he couldn’t resist getting in one last dig. “That’s hardly professional of you.”

Shining Armor didn’t even look over his shoulder. “You tried to kill my sister. If I wasn’t being professional, losing your magic would be the least of your worries.”

………

The first day had been a minor disaster. Without their strength, the earth ponies had been unable to pull their massive wagons alone. They had hastily lashed two ponies to each vehicle, leaving half of them behind. The pegasi complained the entire time in an endless litany about how much they hated being ground-bound. Their wings were whole and healthy, yet somehow refused to catch the air. The unicorns were mostly silent, but there were more than a few cases of dropped or spilled goods because they lacked experience using their hooves.

The procession made perhaps ten miles before stopping in some fields a mile or so distant from the Everfree Forest. Most of the Thirty had quailed when he told them their destination, but none of them had left him. The nightmares revisited him that night, and again he woke up screaming. The other ponies pretended not to notice, but he could feel their nervousness growing.

They entered the forest in early morning, and it wasn’t until noon that Bookmark called a halt to their progress. They were deep within the forest now, and a quick check with his sentries revealed that nopony had seen any of the guards follow them in. Perfect.

Bookmark clambered onto his cart and cleared his throat loudly. “Your attention, everypony. We’ve done well to get this far, under our constraints. However, I wasn’t entirely truthful about our destination.” They muttered and stamped nervously at that. “I’m sorry for tricking you, but it was necessary to fool Shining Armor and, through him, the Princesses. Instead of scratching out an existence in the wilderness, I propose we find a way to restore our magic, and seek out greater sources of power.”

That caused even more murmuring and a few shouts of ‘how’ rose from the crowd. Bookmark grinned. “Wind Whisperer, if you would be so kind as to show yourself?” A grey pegasus dappled with spots of white stepped out from behind a tree. He grinned at the surprise on everypony’s face.

“Observations complete, sir. We know where they crossed into the Astral Plane.”

“What’s going on?” demanded a unicorn. “Who’s this guy?”

“Let’s just say I didn’t think the ‘Council of Thirty-Three’ was all that catchy,” Bookmark said with a smirk. “I kept him and two other ponies a secret. Given that three of our number betrayed us to the Princesses, it seems to have been an entirely reasonable precaution.” He suppressed his fury and carried on. “Thanks to Wind Whisperer and his colleagues, we now have the knowledge, and ability, to follow ‘Blackstone’ back to his home. There, we will find another entity willing to make a deal with us. Our magic will be restored and enhanced. We will need to be patient and allow enough time for the Princesses to believe we truly died in this forest, and relax their guard. But then? We will return, and we will strike a blow against them that shall echo the length and breadth of Equestria for all time. Are you with me?!”

At first there was only silence. Then Wild Romp, an olive green pegasus, broke out laughing. “You audacious son of a nag! I figured everything was done when I couldn’t find Celestia in the medical wing, but you don’t have an ounce of quit in you, do ya?” He grinned like an imp, and stared challengingly at the rest of the Thirty. “I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m in. I’d murder somepony to fly again.” Bookmark doubted he was kidding. Most of the Thirty saw their actions as ‘necessary evil’, but a few had rather different ideas.

One after another, the Thirty agreed. Some happily, some reluctantly, but all of them were committed. Good. Bookmark would need everypony in one way or another. After all, some creatures might have appetites similar to Harenagnis, the demon centipede. It never hurt to sweeten a deal, and he didn’t necessarily have to return with thirty ponies.

Ice Fissure, a unicorn mare, and Bucky Ball, an earth pony stallion, awaited them at the ruined Castle of the Royal Sisters. They greeted their leader, failing to hide their surprise at his taxed appearance. He ignored those reactions, instead focusing on the area they had marked off. “You’re certain this is where they crossed over? The smallest margin of error could send us to a completely different section of the Astral Plane.”

“Wind Whisperer claims this is exactly where they opened the Gate, and from what I’ve felt examining the area, I agree,” Ice replied. Her professional tone dropped as she stared worried at him. “Will you be okay, sir?”

“Yes, I’m fine,” he said, brushing off her concern. He couldn’t look weak. Not now. “How long can you maintain the Gate?”

Ice frowned at his brusque reply, but considered the question. “I can’t be certain until I attempt to open it, but I would imagine no longer than thirty minutes. It will probably leave me exhausted for several hours as well.”

“That’s a price we’ll simply have to pay,” Bookmark decided. Having only one unicorn was a terrible burden on their group, but one was better than none. “Bucky, I need you to go through first just in case. You’re the best fighter we’ve got now.”

The well muscled Earth pony gave a rumbling chuckle in reply. “I was the best fighter before, too. Otherwise you wouldn’t have bothered to keep me in reserve.” He cracked his neck, and grinned.

“True,” Bookmark replied. Bucky had actually been chosen, because − like Ice and Wind – he was personally loyal to Bookmark. Still, there was no need to argue with him. “I’m going to get everypony organized then we can leave. Pack up and prepare however you need to. We depart in thirty minutes.” Less than an hour and he would be gone. Beyond the reach of Celestia’s iron hoof and Luna’s dream magic.

………

Two days later, Bookmark still awoke screaming. After his first night in the Astral Plane he had demanded that Ice Fissure examine him, but she hadn’t found anything wrong. Luna must have implanted something in him to cause this. He wanted to smack Ice after she suggested that it was only normal to be traumatized after what he had gone through. But he needed her, so even that release was denied to him.

The desert was fortunately free of any dangerous creatures, flora or fauna, but unfortunately difficult to track in. They had found a couple of hoof prints and other disturbances, but progress was slow. Still, they had plenty of supplies, and Wind Whisperer said that Luna, Twilight and the rest had only been gone for a few hours. The entrance to ‘Blackstone’s’ world couldn’t be that far away.

Most of the Thirty agreed with him. Some, however, grumbled.

“This is ridiculous,” one of the earth ponies hitched to a large wagon complained. “Why couldn’t you just summon another demon? Instead of dragging us through this forsaken desert.”

Bookmark glared at him. “Aside from having all of my books, diagrams and research taken from me? We only have one unicorn capable of magic. Any demon she was capable of keeping contained by herself wouldn’t be powerful enough to do us any good. If we want help, we’ll have to find it ourselves.”

“Bookmark!” Wind Whisperer shouted, flapping hard as he settled to the ground, drawing envious stares from all the pegasi within sight. “We’ve seen something on the horizon.”

That description seemed a bit excited for what amounted to nothing more than a dark spot on the edge of sight. Still, in a sky vacant of clouds, sun, stars or anything but sourceless light, it was an oddity. Bookmark assigned a pony to watch it and sent the rest back to searching.

There was no sun to set; nonetheless, the sky began to darken several hours later. They had found another hoof print and advanced another half mile. The dark spot on the horizon had grown larger, but it still remained distant.

Bookmark fell fitfully to sleep, certain that his nightmares would begin anew. He was proved correct, though for once his screams were not the topic of hushed conversation the following morning. The speck on the horizon had grown overnight into a recognizable shape, a long serpentine line with a pair of outstretched wings. Bookmark nodded in approval.

It seemed his gamble had paid off. Whatever creature ruled this desert was coming to meet them. Other ponies would have been frightened by such a thought, and indeed most of the Thirty seemed so, but Bookmark relished the opportunity. Everything wanted something. So long as he found the right leverage, this curse of Celestia’s was as good as gone. Admittedly, the creature might not prove amenable to reason, but determining hostility was what scouts were for. So long as they were unharmed, he would feel safe approaching the creature. Just in case, though, he prepared the entire encampment for a rapid retreat and kept the crews searching.

It took another day before the creature reached them. Bookmark had not underestimated its speed, for it moved with frightening swiftness, but he had misjudged its size. The creature was a serpent-like dragon over a mile long. Its vast wings could each have served as the main tent in any large circus. Three pairs of eyes were set deep in a skull the size of a mansion. Even the smallest of those eyes were bigger than a full grown pony. Its back and spines were covered in shining crimson scales, while its underbelly looked to be made of iridescent opals. It landed gracefully, yet even that light contact caused the ground tremble at its clawed feet. The great dragon was magnificent, and yet…

The scales were stretched tight over protruding bones, and the wings were worn and ragged. Dust and dirt had gathered in every crook and crevice of the dragon’s body, and it was obvious that no attempt had been made to clean it away in ages. The tail was covered in scars etched deep into the flesh beneath the scales, leaving criss-crossing lines barely recognizable as massive bites. None of the six eyes blinked or even seemed to register anything they saw. If not for its fluid movements Bookmark would have thought he was looking at a corpse. It was like seeing a god starved near to death.

After landing, the dragon merely stood there for a while, breathing in deeply through its nose. Bookmark decided it was likely safe enough and strode forward. He smiled and cleared his throat, the sound causing the vast head to tilt in his direction.

“Greetings. I am Novel Notion,” he began, careful not to reveal his real name to the creature. “I would like to see if you are interested in making a deal. Our interests may coincide, and my needs are quite reasonable. What might you desire in return?”

It moved faster than he would have thought possible. Faster than a creature that size should be capable of moving. He only had a startled second to react as he realized that those titanic jaws had opened and were coming towards him. Then it was all too late. They had already enclosed him and the rest of the Thirty.

Bookmark realized several seconds later that he wasn’t dead. The dragon had taken everything, including the ground beneath him in one giant bite. Those column-sized fangs had never even come near him. Then the dragon swallowed, and soon Bookmark wished those fangs had given him a clean and sudden death.

The dragon stood alone in the desert, shivering in agony, ecstasy or some combination of the two. In time, the glaze across its eyes vanished, leaving a calculating gleam in its wake. A voice long unused croaked out dusty laughter.

“At last. How long has it been? Centuries? Millennia? No matter. I am returned, and such a small meal has merely whetted my hunger…”


………


And a world away, an old pegasus named Keen Vision tossed and turned in his sleep, tortured by visions of destruction more vivid than any he had experienced before.

Author's Note:

Two years. Wow, it's hard to believe this story has been going so long. Of course you readers probably felt every minute of those delays, but from my point of view it has gone by in a flash. Well, to confirm again, this will not be the last Dresden Fillies story. That honor will go to the third one, The Dresden Fillies: Great Power. With any luck I will start it this fall, and hopefully that story will be done sooner than this one. Until then I'm going to relax and write a couple shorter stories I've been wanting to.

Now, on to the thanks. There are many people without whom this story could not have been written. Instead of listing all of them, I will only bore you with those you directly worked on this story with me.

Silentcarto: My senior editor. The man who has been with me since the third chapter of Strange Friends. He smooths out my rough drafts, and keeps my phrasing clear and clever. Also, he is never afraid to tell me when I've done something stupid, but always manages to say so politely. I cannot stress how important a trait that is for an editor to have. Ponies, and the fanfiction thereof, are serious business.

frieD195: My junior editor. An eternal font of careful consideration with a keen eye for mistakes. Always on hand when I need to talk about a scene or chapter and the tweaks they may need.

Coandco: My proofreader. Like a hawk that scours a field for vermin, he parses my chapters with ease and captures any and all grammar mistakes within his talons. He's also a fun guy to talk to and endures my off topic rants with admirable patience.

SA: My former proofreader and friend. He was tragically eaten by dingoes last summer.

There's just one more thing to say, then. BUY SKIN GAME! Seriously, put some money in Mr. Butcher's pockets. It's the least thanks we all owe him.

Comments ( 174 )
Spacecowboy
Moderator

My friend has already convinced my to purchase the entire series (been reading digital copies he sent me, but nothing beats paper, nothing).

I am truly looking forward to the third story, you are one hell of an excellent writer and have done an amazing job these last 2-3 years between both stories.

Well, it was no less then what he deserved.

Wait, so did Bookmark get eaten, or did he fall into a neverending hole?

Who was the dragon? Anyhow, great way to finish the story and punish those guys from the order. BTW, is Wild Romp the true name of ROM 47? I forgot to ask something two chapters ago. Celestia and Luna said that they came from a different world. Does that mean that they were equines to begin with or they can just transform their bodies to match the inhabitants of the worlds they traveled?

So any hints on what point in the time line the next story is going to take place in?

Well, the Thirty certainly aren't coming out of that forest alive, just like Shining Armor hoped. :pinkiehappy:

And I think we just got a glimpse of the villain for the next story. :pinkiegasp:

And so concludes such a well done story it doesn't even feel like a crossover to me.

There's just one more thing to say, then. BUY SKIN GAME! Seriously, put some money in Mr. Butcher's pockets. It's the least thanks we all owe him

I keep wishing that authors would sell directly so more of my money would go to them as opposed to the entire distribution chain.

HA

HAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

IT FUCKING HAPPENED!

I FUCKING SAID THAT THIS BASTARD WAS GOING TO RUN OFF INTO THE WOODS, CRYING, AND RETURN FIVE LEVELS LATER AS A BOSS, AND HE PRETTY MUCH DID!

AH, THIS IS GOLDEN!

I've had Skin Game pre-ordered for absolute ages. Very interested in seeing where this story takes us, since the last several have all completely changed things.

AGHHHH Only five days to Skin Game! I CAN'T WAIT!:pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

Great work! Have a good rest this summer and we all look forward to your next release!

4431336 Who are you talking about? Bookmark?

This was a good story and yeah Already have my Skingame ordered, So it should arrive on Tuesday and my feelings on Bookmark and his plan

And now I am excited for Great Power! and can't wait to find out more about Keen Vision.

I'm still laughing at what would've happened if Bookmark actually HAD made it to Earth. Who would he have dealt with?
Warlocks? He'd be more useful to them as ingredients than an ally.
Vampires? Yes, because pure love & an enemy with total control of the sun sounds appealing.
The Denarians? ... maybe, but I guess it depends on if the Fallen care about other worlds or not.

HA! the stupid fuck got what he deserved! it's just to bad that it came at the cost of another evil gaining strength.

The Nevernever: No place for wimps.
:eeyup:



Death by digestion? Serves him right. Also apparent that even in death he is still screwing things up for the rest of Equestria.

Waiting on my pre-order of Skin Game to show up as well, the preview chapters only whetted my appetite. Can't wait to see what you've got coming up next, I'm already eager to see what you have planned for Great Power. Congrats on another epic completed story!

Ha, you're going to Earth?! Enjoy the disectio--- oh, you're breakfast. Whoops.

Hiope you'll put out teasers every now and then over the summer!

Well, Bookmark ended up serving a fitting fate: a pile of dragon s:rainbowwild:t :pinkiehappy:. I can't wait to see how this dragon plans to do things, but just his sheer size is bad enough. They're going to need some really big guns to fight this guy.

I can't wait for Skin Game!!!! I'm getting it on my Kindle Fire with the rest of the Dresden Files, it's easier for me to carry all of them around like that.

... Okay, Autumn needs to hurry the hell up. IF that was a Dragon, I mean a Dresden-Verse type godlike-powered Dragon, like Ferrovax... holy shit, Equestria is in for a bad time. Everywhere else might be too. I WANT ANSWERS!:twilightangry2: Well, at least Skin Game is coming. That should keep me occupied for like, two days.

And yep, the story has been a long time coming, but it's always been worth it, always. This is quite simply the finest crossover series I've ever read, in this or any other fandom. That's as plain as I can make it. Thank you very much for such a wonderful story. :yay:

(Oh and speaking of wonderful stories, would one of the other fics you mentioned writing be that 'ponies discover an isolated human community' thing you talked about waaaaay back when?)

Good show. Take your time but I am looking forward to the next.

I am not especially enamored by Harry Dresden or his world and doubt I will read his stand-alone stories, but his side-quests in Equestria are mighty entertaining indeed. At least the ones you write are.:moustache:

Hello, Mr. Bignasty. How may I run away from you today? :rainbowderp:

I got full series in hardback, and I have an autographed copy of Storm Front:pinkiehappy:

great story. Never could get into Dresden Files, though, and I tried.
That said, I think that is rather more to do with Butcher's style than anything else since I feel the same for all his books.

But nevermind that - this? I can definitely sink my fangs into this. (never a flutterbat icon when you need one)

Serves him right. Second chances are a mercy that is a good idea, but that should be all you get. And that was really all they got here.

This has been an awesome ride. Great work and balancing two sources as different in tone as these two is a really epic feat. Well done, glad I found this.

The brevity of this review belies of much I have enjoyed this story, so I'll just say it again: AWESOME WORK!:pinkiehappy:

Looking forward to fall and seeing when and how Harry will meet these again, though I worry for the darkness that might be in that fic. Still, I will have to read it. Happy writing.

If not for its fluid movements Bookmark would have thought he was looking at a corpse. It was like seeing a god starved near to death.

You know, at this point, even the most stupid would have taken the clue and run away. :facehoof:

For a moment, Captain Armor was silent, then his eyes hardened. “You know I won’t send my troops into that deathtrap.

That deathtrap that ponies make regular trips into without imperiling themselves! I would never send my troops in there!

Zecora: If it is safe passage which you seek, perhaps I may-
Shining: NEVER!

Whelp, I'll admit you were right about my guess being wrong. Though now I have new guesses that are most assuredly "Less-Wrong."
Either way, well done. I've never yet been disappointed by any of your work on this story.

Twilight and the rest had only been gone for a few hours. The entrance to ‘Blackstone’s’ world couldn’t be that far away.

Open a portal in the wrong place and end up in the middle of a freeway... or the Autobahn.

That is two years spent reading every update and I do not mind it at all. You're writing and editors do such a wonderful job I can't pick out any mistakes, be that to good editing or the fact I don't care to find anything; it puts off the next exciting paragraph!

How do they managed to even tail the princess? That sounds... doubtful to be honest.

Also, maybe is just me, but the dragon didn't sound that big. Like the size of the red dragon in season 1. Or maybe is because I still reeling from the World Serpent from "It's a dangerous business going out of your door" to really be impressed by said creature.

So, it also killed the scouts and the pegasus? Were they huddle along with the thirty? Because that sound tactical idiotic. Or they were eat by the dragon before meeting bookmark?

I feel kind of bad that I have all the books of Dresden but I have never purchased anything from the author. I found the books in my normal 4shared/bittorrent massive downloads and I liked and I have been getting all of them ever since... or at least until the 12 boo, were I honestly lost interest in Harry and his world. Since I'm Mexican, his books REALLY are impossible to find here, not even original and I tried to purchase a 9th book online... it was horrible, nearly a thousand pesos robed, without counting the equivalent of 400 dollars of a normal U.S salary it normally cost normal books in here and a lost credit cart.

Do any of you know if I can donate to Jim butcher directly?

So, if you aren't going to start the sequel to this right away, and will be writing some shorter stories first, will that include the third installment of the B.I.G. series?

I find it unusual that Luna's wards in the Astral plane wouldn't have detected them crossing over, let alone move in. 30 ponies is a fair amount. Maybe they do know that they crossed over? But that doesn't really compute figuring that they were wandering in the astral wastes for at least a significant period of time. Maybe a bit of a plot hole? At least 3 of them still had their magic, and logic dictates that they'd had to have some sort of outside assistance, either via another pony or something to even open a portal. In any case, it'd be something worth investigating, intently.

Super-size dragon though... Eats 30 ponies whole without a problem? Not quite World Serpent size, but still, massively huge. Impossibly big really. Wonder how it fits in with Equestria, sounds like it's what rendered the nearby astral plane empty and lifeless. Wonder how much of it can cross back over though to Equestria.

Well, looks like that little problem

<sunglasses>

Went down a treat. :trollestia:

quick calculation estimates the dragon was 30 thousand mile away when spotted, and covered the distance at about 400 mph or so. :twilightoops:

So, given this guy is big, old, powerful, and in the Nevernever, we cant just stuff him in a decaying pocket universe? How is that any less damaging than a coherent solar flare, or even a bacteria or toxin?

Always nice to see some smarmy over-prepared jackass, have his plans ruined by a unseen factor.

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Have you read "My Little Denarians"? Seriously, those two authors should collab or something.

And here I was half-expecting the cliche "Bookmark runs into Obsidian and they team up against the mutual enemy" shtick. I approve of a Sarlacc-dragon being his fate.

I look forward to both your next story and the Skin Game.

It sounds like Dresden isn't going to be getting any peace in his 'vacations'.

As well, I have a feeling he's going to at least make one more trip to Equestria, at least to keep the Star away from a certain Queen of winter...

No matter where Harry Dresden goes, something will be out there trying to kill him. But the rest of us can take comfort and say:

At least he's not Bookmark!

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Yeah Bookmark deserved it, but I feel that some of the Order kind of deserved a little of what Bookmark got.

Hey, well, whaddya know, Bookmark. You did have something to offer! And while you're on your long, slow, horrible way towards giving your initials an entirely different meaning, perhaps you might ruminate on a particular bit of wisdom: When you want to play the big-kid games, you best be prepared for what happens when you lose.

Wait, is that dragon from the Dresden series or something completely original?

Dammit! There are always Bigger Bads!

This is why you are only safe when you blow up the entire omniverse.

Soon... I will be safe.... :pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy:

Great read. Do you know which books the next story will take place between?

4432143 Having read the Dresden Files, we've only seen one dragon in the series thus far. Given the state that this guy is in compared to the other guy, I think it's safe to say that they're not the same dragon.

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To (quite literally) quote Psychicscubadiver himself:

Great Power will occur between Seasons two and three in MLP and between Books eight and nine (Proven Guilty and White Night) in the Dresden Files.

Which book was the one after the spirit/image of Lasciel sacrificed herself for Dresden? I imagine the next story will take place after that.

...So I'm guessing Dresden either can't contact Equestria, or doesn't want to just to spite the group of thirty?

Because he knows they were right about the threat they were guarding against. They were just wrong in where it was.

So uh...that was kind of a completely dissatisfying ending. They were proven to be half right, and the lucky few who actually spoke to Dresden get off on a much lighter sentence. Unless we're just supposed to assume that all thirty left had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

:pinkiegasp:Bookmark got eaten by a Discord!!:trollestia:

What, "Skin Game" is nearly out? *grabs a mirror and looks regretfully at my soul* And I'd hoped I could wait a little before I sold this... oh well... ^_~

I was kind of expected for them to die, and a set up for the next villain.

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