• Published 6th May 2014
  • 12,104 Views, 235 Comments

After the End - Door Matt



Jason Wright, bitter after surviving his lowest point, will make a deal with the devil to get the answers he craves. Whether Ponyville is ready for him, or not.

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Old Power

*SLAM*

I hit the ground with about as much subtlety as the Hindenburg.

“Argh! Fuuu…mother of...gah...crap!”

My ankle’s gone. I know that immediately. Twisted enough so that I won’t be walking right for at least a day.

Perfect. Just what I friggin needed.

I sprawl outwards onto my back and give my left leg a gentle stretch, stopping immediately when a jolt of pain courses up my body. I also notice the terrible condition of the fabric covering my foreleg. Sure enough, I feel a heavier load of wild hair back upon my skull, and the caressing of long beard strands against my chest.

So that before...was an illusion after all….damnit...

Briefly I’d entertained the notion that Discord’s spell - or whatever the hell it was - had restored me permanently. Of course, I should’ve expected that would have been far too easy for someone with such a horrible track record for luck.

It’s only when I relax that I casually look upwards and see the tree, with a very familiar hangman’s noose still tied to one of the branches. The knot appears to be no less tight than when I’d made it.

Oh shit! Wait…

Immediately I sit upwards and look behind me. Yup. There she is. An extremely shocked looking Applejack, mouth completely agape.

“Ah don’t…” She stutters while taking a hesitant step backwards. “Ah...don’t understand. You...ah saw that rope around yer neck. But you passed through it like it weren’t even there! Ah swear ah saw you shimmer on the way down. Did...did you do something?”

Shimmer?

That must’ve been a teleportation effect, or whatever it was that snarky dragonesque did to me.

“I think...I’ve had a change of heart.” I say, flexing my fingers.

There are a few ways I could play this situation now. Tell her everything. Claim that I somehow missed the rope, or that the entire set-up was a practical joke. Even play ignorant. However, that was before Discord’s proposal. All of his powers, for information about something he’s presumably already capable of? I’d have been mad not to take it. There’s still that nagging feeling he’s up to something - of course he is - but whatever it is, I can’t see it. And quite frankly, I have far more crucial things to deal with.

He wasn’t the one who ruined my life.

“Uhh...whatever you say. Ah’m gonna walk over and look over your ankle there. That okay? That fall looked mighty painful.”

I don’t feel different. With the amount of power that Discord commands, all that magic potential must be like an electric surge through your veins. Reality warped with just a simple snap of the fingers. The power of a god in the palms of my hands.

But I don’t feel any different at all.

“Hello?”

This can’t be right. Discord’s not the type of character to screw me over. Even the devil follows through on deals.

Suddenly one of my senses alerts me to an approaching presence, like that feeling you get when a person is nearby yet you can’t see or hear them. I turn my head to the crunch of soft hoofsteps on fresh earth, and see Applejack moving slowly to within a few metres. Panicking I surge to my feet - an instant mistake; the pain of my injury almost leads to me crumpling back to the floor.

“Woah...easy there. Ah swear ah’m not gonna hurt you none.” Applejack stops.

Through my dismay it’s hard to tell if she looks concerned or scared. Right now I should be giving her a thousand reasons why she should be fearful of me, but two years of crazed screaming from her whenever I braved her farm to forage for an apple or two hasn’t left my mind. Such rage...I had always assumed ponies were less inclined towards anger. She proved me wrong. Of any of them, I had really expected Rainbow Dash to be the most temperamental, but she’d always remained above the cloud layer, too far away to gauge any sign of emotion. Sure, Applejack’s charges had petered out towards the end, but either I had gotten better at stealth or she had chosen to simply ignore me, like an irrelevant bug.

Gotta try something. Anything!

Closing my eyes for a brief moment, I attempt to channel whatever magic has been bestowed upon me. To any casual observers I probably look ridiculous, but thankfully I only have the one witness here. And soon...she’s gonna start talking.

My eyes open and I hone my vision on another tree behind Applejack; specifically one of the apples dangling high above on an outlying branch.

Should start small. Nothing fancy just yet. Annnddd…..float!

I flick my hand towards it, hoping that I’ve pulled it off. Basic telekinesis is probably the simplest thing Discord is able to do. Achieve this now, and the rest should come to me.

And then they’ll be answering for everything. I won’t stop until I know for sure...I-

It’s not moving.

No flying off the branch. No floating around. Not even a twitch.

I...I don’t….why…why isn’t it working!? I agreed to the deal! I’m doing it right...aren't I?

It’s all I can do to not punch the ground in anger. My eyes don’t leave the apple, so willed I am to tear the damn thing off with my mind. Still it just hangs there, stubbornly refusing to budge. Even worse, I know it’s not going to. I feel nothing, no power at all flowing through me. I just look like a fool. A useless, crippled, hideous fool.

That goddamned snake lied to me….what was the point of it all!? I told him about the portal...I…

In the heat and hopelessness of the moment, I failed to notice Applejack completely closing the distance between us. Her front leg takes ahold of my outstretched hand, interrupting my outraged thoughts, and with no hesitation somehow manages to pull me up.

“There we are. Now hold still,” she says. The words sound hazy and distant, but I comply.

She bends down to look at my left leg, which I’m gingerly resting on the toes. I know any more pressure will cause more pressure, and it’s starting to feel a bit heavier.

“Eeyup. That’s a bad twist there. Starting to swell up. Yer bucking lucky you didn’t break the damn thing.”

The words are coming in mostly clear now. Finally, I tear away my vision from the defiant fruit, and look her dead in the eyes. For a split second, it’s like I’m seeing her for the first time again.

“I don’t….I can’t…” is all I managed to splutter out. Cohesive sentences are completely beyond me at this point. To her credit, she doesn’t look away.

“No good leaving you alone for five minutes if you try that again,” she says, a determined tone breaking through. “Can you limp at least? Ah wanna check that ankle out proper, back at the farm.”

Despite this probably being the first time a Ponyville resident has treated me with a slightest inkling of respect, I barely notice it, so caught up I am in my failings. It’s just too much to simply let go of the fact I almost had the chance to turn everything around.

It should’ve worked! It should’ve worked! It-

*SNAP*

Applejack’s head whips around at the sound, and it takes me a second to register that something happened. Looking up, I see branches on the tree behind her swaying, and yet there’s no breeze.

Was something watching us? I didn’t see anything…

And then I realise. It’s the same branch I was looking at before.

And the apple is gone.

“Darn bird giving me the shivers,” AJ says, turning back around to face me. “Anyway, you coming? Like ah said, ah don’t wanna leave ya out here alone.”

Before I can answer, it reappears, descending from the sky as if imitating an angel from heaven. I would almost find it comical, were it not for the fireworks going off in my head at the sight.

I did it...I did it!

“GET IN!” I shout, completely oblivious to the volume. Luna might be impressed at that vocal burst.

Applejack recoils, utterly taken aback, her legs almost buckling from surprise. Her face contorts in horror, and she looks prepared to run for it.

*SNAP*

Her head turns once again.

*SNAP*

This one she definitely sees. The third apple rips away from its stem, and rushes to join the other two.

*SNAP* *SNAP* *SNAP* *SNAP* *SNAP*

More and more break away from the tree in quickening succession, until a ring of apples begins circling around in the air, maybe fifteen feet off the ground. It’s the image I had in my head when thinking about how to make the apples move in the first place. And just like that, I understand what I’d done wrong before.

It’s not me trying to magic them to move around...it’s me ‘knowing’ that they can.

I understand now. As soon as I had the belief that the power should’ve worked, it did work. Was that the difference between Discord’s magic and the ponies’ magic? Theirs an act of will; his simply a state of being?

“This is you...ain’t it!? Ah knew you were trouble!” Applejack says, in quite a bit of anguish.

I want to ignore her and experiment more, but if she makes a break for it now, it could cause problems further down the line. I was going to have to start questioning ponies sooner or later, she’s as good a one as any to start. Before she can say or do anything else, I again attempt to wield Discord’s powers. This time, I know what to do - don’t try and force the change...simply believe that the change is possible.

Make the image in my mind, and know I can do it.

I look over to Applejack, and imagine her tied up.

This will happen! I need it to!

Instantly, the very rope that she used to try and save me leaps to life and surges towards her legs. In a matter of seconds, all four appendages are bound together, then knotted tightly. I can only think of two things in that moment: how easy that had been, and how she had stood no chance.

“What…! This ain’t...get this rope off of me! Ah know this is you! Untie me!”

If I had the energy, I’d be ecstaticly celebrating at this moment. It’s a small start...but finally, I have the one thing I’ve so desired in the days I’ve spent in Equestria. Not respect. Not friendship. It had been made abundantly clear early on that I wasn’t going to get any of that. A new desire had slowly, but very surely, taken over.

Power.

All of the torment I had been through before, none of it needed to have happened! If I’d had this potential back then, I could’ve prevented the stares, the disgust, the abuse. As a weakling, a stranger in a hostile place...what more could I have done? It had taken three years of persecution to break me; it would only take one glance at my appearance to know I’d been shattered, let alone my last attempt to escape. But now?

“Ah’m dead serious! Ah can see that smile! Unless you want mah family and mah friends tracking you down, let me go!” she yells. It’s not quite a scream yet, but there’s a hint of fear laced in her tone, which is all I want. And it’s true, I’m definitely smiling. Beaming in fact!

“Perfect,” I say, running another image through my head. In response, the rope pulls upwards, lifting her legs as it goes. As her body flips and leaves the ground, her hat sinks off, gently returning to earth. At the same time, the ring of apples widens and sinks, until the two meet, leaving an incredulous upside-down Applejack surrounding by the flying fruit, orbiting her like a star. It’s a ridiculous scene for a ridiculous situation.

“The more ponies I get to talk to, the better. And you know Applejack, I think you’ve forgotten.”

The memory of my old life had become distinctly hazy over time, but Discord’s mirror had been extremely handy in returning those thoughts. I run the image he had shown me through my brain until it becomes solid as concrete.

That is the real me.

I click my fingers out of instinct, and for the briefest moment there’s a slight tingling sensation through me. And then I feel lighter. Much lighter. I can tell from her widening eyes that it’s worked; she’s looking at the real me from before. The one she and everyone else had driven away.

“I’m Jason Wright! Remember now!? And I'm not gonna stop until I get answers from you, or anyone in Ponyville!”

You should see the look on her face. Priceless.

Author's Note:

IT'S HAPPENING

The crazy adventures of Jason Wright: Revengence continue!
Apologies Chapter 2 was a 'tad' late. Y'know what won't be? The NEXT chapter! Expect it in roughly a week's time. You won't wanna miss that one. Trust me.

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