• Published 10th Jul 2011
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Antipodes - PK



An epic post-apocolyptic adventure fic surrounding Celestia and Luna's dissapearence.

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Antipodes- Chapter 6

Antipodes

Chapter 6

by PK

The heat pulling the two ponies into the ancient castle dissipated as the stone door slammed shut behind them. Jigsaw didn’t waste any time. As soon as he could move again, he ran over to the door and touched it with his horn. To his surprise, the door not only wouldn’t move, it seemed to actively resist his attempts to open it.

“Tiptoe! Where are you?” Jigsaw called through the darkness. The light of his horn didn’t seem to carry more than a pony length in front of him here, and the air didn’t taste quite right. He got the distinct impression that this was a very bad place to get stuck. A muffled reply came from his right.

“Jigsaw! Over here!” Tiptoe yelled. Suddenly, all along the walls, green fire burst into life in torch brackets aligned at either side of the entrance corridor. The green light seemed to cut through the gloom far better than Jigsaw’s horn had been able to- but as soon as the torches lit, Jigsaw doubled over in pain. His horn felt like it was going to split open. It felt as though the magic inside him was writing and screaming inside his head. They had obviously entered a place of almost unthinkably powerful dark magic. Even Tiptoe could sense it. Her hair stood up and she shuddered from head to toe. Then, as quickly as it happened, it relented. Jigsaw stood up and looked around to see Tiptoe standing a few feet away from him, he back still arched. He walked over to her.

“Tiptoe, could you feel that?” He said as she straightened out.

“Yeah, I could. What was that? Was that... magic?” she whispered, casting nervous glances at the green torches burning slowly above them.

“Yeah, it was. Very, very powerful magic. We need to be on our toes here.” Jigsaw said.

Tiptoe let out a smile in spite of her fear. “Good thing you have me around, then.”

Jigsaw chuckled. “Come along, then. I think we should follow where the torches lead. It’s that or wandering around in the darkness. At least this way we can find the source of this magical field.”

Jigsaw and Tiptoe set off down the stone hallway of the castle. The ceilings were high and vaulted, though large portions of it had fallen in or simply crumbled away. There were the tattered remains of tapestries on the wall and what was once a rich crimson carpet lay shredded at their feet. As they walked, they encountered several doors and branching passageways, though none of them had lit torches. The green light cast an eerie glow over everything- it seemed to drown out colors and made Jigsaw’s eyes constantly struggle to focus. Tiptoe wasn’t much better off. Though she was much less sensitive to the magic in the air, she still felt the effects. The lights unnerved her and made her feel nauseous.

The castle floor angled downwards. Jigsaw started down the slope, but Tiptoe paused at the precipice. Jigsaw looked back over his shoulder.

“What’s wrong?” he said.

“I... I don’t want to go back underground!” Tiptoe blurted out. “I only just got out on the surface, and I don’t ever want to go anywhere where I can’t fly again!” She stamped her hooves on the stone tile.

Jigsaw was taken aback. Tiptoe had only raised her voice at him once before, and it still came as a shock to him. He shook off his surprise and spoke to the agitated pony in a quiet, calm voice.

“Listen. I know I can’t hope to understand how you feel. You must have felt so cooped up all those years back down in the caves- but listen. We won’t be down here forever, and we need to go down there or we’ll never get out of here. I’ll be right here the whole time. And besides, you can handle yourself! You fought of a sea serpent singlehandedly while carrying me at the same time! Then, you managed to revive me when I had stopped breathing. You’ve saved my life a lot more than I’ve saved yours. You’re the bravest, most kindhearted pony I’ve ever met.”

He walked up to Tiptoe and nuzzled her neck. She froze for a moment, then relaxed. Nobody had ever shown her affection like this, and she certainly hadn’t been expecting it in the current circumstances. The green glow from the torches seemed less harsh and bright.

Then, a loud crashing sound came from down the passageway and Jigsaw snapped his neck upwards. The green glow of the torches seemed back in full effect. Tiptoe and Jigsaw shared one glance full of meaning, then they began the descent into the bowels of the castle. As they walked down, the material that made up the walls seemed to change. The smooth tiles of the areas above were soon replaced with large, sloppily cut slabs of stone. The pain in Jigsaw’s horn returned, though not as intense as it was up at the top of the castle. It was more like a throb of energy that got stronger the farther they walked.

Then, without warning, they entered a very large cave. On the left was what appeared to be a swirling force field of magical energy, through which blue sky could be seen. The cavern seemed to have been cut into the mountain. Old-world writing on the walls proclaimed this to be a pegasus take-off area. However, the most conspicuous area in the room lay to the left, where an extremely large selection of gold, gemstones, and skeletons lay. At the very back of the cave, on what appeared to be a giant platform cut into the rock, sat a dragon.

Its hide was midnight blue, with areas of creamy white around the base of his horns and fingers. Deep red veins seemed to course across his skin, glowing brightly with every heartbeat. His eyes were little more than bright green slits under his eyelids.

Jigsaw and Tiptoe screamed out loud at the sight of him. The corners of the dragon’s mouth twitched at the sight of the two ponies. It opened it’s mouth and blew out a blast of green fire. It surrounded the two ponies and swirled like a vortex, immobilizing them. Jigsaw and Tiptoe struggled against the binding green flame, to no effect. Jigsaw attempted to use magic, but the pain in his horn swelled to such a great magnitude that he cried out and nearly lost consciousness.

The dragon flew over to the two ponies and examined them closely. When he saw the two ponies he had ensnared, however, his eyes grew wide and he retracted a few steps. He raised one hand and brought it slicing down through the air, and the bonds on the two ponies lifted.

Speak, then, if you are able” the dragon’s voice boomed. Every syllable felt heavy, as though with each word, a massive rockslide was tumbling down a mountaintop.

Jigsaw spoke up first. “My name is Jigsaw, and this is my...” he cast a glance at Tiptoe. “... friend, Tiptoe. We’re from the caves to the west, and we’re looking for a way to get back home.”

The dragon’s eyes narrowed. “The west? It is nothing but barren wastelands overland, and the underground ways are far too dangerous for your kind. I know of one way, however; you must complete a task if you expect my aid.”

Jigsaw was shocked at the dragon’s eloquence and quick answers, though his body language had betrayed a moment’s hesitation. “What is your name?”

My name? I have had many names. Before the fall, I was known by one name. Now I am known by Tantalus.” The dragon said, his voice reverberating throughout the room.

“Before the fall?” Jigsaw said, his mouth agape. “You were around before the Great Cataclysm? Do you know what happened?”

Tiptoe couldn’t help but notice that even when a giant dragon was bearing down on them, Jigsaw couldn’t pass up an opportunity to learn.

I was. I am the last in the world, I believe, that can provide a firsthand account.”

Princess Celestia and Luna vanished because of one foolhardy young pony. I do not know his name. He was fooling about with powers far beyond his comprehension. He had come across a tome of ancient and unspeakable evil, and he spoke its words. Celestia, Luna, and a young ward named Twilight Sparkle both vanished by this dark power. The young pony who had used the spell fled into hiding, using the book to grow his power. He began feeding off of other ponies to make his own power grow. He hides there in the east, even now. He is a demon, my sworn enemy, and he is who you seek. Find him, and kill him, and you will find your way home.”

Jigsaw blinked with indignation. “That’s it? We meet a creature that was around before Celestia and Luna vanished and before the Great Cataclysm, and he barely tells us anything? I could have found out more in the library back at the Tribunal!” He didn’t voice his feelings, however. The dragon still looked angry.

“Very well. We will do this for you, if it will grant us safe passage.” Jigsaw said through gritted teeth.

The dragon smiled, a rather disturbing gesture, as it revealed rows of blackened teeth. He turned his head and blew a green mist at the side of the cave, which crumbled away.

Go. Hunt the demon. Return when you have finished. I will find your way home.”

Jigsaw and Tiptoe walked out of the cave. As the passed the pedestal where the dragon had been sitting, Tiptoe noticed something strange: Far back, away from the rest of the treasure, lay a large, cracked blue gem. Underneath it, in what looked like a crude carving done with a claw, was the word:

Rarity

Tiptoe hadn’t the slightest inkling of what that could mean.

They walked out onto the snowy mountainside, and the cave wall seemed to repair itself behind them. Tiptoe then looked at Jigsaw and said, “That... that was incredible, what you did back there. Talking to a dragon like that.”

“I get the feeling that he was hiding things from us. A lot of things.” said Jigsaw. “His explanation seemed way to simple, and he was far too quick to give us this task and get us out of there. I’m not sure I trust him.”

Then, without warning, Tiptoe walked up to Jigsaw and kissed him full on the mouth. Jigsaw stood there for a moment, his eyes wide open in shock, then he closed them and enjoyed the moment. After several seconds that felt much to fast to Jigsaw, they broke apart. Tiptoe blushed, but stayed in eye contact with Jigsaw.

“What was that for?” he stammered.

“For saving me.” she said. “C’mon, we have a long ways to go if we’re going east.”

Tiptoe took off and began flying down the slope of the hill that formed the mountainside. Jigsaw stood there stunned for a moment longer.

Then, he set off down the snowy curve, following the yellow pegasus, who was now flying loops through the air.

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