• 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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Anitpodes- Chapter 9

Antipodes


Chapter 9

by PK

Jigsaw and Tiptoe plummeted through the crystal tube. Through the transparent walls of the tunnel, pinpricks of light could be seen—like stars, but shining much brighter, with a golden light. The transparent crystal was coarse and jagged, but a warm cushion of air seemed to push the two ponies away whenever they came too close to the edges.

Tiptoe flapped her wings furiously in a futile attempt to stop her descent. No matter how hard she flapped, she didn’t seem to slow at all. Jigsaw fell below her, tumbling head over heels through the tunnel. Below them, approaching rapidly, a large, black plane stretched out in every direction.

After a few minutes of terrified free fall, the termination of the tunnel reached the two ponies. Jigsaw and Tiptoe suddenly found themselves standing on another platform in another throne room. The platform was glowing with the same bright, golden light as the other had, but within moments it had faded back to gray stone.

They were not alone.

Seated on a strange throne was a deep red unicorn, his jaw slack in amazement. Then, Jigsaw and Tiptoe lost consciousness.

~~~

Jigsaw blinked his eyes open. His whole body ached as though he’d just been thoroughly beaten. He was lying on a comfortable mattress in a small but lavishly decorated bedroom. There was a large red curtain that had an ornate black “R” sewn into it. Jigsaw got shakily to his feet and approached the curtain. He tugged on the tassel hanging down on the side of the curtain with his mouth and the curtains were drawn open. He couldn’t believe what he saw.

Spread out below him was a massive city. He was in a tower that appeared to grow out of the center of the mass of buildings, with stripes of alternating buildings and farmland spreading out from it like the spokes of a wheel. Far off, at the border where the buildings stopped, a massive, shimmering blue barrier rose up from the ground. It seemed to encase the entire city in a shimmering blue globe, through which the sun and moon could still be seen on either sides of the sky.

Jigsaw stared out the window in awe at the city spread out beneath him. He simply couldn’t believe what he saw. He couldn’t comprehend how a city like this could even exist so long after pony civilization had collapsed. He staggered away from the window and sat on the bed. He stared out the window and tried to understand how he had gotten here and how this place could even exist. Luckily, he didn’t have to wonder for long.

The door to his room hummed quietly and slid into the wall. A very small shockingly blue pegasus walked in, and upon seeing Jigsaw sitting up on his bed, smiled.

“Who are you?” Jigsaw said, a sharp edge of suspicion in his voice.

“My name is Cerulean. I’m glad you’re finally awake,” she replied. Her voice was very reassuring.

“How did I get here? Where is here? How does this place even exist? Where is Tiptoe?!” His voice rose as he spoke, eventually ending in a shout.

Cerulean didn’t falter. “There’s no need to shout! Trust me, you’re safe here. Your pegasus friend is just across the hallway. She hasn’t woken up, yet, though. Tiptoe, you said her name is? And what might yours be?”

“Jigsaw.” He said, narrowing his eyes at Cerulean. “I want to see her.”

Cerulean nodded. “Of course. Follow me.” She got up and walked over to the door. It appeared nothing more than a slab of green metal—however, it had the sun-and-moon symbol emblazoned on it. Cerulean touched it with her snout. It glowed for a moment, and the door slid into the wall with the soft hum he had heard earlier. It led out into a plain hallway of gray stone. Directly across from Jigsaw’s room there was an identical door, though this one appeared to be slightly newer. The door opened and they cantered inside.

Tiptoe lay on a bed in the center of the room. It appeared identical to the room they had just come from, only mirrored. The shimmering blue globe outside the window swirled and twisted like air currents, casting a strange blue light into the window.

“See? I told you that she’s just fine. She’s still suffering the aftereffects from using the portal. Speaking of which, we have some questions to ask you. Please accompany me to the royal chambers.” Cerulean said, her smile as wide as ever.

Jigsaw still felt rather uneasy with this pony, but the chance to finally get some answers was too lucrative for him to pass up. He followed Cerulean out the door and into the hallway.

The hallway had a rich red carpet stretching down its length. The gray stone walls had small orbs every few feet that were illuminated. Cerulean cantered along this hallway, Jigsaw close behind her. Soon they reached a spiral staircase which rose out of the ground in a large domed room. Strung along the sides of this room were ruby red banners bearing a black hoofmark and a single word underneath that Jigsaw didn’t recognize.

“What does that say?” He asked Cerulean.

“Why, it says Stalliongrad, of course!”

The two ponies reached the top of the spiral staircase. They trotted a short distance under a metal archway before coming back into the throne room Jigsaw and Tiptoe had originally appeared in before passing out. Now, Jigsaw could get a proper look at it. It appeared to have had a much different layout originally—parts of the room seemed to have been slapped on the extend the room. Red was everywhere. A rich red carpet covered the floor, and red tapestries hung from almost every window. The hoof motif was also omnipresent, from the shape of table in the room to the right, to the archway they had just passed under, to the logos on the tapestries. At the far end of the room was the deep red unicorn he had seen before. His cutie mark was some sort of red ribbon. He was seated in a throne that was split down the middle, half deep alabaster black, the other a bright white. It looked as if somepony had cut the original two thrones in half and stuck them together.

Cerulean bowed and walked out of the room.

The red pony jumped off the throne and cantered over to Jigsaw. “I’m pleased you’ve finally woken up! Please, come and sit with me. I imagine you must have many questions. I know I do.”

He let out a genial laugh and winked at Jigsaw. He then began walking over to a doorway in the northwest corner of the room, which led into what appeared to be some sort of meeting room. A large number of chairs were arranged in a circle around a central table. The red pony took a seat and Jigsaw sat down directly across from him.

“Now, I believe some introductions are in order. My name is Rubidium and I am the governor of the glorious city of Stalliongrad! Who are you?”

“My name is Jigsaw.”

“Jigsaw? What an interesting name.”

Several unicorns entered through a small door in the far wall, plates of food hovering in front of them. They placed them on the table before giving a short bow and exiting the room.

Jigsaw eyed the food warily for an instant before his hunger got the better of him. As he began eating, Rubidium began to speak.

“I was quite surprised to see you appear in the throne room, particularly out of that portal. It hasn’t worked in… well, I don't think it ever has! How did you get here? And from where?”

Jigsaw stopped eating and regarded the deep ruby colored pony across the table from him. Despite all the things he had done for him and Tiptoe, Jigsaw couldn’t help but be unnerved by him. However, he didn’t want to make enemies of the first group of ponies he came across. He decided to tell the truth.

He began to recount the story from the beginning, though he tried to omit any details that weren’t crucial to the story. Rubidium sat across the table listening intently. His expression was inscrutable. When Jigsaw had finished, Rubidium hopped off the chair and began to pace back and forth.

“So… you really know nothing?” he said, his eyes narrowing.

“I don’t know any more than what I told you.”

“I need to show you something. Follow me.”

Rubidium trotted over to a wall and touched a panel with his snout. The table in the center of the room began to sink slowly into the floor. When it had lowered completely, a sheet of metal slid out to cover the hole. Then, to Jigsaw’s amazement, an enormous replica of the tower they were currently in appeared, taking up most of the space in the room. His eyes went wide.

Jigsaw walked over to the tower and swept his hoof into it. It passed through as if there were nothing there.

“It’s a hologram!” he said with amazement. “How is this possible?”

Rubidium walked out into the center of the room and the image of the tower shrunk down until it was only the size of a pony, then the spokes of land and buildings that surrounded the tower shimmered to life at it’s base.

“Before the fall, Stalliongrad was Equestria’s main military base. As such, some of the most brilliant scientists and advanced technology in the entire world was present here, including some of the most powerful protection the goddesses could bestow. After the fall, we were the only city in the middle ring that survived the war between the dark side and the light side. They simply couldn’t penetrate our protection. We waited out the war, and once it was over, we began to rebuild. The technology you see here is the result of ten thousand years of progress while the rest of the world stood still.”

“The middle ring?”

“The habitable zone in the middle of the planet. Where plants still grow.”

“And how did you stay safe from the Grand Cataclysm? What defences could you possibly have strong enough to repel all of Equestria?”

Rubidium smiled, though it didn’t show in his eyes. He did a sweeping gesture with one of his legs and the image rotated to show the city from above. Clearly visible, like channels of liquid silver and gold running under the entire city, was the sun-and-moon insignia.

“This is the symbol of Celestia and Luna. I take it you know who they were?”

“Well, yes, of course.”

“They are not totally gone. You said you encountered a dragon named Tantalus on your journey?”

Jigsaw nodded.

“The story he spun you was only partially true. There was no unicorn- he was the one meddling with power beyond his own control. I do not know why, or how, but he was corrupted by dark powers beyond comprehension. He attempted to destroy the goddesses, and most believed he was successful.” Rubidium gestured towards the main chamber. “Follow me.”

Rubidium led Jigsaw into the room and towards a small staircase behind the throne. At the top was nothing more than a white disc in the floor. They stood on it, and much to Jigsaw’s surprise, it slid smoothly downward.

They appeared to be descending down a glass tube, through which the entire city could be seen laid out beneath them. The sense of scale was almost overwhelming to Jigsaw. The tower was many hundred, perhaps even thousands, of feet high. As they descended, smaller towers began flying past the two ponies. Inside, Jigsaw saw glimpses of the lavishly decorated interior. However, the small, run-down shacks at the border of the shell that surrounded the city could still be seen in the distance.

Soon the disc reached the bottom of the tower and continued on underground. The tube appeared to have been built into the facility much later than the rooms it intersected. They all appeared to be original to the military base and abandoned.

Eventually, the platform began to slow and glided to a halt. They entered into a stone room that appeared to have been carved in a rush. The walls were craggy and uneven. Jigsaw could sense the room had a very strong magical field surrounding it. The lights in the ceiling had been replaced with the more familiar globes of magical energy.

Rubidium noticed Jigsaw staring up at the lights and said, “We can’t have anything that runs on electricity down here. It won’t work.”

“Why not?” Jigsaw replied, his curiosity piqued.

“You’ll find out.” Rubidium said before turning and walking down the passageway at the end of the room.

Jigsaw followed, and they soon came to an intricately carved stone door. It appeared as though this door was given far more attention to detail than the rest of the rest of the room. Numerous carvings of ponies in various poses resided at each corner, while circles of old-world text Jigsaw didn’t recognize surrounded the central symbol of a brightly glowing sun-and-moon symbol.

“Would you care to do the honors?” Rubidium said.

“I would love to!” Jigsaw said. He walked up to the door and pressed against it. The sun and moon flashed brighter than ever, and the words on the door rotated around it, lining up to form words Jigsaw didn’t understand.

Rubidium, however, had understood. And he wasn’t pleased.