• Published 24th Apr 2015
  • 2,280 Views, 127 Comments

A New Life - Lunafan1k



A changeling survives a traumatic event at the cost of his memories, and his sanity. He makes new pony friends who try to help him, unknowingly making his condition worse.Takes place prior to the changeling invasion.

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Challenges

The old castle ruins were massively overgrown, vines and bushes and wild trees growing all willy-nilly. If it wasn’t for Binks and Caster pointing out the remains of various market stalls and buildings I never would have noticed we were in a market. As we progressed, listening to Caster and Binks, I realized that history was pretty fascinating. They were speaking of events that happened so long ago that there is no longer any record of it, yet here were two who lived through that era and spoke of little things from back then, things I doubt anyone examining the ruins would uncover.

“And then Spark, the goon, tried to steal from Zipper’s stall but we caught him and the guards cut off his hooves! He never stole again.” Caster finished. Fascinating!

“Um, I’m sorry I don’t think I heard you very clearly Miss Caster, what was it you said about his hooves?” Rarity asked.

“The guards had them cut off, all four. The law was like that for thieves if they were caught ten times stealing. It goes from a fine, to being whipped, jail, then mutilation and jail, then death. He had plenty of time to change his ways but a zebra can’t change their stripes as the saying goes.” Caster filled in for us. The others looked a bit squeamish at the idea.

“Why would he steal though? Was he poor?” Twilight asked.

“He was a street rat, would rather risk the punishment than work for food. We all tried to hire him, we look out for our own you see, but he was just a lay about and it didn’t stop him from stealing anyway, guess he found a thrill in it.” Caster said.

“It’s true, I had him on my deliveries a few times and he didn’t care to do any work. I don’t think he deserved what happened but you can’t help those not willing to help themselves.” Binks added as well.

“Did he come back too?” I asked them.

“Actually, now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve seen him. Him and a few of the royals as well as several others of noble blood. I think that’s the main reason the entire city is in an uproar, the leadership is missing.” Caster said with a frown.

“Well, if you’re referring to the Royal Crypts they were excavated and the kings and queens were re-located to New Canterlot, its part of the gardens behind the castle.” Twilight supplied.

“Well that’s one question answered I guess.” Caster said. We started to hear the murmuring of a crowd of ponies, “Well gang, we’re here. And between us, keep the information about taking out the necromancer a secret; we don’t want a riot on our hooves.”

The others nodded and I did as well, the less interference the better. As we rounded the final corner the remains of the main plaza spread out before the remains of the castle. All around were the reanimated dead: zombies, skeletons, and ghosts were everywhere. Many had separated from the main crowd and formed groups of their own, speaking of various things or just happy to be alive and with their loved ones once more.

Needless to say we were quickly spotted and a shushed murmuring fell upon the crowd. Whispers of “Who are they?” “Is that Binks?” “Should I be feeling hungry?” rolled through the mass of undead.

One of the skeletons in armor trotted up to us from the left, I waved to him with a smile. He/she nodded at me before addressing Caster, “What is the meaning of this!? Not only have you left the perimeter but you brought back outsiders!” Ah, it’s a he.

“Come on, you can’t expect us to just dilly dally around forever, and they were already in town thanks to Binks!” Caster exclaimed. “Besides, they might be able to help. Twilight here knows her history and the Princesses are still around, we might be able to get them to help us out.”

The guard looked to each of us, settling on Twilight for a longer moment than the others… I wanted to be the most interesting! I waved again and was ignored.

“Alright...” He sighed, “Come on, I’ll take you to the commander. This way.” The guard turned and we followed him off to the left. The other ponies huddled around in the square and watched us for a moment longer before returning to their conversations, now ripe with rumors and hear-say about the living ponies among them.

We came upon a makeshift command center of some sort. There were no walls or anything that really set it apart, except there were a lot more guards and one of them was in gold armor instead of the dull silver of the others. He seemed to be studying the ground rather than paying attention to the new arrivals, but from what I could see he was one of the more preserved ponies, skin stretched taunt over his bones and still had patches of grey fur and mane.

“Admiral Starry Skies, several ponies have arrived at the castle and they believe they may be of some help, not to mention they seem used to our… affliction.” Our guide said, earning the attention of the gold pony. He looked up to us with his empty eye sockets, his teeth on constant display as his lips had shriveled and shrunk back.

He studied us for a moment and looked back to the ground. I flew up a bit to get a better look, it was writing, in a style I wasn’t familiar with. He grabbed a stick and added a few more lines and then turned back to us. “Thank you Corporal Steel, head back to your post.”

The Corporal saluted and trotted off where we came while Twilight stared at the Admiral with a lot of intensity. “A-Admiral Starry Skies!?” She burst out as the guard approached.

“… Yes?” He asked in confusion.

“Oh my gosh, what an honor! My brother and I read all about you as foals, you’re a legend and a hero! Even my brother joined the guard and became a captain wanting to be a hearo like you!” Twilight gushed out and started blubbering.

“Right, well, I’m not sure what the books say about me, but I’m no hero, I’m just a pony doing his job. After that I’ve seen, what I’ve done for the protection of ponies, it’s not something I want to be rewarded with or reminded of. But I am glad that we weren’t forgotten.” Twilight blushed and looked at her hooves.

“Now, you seem to know me, I’d like to know who you are and how you can believe you can help us.” He said.

There was a bit of silence as Twilight was still staring at her hooves. Oh well, my time to shine! “Hi there, I’m… Beetle. I’ve lost my memory and we’re kind of helping each other. And I’m a changeling. This is Twilight, Flutters, Pinks, Hat, Colors, and Diamond.” They glared at me. “Sorry I get confused, Twilight Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Apple…Jack? Yea. Rainbow and Rarity.” I said and re-pointed them out with a grin.

“I see, it’s nice to meet you all.” He said and nodded to each in turn.

“And we’re here to find the source of the necromantic energy causing the dead to come to life and the animals to become monsters and put a stop to it.” I added. The others face hoofed.

“So, you’ve come to put a stop to this phenomenon?” He said with a sigh. “I see our research is correct, that this is the unnatural work of evil. Have you told this to anyone else?”

“Just you Binks and Caster.” I said.

“I see. Come with me.” He said and trotted off toward the castle with us in tow. On the way he explained, “We believe the one doing this is somewhere in the eastern tower, likely at the top-most floor. I’ve already sent an attachment of guards to investigate the tower, but all we hear are screams followed by silence. I’m not about to risk more of my men until we find out what we’re dealing with.”

“Who’s this ‘we’ you keep talking about?” I asked.

“The arch mages. The library doesn’t exist but they have been doing the best they can.” He said.

“So you want us to investigate the tower and put a stop to the danger, even if it means everyone here will die again?” I asked.

He nodded. “I’ve discussed it with the mages and my commanders, and we came to a seven to three agreement that this is the best course of action. We shouldn’t exist, much less be so alive. The current theory is that the one behind this has the power, but lacks control at a range. In other words, the ones I sent into the tower have had their minds stripped and are truly undead slaves. We would rather be dead for good than a slave of some power craved monster.” We arrived at the base of the tower. “This is the farthest we can go. Caster and Binks, I’m sorry but you must remain here.”

“But I wanted to throw everypony a party!” Pinkie whined.

“I’m sorry, but you coming here was unexpected and the longer you dawdle the better chance that the enemy will find you and try to stop you before you get a chance to. This way you have a chance of catching him by surprise.”

I nodded, “You got it, but are you sure you don’t want to live again?”

“If we were able to live freely without an evil like this tainting us, I’m more than certain that everypony would prefer that, but it’s impossible. Once the evil is purged, we will die.” He said with a sigh. “Oh, and as a final wish, please burn our remains. I don’t want this to happen ever again, next time we might not be so lucky. Good luck.”

I nodded and started making my way into the tower. “Alright girls, let’s be ready for anything.” I heard Twilight say from behind me. I started up the stairs to the left as they kept talking amongst themselves. I ignored them and kept moving.

There was something strangely… familiar, about the energy in the air. I couldn’t put my hoof on it, but I felt I was on the verge of some important discovery. I came upon a door to my right, and up ahead the stairs have caved in and was blocked off by a wall of fallen rock. I tried the door and it opened easily enough.

It led into a large room that looked recently decorated. It was in far better shape than the rest of the town by at least a thousand years. There was a massive fireplace with a roaring fire, a spiral staircase leading up in the far corner, and various furnishings and statues. But by far the most interesting thing was the two ponies standing on either side of the fireplace.

They seemed to call out to me, almost like they were begging for something even though they remained still. I walked in, the door sealing behind me as I trotted up to the one on the right and looked her over. Her coat was pale and almost see-through and with a full mane and tail of fiery red, while various vines and flower sprouted from her body. She seemed to ignore me for the moment, but I couldn’t help but say out loud, “Wow, you are beautiful.”

This seemed to snap her out of her trance. “W-what?”

“I-I don’t know, It’s just there’s something about you, I can just tell you’re special. And I mean that honestly… But there is something else too, something disturbed… that shouldn’t be there…” I started looking over her very carefully, and I was starting to make out a sort of aura around her, like a constricting snake.

“… You shouldn’t be here; the master is keeping an eye out for undead and hasn’t seen you yet, so please just run away… I don’t want to be forced again!” She begged, her eyes became filled with actual moisture as she was about to cry. “I don’t want to kill more of my friends or anyone else, please, just go!”

I was only half listening, concentrating more on the new energy. My horn was glowing a soft red, getting gradually brighter as I attuned myself to the frequency subconsciously. The trail of energy seemed to be flowing from something on the fireplace. I opened my wings and followed it.

“Are you even listening?! If the master finds you he’ll force us to kill you!” She exclaimed.

The energy was coming from a box of some sort. “What’s this?” I asked and pointed at it.

She turned as much as she could, “It’s our music box… Our father gave it to us when we were foals; it’s our most precious object…” As she trailed off I was able to see a second string of energy to the other mare, almost identical but with a blue mane and tulips instead.

“I see…” I looked at the box closer; it too had an energy flowing to it from the ceiling. “It looks like the Lich is using the box as a medium or a relay to control you both.”

The blue-maned mare scoffed, “Explains why we can’t leave the room.” She said.

“Well, I don’t know my name, but my friends call me Beetle. What are your names?” I asked, making casual conversation as I continued my examination.

“… My name is Rose, and that’s my sister, Flame.” Rose, the one with the red mane and the roses. Easy enough to remember. “We served as royal advisers to the king and queen and looked after the princesses as well.” She said.

“So what do you think about the current events? The dead coming back with their will and everything. Looks like the entire city is re-populated with everyone who was buried nearby.” I said. The energy seemed to pulse before my eyes, it might be possible to just sever the main feed, but it could be rigged to backlash in some way. I reached forward with my will, a small, thin, red line now joining the main current.

“… Everyone is back?” Flame asked.

“Apparently some of the graves were moved but there are a few thousand outside in the courtyard.” I said. The thin trail of energy trailed out of the box towards both the mares, I split it off and looped it back up to the main feed while still adding more and more energy.

“I think it would be wonderful to see everypony again, but with the master growing in power, I don’t think we’ll have our wills for much longer…” Rose said.

“… I’m here with some friends, they intend to defeat the master, the Lich, and end the spells in effect in the area to return the balance of life and death. We think everyone is going to return to death.” The amount of energy feeding into the box was now about half my own, and half the Lich’s, and the energy going to both mares was reduced by half as well.

“So that’s their plan, what’s yours?” Rose asked me.

“My plan? It’s pretty simple, really.” The red energy had completely taken over; leaving my magic to convert the Lich’s into my own and feed through the machine before dissipating. As the last of the Lich’s control over them faded, they fell to their knees with a gasp. “Stop the Lich, save the city.”

They slowly pulled themselves to their hooves, “We’re free! You… you freed us! Thank you! Oh thank you!” Rose said and pulled me into a hug with her sister. Her body, while cooler than Twilight and the others, was rather nice against my chitin and her smell was more of an earthy fragrance rather than that of a corpse, almost like she was un-alive than undead.

But as much as I would have enjoyed remaining in the hug, I let go and stepped back. “Both of you should leave the tower, tell the admiral in gold armor what’s going on, and tell my friends to hurry up. I think the Lich will notice your both gone pretty soon and try and take you again.”

They nodded, “Yes, you’re right, thank you so much for this Beetle, and I wish you the best in finding your solution.” Rose said as they headed out the door.

I turned and looked at the spiral staircase; it didn’t seem too rickety or rusted. I started climbing to the next floor and disappeared into the ceiling without issue. After a moment of darkness I emerged into another large round room, very similar to the other one, but unlike that one the guards weren’t ponies.

There were 4 suits of armor, purple, blue, yellow, and red, and all with glowing yellow eyes and swirling darkness. The moment I entered the stairs sealed behind me, trapping me inside with them. As one they readied their great axes and let out a battle cry.

“MMMMMMRRRRAAAAAAAAA!!!” They screamed as they charged me at a slow walk.

“…. Really?” I trotted around them just out of range and investigated the next staircase. It was closed; steel bars too close to squeeze through encircled the stairs from floor to ceiling. “Hey! That’s cheating!” I said.

“URRRAAHH!!!” I leaped to the side just in time to feel the axe imbed in the stone floor a hair from my hooves.

“Whoah!” I leaped back; a single swing could cut you in half! I pulled my Stick of Doom from my bags and readied myself. “Looks like I’m stuck here for now, so I’ll have to take you out!”

you're heart... it's incessant drumming disgusts me... i will silence it... as i did... my own...

A voice echoed through the room, it could have come from the armors approaching or the room above me, but I didn’t have time for that. I’ll have to believe the others are able to handle themselves and I’ll have to take out these guys alone.

“AAAAHHHHH!!!”

“GRUAHHH!!!”

“HAAA!!”

Like a weird chorus they roared and swung their massive weapons with abandon as I ran around them. Suddenly there was a heavy ‘CHUNG,’ I turned to see one of them had horizontally swung into a comrade, causing the armor to take heavy damage.

“Oh, you’re morons. That makes this easy then.” I put my stick away in my bag and focused on my evasion and reflexes. I scooted closer and caused them to swing at me. I dodged away, and like I had planned they had attacked themselves again. I repeated this a few times, it wasn’t hard with how slow they moved, must be a lot of armor. Or a poor reanimation.

‘CHUNS!!’ A crash sounded out, and purple let out a battle cry as it shed the plate armor, leaving just a thin layer of chainmail supported by the dark magic. It lowered its head at me and charged! Without the armor it was now much faster, and by how deep the axe still slamed into the stone, just as powerful as it was!

I managed to back away to get some breathing room as it took a moment to pull the axe out of the floor. My eyes widened with a dangerous idea. I pulled out my trusty stick and charged the lightly armored one. It pulled the axe from the floor, turned toward me, raised it above its head as it reared back, then I side stepped as the axe smashed down into the floor. I took advantage of the opening and swung at it with all my might. It grunted.

I stared at my stick in shock for a moment and then smacked it again, breaking the stick this time. “Um.” I stepped back as the purple armor rose back up with the axe. Suddenly a vicious pain exploded on my right side as I was sent flying to my left, crashing into the wall with enough force to shake the dust from the ceiling and dislodge a few bricks.

I lay there for a moment just trying to come to terms with the pain. It felt like my entire right side was broken, possibly even the ribs under my shell. And all my other everything hurt like hell from hitting the wall. And my throat felt like it was ripped open again, great.

I spat out a thick glob of green blood and tried to move, the purple one was rapidly approaching with the others slowly bringing up the rear. Red’s axe was dripping fresh green blood. I tried to move aside, but my body wasn’t responding. Just breathing was nothing but a painful struggle, causing me to cough up more and more blood. I probably got a punctured lung. Yay medical bills!

With nothing else at my disposal, I focused on the energy like I did downstairs, but much more forcibly. A red tendril entered my vision and floated over to the purple armor, then pierced through it. It didn’t seem to do any damage though, but I kept willing more and more of that red energy into it. Soon enough the armor was right before me, raising up with its axe to deal the final blow. I closed my eyes and focused as hard as I could, wishing for a miracle…!

The blow never came. I opened an eye to see the axe a few inches from my body, and the armor had stopped all movement. The yellow eyes were replaced by blue ones as a red energy now occupied the armor. It now seemed uninterested in me, and turned around with its axe at the ready.

I watched in confusion as it charged toward its allies and started cleaving them with its axe. The others didn’t seem to register that their ally had turned against them and was currently making short work of their armor. If my jaw wasn’t probably broken in several places it would have fallen open in awe as my new ally just eviscerated the other three enemies with a few good blows.

Oddly, as each of the armors fell, the dark energy escaped the armor and slithered along the floor towards me. I could only look on in terror as my new ally did nothing to stop the advance. I tried to blow one of them away but only succeeded in causing myself a painful and bloody cough.

The darkness reached me and was absorbed into my body at a rapid rate, then every passing moment the pain in my body felt less and less, to the point where I was not longer coughing up blood or forcing myself to take breaths. I felt a bit tired and sore, but the searing pain was no more.

I slowly got to my hooves, green blood had formed a rather large puddle where I was laying, some even trailing down from my impact with the wall, and I was covered in it as well. I ignored that and felt my right side, it was really sore and was pretty bruised in some places, but my chitin was healed back up and my ribs didn’t feel shattered anymore.

“… Did black magic just heal me?” I looked to my new ally who was just standing there doing nothing. It gave no response.

I looked to the stairs instead, still encased in their steel bar prison. “Think you could do something about those bars at least?” I asked, not expecting a response.

“HURRAAAA!!!” It yelled and charged the staircase. It swung with a horizontal strike that cleaved through the bars, and then followed it up with another swing in the opposite direction. The now severed bars clattered to the ground as the armor went back to its idle position, leaving a very large hole to access the stairs.

“Yea, that works.” I climbed up the steps, once again vanishing into the darkness with my new ally lumbering behind me. Soon enough we reached the top, it seemed like a large, ornate hall with red carpeting, and more stairs leading upwards at the far end. I heard a number of hoof steps from behind me.

I tuned to see more stairs, leading downwards, possibly to the other levels, and running up towards me was my group of friends! They looked a bit beat up but nothing too bad. I smiled and waved as my ally stood silently.

“Hey guys!”

“Beetle!” They cried out and tackled me in a hug.

I gasped in pain and pried them off, “Owowowow!!! No hugging! Ohhh….” I tenderly rubbed my side as they looked me over with worry and disgust, just now noticing what I was covered in and what they squished into their fur. Twilight didn’t waste any time and whisked it away with a cleaning spell.

“Oh, I’m so sorry Mr. Beetle, what happened? Are you okay?” Fluttershy asked.

“I took an axe to my side. One like that.” I pointed to my ally’s weapon and they stepped back in shock. “There were four of them, not too fast but I got careless. I don’t know how, but as that one was about to kill me it just stopped and turned on the others. It helped me out of the room too.”

Twilight lit her horn and examined it, “Amazing, you managed to replace the spell and magic that was controlling it with your own! Even I can’t do that!”

“… and that means?” I asked. Personally I would ask how I recovered from a must-have-been fatal wound, but whatever.

“It means that it’s an extension of your will, you can control it!” She exclaimed. “How did you do it, I have to know!”

“Oh, neat. And I just tried really hard.” I said. “Did you meet Rose and Flame?”

Twilight glared at me and grit her teeth.

“Um, yes, Twilight was still discussing battle plans when they ran into us and told us what you did for them, then they showed us this secret passage that would lead to you. I liked them, they were really nice.” Fluttershy said.

“And don’t forget the monsters we kicked to the curb along the way!” Rainbow yelled in excitement. “I was all like, ZOOM! BAM! KAPOW!”

“And was that before or after you wet your fur like a scarred filly?” AJ jibed.

“Wowzers, really?! I don’t remember either of those things happening!” Pinkie exclaimed.

“S-shut up! I wasn’t scarred! I was just… surprised!” Rainbow defended with a heavy blush.

“What was it?” I asked.

Twilight snapped out of her angry glare, “It was an abomination, summoned from Tartarus. Imagine a ten foot tall blob of body parts and tentacles.”

“… That sounds way more fun than going against four of these guys!” I exclaimed and pointed at my minion.

“Not really, it liked to grab and crush us with its strong grip.” Rarity explained. “But these armors look far more impressive and gorgeous! Though it looks like it’s missing pieces.”

“It is; they all had full plate, this one’s broke off.” I explained.

“Anyway, we still have work to do. Rose said the one behind all this is on the top floor at the end of these stairs. Let’s get going!” Twilight said. We followed after her, galloping to the stairs with my minion managing to bring up the rear with heavy hoof beats clanging against the stone.

The stairs lead up to a large decorated door, which Twilight wasted no time in opening. It led outside to the roof of the tower, the area was in great condition and the expanse of the forest could be seen for miles, including Ponyville and a castle on a mountain. But standing in the center with its back turned to us was the Lich.

It looked like a larger version of a pony, with darkness bubbling off of its form. It was wearing silver armor and holding a staff covered in runes. Its mane and tail were snow white, fluttering on an unfelt breeze.

no questions remain unanswered, no doubt's linger. you are equestria's greatest champions. you overcame every challenge i lay before you. my mightiest servants have fallen before your relentless onslaught, your unbridled fury. is it truly righteousness that drives you? i wonder...

The Lich turned and faced the city on the mountain, scowling at its presence.

you trained them well, celestia. you delivered the greatest fighting force this world has ever known, right into my hooves, exactly as i intended. you shall be rewarded for your unwitting sacrifice. watch now, as i raise them from the dead, to become masters of the scourge. they will shroud this world in chaos and destruction. equestria's fall will come at their hooves, and you will be the first to die. The Lich chuckled in a way that made my spine tingle. i delight in the irony.

It turned to face us and the others gasped at the black and white stripped face under the helmet.

FOOLS OF PONYVILLE! HEAR ME, NAIVE FOALS OF EQUESTRIA! TREMBLE, AND KNOW YOUR DOOM, FOR THE LICH QUEEN'S GAZE, IS FIXED UPON YOU!

Author's Note:

Yay! A new chapter full of romance, violence, and plot! The fiction kind!

Just who is this queen meanie? Will Beetle and friends be enough to stop her? Is she truly the source of all this evil magic? What will happen to the undead? Will Beetle ever find that silly book or recover his memories?

Find out next time!