• Published 10th May 2016
  • 1,945 Views, 422 Comments

The Titan's Orb: Rising Storm - Old Man Dusters

While Callum and the Mane Six continue their quest to find the shards of the Titan's Orb, their path ahead grows only more deadly as they are now stalked by a relentless shadow that will stop at nothing until they are vanquished...

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Chapter Thirteen - Pushed Over the Edge

The first thing I felt was pain; it felt like there was a large shard of glass inside my ribcage, I coughed and I felt as if my entire torso was being crushed by a hydraulic press. I groaned loudly and tried to sit up, only to feel a hoof on my shoulder.

“Hey, take it slow…” A light tender voice spoke.

I opened my eyes to see Fluttershy looking down to me with a concerned look. I looked around to see I was in a large bedroom, in a double bed; the linen was smooth silk and seemed very expensive.

“Where am I?” I asked wearily, sitting up straight.

“A safe house we found a few days ago, it’s an old mansion that’s been abandoned on the side of a huge cliff, the rocks are crumbling and is pretty unstable, so we assume the owner packed everything and left before the house collapses. We’ve set up here until you get better.” She explained.

I rubbed the side of my head, it was thumping heavily and my whole body felt like hammered shit. My lips were chapped and my throat was burning, I looked down to find my chest was in a tight binder.

“Three broken ribs, a dislocated collar bone, and one very big bruise, it looked like you had been hit by a brick flying at a thousand miles an hour.” Fluttershy mused.

“Took a bullet to the chest at point blank range, my phone stopped it.” I coughed, causing me to wince.

“Goodness…” She gasped, putting her hoof to her mouth.

I looked at her, she looked just as mesmerising as the first day I met the ponies, I had forgotten how real they were over the past month away from them, I looked deep into her eyes and smiled lightly.

“I missed you…” I said hoarsely.

“Oh Callum… I missed you too…” She sighed sweetly.

She gave me a small hug, which caused some discomfort, but it was worth it to hug my friend again, to feel her soft fur and be reminded how wonderful it was to be with the ponies again.
When she let go of me I rubbed my neck to find the burn was coated with a dried layer of Kuphila Amanzi, Fluttershy must have looked after me while I was unconscious.

“How long have I been out?”

“Just over a week, you did wake up at one point but were completely dazed and confused, you kept mumbling nonsense and thrashing around, so I gave you a sedative to keep you out for a few more days.” Fluttershy answered.

“Jeez…” I said, astounded.

I guess I hadn’t realised how exhausted I was, I had worked myself to the bone over the past month; and it had all been for nothing in the end. The moment Bunnie came back into my mind I began to cry.

“Callum…” She said, her own eyes watering up.

“She’s gone Fluttershy… Bunnie’s gone…” I whimpered.

At that moment, the door opened and all the others came into the room, they saw me in tears and rushed to my bedside, except for Twilight, who slowly approached the end of the bed.

“It’s going to be okay Callum…” Rainbow Dash said kindly.

I just buried my face into my hands and continued to sob loudly.

“I know this is a horrible thing to bring up, but what happened in there Callum?” Rarity asked.

I tried to speak, and just spluttered into my hands and cried harder. Fluttershy hopped onto the bed and sat beside me, giving me a big cuddle, hushing me quietly.

“She’s GONE!” I sobbed.

The feeling was too much, every second I cried it became more and more painful, it didn’t take long before I was hyperventilating and trembling all over, this had destroyed me.

“Who was she?” Fluttershy quietly asked, rubbing my back lightly.

I continued to sob for a while, before wiping my nose and allowing Fluttershy to console me slightly, Rarity levitated a tissue over to me to wipe my eyes and nose properly.

“Sh-she was the reason I infiltrated th-the gang... I was trying to rescue her…” I stuttered, sniffing loudly.

“Was she your friend?” Pinkie asked, both her mane and ears drooping.

I coughed a few times, still trembling.

“I loved her…” I replied.

I straight away burst into tears again and buried myself into Fluttershy. The ponies had no idea what to say, or what to do, but how could they? What did they know about this kind of loss?

“If I may, could I talk to him?” Applejack spoke.

The group looked at her blankly, waiting for her to talk to me.

“Alone.” She stated, rolling her eyes.

Fluttershy gave me a kiss on the forehead and left with the others, allowing Applejack and I to have the room to ourselves. She hopped onto the bed and gave me a motherly hug.

“Come here little one… It’s alright you hear?” She whispered into my ear.

“How can you say that? How can this be alright?” I cried into her shoulder.

“Because I’ve got you. No matter what you feel, I’ve got you.” She hushed.

She rocked me side to side gently, and patted my back to the rhythm of a heartbeat, and very slowly I could calm down my breathing.

“That’s it sugarcube… That’s it…”

I didn’t know how Applejack had calmed me so well, but whatever she was doing, it was working.

“I don’t know how I can carry on after this…” I muttered hoarsely.

“I know babe, I really do know…”

“How can you know?” I croaked.

Applejack let go of me and sat back so she could look into my eyes.

“Because I’ve been through this before.” She sighed.

My eyes widened.


“I was young, Applebloom was only a month old. Big McIntosh burst into my room one night and snatched me out of my bed, told me we had to get out right away; he picked up Applebloom and carried her outside with me.
That’s when I saw the fire… Fire everywhere…
Big Mac didn’t have time to go in for Ma and Pa, but he saved Applebloom and Granny.
He still blames himself, it’s why he’s so quiet... All the time...”

I looked at Applejack as her ears drooped down the side of her head and she sighed.

{That’s why she got so upset back at home, when I faked my death.} I thought.

“Applejack… I’m so sorry…” I breathed.

“It’s alright sugarcube, I’ve learned to cope, I've have been a mother to Applebloom as well as a big sister. Besides, the rest of the Apple family have always supported me and given me help when I’ve needed it.” She told me, giving me a reassuring smile.

I gave her a cuddle, she truly did understand this agonising pain, and I knew I’d be able to get over this in due time with her support.

We both jumped as we heard a crash in the room directly below us, along with Rainbow Dash shouting angrily at something.

“I ain’t heard Rainbow shout that loud in a while.” AJ muttered with a grimace.

I slid out of bed, which wasn’t that painful as my body had been given the time to recover, my chest was still aching a lot, but otherwise I wasn’t in too much discomfort.
Getting down on my knees, I placed my ear against the wooden floor to eavesdrop.

Get off me!” I heard Twilight shouting.

Get off you!? You’re lucky if I don’t KILL you!” Rainbow screamed.

“I’d like to see you try!

You’re a murderer!”

“Oh get over it! She was an expendable asset; she would have completely hindered the mission!” Twilight spat, following the sounds of more wrestling.

I began to shake, my heart skipped a beat and my blood ran cold.

He loved her! And you let her DIE! YOU’RE A MONSTER!” Rainbow Dash bellowed.

“How about we stay here for another month, let Nah’Lek catch up to us? THEN you’ll see a monster!

My stomach began to grow hot with a feeling I couldn’t describe, I felt my heart rate grow faster and faster as adrenaline began to consume me.

“Callum… Callum calm down…” Applejack warned me.

I stood up, shaking like a leaf in a tornado.

“What the fuck…” I muttered quietly, processing what I’d just heard.

Applejack ran over to me and took my arm.

“Callum please don’t…”

“Tw… Twilight…”

“Callum you’re scaring me…”

My body started to tingle, adrenaline now completely fuelling me.
I saw Bunnie’s face in my mind, and then all I could see was red.

TWILIGHT!” I roared at the top of my lungs.

Beneath the floorboards I heard Rainbow Dash charging upstairs, and Rarity telling Twilight to run.

“Callum no!” Applejack cried out.

She latched onto me and tried to hold me back, which was when Rainbow Dash burst into the room and ran to aid her, grabbing my arms and trying to restrain me.

“Callum, calm down! Please! You need to calm down!” She grunted.

“Get off me!” I screamed viciously as I shook from side to side.

“Callum, you’re freaking out, which is freaking me out.” Applejack yelped.

“I hate her too Callum! I fucking hate her! But please calm down!” Dash begged.

I put my hands under Rainbow Dash and lifted her up, before tossing her to the side, she landed awkwardly and tripped over, hitting the back of her head on the wall. I karate chopped Applejack’s foreleg which caused he to let go of me and I stormed past Rainbow Dash, who was still lying on her side, rubbing the back of her head in pain.

“Callum, please…” She pleaded.

I ignored her and marched out the room and down the hallway, which was when Fluttershy put her head around one of the open doors.

“Callum, this isn’t you, please-”

I put my palm on the door and forced it shut, pushing Fluttershy back into her room, she emitted a small yelp from inside. I then felt a tugging at the binder, I whipped around to see Pinkie’s mouth attached to me, trying to pull me back with her teeth.

“Get off me now…” I growled.

“Nmph um nm mmph!” She replied with a mouth full of cloth.

I yanked back viciously, and some of the binder ripped off in her teeth, freeing me. I continued to storm towards the staircase. Leaving Pinkie to sit in the middle of the hallway, confused, with a small blood-stained rag in her mouth, which was slowly becoming bloodier…

I was just about to reach the staircase when Rarity teleported in front of me, I approached her and stopped, my chest a mere inch from her nose.

“Get out of my way Rarity.” I commanded through gritted teeth.

“Listen to me-”

You listen to me…” I growled as I forcefully planted my hand on her chest.

She said nothing, she didn’t even flinch.

“I will make her pay for what she’s done, and you will NOT… Stand in my way…” I hissed.

“I won’t stand in your way.” Rarity accepted.

“Then get out of-”

But…” She interrupted, “Think of why we’re here, think of the mission… We need Twilight alive to fix the orb shards together when we find them all… Please just… Don’t kill her…”

I took in a deep breath.

“I will not kill her… I’ll just make her wish I had…” I said gruffly.

I pushed Rarity aside and marched down the stairs.

“Think about us Callum.” She called after me.

I ignored her and continued to storm down the stairs, jumping over the railing as I neared the bottom, I landed heavily and the whole room shook.
I stood up straight and looked to my left, and noticed one of the front doors was slightly ajar.

“You… Little… Fuck!” I growled deeply.

I strode to the double doors and shoulder rammed them open, there was a loud crack as the wood splintered and one of the doors came off their hinges and slid along the ground ahead of me. I looked around to search for her, before looking at the ground to see hoof-prints heading directly ahead.
She was going to the cliff…

Without uttering a word, I began marching once more, the raging fire of hate in my belly growing more and more, becoming hotter and hotter. That fucking bitch took Bunnie away from me; she lied and tricked everyone before letting the girl I love die. She took away my one shot at true happiness. I would make her suffer for this if it were the last thing I did…

Behind me was the sound of a pony galloping towards me, I clenched my fists and turned around, only to see Applejack sprinting towards me as fast as her legs could carry her.

“Callum, please, you need to calm down, there’s something I need to explain to you, she-”

“There’s nothing to explain, she’s a monster.” I spat.

I kept my fists clenched, shaking all over; it took all my willpower just to stand still.

“No, you don’t understand, there’s something wrong with her” She told me.

“Damn fucking right there’s something wrong with her, Twilight is going to get what she deserves, and if you stand in my way, I will go through you…” I growled.

“Callum! For goodness sake listen to me! There’s something genuinely wrong with her, Fluttershy told me something’s making her act like this, that she’s sick or something.”

“Yeah, sick in the head. Now stay out of my way.” I ordered.

I turned from her and kept walking towards the cliff, I felt nothing but rage, the only thing on my mind was wringing Twilight’s scrawny little neck.
I was near the edge of the cliff when I saw her, sitting down in the glow of the early evening sun.
She knew I was there, and turned her head slowly to face me.
And that’s when she smiled…

TWILIGHT!!!!!” I roared at the top of my lungs as I sprinted towards her.

Twilight sat there, looking at me with the same sly smirk the whole time, just as I was about to reach her she flashed purple and disappeared. I skidded to a halt and looked around frantically.

WHERE ARE YOU!?” I boomed.

There was suddenly a deep pain as a fist sized rock flew into my back from behind; I whipped around to see Twilight.

“Right here.” She said darkly.

I looked at her, before roaring like an enraged bear and charging towards her. Once again she teleported away from me, a split second later she reappeared right in front of me.

“You’re only wearing yourself out.” She told me dully, her eyes full of boredom.

“I’ll gut you, you little cunt!” I yelled as I charged towards her again.

A flash of white, and she was somewhere else again.

Every time I reached her, she teleported away. I ran in circles, getting more and more frustrated as she kept disappearing and then reappearing further away from me. She was toying with me. I picked up a stone and hid it behind my back as I charged again, as expected she teleported. When she reappeared, I threw the stone as hard as I could, it hit her right in the collar bone and she screamed in shock and pain, with instinct she teleported again, only to appear right next to me.

I dived at her and caught her hind legs, she quickly tried to buck me and I yanked her back onto her side. I flopped onto her with all my weight, knocking the wind out of her, she wheezed loudly in pain, I then hit her in the face, hard. I hit her at least seven times before I stood up and grabbed her back legs, before swinging her around and letting go, launching her like a living hammer-throw. She wriggled around in mid-air before hitting the ground and letting out a loud grunt of pain.
I stood there and glared at her, waiting for her to stand up.

“Stop Callum please! No more!” I heard Rarity call from behind me.

I looked back to see her and all the others, looking at me desperately.

Don’t you see what she is!? Don’t you see what she’s done!?” I yelled back.

“She took away the girl you love! It was wrong, it was so wrong Callum! But please Callum, don’t do this!” Rainbow Dash shouted.

The tears began to fill up my eyes, before they started to stream down my face.

SHE TOOK AWAY THE ONE THING THAT MADE ME HAPPY!” I screamed, before I began to sob.

Everyone’s face dropped as they began to understand my anguish, my true loss.
Suddenly Rarity’s face filled with shock and horror.

TWILIGHT! NO!” She screeched.

I turned around just as the fireball hit me, it exploded into my chest and sent me flying backwards by a few metres, I hit the ground and felt the searing pain burn into my whole torso and neck; the pain was almost unbearable. I opened my eyes to see my binder was on fire.
I rolled around in agony as my chest became a giant candle, I could faintly hear the cries of my friends over my own screams. I stood up and ripped the binder apart and threw it away, I tensed every muscle in my body as my chest continued to sizzle like a strip of bacon fresh from a grill.

“Callum, are you okay!?” Rainbow Dash asked, full of worry.

I said nothing as I slowly began to walk towards Twilight, whom was crouched like a panther, her horn lit and ready to cast more spells. She wrinkled her nose as both of her nostrils leaked blood down into her mouth, causing her bared teeth to get bloody, she glared at me, ready to face me. I rolled my shoulders as I also prepared myself.

“I’m not scared of you anymore…” Twilight growled.

“You didn’t have to be, ever… Until now…” I hissed back.

Twilight was the first to make an attack; she shot another fireball at me, to which I quickly dodged and then starting running towards her. She levitated a rock and launched it at my head, but I moved to the side and caught it, before throwing it back at her, she blocked it with a bubble shield.

“Your physical strength is nothing to me human!” She sneered.

That was when I charged at her; I sprinted full pelt at her and jumped into the air as I brought my fist down with all my might and shattered the shield, taking her completely by surprise. I grabbed her by the throat and lifted her into the air.

“Much like how your magic is nothing to me.” I spat.

I squeezed her throat tightly before hurling her towards the others, who were hopelessly watching, unsure of what to do. As Twilight landed, she rolled a few times; I ran towards her to follow up my attack. Just as she attempted to stand up, I reached her and kicked her in the chest, the mare was taken up with my foot and was launched into the air for a second time. She hit the ground and gasped in agony, before rolling to face me and shooting a bolt of lightning at me.
The bolt struck and my muscles went into spasm, it eventually died away and I continued striding to Twilight, who had now recovered and was about to cast another spell.

“You’re such a disappointment to Celestia, do you know that Twilight?” I growled.

“Your words won’t break me human.” She spat back.

“Oh, I don’t intend to break you with words. I just thought I’d point out how much of a failure you are before I break you physically!”

“Again, your words are noth-”

“Then again, Celestia's an absolutely pathetic excuse for a ruler, so it’s only fitting that she has a pathetic student to follow her uncoordinated plans!” I interrupted.

“Princess Celestia is-”

“A shit princess; she sent five teenagers and a child to Earth for this mission, none of which have experience in proper combat. Sending you on this mission was the most retarded decision she’s ever made, which is saying something, as there’s a lot to choose from!”

Twilight’s pupils shrank as her eyes fixated on me in pure blood-lust, she looked like she was about to explode from her rage.

“That fat old horse has no fucking mental capacity, how she’s been able to live this long without an uprising is beyond me…”

Twilight’s bloodstained teeth began to show again as her lips curled upwards into the most horrific snarl I’d ever seen, she was now as enraged as a rabid dog, yet I still continued.

“And then there’s you… You gullible little fuck! You obey her every order without question, neither of you know a thing about this world, but you’ll believe her, because your mentor knows everything…
Legend has it you take a knee and give her a “m’lady” every time she goes to take a shit.
Do you wipe her arse for her as well? I’ve always wondered…” I sneered.

At this, Twilight screeched at the top of her lungs and sprinted towards me, her horn suddenly extending a large laser spike from it, like a lance.
As Twilight attempted to skewer me, I dodged to the side and grabbed her mane, lifting her up and using her own momentum to throw her into the air. As she hit the ground she instantly got up and screeched again, her horn glowing like never before.

Without warning, I felt my whole body being squeezed as I was levitated into the air.

FUCK YOU!” She screamed.

Suddenly, I was flung high up into the air and towards the cliff’s edge many yards away. I collided with a large tree, before I began to hurtle back towards the ground.
Upon falling, I grabbed at a few branches to slow my descent, most branches broke, but a couple could withstand me and ended up slicing my hands open.
I collided with a large branch on my way down, it snapped loudly but thankfully broke my fall, along with many other smaller branches. I hit the ground and felt my left shoulder pop out of place, causing me to gasp in agony. I stood up and I grabbed my dislocated arm and placed it against the tree, and then forced the shoulder back into place, causing a loud painful crunch. I then looked down to my side to see a massive splinter of wood sticking out of my belly. I grasped it firmly and pulled it out, thankfully it wasn’t too deep.

Pain meant nothing to me here, the adrenaline and rage combined allowed me to block out everything. My hands were cut deeply; blood was dripping to the ground from my palms, this only made me more hateful.

“I’ve just about had enough of you…” I growled as I started walking back to Twilight.

Why won’t you just die!?” She yelled from afar, her horn glowing once more.

She shot a massive purple laser beam at me, which I only just dodged. The beam hit a tree behind me and went straight through it, disintegrating a whole section of the trunk and causing the tree to fall.
As the tree hit the ground, I felt the whole area around me vibrate.

{The cliff’s unstable!} Conscio’s shouted faintly from the depths of my mind.

I tried to head away from the edge, closer to Twilight, only for her to run towards me and shoot another beam of energy. I dodged it and it met another a tree, it fell and shook the cliff again.

JUST! DIE!” She screamed at the top of her lungs as she shot a burst of magic energy into the sky.

The clouds went black in seconds, and it quickly started showering large hailstones, each one of them stung my back as they smacked into me. I moved forward, only for a gigantic bolt of lightning to smack into the ground between us.

“Fuck!” I yelped.

Another bolt struck, and another, and another, all around me. With each devastating strike, the cliff shook more; these lightning bolts were causing it to collapse.
Twilight shot another laser at me and it hit a third tree, as it collapsed I felt the cliff drop ever so slightly, the others also felt it as they started taking steps back in the direction of the mansion.

“The cliff!” Rarity wailed.

I looked behind me to see the edge of the cliff collapsing.

“Shit…” I growled.

I ran towards the group, only for Twilight to grab me in her magic and hold me up in the air.

“Die, and stay dead!” She yelled as she flung me over the fallen trees and near the edge of the cliff.

I hit the ground with a hard thud and groaned in pain once more. I then looked to the rocky fringe of the cliff, I watched in horror as the whole area suddenly started to shatter and fall to pieces.
Trees began falling, and the whole ground shook violently.

Oh fuck!” I yelped as I began to run towards the mansion.

I ran as fast as I could but my leg was in absolute agony, I looked down to see a broken tree branch protruding from the back of my right leg, I grabbed it and yanked it out before sprinting at my absolute maximum towards the mansion. The ground beneath me shook violently as I ran, I looked back once to see the whole cliff was gone behind me and was still breaking apart. Ahead of me, I could see the others coming to a halt where the area became more stable, they turned and looked back to watch me, desperately shouting at me to run faster.

CALLUM RUN!” Rarity wailed at the top of her lungs.

The ponies, and the ground beneath them began to slowly rise upwards as the rock and dirt below me gave way, I jumped forward onto a fallen tree and ran up along the trunk, I kept running as everything around me crumbled apart. I jumped forward and was just about to reach the mainland with the others, when the ground ahead also gave way.

NO!” Rainbow Dash screamed.

I jumped onto a bigger dirt mount and made a leap for the mainland, and grabbed onto some large tree roots protruding from the earth, I held on for dear life as everything around me continued to shake with malice, as if the mountain itself wanted to take me down. I looked up to see the six looking down at me, their faces were contorted with sheer terror and desperation. I noticed Rainbow Dash savagely trying to rip apart the bandages around her wings, where her feathers were still growing back.

Hang on! Don’t let go!” Applejack wailed, tears streaming from her eyes.

I froze like a block of ice, holding on with all my remaining strength.
As I looked up to look at the ponies, I noticed something; something utterly haunting.

Twilight’s eyes… They were glowing green, as was her horn…

“The Fel…” I gasped.

Suddenly the ponies screamed and jumped back as the ground shook, that’s when the tree above me gave way and I lost my grip on the roots, I screamed in fear as I suddenly began to fall.

CALLUUUMM!!!” The ponies screeched.

I was plummeting to my inevitable death, and nothing would stop it. I cried out loudly as I fell to the bottom of the mountain, I wasn’t afraid of heights but I was certainly afraid of the fact I was about to die; this fear replaced my anger for Twilight as I could see the ground now and was soon to meet my fate.

Just as I was about to hit the ground, I felt everything begin to slow down, as though my body were on a giant bungee cord, I went slower and slower before I was almost at a complete standstill. That’s when I noticed the trees and debris that was also falling all around me were slowing down as well, as if all time itself was coming to a halt.

“What the hell is happening?” I breathed.

And then I heard something, something very peculiar.
Wings beating. Very large wings at that.

{Perhaps Rainbow Dash’s wings have healed?} Conscio thought.

I settled for that and assumed Rarity’s magic was slowing my fall, and Rainbow Dash was swooping in to save me from the brink of death.
But what I saw next, only led to further confusion and astonishment.
What I saw, was a man. A man in a suit of metal, with a pair of wings upon his back.
It was the sniper from Chernobyl…

His hands were glowing in a lavender coloured aura, exactly like the glow that surrounded Twilight’s or Rarity’s horn when they used magic. This man, or, whatever he was, apparently had the capability to use magic, furthering my doubt that he was even human at all.

“You…” I muttered.

As I spoke, I realised how much pain I was in, I looked down to realise just how badly my fight with Twilight had injured me, my hands were sliced deeply and were stinging terribly, but that was nothing in comparison to the burns across my chest and neck; the fireball had seriously caused some damage and I assumed it would leave a nasty scar, even if Fluttershy applied some Kuphila Amanzi.

The sniper flew right up to me, and grabbed my wrist. The moment he made contact, everything flashed white, before reappearing somewhere else. I hit the ground and rolled over onto my back, and the first thing I felt was icy cold, and found myself in about six-inch-deep snow.

I stood up and brushed myself down, and looked around to find myself in none other…

Than the Frozen Forest…

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