• Published 10th May 2016
  • 1,879 Views, 414 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 One - World Traveller

The footsteps grew louder and I lay absolutely still, pressing my face to the forest ground; the moss was spongy and moist, the smell was quite refreshing after the horrible smoky chemical smell of the majority of Ukraine. Two armed guards walked past my hiding place in the long grass; after they passed I got up to my knees and spotted a possible entry through the large wooden fence further down the border; now I knew how to get through, I ran back to the others whom were all hiding a good twenty metres back.

“What did you find?” Twilight asked as I approached them.

“I’ve found a way through, on the other side is a large nature reserve for wildlife; this plays in our favour as there will be very few humans around for miles and miles, so with some luck we’ll be able to make haste to Mihail Airport in no time.” I explained.

Since we had found the second orb shard in the radioactive wasteland of Chernobyl, we had no accurate measures of the next orb location, but using my enchanted phone I was able to find the nearest airport in Romania, and so we headed south of Ukraine and walked for weeks on end and soon met the Black Sea, from there we headed along the shoreline to the border of Romania on the outskirts of Danube Delta, a large bio-diverse wildlife reserve. After all these weeks of hiding from other people along the way, it would be nice to finally move out without too much secrecy.

“Once we’re on the other side, can we please make camp? My hooves hurt…” Rarity moaned.

“But it’s only the middle of the day.” I replied with a slightly irritated tone.

“Yeah but dude, we didn’t stop walking for hours last night.” Rainbow Dash backed her up.

I looked to Twilight, who I’d thankfully been able to stay in her good books for the past few days; I nodded my head to her, insinuating that it was her call. After a moment of thought, she suggested a compromise.

“Once we get through, we will walk for another half hour to ensure none of the border guards spot us; then we make camp.” She ordered.

Everyone agreed on it, and we headed out together, Twilight and I taking the lead. As we approached the fence, I heard the voices of the same two guards as they returned from their patrol.

“Down, down.” I hissed to the others, who all dropped to the ground.

We waited for the guards to pass, which took forever as they decided to have a nice chat as they walked; they were moving slower than a pair of sloths. Eventually they headed off and out of sight, allowing us to approach the eight foot fence, the fence-line was made entirely out of wooden stakes, bound by metal bars and nails, at the top lay curls of barbed wire, which Applejack gulped at upon seeing, she hadn’t forgotten her experience with barbed wire back at Gatwick Airport. Further down the fence was a loose metal bar that had lost a few nails, and the wooden stakes were extremely wobbly and I assumed they had rotted under the ground; I headed over there and was able to pry the bar away from the fence, a few nails also being removed in the process.

“Twilight, after we come through here, can you try to repair this a little bit so the guards don’t suspect anything?” I asked.

“I’m a librarian, not a carpenter.” She replied with a blank expression.

“C’mon Twilight, don’t start.” I dully said, almost rolling my eyes.

“Don’t worry Callum, I’ll happily mend it for us.” Rarity offered.

I turned to Rarity and smiled, giving her a thankful nod.

“Just don’t put any ribbons on it, or a fancy bow.” Applejack teased.

Rarity giggled and gave her friend a playful nudge. I turned back to the fence and gave the stakes a good push, they didn’t break, but they did gradually move back, meaning they would budge with enough force.

“Applejack, would you give me a hand with this?” I requested.

The farm pony came up beside me and put her forehooves onto one of the stakes, I put my hands on the stake next to it, and began to push. With the both of us pushing, the stakes were quickly dislodged and moved aside, Applejack gave one final hard push and the entire piece of fencing snapped at the base and she fell face first across the border and into Romania; looking at the broken stake, I could see it had rotted as predicted.

“Right guys, let’s get through and repair the damage before those guards get back.” I commanded.

“Yeah, and I’m fine too, thanks for asking!” Grumbled Applejack.

One by one we crossed the fence, and Rarity was able to stand the two stakes into place, keeping them upright with a few nails and the metal bar, which she was able to put back into place. Once she was finished we headed off into the woodland ahead, and the fence was soon long gone as it vanished within the treeline.


“Where are the pegs?” Rarity quizzed aloud as we set up our tents.

“Oh, shit!” Rainbow Dash growled.

“What is it?” I asked her.

“I forgot to pack the tent pegs back when we were in Brazil!” She exclaimed.

“Oh Rainbow! For goodness sake, now our tents will be unstable!” Rarity moaned.

Oh noooo, what a tragedy; wobbly tents!” Rainbow mocked, impersonating the white unicorn.

“This isn’t funny Rainbow Dash! Just because you don’t care able camping standards!”

“Well if you want to go back to Brazil and go get them, be my guest!” Dash snapped.

“You lost them, so why don’t you go back to Brazil and get them!?”

“Because I don’t care if we have them or not, you’re the one whining about them!”

I felt like this molehill would become a mountain if someone didn't intervene, and it seemed the others were too busy putting together the other tents, so I decided to step in.

"Hey, hey, why are you both biting each other’s heads off? Over some tent pegs?” I asked the both of them.

“We have no idea what the weather is going to be like tonight, I don’t want to sleep in a tent that could be potentially blown away due to Rainbow Dash’s mistake!” Rarity angrily told me.

“It was an accident Rarity, why do you suddenly have to be such a prissy little bitch about it!?” Rainbow spat.

“Oh, I’m a bitch? Because you are too stupid to remember to pack the pegs? You dim-witted stallion whore!”

Fuck you Rarity!”

The both of them strutted up to each other and aggressively forced their foreheads together, by now I’d had enough; I grabbed both of them by their muzzles and forced them apart.

Hey! Pack it in, you two! There’s no need for this, over some bloody tent pegs!”

I turned to Rarity and frowned angrily at her.

“Rarity, I know it’s frustrating that Rainbow Dash forgot them, but starting a fight over them is pathetic; just accept we’ll need to compromise. But calling your friend a whore is bang out of order, and you need to apologise.”

Before she could reply, I turned to Rainbow Dash with a piercing glare.

“And you; need to watch that mouth of yours and grow up. You lost the pegs, and you need to own up to that, instead of acting like it’s nothing, apologise, now.” I ordered sternly.

Dash looked down, and prodded the ground with her hoof, before looking up at Rarity.

“Sorry Rare…”

Rarity sighed and gave Rainbow a hug.

“I’m sorry too, I shouldn’t have called you what I did… I’m just stressed and tired…”

“Me too… We’ve been walking for days and I’m just so sick of it…” Dash replied.

They both looked at me and nodded their thanks, before going off to find sticks to use as substitute tent pegs.



I turned around and nearly jumped out of my skin as Fluttershy was mere inches away from me, I jumped back and gasped, which startled her and caused her to squeak and jump back as well.

“You startled me.” We both said to each other at the same time.

This caused us both to laugh, and we exchanged a small hug.

“You okay?” I asked her.

“Um, yes. I just saw you sorting out the argument between Rarity and Rainbow Dash, and, um, I just wanted to make sure you’re okay…” She said quietly.

I let out a long sigh as my own stress began to show.

“Yeah, I’ll be okay… I think the non-stop walking has worn everyone out, and it’s just making everyone’s tempers a little volatile. Hopefully, we’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight and we can be on our way.” I told her reassuringly, giving her a weak smile.

I was about to walk off to my tent when Fluttershy continued.

“You said you’ll be okay, implying you’re not okay right now.” She pointed out.

I turned back to look at her and gave her a small smirk.

“You don’t half pay attention to detail do you?”

She replied by sticking her tongue out playfully, and in return, I stuck my tongue out at her.

“So… Um… What’s up?” She asked.

I looked down and frowned in thought, not really wanting to say.

“Want to go for a little walk?” She offered.

I looked up and nodded; she smiled and trotted over to my side, and the both of us walked off into the woods.



We didn’t exchange a word for a good five minutes at least, instead, we just took in the sights of the forest; all around us was birdsong, and insects buzzing; in the distance was the sound of a deer call. None of these sounds equated to the fresh smell of tree sap and the various types of flowers in the woodland all around; a little while later we came across a small stream, it was clear as crystal and the light sound of running water was very therapeutic.

“Shall we sit here?” Fluttershy suggested.

She sat down on the soft grass, while I sat on a large log beside her; after another brief silence I let out a sigh.

“So, um… What’s up?” She asked me.

I looked down at my feet and pursed my lips, before closing my eyes and sighing again.

“It’s Twilight…”

“Oh…” She mumbled softly, knowing exactly what was on my mind.

“She’s just really frustrating me, she still hates me, and whenever I ask her, she gets angry. I’m just sick to death of it. She mentioned she saw the future, and that’s it. She acts all smart, and like she knows it all, and yet she’s gone completely delirious about something that hasn’t even happened yet!” I burst out.

I looked to Fluttershy to see my outburst had made her frown with, perhaps out of nervousness.

“I’m sorry Flutters… I’m just so-”

“It’s okay, I understand how frustrating it must be…”

I put my face into my hands and pulled down, both stretching and massaging my facial muscles.

“I just want her to like me; this isn’t fair.” I grumbled.

Flutters looked up to me and put a hoof on my shoulder, and looked into my eyes.

“You’re right, this isn’t fair.” She started, shaking her head slightly. “But you are not to blame, so don’t let it bring you down; none of this is your fault.”

I breathed heavily through my nose, looking down once again; only to be stopped by Fluttershy’s hoof as it met my chin, and gently pushed my head up to face her again.

“I promise…” She said slowly, before giving me a warm smile.

I couldn’t help but smile back, Fluttershy just… Got me… She just knew how to speak to me, and calm me down again; I knew her element is kindness, and that she’s good with animals, but even then, the way she understood me was just… Well… It was nice having someone to talk to when I felt like this.

I sat down next to her and gave her a hug, which then became a cuddle; I placed my head on her chest and watched the water flowing along the stream. A million thoughts rushed through my head at once, and time flew by; I just watched life by the stream, to the sound of Fluttershy’s heartbeat.



“Howdy lovebirds!” Applejack called out from behind us.

Fluttershy and I both jumped and sat up at the same time, turning around to look at the farm pony who was now laughing loudly.

“Oh you guys, you’re jumpier than Winona on guard duty! Did I interrupt y’all?” She giggled.

“Um, n-no; you just startled us…” Fluttershy squeaked.

“Suuurrreee…” She teased, before clearing her throat. “Anyway, we’re about to light a fire and get out some marshmallows before the sun goes down, so get your rumps back to the camp.”

I stood up and stretched, getting a few satisfying crunches in various joints around my body; I looked back to Applejack to find she was already gone and on her way back to camp. I looked at Fluttershy and begin chuckling.

“What?” She asked, smirking.

“I’ve just realised, the rest of the group probably think we’re like… More than friends.” I giggled.

Her eyes went wide and her cheeks very quickly went to a bright red.

“Oh gosh! They probably do! Oh, um, but we’re not, and, they, um, they might think we’ve-”

I put a finger to her lips and smiled warmly.

“I know how you feel about Midnight back in Equestria, you and I are just very close and comfortable with each other. Let the group think what they like, because you and I both know it’s gone no further.” I assured her.

She nodded and gave my hand a friendly nuzzle before we both headed back to camp together.



“And so, the mighty travellers return from their quest!” Rainbow Dash hollered as we stepped into the clearing.

Keep it down!” Rarity hissed, “We still don’t know who, or what, is nearby.”

I chuckled and sat beside Rainbow by the campfire, Fluttershy sat on my other side; Applejack came out of her tent with a large plastic bag in her mouth, and I knew exactly what it contained; my mouth began to water at the thought of a nice toasted gooey marshmallow.

"Me first!” Pinkie squealed, and tore open the top of the bag, causing Applejack to drop it.

A single marshmallow fell out of the packet, which Pinkie scooped up off the ground and flung it into the air, she then opened her mouth to catch it as it fell; only for it to be snatched in mid-air.

Quark! My marshmallow bitch!

“I’m really starting to hate that bird.” Rarity muttered under her breath.

Blu fluttered up onto a branch with the marshmallow and began to peck at it, after a couple of nibbles he dropped it onto the fire and glided off into Applejack’s tent. We began roasting our marshmallows and exchanged conversation about the past few months, before Applejack finally decided to be the one to say it.

“So Callum, Fluttershy; what’s the deal with you two, are you like, a thing now?” She asked with her mouth full.

Fluttershy groaned and hung her head, covering her face with her mane.

“Funny enough, we were just talking about this, and knew it was only a matter of time before one of you asked." I started, "We need to clear this up, Flutters and I are not a thing; we are just very close, and enjoy one another’s company. Fluttershy is interested in someone back in Equestria, as most of you know; as for me, my last relationship was a bigger disaster than Chernobyl, I’m not getting into another one anytime soon. The two of us are simply close friends, who like a good chat and a good cuddle now and then.”

{Except for the time she thought you were Midnight and tried to fuck you in her sleep.} My brain brought up.

{Gee, thanks for that memory, I’ll cherish it forever.} I thought back sarcastically.

“Alright, fair enough; y’all just looked like you might have been a thing.” Applejack smiled.

“Looks like Rainbow Dash still has a chance.” Rarity teased.

Dash went bright red and quickly got defensive.

“Shut up Rarity, just because you like him.”

Rarity just chuckled and rolled her eyes playfully.

"So, what happened with your last relationship?” Applejack asked.

My mood instantly dropped and I groaned quietly to myself.

“I’d rather not talk about it.” I grumbled.

Fluttershy noticed my sudden drop of mood and realised it must have been something quite serious.

“Oh come on, tell us.” Dash pleaded.

“It’s a part of my life I’d rather not share.” I muttered.

“C’mon sugarcube, it can’t be that bad.” Applejack said, popping another marshmallow into her mouth.

“Believe me, it can be.” I replied.

“Just tell us dude!” Dash begged, nudging my arm.

I stood up and threw my marshmallow onto the fire, I hadn’t even eaten one yet.

“How about no? And how about, never bring it up again?” I growled, baring my teeth at Rainbow Dash.

Before anyone could say anything, I stormed off and went into Fluttershy’s tent, zipping up the door and flopping onto my side; I let out a deep sigh and tried to block out the faint voices of the group muttering to themselves. I know I’d overreacted slightly, but I was just desperate to get away from that conversation; my old relationship had left me utterly miserable before I met the six, and a ‘show and tell’ of the worst six months of my life wasn’t really my idea of fun.



After a while of sulking to myself, I heard hoofsteps outside the tent.

“Who is it, and what do you want?” I huffed.

“It’s Twilight.”

“Oh great, the one living creature I don’t want grief from right now; just leave me alone Twilight, I don’t need your crap right now.” I spat.

“I’m not here to give you crap.” She said blankly.

I unzipped the tent and let her sit down in the doorway.

“What, do you want?” I mumbled.

“I just wanted to let you know I’ve picked up traces of electrical energy nearby, and that with your phone, we might be able to locate the next orb shard without getting all the way to another airport, meaning we could find it by tomorrow if we get an early start.” She told me.

"Great news, now leave me alone.” I snorted.

She rolled her eyes and muttered something under her breath as she stood up, and walked off; before turning back to me before I zipped up the tent.

“Fluttershy wasn’t the only one who saw your pain, I saw it too.” She said, before trotting back to the campfire.

What the fuck…?” I whispered to myself, zipping the tent up again.

What the hell did she mean by that!? I couldn’t tell if that was genuine sympathy, or a jibe at me, or WHAT!? At this point, I was still feeling horrible and didn’t overly care, but she still caught me unaware.



Later on, I heard Fluttershy whisper to me.

"Is it okay if I come in?”

“Yeah…” I sighed.

I opened the tent for her and she came in and sat down beside me, putting a hoof around me.

“I understand you’ve been through some rough patches, even before coming on this quest…” She said warmly.

“You have NO idea…” I muttered.

“Would you like to tell me?” She nuzzled my arm, “It might help.”

I took a long breath out, and let loose on my past…


I told her about when my dad left, and how Oliver began to bully me to take his place as top dog; I’d forgiven him now, but at the time it was really difficult for me.

After that, I explained how I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome from a young age, and how it affected my life; I used to be socially awkward and was completely unable to hold a normal conversation. I saw things from a different angle, and often disagreed with people with different opinions.

This led to me having no friends, and I often ran away from school during my very early years because I was bullied so much; this led to me being put into a children’s special needs institute with severely autistic children. This wasn’t the right place for me, and I made no friends at all, along with my education suffering as I learned basically nothing at all; the only friend I had, was my dog, Inca.

I’d told Fluttershy this part of my life a long time ago, but I didn’t tell her what happened after Inca died.

After my only friend was put to sleep, I began to develop depression. It wasn’t anything serious at first, I’d just have days where I had no energy and wouldn’t do anything; I wouldn’t get up, I wouldn’t get dressed, or go out anywhere. Eventually, I was put into a more mature school throughout my high school period, and made some proper friends and became quite well known, and felt happy for once. But as my exams grew closer and the work grew harder, my depression started becoming more noticeable; I started feeling horrible about myself, and started to hate who I was; often self-harming using the razor in my pencil sharpener.

Things soon got brighter in year eleven, when I met my girlfriend; she swept me off my feet, and I feel DEEP in love.
It was wonderful, and I began feeling happy again. Until things started to change.

My girlfriend, was known to be a cheat, and a control-freak; however, nobody had the common courtesy to warn me, and before I knew it, she started playing mind games with me. She created problems that didn't even exist, and told me it was my fault because she enjoyed making me apologise to her. She made me unhappy in the relationship, but made me feel responsible for it, and that I was the problem; making me feel incredibly insecure and that I was a horrible person. I ended up spending the next five months trying to fix myself, and change myself for her. I cut my hair the way she liked, I wore the clothes she liked, I watched all the shows she liked, I listened to all the music she liked, and soon enough I ended up forgetting who I was.

My depression became worse than ever, and I was soon struggling to get through each and every day; but as I felt so guilty about my failing relationship, I gave all my life and energy into pleasing her (royal highness).

Six months miserable, and I discover she’d been chasing after one of my other friends, and offering sex to him; she was bored of me. I ended the relationship, a few weeks after I had finished my GCSE exams; and a few days later, took an overdose.
A big one.
Almost ninety pills of paracetamol, and over forty of ibuprofen.
I didn't tell anyone for almost a whole day and ended up in a critical condition. I was in the hospital for over two weeks, and after I got out, I wasted my life away drinking alongside my mother. Months later, I soon got back into boxing, and grew fitter, but was never any happier.


Until one night, when I discovered six ponies in my back garden.


I turned to look at Fluttershy, to see tears streaming down her face. She kept opening and closing her mouth, trying to say something, but was unable to.

Seconds went by.
Minutes went by.
Silence.

Until.

“Callum…” She coughed, and latched onto me.

She wept, and wept, and wept into me.

“Sshh…” I hushed.

She continued to weep, until I patted her back.

“Hey you, I’m supposed to be the sad one here.” I joked.

She spluttered and half-laughed, half-cried.


We spent a while just talking about how I cope, and how I get by, before she stuck her head out of the tent.

“The others have gone to bed.” She told me.

I nodded, and took off my shirt, before getting onto the sleeping bag; Fluttershy soon joined me and we cuddled for a while, before I soon drifted off to sleep.


I woke before Fluttershy, and felt the back of my neck to find it was sticky with saliva.

“Goddamn it Flutters…” I muttered.

I rolled over and found the pegasus to have one leg tucked in, and another stretched out; one wing flopped out. Her mouth was wide open as her lolling tongue slowly wavered as she breathed.

I left the tent to find Twilight already awake and eating a sandwich by the extinguished campfire; she turned to look at me and gestured for me to come over to her.

“What’s news?” I asked.

“The signal’s gotten stronger, I’m guessing it’s about an hour’s walk from here.” She told me.

“Alright.” I replied.

“I’ve written a note for the others, you and I are going now.”

I tilted my head in confusion.

“We’re going to the source of the signal, finding the next shard location, and then coming back here.” She explained.

I nodded in understanding, and took out my phone to see if it had charge, it was now on ninety-nine percent; the enchantment seemed to boost the battery by ages.

“We’re good to go.” I said.

I walked out of the camp with Twilight at my side, we made our way through the woodland; Twilight occasionally checking the signal with a slight glow of her horn.



We passed the stream where Fluttershy and I had our chat, and soon came across a pathway.

“Possibly some humans ahead, we’re on a path.” I told Twilight.

“I gathered; take point.” She ordered.

I went ahead down the pathway, listening to all the sounds around me; so far there was nothing but birdsong and insects buzzing. Ahead was just more woodland and morning fog, which played in our favour as we’d be harder to spot. We kept going until the path met a larger, darker path; that’s when I heard an engine rumbling.

“Down, down.” I ordered Twilight.

We both jumped into the nearby bush and waited, soon enough a large jeep slowly came down the road and went off into the distance. Twilight checked the signal again and swore under her breath.

"Signal’s in the same direction as the car.” She told me.

“Right, we’ll stick to the edge of the road and hopefully we won’t draw attention to ourselves.” I said to her.

She had no objections and we followed the path until the jeep came back, we again hid in the bushes until it was out of sight. Hopefully that meant we wouldn’t have as many people ahead, and so we picked up the pace. Eventually the road came to an end, and we were greeted by a large cabin with a large radio tower behind it that stood taller than the trees.

“That must be the source of the signal.” I said, more to myself than to Twilight.

“My tracer spell is loud and creates a lot of light; we need to clear this place out of humans.” She ordered quietly.

“By we, you mean me. Right?” I asked rhetorically.

“I’ll scan for life.” She replied, ignoring my question.

Her horn glowed and a small laser shot towards the cabin.

“There are three people in there, that shouldn’t be too hard for you.” She told me.


I left the treeline and made my way to the cabin; I was about to peek through the window when the cabin door opened and a man stepped out. He walked around the back of the cabin and lit himself a cigarette; I followed him, but couldn’t get him into a chokehold as his back was against the cabin wall.

{Come on, you’ve played Far Cry enough to know what to do.} My conscience reminded me.

I raised my eyebrows, before picking up a small rock and throwing it to the other side of the man, he turned to face the sound and I made my move, placing my elbow joint around his throat and pulling back and upwards with all my strength; as his previous breath was full of cigarette smoke, it didn’t take long for him to black out. I went to the cabin door and opened it; the inside of the hut was a radio station, which explained the strong electronic signal. By the control panel were two young lads sat in office chairs, both of them had headphones over their ears and they had no idea I was there. I took a fire extinguisher off the wall and quickly smacked one of them over the head, putting him out cold; the other swivelled to face me and screamed in terror, before he could do anything I grabbed his head in both my hand and gave him a knee to the face, breaking his nose and almost knocking him out, he fell off the chair and rolled around aimlessly, completely dazed. I grabbed the extinguisher again and finished him off, he flopped onto his side and was out like a light.

All clear Twilight!” I called as I left the cabin.

Twilight approached the radio tower, before sitting down and taking the other two orb shards out of her saddlebag; she then began charging up her spell.

"Phone.” She ordered bluntly.

I pulled my phone out and selected my Maps app, before holding out my phone to the purple unicorn. She levitated the device in front of her and cast her spell, arcs of purple electricity shot from her horn and into the phone, which then shot more arcs of electricity into the orb shards, before bouncing back to Twilight’s horn. Suddenly her horn emitted a large laser beam into the sky, and seconds later it came back and engulfed Twilight in a bright white light.

When the light faded, Twilight was lying on the ground; dazed. I picked up my phone and waited for it to reboot; when it did, I went over to my Maps app again and it soon zoomed out and went west, before zooming back in to a country along the ocean.

“Where are we headed…?” Twilight quizzed, standing up and rubbing her head.

“Portugal.” I replied with an eyebrow upraised.

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