• 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 Twenty-Three: History Lesson

His body twitched once more as I yanked my spike from the Defiler’s head, I sighed heavily and then looked down to Twilight, her eyes still wide with fear.

“I told you, he’d have to go through me first before touching you.” I spoke.

Distorted and demonic as my voice sounded, Twilight knew it was me and she got to her feet, latching onto me in a brief hug; I’d have hugged her back if I had both my arms, one had been severed in combat and the other was a curved bone, currently covered in Nah’Lek’s blood.

“At long last, the shade of Nah’Lek has been eliminated.” Hawnu Rey’eng sighed.

I turned face him as he put Windwoe away onto his back, the metal on his suit was slightly corroded and his wings were stained a dark grey from Nah’Lek’s Fel attack; I examined the Defiler’s staff, the tip had an enormous crystal embedded in it, which continued to glow an emerald green.

“Shame we’re only in the dreamworld, that staff needs to go back to Hades.” Stardust hummed.

Hades?” I blurted out.

“Ah right, you don’t know. I suppose you deserve some explanation.” He replied.

“Yeah, but how about we get out of here first though? Perhaps someplace where I’m not a mutated freak, if I’m being honest, I’m in a great deal of pain.” I groaned.

Stardust nodded, as did Hawnu Rey’eng.

“How do we get out?” Twilight asked.

“Simple.” He replied.

Without warning, he withdrew Windwoe and swung it at my head.

Mother FU-”

CKER!” I yelped, sitting bolt upright.

Twilight sat up beside me and I looked at her, she didn’t seem alarmed and looked at me with a relieved smile, clearly glad the nightmare was over and that my mutations were no longer present. Hawnu Rey’eng stood up and I could tell he was smirking behind his stupid visor.

“You’re a dickhead, d’you know that?” I growled.

{Oh, if only you knew the irony…} Stardust chuckled from inside my head.

“Oh great, you’re back.” I moaned.

{Miss me?}

“No, not really.”

“I can hear you in my head too.” Twilight said with surprise.

“It’s the collars, you can both maintain contact while wearing them, even from a distance. They form a bridge between your minds.” The guardian told her.

Twilight and I looked at one another and smiled, both thinking the same thing; we’d be able to talk to one another even if we were separated, meaning we could split up if necessary.

{Cannae Spindles detect it?} Stardust pointed out.

Hawnu Rey’eng shook his head.

“It’s a closed connection between the wearers, he could only trace it if he wore it himself.”

“Okay.” I hummed, nodding.

The sound of a door opening came from behind us and I turned around to find Applejack and Rarity entering the room, Applejack had an oversized apron around her neck; while it may have been designed for a human, but she looked pretty darn cute in it.

“We heard a shout, is everything alright?” Rarity asked.

AJ came over to greet me and I stood up to meet her with a hug, I decided that I wanted the girls to hear the good news all at once.

“Yeah, it’s alright. Could one of you grab the others?”

Rarity dipped her head and went to collect them, while I snagged the apron off Applejack and dangled it in front of her playfully.

“What’s cooking?” I asked.

“Mushroom stroganoff again, your brother’s recipe. This time I’m adding some rice though, thought it’d be good to add some carbohydrates to the mix.” She chuckled, snatching back the bib.

A cheesy grin spread across my face as I recalled the meal my brother had cooked us when we returned to England after our traumatic experience in Brazil; my mouth salivated at the mere thought of the meal.

“Nice…” I hummed.

The sound of hooves came from the doorway and I spotted the girls coming in, they smiled upon seeing me and Pinkie rushed up to me.

“Did you get rid of the spooky?” She asked.

“Even better.” I said, beckoning her closer.

I put my mouth to her ear and whispered mischievously.

“I giggled at the ghosties.”

“Oooh, how exciting…” She replied quietly in the same mischievous tone.

The girls all took seats, and I sat back down beside Twilight; Hawnu Rey’eng stretched his wings before switching from a kneeling position onto his behind.

“Alright girls, I just thought I’d gather you and tell you all together, as it’s big news.” I said.

Just spill already!” Dashie cried out impatiently.

I chuckled, before giving the announcement.

“Nah’Lek has been exorcised from my mind, along with his deathly magic. He can’t hurt us anymore, we’re free to take our time and relax now.”

“Woohoo!” Pinkie squealed.

They all got up and congratulated Twilight and I, Hawnu Rey’eng happily sat back and watched the good mirth that surrounded the room. Applejack was the first to break from the group hug, eyeing the doorway.

“So, I need to check on the food before it burns, it’s just about ready so I hope y’all are hungry!”

“Famished.” I replied.

AJ smiled and then zipped off, that’s when Rarity turned to Hawnu Rey’eng.

“Would you care to stay with us for supper?”

We all looked to her in surprise, she looked back at us and gave a sheepish smile.

“What? I imagine one is rarely offered a warm meal in such a line of work, what with keeping the world in balance. It must be tiring work!” She exclaimed defensively.

Twilight was about to speak, when the guardian shocked us all with his response.

“Gladly, thank you.”

{Tea time with a demigod, how lovely!} Stardust chuckled.

I looked at Hawnu Rey’eng, and then to Twilight with my eyes wide, she had the same look.

{Demigod?} I thought.

{Oh aye, no doubt in my mind about it, I saw his magic capabilities right away. He’s no simple spell-chucker, he’s one of the Infinites.} He explained.

“The Infinites?” I blurted out.

The girls looked at me with confusion, I quickly remembered that only three of us could hear Stardust, hence the awkward looks.

“Never mind, my head’s a bit muddled up from the collar.” I declared quickly.

Hawnu Rey’eng tilted his head, but decided to allow Stardust to remain under the radar. He stretched his wings once more before allowing Applejack to lead him to the kitchen.

“You’re going to love what’s on the menu…” She said to him, disappearing into the next room.

“A talking pony from another dimension, leading a winged man who’s a demigod into the kitchen to show him what she’s cooked for dinner. Can’t get much stranger than that.” I hummed.

{You’re on the greatest adventure possible to mankind, and yet regardless you’re crippled by depression and lowkey want to kill yourself. I’d say that’s stranger.} Stardust scoffed.

My face went blank, as did Twilight’s; I inhaled deeply and decided to move on.

“Right, let’s go for dinner.” I said vibrantly.

We all made our way to the dining room, where Rarity had neatly prepared the plates and cutlery. The dining room itself was enormous, the table large enough for at least ten people, complete with lit candles and oak chairs.

“Whose mansion was this?” I asked aloud, mostly to myself.

“Not sure, but they were certainly rich once upon a time.” Rarity replied.

“No kidding…” I murmured.

Twilight and I sat down together and admired the room, noting the lovely red curtains that decorated the large windows that looked out towards the woodland. I found it terribly strange that such a lovely house would be left alone, with all the possessions and furniture left with it. Did the owner die? If so, why hadn’t the place been repossessed and the items cleared out? Perhaps the owner had gone on holiday, or maybe it belonged to someone with multiple homes. Either way, it was a residence I would never take for granted after what I’d been through already, sleeping in a ditch in the middle of Portugal definitely left a mark in terms of appreciating my current circumstance.

A while passed, and eventually Applejack came through with dinner, Hawnu Rey’eng behind her; I almost burst into laughter at the sight before me. The metal suited demigod had donned the cooking apron, which sat comfortable around his torso, and upon his head, sat Applejack’s hat.

“I’m not sure what’s better, how you look, or how good the food smells.” I chuckled.

“I’m going with the food, I’m so hungry.” Twilight muttered.

Hawnu Rey’eng put the dish down on the table, and used his magic to levitate food to everyone’s plates, I picked up my knife and fork and stared at the stroganoff, desperate to sink my teeth into it; I waited for AJ and the Tin Can to sit down first though. My mouth began to salivate as the smell seduced my senses, I cast my mind back to when Oliver had cooked for us, I missed him dearly.

“I sure hope I’ve remembered the recipe right, it’s been a while since I’ve cooked properly.”

I gave Applejack a warm smile and responded.

“I’m sure it will be perfect.”

Putting a hoof to her chest, she smiled back, before we all dug into our food. The strong flavour instantly flooded my mouth and began to stimulate all ten-thousand taste buds; the recipe was perfect, it tasted exactly like Oliver’s cooking.

{Now THAT’S what I call food!} Stardust shouted, spooking Twilight.

“You alright there?” Rarity asked.

“Yeah, it’s just really good!” She sheepishly replied with her mouth full.

{You realise I’m going to be making you jump constantly now, Twilight?} Stardust chuckled.

{Not on my watch.} I thought back, sitting back from the table.

“Oh, I’ve just remembered I’m still wearing my collar!”

“Gosh, me too!” Twiley pointed out.

{You’re such a killjoy.}

I ignored Stardust and removed my collar, severing the connection between my brain and Twilight’s, I helped her in removing her own collar, and then we got back to eating. That’s when I realised something rather odd about the meal.

“Hawnu Rey’eng, you do realise you can’t eat food with your helmet on, right?” I asked.

Everyone turned to look at the guardian, who looked back at me.

“And where is that written?”

He tapped the side of his helmet, and a faint ripple of magic coated it; he then picked up his fork and took a mushroom slice, and brought it to his face. We all stared in amazement as the fork, along with the food, passed through his helmet and he took a bite. It was almost like he’d activated the ‘noclip’ command in gaming terms, where a player’s character could pass through any object, as if they were a ghost.

“Very appetising, thank you, Applejack.” He spoke.

Applejack chuckled and dipped her head, while I shook my head with bewilderment at the guardian.

{You want to know what I look like, don’t you?} His mechanical voice echoed in my mind.

{I thought that was obvious.} I thought back.

He exhaled through his nose, and got back to eating, I decided to do the same.

About halfway through my first portion of delicious stroganoff, Applejack finally broke the silence with the query that had been on everyone’s minds.

“So y’all, the big question… What in tarnation actually happened in there?”

I swallowed my mouthful and turned my head to face her.

“What didn’t happen AJ? It was enough chaos to make even Discord queasy.”

“That’s a lot of chaos.” Dashie remarked.

Nodding in agreement, I continued with my fable.

“The layout of my mind was a never-ending forest, which I guess represented my neurons or something, it was pretty awesome. The moment we entered my head, we were all separated, I awoke here in the mansion, where I was confronted with every human I’ve had to fight in the past. After defeating them all once more, Hawnu Rey’eng found me, who took me outside. That’s when I met Bunnie…”

I inhaled deeply after saying her name, to which Twilight hung her head in shame.

“That’s the girl, right? The one who, um…” Rarity started, but lacked the confidence to say.

“The one who died, yeah.” I finished for her.

Bunnie was now at peace, and I had been able to say my final farewell, so my attitude towards the matter had been greatly relieved, despite the general bitterness that surrounded the fact she had died; it was a huge weight off my chest. Still, Twilight refused to look at me as I continued to explain our meeting, about how Hawnu Rey’eng had rescued her soul for a brief period of time, and had allowed me to speak to her once more in order to allow a satisfying culmination to our love. While I would always love and remember her in the back of my mind, I was ready to move forward with the mission and not be brought down by her demise.

“That’s wonderful to hear, I’m glad you were able to say goodbye.” Rarity sighed.

“Wish we could have met her.” Rainbow Dash pitched in.

“Yeah, it was a shame you couldn’t. But that is in the past, what’s done is done.” I said.

I gave Twilight a small nudge under the table to assure her I wasn’t mad at her, and she seemed to relax slightly, but remained ashamed of her actions. Hawnu Rey’eng decided to pick up on where I’d left off and continue telling the story from his perspective.

“While this was going on, Twilight had been under pursuit from a living nightmare, a foul beast that had donned a distorted manifestation of Twilight herself. It represented Callum’s old memories of her, while she was being manipulated by the Fel. After delivering Callum to Bunnie, I came to her assistance, and together we fought against the terrible creature. After Callum had said his final words to Bunnie, he was able to find us just as we had slain the beast.”

“Gosh… What did it look like?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“May I show them?” Hawnu Rey’eng asked Twilight.

She nodded, and the guardian’s hands lit up, he cast a spell to the centre of the table, to which a magical hologram of the monster appeared before us. The girls all gasped, which resulted in Rarity almost choking on her food.

“Good gosh!” Applejack yelled.

“Yuck!” Pinkie remarked, before shovelling more food into her mouth.

“Is there nothing that truly unsettles you, Pinkie?” I asked.

“Sad clowns.” She replied with her mouth full.

I couldn’t help but chuckle a little, leaving her to tilt her head on one side.

“What? They’re horrifying! Clowns are meant to entertain and make you laugh, seeing them all miserable makes me feel so distressed and on edge!” She declared defensively.

{I’m surprised Pinkie isn’t repulsed by you, you’re a fuckin’ clown and yet you’re one of the most whiney, miserable dullards I’ve ever encountered!} Stardust teased.

{You know, for Equestria’s beloved saviour, you’re actually quite a dick.} I thought back.

{Oh, grow a set, Callum. I saved Equestria twice, lived a full life, and then died to save it for a third fuckin’ time. I think I’ve earned the bloody right to have a little banter when I please. Don’t tell me Princess Celestia selected an easily offended little snowflake to save it for the fourth time.} He retorted.

Having been put in my place, I decided not to reply to him, and started listening to Hawnu Rey’eng as he finished explaining about the monster in the woods.

“So, this Nightmare Twilight, or ‘Twightmare’ as I like to call it-”

Twightmare? Really though?” I scoffed.

The guardian turned his head to face me, shrugging.

“It was either that, or ‘The Bad Memories of Twilight’, which doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.”

“Why not just call it Nightmare Twilight? Because that actually sounds pretty badass.” I suggested.

“Can I finish telling the story? Or are you going to nit-pick every minor detail?” He spoke.

I rolled my eyes and let him continue, he explained the ins and outs of the creature and how it wasn’t to be associated with Twilight; her mood seemed to improve after that, I almost wish I’d kept the collars on to hear her thoughts, I wanted to know what was on her mind.

Between Twilight, myself, and Hanwu Rey’eng, we told the tale about the Dead Forest, and how we defeated Nah’Lek’s manifestation; we left out the section about Stardust, I felt like it would complicate things by having everyone know about a bygone hero secretly living with us. Besides, after unravelling revelation after revelation, I didn’t want to dig into the matter at this time.

That being said, I had to admit to myself that I was a hypocrite, as there were two enormous mysteries that I remained desperate to unravel.

“Before we returned from the forest, right after we defeated Nah’Lek, something was said about his staff, something about Hades. What did that mean exactly? In Greek mythology, Hades is the god of the underworld, surely the names are coincidental, right?” I asked.

“Oh! I know all about Hades, I’ve got at least twenty books on him back in the library!” Twilight sang.

“Wait, it’s the same Hades!?” I exclaimed.

“It’s just an old myth.” Rarity sighed.

Hawnu Rey’eng chuckled at Rarity’s remark, and took another mouthful of rice.

“While the Titanson is old, it’s no myth, young Rarity. Equus’ Hades is indeed the same as that of human mythology. Many Greeks, akin to Lauren Faust, had a spiritual connection to Equus, and saw visions of the world, resulting in the creation of Equestrian themed media and mythology, they saw fragments of Equestria and wrote the stories based on them. It was in fact Starswirl the Bearded who became depicted as Zeus, I suppose the Greek’s visions weren’t always clear on species, they saw a bearded character wielding lightning, and they declared he was the almighty god of thunder. People always attach fictional tales to unexplainable events in attempt to make them more rational, it’s just human nature.”

{That explains a lot…} I thought to myself.

“In terms of Hades and the Underworld, the Greeks were actually very accurate, the Underworld is where most souls reside after death, but coins are not required to enter. The great rivers and their renowned Boatman merely transport souls to other parts of the Underworld, such as Elysium, the gates of Tartarus, the Asphodel Meadows, the Sacrificial Well, and so on and so forth.” He explained.

“You missed out the Mourning Fields and the Isles of the Blessed.” Twilight pointed out.

Hawnu Rey’eng looked at Twilight and tilted his head slightly to his right, and it felt as though everyone in the room could feel his eyes rolling dully.

“Oh, you were giving an example, not a detailed description, carry on!” She said sheepishly.

The guardian chuckled and took his last mouthful of stroganoff, before continuing.

“Hades rules over the Underworld, but he is no demon or devil, while he is stern and proud of his status as king of the dead, I’ve noted him to be rather hospitable and lenient to his subjects. Tartarus on the other hand is where he exacts punishment on the dark souls.”

I took a sip from my glass of water before questioning him, I couldn’t help but think about one of my old favourite video games, coincidentally titled Dark Souls.

“Dark souls?” I asked.

Hawnu Rey’eng nodded to confirm I hadn’t misheard him.

“Tartarus serves as a prison for dark souls, those who’ve committed atrocities in the mortal realm, it’s also where demons live, revolting monsters with anti-mana for blood. They feed on the mana left over from souls who have perished after serving their years of chastisement. They dwell in the darkest and deepest part of Tartarus, known as the Baleful Gulch. Those who wish to seek an audience with Hades must survive the horrors of the Gulch and reach a gateway which leads to his chamber.”

{And this is where it gets interesting…} Stardust muttered.

“Nah’Lek the Defiler, imprisoned by Stardust Moonshimmer thousands of years ago, was able to break free of his cell after Cerberus left his post. He then retrieved his swords and descended into the Baleful Gulch, slaughtering countless demons, cleaving through them like they were mere inconveniences. After entering Hades’ chamber, he stole the Titanson’s staff, granting him with unlimited control over the most vile and ungodly substance in existence, anti-mana, also known as the Fel. He made it as far as the Gulch before Hades reached him, using the Fel from the fallen demons to fuel his magic, he was able to take Hades head-on in open combat, and win.”

“Shitting hell…” I breathed.

“Sparing the Titanson’s life to prove his authority, Nah’Lek left the Underworld with his new tool of ultimate destruction, this is when he fled to the world of Draenor to take control of the Orcish Horde and develop them further for planetary conquest, which brings us to now.” He concluded.

It took a few moments to digest all this information, but it certainly cleared up a few things.

{Well, Nah’Lek now has some of his origin story explained, everybody’s happy!} Stardust chuckled.

“Except for all the complaints about Nah’Lek being overpowered!” Pinkie sang.

Everyone looked at Pinkie, confused to why she’d said that randomly.

{There’s only room for one of us Pinks, back down.} Stardust growled.

Pinkie glared at my forehead, before squinting her eyes with a large frown, I blinked twice with confusion and took another mouthful of stroganoff to avoid her eye contact. We all went back to the main conversation and ignored Pinkie’s strange antics, I assumed she could somehow detect Stardust.

“So, you keep addressing Hades as the Titanson, what do you mean by that?” I quizzed.

“Essentially, what it says on the tin. Hades isn’t exactly god, but a son of the six Holy Titans of Harmony combined, he was made long before the Titan’s Orb. He is long-lived, similar to Princesses Celestia and Luna, he can be killed, but cannot die of old age.”

I hummed, even since understanding the many different dimensions and the concept of souls and mana, I’d never have imagined Hades and the Underworld were real of all human beliefs. But even though I disliked his enigmatic existence, I had no reason to doubt Hawnu Rey’eng.

“So, Hades is like, the Princesses’ older brother?” Dashie asked.

“That's an interesting question actually, Rainbow Dash. On the one hand, yes, but on the other, a resounding no. Celestia and Luna were created in the image of Twilus, the Titan of Mana, they were direct daughters of a single Titan. Hades however, was a creation of all six Titans combined, thus making him more godly than the Princesses, I suppose you could consider him related to them, but only if you’re willing to consider that Nah’Lek would also be related to them.”

WHAT!?” Twilight and I exclaimed in unison.

“You seem shocked, Twilight, I thought you knew your history. After Appleox consumed the other Titans and was repelled by the Orb, he made his way through other dimensions in search of the most deplorable beings in existence, leading him to Nah’Lek. Offering the Defiler an eternal life of bloodshed, Nah’Lek willingly allowed Appleox to alter his biological form, replacing his natural mana with Fel, hardening his chitinous shell into an unbreakable material, and fuelling his body with the Titan’s very own blood, along with the blood of the other consumed Titans, strengthening him both physically, mentally, and magically, reforming him as the Titan’s son.
With the blood of all combined Titans, Nah’Lek became undetectable by the Orb, allowing Appleox to send him to Equus and ravage the planet. This is when he was defeated by Stardust and sent to Tartarus, which you already know. My point being, he faintly carries the same blood as the Princesses, so if you want to consider Hades as their brother, you must also consider Nah’Lek to be so.”

“Yeah, how about, no?” Twilight spat.

“Here, here, Twilight! Such a creature will never be associated with Her Majesties.” Rarity agreed.

{Having been dead a while, I’ve heard this story far too often, can we move on?} Stardust pleaded.

Hawnu Rey’eng dipped his head slightly, acknowledging Stardust’s request, he reached down to his tool belt and removed a device, tossing it to me; thankfully my reflexes were good enough to react and catch it without embarrassment. Upon inspection, I found it looked like a scarab beetle, just without any legs; most of it was a shiny chromed metal, while the centre of it had a black circle, it looked to be made of obsidian.

“What you’re holding there is a gizmo of my own making, it’s a smart hacker, attach it to any other electrical device that’s locked or protected, and it will wirelessly decrypt and open it.”

“So, a portable Ex Machina?” I asked.

Hawnu Rey’eng chuckled and dipped his head, accepting that the sudden and random giving of the device seemed rather convenient.

“A Tech Ex Machina, if you will.” He replied.

{A Techs Machina?} Stardust suggested.

I smirked, a Techs Machina was the ideal name for it.

“Why’re you giving it to me now?” I quizzed.

“I just remembered it, and figured you could use it to crack open the laptop you acquired from the miners, maybe contact home and let a few people know you’re still alive?” He suggested.

I hummed and pocketed the gadget, I could imagine it would seriously come in handy further down the line. But for now, I was in agreement that I could perhaps get in contact with some of my old friends, no doubt they were all wondering if I was actually still alive, I quickly started to picture the look on Harry’s face when he found out about my adventures, I then thought about my brother, surely Oliver must have been worried sick about me, I decided he would be the first person I attempted to contact.

The rest of dinner was spent with comfortable small talk about various matters, mostly about past events and of home. Applejack ended up getting quite emotional over the thoughts of Applebloom and the farm, which soon after set Rarity off, lamenting over Sweetie Belle and the boutique. Homesickness became the main topic, and before you could say ‘girls DMC in a nightclub toilet’, everyone was upset about home, Fluttershy missing her animals, Twilight crying over Spike, Pinkie sobbing over Gummy, even Rainbow Dash was misty eyed while talking about Tank.

{Are they always this unstable?} Stardust asked.

I rolled my eyes and ignored Stardust, before offering to take out the dishes to the kitchen, I piled up the plates and made my way out of the room.

“Phew…” I sighed, leaning against a counter.

Inhaling deeply, I tried to relax; dinner had been lovely, but my brain had been attacking me quite a lot, my episodes of depression were always spontaneous and seemed to be relentlessly inconvenient.

“You okay?” Twilight asked.

I turned around to find she’d followed me out of the room, I smiled weakly and nodded. She could see right through the facade and approached me, a look of sympathy on her face.

“Black dog?”

Again, I nodded.

“Can I get you anything?”

“Actually, a hot drink would be great.” I mumbled.

“Sure thing, I can’t do tea well, but I can make coffee?” She offered.

“Coffee sounds great, thanks, I’ll be up in our room.” I replied.

Twilight dipped her head and I headed upstairs, I took the portable WiFi hotspot and the laptop with me.

Flopping onto the bed, I rubbed my heavy eyes and opened up the computer, switching it on and waiting for it to power up; the fan started whirring and I saw the splash screen.

[Leading Innovation >>>]

{Human tech, gotta love it…} Stardust said gleefully.

“I don’t know, I’d rather magic over technology.” I responded dully.

{What if you had Hawnu Rey’eng’s suit?}

“Bruh, I’d rather the wings and exceptionally powerful magic.”

{You’d seriously pass on being a more badass version of Iron Man, for some feathery back flaps?}

“Don’t dis the feathery back flaps.” I muttered defensively.

The laptop booted up normally and came to a login screen, I took out the Techs Machina and planted it next to the track pad, the black stone in the middle began to glow red, and the screen started to flicker, the password bar filling up with dots as though I had typed something in. The stone suddenly flashed green and the screen changed to the desktop, the device had worked.

“Convenience for the win.” I said, smirking.

I removed the device and the stone’s light went out, going back to its pitch blackness. A few icons appeared on the screen, specifically Google Chrome, Spotify, Skype, Word, Photoshop, My Computer, and of course, the trusty old recycle bin.

{Lucky you, it seems Skype is already installed.} Stardust hummed.

Making sure the laptop was connected to the portable hotspot, I double clicked on Skype and waited for it to boot up; logging out from the American’s account, I signed in with my own and looked at who was online. Oliver’s account was labelled ‘away’, but I imagined it was installed on his phone as he had never cared for a computer of his own, I hit the call button and held my breath.

[Boooooop] … [Boooooop] … [Boooooop] … [Booooooop] …

And then a portrait box appeared, along with my brother’s constantly smug looking face.

“Hello?” He asked curiously.

“Guess who.” I greeted him teasingly.

“Wait, who is th-… Holy shit… BROSKI!?” He shouted.

I switched on the webcam and revealed myself, and watched his face light up with joy.

“You’re ALIVE!”

“Afraid so.”

“Where the hell have you been? How was Chernobyl? Have you grown a second arm from the radiation? Do you glow in the dark? Has your cock dropped off? How are you even calling me?” He asked rapidly.

Despite my current depressed state, I couldn’t help but laugh.

“No bro, my cock hasn’t dropped off. In fact, it got wet.” I hinted.

“You popped your cherry!?” He yelped.

“Yup.” I chuckled sheepishly.

“Shit bro, someone actually slept with you? Fuck, she must have low standards… Was she fat?”

“No Oliver, she wasn’t fat!” I laughed loudly.



“Dared to do it?”

“No, it was actually really passionate.” I sighed, reminiscing.

“Sounds gay. What was her name?”


“Jesus Christ, you fucked a rabbit?”

“Her name was Bunnie! I slept with a human woman, you cockwomble.”

Oliver laughed loudly.

“Why would her parents do that to her? Honestly who the fuck calls their child Bunnie?”

“Apparently the parents of all the people called Bunnie.” I replied.

“Yeah, negative.” He said with a heavy sarcastic drone.

I rolled my eyes, despite his obnoxious persona, it was so good to finally hear from my brother.

“Well, anyway, congrats. Is there going to be a Mrs Bunnie anytime soon?” He asked.

“Sadly not, it didn’t last, I’m afraid.”

“Must have clocked onto the fact you’re not human.” He teased.

“She’s dead, actually…”

“That, brother, is unfortunate.” He said bluntly.

I inhaled deeply, I wasn’t going to let it bring me down, I wanted to focus on my brother and not get too deep into the matter again.

“It’s life, I suppose.” I replied.

“On the contrary, it’s the opposite!”

Anyway… How’ve you been?” I asked, changing the subject.

“Good! Really good! Nice and cushy since a chicken took out my leg.” He told me gleefully.

“What now?”

“Allow me to explain, shortly after you left with your gay alien horses, I decided I wanted an adventure of my own, and joined the army. Turns out, it fucking sucks, there’s no adventure and everyone just shouts at you. I can’t leave now until I’ve served four years, or else I get thrown in prison as a dishonourable discharge.”

“That, brother, is unfortunate.” I mimicked him.

“Eat a testicle. Now, here’s the good news. You know those egg shitting spastics mum kept in the garden? Well, the bloody cockerel attacked me and dug its spur into my knee, right under the fucking kneecap, painful as shit, but I get like, months off to chill. Plus, I get two big cripple sticks I can hit people with.”

“You mean crutches?”

“Yeah, cripple sticks.”

“Right, so you’re a soldier, and got put out of action by a chicken?”

“Yeah, it’s bloody brilliant.”

“I see…” I hummed.

The bedroom door opened and I looked up to see Twilight coming into the room backwards, she turned around and I noticed she was carrying a tray in her mouth with my coffee on top.

“Oh, bless you Twi, hang on.” I uttered hastily.

I hopped off the bed and took the coffee from her, allowing her to drop the tray onto the bed, she wiggled her jaw and sighed.

“How do pegasi and earth ponies do it?” She breathed.

“Don’t underrate yourself, I’m amazed you didn’t spill anything!” I exclaimed.

Twilight smiled warmly, feeling proud of herself. Learning to live without magic must have been hard when it’s been taken for granted for all your life; it made me realise how useful my two hands really were.

“Is that one of your horse people?” Oliver called, unable to see what was happening.

Twilight jumped in shock and looked over at the laptop.

“Who’s that?” She asked.

“Thy kin.” I replied dully.

I went back over to the bed with Twiley in tow, upon seeing her, Oliver shook his head.

“So fucking weird.” He hummed.

I rolled my eyes and decided to change the subject once again.

“So, you mentioned mum earlier, how’s the old shit-bag doing?” I inquired.

“You mean the half-ton sack of assholes that lied to us all of our lives?” He growled.


“Right, you don’t know… Well, I’ve got some interesting unwelcome and yet welcoming news.”


Oliver paused and took a breath in, before giving it to me straight.

“Our dad has died, and we’re orphans.”

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