• Published 23rd May 2016
  • 5,967 Views, 436 Comments

Tartarus Forged - SvenFoxx



Twilight winds up in Tartarus and is forced to adapt to survive. When she finally gets out, how will this new Twilight change things?

  • ...
36
 436
 5,967

8. Eternal Night, Part Two: Last Bastion of Ponyville

Twilight frowned as she examined the buildings around her. While it was understandable for most ponies to remain indoors during the Night, this was different. First of all, it was roughly four in the afternoon. Even if it the Moon was still high in the sky and the sky was dark, ponies were creatures of habit. They would still be going about their business in the middle of the “day”.

But there was no one. No, it was more accurate to say the town was deserted. And Twilight would have believed that if not for one thing. Off to the west she could see the glow of a dome-shaped barrier pulsing with intense power. Whoever was powering that thing was both strong and well-read in spells.

“Well, I guess that’s my next stop,” she shrugged, before picking a path that seemed to head in the general direction of the barrier. As she walked, she once more found her mind drifting back to the discussion she and Princess Celestia had after Nightmare Moon had retreated.

Uncomfortable was the word of the day.

In hindsight, admitting that you worked for someone who was once one of Equestria’s greatest enemies in front of Princess Celestia was a bad idea. Admitting as much while exhibiting a willingness to kill was probably also a bad idea. Twilight imagined that the only thing that saved her from the strongest magic suppressing cell in the dungeon, besides the current conflict, was the fact that she could wield the light blade she had acquired so many years ago. Apparently, it was well known to the Princess.

The sword had once been Celestia’s personal weapon in combat, a weapon infused with the intense Light Magic of the Sun itself. Said Light Magic also powered a fail-safe that prevented it from being used for evil. It simply couldn’t be used by someone with malicious intentions.

How it got to Tartarus Twilight didn’t ask, and Celestia didn’t tell.

Still, Twilight had admitted to some very damning things and Celestia made it clear that a more in depth discussion will happen once the current crisis was averted. Afterwards, she told Twilight of the Elements of Harmony, and how they were the only thing that could stop Nightmare Moon and save Princess Luna in the process. She told Twilight that the husks of the Elements were hidden in the Everfree Forest, and that each Element required a wielder to activate them, and that the Elements would choose their bearers.

Twilight was told everything about the Elements. The Elements were not weapons, but rather Equalizers. Each Element was pure, crystalized conceptual magic. Loyalty, Laughter, Honesty, Generosity, Kindness, and Magic. She had asked how something like the concept of magic got crystalized in a physical object, but Celestia chose that time to be mysterious and feign ignorance.

Celestia told her she had to find bearers for the Elements before she started hunting for them, and that most had gathered in Ponyville. Twilight didn’t see the point. She had already proven able to fight Nightmare Moon, why not just do it again, this time without holding back? Twilight was warned that Luna had been a brilliant tactician before her fall, and would be ready for her in their next fight. Better to have a contingency.

Twilight’s musings were cut short when a… something stepped from the shadows of the path in front of her. She frowned and stopped, examining it.

It looked like living shadows, its body made of mostly cloudy blackness and only barely retaining a shape similar to the body of a pony. Its yellow eyes glowed like beacons in that blackness, and Twilight could feel the corrupt Darkness oozing from it.

In her a mind she recalled reading about these creatures. Unoriginally named Shadows, they were weak on their own, but a serious problem when you get swarmed by multiple, as they make use of something like a hive mind.

Twilight drew her sword, and the Shadow flinched back from the light the blade gave off. She brandished it, expecting the Shadow to retreat in the face of such powerful Light Magic. She was surprised when it instead jumped at her, razor like claws zeroing in on her heart.

She dealt with it easily with a swipe of the sword, making it burst into a cloud of darkness that faded away.

“Odd,” she mused, replacing the sword on her back. She started down the path again, only to freeze at the sight in front of her.

The path was gone, completely covered and hidden by the veritable flood of shifting blackness and beady yellow eyes locked onto her. Twilight’s expression dropped. “You have got to be kidding me…”

The Shadows surged forward, and Twilight yelped, drawing the sword again.

---

Applejack sighed as she scanned the fields she, her brother, and the rest of the farm workers were supposed to be working. It was full of ponies, many of whom she either knew personally, or knew of.

Ponyville was the kind of town that was used to the status quo. She paused at that thought, and rephrased it in her mind. Ponyville was a town that got used to things rather quickly. After all, one just had to look at Pinkie Pie and her history with Ponyville. She was a mare that just popped up one day and proclaimed everyone her friend. Most would scoff at a declaration like that, but Pinkie shortly proved she wasn’t just blowing smoke.

She was also very random on the best of days, saying things that made no sense to anypony but herself, and bouncing around the town like a spring. However, as strange as the mare was, she was always out to make the ponies around her happy. All she seemed to ever want was a smile.

So Ponyville adapted to the random but well-intentioned mare, and in Applejack’s opinion, Ponyville was better for it. Folks were happier, knowing at least one pony was out to cheer them up. Even now, Pinkie Pie went around doing everything in her power to keep morale high, and never let hopes get low. She was met with partial success… but that only made her try harder.

Her gaze fell on the border of the barrier surrounding her farm, and she saw the yellow gaze of the demons on the other side, just waiting for a chance to get inside and wreak havoc. Demons. They had to be demons. What else could they be? What other kind of creature caused gut-wrenching terror with just their presence alone? So many ponies got mauled, killed, or worse before the barrier had been set up.

Applejack had seen that first hoof, seeing a pony she didn’t know get taken down right in front of her eyes when these things first invaded the town. The only compliment she would ever give these things was that they were quick, efficient, and worked like a well-oiled machine. She had been so shocked by the brutality of it all that she would have been next, had Rainbow Dash not dragged her out the way at the last second and flew her to safety.

Rainbow Dash. Applejack never thought she’d ever feel anything other than contempt for that mare. The rainbow maned Pegasus was brash, arrogant, lazy, and a show-off. She acted like only her wants and desires were important enough to be noticed, and Applejack had honestly written her off as a lost cause.

Of course, that was before… well, before this. Now, instead of rarely seeing Rainbow Dash working, it was a rare sight to see the mare doing anything other than work. Patrol, patrol drills with other Pegasi, training to maintain physique and speed. It was like some drill sergeant had woken up in her when the town came under attack, and she became the Commander of the defense. Heck, some of the Pegasi had started calling her just that!

Then again, things were different before the Invasion of the Night, as many had taken to calling it. It had only been a few days, but already things had changed considerably. A quarter of the town’s population was gone, either dead or dragged into the Everfree Forest for who knows what.

For two days the town struggled to stave off the encroaching shadowy demons, and thanks mostly to Rainbow Dash a good three quarters of the town survived, but nothing really stopped them. Slowed them, yes, but not stopped them.

To be honest, the entire town would probably be nothing more than a memory by now if not for the unicorn that arrived yesterday and lead the unicorn population of the town into creating a barrier over the farm. She said her name was Sunset Shimmer, and refused to answer questions beyond that. Applejack would have been suspicious of the mare if she hadn’t personally dragged the fool from helping power the barrier so she could eat and sleep. Dedication like that had a motive behind it, and while it irked her that Sunset would not share this motive, she decided that survival was more important than personal curiosity.

Speaking of survival, Fluttershy, an odd butter-yellow Pegasus with a pink mane and tail had taken over the barn and turned it into a slapped together Infirmary to help tend to the wounded. Applejack had rarely seen the girl in town, but from what she understood, she was basically the town’s veterinarian for non-sapient creatures. While pony biology was different from the biology of other animals, it wasn’t too different. Fluttershy knew what drugs and herbs to use to stop excessive blood-loss, calm patients, and even numb them to stop the pain.

Applejack called her odd because, unlike most Pegasi in Ponyville, Fluttershy rarely left the ground. In fact, she was so timid and quiet in most cases that many would mistake her for a coward.

But a coward doesn’t take charge of a panicking group of ponies and lead them to safety. A coward doesn’t glare belligerent patients into submission. A coward doesn’t give so much of herself for those around her, expecting nothing in return. She may be shy, but she quickly established herself as a rock that many ponies could cling to in trying times.

And on the topic of rocks, there was Rarity. Applejack gave a strange fusion of a grimace and a smirk at the thought of her. Rarity is, or was, the type of mare Applejack went out of her way to not be like. Feminine, talkative, and obsessed with all things neat and clean. Don’t get her wrong, Applejack appreciated the value of good hygiene, but there was such a thing as going too far, and in her eyes Rarity went beyond too far.

Rarity was also a fashion designer, and here Applejack actually appreciated the mare, as she was very accomplished seamstress. Torn overalls? Piece of cake. Hole in her hat? Fixed in exactly one minute and thirty eight seconds. Torn tarp? Well… a torn tarp was a torn tarp. Not much hope for fixing that kind of material, but Rarity could do patch jobs with the best of them.

In fact, Applejack had long been nursing a suspicion that Rarity didn’t have an eye for fashion, so much as she had an eye for details. If the mare actually sat down and went over the manual for the tractor, Rarity could probably repair the thing easily. Of course, she would have to be willing to get dirty, but that was beside the point.

Recently Rarity had taken up sewing whatever dense gemstones she could scavenge on the farm into the clothing of the ponies who patrolled the perimeter of the barrier. Crude, but had in fact saved the life of at least three ponies now from the claws of those creatures. Some managed to get through the barrier somehow, but at this point they were easily disposed of.

And Applejack herself was splitting her time between maintaining a smaller farm to feed those within the barrier, and patrolling alongside the ground-bound ponies. In fact, that was what she was doing at this moment alongside a few Earth Ponies.

Movement in the corner of her eyes pulled her from her thoughts, and she had to stop and do a double take.

Just outside the barrier, there was something fighting the demons. It stood upright on two legs and used two arms to slash its way through demon after demon with a sword that looked like it was glowing. It was hard to tell through the glow of the barrier itself.

She looked to her patrol-mates. Yep, they see it too. “Either of you know what in tarnation that is?” she asked.

“It looks kinda like a mintotaur,” offered the one to her left.

“Female. Minotaurs have breasts on their chests, remember?” the other said.

“What should we do?”

Applejack looked at him like he was crazy. “We get her in here, that’s what we do! Go alert the ponies powering the barrier. They can open a door.” She looked at the other one as the first ran off. “You and I are going to gather some of the others. We may need to fend off some of the demons as she gets in.”

He nodded and they both took off. As they ran, Applejack wondered if this was the break they needed. Whoever that girl was, she was fighting them rather well. Hopefully she knows how to stop them.

Author's Note:

IMPROTANT

Thanks to Hidemain for pointing out that I'm getting a bit too close to actual Shadow Heartless for something that''s not supposed to be a Heartless. I tried to edit it a bit, but I plans on explaining what the Shadows in the story are in the next few chapters, so that should clear up any confusion.

To be clear, these are NOT Heartless. There are no Heartless. This story is going to use a few concepts from Kingdom Hearts, but Heartless is not one of them.

In my eyes, that is not enough to qualify this as a crossover with Kingdom Hearts. I would need characters and items unique to the series, such as Sora and the Keyblade, showing up here before I mark this as a crossover. If you disagree, I respect your right to an opinion, and ask that you respect my right to not believe that opinion.

If you have a suggestion to help differentiate the Shadows from the Shadow Heartless, I ask that you wait until I explain what the Shadows are. If by then you think I should still alter them, I am, as always, open to ideas.

Thank you for you time.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!