• Published 18th Mar 2017
  • 2,990 Views, 303 Comments

Equestrian City - Malcontent



It's been almost a decade since the Battle of the Bands and Sunset Shimmer has been trying to clean up the mess she made. After series of unrelated crimes, Sunset, now known as The Phoenix, may need to finally ask for help.

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Episode 13 - "Puzzles and Pieces"

Episode 13
“Puzzles and Pieces”
by DarkMalcontent
Co-Author and Proofreader Alisia
Proofreader and Power Consultant by Zap
Editing Consultation by Brawny Buck


Fluttershy opened her mind’s eye, finding her vision obscured by the incorporeal liquid within her consciousness. Bracing herself, she moved forward without resistance, taking a few steps to readjust to the sensation of being surrounded by water but walking normally. It was only a matter of time before Andrea showed up for another one of their frequent sparring sessions. Thanking goodness they wouldn’t have to fight for control of her body her mind’s space, Fluttershy relaxed and squared up her shoulders.

A distant sparkle of activity caught Fluttershys eye and she peered towards it. Coming in fast, it was a red in hue, reflective, semi-transparent sphere. It slammed into the ground around her and a perky blonde woman now stood before her.

“Well, well, hello little scaredy bug. Seems we’re both in a bit of a situation. I told you you'd need me again. You can't suppress me.” Andrea’s crimson feline eyes and wicked smirk pierced Fluttershy like a spear.

Andrea’s arrival, as always, was signaled by a growing dark red blur that coalesced into a blurry older blonde woman before flashing brightly and fading to normalcy. Leaving Andrea smirking deviously at Fluttershy with crossed arms and cocked hips.

“Oh dear, I don’t want to suppress you, Miss Andrea. I only think we shouldn’t hurt anyone if we can help it.”

“That sort of thinking is going to get you killed.” The she-demon levitated above Fluttershy slightly. “Cowardice or Ineptitude, whatever your reason,” she lifted a hand, snapped her fingers and a small window to the real world opened. “It seems it’s about to cost your friends lives.”

Fluttershy gasped as she gazed at the world outside her mind: A crazy eyed woman had Pinkie in her clutched tentacles, several wrapped around her and several served as support, lifting the villains body from the ground. Fluttershy pounded on the magical window. Her eyes widened upon Pinkies hand beginning to fall limp, and her strikes became frantic. “No! Pinkie!” Fluttershy gasped sharply, eyes wide with panic, her mouth upturned in terror .

Andrea snickered. “Pinkie. What strange names your kind have,” she commented before she snapped her fingers again and the window widened to show another set of tentacles wrapping around Rainbow Dash’s legs and arms, the poor girl still out cold. “Such a shame you insisted in taking the wheel. I'd be more than able to drop that bitch where she stood.”

“Please! You have to help them!” Fluttershy begged with a desperate look towards Andrea. “I don’t want them taken away!”

Andreea chuckled,. “Seems your speedy friend was too worried about you to notice an explosion. Despite her best attempts, the explosion took her and your friends by surprise.” Andrea giggled. “They seem at a disadvantage and now they’re about to die.”

“No!” Fluttershy looked to the scene and pounded the window again.

“As for helping them...why should I? All they want to do is separate us eventually. No doubt they were planning it even as they tumbled into the debris.” Andrea adjusted her hair with a motion that dripped with indifference.. “I much rather we just leave them to their fate. That creature didn’t notice how far your body went flying, so we’ll be safe,” she said and crossed her arms in satisfaction.

“Help them, please.” Fluttershy turned to the spirit with collapsed hands as she begged.. “Can’t you just help them and NOT hurt anyone?”

“Sorry, little bug, your friends would only separate us if I saved them.” She shook her head. “This is why I said we don’t need--” Andrea cut herself off and her face twisted some, at the same time as Fluttershy’s did as well. Andrea’s eyes snapped wider as the realization hit her: her host was trying to overpower her mental hold on her limbs in the corporeal world!. “No, stop that!” she yelled, her tone growling towards the end of her words, balling her fists up in frustration.

Fluttershy’s body barely moved in the real world but as she won against Andrea’s protests, Andrea’s enhanced strength began to move the rubble with ease.She caught the attention of Mistress Mayhem as the largest chunk vaulted to the side, resulting in another set of tendrils to fire towards the pale yellow girl’s body. “There. If that's how you want to be,” Fluttershy said with the world around her wiggling and starting to disappear. “You’ll help or you and I will die, just like my friends.”

Andrea gave an angry but defeated growl as the world faded out for them both with a final echoing word. “So be it...for now.”

***

Mayhem strutted towards her bounty, grinning maniacally at the thought of what she would do to the fallen heroes afterwards. But a snap and a sudden shock of intense pain jolted her from her evil euphoria. Turning to face the source of the shock, she focused on a yellow toned girl hefting a heavy chunk of rubble aside with her free hand. Mayhem’s pained expression morphed into a frightening grin as she sized up the new girl and pleasure began growing from the pain.

“Oh? Seems I missed a little worm in the beautiful explosive fun of my exit. Maybe I need to start stabbing rubble more.” Another tendril shot out and restrained the girl. “Too bad for you, you didn’t have the sense to run or die,” An unsettling grin pulled itself onto her face. “But that just means more fun for me.”

“They say to truly laugh you must take your pain and play with it.” Andrea smiled as she tossed the two dead tips aside. “And lady, you've clearly been playing with it too long. You're insane.”

“A scholar and a brute. You’d have been one of my first picks back at the office dating pool.” Mayhem tossed her two captives into the destroyed building wall, freeing her appendages. “Too bad I’m no longer on the market.” She grinned and shot several tendrils like spears at the girl.

The meek girl dusted herself off and stepped forward, all as her appearance began to change fluidly: Her features morphed with ears elongating into rough points and a menacing grin,complete with a set of razor sharp vampire fangs.

“How cute! You’re a rodent,” Mistress laughed and swung one tendril at the red eyed girl. Andrea ducked and stepped back into the open street, jumping and dodging left and right with a display of practiced finesse while Mayhem repeatedly stabbed a couple more tentacles at her.

Andrea leaned back, smirking. “Oh just look at the split en-” Cut off by the sudden impalement from a third tendril. A blunt force hit to Fluttershy’s chest sent her flying back and up with considerable speed. Correcting herself before she lost complete control, she twisted midair and landed gracefully on the awning of a nearby store.

“Awww are we touchy on something?”

Another tendril swung down and destroyed the awning but missed Andrea, whom had bounced up and now was squatted on a rooftop perch hissing like an angered cat.

“No one likes a showoff dearie.” Mayhem laughed as she neared with her four free tendrils grasping hold of any object they could and hurling it. A storm of objects, including a couple barrels, two dumpsters, three cars, two mailboxes and even a lamppost was snatched and thrown at the vampire like creature.

The yellow girl calmly opened a hand and shoved the first barrel up, the wind as it flew overhead caused her hair to whip around her face. She locked her sights on the next item, the first mailbox. Jumping up, Andrea took hold of the steel dome, slammed the metal post into the stone ledge and pushed off to get more altitude. She came down and slammed her fist into a second barrel, shattering it into pieces and swiftly sending the mailbox into the two rings. The pink haired girl landed, leaning back and dodging an airborne lamppost.

Andrea came up and her eyes widened before they narrowed with her grip tightened on the mailbox post. Jumping back with a couple flips, the girl ran forward, jumped off the ledge and landed on the blue postal box. This was brief as she continued on and used the mailbox as a pole vault higher. Andrea released the postal box, landing on the hood of the first car. Dashing forward, Andrea’s supernatural speed fired off as she parkoured through the other cars in mid-air. Wasting little time, Andrea darted and pushed off the edge of the trunk of the final car, aiming to the left.

Grabbing a stray car door, the pink haired girl swung to the back and kicked loose one corner of the bumper. Keeping momentum, Andrea grabbed the bumper, coming up in a twist and pushed off the back of the vehicle, unleashing another obstacle style mid-air display over the obstacles. Andrea’s motive became apparent as she lept off a flying dumpster as she used the bumper as javelin.

“And here I thought you loved a good show!” Andrea snarled in a rough voice. She slashed into the attacking tendrils with the bumper in her hands. Tossing it aside, she threw out her clawed hand, hitting her target square as she wrapped her fingers around Mayhem’s throat. Andrea snarled, baring her fangs while digging her razor sharp nails into her prey’s flesh.

“Ooo!” Mayhem chortled as her tentacles flailed out in front of her. “Such a quick and strong little girl!” she excitedly exclaimed in a rough almost whispered breath. The wide eyed woman’s grin grew as her thoughts focused for a minute on being slowly choked. Fluttershy’s face remained stern before it fell with her glare, eyes widened with pain that was reflected in a cry from her dropped mouth. The six pointed extensions were had solid grounding, right into both sides of Fluttershy’s exposed ribcage.

“Alas, you’re fast, not too bright though.” Mayhem laughed and threw the poor girl off to the side, square into a bus stop and shattering the plexiglass windows along with bending the metal structure.

Mayhem turned her back on the glass covered heroine as her tendrils began to recover the stolen goods. Behind the insane woman a yellow hand punched through the rubble that had buried her with considerably surprising strength. Mayhem halted her gathering and glanced back, only to be greeted by a forcefully thrown metal support beam to the face.

A deep growl emanated from Fluttershy’s throat but began to shift into somewhat of a chuckle.
“What’s the matter, scissor’s got your tongue?” Fluttershty inquired while she brushed the remaining debris off and out of her hair. Mayhem starred in shocked surprise while she sized up her foes durability. A small smirk appeared cocked on the yellow girl’s face as she met her opponents gaze. Fluttershy stood firm and confident, the rips and tears of her flesh closing as if seen back up by invisible stitches. Leaving nothing but the torn fabric as the only sign anything had occurred. “Don’t you just love having a regenerating toy?” Andrea’s voice had become a mixture of her host and her own, echoing into the ears of her foe in an unworldly tone. This expression matched the reddening glint that had entered her eyes.

Mayhem’s dismayed expression changed after a couple moments watching the girl gracefully retrieve the bumper, to an equally wide smile that nearly mirrored Fluttershy’s. “And here I thought this evening was going to be boring!” she shouted while throwing a bicycle, three trash cans and other loose items her appendages could find. Andrea leapt with her quickened lighter-than-air steps, dodging and seeming to dance around the projectiles.

Andrea swung closer to the orange haired woman, aiming to land a kick to the head only for a tendril to ensnare the bumper and pull her off the ground. She didn’t dangle long before quickly swinging off and slashing at Mayhem with her claws. This came up short as another appendage took the strike. “You’re quite the gymnast, aren’t you?” Mayhem asked while simultaneously a couple other thick tendrils rose above the yellow girl and struck her down into the ground like a fly. The villainess lifted herself higher using the tendril’s out her back. “Let’s see if you can keep up!” she briskly began to climb the wall of a nearby building.

***

A soft glow of a television screen illuminated two bodies laying next to each other. The word ‘paused’ was centered on the screen, overlaying an in mid jump cartoon character with a silly grin that was about to miss a platform. Draped lazily over Nightwatch was a green fuzzy blanket, resulting in his form being hard to make out under it. Sunset was sitting next to him, her head laying fully back against the sofa they both had passed out on. Haphazardly in her hands was a wireless game controller with the low battery light on it flashing gently.

Nightwatch’s phone snapped him awake as he fell to the floor off the sofa with an unceremonious thud. The high frequency buzz of the company cell phone gnawed away at his ears, destroying any hope of sleep resuming. Fumbling around his uniform pockets he searched for the elusive buzzing, determined to cease its noise.

Sunset at the same time immediately snapped her head up and looked around defensively. Reaching for a utility belt that wasn’t there, she came up with a handful of her dull white tank top while exposing the butt of her denim shorts and midriff. After noticing Nightwatch, her reality came rushing back to her and the sense of danger fell from her mind. Must have fallen asleep, she thought and shivered as she sat up a bit more and wiped drool from the right corner of her mouth. She stared down at her exposed legs and feet, covering them up instinctively again with the blanket. Half out of fear her scars would be questioned and half out of need for warmth, she giggled as Nightwatch fell over from her movements as he grunted on impact.

Nightwatch pulled the phone from his shirt pocket and snapped it open finally, bringing it to his ear. “Nightwatch,” he said groggily. “Yeah?” he replied, standing up and searching for his shoes, the only article of clothing he was actually missing. “Same one from the other night?” he noticed Sunset was looking at him and casually walked away to keep the conversation as private as possible.

Sunset quickly got up and checked the clock on the end table. She glanced at it twice. Ugh we were only supposed to play a few rounds… she thought with a quiet groan. Standing up she hurried to the bathroom and shut the door. Turning the water on as a distraction she tried to reassess what was going on. Staring down at the water collecting in the basin she quickly straightened up and took her top partially off, revealing her breasts. Checking them over she ran her hands over her neck.

“Er...um...Becky?” Nightwatch’s voice said from the other side of the door. “Sorry to do this but there’s a call from work I have to respond to.”

Sunset pulled her top back down and unbuttoned her shorts, letting them slide down a bit. “Oh! Oh that’s ok.” She said back feigning her search for any sign of how far things may have gone before she passed out. “I must have been more tired than I thought. Course when was the last time anyone got that far with me.” she thought back to how long the two had played games.

“I had a great time..” he continued.

“Oh me too. I'm just..trying to..” she trailed off softly as she examined her body a bit more, finally pulling her shorts back up right and running her tongue around the inside of her mouth. “..figure out how much of a great time we had.” She said too soft to hear over the water.

“What was that?” he asked back.

Satisfied nothing too serious must have happened, she pulled a pair of white ankle socks on and turned the water off. Sunset opened the door and smiled. “I said me too maybe we can do it again sometime.” She finished, realizing now that one sock didn't match. “Oh..”

Nightwatch raised an eyebrow but smiled back. “Really? I wouldn't mind that either.” He smiled. “Told you I could take you.”

“What?!” Sunset suddenly turned, her expression nearing that of being offended.

“Whoa! Whoa! Your high score in Legend of Puzzle Brothers.” He pointed to the screen as he sat down, pulling his boots closer to him.

“Oh…” she relaxed her stance. “Oh no way that was a fair fight.” She shook her head. “I was tired.” She smiled slowly. “But I wouldn’t be against giving you a rematch.”

“Sounds like a date to me.” Putting his patrol boots on, lacing them quickly. “But I gotta’ run, duty calls, you know how it is.” He stood up and grabbed his coat. “But...I guess we should exchange numbers,” he slowed down his movements, fishing his personal phone and opening the contact window.

Sunset nodded and stepped over mounds of dirty clothing she had strung about, kicking one of the pieces of her costume to the underside of the sofa. “Oh absolutely,” she added to distract him, she picked up her own and pointed it to him.

A moment later their devices touched back to back in their hands and a series of digital handshakes later, their numbers were stored in each others device. A comical kissing sound came from both of their speakers, making Nightwatch somewhat blush. “I thought I turned that off.”

“Don’t worry about it, Night. Just go on, save the day.” Sunset turned him around by the shoulder and helped him to the door. “Girl needs to take a shower in privacy anyway.”

Hurried out the door he stumbled a bit as she shoved him out into the hallway, a bit bewildered and jarred, but then he looked down at his phone and looked at the new number stored notification. A gentle smile came over his face and he pocketed the device, taking on a quick pace to the stairwells of the building to get to the ground floor.

***

Sunset landed with grace and near silence on the top of the Rarity Building, the helipad spotlights turning to target her as she walked across the metal plating. The roof was deserted and the night air was cool compared to the heat she’d been used to from flying with her powers. Adjusting her goggles, she looked up at two more spotlights that focused on her, several seconds passed and the four on her turned off and went back to their starting positions. She smiled as she realized why. “Hello, Spike.”

“Hey there Sun--” Spike’s voice came across the front panel of the elevator control panel speakers. “Phoenix. Rarity and Twilight are waiting for you. Follow the illuminated strips on the walls to guide you to the labs.” The doors to the elevator opened as Spike finished his instructions. “Good to see you again.”

Sunset stepped in and nodded as the doors closed. “Feeling’s mutual.” Sunset smirked. “It’s not often two dead people get to talk with each other after so long is it?”

“I suppose it’s not.” Spike’s avatar popped up on the inside monitor as the elevator’s cables engaged and brought it’s occupant to the requested floor. Stepping clear as the doors parted, Sunset walked in the direction of the flashing strips of light Spike had spoken of. Taking note of several doors that wore different department labels, she took a left at an intersection.

“This place is massive,” she whispered out loud, taking in the marble decor and closed doors. Each had the name of the occupant etched in brass plating on the side, names under them, all topped off by the Rare Innovation logo she’d come to know. The logo was all around the city and it was almost impossible to miss it on some item you used during your day.

“It's actually quite compact once you have a bigger perspective. But from your point of view I can sympathize.” Spikes voice answered her, his face popping on a nearby monitor.

Slightly jarred by the seemingly ever present A.I., Sunset kept her composure and smiled politely. Following to the set of doors labeled ‘Diamond Labs’. They parted with a gentle hiss revealing the lab and Twilight and Rarity speaking. “I honestly think we'll no doubt be hearing from Spitfire soon. I think our presentation knocked it out of the proverbial park.” Rarity blew a puff of smoke as she turned to Sunset. “Ah, here she is now. Welcome back, Sunset.”

“Thanks, Rarity. How did your presentation go?” Sunset replied, crossing her arms and leaning on the wall closest to the door. “I understand you and Tiara are neck and neck in the race.”

“Not anymore, darling. Today, with Twilight at my side, I all but cemented our contract and the future of civility in the city.” Rarity answered, knocking ashes off into an ashtray Spike moved in time to catch them. “I've been trying to make the time pass with Twilight while we waited for you to return. We've been trying to brainstorm on the new color scheme for the police pattern.”

“Wait you've been up and running since I left? Don't you sleep?” Sunset raised an eyebrow, surprised at the energy level of the businesswomen.

“Oh no. I haven’t slept. Been far too busy to find a bed partner today.” Rarity walked past the silent Twilight, who made her way towards Sunset after. “Now I was thinking, Spike, where are you Spike.”

“Here I am, Rarity!” Spike’s face appeared on a set of 9 monitors on the wall.

“Ah good, I need you to do something for me.” Sunset watched Rarity begin, the rest of the request drown out as Twilight approached Sunset.

“Sorry I took so long. I had to deal with what qualifies as a secret identity.” Sunset apologized to Twilight.

“I was beginning to wonder. But Rarity has kept me busy. It's been very, very rapid fire around here.” Twilight replied quietly.

“That and I had to get a guy out of my apartment before I could fly down here.” Sunset blew her own hair out of her eyes. She turned notice her lavender toned friend give her a half smirk combined with a embarrassed blush. She immediately shook her head at Twilight. “Oh no. Not like that. He was just there when I woke up,” she tried to correct herself. “That sounds wrong. He and I know each other from work. Well my now ex-work.” Sunset stumbled on her words. “It's complicated. So…” Sunset coughed, changing the subject. “She's been up this whole time? I thought she slept a lot.”

“Seems once we cut the alcohol out she's back to being a workaholic.” Spike whispered next to them on a small panel on the wall. “She's talking with me so fast I had to shift some resources just to talk here.” Spike chuckled. “I like this version of her better.”

“She quit drinking completely?” Sunset asked. “That's going to be tough cold turkey.”

“Cold Turkey?” Spike inquired, a series of datalines passing across the front of his screen. “Oh. Wow this world has so many phrases.”

“Imagine arriving here naked and trying to learn phrases like ‘toes’ and ‘feet’ let alone what they were.” Sunset smirked. “So what's the-”

“Sunset.” Rarity interrupted her as she lit another smoke. “I think I found something you may want to look at.”

Sunset raised both her eyebrows at the sudden breakthrough but walked over to the display she was working with. Spike stood on the upper right of the configuration in a old detectives outfit with a magnifying glass in claw.

“This would be so much easier if I knew were Coco went,” she grunted and adjusted her reading glasses. “The information you found was just the start of the issues, dear.” Rarity lit up another smoke and inhaled deeply, then blew her smoke upwards in a vaguely diamond shaped cloud. Turning to Sunset, she motioned towards the main screen, several invoices and copies of fax and purchase orders flipping across the screens.

“What did you find, Rarity?” Sunset’s body language shifting to a more relaxed and less tense position. The leather of her jacket gave the slightest squeak as she came to rest on the nearby wall. “It looks like a series of invoices like the one I found, but none of them have the same name on them.” She shook her head. “We wouldn’t have any way to tell which one of these hundred signatures belongs to someone who works for the mastermind behind all those reroutes.”

“Ah, but thats where you’re wrong, Sunset.” Rarity smiled knowingly. “Thanks to my brilliant mind, and of course Spikey’s super quick processors, I’ve been able to extrapolate a very unpleasant fact.”

“What is it, Rarity?” Twilight stepped in behind the other two, looking over the screens.

“For all the different names and routes the goods that have been misappropriated,” Rarity sighed, letting her reading glasses hang from her neck, the thin silver chain holding them from falling. “The one thing each of these documents holds common, sadly.”

Sunset squinted and scanned across all the documents, each stating their destinations, their cargo and finally their approval. Her eyes jumped between several and then opened with a semi shocked look. “They’re all your signature.”

“Rarity’s? That can’t be right.” Twilight squinted too, shaking her head. “She couldn’t have done all this. I mean why would she tell us this if it was her doing?” she turned to Sunset, then back to Rarity.

Sunset had an uneasy feeling coming over her as Twilight’s statement ended, a silence coming over them both as they stared at their now recovering alcoholic friend. Making note of all the exits to the room, as well as Rarity’s hands, she have expected the fashion empress to make a break for it.

“No. Rarity didn’t do any of this.” Spike said, his avatar pulled up several invoice images and zoomed into the signature on the authorization. Each document zipped past the screen, snapshots of each signature line staying as they left. Several dozen images of Rarity’s name lined up next to each other and then, superimposed on top of each other, revealing each was identical in loops and motion. “This isn’t a signature, no one signs the same way twice, there’s always--”

“Always small imperfections. Thats a stamp.” Sunset nodded, completing Spike’s assessment. “So now we need to know who has--”

“Only one person has my signature authority by stamp.” Rarity walked past them both and sat in her chair. The fabric slid under her softly as she held her head with her free hand, rubbing her temple.

A silence filled the room again.

“Well who?!” Sunset shrugged, frustrated to a degree.

“Coco Pommel.” Rarity finally said, snapping her eyes up to her friends, a look of betrayal mixed with sadness.

***

Despite the occasional necessity of it, Malcontent disliked having to leave the peace and quiet of his headquarters. The noise and crowd of the city he lived in had him yearning for his days imprisoned in Tartarus, where there weren’t cars honking and speeding past with broken mufflers, or people bumping into his shoulders and gossiping or asking for money. Maybe he could bring Aria there? She sometimes made for tolerable company.

The imprisonment he’d had after his battle with Celestia over 1000 years prior had left him drained, both mentally and physically for a very long time. Time he’d used to contemplate and heal. But most importantly, time he’d used to learn all he could from the world he’d just barely tasted before the would-be ruler of it banished him.

The soft footfalls of his polished boots echoed softly on the concrete, taking in the various exhibit advertisements for the museum ahead, half interest on his face as he adjusted his glasses. Passing by a full length mirror, he stopped and backed up a step, looking himself over. Adjusting his shirt, he straightened the sleeves and his collar ever so slightly, as if correcting an imperfection only he perceived. Checking his wrist watch, he took note of the time.

Five minutes until midnight, he thought, tightening his leather gloves and clasping them behind his back. Strolling down a darkened alleyway, he stepped over a few discarded bottles and crossed his arms in front of him, closing his eyes. “Lets see how the city is enjoying the uptick in meta problems.”

Reaching out mentally, Malcontent’s mind reached out around him, the rush of voices sorting out quickly as he listened to the thoughts around him.

“...can’t stand is how we aren’t just locking them ALL up and just throw away the key!”
“What we can’t do is let meta criminals live after we catch them.”
“I hope mom makes it through surgery.”
“Please can anyone help make the pain stop.”
“I hate metas...hero...villain they're all the same!”
“Burned at the stake!”

A soft smile formed on Mal's face as the entire city began to fuel his powers. The increase in anti-meta sentiment was already climbing before he unleashed Mistress Mayhem. Now the entire amount was rising faster then he could have hoped, and all of it was empowering him for the final stages of his long awaited return to Equestria. The door to the side alley opened, a pair of shadowy figures stood in it as Mal opened his eyes to see them.

“Thanks for the help, Lickity. Now split.” The familiar sultry tone of Aria Blaze was followed by a devious chuckle. Immediately after followed the sound of bones snapping, the security guard in her grasp falling to the floor dead. “Mmm. Now that was fun. Six of them all thought they'd be having some sort of orgy with me.”

“No doubt they got exactly what they deserved.” Malcontent walked in, stepping over the body. “Close the door and come along, dear Aria.” He disappeared into the low lit back halls of the museum.

Silently the minion picked up the body and shoved it into a broom closet, locking it and the side entrance before turning to follow. Levitating several inches off the ground, her black coattails fluttered softly as she caught up to Malcontent.

“Such wasted effort for such objects of little consequence.” Malcontent observed the exhibits around him with disinterest.” The founding of Equestrian City. Fleeing the Eastern Empire to escape persecution.” He scoffed. “Meaningless history,” he shook his head as he took a left at a intersection of marble tiles on the floor.

“Ugh. Tell me about it. All those guards talked about before I dropped in on them was how the new pieces coming in from the university were heavy.” Aria’s bored tone echoed in the hallway as she followed her keeper. “What are we looking for exactly?”

“Exhibition from the old Everfree excavation site.” Mal finally answered with a similarly annoyed tone. “Geode surveys were uncovered just a bit before they discovered what this world calls Magic Madness.”

“Magic Madness? Oh right. Over exposure to raw magic.” Aria snarkily replied. “Magic Madness sounds like a lame movie title.”

Malcontent didn't answer her, his silence was enough to remind her she wasn't there for her sparkling conversation skills. He waved her off to stand back as he approached a large glass box, several layers visibly guarding it from theft. Inside were six tear drop cut stones in different colors of the rainbow. A large poster next to the exhibit explained the history of them to any observer, on the bottom was a large company logo for Money Corp.

“Here we are.” Malcontent smiled as the purple geode he eyed up sparkled in the twilight.

“These...have Equestrian Magic in them...what are they?” Aria peered at the poster as she asked, the feeling of familiar energy near her.

“The final part of a flawless plan.” Malcontent smiled widely at the geode, his eyes lighting up a cold steel blue, their glow reflecting off the glass.

***
End Episode
***

Author's Note:

Hey there, wow that was a long wait wasn't it? I'm glad most of ya reading this, well, all of you reading this, stuck around!

This represents the first of the new Buck Hybrid material we're slowly starting to move towards as a writing team. Mr. Buck has been very helpful and a stupendous teacher in many ways since I was introduced to him. We welcome him as an incredible boon to Equestrian City as a project lead and I'd like to think as a friend.

That being said, the writing style was partially changed during the making of this episode. As such, it can be a bit jarring, but we like to think it's coherent after several test readers didn't fall over dead!

Finally we're shooting for a much shorter word count per release but we're still moving towards a massive confrontation if you can't tell ;)

Thanks to all who were patient and don't forget to follow me on Twitter, on FimFiction or even drop by Discord and say "Hello" there.
Until next time,
Malcontent

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