• Published 18th Mar 2017
  • 4,727 Views, 345 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 19 "Cry Havoc"

"Cry Havoc"
Co-author and Primary Proof Reads by Ali
Apron Wearing Editor in Chief Brawny Buck
Ideas and Brainstorming by The Pony Think Tank.

The quietness of Spitfire’s bedroom was peppered with the white noise of suburban life. Crickets complimented the occasional dogs having arguments in the distance. She laid on her stomach, slumbering soundly as the symphony of the night kept her in dreamland until an emergency alert hit her like a hammer to the head. Spitfire awoke with a jolt, sending her black sheets flying away from her yellow skin tone of her legs. She shot up, grabbed her work phone, fumbling to silence the ear piercing alarm that broke the wonderful silence of her room.

The darkness of her room vanishing with the bedside lamp flickering to life. Adjusting her lace bra, she sighed as the drowsy vision washed away slower than she hoped.

Consciousness carried in waves of alarming text messages that popped in front of her eyes. A startled yelp was the reward of the phones sudden incoming call, the face of Commissioner Luna appearing on screen. Tapping the green accept button she turned it to speaker mode as she stood up, setting it to the table.

"Yes, ma'am." She said, dancing about the floor to assemble her uniform.

"Spitfire, what do you know so far?" Luna’s voice broke the silence. "I've got a veritable storm of confusion coming across the wire now."

"I'm getting reports of a series of explosions, Commissioner, and even as we speak I'm-" she began to hop on one leg, her bare foot holding her up as the other slipped into a sock. "-hopping to respond rapidly."

"I'm going to set up a crisis center at Central HQ. Meet me there." Luna replied back. "This looks like it's going to get much worse before it gets better. We have reports of a news studio being taken over by rioters." There was a crackle on the phone. "Nevermind reports, I've got the news from that studio now. Looks bad. Sargent turn that volume up."

"Alright I'm on the way. Twenty minutes or less." Spitfire nearly fell over as she tried to put her pants on. "Knight is on duty at HQ. I'll have him call in the girls and hell even the men. We can use all the help we can get it sounds like."

"What the hell is that sound?!" the phone made a loud thud, followed by muffled screaming and grunting. "I'll show you whose over the hill!" the phone went dead suddenly.

As Spitfire stared at her night table, the abrupt end leaving the Commander wide eyed for a brief moment. She shook off the feeling of dread and focused, taking the phone in hand and bursting out of the bedroom half dressed, determined to finish before she made it to the car.

The world resumed regular speed as Splitsecond slowed down, a brisk jog compared to the breakneck pace she was carrying Shadowstrike at. The crowd before both of them failed to take notice of them, too intent to engage the ECPD as numbers on both sides swelled.

Sliding to a swift stop, Splitsecond set Shadowstrike down. “Looks like we got here in time.” Splitsecond commented, readying herself between the ECPD ranks and the swelling mob. A brief earthquake announced the landings of Impervia and Andrea, the latter of whom scowled while brushing off the dirt they had kicked up.

"That is one heck of a mob." Impervia said, feeling somewhat naked without her hat, she tightened her mask and gloves.

"We can't just start cutting them down, most of them don't know they're being controlled." Fluttershy’s voice broke in from Andrea.

"The signal is coming from several areas." Spike came across the earpieces. "The closest one is at the studio. Take it out and they should return to normal."

"Not a problem. Let's get inside before that loony witch gets wise to-'' Shadowstrike ducked before she finished her words, a flurry of bullets missing her and Splitsecond as each dodged in time.

Impervia winced as she felt the impacts, several deflecting from her bracers but none hurting her as she lived up to her namesake.

Andrea turned in time to stagger back into a lamppost, the sudden onslaught of bullets riddling her torso. Each dull impact followed the brief squish of flesh as it ripped into her body. Enough trauma to kill a normal person, it put Andrea on her back followed by a trail of rather colorful words. The sound of her wounds knitting as the supernatural energy in her went to work, several slugs popped out of their holes as she healed.

Glancing at the entrance, the three remaining took count of at least a dozen armed girls and two larger males behind them. Moving the big ones up front, several thugs were reloading and moving to advance.

"Check that. I'm pretty sure she knows we're here." Shadowstrike spun her staff with a quick half circle, the metal locking into place as she took a defensive posture.

"Ok." Andrea stood back up, several rounds of ammunition popping out of her body as it regenerated. The gentle chime of metal on concrete rang as a bone in her arm snapped back into place as well. "That was such a cheap shot." A look of disdain filled her face, followed by an animal like hiss. Her fangs elongated, her ears became more pointed and longer to be bat-like, thicker fur covered her ankles, wrists and collar. Her hair became more wild looking, her pupils became narrowed slits, her eye color sharpened, webbed wings shot out of her back with her fingers and toes becoming pointed into sharp claws and talons, which gripped where she stood with pride.

Impervia advanced, barely flinching as another round of gunfire either missed or struck her directly. “Y’all gotta stop this now!” she ordered, shaking off the volley as she stopped, raising her arms to absorb more gunfire as a fresh round broke through the tense air. She narrowed her gaze on their target building, taking a slow, deep breath. Her skin hardened further as she exhaled, the bullets falling off her skin more than they penetrated it.

"Oooo we got ourselves some Grade-A heroes." Babs shouted from far behind the gang. She cocked her assault rifle, almost using the sound as a way to put emphasis on the next words to leave her mouth. "Let's give ’em a proper burial."

"Not so fast." A woman announced, her body blurred as she zipped out to the front of the crowd. She abruptly halted, spinning a pair of sparking tonfas. The spiky haired Lightning Dust grinned while she looked over the heroines. “I get the cocky one.” A lightning spark flew down, zapping the ground. Babs opened her mouth to speak but closed it with Lightning charging forwards. She swung one tonfa then the other at Shadowstrike who leaned back and flipped, avoiding the strikes that cut and heated the air near her face each time. With Shadowstrike busy, some of the gang members took aim and resumed fire upon the remaining three.

"Eh. They say never look a gift horse in the mouth." Babs shrugged to the bewildered thugs next to her. "One less to kill."

Impervia turned to look at the gang leader, recognizing her for a moment but had little time to contemplate as Cherry Spice barreled into her from the side, knocking her into a bakery wall and off the street.

"You girls keep ’em busy and I'll stop the wild haired wily one!" Splitsecond shouted, off like a flash.

"Split, wait for-" Shadowstrike ducked as another electrical charged swing nearly took her head off, singeing her hair slightly as she blocked with her staff.

Andrea flew down swiftly, spinning out of the way as bullets whizzed by. Shifting her position resulted in a few shots striking her stomach. They didn’t linger long before being pushed out and her flesh mended itself. This didn’t slow her down, much to the thugs dismay, as she clotheslined two into the ground as they attempted to run. A third rose her rifle, aiming the butt at her. Like a gymnast Andrea shoved off the ground, arching her back in her backflip over the falling forwards woman. Continuing her flip, she twisted and slammed her taloned feet into her back, sending her to the ground with a few tears on her leather jacket.

She landed and turned her head to look over to the nearing other gang members. Andrea cracked her knuckles. “Alright, if you insist.” She grinned, twisting around and charged, slamming a right hook under a woman’s chin and her elbow into another’s chest before knocking her to the side with a swift sideways kick.

During this, Splitsecond sped by Babs with little to no warning. Babs barely turned her head before a forceful blow struck her in the back of the head. Splitsecond watched as the young woman fell face first to the cement curb with a tiny wince. Quickly getting next to Babs, she lifted her head, examined the dazed expression and took off for, then passed the television station. As Splitsecond returned, the four guards tried their best to defend their spot but each shot missed. The speeding heroine sprinted circles around them, stopping and dusting her hands off to observe her work. The four guards struggled against the long ribbon keeping them back-to-back and side-to-side.

Giving a wide confident smile, her back straightened to stand taller, she dashed off in through the television station doors. All that was left behind was her signature grey and pink blur but that soon faded from sight.

"Boss." Babs coughed, pulling a black walkie talkie from under her belt. "One made it in."

"And the others?" Mayhem radioed back, the slightest hint of static following.

"Three down here are handled. You were right about needing two heavies." Babs eyed Cherry holding Impervia at bay, a series of pies and bread flying back and forth in the distance.

"Of course I was, Babsy." Mayhem laughed. "Just keep the masses at bay until the real target gets here."

"Er..." Babs let the button go a moment then pressed the switch again. "Gotcha boss." She turned to see Shadowstrike and Dust clashing in the street, each moving in unison to the others stance. "I doubt these ones will be a problem. Very wet behind the ears."

"Now to take care of the straggler." Mayhem cut transmission abruptly.

"Better you than me." Babs said, taking cover behind a pillar of the elevated train tracks. "Come on, let's pour more on that yellow girl!" she shouted, motioning to another batch of girls behind her.

Splitsecond watched as several rounds of ammunition passed by her head, each whizzed with a dull metallic “clack” sound. Moving at the speed she was the regular goons didn't have much chance. As she passed up the stairs and rounded each floor, she pulled the magazines from their rifles and carried them with her.

Finally at the top she had a few dozen banana shaped magazines and one flashbang grenade to her surprise. It took her less than a second to realize the pin and handle were gone, her eyes widening as she flung it desperately away from her.

The dull echo of the casing hitting a single stair sounded as she turned to run, met only with the heat and wave of force from the explosion. Thrown off her feet, the world went back into normal speed for her, sailing through a door and across the carpeted floor she was on. Flipping half a dozen times, she came to a halt face up, the stars clearing from her vision to reveal several rifles and pistols aimed and ready to fire.

"Crap." She narrowed her eyes in defeat.

"Where did Split head?" Impervia questioned with a grunt, her eyes locked with Cherry Spice, much like their arms to the others body. Throwing her opponent into a car, the alarm it rang died a quick death as Cherry threw the car at Impervia.

"She ran in. I think she was going to try and stop Mayhem herself.” Shadowstrike said, wincing with one tonfa after the other swinging with impressive speed into her metal staff. Sparks flew, her fingers twitched with each counter. Dust closed in, swung down only for Shadow to strike up. The second strike hitting Shadow in the side, making her briefly cry. The two spun and struck, some attacks landing as others missing and rainbow ends being lightly burnt. Shadow finally hit, spun but Dust spun the opposite way, striking low into Shadow’s leg with a tonfa. Shadow began to fall only to be punched in the chest and kicked in the side of the stomach.

"You got more things to worry about than some friend, lady." Dust laughed as Shadowstrike regained her stance, charging. She moved her tonfas to the side like a matador cape and effortlessly dodged Shadowstrike's frontal swing. Leaving the faintest of blurs behind her the green clad mercenary responded with a flurry of strikes.

Not fully enhanced by magic it seemed, Dust was keeping her on the ropes. Each twin and spin of the two metal bars in her hand connected and deflected at almost blinding speed. Ducking from a shotgun blast, Shadowstrike back flipped, catching her opponent in the chin as she moved from harm's way.

"Running? Seems about your speed!" Shadowstrike heard her say, pushing off a pile of rubble to gain higher ground. Landing with grace, her boots barely disturbed the dust on the rooftop, the faintest of it kicking up during her flourishing of her staff.

"More like giving you a break." Shadowstrike laughed back, left arm up in a defensive posture. "Who are you again? Green Mist?"

Lightning charged and jumped, soaring forwards and landing in front of Shadowstrike. She straightened her posture with a grin like a proud gymnast standing on the new rooftop. Shadowstrike held her weapon at the ready while more electrical sparks trailed the two metal sticks, arcing and crackling as they grew. Shadowstrike stepped back, her shoulders tense. Finally Lightning dashed forwards, smacking her weapons together with a clang. The electrical charge grew quickly and Shadowstrike jumped back as the crackling weapons slammed into the concrete. Gravel and dirt flew up from the impact and charge. “Dust. LIGHTNING DUST!” she growled fiercely, pushing off the gravel with her weapons ripping out before spinning. One tonfa slammed with a deafening ring from the connection.

Shadowstrike hissed and grunted while she leaned back to absorb the impact, her vision blurring from the echoing noise in her ears. She shifted her stance to hold up against the lightning numbing her arms and spinning her head was doing as she tried to clear her view of the world. An odd blurr moved, her head leaned back causing the second tonfa to miss her head but to burn her bangs. “You know I outta send you a bill for my hair!” she growled, ripping her weight to one side and sending Dust forward, shifting her center of gravity. Smacking her opponent to the ground, Shadowstrike stood and desperately moved back away from the tonfas, getting an image of the back of Dust’s head hitting the ground.

Dust gave a frustrated growl and threw a massive electrical charge behind her, nailing Shadowstrike straight in the back. The momentum sent her staff flying one way and her body the other. She came to a dazed halt, half propped against a brick wall as both girls moved to recover.

Malcontent typed a few more keystrokes before looking up to the machine in front of him. The crackling of small fires around him echoed around the shattered gymnasium he stood in. Looking back down, several alerts popped on the screen, silencing as he hit keys to acknowledge them.

From above, Adagio watched, frowning and folding her arms. She turned her glare on Aria who stood at the ready, at the head of her and Sonata, who was just enjoying she had hands again like an entertained child. This better be damn worth it. Adagio thought, her mind recalling their deal.

Adagio stepped up on the catwalk behind Malcontent, wrapping her arms from behind him. “How do you even plan to accomplish this plan all alone?” she questioned, her lips pouting.

“Didn’t I tell you to be up there waiting?” Malcontent questioned as he adjusted some settings, shrugging her off.

Adagio adjusted her hair, cocking a hip and soon stepped around in front of him. “Yes, you did but I have an offer for someone so brilliant and handsome.” Malcontent briefly eyed her as she sat, floating just above an electrical board. She crossed one leg over the other, leaning forwards. “You and I team up. Two brilliant minds working as one voice to take down our enemies.”

Malcontent slowed his typing in codes but his gaze stayed on the glowing screen. “Work together you say?” she nodded confidently. "I've given you a body. One which is mine to claim anytime I wish." He leaned his head up slowly, eyeing up her slowly swaying leg in front of him. "Why should I keep you when I've got your far more capable sister at my disposal?" he crossed his arms, sensing Aria in the shadows.

"Aria." Adagio slowly uncrossed and recrossed her legs in front of his eyes. "May be very good for the heavy lifting, handsome." She tilted her head and arched her breasts forward. "But experience is never to be downplayed. I am the eldest after all." She gave a slow stroke of her full thigh she exposed. "Just think of all the things I could do for you she doesn't even have a clue about."

"I've got a few of them running through my head at the moment." He said with annoyance, spreading her legs aside as she obscured his computer screen. He felt the shock and disbelief wash over her, followed by an uncertainty he loved from his victims. "You may have been able to sleep your way through little villages back home but you'll find the foundation I'm made on is much more firm." He added. "And rigid."

He pondered a few moments as he worked and a wicked grin tugged across his lips despite it all. Locking his gaze along her toned and muscled leg, he followed it up to meet her eyes, alluring and wide, staring down at him. She reached a hand to stroke his hair softly. "Though the more I think about it, Aria can be a bit dull in some areas. Perhaps a fresh hand is needed." He ran his gloved hand across her knee.

"Among other limbs." Adagio laughed. ‘There you go. Like any man you can't help but think with your loins in the end.’ She thought to herself.

"Then it's agreed." He stood up and his glasses glinted a moment across their surface as he did. Cocking his head to the side, his hair drifted out from his line of vision to stare at her. "I will grant you power on par with Aria." He dusted his glove softly on his pants. "In exchange for helping me in my interests, I promise to take you with me." He added, leaning forward with an extended hand, tinted swirls of ice magic intermingled with black and purple dark magic surrounding his wrist. He extended the glove closer, watching her reaction.

"Do we have a deal?" a single eyebrow cocked as he asked again.

Adagio stared behind him for a brief moment, spying Aria's shadow. She gave a wider grin at the satisfaction of one upping her traitorous sister. Without another thought she locked eyes back with a grin that mirrored his own. "Deal, lover." She added, hoping to add insult to injury as she quickly took his hand without a second thought.

“Good.” Malcontent said with glee as purple magic swirled from his hand into Adagio’s body. She began to cry but the sudden burning in her throat brought those pained cries to an almost complete end. Seeping out of her flesh of her throat was a red gemstone, smaller than Aria’s but the same red color. Growing outward, tendrils wrapped themselves fully around her neck, four on both sides of the gem, forming an almost choker like design for the stone.

Once it was done, he released her and she fell from her floating pose, coughing and gasping while gripping at her throat. “What did you do?!” she choked horsley with a horrible pain searing her throat with each forced word.

"What I always do." He turned and began to type again, the smile on his face quick to disappear. "I give people what they bargain for." He answered calmly and held his hand out. The purple magic formed in his palm and a collar with spikes surrounded her neck. A magical loop formed on the back with a transparent chain. He lifted his hand, lifting the chain and Adagio. “Now, my new poodle, be a good girl and return to your sisters, and wait for your cue to strike.”

Adagio gave a silent nod, lowering her eyes and floating away to the main courtyard.

Adagio took a deep breath and exhaled with a hand touching the collar. This better be worth it. She thought and glared once more at Aria who locked eyes with her. The betrayed look each gave the other silent but lethal as the distant explosions from across the bay sounded.

Back below, a wireframe map pulled up on the screen, rotating and tilting to show the island Purgatory was located on. A pair of cross hairs focused on the facility a second later and at the same time a series of targeting coordinates flickered to life. He smiled to himself, pressing the final keystroke, the timer began to count down as the devices cobbled in front of him spun to life. He barely acknowledged the sound of Twilight and Sunset arriving behind him.

"You do take your time." Malcontent commented, his calm exterior unshaken by their arrival. He typed a few more commands and turned, clasping his hands behind his back and greeting them. "I assume you both are here to take me up on my offer?" he smiled down at them from the catwalk.

"Actually we had some questions for you." Sunset answered, her fists beginning to glow with fire.

"Namely how you intend to open a portal if there’s no focusing spell or relics." Twilight commented, her heads up display scanning the devices around him. "No doubt the police will have a lot more questions regarding this stolen hardware too."

"I got this funny feeling we aren't going to see this guy get booked." Sunset narrowed her eyes.

"Ever inquisitive." Malcontent looked down his nose to Twilight. "You are correct that I'll need a focusing device to dial home." He smiled. "I intend to siphon all the power that was let loose during the first explosion and focus it into the array behind me."

"That's impossible." Twilight responded. "You'd need some means of capturing magic and no one in this world can do that yet. Not on the scale you would need."

"Right again." He laughed, his focus on Sunset. "I admit the more I watched Twilight the more conflicted I became about my feelings for you, dear Sunset." Slowly bringing his arms from behind, smoldering purple and green magic rested in his palms. "But I finally came to a conclusion."

"Conclusion?" Sunset tried to keep him talking, circling around to flank him as Twilight stayed near their landing zone.

"Yes. But we can talk about that later back home." He nodded to her slowly. "Things aren't entirely ready dear, so I've arranged for some entertainment." He released the energy in his hands as his final word rang out. "ARIA!"

Before either girl could react, Aria sailed from the overhead catwalks with her sisters behind her. Landing softly, she motioned to them both to attack Sunset and Twilight. The dark magic wave Malcontent had thrown knocked Sunset off balance and took Twilight back a step, giving the sirens he commanded time for a preemptive strike on them.

Sonata and Adagio laughed with glee as their full bodies became solid in front of Twilight, her sensors scanning them as she sized them up. Sonata seemed less corporeal then Adagio but she was the most normal of the three fashion wise. Even after ten odd years, Twilight remembered Sonata’s clothing from that night and it had not changed a bit. Adagio was a different story, as was Aria. Similar to Arias new look and ally, Adagio seemed to be the least covered of the sirens. Her outfit was closer to the slave grabs of the early Eastern Empire than Aria's tight full length battle coat. Adagio had gotten a crisscrossed fabric top that left her little modesty below her breasts. A thin strip of the same fabric served as a loincloth and slimmer crisscrossed fabrics went down her bare legs, with no socks or shoes to speak of, the other cover was a thicker cut of fabric around her forearms. A very out of place spiked collar finished her outfit, and the faintest of ethereal leashes pulled at the back of it, though it vanished into nothingness a few inches from the ring that held it at the neck.

The ability to levitate like their middle sister was theirs as well, Adagios hair and loose fabric straps fluttered from the breeze that had picked up. Twilight took notice that Sonata wasn’t affected by the wind, just in the nick of time, she was able to dodge out of the way of a new threat. Adagio’s mouth was open, releasing a horrible wail, frightening and holding pain as Aria’s screams had. Coming out of her mouth were many thin thread-like tendrils. They glowed red with magic and heat. Upon the tendril’s webbing together and landing on bricks behind Twilight, they melted under the intense heat.

"What the buck came out of her mouth?!" Spike appeared as a wide-eyed dragon in a holographic display. Small and out of the main HUD, he scanned the melting bricks.

"Langua-!" Twilight started to scold but was yanked off her balance by her ankles. Aria’s energy whips, their source protruding from her wrists like veins, wrapped around quickly. Twilight fired her bootjets, the distance they gave her stopped abruptly as Aria dug in her heels and pivoted herself, the magic tendrils on Twilight making her snap back like a metal yo yo. "Whoa!"

Aria snapped the whips free and rolled under the recoiling power armor as it connected to a burned out van in the street. Coming to her feet quickly, she barked at Sonata. "Get inside her now!"

"Ooo role reversal!" the blue sister laughed with careless glee. Soaring in her astral form, she aimed at the downed power armor and turned translucent. "This time you're the tac-OW!" she cried out as the subsystems in the Matterhorn ejected the invading siren. Spewing backwards and richoting like a broken firework, Sonata landed in a heap of astral goo at the foot of a broken building yards away.

"Yeah that whole virus thing ain't happening again." Spike smiled, holding a cattle prod in his digital hands proudly on screen.

"Not bad. Might actually have to break a sweat for once." Aria snapped her vein whips free, sound shattering around them as she did. Grinning down at Twilight, she reengaged with her sisters at her side.

Locking the screen with an encryption key, Malcontent tamper-proofed the device with a smile. Pocketing the key fob, he took note of the time remaining on the timer. Listening to the approaching footfalls on the ramp behind him, he evaded Sunsets opening salvo of swings with ease.

Leaping up without a thought, he soared to the next level of catwalks that lined the area. The metal strained but held fast as the two areas under his shoes began to freeze. He felt the heat from her arrival, the rickety bolts holding it in place as she landed a few feet behind him.

"Graceful even under fire." Malcontent commented, shifting his weight and letting a fireball sail past. Rolling forward at the same moment, a rough grunt came from her as he made contact with her abs, the frostbite like nip making her recoil two steps. "You know I've been waiting for this moment for a while now."

"Have you now?" Sunset asked, her high kick missing its mark and the follow up roundhouse kick meeting a deflection from his hands, shattering the ice he generated as a shield. The shards of ice sprinkled below them as she kept her offensive up, pushing him back with her fiery melee. "You a fan?" she spun hard and quick, a blazing backhand hitting him in the face. "’Cause ya look like a stereotypical fan boy."

Spinning in the air from her hit, Malcontent corrected his spin and landed on the ground below in a three point stance. Wiping the back of his glove to his bleeding lip, he laughed. "I'm what you'd call a long time admirer." He acted quickly, the sheer magic he pulled in from her anger and self loathing fueling him. Faster than she could react, he soared and met her jump down with an uppercut. Changing her momentum, he flew over her crumpled form as she landed back on the previous catwalk. Landing past her, he didn't give her a second look before leaping back up another level. "If you're going to come with me you'll need to get to know me better." He taunted her as he disappeared up another level. "Come to the rooftop little Sunset, let's let your friend play with my sirens." He laughed, his words dripping with amusement as he disappeared from sight.

Sunset grunted as she pulled herself up, spitting blood from his uppercut. Ok. He's got more going for him than brains. Cold. Maybe telekinesis too. She thought, leaping up and firing her palms with flames to give chase. Following his trail of cold, she landed just on the edge of the Highschool rooftop. Jagged metal and massive holes greeted her as she looked around the area, reminding her of just what the building used to be.

"There. I much prefer the quieter setting this gives us."

"It gets old after a while. I got locked up here once." Sunset mentioned, keeping her guard up but moving to close the distance she crept like a cat. "So you never did answer Twilight's question."

"How am I going to open a broken portal up?" Malcontent smiled, he gave a tilt of his head to keep an eye on her movement. Hands clasped behind his back, he gave a wicked smile. "Well for one thing you’re both forgetting that the magic that caused this great destruction around us didn't just vanish." He extended a gloved hand to the debris around them both.

"The magic that did this is gone." She narrowed her eyes. "It killed everyone it touched or fused with them."

"The raw magic that was unleashed can be reclaimed." He spoke, a swift push on the bridge of his glasses punctuated his turn towards her. "It merely needed the proper gathering device."

"I suppose you made one?" she kept stalling, taking in the terrain with each step and turn she made. Sizing up the battlefield, she was only mildly interested in his answers.

"I acquired one with the help of my little helpers." Malcontent focused his attention on her movements, the tracking of his head matching her body placement. "But you’re not entirely interested in that are you?" he smiled as the sound of his ice magic ignited in his hands, trails of white magic channeling both at the wrist.

"Not so much, no." She finally cracked a smile mid throw of a fireball, hitting the wall behind him and sending debris flying. The cloud of dust and concrete particles concealed them both a moment. Desperately trying to find her target, she turned too late as she felt two heavy hits strike her in the shoulder and chest. The last hit landed square in her chest, knocking the wind out of her as she crumpled to the ground gasping.

"Always so quick to act first and think later." His laughter echoed in the broken room. "Never looking at the big picture."

Sunset barely had the instinct to move from another downward strike meant to knock her completely out. The ice coated fist shattered as it hit brick and rubble, sending her opponent back with an injured hand. She took his confusion and pain and capitalized, knocking his leg with a quick sweep that sent him further backwards into a batch of broken lockers.

"So nimble. So impulsive." Malcontent complimented her, leaving his fallen area with a frighteningly fast leap into the air, landing on a toppled wall with ease. "That's why I chose you." He widened his grin. "The way you just knew you were better than everyone else." He continued his words, delightfully unconcerned as the fireballs she threw missed their mark.

Malcontent’s eyes pulsed with dark magic as Sunset grunted in frustration, the movements he made only increased in speed. Closing distance faster than her eyes could register, he appeared in front of her as she felt a hand to her throat pick her up. "Now I'm here to offer you a chance to truly prove that you were right all along!"

Flailing at the lack of air, she felt her glasses slip off as she stated down at her opponents bright eyes. "But first I need to show you how serious I am about you." He added.

Something’s…empowering him. The more I throw at him...gotta...think. She barely had time to think as she went sailing a floor down, breaking the crumbling floor and landing in a heap in the old cafeteria. "Gotta think fast too...or I'm dead." She choked quietly out.

Twilight clenched an eye shut for a moment as her filters shut Adagio’s wail out of her ears. Raising her hands up to fire two purple blasts at her assailant, Twilight sent the elder siren back into an old mailbox in front of the school. She barely had time to turn and bring a protective arm in front of her as Aria's energy whips wrapped around Twilight's forearm.

Sending a series of kinetic energy blasts from her free palm, Twilight yanked back hard on the whips, the two actions catching Aria off balance and falling forward into the dirt. The whips faded as she lost concentration, a growl of frustration following.

"Stay down. I don't want to hurt you anymore than I have." Twilight broke the silence between the two, her shoulder plates opening to reveal auxiliary emitters primed with more magic.

"Twilight look out!" Spike took control and raised a shield to her right side. The projection deflected the hot spider webbing Adagio blew at her, the unworldly howls of pain and torment following it.

Aria capitalized on the moment and drew in a long deep breath, balling her fists up and arching back. Letting out a dreadful wail, it reverberated past Spikes blocking software as her banshee like scream heightened. Armor plating cracked and chipped away bit by bit as Twilight held her ears out of instinct, dropping to her knees in pain and disorientation, blacking out seconds later.

"Twilight!" Spike shouted over the scream, shifting resources to control the suit, he cut everyone else off from himself and focused on keeping his surrogate mother alive. Desperately projecting a shield that faded each moment the sound continued, Spike felt desperation and fear sink in. "Twilight you have to wake up! Please!"

The stalemate between Impervia and Cherry Spice kept going through walls and into the street. Bullets bounced off Impervia as Cherry shrugged off explosions behind her.

Shifting her weight, Cherry threw Impervia off her feet and towards the mob ECPD was trying to quell. The less than graceful impact of Impervia hitting a SWAT van made her smile. Determined to finish her off, the brute of a woman knocked her way through stragglers of the mob and shoulder checked the van. Crumpling metal sounded as she stood up, pulling open the collapsed doors on the vehicle to finish Impervia off.

She was met with a successful kick to her face, stunning her long enough for Impervia to land two more kicks, the final drop kick sending Cherry head over heels to the ground.

Impervia felt a sharp sting of buckshot hit her thighs and shoulders. Wincing, she turned to find the source was the leader from earlier. Bracing for the impacts, Impervia walked up to Babs and grabbed the barrel, bending it down.

"Well that ain't fair." Babs uttered, shocked at the sheer strength Impervia had displayed.

"Y'all didn't really think a shotgun was going to stop me did ya?" Impervia smiled confidently, staring down at Babs. A moment of hesitation hit her as she almost recognized the girl in front of her.

"Not really. But I needed to buy time to get Cherry a second wind." Babs smiled up.

"Ya what?" Impervia barely had time to ask before a vision rattling haymaker hit her in the back of the head. She stumbled as she clutched her neck, turning to kick only to miss.

Before the exchange of one-liners could continue, three distinct metal canisters hit the ground between all of them. A half moment later the flashbangs exploded, sending them stumbling for balance.

"ECPD! Down on the ground!" Nightwatch yelled, his jacket worse for wear, he aimed a large sleek weapon about the size of a shotgun at all three.

"Now wait I'm the good guy here!" Impervia yelled, putting her hands up despite protest.

"I'm not." Cherry smiled, turning to face the police officer, she underestimated his weaponry as the one step she got spelled her fate.

Night pulled the trigger on his pacification device, two large clunking sounds filled Cherry’s ears as quickly as the feeling of the metal manacles around her wrists did. A huge electrical charge sent the brute flailing on the ground like a fish out of water, surging until she lost consciousness.

Babs capitalized on the moment, leaving the fray and heading back towards the main entrance. She made it further than Cherry had but fell face first as a garbage lid struck her in the back of the head with considerable momentum behind it.

Impervia put her hands back up as Nightwatch cocked the gun and drew his sights on her. "Hey, I could have just ran."

Night squinted at the scene, assessing the situation as best he could with what he was sure was a concussion from the first mob fights. Easing off the trigger he shouldered the rifle and ran a hand through his hair. Looking over at Babs, he walked over carefully and knelt down to look her over. "She's alive." He said, looking back to Impervia. "Nice shot. You got a name?"

"Impervia, officer." She answered politely.

"Nightwatch." He stood back up, "I'll get these two in a van if I have any left." He rubbed his head, eyeing up the one Impervia had sailed into.

"Yeah, sorry." Impervia grinned sheepishly, but quickly snapped to attention with the distant sound of breaking glass above her.

Sailing away from them both was a white and pink clad girl, more specifically, Splitsecond. The laughter of Mistress Mayhem followed soon after, tendrils swirling out the broken window. Body limp, she went rag doll as her descent continued towards the center of the block.

"Oh applesauce!" Impervia shouted, squatting down and straightening her well toned legs to launch herself to intercept her falling friend.

Sunset felt the cold numbness of frost biting at her body. Halfway about to stand, she faltered and fell to a knee, a clattering of old lunch trays echoing in her ears. Mustering another attempt, she stood up to face her foe. Her clothing worse for wear, she didn't give Malcontent time to strike. She dug deep inside herself, hands igniting in flame as she lunged at him.

"Still?" Malcontent sounded surprised. "You have incredible stamina. I like that." He chuckled, deflecting her strikes using the ice encased fists from before. A counter strike caused her to stumble and he finished the trip by sending her face first into an overturned table. "Have a seat. You look exhausted."

Sunset threw her body back at him, leaping off the table with a front flip. Pushing with all she had left, she let loose the flames in her hand to propel her. Landing a right cross to Malcontent’s jaw, he grunted with surprise, staggering back. She kept her momentum going with a flurry of hits and finished it with an uppercut that lit the room up with flames. Malcontent soared backwards like a ragdoll, tossing up dust as he hit the ground.

"You aren't," Sunset panted, "...looking so frosty yourself." She finished, smiling softly as the last of her magic faded.

Lyra noticed the lack of smell coming from the seemingly full garbage truck first. The next thing she noticed was the expired tags. The clencher was the ticking from her scanner she had set to pick up neutron radiation.

The mystery was who was already inspecting it: a lone girl no older than herself. Dressed in casual business attire, she was out of place working on a weapon of mass destruction.

"Ma'am." Lyra tapped her headset, speaking in a whisper.

"Go, rookie. Tell me you got something." Drops radioed back loudly, Lyra covering her ear to muffle the tone.

"I have what appears to be the device." She narrowed her eyes. "But you're never going to believe who's already there working on it."

"How many?"

"Just one. I can easily take her out." Lyra knocked an arrow in her bow, taking aim.

"We need answers not bodies." Drops reminded her. "Incapacitate. Lethal force only if absolutely needed."

"Understood." Lyra felt the world go silent around her, the focus she had honed in years of weapon training taking over.

"You are clear to engage." Drops finally said.

Lyra let her arrow sail, the head on giving the faintest of clicks as the stun charge inside it went live. The silence vanished as the wind sounded in her ear, taking the arrow as she had compensated, edging to the right in flight.

Perfect shot. She thought to herself.

Her eyes went wide when a hand snatched it in flight, snapping it in two. The girl turned around at the same moment, her eyes flickering green in the slightest of hues as she did.

Lyra swore softly as she leapt from her perch, landing with grace to a kneeling stance. Another arrow half ready by then, she took aim and fired another one. The girl easily dodged as she closed the distance, kicking off her heels and running barefoot towards her.

"Ok that's weird." She muttered, a third and fourth arrow missing its mark as well. Pulling out a riot baton, Lyra snapped it to full extension, missing her first swing and connecting to the girl's shoulder with little effect.

Backhanded, Lyra felt the girl grab hold of her by the shoulders, the world shaking as she hit the brick wall with her back. Trying to take a defensive posture, she locked herself into a grapple with her assailant and spun her to the wall. An animalistic grunt came from her as they exchanged half turns down the wall, finally ending with Lyra winning the struggle, slamming the girl hard. As she did the streetlight revealed the identity of her foe clearly, making her pause again.

"Coco Pommel?!" Lyra asked, only to have the administrative assistant headbutt her, the impact making her stumble backwards.

Coco didn't answer, the shoulder check she gave a clear response. It sent Lyra backwards into the street, several arrows clattering to the concrete nearby. Pinning her to the ground, Coco reared back to deliver a fatal strike on the archer.

Lyra glanced next to her, sheer desperation sinking in. Reaching to the pile of arrows, she hoped she hadn't grabbed the glue bolt as she slammed the tip to the ground and closed her eyes. A flashbang fired to her relief and Coco shrieked in pain, the sensory overload knocking her completely out.

Opening her eyes, the archer let the white flash bleed off from her vision. She gave a shout of surprise at the sight. The girl was still sitting upright on her, but that wasn't what startled her.

The flawless skin of the famous assistant was gone, in fact there was no trace of her at all in what sat on her. She threw the creature aside, its body landing with a hollow thud. The glossy ebony exterior of it sizzled ever so slightly as it twitched on the ground next to Lyra.

"What the hell is that?" she whispered to herself, poking at the creature with her gloved hand.

Taking a sharp left onto the back alley to ECPD HQ, Spitfire dodged debris and flaming rubble more than she had on the main highway. She came to an abrupt stop at the back garage entrance, throwing the car into park as she practically poured out of her car with haste.

The clatter of her three medals on her uniform was drowned out by several commands being shouted at her. The cocking of pistols and a shotgun followed loudly enough to make her duck behind the car door.

"Hold your fire! It's Spitfire!" she yelled, waving open palmed in the air.

"Stand down, it's the boss." The girl with the shotgun ordered, lifting the sights from her eyeline.

"But is she crazy?" one shouted behind her, a laser sight trembling on Spitfire's forehead.

"I've been called a lot of things but crazy ain't one of them. Stand down or I'll have you busted to meter maid!" Spitfire glared across the hood of her car.

"Sounds alright to me." The Sergeant with the shotgun laughed, a look of relief in her eyes.

"Funny way of showing it." Spitfire shouted, slamming her car door and walking towards the main back doors. "What the hell is going on tonight, Misty?" she finally asked the girl with the shotgun.

"It's a mess ma'am. We got meta activity all over the districts, explosions rocked several key areas and that triggered looting as the power went down on the South side." Misty Fly shouldered her scatter gun and ducked under a low ceiling as she escorted the commander in.

"Where we are at with fire and rescue? If this isn't contained by morning Luna is going to have my as-" she stopped as she passed a stack of monitors displaying news reports across the city. The different angles gave grim views of the fires and looting, all peppered with meta fights breaking out. "Well that doesn't look promising. Get a tanker out to the Craigston Transformer, that thing needs to be back online or Purgatory may go on low power."

"That's the problem, well one of them, ma'am." Misty replied, following her commander as they stopped by the monitors. As Spitfire pulled out her pistol and loaded a magazine into the handle, another explosion outside rocked the building. "City Hall and Dispatch are both reporting about sixty percent of our staff is engaged already with fires and looters." She steadied herself on a support beam of the station. "The rest are under some sort of meta influence. "

"Influence?" Spitfire chambered a round and holstered it to her right side.

"We have reports that a sound wave of some sort is the cause of it. It's making people turn crazy. They won't listen to reason. All they want to do is cause mayhem."

Spitfire narrowed her eyes at one of the monitors displaying a repeat of Mistress Mayhems broadcast. "Seems appropriate." She replied. "Well we need all the big guns we can muster then, where’s Soarin?"

Misty shook her head. "We haven't been able to call him in. Most secondary staff are unreachable, one of the explosions was at a repeater station for our radios so communication is spotty at best from here to the East side."

"What's the status on bad hair day?" Spitfire asked as she riffled through her inner jacket pocket. "That crazy tentacle girl seems to have free reign of the air waves at the moment. Didn't we send Night down there?"

"His team is engaging a large riot that has his girls tied up. The ones that haven't succumbed to the mayhem wave." Misty responded, a look of confusion on her face as she watched her superior walk to a large metal door at the back of the station. Punching a quick keycode in, her commander slid the card across the reader.

Three rapid metal locks sounded behind the door, opening to a small elevator. Spitfire turned and slid the card into another card reader on the inside.

"Ma'am, what are you going down to armory for?" Misty asked. "All of it was brought up already."

"No, Misty." Spitfire's eyes narrowed in the bright fluorescent glare inside the chrome plated elevator. She winced and pulled a pair of sunglasses from her pocket and slapped them on. "Not all of it." She finished as the doors closed, the locks reengaging.

Sunset snapped her eyes open at the sounds around her. Laughter and metal clattering against catwalks cleared way for the low industrial hum of Malcontent's machine. She realized as her arms and legs didn't move that the chill from the air wasn't the source of her shivering. Bound in chunks of ice at her wrists, she noticed under the sheen was a pair of handcuffs, her hands linked around a pillar support of the platform the monstrous device sat on.

Turning her eyes to the laughter, she kept as quiet as she could, spying the Sirens picking up Twilight, having been taken out of her armor, and binding her hands and feet. Aria and Adagio shoved the shell of the armor to the side of the wall, leaving it in a heap.

Aria flipped her frazzled ponytail back with a twist of her head and dusted her hands off. "One down."

"Ah good, you're awake." Malcontent’s voice bit through the air like a bitter wind as Sunset looked up at him. "I was hoping you would wake up soon. I wanted to show you all of this." He typed a few commands as he pulled the fob from his pocket and looked back at the screen. "I dont have anyone else who would appreciate this."

"Well someone's chopped liver." Adagio laughed at Aria upon hearing that.

Aria sneered back silently, a startled look on her face as Sonata disappeared into a soulfire form and back into Aria's chest gem. "Hey, I didn't do that."

Malcontent typed away a few more keystrokes as he heard Aria. "No. You didn't." He smiled. "As you said one down one more to go."

Aria narrowed an eye at her keeper, folding her arms in front of her and levitating to his eyeline. "Shall I string sunshine up? Or would you like the honors?"

Sunset struggled in her dual bonds with a host of frustration. Concentrating as hard as she could, she felt nothing but a fizzle from her fire magic. He wanted me to spend it all on our fight. I'm powerless! she thought.

Malcontent turned and clasped his hands behind his back, staring back at his attack dog. "No. I'll take care of the second one. A few loose ends to wrap up though." He gestured with his right hand towards Adagio. A flash of light later all that remained was a howling scream of agony and a frowning soulfire that was sucked into Aria’s chest gem again.

Aria felt a surge of power as both her sisters' souls infused inside her again. A euphoria washed over her nerves and she drifted in the air like a balloon without a string. Tilting and turning ever so slowly as the pleasure washed over her, she laughed slowly. "Ahh. Now that's better." She stretched, arching her back. "Let's finish this….your machine's ready after decades...I want what's mine."

Malcontent pulled from his impressive inner stockpile of hatred and threw a ball of energy at her back. The impact and speed knocked Aria to the ground with little more than a yelp, leaving her sizzling body motionless.

Turning to look down at Sunset, his gloved hands smoldered from the discharge.

"A villain who double crosses his own." Sunset gave a cynical smile. "Imagine that."

"Believe it or not, I'm a man of my word." Malcontent was quick to answer, leaping down to Aria's body and picking it up with ease as he used a telekinesis spell. Holding a hand behind his back in a pose of arrogance, he smiled at his only conscious captive. "I promised her she would get what was coming to her, that she would get exactly what she deserved." He added, walking to another pole near Twilight, quickly tying her to it.

Malcontent laughed as he jumped back to the console, wrapping his hand around a knife switch. "And speaking of just rewards." He tilted his head towards Sunset, pulling the switch down. "Here comes mine."

An eruption of electricity and pulsing lights lit up in front of him as the switch made contact. The massive center spinning to life like a great beast awakening, the turbine in its guts slowly turning until its blades turned to a blur to the naked eye. Gathering up momentum the device began to hum at a much louder frequency as tendrils of different colored energy began to collect near the top, finally congealing into a white, almost blinding pinpoint.

Sunset squinted and instinctively ducked as an explosive sound filled the air around them and wind began to pick up, sucking in debris from the area towards them gently. She watched as the energy shot up and into an arc towards the distant island that housed Purgatory, the impact of the shot sending a pulse from the ground back along the beam. The volley of magic he began to siphon started slow at first, then like the heartbeat of a hummingbird, it turned into a horrifying cacophony of dreadful percussions.

Pulling with renewed effort, she heard the distant sounds of explosions.

The only other sound she could make out was Malcontent, laughing in triumph.

End of episode

Author's Note:

Thank you for your patience! Its been a bit longer then we had hoped for to get this out! We've been revising several loose ends inside the plot and found ourselves fairly overwhelmed at a point.

BUT we made it through and are well into Episode 20's skeleton.

We're in talks with Mist for a summer cross over project as well, check out our blog / follow us to keep up to date on all MetaVerse projects! :)

Give us a read and review! We're always taking your feedback into consideration as we write :)

DarkMalcontent & the MetaVerse Team

The Equestrian City / MetaVerse
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