• Published 28th Feb 2017
  • 5,601 Views, 731 Comments

That Changeling's a Bad OC! - Raugos



What is a changeling to do when she finds herself dragged along on a Daring Do adventure? Fangirl right the heck out, of course.

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Prologue

A shout of triumph rang throughout the excavation site, piercing through the cacophony of rain on mud, stone and tarp. Not long after that, more shouts and cheers joined in, followed by the steady thumps of somepony approaching at a canter.

Galleon tore his eyes away from the ancient tome before him and turned to the tent’s entrance at his back, just in time to see a panting earth pony push his way past the tarp curtains, dripping rainwater and mud all over the mat.

“Brother Galleon, we found it,” said Shard, kneeling low.

He shivered with anticipation and was tempted to simply rifle through the fellow’s saddlebags with magic, but he maintained his steady composure as he got up from his chair and offered him an approving smile. “Well then, let’s have a look at it.”

The stallion reached into his saddlebag and pulled out the object of interest. To most ponies, it would have the appearance of nothing more than a flat, circular chunk of rock about the size of a doughnut, with a smooth, black surface marred by scratches on one of its flat sides. To him, however, it represented the future; a new era rising from the ashes of a forgotten empire that predated even the princesses themselves. And he, Brother Galleon of the Forgotten Ones, would play a pivotal role in ushering in that new era.

First things first, though.

He accepted the rock from his associate and held it aloft in a purple aura of his magic. Within the span of a few seconds, he completed the intricacies of an ancient spell committed to memory and penetrated it with tendrils of power.

Despite his expectations and familiarity with the ritual, he couldn’t help but gasp quietly when something distant touched his mind, like a tiny snake slithering between the folds of his brain. Almost feverishly, he dashed over to his study and retrieved a lockbox from one of its drawers. Inside were two other rocks of similar shape and size as the one he held, and he arranged them all in a rough triangle on the table.

“Brother Galleon?” asked Shard.

“Patience. I need a moment.”

He steadied his breathing, closed his eyes and focused.

In his mind’s eye, those rocks shone as clear as moons in the blackest night. He could even feel the minds of all fifty of his associates in the campsite, flickering like fireflies in the air above a dark river. No magic, this, but an inkling of true telepathy.

Prolonged exposure to the rocks coupled with experimental arcane rituals had given him a rudimentary touch of that power – the kind that academics of the modern world dismissed as fables and hoaxes, relegated to the indignity of residing in juvenile novels and comic books. Though a far cry from peering into the minds of others or manipulating the physical world itself with mere thought, Galleon had no doubt that full control of his newfound abilities lay somewhere on the horizon.

Seconds after opening his thoughts, the alien touch intensified. The snake turned into a dragon and rampaged through his mind, threatening to shatter his skull. Normal ponies would have cowered and reduced themselves to a gibbering mess, but years of discipline, research and magical conditioning enabled him to withstand the agonising onslaught of information.

He saw visions of a grand city buried underground, so old that it predated the Age of Discord and even the unification of the three tribes. Deep within was an immortal pony of ancient, unknown heritage, wrongfully imprisoned for daring to share forbidden secrets with lesser ponykind. Awaiting loyal followers to free him so that he could spread his knowledge to the rest of Equestria. No more Princesses, no more Chaos Lords, no more Elements of Harmony. Only the one Master and his Forgotten Ones, empowered to guide and teach ponykind to reach their full potential as rulers of the world.

All this he had seen before. All this he would see again, made a reality.

He knew the location of the city. The rocks were the keys. He just needed to figure out how to activate their inert magic. He had worked tirelessly for years, but the solution still eluded him and his brightest researchers.

The careless thought slipped through his clutches, and the alien presence seized it before he could mask his doubt. Pressure built around his skull, until he was filled with overwhelming restlessness and the urge to act. Daggers with the weight of anvils behind them pressed into his brain; the Master’s patience would not last forever, and neither would his promise of victory.

I will not fail. I swear it.

Galleon retreated from the contact and opened his eyes. Fighting through the throbbing in his skull and the pain behind his eyes, he smiled grimly at Shard, who was still waiting in the tent, eyes wide with awe upon witnessing his trance. Ponies had mentioned that his purple eyes glowed whenever he communed with the Master, and some of the more sensitive ones could even feel his presence.

He nodded sagely and clapped Shard on the back. “We are one step closer to finding the Master. Tell everypony that we are done for tonight. It’s time to celebra—”

An ear-splitting boom hammered his ears, followed by a concussive blast of air that shook the whole tent, sending a few books tumbling from their shelves.

“What the hay was that?” he cried, shaking his head to clear the abominable ringing in his ears. “Did Short Fuse sneak into the dynamite stash again? I warned him that bombs are out of the question this close to the—”

A second explosion blew out every unprotected candle flame in the tent, and they shared a look before scrambling out of the tent and into the tropical storm. Rain and wind battered Galleon as he cantered to the ledge overlooking the dig site, where dozens and dozens of his followers ran to and fro between crumbling walls, ruined arches, tarp shelters and mounds of excavated gravel and mud, some of whom carried lamps and blazing torches. At the far end of the site, smoke rose from what looked like an ancient cistern or cellar, freshly exposed via generous application of explosives.

“I’ll check it out,” Shard said as he galloped down the flight of cracked stone steps to the scene below.

Galleon didn’t waste his breath. Shouting orders would’ve only added to the confusion, and besides, his foremen were already getting everypony reorganised in teams to investigate the source of the unscheduled detonations. Thankfully, neither of them had damaged their supply carts or armoury.

Lightning flashed in the sky, and a shadow fell on the ground just off to his side, bearing a striking resemblance to a pegasus in flight. His order only had a few of them, and to the best of his memory, none of them had business this close to his research station. Aside from Short Fuse, that is, but the shadow’s profile was distinctly feminine in contrast to Short’s heavy-set frame.

Upon whirling around, he spotted the intruder’s tail disappear into the dimness of his tent. He considered sounding the alarm, but curiosity got the better of him; it took a rare fool or a resourceful enemy to sneak into an unregistered camp with the express purpose of stealing something completely unknown to the public and even most academics.

Quietly, he slipped in after the intruder and cast a silencing spell to dampen any sound he made. An unnecessarily cautious decision, what with all the rain hammering on the tarp, but instinct demanded it.

His pulse quickened when he saw her pawing through the scrolls and tomes on his desk, like a rat searching for crumbs. It was too dark for him to make out the intruder’s colouration, but the instant he noticed the pith helmet and collared shirt she wore, his mind filled in the blanks with a brownish-gold coat, ashen-grey hair streaked with black, and magenta eyes.

A sigh escaped him. Considering how many affairs she meddled with on a monthly basis, he supposed that it was only a matter of time before his order’s activities attracted her attention.

“Those aren’t yours, little thief,” he said as she stuffed the ancient keys into her saddlebag.

To her credit, Daring Do didn’t shriek or jump out of her skin. In fact, if she had any feelings on the matter of being caught like a filly with her hoof in the cookie jar, she gave no indication of it as she turned to face him in one smooth motion with a cocky grin plastered to her face.

She waved at him. “Well, hello there, Pot. Call me Kettle!”

“Your glibness is unbecoming.” He extended an upturned hoof towards her. “Return the stones and leave quietly, and I might just forgive you for getting dirt on my notes and wasting precious dynamite.”

“Not going to happen, boss.” Daring shook her head and patted her saddlebag. “These are going right back to the universities and museums that you stole them from.”

Galleon decided that the charade had gone on for long enough. With just a moment of concentration and some minor pain, he sent a telepathic ping that his foremen had been trained to recognise as a signal to raise the alarm. Outwardly, aside from a slight twitch or frown, he had given Daring absolutely no sign of the deed. Now, he just needed to buy them some time.

“You have no idea what those are, do you?” He chuckled derisively. “Keeping them locked away behind glass would be a shameful waste of their potential.”

“Can’t say I do, but I’m pretty sure that they’re better off anywhere other than in the hooves of a crazy cult.” Daring took a couple of steps back until she had the side of the tent to her rear. “Now, I’d love to hear about your grand plans for a new world order, but I’ve got to go to—”

“Your funeral,” he said, firing a stun bolt right at Daring Do.

Quick as the blink of an eye, Daring Do flared her wings and propelled herself sideways to dodge his spell, sending loose paper flying in every direction. She raised an eyebrow when she glanced at the smouldering spot on the tarp, then flicked out a knife strapped to her foreleg in one swift motion.

Galleon tensed up and readied a barrier in case she charged or threw the knife at him, but Daring Do simply slashed the tent and barrelled out of the opening with a parting grin. He lunged after her, but she had already put several storeys of air between them in just a couple of seconds.

Vaguely aware of hooves thundering in the background, mostly of earth ponies and unicorns who had no chance of catching her now, he readied another spell and calmed his breathing as he took aim at the receding figure shrouded in cloud and shadow. Lightning flashed, briefly illuminating a distant Daring Do straining against the rain-laden gale, and he released. The purple bolt struck her in the back, and she plummeted halfway to the ground before she recovered her rhythm and shifted her angle northeast, pumping her wings somewhat erratically.

Damnation. He should’ve used more power.

By then, his backup had arrived.

“Brother Galleon, what happened?” asked one of them.

“Daring Do happened,” he growled as he spun around and trudged back into his tent. Fortunately, he still had a couple more of those artefacts hidden away in his sanctum, and so long as he had access to them, he could glean the general locations of the others.

Lightning flashed in the sky, casting his shadow long and dark.

With a grim smile, he magically amplified his voice and said, “Send word to our brothers in Baltimare, Fillydelphia and Manehattan. With luck, our winged brethren might be able to intercept her before she can further disrupt our work.”