• Published 18th May 2017
  • 12,232 Views, 1,280 Comments

Divine Indifference - Orthoros



After the Crystal Kingdom was transformed into a desolate wasteland, Atlas and his friends safely arrived in Equestria. They'll have to make a new home for themselves, while Atlas tries to master the magic passed down to him by the gods.

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Prologue

Atlas stepped out of the cave that now housed his own personal secret lab. The entrance was just high enough so that he could see over the treetops of the forest below, only a small hidden path leading up to it. The sun was currently on its final leg to the west, as night eagerly awaited its turn.

He sat down at the edge of the little ledge that protruded from the cave outwards, leaning on the wooden railing he had installed for safety reasons, looking out towards the little village that was visible in the distance. If he squinted his eyes he could barely see some moving specks of color, indicating that a bunch of pegasi were still up and about, maybe even working on clearing the weather.

Atlas and his friends had been surprised at how fast the ponies managed to build up the villages they came through on their search for a fitting settlement for themselves. All three tribes were living together in those makeshift villages and towns and at least seemed to get along. There was still an undercurrent of hostility if one paid close attention, but the Windigoes had scared the ponies enough to not repeat the same mistakes. Despite all of this, there were still some places that followed a purist ideology, the cloud city floating along in the distance was a testament to that.

Atlas had traveled Equestria for about four months before finding the cave he sat now in front of. Sadly they weren’t able to find any of their friends amidst the masses of ponies still settling down, so the whereabouts of Crimson and his family, as well as Amber, were still an unknown.

The caves location was ideal, somewhat out of the way while still being close to civilization, as well as a body of water and plenty of fruit bearing trees. The fact that the earth ponies were growing food for everypony now, also meant that they could just go into town and buy whatever provisions they needed. For just that reason, Starswirl had decided to live there instead of joining Atlas and Discord in their little house-cave. Of course he still visited as often as he could, as he heavily participated in the experiments that Atlas conducted and even had his own little research corner set up inside.

It took them almost a year to set everything up, as they decided to smooth out the walls and even excavate a few extra rooms. And since they, or more specifically, Atlas wanted this place to be a secret, they had to do so without being noticed by anybody. Starswirl’s vast knowledge of Illusions helped out immensely in this endeavour. By now, permanent wards were set up that made the entrance of the cave look just like a regular mountainside. Atop of those, layers upon layers of security spells and runic circles worked together to make the place as secure as possible.

Atlas floated the carrot he had taken out with him for a snack in front of his mouth and started nibbling on it while he watched the sun sink over the horizon, content with just taking in the view for a while.

Life had taken a turn to a more relaxed state. No longer did he have to work for somepony, spending his days researching or spending time with Discord and Starswirl. He quite enjoyed his current lifestyle and would be happy if no cataclysmic event demanded his attention in the near future.

“Dad?” Discord called from within the cave. “Dinner’s ready!”

“Coming!” Atlas called back, biting off the last piece of his carrot before getting up and walking back inside.

Immediately inside was a large cavern, close to a small house in size. After making the walls as smooth as they could, they started lining the walls with workbenches, bookshelves and similar tools that were needed for their craft; all of them self-made. The center space was left largely empty to provide space for various experiments, such as experimental runic circles or some of the bigger machinations thought up by Starswirl. Two holes in the wall lead towards a simple bedroom and a living room with a small kitchen respectively, Atlas walking through the latter.

Discord was floating above a pot, wearing a little apron and stirring the vegetable stew he had prepared by himself. Atlas looked proudly at his son, who had grown noticeably bigger over the last year, or rather, longer. He apparently experienced some sort of growth spurt, as they could now see almost eye to eye.

Atlas took it as a blessing, that Discord apparently decided to skip the edgy teenager phase, always being well behaved.

Whenever Atlas wasn’t researching runes or learning spells that interested him, he helped Discord achieve mastery over his own magic. The Chaos Magic, as it was dubbed by Atlas, seemed to be activated by a weird amalgamation of the different mana types, the exact combination of which they hadn’t been able to figure out.

In an interesting turn of events, Discord took to theater plays, proving to be quite an actor. Setting up stage plays all by himself allowed him to use and flex his powers to the fullest, and he could create quite the show. It didn’t matter to Discord that he only had an audience of one most of the time, as long as he could make his father smile.

Discord snapped his talons and the pot of stew was teleported to the middle of their makeshift table, the apron simultaneously disappearing into the nether.

“Thank you for cooking,” Atlas said, pouring a good portion in Discord’s bowl by use of a ladle before taking some for himself as well.

“It’s no problem,” Discord said with an already full mouth. “I like to help. And besides, this way you can focus more on your research.”

“That’s very thoughtful of you,” Atlas said before taking a bite. “Hey, that’s pretty good!” he exclaimed happily, digging in without restraint, much to the joy of Discord.

They ate their food while telling each other of the various achievements or breakthroughs they had reached today; the conversation lasting them well through their meal. Not wanting to burden his son too much, Atlas offered to do the dishes while Discord got himself ready for bed.

After extinguishing all the magic lights in their home, both of them settled into their respective beds, turning in after an eventful day full of research and some quality family time together. Tomorrow they’d do it all over again, and Atlas wouldn’t exchange it for the world.

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Present

Celestia looked at the ponies gathered in the throne room of Canterlot Castle. While Atlas had technically only asked for Princess Twilight to be present in his letter, she thought it prudent to extend the invitation to the rest of the Elements of Harmony as well. As such, aside from the usual guards, six mares sat at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the throne, excitedly chatting amongst themselves. Spike had decided to stay behind to mind the newly formed castle, trying to familiarize himself with its layout.

On the outside, Celestia appeared to be as calm as she always was, but on the inside, she was quite anxious. While Atlas may not have looked the part last time she’d seen him, he was technically her senior by a good amount of years. Celestia had done quite a few things he had specifically told her not to do, which would no doubt make him mad at her once he found out.

And Atlas always found out when Celestia did something she wasn’t supposed to do.

The giant set of red and gold doors to the throne room opened, silencing every conversation currently held, with the six mares expectantly looking towards them to see who was entering. Celestia knew it couldn’t be Atlas, since he had a tendency to show off a bit; his entrance would be a lot more interesting. Princess Luna stepped through the doors, closing them behind her with her magic before approaching the group.

“Thank god, I’m not late…” Luna said, much to the confusion of everypony present, sans Celestia.

“Thank god…” Twilight mouthed the words she just heard, never having heard the expression before.

“Your questions will have to wait, Twilight,” Celestia said, knowing full well that if she allowed Twilight to start asking questions there would be no end to it.

“Yes, Princess,” Twilight said politely, indicating a slight bow with her head.

“You are a Princess as well, Twilight Sparkle,” Luna reminded her as she passed the group of friends, ascending the stairs towards her throne. “You should join us at your rightful place.”

“Thank you, but I’d rather stay down here with my friends,” Twilight replied with a smile, receiving approvals from the mares gathered around her.

“As you wish,” Luna responded before turning towards Celestia. “Any news yet?”

“Not yet, although I imagine the time draws near,” Celestia said, looking out one of the huge windows. “It should only be a matter of minutes now.”

Just as she finished her sentence, a familiar white flame erupted in mid-air before her, blinding everypony present and leaving behind a pure white scroll in it’s wake. Celestia smiled at the coincidence, while the girls at the bottom once again went silent in expectation. Celestia and Luna shared a knowing look before Celestia touched the small runic circle that held the scroll together with her hoof causing it to unfurl.

Instead of the expected words, a drawing of a single, rather complex looking runic array greeted her. She was fairly certain that Atlas wanted her to draw the circle somewhere, but she didn’t really feel up to the task. It was entirely possible that this was a test and she didn’t want to disappoint.

“Luna? Would you like to do the honors?” Celestia asked, showing her sister the letter. “You were always more talented in the runic arts.”

“With pleasure,” Luna exclaimed happily.

She took the scroll from Celestia’s magical grip and scanned the array drawn on it. Excitement started to spread inside her as she saw quite a few runes she’d never seen before, meaning Atlas had made quite a bit of progress in the field.

Not wasting any time, Luna simply pushed away the heavy red carpet leading to the throne, freeing up some space in the center of the room and jostling the six mares seated on it in the process. Disregarding their protests, she started magically carving the runes directly into the floor, much to her sister’s chagrin. While Celestia didn’t approve of her methods, she wouldn’t reprimand her now. Everypony present watched curiously as Luna worked on the array, first and foremost Twilight. Who was currently straining her neck trying to get a better look, seemingly forgetting that she could fly.

Luna completed her task in short order, before starting to pump magic into it as soon as she was sure everything was where it should be. The array started to glow a soft blue before pulsing once, signaling that it was ready. Twilight was just about to ask a question about it when she was once again cut off, this time by a quiet popping noise and the sudden appearance of Atlas.

Celestia smiled when she saw that Atlas hadn’t changed at all from when she last saw him, while Luna almost couldn’t contain herself in her seat from the excitement. He still sported that same old gray coat, his mane was messy and unkempt, as always, and his flank was decorated by a weird creature that was apparently called a “Titan”.

Atlas took in the room he found himself in, doing a full three-sixty and decidedly ignoring all the stares he was receiving. After he was satisfied with the evaluation of his surroundings he approached the thrones and the mares in front of it. He sat down at a respectable distance and for the first time since appearing, acknowledged the presence of other ponies.

“Your ceiling is way too high,” Atlas announced. “So much wasted space.”

Twilight and her friends, as well as every guard within earshot couldn’t believe what they just heard. They knew that Atlas was important in some way or another, but to address the Princesses so rudely without even providing the basic courtesy of saying hello dumbfounded them all.

“Well, it is supposed to uphold appearances, rather than being functional,” Celestia replied, gesturing towards the entirety of the needlessly large room.

Atlas looked towards Luna and saw how on the edge of her seat she was, breathing a deep sigh. “I know you want to do it, so why don’t we just get it out of the way?”

With his words he spread his forelegs wide, as if anticipating to catch something. Before anypony could question his behaviour he was barrelled over by a blue blur. Luna had jumped into the hug a little too enthusiastically, sending Atlas and herself sprawling across the floor.

“I missed you so much, daddy!” Luna exclaimed happily, snuggling up to the gray unicorn who wasn’t phased in the slightest.

“Yes, yes. I missed you too, Luna,” Atlas replied patting Lunas back. “A thousand years is a long time to be gone after all.”

By now, Luna’s words had registered with everypony, causing them to adopt a shocked and confused look.

“You as well, Celestia,” Atlas said from his prone position. “It’s nice to see you’ve managed without me.”

By now, nopony knew what was going on, looking towards their princess for confirmation. Princess Celestia had always been their steadfast rock to hold onto when they didn’t know what to do, and now, once again, they relied on her to explain the current situation.

“It’s nice to see you too,” Celestia said adopting a smile after taking in the rooms general expression. “Father.”

Author's Note:

Here we go again! Welcome to the second part of Divine Entertainment, enjoy and feel free to grab a drink from our imagined mini-bar.

Once again, thanks to my editor Azriel and my proofreader Kilobytes for a job well done! Further thanks to Soren Mercer for helping out as well.

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