• Published 11th Nov 2017
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Back in the Pit - The Real Darkness



As a former gladiator, when you're at war and then thrust into back into a coliseum in a different world filled with mythical creatures and dominated by ponies. What are you supposed to do?

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Latin

I looked around and saw myself standing in some kind of throne room of the Knights that I used to work with. The walls were white and the rug below me was blue with a gold trimming. It led up to a large platform that had a ramp to reach it and two doors were behind the platform. I kept my food held tightly to my chest with my arm and the steak in my mouth.

The purple unicorn-pegasus was speaking to another one like her, except white and with a flowing green, pink, and blue mane. I still had no idea what this place was and I didn't care. I didn't have food in two days and I quickly sat down on the floor, letting go of my buckler and letting it fall to the floor in a loud crash that echoed. I knew it was safe here, I could trust the purple one.

I ripped into the steak I had in my mouth and ate it quickly, setting the bone aside and doing the same to the other one. I began to awkwardly peel the fruits with my trident afterwards, eating faster than I thought possible. Usually they'd send out more things for me to fight while I ate. It was here that I saw all the blood of my enemies over my hands and body when I tasted it. I still didn't care, there was food meant for me in my hands. I devoured oranges, apples, and raw carrots, eager to fill my belly.

"Pictor Rubrum," I heard the purple one call. I finished my food and left all of the trash from it gathered into a neat pile off the rug. I left bloodstains on the rug from my fallen enemies. I felt ashamed to ruin their rug, they were friends to me so far, but I could probably have them bring me back to the arena. I picked up my buckler and put my trident on my back again.

"How may I serve?" I asked and approached, securing my helmet back on my head.

"No need to be so formal. I am Princess Twilight Sparkle and this is Princess Celestia," she gestured to the large white one and I pounded my fist on my chest at both of them in respect for their titles.

"Do you know where you are?" She asked.

"No," a simple answer.

"You are in Equestria, ruled dominantly by ponies. You won't hurt us, will you?" Celestia spoke up. It seemed she also knew my language.

"No, I only fight the enemies of the Knights and those slotted against me in the arenas," I informed.

"Twilight, he's like he was from our ancient history, a gladiator. He's likely been fighting their for a while and hates it," Celestia inferred and made a bad assumption.

"That's incorrect. I like fighting in the arenas, I live for it. It is my home. I hated not being feed much or given water to drink. Rome is a distant dream now," I corrected.

"Did he say Rome? That sounds like Pone. He lived in such a strong era of earth ponies, except with his kind. Where are you from?" Twilight asked.

"I am from Rome. Rome crumbled from the Cataclysm that rocked all of our world, so I fight for the Knights now in their war for supposed peace. I just want to prove I'm the best fighter of all. I am not from this world, some portal sucked me and my opponent in."

"What does your opponent look like?" Celestia asked while Twilight sighed and looked at the ground, perhaps she had something to do with the portal.

"He wields two sickles on a chain. He is skinny, very fast, and hides a lot. A shinobi," both of them looked concerned at my words, "where is he?" I growled, "I hate leaving a fight unfinished."

"He's in Ponyville, he's been harming citizens and stealing items. We can't catch him," Twilight answered.

"Take me to Ponyville, he won't back down from me. We are at war with his kind, the Samurai," I clenched my fists and unclenched them multiple times.

"Calm down, Pictor Rubrum," Celestia said softly, "we'll get you there soon, but first. What are you going to do after?"

"Do you have any kind of arena here?" I asked with a smile under my helmet.

"We do have one here, but nopony dies in it, we stop fights before somepony does and we get them patched up. Everypony there willingly goes in," Celestia informed and Twilight looked kind of shocked.

"Would I get paid for fighting?" I asked next.

"Yes," she answered.

"I'll stay here until Twilight can find a way to return me and if your arena doesn't give me a good enough thrill, I can find my own fights back in the old arena or somewhere else," I pulled my trident from my back and stretched my arms. I was awaiting the fight with the shinobi eagerly, he was an opponent that could really challenge me and get my blood rushing, "take me to him. I'll clean up my mess," I demanded.

The two alicorns as they called themselves chatted in their won language in front of me.

"We'll send you once Ponyville has been declared safe for your battle, just come with us," Celestia said and I nodded,putting my Trident on my back and walking with the two who lead me through the castle and past other ponies, pegasi, unciorns, and normal ones throughout served as some sort of guard. I could feel their eyes on my back, but I could only see through the small holes in my helmet, much like a fly would.

They exited outside and immediately hopped onto a chariot, motioning for me to come with them. The chariot was pulled by two white pegasi in their armor that resembled the centurions of Rome in their ceremonial armor. I stepped up and walked to the front, gripping it when the two pegasi began to gallop and flew off the ground, pulling the chariot into the air. This was definitely an impressive feat. We began to fly over their land called Equestria, heading towards some small Knight-like hamlet in the distance. That should be called Ponyville. These horses were already super weird, but at least they treated me better than the disgusting creatures at the arena did.

"Pictor Rubrum, what is it like in your world?" Twilight asked me.

"Well, it was sorta peaceful except for the occasional Viking raid until Apollyon spread lies and war upon us all. Well, them. I'm not one of the real knights, they don't quite accept me politically as well as they accept the Centurions that joined them in the war. Speaking of the war. We had been feuding for a thousand years before we had some semblance of peace, they had. The Knights, Samurai, and Vikings. I won't explain what each is like, that you'd have to see for yourself. Apollyon woke war back up between us three before we were able to slay her and the fighting continued between us and it's been 8 more years of war. I can't tell you how many people I've seen die in their bloody war. There's no true glory in it. No crowd is watching you. You're fighting to live, desperately clawing at life by viciously attacking," their expressions changed from curious to sorrow, "but I do enjoy the fighting."

"Would you consider a peaceful life?" Celestia asked.

"Only if necessary, I'd like to fight for as long as I can. It's my place in life to fight, the reason barely matters."

We began to come down around Ponyville and we already saw the citizens going inside and the guards of their world rushing them into their homes or safe structures.

"I hope he hasn't lost his touch," I grinned inside my helmet and the rest of the ride was quiet as we pulled into the town filled with white homes that had wooden beams outside, simple decorations and the normal shops. I hopped off, "you should stay in the air while I fix this, send the guards out to."

Celestia spoke in her language and the guards formed up in a large group, leaving the town.

I was going to challenge him verbally. I took in a deep breathe.

"Shinobi! Come face me!" I know he didn't understand anything but the first part. We all knew who we were based on the names given to us from out chosen fighting styles and weapons of choice.

The town was dead silent, ponies staring at me from inside their homes. I didn't see him, but I felt watched. I heard something whip through the air behind me and I turned around, latching his kusarigama to my Trident and pulled him out of an alleyway.

"There you are!" I said to myself and he spoke his Japanese and bowed.

I gave him the same honor, bringing my trident in front of me and saluting him with it in front of my face.

He began to slowly approach. I never fought a shinobi out on the field, I heard they were really jumpy and too fast to catch if they ran. I held my trident a bit loosely in my normal head down stance. I rose onto the balls of my feet and began to rotate around the little armored opponent. I kept my buckler up at my torso.

He rotated with me for a while, this was a steel contest, who would make the first move kind of observing.

I took initiative and zipped to him, jabbing my trident out at his head quickly. He zipped to my left and tried to stab me in my side, I blocked with my buckler and stabbed the shinobi in his left arm before he retreated, a little bit of blood being spilled, but I smelt it clearly.

"Come at me!" I shouted to taunt him.

He ran towards me for a moment and then disappeared in a cloud of white, appearing in front of me. He raked his kusarigama across my stomach, causing a fresh new wound and some pain in my body. He came to bring both of them into my shoulders, but I caught it with my trident, redirected it, and punched him with my buckler into his stomach. I spun around and slashed my trident across his face. I zipped back out of his immediate reach and spun my trident in my hand. My blood was pumping and my eyes were darting all over his body, looking for the slightest indication of an attack.

He started to spin his kusarigama in circles behind him by its chain. He was preparing for something. He tossed it at me once and I dodged up some at him and to the left, he flung again and I went forward to the right. I stabbed him in his left arm and then his right arm with to quick stabs before I gripped my trident tightly in both of my hands.

"Mars favors me!" I plunged it into his stomach and connected, the three tips inside him, causing internal damage.

He mustered strength and stabbed his kusarigama into my left arm, striking deep. He retracted and went to do it again, but I slammed my buckler into his shield and pulled my weapon out of his stomach after shoving him off and onto his back. I threw my arms into the air.

"Hahahaha!" I laughed aloud to the silent crowd watching us, "come on, my dear. We're not done yet," I said to the shinobi and began walking quickly over.

He flipped himself up and dashed right, disappearing out of white smoke and kicking my right across my cheek. He followed with a strike from his painful weapon and I zoomed to my left, poking him one before slamming my buckler into his stomach and grabbing my trident with both of my hands. I brought it up and hit him hard in his cheek with the shaft. I whipped it around afterwards, cutting his chest with the trident. I slammed the pointed head down at his foot and connected.

"Fall to the slaughter, unworthy!" I shouted and pulled the end of the trident back and slammed it into his head, watching him fall when I pulled my trident from his foot.

I slammed put myself back into my normal position and slammed my trident down into the grassy earth below me, bellowing a laugh and raising my left arm. I nodded and looked at the ponies who looked on eagerly. This was a fight, a real one.

The shinobi flipped up and then covered his blade in some purple liquid. I knew this damned liquid, he planned on letting time do his work. It was a blood thinner. He ran at me, faster than normal people would have the capability to. I jabbed my trident out and he slid below me, tripping and unbalancing me. I felt his sickles dig into my back twice. I quickly scrambled forward and got to my feet. I felt my blood running quick down my back.

Damn, it seared in pain.

"To Hades with you!" I yelled and was greeted with his Japanese.

He reached into his pockets and flung some sharp objects at me in a horizontal line like he had done it countless times. I ducked and dashed forward, sprinting at him. I struck with my trident and hit him lightly in his forehead. I followed up with my buckler, but he moved to my left and hit me in my side before he flipped away and sent his kusarigama at me. I caught it in my hand and pulled him over but he was too far for me to reach. I felt blood pour from my side as well now.

I felt a rage in me, I wasn't going to be bested here. It is my assigned duty that I kill the samurai and vikings, and one was standing in front of me now. I roared loudly and charged at him, I began to hear other roaring and I wasn't sure if it was real or not. I heard the cheers of the Roman people, shouting my name, demanding I kill for them. My heart pumped harder and my breaths were deeper.

"Rrrrraaaaah!" I shouted and I was upon him, jumping high and slamming my trident down. He backed away and I followed with an uppercut.

He seemed a bit tired afterward. I quickly continued my adrenaline filled onslaught and stabbed him in his side with my trident I tried to hit him in the same spot again, but he zipped left. I was quick to recover and dodged with him, catching his left leg. He was breathing heavy, tired now. I continued my greed for blood and stabbed him in his torso countless times and his limbs at least three times on each. I had lost count and his clothing was all stained red with his own blood. I painted to ground in his color. I stopped my attack when I saw him stumble back and fell to one of his knees in pain.

I took some of his blood off my trident with my hand and smeared it across the face mask of my helmet, the small holes sometimes having a sheen of red over them like a bubble made out of blood.

I stomped up to him and feinted a stab. He went to his feet again and backed up. I slammed my trident out while he made his sloppy retreat, nailing him deeply in the chest. I grinned wildly, I had won here and now. I kicked my foot out, trying to knock him off and let my hand glide out to the very end of my trident, he slid off just a bit. I pulled him back and bashed his face with my buckler when I reeled him in. His body flew off and landed on the ground with a thud.

The fire of battle was slowly leaving me and so was my energy. I resigned to stab my trident into the earth and hold to it while I slid to my knees, breathing a bit hard.

"I have done my duty," I said aloud and looked at the shinobi's body.

War phased those of us who weren't trained killing machines, our soldiers; the peasants, farmers, servants, tailors, and other simple people. They all fought so oddly, sometimes terribly, sometimes like they were a natural. They fought with fervor and fear, they charged and ran, it must have been terrifying for them. And they reveled and cheered when one of us trained fighters showed up, they called us heroes. When we showed up to the front, their forces had no chance of living long. Wardens and Lawbringers were often up there. I didn't really know the names of the heroes well. I was usually assigned to flanking passes to intercept our enemies.

I heard cheering and praise as the ponies came outside their homes and Celestia and Twilight landed on the ground in their chariot. I looked around and stood from my feet, my thoughts broken. It felt unreal, like I was a ghost here, a marvel to their eyes. I stared off in the distance and zoned out before I thought I saw the only fighter in the Knights forces that treated me with respect, a centurion, in the distance on the outskirts of the town in the field. He began a heavy footed march alone up to me.

That meant there were other portals and maybe more of us had come in. I began to think of all the philosophers of our ancestors, their theory that there were more worlds that just ours out there. That had to be true now and it looked like ours were interacting.

I pulled my trident from the ground and set it on my back in its clip.

The ponies gathered around me, patting me and cheering in their language. I felt alive, I did have a crowd that was silent in their cheering. I looked in the distance again and saw the centurion continue his march, holding his gladius in his hand and a traditional red plume over his head, this one seemed to be pristine from the far distance with some sort of intricate metal designs in it. This wasn't just a centurion, this was a primus pilus. I didn't know they still lived after the Cataclysm. He kept coming, entering the vacant areas of the town.

"They are calling you my champion," Celestia said and laughed, "you are their champion now. You defeated him, though brutally."

"The crowd invigorates and that is the only way I know how to fight. Disabling and beating down your opponent is one of the best ways to win, the arena taught me that much," I answered.

"I know you said you fought for yourself and that it is your way of living, but I do hope you decide to stay for a while. I'd like to hear more from your world," Twilight said.

"Haha! I'll tell you all the tales about my world you want to know," I boasted.

The ponies began to run away when the centurion got close. Within a minute, all the ponies were back inside their houses. The centurion continued his march, his walk made him appear bigger and an opponent to be trifled with. He walked right up to me, staring at Celestia and Twilight before me.

I slammed my fist to my chest and bowed my head to him. He still commanded soldiers easily, but only in small groups since he was needed on the battlefield. He nodded in return.

"It's heartening to see another Knight here, especially a brother Roman. Were you pulled through a portal?" he asked, absent-mindedly sharpening his gladius on the metal of his vambraces.

"Indeed, I was, brother. I know of where we are and these horses, ponies, around us are friends. Do not harm them. The white and purple one," I pointed to Celestia and Twilight respectively, "will tell you of this land."

I picked up the shinobi's corpse and began to drag him out of their town so he could rest in peace. In my original arena, the winner got the privilege in seeing over his opponent's burial. If he thought he was worthy of a good burial from his fighting, he would give it to him; if not, he would leave their body to the open air for them to be feasted upon. I pulled hard and dragged him far out into the field the Centurion came from and that's when I saw it. There seemed to be a mountain placed right there like one of these now notorious portals opened up and it appeared on the land. There was a small village on it, complete with a longhouse. A Viking longhouse.

"Mars protect us," I whispered and dumped the shinobi's body into a small ditch, "I wish I had time to give you a proper burial, you are a good fighter," I began running back to Ponyville.

I had been ignoring and enduring my wounds for quite a while now, but my body was remembering they were there and I began to have stinging pains all around my torso from the stabs and cuts I had endured. I ran right up to the group of my friends and I stared at the centurion.

"A Viking village appeared over there!" I yelled out and pointed to where the centurion marched alone from.

"Impossible, that couldn't have happened!" The centurion shouted and rolled his shoulders, "damn savages!"

"Evacuate this town, we'll try our best to deal with them. They are from our world," I informed and took my trident out again, breathing out harshly before starting a sprint with the centurion.

"Pictor Rubrum!" Celestia yelled and I stopped in my tracks. I looked back and saw her horn glowing. I felt growth around my wounds and watched as they closed up by some magical power of hers. My wounds were glowing the same color as her horn, a bright golden yellow.

"I appreciate this," I went to run and it seemed the centurion had stopped in his tracks.

"Highlander!" He shouted and a huge beast of a man stood in front of him. He had a thick blonde beard and oddly styled hair. He wore some sort of checkered red dress over his legs. His sword, a claymore, was as tall as him and at least a tenth of his weight. I didn't know how the centurion planned to stand up against such a massive weapon even with me, but he was our old primus pilus, he could do far more than a normal Roman officer. The highlander would be slain but it would take quite a while.

War battles never ended nicely.

I rushed to his side, putting up my trident.

"I can handle him, go!" He yelled at me and engaged in combat. I took off again and saw Celestia and Twilight leading the evacuation efforts.

I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, heading toward the viking village, watching the savages leave their homes and brandish weapons as they saw me coming. Many of them were their normal untrained soldiers, but there were a few veterans among them.

I heard two loud metal clashes to my left, looking at a lawbringer and a conqueror as they were called. Both of them scrambled off their fronts and onto their feet.

The coming days would most surely be filled with blood and death in this peaceful land.

They stood up, the conqueror wearing an odd wide brimmed helmet that looked like a hat, a half circle with spikes sent through it was mounted above the brim. His flail was slightly rusty as was the chains around his wrists. He wore yellow and green in checkered patterns on his standards and half and half on his chest and back.

The lawbringer stood up, his poleaxe having gold interwoven with its leather grip. The main metal of it was black iron with a gold bladed axe head. His armor was as thick as every lawbringer's and he had the color scheme of green and yellow as did the conqueror.

I knew these two, the Knights talked about their legendary skills in battle. The conqueror held the flail and shield and he could hold a key point for hours against so many foes, it was their job. The lawbringer held his poleaxe, they had an immaculate sense of justice for the people and they could counter their opponents quite well. These two were heroes.

If they showed up, something was surely wrong with our worlds. War was coming and I could already smell the burning tar in the air.

"What happened?" The flail masterspoke and gave his flail a spin before catching the chain.

"I don't know. A portal opened up below us and we fell in. Gladiator, where are we?" Holden looked at me.

I pounded my chest with my fist again, "You are in a place called Equestria. As far as I know, I was one of the first to arrive here with a shinobi. I have since slain him and then a Centurion showed up, a primus pilus. He is busy holding up a highlander."

"Thank you, why is there a mountain of snow in this grassy field?" The lawbringer said asked next.

"A viking village appeared here. The inhabitants of this place are dominantly ponies, they are peaceful creatures. You will know one when you see them," I informed and began to walk towards the village.

"Gladiator! Where are you headed?" The conqueror shouted at me.

"To protect these kind ponies that fed me and helped me," I said back and broke into a sprint.

"I like him, kid's got spirit and heart," I heard the lawbringer say and begin running behind me along with Stone.

I liked my odds now, I had two of the best Knights with me against all of the Vikings on that hill. We continued our charge and heard the yells of battle in the short distance. We saw many normal viking people pour out and dressed in red. They charged at us. There were dozens that poured out, this was a military establishment. The three of us began a war cry as we clashed and began to slaughter all of their untrained soldiers.

We were knocking them down and delivering killing blows quickly, thinning their growing numbers while they poured out and began to surround us. I occasionally felt a blade hit my skin, but not as strong as one of the heroes weapons would have felt. It was negligible, but the pain piled on after a few cuts. After many minutes, we thinned them down to around fifty. This is when something bad happened.

We saw two inhumanly muscled men rush out of the gates. Both of them held large axes with wood carved designs in them. Their beards were large and both had ponytails that hung off their back, one of them had a ring in it. They were bare chested except for the fur on their arms and shoulders. Their pants looked lake they were crafted out of russet sacks. Both of them held up my two new allies, one on each of them. I continued to knock down soldier after soldier until they were very sparse and held their shields in fear, some ran back into the village. I saw a very angry looking Viking come storming out of the gate.

He held a large round wooden shield and a normal sword. He was covered in fur and with a thick metal helmet. I knew this one, they were called Warlords and they refused to go down.

"Jupiter help this world," I raised my buckler and trident up again. I looked to my left and saw my two allies still held up.

I took in a deep breath of the air around me and let the scent of blood enter my nose.

"Raaaaaah!" I charged forward at him, I knew what I felt and I felt it many times.