• Published 8th Dec 2018
  • 274 Views, 31 Comments

Black and Blue and Bloodied - Sixes_And_Sevens



Celestia, sick of her nephew's bad behavior, sends him on an adventure with the ninth Doctor. Together, they investigate a series of murders connected to a mining disaster-- or they will if they can stop arguing.

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Black Shadows

The hedge maze was darkening quickly. The once friendly and verdant paths had taken on a more menacing cast, one that was growing ever grimmer as the sun continued down, glaring into Blueblood's darting eyes. Every stirring of the leaves was a grisly granite claw reaching out to slice his jugular. Every glimmer of sunlight reflected from garden ornaments or droplets of water was an eye, waiting and watching. Every twig crunching underhoof was the snapping of bone, blood and marrow leaking over the grass. So certain was he of his impending doom that he could swear that he could feel his limbs being ripped from his body, bones being yanked out of joint, blood being spilled over his recently dry-cleaned suit. His flesh crawled.

Find the Doctor, he told himself firmly. Find him, and then get the Tartarus out of this tawdry labyrinth. Yes, tawdry, he decided. Lavish though it may have been, with constant masses of various forms of flora, it was decidedly tacky. A simple selection of roses would have more than sufficed. He could scarcely believe that he had ever been scared of such a gaudy garden!

A sudden thump echoed through the hedges and the prince’s ears stood en pointe. Of course, it wasn’t really the garden he was scared of, was it? Rather, it was the large, living statues that might lurk around any given corner. How silly of him to forget. He went on. He moved as silently as the shadow of a mouse, sneaking around the hedges and topiaries, turning corners while holding his breath for fear of what might be able to hear him. He was silent. He was smooth. He was the night.

Then he turned a corner and slammed face-first into a flat surface. “AHHHHHHHHH!”

He stumbled back blindly, tripping flank over hooves, scrabbling to right himself. Then he registered that what he was looking at was not, in fact, a gargoyle at all. It was the TARDIS.

“Oh.” Blueblood paused. “Oopsie.”

***

The Doctor sat at the center of the maze, in a glen lit only by the rays of the setting sun. Well. “Sat” might not be quite the right word. He was bound, each hoof tied to the wreckage of a fountain in the center of the glen. On the outskirts, a dozen or so grey ponies milled about, mostly stallions, but a couple of mares. They stuck to the shadows as much as was physically possible. In the darkest shadow of them all was the largest gargoyle that the Doctor had seen yet. “Quite atmospheric,” he mused aloud, glancing from hoof to hoof. “Really. You want t’ knock down the booj-whah, so you knock down the stuff they made an’ keep your prisoners in it. Really, very poetic, I’m impressed.”

“Really?” one of the grey ponies asked, half turning to face the captive Time Lord. “I thought so, but I—”

“Shut up,” said the large gargoyle shortly. “What’s your game, mate?”

“Game? Oh, I used to be big on games. Chess was my favorite for awhile, and cards. Right up until I lost my Ace. Then I was big on that jump-the-peg thing. Tetris, of course, always been a dab hoof there. Oh, an’ Dance Dance Revolution! Once challenged Isadora Duncan to a round of DDR—”

“Shut UP!”

The Doctor cut off mid-gabble to glare at the defacto leader. “Look,” he said in a quieter tone. “You want to get revenge. I get it, honestly I do.” His voice grew more strained. “But killin’ isn’t th’ answer, I’m tellin’ you. An’ jus’ how many of those ponies out there are at fault for your deaths, huh? Probably not many. Definitely not all of ‘em. We can talk this out, I swear.”

There were some murmurs of discontent from the crowd. The lead gargoyle hesitated. “We can… talk it out?”

The Doctor’s eyes brightened. “Yes,” he said, his voice increasing in pitch with his excitement. “Yes, I know you can.”

“And we’ll just be accepted, will we?”

“Don’t see why not. There's a baby dragon living in Ponyville, I've heard. Next t' that, rock creatures are nothin'.”

The gargoyle rubbed a talon against his chin. “No. It’s too late. The wealthy have had their day in the sun. An eye for an eye!”

“An eye for an eye!” the crowd roared.

The Doctor’s own eyes darkened. “Oh yes, an eye for an eye,” he snarled. “And an eye for an eye, and another eye for that, and so on until the whole world’s gone blind! What do you think you’re going to get out of this, huh? Who are you?”

The largest gargoyle’s eyes gleamed. “We,” he said, “are the Goblins. Or, I am. The rest of them… halfway there, if that. I salvaged their corpses, made them better, stronger, goblin. But I can only do so much. While the light of day is still in the sky, they are as equine as you.”

“That’s not as much as you might think,” the Doctor muttered. “So, you live underground, keep out of the sunshine to stay stony. ‘Cause sunlight…” his mind flashed back to the gargoyle receptionist from earlier. When they had arrived on the roof, the sun had only just gone down perhaps half an hour before. “Sunlight makes you weak! Hiding underground like cockroaches, it protects you from… I’m guessing UV radiation? Something in your biology doesn’t really like that, eh? Go on, I’m listening.”

“The way to stay a goblin,” the stony beast growled, “is through blood. The blood of your own kind.” He leered at the Doctor unpleasantly.

The Time Lord gave a tight smile. “Point of fact? Not actually a pony. Not actually of this planet, either. Check the heartbeat.”

“Yes,” the head goblin said with a tight nod. “We know. You are different. You are unknown. You are alone.”

“You’ve got no idea.”

“And yet, you are not without your weaknesses. And your companion, he is indeed a pony.”

The Time Lord’s eyes were flint. “No. I promised his aunt I’d mind him.”

“Is that all you can say? Not that he is different? Not that he is important? Not that he is your friend?” This last word was said with deep, sneering mockery.

The Doctor considered this. “Nah. Well. Those are all true, mind. Mostly true. But bein’ a tad worried ‘bout his aunt is prob’ly the most important bit.”

“And why is that?”

The Doctor considered this. “Not sayin’,” he decided.

“Really.” The gargoyle reached out with one great taloned paw and grasped the Doctor’s head. “‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,’ I believe you said? Let’s see if that’s true…”

He began to squeeze the green stallion’s head, gentle and yielding as a vise. His claws grew closer and closer to the Time Lord’s eyes. At that moment, a high-pitched scream rang out from somewhere in the maze.

The goblin stopped, his claws hovering an inch from the Doctor’s big blue eyes. He smiled. It was not a nice smile. “Not yet,” he decided. “First, you will see how little we care for your companion. Or his aunt.”

“Let me guess. It’ll be the last thing I ever see?”

“Oh, no. That will come when we raise him up once again as one of our own. The last thing you see will not be a death, but a glorious birth. New life, a new era, created from the dying of the old one.” His smile widened. “We aren’t monsters, you know.”

***

Blueblood waited in stark silence for a moment after his scream broke the stillness of the night like a spoon through a freshly-opened pot of marmalade. After a few seconds of not being eviscerated, he relaxed slightly. Apparently, no gargoyles were in his immediate vicinity. He rose to his hooves and trotted around the big blue box, examining it minutely. “I don’t suppose you’d consider letting me in?” he asked plaintively. “I could do with a place to hide, right about now. I wouldn’t even try to fly you, I promise! Not even sure I’d know where to start. Just— let me in. Please?”

The TARDIS, to Blueblood’s vague disappointment, made no move to cooperate. “Tartarus. Look at me. The world is doomed. Canterlot is about to fall. I had jelly instead of jam this morning, and I’m talking to a bally box.”

The light atop the call box flashed once, twice. Blueblood scowled. “Oh, yes, you flash all you want, but you can’t even open yourself up to a traveler in need? ‘Free for use of Public’ my eye.”

The light flashed again, more brilliantly, and Blueblood was forced to avert his eyes. Wait. What was that in the grass? The light glimmered off a shiny cylinder. The unicorn picked it up in a hoof. The Doctor’s screwdriver. Oh dear. The light grew brighter and brighter still, until suddenly, it stopped. Blueblood blinked in surprise, clearing the spots from his eyes. He glanced up at the top of the TARDIS. Oh Tartarus. A face of pale grey stone leered down at him. A gargoyle sat atop the roof, clutching the light atop the box in a stony talon. Blueblood backed away slowly, maintaining eye contact. Then, he bumped flank-first into something hard and cold.

Oh bugger.

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