• Published 7th Aug 2018
  • 751 Views, 75 Comments

Equestrian City: Side Streets - Malcontent

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"Vicious Circles" (SciTwi/Tiara)

"Vicious Circles"
Co author and Proofs by Alisia
Proofreading by The Pony ThinkTank (Alden, Kyle and company)
Editor who Cannot Fly: Brawny Buck

Professor Midnight adjusted her dress uniform, several medals gently clanking against others. Walking with a brisk pace, her thigh high uniform boots gave the slightest sheen of latex as she turned a corner. The hallway echoed with her footfalls, pillars of obsidian fencing her in as she made the journey to the Emperor's throne room. Each of the stoic soldiers matched her apathy towards them as each pillar they stood at came and went during her journey. Far too focused on the documents in her hands, Twilight Sparkle, or as the world knew her now, Professor Midnight, had only one companion.

That companion kept in step behind her, two steps usually. She heard Scootaloo flex her artificial arm, the servo in the middle section catching on a gear. Midnight barely bothered to fix any parts on her bodyguard, but Midnight’s indifference to her didn't seem to bother Scootaloo. Midnight knew she was fiercely loyal to her. The younger girl saw her as a savior and Midnight exploited that whenever she could. Between killing political and scientific opponents or getting her lunch, the girl from the Commonwealth that became a cybernetically enhanced steward was never still for long. Midnight smiled briefly, proud of herself, casually mocking her former teachers and so called friends.

"Always so eager to make me go out and mingle,” she said softly, stopping and flipping a research page back and forth as she compared figures.

"Ma'am?" Scootaloo asked, stepping closer, her combat boots muffled on the purple and black carpet. Noticing the cleaning boy near the pillar closest to them, she smiled to him, turning back to Midnight as they walked on.

Midnight sighed and shook her head, not even bothering to look at her. "Nothing, girl. Talking to myself is the only way I can speak to anyone I consider a peer." She snapped and adjusted her glasses. Tightening her gloves and uniform belt, she turned to look at the door guards. "The Emperor wishes to speak with me." Midnight turned back to Scootaloo. "Stay here and put on a good face."

Scootaloo smiled with pride, snapping to attention with purpose.

"After all, your enhancements are an extension of my superior intelligence." Midnight turned, brushing her bodyguard’s jacket on the sleeve briefly. She lorded over her assistant as much as Sombra talked down to her. As much as she disliked how Sombra made her feel, she found it much easier to bear when she did the same to Scootaloo. "You wouldn’t want to embarrass me would you?"

Scootaloo's face twitched ever so slightly as she heard that. "N-No, Ma'am!" she looked down as she answered, the ever familiar objectification she felt returning. "Not at all."

"Good." Midnight turned and walked up the remaining stairs. "It would be unfortunate if I had to find someone more grateful and start again. I'd hate to waste such good parts." She smiled as her parting verbal jab landed as the doors closed behind her.

Several seconds of silence passed as the doors closed and their impressive reverb died off. The look of hurt Scootaloo had vanished as she focused on a yellow toned male near a pillar. As the maelstrom of emotions she hid behind her indifference surfaced, she smiled briefly as she knocked his mop water over. The cringe from him settled her feeling of helplessness as it passed to him. Stepping over the boy, she narrowed her eyes forward as she came to a rest on the next pillar. "Clean that up." She mumbled.

"Yes ma'am." Obedience followed from him as he started again while she watched.


Night had fallen in Equestrian City, though Diamond Tiara hadn't noticed. The tinted windows that lined the upper floors of her penthouse house kept eyes and sunlight out.

The petite body of the heir to Money Corp. was hardly noticeable in her private living quarters. The furniture and the entire design of the very room was tailored to her stunted and permanent state: the body of a fourteen year old. Sitting down in an overstuffed designer chair, she crossed her legs and her evening gown settled with her, the turquoise silk wrapping her lack of a figure.

I’ve been stuck like this since that night. She narrowed her eyes at her form, it’s reflection coming off one of several full length mirrors in the reading room she sat in. Over a decade of stagnation. No drugs, no treatment, no solutions. Just pure utter stagnation. Several emails popped up on her tablet. I suppose it’s not all bad. Spoon had her body mature on her at the worst possible time, during gym. She smirked briefly, swiping left on her tablet through more reports. The last one stopped in front of her as she scanned it’s content.

“Ah my latest evaluation.” She said softly to herself, scanning past the bullet points. “No change in nerve cluster growth, no changes in any physical attributes.” She pursed her lips. “Intelligence increase by several percentage points. No surprise there.” She smiled, deleting it from her inbox. “All this money, all this success, and I don’t even need to worry about a dating life. I truly have it all.” She smirked briefly, tossing the tablet to the table.

Several of her tutors commented to her father that her physical stature fit her seeming inability to grow up entirely mentally either. Though they didn't stay her tutors long after comments like that were made.

"Ma'am," a speaker box chimed next to her. Suri Polomare, her personal assistant, came across. "I've prepared your itinerary for tomorrow's meetings, mmm’k?" she continued.

"Mmm." Tiara gave half a grunt, focused on a data tablet in her hands. Swiping left a few times, the glow of the screen dimmed and lit back up. Scanning the few lines of text, her face turned to one of annoyance.

"Good night Miss Tiara." Suri chimed in on the speaker, the red light on the side turning off.

Standing quickly, Tiara tossed her tablet to the couch and nearly tripped on the plush carpet at her feet. Tying her robe closed around her adolescent body, the scowl of an unhappy woman in her mid twenties was lit up by her phone now. Swiping through contacts, she hit Moondancer’s number, swapping the feed to her larger video conference rig. Sitting down at the small desk, the cartoon icon of a phone jiggled silently on screen.

Finally the window opened on screen and a bed-headed Moondancer scrambled to put on her glasses. Tiara remained quiet as the lead scientist flipped on a light on her night table.

"Yes, Miss Tiara?" A groggy voice hesitantly sounded.

"Moondancer, I've just received a very interesting piece of intel. Regards my endeavours to secure ECPD and its armor contract." Tiara sat back and stared at the screen. Unlike at the skyscraper where the dim lighting she kept allowed her features to be hidden, her room was different. The entire fixture and table were manufactured to give the illusion she was normal size,

"Oh?" Moondancer sat up on screen, pulling the covers over her apparently nude body. A lemon colored tone popped into frame for a moment. The hesitation filled the air between the two.

“Send her away.” she said sternly, crossing her arms.

“I’ll be just a minute, Lemon.” Moondancer gently said, the more portly figure of her companion leaving in the background and the door closing. She turned back, pushing her hair out of her eyes.

“I wondered where she went after you fired her.” Tiara smirked briefly, the stern tone returning. “You never could throw away useless items.”

“You wanted to speak with me?” Moondancer cleared her throat, a moment of bravery returning to her voice.

"It seems that as impressive as your model was, Tiara Technology will not be receiving the contract to supply the city." Tiara's tone dropped with disappointment.

"Oh no." Moondancer went pale, her eyes wide as dinner plates.

"Yes." Tiara finally broke a smile. "Oh no is right." Pulling at her robe shoulder fabric, she stood up, staring down at her.

"You're sure?" Moondancer asked desperately, stammering to correct the way she phrased her question. "I mean of course you are ma'am but is your source trustworthy or reliable?"

"There’s always a chance they were fed bad information." Tiara let her expression drop again. "But I make it a point not to surround myself with those who can't deliver. Either on time or reliably." She let the words sink in.

"I mean to say ma'am that despite the setback this may bring us we--" Moondancer paused, struggling to remain calm. "--can certainly move forward with other endeavours. Profitable ones!"

"I told you this was the last chance you had since you screwed up the respirator contract." Tiara crossed her arms in disapproval again. "If I were you, I'd use the time I had left to clean out my office and type up your resume. I hear the burger shop in the lobby needs help." She chuckled as the fear washed across Moondancer’s face. "You have until the official announcement this week from the ECPD."

"But--" was all Moondancer got out as the screen turned off.

Tiara let the afterglow of her scolding Moondancer wash over her. Shivering a moment she tightened her robe as she traversed the room. Jerking her head to the window, a distant cloud of fire and smoke in the center of the city caught her attention. Staring at it a moment she scoffed and shook her head. "Damn meta freaks,” she mumbled, opening her bedroom door and taking off her robe. "Here's hoping they damage only Rarity's businesses and people." She snickered softly, locking the door behind her.


The echo of the massive doors resonated behind Midnight, reminding her of the first time she met her benefactor. Heeled boots shined under the dull lighting of the throne room, in the far end stood a throne with ornate carvings on it. Sitting atop that obsidian throne was the absolute ruler of the Eastern Empire: King Sombra. The only thing entirely visible was his gauntlets, their etchings giving out a faint purple and green glow. The magic that ran through them pulsed like a wicked heartbeat, teasing the shape of the wearer to any eyes looking in at his magnificence.

Midnight recalled the first time she was brought before him, the fear she had choked down was brought bubbling up as soon as she heard him speak. Though suppressed now from exposure to his heavy magical auras, she still felt the despair he radiated. It was like a soft persistent whisper telling her all the wrong things at the right time.

"Leave this place. Your brother will never wake up. Your parents are gone and so is your brother. You may as well join them."

The whispers drilled at her. She ignored them.

"Cadence is in even worse shape. What a worthless life you've carved out for yourself. No one could ever love a monster like you."

Midnight grit her teeth behind her closed expression, the prodding getting worse.

"You have no friends. You are a tool. To be used and discarded when the job is done. You will die alone."

Keeping her eyesight level, she heard the flickering of magical fire all around her. Passing by hanging cauldrons, the light they gave off barely lit her path. She looked down to the great carpet she walked on, the dull maroon with black and white trim barely registering in the lighting. Snapping her head straight again, the great and feared Professor Midnight felt a slight shiver go up her back. She did her best to let it bleed off her body and quickened her pace. Soon another figure near Sombra became apparent.

"...in the Canterlot Commonwealth, my King." A female voice, modulated slightly through a face mask, concluded. The girl was adorned in a mixture of crude early generation armor and cybernetics. Nothing like what Midnight’s lab would make, it was clearly from Midnight’s predecessor. "Sparkle."

Midnight narrowed her eyes ever so slightly behind her glasses at the name. She hated the implications the name 'Sparkle' implied across the world. Part of the reason she moved was to escape the media circus around that name. Her stare locked to the one good eye visible from the other woman.

"Fizzle." Midnight replied, a small smirk vanishing as quickly as the word. She heard Tempest hiss behind her faceplate, her visible eye fiercely glaring. The wind-up dropped just as quickly as neither girl would let the other be the true victor in insults.

"Midnight." A deep resonating voice broke through each girl’s concentrated glare. Each turned to their King and bowed their head briefly.

"You called for me, your majesty?" Midnight meekly asked, her tone changing to one of respect.

"The item Trixie possesses." The large figure moved in his throne to resettle, his metal plate armor loud and imposing. "You were tasked with uncovering its secrets," he said before pausing..

"I have so been tasked, your majesty." Midnight swallowed slightly, a nervousness coming over her. "It is more...taxing than I assumed at first. You have stated that you wish for the girl not to be harmed, and I have done as you asked."

Sombra shifted again to lean forward, revealing his face in the purple and blue hues of the room. The very movement made both women step back in startled fear.

"You have done many things for me in your time here, Midnight." He rumbled, the flare of dark magic leaving his eyes, the downward angle of his gaze locking to her. "In all the time here you have not failed me." He leaned back, his magical aura all that remained visible in the shadow. "I would hate to see you break such an impressive record."

A silence filled the throne room as Midnight thought rapidly through her notes. She needed to give him something, anything.

"I'm told you focused on other side projects during your time this last week." Sombra continued. "My other advisors tell me you might even be ignoring my orders?"

"Tempest needs to mind her own Department and stop sending spies to look in on--"

"She does not deny it, my Lord. Let me correct her insolence. I will be sure to--" Tempest began to talk over Midnight.

"SILENCE!" Sombra's booming voice resonated through their very bodies, making each woman clutch their head in pain.

Midnight regained her wits quicker then her peer, adjusting her uniform and presenting herself meekly again.

"I have ascertained a few facts from our last meeting, your highness." She pushed her glasses up with a gloved hand. "The artifact is not from this world. It doesn't contain characteristics from the Canterlot Disaster or the age old foundation of magic that fills these lands."

"That is apparent to me already." He clenched an armored hand, the metal echoing loudly. "The girl informs me that she doesn't remember where she got the amulet, nor who gave it to her."

"Trixie does not appear to be lying at that, my king." She answered quickly. "I've run every test possible to make sure she isn’t hiding a thing from us. If you would just let me remove her head and then--"

"NO!" Sombra commanded as he slammed his fist to his throne, bringing the conversation to a halt. "Trixie is not to be harmed. The amulet is attuned to her, removing it unnaturally would destroy the impressive power in it." His eyes flared brightly. "There is something I sense in the amulet. Something unfamiliar in all my time as ruler. If you damage or destroy that power, you will suffer worse than your experiments have..."

Midnight stared away for a brief moment, her expression giving way to a troubled stare.

"...to say nothing of your funding and experiments,” he finished with a smile.

Midnight changed again, her expression fearful for the first visible time.

"I will redouble my efforts to remove it naturally, all while studying it, my King." Midnight finally answered, standing at full attention now.

"I hope so, Twilight." Sombra leaned back to a relaxed position again, his hands clasped in front of him. "For the sake of what family you have left."

She turned pale as the words hit her, but bowed respectfully and turned to leave.

"Say hello to your brother for me." Tempest laughed as Midnight quickened her pace, leaving the throne room.

The doors slammed behind her as she stopped and held her chest again, clearly out of sorts.

"Ma'am?" Scootaloo rushed to her side and caught her from falling. "Are you--"

"I'm perfectly well. Don't touch me." She snapped, focusing her fear into anger at her subordinate. She shoved the girl back. "Remember your place!"

Scootaloo swallowed and straightened her own uniform now. A silence between the two lasted a brief second.

"Bring that Trixie bimbo to me. NOW!" she cleared her throat and relaxed her emotions. "I have a new round of tests that will be no doubt revealing." She pushed her glasses up, watching Scootaloo leave.

"...and with any luck painfully... non lethal." Midnight whispered, her footsteps quickening out of the hall towards her lab.


Author's Note:

As we experiment with length and pacing, this one is smaller in update size but quicker to read!

Many thanks to everyone who test read this!

So here's a question to those who read: is this too quick to read or just right? I've been told I tend to give the reader too much in one sitting.

Drop by on discord or the main forums!

Stay tuned!