• Published 25th Aug 2018
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Sunset Shimmer Hunts the Undead - Rune Soldier Dan

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The Secret End Boss of "Sunset Shimmer Hunts the Undead"

Aria walked parallel to Adagio, circling her and grinning. Her path crossed the broken microphone, and she kicked it from the stage. “I’ll be honest, Adagio. You caught me off-guard. Never in a million years did I think you’d be this stupid.”

She exited the line of sight, just as Sonata entered. The blue siren followed Aria’s trod, and matched her smile. “Looks like somebody caught the friendship bug. It’s a terminal condition, you know.”

They circled like sharks, far enough to keep one always out of Adagio’s vision. She knew the trick well. Get the prey discomfited, spinning vainly to keep tabs on each siren. Wear their patience and sanity with the fear of daggers in the back, wait for them to stumble… then strike.

Adagio snorted. Of course she knew the trick, she invented it. Her own heels remained planted, merely eyeing each siren as they passed her by.

“Terminal, huh? And who’s going to kill me?” She gave a smirk as Aria reentered her sight. “I’m a better fighter than both of you. This is old news.”

The smirk was easily returned. “That was back when you had a gem. We’re both faster than you. Stronger than you.”

Sonata’s voice chimed in from behind. “And given current events, definitely smarter than you.”

Adagio tensed. Sonata sounded like she had stepped closer… but sirens could throw their voices with ease.

Sonata came into view. Definitely closer. “Thinner than you, too. You’ve been putting on the pounds, ‘Leader.’ Too many cheat days?”

Not worth a response. Aria could be readying a throw, and neither was more than a blink away from rushing her. More likely they’d keep trying to psych her out. Sirens were patient when on the hunt.

...Usually. Adagio arched her eyebrow. “You guys know that I’m winning, right? Every second you wait is a second you’re not feeding Tirek.”

A twitch came to Sonata’s smile. Adagio smirked broadly, and it twitched again. Perhaps Sonata would charge, taking the bait with a full offense that left her exposed…

No, Sonata knew the game as well. She rallied. “Guess we’ll have to make it up to him by offering your head.”

Adagio put one hand on her hip. Aria’s booted feet paused behind her. “Oh, yeah. Execute the traitor that you yourselves brought into the operation. That’ll impress him.”

Aria’s trod resumed, carrying her into sight while Sonata moved out. “Look up, Adagio. Tirek is here, and that means he won. No missile or army can stop him from conquering the world. Shut up and keep singing, and we’ll forget this ever happened.”

Adagio laughed. The crowd continued their riot behind her, still lost to the sirens’ magic. “You must think I’m an idiot.”

“Of course we do,” Aria sneered. But a glower found her eyes. Aria had always been the most impatient of the three; she was the one to watch.

Adagio began to turn with Aria’s orbit. Risky, giving Sonata her back, but worth it to pry the weakness. “He’s going to be cranky, you know. Though it probably doesn’t matter. I doubt the world’s new dark overlord will honor whatever he promised you.”

“He promised us nothing,” Sonata said, lower than her ditzy norm. “We get our gems, he gets his world. We serve him unquestioningly and don’t give him any reason to destroy us. We keep our powers and flourish in whatever Hellspawn empire he creates. That’s all there is to it.”

“Burn the world just so you can hypnotize people again?” Adagio snorted. “High price.”

Sonata giggled. “We’re not the ones paying it.”

Adagio shook her head. “Like it or not, you’re a part of this world. You can’t expect to destroy it and come out untouched. What affects the whole affects you.”

She laughed abruptly, throwing back her head and passing a hand over her eyes. “Man, that was so corny to say out lou–”

Aria lunged, seizing the distraction.

The bait. Her thrust sailed past Adagio’s dodge, claiming nothing but a lock of orange curls. Adagio crouched into her own swing, coming up alongside Aria to bring her knife into the armpit.

Aria saw, and danced away. Had already reached her old distance by the time Adagio finished her swing.

...As fast she she was in the good old days. Faster than Adagio, for sure.

The stalemate was over. Instincts more than ears caught Sonata’s charge from behind. Adagio spun, managing to meet the coming dagger with her own. But the slammed parry knocked her off balance, and Aria was already speeding back in.

Needed space. Adagio turned her stumble into a cartwheel, then a back-flip. It veered away from Aria, but now the pair were moving in sync. They sped, slashing at her acrobatic retreat, giving Adagio no space to land.

An over-sized amp speaker gave her the answer. Adagio flipped over it and landed, with a bare second to find her footing. A little dizzy, after those stunts. A little slow without her gem. Retreat, and they outpace her. Stand, and they flank.

Adagio charged around the speaker to her left. Only Sonata on this side. Surprise flashed in her eyes, but still the knife rose to parry with many instants to spare. Siren reflexes.

Had to shake things up. Adagio crouched and swept with her leg. Sonata danced over it neatly, dodging and lunging in one fluid move. Adagio rolled to the side, falling fully prone as the dagger sang past her ear.

Adagio kept rolling as Sonata pursued. Couldn’t get up – each roll carried her from a new thrust. Sonata wouldn’t give her the time, and Aria… at this point, she was optional.

One more roll, one more knife-stroke meeting the rubber stage. Might as well make them work for it.

Purple flashed in her tumbling vision. Aria. So fast, above her already. Knife and blue gem glowing.

Aria wasn’t wrong; not really. There was a time not long spent when Adagio would have done the same. Who cares if they were puppets, so long as they had power? To give it up for Hydra-damned friendship of all things…

How strange, that Adagio didn’t regret it.

She tried for another roll. The knife swung down.


The silly car pulled up to the entrance of Twilight’s family estate. Her lab marred the perfect grounds, its raised antennas breaking the sky alongside peaked Victorian rooftops. The gate stood closed, awaiting Twilight’s digital hand-print.

It would wait a little longer. Twilight stared to her driver, arms folded as she turned away from the grounds.

“...Yes?” Discord said, having seen fit to get out with her.

In the distance, a black and yellow beam shot into the sky. They could see Tirek, looming by Canterlot Mountain and slowing stretching his limbs.

“We’re here,” Twilight said levelly. “You can go.”

Discord chuckled weakly. Twilight’s hand slipped into a pocket and grabbed Lord Zappington.

“Do you have a plan?” Discord asked. “You know he’s going to start destroying humanity any minute now.”

Twilight’s frown remained tight and suspicious. “Data comes before a plan. I need to gather information. I need my lab. You need to go.”

“Can’t you just invent something? Or...” Discord’s voice took a conspiratorial whisper. “Maybe you already have? Some device, perhaps, that can give a solution sizable enough for the problem?”

“I don’t have a super laser,” Twilight grumbled. “Mom said no.”

“Aren’t you an adult?”

“I’m nineteen. You know how it works.”

Twilight blinked, and when she opened her eyes, Discord stood next to her. One orange-clad arm draped around her shoulder, while the other gestured to the sky. “Not a weapon, no! But something big and powerful. Or at least, something that can summon something big and powerful...”

His goading smile remained, slowly turning pained as Twilight blinked without comprehension. She shrugged out of his arm and stepped away.

Then she spun back, eyes wide as the coin dropped. “Oh, no! No-no-no. Not happening.”

“It’s your only chance,” Discord said, low and grinning.

“No. En-oh, no, and while we’re at it, fuck off.” Twilight laid her hand on the scanner, unlocking the gates, but drew Lord Zappington with her other. “I know what you’re telling me to do. I don’t know how you know about it, but frankly the fact that you do means Sunset was right. You’re bad news.”

“Nonsense, it is a master stroke!” Discord raised his finger to the air. “You could be the hero!”

Twilight took a defensive step back. “I could be the sucker. Listen, I might be a dark mistress of unholy mad science, but I’m not crazy.”

Tirek’s bellow shook the air. Discord growled through his smile. “You’re running out of time.”

“So you better stop delaying m–”

Twilight never finished the sentence, nor would she ever recall its start. Discord’s arm came down abruptly from its gestures, stretching the distance to poke directly on top of Twilight’s head.

Her thoughts scattered at the touch. Weird blue and yellow layers spiraled out from the center of her vision, blowing them like dust even further from her grasp. Her dizzy gaze fell to see her hands turn gray, standing out from the yellow and blue… the endless spiral…

No thoughts, no memories. Discord’s hand on her shoulder was a comfort, as were his words. Stability in a moment of utmost confusion. “It would have been funnier if you did this by yourself. I swear, it’s quite difficult being the only one in the world with good ideas.”

Poor man. Twilight opened her mouth to offer comfort, but couldn’t recall how.

“Same end, I suppose. At any rate: Twilight?”

She knew that much. “Yes?”

“You know of what I speak.” She did. “You have the power to fight Tirek. Do so. Be a hero.”

Thoughts and memories followed his words. They made everything clear. The spiral fell from Twilight’s vision, and her skin returned to a healthy purple.

Of course. It was so obvious.

Twilight sped to her lab, panting and grinning. She did not shut the gate, nor the doorway. Discord followed at a casual stroll, chucking as the sound of frantic science got underway from the lab’s basement. He ducked through the steel door frame – designed for Twilight’s short stature – and meandered towards the noise.

A cluttered workbench held one lone bit of cheer: a framed photograph of the rookie hunters. Taken at the steak house, after they outwitted the Sphinx. Good times.

Discord picked it up as he walked, musing over the expressions. So happy. So self-conscious, all of them. So many fears behind the eyes. Applejack cringed ever so slightly at the others’ touch, always nervous of her own sexuality. And there, Adagio’s camaraderie was a sham. Seeds of betrayal had fallen in willing ground.

“What a good story you girls have had,” Discord mused. “Laughs and tears. Sexy-times and excitement.”

“...You and all the other boring, worthless, nobodies this world has to offer.”

He tossed it over his shoulder. “This is where my plans end. This is where I stop tracking how people would behave, what they would do. No more hints on the bus to spark your inventions and lead you down the path I want. No more sly gossip to the Dazzlings.”

“Why? Well, to be honest, I don’t care what happens after I win.”

His trod carried him to the basement, where Twilight labored with furious speed. Had to move fast if she wanted to save the city. Wires were replaced, metal welded… space was an issue, but science gave apt solution. A simple change to the reality-bending formula would let her send the effect outside of town, with a statistically negligible chance of destabilizing all time and space.

She moved at a blur. Activating computers, typing coordinates, funneling power. Much in the totaled basement only existed to measure, safeguard, and limit, and these she left broken. No need for such things now; they would only get in the way.

Discord disappeared. Twilight did not notice.

A last plug. A massive switch. Pull.

No, wait. Safety goggles on. Then pull.

Screens glowed as a universe of data crossed their unthinking minds. Electricity coursed between conduits, streaking inevitably towards a wire-rimmed mirror that once served as a gateway between lands, “AND NOW DOES AGAIN!”

Twilight screamed the words, then threw her head back and laughed. The mirror’s glass was broken, but that was always mere aesthetic. It shook and crackled as it should, leaking bizarre colors into the basement.

One computer exploded. No matter, it was the one which would guide the portal to other worlds. Her destination was on Earth.

The crackling turned to a pleasant hum. The portal stabilized, and acted upon its new programming. It threw its exit north of the city, and widened the door to all possible size. And then…


Tirek loomed above pitiful Canterlot. Soon to be the first of many cities crushed under his gargantuan hooves.

There would be no empire. Tirek did not rule, he destroyed. He consumed. When he was done here, there would be other worlds to burn. It’s not that he was incapable of leadership or culture, but there was frankly no point when he could just bring ruin to the universe.

Light glowed between his horns, and he fired another practice shot into the air. He could aim for Canterlot, he supposed, but the very first blow at the first destroyed city was something to be savored.

He stretched, idly pondering giving the city’s ruler a chance to surrender. That was always fun. There’d be this little dot of a man beneath him, all their eyes would be fixed, and there’d be just the tiniest little squish. Then he would destroy the city – how all good plans ended.

Yeah, that sounded like a good way to start. Just as soon as his muscles uncramped. Especially his upper back – he squeezed and massaged it to no avail.

“Ugh.” Heedless that his voice boomed across Canterlot, Tirek flexed his head from side to side. “Ten thousand years gives you such a crick in the neck.”

His eyes smoldered with joy and hate. Ten-thousand years, buried by gods themselves in that warded tomb. Even now he felt drained. The sirens should be working to empower him… well, no matter. Nothing a little city-crushing couldn’t fix, and Tirek had grown impatient. He’d do the surrender gag next time.

Tirek ended his stretches, grudgingly conceding that crick wouldn’t leave so easily. His giant hoof took one step towards Canterlot, then paused.

The air shimmered weirdly to his left. Tirek turned, and saw a massive green gut emerge from nothing. A stepping leg followed, and such was the shaking of ground that Tirek himself wobbled and pawed to reclaim balance. Flabby clawed arms followed, and then a head of grasping tendrils and boiling eyes.

The eldritch horror paused as it emerged fully from the portal. Perhaps to orient itself. Perhaps to stare down Tirek.

Tirek did not meet its gaze. Instead he looked to Canterlot and pointed back to the thing, booming his incredulity for all to hear. “Is this supposed to be humorous!?”

A claw seized his hand, and pulled him into a savage punch. Tirek staggered, and the monster grabbed his horns and yanked his face down into its raised knee.

Tirek stumbled backwards. He spat blood that would one day become a fine monster on its own, then stood tall. He clenched both fists, snorted like a bull, and charged the interloper with a feral roar.


It was cold on the school rooftop. Redheart had packed away her earmuffs for the spring, and now stood in sore regret. She couldn’t even cover her head, with one hand on the binoculars and one on the phone.

Harshwhinny’s terse response cursed her ears. “Repeat that.”

“There’s two monsters now,” Redheart dutifully repeated. “And they’re fighting.”

“What does the new one look like?”

“A singularly cyclopean mountain, to blast the sanity of the strongest man. A crawling chaos of maddening abyss, from which the only escape is to flee to the warmth and safety of ignorance. The true heir of the world, irrefutable proof of the meaninglessness of our existence, the arrogant futility of our science, and the inevitable death of hope within a cold and uncaring universe, in which it is not meant that we should venture far.”

“Seriously, Miss Redheart.”

“It looks like a fat gargoyle wearing a squid.”

“Charming.” Harshwhinny sighed into the phone. “Miss Redheart, I am… calling a retreat. We lose no matter which of them win, and creatures of this scale are beyond our capabilities. Perhaps Miss Celestia will return with Equestrian power, but the best we can do now is evacuate and hope the military can… can avenge Canterlot.”

“Suit yourself.” Redheart shifted to get more comfortable, letting her legs dangle off the roof’s edge. She sipped from a thermos. “Coffee and vodka. Dinner of champions.”

“It will be tight in here, but I can pick you up.”

“How are the kids?” Redheart asked.

“Miss Sunset is not answering,” Harshwhinny said, with small regret entering her voice. “Miss Luna has, ah, made many passionate attempts to call. We will stop at the university after getting you.”

Redheart yawned. Time for another sip. “Go right there. I’m good.”

“Miss Redheart–”

“What? It’s the end of the world as we know it.” Redheart laughed as she tapped the red hangup button. “And I feel fine.”

She briefly contemplated tossing her phone from the edge, but dang, these things were expensive. She settled for pocketing it, lounging contentedly as she watched the titan-sized battle unfold.

Author's Note:

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