• Published 8th Jan 2020
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Golden Age of Apocalypse - Book III: Legacies - BlueBastard

Everything is finally ready for Sunset Shimmer to be crowned a ruling princess of Equestria, but not all is as it seems as the Covenant make their move and the history of Equestria itself is called into question as GAOA reaches its explosive end!

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Chapter 17 - The Veil

Golden Age of Apocalypse

Chapter 17—The Veil

As Rarity had warned Mr. and Mrs. Cake a few years prior right after the birth of their twins, unicorn foals were prone to experiencing random magical surges on account of their rapidly developing brains, which uniquely for unicorns connects directly to their magically-charged nervous systems. As the infantile mind matures into foalhood or fillyhood, the free-flowing magic which initially was greater than what the body could safely contain without the periodic outbursts—a remnant of an ancient survival trait from before ponies developed civilization—becomes normalized and ultimately stops. From there, the unicorn foal will learn, through practice and instruction, how to master the energies within to perform feats otherwise impossible for other species. Similar magics exist within pegasi and earth ponies, though their abilities are more passive.

In terms of humans using magic, this field was relatively unknown simply because the very idea of magic within humans was inconceivable until Princess Twilight Sparkle discovered the human counterparts of her closest friends, who coincidentally happened to all come from powerful bloodlines and had their all-but-extinct ley cells awakened when their friendship harmonized with the alicorn.

But the way Sombra’s dark magic worked, woven into his own progeny’s genetics to bloom generations later, was different. He had intended for his Scions’ powers to manifest uniquely and differently; an end that had occured, though likely not in the way he had intended. Raspberry Beryl had manifested her power in a moment of true life or death and the darkness had forced itself around her broken horn—by growing a new one, but corrupting her physical form in the process. Lockbox was arguably more like what Razz might have been had her father not sawed her horn off, having been able to balance using light magic with her dark magical chains. Corner Shot was more passive, in that she could summon her power only in times of extreme duress in combat.

Octavia Melody was the exception even among her distant alien cousins, for it was her split DNA—the result of having consumed her unborn twin in the womb—that had made her the fourth Scion, as it was in fact “Melody” who had originally been fated to carry Sombra’s power. This mismatch within the girl had led to the magic and its true mistress laying dormant inside her until by chance, a raw injection of Equestrian magic had been carried out by Sunset, triggering its reawakening. With no way of controlling it or even sensing it properly, Octavia had been subject to Melody’s growing power and consistent attempts at taking over their body. But at the moment of her greatest victory, Melody had made an error—by drawing upon the power of the Alicorn Amulet to try and torture Octavia in a way she could never hope to recover from, she had in fact bridged the metaphorical gap that prevented Octavia from accessing what was technically her own magical inner wellspring.

The problem was that having zero experience using magic, in addition to having no idea she even had the capability, Tavi was no better than a newborn filly about to experience their first foalsflare. It was similar to what had happened with the true human Sunset Shimmer in the aftermath of the battle with Chernabog and the pony Sunset sacrificing herself to save her counterpart, imbuing her with the power of a unicorn. But Sunset had been a unicorn, so her magic was more able to be controlled directly. For Octavia, whose own counterpart was an earth pony, her magic would manifest more indirectly.

As it so happened, in that moment when she was confronted by the two Covenant ponies, the perfect combination of fight-or-flight response, uncontrolled magic flareup, and the unpredictable properties of dark magic whose uniqueness on the level of Razz’s crystals or Lock’s chains had yet to be defined...all she could do was scream with the amplified power of her dark birthright.

The shockwaves of Tavi’s pain and anguish could be seen reverberating through the air itself, shaking the very foundations of the earth and passing through solid rock as if it was tissue paper.

45th Day of Spring—3:46AM

Throughout the lair, the sonic shockwave passed through every corridor it could—quickly losing its most destructive aspects but remaining strong enough to knock even the sturdiest pony off their feet and rendering weaker ones unconscious.

“What is that?” said Whiskey, clutching at a rock outcropping for stability as the sensation ripped through her being.

“Whatever it is, it can’t be good!” said Blu, who had been forced to sit on his haunches and hold his forehooves over his ears, as the piercing wail certainly wasn’t doing his fine sense of hearing any favors. Heliodor likewise was cradling his head in his wings trying to achieve the same.

When the scream, wherever its origins, finally subsided, the radio crackled to life.

“All units, this is Sierra Six” called out Sable from the black plastic box attached on Whiskey’s hip, “Report in, over.”

“This is Sierra Five. Currently engaging tangos,” Adagio responded over the line, before the sound of gunfire briefly sounded out as well. “Do we have any idea just what kind of weapon that was?”

Blu immediately pulled the radio off Whiskey’s hip with his golden magic, keying the input to speak. “This is, ah, Agency Six here. We’re fine on this end, but we don’t think that was a weapon—it seems to have hit their own people as well. If anything, it may have been a miscast spell...specifically a sonic wave spell that may have gone wrong.”

“A what?”

“It’s somepony outputting enough vocal energy to distort the very air around them in a kind of physical attack—believe me, growing up with both a mother and two sisters who were sirens that have vocal based magic? It got very loud at home during my foalhood.”

“But only a siren could generate that kind of vocal power, right?” Sonata asked over the line; as expected, she had dived into the arcane research for potential weapons that could be used against them.

“Sonic blast spells can be generated by any magic caster, though it’s most commonly used by sirens.” Blu explained, turning to face Whiskey. “That being said, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Covenant having another rogue siren like the one you defeated.”

“Well, all units, keep an eye out,” Sable ordered. “If it’s a surprise the tangos have for us, I don’t want to deal with any further ones. Sierra Six out.”

Blu then gave Whiskey back the radio and pressed on. “And it isn’t like this place isn’t already getting more and more suspicious by the minute,” he voiced, unsure if he was talking to Whiskey or thinking aloud.

45th Day of Spring—3:46AM

In the atrium proper, the Covenant had all been shaken as well, but to the misfortune of the three trapped Scions, it hadn’t made it any easier to break free as those ponies were already pinning them to the ground.

“What in Sombra’s name was that?!” exclaimed Lux, looking shaken—both physically and metaphorically. Dynamine’s opinion was much more subdued.

“Hrmph,” the Oracle said, seemingly brushing off the fact a localized sonic earthquake had just occurred. “I’m surprised the humans brought one of the Hooves to help with their dirty work. Not that it matters if they have a flying fish freak in here, as their advantages do not apply within the caves. But it does mean we need to make haste and finish the ritual.”

“I already sent two ponies after the fourth Scion, that human freak—don’t know why they haven’t returned yet.” He turned to face two other members of the Covenant, ordering, “You two, go find the others!”

“Y-yes, Father Lux!” one of them stammered and together they ran off.

45th Day of Spring—3:47AM

Off to the side, Razz noticed one particular pony in a cloak—a unicorn mare based on the hood having a slightly more deformed top surface indicating the presence of a horn—looking at her oddly. While the other cultists regarded her with wary annoyance at worst, Razz could practically feel the concentrated hate coming from this particular individual.

“The fuck is your problem?” Razz spat, still straining under the weight of the ponies holding her down.

“Funny you should say that,” the mare said, her cyan eyes glimmering with anticipation—Razz figured she must have really been into this whole ritual thing. “I’d say that my problem is you, Raspberry Beryl.”

“Wait, she’s the one you’ve had a stick up your ass about, Chrysoberyl?” commented Corner, overhearing the exchange. Chrysoberyl shot a glare at the downed pegasus but Corner didn’t care; they’d never really gotten along anyway. “What did she even do to you?”

“You wouldn’t understand, Corner,” said Chrysoberyl. “This is personal.”

“I don’t even know who you are,” Razz stated.

Chrysoberyl studied her with a thoughtful frown. “Of course you don’t. You truly do embody him the best out of your fellows. Even your arrogance is the most like his.”

Razz was surprised to hear a supposed Sombra fanatic speak so… honestly about the pony they all worshipped.

“That sounded dangerously close to heresy, Acolyte Chrysoberyl.” Evidently, so was Father Neon Lux.

“Relax, Father Lux. My conviction is still without question,” Chrysoberyl said in the airy way of somepony used to getting what they want. “I just don’t understand some of our Lord’s decisions is all.” Chrysoberyl’s attention then returned to Razz, as did her disdainful frown. “After all, with generations of ponies to choose from, why oh why was it you who inherited his power?”

“Excuse me?” Razz asked, more puzzled now than annoyed.

“There’s more to a pony than just her power,” added Lockbox. “As a unicorn I would expect even you to know that.”

“Not her power,” said Chrysoberyl, looking disdainfully at Lockbox but gesturing with a hoof toward Razz. “She had everything given to her and what she doesn’t reject, she uses to undermine her true purpose!”

“No, I define what my purpose is,” said Razz, getting a swift back-hoofed slap to the face for her trouble.

“Your purpose—the purpose of the Scions—was decided on your birth!” seethed Chrysoberyl. “As was mine!” She then raised her hoof again, looking to deliver a heavier blow this time.

“Acolyte Chrysoberyl!” accosted Dynamine out of the blue, stepping in front of the aggressive mare. “Stop it—the ritual is no good if the Scions are dead!”

“Oh, please, like punching the mare who can cheat death is going to do anything,” hissed Chrysoberyl.

Do not test me,” warned Dynamine, her horn glowing green as a warning.

“Fine, Oracle; let’s get this over with and bring back Sombra,” said Chrysoberyl, backing down with a cruel smile. “Who knows? Maybe I’ll ask him myself!”

But as Razz exchanged looks with Corner and Lock, it was becoming evident that the Oracle wasn’t the only one with an agenda that ran counter to that of the Covenant’s. Worse: they still didn’t have much of a plan getting out of this predicament.

45th Day of Spring—3:49AM

Tavi remained seated in the box, hands over her mouth, as she struggled to comprehend what had just happened—what she had just caused. The sudden onset of emotion had triggered something in her that had led to some kind of scream and the next thing she knew, the two ponies that had found her were now laying on the ground in front of her, clutching their heads as their ears were bleeding.

What the fuck am I? she thought, her mind in a panic. Strangely, of all the things that could have brought her comfort, it was the fact that nowhere inside of herself did she sense that damnable presence of Melody. It was like that mental pestilence had simply vanished after the amulet thing had been yanked off her neck, like some sort of obscene parting gift from her self-claimed “twin sister”. This would normally have been cause for celebration, but given that she might have just permanently rendered two ponies deaf if not outright killed them, the jury was still out on if she was an individual—a thing—worth celebrating anymore in the slightest.

It was then that she heard commotion outside, and it was all she could do to try and shrink farther into the box and pray none of these ponies would come in. Given the two twitching bodies in front of her, though, it was unlikely.

But then they spoke.

“What happened to these two?” said a distinctly Japanese-accented young female voice, which Tavi immediately recognized.

“They apparently ran afoul of whatever is in that box,” came a voice Tavi was (to her own surprise) even more excited to hear, and sure enough even in the poor lighting of the kitchen area of wherever the fuck she was trapped, she could make out his face just around the edge—but not before the european looking broadsword first appeared, as if drawn to combat some horrible monster.

Which I am, Tavi grimly thought. But she had to banish that concept now—she had to trust her friends still considered her one. “B-blu?” she ventured, carefully.

The sword immediately dropped and Blu virtually teleported right in front of the box.

“Oh my Aunt Celestia,” he gasped, “Octavia! Are you alright?!”

“I...I don’t fucking know,” she swore, emotions awash between joy and sorrow at Blu finding her...and finding her like this where she was some kind of mockery fusion of both human and his own species—worse, as she recalled with even more horror, the latter part of her now more closely resembled the Octavia he knew of this world.

He immediately noticed Tavi’s new inhuman lower body and couldn’t help but take a step back in shock. “What have they done to you?” He then shook his head out of his funk. “No matter, we’ll figure it out later—in the meantime we need to get you out of here!” He immediately wrapped Tavi in his aura—which felt warm, almost as good as an embrace from him—and carefully extracted her, putting her back on her feet/hooves, though the moment he let go, she collapsed onto her knees as she still hadn’t gotten used to standing on her new ungulate anatomy.

“Miss Octavia!” exclaimed Whiskey, dropping to her knees and embracing the human. “I’m so glad you’re alive!”

“I’m glad to see you, too, Whiskey,” said Tavi. Looking behind Whiskey, Tavi noticed a familiar green and gold phoenix respectfully keeping his distance—Heliodor wasn’t as close to Tavi so she appreciated he thought well enough to give space.

“Now, I know this is going to sound awful,” said Blu, who as Tavi turned to look at him she was shocked to find a stern expression on his face, “but...I have to make sure it’s you.”

“Wh-what are you talking about?”

“I have reason to believe changelings are involved with the situation—"

“Changelings?” Octavia asked.

“Shapeshifting monsters, and it just makes everything more complicated since they can disguise themselves as virtually any other creature—which I assume includes humans, too.” Blueblood then took on a pleading look in his eyes, as if desperately hoping this exercise was not going to reveal what he hoped wasn’t true. “Tavi...the name of the restaurant I took you to the night after those gryphons attacked, what was it?”

“I… don’t understand what you—"

“WHAT WAS IT?!” He demanded, but not out of anger—but out of some kind of sensation that for all his power, for all the things he could do, he needed her to do this for him. Reluctantly, behind him, Whiskey followed suit and trained her rifle on Octavia.

“It, uh was...oh what was it...The Shroom Room?”

Tavi was immediately hugged by Blu, while Whiskey joined in again—it felt almost like the big group hugs she and her cousins often shared. Though Blu was wearing armor and it felt a bit awkward—not like Tavi cared.

“I’m sorry about that, Tavi,” apologized Blu—was he actually crying? “But, well...standard Agency protocol and all that.”

“It’s okay, really…”

Whiskey suddenly broke off, whipping out a radio from her hip. “This is Sierra Echo. We have one Package Alpha in hand, repeat, we have Package Alpha. We are now moving to a defensive position, over.”

Roger that,” came a garbled voice that Tavi could just make out as Aria’s voice. “SITREP? Over.”

“We’re in some kind of kitchen area,” Whiskey responded. “Not secure, so we’re definitely going to have to leave, over.”

Continue to move towards the entrance. Once there, secure the package in the Valanx and await further response, over.”

“Negat action,” Whiskey told her. “Package is...debilitated. Can’t explain exactly, but will need additional reinforcement. Neither I nor Agency Six can provide full extraction, over.”

Copy that. Stay there, we’ll find you. Can’t imagine this shithole has more than one kitchen area, over.”

“Roger that. Sierra Echo, out.”

“God, I just want this to end,” moaned Tavi, who moved to sit on the ground morosely. She then briefly jumped up, as she realized she’d sat on her tail, which made her feel all the more depressed.

“We’re going to get through this, okay?” reassured Blu. And as Tavi once again looked at Blu, even after everything she’d seen, everything she now was...she believed him.

But then she noticed the walls were starting to slowly fade between the not-quite-adequately lit torches...and some kind of sickly, almost toxic looking shade of green. “Blu...what’s happening to the walls?”

Blu didn’t even look up, as he already knew what was going on. “I think the Covenant is about to learn they’ve been played for fools.”

45th Day of Spring—3:55AM

“What do you mean you can’t find them?!” seethed Lux. The two ponies he’d sent off to go find the human—and the original two ponies he’d sent on the task—had come back empty-hooved.

“We can’t get anywhere!” one cried. “Those humans are closing in on us and most of the access is blocked!"

“I’m surrounded by incompetent fools!” groaned Lux. But as he facehoofed, he happened to be looking at the walls, where it was quickly becoming apparent something was starting to fizzle out. Naturally, he stormed over to where the three Scions were being restrained, pointing a hoof accusingly at Razz. “I know this is your doing, but it’s accomplishing nothing but giving me a headache!”

“What are you accusing me of now?” asked Razz. But as she too looked at the walls having an identity crisis, a sinking feeling in her gut started to become more pronounced—as the walls began to become more uncomfortably familiar.

Lockbox also was starting to worry for the same reason. “I am getting the worst sensation of deja vu right now.”

It was Corner Shot who finally stated the obvious in her own abrasive way, as the magical charm that had been holding to disguise the walls all this time, weakened by Tavi’s sonic wail, finally gave way and exposed the cave for what it truly was; “Where the fuck did you even get this base, anyway? The changelings?”

“Clearly the changelings will rent out to anyone,” Razz deadpanned. “I wonder if they also do weddings, receptions and cuteceañeras?”

To the sudden disconcertion of the Scions, only Lux and a couple of the Covenant acolytes looked at the walls in horror...but not the majority. Meanwhile, the sickly green bioillumination put a grim underscoring on the situation, as well as killing the whole “cultist” mood.

“Well, that’s disappointing,” Tiny Dynamine sighed, “I was hoping we could have at least gotten through the mock ritual, but I suppose time is of the essence.”

“Mock ritual?!” Lux wheeled around and confronted the oracle. “What are you—" He suddenly found his muzzle clamped shut by Dynamine’s magic.

“You’ve been such a good little puppet,” she grinned; once she did, everypony in the room started getting a much, much more threatening vibe from what had been the unassuming crazy mare guiding this shitshow. She walked over to Lux, and cradled his chin in her forehoof. “So willing to follow orders from some random mare preaching the good word of Sombra.”

“B-but…” Lux hopelessly babbled.

“True, I knew about the prophecy and gave your Covenant hope, but that isn’t the real reason you so eagerly brought me into the fold,” Dynamine said with a triumphant sneer. “You just wanted what any creature without use or merit wants: power. That’s why I came to you right after your old leader passed on; the timing of that was no coincidence. I would have had a hard time convincing a more principled leader to do half the things I got you to do—having the ex-Father Fields killed by his own prized assassin, for instance—but you so desperately clung to to the illusion of power, you made my acts of sabotage easy.”

Neon Lux’s face was a blank slate of horror as the illusion of control slipped away as surely as the arcane illusions dispelled over the changeling hive around them. With a sadistic, patronizing smile, Dynamine patted Lux’s cheek like a mother to a disappointed child.

“So much for faith,” she said.

“Okay, will somepony please explain just what the hell is going on here?!” asked an exasperated Corner.

“We’re in a changeling hive, you dumbass,” said Lock. “Take a wild guess.”

“More than that,” chuckled Dynamine, turning her attention back to Lux. “It is cute how you said all those lovely things about Queen Chrysalis only a few minutes ago, given the situation you’re now in.”

“You work for that bitch?!” exclaimed Lux, cautiously putting the pieces of his shattered world back together.

“Oh, no, I don’t serve Queen Chrysalis,” said Dynamine, before emerald fire enshrouded her, and in a flash of green embers took on her true form, “I am Queen Chrysalis.”

Now finally seeming to understand just how fucked he was, he started to back away from the now imposingly tall figure that had been masquerading around as the Oracle he had blindly followed. It was made worse by the fact as he frantically looked around at what Covenant ponies were still in the room, one by one they began to change in emerald fire, from cloaked ponies into the ebon, insectile equinoids that formed the swarm.

Fortunately for the three Scions, all the ponies that were still keeping them pinned all proved to not be changelings, and in the shock they let their quarry go. Corner immediately tried to make a run for it but was surprised when she felt Razz’s magic keeping her back.

“No,” insisted the dark unicorn. “Don’t draw attention to us!”

“Yeah, we have experience dealing with changeling queens,” Lock boasted. In fairness, it had been one queen and the two unicorns had exploited the fact that said queen had set up a hive inside an unstable mine shaft.

Unfortunately for them, this was not an unstable mine shaft, but instead a satellite hive far more well established.

“But...but why?!” asked Lux, “And how did you know so much about King Sombra?!”

“Oh, he and I have had quite the history, I assure you,” she stated with a touch of distaste. “More than you’ll ever know, unfortunately. Besides,the only truth I’ve ever told you as your precious Oracle was what I knew from the back of that mirror,” she gestured to the largely forgotten furniture near one of the walls. “I happened to find it while I was running around as the pretty pink princess and it revealed its greatest secret to me. But all it talked about was his precious four Scion descendants, there never was anything about his resurrection—the old fool wouldn’t have need of Scions if he could pull that off! Only a being of Discord’s power could resurrect someone like Sombra and he wouldn’t ever have any reason to do something that stupid.”

Not seen by Chrysalis was Razz and Lock having to hold Corner’s mouth shut with their magic lest she scream “SO I WAS RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING, YOU BITCH!”

“As for why...well, in case you haven’t gotten a clue yet, the fact is I really don’t like Sombra all that much.” Then with a disappointed sigh, Chrysalis said, “I had hoped to personally destroy Sombra from the very throne he coveted after he and the Crystal Empire returned to this world. Unfortunately, Twilight Sparkle and her friends ruined my plans to take over Canterlot, and then they went and destroyed Sombra themselves while I was busy replenishing my numbers.

“I’ll admit, for a while after that I despaired. All those years of planning, and I’d completely missed my only chance at revenge. Finally, I realized that I could at least take a consolation prize: the complete annihilation of his legacy. What better way to show that old shadow up than to completely dismantle his own circle of worshipers from the inside out?”

“B-but the Scions-!” stammered Lux, before finding himself levitated in the air by Chrysalis.

“The Scions are nothing more than Sombra’s final legacy; a pathetic last grasp for immortality.” Chrysalis silently held Father Lux aloft, allowing the knowledge of his own folly to stew just a little longer. A few times Lux opened his mouth and tried to speak only for his words to die on his tongue. Razz thought that Chrysalis was strangling him at first, but then she realized: the Covenant’s supposed leader was well and truly speechless.

“You understand now, don’t you? The true foolish nature of the one you so venerate,” Chrysalis teased, pulling Lux closer to her. “I truly couldn’t have picked a more perfect puppet, and as reward for your service, I’ll give you what you want: the chance to finally meet him in whatever abyss he’s rotting in now! Tell that old fuck Chrysalis says hi when you get there.”

And with that, she used her telekinesis to effortlessly snap Lux’s neck with full torque. An expression of shock and excruciating pain etched onto his face as he breathed his last. She then dumped the body on the floor like a wet rag, laughing, before turning to face the Scions.

“Now, speaking of dismantling legacies….”

45th Day of Spring—4:00AM

The fact the walls had completely turned into changeling halls only confirmed what Blu had begun to suspect, and it made the situation very dire indeed.

“We have to get you out of here,” he said to Tavi. He remembered what Whiskey had told the SIRENs over the radio—Tavi was in no fit state to move around—but the more changeling ichor he eyed on the walls, the more he realized it may be better to risk moving Tavi than it was to risk staying.

“But what about Archmagus Beryl and Miss Lockbox?” asked Whiskey. Helidor especially looked angry, given the whole reason he was here was to save Razz.

Noting that Octavia was in a fragile mental state at the moment, he felt that he had to have a better reason than “I want to protect her because I love her”, at least as far as mentioning at the moment. And, so, given his experience as an intelligence agent, he did what they were trained to do: lie and distract. “We’ll have to trust that they can handle themselves. They singlehoofedly leveled an entire changeling hive on their own and I trust they can do it again. But you have to remember: Octavia here is a civilian and that means that she’s in extreme danger. Our first priority is to extract her safely.

“But I’ll just slow you down—I can’t even reliably walk on these things!” said Tavi, gesturing to her hooves.

“I’ll support you,” said Whiskey, getting down on her knees to help shoulder Tavi’s weight.

“No. She can lean against me,” Blu ordered. “We need your weapons to cover us in case we run into more changelings.” As she nodded, Heliodor spat out an angry stream of chirps, making it clear what he thought of all this.

“I’m sorry, Heliodor,” said Blu, “but we don’t have a choice. And you know that she would insist on the same thing.”

The bird looked fit to pop a vein of anger, but let out a low, keening warble in agreement.

It was then that a low droning noise caught all of their attention. Blu cautiously ventured a look around the kitchenette’s door and paled—an impressive feat for a snow-white furred stallion. “It's as I feared—this is a hive loaded with changelings, and they seem mainly to be waiting for us to go the way we came.”

“But the Scions went the other way to fight off changelings, at least that’s what Octavia said."

“We have a phoenix,” said Blu, gesturing toward Heliodor, “and as for you—looks like we will be getting your mistress after all."

Heliodor cawed, pleased that the original plan was being adhered to and indicated he was ready to burn some bugs if it meant getting reunited with Razz

45th Day of Spring—4:01AM

Razz then stepped forward. She knew that the SIRENs were currently fighting their way toward them, and needed to stall for time. She did have at least one question for Queen Chrysalis, and if she’d learned anything about megalomaniacs, it was they loved to talk about the complexities of how they outsmarted everyone. “Look, before you do...whatever...you want with us, can you answer at least one question?”

Chrysalis gave an idle shrug as she blaisly watched her changelings round up and cocoon what remained of the genuine followers of King Sombra. “An obvious stalling tactic if I’ve ever seen one, but I’ll bite.”

With a sweeping hoof gesture inviting Razz to ask away, she did so. “If you’ve been controlling the Covenant the whole time, why did you send Corner Shot after me, but then as yourself send Coco to protect me?”

Chrysalis chuckled. “Isn’t it obvious? It was simple misdirection—you didn’t even think I had anything to do with the Covenant until now with that simple action.”

“You mean that whole exercise of me having to stalk Razz during the pool tournament was pointless?!” exclaimed Corner, sensing a growing theme with her entire service with the Covenant as of late.

“For you, yes. But it kept attention off me while I further drove the Covenant into oblivion. I will admit that Coco even being on that airship was not my doing—it was that usurper Queen Mandible who brought that thing down and Coco just happened to be on it—but it worked to get her inserted into your little clique.”

45th Day of Spring—4:02AM

With Tavi stabilized via one of Blueblood’s more complex spells, Whiskey pushed towards the door, that Tavi had mentioned the three Scions had gone through earlier.

“Okay, on the count of three,” said Blu, steeling himself. “One...Two...Three!”

The bird, unicorn, and magically-supported human, all covered by the kitsune-turned-human, all made a rush for the exit.


All attention was drawn to the door leading to the kitchenette, where Whiskey had been unable to prevent Tavi from taking another tumble as they entered alongside Blueblood.

“Ah, the final Scion. Perfect timing!” A sinister female voice exclaimed. “Now we can begin!”

Octavia looked up and locked eyes with a horror. A twisted equine figure of black chitin leered at her with hungry harlequin green eyes framed by stringy cerulean hair, grinning at her with a fang-lined mouth. Octavia could do only one thing. “What in God’s name is THAT?!”

But her words had an unexpected effect. “God?” asked the monster, her tone not hiding the rising fury within her. “God? You dare bring up that blasted human god in front of me, Queen Chrysalis?! I am living proof that the ‘God’ we believed in does not exist! Where was our ‘God’ when I—“ Chrysalis quickly covered her mouth with a chitinous hoof, but she knew she’d said too much.

45th Day of Spring—4:02AM

“God?” asked Razz, narrowing her eyes. In her time on human Earth, she’d learned that the humans had many religions. How that was even possible, she had no idea given they didn’t have anything remotely resembling alicorns and even Sunset had struggled to try and explain how human belief structures worked. But the major one Razz had encountered the most references to was Christianity, which had a singular god and had been a dominant religion in human culture for hundreds of years.

And it suddenly seemed very suspicious that Chrysalis knew anything about it.

More gunfire suddenly rang out, and that seemed to spook the changeling queen even moreso. “Looks like our little playdate is up,” she said, sidestepping her apparent slip of the tongue. “Now that all four of you Scions are here, time to clean up the trash left over from a thousand years ago!” As punctuation, Chrysalis started charging her horn with magic as the changelings launched their attack.

“Don’t you dare!” shouted Lockbox, charging her horn with dark energy as the red and black chains shot from the ground like a leviathan on the warpath. Razz meanwhile immediately began firing off shots to freeze changelings in their place with crystal, while Corner made scarce to get her advantage of stealth back before she started knifing some insects. The few remaining Covenant could only watch helplessly within the changeling cocoons.

Over by the door, Blu had conjured up a shield around his group while Whiskey fired off shots with her carbine. Meanwhile, feeling the need for speed, Heliodor had darted into the air—the atrium being large enough for him to play to his advantage—and began shooting off fire, keeping bugs away from Razz. She briefly looked up and made eye contact—the smile in her eyes signaling her appreciation her loyal bird had come for her.

But in the middle of the chaos, Chrysalis had other plans. She didn’t attack anypony—instead, she simply ran over to Sombra’s Mirror, between it and where the Alicorn Amulet had been sitting on a pedestal the entire time. It was only Razz who caught in the corner of her eye what the queen intended.

“NO!” she screamed, but it was too late. Enshrouded in green magic, the Amulet flew from the podium and around Chrysalis’s neck.

“AHAHAHAHAH!” cackled the queen. “Now, I shall destroy what remains of Sombra’s legacy with his own power! And then I’ll—" She suddenly was cut off mid sentence, eyes gone wide as if something had interrupted her. “No...no no no no!” She then collapsed onto her haunches, cradling her head while the crystal inside the Amulet glowed ominously.

All around the Equestrians, the changelings likewise suddenly fell to the floor as if in pain.

“What the fuck is going on now?” whined Corner, appearing from thin air next to her fellow Scions.

“It’s like they’re all experiencing a collective seizure or something,” said Lock, keeping her guard up.

“It’s the hivemind,” said Blu, who took the opportunity to group up with the trio. “The Agency has long postulated that some kind of attack on it would cripple a group of changelings of any size, but...what is causing it?”

“The Amulet?” said Razz, watching the increasingly convulsing form of Chrysalis as she suddenly started speaking in two voices; her own...and a more twisted version of Octavia’s.

“Get out get out GET OUT!” Exclaimed Queen Chrysalis, the sadistic cunning in her voice replaced by sheer desperation.

“I WILL NOT BE DENIED AGAIN!” shouted another voice—a voice that was horrifyingly familiar to Octavia.

“This is MY body! I will not have some ursuper take it from me!”

“HA! I can already tell that’s a lie!”

But then, to everybody’s shock, a third voice emerged in the struggle. Barely audible, it didn’t sound anything like the evil voices of the queen or what could only have been Melody. And this third voice wasn’t speaking English.

«Cosa...cosa sta succedendo?»

Whatever collective bipolar crisis Chrysalis had invited upon herself, she finally seemed to be regaining control. But then she screamed with all three voices, as if involuntarily, she was being forced to change form again by the struggle inside of her head.

And this time, the scream that was heard the loudest was the third voice. A voice Razz already knew the identity of.

A voice that should have been dead.

Author's Note:


Now might be a good time for people to update the forgotten and unloved TV Tropes page.

Just sayin.

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