• Published 10th Jun 2020
  • 1,132 Views, 40 Comments

Splintershard - TheMajorTechie

Once upon a time, Equestria flourished. That time is now long-gone.

  • ...

4|2 ◈ A Soul


"What now, genius?" Starlight grumbled under her breath. "You wanna teleport now or nah?"

"Yeah, let's dip. Know anywhere we can teleport to around here?"

"...not really."

The duo stood silent, listening to the hoofsteps growing closer.

"Yeah, you know what? Screw this." Emily lit her horn, forcing Star to the back of her head. "It's portal time."

"You're sure diving into this recklessly, aren't yo--"

The ground beneath them opened up, sending them tumbling into oblivion before snapping shut behind them.


Starlight groaned, forcing herself to her hooves. "Emi... did you really have to do that after the explosion?"

"Yup. Hey Star, recognize anything? Pretty dark here... wherever here is. Is it possible to accidentally open a portal to the other side of the planet if you were aiming for underground tunnels?"

Starlight rolled her eyes as she lit her horn. Its dim, flickering glow illuminated the dirt-encrusted walls all around them. Dried roots--no doubt ancient by how they crumbled at the touch--branched from the weathered cracks in the mortar. Her eyes set on a few loose bricks that'd fallen probably lifetimes ago.

"Spooky." Emi's voice whispered.

"It's the evac tunnels." Starlight stepped over the bricks. "Stay quiet for now. I know the way out, but I have no idea what could be down here after so many years."

"Evac tunnels?"

The mare gave a nod. "They're similar to the ones we dropped into back when we were escaping the Old Guard. Used mainly to hide and run away to safety, from what I remember."

No response rose from Emily.

The quiet clip-clop of their hooves echoed from every direction, complementing the low creaks and rumbles that came from far above. Starlight paused from time to time, peering around idly before continuing onward, aided only by the pale-blue light flickering from her horn.

"Ooh, do you think there's gonna be, like, old stuff stashed down here?"

"You mean me?" A half-smirk grew across Starlight's face.

"Suuuuure. No, I mean stuff like weapons! Wouldn't it make sense for the tunnels to be stocked with supplies just in case?"

Starlight shrugged. "Back then yeah, but I wouldn't be so sure now. We should... probably get out of this place as soon as we can." She glanced up at the ceiling again before turning her eyes back to the path ahead. "We're getting close to the city limits."

"So what are we gonna do when we're out? It's probably gonna be impossible to get rid of the scrolls now."


Emily let out a surprised huff, her voice nearly escaping into the tunnels. "Yeah? That's all you have to say?"

"I don't really see any other way to even try to destroy them at this point. And with how self-destructive you've been acting--"

"--Hey! I was doing it to get us out, alright?"

"Uh-huh... anyway, my point is, if you want to go home, feel free to do so. I won't stop you."

"Not 'til I get my body back."

Starlight felt her control over their body slipping as Emily nudged her aside. They continued walking.


"Star, it's literally been a straight path the entire way that we've walked so far."

"Left. Just trust me."

Emily turned her gaze to the left. The masonry didn't look any different from every other wall they'd walked past. If she could stare Starlight square in the eyes right now for reassurance, she would've.

"Look closer, Emi."

She narrowed her eyes, stepping closer to the wall. A... thin haze of sorts seemed to cover it, sitting just above the surface. Emily blew a puff of air at the haze and watched it shimmer in response. "Is this..." She raised a hoof, taking a tentative step into the wall. On the other side was... more tunnel.

"Honestly, I'm surprised that the illusion's still in place after so long."

"I'm surprised there are illusions down here at all."

"Emi. We're in a world where you got turned into a talking unicorn. What did you expect?"

"'Dunno. Maybe an anteater." Emily shrugged. "Where is this place gonna exit to, anyway?"

"Crystal caverns. From there we can exit at the foot of the mountain."

"Ooh, crystal. Do you think--"

"Nope." Starlight cut her off before she could finish her sentence. "We are not going to do anything with crystals."

Emily rolled her eyes at the remark, but continued walking.

A stairwell.

Emily traced its steps downward until it was too dark to see, save for the occasional faint glow of some rocks that she probably shouldn't be standing all too close to.

She lingered for a few more seconds at the top of the stairs.

"Go on, Emi. I'll be here the entire way through. Not that there's anywhere else to go."

A soft huff was all Starlight got for her words.

Emily took a step down the stairs. Then another. And another. She watched the shadows of stubby stalactites dance across the walls in the light of her horn. Listened to the beat of her hooves against the stone-carved steps.

A faraway creak shot up the stairs.

She paused.

Probably just some old door on the other side.

She continued her descent.

From time to time, she'd pass small cutouts into the side of the stairwell. Rest areas, Starlight described them, to make up for the tedious passage.

She quickly grew to appreciate them.

"So... is Equestria just a lost cause now?" Emily muttered quietly, her eyes locked to the uneven steps ahead. "We're giving up on the whole scrolls mission just like that?"

"I don't understand why you're bringing this up again, Emi. We're already fugitives. This isn't something that we can keep trying at."

"Yeah, but what about your pride? Weren't you, like, some war leader in your past life?"

"Was. Nobody I fought for is alive anymore now. Maybe it's best to just let things happen by official means. It was my mistakes that made that scroll's existence known. Being a part of it again now is only going to make things worse. Right now..."

Emily felt her hold over their shared body slip as Starlight took control again. Starlight's voice was now the one being spoken with.

"You're the only one I care about anymore."

"Oh. Uh... thanks." Emily murmured, her voice shrinking to the back of their mind.

"Don't sweat it. We'll get you home no matter what it takes, and then you can forget any of this ever happened."

Emily didn't respond.

They continued walking, though from time to time Starlight would break into a light trot, paying close attention to her footing the entire way.


Starlight froze in place.

"Is anyone there?"

A single name escaped Starlight, echoing deeper into the depths of the stairwell.