• Published 10th Oct 2020
  • 6,755 Views, 111 Comments

Doom Slayer - Thule117

Lands charred black, and rivers boiled, crops and wells alike despoiled, moutains leveled, forests felled, footprints of. . . the Beast of Hell.

  • ...

Awakend Darkness

Author's Note:

Welcome fair readers, to the first chapter of my Guardian Universe novella Doom Slayer. Truth be told, I wasn't entirely sure I would end up writing this at all. However, I've had this idea in my head for awhile, and ultimately decided it would be worth the effort. Mostly because I think you all will enjoy having a chance to see how the MLP Movie would have gone if Doomguy had been running security. And also, because I think I deserve a little cathartic release after what that movie did to my beloved Twilight Sparkle's character. Call it petty revenge if you wish, but personally, I prefer to think of it as literary therapy. At any rate, I hope you will all enjoy this little aside, and that you will have as much fun reading it, as I did writing it. Oh, and lest I forget, I wish to welcome Bronyshot2020 (formerly just Bronyshot) back to the fold as my editor, and to thank him for his stellar work on this chapter. Also, if you should feel so inclined, remember to like/comment on the story to let me know what you think of it. Now, on with the story. . . .

Tempest Shadow was elated. Not that she'd ever display such an emotion in the presence of her troops, and her perpetual disinterested scowl was as unshifting as ever. Yet, beneath her cold, disaffected exterior, she could not possibly have felt better. She was, after all, moments away from realizing a dream decades in the making. From the moment when she had first been inducted into the service of the Storm King, and fought her way through the ranks to become his second in command, this was a moment she had endlessly anticipated. There was of course, some small twinge of lingering guilt, that she was about to aid in the systematic conquest and enslavement of her former homeland, but she swiftly dismissed it. After all, Equestria had turned its back on her first, she was just returning the favor.

"Do you think they'll have anything to eat? Conquest really works up an appetite." Asked Grubber, and Tempest had to suppress an urge to let out a groan of annoyance. Truth be told, she had no idea why the Storm King had sent the little pest along. Tempest did recall something vague about the pint-sized storm beast acting as her new herald, honestly, she hadn't really paid attention, only concerning herself with her actual orders and battle strategy.

"I'm certain there will be a kitchen somewhere to plunder." She replied, carefully keeping her gaze straight ahead. "My former countryponies always did love their sweets." Grubber rubbed his claws together enthusiastically, loudly smacking his lips.

"Yum! I hope they have cake!" He declared, and Tempest struggled not to roll her eyes.

"Just make sure you announce me properly, I don't want a repeat of what happened with the hippogriffs." She drawled, making sure to keep her tone level.

"You got it boss!" He declared, giving an enthusiastic claws up, as he once more turned his attention to the large metal door in front of them. Tempest suppressed a grin, as a savage, growling voice, spoke through a nearby communication tube.

"Docking in five. . . four. . . three. . . two. . . one." A faint impact tremor reverberated through the ship, as it came alongside Canterlot, the capital of Equestria. The door falling forward, extending into a telescoping gangplank of dark steel. Hefting the voice magnifier, Grubber moved toward the opening, the light of the sun blinding after so long in the airship's hold. As he descended, Tempest took in the sight of the city spread out before her. Looking like a set of several bunched together concentric rings, attached firmly to the side of a massive mountain. Opulent, brightly colored houses, and immaculately maintained private gardens, as well as spacious public parks, filled the rings. Each connected to one another by white cobblestone streets, or marble flagstone paths. Pennants snapped in the wind atop the conical towers and onion dome capped minarets, of the massive hunk of enchanted marble that was the royal palace. The beating heart of Equestria.

Tempest scoffed at it all, these ponies lived in literal ivory towers, while she had to scrape and struggle every second for survival out in the wastes! Any lingering sympathy Tempest might have had, died instantly at the thought, this city deserved its fate. . . . Hidden from view by the angle of the ship, and smoke leaking from the engines into the troop bay, Tempest glared at her former fellow Equestrians with cruel satisfaction. She could see the worry and fear in their eyes, perfect tinder for the flames of panic and hysteria. Currently, she could only see one princess, the youngest and weakest of the four current rulers, but she felt confident the others would come soon enough, as Grubber gave their introduction.

"PONIES OF EQUESTRIA! WE COME ON BEHALF OF THE FEARSOME! THE MIGHTY!! STORM KING!!" Here Tempest's ears twitched as she heard the faint sound of the Storm King's banner being unfurled. "AND NOW! TO DELIVER THE EVIL EVIL MESSAGE! PUT YOUR HOOVES TOGETHER FOR COMMANDER TEMPEST!!" Tempest had to struggle not to roll her eyes at Grubber's idiotic description of their moral inclinations. Maybe they were evil from the perspective of Equestria, but as far as Tempest was concerned, they were just following orders. Nevertheless, she maintained what she felt was an appropriately fearsome facade, her broken horn sparking as she revealed herself. Gasps, and expressions of shock, greeted her as she descended the gangplank, and Tempest felt an instinctive flare of anger, that she swiftly squashed. No sooner had she gotten halfway down the ramp, than the three elder princesses touched down in front of her, fixing her with fearsome glares.

"Tempest, is it?" Celestia began, her tone guarded. "How may we help you?" Tempest smiled, she was going to enjoy this.

"Ah, I'm so glad you asked. How about we start with your complete and total surrender!" She declared imperiously, as the princesses leveled angry frowns at her. Suddenly however, the fourth princess, 'Twilight', Tempest seemed to recall her name being, stepped forward.

"Hi, Princess of Friendship, not really sure what's going on, but, I'm sure we can talk this out?" Tempest gave Twilight her most unimpressed look, unable to decide if she was stupid, or just naive.

"How cute. . . ." Tempest replied dismissively, before raising her voice. "Here's the deal ladies, I need your magic. Give it up nicely please or we make it difficult. . . for everyone!" At that moment, the four princesses' expressions became like stone.

"Did you bring an army miss Tempest?" Asked Celestia, her tone oddly calm. Tempest smiled, as from several different directions, the rest of her armada appeared out of the magical smoke the Storm King's ships used to hide their true numbers. Meanwhile, behind her, ranks of storm beasts filed out from her command ship, shields and bident spears held at the ready. As the troops from her command vessel got into formation, soldiers from two of the newly revealed ships, jumped down in front of the terrified crowds of ponies. Adding their numbers to Tempest's already impressive assembly. A short moment later, she had nearly four hundred armed and armored storm beasts at her back.

"As a matter of fact, I did." She drawled, smirking at the frowning princesses.

"Is that all?" Celestia asked with a raised eyebrow, and to Tempest's utter shock she sounded almost. . . amused.

"What?" Tempest asked, feeling a flare of anger, did these stuck up princesses think this was a joke?! Then, to her stunned amazement, Twilight stepped forward, her timid look of a moment ago nowhere to be seen, as she glared angrily at Tempest.

"Look Tempest, we like to think we're reasonable ponies, that's why we're going to give you one last chance to stop all this nonsense, and talk things out." Cadence nodded, her voice motherly as she spoke up.

"This doesn't need to end in violence Tempest. Perhaps if you explain why you and this. . . 'Storm King' need our magic, then we can find a way to help you?" Tempest narrowed her gaze, as she retrieved a small mass of green crystal, from a pouch hidden beneath her mane.

"I don't think you princesses understand the position you're in. Let me help illustrate it for you." She declared with a cold smirk, as she tossed the crystal into the air. Instantly, the poisonous looking crystals were encased in a translucent sphere of swirling black energy. With an acrobatic twirl she had practiced thousands of times with everything from pebbles to throwing knives, Tempest struck the sphere with her back hoof, aiming it directly at princess Cadence. As her soldiers locked shields, and surged forward.

Tempest watched with sadistic glee as Cadence threw up a shield with her magic. It was a doomed effort, the petrification crystals had been specifically designed to punch through alicorn magic. Striking the shield, the sphere of energy pulsed and sparked, as to Cadence's shock, it began to bore through her mystical barrier. Gritting her teeth, Cadence struggled against the vile artifact, desperately trying to push it away from herself and her family, but it was no use. It was as if she was trying to hold onto a bar of soap in a bath, her magic unable to find purchase on the protective energy sphere surrounding the weapon's core. Turning, she opened her mouth to tell her aunts and sister in law to run, but the gesture caused her focus to lapse for a critical instant. As if in slow motion, Cadence saw the green crystal flare menacingly, as it shattered her shield. With glacial slowness, she saw the black energy surrounding the projectile, melt away like wax, as the stone itself streaked toward her body. Then, suddenly, from out of the corner of her eye, Cadence saw a flicker of shadow, and her heart leapt, as at the last possible second, a five fingered hand, shod in green technosorcerous armor, interposed itself between her and the crystal. . . .

A cloud of dirty green and yellow smoke obscured Cadence from Tempest's view, a second after a black and green. . . something, had reached the princesses side in a blur of movement. Then, as the cloud began to disperse, a wave of chilling dread exploded out from the thinning vapor. Instantly, Tempest felt her mind reel, as her fight-or-flight response went into overdrive. For a moment, Tempest visibly quailed, her eyes wide, and her heart thundering in her chest, as she struggled to breath. The storm beast soldiers, in complete defiance of their intensive conditioning, halted their advance as surely as if they had collided with a brick wall. Several dropped their weapons, their claws shaking, as one or two let out what sounded like whimpers of fear. Then, as the cloud cleared completely, Tempest felt her entire being suffused with terror.

Soundtrack: 10th Man Down by Nightwish

The creature before her, stood on two powerful legs, at over six feet tall, every part of him, from his head and broad shoulders, to his firmly planted feet, was covered in nightmarish armor. Facing Tempest, his face was obscured by a helmet, the tinted visor hiding his face, save for two burning red eyes that seemed to bore right into her soul. One arm, powerfully muscled, even through his armor, was extended almost casually in front of Cadence's face, black and grey crystals encrusting it from the elbow down.

"W-w-what. . . ." Tempest struggled to form words as the creature slowly brought its partially petrified arm up to its visor. Tempest watched, her voice paralyzed, as the creature observed the crystals that its arm was now made of, or rather. . . should, have been made of. As in a gesture that turned Tempest's blood to ice, the creature closed its mineral encrusted hand, shattering the crystals into glittering dust, to reveal the completely unscathed armor beneath. In a gesture that was almost dismissive, the monstrous biped threw aside its meager handful of powderized crystal, in a sparkling cloud. Turning its head, the creature glanced at a gratefully smiling Cadence, the beast exchanging a brief nod of reassurance with the Princess of Love, before turning back to Tempest, and beginning a stalking advance. Maybe it was Tempest's imagination, but she could have sworn that the very earth shook in time with the creature's steps. She was only broken out of her horror induced shock, when she heard the voices of the formerly terrified ponies begin to shout.


"Oh thank Celestia!" Came the relieved sound of another.

"You're all gonna get it now!" Came the angry declaration of a third.

Tempest's mind reeled. The king?! Since when did Equestria have a king?! Backing away slowly, Tempest watched as two of her soldiers, motivated by either their brainwashed conditioning, or some insane delusion they could actually win, advanced on the biped with spears in hand. In a move so fast Tempest could barely follow it, the creature appeared between the two storm beasts, before hoisting them up by their throats. The two creatures barely had time to drop their weapons, before with a simple twitch of its strangely blunt claws, the biped broke both their necks with a sickening crack. With a gesture that was little more than a flick of the wrist, the pair of dead storm beasts were hurled into the ordered ranks of their fellows, scattering them like tenpins. The armored monster fixed Tempest with a gaze that made her feel as though she was a mere ant, standing before a thousand foot tall titan. In a tone like blackest thunder, it spoke with a voice filled to the brim with inequine hate.

"What. . . is. . .this. . . HERESY?!!!!" Tempest just had time to allow her troops to envelop her with their shield wall, as the monster charged. . . .

Derran Grandel, the Doom Slayer, betrothed of the Seraphim of the Sun and Moon, coltfriend of Twilight Sparkle the Seraphim of Friendship, and Guardian of Equestria, was enraged almost to the point of losing his ability to reason. He had, in his long life, seen many injustices and cruelties that angered him, yet none before had felt quite like this. It was not just the defiance of his warning after Chrysalis's defeat six months ago, nor was it merely the arrogance and audacity of this so-called 'Storm King'. Truth be told, it was not even the invasion itself that angered him the most. No, the penultimate source of Derran's fury, the thing that caused the spirit of the Doom Slayer within him to strain against his will, and cloud his vision with red, was that of all beings, it was one of the seraphs own children that led the assault.

Derran knew the seraphim's children were not perfect, even the seraph's themselves could fall from the Light's grace, under the right circumstances. Yet, to see a pony, any pony, willingly spit in the face of the beings who loved and sacrificed for all their children, no matter how lost, beings who saw even the lowest servant as family, and who gave even a wretch like him, their unconditional love. That, filled the mind of Derran Grandel, with a rage as cold and unforgiving as any he had ever felt. Like a vile caustic poison, Tempest's actions burned his throat with bile, and set his blood alight. He vowed in that instant, that he would not stop fighting, until every last one of this wretched traitor's soldiers, lay dead at his feet. As for Tempest herself, Derran swore that she would pay for her actions here, one way. . . or another.

With a flash of scarlet and a faint crack of displaced air, Unmaker appeared in Derran's hand. Evading the clumsy spear thrusts of his beast-like foes, Derran swung the blade of black steel and glinting gold at the shield wall before him. With an almost musical tone, the blade cleaved through the towering shields as if they were made of butter. A series of agonized roars and a spray of blood, preceding the sight of three white and black furred soldiers, splitting in half at the waist. Pushing forward, the row of soldiers behind the first, found themselves slipping in a rapidly expanding pool of gore and viscera, before being sent flying in all directions, as Derran slammed into them like a cannonball. Whirling around in the midst of his enemies, Derran sent his sword whistling through the air with an almost balletic twirl. Sending seven more of his foes hurtling away, in clouds of blood and severed body parts.

Rushing forward, Derran impaled a would be attacker with his sword, before twirling inside the reach of the dying beast. Propping up the expiring monster with his body, Derran called a super shotgun to each hand, unloading all four barrels into the off balance hoard of soldiers before him. Pellets of jagged tungsten punched through hastily raised shields, to tear through flesh and pulverize bone. Turning the first two unlucky combatants into clouds of shredded meat and vaporized blood. While another six behind them, found their brains and organs perforated in a dozen different locations. Sending his shotguns away, Derran spun around to grip the hilt of his sword, still stuck in the dying former soldier. With a savage twist and a spray of blood, he tore it free through the now dead monster's body. Flesh and armor parted effortlessly, as Derran eviscerated another three beasts with the blurred arc of his blade, as they attempted desperately to rally. In his off hand, a pair of red flashes, a handful of seconds apart, preceded nearly twenty soldiers being blown into the air, by the detonation of two flawlessly aimed grenades. As blood and entrails rained down around him, Derran roared out, in a voice like unholy lightning.


"Cadence, Luna, with me! Twilight, you and your friends help escort the citizens to safety!" Celestia called out, as she smashed forty of Tempest's charging war beasts into the ground with an effortless pulse of magic. Which, while it wouldn't kill them, made certain they wouldn't be waking up for a while. Luna nodded and her horn flared, as dozens more of the monsters dropped their weapons and shields, fleeing back towards their ships amid a series of gibbering hoots and screams. As their minds were assailed by visions of their worst nightmares come to life. Cadence meanwhile, determined that Derran shouldn't do all the work this time, conjured massive walls of light refracting crystals. The scintillating twenty foot barriers blinding and disorienting their foes, while breaking up their formations, and shielding the fleeing civilians.

"On it!" Twilight declared, as she levitated Spike onto her back before turning to her friends. "Let's go girls! We need to rally the guard and get as many ponies off the streets as we can!"

"Shouldn't we help Derran?" Rainbow Dash asked, just before a series of rockets from the press of bodies surrounding Equestria's Guardian, sent two of the invaders' ships hurtling down the side of Mistral mountain as balls of blazing wreckage. "Never mind." Rainbow declared, as she raced off to start corralling the citizens.

Tempest struggled to remain calm, as she listened to the screams of her dying soldiers. To say things were going poorly, would have been a significant understatement. Her warriors, magically indoctrinated, alchemically enhanced, and trained to be the most ruthless fighting force the wastes had ever seen, were being slaughtered wholesale. Running estimates in her head, based on the number of screams, the movement of her troops, and what little she could see through the raised shields and shifting bodies of her soldiers. Of the four hundred warriors Tempest had deployed, approximately sixty or more had already been turned into piles of blood and guts in less than thirty seconds, by the absolute monster of a biped, that was apparently somehow a member of the royal family. To make matters worse, scores more of her deployed soldiers appeared to have been incapacitated, or sent running for the horizon, by the three older princesses with little visible effort. At the rate things were going, Tempest's nearly fifteen hundred strong conquering army, would be whittled down to nothing within the next thirty to forty minutes.

Tempest was tempted to take another shot at the three elder princesses with her remaining petrification crystals, but thought better of it. Even ignoring the obstacles currently preventing a clear shot, whatever that monster of theirs was, it appeared able to summon a number of powerful ranged weapons. Including the ones that had blown two of her five troop transports, and at least another four hundred of her reinforcements, out of the sky. If she wanted to salvage anything from this mess without being killed, she needed to choose her moment wisely. Emerging from the press of her soldiers on the side of their shield wall opposite the princesses and their bipedal killing machine, Tempest headed for a nearby building. Jumping atop a pile of stacked boxes of party supplies, Tempest managed to secure a higher vantage point atop the roof of a cafe. Glancing over at the location of the biped, Tempest felt her blood run cold.

The creature was surrounded by an ever expanding ring of corpses, as the storm beast infantry attempted desperately to bring it down. As Tempest watched, the creature summoned a pair of weapons that shot twin lines of small explosive projectiles into her warriors. Shields shattered into shards from countless, almost simultaneous, detonations. Seconds before gaping holes were blown in the bodies behind them. Forty storm beasts died in the space of five seconds, as the biped swept his constantly firing weapons back and forth in an arc before him. Stitching explosive death across dozens of hapless soldiers at a time. Several storm beasts charged at the biped's back, spears set and ready to impale, but it was an effort in vain.

Almost as if it knew they were coming, the creature jumped high into the air, dismissing its weapons in flashes of scarlet light. Angling its feet, the beast back flipped over the advancing wall of spears ,with a pulse of blue energy from the bottoms of its booted feet. Coming down perpendicular to one of the spear wielding storm beasts, the monster landed a brutal double kick, into the small of the soldier's back. An audible crack of bone, and a squealing roar of agony, accompanied the storm beast being sent flying into the barely holding together ranks of its brethren. Its impact carrying force enough to send five of them tumbling, in a ball of broken limbs and internal injuries. Without a moment's hesitation, the prone biped rolled backward onto its feet, another pair of weapons appearing in its hands. Two streams of painfully bright, blue white orbs of light, sprayed from the creature's most recent armaments, with an oddly muted series of what Tempest could only describe as: 'zapping sounds', directly into the backs of the formerly charging storm beasts. It took mere seconds for a line of ten, spear wielding, purpose-built fighting machines, to die. Their flesh, fur, and even bone, turning to blue vapor instantly, the soldiers screaming in agony as their bodies were evaporated, one hoof sized chunk at a time.

Turning from the carnage, Tempest attempted to focus through the sounds of her soldier's screams and the revolting smells of burning fur and charred meat. She could always get more soldiers, but if she returned empty hoofed, never mind not receiving her promised reward, the Storm King would likely have her killed! Casting about, Tempest swiftly focused her gaze on the one princess who wasn't paying attention to the battle, and was too far away for the monstrous biped to help. . . .

Derran let out a snarling roar as he cleaved another monster in two with Unmaker, before blowing away a second with a blast from his super shotgun. One of the vaguely lupine monsters, having lost its weapon, rushed Derran with claws alone, its arms wide, no doubt seeking an immobilizing bear hug. Jumping high, Derran brought his knee directly into the nose of its scaled, skull-like head, augmenting the strike with a burst of power from his jump boots. A guttural scream of pain was cut off, as fragments of bone from the creature's imploded muzzle, pierced its brain in a welter of blood. Whipping his hands out before him, Derran cleared the enemy from his landing zone with a pair of rockets. Turning several dozen beasts into little more than charred and shredded meat.

Landing in a crouch, Derran jumped forward to headbutt a charging foe in the chest, with enough force to collapse its rib cage. As the unfortunate monster died choking on the blood from its burst lungs, Derran leapt into the air once again. Directing a spinning kick to the side of another beast's head, and sending it flying, its neck broken, and its brain hemorrhaging. As another monster hurtled forward, Derran activated his jump boots to glide effortlessly over its head. Once again Derran landed in a crouch, spinning around to knock the stunned beast's legs out from under it. Rising up, Derran brought his knee up into the still airborne beast's gut, boosting it into the air before throwing a spinning mule kick into its spine. The creature was barely able to scream, its body folded nearly in half by the force of the strike, as its flying remains, sent a clump of its kin hurtling in all directions like billiard balls.

Whirling around, Derran sent a stream of fire from his chaingun tearing into the hull of Tempest's command ship. Wood exploded, and steel shattered, as the white hot stream of lead ripped through the hull like it was tissue paper. The craft shook as though in the grip of a powerful ague, the bullets shredding the interior, until inevitably, they hit something vital. A massive fireball engulfed the center of the ship, a shockwave blasting the invading army to their knees, as the airship's alchemic engine detonated. The ship's balloon instantly catching fire, as the hull split apart, cargo, weapons, and crew, disgorged into the void, as so much flaming refuse. The once mighty vessel, plunging down the side of the mountain, as Derran tore its guts out.

Still standing tall, Derran allowed himself a vicious smile, as the Storm King's vaunted army struggled to rise from being knocked down by their command ship's death throes. To Derran, It was where all such filth belonged, on their knees before the Seraphim! As he cast his gaze over them, Derran let out a cold and vindictive laugh, his tone venomous as he spoke.

"STAY DOWN AND BEG MEWLING SCUM!! BEG FOR MERCY!! LIKE THE UNWORTHY WORMS YOU AR-" Suddenly Derran stopped as he felt his eyes widen, and his blood chill. His gaze skirting over the rooftops, before coming to rest on the maroon blur of Tempest Shadow. Jumping from tiled roof to tiled roof, dodging around chimneys and penthouse gardens, she clutched another vile green crystal mass in her mouth. . . as she ran directly toward Twilight! Derran felt his blood boil as he called one of his heavy assault rifles to his hand, the long range scope already affixed to it. However, just as Derran brought the weapon to his shoulder, he was knocked from his feet. Distracted by the sight of Tempest closing on his beloved, Derran had not seen the recovered storm beast, until it bull rushed him from behind. Unable to brace, Derran was sent hurtling forward onto the ground, as the beast ineffectively belabored his back, with pummeling fists and raking claws.

Struggling to ignore the beast hammering at the back of his head and torso with all its might, Derran attempted to aim at Tempest from the ground. Unfortunately, by now, the rest of the still living storm beasts had recovered, and Derran was forced to divert precious seconds to clearing them from his field of view, with bursts of fifty caliber automatic fire. Derran bellowed in abject fury, as he bucked off the creature straddling his back. Calling his pistol to his opposite hand, as he whipped around and shot the prone monster through the head. Spinning three hundred sixty degrees and banishing his pistol, Derran followed his own momentum as he fell into a crouch, his rifle held tight to his shoulder, as he aligned the crosshairs with Tempest's skull. But yet again, his aim was fouled by the beasts around him, clawed hands grabbing at his weapon's barrel, and sending his shot wide. Derran let out a thunderous roar, as he dismissed his rifle and dropped a pair of grenades at his feet.

Derran felt the faint sting of shrapnel partially punching through his armor, as blood and viscera sprayed across his body. But that no longer mattered, as a cold feeling of desperation gripped his soul. Running toward Twilight, Derran bellowed out a warning, as he cut a frantic bloody path through the enemy toward her. For the first time in what seemed an uncountable age, Derran Grandel felt true fear, as he realized that neither he, nor his warning, would be in time. . . .

Tempest's lungs burned with exertion, as she ran toward her goal. Maybe she couldn't capture all the princesses, but she'd be damned to Tartarus before she'd go back empty hooved. The muted ache of her broken horn, was a constant reminder of what failure would mean for her. If she could just get the youngest princess, she could at least save face. Go back and tell the Storm King that at least some progress had been made, and that a more robust invasion force was required. However, she had no doubt that if she didn't manage to petrify at least one princess, then things would go quite badly for her.

With sweat pouring down her face and flanks, Tempest leapt a particularly wide gap between the roofs. Her chest impacting a gutter as she scrambled up with her front hooves. The biped was currently occupied with her soldiers, and though he was closing in, he would be too late. As Tempest came to the edge of the last roof, and finally looked down at the oblivious princess, Twilight Sparkle. The princess and her friends were directing ponies away from the battle with the help of the royal guard, reassuring them that Derran and the three elder princesses had things under control. Fortune smiled on Tempest, as not only was Twilight's back turned, but all her friends and the guards were as well. A roar of pure fury, far closer than Tempest would have liked, refocused her on the need for haste, and she tossed the glowing green crystal in her mouth skyward, before leaping into the air. Performing an elegant midair front flip, Tempest brought the back of her right rear hoof down on the crystal's already active, black energy sphere.

Time seemed to slow, as Tempest watched the crystal streak through the air. It had been a flawless shot, straight at the center of the princess's back, right between her wings. The crystal rotated sedately, as it hurled forward, the princess still oblivious as she turned to glance in the biped's direction. He shouted a warning, but it hardly mattered. The beast was still too far away for his shout to be understood, and it was far too late for the princess to react even if she had. Tempest felt a faint surge of relief, as things finally started going according to plan. Only for her eyes to go wide in horror, as she heard a second, far closer, shout of warning.


There are many kinds of heroes in the world. There are the obvious champions who get all the press, clad in gleaming armor as they swoop in to save the day. There are the less obvious champions, who belong to organizations that save people from disasters as part of the fire department or law enforcement. There are the activist heroes who fight for justice with words of passionate protest, and civil disobedience. There are the everyday heroes who help old ladies cross streets and rescue cats from trees. However, there is one kind of hero that shines above all the others, the rarest, and perhaps most noble of them all. . . the hidden hero. A champion who if you looked at or spoke to them, you would never imagine them as even being capable of heroics. They are the ones who seem too shy, too oblivious, too weak, or too foolish, to ever be a hero. Yet, it was one such hero, who with a single lunge, sent Tempest's plans hurtling into ruin. As an unassuming grey and blond blur, made the ultimate trade: a life. . . for a life.

Derran screamed in volcanic fury and frustration, as the invaders continued to hurl themselves at him. His gaze focused on Twilight as he cut himself free of the enemy. Breaking out of the thinning hoard just in time to see Tempest toss the crystal into the air. . . and send it streaking into Twilight's unprotected back. The world slowed to a crawl, as Derran's mind went into overdrive, his neurons almost burning themselves out, as they desperately searched for an avenue of salvation. Derran had failed to take down Tempest before she could attack. His shouted warnings had only succeeded in causing Twilight to turn to look at him in confusion. Celestia, Luna, and Cadence were too far away to help, even if they had known what was going on. For a moment, Derran considered attempting to shoot the orb out of the air. However, even if he did manage to hit the crystal, the shot would likely kill one of the ponies huddled nearby. With a feeling like his entire body had been plunged into icy water, Derran realized the truth. He, the most powerful of the seraphim's servants, the warrior who had slain gods, demons, and monsters alike, the mightiest weapon of the holy land, he, the supposed 'Guardian of Equestria'. . . was completely helpless to save the mare he loved.

Pushing himself forward with a desperation he could scarcely imagine, Derran reached out his hand, as if thinking that by sheer will, he could stop the inevitable. His eyes met Twilight's, and in them, Derran saw a maelstrom of emotion. Her confusion at not understanding his warning. The faint, first echoes of fear, as it dawned that something awful was about to happen to her. And finally, most painfully, her love for him.

Derran internalized all of this, a mere moment before the eyes he was gazing into, changed. Orbs of purple, abruptly switched to gold, the emotions within them, as before, laid bare to Derran's gaze. Reflecting the final, silent testament, of their owner. As with Twilight, every subtle emotion was indelibly inscribed into Derran's mind. Her fear, her courage, her acceptance of the price for her actions, and her sadness, at those she would leave behind. Derran felt his eyes begin to burn with desperate tears of denial, as Derpy Hooves threw herself into the path of Tempest's attack.


Derran roared, grief and rage spurring him to a speed even he did not believe possible, yet still, it was too late. As a greasy looking cloud of toxic yellow-green smoke, hid Derpy from view. Desperately, Derran tried to imagine that somehow things would be alright. That somehow, Tempest's weapon would spare the brave mare, that in the last six months, Derran had come to consider as close as a sister. Yet as the smoke cleared, Derran's delusions were shattered like glass. Skidding to a halt, Derran staggered, as tears blinded him. Opening his mouth, he let out a choking exclamation, that might have been some attempted form of denial of what he was seeing, as he took a drunken, staggering step forward. Raising a shaking right hand, as if attempting to forestall what had already come to pass, Derran fell to his knees. . . before the black crystal statue, that had once been Derpy Hooves.

For several seconds, Derran knelt there, his head shaking in futile refusal of reality, as he silently wept with wide, horror filled eyes. Visions of Derpy's smiling face filled Derran's mind, as he realized he would never see it again. Memories of her laughter, of her sweet voice, of her desire to always do her best, and see the bright side in any situation. Looking past her petrified form, Derran saw the distraught face of Dinky Hooves, as she stared at him, pleading with her eyes, for him to save her mother. At that moment, Darran felt the world disappear around him, a dark void swallowing his mind and soul, and surrounding him in shadow.

He had failed, in his posturing arrogance, Derran had let an enemy slip by to attack the Seraphim. Because of his failure, Twilight was almost killed, and Derpy. . . Derpy had needed to do his job for him, for a second time. Offering herself again, as a sacrifice to cover for his failure. The cold hand of judgment clutched at Derran's heart, as he realized he as good as killed Derpy himself. Instantly, Derran was assailed by a vision of a mountain of corpses, so tall its summit faded into invisibility. Mutilated blood soaked bodies, human and equine, glared down at Derran, silently demanding to know why he had not saved them. Then, in a flash, Derran saw Dinky Hooves atop a hill, her heartrending sobs filling the air, as she lay before the grave of her mother. Derran clutched unconsciously at his head, unable to breath beneath the waves of a black ocean of horror and sorrow, as the image of his own family's deaths blazed through his mind. A voice, almost incoherent in its rage, thundering in his mind.




At that final, terrible demand, Derran felt his consciousness convulse. . . as something fundamental within him broke. His armored head jerked back, as he futily clawed at his helmet, as though seeking to rend his own flesh, black flames exploding from his armor, as he opened his mouth. . . and screamed his wrathful torment to the heavens. . . .

Twilight Sparkle, had never before in her life, heard a sound as horrifying as the one now emitting from Derran. It was like the bestial shriek of a tortured animal, but indescribably worse. A mix of purest agony and hate, that told of a torment that should not exist in a sane or just world. It struck Twilight like a physical blow, sending her to her knees, as she cried out in sympathetic pain. She briefly tasted copper in her mouth, as the sound, like all the souls of the dead were roaring out in a bloodlusted frenzy of rage, sorrow, and madness, echoed through the city of Canterlot. How any mortal creature could produce such a sound, Twilight could not even begin to imagine. Forcing herself to her feet, Twilight looked over at Derran, and for the first time since meeting him, felt true terror, at his appearance.

From head to toe, Derran was covered in ghostly black flames. They crawled across his armor as if they were alive, flickering and dancing with what almost seemed a malevolent form of life. Rising to his feet, Derran was slightly hunched over, his body twitching and jerking unnaturally. As Twilight watched, Derran's fingers curled and flicked, as if he was flexing invisible claws. Gasping, Twilight watched as, for just an instant, she could have sworn that the flames covering Derran, made him appear as a towering monstrous figure, formed of unholy flame, and sporting a pair of massive bat-like wings. Yet, none of this was what truly frightened Twilight. No, what frightened her, what set her blood running cold, and made her heart feel as if gripped by claws of ice, was the sense that Derran Grandel, the stallion she had come to love more than life itself. . . was no longer there. As if the mind of the noble warrior who had stolen her heart, had gone, and might never return. For an instant, a memory of a warning given six months ago, flashed through Twilight's head. . . .

"There's gonna be a day when you realize, that some beings are beyond redemption. When that day comes. . . I don't want it to hurt you anymore than I know it's already going to."

Soundtrack: End of All Hope by Nightwish

"Derran. . . ?" Twilight whispered, her voice shaking. The being before her didn't seem to even notice her, as it turned to look at Tempest's cowering soldiers with eyes of bloody red light, blazing beneath its helmet. Then, in a voice so monstrous its every word seemed to taint the air, the being Derran had become, spoke. . . .

"Rip. . . and. . . TEAR!!!"

Tempest was drowning in a veritable sea of terror, her mind seizing up, as she tried to understand what she was witnessing. As the biped, its body shrouded in ebon flames, and its eyes blazing like a pair of burning brands, leapt thirty feet into the air, before landing amid her remaining soldiers like an obsidian meteor. An explosion of pulverized rubble and vaporized flesh and bone, fountained forty feet into the air, as nearly thirty of Tempest's remaining troops, instantly met their end. Before she could so much as blink, a storm beast was sent hurtling away by a backhand strike, powerful enough to cut a bloody swath through no less than forty of its fellows. The impact of the hurtling corpse was so tremendous, that the bodies it struck seemed to explode from the force.

With an unearthly howl of pure wrathful bloodlust, the flaming monster tore into Tempest's soldiers like a tornado made of razor blades. With its limbs moving so fast they were almost invisible, the crazed beast tore off limbs, opened up bellies, and ripped heads from necks. Blood, limbs, and organs, sprayed high into the air amid screams of primal terror, storm beasts desperately attempting to flee. Mystic and chemical indoctrination shattering, before the all consuming horror of death incarnate. As Tempest watched, the flaming monstrosity punched in between the prongs of one of her soldier's bident style spears. The force of the blow shattering the head, and sending the shaft through its wielder, and the twelve storm beasts behind him like a javelin hurled by a god, before embedding itself fully into a stone wall.

As its victims fell, the monster seized two more spears by the heads, and began laying about with them. Their shafts moving with such speed that they sliced through storm beasts two or three at a time, as easily as if the hafts were razor sharp blades. As Tempest's soldiers broke in panic, the flaming horror, with a shrieking roar of wrathful indignation, hurled the spears at the stormbeasts retreating backs. Spinning like a helicopter propeller, the metal weapons cut through the fleeing soldiers like a band saw. Their bodies parting at the waist in a puff of misted blood, before falling to the ground in a heap of steaming guts. Letting out a roar that shattered every window in sight, the monstrous biped turned this way and that, looking for more foes, and Tempest only barely managed to keep control of her bowels, as its blazing crimson gaze settled on her. At that moment, a flicker of clear recognition passed through the creature's blazing eyes, before it let out a second roar of apocalyptic fury. The sound sending a spider web of cracks running through the walls of the buildings around it. Tempest didn't stop to think, as she simultaneously shot a flare from her broken horn into the air, and turned to run as fast as her mortal terror and four hooves would allow her.

The Doom Slayer's body burned with incandescent hate, even as it slaughtered the last of the enemy soldiers within easy reach. It was not enough! It was not nearly enough! Derpy dead. . . Twilight threatened. . . Equestria in danger. . . . These thoughts played through the maelstrom of rage within the Slayer's mind in a never ending loop. He must kill them, he must kill them all!! He would rip them apart, he would glut on their blood, he would make a ruin of their cities, and corpses of their children! He would pile a mountain of their bodies before the grave of Derpy Hooves, and inscribe her name in the skulls of their leaders! He would turn their world into a barren wasteland, and scour their very memory from existence! Only then could Derpy rest, only then would it be enough!!!

Turning its head, the Doom Slayer sighted a figure atop a nearby roof. Instantly his rage addled mind whirled, his thoughts focusing with a feeling like a piece of white hot metal had been thrust into his brain, as he recognized who it was. The Slayer, through his haze of rage and madness, could not recall her name, but he knew her face. With his blood boiling in his veins, the Doom Slayer exploded into motion. Running straight into the side of a building, stone and mortar parted before him like water before the prow of a ship, as he pursued a straight line to his target. Tearing through richly appointed homes, five star restaurants, and carefully tended gardens, the Doom Slayer ripped through barrier after barrier with the force of an unstoppable freight train. Reaching what he knew was the point beneath his foe by sheer instinct, the Slayer leapt with god-like strength through the ceiling above him. . . .

Tempest risked a look over her shoulder as she kept running. Just in time to see the roof of the building she had vacated seconds ago, explode in a cloud of pulverized steel, wood, and plaster. As she turned away again, a jolt of fresh terror increasing her already maxed out speed, Tempest tried not to think about how much raw physical might it would take, to run and jump through buildings like they were made of tissue paper. She should have felt relieved at the sight of one of her troopships, held in reserve, coming down overhead to cover her escape. However, she now knew full well, as she ran under the low flying vessel, that, at best, the troops disgorging behind her, would only buy her a few seconds.

Ever conscious of the need for an additional exit strategy, Tempest had stationed one of her airships below the lip of the city's superstructure, hidden from view. In the event of, what had seemed at the time the borderline unthinkable, catastrophic failure of the mission. That ship could be signaled to evacuate her. Even now, Tempest could see it rising level with the rooftops, if she could get to that ship, she could survive this. . . or so she profoundly hoped. . . .

The Doom Slayer didn't even slow, as he ploughed through a brick chimney between him and his quarry. He would rip her limbs off, he would gut her with his bare hands, he would tear out her soul with his fucking teeth!! Then suddenly, almost from out of nowhere, one of the invader's flying ships appeared, disgorging a phalanx of more, vaguely lupine soldiers, from an iron bay door in the side of its hull. The Slayer gave an utterly inhuman roar, as it smashed into the mass of spear wielding creatures with homicidal abandon. A pair of set spears, shattered like cheap glass as they struck the aura of flames surrounding the Slayer, the soldiers just having time to scream, as he attacked.

Fingers like steel spikes, punched into the sternum of the first warrior, as it was lifted off the ground. In a flaming black blur, a second set of fingers wrapped around the storm beast's leg. As with a horrific sound of tearing flesh and snapping cartilage, the creature was ripped in two, its blood and guts exploding out in a spray of gore like some grotesque pinata. Spinning to one side, the Slayer struck the skull of a second storm beast with the lower half of its compatriot, its skull virtually imploding from the force, and its legs snapping like matchsticks, as its lifeless body was hammered through the very roof it stood on. A roar of unholy malice accompanied the Slayer turning to punch his fist through the shield and chest of another of the beasts behind him, ripping free the creature's still beating heart in a spray of wine red droplets and bone fragments. Without even pausing, the Doom Slayer grabbed the lower jaw of a second storm beast. Pulling its mouth open with enough force to rip its lower jaw off, the Slayer rammed the pulsing organ in its other hand down its throat. The motion bursting open its rib cage in a flood of gore and fragmented bone, before kicking what remained away with bone shattering force into the crowd of its comrades. A good thirty of the bestial warriors sent flying into the air as ragdolled corpses, in the hurtling body's wake.

As the remaining storm beasts scattered in terror, the Doom Slayer leapt into the open troop bay. Just barely recalling the proper tool for this situation, through a near blinding haze of red, the Slayer fired its rocket launcher indiscriminately in every direction. Shrapnel and the blasts of point blank detonations, bouncing impotently off the flames that shrouded him. As the ship was reduced to little more than burning splinters in seconds, the Slayer roared out his fury, as he charged forward again, his all consuming thirst for retribution driving him unrelentingly onward. . . .

Tempest felt like her lungs were going to burst, but she didn't dare stop. The sound of psychotic roaring, the screams of dying storm beasts, and the thunder of explosive detonations behind her, were more than enough motivation to push forward. Her escape ship was already in place, and she was now close enough to see Grubber, frantically waving from atop the side rail, shouting encouragement to her. All Tempest's ships had emergency boosters for situations like this. She just needed to get on board and activate them. The boosters were experimental, unstable, and as likely to blow them out of the sky as work. But Tempest would happily shoulder that risk, if it just got her away from the rampaging monstrosity behind her.

Weaving between a pair of chimneys, Tempest cried out in stark terror, as a thrown piece of splintered wood, embedded itself in one of them as she flew past. A second later, a projectile trailing fire, screamed past her to just barely miss both her and the ship she was running towards. Another soul shattering roar sounded, as with a staccato chattering, the railing and decking around Grubber exploded into wooden fragments and sawdust. By sheer luck, Grubber managed to escape harm, tumbling to the deck and curling into a ball. Tempest's heart leapt, as she realized she had only ten feet to go. Putting on a final burst of speed, Tempest jumped across the vertiginous four foot gap between the last roof and the ship. As her hooves struck the decking, Tempest turned to scream frantically at the helmsman. Her terror spiking, as she heard the sound of another chimney being obliterated, amid yet another series of cacophonous roars.

"GET US OUT OF HERE NOW!! FULL EMERGENCY BURN!!" The storm beast commanding the wheel was smart enough not to argue, as it began to guide the ship out into open air. Tempest spinning around, to see a sight that turned her blood to solid ice. There, his aura of dark flames flaring into the shape of a monstrous, bat-winged abomination, was the creature that had all but wiped out Tempest's invasion fleet. His arms spread wide, as he soared through the air in mid jump. By sheer reflex, Tempest managed to fire a blast of pure uncontrolled magical energy, directly into the creature's chest. To her shock, it actually managed to interrupt his momentum. The blast sparking off his aura and bleeding away some of the force of his leap. With a roar of insensate rage, the monster fell out of sight. For several seconds, nocreature spoke, then, finally, Grubber, tiptoed over to the shattered railing, to look over the side. With an audible sigh of relief, he gave a claws up, as he turned away.

"Great shot boss, I think you-erk!" Grubber was interrupted as an armored hand, shrouded in fires as black as a devil's heart, wrapped around his head. As, reaching up with its other hand to grip the broken railing, the monster began to pull itself aboard.

"KILL. . . HATE!!!" It roared, as it closed its hand around Grubber's skull. The small storm beast's eyes bursting out of their sockets, turned to jelly instantly by the pressure. As pulverized brains, and shards of skull, squirted out from between his killer's fingers. Tempest felt her bladder release its contents, her mind shorting out as she gazed into the eyes of a homicidally enraged god. At that moment, Tempest let out an ear piercing scream, as she unleashed a full power blast of raw magical energy. Screaming the whole time, Tempest temporarily lost what sanity she had left, as the creature threw Grubber's corpse aside, blocking the stream of energy with its raised hand, as if it was little more than a stream of water. Yet for all that, the monster seemed to strain against the force of the attack. But little by little, it pulled itself forward, its other hand pulling on the damaged rail.

"TEAR. . . YOU. . . APART!!" The armored horror roared. As Tempest, her eyes wild, pulled every last dreg of strength she could from her sanity shredding fear, and forced it into her attack. The monster staggered slightly, its grip on the railing tightening, and the wood splintering, as it managed to place one foot on the deck. Then, suddenly, as if some dark god had taken pity on Tempest, the much abused railing, shattered.

Blasted backward by Tempest's magic, the monster let out a psychotic scream of hate, that would haunt Tempest's nightmare's for the rest of her days. Clawing at the air in a blind fury, the creature fell towards the Everfree forest below, its eyes ablaze with mindless wrath, as its prey slipped from its grasp. Rushing to the side of the ship, Tempest watched as the creature fell, shrieking out its incomprehensible hatred, until the forest canopy, nearly two miles down, swallowed it. Shaking with adrenaline infused terror, Tempest repeated her earlier order as a frantic shout.