• Published 8th May 2021
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Dark as Chitin - LostBox

I can hardly remember anything for the life of me, though I feel I should. Why is there a voice in my head?

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Chapter 26: Cometh the Beast

Celestia paced back and forth in front of the barrier, wearing an extremely worried expression. It had been almost an hour since Discord had alerted them. In spite of their greatest efforts, everything the trio tried had failed. Even with their combined might, the barrier didn't budge.

Twilight yelled in frustration as she started hurling rocks at the barrier using telekinesis. All at once, Discord, Twilight, and Celestia stopped what they were doing as a peculiar changeling made its way toward the barrier. The changeling looked both exhausted and scared, yet it continued toward the barrier, shattering it upon coming into contact with it. It didn't even exert any sort of force, it just walked straight through, and the entire barrier went down.

Twilight, Celestia, and Discord watched the changeling in surprise and shock up until they noticed the changeling stop in its tracks. All of their eyes drifted to the scene before the small changeling.

Luna stood defiantly in front of two figures, battered, cut, and bruised, barely able to stand up. The gardens, completely destroyed. But the sight they had all been seeing was not the same one.

I stopped in my tracks, paralyzed by fear. I wanted nothing more than for all of this to be a dream, but I knew better. Through the chaos of the battlefield, I slowly walked toward the destroyed body of my mother, feeling numb to my surroundings. I couldn't speak, I couldn't whimper, and I couldn't even weep. I felt something catch in my throat, suffocating anything that could possibly come out. Reaching my mother's remains, I fell to my haunches, staring down in disbelief. I shakily took her head in my hooves, turning it to face me. Fear and anger were all that I saw, and I couldn't help but imagine that those feelings were aimed toward me. Through the despair, however, I found a sliver of hope.

Conjuring magic in my horn I cast a reconstruction spell on the remains of my mother. In time, the pieces began rearranging themselves into the whole frame of my mother. For a moment, I thought that it might genuinely work, but that flame of hope was quickly snuffed out. Her body fell apart before my eyes. In desperation, I started using all manner of spells in unison, looking for any possible combination that might work: telekinesis, reinforcement, abrasion, reconstruction, but nothing worked. My mother was gone, and there was nothing I could do to bring her back. I felt my vision grow blurry as warm tears began streaming down my face. It felt as if the world around me vanished, and I was all alone with the corpse of my mother.

This was my fault, how could it not be? If I had focused solely on my training instead of messing around, maybe, just maybe, I could have prevented this. No, even then, I wouldn't have been strong enough. I just didn't have enough time. Rearing my head back towards the sky, I allowed myself to sink into the depths of despair.

"Who...did this?" I asked myself in the darkness.

That's right, I don't even know who did this. Through blurred vision, I looked around the garden, my eyes stopping on a single figure, brandishing a knife. I could see it, I could feel it, the distorted essence of my mother, but why did they have it? My eyes drifted from the figure down to the pieces of my mother, and back to the figure.

"Of course, so that's how it is," I muttered.

Turning back to look at mother once more, I felt my disguise slip away.

Suddenly, I felt a white-hot heat flash through my veins, a rage rising that came from so deep within myself that it almost seemed alien. Slowly, but surely, I felt every sense of reason I had left beginning to fade into nothingness. I saw glimpses of memories that didn't seem like my own, and yet they did: large black bags on trays, the disfigured faces of strange creatures, and loving memories shared with those creatures. It all made no sense, yet I understood perfectly what these memories were.

Two cloaked figures emerged from the shadows of the Canterlot Royal Gardens. Though they had been commanded to assist their allies with their mission, they had only expected at one alicorn at most to be there, but there were three and a certain draconequus. Just as the cloaked figures were about to interfere, they were paralyzed by an overwhelming sense of dread. All at once, every being in the gardens felt this same feeling and gazed over in the direction of the source.

Standing in front of the destroyed statue of Chrysalis was a single changeling, a changeling whose appearance was not that of Thorax's subjects. The changeling stood with its back turned to everyone as it began emanating white and green smoke and flames. The wind had picked up, swirling around the mass of warped flame. Gradually, the white of the flames began transitioning to a pitch-black color that seemed to distort the light around it. The maelstrom of fire consumed the changeling's figure and through the darkness, a creature exuding an overwhelming bloodlust could be seen. No being dared move from their spot.

As the wind died down, the flames dissipated, revealing the focal point of all this dread. Standing before the statues was a single figure. It looked to be at least an eight-foot-tall, bipedal, muscular, jet-black armored insectoid creature with piercing white glowing eyes. It stood there looking down at the ground before raising its claws to eye level, rearing its head back and letting out a massive surge of magic while simultaneously screeching and roaring all at once. All of Canterlot shook under the pressure.

Although this beast was exuding a terrifying amount of bloodlust, Twilight could tell that this was more than a war cry, it was the scream of a tortured soul. In an instant, the creature vanished from its spot faster than the eye can see and reappearing behind the argonian with its mother's presence. The argonian was a bit different from the rest though, thanks to her dynamic visual acuity, she possessed 360-degree vision. Despite this advantage, however, she was hardly able to track the creature's movements. Spinning around instantly, she only saw a jet black armored claw heading straight for her face. Unable to move fast enough out of the way, the clawed appendage gripped her by the head, squeezing tightly and lifting her off the ground.

She screamed loudly in pain as claws slowly dug into her flesh, her allies finally snapping into action. She stabbed at the creature's body, only for the knife to be repelled each time. Its armor was too hard to pierce. She thrust her knife at one of the creature's eyes, the knife shattering to pieces before reaching it. The creature had used its pincers and teeth to bite down on the knife, the very same knife that was enchanted with dark magic strong enough to pierce through alicorn flesh. Desperately, she began flailing around in the grasp of the beast, throwing kicks and punches to no avail. She stopped, realizing how futile her effort was.

The creature had been down at her with a look that could only be described as pure hatred before her world faded to black. The beast had impaled her through the torso with its other claw, black blood splattering everywhere, before it bit down on her head, devouring her entire upper body, and tossing the rest aside like trash.

From beside the creature, the smaller hooded figure jumped at the beast, preparing to land a spinning kick only to be swatted away at terrifying speed with one arm, crashing through several castle walls, a thunderous boom resounding throughout Canterlot. A fleet of guards came rushing out to see what the commotion was all about, only to see what looked like a warzone. They began inching toward the creature in the center, spears drawn, before Luna stepped in front of them, wings spread out defiantly.

The two other hooded figures leaped at the creature, brandishing weapons of their own. The slightly larger one wielded a large double-edged ax, and the other had a swept hilt rapier.

"You bastard!" The larger figure yelled before swinging its ax at the creature with all of his force, his attack hitting open air.

"Claw, look out!" His comrade screamed.

It was too late, in a fraction of a second after missing, he felt something sharp wrap around his ankle before being violently slammed into the ground repeatedly, a huge crater opening wider with every slam. The hammering was so ferocious that the air pressure from the shockwaves made sure that the victim's ally was barely able to stand his ground. There were black blotches of blood splattering everywhere, causing all plant life that they touched to die. The beast stopped, lifting the mangled body of the argonian off the ground by one leg.

Celestia and Discord looked at the scene in horror. Luna looked on with a growing worry welling up inside of her. Twilight was worried yes, but she felt a sense of sympathy for this creature, but also for its enemies. These weren't actions by a sadistic person, they were actions taken out of despair and rage.

"What could cause a creature to lose all control like this?" Twilight thought to herself.

Luna's growing worry was for another reason, however. Once the beast was done ravaging its foes, would it even cease its rampaging?

Claw's ally stood at the edge of the massive crater, paralyzed by fear. He held his weapon out shakily toward the beast, his heart throbbing wildly.

"What are you!?"

The beast didn't reply, instead, it tossed the body of the argonian at the other, and vanished out of sight. The argonian managed to catch the body of his mangled leader, looking away from the beast for only a split second. That's when he felt something hot burn against his back, as a spark of light began glowing brighter. A wall of fire and smoke consumed the three figures. After it cleared away, all that stood there was the beast, ashes blowing away in the wind.

It stood there looking at the ground for a while before collapsing to its knees, unmoving. Its arms hung low to the ground as if defeated. Silence, once again, fell over the garden. After a few minutes, Twilight began walking toward the creature only to be stopped by Discord.

"I don't think that's a very good idea, Twilight."

Twilight teleported around Discord, continuing her way to the creature. Upon closer inspection, Twilight found that it was no longer conscious. It had fallen asleep in that position, its magic no longer surging, and tears pouring from its eyes.