• Published 3rd Apr 2022
  • 1,367 Views, 485 Comments

Alpha and Omega - Revel Montaro



For every beginning there is an end. Princesses Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer stand side by side as the rulers of Equestria, as beacons of hope against those that seek said end, as the darkness closes around them and the walls press in.

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Chapter 3: Every Day is Exactly the Same

Tempest Fury had heard many horror stories over the years from castle staff and other soldier on the difficulties in pleasing the infamous, ‘Mother-in-Law.’ However, in her honest opinion, the past two days had been an absolute joy to the captain. Aero Cutright was a smart, friendly, reasonable mare who gladly helped with all the parenting duties. She did not balk for even a second at getting down to the unpleasant business that was dirty diapers. That task alone made her worthy of great respect in Tempest's eyes. It had given Tempest a delightful reprieve of motherly duties and allowed her and her husband to enjoy one night out for dinner and a stroll along the waterfront without their foals. They loved their children, without question, but it was a much needed few hours to reaffirm their love and commitment to one another as well.

After the second day they had to continue the last leg of their northern visit by pulling a carriage to Crater to visit Fog Gauge's father for a few days before needing to return to duty and Canterlot. Gauge had quietly confessed to his wife that he hoped their SunLight crystals would buzz and inform them of some emergency in the capital that required their immediate return to service. As they approached the faded sign that read ‘Welcome to Crater’ no such luck had yet to intervene.

“Stop pouting.”

Gauge pouted more and snorted. “I am not pouting.”

“You are totally pouting. You really think I don't know your pouting face? I know you didn’t want to come here, but here we are so strap your armor down tighter, slap a bandage on it, and get your flank back in fighting form, soldier, because we are going in hot, heavy, and ready.”

Gauge sighed. “Understood, Captain. However, for the record, I would like you to know I would much rather be going head first into a losing battle than face what we are about to.”

Tempest roller her jade eyes. “It’s your dad, you fluffy eared dingus. You have not seen him in more than a decade. Get over it. Do you know how bad I miss my parents?”

Gauge sighed again and nodded as he kept his eyes forward and continued down the old dirt street to where his mother had said to go. “I do. And I truly wish I could have met them. You father, and grandfather before him had stellar service records in the guard and I would have been unworthy to stand before him and properly ask for permission to marry you.”

Tempest sighed and smirked, taking a moment to nuzzle the side of her husband’s face, playfully biting at those fluffy bat pony ears she loved. “You know no pony actually takes that old custom seriously anymore, right? Not that you would have had a problem. Dad would have liked you.”

“I wish I could confidently say the same about mine.”

The directions Aero had given them had the couple pull their covered carriage through the small center of town and back out the other side. The area where Charcoal Cutter lived was closer to the old impact crater, which had been turned into a lake ever since the original prospectors diverted part of the river centuries ago to fill it in. They had hoped that the lake would help the town grow as both a reservoir and a vacation attraction after the lumber industry quickly died down.
However, the big hotel chains had never been that interested in the fairly small lake that was just a little too big to call a pond and that dream die along the way as well.

“By the way,” Tempest started as they began the final approach of the log house up on the hill, “when you referred to your parents you forgot to mention they were not together.”

“Technically, they still are married. They never divorced. They just... do not live with one another anymore. She visits him from time to time. Partly because she still loves him and partly to see if he is still alive. Or so I would imagine. It is not a subject I discuss unless I am forcibly dragged into it.”

“Charming.”

Gauge sighed for the hundred time since they left Vanhoover. “You’ll see.”

Two minutes later the couple unhitched from their carriage and began to secure it and the foals who had been riding with their travel necessities. Gauge had strapped the foal carrier to Tempest and placed Dusk Wind in her pouch while he began to load himself down with supplies. Saber yawned and sat by the carriage. Lastly, Fog hefted his son onto his mother’s back who gladly snuggled into her neck and mane.

Fog trotted up to the door and knocked three times. About a minute later a dark greyish blue pegasus opened the door and stared down. Yellow-green eyes locked with vertically slit yellow eyes. They continued to examine one another until Charcoal finally said in a deep, gravelly voice, “You look like a bum. Get a mane cut.” And slammed the door in his son’s face.

Tempest almost laughed. Almost. She held it down after realizing the door was not going to open again and Gauge was not
amused. She just stood waiting to see what would happen next.

“Well, that was my father. I hope you enjoyed seeing him, if we get the foals strapped back in we can probably make Vanhoover again before the dinner rush.”

“What?”

“I said it is time to go.”

Tempest blinked. Then, she stomped her hoof to the ground. “Oh, for the love of... Drop your kit, soldier.”

“Pardon?”

“I said, DROP. YOUR. KIT.”

Gauge set down the items he had been carrying. Tempest lit her horn and immediately passed their foals to her husband. She stretched her neck muscles and the bones popped in response, marched back up to the door and knocked hard. A minute later the door opened again.

“Hi, I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself. I’m your daughter-in-law. I need to pee. Move so I can use your facilities or I’m doing it right here on your front doorstep.”

Charcoal blinked twice before stepping aside to let Tempest walk into his house. Not that he could have stopped her if he had tried. Gauge stepped up a moment later, two foals still snuggled up to his neck and side. “Well, she got that horn on her head and no wings, but at least she’s got the heart of pegasi warrior. Tall and fit too. I can see the appeal.”

Gauge fought down his instinct to punch the older pony for eyeing up his wife. “Nice to see you too, father.” With nothing else to add and many items to bring in Fog Gauge got to work and kept his mouth shut.

The next half hour passed with a minimum of conversation as items were brought into the house and the foals' necessities setup in the spare room. Finally, once all was stored away Tempest retreated to the bedroom to feed Dawn leaving Fog no choice but to sit in the living room with his father while Saber playing with some of his toys on the ground between them. It might as well been a trench on a warfront. Gauge was thankful his son had not yet learned how to read a room.

Gauge sat on the love seat across from his father who was currently occupying a rocking chair. Though it was not the house he grew up in it was decorated nearly identical to how he remembered it. The walls were either white or off white grey. IT was done so to resemble cloud structures that were still popular in Cloudsdale today. There were other motifs of pegasi decor such as faux Pegasopolis columns in the entryway and along the hallway. Mostly the walls were baren and lacking any personal touch. A stylized painting of Commander Hurricane hung above the mantle where, in Gauge's opinion a family painting would have been better. That would have required his parents to get along well enough to have one done. A shame really. At least Tempest got a chance to fulfil one of her desires at his mother's home and see pictures of Fog from before the thestral ritual. Some had been more embarrassing than he remembered.

“So…” Gauge glanced up from watching his son play with blocks that had numbers and letters on them. The silence was broken “A unicorn.”

“Are you referring to your grandson or my wife?”

Charcoal grunted. “Both, I suppose. He’s a good looking little colt. Fur coloring reminds me a bit of my father. That mare of yours… quite the fiery spirit that one.”

“You have no idea. But then why would you? You never could see past a mare’s lifted tail unless they had wings on their backs.”

“That’s a bit gruff talk to have in front of the foal, you think?”

“He’s not listening and I am purposely keeping my tone calm and casual as to not disturb him. You can contradict me if you wish, but we both know it is true.”

Charcoal sighed sinking into his chair. “In my youth. Yes, I loved to chase me some tail. But only the best.”

“Tempest Fury is the best. The best at everything. The best leader, the best captain, the best wife, the best mother. I could go on.”

“Not a pegasus though.”

Gauge's smirk was devoid of any humor. “Her great grandfather was Guard Lieutenant Flash Sentry. She has pegasi heritage.”

Charcoal's eyes lit up and he glanced back to the room where Tempest was quietly nursing her daughter. He nodded approvingly. "Well, that’s something. Plus, your second… did I see wings on her?”

“Yes.”

Charcoal chewed on his lip a bit before finally standing. “Do you want a beer?”

“Yes.”

Charcoal retrieved two bottles and set one down near Gauge before settling back in his own chair while Saber continued to play in his own little world. Fog admired the simple adaptability of children, envied that his son was not able to sense the animosity in the room. Fog had no doubt that after the trip was over that he would never return to this pathetic little town that he had been so desperate to escape from. And he was completely fine with that.

“Surprised to see you drink. You always said you hated the taste.”

“Adaptability is a key to surviving any situation.”

Charcoal nodded approvingly. It was an old Pegasopolis warrior quote that no one knew whom to credit it to. Still, the words rang true. The only way to survive when out of your element was to adapt. For some reason deep down in his soul Fog turned his head to the direction he knew Canterlot was and he thought of his princess, Sunset Shimmer. The princess he proudly served, the only other mare he felt he truly loved in his heart. He imagined her quirky, sideways smile and how her red and gold locks billowed about in a playful and aluring manner. He thought about her mighty wings burning brightly and the sheer force of will that was her presence when she entered a room. And then, there was a niggling of worry in his heart. Why did these thoughts manifest now? What did it mean? Gauge shook his head and turned his eyes to the door when he heard it slowly open.

Tempest returned to the living room and gladly took a swig from Gauge's bottle before setting it back down, snuggling up close to her husband on the love seat and turning her eyes to Saber who smiled happily at his mother’s return. Fog Gauge took it all in silently and the stabbing fear in his heart subsided if not completely disappeared. Fog glanced up once more to meet his father's gaze and much to his surprise. The old stallion smiled, genuinely smiled at him before tipping the top of his bottle to the couple.

"Let me rustle up some chow. I imagine you two must be hungry."

----------

She floated along, barely moving or perhaps she was not moving at all and just that which swirled around moved for her. It was a pleasant thought of whimsy, imagining the universe bending around her as if she were more important that it. Or better yet, bent out of fear. It was better to be feared than respected. Both were unlikely and not worthy of her considerable capacity for thought, but still, worth a fancy for a second or two. Perhaps it was something more? It was hard to tell in this place. Time had no meaning in the place between places. The Dead Universe. The In Between.

And so, she floated along, like a log carried by a gentle current down the river. How long had it been? Also, a pointless question because it ultimately did not matter. He could not find her here. Correction, he could, he just would not because he could not stay long enough to do anything about it. How did he keep finding her? Was it her omniscanner? It had a privacy setting. The broadcast electromagnetic range should not have been that wide. A stashed tracker item perhaps? She had checked her entire body, all her possessions. What had he said that one time? Oh, right, ‘our hearts are bound as one.’ Sentimental, romantic, a tiny bit endearing, but most definitely saccharine and vomit inducing.

She touched her chest with a hand. It felt cold. Of course it felt cold, her hands and forearms were metal now. They had been for quite some time. The appendages had tactile sensors, but they were not the same. Useful, but sometimes, on the rarest of occasions… when she was floating and her mind was left quiet enough to wander… she remembered his touch, his body… his lips… Her body may not have needed such desires anymore, but her soul sometimes… lusted. Hungered. Fortunately, there were other ways to satisfy her wants and desires. Perhaps it was time to get a ’refill’ as the saying might go.

Her eyes opened wide. A creature was near. Not unheard of, but most creatures of the infinite In Between knew better than to attack another predator. Only ones more…. Powerful?

“Oh, horse apples!” She flipped over and spread her arms and legs, silently chanting a spell. She checked the digital readout screen on her right forearm, but it yielded no information. Her equipment did not always function well here and extremely powerful beings had the means to mask the signals or absorb them entirely. The truly dangerous monsters could consume life, magic, and all energy in between like a voracious, super massive black hole. Even she avoided those.

Dark blue eyes that were almost black searched and searched. Nothing made itself known. Then, she felt hot breath tickle her right ear.

“Hello again, Datura.” She spun and fired a spell bolt from her left hand and a laser blast from the cannon in her right hand. Both sailed off into the ether. “That is unnecessary. You are my honored guest for this meeting.”

Datura spun once more. She knew the voice though she had not heard it in a long, long time. She closed her eyes a moment, chanted another spell, and reopened them, a greenish glow about her irises. Before her was a massive dragon with colors that constantly shifted, floating in the ether, unmoving. She blinked her eyes and the creature was now a manticore also with shifting colors and sported an equally as bored expression as the dragon had. She knew that once she blinked again it would be something else. It was his nature. He was, after all, pure chaos.

“Ah, Void. To what do I owe the pleasure? Did I accidentally float into your front yard? Sincere apologies if I did. I will gladly sacrifice a creature in your name as repayment if such is required for me to be on my way.”

“As I said, you are my honored guest, pony. You are here because I wished it.”

Datura retracted her cannon and disengaged her spell. She smoothed out her black dress and made sure her most precious cargo, the glass bottle at her hip, was right where she needed it to be. The woman with golden ochre colored skin crossed her arms and tried to look patient while at the same time not completely off her guard. When she looked back at the godly creature he appeared as a massive black alicorn with mane and tail burning with dark, miasmatic power, glowing red eyes studying her inside and out.

“Generally, it is custom for the host to serve their guest refreshments. However, given the way you’re eyeing me up and down like a meal or play thing perhaps I should call this a first date?”

“But this is not the first time I have had you at my will or my mercy, now is it?”

“Hmm, I suppose not. However, if you are looking to do something special for the evening you should know I don't do the butt stuff, I was never a fan of being tied up, and I am still married… technically.”

“Petty concerns for petty creatures. Do you consider yourself petty, Red Clover?”

Datura smirked at the multi colored, muscular creature covered in hair that looked similar to a yeti but with larger tusks. “Ohhhh, flattery. I haven’t heard that title in a while. I assume everyone or pony that was alive there has long since forgotten that little name by now.”

“Not everyone. Samael remembers.” Datura frowned. Hard. “Did you think HE had forgotten?”

“He never forgets. Nor does he forgive and last I dared to check he is still QUITE mad at me.” Datura stretched, gliding her hands up her sides, over her ample chest, and up in the air before checking to make sure her hair was where she wanted it to be. “This has been fun catching up, old friend, but I assume you called me here for a reason.”

“I did.”

Datura blinked twice while waiting for Void to continue. One form was something completely indescribable while the other appeared as a demonic pixie that almost made her snort. Almost. Strange as Void could be he was still quite capable of killing her horrifically. She had not survived this long without being cautious, paranoid, and occasionally, capable of showing deference. “Yes?”

“Aine has left Equuis.”

“Left? As in left, left? Or simply left it unguarded?”

“Both.”

Datura tapped her chin and smirked a toothy grin. “Now that is quite the development and far too unusual to be random. Though admittedly that is more an advantage for you and Samael than anything to do with I. Just gives me all the more reason to never return to E-Prime.”

The centaur crossed his arms, stomped his hooves and scowled, glowing eyes turning to look into the distance at something only a god could see. After a few seconds he turned back to Datura and she forced herself not to blink so as to not see what next form he would take.

“He will not help me. I asked. He claims his job is too important and that it is my choice should I wish take advantage of her… past interference.” Datura arched an eyebrow, patiently waiting for him to continue. “I moved my pieces, I played the game by the rules she demanded, and then she cheated! She intervened directly. She gave her mortal champions the time they needed to counter my playthings and thus unbalanced the game.”

“And so you had her banished? Can you do that? Odd that you would bring this to me. I feel as if I am missing some important context.”

“You have missed much in your self-imposed exile. Celestia is dead, Balius is dead, and the other three alicorn toys that she created have been reduced to mere puppets once more. In exchange for their useless lives Aine agreed to leave the mortals of Equuis to their own vulnerable fates and I intend to see the tapestry littered with final fates to where the twins hands ache and heads will spin.

“However, before I can unleash myself upon said prize of a world there are two creatures that need to be dealt with first. One is completely within my means of subduing. My disappointment of a son, Discord. He will be difficult to tie down, but I can do so for a period of time. The other… creature I cannot face directly.”

“Wait, back up if you would, please. You said, Celestia is dead? As in the most powerful of Aine’s mortal creations? And yet there is another you fear?”

“I FEAR NOTHING!” Datura had to shake her head and double check that her bottle had not shattered from the ferocious outburst. “Celestia and Luna WERE the most powerful of my sister’s creations beyond the celestial bodies they had been given the right to command, but they aged and their power waned. Other, younger, mortal alicorns have taken up the mantles of power. They are formidable, but not beyond me. Save for one. She, like you, has broken her binding to the Tapestry of Fate by existing beyond our universal confines. She is an unknown equation and I dare not risk my one chance at total victory over my sister until this piece is removed from the board.

“This is why you are here. Return to Equuis and Equestria, slay the daughter of Celestia, Sunset Shimmer, and I will do two things for you. First, I will keep Samael from alerting to your presence. This will allow you to do the deed at your own pace.
I would not wish to stifle an artist such as you. Secondly, it will allow you to take what you so desperately seek. You will be in position to steal the single most powerful source of magic you can take from Equestria short of the Well of Souls itself. The soul of the alicorn, Twilight Sparkle. Within her mortal confides is her living bond to the Element of Magic. The single most powerful relic from the creation. The last gift of Harmony before she was disincorporated. With that in your possession, you will never need to seek out scraps of magical energy ever again. Unless you just want to. Who am I to judge?”

Datura tapped her chin with one hand and the glass bottle at her hip with faint swirling clouds inside with the other. After a minute of internal debate Datura shrugged and bowed. “Do as you promise and you have an ally and accord, my lord.”

A large burly bear claw like an Ursa reached out and tapped the necklace that had been hanging between Datura’s cleavage. The orb surrounded by delicate metalwork began to glow with power as if a star had just exploded to life inside.

“Happy hunting and sow chaos where ever you go, Red Clover.”

Datura felt herself shifting, reshaping. The closest she could think to describe it was to imagine being a mushy piece of garbage being sucked through a colorful drain pipe and spat out the other end as a newly reformed creature. She had lost count of all the different bodies the different planets and dimensions had shaped her into over the centuries. By far her favorite was the one she had chosen earlier why floating along. The bipedal one that most referred to as ‘humans.’ There was just something about hands and having a long, tall form that made Datura feel… good. Not that there was anything really good about her. That playful thought made her giggle.

A moment later Datura’s eyes cleared and she looked down to examine herself. While some of the other worlds had equine creatures it still felt different to be a true pony again. She sucked in a breath and could taste the oversaturation of magic in the air that only came from standing on E-Prime. It tasted like a mix of fresh rain and strawberries… at least to her. Differences varied. Datura doubted any of the mortal creatures in this dimension realized it had to do with the world being at the center of their universe. Directly on top of the very fountain of magical energy.

The thought quickly passed as she relaxed, confirming that Void had kept his promise and she had nothing to fear from Samael. At least for now. The ochre pony mare summoned a mirror spell and looked herself over. Her coat looked perfectly brushed and her mane was pulled to one side by several rows of beaded braids just as she preferred. Her dress had been replaced by a belt, satchel, and black cloak, but that had not surprised her. Such transfiguration of material items was common during dimensional shifts. What were most important to her were the curved glass bottle at her side, her necklace, and that her hands and forearms up to the elbow joints were still a sleek, flexible metal alloy now shaped like forelegs and hooves.

Datura took another deep breath and consulted the screen on her right foreleg which confirmed her time/space dimensional location as E-Prime. She trotted carefully out from behind the trees she had been dropped between and found herself in a park clearing. Nothing looked familiar, but that was not surprising or a pressing concern. She just needed a kind ‘volunteer’ or two to help catch her up to speed on what she had missed over the last few thousand years.

“Hello Equestria. A pleasure to be back.”

Author's Note:

*Edit* I forgot the chapter title! GAH.

Also added a bit of beef to the scene with Gauge and Charcoal because I realized that it was sparce on the background descriptions.

Good afternoon and Happy Easter weekend. Please, enjoy the day in your preferred fashion.

This particular scene in which Gauge meets up with his father for the first time in over a decade is take straight out of a story that was told to me for years about when my parents took us to Oregon to visit my Dad's father for the first time. He had not seen his father for years after being kicked out and had no choice but to join the military (air force) to put a roof over his head. And yes, my mother did threaten to pee on his doorstep.

And so, The Red Clover has returned. So, to give you a spot reference of the kind of personality Datura has who has seen the movie Beastmaster 2? If you haven't, that's okay it was a terrible movie. However, I was quite taken and impressed by the character Lyranna the witch. The sass, the sexappeal, the bad, bad stereotyping. So, I took that and made her more immoral and far more intelligent. Datura is what Celestia feared Sunset would become if her ego had remained unchecked.

And now, she's back.

Dun dun DUUUUNNN.

Questions? Comments?

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