• Published 3rd Oct 2012
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Artemis Fowl: The Equine Dominion - _No_One_Remains_



Artemis finds himself searching for wealth in a rather interesting land.

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So there it was. They hadn’t even been in this new world for five seconds, and already a Technicolor bullet was hurtling straight toward them. Artemis wasn’t certain about how to handle the situation. He knew that in a matter of seconds, the object would collide directly into him for whatever reason, which would be a painfully fatal blow. He considered how ironic it would be to meet his demise so soon after crossing the bridge, but he was virtually powerless to do anything.

Butler’s training kicked into overdrive as his eyes locked onto the rainbow blur closing the proximity between them and it. Without thinking about it, he dropped the suitcases and released his grip on the pistol’s holster. With his left arm, he shoved Artemis to the side out of the way of the incoming object. With his right hand extended straight upwards, he stepped to the side and awaited the bullet. Everything slowed down for the bodyguard-assassin, allowing him to measure the projectile shooting at them.

It appeared to be a pony, similar to the yellow one from earlier. Only this one seemed stronger, and had considerably more speed. Butler grinned as he considered the likelihood of this pony simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could be coincidence that the cyan creature was hurtling toward them at full speed. Perhaps they had just arrived in the wrong spot.

At any rate, Butler waited for the creature to close in as far as possible. In a blur, the brute sent his hand on a downward arc just as the pony reached his general area. In what most physicists would consider an absolute impossibility, Butler’s strike to the back of the Pegasus sent it directly to the ground, stopping all of its forward momentum and leaving a decent-sized crater in the ground where she hit.

Artemis stared on in confusion as the bullet suddenly stopped, breaking Newton’s third law of motion, and plummeted into a small crater on the ground beside his bodyguard. The genius couldn’t figure out how all of the momentum the creature held could so suddenly be directed downward. Even Butler’s strike to it wouldn’t possibly be enough to completely redirect its forward movement. Artemis pondered the potential physics of the new world for a few moments.

He was shaken from his thoughts by a roar of voices coming from across the plaza. Dozens of ponies similar to Fluttershy were rushing toward them at not-so-fast speeds, obviously concerned for the creature that Butler had so easily swatted away. He and the bodyguard shared concerned looks as the residents of the area slowly closed in on them.

Butler casually lifted their suitcases from the ground and stepped over to his master’s side, wondering just what the ponies may do in retaliation to his attack…and just how violent things might need to get. Artemis sent him a disapproving frown at the thought of having killed one of the residents of the world. After all, there was no possible way that force heavy enough to leave a crater could have not crushed the equine animal.

The genius’s jaw dropped as he watched the cyan horse scramble to its hooves, slightly disoriented but overall healthy. Its right wing appeared to be bent in an unnatural manner, but it was still able to stand and speak.

Speak.

Artemis pondered this for a second. Fluttershy had spoken to him back in the Fowl Manor kitchen, but he had cast it off as his excitement playing tricks on him. It became painfully obvious to the preteen that these horses were sentient. All of the fairytales of magical unicorns and winged horses were suddenly true. The boy was dumbfounded at the realization that the stories he once thought were for little babies were suddenly true.

Butler didn’t seem bothered by this. He thought about the Pegasus’s ability to speak, and it didn’t surprise him. Any creature of that size capable of reaching that speed had to have some sort of supernatural force propelling it. Although the speaking of the creatures didn’t bother him, the prismatic pony’s sturdiness did. He had put all of the force he had into that karate chop, and yet she didn’t seem even remotely harmed aside from her broken wing.

Both humans were snapped out of their thoughts by the injured Pegasus. She stomped in their direction, an angry glare plastered on her face. She screamed, “What’d you do with Fluttershy, you freaks?!”

The two humans shared confused looks. Artemis cleared his throat and stepped forward. He casually said, “I do not know what you are talking about. We’ve done nothing to this ‘Fluttershy’ creature.”

The pony stepped a little closer, causing Butler to reach for his pistol in defense. Artemis waved his hand dismissively at the bodyguard, who relaxed slightly in obedience. The brute’s eyes were glued to the speedy equine.

She scoffed, “Don’t play dumb! We just saw her disappear in that thing of yours!” She planted her hooves on the ground, as if readying for a tackle.

Artemis considered her meaning for a few seconds before asking, “That thing of ours, you say? Was it golden?”

A normal-looking orange pony stomped up beside the Pegasus and scoffed, “Sure was. Ya know what we’re talking about, so ya know where she is!” Three other ponies followed behind the orange one, each equally angry in appearance.

Butler sighed, “Perhaps she got caught in the crossfire, Artemis.”

“What do you mean?” the boy snapped impatiently. Several problems had arisen in the short time they’d been in this world, and he didn’t like the outstanding number of complications he would be required to fix.

The large brute approached his employer, a look of concern on his face. He groaned, “Did you check to see if the portal was a two-way trip? If the void opened here where we’re standing, could it not have plucked any unfortunate residents into our world?”

Stupidity fell over Artemis’s features. He had most definitely not checked for a two-way trip. He’d never even considered the possibility. He turned toward the growing group of concerned ponies and chuckled nervously, “I assure you, whatever happened to your friend was a complete accident. I can promise that she is perfectly safe and will be returned to you posthaste. All I must do is return to my world and bring her back.” Artemis raised his arm in front of him and reached for the device strapped to it.

The cyan Pegasus stomped a few steps closer and scoffed, “How can we trust you’ll come back? We don’t even know you!” A chatter of agreement spread through the crowd of creatures.

Artemis looked at Butler, who sent him a discreet nod. The genius chuckled, “Why, I’ll leave Butler here with you as collateral. I promise I’ll return as soon as I can.”

The large bodyguard grinned and said, “The young master requires my assistance in all of his exploits. Leaving me here is a guarantee that he’ll return immediately.” Butler was perfectly okay with being left behind in the strange world. His martial arts training almost guaranteed his safety among its relatively small inhabitants.

The pink pony directly beside the gutsy cyan one seemingly teleported to the brute’s side, her eyes glued to his face. Against his better judgment, he simply stood motionless as the foreign creature examined him intently. Artemis had to hold back a cough of disbelief at his friend’s lack of action. For almost a minute the pony continued staring directly into his eyes, as if trying to read the brute like a book.

Finally the pony leaped back a few steps and gave her friends a large toothy smile. She cheered, “He looks okay to me, fellas!” She raised a single hoof into the air in a gesture Butler assumed was relative to a thumbs-up.

Artemis scoffed, “As I said before, I mean you no harm. I can return with your friend in mere moments.” The boy raised his arm in front of him, showing the device to the gathered ponies in front of him. He chuckled, “With this ingenious contraption, I can return to my world, find Fluttershy, and be back before you even notice I’m gone.”

The purple unicorn beside the other three outstanding ponies raised a curious eyebrow. She asked skeptically, “So what exactly is that thing?”

The genius shook his head and sighed, “To explain it to you would take much longer than I believe we are willing to waste. It is a device capable of sending me to and from my own world into this one, put simply. Now, if you would like me to bring back your friend, I suggest you all distance yourselves from me.” He placed his free hand on top of the device and prepared to push the button.

Butler waved the crowd of ponies away as he followed Artemis’s suggestion. The bodyguard towered over every pony by at least two feet, casting them away in fear of his hulking figure. Just as soon as the brute was out of the device’s range, the boy activated it and was once more swallowed in a large burst of golden light. Every pony in the vicinity cringed at the brightness of the aura as the foreigner disappeared right before their eyes. A chatter of disbelief spread throughout the crowd.

A few minutes passed as the ponies shared their absurd theories on the nature of the foreigners in their home. Twilight Sparkle laughed internally as the more extreme explanations graced her ears. She switched her attention from her group of friends to the large bipedal creature a few feet away. She would ponder the true origin of the alien every few moments before turning back to listen to a few more pony philosophies.

Although most of the citizens of Ponyville had their own stories, they all reached a general consensus: the foreigners were what one particular unicorn liked to call ‘humans.’ Yes, the mint-green unicorn bounced wildly as each of her once-skeptical brethren admitted that she had been right in her belief in the existence of the bipedal creatures. Despite their lack of factual knowledge, there was no doubt that the aliens were humans, based on the lore that Lyra had been shoving down everypony’s throat for years.

But once the identity of the creatures had been confirmed, another issue arose among the crowd. If they were humans from another world, what would they possibly want with the land of ponies?

A somewhat-heated debate broke out among the crowd, while Twilight continued to ponder the one particular human that had stayed behind. The way he had so easily stopped her now-injured friend in mid-air disturbed her. She hesitated to think that the humans might be planning to take over their world, and that the large brute were just a scout. She wanted to believe that it was just an experiment gone awry, and that Equestria hadn’t been the humans’ desired target.

The more she thought about it, the more ridiculous those motives sounded. How could two humans hope to conquer a whole world full of magical ponies? How likely would it be that someone would arrive unintentionally in their world? No, Twilight considered all of the possible motives that the aliens could’ve had, but none of them felt quite believable—even based on the current situation.

A few more minutes passed without the return of her friend. Twilight was beginning to worry about Fluttershy. The large human had already disabled—albeit temporarily—one of her friends, so the idea that the most timid pony in Equestria could be in danger wasn’t too absurd. She thought about how the brute’s single karate chop had apparently shattered one of Rainbow Dash’s wings, and how by the time the small human had left the cyan daredevil needed to be escorted to the Ponyville hospital.

Twilight decided to stop playing the guessing game and began to approach the large human. Butler sat in an uncomfortably small chair on the other side of the plaza, away from the ponies, his eyes locked on the crowd of equine creatures. He analyzed the purple unicorn’s demeanor as she approached. It took him but a few seconds to size up the approaching mare; he decided she was no threat at the moment.

The closer she got to the oversized brute the more she hesitated, as well as the more he straightened his posture in the chair. Neither one knew exactly what to expect from the other alien. The unicorn, unnoticed by the rest of the ponies, finally reached the table where Butler sat silently. She invited herself to a seat across from him, and placed both of her front hooves visibly on the table. The last thing she wanted was to appear suspicious to the watchful human.

She sat awkwardly for a few moments before working up the courage to speak. “My name is Twilight Sparkle. And you are?” She smiled sheepishly as the clichéd greeting escaped her lips.

Butler looked at her for another moment before grunting, “Butler.”

Twilight was slightly disturbed by such an abrupt introduction. He hadn’t hesitated to speak his mind to the little human, so why was he now so quiet? She chuckled, “It’s nice to meet you Butler. Let me be the first to formally welcome you to Equestria!” She extended a hoof toward the human in friendly greeting.

The large brute scoffed, “You’re quick to trust me, aren’t you?”

The unicorn pulled her hoof back. “What do you mean?” she blankly asked.

“I injured your friend in less than a second without hesitation, and here you are offering your hoof. How could you be sure I wouldn’t just break it?” Butler shook his head in disappointment at the pony’s naivety.

She sighed, “You’re right. But I try not to look at the shallow end of things, Butler.”

The bodyguard raised a curious eyebrow. He chuckled, “Oh really? How do you mean?”

“In all fairness, Rainbow Dash was attacking you…even though it was for Fluttershy’s sake. And besides, everypony deserves a chance, don’t they?” She smiled innocently at the human, her optimism showing bluntly from her expression.

Butler couldn’t help but laugh at such a naïve outlook on life. He’d learned a long time ago, even before his training, not to trust anyone without first examining them. He scoffed, “This place must be pretty peaceful if you’re still alive with that philosophy.”

“Not much happens. We have the occasional jerk, but nothing too extreme.”

Butler grinned. “Be that as it may, you shouldn’t simply trust a stranger, especially one of an entirely different species.” He looked up at the sun for a few moments before letting out a deep sigh. He grunted, “Artemis has been gone for almost an hour. I fear something bad may have happened.”

Twilight’s eyes opened wide at the thought of some sort of complication in the little human’s promise. She gasped, “Like what?”

The bodyguard shook his head and said, “It could be any number of things. Perhaps the device broke on his return. Or perhaps your flying friend has a more devilish side to her and decided to incapacitate the young master.” The brute spoke calmly, but his mind was locked in a battle of emotions.

If something bad had happened to his charge, he would’ve failed horribly at his job, costing him his honor. At the same time, not only would he have failed his job, but he would also be trapped in this strange new world with a bunch of optimistic talking animals. He couldn’t quite decide which of the two punishments was worse.

“Are you saying Fluttershy may be trapped on the other side forever?!” Twilight leaped out of the chair and slammed her front hooves on the table. The fear flooded from her eyes like sunlight.

“It’s only a possibility, Twilight. No matter, there’s no sense in getting upset. What’s done is done.” The large human placed a single hand on the table, hoping that he was completely wrong in his suspicions.

The purple unicorn stammered, “But-but…she’s my friend! And she’s so shy; she’ll never make it in your world!” She stopped to collect her thoughts for a moment. She continued, “Plus there’s no way she would hurt your friend; she’d never hurt a fly!”

Butler burst into laughter, “Her attitude back at Fowl Manor begs to differ, my friend!”

“What do you mean?” Twilight’s expression dropped suddenly, knowing that her friend would never intentionally inconvenience another living creature.

“She seemed to have an anger problem, on top of tackling Artemis to the ground in cold blood.” Butler tapped on his arm where his charge's knife wound had been.

Twilight’s jaw dropped comically for a moment before she shook her head in utter disbelief. She placed a hoof to her face and groaned, “Look, I don’t know what went on in your world, but I know Fluttershy. She would never hurt anything on purpose…” She hesitated to continue, letting her mind drift off to a few rare instances of Flutter-Rage, “…unless there are innocent creatures involved.”

Butler froze in place, completely dumbfounded. He had towered over the device-plagued lab rat when he entered the laboratory. Even worse, it had exploded coincidentally when he walked in. To make matters even worse, the rat bile splattered on her face. He hadn’t even realized what had happened until she was flying away. At the same time, apologizing never even crossed his mind. How could he have known at the time that the winged equine was a sentient creature? And besides, the mouse was due to die anyway...

The bodyguard cleared his throat and rested a hand on his chin. He sighed, “Well, that certainly explains a few things.”

“Does it?” Twilight cocked an eyebrow, now curious as to what the humans did to provoke Fluttershy.

Butler bowed his head and considered his words carefully. “Yes, more than you can imagine. This is a bit of interesting information. I suppose your friend isn’t quite the demon I believed her to be.” He looked back up at the sky, noticing the sun start its downward arc.

It was roughly two in the evening. The humans’ first contact with the world of Equestria began at noon. Butler was starting to worry about his master.

Just as the large brute took a breath and began to speak, a loud roar rang out from above the town’s plaza, startling every creature within a mile or two and temporarily disabling most of their senses. Twilight regained her sight just in time to see three blurry figures crash through a cart of carrots and collide with the solid ground of the Ponyville plaza.