• Published 16th Nov 2012
  • 1,921 Views, 24 Comments

Samurai Applejack - A. Tuesday



After being sent forward in time, Applejack must find a way back to her time to undo Sombra's evil.

  • ...
5
 24
 1,921

Entropy

Consciousness began to grind on her mind like the rust on her metal shackles. Tangerine eyes fluttered open to a dirtied, metal floor, cold and unfamiliar. A voice, somewhere miles away, spoke in a warped, distorted voice:

“Filllllliess annnnnd gentllllecollllltssss…get readyyyyyy…forrr the Mane Event… ”

A noise similar to applause broke out in return, but Applejack couldn’t really tell. All she knew was that something was watching her, and something was restraining her as well.

Fogginess began to dissipate from her vision, the farmpony instead moving her attention to a dull throbbing in her thigh. She racked her mind for the answer for it as she attempted to move her forelegs and found they were bound to the wall. Further investigation showed that they were actually metal shackles.

“Nowww presenting…your Highnessss…King Sombraaaaa!”

More applause. The clapping outside seemed to morph with the sound of a train whistle in AJ’s mind, slowly churning her only ride out of here while she jumped from the caboose. Only to be captured again. The only other way out of here had been a hallucination.

But, after that? She had been dragged into the throne room, threatened by Sombra, and then… well, then what?

The pony perked her head up. She was in a small room with tiled floor, iron bars that seemed to be made out of dirt, grime, and rust as much as metal, blocking the only exit out. Beyond that, two Pegasystems stared directly into the cage, their piercing red eyes glaring at Applejack’s figure on the wall. The cell seemed to be one of many in a long corridor; she presumed the sound was coming from one of its ends.

In her own personal cell, it was absolutely atrocious. Blood, dust, dirt, and various debris littered the floor, the finishing touch being a small pile of bones in the corner, beneath a holes for tightly-packed screws. The farmpony’s eyes went wide at the sight.

How’d I – where am I?

Her breathing began to come out in shallow gasps as a new voice, instantly recognizable, boomed from the outside – the warping had since subsided:

“Denizens of the Crystal Empire! Tonight, I bring you something rather… unusual…”

Sombra.

Before she could properly comprehend this, a loud metal clicking pulled her from thinking anything else. Emerald eyes found the iron gate to the cell being pulled open by a Pegasystem, who casually pulled it all the way back as the other remained idle. After this action was completed, both hovered into the room menacingly. Each, in perfect synchronization, moved their forceps to the shackles, simultaneously releasing them and grabbing Applejack by the hoof.

Silently, with Applejack not sure how to react, they led her out of the cell and into the hallway. Sombra’s speaking continued outside.

“…Your usual skirmish of two volunteers has been… changed, slightly…”

Skirmish? What skirmish?

Applejack’s idle body hovered over the tiles as she turned a corner in the corridor, turning into another long hallway with cells on either side. The noise from outside was louder here, and light was coming in from the opposite end. She had an uneasy feeling that she was going to be a larger part of the skirmish than she desired.

AJ thought to her sword, which, somehow, was still at her side. Initially, she questioned the fact that she had been jailed without its removal, but then she just frowned internally at the prospect that it wouldn’t help her in battle at all, really; there would’ve been no point in removing it, and they must’ve known that. The farmpony had still little to no skill with the blade, and if she didn’t have that, well – there was no hope for her, now was there?

Why did Twilight give it to her? Why didn’t Twilight just let her die or get captured? Why, oh why, did her friend think she would stand a fighting chance against what seemed like the whole world?

I miss Twilight.

The hallucination that Applejack had jumped to off of the train had seemed so real, so lifelike… and, it was just the dust. Enchanted dust, most likely, from Sombra, who was now beginning to appear as though he had much more magical prowess than he did three centuries ago. Time flies when you’re drifting through nothingness.

“…a personal acquaintance of mine…”

That last statement almost cemented the fact that Applejack was going to take part in something she really didn’t want to. Not that she knew what it was, of course, but she was about to find out; the two robots had just turned the corner with their prisoner, and now faced the exit.

Through the metal gating of the entrance, Applejack could see that it was an arena of some sort. A large, circular space of sand was laid out in front of her, with walls surrounding its entirety that hid from sight the bottom of the audience, which had quieted down since Sombra’s last statement.

Arena fighting. The sword would either have no use whatsoever or be her greatest asset. AJ hoped the latter.

“And now, your competitors for tonight’s SOMBRAIC SKIRMISH!!”

The crowd went nuts. Applejack remained idle, choosing to accept her fate, whatever it may be. She had a good run. The Pegasystems didn’t move.

“In this corner, we’ve got the meanest, most determined farmer that could ever have existed in all this world! Or, rather, that did exist. But, she’s here tonight! The Stetson-wearing love-and-caring Blast from the Past, Applejack!!!”

Once again, applause rained down, thunder without rain in an unforgiving desert. The metal gate slid with a snap open as Applejack was forcibly shoved out. The noise level became near-deafening as her face met the sand. She propped herself up on her forelegs, shaking her face and her mane. As she stood up, a similar sound and a tuft of sand blew in her face: somepony had tossed her Stetson to her.

The tangerine pony looked in awe around her. It seemed like the entire Crystal Empire was here, cheering for a death that wasn’t their own, knowing all too well theirs would come soon enough. The movements in the stands, hundreds upon thousands of ponies all screaming for fighting, made her sick to her stomach.

“And, in this corner…”

Applejack looked directly across from her, where a black tunnel stood. A metal gate was placed in front of it, just like there had been on hers. Something unsettling was caught in her throat. Her stomach did cartwheels. Whatever she was about to face was behind there.

“…The likeness of the ancient Princesses herself! Master of magic and ingenuity that hasn’t left the same square ten feet in three hundred years! The Lavender Catastrophe, the Horn to cause Mourn…”

The gate, slightly too early, was pulled open; a tall, slender unicorn flew out into the sound weakly. Her coat was that of a soft lavender, and her mane was of a deeper violet.

“…Twilight Sparkle!”

Applejack could no longer drop her draw. She merely stared.

“Begin!”

* * *

The two ponies met each other in the middle of the arena, walking slowly up to one another. AJ looked for any sign that this was a hallucination, some shimmer of dust or magic, but there appeared to be none. She looked as old and withered as always. This had gone from very scary to complete entropy.

“Twilight?” Applejack asked, below the obnoxious crowd, “… is that you, this time? For real?”

Twilight nodded sadly. “Yes.”

AJ looked down to the ground, her dirty Stetson letting a small stream of forgotten sand flow from its brim. “I… do they want us ta do this? Ta fight each other?”

Once again, the sad nod returned. In response, a shaking of the head.

“No! I can’t! I-I won’t! I can’t fight mah own friend!”

Twilight’s eyes glistened from her tall, lanky body. “I know, Applejack. I would never do anything to hurt you, either. You were supposed to leave the Empire and fix this.”

“Sombra,” Applejack said, dejectedly and guilty, “I… I fell for his trickery. I’m a fool, I know. But, he – you looked so real!”

“Don’t worry over it too much, Applejack,” Twilight Sparkle assured, “Anypony would stumble over him. He is much more powerful now than he used to be.”

A small chanting had begun in the surrounding audience, missed in with booing. As it became progressively louder and spread throughout the entire coliseum, one word was made out, repeated over and over again: “Fight! Fight! Fight!...”

Applejack looked outwards towards the jeering crowd from the very center of the arena, standing calmly with her best friend. “Are they really ‘specting us to fight?”

“I… I’m afraid so,” Twilight said, lowering her head.

“You will fight,” Sombra’s voice yelled out, from nowhere Applejack cared to look, “Or, I end the both of you right here. Whoever lives is granted another day to live within the Empire. The alternative, is, of course, the Automatonic Horde.”

The audience seemed delighted with the idea, and the earlier chanting was replaced by words and phrases nopony with any sense of sanity could make out. Twilight’s eyes went wide. Applejack took notice.

“What?” the farmpony innocently asked, “What’s wrong? Why are they cheerin’ louder? What’s the… horde-thingy?”

“I’ve been dragged to all of these fights in the last three centuries,” Twilight recounted, living a flashback, “Forced to watch innocent ponies kill each other for no reason at all. If they choose not to move, the Horde comes out. Dozens upon hundreds of corrupted Pegasystems… they don’t end…” The memory seemed to be absolutely terrible; Applejack could read fear on her friend’s eyes.

The tall unicorn shook her head, snapping back into reality. “Unsheathe your sword, you’re going to kill me.”

What?” Applejack demanded, taking a step back, “And why in the hay would I do that?”

“It’s your only option,” Twilight replied, “If you ever want a second chance out. And, this isn’t about you anymore. It’s about me. It’s about the rest of them. It’s about making sure the rest of the world progresses as it should, not like… this.”

She picked her head up, delivering a very sobering statement: “In order for this to occur, and for us to avoid a fate worse than eternal entrapment within Tartarus, you have to take my life.”

Applejack shook her head. “No. I won’t do it. And, that’s final.”

Twilight sighed, hanging her head in defeat. The crowd only got successively louder, calling out both “Horde!” and “Fight!” in various sections of the arena.

Applejack leaned in towards her friend, who had remained motionless. “Twilight, I’m sorry, but… I just can’t do it.”

She backed up as Twilight raised her head, revealing her height as twice that of Applejack’s. Her horn glowed with fierce intensity as her eyes glowed a sickly green, black smoke ringing out from the edges.

“Very well, dear friend,” she said icily, “If you refuse to end me, then I must end you.

* * *

Applejack felt the ground beneath her tremble for a moment, and as she looked down, small pebbles were rumbling as small cracks formed. Cold sweat broke out on her back as she darted to the side, just as a huge, obsidian spire stabbed upwards through the ground, stabbing skyward.

The pony landed on her back over to the side, her Stetson falling off of her blonde mane. She had no initiative to pick it up. “Twilight!” she called, “What’re ya doing?”

“Trying to get this to end,” she said loudly, “And if the only way for you to see that is for me to kill you, then so be it.”

Another rock spire, this one much more rugged than the last, came out of the arena wall, barely missing Applejack’s hide. Coolness radiated off of the rock. “But, if ya kill me, you’ll never get out!”

Twilight only grunted, telling Applejack that she should stop waiting for an answer and just start running.

As soon as she began to move forwards, smaller spires, with intent to kill, poked up from the ground at rapid pace, forming the end points of Twilight’s deadly radii. Applejack would’ve found it irritating that she’s been doing nothing but running the last day, but she felt that the need to concentrate on living was much more important.

The crowd was going beyond wild. Stomping of hooves was getting louder by the minute, the cheering for either victor almost exceeding the former’s volume. It was an awful, dark form of entertainment, added onto the slaves’ already miserable lives; Applejack found the entire situation gruesome. They, however, loved it.

As the tangerine pony neared Twilight’s entrance to the stadium, the rock spires caught up to her, catching on her side and lifting her back hooves up into the air. Twilight, using highly accurate magic, moved the rock spires at such a rate that Applejack was involuntarily using them as stairs. Upwards and upwards, until she had reached a height equal to the brim of the tenth row of seats.

Then, all towers fell out from under her.

The wind was knocked out of her in an instant, a rib cracking within Applejack’s chest as she hit the ground from twenty feet up. She fought back a tear as a dull throbbing began in her head and pain radiated from her thorax. The noise was going to split open her head.

“You know, I shouldn’t be surprised,” Twilight said, from her position at center stage, “Expecting a weak earth pony like you to actually get out of this hellhole? Please.”

The insults weren’t doing anything good to Applejack’s morale, but the orange pony knew what Twilight was trying to do. The unicorn was attempting to rile up AJ enough that she’d come at her full swing with her magical sword.

“I ain’t fallin’ for yer tricks, Twi’!” Applejack screamed out, stupidly. Her reply was a terrifying glare of fluorescent green and not enough reaction time as two huge rock formation dug their ways out of the ground, grasping Applejack’s backhooves with long, spindly fingers.

Ooh…” the very cheerful announcer called out, “Twilight’s reallyrocking the arena today…

“What trick?” Twilight cocked back, as the blood rushed up to the head of Applejack, who know hung upside down between two enchanted structures in the middle of the arena. “We both know it’s true. I don’t know why I needed to come see you all those years in Ponyville. You’re just a dumb country-pony who wouldn’t know courage if it hit her in the face!”

Twilight, you’re really going a bit too far…

Applejack suddenly called into mind that, if it wasn’t for her courage, Twilight almost surely would’ve fallen to her death off of a rock wall on the first night they met. Courage was what Apple Family members were known for. Applejack felt the urge to say this, but she thought better of it this time.

The rocks squeezed her backhooves for just a moment, seeming to do something akin to a pulse. Electrical currents, as AJ could see, ran down the length of them and into the ground. Lightning bolts arched from an area around Twilight, who appeared to Applejack as a pseudo-goddess at this point.

“Oh, are you thinking of your family back home?” her friend mocked, “All those inbred relatives that you’ll never, ever see again?”

Applejack’s heart stopped. “What did you say?”

Once again, the pony went into freefall as the rocks let her go to the ground below, this time, thankfully, from not quite as high as height. She hit the ground with more pain, but this time, she didn’t flinch as she got up. AJ spit to the side, blood mixed with saliva finding a spot on the sandy floor. Twilight smiled from her position, crossing one leg over the other.

“Yup.” She flashed Applejack a wide smile. “All your inbred relatives that you won’t see. Ever. Again.”

“Don’t you use that word, Twilight,” Applejack snarled, taking a tentative step forwards. “How dare you even call my family that.”

“Is there a problem? Is somepony getting a bit upset?” Twilight was almost prancing around the center of the arena, but slowly getting closer to Applejack as she did. “And all over the fact that the secret’s out that you and your brother have been sharing the same bed as well as the room?”

“Take that back, Twilight,” Applejack replied. Twilight had her right where she wanted her, and AJ knew it. But all her eyes could see was red. She tried to push the emotions back, but she couldn’t. She had heard it too much at home; all the rumors, all the jokes, all the awful stories. It was the one thing she truly despised in this world. “Take. It. Back.”

Twilight took long, exaggerated strides towards her friends. “I wonder how many cousins you have that aren’t deformed? I mean, there were a lot at the Reunion, but are there others you aren’t revealing.

Applejack felt more magic being created behind her, as if Twilight was bringing up rocks behind her once more, but the farmpony kept her ground. If she had to die, fine. She’ll accept her fate. With dignity, though.

“We have none,” she spat. “Watch yer tongue, Missy.”

“Best part is, you won’t have to worry about all of ‘em ever again.” Twilight said happily, as the sound in the coliseum seemed to die down for a couple moments. The whole world became mute as Twilight shot her jeers. “You have good practice with that, though.”

The magic that had been made behind AJ made itself apparent as a large rock wall forced Applejack across the arena, pushing the reluctant pony until she was an inch away from Twilight’s face. The wall remained there as Twilight lowered her head, glaring into Applejack’s eyes not with green eyes of darkness, but with her usual, purple ones. They screamed hope, victory, and hate, all at the same time.

Applejack’s breath was shaky. Her sword began to pulse once more from within its sheathe. Twilight Sparkle leaned in close, and, with victory in her grasp, spoke in just above a whisper:

“How are those parents of yours, by the way, Applejack?”

Applejack grit her teeth. “NO!”

Somepony, on the other side of the planet, called out “Wait!” – the one phrase that was discernable among the muted crowd in the background. All Applejack could hear was her heartbeat.

In a quick instant, Applejack reached to the side, pulled the sword out of its case, and, in the same motion, kept swinging all the way to the other side, bringing the blade through Twilight’s throat.

“I demand this battle be halted, as the subjects involved are not of the Crystal Empire’s jurisdiction!”

The voice seemed familiar, but Applejack couldn’t take her eyes off of the sight in front of her. The applause sounded like it had tried to roar in support, but this other voice was overpowering it. AJ only listened; her eyes never moved from her friend.

You?” Sombra’s voice called from the side of the arena, from some imperial viewing platform the farmpony hadn’t seen before. “You were encased in stone.

Used to be, Sombra, dear,” the voice crooned, “And I demand that these two prisoners return to their rightful region at this instant.”

Two?” Sombra called. “There is only one subject.

Applejack watched as Twilight’s headless, lanky body crumpled, bending at the knees and falling to the ground with a sickening lurch.

And you may take her away; I am finished with her.

Applejack dropped the magical sword from her mouth, where it fell in silence as a magical presence made itself known to her on her left side. A talon reached out to her.

“Dearest Honest Applejack, I am delighted to tell you that, as presiding ruler of the New Principality of Chaos, you are free to return home to the place that was once your home.”

The Element of Honesty tore her eyes away from her friend’s carcass and looked to the talon. A familiar figure was its owner.

“Time to come home, Applejack,” Discord invited coolly.