• Published 30th Nov 2012
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Into the Black: A Mare's Tale - shirotora



Twilight is flung into the farthest reaches of the galaxy

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Chapter 1: First Encounter

Twilight woke to a painful throbbing in her head. She laid there for a moment before bringing herself to open her eyes. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust. When her sight returned she found herself in some kind of ruins. It looked like it was once a city like Manehattan. As she groggily examined her surroundings, she saw a strange looking object.

Slowly and painfully, she got to her hooves and approached the strangely familiar thing. Picking it up, to get a better look, it took her a few moments to realize she was holding Xander's severed head. With an ear piercing scream she threw it and ran in the opposite direction.

She didn't get too far, before she slammed face first into something...hard. She looked up to see a tall, bipedal creature. It was entirely hairless, except for a blond mane on its head, with hard green skin over most of its body, actually, at a second glance, it seemed to be some kind of strange clothing, and it wore a semi-transparent orange visor over its eyes. It turned to her, revealing its face. The creature had pale skin, with similar features as a pony, but with a flatter face and brown eyes that were way too small for it's head. It surprised her when it spoke.

“What the hell is that thing?” it said in perfect Equish.

Twilight was about to run when it knelt down, putting itself at her level. That simple gesture left her more at ease and told her the creature wasn't trying to hurt her. Instead it did something worse...it spoke to her like she was an animal.

“Shh, it's OK, little fella, I won't hurt you.” it said, “Hey, Seth, you need to see this.”

“What is it, Curt?” a second, much bigger creature came from behind one of the walls, this one with a shorter black mane and a thicker face, “What the hell is that?”

“I'm not sure,” said Curt, “It looks like a small equine, but it has a horn. The only thing like it I’ve ever heard of is in myth.”

“Excuse me.” Twilight said before she could stop herself, “I'm right here you know.”

The one called Curt jumped back, tripping over his feet, “Holy shit nuggets it talks.”

The one called Seth pointed an object that Twilight assumed, by the aggressive stance, was a weapon. She took a few steps away, her eyes widening in fear.

“I'm sorry.” she said, shaking a little with her ears flat, “I didn't mean to upset you. I just don't know where I am.”

“Whoa, stand down, Seth.” said Curt, “I don't think it's a threat.” He turned back to the purple creature, “I'm sorry, but we just didn't expect you to be intelligent. My name's Curtis Dupree, you can call me Curt. My jumpy friend there is Seth Vasiliev.”

“My name is Twilight Sparkle, it's a pleasure to meet you.” She said.

“Well aren't you the polite one.” Said the tall being.

“If you two are done chatting we still have a job to do, Curt” Seth reminded Curt.

“Gotcha, Listen Twilight Sparkle, I would like to talk to you but this place is dan...” Curt was cut off by a loud zip-crackle.

He jumped behind a low wall, drawing another one of those strange weapons. Twilight looked at him in confusion, not understanding what was going on. Curt looked at the unicorn, from behind cover incredulously.

“Get your ass down! It's a sniper turret.” He barked.

“A what?” Twilight asked.

Her answer came as another zip-crackle sounded. She quickly turned her head toward the sound only to feel something hot tear through her cheek. She threw a hoof on it and hit the floor screaming.

“Ahhh! It hurts, sweet Celestia it hurts!” She wailed.

“Damn it.” Curt said, as he rested his weapon on the wall - this one much longer, with a large cylinder on top that Curt looked into.

Seth Hurdled the wall and rushed to the fallen pony, pulling her to safety. He tried to get her to stop squirming, but the pain of the wound was unbearable.

“Stay still, this will help you.” Seth said firmly.

She barely managed to comply. He pulled a tube from his side, pressed it against the wound and pushed a button. A yellow foam streaked out, covering the gash. It apparently had a pain killer in it, as the pain began to fade quickly.

A similar sound as what hurt her came from Curt as the weapon he held rocked back. That's what those do? How terrible. She thought to herself.

“Got it.” Curt said resolutely.

Twilight fought back the last of her tears, as the pain nearly disappeared. She soon took to her hooves and looked at the weapon.

“Are you OK, Twilight Sparkle.” He asked.

“I...I think so, and please call me Twilight.” She said, “What was that? What did it do to me?”

“It was a sniper turret.” Seth explained, “It's an automated defense tool that uses a weapon like the one Curt used. It uses magnets to fire small pellets at several times the speed of sound.”

“Several times?” Twilight mused, “How small are the pellets?”

“Here ya go.” Curt offered with an open hand.

He opened a compartment on the top and pulled out a small 5mm bead. She looked at it and took it up in her magic, causing Curt to gasp!

“Whoa! How are you doing that? Is that magic?” Curt asked, not believing his eyes.

“Yes.” She responded and returned the bead to its owner.

“Holy shit, Seth, she's an adept.” Curt said, “A real live adept...and she's not trying to kill us.”

“I’m a unicorn.” Twilight corrected, “And why would I do something so horrible?”

“An adept is what we call any being that can use magic,” Explained Seth, “As far as we know, the only adepts left are the Dratali.”

“The Dratali?” Twilight said, tilting her head to the side.

“Oh god, that's adorable.” Fawned Curt.

“Stow it, Curt.” Seth said, “The Dratali are an alliance of religious zealots that believe it's their duty to cleanse the universe of evil. Unfortunately, they believe everything is evil. They mean to wipe out all life...including themselves.”

“Yeah,” Curt cut in, “They're ruthless, cunning, and driven, but at least they're not hypocrites.

They consider themselves just as evil as us, and that makes them dangerous. They don't care if they die. In fact, the way they see it, if they die it's still one less evil creature, so they fight with little regard for personal safety.”

“That sounds awful.” Twilight tried not to move her mouth much, as the gash was still stinging, but the stuff Seth put on it, had numbed it a bit.

“OK enough for now, lets go.” Seth ordered.

“What about her?” Curt inquired.

“She'll be a liability. She obviously has no combat experience.” Seth stated plainly.

“No experience!” Twilight said obviously insulted, “I'll have you know my friends and I have saved Equestria on several occasions. Once from Nightmare Moon - a possessed goddess, once from Discord - the spirit of chaos, again from the invasion of the changeling horde, and King Sombra, The Order of the Fire Rose, and several others over the years. Just this morning I stopped Xander, an evil sorcerer, from conquering the world.”

“This morning?” Seth said skeptically, “Really?”

“That's how I got here. In a last ditch effort to beat me, he flung me to...wherever this is!” She exclaimed.

“So you've killed?” Seth asked.

Twilight recoiled at that, “What? No! Why the hay would you even ask that?” She said accusingly.

“That's what I thought.” He deadpanned, “Has anyone you know and love been killed or severely wounded?”

“I've had my share of injuries.” Replied the unicorn, “Although I have to admit this is the worst I’ve ever even seen.” She pointed a hoof to her left cheek.

“Like I said, no experience.” He said frankly to Curt.

“Well we can't just leave her.” Retorted the sniper, before putting on a cutesy-wootsy voice. “I mean just look at how adorable she is.”

“Alright, fine!” Seth finally gave in, “...but on one condition. You stay back, out of our way, and behind cover. We're going to a structure to do something, don't worry what. When we get there you are going to stay outside and hide. Now come here.”

Seth took off a strap that was across his waist with a small version of that weapon. He wrapped it around Twilight, from shoulder to waist and pulled out the weapon.

“I take it you can use fine control with that magic of yours.” He assumed.

“Of course.” Came Twilight's reply.

“Good, this is the trigger.” He pointed to a curved lever, “Pull this back, the gun goes boom, and whatever this little red light is pointing at dies. If you get in trouble use it, don't think, just do it. Now, give it a try.”

Twilight took it in her magic and pointed it at a wall. She saw a red dot appear on it. Pulling back on the small lever, the weapon let off a zap/fizzle sound. The wall behind the red dot exploded, leaving a two inch wide hole. She stared at it wide eyed.

“Good, just do that to anything that tries to hurt you.” Seth said, as she replaced the weapon into its holster, “OK, lets go.”

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

“My goddess.” Shining said, “What kind of creatures talk about killing so easily?”

“The kind who's only options are to kill or be exterminated. The universe out there isn't all rainbows and sunshine like it is here.” Twilight answered easily.

“Darling,you can't seriously think that the changeling invasion was as you said, all rainbows and sunshine.” Rarity said in disbelief, “Or that whole mess with Xander, or Discord.”

“Or all those other jerks we took on.” Rainbow Dash added.

“Rarity, Rainbow, I'd rather deal with all three of them a hundred times than some of the fucked up shit I've seen.” Twilight stated coldly.

The others recoiled at her words, though less at the profanity and more at what she was saying. None of them could even begin to comprehend how bad it all was.

“Well I guess we know how you got that... scar.” Armor said with a pang of disgust and pity.

“Ha, “Twilight laughed, “You think this is bad? If you get all worked up over this, you might not want to hear the rest.” She yawned and got up, "I'm kind of tired. I'm going to bed. Is my room still there?”

“Yeah, of course, Twilight.” Pinkie said, “I made sure it was sparkly clean for you, when you got back.”

“Thanks Pinkie.” Twilight smiled gently.

“I'll walk you home.” Princess Celestia said, “Alone, if that's alright with everypony else.”
The pair walked out of the bakery and walked a good two minutes before the princess spoke.

“Twilight, I'm worried about you.” She said, “You're so different, I can hardly believe It's really you. Was everything you experienced that horrible?”

“No, in fact a lot of it was even fun.” Said her student, “Like learning to fly the Ax.” Twilight chuckled, “Now that was an experience. I bet Rainbow Dash is going to love hearing about that.”

“I bet.” The princess agreed, sharing a laugh for the first time in over a year.

“I won't lie to you princess,” Twilight became serious again, “A lot of it was bad, and yes it did change me.” The purple unicorn looked up at her mentor with a smile, “But I’m still Twilight, and I still missed my friends...and my books. I just have a few bad habits I picked up along the way.”

“A few?” Inquired the princess, “I take it your foul language isn't the only one then?”

“I’ll make sure to introduce you to them slowly.” Twilight assured her.

“I'm glad to see that you're still you, Twilight, even with these habits of yours. I’ve missed you, my faithful student.” Celestia nuzzled her, not caring if it wasn't proper for a princess to show affection like that.

“I missed you too.” Twilight said, as tears started to form in her eyes, “I'm just so glad to be home.”

“I'll leave you to rest now.” The Solar-Princess said dismissively.

“Goodnight, princess.” Twilight said, before she walked into her library.
The smell of books brought a smile to her face. It was a smell she missed. She was finally back with her beloved books. Grabbing a few off the shelves, she took them upstairs with her. Setting them on her bed, she made a detour to her bathroom. Adjusting the water of the shower to just the right temperature,she stripped off her armor and got in to scrub herself clean. After the stink and grime of the several days flight were washed off, she got out and dried herself off with a quick spell.

Stepping back into her room, she set her armor in the corner to be washed later. The old picture of her and her friends, taken shortly after the Nightmare Moon incident caught her attention. She hovered it over to herself and looked at it fondly, until she saw her reflection in the glass. She looked at her cropped mane and tail, the various scars crossing her body and the look in her eyes. She looked back at her friends in the photo, and sighed, “When you learn what I've done, will you still
think of me the same way?”

She floated the picture back to its place on the shelf, as she hopped up on her bed and grabbed a book.

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