• Published 27th Jun 2013
  • 8,968 Views, 417 Comments

Pet Peeves - TheApexSovereign

The pets and their owners have swapped roles, making them ponies and their masters pets. Now the Sidekicks must travel across Equestria, go on the adventure of a lifetime, and discover their inner hero. Are they up to the task?

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Prologue: Of Long Times Past

‘Pet Peeves’
by TheApexSovereign

Prologue: Of Times Long Past

Our journey begins in a time long passed—an age before any of us were born under Celestia’s wings, the like of which you and I will never see in our lifetimes.

In an era long before Harmony and, heh, Chaos, there was the Void—the Grey Millennium. Centuries prior to the three pony rulers uniting their kingdoms under one flag and dubbing our great pasture “Equestria”, before unicorns and pegasi could even form complete sentences, the earth was barren, cold; magma ceaselessly spewed into the heavens from chasms that split the land apart. Both the sun and the moon were but faded spheres in a forlorn sky. Time in itself was but a myth. Our earliest ancestors lived in misery the likes that could be comparable only to old King Sombra’s rule, but even then his people had some semblance of hope. Our progenitors didn’t believe in such fantasies.

Amongst the misery of existence, only one kingdom was powerful and depraved enough to take the reins and rule this desolate land:

Tambelon. The Nightmare Castle. The Citadel of Shadow.

Seated at the throne of this twisted kingdom was the wrathful ram of the Southern Lands: Grogar, the Necromancer.

Not bound by the self-governed laws of morality, Lord Grogar made it his life’s work to learn all that the world had to offer, so that he could lead the primevals out of the Grey Millennium and into what he proclaimed to be a superior future (a future he would shape himself, of course). Those who loved what they now call “a fairytale” often debated over whether Grogar’s vision was worse than another hundred years of the Grey Millennium.

Over the course of his life, old power-hungry Lord Grogar grew from butting heads with his brothers to becoming history’s most feared and respected sorcerer. There was never any rest for Grogar, as he believed sleep to be a waste of time, a paltry exercise. He felt that kings and queens should never be relaxed. Not when they had a throne to rule.

The entirety of Grogar’s life can be surmised as simply being one big lesson; just as he was in the final stages of mastering control over crystal, he moved on to self-duplication, and then spirit conjuring and immortality and shadow bending, hexes and curses and, of course, necromancy. Grogar the Necromancer was especially famous for his will over the dead, as his name would imply. It took years of his immortal life and a trek through Tartarus to learn its secrets. There was never a corpse too rotted or too bare that Grogar couldn’t enthrall with just a little bit of the anger pumping his prune of a heart that such a black magic called for. Thousands of ibex have gone completely mad trying to walk in their ancestor’s hoofsteps, and a staggering few have had little success. The price one must pay to even have a lick of dark magic is great: they must isolate themselves and lead a lonely existence, unless their companion is content or stupid enough to become akin to Lord Grogar’s faithful punching bag, Bray. And even then, if they fail to keep the fire of their hearts in check or flop in finding a Bray for periodic release, the darkness can sap at their very essence until they’re but a sickly old prune.

This, coupled with morality, is one of the thousand-and-one reasons why our Great Princess Celestia has made black magic illegal in Equestria. Though, perhaps that gravelly beast, Sombra, had a hoof in that as well.

But it’s no use in denying that there is influence in power; we’re attracted to it, like a moth to a flame, or refuge from a storm. And as Grogar’s power grew, so did his followers. At the apex of his reign, nearly half the continent was flailing about the Red-Eyed Goat that was Tambelon’s banner like a horde of brainwashed drones.

Oh, wait . . .

Yet they held no love for the ram; only fear. Grogar knew that of course and he relished in it. For four-hundred years Grogar trekked the globe, leaving Tambelon’s flag at every turn and in the hands and claws and maws of every ally he made. There was nothing that could stop the Iron Ram, it would seem. In fact, the only thing that could stop him was himself.

And that’s just what happened.

Grogar was many things, but never was he patient. He was the type of ram that would fulfill his end of the bargain long after the fact, and only if smiting you into dust after your usefulness had met its end failed. Many who loved having a brain in their skull were happy with giving Grogar time to pay his debts. In fact, they gave him all the time in the world! And that’s just how life went in the Grey Millennium: Grogar would make an alliance and wait for his cohorts to die of old age and then reanimate their bones to make them his thrall.

Only one alliance—Grogar’s first, in fact—broke away from the circle. And if there was one race—an entire species, not just one individual—that is more impatient, more angry, and just as everlasting and vilified as old Lord Grogar, that would hooves-down be the dragons.

It was sort of a beautiful match, if you ask me. Both desired power, both were willing to abandon what little creed they had to gain it, and yet neither had respect nor fear for the other.

The dragons grew weary of the centuries it took Lord Grogar to live up to his promises. It was always ‘Where is that mountain of riches you promised us, Sheep Lord?’ this and ‘We grow weary of waiting for that Everlasting Rest you promised us, Sheep Lord’ that. And every time, Lord Grogar assured them that he would pay his debts once the Grey Millennium has passed.

But the dragons weren’t pleased with that answer. They loathed the “Sheep Lord” that was commanding them, the Great Wyrms of Old, to sit and wait for another age to pass. But a dragon’s greed is something that is easily manipulated if you are as charismatic as Grogar was. His lauding of the promised “golden mountain” that every dragon in the realm could use as a site for this “Everlasting Rest” was something that the great wyrms so very desired.

But Grogar’s ambition inevitably came to a glorious end when his faithful apprentice, an ibex named Mortuus Magus, spoke one rumor too many that old Lord Grogar had never planned to make an ascension from the Grey Millennium, and it was just a farce to make the desperate masses bend.

Rumor or not, centuries had passed and not a soul knew if that was the truth. But regardless, the deed was done, and the wrathful drakes were outraged. Without warning, the Wyrms of Old fell upon Tambelon in droves of thousands, their numbers blotting the grey sky like a flock of ravens.

Within an hour’s time, Tambelon had been completely razed. Nothing remained but a smoldering ruin and the charred bones of the millions of undead that had been within Grogar’s thrall were finally put to rest. Lord Grogar the Necromancer was slain, as were his followers living at Tambelon. Only a few hundred drakes were felled in the battle, but that mattered little to them. The allies Grogar put so much effort into (or lack thereof) broke away, never to make contact again, until the Alicorn Sisters would reunite them under their flag a time later.

History seems to have forgotten all of the great progress Grogar made (or rather forced) in both the cultural and magical aspects of our current day society. Why, I’d say we’d all still be throwing rocks in the air and calling it levitation if it weren’t for him! Even today the Olden Ram’s memory holds a presence in Caprinae, where it was believed to be the place where Tambelon rose its walls. Within its craggy borders there are those like the shadow-skulking ibex who revere the Dread Lord like a martyr, even going as far as calling him the grandfather of sorcery. Mothers tell their fillies the story of Grogar the Tyrannical as a bedtime read, made to frighten the little tykes so they wouldn’t get out of bed, lest the Ram of Shadows grab them from down under and take them to become his thrall. And I know of detached herds of buffalo who see old Grogar as a wicked spirit that is destined to return from ashes with Tambelon in tow and reclaim his birthright.

But this is all just an old pony’s tale, am I right? I mean, there’s just so many plot holes and inconsistencies throughout, dull characterization and prose so purple it turned blue. But hey, I could be wrong! Maybe this all really did happen. Perhaps the buffalo are right, and Lord Grogar will emerge from the shadows and raise Tambelon from the ashes to blot out the sun like the legends proclaim. After all . . .

“. . . I was never good at making up stories.” Discord’s raucous cackle echoed throughout the dreamlike realm, seemingly for infinity. It very well could have, he thought, considering there were no walls for the sound to bounce off of.

It was just blank—a hall that had neither an end nor a beginning, and so purely white that it hurt Discord’s eyes if he threatened to look for so long. This place always felt like winter, he thought, its chilled air carrying the scent of an evening snowfall. A simple blue scarf pinged around Discord’s neck as goose flesh rose underneath his pelt. He drifted through the realm at a deliberate pace, enjoying the sights as he looked up and around and right below him at the countless mirrors hovering in quiet; the only sound Discord heard was his own breathing and the beating of his wings.

“Could they even be called mirrors?” Discord asked no one in particular. The oval glass appeared to belong in a mirror, but a gaseous border enclosed it, like a cloud but whiter than the whiteness around them. 'Tacky', is the word I believe sweet Rarity would use. Wisps licked out at the nothingness around them, like a mist, always reaching out to each other but never moving from the space they filled. Those nearby that Discord slithered past reached out for him, attracted by the physical presence that seldom crossed this realm. More than once he saw new mirrors springing out of thin air, even right in front of him in a few cases. Even while glancing about Discord was constantly spotting mirrors near and far melting into nothingness, in reference to their owner’s life.

Discord wadded through mirrors with twiddling fingers and a devious smirk dancing on his lip. None of them held anything of particular interest, though the common pony could be lost in this realm for the rest of their lives if they had such a strong curiosity of the unknown. Cutie marks and birthdays, saving a life or making one, it was all these mirrors held but an actual reflection.

“The Fates have been busy,” Discord remarked, the emptiness ahead parroting his remark with his own voice. The immortal chaos god, like Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, had no use for something in the likes of mirrors that told of a pony’s Destiny. ‘Why need them at all?’ he’d ask himself. ‘Just let birds and bees be free.’

But sadly for Discord, that was how the formless Fates and Princess Celestia ensured peace and order. It was as it has been for thousands of years. ‘No room for Chaos here,’ Discord thought with a grunt.

“Still, I could do a lot of naughty naughty things in here,” he tittered, passing by the mirror of a shaman buffalo who seemingly found a cure for his tribe’s ailments. It took just a single thought for dozens of scenarios to play out in his maniacal brain. However, it wasn’t good judgement and morality that kept the Chaos god in check, rather it was Celestia’s promise to blast him back to the Void if she discovered he had tempered with anypony’s Destiny.

Discord pressed on, glancing at the dozens of mirrors he passed by, near and far, literally keeping an eye out for one in particular. Minutes passed until the chaos god finally found his target. He drifted towards it, drinking in the image of the lilac alicorn hunched over a desk, soundlessly reading aloud from a tome as the young drake on her left scribbled down notes on a roll of parchment that far exceeded the length of his stubby legs. Her right was flanked by an owl that slept on a perch with its beak buried in its fluff.

“Oh Princess Twilight,” Discord sighed, “you’d saved Equestria more times than I care to remember, became the second pony to ever be made into an alicorn princess, and yet you’ve still got just a dull little mirror. Call me a diva, but I’d expect something extravagant, something that’d fit the name of—eh?” A flash of the image on a nearby mirror stopped Discord.

He turned and found it displaying the glowering image of a mountain stained with magma running down its side, pooling at the bottom before another discharge spewed from its smoldering top.

Discord’s mouth hung open as his brain, normally so quick on the dime, actually struggled to find the words to speak. All he could do was proclaim the mirror was Fluttershy’s, and for a moment, a pang ran through his shriveled heart before dispersing immediately. Just a second ago it showed her making a complex salad-sundae for her greedy rabbit, Angel Bunny.

And with equal suddenness a mirror a way’s away from Fluttershy’s flickered to the same image, and then another to its left. The mountain was black against the pale sky in its background, flaring angrily and for the briefest of moments. Discord could have sworn he saw the discharge of magma look like a claw, or a horn. “Applejack? Rainbow Dash? Wha—?”

The ruddy flash flicked at Discord’s right flank. Twilight’s mirror, showing the image of this obscure “Destiny” the Fates had cooked up for the Elements of Harmony to tackle. Rarity and Pinkie Pie’s, though he couldn’t spot them at the moment, were without a doubt showing the same exact image.

Discord felt coals smoldering in his belly as the mirrors flickered to the image of a strip of boiled leather bedazzled with some rusty old bells, lain across a pile of gold. A white hoof reached down to pick them up.

“No,” he muttered. “There’s no way that this was a coincidence. I was just thinking about that! It doesn't make any . . .” Oh, the irony.

The chaos god quieted himself when the mirrors flashed once more, and displayed an image that set the coals in his belly ablaze. Smiling, Discord made a tsking noise. “You six . . . I truly think you’re more trouble than you’re worth.”

On the top of a hill stood a tree; a mockwood, to be precise. Nay, it’s not a tree that contains some sort of untapped power, nor is it very comely, with its bark brown as any mud you’d find in Equestria and the fog of five-pointed leaves up above that were green by day and turned black under moonlight. But every Tuesday afternoon, it became the most important place in Equestria—not by pony, gryphon or zebra or dragon—but to the pets of six very important ponies. And for three years now for one day a week until the sun hid behind Canterlot, the pets would engage in stuffing themselves with the ripest of fruits, nap in the plushest bed of grass they could find and play games ranging from those simple in design such as fetch, to more elaborate creations that many wouldn’t assume the supposedly simple-minded creatures could organize. Every week was different; one Tuesday would involve the pets battling the wicked sabercat, Opalescence, while the next would entail a tree-wide war over possession of a twig they’d imagine was the key to Equestria.

Angel Bunny was the only one who excused himself from his companions’ horseplay. Never out of contempt, no, but he never saw the fun or pleasure in being mottled green by the day’s end and then having his owner force him into a bath. And not once does he regret this decision, as he never felt he was missing anything. Sleep and stuffing his face with blue sweetberries while their pony masters cooed over his comely image held more of an appeal than getting lapped across the face by Winona. Plus there were days when Gummy would exclude himself from the game if it got too rough, which happened more days than he’d like to admit, and he’d take his rest beside Angel.

This was one of those days: the sun was playing hide-and-seek with the rolling clouds, the ponies as always were keeping to their own devices and the bulk of the pets were engaged in a climb up the mockwood’s broad bole to defeat the baneful sorcerer Dark Lord Tank. Angel and his silent companion had been sunbathing for a better part of the afternoon, with the rabbit leaning on Gummy’s rigid back every now and then when the sun was given a chance to warm it.

He was staring off southways, into Ponyville. From an hour’s walk away, the quiet little hamlet appeared as nothing more than a cluster of huts with straw-roofs flanked by a thick green orchard. There was once a time where that was true, but nowadays many proclaim it as the most important place in Equestria. And why wouldn’t they? It’s where the Elements of Harmony live after all. When that thought crossed his mind, Angel looked up from his wedge of watermelon and spat little black seeds at the lumpy silhouette. His little legs peddaled in the air as he laughed his squeaky laugh. Beneath him, a smirk surfaced at the corner of Gummy’s lip, as was his usual way of displaying a titter. He always found seed-spitting amusing, though Angel never understood nor cared to learn why.

This was all Angel Bunny could do for entertainment, as the mockwood and Ponyville were the only places worthy of attention in this grassy desert. He looked to his right, towards the west where the rich green hills rolled on for miles and miles with not an end in sight. That’s at least what Angel believed, since he never went that far from Ponyville. He knew behind him up north that it would be the same, but with that garish blight on the broad skyline named Canterlot looking back at him with its army of pallid mountaintops. To his left stood the Everfree Forest, where none ruled but nature itself. To north and south the wood went on as far as Angel could see—an endless labyrinth of roots and limbs armored by half a dozen shades of dark green. He sometimes wished Fluttershy lived a safer distance from it—when the wind blew, he always heard the ceaseless groan of branches older than Celestia herself. Even from afar the Everfree looked wild and untamable.

Angel pulled his eyes away from the dark wood before more unsavoury thoughts polluted his mind. His mouth, full of melon, spat another burst of seeds at Ponyville. He caught Gummy chirrup beneath him, just as their friends were heard hooting and hollering behind them after tumbling off the mockwood’s limbs.

There were many reasons to smile at that moment—Angel could have smiled at humoring his best friend, or at the laughter of his friends, or to being blessed to lead such an easy life full of long summers and overripe sweetberries.

He settled for all three, then smacked himself twice as soon as the moment’s heat died down and he realized he was grinning like a fool.

Author's Note:

Sorry this took forever, guys. Editor Hell. Thank you for being so patient.


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