• Published 24th Feb 2013
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The Secret Apprentice - The Grimm Reaper

Twilight finds out the truth about her old lessons under Princess Celestia from an old friend who suffered because of them.

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Chapter 2: Sacrilege

Orion ascended the three steps of the small caravan that he’d heard about from passers-by. It had been so long since he’d seen her, she deserved to know he hadn’t forgotten her and that he was still alive. The blue unicorn knocked on the door to receive no answer. That was fine. He tried the knob; locked. Using the dark magic more commonly used by the late King Sombra, he turned into smoke and flew through the cracks between the door and its hinges.

Re-emerging as his old self, he stepped forward to see what was inside. As he’d feared, during her years alone, she’d become very self-centred. Little else aside from her own possessions and posters were within the trailer. With a sigh, Orion made his way over to the bed and sat on its edge. Just as he was about to relax, he heard somepony fiddling with the doorknob. There was an unlocking sound and the door opened, revealing a sky blue unicorn mare with a well-kept silvery mane and tail. She seemed exhausted, but that didn’t hide the shock that fell upon her face when she laid eyes upon her intruder.

“Hello, sister.” Orion said.

((An Hour Later – Ponyville))

The day’s events had left me unnerved and exhausted. It felt good to be back home in the Library. The girls had joined me in the reading room to discuss Orion and his authenticity.

“He’s obviously lying. Princess Celestia detests causing harm to her ponies. You of all ponies should know Twilight.” Rarity concluded. There was a cluster of unanimous agreements that followed, but the girls didn’t know him like I did. Then again, did I really know him at all? I knew of his existence and that he was, at least once, a nice boy. But that was it. I knew as much about him as I did about the fillys’ tales, like Slendermane or The Pony Piper.

“There are things the princess hasn’t told us about. She knew Nightmare Moon was coming, but didn’t tell anypony. None of us knew about Discord until he broke free, forcing the Princess’ hoof. She didn’t tell us about Orion until today. She waits until the last possible second before telling us things that should really be common knowledge. Orion was right; the Princess lies.” I could tell the girls were deeply saddened by my opinion and were trying to justify my statements.

“He’s still a liar!” Rainbow Dash interjected. “He said he went through hardships like fighting Dragons and Windigos. That sort of thing would leave wounds and scars on anypony; I didn’t see a scratch on him.” she said. I had to confess she was right about that. His near-perfect body made his story that much less believable. I found myself blushing as I thought about his body and how graceful it was. Sadly, Applejack caught on and addressed the issue.

“Ah’m thinking our Twi’s got a thing for bad boys.” she said. Now that everypony was focused on my expression, I couldn’t help but go red. The worst part was that I didn’t think to deny the claim. It seemed though, that doubt was strongly connected to Loyalty as Rainbow Dash denied it for me. Flying over my head

“Nah, Twilight’s just confused about the whole thing. There’s no way in Tartarus she’d be that liar’s friend, let alone have an attraction towards him.” she said. The idea struck me like a bolt of lightning.

“That’s it!” I exclaimed, startling Dash out of the air.

“What’s it, Twilight?” Pinkie asked, an eager smile on her face. I shared her smile and addressed her directly, ignoring the others.

“If we can be friends with Orion, he might not see any reason to kill Princess Celestia!” I said. The others seemed confused, but Pinkie was obviously happy just to make a new friend. “Think about it; Orion obviously believes Princess Celestia stole his life away. If we can give him a new life, he might think twice about trying to get his old one back. Besides if Fluttershy can convert Discord from bad to good, surely we can all cure somepony of simple revenge.” I explained my plan; the girls seemed sceptical and uncertain.

“Ah know y’all wanna help this pony, Twilight, but sometimes ponies can be beyond help. Sombra’s a good example, then there’s Chrysalis.” Applejack said.

“Well to be fair, Chrysalis isn’t exactly a pony, and Sombra was…well he was by nature evil. Orion isn’t evil, he just believes Princess Celestia is.” I said. Clearly, opinions differed among us. I knew Pinkie thought it a good idea, and Fluttershy seemed to be hopeful, but the others were still opposed to my plan.

“Am I out of line to suggest that maybe Orion deserved the hardships he went through?” Dash asked. I snapped at her immediately afterward.

“Yes!” I watched as she retreated to the ground beside Applejack in shame. “Nopony deserves to be pitted against Dragons and Windigos, not even Discord would have deserved such a thing.” I made it very clear that I was right about this.

“Well… it’s not like we can really… do anything to stop him.” Fluttershy said amidst the silence. All but Pinkie and I turned to her.

“What do you mean, darling?” Rarity asked.

“Well duh, isn’t it obvious? He wiped AND polished the floor with us last time, and the Elements of Harmony won’t work because there’s a conflict of interest among us. The Elements only work when everypony’s of the same mind.” Pinkie replied. Even I was surprised at the amount of thought she’d put into that statement.

“Pinkie’s right. I won’t allow the Elements to bring harm to Orion until I’m absolutely certain that he has to be stopped. Until then…”

There was a knock on the door and I was interrupted from my thoughts. Everypony, including myself turned to the door. Cautiously, I walked toward it and cracked it open. I couldn’t believe it.


I slammed the door shut on him.

“It’s Orion!” I whispered. The girls gasped in unison and quickly began thinking of ways to get rid of him. I myself was surprised he’d just… show up out of the blue. Then again, he’d done it before.

“Quick, put a shield around the tree.” Dash suggested.

“Just keep that door closed.” said Applejack.

“ Throw him into the fire, we need more firewood.” Pinkie added. I bit my lip as I wondered what to do, Should I let him in, or try and make him leave?

“Maybe I’ll come back when you’re all not poorly whispering even crappy ways to repel me.” his voice sounded through the door. As I heard his first hoofstep, I reacted without thinking. I threw the door open and pulled him inside, slamming it behind him. The girls surrounded him again, most of them ready to attack. Pinkie, Fluttershy and I took a more relaxed stance around him.

“This could work. You’re standing in different places to before, well done, you’ve really beaten me.” his sarcasm was bitter, much like the loss we suffered back at Canterlot.

“What do you want, Orion?” Dash demanded. Orion turned to her.

“There are many things I want, Rainbow Dash, but if you’re referring to here and now, I want to talk.”

“Talk?” Applejack repeated.

“Yes, talk. Though I’d really only planned on talking to Twilight alone. However, I see no reason you all can’t be present.” he turned his attention to me and our eyes met once more. I could feel the intensity in which he devoted himself to his goal. It washed off of him like a wave.

“I’ve a favour to ask of you, Twilight.” as he spoke, the girls scoffed at him.

“A favour? After what you did, what you tried to do, do you really expect Twilight to just do you a favour?” Rarity demanded.

“Yes.” Orion deadpanned. “Although, expect is too strong a word for what I’m saying. I believe she will do me this favour because I know Twilight to be the kind of mare who enjoys helping others, especially her friends.”

“You’re not her friend, you don’t know anything about her!” Dash protested.

“I know everything about her, and I knew her long before any of you did. I’m surprised she didn’t mention that fateful day to you. Regardless, I know more about her than you do.” Orion challenged. I watched him make claims that were next to impossible.

“What’s her favourite colour?” Applejack asked.

“Blue.” Orion replied. Correct.

“What about her foalhood doll, what was it called?” Rarity asked.

“Smartypants, and she still has it, despite the wear and tear.” Correct again, though slightly creepy that he knew that.

“What does BBBFF mean?” Pinkie asked.

“Big Brother Best Friend Forever. A sickeningly sweet terminology for the relationship between herself and Shining Armour, the Captain of the guard whom interrupted our little get-together previously.”

“How could you possibly know all these things about me?” I asked, not even bothering to hide my fear.

“You stopped trying to learn more about me, Twilight. I on the other hoof, did not. I’ve tracked your progress throughout your years as Celestia’s student, ever since the day we met. I’ve had plans for you from day one.”

“What plans?” I asked.

“You’ll find out in all good time. But enough about the conflict, I came here for something that I wish not to have any involvement in my struggle against Celestia and effectively yourselves.” he said, taking a step toward me. I instinctively took a step back.

“What do you want me to do?” I asked. Thankfully, he didn’t take another step toward me. He wanted my trust for this.

“There’s somepony I’m afraid for. My sister is the only family I have and I fear it isn’t beyond Celestia to use her against me. She’s innocent in all this and knows nothing of what really happened. She believes I went missing some years back and just found my way home.”

“Who is she?” I asked, curious about Orion’s last remaining relative.

“She’s waiting outside. I didn’t bring her in because I also wanted to show you something that will prove I was telling the truth.” he replied. I looked to the other girls who were silently shaking their heads at us.

“Why pick me? I’m involved in this too.” I asked.

“Because like me, Celestia cannot hurt you, will not hurt you. She treasures you above all else because you are her academic progeny. My sister is safest with you.” I considered what I might be able to do here that would allow me to put the girls’ minds to rest as well as accept Orion’s request. He was right, I took great pride and comfort in helping my friends, and Orion was my oldest even if I knew next to nothing about him. But that would change soon enough.

“I’ll take her in on one condition.” I offered. Orion waited for me to finish as the girls began to groan in protest. “Show us physical proof of your story. Climbing mountain tops full of Windigos and Dragons would undoubtedly have left you with some scars, yet you’ve retained a perfect form.” I caught Orion’s brow rise at my last statement and I couldn’t help but blush as I realised what I’d said.

“I’d planned on revealing said scars as proof of my story, but if that could double as the condition for her protection, then I’ll show you without hesitation.” he said. I nodded in confirmation, sealing the deal with a hoof shake. It was then I noticed that despite his somewhat medium build, his hoof was very heavy.

“Despite the gruelling training I endured, I managed to hide the real results from Celestia, making her think they were uneventful. Of course, she became aware of my deception shortly before you went and freed her sister. I’d planned on controlling Nightmare moon to aid me in defeating her once and for all, but you blew that plan to Tartarus.” He stood back in the middle of the circle and cracked his neck, showing some pain at the action.

“Anyway, the results are rather useful when hiding in plain sight. Over the years, I learned how to disguise myself as a Changeling does, which is why you didn’t see any scars before. Now before I show you the extent of my wounds, I should caution you, my real appearance is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.” he turned to Fluttershy as he spoke, trying to warn her above the others.

“It’s okay, Mr. Starlight. I want to see.” Fluttershy said, sitting in her place. Orion nodded understandingly at her and sighed.

“Very well. Here goes.” My curiosity peaked as I saw the familiar green flames of Changeling magic engulf his body and burn away at the perfect form. I imagined perhaps a cluster of scars around his torso, perhaps his face and hooves, maybe burn marks around random places from the dragon attacks; but what we all saw terrified and petrified us at the same time. Along the left side of Orion’s muzzle, the flesh was burned away, revealing the muscle tissue around his mouth as well as his teeth and gums. His left eye was missing, replaced by an artificial light that allowed him to see through magic. Both his front legs were gone. The right one with which I shook was made out of crystal from the Crystal Empire; an aqua green crystal. His left front leg was somehow replaced by that of a Changeling’s. In a way, I as partially right as scars cascaded along his body and his mane and tail sported scorched ends. At the sight of him, his story seemed like a field day compared to the actual torture he endured.

It was upon seeing him as he really was that the memory of him as a young colt the day we met entered my mind and I felt tears reaching the surface of my eyes. Orion was hurt, one of my friends was suffering, constantly pained by the missing limbs and scorched face. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, but through my peripherals, I could see Applejack and Rainbow Dash drooping their ears and looking away in shame. Rarity having added revulsion to her expression as she mimicked the other two. Pinkie went “sad” and Fluttershy fought the urge to either scream or vomit, possibly both.

“As I said, my sister doesn’t know what happened, which means she also doesn’t know I look like this. She thinks I’m still the same ‘BBBFF’ as ever.” he said, his voice carried with it an echo. He sounded like a ghost.

“I’ll do it. I’ll take her in and I’ll protect her. I’ll teach her everything I know and give her everything I can.” I said. Orion sighed, his relief evident in the way it sounded.

“Thank you, Twilight. I owe you one. I should probably mention that I’ve led her here under the falsehood that there’s a killer on the loose and I’ve been asked to help protect Celestia as one of the Royal Guard.” he said. I caught onto the part where he owed me one. I knew he would never consider sparing Celestia as proper payment, but it could come in handy very soon.

“Alright, send her in.” I said. Orion changed back to his disguised self and called out.

“Alright, come on in T.” he called. There were a few hoofsteps outside the door, then it opened. Yet another shocking surprise appeared before us as Trixie stepped through, looking more bashful than ever.

“TRIXIE?!” We all called out.

“Oh, you’ve all met already?” Orion asked.