Defective Family

by Lupus

First published

Magic exists in all creatures. And it's magic that keeps us alive. However, no magic exists within us.

My family isn't like most families in Equestria. First, none of us are related by blood, but after what we've been through together, blood ceases to matter. Secondly, none of us are ponies. Well maybe our big brother, but he will deny it. Loudly. And third...well, we can do things. Things that might have made the ponies a little afraid of us.

So this is my first story I've ever posted online. I decided to more or less test the waters as this is my first fan fiction, and I'm not used to writing for existing characters so I'd appreciate some feedback.

Defective Awakening

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That was the word they used to describe me. I heard it so often I began to refer to myself as Defect. My life was one of darkness and pain. Day after day,or that was what I assumed as I was unable to tell time, I was either trapped in darkness and unable to move, or strapped to some table, writhing and screaming in pain.

Not the best life.

Occasionally I would catch glimpses of strange machines, or even those who held my restraints. But I could never retain a memory beyond the pain.

While in the dark I could hear voices. Their words made little sense to me. Other than my name, there was one other word that I understood. And this word I learned to fear.


Anytime I heard that word it meant more pain, but not always for me. Outside the darkness I could hear the screams from five other voices. I assumed that they were like me, trapped in the dark and listening to the screams. Waiting for when they came to preform tests on them. Somehow knowing that I wasn't alone comforted me a little.

Sometimes I would dream. My dreams made as much sense to me as the voices in the dark. I would always be in a forest, but what I did varied. Sometimes I would be climbing trees to get to their fruits, swinging from vines to escape things that I knew wanted to hurt me, or even be around other creatures that reminded me of myself. These dreams though were few and far between the "tests."

Something was different about today. I felt more awake, more alert, however the darkness remained. Voices were shouting outside the darkness. Voices that I now understood.

"What's going on?"

"It broke free!"

"What? How?"

"The new guy. He didn't use enough..." a distant rumble interrupted the voice.

"What's it doing?"

A scream, different from my own or the other five pierced my darkness.

"Oh sweet Celestia!"

"Restrain it!"

"Too late, it's...!"

I felt my world shake.

"It's going for the others!"

"Destroy them! Quickly!"

I began to hear frantic clicking sounds. The only times I would hear this sound was when it was time for the "tests." This time though it became harder for me to breathe. I realized with horror that I was included with "them." And there was nothing I could do to stop it. My entire world was the darkness, and the pain of the "tests." I was immobile unless the voices moved me. I couldn't speak, only scream and even that was denied me now. All I could do was go to my death with dignity.

Screw that!

Despite being left in the dark, despite all of the "tests" I didn't want to die! I tried to struggle against my world of darkness, even though I couldn't move.

I don't want to die...

I could no longer breathe. I felt myself beginning to slip.

I don't want to die...

I clenched my teeth in frustration at my helplessness. I was getting weaker. This was it. This was the end.

I want to live!

More screams echoed in my darkness. Screams that seemed a lot closer to my world. Soon after, I heard more clicking and I could breathe again. I then heard a low hissing noise, and the sounds of my world opening. The darkness became a little brighter.

"Hey," an unfamiliar voice entered my world. It was deep, and gentle. "Hey, wake up," I felt something new. This feeling wasn't pain, but a soft tapping on my shoulder. "Open your eyes."

I can do that? Taking the advice of the gentle voice, I began to slowly open my eyes. This new world was bright and blurry, and there was a dark shape in front of me. The world slowly began to clear up, and when everything became lucid,I stared at the shape in front of me. I found myself face to face with a creature with a long muzzle and eyes too far apart. It had silvery white fur and black hair. Somehow I knew what this creature was, and I raised my arm and pointed to the creature. I spoke for the first time, "You're a horse," were my first words.

"And you're a monkey," he said back to me. I realized that the gentle voice belonged to the horse. " Now step out of there, but take it slow."

I hesitated for a moment before lifting a leg, and stepping down onto the cold floor. As soon as I put weight on my legs, they buckled and I collapsed to my hands and knees.

"I told you to take it slow. Are you alright?"

I chuckled, "I guess it has been a while since I've used my legs."

"Not as long as you might think."

I raised an eyebrow at the horse, but waved it off and slowly rose to my feet. This time my legs held, and I stretched the rest of my muscles. I scratched at my brown fur, and my tail twitched a little. Stifling a yawn, I gave the horse a toothy smile.

"Feel better?" he asked.

"A little," I answered. The horse nodded and moved to my right. I looked around the room, really seeing it for the first time. It was dark, spacious,and had strange machines with lights lining the walls. Across from me was a large door,and I assumed that it was the only exit. Turning around,I backed up to get a better view of the back wall. There were five pods of various sizes lining it. Near each pod stood more machines with buttons covering the tops,and small screens above them. Two were open and empty. They were obviously the pods that held the horse and me. The horse was near one of the closed pods. His fore hooves were (somehow) typing away at the buttons.

Something else (something that wasn't the oddity of hooves being able to operate something that clearly required more dexterity) caught my eye. Three small creatures in white lab coats were lying,seemingly motionless, near one of the open pods. Inching closer, I noticed that the creatures body type closely matched the horse's, but with noticeable differences. Their eyes, even closed I could see that they were a lot larger,almost dominating their faces, and were more centered than the horse's. Their manes and coats were a lot more colorful as well, and their muzzles weren't nearly as long.

I took one more step toward the smaller horses before my entire body stiffened. I turned my eyes to the ceiling.

"You can sense them," the horse said, not as a question.

I merely nodded, not caring that he couldn't see me. What I felt, I can't really describe. Dozens,maybe hundreds of creatures filled with...something. This "something" allowed me to pinpoint where each creature was, and where they were going. Something that I couldn't sense in the small horses, my horse companion...or myself.

"I never asked how you were really feeling," the horse said, drawing my attention away from the creatures above me.

I stared at him for a moment before laying a hand on my stomach, "Hungry, I guess?"

The horse smirked (a really strange looking smirk) before returning to whatever he was doing. "I'm sure those at the door will do."

I turned to the only door in the room. I could sense three creatures standing right behind it. I could also sense that one of the creatures had a lot more "something" than the other two.

"Do you know what to do?"

I crawled towards the door a little before standing upright. I looked at my hands for a moment before curling them into fists and said, "Yeah, I think I do."

"Good. They're all yours. I have my hooves full here."

"How are you doing that anyway?"

Before he could answer, the door burst inward. Behind them stood three extremely angry small horses. The two in front, male by the look of them, seemed to be twins. Their coats were pure white, were wearing golden armor that didn't seem to cover their more vital areas, and they both had wings. From their stony faces and armor, I assumed that they were knights. The small horse behind the knights, female definitely, had a horn jutting from the center of her forehead. Her coat was a dark red. Her mane, parted by her horn, was blue and her eyes were a pale yellow. I would have marked her as a civilian, if it wasn't for her white coat, and the mixed look of terror and hate she was giving me.

"Destroy them both before they activate the others!" she cried, and the knights sprang into motion.

They both leaped forward and,using their wings to draw a pair of swords, came at me from both sides simultaneously. They were fast, no doubt about that, however I was able to see through their strategy. I jumped over both them and their swords, feeling the wind of the blades beneath my tail as they passed through the space I was standing less than a second before. Turning in mid-air my hands landed on their heads, bringing them both to the ground with me standing atop them.

I never understood how I could do what I did next, or how I knew I could do it, but I felt the "something" inside the winged horses leave their bodies and enter mine. I was absorbing the "something" from them, draining them. Strangely they didn't struggle. It wasn't if they were paralyzed, but their faces showed no signs of pain or fear. Just a strange far off look in their eyes.

Once they were both empty of their "something" their eyes closed, and they both lie motionless. They were still breathing though, which strangely made me relieved. I also felt a little stronger, and not as hungry as before.I cocked my head to the side and looked to the knights beneath me. "Huh," I said as knowing entered my mind. "Pegasi. They're called pegasus ponies," I turned my gaze to the horned horse. "And that makes you," I took a step towards her, "a unicorn pony, and he," I gestured at the horse, "is an earth pony."

"I'm not a pony," the horse said, sounding a little offended.

I ignored him and continued my approach to the unicorn. She was staring at me with a look of shock and fear. All the hate had left her eyes, and I wondered what she was most afraid of. The fact that I could talk, or the fact that she was now alone.With me.

"I wonder," I continued, stopping just a few feet in front of the terrified unicorn. "Do you know what it was that I took from those pegasi knights? Wait don't tell me! I might learn it for myself if I do the same to you!" I smiled at her, "Won't that be an interesting," my smile vanished, "test?"

The unicorn backed away in sheer terror. Her horn was engulfed in a red aura, and I saw my body being surrounded by the same glow. The aura around me felt like the "something" I took from the pegasi, so I absorbed it just the same. The unicorn's eyes widened slightly before taking a look of concentration. The red aura appeared again, but this time a beam of the stuff shot out of her horn at me. Instinctively I raised my hand in defense, and I absorbed that, too as the beam struck my palm. She shot at me three more times, before giving up.

The unicorn took a step back, and I stepped forward. Her horn began to glow again, and I waited for her to make her move. That's when I sensed that she was manipulating something behind me. The swords! I thought before flipping into the air. The blades, both surrounded in the red aura, passed beneath me and embedded themselves into the wall behind the unicorn.

I landed and mimed wiping sweat from my brow, "Whew, that was a close one," I said with a smile. "Are you alright?"

For some reason my absolutely legit show of concern seemed to freak her out, and the unicorn tried to bolt. Before she made it three steps though, I had one hand around her neck and the other grasping her horn. I could feel her pulse beating frantically, and her pupils were dilated in a panic as she knew what was coming.

Seeing the unicorn like this, completely helpless and at my mercy, stirred a feeling inside me. A feeling that I never expected to feel.

The feeling intensified when the unicorn began to cry, "Please," she begged, her voice shaking, "p-please don't." I responded by tightening my grip on her horn and began to drain her.

Before she slipped into unconsciousness, I whispered, "Sorry," and she fell out of my grip.

Disgust. That is what I felt.

I was disgusted with myself for making this unicorn, this mare, feel that way.

I stared at her, no longer sensing the "something" longer sensing the magic inside her. It was magic that I was drained from the pegasi and the unicorn. But even with the magic of three ponies inside me, I still couldn't sense any magic within me. I still felt...empty.

I was torn from my thoughts when the horse called me back into the pod room. I took one last look at the magic-less unicorn before rejoining the horse.


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"You seem troubled," the horse said as I rejoined him in the pod room.

I chuckled and rubbed the back of my neck, "That obvious, huh?"

"If you're worried about the ponies, don't be. Their magic will return to them eventually."

I tilted my head in confusion, "How do you know that?" I asked.

The horse tuned away from the pod to look at me, "Haven't you noticed?" he asked. When I gave him no response he gestured to the unconscious ponies around my pod. I moved closer to them, noticing that their bodies would twitch every now and then. Then I felt it. It was the tiniest little sliver, but it was there and slowly growing. Magic was reforming inside each of the ponies.

"Feel better?"

I smiled, "A little."

"Good, cause I just finished here," The pod near the horse let out a faint hissing sound before the door opened. I returned to the horse's side as he backed away from the pod, and the door swung outward of its own accord. I had expected to see another creature like myself or the horse. What fell out of the pod instead was a large spherical glass container. Inside, all coiled up, was a large black snake.

"Open it," the horse said pointing to a cork embedded into the side of the container.

"And you can't do it because...?" I asked raising an eyebrow.

The horse stared at me flatly before raising one of his hooves.

"That didn't seem to stop you from typing up a storm back there," I mumbled before gripping the cork. The snake, who had opened his eyes at the sound of our voices, watched me with yellow eyes. The cork popped free after a few tugs and after hesitating for a moment, the snake slithered free from his glass prison. Uncoiled, the snake was about two feet bigger than the horse lengthwise, and it's body was thicker than my arms together. Like myself and the horse,I could sense no magic in him.

The snake analyzed the horse before fixing its gaze on me, "Hi!" I greeted it cheerfully.

It remained silent and tasted the air before turning his head to the ceiling. The horse and I followed his example, and I knew that we were all sensing it. The ponies were scrambling around, and moving to a single point. That didn't sit to well with me or my companions.

The horse spoke without taking his eyes away from the ceiling, "Monkey," that wasn't my name but at the time I was too distracted to tell him so, "go and open the pod next to yours, and I'll take the last one," he looked to the snake, "And you," the snake returned the horse's gaze, "go keep watch outside. We don't want to be trapped in here with our backs to the wall." The snake nodded and slithered out of the pod room and into the hall.

"You think he's staying quiet on purpose?" I asked before running to the console next to the closed pod. My hands flew across the keys, and images began to appear on the screen above. How am I doing this?, I thought to myself. I paused briefly to study the images that appeared. They showed a front and side view of a creature with a similar body type to mine. Except its arms to the shoulders, and torso down to the legs were covered in feathers. It's face was flat, save for a longer beak-like nose, and its feet were three digit claws.

"I have a question," the horse said from the other side of the room.

"Shoot," I replied.

"Why were you so concerned about the ponies?" Aside from the sounds of out typing, there was silence in the room. The horse continued, "They were the ones who put us in the dark, who preformed the 'tests'..."

"I KNOW! I know, but...the way that mare looked at me," I paused again as the memory returned to me. I shook my head in an attempt to purge the memory, and resumed typing. "I should want revenge for what they did. I should want to make them suffer for what they put us all through. Could anyone really blame us if we did? But..." I shook my head, "I'm not a monster," I smiled, "I'm a monkey!"

I heard the horse chuckle, and smoke hissed out of the pod next to me. I moved in front of the pod, intending to catch the bird creature as it fell out. Instead what I saw when the door fully opened was two very normal looking, albeit very large birds. They looked identical except one's feather's were red while the other's were blue.

I was only able to take in their details for a second before they both fell on top of me. For birds, they were surprisingly heavy, and I collapsed under their weight. I struggled underneath them for a few moments before turning to the horse. Either he didn't hear the sounds of my bones being crushed,or he didn't care (the jerk) but he was still typing away. "H-help," I struggled to say.

"Busy," was the only response I got.


I could have sworn that as I was blacking out that I saw a bright light. The birds both opened their eyes and, seeing me turning blue, they gasped and jumped off me allowing me to once again take in sweet sweet oxygen.

"Oh no," one said.

"Are you okay?" asked the other. Their voices were higher pitched than mine or the horse's, so I assumed that the were female.

Coughing, I shakily stood and said, "I'm...I'm fine." The birds stood at my height.

The birds gasped, "Your voice!" the red bird exclaimed.

"We know it!" said the blue bird.

"We heard you."

"In the dark, we heard you."

"Heard you screaming."

"We heard others, too"

"You were in so much pain."

"They were in so much pain."

" too."

They looked at each other, "There was nothing we could do."

"We were helpless."



The birds looked to be on the verge of tears, and for some reason the sight nearly tore my heart in two. I raised my hands in a comforting gesture, "Whoa, whoa calm down you two," they looked to me and I placed my hands on their backs. "It's alright, WE'RE alright. No more darkness and no more pain, I promise." They both smiled at me and nodded.

The snake chose that moment to slither back into the room. He raised his head to look at each of us and said, "They're here. A lot of them."

I suppressed a sigh and turned back to the birds, "Well,maybe a little more pain but you won't be helpless. Hey horse,"

The horse stamped his hooves against the ground, "This one is being stubborn! Sorry, but I'm going to need more time with this. Can you four handle it?"

The birds flared their wings, "We can do it!"

"We'll protect you!"

The snake nodded in agreement and I said, "Fine, just don't take too long. I think the snake might drain all the ponies before the new guy gets a chance," The snake hissed at me indignantly, but then he tried his best at what I assumed was a shrug. It was hard to tell considering he had no shoulders. I smiled and led the three out of the pod room.

The pod room was the last at the end of a long hallway. The unicorn I had drained earlier was still unconscious, but as we ran by I could sense her magic returning to her. We ran past many doors, most were broken or bent, and one had rubble pouring out of it as if the room had collapsed in on itself. Eventually we came upon a set of large doors. Why ponies would need doors this large was beyond me.

I could sense a large group of ponies just behind the doors, but it was hard to tell exactly how many there were. With so many grouped together, it just felt like one inconsistent mass of magic. I turned to my companions and asked, "You three know what to do, right?"

"Ssstall," the snake said.

"Drain them," said the red bird.

"Drain them all," said the blue bird.

I nodded and said, "Right, we need to give the horse time to wake up the last one. Then we can all get out of wherever this place is. With so many ponies around you shouldn't waste any time draining a single one dry. Keep on the move, and don't worry about the ponies with horns. They can't harm us."

"Directly," the snake added.

"Well, yeah, if they're carrying weapons or something then obviously..."

The birds chirped impatiently, "Can we go please?"

"We are getting really anxious!"

I raised my hands in defense, "Okay, okay," taking a deep breath, I laid my hands on the doors. "Get ready," The birds jumped and began hovering, and the snake looked like he was ready to pounce. I pushed the doors open with all my might, and we jumped in. We found ourselves in a large room with a very high ceiling. Doors lined the walls, other than that the room was empty. Except for the hundreds (at least that's what it seemed to me) of ponies in armor who seemed as surprised by our entrance as we were by their numbers.

I leaned in to the snake and said, "I thought you just said there were a lot of them. Now, when I think 'a lot' I'm thinking of maybe twenty or thirty, not an entire freakin' ARMY!" the snake did his weird shoulderless shrug thing. "Okay revised plan. Don't die, agreed?"

They didn't have time to respond as a voice cried out form among the ponies, "KILL THEM!" the army charged.

And so did we.

Princess Celestia was finally returning to Canterlot after an exhausting diplomatic visit to the griffon kingdom of Asgard. Now,she loved the gryphon king Volstagg dearly. It was, after all, thanks to their collaborative efforts that the ponies and gryphons enjoyed peaceful relations. However being in Volstagg's company for an extended period could really test Celestia's near infinite patience.

She suppressed a sigh before letting her mind wander to her tasks she needed to complete when she reached the castle. But before that, I believe I've earned a nice bath, she thought to herself chuckling slightly.

"Canterlot castle is in sight, Your Highness," one of her pegasi guards reported. Celestia looked up and smiled at the sight of he home.


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I jumped over the heads of the first line of earth ponies, and grabbed the forelegs of a couple of low flying pegasi. I drained them a bit before dropping into the middle of the army. Trusting that the ponies behind me would be taken care of, I turned my attention to the ponies in front of me. Earth ponies with swords between their teeth, and unicorns with horns aglow rushed me at once.

The swords were easy enough to avoid, obviously these soldiers were not used to dealing with such an agile opponent like myself. Add to that the fact that every time I'd drain from them they grew weaker didn't help them much. The unicorns tried to blast me with magic, but were stunned when their attacks had no effect. I took advantage of their shock and grasped two of them by the horns. I began to drain them, while at the same time I spun them through the air. I made a single full revolution, slamming the ponies around me, before releasing the ponies in my grasp. They flew in opposite directions away from me, and crashed into more of their comrades.

I don't know what it was-instinct? intuition?-but something in that instant made me lean back while fully stretching my arms out to either side of my body. At the same time, the snake dropped from the air and slithered quickly along my outstretched arms and chest, using them as a guide to launch himself towards two unicorns. He wrapped himself around their legs, causing them to fall and at the same time he drained them. The snake then slithered quickly between ponies, weaving between legs, and dodging weapons. Controlling every inch of his body, he was able to brush against multiple ponies legs while simultaneously draining from them. He quickly coiled himself in one place and used his body like a spring to launch himself upwards towards two pegasi who flew a little too low. After bringing them crashing to the ground, the snake spread his bat-like wings and flew off to a few unicorns attempting to regroup.

Wait, since when did he have wings?

A sharp pain flared in my side. I chastised myself for becoming distracted, and turned to my attacker. A unicorn mare with a spear levitating next to her. I smiled at the fact that the unicorns were forced to improvise. Obviously they weren't too adept at using weapons, otherwise I might not still be here. I easily avoided her next attacks despite the pain in my side. The mare soon became frustrated. Exactly what I needed. She thrust the spear forward harder than before, and I dodge it like the rest. But before she could pull it back, I grabbed the spear's shaft and drained the magic surrounding it. Now weaponless the mare tried to call out for help, but I had my hand around her horn before she could utter a word. After draining her I noticed the pain in my side had dulled considerably. Huh, I thought before jumping back into the fray.

In the midst of fighting I began to notice something odd. Well, a few odd things really. First, and most shocking was that while fighting, I would often spot my companions and couldn't help but notice that they've changed. The snake, in addition to the wings (which I still had trouble believing) he had grown two arms that ended in three long claws. The birds began to look more like the images I saw next to their pod. I also noted that there was no longer any doubt that they were female.

The second thing I noticed was that the longer we fought the ponies, the better we became at working as a team. Sometimes I would find myself and the snake (or whatever he was now) back to back against a large group of ponies, other times I would be soaring through the air in one of the bird's large talons only to be dropped onto the backs of pegasi. Thirdly, despite our fighting for what seemed like hours (in reality it probably has only been a few minutes) we never seemed to become fatigued. I wondered if the magic has been sustaining us.

I was facing down a group of unicorns when I heard it. A loud,low bellow echoed throughout the chamber. I saw the unicorn's eyes widen to the size of dinner plates, took that as my cue to jump. I flipped in mid air and managed to spot a large black shape pass under me. After landing I saw that the shape had scattered the unicorns and was preparing to charge another group of ponies. The shape was a bull with long white horns and black eyes that, at the moment, betrayed his fury.

"It's about time you woke up!" I called to him. The bull looked at me, then stamped the ground with a hoof. "Uh-oh," the bull charged again and I jumped over him and onto his back. I gripped his black fur as he charged through an ocean of ponies towards the hall where we first entered the chamber. The horse was there waiting for us. The bull didn't slow down as he approached and instead turned back towards the ponies. I jumped off near the horse. "You're late," I said.

The horse's eyes never left the battle. He grinned and said, "I figured the four of you could handle things."

I scoffed and looked over my shoulder, "Maybe at first, but I think the ponies had backup." I watched as the birds dropped pegasi like flies, the bull charged any ponies trying to regroup, and the snake slipped in and out of sight, but lies of drained ponies betrayed his path. "Anyway we've been holding ourselves back so the new guy could get his hooves dirty. But now..."

"Now it's time to finish this," the horse said, finishing my thought. I hopped onto his back as he asked, "By the way, what happened to those three?"

"Things. Now charge!" I assumed the horse rolled his eyes before charging into the heart of the army.

With the addition of the horse and bull, the fight quickly turned in our favor. We would have escaped by now, but every time we moved towards the exit, a mass of ponies would block our way and force us back. It became obvious that we would need to take down every pony, which was fine with me. Yet I couldn't help but feel cheated.

The horse and bull changed like the others. The bull was now running on his hind legs, while his fore hooves turned into hands like mine, except he only had four fingers. He didn't seem to notice though, as he continued his strategy of charging any ponies who tried to group together. Except now he could grab, throw, and punch.

Of all of us, the horse changed the most. His silvery white coat became a lot more silver, his black mane acquired a blueish tint to it. His muzzle shrank, while his eyes grew to dominate his face. Aside from his size, he became indistinguishable from the ponies we've been fighting. Twice I caught myself almost attempting to drain from him before I sensed no magic in him. I tried playing it off like I was jumping over him to get at other ponies, but I think he knew.

I however changed the least. As in, nothing about me changed at all! Well maybe I was a little taller, and my feet became more dexterous that I found myself fighting as often on my hands. But that was it. No horns, No wings, not even heightened senses.

So not fair!

Pain flared in my back. I turned quickly and glared at a pegasus mare holding a sword, dripping with my blood, between her teeth. The pegasus returned the glare before she pounced at me. I bent backward to avoid the blade, the wound in my back flaring in protest, but I ignored the pain. She landed behind me, and kicked at me with her hind legs. I jumped back before lunging for her with my arm outstretched. She jumped back as well, but I pursued. The pegusus never let me get near enough to lay a hand on her. Anytime I would come close, she would chase me away with her sword, or her powerful legs.

We faced each other and for the first time since the battle started, I felt winded. The burning pain in my back didn't help either. This one's different, I thought to myself. During our standoff, I was able to really study my opponent. She had a white coat, like the majority of the army, and sometime during the fight she had lost her helmet allowing her black mane to flow freely. Her piercing golden eyes never left mine. I had also noted that she hadn't taken flight, and I wondered if she still had the magic to do so.

From the corner of my eye I noticed a stallion galloping towards me with a sword in his mouth. I smirked when he jumped at me and, without taking my eyes off the pegusus, I grabbed his muzzle stopping him dead. Draining him healed my back and washed away all of my fatigue. The mare's glare hardened as the stallion fell,and I picked up his sword. For a few moments neither of us moved. We stared at each other as if to read the other's minds, oblivious to the battle still raging around us. Then we simultaneously sprang forward, and our blades meeting with a resounding CLANG!

Once again, as she and I dueled, my mind wondered on what the ponies' "tests" had done to us. As far as I knew I had never touched a sword before, and yet I was holding my own against a trained opponent. There was one major difference between us, though.

I wasn't trying to kill her.

The mare managed to drive me back, and I nearly tripped over another fallen sword. I grinned as an idea formed in my head. I managed to push her away from me, and I gripped the sword in my left foot and flipped it into my right hand. I slid the blades over each other before flashing the pegasus a toothy grin. She didn't rise to my taunt, and instead continued our duel.

With two swords in hand I was slowly gaining ground on the pegasus. I would use the sword in my left hand to defend against any attempt she made to regain control of the duel, while my right kept her on her hooves as she always managed to stay jus out of reach of my sword.All in all, you could say that we were dancing, and I even managed to bring a third sword into the mix via my tail.

The two of us found ourselves locked in another one of our numerous stare downs when I heard the horse's voice, "That's enough. Finish her so we can go."

"Awww," I pouted, "and I was just about to fight upside down, too."

The pegasus raised an eyebrow and chanced a look around the room. I smiled as the realization dawned on her. A couple of facts that I had picked up on when I grabbed the second sword. She was the only pony left standing, all others drained and littering the floor.

And that I've been playing with her the whole time.

Slowly the mare transferred her sword from her mouth and grasped it with her wing. She looked at me with those defiant eyes before crying, "For Celestia!" She the charged me one last time.

I dropped the sword in my tail and met her blade with my own. "I don't know who this 'Celestia' is, but I bet she's really disappointed in you," I managed to slip my blade underneath hers, and after a few twitches of my wrist the pegasus was disarmed (or would it be dislegged? Diswinged? She doesn't have her sword anymore alright?!) Before her sword hit the ground I had lunged for her with my right sword, aiming directly for her neck.


At the last moment I was able to angle my bade away from her neck, but wasn't able to stop completely. Instead the sword cut her right beneath her left eye. The motion brought me closer to the mare, and I immediately began to drain from her.

When the pegasus fell, all I could do was stare at her. The scene was replaying itself over and over in my mind. I knew what I was about to do. I could feel the blade sink into her flesh, and once again I felt disgusted with myself. How could I have come so close to do something so...and it was all on instinct. If I hadn't... When I clenched my fists in frustration, I felt the grip of the sword dig into my palm. I let it clatter to the ground, and felt the horse by my side.

"I almost killed her," I said without turning.

"But you didn't," the horse reassured

"I know, but..." I faced the horse, "What did those ponies do to us? These powers to drain magic, this knowledge of how to fight," I gestured to the others, "your bodies. Why were we created?" When the horse remained silent I walked over and examined the changes in my companions. "And more importantly," I spun around and pointed to myself, "Why am I the only one who didn't change?"

The horse stared at me blankly for a moment before smirking. I returned his smile with my own. I knew that now wasn't the time to break down over almost killing the pony. We still needed to escape after all.

The birds landed on either side of me, and the snake and horse joined us. We waited for the bull, who was busy eyeing every pony on the ground, to complete our circle. When he finally noticed us staring at him, he sheepishly (not an easy thing to do by a bull) joined us while folding his arms over his chest. The horse stared at us in turn, his face unreadable. I, meanwhile , was doing my best not to glare at the snake's wings with envy. I was failing and he knew it, a small smile lifting his face.

The horse opened his mouth to speak, but the sudden appearance of a large power stopped whatever he was going to say. We all turned our eyes to the high ceiling. "Large" was a gross understatement for what we were feeling. There was massive, maybe mountainous, but I think planetary is the closest. Whatever the word, all of that power was coming from a single source.

And that terrified us.

The birds grabbed my hands for comfort with their finger like feathers, and I found myself tightening my grip as well. The bull was visibly sweating, though doing his best not to show his fear. The only ones who didn't seem affected were the snake and horse, but I knew that they knew what I knew. There was no way we could fight that.

"Time to go," the horse said calmly but urgently. We all nodded and he led the way to the far exit.