The Dreambender

by The Phantom Joker

First published

After a failed feedback loop, Alcor finds himself in an alternate version of Equestria, fighting alongside the Mane 6 against threats from both their worlds, all while dating the beautiful Princess Luna.

Dipper "Alcor" Pines has lived a very, very, very long and extraordinary life. Ever since he was turned into a dream demon during the events of The Transcendence, he's had to fight off crazed monster hunters who've kidnapped and tried to kill his family, other demons with ill-intent, and even an evil, twisted version of himself and his sister. On top of it all, he's had to watch his loved ones and their decendents grow old and die one by one, while he stayed forever young and weilding infinate power. And yet, nothing he's ever been through will prepare him for what's coming.

After a failed attempt at a feedback loop, Alcor finds himself in an alternate version of Equestria, boasting advanced technology fueled by magic and anthropomorphic ponies. Standing alongside the Elements of Harmony and the Princesses, Alcor will face lethal new enemies from Equestria, and old threats from his world... and perhaps, in the midst of all this chaos, Alcor will finally find his one true love in the form of Princess Luna.

A crossover with Gravity Falls' Transcendence AU. Contains Alcor X Luna and Spike X Applejack.

A Stranger In The Woods

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Hello, there, mortals... I understand that you've come to hear the story of how I ended up in the famous land of ponies known as Equestria, and how I used my god-like power to prevent certain doom from befalling the ponies there from threats both from my world and theirs, and how I won the heart of the beautiful Princess Luna? Well, I’m afraid before I can tell you that story, I need to tell you THIS story.

You see, my name was once Mason "Dipper" Pines. I used to be a normal 12-year old boy, spending a summer with his great-uncle in Gravity Falls, Oregon. Thing is, NOTHING is normal in Gravity Falls. But now even the abnormal seems SANE compared to what I’ve been through over the past few centuries. What I’ve been through ever since I became the Dreambender: Alcor.

I’m sure you’ll want to know my origin story. So, that being the case, let me take you back to the summer of 2012. Back when I was just Dipper Pines... Mom and Dad had decided me and my twin sister, Mabel, could use some fresh air, so they shipped us off to a sleepy little town in Oregon called Gravity Falls to stay at our great-uncle's place in the woods. As it turned out, our dear Grunkle Stan, had converted his home into a tourist trap called The Mystery Shack, and as soon as we got unpacked, Stan put us to work there. It had looked like a never-ending cycle of sheer boredom.

Until, one day... I found a journal marked with a 3.

From then on, everything got totally crazy. Hardly a week passed without some supernatural encounter or another. From fighting zombies to facing down sociopathic phony psychics, me and my sister came to realize just how many secrets this town held.

But, even then, we were just scratching the surface.

During my adventures, I met a triangular dream demon named Bill Cipher. He was psychotic, to say the least. He wanted to use a portal that my Great-Uncle Stanford Pines, who as it turns out, was none other than the Author of the Journals, the very man who I'd spent half the summer searching for, had built in order to unite the dream world and reality, also known as the Spectral and Material Planes. Unfortunately, this would ultimately lead to the apocalypse. So, that meant we had to stop Bill from getting his hands on the dimensional rift created by the Portal.

Ultimately, it came down to one last showdown: me and Mabel versus Bill, for the fate of the entire world. The spectral and physical planes were just about to merge, and we were running out of time. After a long, hard fought battle, we managed to severely weaken Bill, who then attempted to possess me without a contract. I fought against Bill with everything I had, and you know what? I actually won against him. Bill Cipher was destroyed, and it looked like my family and I were going to live happily ever after.

It was not to be. No sooner had Bill’s body shattered and dispersed like glass, my body began to flicker and distort. Until, finally, I was… poof. Gone. Everyone thought I was dead, even my own sister did at first. Nothing could be farther from the truth. You see, Bill had left a portion of his power inside me before he died. Unfortunately, that power was only meant to be used by a dream demon, not a human. So, as a result, I became a dream demon. As the centuries passed, I became the most powerful dream demon of them all. So powerful, that I was actually able to construct my own physical form, no rifts required. However, it wasn’t all UNLIMITED POWAH!!! and eternal youth. I had to watch as each member of my family died, one by one, followed by their descendants. I can safely say that immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

That being said, I’ve had my fair share of thrilling adventures, both before and after Mabel died. I once had to deal with an evil version of myself and Mabel, both of whom had dream demon powers, named Rocla and Razim. Honestly, that was one of the hardest-fought battles I’ve ever fought in my eternal life, and I’ve fought some hard battles.

And yet, my greatest adventure was about to unfold. All it took was a mishap with a feedback loop while I was experimenting with my powers…

In the middle of a meadow near a river called Daisy Stream, a butter yellow anthro pegasus mare with a soft pink mane and tail wearing a white blouse, a green skirt, and tan sandals was having a picnic with some of her animal friends. Among said friends was a great big grizzly bear, an ill-tempered, bossy, and all around asshole of a white bunny, a few birds, an otter, and a gopher.

“Angel, you really should eat more of your carrots, don’t you think?” Fluttershy asked the bunny,who had two-and-a-half carrots in front of him, and who simply blew a raspberry at his owner while the other animals simply rolled their eyes, being far too used to this at this point.

“Just one more?” begged Fluttershy, to which Angel crossed his tiny little arms with an expression that clearly said NO.

“Just finish off that half of one?”

Angel’s expression remained unchanged at this offer.

“How about a-”

Before Fluttershy could finish speaking, a resounding explosion echoed over the meadow, causing the animals to jump and scatter with fright, and causing Fluttershy to turn her head towards the source of the blast, just in time to see something that looked like a pony fall from the sky into the woods not far from where she was.

“Oh, my goodness! Somepony could be hurt! I’d better go and check and see if that pony’s okay!” said Fluttershy, getting up and darting over to where it had looked like the figure had fallen.

But, when she got there, she quickly realized that thing that had fallen wasn’t a pony… or any kind of creature she was familiar with at all. It was about as tall as the Princesses, and had no fur, except for a small brown patch on the top of its head, and it had bat wings growing out of the lower part of its back. It wore a black tailcoat, a white dress shirt with a black bowtie, black dress pants, and black dress shoes.

Fluttershy cautiously approached the creature, her body positively shaking with terror as she did. “E-excuse m-m-me Mr. M-Monster G-Guy, b-b-but are y-y-you o-o-o-k-k-k-ay?” she whimpered, poking the creature gently with her foot.

The creature on the ground groaned loudly, causing Fluttershy to seize up and faint dead away, her body thudding to the ground in a kind of “play dead” position with her eyes wide in terror. Oddly enough, a goat seemed to bleat somewhere as she did so.

“Oh, man… that’s what I get for screwing around with feedback loops,” groaned the creature on the ground, placing a black claw on its face as it opened its black and yellow eyes and standing up and looking around. “Where in the Sam Hell am I? Sure doesn’t look like Gravity Falls,” he muttered, before catching sight of Fluttershy on the ground. “Oh! Hello there! Please tell me you speak a language I know, preferably English.”

Fluttershy didn’t respond, but instead remained immobile in her state of paralyzing terror as the creature snapped his fingers and caused a black cane and a black top hat with a yellow stripe near the brim to appear.

“My name is Alcor! I am a dream demon-human hybrid! I am from a planet called Earth! Am I still on the planet called Earth?! If not, what planet am I on and what country is this?! And, now that I think about it, are you familiar with a four-legged pony by the name of Fluttershy, because you look a Helluva lot like her!” yelled Alcor, while poking Fluttershy with his cane. “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”

Fluttershy continued to remain immobile however. Finally giving up, Alcor just shrugged and turned to walk away… only to get tackled by something very fast and very blue and fall on his back.

“Ow! Hey, that was a cheap shot!” yelled Alcor, turning his head in the direction the fast blue thing had gone to find that it was a cyan blue anthro pegasus with a rainbow-patterned mane and tail wearing blue hoodie with a black t-shirt underneath that had the image of a rainbow-patterned lightning bolt on it, blue jeans, and pink and white tennis shoes.

“Leave Fluttershy alone, freak!” yelled Rainbow Dash as she came at Alcor for another charge, only to have the creature somehow sidestep out of the way with a weird noise following his movements..

“Missed me, Dashie!” said Alcor with a confident smirk.

Rainbow blinked in surprise at not only how fast this creature had moved, but at the fact that it seemed to know her name. “Wha-? How did you-? How do you-?” she stammered in shock and confusion.

“Oh, please. You called that fear stricken vegetable on the ground Fluttershy. Which can only mean you’re Rainbow Dash, and THAT means I’ve somehow wound up in the magical land of Equestria, except the locals seem to walk on two legs, are taller, have hands, and wear clothes,” said Alcor, while Rainbow Dash just gave him a blank look. “In any case, it’s nice to know that I can understand you. Now, then where is Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Applejack?”

Not even a second later, a beam of purple energy punched a hole in Alcor’s hat, which of course, fixed itself instantly. Turning around, Alcor found four more anthro ponies behind him. The ponies, all four of which were mares, consisted of two Unicorns and two Earth Ponies.

One of the Unicorns was a lovely shade of lavender and had a dark blue mane and tail, both of which had a magenta stripe through them, and wore a dark purple shirt with a magenta starburst on the front, black pants, and purple and pink sneakers. This was Twilight Sparkle, a very gifted and powerful unicorn sorceress.

The second Unicorn was chalk white with a curly purple mane and tail wearing a white t-shirt,designer jeans, and black and white sneakers. This was Rarity Belle, and she was the local fashionista of Ponyville.

One of the Earth Ponies was orange with a blonde mane, which was tied back in a ponytail, and wore a brown stetson hat, a white t-shirt underneath a green short-sleeved shirt, blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots. This was Applejack, and she was in charge of Sweet Apple Acres, the apple orchard of Ponyville.

The second Earth Pony was a bright and bubbly shade of pink, from her fur to her bushy mane and tail. She wore a white t-shirt with a heart on it underneath a light blue t-shirt, a pink skirt, with three balloons on it, and blue heels with little pink ribbons on them. This was Pinkamena "Pinkie" Pie, and she was the crazy one of the bunch, as well as a major party enthusiast.

“Oh, well, looks like the gang’s… mostly here,” said Alcor, glancing down at Fluttershy’s frozen form. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Alcor. I’m… from out of town. Out of this dimension, actually, and I-”

“You attacked Fluttershy, yeah, we’ve already figured that one out, pal,” said Rainbow Dash.

“Rainbow, stop it!” scolded Twilight. “Now, did you say you were from another dimension?”

“Yep. Fun fact, in my dimension, you guys are all four-legged, and you’re all a bunch of toymaker’s creations, as well as insanely popular. You even have your own TV show, comic books, and merchandise,” said Alcor with a smirk.

“I knew I was being followed,” said Pinkie Pie in a serious voice as she slowly turned her head to the left and the right, leering as she did so, while the other ponies shifted uncomfortably.

“Weeeellll…” Twilight said awkwardly before regaining her composure. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to run some tests on you back at my place in Ponyville. And I’d love to hear more about your world. And I’m sure the Princesses would like to meet you as well.”

Alcor thought about it for a moment. “Eh, what the Hell, why not?” he said.

“Perfect. If you’ll follow me, then, Mr. Alcor,” said Twilight.

“And whilst we’re walking, do tell me who gave you your suit. It looks quite… classy,” said Rarity.

“And you can tell me all about your favorite kind of cupcakes and other assorted pastries!” said Pinkie Pie.

“And you can help carry Fluttershy home,” said Rainbow Dash, nudging the animal caretaker’s immobile form.

Alcor sighed and snapped his fingers, causing Fluttershy to levitate a few inches above the ground.

“You can do magic?!” said Twilight in shock.

“...of a sort,” Alcor said as he and the girls started walking back to Ponyville with Fluttershy in tow.

Alcor's Origin Story

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Alcor and the Mane 6 walked, or in Rainbow Dash and Alcor’s cases, hovered, alongside Daisy Stream on their way back to Ponyville. Fluttershy, who was now walking alongside the group, had regained consciousness a few moments earlier, and had been brought up to speed on what was going on.

“Sooo…” said Rainbow in a cautious sort of voice. “If this toy company really is making a mint off of us and our adventures, and you can hop between dimensions and shit, do you think you could warp us all back to your world so we can get our share of the profits?”

Alcor laughed. “Figured you’d ask me something like that,” he said, his head swiveling around on his neck to face Rainbow, causing Rarity and Fluttershy to have expressions that suggested that they were uncomfortable with that. “First off, inter-dimensional travel is a very risky business, and one that I haven’t exactly mastered handling just yet. Secondly, and here’s the important one, I might add, the fortune you’d get from Hasbro wouldn’t be worth the paper it’s printed on in this dimension.”

“So, you use paper money for currency in your world? Interesting…” said Twilight thoughtfully.

“Yep. Always have, probably always will,” said Alcor, his head swiveling back to its normal position as he spoke.

Rarity looked a little nervous as she spoke to Alcor. “Erm, Mr. Alcor, if you haven’t mastered the ability to jump between worlds, then how did you arrive in our world?” she asked.

“It was a freak accident with a feedback loop that brought me here,” replied Alcor. “You know something, though? You ladies are way too damn trusting of strange creatures who just blew in here from another dimension. Something like that could end up being your downfall one day, and I speak from experience when I say that.”

“And what in the wide, wide, world of Equestria makes ya’ll think we trust ya?” asked Applejack.

“Well, you didn’t attack me when it looked pretty cut-and-dried that I’d just hurt Fluttershy,” said Alcor. “I don’t know about you, but that seems a lot like trust to me.”

“Well, we didn’t need to keep fightin’ you after you agreed to come quietly, did we now?”said Applejack. “That, and we know how Fluttershy gets when she gets herself spooked. And she spooks easily.”

Alcor thought about what Applejack said for a moment. “Eh, fair enough,” he finally said.

The journey continued on in silence. Finally, the ensemble arrived at Ponyville, which was not a small relatively peaceful village, but rather a large bustling metropolis of a city with cars and ponies zigzagging every which way.

“Well, Ponyville’s nothing like what I thought it’d be at all,” commented Alcor.

“And what exactly did you think it’d be, just out of curiosity?” asked Twilight.

“In a word: smaller,” replied Alcor. “Now, if you ladies will excuse me a moment, I need to get changed.”

And with that, Alcor closed his eyes in concentration. His long pointy ears began to shrink, as did the bat wings that were growing out of the small of his back. When Alcor opened his eyes again, not only were the black of his eyes white, but the wings were gone and his ears were back to a normal shape.

“There we go,” said Alcor as he floated back down to the ground as each of the Mane 6 did a small double-take.

Twilight was the first to regain her composure. “Right then,” she said. “Alcor and I will meet up with you girls later. I’ll show him around town before taking him back to the library to run some test on him.”

“Ya’ll sure you and mah drake can handle him?” asked Applejack.

Twilight looked over at Alcor, who was starting to draw the stares of several nearby ponies. However, he merely smiled, waved, and tipped his top hat at them.

“I’m sure of it,” said Twilight.

“Well… all right, if you say so,” said Applejack. “Catch ya later. Oh, and can ya tell Spike that next Thursday at the Hayloft is perfect?”

“Sure thing,” said Twilight.

And with that, Rainbow, Rarity, Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Applejack departed for their own destinations, leaving Twilight alone with Alcor.

“Well then, shall I show you around?” asked Twilight.

“Go right ahead, Miss Sparkle,” said Alcor.

And with that, Twilight Sparkle began the tour of Ponyville. During the tour, Twilight showed Alcor Sugarcube Corner, City Hall, Rarity’s shop, the Joke Shop, and so many other things. However, there was only one thing Alcor was really interested in.

“‘VampFlare Home For Orphaned Foals. Current Headmistress: Miss Cinch,’” Alcor read aloud on the sign posted outside. “Well, if this isn’t a gold mine for clients, I don’t know what is. Nearly every orphanage ever is a hellhole. Why orphanages are always hellholes is beyond me, but…”

As Alcor looked through one of the windows and watched the silhouette of a familiar looking pegasus getting chewed out by what Alcor could only assume was Abacus Finch, Twilight looked at Alcor in confusion and maybe a little concern. “What are you talking about? What do you mean ‘clients?’” she asked.

“Well… let’s just say creatures like me are skilled in the art of business, especially when it comes down to cutting a deal,” said Alcor.

Twilight’s look of confusion turned to one of uncertainty at this response. “Okay…” she said slowly. “We’re not far from my home, so let’s keep moving, shall we?”

Alcor nodded and followed Twilight back to her place… but not before giving the orphanage one more look.

Inside the Golden Oaks Library, a young purple and green dragon wearing a purple hoodie with a green t-shirt underneath, blue jeans, and socks was lounging in a chair reading a comic book. This was Spike, loyal assistant and adoptive son of Twilight Sparkle.

Spike looked up from his book as his mother entered the house with a strange creature wearing a black suit and top hat. “Uh, Mom? Who and what is that creature?” he asked.

“My name is Alcor. And you must be Spike, Twilight’s slav-er, I mean, Twilight’s adoptive son, right?” said Alcor.

“Uh… yeah,” said Spike suspiciously, having detected that Alcor had just tried to cover something up.

“Well, now that we’re here, I think we can start right away. So, if you’ll follow me into my lab, we can begin,” said Twilight.

“Okay, then,” said Alcor as he and Spike followed Twilight into the library basement, which had been converted into a fully equipped laboratory, where she sat down in one of two chairs that were facing each other.

“Where did you get all this stuff? Is there a website or something?” asked Alcor.

“Well, actually, Princess Celestia gave it all to her, so she could continue her educational studies while she worked on her friendship studies,” explained Spike.

“I see…” said Alcor, shaking Spike’s hand before he sat down in a chair while Spike grabbed a quill, ink, and paper before doing the same.

“Well, now that everyone’s settled, we can begin,” said Twilight. “I’ll start with the big one. What are you exactly?” she asked.

“I’m...a dream demon,” said Alcor.

“YOU’RE A WHAT?!” yelled Twilight and Spike in surprise and fear at the same time.

“I’m a dream demon,” said Alcor. “A monster that specializes in mindbending, reality warping, and demonic contracts. Back in my dimension, I had many names, like The Dreambender, the Twin Star, and at least two different cults dedicated to me. I was the most powerful creature in my world, and quite honestly, I’m probably the most powerful creature in this world too. But, I wasn’t always like this. I used to be normal. I used to have a family.”

“Really?” asked Twilight as Spike wrote everything that had just been said down. “Well, what happened to make you like this?”

“Well… I usually keep that bit of information to myself. Unless, of course, you and I strike a bargain,” said Alcor.

“No way, Jose! I’ve seen the movies, deals with demons never end well for anyone!” said Twilight.

“Do you always believe everything you see in movies, Twilight?” asked Alcor.

“Well, no… but I’ve read plenty of books where the deal backfires on the idiot who struck a deal with the devil,” said Twilight.

“Twilight, I think you’re just afraid that I’ll double cross you and turn you into a deer or something,” said Alcor with a laugh. “Well, you need not worry. The only people or ponies I double cross are those who summon me in a bid for power or who use human, or as long as I’m here, equine sacrifices. So, you have nothing to worry about.”

“I don’t know… it seems awfully dangerous… and I don’t really know if I can trust you…”

“Oh, will you stop? All I want is some cupcakes from Sugarcube Corner,” said Alcor.

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Really? That’s it?”

“Yep. I just want a baker’s dozen chocolate cupcakes. In return, you get to hear my origin story. Sounds like a fair deal, doesn’t it?” asked Alcor.

“Well… okay, if you say so,” said Twilight.

“Perfect,” said Alcor, his hand erupting into blue flame as he shook Twilight’s hand. As Twilight shook Alcor’s hand, she felt a feeling that she could only describe as a connection within her very soul. “Well, shall we go get those cupcakes?”

After a quick trip to Sugarcube Corner to buy some cupcakes, Alcor lounged on the chair he’d been sitting in earlier, munching on a cupcake. “Okay, I guess it’s time for me to hold up my end of the bargain,” Alcor finally said, straightening up in his chair.

“It’s about time,” muttered Twilight as Spike picked up his quill and parchment

Alcor shot Twilight a glare before he began. “I was born many centuries ago to a normal family. I was once a creature known as a human being, a species I’m sure you’ll be very familiar with in due time, and I had a twin sister who was a lot like Pinkie Pie named Mizar. Mizar and I had a fairly standard childhood. We did almost everything together. I was the brains of our Mystery Twins outfit, while Mizar brought the charm and the personality. Then, one summer, our parents shipped us up to a sleepy little town called Gravity Falls to stay at our Great-Uncle Stan’s place in the woods,” he explained, before he looked down at the ground.

“That was the summer that my life changed forever. My Grunkle Stan put me and Mizar to work in his house/tourist trap, The Mystery Shack, and quite honestly, the only real mystery of that shack was why anyone came in the first place, the exhibits were all tacky, the place smelled like formaldehyde, and Stan did everything in his power to wring every last cent out of the tourists who were dumb enough to show up. One day, Stan had me hammering up signs to promote the shack in the spooky part of the local forest. It was then I discovered a spooky old journal marked with the number 3. Contained within the journal was information on Gravity Falls’ secret dark side, crawling with all kinds of creepy monsters and supernatural creatures. But the worst of them all was an evil dream demon who’d plastered his face all over history named Bill Cipher.”

“Wait, wait, wait a minute,” said Spike. “This creature’s name is Bill? An evil demon with the power to warp reality and possibly drive millions insane… and his name is Bill?”

Alcor chuckled. “His name isn’t even the funniest part about him. Here’s what he looked like,” he said, snapping his fingers and causing the image of a yellow triangle with one eye and small stick-like arms and legs with a cane wearing a black top hat and a bowtie.

“THAT’S Bill?!” said Twilight and Spike.

“Yep, that’s the evil triangle guy,” said Alcor.

A moment of dead silence passed by… before both Twilight and Spike burst out laughing.

“He looks so terrifying, I’m so scared!” laughed Spike.

“What harm could that nacho in a top hat possibly do to anyone?” giggled Twilight.

“Oh, nothing much, really, just a spell that he’d spent billions of years perfecting, all so he could merge the spectral and material planes and cause a full-on Weirdmageddon,” said Alcor as he made the image of Bill vanish, his words causing Twilight and Spike to stop laughing quite abruptly. “Thankfully, me, Mizar, and a rag-tag group of our friends were there to stop him, and actually managed to stop the spell from succeeding. The backlash of the botched spell almost killed Bill, a feat that is nearly impossible because of him being an immortal demon. In sheer desperation, Bill tried to possess me without a contact in a desperate attempt to save himself. I fought back with everything I had, and I won. Bill Cipher was dead.”

“However, I didn’t get my happily ever after. It turned out that a portion of Bill’s power remained inside me, and as a result, it turned me into a dream demon myself.”

“Well… that actually sounds kind of cool, now that I think about it,” said Spike. “You get awesome superpowers and you get to live forever. Doesn’t sound like a bad trade-off to me.”

“I understand why you’d think that. In theory, it wouldn’t sound all that bad,” admitted Alcor. “But, picture this: you’re immortal and can live forever, never aging nor dying with infinite power at your fingertips, or in your case, clawtips. But, can you say the same for those you love and care about? Can you say that for their descendants, and THEIR descendants?” Alcor smirked at the look on Spike and Twilight’s faces. “I thought not. It’s a fate worse than death, watching those you’ve grown to know and love grow old and pass away, while you live on, forever young, with no hope of joining them on the other side. Losing Mizar felt like what was left of my very soul was being tortured in the most painful ways imaginable.”

“I understand how that’d feel,” said Twilight sympathetically.

“It doesn’t matter. Mizar’s death is just another scar that’ll never truly heal. You get used to them in this line of work,” grumbled Alcor.

“So… what happened after this Bill Cipher was defeated and you became… like this?” asked Twilight, desperate to move on from this topic.

“Well, I’m glad you asked,” said Alcor. ”While Bill’s spell had failed, it was able to unleash the weirdness of Gravity Falls upon the rest of the world, in the events known as the Transcendence. Admittedly, it took quite awhile for the humans to accept that the world they now lived in was the one they had to get used. A year after my...accident… I started making deals with people, and I became somewhat famous to both humans and monsters alike, and truth be told, that came to bite me in the ass in a highly unusual manner. I don’t want to get into specifics, though. And although I was the subject of many a girl’s crushes, I never really wanted to have a romantic relationship, seeing as how A, I’m immortal and B, contrary to what movies and books say, demons and devils can’t splice with other creatures, supernatural or otherwise. And truth be told, I don’t want to be responsible for siring another Bill Cipher, and I don’t want to adopt a mortal being, so I decided to just stay out of love forever.”

Twilight glanced at Spike, who smiled and shook his head as he jotted down Alcor’s words. “Alcor, that’s not how love works. You can’t control if you fall in love with somepony or not. And seeing as you’re an immortal demon, I’d say the life without love you’re trying to get back with is almost worse than death itself,” she said.

“Well, I’d like to think it’s worked for me for the past few hundred years, so I think my choice will work out just fine,” said Alcor, although a tinge of uncertainty was beginning to enter his mind.

Twilight just smiled and shook her head. “Whatever floats your boat. In any case, I think that’s enough for now. Tomorrow, we’re going to begin the more physical and psychological testing tomorrow,” she said as she, Spike, and Alcor stood up. “You can stay on the couch upstair until we find a more permanent place for you to stay.”

“Joy,” said Alcor as he made his way back up the stairs to the main floor of the library, Twilight and Spike watching him go.

“Poor guy… he’s certainly been through a lot, hasn’t he, Mom?” Spike asked Twilight.

“It certainly seems that way… Spike, you head on upstairs. I have a letter that I want to write Princess Celestia myself,” said Twilight.

Spike nodded and did as he was told, leaving Twilight alone in the basement.

It was almost midnight, crumpled-up sheets of parchment littered the floor, and Twilight Sparkle had finally finished the final draft of her letter to Princess Celestia. She looked over the finsihed letter, checking it for any mistakes she’d made.

My Dearest Teacher,
While investigating what had seemed to be an explosion of some kind, I encountered a strange creature who said he was a dream demon named Alcor. However, he told me and Spike that he hadn’t always been a monster, and that he used to be a creature called a “human being.” After he told his how he came to be what he is now, it showed me another side of immortality. While most ponies see living forever as such an amazing thing, it’s easy to overlook that while you never die, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those you love and care about will never die. Have you or Luna ever had any experiences with something like this? In any case, I would appreciate it if my friends, Alcor, and I could have an audience with you as soon as possible to discuss what exactly we’re going to do with this Alcor now that he’s here.

Yours Faithfully,
Twilight Sparkle

Twilight smiled as she read the letter. It looked pretty good to her. Twilight rolled up the parchment and tied it off with a ribbon using her magic before making her way upstiars to her bedroom. She would have Spike send the letter tomorrow, but for now, it was time to get some sleep.

Meanwhile, on the sofa, Alcor couldn’t stop thinking about what Twilight had said about his decision regarding his non-existent love life. Maybe his decision not to fall in love wouldn’t actually work. He did spend half a summer trying to ask Wendy Corduroy, a beautiful redhead teen he’d once had a massive crush on out back when he was Dipper Pines, after all.

Alcor shook the thought of a love life out of his head. Get a grip, Dipper. You can’t go worrying about finding a fair maiden to fall for now. You’re in a whole new dimension now. It’s a fresh start for you, your business, and your reputation as a demon. You need to start finding clients who can be convinced to strike a bargain with you, so you can be seen as a good man, not a devil with a shifty contract. And hopefully not have anymore books like those Twin Souls stories written about you, Alcor thought to himself before a grin crossed over his face.

And speaking of clients… I know just the filly to start with.

Scootaloo's Deal With The Devil

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That night, in the Girls Dormitory in the VampFlare Home For Orphaned Foals, we find a young Pegasus filly whose wings appeared to be nothing more than skin, bone, and feathers with an orange coat and purple mane and tail wearing a nightgown of some kind. This was Scootaloo, a local filly with big dreams, a scooter, no Cutie Mark, and a wing handicap brought on by a birth defect, and made worse by malnutrition from lack of a proper diet thanks to the orphanage. The odds of her being able to fly like a Pegasus should were slim to none.

And that was something Alcor aimed to fix as he approached the sleeping filly while in the Mindscape, completely unseen and undetected. Once he reached the young filly, he placed a gentle hand on the filly’s forehead. “It’s such a shame the deck’s been stacked against since birth, little Scootaloo. You have such great potential to become even greater than your hero Rainbow Dash one day. And it will all be wasted unless someone does something about your handicap. Perhaps you and I can come to an agreement that will finally allow the phoenix that lurks inside your soul to rise at last,” said Alcor, before he turned into what appeared to be thick black smoke of shadows itself.

“Now, let’s have a look at your dreams, young one.”

Scootaloo began to stir at the sound of clinking and clanking chains. Opening her eyes, she saw that she and several other Pegasi fillies and colts around her age were dangling by their wrists over a black void, their chains attached to a conveyor belt in what appeared to be a dimly-lit factory of some kind.

“Hey,” Scootaloo asked one of the children dangling next to her. “What’s happening? What’s going on?”

“We’re failures,” said the colt, no emotion is his voice, as if all the happiness had been sucked out of him. “We’ve been sent to the Rainbow Factory to be sacrificed to the Pegasus Device.”

“Wha-? What are you talking about?” asked Scootaloo.

The colt didn’t respond. A moment later, a laugh, very familiar to Scootaloo, yet horribly altered and evil., rang throughout the Factory. Scootaloo looked directly across the room and found… her hero, her legend, her idol, laughing like a wicked hyena. But, why was she here? And why was she laughing like that?

Indeed, lounging across a ebony throne, twirling a pair of dice that seemed to be made out of pure diamond, and wearing a black tanktop, blue jeans with a black leather belt, black leather boots, a long white bloodstained lab coat, black fingerless gloves, a black scarf, and black science goggles, was Rainbow Dash, and she couldn’t stop laughing at the sight of the failures before her.

“Oh, look at you pathetic pieces of slime, so weak, so helpless,” said Rainbow, a certain wickedness in her voice that had certainly not been there the last time Scootaloo had seen her. “I know what you’re all thinking. ‘Why me, Faust?’ Well, I hate to break it-no, wait, I’m lying, I’d love to break it to you, but Faust’s not listening. Matter of fact, I hear that she’s not even in Equestria this time of year.”

“Rainbow! It’s me, Scootaloo! Your biggest fan and the founder of your fan club!” called Scootaloo, desperate for her hero to recognize her and get her down from the conveyor belt before something really bad happened.

Unfortunately for the young filly, Rainbow ignored her, got up off her throne, and continued talking. “Now, I’m sure you’re also wondering why exactly you’re here. Simply put, you’re all a bunch of rejects and failures, in nearly every sense of the word. And there’s only one thing a failure’s good for around here. Being sacrificed to our crown jewel, the Pegasus Device, and having your Spectra extracted in order to for the lower levels to make-”

“LAWN DART!” yelled a voice from the shadows as what appeared to be a black katana with a handle that resembled the top part of a cane flew at Rainbow, who barely got out of the way in time to avoid getting skewered. “D’oh, I missed!” said the voice as the cane-sword then returned to the shadows.

“All right, who did that!?” snarled Rainbow, pulled a large serrated knife from a sheath attached to her belt. “Show yourself, you miserable punk!”

“As you wish,” said the voice. A few VERY tense minutes passed as Rainbow turned in circles, looking for her attacker.

And then, almost as suddenly as the same weapon had been thrown, the black katana impaled Rainbow from behind while Scootaloo watched in horror.

“NO! RAINBOW!” she screamed as a pool of crimson blood formed on the chest of the mare she so idolized before the attacker, now revealed to be a strange creature in a black suit, kicked Rainbow off his sword, which quickly turned back into a cane. “You… you monster! Y-you’ve killed my hero! You evil, evil, monster!” wailed Scootaloo.

“Uh, actually, Rainbow Dash is still alive and well, probably going to sleep in this morning… again,” said the creature. “The Rainbow I just killed is nothing more than a part of this dream, just like those chains you’re bound in. In fact. this whole damn Rainbow Factory is nothing more than a dream. Although, I’m quite curious. When did you start having this nightmare? And yes, this is all a dream. Dreams often times feel so real because, to you, they are.”

“Well… if this really is a dream like you say, then I’d say it started about a week or so ago, when Diamond Tiara told the class a scary campfire story during the class camping trip,” said Scootaloo.

The creature shrugged. “Makes sense, considering what happens when you hear a spooky campfire story,” he said. “But, where are my manners? My name’s Alcor, dream demon extraordinaire. Why don’t we change up the scenery a little? Then you and I can talk business.”

With a snap of his fingers, Alcor made Scootaloo’s restraints pop open, and made the entire Rainbow Factory disappear into nothingness. In the Factory’s place appeared what Scootaloo could only describe as a flat-top asteroid or some kind of meteor somewhere in Outer Space. On the asteroid was a desk with two black leather office chairs on each side.

“Come, Scootaloo, have a seat,” said Alcor as he took one of the seats.

Scootaloo, not really knowing what else to do, took the seat opposite Alcor.

“Now, then, kiddo, let’s get right to it. I’m prepared to give you all of your heart’s desires. A family, the ability to fly with the best of them, the best of them being Rainbow Dash-”

“My Cutie Mark?” asked Scootaloo hopefully.

“Eh… not so much. Bad things happen when you try to cheat when you’re trying to earn your Cutie Mark, as your pal Apple Bloom’s about to discover in a few days time. But, I’m willing to give you everything else your heart desires. For instance, I understand that you wish Rainbow Dash was like a surrogate big sister to you, correct?”

Scootaloo gasped in shock. “How did you know that?!” she asked.

“Please, Scoots, I’m a dream demon, a master of the mind. There isn’t one secret you have that I don’t already know about. But, why don’t we take you and Dashie’s surrogate sister relationship, and kick it up a notch to an adopted sister relationship. As for Miss Finch… well, I think she’ll get what’s coming to her soon enough,” said Alcor with a wicked grin. “As for your little wing handicap, I could fix that up blindfolded. You’d be able to take on your hero in a straight-up one-on-one race and actually have a decent shot of winning by the time I’m through with you.”

Scootaloo couldn’t believe what she was hearing. It all seemed too good to be true. Her dreams, her heart’s desires, right in front of her, ready for the taking…

A chill of suspicion stopped Scootaloo’s thoughts cold in their tracks. If this Alcor guy was a demon like he said, then there was probably something he wanted in return.

“What’s the catch?” asked Scootaloo.

Alcor smiled again. “Smart kid, always making sure to read the fine print before signing the contract. That’ll serve you well later in life. The catch is, in order to make the magic work, you need to give me something I want in return. You can’t get something for nothing, after all, that’s not how the Power of The Deal works,” he said.

A small shiver of fear ran through Scootaloo. “A-And what is it that you want from me, exactly?” she asked while thinking Please don’t let it be my soul, not my soul, not my soul.

“Well-” Alcor started to say, before everything around them started to flicker and disappear while a snippy, bossy-sounding female voice barked, “Wake up! Wake up this instant or you’ll be sleeping the incinerator room tonight!”

“Ooh, looks like we’ll have to cut this little business meeting short, Scoots. I’ll leave some summoning instructions with you so we can continue our talks later tonight in the incinerator room tonight, as well as some supplies you’ll need for summoning me. See you tonight, Scootaloo! And remember: reality is an illusion, the universe is a hologram, buy gold, BYYYEE!” said Alcor as he and everything else disappeared.

Scootaloo awoke with a start while Miss Cinch, a serious-looking unicorn mare with a maroon mane and tail and stone gray fur wearing an old-fashioned suit jacket-skirt combo and heels looked down upon her with the utmost indifference.

“About time you woke up, Miss Scootaloo,” Cinch said with a hint of menace with in her voice. “I think a few long nights in the incinerator room will teach you not to sleep in past your required time to wake up. Is that understood?”

Scootaloo did a small double-take at the news of this punishment. “Y-yes ma’am,” she finally said.

“Good. You have 15 minutes to get yourself dressed, or else I’ll double your time in the incinerator room,” said Cinch as she walked out of the dormitory and shut the door behind her.

Scootaloo placed her hand on her face. That was one crazy dream I had last night. Well, at least it was just a- Scootaloo thought herself as she climbed out of bed, stopping herself in mid-thought at the sight of what had been written on her hand in blue ink.

The dream is real.- Alcor the Dreambender. P.S. Look what I did to your other hand.

Scootaloo looked at her other hand to find that a small hand mirror with a drawing of a beak and a chicken’s crown on it that matched up with her face perfectly had been taped to it.

Look, a chicken! was the message that had been left there.

Shaking her head, Scootaloo pulled off the mirror and discarded it before she began to get dressed in a black t-shirt, a dark green jacket, blue denim shorts, white socks, and her old hand-me-down sneakers. Putting her hands in her pockets as she examined herself in the mirror, she came to discover that there was something in her pocket that she could’ve sworn hadn’t been there before. Pulling it out, Scootaloo discovered that it was a piece of paper with some drawings on it and some notes.

This must be the summoning instructions Alcor left me, thought Scootaloo as she put the paper back in her pocket. No time to look at it now, I’ve got to join the others for the shuttle ride to school.

And with that, Scootaloo quickly made her way downstairs to join her fellow orphans in waiting for the shuttle bus to pick them up and take them all to school.

All through the first half of that school day, Scootaloo couldn’t stop thinking about that dream she’d had the previous night, and the offer the mysterious Alcor had made her. Everything and anything she’d ever wished for, save for a Cutie Mark. But, she couldn’t help but wonder what she’d have to give him in return. Would she have to give him her soul? Take the life of somepony in sacrifice to him? What could he want?

After what seemed like forever and a half, the lunch bell finally rang, and Scootaloo could be left alone to consider her options on the issue that had been placed before her. and that’s exactly what she did as she sat on a bench in the outdoor cafeteria by herself, looking at the summoning instructions Alcor had left her.

Well, that is, until…

“HI, SCOOTALOO!”

Scootaloo looked up from the slip of paper to see her two best friends in the world and fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders, Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, run up to her. Sweetie Belle was a unicorn filly around Scootaloo’s age with white fur and a pink and lavender mane and tail wearing a pink and white striped shirt, a hot pink jacket, a yellow skirt, and shoes that matched her jacket. Apple Bloom was an Earth Pony filly around Scootaloo’s age with yellow fur and a blood red mane and tail wearing a green t-shirt, blue jeans, and brown cowboy boots. She also had a pink ribbon in her mane.

“Whatcha reading?” asked Sweetie, noticing the slip of paper in her friend’s hand.

“Oh, uh, nothing,” said Scootaloo, trying to hide the slip of paper, only to have it snatched by Apple Bloom, who studied it with a frown.

“What in tarnation is this thing?” Apple Bloom asked Scootaloo, obviously confused.

Scootaloo sighed in defeat and told her friends what had happened the previous night. When she finished her story, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle both had unsure looks on their faces.

“I don’t know if you should go through with this Alcor guy’s deal, Scootaloo,” Sweetie Belle finally said after a few moments. “I mean, haven’t you seen the movies? Oh, wait, what am I saying, of course you haven’t because of that orphanage, but anyways, deals with the devil and/or demons never end well. I mean, you could get what you want, but you could also lose what you have too.”

“What are you blanks-flanks talking about?” asked a nearby, all-too-familiar snooty voice. “Scootaloo doesn’t have anything to lose, and odds are she never will.”

The Cutie Mark Crusaders looked over and saw their arch-enemy and pain in the ass Diamond Tiara and her lackey Silver Spoon standing nearby.

“You three don’t honestly believe there’s such things as ghosts and goblins, do you?” sneered Diamond Tiara as she walked up to the CMC, her hand on her hips. “It’d make you look even more pathetic than you already are. But, then again, being blank flanks, that’s no easy task, but it’s a good try!”

Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon laughed at the Crusaders. Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle began to look depressed while Scootaloo’s face turned angry.

This ends now, Tiara! thought Scootaloo. I’m going to go through with Alcor’s offer tonight, but I’m going to add one more bit on my end, and that’s putting an end to you trying to tear us down!

Later that night within the confines of the incinerator room of the orphanage, Scootaloo nearly had everything ready to summon Alcor. She had the circle drawn and the conveniently placed unscented candles were lit and in position. All she had to do now was speak the incantation.

“Stella splendida vos invoco!” cried Scootaloo, the flames in the circle turning blue as she spoke. “Dico nomen vestriam: Alcor!”

The flames in the circle immediately went out as a swirling, crackling vortex of some kind appeared, which needless to say, scared Scootaloo something terrible. And yet, she couldn’t move a muscle, so transfixed she was by the vortex, until finally, Alcor came out of it.

“So… have you considered my offer?” the dream demon.

“Yes,” said Scootaloo, her voice full of determination.” But, there’s a few things I need to ask you first.”

“You want me to settle the score with Diamond Tiara, and you want to know what I want in return for giving you your heart’s desire, sans Cutie Mark, right?” said Alcor.

Scootaloo bit back the questions as to how the dream demon knew that. “Yes,” Scootaloo said.

“Admittedly, I was going to pay Diamond Tiara a visit and screw around with her head anyway,” said Alcor. “As for what I want in return… well, that’s quite simple. What I want is a foundation stone, upon which to rebuild my cults and organizations.”

Scootaloo did a double-take. “R-really? That’s it?” she asked, hardly able to believe it.

“Yes,” said Alcor. “Back in my dimension, I used have cults and organizations that had members from all over the world. Seeing as I’m not in my world anymore, I think it would be wise to take a more proactive role in rebuilding them, wouldn’t you say?”

“So… all you want is for me to become a cultist for you, and that’s it?” asked Scootaloo.

“That’s it.”

“Mr. Alcor… my master… you’ve got yourself a deal,” said Scootaloo, holding out her hand.

Alcor shook Scootaloo’s hand with his own covered in blue flames. No sooner had they shook, however, than Scootaloo began to feel dizzy and disoriented before inky blackness started to appear in the corners of her vision.

“Rest up, Scoots, for you have a big day tomorrow… not only will you be adopted by the Dash family and become Rainbow’s equal and possibly her superior, but I have a little job for you as well,” said Alcor with a wicked grin before Scootaloo finally passed out.

Vandalism And The Cutie Pox

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An orange-and-purple blur raced its way through the city of Ponyville. That blur was none other than Scootaloo Dash, propelled forward on her scooter by her powerful new wings. Scootaloo was pretty much having the best day of her life. First, Cinch had been fired and banned from the orphanage grounds after some Child Services agents caught wind of her cruel and unusual punishments. In an ironic twist, she’d been hit by a taxi no more than five minutes after she’d been thrown out. Then, about an hour later, Rainbow Blaze and Firefly, Rainbow Dash’s Mom and Dad, had adopted her as her daughter, officially making her Rainbow Dash’s little sister. Not long after that, she’d heard that Diamond Tiara had had a nervous breakdown following a batch of horrible nightmares that she’d had last night. The icing on the cake was the discovery of her new-and-improved wings that could easily allow her to keep up with her role model and hero.

Yes, it certainly seemed like Alcor had actually come through for her in the end. And speaking of Alcor, the dream demon put a stop to Scootaloo’s joy ride by simply putting his foot against the front of Scootaloo’s scooter.

“Having fun?” the dream demon asked with a wicked grin on his face.

“Y-yeah,” said Scootaloo nervously.

“Good… that’s good,” said Alcor as he removed his foot from Scootaloo’s scooter. “Now, walk with me. I have a little job for you.”

Scootaloo pulled up alongside Alcor, and together, the two of them made their way down the street.

“You see, Scootaloo, as the founder of my new cult here in Equestria, it’s up to you to help me enlist more ponies into the cult. And to do that, I’ll need more clients. And to get more clients, I’ll need to find out what the deepest, darkest desires of all the ponies here in town,” explained Alcor.

“And how do I go about doing that, exactly?” asked Scootaloo.

“I need you to draw my insignia on the walls on every location here in town that I’ve marked on this map,” said Alcor, handing Scootaloo two pieces of parchment. One of them was a map of Ponyville, with certain locations marked with an X. The second was what was unmistakably Alcor’s insignia, which was a black star with bat wings, underneath of which was a smaller, upside down black star. “I’ll be there to help you keep lookout for any cops or other ponies who might interfere with the plan.”

“And why exactly will I be defacing public property?” asked Scootaloo.

Alcor chuckled. “You see, my dear Scootaloo, I have this ability to use my insignia as a kind of peephole to spy on folks. It makes it easier to find out which chords to pull when I’m trying to strike a bargain with them.”

Scootaloo nodded. “Makes sense. So, when and where do we meet up, master?” she asked.

“Just show up at one of the locations I’ve got marked on the map at sundown. I’ll come find you there, and I’ll bring the supplies you’ll need to leave my mark on this town. Until tonight, Scootaloo, farewell.”

And with that, Alcor snapped his fingers and disappeared in a puff of blue flames, leaving Scootaloo alone with her thoughts.

Well, Scoots, you’re bound by that contract to do as that Alcor guy wants as the founder of his new cult, so there’s no use worrying or complaining about it, thought Scootaloo as she continued down the street. I just hope what I’ve gained will be worth it. A grin spread across Scootaloo’s face. Pfft, what am I thinking? Of course it’ll be worth it. I’ve got everything my heart desires! Well, except for a Cutie Mark, but still, I’ve got it all!

“HEY, SCOOTALOO!”

Scootaloo’s grin grew even wider at the sight of Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle running up towards her, both of whom were carrying bowling ball bags. “Hey, girls! What’s up?” Scootaloo

“Sweetie Belle and Ah were just talkin,’ and we’d completely understand it if ya’ll would want to sit this one out, considering the crazy day you’ve had so far, but we were wondering if you’d like to come with us to try an’ get our Cutie Marks in bowling!” said Apple Bloom.

Scootaloo chuckled. “You kiddin’ me? I’d NEVER sit out a Cutie Mark Crusade! I’ll catch up with you girls in a bit, I gotta go grab my bowling ball!”

And with that, Scootaloo sped off to grab her bowling ball from her new home, leaving her friends in the dust.

Later that afternoon, Twilight Sparkle was sitting in her reading chair, reading a book titled Perplexing Pony Plagues. She’d just reached a chapter about an interesting disease called “The Cutie Pox,” a plague that had affected a population of ponies centuries ago. Spike, meanwhile, was doing the dusting, humming merrily to himself. However, both of them stopped what they were doing when they heard the sound of violin music.

Twilight groaned in frustration. “What is that Alcor doing now?!” she said.

“Playing the violin, by the sound of it… and it actually sounds pretty good,” said Spike.

Twilight paused for a moment and listened. The music WAS pretty good, now that she thought about it. Twilight got up and made her way to the guest bedroom, where the music was coming from, with Spike right behind her. Twilight knocked gently before she opened the door. Once she did, she saw Alcor standing there, his eyes closed, a black violin and its bow in his hands, and a smile on his face that was far different from the devious smirk that she’d usually seen him with as he played. The smile on his face was far different than the usual devious smirk she’d seen him wear. This smile was peaceful and content.

Alcor continued playing his violin for what seemed like forever before he finally opened his eyes and looked at Twilight.”Well? What do you think?” asked Alcor.

“Th-that was amazing,” Twilight said. “Where did you learn how to play like that?”

“Well, truth be told, I just picked up the violin for shits and giggles. I used to play the tuba when I was younger and didn’t have my demonic disposition,” said Alcor as his violin disappeared in a trail of black smoke. “These days, it’s the only real way for me to feel almost human again…”

Alcor’s voice trailed off and a sad gaze entered his eyes as he thought back to everyone and everything he’d ever cared about. Mabel and her kids… Grunkle Stan… Great-Uncle Ford… Wendy Corduroy and her kids… his mother… his father…

Alcor forced himself out of his memories. there was no time to think about what he had lost so long ago in Gravity Falls, Oregon. There was only the here, now, and the future. And that future including him starting up his new cult here in Equestria… a cult he didn’t even have a name for yet.

“Well, Twilight, it’s been a fun chat, but if you’ll excuse me, I must be going. See you later,” said Alcor.

“Hey, wait-” said Twilight, but it was too late. Alcor had snapped his fingers and disappeared to go do who-knew-what.

As Celestia’s sun slowly sank and night began to take hold, Scootaloo was waiting at one of the locations her new master had specified. However, she was starting to get a little sleepy. More than once, she’d dozed off waiting for Alcor only to get perked up by a loud noise, be a cat yowling or a dog barking.

Such was the case when Scootaloo started to fall asleep for the umpteenth time, only to be woken up by the sound of a vehicle’s engine. Standing bolt upright and looking around, Scootaloo found no sign of the vehicle making the noise. Until, that is, out of seemingly nowhere, a black convertible of some kind with blue flames coming from its tail end appeared, and driving it was none other than Alcor.

“What took you so long?” asked Scootaloo.

“Eh, I just needed to go for a drive, clear my head a bit,” said Alcor, jumping out of his car and causing the blue flames to disappear. “But, enough about me. How was school today?”

Scootaloo shrugged. “It was okay, I guess. Apple Bloom earned her Cutie Mark... two Cutie Marks, actually,” she said.

“Uh-huh. Sure, she earned them. Something tells me she actually tried to take a shortcut, and it’s going to blow up in her face very soon,” said Alcor. “But, enough about that. You ready to get to work?”

Scootaloo nodded. “As ready As I’ll ever be,” she said.

“Good,” said Alcor, pulling a can of what appeared to be spray paint out of his pocket. “See this, Scootaloo?”

“Yeah?” said Scootaloo uncertainly.

“This is my own personal formula of spray paint. It’ll instantly draw up my symbol on any inanimate object the nozzle’s pointed at. The long you spray it, the bigger the symbols gets. It’s not rocket science really, all you really need to do is point and shoot,” explained Alcor, tossing the can to Scootaloo

“Seems easy enough,” said Scootaloo, catching the can as she spoke. “So, where should we put the first symbol up?”

Alcor smiled deviously. “How about on the wall over there?” he said, pointing at a nearby wall that overlooked the road. “It’ll provide a great range of vision for me so I can scope out potential clients.”

Scootaloo looked at the wall with uncertainty. “Are you sure about it? I mean, it looks a little… exposed,” she said.

“Exposed, exschnosed,” said Alcor dismissively. “It’s not like anyone will actually be able to get the paint off once it’s plastered on there. In fact, they won’t even be able to paint over the mark.”

“Well… if you say so,” said Scootaloo, taking aim with the paint can and pressing down on the nozzle, causing Alcor’s insignia to appear on the wall with a loud splat.

As the night carried on and the sun began to rise, Alcor and Scootaloo continued to paint the town black and yellow, with Alcor’s mind powers helping avoid or deflect any police confrontations. Finally, they’d hit everywhere they’d planned on hitting. Not even a moment passed from Alcor warping Scootaloo back to her bedroom before the dream demon was nearly bowled over and kicked in the face by the passing Applejack and Apple Bloom, the latter of whom was tap dancing uncontrollably.

“Ooh, showtime!” said Alcor, and with a snap of his fingers, he teleported back to Twilight’s house. No sooner than he appeared in the dark library than the lights snapped on, revealing a very angry Twilight waiting for him.

“Where have you been all night?! I’ve got more test to conduct on you, and I can’t do them if you go galavanting on your own all night long!” snapped Twilight.

“Oh, don’t you worry yourself, Twi, Scootaloo and I were just… leaving our mark on the world,” said Alcor with a smirk.

Before Twilight could question him further on this, however, Applejack and Apple Bloom burst through the door. “Twilight! Apple Bloom and Ah need yer help! Apple Bloom’s been spouting Cutie Marks like crazy an’ she’s been doin’ the talents that come with ‘em!” shouted Applejack in panic as Apple Bloom tap danced, balanced spinning plates on her muzzle, and spun a metal barrel ring around her waist.

Twilight glared at Alcor. “What did you do to Apple Bloom, mister?!” she demanded.

I didn’t do anything to Miss Bloom,” replied Alcor indignantly. “This is not what I meant when I said I was making my mark on the world. Perhaps it’s some kind of sickness?”

Twilight frowned. “Well, now that you mention it, I was reading something on unusual Equine illnesses… what was it called?” she muttered, searching through her books.

Perplexing Pony Plagues, perhaps?” called Spike from a nearby bookshelf, holding onto the book his adoptive sister needed.

“Yes! Spike, you’re amazing!” said Twilight as Spike hopped down off the bookshelf and handed the book to her.

“Yes, well, I do have some talents,” Spike said, pride evident in his voice as Twilight opened the book and began searching.

“Hay fever… The Trotts… ah-ha! Cutie Pox!” said Twilight.

“CUTIE POX!?” exclaimed Apple Bloom and Applejack while Alcor rolled his eyes.

“‘Cutie Pox, this puzzling pony plague affected a population of ponies back in the Paleo-Pony Period,’” Twilight read aloud.

“Heh! Try saying that ten times fast!” snickered Spike, causing Twilight to shoot him a glare while Alcor attempted to do Spike’s challenge.

“Apparently, random Cutie Marks showed up all over the ponies bodies, causing them to perform all of the talents that came with them.

“Just like me!” said Apple Bloom.

“Yes, but what’s the cure?! WHAT’S THE CURE?!” cried Applejack.

Twilight flipped through a few more pages of the book. “It says there’s no known cure,” she said.

“NO KNOWN CURE?!” The Apple sisters cried in shock and horror.

“And before anyone gets any ideas about trying to strike a deal with me to make the disease go away, I’m afraid Cutie Marks aren’t my department… as far as I know, anyway, and I do know lots of things,” said Alcor.

“Thank you for help us rule that out,” Twilight said, irritation in her voice. “Anyway, the book says that the cause of the breakout was never discovered, and the Cutie Pox disappeared as mysteriously as they came.”

Before anyone could say anything further, there was a flash of white light from Apple Bloom’s left arm, where the image of a fleur-de-lis joined the images of a tap dancing shoe, a spinning plate, and a circle similar to the hoop that Apple Bloom was spinning around her waist.

“Sacrebleu! Plus de marques de cutie!” said Apple Bloom, before gasping in shock. “Qu-est-ce c‘est?! Je parle franquis!”

Applejack looked at Twilight in shock. “Mah siter’s speaking in fancy!” she cried.

“Uh, technically, that’s French she speaking, and she said,’ Darn it! More Cutie Marks! What’s this?! I’m speaking French!’” said Alcor.

“Well, whatever she’s speakin,’ we can’t just wait for this to go away!” said Applejack. “We need to find somepony to fix up a cure!”

“Toute de Suite!” cried Apple Bloom.

Twilight thought about it for a moment, before an idea came to her. “Not some pony, some zebra!” she exclaimed.

Applejack gave a triumphant smile. “Zecora!” she said.

“Well, what are we waiting for, then? Let’s go get Zecora and get her to fix up Apple Bloom!” said Alcor.

And with that, Alcor, Spike, Applejack, Twilight, and with great difficulty due to her non-stop tap dancing, Apple Bloom, left the library and headed towards the Everfree Forest, where a zebra by the name of Zecora lived. However, Twilight used her magic to grab a hold of Alcor’s tailcoat and pull him toward her.

“DON’T… think you’ve gotten out of telling me what you were up to last night,” she said, her muzzle right in Alcor’s face.

“Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find out what I was up to soon enough,” said Alcor.

“I’d better, or I promise you, the next test I run on you will be painful,” Twilight told Alcor before letting him go.

“Hurry it up, you three!” Applejack called to Twilight, Alcor, and Apple Bloom, the latter of whom was moving at a snail’s pace due to her tap dancing.

After Twilight gave Alcor a stern glare, the two of them ran past Apple Bloom, who shouted something in French just before a white flash appeared on her left leg, which was obscured by her blue jeans. However, what talent she had just obtained became very obvious when Apple Bloom darted off and crafted a marble statue of a mer-pony. Another flash came soon after, causing Apple Bloom to start sweeping out chimneys. In the space of a half an hour, Apple Bloom had mastered the accordian, tamed a trio of lions that came from who-knows-where, beaten an old stallion at chess, and started fencing with Alcor.

“She’s cursed!” said a nearby mare as Apple Bloom started to tightrope walk across a banner streched between two buildings.

“Hexed!” said a second mare as Apple Bloom started hang gliding.

“Enchanted!” said a third mare.

“No, she’s not,” said Spike, causing the townsfolk to breathe a sigh of relief.

“Yeah, she just has some weird mysterious disease with no known cure called Cutie Pox,” said Alcor.

“CUTIE POX?!” cried the townsfolk, who promptly began to panic, bar their doors, shut their shutters, and generally head for the hills. Within all of fifteen minutes, the whole of Ponyville was a ghost town.

“Nice going, smart guy,” said Spike with an annoyed look on his face.

“Yeah, not the reaction I was expecting,” said Alcor Except it was, he added in his mind.

“I thought I had remove their fear the last time I had visited here,” said a zebra wearing a dirt brown robe and sandals carrying a couple of baskets. “But, doors are barred and shutters shut, guess I should’ve stayed inside my hut.”

“Zecora! Apple Bloom has Cutie Pox!” said Twilight, pointing at Apple Bloom, who was currently working on a complicated math problem. “We were just on our way to see if you had a cure!”

“But, magically, yer here!” said Applejack. “Was yer zebra sense a tinglin?’”

“Actually, that would be a particular web-slinging comic book superhero who has that kind of power,” said Alcor, causing Applejack and Twilight to glare at him. Zecora, meanwhile, looked at Alcor with curiosity.

“Something tells me that to here you are new. Who exactly are you?” asked Zecora.

“Name’s Alcor, Miss Zecora,” said Alcor, tipping his hat.

Zecora nodded as she walked up to Apple Bloom. “It was not my zebra sense that brought me ‘round,” she said. “It was a special flower that I needed found. I thought I had picked enough to fix all the potions I had to mix, but after my visit from Apple Bloom, some had mysteriously left my room.” Zecora then looked Apple Bloom dead in the eye. “Apple Bloom, what do you say? Did this flower just walk away?”

“I’ve actually known flowers to do that after getting an energy drink dumped on them,” said Alcor to no one in particular.

Apple Bloom, meanwhile, struggled with answering the question as she lifted a barbell that only a strongman could lift. However, Apple Bloom’s answer would be delayed by the appearnace of another Cutie Mark that made her go and wash the windows of a nearby house, causing the resisdents inside to don nuclear fallout gear.

“A Cutie Pox cure I have forsooth,” said Zecora, turning back to face Applejack, Twilight, and Alcor and pulling out a few sparkling seeds. “For healing power is in The Seeds of Truth.”

“Well then, give ‘em to her! Quick!” said Applejack.

“These seeds must be planted in the ground. With the truth, they’ll grow and the cure is found,” explained Zecora.

Applejack, Twilight, and Alcor all looked at each other and shrugged. “Come again?” said Applejack.

“The seeds do hold the cure, but one must speak words true and pure,” said Zecora, glaring at Apple Bloom.

“Well, let’s get to it, then!” said Applejack, snatching the seeds from Zecora and planting them into the ground. “There, they’re planted. NOW SOMEPONY, TELL THE TRUTH!”

“Oh, if only we had somepony in the immediate area who was supposed to embody all things honest and true!” said Alcor, causing Twilight, Zecora, and Applejack to glare at him. “What?”

No one said a single word, and all the while Apple Bloom continued to suffer from the Cutie Pox,

“SOMEPONY! ANYPONY!”

Pinkie Pie, who was watching from the doorway of Sugarcube Corner, started to look very nervous, before she finally blurted out. “Yesterday I told Mrs. Cake I only ate two corn cakes, but I really ate three!”

Twilight and Applejack looked hopefully at the buried seeds, while Alcor simply rolled his eyes. Nothing happened.

“Okay, six! I ate six corn cakes!” yelled Pinkie.

Again, nothing happened with the seeds, and Apple Bloom started doing a Tazmanian Devil-like tornado spin.

“OH, MAKE IT STOP!!! MAKE IT STOP!!!” wailed Pinkie, falling to the ground in tears.

“Oh, Ah can’t stand it anymore! It’s me! Ah admit it! Ah didn’t earn my Cutie Mark! They’re all fake!” yelled Apple Bloom who promptly stopped spinning, fell flat on her face, and resumed tap dancing.

Applejack and Twilight looked at the seeds again, and this time the seeds had sprouted a little.

“Ah figured the Heart’s Desire would help me get what Ah wanted most, so when Zecora left her hut, Ah mixed dup a special potion and put the rest of the Heart’s Desire in it!” cried Apple Bloom.

With Apple Bloom’s confession finished,, the seeds grew into a beautiful white flower that made everyone present ooh and ahh. Apple Bloom gobbled up the flower like it was the plant was going out of style. With the plant devoured, Apple Bloom let out a sigh of relief as, with the sound of popping bubbles, each and every one of the false Cutie Marks disappeared.

“Apple Bloom, are you okay?’’ asked Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo as they ran over to Apple Bloom.

“Ah’m fine, and Ah’ve been been happier to be a Blank. But, I’m awfully sorry Ah lied, especially to you gals,’’ said Apple Bloom as she walked up to Zecora. “An’ Ah’m awfully sorry Ah snuck those flowers from ya, Zecora. Why, I wouldn’t blame ya if ya never wanted me to come by again.”

“Now, Apple Bloom, don’t be silly, you are always welcome my little filly,” said Zecora. “With each mistake, you learn something new, growing up into a better you.”

“Say, Apple Bloom, would you mind writing to Princess Celestia and telling her what you’ve learned?” asked Twilight.

“Sure!” said Apple Bloom.

Spike came running up to Apple Bloom with a quill and parchment, ready to write a letter.

Twilight and Applejack couldn’t help but chuckle as the Cutie Mark Crusaders ran off into the Everfree Forest to look for Zecora.

“And now that THAT’S taken care of…” said Twilight, turning towards Alcor, who was trying to sneak off. “Care to share about your nighttime escapade?”

“Eh… um… you see…” said Alcor, tugging at his collar nervously.

“Hey! Who put this weird Cutie Mark on my wall?! And why… errggh… won’t it… grrr… come off?!”

Twilight glared daggers at Alcor, who shrugged and chuckled nervously.