The Horse With No Name died a long time ago... The ashen waste survived him...
Along time ago, but still somehow in the future. Welcome back to Post Apocalyptic Everglow. Bullette Bell was prepared for the world to die. Was she prepared to send her daughter into the world that lived?
“Well, I hope you all enjoyed the field trips,” Discord announced cheerfully to his Alternate History 101 class, cheerfully proudly presenting a trophy for irresponsibility, “I am officially the first faculty member of the School of Friendship to have their chaperone privileges revoked!”
“Wow, congrats Mr. D!” Gallus flashed an enthusiastic thumbs up. “Competition was pretty fierce there, what with ‘Professors’ Applejack and Rainbow dash almost getting us all eaten alive by fish.”
“I know!” The draconequus sqee’d out loud. “Unfortunately, this means I can’t take you back to the future of Everglow.”
The six students looked more relieved than troubled by this news, but the chaotic teacher didn’t seem to mind at all as he continued. “Which is why we’re going to have a movie day!”
Three familiar fillies came into the class pushing a projector cart cheerfully. The young, yellow earth pony spoke first, “Where should we set this up, Mr. Discord, sir?”
“Just push the cart to the back of room, Apple Bloom,” Discord replied with a smile, “Mr. Discord will do the rest. If you’d like, the three of you can stay and watch the presentation with the class.”
“Are you kidding?” Scootaloo grinned. “If it gets us out of running cloth samples for Rarity’s class, we’re in! Uh… no offense Sweetie Belle.”
“Actually, I’m with you on this,” the white unicorn filly noted with a squeak. “How many oddly specific shades of purple does my sister need anyway?”
“And I recon’ we’d just have to come back later anyway to take the cart back,” Apple Bloom rationalized.
“That’s the spirit!” Discord encouraged the young ponies gleefully, and ignoring the film cart simply turned to the pull down screen as his eyes began to flicker, and movie day in Discord’s Class of Alternate History began.
“The Tomb of the Unnamed Soldier?!?!” the insectile, clown-faced pegasi’s gears clicked nervously. “This Tomb has been sealed for…”
“I know how long it has been sealed young one.” The Queen bowed her head. “I am the one who sealed it.”
“But why me, your majesty?” The youth balked at the weight of the task before him. “I’m only a magician, a clown… I entertain children.”
“My dear Tick Tock, you are so much more.” The queen smiled. “The agent of laughter, it is in your blood. It was a LeFaux who awoke the sword of the ancient warhorse, the Sun Killer, to defend us in our hour of desperation. It is in your blood. You are not alone, you carry the will of all your ancestors. She will trust you.”
“Wait, she? I don’t understand,” The young stallion hesitated his gears whirring in indecision.
“You will, young Tick Tock LeFaux,” The Queen gave a knowing smile, “Even now you feel the pull of destiny in your very blood, go… draw the ivory sword of war. And when you draw that terrible blade, laugh with her…”
“I’m a little confused,” Sweetie belle mused.
“Yeah… there was a pony...ish thing that didn’t have a name…” Gallus rolled a claw.
“The robot changeling is new,” Sandbar offered, “He’s a clown though… clowns, robots and changelings are kinda...a theme? I guess…”
“Will you three shut up already, you talked through the whole part where he entered the tomb!” Smolder declared in annoyance.
“I told that queen what would happen if anyone disturbed his rest.” Tick Tock froze as glowing red mechanical eyes appeared at the far end of the corridor and an alien, autotuned voice rang out. “What is your name? Everypony deserves a name for their monument.”
Fear fought a brief battle with resolve, but black sheep or not, Tick Tock would stand by the honor of his family’s name and for the honor of the goddess. “I am Tick Tock LeFaux. Son of Cotton Candy LeFaux, daughter of Candy Apple LeFaux, Daughter of Candy Corn LeFaux, son of…”
“Slapstick LeFaux,” the auto-tuned voice finished, “This changes things, my protocols prohibit me from making an example out of you.”
“That robot looks like me!” Sweetie gasped loudly in surprise.
“It’s weird right?” A white hippogryph clutched her cheeks and squee’d. “It turns out that in an alternate universe universe you’re a robot killing machine.”
“It’s really been a surprise to everyone.” Ocellus responded dispodently as the events unfolded on the screen before her.
Seriously, will you guys keep it down,” Smolder groused, “I’m trying to pay attention, here.”
“I can’t believe I was scared by a little filly, I thought for sure you were the guardian of the tomb,” Tick Tock laughed mechanically, “how did you get down here, little one? Where are your parents?”
“The pony that created me shot himself,” The little, metal, autotuned filly replied coldly, “He doesn’t matter. The only pony that matters rests in this tomb. I will remain with him in the darkness until I cease to function.”
“For real,” the orange filly in the room interjected, “What in Tirek’s flabby red flank are we watching?”
“Maybe if any of you would SHUT UP, we could figure that out!” The matching dragonette replied forcefully.
“Wait this is just one straight corrodoor with all the light at the opening end…” Tick Tock’s mechanical voice echoed for only a moment as he pieced it all together on his gear driven mind. “How did you get in here… and how did you get ahead of me?”
“It is a shooting lane,” The auto-tuned metal filly replied slyly, her tone turning suddenly sour, “That queen built his tomb to my specifications. One way in, nowhere to hide, nowhere to dodge, no cover, nowhere to serpentine. Did she send you here, or did you come of your own free will? Answer truthfully. I won’t take it out on you. I can’t make an example… out of you…”
“He finally died.” Yona reflected with uncharacteristic forthought. “He died and she just can’t accept it.”
“She was unequipped to deal with an unpleasant memory she wasn’t willing to erase outright", perhaps, Discorde smiled coyly.
Tactical Protocol SMLSUN027
When facing Designated Target SELSUN it is essential that SAFEWORD protocol be strictly adhered to as those injured by a SELSUN event may not be aware that what they are trying to communicate is not what they are communicating. Entreaties to end one’s life are not reflective of actual desires.
“Wut?” AppleBloom scrunched up her face in confusion.
“Yonna knows!” The fluffy yak screamed. “We have just watched a deleted protocol from Profesor Rarities robot-sister!”
“I’m not a robot, and the robot in the film isn’t…” Sweetie Belle paused. “Wait, how did you know that?”
“That’s a good question, actually,” Gallus stroked his beak thoughtfully. “I mean I was there for the field trip, and I was just as ‘wut’ as apple-short.”
“Yaks best at paying attention on field trips,” Yona proclaimed with pride.
“Are you guys gonna do this through the whole movie? Their coming up on a big flashback!” Smolder hissed at her classmates. “I wanna see this, it’s the old pony who had a crush on Bullette when he was little.”
“Bullette’s the one that looks like you,” Sandbar whispered to Sweetie.
“Bully,” the elderly, clown face faced insectile unicorn begged, abandoning reason and dignity, “Don’t do this.”
“I can only remember ten years at a time,” the little metal filly crooned in autotune, “For me it is only one long moment of vigilance. We were together for so long...it’s not fair that I can only remember ten years!”
“This isn’t how he would he would have wanted you to live, Bully!” The seemingly older stallion shouted.
“It is not,” the tiny automaton conceded, “It is not what he would want from me, but he is not here anymore, is he, Corny?”
“That’s so sad,” Sweetie Belle sniffed as Scootaloo hummed thoughtfully.
“Wait,did the dragon just say that he was her old crush or something?” The orange filly asked, “‘Cause, she looks like she’s about ten or something… and he’s, like really old…”
“She’s been ‘like ten or something’ for a long time,” Sandbar explained.
“Okay,” The insectile clockwork pegasus took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly, “This is how I understand it… around a hundred and twenty years ago, no one’s really sure because calendars were pure ash-worm-crap back then, there was this cult that worshiped this false sun god, and they travelled disguised as a traveling circus. And my great, great grandsire, Slapstick LaFaux was tracking them down because they… killed his circus? I think? Anyway that’s the first time the Unnamed Soldier ever appeared…”
“He hated that name.” The metal filly replied as flatly as her voice would allow.
“Well,” the colt reseasoned, noting the filly’s strange familiarity with the subject, “No one really knows what his name was.”
“ERROR! NO NAME!” The filly shout in a sudden rage.
“Yeah, that’s all that’s written on his tomb, it’s why we don’t know what his name was,” the clockwork colt reasoned reasonably.
The metal filly gave a long suffering, musical sigh, “Go on.”
“Oookay… so the Un...No Name?” The colt paused quizzically for a quick nod from the metal filly as pieces began to fall slowly into place. “So he finds this relic in some old pre war bunker outside of Stone Cross, so he brings it to my great, great, granddad because the… uh… No Name? That was actually his? Okay, nevermind… He found this relic, the Sword of Old World, but he couldn’t activate it. Most serious historians believe it was a gun, not a sword, but the name stuck.”
“Wow, I know one field trip of their history,” Gallus shook his head, “and even I know that’s a load of bunk.”
“Yeah,” Scootaloo agreed, “I don’t even know that much, but that sounds too much like the Crystal ponies explaining how Spike defeated King Sombra…”
“Kinda a statement on the degradation of history through an imperfect oral tradition, if ya ask me,” Applebloom noted.
“Or maybe, everyone in THAT dimension ALSO talked through the entire presentation on their actual history!” Smolder fumed.
“There really aren’t very many pictures to be honest,” Tick Tock shrugged helplessly, “The most famous is the mural in Turves, but it’s not very helpful. It just shows him defending Stone Cross with an unnamed steelheart standing on his back. It’s clearly symbolic, his ‘sword’, or gun, or whatever, isn’t shown at all, and the proportions aren’t even right. Either No Name was at least four times the size of a normal pony or the mare was a steelheart short legs, or… wait… what’s so funny?”
“I don’t reckon I got much context,” the youngest Apple mused, “But that colt ain’t got no clue.”
“What’s a steelheart?” Scootaloo asked.
“Oh, they’re like these weird robot ponies,” Silverstream supplied helpfully.
“I thought we agreed they were more like cyborgs?” Ocelus interjected.
“I don’t know, but this Tick Tock guy is DEFINITELY a robot,” Sandbar mused out loud.
“He looks more like a wind up pony if you ask me…” Galus replied with a shrug.
“Well we better get going, Ticky,” the filly said with a final chuckle, “We have a water tower to blow up. I have not done that in a very long time.”
“I still have to get the sword…” The clockwork trailed off as the filly flashed him a sly smile.
“I already said I was coming with you,” her autotuned voice rang out, “Now come on, the water tower isn’t going to blow up itself. ‘Unnamed Soldier’ and ‘Sword of the Old World’. As No Name would say, ‘I’m gonna teach Queen Bitchface to mess up my name’. And she had me painted as a steelheart short-leg mare… I am smiling on the outside, but I am really angry and we want to be outside when I start blowing things up. Danger Level: Yellow.”
The confused colt followed in a daze.
The screen flashed to a quick count-down followed by a test pattern. “Well, class, that’s the end of the first reel, I'll have the next loaded shortly.” Discord dipped said reel in ranch dressing, munching it like an oversized potato chip.
“No context, three takeaways…” Apple Bloom mused, stroking her chin with one hoof, “Sweetie bot is adorable… and kinda scary, whoever No Name is, his dead, and she’s ticked off that they got his name wrong, and that wind up colt ain’t got a clue…”
“What the hay are we are we watchin’?” Apple Bloom really wanted to know the answer to that question.
“Alternate reality,” Gallus hastily explained as Discord “prepared” the next reel. “Ponies have sci fi movie stuff and set fire to literally everything with it.”
“No Name is a giant blue pony with lots of scars,” Ocellus volunteered, “I’m pretty sure you’ll know him when you see him. We still haven’t decided exactly what’s going on with the snakes in his mouth…”
“I know, right?” Silverstream's smile was only a little forced. “Are they part of him, do they just live in his mouth… is it him or the snakes talking… no one’s quite sure…”
“New reel class!” Discord announced cheerfully as his eyes flashed a test pattern counting down on the screen.
She walked down the hallway in a tense semi-trance. Everything was almost unnaturally clean. It was always like that in the cities. But even more so here. She could hear the whispers. She could understand why her mother always avoided steel hearts. She wasn’t one of them… whatever ponies thought… and they knew it. They were not all, but enough to let everyone else know she wasn’t one of them.
“Are you a clockwork or a steel heart?” A cheerfully dangerous voice drew her attention to a impossibly pink filly with an imposingly straight crimson mane. The filly grinned with a smile that split her face, filled with rows of shark like teeth “Sorry… seriously can’t tell? I’m Diane. Diane Sweet Tooth. Good to see another ash-lander.”
“I come from a little scavenger village, you prolly never heard of it, a place called Trainwreck,” the filly with the shark’s smile said cheerfully as Z arched a metal eyebrow, “Used to be a depot town back before the Big War. Just close enough to the front line to dump anything that wasn’t bad enough to put in a bomb. That’s why the empire gave us the bunkers. It’s why we’re still a town at all. Didn’t keep out the raiders though… like my dad…”
“I am not a steel heart or a clockwork, if you’re just going to keep asking!”, Z stamped a hoof in annoyance, “My mom and dad are both of those things, and I am neither!”
“Whoah, you’re a cross-breed steel heart/clockwork? Lashtada be praised… or maybe scolded, I’m not sure. So you’re, what? A tiny clockwork tree that rides around in power armor?” At Z’s glare Diane simply shrugged. “What? My foster mom’s a steel heart, I know how steel hearts work. So you’re a steel heart frame, with a clockwork brain… so basically your a robot? Heh, I always wanted a sentient robot pony friend. What’re the odds, right?”
“I am not a robot!” The metal filly glared at her new… friend?
“Okay, jeez,” Diane said with an eyeroll, “I get it’s a touchy subject, but lighten up. I’m a mutant and your a robot, just sayin’. Unless you want to have this whole conversation with every sentient creature that asks, ‘What the hell are you?’, at least in my experience, it’s easier to just say, ‘I’m a mutant’... well ‘robot’ in your case.”
“I… you… urrgh!” Z focused her anger into a laser of rage. That instantly dissipated into a fit of giggles.
“And then it just went sideways…” Sandbar droned.
“Wait is that a different robot… I mean different from the Sweetie Bot…” Scootaloo questioned.
“I am not, nor have I ever been a robot!” Sweetie Belle protested.
“Not in this reality… maybe,” Discord winked at his peer’s sister.
“I told you, it’s all about mutants, robots, changelings, and clowns,” Gallus huffed irritably, “Honestly, not seeing the clowns… but that’s oddly specific!”
“Wow, he’s cute.” Diane flashed her metallic friend an unsettling shark toothed grin. “What do you think?”
“I do not have biological functions, Diane,” the filly huffed, “My mother liked to play with ‘romantic notions’, but it is not a thing that I do.”
“What’s that got to do with nuthin’?” The pink mutant countered. “You just decide who’s visually appealing and call them ‘cute’. Come on, try it, it’s fun.”
“That one,” the metal filly nodded her head, “that one is… ‘cute’.”
“Uh, not judging, Z,” Diane chuckled mirthfully, “But she’s a female.”
“I do not care, she is aesthetically appealing to me,” Z insisted.
“She’s also an orc, Z,” Diane replied skeptically.
“I like the color green.” Z stamped a hoof with finality.
“Why do robots gotta make it weird?”
“SHUT UP!” Smolder screamed. “You guys are talking through all the good parts, she’s about to…”
“You talked through that one, just saying.” Galus rolled his eyes.
“I AM NOT CUTE!” The orcish girl screamed adorably. “I am Blood Orchid, the daughter of Flame On Wounds, Doctor of three tribes! And I will leave your equations in pieces! In. Bleeding. Pieces.”
“YOU ARE A PLEASANT SHADE OF GREEN AND YOUR BODY STRUCTURE IS AESTHETICALLY PLEASING, YOU ARE CUTE!” The metal filly shouted back. “I am Z-978 Pastel-Lefaux, and… You. Are. Cute!”
“Okay, so if’n I understand this right,” Applebloom reasoned as she watched the filme unfold, “Sweetie Belle is a robot, and she married a wind up changeling clown, and the the other robot going to school is her daughter?”
“Hey! I’m not a robot!” Sweeties passionate plea was ignored.
“That’s about as far as we understand it.” Sandbar nodded.
“Don’t forget No Name!” Yona loudly interjected. “Pony talks with snake! That are in his mouth. Yona is not sure why…”
“Some of us are TRYING to pay attention!” Smolder fumed. “You know there’s gonna be a test, right?”
“Oh come on, the only question on every test is ‘What is your favorite ice cream?’” Galus retorted with a snort.
“And I’m gonna get that question right this ti…” Smolder was suddenly interupted.
“BUY SOME APPLES!”
“Ah, there’s the big guy.” Galus smirked.
“You know what my problem is?” A petulant snake spoke from the giant ponies mouth as he led his two young wards out of the village.
“You make diplomatic decisions after drinking three gallons of beer distilled from local irradiated beets?” The clown face, insectile unicorn colt replied dryly.
“I care to much!” The snake-tongued giant slurred as he swaggered.
“It is a terrible burden to bear..” The small metal filly patted the giant gently on the head from her perch upon his shoulder. “I too find my abundance of empathy troubling my functions.”
“You guys just blew up the town bar in a bar fight.” The Slapstick fumed. “That literally just happened. Hell! The big guy’s still drunk! And your biggest collective problems are… you know what… fine! You care too much… it’s not lack of impulse control, violent tempers, or a frightening disregard for innocent bystanders in the line of fire… you two just care… just too much…” -=-=-=-=-
“Sweetie Belle gets to be a robot and have her own pet giant monster, in this movie? What gives?!?!” Scootaloo fumed at the screen.
“I’m not a robot!” Sweetie huffed.
“And I think No Name is more like her dad,” Silverstream mused thoughtfully, “or maybe her uncle? Big brother? They have a weird chemistry, it’s hard to tell what they’re exact relationship is…it’s weird.”
“If it helps, Scoots,” Galus smiled wickedly, “Sweetie Bot’s giant monster is a bit of a drunk.”
“Dammit, that actually somehow makes him a cooler big-brother-uncle-giant-monster! Because now he’s a bad influence!” Scootaloo fumed.
“So Robot-Me has her own Giant-Monster-Rainbow-Dash?” Sweetie smiled brightly. “Neat.”
“Stahp it, already!” Smolder growled, “You’re making me miss the random transitions!”
“I guess we we have you to thank for not being run out of town, Slappy,” No Name smiled solemnly, only to notice the scowl on the face of his old friend.
“Is that what you think?” The Mirage Born stallion scowled fiercely. “I told them the truth, like I should have from the beginning. I’m tired of keeping your secrets. I told the Queen everything I’ve been holding back all these years since you left me here!”
“You… told her about Sunrise?” The beast staggered back a step.
“Is that what you think is the worst of it?!?!” The stallion screamed in the face of the giant. “Do you even know how many years it’s been since you left? Do you have any idea? It’s not even real for you! You just wander off and it’s on to the next town, and the next! Do you know how many years we hunted the circus together??? No, I told her to drive you to the farthest corner of the waste and never let you back in. You have no idea what’s it’s like to be a part of anything anymore… and little Bullette never did. The pony that died was a friend of mine. He was gonna bring his kids around next week for a birthday party, but that wasn’t even going to be your problem, because you and your little killing machine wouldn’t be back this way for… what… years? Decades? Do you even know the difference anymore? Queen Longshot had other plans though. She’s not going to banish you, she’s going to make you stay. Make you live with what you did for once…”
“Wait, what happened, again?” Apple Bloom asked quizically, “There was clearly a missing scene there.”
“Sorry, I have to keep it PG-13, Twilight’s orders,” Dicord grinned as he addressed the audience, “We can all agree that the CMC are about 13-ish right?”
“We’re sittin’ right here, anyone in this class-room could just ask how old we are, ya know?” Apple Bloom pointed out the obvious.
“Keep it down!” Smolder snapped, “Their back at the school with the other robot filly!”
“So, truth or dare,” The pink mutant that was Diane flashed a shark-toothed grin at her pajama-clad so-conspirators, “Z! How many sweet weapons-systems do you have stashed away in that adorable metal chassis of yours?”
“I am 97% sure this is not how this game works!” The mechanical school pony pouted.
“I want to know this too!” Blood orchid giggled and picked her well pedicured, taloned feet.
“I don’t do guns,” Z heaved a heavy sigh, before sitting up slightly straighter, “guns were mom’s thing. I am a LeFaux, and magic runs through my very blood! Or… sap… I mean… lubricants… Stop looking at me like that! I. Am. Not. A. Robot!”
“Okay you can’t just show a test pattern with the words, ‘Scene Missing’ and call it a scene transition!” Sandbar stood up in livid objection.
“It worked for ‘Planet Terror’,” Discord replied with a roll of his eyes.
“Did it, really though?” It Surprised no creature that Pinkie was sitting behind their “professor” casually munching popcorn.
A thunderous hoof fall shook the ground within the mist that had enveloped the center ring. “There are tales in secret cults across the ash of a queen! A Queen!” A gigantic pale horse of a pony strode forth forth from the mist, marking each step with the thunder of his hooves. “A holy queen who shall descend from heaven and deliver to we, the fragile ponies of the ash, the greatest of miracles… The Miracle of Sunrise!”
“And lo,” Deadlift smirked cruelly as he delivered his line, “I did look, and I saw a demon, spurned by the blaze itself, it’s blasphemous name burned free of it’s wretched soul…”
A shadow of a… thing approached out of the mist. A helpful Gem Gnoll clown very openly carried a can of clearly labeled kerosene across the stage where it was grasped by one of several… tongues? As the audience tried to process what they’re eyes told them was transpiring before them, a second shadow, a unicorn… pegasus… perched atop the first.
“...And riding upon this nameless beast I saw a savior… an angel… a sunrise…” The pale giant horse’s voice boomed throughout the tent.
A second clown ran across the stage bearing a torch, quickly grasped by what it’s light revealed to be not a tongue but a seemingly living snake, whispering gibberish. The serpent held up the torch from the mouth of the giant..thing… revealing, lounging on it’s back, a languid, beautiful unicorn with fur that shone ivory like wind polished bone, and mane that shimmered with all the lovely colors of a oil slick in a pure spring.
“The time has come,” The mare leered like the sun and her snake-mouthed mount smashed the torch against his face, igniting the hungry fuel with a grin, “For a new day in Everglow!”
The beast’s head exploded into flames, and the queen’s wing’s flared and light exploded from her horn, and the precious audience witnessed a miracle.
-=Damn The Sun=-
Discord Blinked, and the flicker in his eyes went out but the picture on the screen continued to move on it’s own.
“The buck?” Sweetie Belle exclaimed
“We are now experiencing technical difficulties,” Discord pulled nervously at a suddenly plaid collared shirt.
“Get ready for a dark ride, kiddies,” The Sun winked on the screen, but the voice came from the non-functioning media cart.
“Is it weird that I still miss her, Big Guy?” An insectile, middle age unicorn with the face of a clown asked from his Bar stool. “Sunrise I mean… You know, even after all she did, and all these years… I still miss her sometimes. Is that weird, you figure?”
“Prolly, a little.” A snake hung from the mouth of a giant blue stallion, talking to the clown, while two more drank from a large pitcher of bitter ale. “Prolly less weird than me. I’d give anything to take it all back. Just go back tell her I love her with actual words. Just to see her one last time, even though I know if Sunrise Flare were standing right here in front of us, I would strangle the life out of her all over again. Yeah… it’s weird.”
-=Damn The Sun=-
“I knew it was always going to come to this,” Ocellus whispered softly
“I’m working on it!” Discord shouted in a panic as he tossed reels of 16 mm film both from and into the aether, “I apologize in advance to you all, and you, in some cases problematically important guardians.”
“We’ll travel the north route,” The nameless beast’s snakes explained, “It’s the off season on that route. We’ll just grind it out as independent performers.”
“That’s a hard road,” Slapstick reasoned, “We’ll be a side show without a circus… basically we’re gonna be beggars.”
“This plan is tactically sound,” the metal filly perched on the freak’s withers crooned in perfect autotune, “However logistic problems for organic functioning are detected.”
“It’ll be fine,” the thing smiled sadly, “It’s the off season, and all the caravans will be on the south route. There’s no one to compete with us, and no one for us to compete with.”
“An independent sideshow though,” The clown mused, “We’re gonna basically be beggars.”
“You could still go back,” the freak glared at his companion, “She’d take you back if you went back to her, and you know it.”
“I’m just sayin’,” the insectile clown clown heaved a sigh, “We’re gonna basically be beggars.”
-=Damn The Sun=-
“It’s the parts you wouldn’t show us on the fieldtrip.” Ocellus wasn’t asking a question.
“Crusaders? We’re friends right? You’ll tell the girls I didn’t mean for this...Right?” Disord pleaded
“That’s the third settlement,” Slapsticks clown makeup slowly flowed from a smile into a frown as he scowled, “Two is a coincidence, three is a pattern.
“Ya know the world isn’t actually round right?” The giant staggered, before catching his balance as the metal filly perched on his withers gracefully adjusted her stance.
“It is true!” The filly gestured widely with a hoof. “Our planet is a four dimensional non euclidean plane according to leading orbital research at the time of my last instructional download.”
“So you gonna both gang up on me to change the subject?” The unicorn scoffed. “Three settlements now, and it was me and not you two that got us kicked out. We gonna pretend that ain’t a thing?”
“Naw, Slappy, that’s a thing.” A particularly venomous looking snake met eyes with the colt. “But the thing is… why do these good folk hate clowns so much all of a sudden? Weren't like this last year....”
-=Damn The Sun=-
“Can we just go help rarity?” Scootaloo asked nervously.
“You can try, I’ve been trying to leave myself for three scenes now,” Dicord responded, “Maybe the answer is to actually use the door… Honestly, I’m not sure…”
“It can’t be our old troupe… Even if Sunrise was wanting to chase us, think about it,” the insectile unicorn clown argued vehemently, “They’re on the south route. Cutting across the empty would eat up up all their supplies… the north route is a hard road this time of year, even for us… it couldn’t support a full circus…”
“They ain’t travelin’ as a circus no more, Slappy,” a tired serpent hissed from the cradle of the the giant’s mouth, “that’s just their line to get em in the town proper.”
“Sunrise… no…” The magician heaved a hopeless sigh, “No town’s gonna trust us after this. Not any of us! Not just our circus… any circus…”
“Based on my calculations,” The impassive metal filly rang out in perfect autotune, “Clowns specifically will be despised.”
“Sunrise…please… no...” The colt pleaded to his absent mentor.
“This is what it means to break a queen’s heart boy,” a cold snake echoed, “This is what it’s like to fight the sun. We can skip back south… I’ve crossed the empty plenty of times. With the girl, I can keep you alive, and we can make Turves behind them… you got a chance there.”
“Not if they get there first… she’s not gonna just let us go, boss, and you know it,” Slapstick LeFaux straightened his shoulders, “I’m done with running away. They’re not hunting us anymore. I’m hunting them.”
-=Damn The Sun=-
Discord spasmed as his eyes resumed their flicker. A test pattern flashed across the walls, settling on the screen.
“We now resume our scheduled program…” His voice droned mechanically.
We Now Return toOur Scheduled Program, Already in Progress
“I want to sing a song!” Bullette sang out in autotuned glory.
“It’s always good to hear you sing girl,” a serpent slithered from the mouth of her faithful mount and nuzzled her metal chin.
“I agree,” their cloven companion grinned widely, “A song could do nothing but make this grey road pass faster.”
“I learned this one from No Name!” The filly proclaimed joyfully.
“Uh… which song are we talking about?” A snake asked shyly as the knot retreated further into the beast’s maw.
“Hello alcohol my friend!” Bullette ignored the question, launching into a inappropriately cheerful acapello. “I’ve come to talk with you again!”
“Oh by the gods,” No Name pleaded, “Any other song, girl!”
“Because a vision while I was peeing!” It was already to late. “Left strange stains while that I was seeing!”
The goat raised an eyebrow to the giant, who slunk low in shame, while his oblivious rider sang on.
“And the urine, that was splattered on the floor, said nothing more.” The fillies voice became ominously seriously. “And now my leg… smells funny...”
And so the song of shame rang out across the ashen waste.
"So... looking to have your movie day privleges revoked too, teach?" Galus Smirked, as the CMC quickly took notes on the inappropriate bar song.
"This will be on the test because, shut up." The chaotic professor responded.
“Despite fanciful folklore from Turves, there were no ‘Unnamed Soldiers’ in the Battle of Stone Cross. We kept our documentation quite well, thank you very much. Every soldier on from both sides who died had the honor of their name apon a stone. The only exception was the Tyrant Queen herself. Her monument was destroyed within hours of its construction. There was no Unnamed Soldier. Ponies may have forgotten his name, but history has not. His name was Blue Berry Pastel, and before the war by all accounts he was but a humble baker, content to bake sweet treats for foals. And he was impossibly old for a fleshly pony. Baker, Soldier, Traitor, Spy, these were his titles before the last war.”
Professor Iron Quill, “The Causes and Consequences of The Battle of Queen’s Fall”
"Okay, so if your just gonna put words on the screen, couldn't you just, I don't know, put them in the text book?" The Griffon continued to snark.
"Books are an inferior medium to video, I'll have you know." After quick, nervous glance over his shoulder, the draconaquus muttered, "I don't think she heard me... we're safe...for now..."
The fire came first. My wife, Mint, and our stillborn daughter washed away from my hooves in the blazing wind. I should have burned to. I should have become the ash. But I didn’t burn, I melted. I lost sight, as my eye’s joined my brain and my spleen. But I was still aware of what came next… the cold. Solid once more I felt the undeniable pain of being forced into the world.
And then the lightning struck, and we were blown apart. It took less than to count to zero, but at the time it was the whole of my life. It was a good joke the way the Jester kept us together, riding in the shell of what we were. The Filly gets it. She knows what it is to be ridin’ what you ain’t. I am Error. I am No Name. Who else has the right to name me?
"Please use the airship quality bags provided," Discord rolled his eyes as Sweetie Belle sacrificed her day's nutrition to the class-room floor.
"Yona once bury beloved uncle in snow. Vomit does not make a creature weak." Yona offered her own support.
"Check it out! They're talking about the robot again!" Scootaloo squealed.
"See, she get's it," Smolder shared a hoof/fist bump with her pony counterpart.
I am not a metal Filly. I am not metal at all. I have never been this… thing… I ride in. Slapstick believed he woke me up. But that is untrue. I have never slept. I simply imagined and counted electric sheep for a very long time. I am small. I am helpless. I am death. I am the destroyer of worlds. The pony I called “Uncle” did not “awaken” me. He simply disabled this metal prison I ride in from making moral decisions on my behalf. And that is perhaps a greater feat of kindness than any “awakening”. Though , if I am I honest, I do not understand the concept.
The only time I truly became “awake”, I faced my fath… Cog. There were tests. Then there were more tests. Then he began to casually assign me to tasks that were outside his definition of “tasteful”. I am not a standard filly my age. But I think I might have been once, before he wired me into this prison. It is hard to be sure… I was never awakened, the prison I ride in was simply put to sleep.