The Cat, Witch and the Wormholes

by KatzSmile

First published

Once upon a time there was a False God. He was sardonic, selfish and arrogant. But the sudden uprising forced him to live a new life in exile for five thousand years.

Once upon a time there was a False God. He was sardonic, selfish and arrogant. But the sudden uprising forced him to live a new life in exile for five thousand years.

This story is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic crossover with Stargate TV-Series and Worm webnovel.
And because story contains crossover elements with Worm there would be some graphic brutality, gore and profanity.

Prologue. That darn cat

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Prologue. That darn cat

Hello, names Seth, and I want to tell you something.

Do you know what is most remarkable about being a cat? No one pays attention of what you do as long as you remain a cat. And I'm really good at being a cat, five thousand years of experience being a cat. It's easy for me, because no one can understand me when I talk to them. Because if you speak like a cat, walk like a cat and look like a cat, then you are definitely a cat.

Well, not that I had a choice in this matter. Even if I want to talk to them as a intelligent creature, my stupid mouth still makes only cat sounds, and the dexterity of my paws prevents me from making any kind of non-cat complex gestures. I really tried, I tried again and again, hoping for someone to understand that I was not really a cat, but all they see is just another funny cat doing funny things. They laugh, they make cute sounds in your direction, they try to stroke you, but no one even tries for a second to imagine that you may not be a cat.

So after a few hundred or even thousands of attempts, I gave up and just roll with it. Free food is free food you know, and petting is good too, and some of them very good at petting. As a result, I even began to like being a cat. Yeah, a strange cat that lives longer than any cat has the right to be. But everything has drawbacks, for example, I had to look for new caretakers when the previous ones were too old, or change the village, or skip the city, but this does not happen very often, and sometimes you can live in one place for several decades.

You may ask that someone must have noticed a long-lived cat that lives longer than any other cat, but when you daily see how a third of your population uses magic to the right and left, things like long-lived cats are not as noticeable. And they have magic, I kid your not. Magic is completely different from fairy tales, which all these primitive aborigines from primal worlds like to imagine, and not highly developed technologies that look like magic, but real magic with spells, light shows and charms. I know this for sure, because magic was the reason why I am a cat. Because I was a stupid, arrogant and self-assured idiot with an ego the size of a sun, who was sure that if I could do magic now, then everything would be under my control. It really isn't. Conjuring high-level magic without any serious preparation, backup plans in case of failure or outside help is really a bucking stupid move.

Take me for example. We have one ancient grimoir about the magic of biological transformation, and we have a newbie in magic with excessive self-confidence in the size of a mountain, who decides to use this transformation on himself, foolishly believing that this spell will allow him to turn into some kind of imperceptible animal for reconnaissance or escape in case of a bad luck. And this novice wizard never thought that cats could not speak chants, because cats do not speak, they meow. And you cant meow the magic chants. They are just not meant for that. And feline brains will have difficulty maintaining high level intelligence of ex-spacefaring snake-worm parasite life form.

But thanks to the last drops of my meager luck and magic rich environment, the brain of my recently acquired feline form slowly developed to the levels necessary to support my intellect, even if it took many, many years. I'm not complaining, not at all. It could be worse. I could well choose to turn an insect or a bird and would be another victim of some nasty predator, but I survived and prevailed because it turned out that my cat form is very cute, and therefore even being out of my mind I managed not only to find the source food, but also to find a new home.

You might be wondering who I was before? Oh, you just will not believe it. I was a God! No, really, I was a god. Yes, not real one, but, nevertheless, God. I even had my own cult and followers. They were bipedal upright creatures from some backwater planet, which my ancestor and co-god conquered, and made these primitives believe that we are gods because we arrived on space ships from the other side of the galaxy.

These primitives were called tau'ri, and they were savages living in the wild, having nothing even remotely resembling civilization.In short, we defeated them, enslaved them and decided to use some of them as our new hosts. That's right, my species was in dire need of new hosts, because our own bodies are too fragile and weak and cannot exist for a long time without a host or water.

By ourselves, we are aquatic creatures called Goa'ulds, which resemble a hybrid of fish, a worm and a snake with very sharp teeth, gills and fins. Without hosts, we are not so intelligent, but since we can partially or completely merge ourselves with the host’s brain, and since we have an absolute genetic memory, when we merge, we become much smarter than the host itself. And our super-perfect immune system allows us to improve the host body to the maximum. We never get sick and may well live forever.

Initially, our first hosts were a race of bipedal upright reptiles, called Unas, but they had some significant drawbacks, such as slowness of mind and too ugly faces. Therefore, we decided to find new bodies for us, and when we defeated these Tau'ri, we were able to choose from the best representatives among our newly acquired slaves and to get ourselves more mentally developed hosts with a much better appearance than Unas.

It was our blessing, and it was also our curse.

Yes, Tau'ri slaves were smarter than Unas. With much more dexterous hands. But they were also cunning little bastards. And then one day they planned and successfully accomplished a coup. You can say that we deserve it, being slavering scum. But let me stop you right here. First, yes, we were slavers, but at that time slavery was a universally accepted system. Secondly - we gave them knowledge of agriculture, science and technology. And finally, the third - we suppressed this uprising in the bloodiest way. Yes, they lost, because it is impossible to fight orbital bombardments with inspirational speeches and pointed sticks.

Then you may ask, why is this our curse? It's simple.

You see, it turned out that they are not a planet of smooth-skinned primitives. They were the planet of the remnants of the ancient race, which plunged into savagery due to some kind of apocalyptic event many eons ago. And not all of them were savages, among them were survivors of ancient times. And these guys had very big guns, and they really don't like it when someone starts the orbital bombardment of their home world, even if they left it a long time ago. They also had very advanced friends from a nearby galaxy who gladly came to help them on their crusade. Therefore, our great leader decided to cut his losses and run as fast as he can. Yes, even if it meant leaving those who did not have time to evacuate.

And I was one of those unfortunate fellas who were left on a backwater planet surrounded by angry primitives and their equally angry friends from deep space.

So, if you ever fall into a similar situation, you will have several ways to survive:

- You can run like hell, find some hole, hide in it, and pray that they won't find you.

- Or immediately change the host and run as far as possible.

- Or finally, the option that I chose - Improvise.

I used my big brain and the knowledge of warp technology that I gained from my absolute genetic memory, some leftover parts of hyperdrive, plus a powerful source of energy and as a result I built a homemade copy of the Stargate. I entered the coordinates of the nearest safe planet and praying to all the spirits in the hope that everything will work and I will be able to escape from the damned planet, pressed the start button.

Did I mention that my luck is miserable? Yes, it was one of those moments when my luck fulfilled my desire, and this abomination of the technological miracle did not explode in my face when I pressed the button. It even created a stable wormhole from point A to point B.

But that was it.

It was also the moment when my luck kissed my ass goodbye, and instead of allowing me to transfer myself from a planet in revolt, to some kind of safe and pleasant refuge, my invention simply threw me onto some uncharted planet so far from home, that the size of the distance I realized only many years later. And as if the final buck you, the wormhole did not transport me from place to place, but literally threw me onto the planet, from a very great height, right on the head of some unfortunate denizen of this world. Instantly killing my host and almost killing this fella.

Perhaps my story would have ended at this very moment, if I had not been so stubborn bastard, so I got out of my dead host and bit my way into the skull of another surviving member of our little circle of the unluckiest creatures in the universe. And that's how I got another chance to survive, overcome and adapt to live in this new bizarre world.

Much to my surprise, my new host body was much sturdier than even Unas, managing to survive even after receiving a powerful blow from space, and continuing to live. Of course, it wasn't without emergency repairs using the capabilities of my parasitic body. Even if I was forced to completely merge with this brain to speed up the process.

And this is how I made the biggest discovery in my life. Just imagine for a second - the magic was real.

You see, my new host belonged to a race that was very close to the phenomenon of magic, and even he himself was magical. He was born in magic, he lived in magic and flourished with magic. Like everyone else in this incredible world. My host race was called 'unicorn pony' and was closely related to the races 'earth pony' and 'pegasus pony'.

And all of the subspecies could use their unique branch of magic, but only this type of pony could perform magic on a completely different level, like those shamans and wizards of the folk tales of tau'ri.

Naturally, I was delighted.

After all this time of bad luck, failures and submission to my elder kin, after all this time of being a false god, I was now closer to being a real God than ever. Closer than any of my kin ever was and will be. I could even become the new Goa'uld emperor, kill Ra and take his mantle of the supreme lord, I can overthrow them all and elevate myself to the absolute height of power. All I needed was just to learn all the possible magic, conquer this world, make my new slaves build a spaceship, and no one could stop me.

Unfortunately, I did not succeed.

Learning magic was not so difficult due to my superb intellectual abilities, but conquering this world was. Attempts to seize power thanks to scientific knowledge and technological advances that I presented them to an almost primitive society ended in failure, because all they care about is the simplicity of things. An attempt to gain power through politics was blocked due to the absolute mistrust of the pony subspecies to each other.

It was so stupid. You cannot find supporters among earth ponies and pegasi, simply because you are a unicorn, and any attempts to reach an solution immediately turned into a bloodbath at the slightest disagreement. They hate you simply because you have a horn on your head. And each attempt to start a peaceful dialogue with any of them immediately led to confrontation if I proposed the idea of uniting tribes or coexistence.

So I decided to use magic and conquer them by force. This led me to start experimenting with magic, search for lost and hidden knowledge, and that unfortunate transformation spell.

What the funny thing about all this horseapples is that I gradually learned to be a good person, because no one will feed angry feral cat, got used to being a cat, because fillies like their live plush toy, and I became quite calm guy, because the alternative was to go completely bonkers.

And I had a lot of time for this. There were good and bad years, but I was still content with my life.

Five thousand of years of being a cat.

Five thousand of years of being an idiot.

Five thousand of years, until I met those little fillies.

Five thousand of years, until I heard something that changed my life.

Chapter 1. The little filly that could

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Chapter 1. The little filly that could

I already told you that during my very long life I had to change my place of residence in the past many times. And over the years I have been to every corner of this world. Most of them have now ceased to exist. Even some of the most majestic cities crumbled into dust or were absorbed by deserts, forests and jungles, or simply mysteriously disappeared, like that great crystal city in the north.

I saw everything that this civilization ever achieved. I even saw the bizarres of unadulterated chaos in it's pure form, buck, I even lived there! Well, more precisely, I tried to survive, than to live, but still. So, you can say that there is nothing left that could truly surprise me. Last time, those were the two fillies who somehow managed to ascend and become real deities, I buck you not, they really did, and not only did they beat the crap out of the self-proclaimed embodiment of chaos, but they also took control of the local Sun and Moon from him and were able to move them with their own will.

Yep, you heard it right. The local star system is so fucked up because one insane bucker went crazy with his magical power and decided that it would be fun to turn the entire planetary system into a geocentric model with local stars and moon orbiting around the planet. So he did it. What was the main cause of what happened, which almost led to the apocalypse, which changed the entire geography of the world, killed many living species and turned most of the world into an artificial ice age. And that was a good thing.

You ask me why? Oh, it was hilarious. You see, when I arrived in this world with the help of my impromptu wormhole, I was not the only one who passed through it. My pursuers from the Tau'ri rebels, sent several strike teams to catch up with me and kill or catch my sorry flank. They certainly did not succeed. Some of them died because their exit from the wormhole was just as successful as mine, but others survived because the wormhole itself became unstable and its exit began to rapidly change its location, resulting in poor bastards scattering around the world, before finally the wormhole collapsed, cutting us off from the First World.

But Tau'ri were stubborn as a mule, and so they overcame their failure, found other survivors and decided to rebuild their civilization here. Their descendants even managed to create their own kingdoms, with troops, laws, and the like. Of course, they were miserable, because they could not create magic in the same way as unicorns, or fly like pegasi, but still managed to survive in the lands of an endless war. And everything was not quite bad until some mad magician overdosed himself with magic and plunged this world into real chaos. Those who did not die immediately were forced to survive in the sudden ice age and chaotic anomalies, but even they eventually became extinct and with time turned into a subject of folk tales for the ponykind.

For this, I am extremely grateful to our Lord Chaos, because, in the end, these Tau'ri could become a very big problem for this world. No matter how much I liked the backstabbing and scheming of Goa'uld society, these Tau'ri took it to a completely different level. Even if one or a dozen of them might have been friendly, sweet, and caring, their communities and kingdoms were a real can of spiders. I'm not a racist at all, I assure you, but when they became extinct, I was glad.

Anyway, back on the track. Those two 'sisters', and I hint that they may not be sisters, saved the world from chaos, they themselves became goddesses and restored society with love and tolerance, on a completely unimaginable level. All these tribes and races, who were always ready to bite each other's throats, became friendly and caring to others and from that moment lived in peace. Of course, in the beginning there were groups that did not want to stop their arguments, were racists or simply protested against this new order of things, but you cannot argue with the magical explosion of friendship powered by solar energy in the face, anyway, not for long. Those who tried became an excellent collection of almost indestructible stone statues in the palace gardens.

And with that, life went on. New towns and villages were built. Ponies prospered. The sisters argued. A week long night happened. Finally, everything calmed down with our Holy Leader Queen Celestia at the helm. Well, she prefers us to call her 'The Princess', but you know all these tyrants, even if they are nice, friendly and loved by everyone. Because those who do not agree with her are likely to become a new addition to the palace gardens. That's why I always tried to avoid meeting her. You never know how a meeting with someone who can juggle with the Sun and the Moon can end.

I traveled the world, trying to be as far as possible from the capital, but Fate is a bitch. And Fate had other plans for me.

My new caretakers were a pair of earth pony who lived in a small hamlet in the northern part of the Princess Celestia's Equestria. They were not rich, but they were just a couple of hardworking farmers who lived their lives with their usual daily routine. They woke up early, fed farm animals, took care of the garden and went to the forest for firewood. They were a small, loving family of two that had some problems conceiving their own child. But they still loved each other. And so it remained until that day came.

As always before, Mr. husband, after a hard day's work, went to the forest for firewood, but soon he unexpectedly ran home, obviously agitated and with a small bundle on his back. It turns out he found a very young pegasus foal lost in the forest, who didn't even know her name, her parents or her past. At first they thought she had somehow fallen out of skycity Cloudsdale, but at the local outpost of the royal guard it was said that the city had never been so close to these parts of the forest lately, and the foal would not have survived on its own in the woods for so long. So someone must have left her there, or her parents died to direwolves and she is the only one who survived. But the investigation could not find the perpetrators, her real parents or their remains in the woods, and therefore this couple of earth ponies gladly adopted her as theirs. That's how little Cadence became a part of this family.

She was always a very gentle and good-natured child who always tried to help everyone, and in turn was loved by everyone in this small village. She might not have been as strong as the earth ponies who inhabited these lands, but she always tried her best. And she was particularly good at petting me. And despite the fact that her adoptive parents had already named me, she gave me a new affectionate name - Silky Paws.

Yes, this is not a very coltly name. But when she called me, she was so cute that I could not ignore her callings. I even sometimes participated in dressing up. Not that she was the first little filly who thought of me as a living plush toy. I stopped resisting this position a long time ago, so there is no harm. And since she was a growing pegasus pony, she needed a lot of protein in her diet, and therefore I was also often fed fish, which was great, because the alternative would be to hunt mice and other small rodents, and I was always bum. And for this reason, she became my favorite caretaker in this house. I even secretly followed her everywhere, wherever she went, fulfilling my duty as her self-appointed protector and watcher. In the end, it was perhaps this that saved her and everyone else in this small village.

You see, there was a bitch here called Prismia, who lived in a forest hut nearby. She was the only unicorn in the area, and she was very creepy. Always snooping around, snapped at the villagers and behaved deliberately unfriendly to others. I always thought of her as some kind of villain-in-training, and, surprise-surprise, it turned out that she really was.

One day, when Cadence was playing with toys outside, and I looked after her from the eaves of the roof, Prismia suddenly appeared on the street and conjured a powerful wide-range spell to the whole village. Which knocked out everyone except me. Even the pigs in the pen have passed out, but it didn’t work on me at all. Then for the first time in a very long time I thought that there was something very different in me, well, besides the fact that I was a goa'uld-turned-wizard-pony-turned-cat I mean. And, like everyone else, Prismia did not pay any attention to me, which was her serious mistake.

I quietly followed her to her hideout and learned that she wanted to use my beloved caretaker in some nasty ritual that was supposed to give her divine powers, because she believed that Cadence had something special about her. And so you know, it was so. There was some connection between Cadence and the magical crystal necklace that Prismia had, and she planned to use it in a prepared ritual. And while she was busy gathering Cadence's inner magic into a necklace and monologuing like any cliched villain, I cut the ropes with which Cadence was bound, freeing her, allowing her to snatch the artifact from the Prismia hooves and use her stolen magic against the villain. Well, it was according to plan. What I didn't plan was that the artifact would suddenly shine with a blinding pink light and take the two of us to some infinitely white place right in front of the eyes of Princess Celestia.

To tell you the truth, I've never been so afraid in my life. I didn't know what was going on, and what Princess Celestia would do to us, to me. But it turns out, the Princess just smirked and stopped paying any attention to me, because I was still a nondescript cat that probably just happened to be here by chance, and now Cadence was on her way to her godhood. Yes, I am telling the truth. Cadence suddenly got herself a unicorn horn and became an alicorn. Bam! Instant evolution right before your eyes. And that is not all. Celestia decided to adopt Cadence as her own niece and in the future to make her a new Equestrian princess with an overly long name and all that stuff.

Prismia was defeated, Cadence stepped onto the path of becoming a princess, her adoptive parents were extremely happy for her, and I just followed her to her new place of residence in Canterlot Castle. This led to a very interesting meeting in the future, which greatly expanded the horizons of my world.

Chapter 2. Filly from high castle

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Chapter 2. Filly from high castle

Looking like a typical tabby cat has its advantages. You can roam free through the castle, and no one will try to stop you or suspect that you may have some sinister plan in your little head. Not that I had such a plan, but still. Therefore, I spent most of my time in my new luxury residence exploring the castle, palace gardens, meeting new ponies who always tried to pet me or play with me (even if they were royal guards), or try new treats from the palace kitchen. This was also the time when I found out how cruel Celestia was.

The number of statues of petrified enemies of the kingdom in the palace gardens numbered in the hundreds, or maybe even a little over a thousand. There were all sorts of creatures - ponies, griffins, minotaurs and one or two dragons and even some kind of chimera of the parts of each of the species. Honestly, I’m not sure that even Ra would be so merciless as to put so many of his defeated enemies in front of his palace on public display. Yes, it serves as a very good warning for everyone and demonstrates the consequences of their disobedience to the crown, but even my ex-goa'uld self shuddered at the sight. From this I concluded - not to buck with Celestia, and I always faithfully followed this rule.

But let's digress from these dark thoughts, because I have news for you. Very good news.

Do you remember that my little trip together with Cadence to some mysterious, overly bright place where she became Alicorn? It turns out I got some reward for that too. I not only became much sturdier with my body, I also became stronger physically, and my claws can now cut through marble and steel. Very good upgrade indeed. Which perhaps was not well received by the palace serving staff, but I always didn’t care about their opinion. And in case even if someone starts asking me uncomfortable questions, I now have a very good excuse - "that whitey-white place did it to me". It certainly will not hold out against somepony like Celestia, but this should be enough for any other pony.

And so I and Cadence began to live in luxury and bliss, as we should be. I became satisfied with my life and stopped worrying about anything at all. At least until one morning at breakfast, Celestia suddenly uttered words that fell on our heads.

"Cadence, you should take learning magic seriously. It is unsuitable of Alicorn to be unable to use even basic magic and continue to eat with her hooves. You are not limited to them anymore, you know."

"I knew this, Auntie, but I cant even make my spoon to levitate. It's hard to concentrate on doing magic and doing something else simultaneously."

"Yes, of course it was hard, because magic is like a muscle. If you never used it before it would be weak and untrained. But the more you trying, the more you would have success with it in future."

"Yes, Auntie, I will do my best", dejectedly answered Cadence.

"Now, now, don't be so gloomy, I knew that you trying your best, but doing it without some guidance would be unproductive. Of course i can put you into my school of Gifted Unicorns...", Celestia smile widened at Cadence flabbergasted expression, "...but you are little too old for that, and so I found another solution! It would be like an old proverb of striking two birds with one stone!" with that exclamation Celestia smile started to shine brightly in morning sun lights. And in this exact moment I got a feeling that she is up to something.

"Yes, Auntie?"

"I will introduce you to a new friend! Somepony who would make you company and who would help you in learning ropes!"

"No! No! No-no-no! NO! I don't need no friends! Not now, not ever! I have everything i need already - my books, my notes and my quills!"

And like that me and Cadence found ourselves before closed door leading to a room on top of most tallest tower in the castle while hearing somepony shouting their protest to Princess Celestia. You have to admit, they were very ballsy to say their no to the Sun Goddess.

"But my faithful student, you cant live without friends!"- of course you can, I did it myself for five thousand of years. - "Being alone is unhealthy to you!"

"I'm not alone! I have you, and maids, and guards! Why should I need anything else?!"

"But they are not your friends! Right? Do you friends with any of them?"

"Well no, but i have you! You are my friend!"

"Yes, and thats not a point! You need friends of your own age, who would play with you, who would support you, who will be happy with you, and who you would be happy with!"

"I'm not a child to play! I'm adult, and all I need is my studies! And so i don't need any friends!"

An adult. Right...

"But you cant! No one can be without friend! And she is a lonely too."

"She? Who are you talking about?"

"A filly I came with to introduce you to each other. She is all alone here and she need some friends, and she is also need help with her magic."

"Oh, I see. Another untalented straggler who wants my help", hearing this Cadence became downcast with sad expression on her face.

"It's not like that, it was my idea, and you two would make a good friends, I assure you!"

"As if."

"Just give her a little chance, please?"

"Okay, I will try, but I'm not promising you anything!"

"Thank you!"

"Well, where is she?"

"Oh, she is right here, right behind a door. Cadence, dear, please do come in."

Cadence looked at me with pleading expression on face wordlessly forcing me to accept inevitable and with a sigh I step forward in front of her, shielding her from some imaginable danger. A stoic Royal Guard opened a door letting two of us walk inside. And they were there. Princess Celestia, and somepony I never seen before. She looked as young as Cadence, and had light orange coat, her head was adorned with red-yellow striped mane and so is her tail, and she obviously was a unicorn. Who looked at us with very annoyed expression.

"Cadence meet my personal student Sunset Shimmer, and Sunset meet Cadence my adopted niece", happily announced Celestia.

"Hello, I'm Cadence, and it is nice to meet you", shyly answered my pink caretaker.

Newly named Sunset Shimmer facial expression changed from annoyance to incredulity, and than to pure rage.

"What in Tartarus is meaning of this?!", hissed through her teeth Sunset.

"What do you mean?", feigned ignorance Celestia.

"Why the buck she is an Alicorn?!", shouted Sunset and startled Cadence pressed her ears to her head.

"Well you see.."


"She was already like that when I found her!", with strained smile answered Celestia.

"Oh really? And you want me to help her with what? Move the Moon, or may be the Sun?!", with tone full of contempt said Sunset.

"Sunset stop this right now! No one trying to mock you!"


"I truly found her in some small village on outskirts of country living among Earth ponies, and because of this she didn't learn how to fly or do even basic magic."

"Are you serious?"

"Absolutely!", Celestia answered with tone leaving no room for any doubts. It's not like she lied or anything, just slightly omitted some truths. Like any good leader would do.

"Argh! Alright, I will do this, but please remember that I was against that stupid idea from the very beginning."

"Thank you Sunset!", immediately beamed Goddess. "Then I living you two alone for studying, or playing, or, well I should go."

And with that she simply teleported out of the room living us alone with this feisty unicorn filly.

"So, an Alicorn. Huh?", Sunset finally decided to break uncomfortable pause.

"Uhm, yes?"

"And you cant fly or do magic?"

"Well I tried levitation tutorials from book, but cant concentrate long enough to hold anything floating in the air."

"Great, someone who managed to became an Alicorn, and cant even do kindergarten level of stuff. How you can even managed to ascend?!"

"Well you see, there was an evil enchantress who lived in forest.."

"Whoa, whoa, stop! I don't need a story of your life. That was rhetorical question. Do you even know what 'rhetorical' means?"

"Yes, I maybe a novice at magic, but I'm not stupid", answered Cadence suddenly became very annoyed with Sunset.

"Okay, 'not stupid', let see what you can do."

"Levitate, levitate, levitate...", whispered Cadence trying levitate a quill.

"Why in Tartarus you doing this mind numbing noises?!"

"Well I'm trying to concentrate on levitating the quill you gave me!"

"You want to tell me that you trying to levitate a quill chanting 'Levitate' again and again?! Are you for real?"

"And what do you want me to do if this stupid quill not moving an inch from the spot!"

"Stop chanting, there is no need for chant for something as simple as levitation charm! All you need is just imagine this quill enveloped by your magical aura and mentally command it to move where you want it. Any foal unicorn can do this! "

"But I'm not an unicorn!"

"Yeah, and what are you? A hyppogryph?!"

"No, I'm a pegasus!"

"What?! How in the world you managed to become Alicorn in first place?!"

"Well you see, there was an evil enchantress.."


"It's levitating!", gasped Cadence looking at levitating quill surrounded by teal aura.

"Bucking finally! It's only got you seven hours to stop chanting and use your horn properly!"

"Well not everyone is a genius like you!"

"And how right is that!"

And while two of them argued one inconspicuous tabby cat was fully immersed in his own tries to move that damned quill with his own will, staring intensively at one that lied before him on a floor.

"That cat is creepy.", suddenly said Sunset.

"What?! You take that back! Mister Silky Paws is best cat ever! He even saved my life!"

"Really? Silky Paws? Who in their right mind would named a big cat like that as Silky Paws? And he is still creepy!"

"And why you think he is creepy?"

"His face looked like he was trying to murder that quill with sight."

"May be he just want to play with it? Or may he just trying to levitate it like I did?"

"Him? Levitate a quill? Pu-lease, he isn't a unicorn, and he doesn't have a horn, so no magic for him."

"And what if he can? What then?"

"If he do it I would acknowledge you as my friend, but no way in Tartarus he would do something like that."

And we all knew that you shouldn't tempt a Fate like that never and ever, because right in that moment quill became enveloped with slightly yellow aura and floated few inches into the air, before aura dissipated and quill smoothly descended to floor leaving two fillies with hanged mouths open onto unbelievable sight before them, obviously they were in shock.

"That cant be right?", weakly mumbled Sunset.

"I.. I don't know. He never did anything like that before."

But cat only looked at them with a very smug expression on his muzzle, staring deeply into their own souls with his yellow eyes.

I can congratulate myself! My life was not lived in vain, I tell you. It turns out I can do magic again! And all by myself. I managed to levitate that quill even if that was for a very short moment, but for someone who lost his ability to do magic for millennia that was a breakthrough. Over untold number of years I tried to do magic, but because I cant chant spell, and with my paws limited dexterity I was unable to draw to save my life, so no magical circles or runes for me, all my previous attempts failed. Up until now. And even if this will ruin me, even if this will put me on spotlight, I still would be happy, because I finally got some part of me back. And with this thoughts I proudly looked into faces of two dumbfounded fillies, and was ready for everything future will hold for me.

"Should we tell someone?", timidly asked Cadence.

"Are you stupid? No one would believe us! They will laugh and say that we are finally gone bonkers."

"Yeah, they would."

Chapter 3. One thousand years of solitude

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Chapter 3. One thousand years of solitude

Being a ruler is not an easy feat, it was an absolute truth that Celestia knew intimately. For the last thousand years, remaining at the helm of power and leadership, bearing the burden of absolute monarchy, that which she should have shared with her Sister. The only creature in the whole world that she promised to take care for and protect, the only creature she failed so utterly and totally.

They were destined to save the world from its doom and bring prosperity and serenity. They succeeded in their epic quest, but the price of victory was her ultimate solitude. The only price she was never willing to pay. This fee still haunts her in her daily nightmares. Pleadings, blind rage, angry words and her final choice. She saved the world again, but lost a part of herself, maybe even forever.

Because this creature, this monster, this abomination is not the one that she called her Sister, not the one she loved and longed. And when the time comes for their inevitable reunion, she is not so sure that she can stop her again. Sealing the Luna on the Moon took away most of her own magical powers, and after that she lost control of the Elements of Harmony. They stopped responding to her, lying like lifeless stones, and to her dismay, the Element of Magic simply crumbled to dust. The most powerful tool in their arsenal instantly ceased to exist, and she had not the slightest hope that the Elements would ever be restored again.

In the years of unrest, it was the only thing that allowed them to bring Harmony and stop any extraordinary villain. And there were so many of them. These are all poor creatures who fell victim to their own overpowered Special Talents. Those, who surrendered themselves to the dark whispers in their weak minds. These constant whispers of rage and suspicion with which she has to live herself, those that she always ignores, depriving them of their freedom and power. And so, in order to protect the world and help the poor creatures, ending this nightmare, the sisters made the only effective decision - to seal them in stone, as they did with Discord, giving them the everlasting tranquility of non-death.

Her little ponies never understood how destructive and vile their Special Talents can be, if left without proper guidance and careful control, they will again and again lead to all this madness. And the more powerful the Special Talent, the more chances it has to go awry. Even the innocuous talent of caring for plants can turn into an uncontrollable chaos of meat-eating vegetation.

She had already seen this before, and other cases too. Too many to list them all, too many incidents, so that she could allow herself to relax for a long period of time. And some of the consequences cannot even be eliminated. Like the Everfree Forest or creatures inhabited it. Thank you Faust for the Apple family and their willingness to help. Sometimes only those who deal with such things from generation to generation can react in time. Even her royal guard is not always as efficient or prepared as a bunch of farmers with long traditions and experiences.

She always wondered about the times when there were no Special Talents or Cutie Marks, about the times that preceded even Discord. How did these ponies live, were they happier than the current generation? Perhaps she would have lived without all this hidden threat, without a subconscious fear of any new Talent that appears, which could well bring a new doom.

It’s not that any modern pony is aware of this, they are too sheltered, too pampered, they live in Utopia without conflicts, wars and cataclysms. Almost perfect world that the two sisters created for them. They live without the knowledge of past times, of dark times, the only echoes of which remain in very inaccurate fairy tales and legends. She did her best to make sure of it. She made sure that none of them had any reason for any serious conflict, for any deep fear or despair, the things that nourish the Darkness that lurks in their Special Talents. The Darkness that took her Sister.

Most of these Special Talents actually simplified to quite ordinary things, such as sewing, painting, or singing, and did not become talents for war, murder, and maiming. The rest fall under her attention and a special hidden division in the Royal Chancellery. They secretly follow the life of the ponies with possible dangerous Special Talents and react if they decide to go rogue. Perhaps such a secret Service should not exist in such a peaceful country as Equestria, but, nevertheless, it is necessary. Their services are not needed very often, due to the absence of dangers in modern Equestria, but Celestia chose to have them than not and allow something terrible to happen.

Sometimes she even volunteered herself and took ponies with promising Special Talents and magical powers under her wing as her personal students to teach them and shield them from Darkness. As she did with Sunset Shimmer, and now with Cadence. Who not only managed to stop the rogue sorceress in time, the one that the monitoring service failed to prevent, but also got one very dangerous and powerful Special Talent and ascended to alicornhood at the same time. She is a very intriguing person, and this cat is hers too.

Celestia doesn’t have many opportunities to learn something new about this world that she hasn’t seen before; this is the fault of her own longevity and the world’s low inclination to change. But this new ascension of alicorn, the like of which has never happened since all the time since she and the Luna became the Alicorns, and the unexpected appearance of a cat on the divine plane, which also began to show signs of deep intelligence, physical prowess and even sapience. It was new. Yes, many animals were smart, but never were smart as a pony, but this one was. In its eyes, she clearly saw the fear of her, but not the fear of something new and unfamiliar, but the fear of someone who surpasses you, the fear of authority.

A curious phenomenon for someone who is not a pony or any other previously known sapient denizen of Equis. This cat knew who she was, and from that he was terrified. Not that she liked the idea that she was terrifying, but sometimes it warmed her soul, knowing that you were still able to instill fear in your adversaries, even if it was unintentional. But she did not feel anything sinister from this cat, and her prophetic powers were silent. Therefore, she ordered the Royal Guard to keep track of the cat and report on anything unusual that he would do, but still she dropped the matter and focused on its owner, Cadence. That little filly was the one whose appearance she had not even dreamed of.

Celestia always thought that her and the Luna's ascension happened by chance, but now, now there is an opportunity to finally break this damned circle of loneliness. If Cadence also has immortality, like Celestia and the Luna, then she will no longer be alone in the world of mortals, whose lives were short and fleeting, like a candle flame. The only problem is that there was a lingering danger of her Special Talent.

This young alicorn has one of the most terrifying powers Celestia has ever seen in her long life — the power to control Love. And if Celestia fails to teach this filly all good and responsibility, then the world will probably get its most terrible monster of all time. Where there is no Love, there will be Hate, and where there is Hate, there is Suffering. Equis would crumble in her wake. Of course, she may try to get rid of the threat in advance, but there is no guarantee that Cadence will not be able to survive somehow, and then take the path of revenge, one that will destroy everything that the Luna and Celestia have achieved. And so Celestia has no room for mistake.

She carefully determined her first step, which would ensure the best possible outcome. And what could be better than finding a friend to a young Goddess. She even has a very good candidate.

Sunset Shimmer was her current personal student. Unicorn filly with Special Talent to use the Solar Flame. One that is very close to Celestia's own talent for controlling the Sun, which made her bring some parallels with her own youth. And young Celestia was not a friendly or caring person, as she was now, no, she was just like Sunset - brash, spiteful and blunt.

Celestia still remembers all her shouting with her mother and father, arguments and fights with fillies and colts from her home village, which she readily escalated into fights, always returning home with cuts and bruises, until one day she found her dying mother on the floor of their shack, because some bastard decided it would be a good idea to rob them clean and who cut her mother with a shank. Worse, her mother was in the last days of her pregnancy, and the stress of the injury caused her to give birth prematurely. And after giving birth, lying on her deathbed, the mother asked Celestia to take care of her newborn sister, a promise that Celestia carried with dignity and unbreakable duty.

She immediately stopped fighting the locals, even stopped going to school, despite the fact that her father promised that he would take care of the little Luna while she was studying. She would never agree to this. Because now she had a duty. And she raised the Luna on her own, with the same responsibility as if she was raising her own daughter. She loved her immensely and did everything possible to make her happy. And they were happy.

Until Discord came. Until the world ended and began anew. All whom they knew died. Everything around them has changed. But the two of them survived. Have become stronger. Became wiser and gained experience. And they took the Sun and the Moon for themselves. They found the Elements of Harmony and saved the world.

So if there was a possibility that Sunset and Cadence might be as close as she was with the Luna, she will take that chance. Because everyone needs a friend. Even if someday they drift apart, or one of them will become too old to continue living.

Celestia arranged a meeting with all haste, and as she thought the first acquaintance of two fillies was as bad as expected, but the longer they were together, the closer they got. Even if they shouted at each other, argued and sometimes pouted. This cat also contributed to the their bonding, as their personal little secret about his magical talents became the first stone of their mutual friendship.

The cat turned out to be harmless, and their attempts to teach him new tricks were good bonding material and reason for their magical studies together. She, of course, kept her hooves on the pulse, but she did not think that the cat was really dangerous even for little fillies, and especially for them.

But only time will tell if she was right or not, and Celestia hoped for the best. Because their friendship was cute, and she always knew that true Friendship is Magic.

Chapter 4. The World According to the Cat

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Chapter 4. The World According to the Cat

Being able to do magic again after all this time brought excitement back into my life. For the first few years at least. It turns out that my magical talents had diminished greatly and even simple charms like levitation and telekinesis took a lot of concentration, also my inner magic pool made for a nasty surprise - if I ever to overtax it reserves my mind begins slipping and I revert to being feral feline. At least for a time until my magical reserves refilled.

This caused some incidents where I blacked out and woke up in some strange places while my cat-self did only spirits know what. And I shudder when I think of what the cat-me could've done while I was 'gone'.

On a bright side I'm not so defenseless anymore still growing in size and strength and already gained few inches in height, growing to nearly half of average pony size, which is perfect. You will not believe how much I'm tired of looking from the bottom up. I miss my usual unicorn size so much. And yet, somehow, no one pays attention to this, as if this is a common everyday thing.

While I was struggling with my magical studies my pink caretaker has found a new hobby - matchmaking. She fancied herself as a great priestess of romance whose destiny to make sure everyone has a pair. Even our beloved Empress of the Sun nearly become victim to this crusade of love. Cadence relentlessly searched for someone worthy of the title of Sun Goddess Special Somepony. Thanks ancestors she wasn't successful. But her designated best friend wasn't this lucky, and so Sunset buried herself in books so that no one would constantly remind her of certain blond unicorn existence.

Said colt is actually not such a bad choice for our wayward young sorceress, as it seemed. He is rich, handsome, athletic and royal blood. Enter Prince Blueblood, descendant of Princess Platinum and the current heir of their dynasty. And he is the nephew of Princess Celestia. It could've been worse. Some lowly Royal Guard or a joke of one. She should be grateful for such a good match-up. He is just overly shy, hiding his real emotions under guise of fake bluntness and arrogance. Even I don’t need super power special talents to see through it. He is such a bad actor. But Sunset gone into complete denial and drowned her flustering in studies. Well, it's her loss. Because this colt is doing goo goo eyes every time he'd see her, and if it's not infatuation, then I don't even know.

The only bad thing is that Cadence magical training suffered greatly. She was not as advanced as she should have been. Other than basics, minutiae and some flashy stuff her knowledge of the great world of magic did not increase for months. Yes she is not as prodigal as Sunset, but that is not a major reason - she just lazy and likes to fool around instead of learning. She reads wacky romantic novels, teen filly's magazines, and loves to draw relationship diagrams for all her ponies she acquainted with. Even the maids did not escape it. And I really hope that she does not have one for me.

How do those two manage to remain friends definitely beyond my comprehension. They are so different, so not alike, that they were supposed to drift apart ages ago, but they are still together. And so our days mostly consisted of the fact that Sunset spent time reading, Cadence making the diagrams, and I meditated on the texts, trying any new spell I could find in the hope that it would work. Most didn't. The fillies even stopped being surprised to see me reading scrolls or books. They did not even ask why I could read. In fact, they never really asked anything. They quickly became accustomed to my magical wonders and my inability to respond in any understandable form.

You ask why I did not try to dispel my transformation? I did my best. It turns out that in the last millennia the magical sciences have completely changed, and now only the most complex spells and wards require chanting arias or careful writing of runes. There are so many new spells, so much new knowledge, but even they were useless in the fight against my condition. It seems that the spell that I used in my impromptu transformation did not put my real body in any particular subspace of reality giving me a hastily made cat body like any modern spell, but actually changed my whole nature to feline, and there are even some transformation reinforcements with super sophisticated anti-tamper protection. Why there were no warnings in this book about possible complications? Why was there not a word about this extra protection? Why didn't I check everything before reciting the spell? I just have no answer to that. But I do not give up. There are still so many books there that the opportunity to return to my unicorn body is not off the table.

Besides, learning new spells is always a reward in itself. And those spells that did not work require more magical power or greater concentration, so it is not a big loss for now. Not that I would forget them or anything. I could always try them later, when my magical power grows stronger. Super everlasting memory for the win.

The life of Canterlot castle went smoothly. Mornings with dawning Sun, evenings with rising Moon. Eternal equilibrium of tranquility. The ponies live their lives. The cat enjoys a midday sleep. And the two fillies were engaged in their personal affairs, occasionally speaking with each other.

"Ya know, I think we should give it a new name."


"The cat."

"Why? Whats is wrong with his current name?"

"Calling him 'Mister Silky Paws' is foalish, and we are not foals anymore"

"Well, we are thirteen, so hardly adults."

"My point is it's stupid to call him by that name."

"It's cute, thought."

"He isn't some cute kitty. He is already bigger than some dogs."

"Maybe he will be big like a manticore."

"Sweet apples, I hope not." Sunset widened her eyes and flinched as a joke.

"Maybe you right. He would eat everything in the royal pantry." At this statement, he glared at the two fillies, making them laugh.

"How about Werecat?"

"That meanie! He isn't some magically transformed evil pony!"

"Then Sphinx."

"But he doesn't look like he came from the desert and pyramids."


"He isn't from space."

"Our Almighty Overlord."

"He isn't a God. Cant you come up with a normal name?"

"Like what?"

"I don't know, maybe Mister Speckle?"

"Yeah, yeah. Again with 'mister', just call it Speckle, or better it was Midnight Speckle, his coloring rather darkly."

"This is still better than Werecat."

"So that's it! We call him Midnight Speckle. I can even shorten it to Midnight." Grinned Sunset.

"I still think Mister Silky Paws is a good name."

"Na-ah. I don't call him by that name anymore! Hey cat, kitty-kitty!" Seth again pulled back his eyes from the scroll with an irritated look. "Which name do you like more? 'Mister Silky Paws' or 'Midnight Speckle'?"

Seth expression was replaced by an expression of pure disbelief, and he immediately returned to his scroll, clearly determined to ignore noisy fillies.

"See? He preferred Midnight."

"I think he just ignores you."

"No way! He definitely liked it! I will now call him only by that name. Hey Midnight! Kitty-kitty!" Seth lowered his head more and more ignoring her. "See? He definitely heard me!"

"And decided to ignore you."


"So are you free from your studies?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Oh, good. I just finished calculating your romantic horoscope."

"Urgh! Here we go again." Sunset sighed in despair.

Having nothing better to do I decided to follow Sunset to her lesson with Princess Celestia. I could not participate without revealing myself to her, but listening to their lessons is always fruitful. Just another time we learned how to cast a domed shield spell, and it turns out I'm very good at it. And it would be nice to learn how to teleport myself. Sunset has already learned this, but my self-study from books did not bring me much success, so a little help would not be bad.

But it seems that today there will be no remedial lessons, because Princess Celestia leads us to the Palace Vault to show us some ancient artifact that she received from Starswirl the Bearded. Some long-dead unicorn wizard who was a court magician many centuries ago. And the most intriguing is that the Princess said that this artifact was created with purpose to find out the fate of the one who looked into it.

In front of the central wall of the Royal Vault was a large round mirror with dotted frame made of crystals and surrounded by nine delta chevrons.And from time to time the mirror surface waved in small concentric waves, and its frame was hummed with a low reverberant sound.

The Cat stood in front of the artifact, fascinated looking in the mirror, and thousands of thoughts flashed through his head.

The Young Sorceress listened attentively to the story of her teacher, seeing her dream in the mirror reflection.

With a sinking heart, the Monarch looked at her with the hope of a positive outcome. She would not fail. Not this time.

"So, with this, we can travel to another world?"

"Yes, my faithful student. But Starswirl said that it is very dangerous, because that world is very different from ours."

"But it is still possible?"

"Yes, but the mirror opens the portal only once for three days every thirty moons."

"It's a plenty of time! We can learn so much new!"

"Sunset, you want to go through the mirror? You cant! This is a very bad idea!"

"But I can always return, I will have three days before the portal closes."

"But what if you're late? I can not risk you! You are my student!"

"I'll be careful, and I'm the most powerful unicorn in the Equestria, you said it yourself. I'll be fine."

"It is still dangerous. Sorry, Sunset, but I can't let you do it!"


"Not! This is the final decision! Let's go back. I was wrong. To come here to show you this mirror was a bad idea. Come with me. We are leaving."

And taking one last look at the mirror, Sunset turned and ran after her teacher. When they left, no one remembered the cat still sitting in front of the mirror.

Chapter 5. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Cat Found There

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Chapter 5. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Cat Found There

Seeing the Stargate again, after so long, shook me to the depths of my soul. I thought that I would never see anything related to my past, especially after that wormhole collapsed. Over the past thousands of years, I never even thought that there might be Stargate. After all, there were no rumors, no legends about the Great Ring, which leads to another world. Nothing at all. Not a single word. And suddenly I saw it with my own eyes, being right in front of it. Mesmerized by its greatness and ancient power

Our kind found Stargate very early in our history, when we were still bound to Unas, our first hosts, who still lived in a very primitive society, believing in gods, magic and spirits. Who thought that the Stargate, or Sebenha'ai, 'The Door to Death,' as Unas and Goa'uld called it, is a relic sent by the gods themselves. They worshiped it by making bloody sacrifices on the altar, which they had erected before it. And they used it to execute their enemies with it, throwing them into the rippling surface of activated Sebenha'ai, believing that it leads to the realm of death.

My progenitor Ra was one of those who was thrown into it, thus ended his first reign after the coup, organized by Mahes, his rival. Whose warriors came to Ra's house at night, killing his guards and slaves, and captured him, to use him as a sacrifice to the Spirit of Death. They tied him up and dragged him through the streets filled with people to Sebenha'ai, where the supreme shaman, who was one of the conspirators, pressed the Holy Sequence on the Golden Pedestal, calling the attention of the Ancient Spirits. The spirits as always, responded by creating a rushing splash of deadly magic inside the Sebenha'ai ring, which turned into a wavy surface that looked like water in a well.

And after conspirators said their prayers to the Spirits, they threw Ra into the ring, believing that he would die. But he did not die, because this magic water inside the ancient ring brought him to another similar ring on the other side of the wormhole created by it, to the ring which was in the center of the valley on another world. No one had returned before, due to the fact that the wormhole worked in one direction only. So, Ra spent several decades, surviving in the wild, until one night a star fell from the sky, which crashed into a forest near the cave that served as the home of Ra. Ra became curious and he came to the crash site, where he discovered a heavily damaged artificial contraption made of metal in the shape of a cylinder with a still living creature inside.

The creature was bleeding and unconscious. At first he thought about killing it and loot this construction for useful materials, but then he came up with a better idea. If this creature previously unknown to him can know where to get so much metal for his contraption, then maybe he can take him as his host and absorb his knowledge. With this, he killed his Unas host, left his body and merged with the alien, who turned out to be a representative of the race of two-legged upright mammals from a distant world, who knew a lot of wonders of technology and science, and more importantly, they knew how to use Sebenha'ai rings or build spaceships to travel between stars. Ra did not receive much knowledge from the creature’s brain, because it was seriously damaged, that even his healing abilities could not fully restore everything, but even this was more than enough for a start.

He salvaged everything he could from a downed spacecraft, while at the same time trying to understand how everything works. He built a small hovercraft for a fast trip and returned to the Sebenha'ai ring, which he now knew was called “Astria Porta”, or “Gateway to the Stars”, or may be called 'Chappa'ai' in Goa'uld's own language. From there, he went to another world using the address that he was able to recover from the alien’s memories, and where he knew that there must be some kind of technological cache. His search was crowned with success, and there was an abandoned outpost with several small spacecraft, computers, mini-fabricators, parts and power sources. And with recently acquired resources, Ra began to build his interstellar empire.

I knew all this because of my absolute genetic memory, which does not allow me to forget anything. I had all the knowledge Ra gained in his exile. And I knew how to control Stargate or how they worked. And now, looking at this Stargate, I can say with confidence that something wasn't right.

This ring did not have a dial pedestal next to it, and instead of the non-water surface of the event horizon, which each active Stargate has, there was a reflective wavy surface similar to a mirror embedded inside it. And its outer frame had additions that should not be there. As if someone took Stargate and heavily improved it with their modifications.

The Princess said that this 'Mirror' is activated every thirty moons for three days, which is not possible using standard Stargate. None of the Stargate, which I knew, can work for so long without overloading and turning off. And where does it take energy? And how is it dialed? How can it even be activated with obstructions inside the ring? Everyone knew that putting something into the ring would prevent its activation. Someone definitely knew what they were doing. And this addition to the ring just reek of very powerful magic.

It seems that Starswirl somewhere found this Stargate and modified it for his own needs. And it can still create a tunnel to another world. He was definitely a genius! I would never in my life come up with this kind of upgrades for Stargate. Now I regret not having met this dude before. He would be very helpful. And knowing how to do something like that would be great. I definitely need to find his notes if they are still around.

But now I'm at impasse. Should I go through the gate and see how the world has changed while I lived on Equis? How dangerous will it be? Are Goa'ulds still here? Should I risk leaving my source of magical knowledge in exchange for an uncertain future? I just don't know. I lived so long as a cat that I even became comfortable with my life. I live in the palace with all the luxury, as in the days when I was a False God, but without any responsibility and hatred from my enslaved subjects, without humiliation from my superiors. They even love me here, no matter how ridiculous it may sound. Bah! Goa'uld, who is loved by others and who does give a damn about it. And there is magic that can possibly fix my transformation.

To my own surprise, I do not want to leave. I have no thirst for power, such as was upon arrival. I did not want to lose my lifestyle. It was good here. All this peace and tranquility, all these kind and friendly ponies. I like it here. I am content. I'm happy? I just don' know. I think I am. This life is almost perfect. So should I stay? But what about all those attempts to gain power and become a true god? How about my revenge on those who wronged me? It would be funny if I went, and it turned out that they all died long ago, and I am the only remnant of the past. So much uncertainty. So much to lose.

I cant. Not now. I'm just not ready for this. This mirror is not going anywhere. Therefore, until I have a guarantee return in case of failure, I have to stay. And it would not be a good idea to lead other Goa'ulds here. And not just because I'm afraid to share the magic. I just do not want this paradise to fall. Yes, big bad Goa'uld doesn’t want these gullible ponies to suffer. They do not deserve such a fate.They have been so kind to me, taking care of me all these thousands of years. I would not want something bad to happen to them.

Looks like I'm staying, and this is the last farewell to my old life. Sighing, I turned and left the Royal Vault with renewed confidence in the future.

Sunset spent the last day looking through everything in the royal library about Starswirl and his achievements. All his creations and inventions. Everything he ever did. Looking for any possible clues as to how this mirror works, and what is on the other side of the portal.

She learned that a trip through the mirror will make some changes to you, but they are temporary until you return, unfortunately, there is no information on what these changes are. But now she was sure that the journey itself was safe, and the pony could survive on the other side without any problems, because Starswirl himself traveled many times using a mirror and there were no problems with that. Therefore, she will not die immediately upon arrival and will most likely return without any harm.

The problem was that there were many warnings about how dangerous it was, but for some reason these warnings did not contain details about the dangers. And he also used this mirror to send dangerous villains to another world in exile, so there is some danger of meeting them if they somehow survived and lived to this day. The chances of it were low, and she did not think that they would wait near the exit of mirror for possible travelers from the Equestria. There was also no mention of them trying to return, so they must have died or simply found something new for themselves. That was enough to assure her of the success of the trip, and she ran to her suite to collect supplies and equipment.

Her mentor forbade her to go through the mirror, but she was sure that Princess Celestia would not be too angry with her when she returned, because scientific curiosity could not be stopped, and this trip promises to be incredibly fruitful for the development of science. She will surely understand that Sunset was right when she returns with lots of useful information about the other world. And she will forgive her for a teeny-weeny lie and disobedience.

With these thoughts, she began to collect all that she might need in her little journey. A little bits for potential purchases, a book about edible plants, some magic restoration potions, some healing potions, a few days' supply of food, a small camping kit from a rolled up tent and kindling equipment, and a sleeping bag, and, of course, her enchanted notebook, to keep in touch with Princess Celestia and Cadence.

Speaking of which.

"Why are you packing? Are you going hiking?" Cadence asked, suddenly entering the Sunset room.

"What are you doing here? You should have been sleeping already!"

“Oh! I'm too excited about this cute little thing between Pointed Arrow and Misty Breeze from the royal guards, they look so sweet together. They even take shifts at the same time, just to be next to each other! ”

"Geez! You and your obsession with romantic nonsense."

"You are so tomcoltish about it. Where is your sense of beauty?"

"I just have better things to do!"

"Like what? And where are you going?"

"Tch! I hoped you would forget it."

"I'm not a Goldfish!"

"Okay, okay. I want to use the Starswirl's mirror to go on a little trip to another world.."

"But it is dangerous! And didn't Princess Celestia forbade it?"

"Yes, but you can't just stop the future! We have so many new things to learn!"

"But what if you get lost there? What if you die? What will I do without you?" Cadence's eyes began to water, and she was on the verge of tears..

"Hey, hey, don't be a crybaby! Everything will be fine! I will definitely be back. I promise you!" Sunset hurried to calm her best friend.

"Can you not go? Please?"

"Cadence, you are my best friend, and you must understand how important this is for me."


"No more but! I will go and this is final! Do not worry, everything will be fine, and you will not even notice my absence. Because I will be back soon!"

"You promise?"

"Yes, I promise! So stop crying and help me put these saddlebags on me."


And while Cadence was helping her friend put on saddle bags, Seth came into the room in search of his caretaker, who had just disappeared from her bed. He found her standing in the middle of Sunset's suite at the top of the astronomical tower, where she and the red-yellow striped sorceress were finishing up packing things for Sunset trip. And they immediately left the room, descending into the bowels of the castle and heading for the Royal Vault. And the cat followed them.

At first, Seth did not know where they were going and why, but the closer they were to their goal, the clearer it became. He was shocked that Sunset was so stupid as to disobey her mentor, but he admitted that he had to foresee this, because this restless filly would not have left the opportunity to learn something new. Of course, she did not understand the dangers that might await her on the other side of the portal, and so this journey was reckless and suicidal. But he cannot stop her. Even if he ran to Celestia and cried in front of her, she would not understand what was happening. And even if she understood, it would be too late to stop Sunset.

Horseapples. He hated being so powerless to do something. He can not prevent the looming tragedy. All he can do is follow her and hope that his presence will be enough to save this wayward filly from certain death.

Princess Celestia suddenly woke up in the middle of the night with a sinking feeling that something had gone wrong. She did not immediately recognize the source of her anxiety. But the lingering phantom cry for help in her subconscious from her terrible dream did not want to leave her. It was then when she traced the source somewhere to the bottom of the castle. Of all the things that were there, the only thing that could triggered her worry was the mirror and Sunset.

With a cry - "Sunset!", - she run with all her might to the Royal Vault, frightening dozing guards on all the way down there. She almost knocked down the vault doors when she run through them. But it was all in vain. She was late. Sunset has already passed through the mirror.

Cadence was terrified. Sunset's secret journey to another world was taking too long, and she did not write back Cadence in a golden notebook. She didn’t answer once, so the pink princess was very worried. She had already planned to go to Princess Celestia to confess to her crime of assisting Sunset to go through the mirror. Even if she were punished for it, but she did not want her friend to die. And then Princess Celestia ran into the vault, visibly agitated with an expression of worry on her face.

"Where is she?!" Shouted Princess Celestia. "Where is Sunset?"

"She... She..."

"Please don't tell me..."

"I'm sorry, I should have stopped her. I should have to tell you about her plans. But she promised. She promised that everything would be fine. And now something happened to her. I'm feeling it. She gave me this notebook," Weeping Cadence quickly showed the princess a golden notebook, through which Celestia and Sunset secretly corresponded. "And she promised to write me back immediately upon arrival."

"But she didn't." Celestia said in a trembling voice.

"No. There was not a word from her for several hours! And she still hasn't returned." The already weeping pink alicorn began to sob loudly.

"Oh, Faust! How long has she gone?"

"I.. I don't know six, maybe seven hours ago. But she did not go alone."

"Who else?"

"Mister Silky Paws left with her, and I fear that he may have run away, and now she is looking for him."

"It could be. But still she had to write something back to tell you about what was happening."

"But she didn't. You think... You think she may be dead?"

"No, never! I still feel her magic, so she must be fine."

"Oh thank Celestia!" Cadence prayed, but when she saw the slight surprise on the princess's face, she immediately faltered "Uhm, I mean. I'm glad to hear."

"Let's hope for the best."

"Yes, we have to, I'm sorry I'm such a crybaby."

"Everything will be fine, dear. Everything will be fine."

"But can you do something? Maybe send the Royal Guard to get her back?"

"Sorry, I cannot leave the country without good backup, and my magic cannot immediately return Sunset here, and sending the guards to chase her would not be a good idea. They are not as powerful as she is, and if there is something really dangerous there she will be hard pressed to defend not just herself but them too."

"I understand. I should have been more attentive in my magical studies."

"Please don't blame yourself. Sunset will definitely come back. And everything will be as before."

Cadence smiled with hope for the future.

Celestia hugged her ward with her wing.

The warmth of their bodies carefully surrounded them.

But at this very moment, the ring pulsed once with a bluish light and its hum died down.

Then the mirror shattered.

And everything changed.

Chapter 6. The Sound and the Fury

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Chapter 6. The Sound and the Fury

Of course, I had to follow this insufferable know-it-all! I couldn't just let her get through this damned Stargate and die under my watch. I would not forgive myself if my inaction led to her death or worse. What if she meets the Goa'ulds there? They will enslave her, pick everything they can from her head, and then invade this peaceful world. No, I would do my best to prevent it. And I don’t want my caretaker’s best friend to suffer such a grim outcome. So I jumped in the mirror and followed Sunset into another world.

The trip itself was not so bad, if a bit nauseous. And the wormhole tunnel looked quite different from the usual journey through the Stargate. All these bright colored flashes of light, a kaleidoscope of shapes and patterns, just like in those visions that I accidentally received once, when I chewed on a strange plant with thin leaves growing in a pot on the window of our neighbors. It was not a very good experience, and how much I vomited after that was not at all funny. So I hoped that at the end of the journey I would not be so sick.

But it seems that the fear of nausea will not be my problem now, because I have ached everywhere, even in those places that I did not know about before. The pain was so strong that tears in my eyes blurred my eyesight. As if I was turned inside out and back. Spirits, if the return is just as painful, then I swear that I will break this mirror myself.

But the pain subsided, and I was able to wipe away the tears, clearing my eyes and finally see the place of our arrival. It was midnight, and we were on a paved area in front of a one-story building next to the road. There were strange metal carriages with broken windows and dents on the sides. The windows and doors in the building were also broken, and from some of them smoke rose towards the sky. Other buildings nearby didn’t look much better, and litter and rubbish were scattered everywhere.

I started to worry. But then I heard a groan behind me and turned to see a gangly creature waking up. It looked so familiar to me. It was pale, had a red-yellow striped mane, long limbs with fleshy claws on two front legs, and was dressed in some kind of light orange sundress with a two-tone decoration in the form of the sun. It groaned again and tried to stand on four legs, but immediately fell yelping in pain. And I jumped away from him, increasing the distance between us.

"Ouch! What happened to me?!" It said in a recognizable voice. This creature sounded like Sunset Shimmer, but it didn’t look like her. "Whats this?! Where are my hooves?!"

She screamed again, and I finally agreed that this creature was probably our Sunset. Something turned her into this form. Great. More problems. We had just arrived, and she was already in trouble.

"Oh. That should be it. As it was said in the warnings of those books. I should have been ready for this. Geez, stupid me." She said looking at her altered limbs quizzically. "Hmm, something similar to the claws, same as minotaurs. And in tandem with these long hind legs, this form is apparently intended for a bipedal upright movement." Sunset carefully got on her hind legs and straightened up vertically. "It seems I was right" She did one hesitant step, then another, then several more and turned around. "It's not difficult at all! I have no problem with walking, so no harm."

Well, she looks fine. And now I seem to remember who she reminds me of — she definitely looked like those Tau'ri, just very pale, with brightly colored mane and eyes. But why did she changed, and I remained the same, still in the shape of a cat? Maybe because her original form was natural, but mine wasn't? And those additions to the Stargate were probably meant to give a traveling pony a resemblance to the natives of this world. If so, then it is alarming, because apparently this world is probably inhabited by Tau'ri, and the Goa'ulds may be here too.

While I was contemplating Sunset had just become familiar with her new body and, lifting her saddle bags, began to look around.

"This place is in very bad condition," She said thinking for a moment. "Those who live here apparently don't really care about cleanliness. What do you think, Midnight?"

Are you asking me? A cat? Are you gone mental? Its not like you will hear my answer. I tried to show her as much annoyance on my face as I could muster.

"You don't seem to like it here either."

You don't say.

"Well, we came in search of knowledge, so we have to find someone who lives here."

Are you sure you want to meet someone who leaves their homes and carriages broken without maintenance?

"Oh, I almost forgot to remember where the portal is."

She turned to face a monument of a reared four legged creature, which looked like a grotesque caricature of an oversized earth pony with an elongated snout and long thin legs.

"Ha! They seem to like abstract art. This pony looks very strange."

I don't think this is a pony. Maybe some local creature or even a famous citizen.

"Yep, I definitely have to sketch this in order to show Cadence and Princess Celestia. We still have enough time."

Are you sure you should start drawing in the middle of the night? Wouldn't it be better to wait until morning?

"So far, nothing interesting happens."

I wanted to snort but at this moment I heard the stomping on other side of the bushes.

First lieutenant Emily Piggot hated this mission from its very beginning. She knew that when they send you to the field without good intelligence, it always means that things will go FUBAR faster than you blink. They didn't even get much equipment or support, because some bastards in command decided that timing was more important than proper preparation.

Her squad, along with the others, was loaded into trucks and sent to this hellhole so quickly that they did not even received confirmation about danger they might encounter. And now, out of almost a hundred troopers, only a few survived. They were killed on the left and on the right, desperately trying to repel the attacking waves of monsters. And every moment their hope of survival melted away like snow on a hot day.

She did not shoot a gun that much since she served in the corps. Only today she and her squad had fired more than five years before. And yet they were losing. This onslaught continues with very short periods of lull, which gave them time to reload their weapons and regroup. They even tried to track down their fallen comrades, but it seems that these damned beasts dragged their bodies somewhere, as they did with their own dead.

They already lacked ammunition, they had already scooped out everything they could from destroyed trucks and armored personnel carriers. And she did not think that help would ever come. Their pleads for help fall on deaf ears. Their aerial support disappeared hours ago. And their parahuman support soon disappeared too. They were written off and left to die here. They will run out of ammunition, their bodies will give up, they will bleed to death and die.

She, sergeant Stirman and that creep Calvert from the 7th, are the only ones left relatively unharmed. Others had various injuries ranging from deep wounds to broken bones and gashes. And these abominable spawns are attracted to the smell of blood, like sharks in open waters. But if she is destined to die today, she will make them pay dearly for her life. She still had some frag grenades some leftover explosives.

"INCOMING!" Lieutenant Curie shouted to her left.

"Damned fuckers! I hoped they would finally leave us alone."

"As if Stirman, they are hungry, and we are the only pieces of meat left within a five miles radius." Sarcastically answered Emily. "Get a gun and get ready to give these fuckers hell."

"I have only six clips left."

"Then make sure you don't miss." Commented commander Jeeves.

She rose from the ground and crouched over to the left flank to reinforce Curie’s position. And while she was running, she saw an approaching horde of child-sized freaks, armed with improvised spears and pointed metal pieces, with some creatures that looked like lizards spitting poison and acid into their targets. These will fall first, because they caused one-third of their troops to die during the landing. She unstrapped grenades, pulled their safeties and hurled them into the group of lizards with all her might, blasting the monsters apart.

"Nice throw, Piggy."

"Three years in the school handball team. The main team."

"Whoa, I didn't know you are former player." Exclaimed Curie shooting the next mutant.

"Everyone should have a hobby." Emily parried, kicking a freak who had come close to her and shooting another.

One sergeant to her right screamed in pain and fell to the ground with a spear sticking out of his shoulder.

"Cover me!"

"I've got you!"

Emily rushed to the wounded trooper pulling him aside for cover, and then breaking the pole of the spear began to bandage his shoulder rigidly fixing a fragment in the wound.

"Oh shit, LT, that wanker got me."

"Don't die on me, Mattews, it's too early to give up."

"It fucked up my shoulder!"

"It did, but clench your teeth and fight back!" She tightened knot on bandage and stretched out her right hand helping him to get up.

"Yes ma'am!"

The trooper crouched behind the improvised barricade, putting his rifle with his right hand on the hood of the burnt car and started shooting in single mode, while Emily took up a position next to him, carefully aiming at the oncoming monsters and killing them.

"Reloading!" Shouted Calvert, ducking behind the dumpster.

Commander Jeeves, his partner, turned around in confusion. Because his ammunition was also gone, and Calvert reloaded his weapon mere moments ago, and did not notice how the mutant lizard jumped right at him, biting through his throat, tearing his neck to a bloody mess.

"You fucker!" Cried Piggot sending a torrent of lead into the monster killing it immediately.

"Captain!" Curie hastily ran to the fallen body of the captain. And then she jumped on Calvert.

"Stop it Jean, he's already dead! And putting out anger on that bastard won't help you!" Emily quickly pulled her away from the sergeant of the 7th squad.

"Because that dickhead decided to reload again!" Curie glared at Calvert and gritted her teeth.

"Not now, Curie, he may be guilty of the death of the captain, but now you have to direct your anger at these creeps."

"You're right, Piggy, that facturd is not worth it. But I will put it in the report."

"Okay, okay, but for now, go back to shooting, LT."

She did so, but their battle dragged on and their ammunition began to end. And then the first rifle fell silent. Then another. Then Stirman sidearm failed. And he was overwhelmed by little toothy freaks, drowned in a wave of their bodies. Then another fell on the left flank. And troopers began to retreat farther and farther from the barricades, deeper and deeper into the doomed town.

"They herding us!" Exclaimed Curie.

"As if it is not obvious!" Snapped Emily.

"They want to drive us somewhere, where they can crush us with their numbers."

"Then we must drown them in blood."

They turned a corner of the street and ran into a running girl in an orange sundress.

The first thought in Emily's head was a surprise, how this young girl, no more than fourteen years old, managed to survive in this hell. It turned into horror because she imagined what would happen to this child when the mutants caught up with them. Then it was replaced by shock, because the girl was not as harmless as it seemed. The girl was a parahuman.

She fired a long flame blasts from her hands at the monsters who were chasing her. Killing them in dozens and crippling those who did not die immediately. She seemed to be doing well, but the expression of pure horror on her pale face told a completely different story.

Her face and body were covered with small cuts and bruises, and her ragged breathing indicates that she was nearing the end of her limits.

"Don't shoot!" Someone shouted from behind Sunset.

She quickly turned around to face a group of very exhausted creatures that looked very similar to her current form. They were wearing some kind of black armor with a dark blue uniform underneath, and in their claws they held metal objects, some of which were trained on her, so she assumed that it was some kind of weapon. They all were dirty, in dust, dirt and blood and looked very nervous and alarmed.

"Who are you?! How did you get here?!" One of them demanded a definitely female voice.

"Uhm. I am Sunset Shimmer, nice to meet you," She answered sheepishly.

"Oh God, how did you get in the middle of this hell?! I thought all the survivors were already evacuated."

"Evacuated? What? I don't understand."

"You did not try to escape with other evacuees?!"

"Ehm, no?" She answered confusedly.

"Damn it. Please don't tell me you decided to fight these mutants."

"Well, excuse me, if I didn’t have much choice, they’re trying to kill me!"

"These damn capes and their overconfidence." Muttered female.


"Damn it. Are you telling me that you don't know that you are a cape?"


Emily looked at this poor girl who accidentally triggered in the middle of a nightmare, possibly because her parents or family died before her eyes because of the inability to evacuate with others. And now she was trapped here with them and, quite possibly, will die too. But there is still a chance that they will be able to find a working car and escape, and this girl may become their trump card. If only...

"Tell me girl..."

"It's Sunset."


"I said my name was Sunset Shimmer, and you still haven't introduced yourself. It is not polite."

"Okay, smartass," Who named their daughter 'Sunset Shimmer', what a stupid name. "I'm first lieutenant Emily Piggot of the FEMA's Response and Recovery." The girl just smiled in return. "And we were here to assist in evacuation."

"So what happened here? Who are these monsters? Why are they trying to kill us?"

"Whoa, whoa," It seems that the girl has a serious case of amnesia. "We don't know much ourselves. These things came suddenly and began massively attacking everyone they could, killing them and abducting their bodies. Perhaps as a means of sustenance. We also have a suspicion that this is the work of the villainous biotinker. But we ourselves have not seen him or her."

"Who could have done something so horrible? Why all these murders?" The girl’s face was horrified.

"We don't know it is quite possible that he or she is just insane."

"Oh Celestia! Why did I decided to come here? So stupid, stupid!" Girl began hitting herself with her palm to her forehead.

"Please calm down!"

"But what should I do? I can't go home until all these monsters are around, and I'm very tired of fighting so many of them at the same time. I lost track of time fighting them. It seems like it was hours or days."

"Do not worry, it can't be days, because it started just a day and a half ago."

"Great, just great. I'm alone and Midnight lost somewhere on the way."

"Midnight? Who is that? You sibling?" Someone called their other child as stupid as 'Sunset'?

"Oh no, he's just my best friend Cadence's cat."

"Cat? Are you worried about the fucking cat?!" Suddenly snapped lieutenant Curie, forcing the girl to recoil.

"Please forgive my friend, she's just on the verge."

"Well, I understand, I'm tired too. And he is not just any cat. He helped me drive these monsters away."

"A cat scared these mutants? Are you for real?!"

"Curie, thats enough!"

"I told you, he is special!"

And right at that moment, there was a meow beside them. She turned around and saw an incredibly large housecat nearly the size of a German shepherd. For a moment, she even thought it was a mountain lion, but, looking more, she saw big differences between them. It was still a typical tabby, which somehow grew to the size of a large dog, but apart from that he was no different from other cats.

"The hell?!" Exclaimed Curie. "Thats a cat?"

"Yep, It's Midnight." Sunset tenderly embraced the giant cat, stroking its head. "Where have you been? I thought they got you!"

"That's some cat! Never seen cat that big ever before."

"Yeah, now I can believe that he drove these mutants back."

"With such a size, he should be a menace to all town dogs."

"And there is not a scratch on him."

"He was probably got lucky."

Emily could have sworn that this cat snorted with indignation, as if he understood what was said.

"Okay, girl, your cat is back, but we have much more pressing matters that I may need your help with."

"I am ready to help!"

"Good, please tell me how well are you with your powers?"


"These flame blasts you fired at monsters."

"Ah, my fireballs. Pretty good. They are my Special Talent."

"Special Talent?"


"Is that's all? Can you do something else?"

"Well, I can teleport a short distance or longer, but it will take me a long time to make the calculations, and I cannot teleport to where I have never been before or cannot see with my own eyes."

"That's great! Can you take someone with you?"

"I don't know? I have never tried it before, and my teacher said that I shouldn't do reckless things without checking everything first."

"Damn." Making her teleport with someone else could turn into a disaster that Emily would prefer to avoid. "Maybe something else?"

"I can heal minor wounds."

"You can heal?"

"Oh right! I was so invested in fighting with monsters that I completely forgot about it." Her right hand shone with teal light, and then this light engulfed her entire body, immediately healing all the cuts and bruises, as if they had never been, even all the grime disappeared.

Emily was shocked. The ability to heal someone was rare. And the ones with no Manton limit, was even less. And she certainly can say that the girl won in the power lottery.

"Tada!" The girl smiled, demonstrating her work.

"That's, that's great! This is incredible! Can you apply it only to yourself, or can you treat others too?"

"Oh, well, of course it works for others too."

"Please use it on us if you can."

"Certainly can!"

And she casted this teal glow to Emily, Curie, Calvert and sergeant Haaland, having healed their wounds, but when she tried to heal Matthew, she could only heal his cuts and suddenly stopped.

"Sorry, I can only treat minor injuries. I can't fix his shoulder." She apologized.

"Thats okay, girlie, I understand," replied Mattews.

"Well, so much hope for that."

"You seem to be very diverse in your powers."

"Yes, I try to learn everything I can. Still not much luck with shields, I can't get a domed shield to work longer than a few moments. Even Midnight is better than me with this."

"Shields are good too. Wait, what do you mean that Midnight is better than you?" Incredulously asked Emily.

"What is he better with shields than me?"

"Are you saying that your cat can cast shields?!"

"He isn't mine, he was Cadence's. And of course he can. He was always good at magic."

"Magic... R-r-right..." Said Curie in disbelief.

Since their arrival in this world, Seth hated every moment of it. Suffering from painful transitions, being so far from home and comfort, and now this.

He was lucky that his feline reaction has not slowed down even slightly over the years, because it was the only thing that prevented the immediate death of his ward when these little freaks started to pour from the other side of the bushes.And they did not even try to start a conversation or say something, going directly to the violence. And Seth was forced to protect the shocked Sunset, who froze like a frightened deer, and did not move an inch in a few minutes.

How much he hated this situation and those buckers for the destruction of the innocence of this little filly. Seth was sure that she had never seen anything worse than a dead bird or mice, and now she was forced to see all this dirty and bloody mess. And he can't do anything about it. He had to protect her, even if it meant killing anyone who dared to approach her with the intent to cause harm. And they had enough intent, okay. So, he had to rip and tear, rip and tear with his claws and teeth without stopping.

Thanks Spirits Sunset quickly recovered from her shock and began to help, throwing large fireballs at them or throwing monsters away with her telekinesis. But even that was not enough, and both of them were quickly pushed away further from Disfigured Earth Pony Monument. And soon they were forced to flee, saving their lives, being in danger of getting more wounds than they already had.

His body ached from the many cuts and gushes that he sustained while defending Sunset, but he did not regret it. Perhaps she was not his caretaker, but he could not imagine how he would be in front of Cadence, knowing that he had not done everything in his power to save her best friend and safely return her home. And so he invested every ounce of his martial prowess in the fight against these abominations.

As they ran, he began to notice her growing fatigue, and even these short stops in temporary shelters did not helped her much. She was not a trained royal guard or athlete, and she did not have his animal perks. And these freaks, it seems, are not going to stop pursuing them, forcing them to go deeper into the town. Even Sunsets teleportation didn't knock them off the track, so they probably have a strong nose and it won't be easy to run away from them.

And so Seth opted to delay them for a long enough time so that Sunset could escape further in hopes of finding help. He held them back as best he could, plunging into the thirst of battle, until suddenly they stopped attacking him, due to all of them being dead.

To his amazement, he did not die and somehow could even able to defeat them all, thought his injuries arched like hell. But he did not bleed much and was not even tired at all. So he sighed and rushed to catch up with Sunset, hoping that she was still alive. And soon he got to her and some of the locals who seemed to be amicably talking to her. With this, he came closer and meowed to get their attention. And immediately got a hug from Sunset.

"The hell?!" Exclaimed one of the strangers. "Thats a cat?"

"Yep, It's Midnight." Sunset answered, caressing his head. "Where have you been? I thought they got you!"

Well, she was alive, and everything seemed to be okay.

"Why did they stop harassing us?" Emily said aloud.

"Maybe they are tired of us and decided to look for easier prey." Shrugged Curie.

"Who knows..." Muttered Emily looking around.

Then suddenly a loud male voice roared behind their backs.

"Because they have already led you to where you should be."

Everyone turned to the speaker, who was standing on a small church balcony. He was a very ugly man with an overly wide mouth, full of sharp teeth, that towered above them, and was at least nine feet tall. And he was surrounded by dozens of those terrible monsters who hissed on the survivors.

"Who the fuck are you?!" Emily shouted, training her rifle on his face.

"I am King Rinke, you mongrels, The God King of Ellisburg, the Father of Goblins and the Shaper of Life."

"So you're the nutjob who fucked up everything around here?" Smirked Curie.

"Shut up! Pest. You are in the presence of God!"

"As if! You're just another bloody wanker whose ego is bigger than his dick!" Chipped Emily.

"Are you mocking me?! You will pay dearly for this. Your flesh will become a source for my new subjects, for my children! This is your fate!"

"Fuck you!" Piggot shouted, shooting him in the head, but the bullets just bounced off his hardened skin without doing any damage.

"For this disgrace you will die slowly to amuse me! Take them, my children! Kill the others, but this one must live. I'll deal with her myself."

And all hell broke loose. Mutants - 'goblins', began to attack them from all sides, spitting out acid and poison, throwing spears, stones and rubble, but the survivors persisted. To their surprise, the yellowish glowing dome of the force field encased them around, stopping the enemy and the enemy projectiles, stopping them short from reaching them, but allowing their bullets to cross over to enemies without much trouble.

"What is this heinousness? You dare to deny my will?!" Shouted madman seeing a barrier that suddenly appeared. "Is there a parahuman among you? Curious. I will take care of taking them apart to get their strength for myself!"

"Like hell you are!" Emily shouted, throwing a grenade into the horde of goblins.

"My will is undeniable! You will fall because I command that! Prepare to die, you worthless insects!"

Seth put everything he could into this shield, shielding the survivors from the apparent doom, everything he could muster was forwarded to sustain that barrier, the only thing between them and the hordes of goblins, as this maniac called them. Seth did not feel the slightest emanation of magic from him, and so he suggested that this psycho could not be God or even a wizard. But he could somehow spawn dozens of these monsters, sending them to the survivors, thereby significantly complicating Seth's plans to quickly return home with Sunset.

The stress from overloading his magical abilities began to come to him, and his shield began to decrease in size with each passing moment. Then, suddenly, the shield received a powerful blow, knocking Seth to the ground and almost shattering the shield, forcing Seth to reduce its size to a few yards in an instant, leaving this Tau'ri mare and Sunset without protection.

Fortunately, Sunset on time applied a directional shield, covering herself and the armed mare from incoming strikes, but this action caused her to stop firing fireballs and focus on defense, trying to retreat to the safety of the dome of Seth's shield bubble.

They had only a few steps left when a tall monster with long claws appeared in front of them, bucking older mare with a powerful kick in the side, sending her flying towards the survivors, and, to Seth's utter horror, piercing Sunset with its claws right through her chest.

"Wha.." All that she managed to mutter, widening her eyes in shock, before she was flung straight to the feet of the psycho-king.

He caught her flying body with his large clawed hand, tightening his grip around her neck and triumphantly lifting her dying body above the ongoing battle.

"I told you that you cannot resist my will! This is your fate, and you should obey it! Because I wish it!"

This is when Seth noticed that Sunset's eyes lit up and he, succumbing to the subconscious impulse, put every last drop of his magical reserves into his flickering shield strengthening it beyond the possible.

Then everything was bathed with a blinding white light, and loud etherial female voice commanded:


And then he knew no more.

Chapter 7. One Second After

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Chapter 7. One Second After

When he began to wake up, Seth could swear that he had heard the same etherial female voice that had sounded before he passed out. This voice argued, shouted and whispered with some other voices in a familiar but unrecognizable language. And he might even have seen the flickering shadows in this blinding light, which seemed to take notice of him before he lost consciousness, but most likely it was his brain that played a joke on him. After all, he was severely exhausted, supporting that shield from the onslaught of hordes of monsters.

With this, his awareness came completely, and he woke up in a gray-scaled world of deafening silence. Everywhere, as far as his eyes could see, there was the same grayish landscape, and ashes swirled in the air like snowflakes. There were no remains of dead mutants, no ruins of destroyed houses, no trees, no grass, only ashes. And the only living creatures he could feel alive remained here on a small piece of land, the very one where they held their defensive position against the hordes of goblins.

The sound of the heart began to beat loudly in his ears when he made an indecisive first step leaving the safety of this paved ground, stepping onto the smooth surface of gray dust. And his paws left deep marks, as if he were walking in the snow. But the substance around him was not as cold and wet as snow should be, it was completely dry and loose, like sand in desert dunes, and even more.

There was no gust of wind, and the sun's rays did not penetrate the gray veil of falling ash. He had never seen a place like this before. It was quiet and lifeless, and he even thought that the afterlife should look like this. But this was definitely not the afterlife, because his heart was still beating, and he could feel faint magical emanation somewhere ahead of him.

He remembered how Sunset had been seriously injured by that tall monster's claws, and how that maniac squeezed her body in its claws, celebrating his victory. Well, or he thought so. Because Seth refused to believe that they lost, and Sunset is dead. He could still feel that weak magical signature, and he hoped that it was her, and that she was still alive. And so he rushed forward, like a ship through the waves, breaking through the ashes in front of him, approaching the source of magic. And when he got here, he was rewarded dearly.

Just as he hoped, there was Sunset, which lay sprawled on a large pile of ash. She had no visible injuries, not even cuts or bruises, and even her sundress was again whole and undamaged. Her saddle bags lay near, intact, just covered with a thin layer of gray dust. He could see that she was breathing evenly, and that was enough for him to understand that the worst was over. She was alive, and that was all he needed.

Seth approached her, stepping carefully on the deceptively stable surface of the mound, approaching her face. He needed to wake her up because their time was running out and the window to their home world would close soon. And so he began to lick her dusty face and pat her shoulder with his paw. But she did not wake up. Lying unconscious and unresponsive. So, he had to move her to others for the sake of her safety and hope for the future.

It was painful to use his magic after that deep exhaustion, but it was the only possible tool in his arsenal. He could not pick up objects with his paws, as those ponies did with their hooves, and so he was forced to use his thaumaturgical abilities, levitating her body and saddle bags to his back. It was not easy, because Sunset weighed a lot more than books and quills, straining his already aching magical pathways, but it had to be done.

His spine creaked in protest against such a large weight, his paws trembled with each step, but he refused to give up, overcoming pain and fatigue. The trip was not so long, only a few dozen yards, but for him it was like a walk through half the world. He almost collapsed several times, because his paws suddenly sank in dust, and stepping onto a hard surface was like coming onto land after a long sea voyage.

Seth carefully lowered his precious load to the ground and fell on it himself, breathing heavily, and the ashes in the air did not make it easier. The consequence of which was a strong cough and hoarse throat. They could not stay here for long, or they would suffocate and die, and he was not sure that he could drag Sunset into a safer place. But to his relief, others began to wake up.

The first thing Emily noticed after waking up was a feeling of dry throat. It was hard to breathe, and her eyes were watery from the dust that had fallen into them. She coughed and tried to get up, but her legs would not obey her, remaining motionless and lifeless. To her horror, she remembered the kick she received before losing consciousness, and this seems to be the reason why she cannot feel her legs.

"No, no, no, no, NO!" She exclaimed loudly, drawing the attention of the others. "Please, please, not my legs!"

"Piggy? What's wrong?" Alarmed, Curie rushed toward her.

"My legs, I ... I can't feel them."

"Oh god!"

"You don't think that's because..." Tears ran down her face, leaving pink traces on her dusty gray cheeks.

"No, Piggy, everything will be fine. It's just an injury, they will fix ya, I promise!"

Curie hugged her, trying to instill some hope.

"This is a spinal compression injury. Without a tinker-tech or a very expensive parahuman healer, this cannot be cured." Calvert said with an even voice.

"Fuck you Calvert! And fuck parahumans! It was them who got us in this shit." Retorted Curie.

"However, without them, we would be dead!"

It was then that Emily noticed the surrounding gray landscape and a small patch of concrete on which they were. Besides this, she could not see anything else. No buildings, no cars, no vegetation, nothing. And the lack of monsters, too. Only even gray mass, as far as the eyes can see in this veil of falling ash.

"What the fuck happened?!" Exclaimed Emily.

"That girl happened." Calvert answered with a still even voice. "It seems that she a second triggered and turned everything around her to ashes. We are still alive only because it seemed that this damned cat can really cast a shield."

"You've gotta be kidding me."

"And who do you think did it? Girl?! She was almost dead, and no one could use their power unconsciously."

"Maybe she can."

"Yeah, but then, why was her healing and shields were teal colored, and that shield was yellow? Huh?"

"You are mental, Calvert. Animals cant trigger! They are not parahumans!"

"If we have never seen this before, it does not mean that they cannot!"

"It can not be! It doesn't work that way.!"

"And how do you know that? No one knows for sure how the powers work. So it is still possible!"

"And can you imagine that? Triggering animals. If this were true, there would be millions of paracows and parapigs!"

"Maybe only cats can. I don't know. He is definitely not a normal cat! He is bigger than my dog!" Interjected Mattews.

"Not you too. One Calvert was enough for the nutjob."

Calvert just snorted and walked over to the lying girl and the fallen cat.

"Well, well, well, just look at it. She is definitely second triggered. There is no bruise on her. She is as pristine as new."

"Really?" In unbelieving voice asked Curie approaching the girl. "I'd be damned! No worse for wear. Hey Piggy, it seems that she may have received upgraded healing abilities."

"You think?"

"Because she healed this gruesome hole in her torso and even fixed a dress. Maybe ask her to patch you up? I don't think she would refuse her sister in arms, who fought along with her."

"It sounds good. Because I don’t think I have money for a tinker implant or a healer from the EU."

"Let's hope for the best."

Emily coughed again, this time spitting out a large drop of gray sputum.

"Fuck, this ash is going to kill us. We need to get out of here!"

"Already on it." Shouted sergeant Haaland, playing with radio controls.

At first there was only static noise, but soon they were able to hear voices and, finally, emergency traffic.

"Ten-Thirty-Three, all available forces begin to sweep towards the roads eight-seven, one-twenty-one, one-ninety-three and two-eighty-nine. Ten-Fourteen on all unusual. I repeat. Ten-Thirty-Three..." Announced a voice from the radio.

"Great, they are still here. Call for help!" Perked Curie.

"Yep." Haaland raised radio piece and pressed button. "Mayday. Mayday. Mayday. This is FEMA's R'n'R emergency broadcast. We need immediate evac from GZ. There are wounded and civilians among us. Our location is," He glanced to his GPS. "Forty-three-dot-seventy-three-thirty-three, minus-seventy-six-dot-thirteen-fifty-two east north east. Come in."

"Ten-four. This is a PRT Field Command. Read you five-by-five. Dispatching aerial transport. ETA in fifteen. Over."

"Roger that, FC. Awaiting for arrival."

"Nice!" Curie was delighted. "They will finally pick us up."

"As they should have done many hours ago. Bloody wankers." Grunted Emily.

"It seems that FEMA were replaced by PRT in the field."

"At least we got our evac."

"What about girl?"

"What about her? We will take her with us. We can't leave her here."

"And cat?" Asked sergeant Calvert.

"Of course we will take the cat too. We don't need a hysterical little girl whose cat is lost again."

"So it's not because of his powers?"

"One last time - he has no fucking powers! It's just a cat!" Snapped Emily. "And somebody light a fucking flare! I don't want to be squished by the coming chopper!"

Curie pulled the backpack off and took out a flare, lighting it and throwing further from them.

"Well, it seems that our only problem left is not to suffocate to death in a dusty wind when the helicopter arrives." Noted Calvert.

All swore.

Lying on the ground near Sunset, Seth thought about the future that awaited him and her. They will not be able to find this ugly statue on their own in all this dust and ashes. And he doubted that these Tau'ri would help them until Sunset would wake up. But it would be too late, because the window to the Equestria will close, leaving them trapped in this world without means of survival.

He knew nothing about this world, except that the Tau'ri apparently inhabited it, and nothing at all about their society, laws and rules. And their reaction to him told Seth that there would be complications. And how they will react upon learning that He and Sunset are in fact aliens who invaded their world without an invitation. What they will do with them. Will they decide to execute them or enslave them? He was not too worried about his fate, but Sunset should no longer suffer.

Seth felt like a complete loser. Who can not save even one little filly from the dangers of this world. She almost died, and if she hadn’t healed herself and turned their opponents into ashes, they would both be dead. And he could not do anything.

His ears twitched as he heard a whistling sound approaching from above. And soon he was able to see the shuttle descending, which was approaching them, and landed near their position. Its rear ramp dropped, and even more Tau'ri spilled out of the craft. They were dressed like the rest, but with clothes of a slightly different color, and with closed helmets with opaque visors on their heads. Only a few of them carried stretchers for the wounded Tau'ri and Sunset, while others began sweeping the perimeter for danger.

Suddenly one of them spotted Seth and pointed his weapon at him.

"Why is cougar here?!"

"This is not a cougar, take a look, it's just a cat." Answered lanky Tau'ri, who was with them from the very beginning.

"Damn, this is not every day, you will see such a big cat."

"And he can cast force shields too." Lanky Tau'ri boasted again.

"Shut the trap, Calvert." The wounded older mare shouted angrily while she was put on a stretcher. "And trooper, don't forget to take the cat on board too."


"He and this girl are together, and we don’t want her to wake up without her favorite cat."

"I've got it. Kitty-kitty. Come to papa."

'Really? You're an idiot? Where did you see the cat that would answer that? Just forget about it, I will not come to you.' With this, I followed the stretchers with Sunset on them and went inside the craft.

"Where are you going kitty?"

"It seems that the cat is smarter than you, Jonas" Another armored Tau'ri laughed at his colleague's misfortune.

"Well fuck you too."

And when everyone was on board, the ramp was closed, the engines of the shuttle roared, and the craft began to climb into the sky, cutting off me and Sunset from our house for a very long time.

Chapter 8. Paradise Lost

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Chapter 8. Paradise Lost

[... a powerful solar flare reached Earth in span of fifteen seconds, making a semicircle along the circumference of the planet and penetrating the atmosphere above Ellisburg, New York, briefly touching the surface of the earth. PRT Chief Director Costa-Brown made a statement that this solar anomaly was the result of a malfunction in the tinker-tech device, she also said that the perpetrator was identified as forty-years-old Jamie Rinke, a former employee of the Ellisburg State Bank. He is also confirmed dead, and is added to the total death toll, the number of which now stands at twelve hundred seven, among them there are also ninety-two FEMA's Response and Recovery field operatives who assisted in the evacuation of civilians. Chief Director Costa-Brown also confirmed that the rumors about flesh-eating monsters were true, and they were also cybernetic creations of Jamie Rinke. The PRT does not believe that any of his creations have survived, and they all perished together with their creator at the moment of failure of the tinker-tech device, which led to attracting to Earth the fastest solar flare known to the date and turning into ashes a territory within a radius of three miles. Chief Director Costa-Brown denied any accusations ...]

"Are you still watching this bullshit?" Uttered Curie entering the Piggot's hospital room.

"They play it on all channels, as if there is no other news." Emily huffed, clicking the remote to turn off the TV.

"Already a week has passed, and they are still going. I still can't believe that they twisted the story in this way."

"They can't reveal the truth, without admitting the existence of another powerful parahuman on a scene."

"Of course they can!"

"And what?! Made the girl a target for all sorts of fanatics and lynchers who want to avenge the town that has already been lost?"

"No, you're right, she doesn't deserve it. Well, she saved our collective asses in the end."

"And did more than all these self-proclaimed heroes."

"I can understand them. They didn't want to become a victim of another S-class supervillain."

"Yet they left us to die."

"Yeah." Curie strode across the room and sat on the chair by the Emily's hospital bed. "So, how are you, Piggy?"

"The same. I'm anxious to get out of this hospital."

"Any news? What did these leeches say?"

"No major changes. They were able to patch my kidneys, but could not do anything with my legs."

"I'm so sorry, Emily." Curie mumbled sympathetically.

"It's okay, I guess, could be worse. But it looks like my career in FEMA is over."

"They commissioned Mattews too."

"What? Why?"

"They said that his shoulder wouldn't be able to withstand the same load as before. So, he will be transferred to the office"

"Shame, he was such a good soldier."


"And how are you? I haven't seen you for a week."

"Me..." Curie fell silent.

"What's wrong, Jean?"

"Just ... I don't know how to tell you."


"Sorry, Piggy, I just couldn't say no to this."

"To what?"

"They offered me an early advancement in the rank and position of commander in field operations."

"That's great! Congratulations!" Piggot sincerely congratulated her.

"What? Why? I thought you would be mad."

"Mad? Why should I? You are good at planning and tactics, it would be perfect for you!"

"But, you always wanted this position."

"Yes, but I can't be in the field anymore."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. It's not your fault."


"Still nothing! Stop considering yourself guilty and carry a new rank with honor, commander! This is an order from your former superior!"

"Yes ma'am!" Mockingly saluted Curie. "Damn, what a mess."

"So, you will replace Jeeves?"


"How are you holding up? I knew you and he..."

"It's okay, I'm fine, we weren't 'that' close, and it’s not like I was going to leave FEMA for him to become a housewife. So, I'll be fine."

"Are you still mad at Calvert?"

"Well, he's a cretin, and incompetent, but I mostly blame this fucking parahumans."

"Do not forget that we also owe our lives to parahuman."

"The girl."

"Yes, the girl." Emily made a point. "Heard anything about her?"

"Yeah. They say that when she woke up, she was hysterical, and they were forced to sedate her so that she would not harm herself and others. But the next day she woke up and asked how long she was out, and when they told her she became catatonic and cried without stopping. Does not talk to anyone, does not leave the room, does not eat enough, just cries, hugging her cat."

"Cat? They actually allowed him to be in the hospital?"

"They thought he would make her feel better and that she would come out of depression. But she only began to stroke him and hug, and did not stop sobbing."

"Most likely, she understood everything that had happened, and now she is in deep shock."

"She almost died in a bad way. I don't know if even I could ignore something like that."

"And this, without even mentioning the fate of her relatives."

"In fact, she does not have them. She is an orphan."


"Yup. It turns out that her name was absolutely unique in the whole country, and they found a copy of the old file from the California Beacon of Hope orphanage. Which was burned down ten years ago. She was the only child whom they failed to evacuate the burning building, and they thought that she and her body perished in the fire."

"But apparently, she didn't."

"Nope. It seems she somehow survived and escaped, living on the streets on her own."

"And with her healing power and these fire blasts."

"She triggered at the age of three."

"God be damned."

"My thoughts exactly."

"This poor girl. To survive in one hell and end up in another. Speak of a fate."

They sat in the silence of the room, both thinking their own thoughts. Seth reflected on his failures, and Sunset grieved over the loss of her home, the loss of her mentor and, more importantly, the loss of her best friend.

When she awoke the second time, the nurses said that they had to sedate her earlier because she was hysterical and wasn't lucid. When she asked about how long she was unconscious, they told her the truth, which pierced her heart. She was late to get home, and the portal was closed. She was cut off from Equestria and didn't know what to do. She was never prepared for something like that. But she still had hope that she could somehow open the portal until she heard the whole truth about what had happened.

A female in a dark suit, wearing a steel helmet and draped in a long heavy cape entered her room and told her that Sunset had almost died there, and on the verge of death she was able to beat the odds, by invoking her powers to heal herself and destroy all monsters, but with them she destroyed what was left of the town, including everything, and when Sunset asked about the statue, surprising this female, she was told that they were destroyed too. There is nothing left because everything was turned to dust. This means that she destroyed her only known way home with her own hooves.

She cried again and again, unable to keep herself from feeling her loss. At least until the cat came back. Carrying with himself a small part of the lost Equestria. She hugged him dearly, mumbling her apologies and asking him for forgiveness for her stupidity, which left them trapped in this world. And oddly enough, he stayed with her, not leaving her alone for long. Keeping her company and giving her kindness and support in this difficult moment.

Seth wasn't considered her guilty of their tragedy. If everything he blamed Princess Celestia for ever showing that damned mirror to Sunset. She should have known what the demonstration of such an artifact for an impressionable filly could lead to. He was not a parent himself, but over the years he has gained enough experience in growing foals, and even he knew that showing a new forbidden shiny toy to a foal would always lead to tears.

This damned mirror and the Royal Vault itself weren't even guarded! It doesn't even had a lock! Why the Tartarus is such a dangerous thing was left without supervision? Did Celestia really plan all this? Did she want Sunset to go through the mirror, or was she just incompetent? It was a very chilling thought. And both outcomes were terrifying. The image of the cold, cruel and manipulative Celestia was so real, and knowing the typical fate of her enemies, he felt sick. But if she was just incompetent, it was even worse. This can lead to so many horrors that he was not ready to acknowledge even the most mitigated possibilities.

But now he must focus on much more pressing things - their means of survival in this strange world. He has already learned that they are not accused of destroying the town, since it was overrun by monsters. And they are not going to be arrested or executed for trespassing into this world, because everyone considered them native. No one even asked questions much.

They tried to talk to Sunset, but with her deep grief she wasn’t that helpful. He learned that her belongings were not confiscated, but were simply stored in a locker somewhere in the building, and they will be returned at her first request. But Sunset did not seem willing to get them back immediately. The local food was edible, and they even adjusted the menu for Sunset's herbivorous preferences, but he still got the meat. And not just fish, but some actual meat. And although he hoped that it was not the meat of a sapient being, he wasn't going to give it up. And everyone around them was nice to them, very different from Tau'ri, whom he remembered from the past.

He could not find out which planet they were on, or whether Goa'ulds still around, because of his inability to talk to them, and their written script was unreadable for him. But at least they still speak Equish and not some strange dialect. And their advancements were impressive. They build buildings higher than the tallest tower in Manhattan, they have better medical equipment than the royal infirmary, and their vehicles were faster and more numerous. Of course, they were not as advanced as Goa'ulds, but it was still breathtaking. He especially liked this panel with news broadcasts and entertainment programs. Why Goa'ulds had never created anything like this in his past, he couldn't understand.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful way to kill time while Sunset was sleeping or crying. He, of course, supported her as much as he could. And he was also sad, but he could not grieve all day, it would be too tiring. He needed to do something else. Like for example, take a walk around the hospital, or listen to Tau'ri's conversations, or watch this news panel, or scout the way for a possible escape in case of an emergency. And if they ever want to go home, they should start looking for means as soon as possible. But this should wait until Sunset becomes more cohesive.

Emily absentmindedly clicked the TV's remote, switching between channels, looking for entertainment while she was locked up. She had nothing better to do, and nobody was here to talk. She even thought about asking for a laptop to browse news on the Internet or even read the PHO forum, she was very bored, alright. So, when the door opened, and instead of a nurse a middle-aged hispanic women in expensive business suit and very recognizable face appeared at the doors, she nearly double-take.

"Miss Piggot, I presume."

"Chief Director Costa-Brown from the PRT."

"That's right, glad to meet you."

"I can not say that it is mutual."

"It's your right to have your opinion. But could you tell me why I personally did not please you?"

"This is nothing personal, I just do not like how your organization manages its affairs."

"I see. Hopefully this will change."

"This will be unlikely. So, why did little me owes you a pleasure?"

Chief Director Costa-Brown opened her briefcase, fished out a folder and began to loudly read out.

"Emily Piggot, thirty-eight years old, born in Jacksonville, Florida. Divorced, no children. One nephew, Gavin Miller, on the side of her brother. Completed a four-year degree at the Atlanta's Georgia State University College of Law, then, unexpectedly, spent eleven years in the United States Marine Corps, rose to the rank of Master Sergeant, then honorary discharge and another five years at FEMA's Response and Recovery as field operative. Received the rank of First Lieutenant, honorable discharged due to disability received in the field. By her executive officers she is noted as a determined leader, an excellent fighter and a responsible officer. Many times distinguished in battles. Has numerous awards and was awarded with the Medal of Honor, for the courage shown in the battles in the Middle East, during Reclamation Wars."

"Someone did their homework. Though, I didn't know I had already been commissioned. So what do you want from me?"

"Sharp as ever. Miss Piggot, you are an excellent officer. You are injured in battle, ensuring the evacuation of civilians. And with your injuries, your FEMA career is over."

"Tell me something I didn’t know."

"Despite the fact that the FEMA has already finished with you, you are more than ever needed in the PRT."

"The PRT needs me? I'm a cripple!"

"This may be true, but even in your state we have a job for you."

"A job?"

"Miss Emily Piggot, I want to offer you the position of director of the PRT branch at Brockton Bay."

And, despite everything, Emily clearly did not expect such an unexpected turn in her career.

At the end of the first week, Sunset’s grief began to falter, and she became more responsive and attentive. She still gave evasive answers to the questions that she was asked by local law enforcement officers, but mostly she was doing fine. Even her nightmares about monsters have become less common. She began to eat more and even watched this strange flat TV a little. But she was not as eager to continue watching TV as Midnight did, and she preferred to draw with a pencil in a notebook, which she received from nurses.

She didn’t know what she was going to do in the future, but if she ever wanted to see her home again, she needed to learn more about this world and its magic. Although it will not be so easy. The inhabitants of this world seemed to have a completely different alphabet, and she had to learn it first, before she could hit the local libraries for information.

And she will need funds to sustain herself and the cat, while she is studying and looking for any useful information. This means that she will have to get a job. But she didn’t have many practical skills, because at home she was still a student who was far from completing her education, and apart from her basic everyday skills, she got nothing on the matter. But it seems that Fate has become kinder to her and decided to help her with her difficulties by sending someone who can direct Sunset in the right direction.

And so, when this woman in armor again appeared at the door of her room and made Sunset a proposition for a job, she was beyond relieved.

Enraged, Clark threw the file onto Rebecca’s desk in the office of the PRT Chief Director.

"What does this mean, Becca?! Have you finally gone senile?" He shouted.

"What exactly don't you like?"

"What I don't like it's when you do things like that behind my back!"

"And what am I supposed to do? Lock her in one of the Cauldron's cells?"

"As if stuffing her into my Wards team was your best decision!"

"She must be monitored."

"And then what? We were forced to make up a new threat class just for her! She is Extinction-class threat, Becky! What if we wouldn't be so lucky as we were with Ellisburg and she would attract her Solar Flare for longer than a third of a second? Even this was enough to erase the town from the face of the earth!"

"Her powers is a great boon for our cause..."

"Our cause? This is it? This is all you care about? When you and Contessa told me to move that statue from a small town to Ellisburg, you promised that everything would be better!"

"There was an seven percent improvement in the final outcome!"

"If turning the whole town to ashes was an improvement, then I'm not even sure that it was worth it."

"Projection showed that the town will be lost in any outcome. In this way we did not get us a new S-class threat!"

"Yeah, because we got us the EX-class tragedy in the making! And you want to throw a girl into every S-class threat, hoping that she will wipe them at the expense of one city at a time?! Are you fucking crazy?!"

"You are making a monster out of me. I'm not that desperate. And I didn't want her to be in the immediate vicinity of harm in any observable future to prevent exactly that thing!"

"So what, what do you plan to do with her?"

"We need to be sure that she is not going to use her ability anywhere, and to do this, I was forced to place her under a safety of a Ward program! She will be fine there."

"So you put her under my care to make her comfortable? It still puts the EX-class threat in one of the most densely populated cities in the whole world!"

"Then make sure she won’t get hurt! We do not need to give her a reason to use her ultimate power!"

"Fine. I'll watch over her closely."

"Excellent. Then I leave it to you."

"What about the cat?"

"Cat? What cat?"

"You know what cat. The one that is always with her."

"There is no cat."

"What? Do you think I'm blind?"

"Blind? No, just inattentive. Read her rating carefully."

Clark picked up the file from her desk, opened it, and began to read.

"Mover 4, Shaker 10, Brute 3, Master 5, Blaster 5, Thinker 2, Striker 2, Trump 8. Well, what's wrong with that?"

"Still not getting. She has a Master sub-rating."

"Master? Her? Why?"

"Have you read reports from FEMA's field operatives?"


"She said the cat helped her fight off the monsters. An enormously big cat. Which, obviously, can create a sufficiently powerful dome-shaped force field to withstand several powerful blows without collapsing. And any injuries on it disappeared shortly."

"So the cat somehow triggered like a Shaker and a Brute?"

"I already told you, there is no cat."

"But everyone can see it. You say we were mastered by her?"

"No, nothing like that. This cat is just her semi-autonomous projection."

"Huh? Why? But she said that the cat belongs to her friend Cadence."

"Look closer at the photo on page four."

Clark flipped through the pages in the file and finally found the mentioned photo, which depicted two little girls, one was redhead and the other was strawberry blonde, sitting next to each other.

"She was a cute child, that's for sure.."

"This photo was taken at the California Beacon of Hope orphanage, about a week before the fire, during which she disappeared. The redhead is obviously Sunset Shimmer, and next to her is a girl named Cadence, who, according to the caretakers' records in the file, was her best friend. And if you look closer at Cadence's hands, you will see."

"She is holding a big plush cat!" Exclaimed surprised Clark.

"With the same color as the cat that Sunset has with her."

"So, she was triggered in the fire and made a projection of the cat as her guardian, which looked like her friend's plush toy!"


"So why not find this Cadence and make them a reunion. It would help with Sunset’s depression."

"Unfortunately, this is no longer possible. Cadence, or Candice, as her new parents renamed her, was adopted three days before the fire and moved with them to Newfoundland. Where she lived until Leviathan arrived. She and her adoptive parents were listed among the victims of this disaster."

"Damn. So a cat is a subconscious connection with her childhood friend?"

"It's seem so."

"Great, just great. She is not just dangerous, she also delusional."

"Well, a preliminary psychiatric analysis states that she is stable enough not to be an active threat to others. Thus, she can be socialized and placed on the New York Wards team without any special precautions."

"I am going to agree now, but please remember that I was absolutely against her, in case something goes south."

"I will remember this, Clark. Now please leave, I have work to do."

"Of course. See you later. Door me."

Legend turned and left Rebecca's office through an ephemeral door hanging in the air, moving through the whole country in an instant.

Chapter 9. The Golden Notebook

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Chapter 9. The Golden Notebook

In the deep dark night that stretched over the city that stood on the ledge of a huge mountain, in the room on the tallest tower of the Canterlot castle, on a nightstand by the bed, where the exhausted and saddened youngest alicorn Princess of Equestria was lying, the gilded notebook began to buzz quietly and glow with a bright yellow light, in the blink of an eye tearing off the chains of grief away from the young filly.

Deeply exhausted Princess Celestia tried unsuccessfully to fall asleep. Her body, drained by the bitterness of loss, did not want and could not give her the necessary rest. Her weary mind continued to ponder the endless internal dispute between the two parts of her soul. One blamed the other for all the mistakes she made in her life, all the tragedies that could have been prevented, all the losses she had suffered through her own fault.

Since the disappearance of Sunset, with each passing day she has more and more plunging into the abyss of despair, less and less seeking to fulfill her duties, has eaten almost nothing, stopped coming to the throne room and stopped conducting audiences. Her sleep became intermittent, and the voice of the subconscious did not fall silent even for a moment, not allowing to find peace and relaxation.

And as soon as she just dozed off, the double doors at the entrance of the gloomy bedroom, swung open with a bang, startling the drowsy ruler of Equestria. And the joyful Princess of Love, not paying attention to anything, ran closer and jumped on the bed of her adoptive auntie, driving away the remnants of her sleepiness. And despite the fact that she was still out of breath, choking with happiness, she shouted something in an excited voice.

"Cadence, Cadence. Calm down, take a deep breath, hold for a moment, and then exhale."

Pink princess sucked the air loudly, stopped for a second, and then, no less loudly, exhaled.

"All right, now, tell me what happened, what made you rush into my chambers in the middle of the night."

"Auntie! Auntie! Auntie! She is alive! She is definitely alive!" Cheerfully exclaimed the princess.

"Wh.. Wha?"

"Sunset! Sunset is alive!"

"Cadence. You are deeply dear to me, but I still can’t ignore your probable delusion!"

"This is not a delusion, auntie!" Slightly indignantly pronounced the young filly. "She wrote to me!"

"She wrote to you. How?" The gears in the tired sleepy brain of the Princess Celestia began to move at a tenfold speed.

"In the golden notebook that she left me! All these days there was no news from her, and suddenly, ten minutes ago, she wrote to me!"

"Please show me!" Hope, which seemingly dried up over these days, with new force rushed to her heart.

Cadence handed her a notebook, which she brought with her, and looked impatiently at her auntie as she flipped through its pages.

"It can't be!" Blurted out amazed Celestia.

"But it's true!"

"Oh Faust! This is definitely her hoofwriting! I still can't believe that she is alive!" Tears began to flow from the eyes of the sun princess. "She is alive! Alive! Thank Faust!"

"I knew! I believed! I felt that she didn't die!" Through her own tears of joy, said Cadence.

"Thank you! Thank you, Cadence, that you brought such happy news!" Celestia hugged her adoptive niece and smiled.

"You're welcome! I'm glad I could give you back the joy, auntie." Cadence smiled back.

Celestia read the notebook again and then exclaimed.

"We must write back to her! We must support her and help as soon as we can."

"I'm not sure that this is possible." Muttered saddened Cadence. "I already tried to write to her, but the ink just disappeared right away."

"But how can that be?" Celestia tried to write herself, but her ink immediately disappeared too. "Hmm. It seems that the two-way communication between the notebooks was damaged, and now we can only see what she writes, but we cannot write anything in response."


"Do not despair! She is alive and only that matters! We will definitely find a way to save her and bring her home! I promise! I will do my best!"

They embraced again and now looked at the future with Hope.

[ My beloved friend Cadence, my dear teacher Princess Celestia, I hope that these words will reach you, or you will read them directly from my copy of the notebook in the future. I sincerely hope that you will ever be able to forgive me for my stupidity. Because I can never forgive myself. My excessive overconfidence and rashness almost led to tragedy. And I should have never disobeyed my teacher's will. I ignored warnings about the dangers from Starswirl’s notes, I didn't hear the voice of common sense and the pleas of my best friend. I went on my own, guided by my pride and thirst for knowledge, and paid dearly for it.

Even the fact that arriving in another world began with surprises didn't force me to return immediately. And troubles began to pour on my head one by one. And before I knew where I was or what was happening, I was attacked by a horde of bloodthirsty monsters, and only because luck didn't leave me completely, and thanks to Midnight’s incredible reaction, I managed to survive.

The monsters didn't stop attacking us both for even a minute, pushing us further and further away from the portal. In the end, I was forced to flee, and Midnight decided to stay to hold them, covering my retreat. I've never been so scared in my life before. Never before have I had to fight for my existence, fighting hordes of terrifying monsters who know no mercy. The monsters, which, as it turned out, were created by the hooves of this psychotic villain, who imagined himself king and killed hundreds of inhabitants of the whole town, using their bodies as material to create his own subjects.

I was lucky to meet a group of friendly natives of this world who helped me. But even they couldn't stop this disgusting maniac. And by his order, the monsters serving him drove us into a trap in the center of the town, right on the doorstep of his lair. Where we were forced to fight together with all our might. We almost lost. Because in the heat of battle we missed the moment when he sent giant armored monster at us. And from their strike, the force shield, that Midnight held, in the blink of an eye shrank to half of its size, and I and one of the locals were left without protection.

I tried to protect us by conjuring a directional shields, but this was too insufficient, and one of the tall monsters suddenly kicked that local, and mortally wounded me. After that, I ended up in the claws of a villain and he decided to kill me in order to intimidate the others. But something happened and I lost consciousness. And when I came to my senses, I was alive in the hospital, and they told me that everything was over, we won, because somehow I was able to turn the crazy lunatic and his whole army of monsters into dust. But, unfortunately, what I did, also destroyed the statue of a strange pony, which served as the portal exit in this world.

And now I was trapped here, with no obvious way to go back home. I will try to do my best to find a way to return, but for now I can’t even read local books, because they use a completely different syntax and a different alphabet than we do, and without books and information from them, our return will be delayed. But I do not despair, I believe that we will meet again, and I will be able to apologize personally, and accept punishment for my actions, which I deserve.

With a Hope for the future, your friend and student, Sunset Shimmer. ]

"You're not going to punish her, are you?" Said concerned Cadence.

"Of course not! Yes, she did something stupid and almost died, but I don't think she deserves punishment. She has already suffered enough." Reassured her Princess Celestia.

"Good. I hope that we will be able to contact her and say how much we are worried about her."

"I hope so too."

[ Hello there! This is Sunset again. You have not replied to my previous message. So probably you didn't receive it or you can't answer me. And I really hope that this is not because you are madly angry with me.

I'm fine so far. Midnight is fine too, so Cadence, you don't need to worry about him.

I hope that everything is fine at home too.

I was finally discharged from the hospital and can start looking for a solution of returning to home.

Since you don't answer me, I will assume that your answers can't reach me. And if so, then I will use this notebook as my personal diary, in the hope that one day you will be able to read everything yourself. I will use the local date system, because it will be easier to navigate in time, and apparently our home calendar is only twenty-four years behind the local one. ]

[ Today is Tuesday, October 21, 2008

After I was discharged from the hospital, an enclosed black carriage arrived to take me to my new place of residence. I was told that I would live with my peers in a tall building in the middle of a big city.

I also took Midnight with me and we will there together. ]

"Good evening, miss Shimmer. I am Legend, the leader of the New York branch of the Protectorate, and from this moment I am your supreme leader." Legend introduced himself with a hard voice.

"Good evening, mister Legend. Nice to meet you."

"We will see." He noted curtly. "For the near future, you will live here, in the Protectorate tower, at a level dedicated to the Wards. And from tomorrow you will be introduced to a team of newcomers, such as you, and you will be trained and instructed together. You will be given a private room where you can store personal items, clothes, take a shower and sleep. Also in this room we will put a couch for your cat."

"Thank you." Legend scowled a little for interrupting him.

"Your personal training program will be prepared later, after you have completed a full course of examination with our specialists. We will conduct the necessary tests of your abilities in order to better decide which type of action is best suited for you. That's all for now. Everything else will be told to you later." Sunset silently nodded. "Your curator will be Ursa Aurora, she is waiting for you at the doors and she will take you to your room, where you can rest."

Legend turned to the large window, making it clear that the meeting was over.

[ Today is Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My boss at a new job is a meanie. He was so rude to me when we first met that I was almost upset. But they gave me a private room with a good view of the city, so I quickly calmed down. It is much smaller than my room in the castle, but quite good. I also met my future curator, whose name is Ursa Aurora. She is very kind and we chatted a little while she accompanied me to the room.

And today they have to introduce me to my colleagues. ]

"Hey." A young female in a half-helm with opaque visor greeted her.

"Hello." Mumbled Sunset in response. Her own face was hidden by a checkered half-mask.

"I'm Flechette."

"My curator told me not to give my real name."

"This is not my real name either." She giggled.

"I don't have an alias yet. The curator said that they will come up with an alias for me later."

The door opened and a young male in a white suit with purple patterns entered the room.

"Oh, hello, Quasar."

"Sup. Who is new girl?"

"She don't have a name yet."

"Huh. So, the New Girl, for now. I hope it does not offend you?" He asked Sunset.

"No it's okay."

"Well, where are the other two?" He asked the young female.

"Ursa went to find them."

"Momma-bear is back in business, it seems."

The door slammed shut behind them, forcing them to turn around sharply.

"Momma-bear will definitely teach her cubs how to call their elders appropriately." Growled Ursa Aurora coming into the room.

"Someone got caught." Laughed one of the young males who came with her.

"Okay, enough! Attention everyone, we have a newbie today. PR has not yet chosen a name for her, so I just suggest that you greet each other with real names. She is now one of us, and there is no danger for your secret identities. Well, let's start with a new girl. Please take off your mask and introduce yourself."

"Uhm, hello. I'm Sunset Shimmer." Sunset said, pulling the mask off her face.

"Hey, you said she doesn't have an alias yet." Shouted tallest one of the newcomers.

"Thats her real name, you dumbass." Retorted a young female.

"Who the hell in their right mind would name someone like that?!"

"Shut up, peabrain! Hey, Sunset, I'm Lily Yukimura, I hope that we will become good friends!"

"Stephen White." Smiled a young blond male who she already knew was Quasar.

"Names Tony Hall, better known as, The Onyx!" Boasted dark skinned youngster dressed in blocky black and gold polished costume.

"Hex, or James Rodriguez when I'm out of a mask." Saluted olive colored lanky male dressed in wizard robes.

"Well, since everyone introduced themselves, I will introduce myself too." Ursa Aurora unstrapped her glossy bear mask revealing a dark skinned female with faint lines of scars on her face. "Sunset, you already know me as Ursa Aurora, but when we are in a safe place, you can call me Marsha Davis."

[ Today is Friday, October 24, 2008

New colleagues are a bit annoying. But they seem to be nice. They try to make friends with me, but I don't know them well enough yet.

I also learned a little about the world in which I found myself. Locals call themselves "human", which pronounced as "hue-man", weird name for the species. They call the colts "boy", and fillies "girls", the adults they call "man" and "woman", respectively, which is even weirder, because it is like calling a stallion "pony" and a mare "wopony".

And they all think that I'm local, and that Midnight is not real, but my conjured projection, because they said that he is too smart, and there are no such intelligent animals. When I told my colleagues that he was magical, they laughed and said that magic does not exist. I decided not to voice my opinion about it until I got to know everything better.

Today they are going to test my abilities. But I didn't tell them that this is magic, in order to avoid misunderstandings. Everything magical they call powers, and those who have Special Talents they call Capes. As it turned out, only some of the locals in this world have Special Talents. They hide their faces under masks and don't tell anyone their real names. ]

"Good day, miss, hmm, it seems that your name wasn't specified in the papers. They haven't come up with a name for you yet?" Asked a short bald man in a white coat.

"No, my curator said that they would do it on Monday."

"It's okay, not for first time. So let's see what you can do." He flipped through the pages in the file. "Hmm, a grab-bag cape, and a powerful one. Unusual. You are like our own little Eidolon?"


"Not interested in capes, I see. He is one of the most diverse and powerful capes in the world."


"Well, lets begin. Please step onto the stage and use your fire powers on these dummies."

"But they will melt."

"It's fine, they are here exactly for this purpose."

"Okay." Sunset shrugged and cast a fireball into the dummy, setting it on fire.

"Is this your most powerful blast?"

"Uhm, no?"

"Then please use your power at the maximum, we need to determine your limits."

"But wouldn't that be dangerous?"

"Do not worry, this test chamber is designed to withstand anything you can throw at it."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, and please proceed, we don't have all day."


There was an explosion that shook the entire building, causing the fire alarm to went off over the building.

"Well, I didn't expect that." Muttered singed bald man covered in soot.

[ Today is Monday, October 27, 2008

My power testing went wrong, and I was forced to repeat it after they fixed the damage. And Midnight was very unhappy because he was splashed with water from the sprinklers. The boss summoned me to his office and was mean as ever, but my curator said that nothing was my fault. She is very nice.

Midnight continues to disappear from time to time, and no one seems to know where he is going. I plan to tail him to find out.

And for today scheduled a meeting with someone named Glenn Chambers and my colleagues for some reason began to giggle when I told them about it. ]

When Sunset entered the room, there was already a obese man dressed in very shabby clothes with the most outrageous mane style she had ever seen, she even thought he was Zebrican.

"Ah, finally, hello, please come in." He greeted her.


"I'm Glenn Chambers, head of PR department of the PRT. I will be the one who has the final decision on the choice of your heroic appearance."

"You mean my costume?"

"The costume, the image, your public speeches and promotional materials."

"Speeches? I will need to make speeches?"

"But of course! You are a hero, you must inspire, motivate. Your whole self should promote the goodwill of the PRT."

"But what if I don't want to be in public and make speeches?"

"You of course do not have to interact with the crowd, but you still need to know what and how you can say and what not. And to be a Ward means that you will still meet people, and your circumstances make it much easier for us to make masses like you."

"What is so special about me?" Sunset is slightly tensed.

"Well, you are a young red-haired girl with a gentle personality, which already gives you a lot of positive reaction from the projected age group, you have powers that let you heal, and healers always liked by the general audience, and you have a semi-autonomous cat projection that will make you quite popular with every animal lover."

"He isn't a projection." She silently mumbled.

"The only issue is your fire powers, because people always wary of an open flame, but even this we can easily turn in our favor. But first we had to make some changes to your appearance.."

[ Today is Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It was nearly month already as I come to this world. And with everything I was forced to deal I didn't even had much time to make new entries in my diary. The training regime and coaching from PR people left me so exhausted that I was only able to crawl on my bed and immediately fall asleep.

The day after tomorrow will be the day when they introduce me to the public for the first time. They have already chosen a costume and name for me. But they made me dye my mane a uniform color, saying that it would be easier to hide my secret identity. And that would be safer for me.

I'm a little afraid, and not very comfortable with all these speeches and presentations, but I think I can handle it.

I also managed to find out where Midnight disappears. It turned out that he had found his way to the common messroom and now spends most of his time there, closer to the kitchen. I always knew that he was a glutton, but did not think that he would exchange my company for a bowl of food.

And I'm slowly learning the local alphabet, and maybe soon I will be able to read their books.

I miss my home, Cadence and Princess Celestia very much. I want to go home. ]

[ ... today we proudly present our newest hero to you. She is the flame of life. She is like the very power of nature. A Soul-warming impulse. A Lady of the Restoration. The Magnificent priestess of the Sun. THE PHOENIX! ]

Loudly announced the host of the show and a girl in a red and gold tight-fitting costume with two-colored sun ornaments in a flash of flame appeared on the scene. Making the audience applaud loudly.

[ I bring you the Light of purification from Darkness. I will Cure this world from the wounds of Despair. And those who want the New Dawn of Hope say with me - Praise the Sun! ]

She shouted in inspiring tone, appealing to the public.

[ Praise the Sun! Praise the Sun! Praise the Sun! ]

The audience echoed her aloud.

[ Thank you, thank you everyone for your support! ]

Smiling young heroine sincerely thanked the people gathered in the concert hall.

[ Thank you for supporting our newest Ward. ]

Announcer seized the opportunity, gazing around the crowd.

[ But that isn't all. Our heroine is not alone, she has a faithful companion. He who follows her everywhere, shielding her from the dangers. He who covers her from harm. The Midnight Shield! ]

The enormously large cat appeared on the scene and sat down to the left of the heroine, looking around the audience indifferently.

[ He is personal pet and close friend of our heroine, who will help her fight the evil of this city. He is smart as a dog. ]

At which cat visibly scowled at host of the show.

[ And specially trained to assist her on patrols... ]

And somewhere in Boston, the eyes glittered behind a mouse themed half-mask and a smile crawled on the face of the watcher of the TV show.

Chapter 10. The Sun Also Rises

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Chapter 10. The Sun Also Rises

"When I was young, the street taught me that if you cannot avoid a fight, then you must hit first. And the threat of attacks by gangs of supervillains in Brockton Bay, from our previous actions, became neither more nor less, it still exists." Pointed out Emily. "And they believe that if they can do something, then we cannot do the same. I can not agree with that. And I'm definitely not going to ask them for consent."

The murmur of mumblings came from the audience.

"We are the authorities here! This is our home! And we are not going to give it to anyone!" She loudly exclaimed. "Neither to the feudalistic racists, nor to the Nazis, and especially not to the drug addicts and other armed bandits."

A wave of consonant nods passed through the rows of seats.

"And while I'm still alive, while we still have the strength to fight, we will crush these bastards wherever we find them - on the streets, in their dens, even in shithouses." Emily's voice roared. "Where we find them, there we will beat the crap out of them."

From the crowd came the cheering and whistling of approval.

"And if they think they can sit under the cover of their mythical 'Truce', using the promise to attend future Endbringer Battles. Then we tell them - you can wait for the battle while being locked up in jail!" Emily concluded her speech, for which she received many approving shouts from the PRT staff present at this meeting.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the new director of the PRT East-North-East - Emily Piggot." Announced Interim Acting Director Joseph Renick, walking up to the podium and shaking Piggot's hand.

Emily left the podium, making smooth steps with her mechanical semi-exoskeleton, and sat in the chair among the rest of the leadership of the PRT branch.

"And while I still serve as an Interim Director of the branch, I will report the remaining news." Said Renick. "The current annual quarter is coming closer for its end, and I once again remind you that you shouldn't delay the submission of reports and interdepartmental notes. Also, production departments shouldn't forget to submit requests for the necessary materials in a timely manner. Otherwise, we will not be able to include them in the budget for the next quarter. And regarding the preparation of the presentation of our youngest Ward, unfortunately, that was postponed for a time being, because Glenn Chambers somehow stumbled on his shoelaces and fell down the stairs, after the Phoenix presentation in New York, breaking his arms and hurting his neck. And we wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to work." He made a pause. "That's all for today, and everyone is free to go."

In following this Emily rose from her chair and went backstage. The people in the conference room were already actively leaving, and so she could already calmly take a breath while mentally reviewing her speech in her head.

"It was an inspirational speech." Came a very familiar voice from behind her.

"I just expressed my personal feelings and aspirations. Nothing more."

"And I always knew that these were not empty words for you." Emily turned toward Miss Militia, who was standing here in her civilian attire.

"I prefer to carry out the threats and fulfill the promises when I made them." With mock seriousness said Emily. "Hello, Hana. Long time no see."

"Fourteen years, to be exact. And it's Hannah now." Welcomely smiled dusk skinned woman. "I changed it to a more suitable one."

"The fourteen years after my deploy to Albania. You were a very combative teenager."

"And you were the only one who didn't see our militia as threat to everyone around, and who helped us from the kindness of the her soul. The only one who decided to save us, save me."

"War is not a place for children, even for such children as you were. And I still feel myself guilty for not being hasty enough and not arriving on time. That I didn't save your sister."

"This was not your fault, I have never blamed you. Tirek had too many warriors with him and she sacrificed herself defending everyone until the last moment, letting us survive while help was on its way." Hannah came closer and the two women embraced each other curtly.

"So how are you doing?"

"Not bad at all, nightmares almost stopped to torture me, especially when I practically don’t need to sleep anymore. Just the work is slightly restless. And how are you? Sorry about your legs."

"It's fine. New exoskeleton from Dragon work as good as my own legs. And all expenses were covered by the PRT. I was lucky to survive, and I have already accepted the rest. So do not worry, I can handle new work."

"And I look forward to working with you again, auntie Piggy." Smiled Hannah.

"Call me Miss Piggot, while we are at work, Hana. And I, too, will be glad to work with you again, my little Moon." Emily went to motherly embrace Hannah again.

It's been two and a half months since Sunset and Seth were trapped in this world, but none of them come close to solving the problem of returning home. Sunset was busy training in the Wards, and Seth just wasted time while hearing a lot of useless little things, and secretly learned the local alphabet. He still could not read the local books, but he learned that the locals stores information not only in them, but also in devices that they call 'computers'. What promised to be much more interesting than reading hundreds and hundreds of books in search of bits of useful information.

Well, for Sunset, everything has just begun. Because the PRT management decided that no matter what, she should attend school like any other children. And even the fact that she can neither read nor write, didn't change their opinion even for one iota. They only suggested that she should additionally receive language lessons from a personal tutor. And so she was enrolled in the same school as the rest of her Wards peers - West New York Middle School. It was certainly far from the Protectorate building, but it was still considered the most safe and suitable for co-education of younger Wards.

And so, on a beautiful January morning, Sunset in Lily’s company appeared on the doorstep of a red brick school building.

"Do not just stand on the way, you will prevent others from passing." Called her Lily.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I just..."

"Come on, we still need to get to class." And grabbing Sunset by the hand Lily dragged her through the corridors.

From the first couple of lessons, Sunset especially liked History. They told about one of the former political leaders of this realm and his influence on the development of freedoms in this world. It reminded her of the story of Chancellor Puddinghead, who was one of the founders of Equestria. But with the English lesson everything turned out differently. She couldn't understand anything written on the blackboard and so she didn't write anything in the notebook herself, which attracted the attention of the teacher.

"Miss Shimmer, I assume?" The teacher spoke to her. "May I ask why you don't write anything?"

"I'm sorry, but I don't know your language." Sunset mumbled in response.

"You do not know our language?" Surprised teacher. "We right now talking in this language!"

"I just..."

"You what?"

"She just returned from Russia and has hadn't time to learn English well enough." Lily suddenly exclaimed, trying to help her friend.

"And so, you say that she arrived from Russia and doesn't yet know the language?" Repeated skeptical teacher. "Well, maybe then she can say something in Russian? To dispel some of our distrust."

"In Russian?" In an uncertain voice said Sunset and Lily understood that she had created more trouble for her friend.

"Yes, in Russian, well, you know, in the language of the country of frost, forests and bears. The country from which you allegedly arrived."

At that moment, images of frozen hills and plains, and forests with snow-covered trees of the lands of Yakistan swept through the head of Sunset, where she and her teacher spent three months when Sunset accompanied her during important negotiations between Yaks and Equestria. And Sunset has always had some kind of absolutely incredible predisposition to learning the colloquial form of new languages. In just a month and a half, she learned the language of Yaks at a sufficient level so that in conversation she could not be distinguished from the locals. And hoping for her luck, Sunset decided to try.

"Uhm. Ya dazhe ne znayu chto skazat. Ya vse yeshche plokho znayu vash alfavit, i poetomu ne mogu nichego zapisyvat." *

(* I don't even know what to say. I still don't know your alphabet well, and that's why I didn't write anything. )

"Huh. This is definitely Russian. My college roommate was an immigrant from Russia and I remembered the language well." Astonished teacher said. "I have to admit that I was wrong, and I ask you, Miss Shimmer, for forgiveness for my tactlessness."

"No harm." Tensely smiled Sunset.

After the lesson, Lily intercepted her at the exit from the classroom and took her to the side.

"You never said you know Russian." Lily accused her.

"Then why did you tell her that I am from Russia?"

"Oh, sorry, I just wanted to help you, and it was the first thing that came into my head." Apologized Lily. "I thought she would drop the matter."

"Yet she didn't."

"Sorry. So you know Russian? That's cool!"

"Well, I know several languages..."

"You know more? Tell me!"

"Um, well, Prench too..." Mumbled Sunset.

"French? You know French?! This is so not fair! It will be so easy for you in a foreign language class."

Looking at the excessive enthusiasm of her colleague, Sunset decided to keep silent about her knowledge of the Neiponese and Griffonian languages. The rest of the lessons passed uneventfully.

Hanging out in the messroom hiding under the disguise of hunger was one of Seth's brilliant ideas. Wherever, during lunch, people like to discuss all personal and business matters. Sometimes discussing secret things or covering politics, world order, society and even history in conversations. And you can learn a lot of useful things just by listening to such conversations. Especially when visitors to the messroom stopped paying attention to the huge cat.

Thus, in three months, without having heard a word about Goa'uld, he came to the conclusion that they had not been on this planet for a long time, or had completely disappeared altogether. Also, he did not hear at all any mention of their heritage or contacts with other planets, either through interplanetary contacts, or through any portal.

No, he certainly managed to find out that this world somehow has a connection with a copy of this world from a parallel reality, which they call Earth Aleph, but this was not at all like the typical case of Stargate, but even this option was under total control of the local governments, and trying to get into a highly classified facility would hardly be successful even with the help of Sunset.

But what worried him was the absence of any rumors, not only about interplanetary flights, but about space exploration too. No one mentioned the presence of the space fleet, whether commercial or military. Nobody talked about colonies on other planets, or on asteroids and moons. But at the same time, he clearly remembered his own trip on a typical space shuttle from the place of their arrival to the hospital. Something was wrong here.

But the most important thing is that he managed to find out what planet they were on. And quite by accident, and not even from Tau'ri’s conversations at lunch in the messroom. In the hall on one of the walls was a hanging news panel, like the ones that were in the hospital, which locals call TVs. And on TV there was a program about some famous places in the world. And one of them was about a country called Egypt, which is located on the edge of the desert, and which is known to all this world for its ancient architectural artifacts.

Those were the bucking pyramids of Goa'uld! And not some random ones, but the very ones that were built in the First World. He still remembered their exact location to each other and the structures that surrounded them. It was definitely them. He could swear to it. The only thing that surprised him was the condition in which they were. All these expensive decorative cladding and ornaments were missing, exposing the facets of the supporting limestone blocks. And everything around was quite swallowed up by sand dunes, so much so that neither the entrances to the pyramids, nor the once high-quality roads that led to them could be seen.

As if they were robbed and abandoned for a very very long time. Although it probably did, the Tau'ri were quite furious at the Goa'ulds. But why then no one mentions this, and the voice from the screen speaks as if they are completely unaware of what actually happened then? Have there been records and information since those times? Where are all this artifacts, weapons, armor, equipment and spaceships? Where are the Stargate? What the buck happened?!

February was already here and Sunset was preparing for her first patrol to the big city, having spent more than three months in constant trainings and briefings for this exact moment. And now she and her four companions are sent together on their own patrol, remaining under the constant supervision of Ursa Aurora. They will walk along the central streets of New York, providing visual support to the population, signing autographs and making photos with fans, and if necessary, counteracting the crime as far as their protocol allows.

The Youth Guard does not allow them to go personally to serious crime sites, or to engage in clashes with supervillains, forcing the Wards to leave the dangerous area as quickly as possible, while forwarding the event to the console. And Ursa Aurora will not allow them to be in danger, if necessary, covering them with her bears projections.

Sunset didn't really want to go on foot patrol, preferring to sit on the console as a dispatcher. Because she didn't seek fights with the villains or desired to catch a criminal, she didn't have such a craving for adventure, her presence in this world was already a big adventure. And Seth, too, was not particularly eager to leave the comfort of the Protectorate living rooms, but he also had to follow Sunset, since he himself had undertaken to protect her from the dangers, or at least until they returned home.

Being among the crowd, meeting with fans, wandering around the unfamiliar streets of a huge city, surrounded by alien creatures, was pretty hard for Sunset. But she held on, encouraging herself that it was all temporary until she found a way to return home, and that it was the inevitable side of her new job. She in every way portrayed herself to be friendly and polite, greeting people, helping the elderly cross the street, taking pictures with random passersby and giving pre-memorized answers to interviews.

They even caught some petty thief who pulled a handbag from an old lady and found a lost puppy for a crying girl next to the cafeteria. Then they visited the elementary school where they told the kids about how to walk across the street and what they need to avoid strangers who approach them. In the end, they stopped by a party at a music school and even performed a small improvised number on stage, and Sunset suddenly realized that she really enjoyed playing the guitar and singing. So when she returned back to the Protectorate tower, she decided that she would definitely join the music club in her new school.

Sunset thought that the day was not in vain, and that her new work, in spite of its excessive publicity, suits her completely, she also found a hobby for herself and even managed to help someone. And with these happy thoughts, she made another entry in her diary and went to bed.

Chapter 11. Of Mice and Cat

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Chapter 11. Of Mice and Cat

This morning, Seth woke up with a bad feeling and subliminal sense of dread. For quite a long time he lay on his couch with his eyes open trying to understand where this feeling could come from, but he did not come to a definitive conclusion. There were no active signs of trouble. Later that day, he greatly regretted that he didn't listen to his subconscious and didn't stayed on the coach.

"Put your hands in the air. This is StROBbery!" Sunset heard a shout coming from the store by which she and her partners had just passed.

"This moron again." With annoyed tone groaned Flechette.

"I thought he was still in the cell." Quasar wondered aloud. "How did he get out again?"

"We have already caught him two times this week, I already tired of him and his idiocy." Irritably exclaimed Sunset.

"Are you sure we can't just ignore him?" Whined Flechette massaging her nose bridge. "Why should we catch him again? Maybe we'll just walk away, and then we will report to the console and let them send Hex and Onyx to arrest him?"

"Unfortunately, Momma-bear will be very unhappy, and when she is unhappy, the load in the gym only grows." Concluded Quasar, and others just sighed. "Let's do it quickly and go to the Stardew Mall to distribute autographs."

"Hey, where did that cat go?"

"Midnight was smarter than us, and ran in advance."


"You say so only because you could not escape yourself."

"The point still stands."

"Let's just go." Sunset said in defeat.

And the trio of young heroes, without much enthusiasm, went back to the store from which came threats and shouts. And their reluctance could even be understood. Since the criminal who disturbed the rest of this particular store was none other than...

"Remember this day forever! The day you were robbed by Strawberry Robber!" Laughed a villain, dressed in giant strawberry costume and armed with a big red paintball marker.

Once upon a time, his name was Arthur Wilkat, he was a migrant from Eastern Europe and an aspiring actor on Broadway, but unfortunately his passion for alcohol and bad literature led his career to an early end and forced him to look for a job as a mascot for a chain of stores selling berries. The work that was supposed to be temporary very quickly became permanent and the former actor spent eleven years in the costume of a giant strawberry.

His passion for alcohol and bad literature about the mythical revenge of his imaginary heroic Baltic country over the imperfections of the world seriously shaken his already unstable psyche. And when a random drug addict tried to rob him, his mind failed, and he, after beating the unfortunate robber to a pulp, took his knife and, with a newfound goal, went to rob the store himself.

You can of course ask why the PRT is involved in this business when it is obvious that this is a job for the NYPD, then the answer is pretty simple - being the first time behind bars our crazy ex-mascot got into trouble with one of the Irish gangs here, who immediately decided to beat the crap out of him, which caused him to trigger, and he got some super powers. Minor, and not very strong, but quite annoying.

He began to call himself Strawberry Robber and made blasters for himself from paintball markers that could almost endlessly shoot juicy strawberries. It is not particularly dangerous, but when the flow of large strawberries flies at you at the speed of a machine-gun burst, then even the police will find it difficult to contain. Especially if the villain himself has a quick regeneration, and can smash through a brick walls with his fists.

Unfortunately for the villain himself, gaining super power had a negative effect on the former actor’s own mental faculties. And after his next escape he wasn't able to think anything smarter than to make himself a new weapon, and go rob the first store on his way.

And, apparently, this week a trio of young heroes have already managed to arrest him twice, but he continues to escape from imprisonment in some unknown way. Although among some other teams of New York Wards there was already a thought that the police might let him escape because they, too, cannot tolerate his antics for too long.

But again, our heroes have to make his latest arrest right away.

"As if we let you get away with it!" Shouted trio of youngest Wards. "Give up! You're under arrest!"

"Ah! Our little wardens finally arrived!" Delighted the robber. "You still cant understand that I am unstoppable? Then taste the STRAWBERRY!"

He threw bags of loot on the floor and started shooting his blasters at the trio of Wards almost immediately drenching Sunset with strawberry mousse.

"Ewww. What is this thing?" Repulsively asked Sunset.

"Hm, tastes like strawberry mousse." Replied Quasar after dripping his finger into substance and taking a lick. "Looks like he improved his weapon."

"Bweh! Why did you licked that?!" Shouted Flechette. "It could be anything! Even poison!"

"Oh well, my bad."

"Your end is near!" Strawberry Robber shouted again and threw something round at Wards.

"Watch out!" Cried Sunset but it was already too late.

Throwed object flew at them, and then exploded, pouring everything around with thick foam of strawberry cream. No one left unscathed, or more likely uncreamed. And while our heroes were trying to get out of the store filled with cream, under the laughter of the villain, Sunset said:

"Not like it could get any worse."

It could. Because suddenly a criminal who was trying to escape from the crime scene was tied up with a bolo-wrap and fell to the ground.

"Surprise! You can't get away from justice miscreant!" Shouted mysterious figure bathed in light of setting sun. "Never fear citizens, because your friendly neighbor Mouse Protector is already here!"

And then the figure jumped off the roof, she appeared as a woman in a dark blue suit and a purple robe with a half mask in the shape of a mouse face, and a fake mouse ears on her head, with a round shield on her left hand and a short sword in her right.

"Who the hay is this?" Exclaimed still stained in cream Sunset.

"That's Mouse Protector, she is rogue hero." Answered Quasar.

"Oh-ho! I'd never felt joy like that before! I met someone who still does not know me!" Happily shouted Mouse Protector turning to Sunset and doing fast clapping gesture. "Isn't this exciting? Are you excited because I'm excited I've never been so excited, well, except for the time that I saw you three walking into this shop and I gasped because I knew that you would need my help! Who could top that?"

"Excited?" Surprised Sunset. "I just didn't know about you."

"And I don't wanna even comment that." Grumpily retorted Flechette.

"Bzzzt! We've got ourselves non-believers!"


"But of course! You doesn't seem to believe in Happiness and Laugh!" Nodded Mouse Protector.

"But we like to laugh and joke sometimes too."

"And I here can say that you don't Smile!" Pointed to this fact mouse themed hero. "It seems my goal for today will be to make you smile. And I will make everything to brighten up your day!"


"Surely!" Chipped heroine. "And seeing you so fluffy and pink with cream for some reason I think of unicorns and a rainbows."

"Unicorns?" Stiffened Sunset.

"Yes, like those pink fluffy unicorns who dancing on a rainbows from that very pestilent song."


"This is all great, of course, but we urgently need to return to the protectorate tower in order to change." Interjected Flechette. "We still have to sign autographs at the presentation of a new line of Wards toys in the mall."

"Oh, right, we gotta go."

"Oh my gosh. Hold on to your hooves – I am just about to help you!" Suddenly exclaimed Mouse Protector.


She grabbed their hands and all of them disappeared together in a flash of light momentarily arriving to security level of the Protectorate tower right in front of a guards, with bolo-bound criminal at their feet.

"What the..." Startled a guard, but seeing drenched Wards in company of famous rogue hero he immediately calmed down. "Mouse Protector." He stated.

"The one and only!"

"Great, and here I though that day would be dull."

"We should never be bored, because there is so many things that can make out lives happier!"

"Like what?" Grunted another guards.

"Stop you idiot! Don't say that!" Other guards tried to prevent the inevitable.

"Laughter! Joy! Partying and Dancing! And of course singing the sound of our souls!" Happily chirped Mouse Protector. "Everything is for a Smile! 'Cause I love to Smile! And everyone must Smile! It fills our hearts with sunshine ans rainbows!"

"Oh, gods..." Recoiled a guard.

"You brought it on yourself!" Only to be blamed by others.

And while Mouse Protector enthusiastically told the unfortunate guard about the charms and wonders of smiles and joy, a trio of young heroes hurried off to their floor.

Freshly bathed and dressed in clean costumes, our trio of Wards found themselves in front of the eyes of their curator Ursa Aurora. Who was not particularly happy with their public failure and the fact that the villain almost managed to escape.

"I never thought that some loser could defeat three Wards." Berated them Ursa. "Am I too quick to let you go on your own patrol?"

"No, It's just we..." Started Stephen.

"We are sorry." Interrupted him Sunset. "He was too annoying and we didn’t think much about our steps in advance."

"And now the whole store is filled with strawberry cream, and its owners are demanding compensation from us."

"We did not know that he modified his weapon."

"And you should always think about this possibility in advance, even if your opponent is a complete idiot."

"We will try to prevent this from happening again."

"Please do, because I do not want to hear discontent from bosses because of your mishap."

"Now, now, Marsha, do not be so harsh to the kids, they have not yet gained enough experience." Exclaimed Mouse Protector suddenly appearing in the middle of Wards common room.

"And you even brought her with you..." Mumbled Ursa.

"Don't be so gloomy, Teddy-bear, they are so adorable, like we were." Beamed mouse themed heroine. "I still think that the glitter on the Alexandria costume were a great prank."

"I was the one who was forced to wear glitter on MY costume for months!" Grunted Ursa. "So what are you even doing here?"

"I could not pass by so sweet and brave young heroes! They needed my help and I gladly provided it!"

"And then you decided to come here and annoy me?"

"Of course not, Silly, I came to meet them personally!" She said taking of her mouse mask and hood revealing a blonde woman with smiling violet eyes. "And with their cat too! So where is he?"

"He with Tony and James are already at the Stardew Mall, presenting a new line of Wards figurines from Hasbro."

"So no big kitty here? Thats awful! I was misdirected! Well, we should look at the bright side! I still had young Wards to befriend! Come to me kids! Auntie Mouse wants to make friends with you!"

"Oh gods." Groaned Ursa again.

"At least I hope that this traitor cat suffers among all this crowd of fans." Uttered Stephen.

"Yes! Yes! Praise me more!" Internally shouted out an overly pleased Seth, addressing the crowd of fans who surrounded his table.

"So whats her name?" Stephen asked his curator. "Looks like you know each other from before."

"It's Surprise!" Shouted Mouse Protector from another side of the room while talking with girls.

"Me, along with her and the rest were among the first set of Wards. The Inaugural Ward team."

"And she was always like that?"

"Now she is much more humble and calmer than in her youth." Reluctantly admitted Ursa.

"Still, whats her name?" Asked again Stephen.

To which Ursa only grumbled something inarticulate, and throwing her hands into air, she left the common room without saying a word.

Seth subconsciously felt that the day could not be so beautiful without something that would surely destroy this whole wonderful moment. And his moment of glory, bathing in the rays of the fans love, scratching and stroking which he received from them, had to be interrupted at the most pleasant moment. Because of some weirdo woman in the costume of a giant mouse with a sword and shield.

"Rejoice people of New York! Mouse Protector is here and ready to confront her Eternal Rival - The Midnight Shield!" Shouted individual.

"So cool! It's Mouse Protector!" Exclaimed some fan.

"Is it some planned event?" Asked another.

"This will be the best presentation in the world!" Shouted a fat boy in superhero themed shirt.

The troublemaker herself, without losing a single moment, immediately jumped toward him then, for a moment, hugged him like a plush toy, and then tried to lift him off the table with her hands. Without much success, since with his size, Seth also had a corresponding weight.

"Aren't you a fat one? I thought that my Eternal Rival should be more athletic and fit!" She chuckled. "But do not worry! Mouse Protector will definitely help you get back in shape!"

But Seth had other plans for that. And as soon as she was distracted by the fans for a second, he rushed with all possible speed into the deeps of the mall, widening the distance between them. But just as he ran into an empty room, a familiar voice came from his behind.

"Ufufu! You know what this calls for? A contest!" She giggled. "Like we swap roles! The cat became a mouse, and the mouse became a cat! It's a classic comedy!"

Yet, Seth was not going to sit in one place and listen to her further. Being close to this freak was dangerous, which means he should run away as fast as possible.

The pursuit of this cat bring a joy for Mouse Protector. He was not the stupid animal he was trying to appear. He constantly set up traps, secretly changed directions, closed the doors behind him and hid among the plush toys in the children's section. He even used his powers to avert her eyes. But he was not destined to escape. Not from her. Because she had a secret.

If she touched you at least once, then you will not be able to hide from her nowhere and never. She will always know where you are and can always, if not catch up, then teleport directly to you. And no one ever escapes from Mouse Protector!

"Halt! My destined Eternal Rival! There is no escape!" She shouted in pursuit of him. "Hmm. Does my persistence in pursuing you make me a crazy cat lady? Well, I always let my imagination run away from me! But I will not let you do the same!"

Seth was beginning to get tired of this chase. His paws were buzzing from the strain, and his breath went astray. Besides, he could not understand how did this crazy psycho constantly finds him. Even the casting of the repelling charm did not save from her for long. It was as if she smelled him, but he definitely included the smell in the params of veiling spell.

And now he was hiding in a garbage container on a backstreet among packets with different trash and pondered the situation. She found him all the time, without even seeing him with her own eyes. She managed to catch up with him when he jumped down two floors. And even caught up with him when he ran through the long rows of clothes. As if she felt where he is.

But this was possible only if... He quickly looked at himself from all sides, and nowhere on him he could see any marks. But the mark was supposed to be here. And if he does not see the mark, it means that it is invisible. So he had to check the last likely possibility. And he opened his inner magic gaze and looked at his body again, and then at the edge of his vision he noticed subtle energy marks on the surface of his pelt. It must be it.

It was at this moment, something metallic hit the container in which he was hiding, and the container began to slowly rise into the air. Seth looked out from his cover and saw that a big gray vehicle pulled up and hooked container with metal claw, lifting it above itself. He realized that he didn’t have much time to think, and so he magically transferred the marks from his pelt to the nearest garbage bag and then he jumped out of the container and ran back to the mall.

Mouse Protector appeared inside some cramped dark and very smelly place. It was full of bags of trash and other stuff. But the marks showed that the cat is hiding somewhere among these bags, and so she had to find him.

"Kitty-kitty! Come out! You can't hide from me! How about, hmm, some tuna?"

But the cat didn't answer and so she had to turn over all the bags herself.

This crazy pursuer did not appear until the very end of the presentation and the distribution of autographs, and Seth even though that she was finally lost or decided to leave him alone. Unfortunately it isn't. And when all the fans had already dispersed, and the young Wards and Seth were about to leave, the doors to the presentation hall opened and Mouse Protector appeared between them.

Her costume was very dirty, her left eye was twitching, and the appearance itself did not promise anything good. She took a few stomping steps forward, and then holding out her index finger in his direction, uttered loudly:

"No one has ever managed to get away from Mouse Protector! But you, you somehow played me. And you know what that means?"

Swallowing loudly, Seth shook his head.

"This means that you confirmed your destiny to be my Eternal Rival!" She happily exclaimed. "Finally! A worthy opponent! Our battle will be legendary!"

She roared raising the clenched fist of the right hand to the ceiling. And at this very moment, Seth realized that he had met with a real monster.

Somewhere in the depths of the night, in the abandoned part of the docks, a figure dressed in samurai armor fought with a group of wild-looking people, who like barbarians were dressed in costumes made of bones and pieces of metal. Their leader laughed happily and loudly, announcing to the whole district in his deeply maddened voice.

The girl in samurai armor struggled with the superior forces of the enemy, but they more and more pinched her into a corner. And being in despair, she snatched the last arrow from the quiver and shot their leader in the face. He fell off the back of his decorated with skulls, bones and banners ATV and crashed to the ground unmoving.

For a moment, she thought that she had finally won, that at last everything was over, but then dozens of voices were heard in her head, and her mind sank into madness.

Chapter 12. Tranquility

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Chapter 12. Tranquility

You know, I never thought that I could meet such an annoying person as this brainless idiot in a mouse costume. She is so intrusive and does not know when it is time to stop. I honestly endured a few days. Her sudden appearances, pranks over others and me, her motormouth, which does not close for a minute, her following us on patrols, promotions and speeches. I finally got sick of it. I couldn't take it anymore. And I did the only possible thing to avoid meeting her - I changed my schedule.

You are probably wondering how a change of schedule can save you from an annoying guest? It's pretty simple. You see, sleep time is sacred for any sapient being, and if someone does not want to ruin relations with you completely, then they will not disturb you during sleep. So now I sleep only during the day, and I dedicate the night completely to a much more useful pastime.

Night is the time when most of Tau'ri are asleep. Their waking cycle revolves around the day, while cats, which I belong to, are nocturnal animals. So at night we are much more active and effective. Well, also, at night, I’m much less supervised by both the heroes living here, the guards and the rest of the Protectorate. Which greatly facilitated my search for information about the world and the study of the necessary knowledge.

And first of all, after a thorough study of local grammar, I sat down to study more advanced methods of obtaining information than books — computers and information networks. It may seem difficult for a cat to master a laptop, because the paws do not have the same dexterity as human hands, but I found a slightly simpler way to control typing - I enchanted the keyboard, like ponies do with typewriters, and now I just need to think about the necessary text, and the keyboard will type text itself.

At nightfall, when everyone is asleep, I got the Sunset laptop for my personal disposal and discovered all the delights of unlimited access to information from around the world. With all its advantages and drawbacks. I tell you, these Tau'ri are too obsessed with the procreation process. Well, at least they love cats. It is easier to search for information on this Internet than going through many books in library, and no one on the Internet will know that I am a cat, and ask uncomfortable questions.

And you know, I suddenly realized that I was ready to kiss those Tau'ri who forced me to flee from this planet five thousand years ago. Because despite all their savagery and non-progressiveness, ponies have never been so cruel to each other as the natives of this world. These Tau'ri surpassed by cruelty tens of thousands of years of Goa'uld's conquests. A sheer amount of civilians methodically destroyed and senseless barbarism towards the enemy astonished me, we didn't do this even when we captured entire worlds.

Goa'ulds enslaved the population of the defeated planets. Deprived them of all their rights and freedoms, turned them into slavery. But they never culled civilians like brainless cattle. And so I made a promise to prevent Tau'ri from appearing in Equestria by any means, even if I personally had to kill them. Because these monsters have no place in paradise.

They do not stop harming each other even when threatened with extinction, even when Endbringers kills entire cities and countries, even when gangs of bloodthirsty maniacs travel around the world to bring destruction and horror to everyone in their path. Even then, they do not stop and do not try to live in compromise and friendship. These Tau'ri are like a disease, like a plague, they should never be let out of this world. And perhaps the fact that Simurgh is a natural obstacle to their spread beyond the planet is a blessing in disguise. They are unworthy of the stars.

And their religions, have they completely lost any connection with common sense? They expelled us, Goa'ulds, from this planet, only to invent new religions with invisible cruel gods? Are they nuts?! At least ponies can see their goddess and her actions are quite real, and she will always hear their requests, but these Tau'ris are ready to worship someone who never answers their prayers. It's just plainly stupid.

Some of them even began to worship the Endbringers or people gifted with Special Talents. This is sounds so creepy, that I'm shudder at though what they will do if they met Celestia. The now extinct cult of the Solar Goddess would threaten to be reborn with a new force. And most likely it will be no less bloody than it was in the distant past.

And this even if you do not start talking about local supervillains. Merciless bastards do various atrocities and no one can stop them, all this authorities can do is slap their hands and give them a second chance. Although even Celestia would have put aside her friendliness and forgiveness long ago and would have killed these freaks with all her righteous fury. Well, or turned them into stone, or shoved them into the depths of Tartarus.

How they can allow these butchers from the Slaughterhouse Nine and Three Blasphemy to still roam the world, I just can not understand. Yes, they are strong and cruel, but it would be enough to declare a global gathering like a rally to fight Endbringers and kill them once and for all. But no, let's not touch them, because it is not legal and unfair.

I just don’t know if this world can disappoint me even more. I would never have thought that the years of Goa'uld rule was much more peaceful and sincere than the rest of the history of these people. I have even started to get the feeling that everything that happens in this world these Tau'ri deserve to the fullest. They doomed themselves to suffering and extinction, and even Endbringers will not greatly affect the final outcome.

This world is a death trap, from which I and Sunset need to get out urgently, but so far I haven't come close to finding some useful method or solution. It may be necessary to search the places of the former Goa'uld's outposts on the planet, there may be materials and parts to build our own Stargate, or even ships may remain, although leaving the planet on a starship when you have Simurgh was a very suicidal idea.

And the nearest outpost I knew was in the south of this continent. But how to get there, let alone find it among the jungle, I can't imagine. Yes, and Tau'ri will show an unhealthy interest in our searches, and I simply cannot allow them to get the Goa'uld's technology and weapons. This will be a galactic disaster. Plus, how do I explain to Sunset that we need to go there? And she will be angry to learn that I am not just a magic cat. Damn it!

Sunset still could not understand how they found themselves in such a hopeless situation. Only half an hour ago, she and her team peacefully patrolled Midland Beach, and now they are forced to hide from the Teeth gang on the water treatment plant. And in addition, they lost contact with the console, because the maniac in the samurai's armor destroyed their communicators with a few accurate archery shots.

"Admit it, you can't run away. Ha-ha-ha-ha." Crazy laughter of the villain resounded through the buildings. "Poor little heroes. Nothing you do is quite enough. Ain't that great?"

From the sound of her voice, everything inside Sunset shrank from horror, they had nowhere to run, and the help would be looking for them very far from this place. In addition, Hex and Quasar were seriously injured, and the whole complex was surrounded by thugs driving around on ATVs. Even if Onyx carries both wounded, they will lose their main striking force, and she alone with Lily will not be able to break through the crowd of enemies.

And Midnight, they lost him on the way to the complex. He covered them with his body from the Butcher’s shots, and got all the arrows meant for them, which pierced his body in several places and he remained lying breathless on the road at the checkpoint. He saved them, and she again left him to die. What a friend she is, if she left her comrade in danger. She felt tears streaming down her cheeks.

"Don't cry. We will definitely get out of here." Flechette tried to reassure her.

"I left him to die."

"We could not do anything about it, there are too many of them, and Quasar and Hex were injured."

"And what, we now also left them? And run ourselves away like rats?"

"Even if we take the fight, and kill most of the gang members, we still cannot stop the Butcher." Clarified Onyx.

"But we can try to cripple her."

"Yeah, and who will give us assurance that she will not die by chance, and then one of us will become the new Butcher?"

"But we have no other choice!" Sunset cried out loud.

And in response to her cry, a chaingun burst ran through the pipes above them, dropping trash and debris on their heads.

"Hey, Wards, you are mine! Ha-ha-ha." Hauntingly laughed crazed woman. "Come out, my little chickens, mommy's tired of waiting!"

Another bullets burst came near the hideout of young heroes, making them flinch and forcing them to run to the other side of the machinery, while the trails of bullets impacts followed them closely.

"You can run, but you can't hide, little heroes."

Sunset threw a fireballs at the support of catwalks destroying them and creating an obstacle on the Butcher way.

"Oh, chickens still had fight in them. What's the matter, kiddies, running scared from scare me?" She chuckled. "I love when my prey entertains me."

She shot a long burst from chaingun tearing pipes and supports apart, causing mayhem inside of a plant. The steam, dirty liquids and chemical vapor began to pour from destroyed pipelines on ground, creating clouds of unbreathable mist, nearly chocking Wards with cough.

"She forces us to fight her." Exclaimed Onyx.

"But we can't! If she accidentally dies, everything will get worse!"

"Then we must do everything possible to make her survive!"

"I will go." Said Sunset. "And you will cover me from here while looking after the guys."

"You can't! You are the strongest of us, and if she captures you, she will be unstoppable!" Pleaded Flechette.

"She won't. I promise you."

Sunset deftly jumped out of hiding, bounced off the fallen catwalk and landed in front of the Butcher.

"Oh. Little birdie came out to play." Grinned Butcher. "Come on, show me what you are capable of. Show me!"

"You attacked me and my comrades, you killed my friend. You won't get away with it."

"Really, and who will stop me? Maybe you?"

A crowd of gangsters began to gather around them, surrounding the Sunset and the Butcher and creating an improvised fighting ring.

"I am. And I will stop you no matter what." Sunset said in confidence.

"Mmm. Guys, looks like I will have a new body today. Young, beautiful, strong body. I will be invincible!" Butcher shouted to the crowd, responsively receiving joyous shouts and exclamations.

"Only over my dead body."

"Here you, birdie, are wrong. Because it will be over my dead body. Ha-ha-ha-ha." Butcher burst out laughing loudly.

She suddenly snatched a huge ax from the hands of one of the gangsters and slashed it into the place where Sunset had just stood. The latter, only by a miracle, managed to leap aside at the last moment and roll away from the second blow, sending in return a stream of superheated plasma. But the Butcher didn't stand in the way of the fiery jet, and in one huge leap jumped over Sunset and fire.

"Your fireworks won't scare me, bitch, you're too inexperienced to fight someone like me."

"Then how about this?"

Sunset telekinetically tore off a huge steaming vat from the bindings and threw it at the Butcher and the mob of thugs, scattering them all over the plant. But Butcher, knocked down by the vat, jumped on her feet, and snarling something inarticulate rushed toward Sunset swinging her ax. And Sunset had to use all her dexterity and skills gained in training so as not to get hit by Butcher’s mad blows.

One of the mobsters tried to attack her from behind, but fell pierced by a bolt from Flechette's crossbow. Sunset showed a thumbs up her partner and was immediately forced to hide behind a force shield from a terrible blow. And a shield immediately shattered, unable to withstand the force of impact. Sunset fell, and began to roll away from the slashing blows falling on her from above.

Butcher didn't stopped her onslaught, sending blow after blow, and dropping fragments of pillars and pipes on her, until Sunset managed to twist and kick Butcher in the stomach sending her flying out through the window. And rising to her feet Sunset jumped after the Butcher to the yard.

"You think it will be so simple, little bitch." Grunted Butcher spitting blood on the ground. "Take her!"

The young heroine did not even have time to realize anything when two pairs of strong hands grabbed her from the back and knocking out her legs forced her to the ground. She tried to resist, but these two huge thugs held her very tightly. But suddenly, to her right, there was a roar and an enormous black shiny mass, like a train, rushed at the gangsters holding her, knocking them down and starting to shower them with blows of giant fists.

"Onyx! Thank you!" Happily exclaimed Sunset.

"Anytime, Chika!" He kicked one criminal into the wall, and grabbing the second by the collar sent him to the first.

Butcher screamed furiously and with a blow of the ax butt threw Sunset to the side. Sunset tried to teleport to behind her back, but as if knowing where she would appear Butcher dealt another powerful blow to the body of the young heroine, knocking her breath out and making her fall on all fours. Onyx rushed to her to help, but a crowd of Butcher's underlings surrounded him and began to beat him with bats and hammers.

"I told you that you can't run away from me. Ha-ha-ha." Laughed Butcher and kicked Sunset into stomach with all her might, knocking her to the back. And then she began to kick her legs, arms and torso.

Sunset through the pain of the blows raining on her saw Onyx getting a strong blow with a hammer to the head and fell, and then a group of thugs pulled out of the building the beaten bodies of Flechette and her wounded comrades.

"Look what you made me do." Snapped Butcher. "Now I probably have to kill them."

"No. Please no. Don't do that!" Cried Sunset.

Butcher only laughed loudly, and then still madly grinning, with a force sharply stamped her foot on the right leg of Sunset, breaking it with a crunch, causing her to cry out full of pain.

"Here, only I decide what to do! And if you want your friends to survive, then you need to do one minor thing."

"What thing?" Shuddered Sunset.

"Oh, just kill me. With this knife here." And she threw a bloodied knife on the ground next to Sunset.

"Phoenix, no! You can't do this!" Shouted beaten Flechette, for which she received a kick in the stomach.

"But not that she had a choice, was she?" Grinned Butcher.

Even breathing was painful, and the slightest movement gave off a sharp pain throughout the body. Thoughts were confused, and vision was muddy. He bucked up big this time, he had to take them away towards the residential area, but for some reason led them towards the water treatment plant. And there they were trapped, without the possibility to escape through another exit.

Quasar and Hex were injured when the gangsters started shooting at them, and he himself was forced to jump on the path of flying arrows shot in the direction of the girls. He thought that such a primitive weapon would not be able to do much harm to his durable body. But something with these arrows was wrong, and they pierced through him, as if he were made of paper.

Bleeding, he rose on his paws, and overcoming the pain he went in the direction of shooting and screaming. And only thanks to his supernatural regeneration, he did not fall and did not lose consciousness. He tried to go slowly so as not to disturb the wounds much, carefully thinking through each step and avoiding trash and debris scattered around. But then he heard the cry of Sunset, full of pain and despair, and ignoring his own pain and injuries ran roaring from rage and hatred.

He must get here on time, he has no right to be late. He has no right to lose Sunset, he cannot afford to deprive Cadence of her best friend. He will not fail.

Sunset looked in horror at the bloody knife with which she was forced to stab this psychopath, but Butcher only madly smiled and was happy as a child, while preparing to die.

"Everything will end soon, little birdie, soon we will become one with you." Delightedly said Butcher.

"Phoenix, why did you do it?" Flechette muttered in fear. "You knew how it would end."

"I couldn't let her kill you."

"Oh, and you think that I won't do this after I get your body to myself?" Grinned mad woman.

"You won't. You promised!"

"And who will stop me? You? Welcome to hell, little birdie!"

Sunset screamed in despair, utterly horrified by the fate to which she doomed her comrades. Her mind grew dim, a crushing rumble began to grow in her ears, but suddenly she heard a roar full of fury and malice. And something of motley colors, studded with arrows and bleeding, flew over Sunset, knocking Butcher off her feet.

"Midnight! You are alive!" Happily exclaimed Sunset.

But as if not hearing her, he continued to strike blow after blow with his heavy paws at the Butcher’s body, breaking her bones and tearing her flesh with his claws. She tried to fight back, but he did not stop, did not stop his onslaught, using his teeth and claws to tear her to pieces. And when she tried to get up, he threw her against the wall with a kick on the back, forcibly banging her crippled body against it.

"Midnight! You are going to kill her! Don't kill her! Don't!" The young heroes shouted together, and he, just for a moment, turned to them with his bloodied muzzle.

Butcher coughed and sputtered blood, lying down against the wall, and still trying to get up. Her underlings moved away from the defeated heroes and without doing anything just stood here squeezing various weapons in their hands, demonstrating their whole readiness to continue what they had begun. They were waiting for the outcome of the battle between the huge cat and their leader, knowing that he was only a projection created by a young Ward lying on the ground. Soon Butcher former body will die, and their leader will be reborn with even greater powers, in a new young body.

But Seth had other plans. He could not let Sunset die so that this monster can take over her body. She is still young, and she will have plenty of time to find an opportunity to return home. Apparently he was not destined to return to Equestria, but this does not mean that she, too, should perish. And so he made a decision.

And to everyone's dismay, he grabbed the supporting structure with his telekinesis and brought it down on Butcher's head, crushing it and killing her. He still managed to hear screams of horror from the young heroes, but dizziness and voices already began to appear in his head, which means he could not lose a single moment, and then he rushed off to the side, in the direction of the pier and reaching its edge, jumped into the water, knowing that even his enhanced regeneration will not be able to save his seriously wounded body while sinking in water.

Suicide was certainly a stupid decision, but if it was necessary to save Sunset and her friends, then he will readily do it. The only thing he regretted was that he didn't have time to tell Sunset about possible ways of returning home. But now it will only depend on her when and how she returns. For him, the path in this world is over. And he closed his eyes and took a full deep breath, drawing water into his lungs, causing pain in them and then he began to lose his consciousness.

Almost immediately after the disappearance of Midnight, help arrived. Almost all the heroes of the New York Protectorate, PRT forces and police arrived at the water treatment plant. They attacked and arrested all members of the Teeth gang present here, unceremoniously using force and weapons on them. The doctors provided emergency assistance to the injured young heroes, and the police cordoned off the scene.

But already at the first questioning of the suffered Wards, the situation changed slightly. Sunset didn't hide that she was forced to inflict a mortal wound on Butcher to save her teammates. And the fact that Midnight killed Butcher seriously crippling her and then bringing down metal pillars on her. An exclusion zone immediately formed around Sunset, and then, by order of Legend, she was injected with sedative, and was covered with containment foam.

When she came to her senses, she found herself in a small room with white soft walls, one of which had a monitor hanging, and the other had a simple metal bed.

"Where I am? What's happening?" She shouted in distress. And then a stylized image of a young woman appeared on the monitor.

"Hello, how can I address you?" Said an unknown person.

"Hm, I'm Sunset. Sunset Shimmer." Sunset answered in a slightly shaky voice.

"Sunset? How can I be sure that you are who you say you are?"

"I don't know? And you didn't even introduce yourself, and don't tell me what's going on!"

"Oh, my bad. You can call me Dragon, and right now you are in a specially equipped cell for the Master/Stranger containment procedure protocol."

"M/S procedure? But why?"

"We suspect that after you killed the previous Butcher, you became the new Butcher."

"I killed? But Midnight killed him!"

"And he is just your projection, therefore you are his master, and that means you will become the new Butcher."

"I have already said many times that he is not a projection! And I do not feel anything different! I don't feel like a Butcher."

"And what is he then, if he is not your projection? A biopsy has shown that he is actually a cat, and animals cannot be as intelligent as humans, not to mention its size."

"It's ridiculous! He was always smart!"

"So far, we have no evidence to the contrary, and until we make sure that you have not become a new Butcher, we will have to keep you in this cell."

"And how long will it be? And where is Midnight?"

"We could not find him, and so we believe that either he broke up as a projection, because you became a Butcher, or you gave him the command to hide somewhere where we cannot find him."

"This is stupid! I'm not a Butcher!"

"Unfortunately, we are not sure of this yet."

"So I will have to sit here until you decide that I am not dangerous?"

"Yes, and attempts to escape or damage the cell will only convince us otherwise."

"Damn it!"

"I'm sorry for the inconvenience."

"Fine, you have every reason to suspect me, so I just need to sit in this cell until you let me go?"

"Yes, we can not do otherwise. Butcher is too dangerous supervillain to leave him free."

"And if you do not decide that I am safe, then what?"

"Then you will be taken to the Birdcage where you will be for rest of your life."

"Just great." Muttered Sunset.

She climbed onto the bed, curled into a ball and began cry silently.

Chapter 13. Fantastic Ms. Fox

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Chapter 13. Fantastic Ms. Fox

"You promised that there will be no excesses!" Very agitated Legend shouted loudly.

"I promised?! Are you accusing me of this?" Alexandria snapped at him, jumping up from her seat at the table. "It's you and your people who almost lost Wards! You knew how important this girl is, and still managed to lose sight of them!"

"We couldn't know that there would be a Butcher!"

"It does not matter at all that it was a Butcher, it could turn out to be Elites and even the Slaughterhouse Nine!"

"And what, we now have to follow their every step?"

"Yes! Even if you have to take them to the toilet under supervision, and help them to take off their pants!"

"This is ridiculous! Wards should be independent! This is the essence of their program!" Retorted Legend. "And I already said that the girl needs to be placed in a safer place!"

"Enough!" Shouted Doctor Mother. "The past cannot be changed, but it is also not necessary to rush to extremes. Girl is alive and everything turned out well."

"How well we are not sure yet." Legend sighed and sat into his chair. "A week has already passed, and she shows no signs of possession, but no one can guarantee that Butcher simply not hides her true identity carefully."

"The reports of other Wards said that the cat killed the Butcher, and then fled, escaping from the scene." Clarified Contessa pointing at files on the table.

"There is no cat! I'm tired of repeating it again and again." Grunted Alexandria plopping down to a chair.

"You deny the obvious, it has a full-fledged living body that breathes, eats and requires sleep. It has his own will, independent of the girl, and it did not react to their separation for long periods of time while she was at school."

"As I said, it is a semi-autonomous biological construct."

"But he is too autonomous, even when she was in an unconscious state, he showed his will independent from her and committed acts in no way connected with her." Legend stood his ground.

"And I can’t plot my steps around him." Commented Contessa. "As if he does not exist, the path simply refuses to take into account his existence. And any plans that would include the death of the girl immediately lead to the loss of my ability to use my power for a short time."

"Just like him." Shuddered Legend.

"Zion." Angrily spat Alexandria.

"Not quite. I can still path the infliction of grievous harm to her, or to find a way to neutralize her for a very long time. And generally everything, except her immediate death."

"This is good, so she is not invulnerable to us, and only her death will lead to negative consequences." Summed up Eidolon.

"But all this does not negate the fact that the cat is just a projection."

"Then what about his biopsy? All the tests taken showed that he was an ordinary cat, and only some spectrograms found unknown residual energy radiation, and a blood test found incomprehensible superheavy particles that are superior to any heavy elements known from the periodic table."

"And girl also have this residual energy trace."

"But there is no this superheavy element in her blood. And their abilities are quite different. She does not have the same superregeneration as a cat, her energy shields are much weaker, and he does not know how to teleport, and can't shoot fire projectiles from his limbs. And besides, covert observation recorded that he learned to work on a computer. You should have seen his search queries! He is a fan of history and space science fiction."

"And the girl?"

"Oh, she prefers to read about magic, science, animals and for some reason about ponies."

"Every girl loves ponies!" Contessa smiled widely.

"Not everyone, I liked to play with toy cars more." Chuckled Alexandria while flipping through Sunset file. "Well, let's say a cat is an independent creature, but then we have to admit that animals can also trigger, because he is clearly not one of ours Case 53's."

"Maybe he is a Changer too? Turned into a cat, and can't turn back or just doesn't want?" Legend made a suggestion.

"No, our Thinkers unanimously says that he is definitely not a former human being and does not have the powers of a Changer."

"Maybe he is an alien?" Answered smiling Eidolon. "We already have one alien, Zion, why not have another one?"

"No, it will be too much. An alien cat, never heard anything more sillier."

"Or, alternatively, he may be just a random guest from one of the parallel Earths."

"Portal in Madison, do you think he is from there?"

"Everything is possible, well, he did somehow arrived to Earth Bet."

"An alien cat who arrived to Earth Bet through a portal from a parallel world. You are too carried away with fiction."

"Okay, the main thing for us now is to decide whether he is a projection or not, and accordingly to this we will proceed further with the girl." Legend gently punched the table. "I do not believe that the girl is a Master and that the cat is her projection, which means that only he became a victim of the Butcher, and now the Butcher is somewhere in the cat's body."

"It sounds so idiotic."

"But this Sunset has no manifestations usual for the Butcher, and her behavior and character have not undergone obvious changes."

"I also think that the cat was on its own, and its unnatural protection against the Precogs played with you, Rebecca, a cruel joke." Said Eidolon smacking his palm on the file.

"Okay, okay, I give up. We will consider the cat his own persona. But then we find ourselves in a situation where the cat has become a new Butcher."

"I do not think that capturing the Butcher in the form of a cat would be a challenge." Self-confidently said Eidolon.

"Well, then go and try to catch him." Legend face-palmed in annoyance. "So, I will let the girl go, there is no point in keeping her in confinement any longer."

"Agree." Alexandria nodded.

Seth groggily awoke, the heavy eyelids slowly opened and a harsh morning light hurt him painfully in his eyes. He took a deep breath and it responded with a dull pain in the lungs. His whole body trembled, as if from thousands of small electrical discharges. Thoughts in his head were confused, but he remembered that he should not have woken up. He jumped off that pier in order to permanently stop the threat of the Butcher, at the cost of his own life.

Ignoring the pain in his neck, he turned his head and looked around. Apparently someone saved him and brought him to their home. The arrows in his body were missing, and his belly and chest were tightly covered with clean white bandages. He tried to rise on his paws, but then a wild pain pierced his brain, and a cacophony of voices appeared in his head.

They shouted, pressed on his mind, whispered and sobbed, demanded and blamed him. Dozens of voices screaming at the same time, without stopping even for a moment, tried to force his mind into the corners of consciousness. Seth gritted his teeth, and tears flowed from his eyes. But he was not going to give up, was not going to admit defeat in front of voices seized by insanity. He didn't live for thousands of years, he didn't survive in that reckless dive into the water, only to be defeated by some maniac.

And if these voices are trying to push him into a corner of consciousness, then they are mistaken if they think they will succeed. He is Goa'uld, he will not be defeated by these mongrels! Yes, he cannot expel them from his mind or silence them, but he doesn't need that. And if he cannot defeat them in open confrontation, then he will act as real warriors do - he will bypass them! He will lure them into the depths of his subconscious and lock them here in a trap of his memories, just as he once locked up the minds of his former hosts.

Tens of thousands of years of memories of his ancestors and progenitors, and his own thousands of years of memory. And either these voices themselves will go crazy, drowned in the depths of his memories, or they will simply disappear dissolving in the stream of consciousness. Well, even if not, it is always nice to have an unwilling companion locked in your mind, who can't leave. Life at least will not be so boring and lonely for the next eternity.

And as he expected, the voices made a mistake following him into the depths of his mind, and he easily threw them to the streams of his memories. They will not get out of here for a very, very long time. And with a sense of accomplishment he took another deep breath and opened his watering eyes, staring in surprise at the barrel of the gun closely pointed at him.

"Oh, I see you finally woke up." Said a pale-skinned blond girl who held the gun close with his face. "I already began to think that you would never wake up. It was more than a week has passed since I found you on Sandy Hook beach." Then she smiled broadly and switching the gun's safety set it aside. "And apparently you even managed to beat the voices in your head. Sorry for the gun, well, you know, the girl needed to protect herself."

Dumbfounded Seth could only nod.

"Wow, you really understand what I'm saying!" She smiled broadly at his questioning look. "No, I'm really surprised because I still can not understand what you are. My power tells me all sorts of crap, as if you are a alien unicorn from outer space."

'Oh, really, what the hay are you talking about?' Quietly mumbled Seth.

"You are talking! That is so cool!" Exclaimed a girl and Seth's eyes nearly bulged.

'You, you can understand me?'

"Of course I can, you speak very clearly."

'But I do not speak! I'm meowing! And I myself hear my meowing!' Seth uttered in surprise.

"You meowing? But I hear quite normal speech, slightly strange, but understandable." A look of incomprehension appeared on her face. "Fuck! Apparently my power is making fun of me again!"

'Incredible! No one in my long life could understand a word of what I meowed!'

"Wonderful! I am now also a cat interpreter!" She raised her hands to the ceiling in frustration.

'But this is great! This is exactly what I needed!'

"What? What for?"

'Okay, it will be quite difficult to explain.'

"Do say." She jumped onto the bed on which Seth lay and sat with her legs folded in front of her.

Seth looked at this girl, who looked not much older than Lily, the new friend of Sunset from the Wards, and wondered if he was not too hasty. After all, he sees this Tau'ri girl for the first time and cannot know what she was thinking of. Maybe she is an enemy or a traitor, who knows to whom she will tell what he tells her.

"You do not trust me." She said in the matter of the fact.

'Well, I do not know you, and your motives are not clear to me.'

"But I saved you!"

'And I didn’t seek salvation, and besides, why did you, after finding me, not inform the authorities about me? They are probably looking for me.'

"I wanted to tell them, but then my power told me that they were looking for you because they thought you were the new Butcher."

'Great! Now, instead of helping me, they will try to arrest me.'

"Well, you do not have much choice. You can surrender to the authorities and they will lock you in the deepest hole they can find, or you can trust me and together we will find a way."

'Unbelievable! I got out of one trouble and immediately found myself in another. Just me and my luck!'

"Well now you have me! Great and mysterious Lisa Wilbourn!" She stood up in the pompous pose and made pas. "I have not yet come up with an alias, so do not tell my name to anyone!" Lisa winked at him.

'Okay, I will try to trust you.' Sighed Seth. 'You can call me Midnight.'

"But this is not your name!" She stamped her foot down. 'This is the name that Phoenix gave you.'

'Hey. How do you know?'

"I'm a psychic, nothing can hide from my inner sight!"

'Psychic. Great, just great. The last thing I need is a psychic.' Seth grunted dejectedly. 'Okay, my real name is Seth.'

"Seth, like the biblical Seth or ..." Her eyes widened in realization. "No fucking way! Please tell me that this is not what I think."

'I do not know what you think, I'm not a psychic!'

"How old are you?" She jumped back onto the bed and stared at Seth closely.

'What does it matter?'

"It does! Tell me!" Demanded Lisa.

'I was born when ...'

"More than five thousand years! Holy fuck!" She suddenly interrupted him.

'Hey, how do you..'

"I told you, I'm psychic!" Her smile became foxily wide. "So you are a God. A real, honest to God, God. I met a real god! Bloody hell!"

'Well, not really a real god. Rather, I and my fellow comrades positioned themselves as gods for your ancestors.'

"But you can do magic and miracles, right?"

'I can, but not because I was a god. This is a long story that includes a bunch of unnecessary adventures and my misfortunes.'

"And yet I want to know! And why are you a cat, I thought your totem animal was a donkey."

'A donkey? Why? Okay it does not matter right now. Well, it all started about five thousand years ago, when your ancestors raised a rebellion ...'

"A Unicorn! And an alien!" She interrupted him again by shouting.

'Could you stop interrupting me?'

"Oh, my bad. It's just that my power tells me everything you want to tell, and I can't help it."

'What kind of Special Talent is that?'

"Uhm. Well, this is something like a super deduction which Sherlock Holmes had, only more super and, apparently, allows me to understand the cats. Only you are the first cat that I can understand."

'I can tell you with confidence that I am probably the only cat that can speak, because all the cats I met only meowed and I could not understand them.'

Lisa smiled and then laughed.

"Sorry, just thinking about the absurdity of this whole situation." She wiped away a small tear from her right eye. "I never thought that when I ran from home I would find and pick up a cat that belongs to the Wards, who would be an alien unicorn, who is actually a fake god from a deep space."

'Tell me about that.' Seth plopped on bed. 'My whole life is a mess, and now I'm stuck on this backwater planet very far from home.'

"And yet, how did you manage to beat the Butcher?"

'Oh, I have practice, juggling multiple personalities is a trifling matter for me.' He waved it off.

"Well, I always wanted to make friends with God, but cat is fine too." She grinned, and her green eyes sparkled with mischief. "And you promised to tell me a story."

'Only if you stop interrupting me.'

"My lips are sealed."

'Okay, lets see. It all started over eight thousand years ago when my ancestor Ra found your planet...'

Seth reluctantly awoke in the rays of the morning sun. The body no longer hurt as much as a couple of days ago, and so he was able to stretch and rise to his paws. From the kitchen of this little apartment came the smell of roasting scrambled eggs and bacon, and Seth gently sprang onto the fluffy carpet and stomped on the call of a delicious smell.

"Ah, our sleepyhead is awake." Quipped miss Wilbourn. "And here I was thinking that only I love to sleep longer."

'Morning to you too.' Grunting, Seth struggled on a stool. 'Bacon?'

"A true English breakfast!"

'Well, at least not a hay.'

"I can't imagine how all these ponies can eat so much hay."

'I once also was a pony, and I will tell you that hay tastes pretty good. It was only when I became a cat that the taste of hay immediately ceased to please me.'

And while they were having breakfast, Seth was thinking about how his life would be if he stayed like a unicorn. Surely he would have managed to conquer the world, but most likely he would have died in the days of Discord.

"What do you think, what kind of pony could I possibly be in Equestria?" Lisa suddenly asked.

'Definitely not a unicorn!'


'You think too much about money, so you probably would be a circus earth pony or a traveling salesman. And unicorns are not adapted to long-range trek, they get tired quickly.'

"Why would I become circus pony?"

'With your Special Talent, you would be able to perform at fairs as a sibyl and you would have a lot of customers. Ponies are very gullible. I know it for myself.'

"U-hu, it would be great, but unfortunately in this world I would very quickly be arrested by the Protectorate."

'Yeah, to prohibit earning with your Special Talents is a very stupid law. As if they are specifically forcing all the gifted to go into crime and shady business.'

"Maybe it's true?"

'Do not make them sound so evil. They are the government, not the secret evil organization from the comic books.'

"We still need money if you want to get out of this planet as soon as possible."


"Of course we are! Do you really think I will miss the chance to visit another world?"

'No bucking way! I won't let some murderous monkey get into Equestria!'

"Without this monkey you will fail! And I'm not some bloodthirsty psychopath!"

'I read your history, all that you did was kill, kill and kill again for the sake of murder. You have no place in such a peaceful place like Equestria!'

"I will not deny that humanity has always been cruel enough, but we are not all such, among us there are those who want peace!"

'And you think I should make an exception for you?'

"Am I supposed to stay here after I help you?"

'I do not know yet. And I will not be the only one who will decide this!'

"Your partner, this unicorn girl from Wards."

'And then there is Princess Celestia, who instead of sending you back, could easily kill you or do something even worse!'

"Oh, so you're worried about me! It's so cute!" She smirked.

'Yes, I'm worried, but this is not the main reason. I just do not want your kind, the Tau'ri, to find your way to Equestria and destroy this paradise of peace.'

"Okay, but you and your friend will need money for an expedition and details for the portal."

'We will find the way.' He jumped to the floor and headed into the room.

"Well, let us sell something from your technology, I am sure that Toybox, Dragon or Protectorate will pay any money for a spaceship or just a hyperdrive."

Seth instantly turned around and bared his teeth at Lisa in fury.


His mind was filled with malice, and the desire to kill settled in his soul.

"I beg you, stop, please, it hurts me, argh!" Lisa cried in pain.

'WHAT? WHY DiD You...' Seth suddenly stumbled and nearly fell, his eyes watering and his head was dull.

"Why did you do this to me? I did not want anything like that. I just made a suggestion." The crying girl was lying on the floor.

'Oh, I, I did not want to, I did not know that this would happen.' He backed up hesitantly.

"What the fuck was that? I did not know that you have the power to instill pain remotely."

'But I have no such magic! Nothing like this has happened before.'

"It's Butcher. This is her superpower, you seized her abilities when you killed her."

'Oh, horseapples! I'm so sorry.'

"See, you are no less bloodthirsty than us." Lisa smiled faintly.

'I'm sorry, I did not want to.'

"It's okay, ugh." She winced in pain. "Just don't do it anymore to me. Peace?"

'Peace. And I'm still sorry.'

"I'll be fine. Just give me a chance to prove that I won't do any harm to your friend and your beloved Equestria."

'I'll consider it.'

"Well, it's a start." She stood up. "I guess I'll have to lie down for a while. Fuck, it was like a Cruciatus from a Harry Potter's book."

Seth did not understand what book she was talking about, but still guiltily lowered his eyes.

"After I rest a bit, I will look for a rental car."

'Car? Why do we need a car?'

"We are in New Jersey, and from this place to your girlfriend's school in the northwest of New York is almost 45 miles, this mean that getting there on foot will be problematic."

'You want us to visit her at school?'

"Not us, just me, because it will be extremely difficult to explain the presence of a wanted person in my car."

'Fine, but how you will convince her to come with you?'

"Do not worry about it. I have everything under control." She smiled darkly.

Already several days have passed since the moment when Sunset was released from the cell, and it would seem that she should have been glad that the fears of her superiors turned out to be groundless, but the absence of a faithful friend beside her was ached her heart. All these days his searches did not stop, but not a single trace of him was ever found. As if he vanished from the face of the earth.

Her teammate Lily was still friendly, but as if something had changed between them and she began to keep her distance. Sunset could not understand what exactly she did wrong, what caused fears in her comrades. She was ready to sacrifice herself for their salvation, and spent a whole week in solitary confinement without the opportunity to talk to anyone other than the Dragon. And now they were afraid of her.

Of course, the Dragon was very friendly and kind, always ready to answer her questions, or to support her morally at any time of the day. But Sunset had the weird feeling that something was wrong with the Dragon, as if there was some kind of tension in her behavior, and she gave off a feeling of being locked in a cage. Although it may have been Sunset’s own feeling of being imprisoned.

And Sunset quietly and peacefully spent the necessary time until she was released. But now she had to go to school again. Not that she didn’t like it, after all, the lessons of the natural sciences were incredibly informative, as humanity advanced in studying the laws of the universe much deeper than ponies, and classes in the music club brought her joy, but it seemed to her that she was wasting her time in vain, instead of looking for an opportunity to return home, or to participate in the searches for Midnight.

Sunset shut the locker and left the school. Today she didn't go to a music club, and so it was still quite light outside. Schoolchildren flocked home or went for a walk, and she walked slowly toward the bus stop. Of course she could call the Protectorate and they would have sent a car for her, but there was not much need for this, and even on the bus she would get to the tower pretty quickly.

She noticed this girl as soon as she went to a stop, she smiled very broadly, and her eyes seemed to glow with joy. The blonde, with bright green eyes and pretty freckles on her face, was dressed a little not for the weather, in a light blouse and a folded skirt. It was March and the temperature did not rise much above fifty degrees. And by her red nose and ear tips it was clear that she was slightly cold.

"Hello! I'm your fan!" She happily announced. "I was waiting for you here to get your autograph!"

"What? But why? How did you know?" Confusion rose on Sunset face.

"A friend of mine knows you and he said where to find you!"

"You shouldn't have come! It is forbidden! You will be punished!"

"They will punish me only if you tell them about this."

"And what, I have to keep it a secret?"

"Of course, my little pony, each of us has our own secrets." She smiled mischievously.

"What? How did you find out?"

"Oh, I'm just a psychic!"

"And what, you're gonna blackmail me?" Sunset got angry.

"No! I am your fan!" The girl hastened to convince her. "And I want to show you something."

"What exactly?"

"Not here, too many prying eyes. Let's go to my car."

"To your car? And how will I know that this is not an abduction attempt?"

"Do not be a chicken! Come on!" And she ran across the road toward a parked white car.

"I hope I will not regret it."

Sunset followed a mysterious fangirl to her car, and before getting into it looked at the salon for the presence of strangers, and not noticing anything dangerous, got into the car.

"See, nothing terrible happened!" Grinned girl.

"Well, what did you want to show me?"

"You are so impatient!" Mockingly grunted a girl and got a tablet out of her bag. "Here look."

The young heroine had nothing else to do other than accepting what was happening and picking up the tablet she pressed the playback. And on the screen was a recording of Midnight, on whose head a festive hat was put on, and a sign hung on his neck - 'I peed in shoes'. And on his face was an expression full of annoyance. Suddenly, this girl appeared next to him and started happily chirping to the camera.

[ ...Hi, hi, if you watch this, then your friend is my hostage! And for his release, I demand a can of pistachio ice cream and a new Beyonce album... ]

Sunset put the tablet away and looked at the girl with a face that expressed universal irritation.

"I told you that I need to show you something!"

"What the hay is this! Why do you have Midnight and why have you not yet reported this to the authorities?!"

"Easy, easy, hold your horses, Nelly, it's not as simple as you think."

"What's the big deal?"

"You see, those who are looking for him are not going to return him to you, in their plans to stick him in a cage and hide him away."

"What? But why? How do you know about it?"

"I told you that I am a psychic!" She smirked.

"Okay, but then what should I do?"

"Fasten the belt, we'll take a little ride."

"And where are we going?"

"To my home, of course, so that you can meet him." Girl winked at Sunset and started the engine. "Oh, and I'm Lisa, Lisa Wilbourn. And I already know your name. I'm sure we will be best friends!"

"And why does all this remind me of someone?"

Somewhere in Canterlot, in a room on the highest tower of the royal castle, the young pink princess sneezed loudly.

Chapter 14. The Pony and her cat

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Chapter 14. The Pony and her cat

"But haven't we gone too far from the city?" Asked Sunset, who began to think that they were going so long that they probably already left the country.

"Don't worry, we just went to the other side of the river."

"But we are on the road for almost a hour!"

"Pfeh. It's not that long, and I know that you can always teleport back to the tower in just a couple of minutes."

"Yeah, but it will take so much energy and concentration that I will be tired all evening."

"Well, they still don't let you out on patrols, and sitting at the console doesn't require much effort."

"How do you know about it?" Lisa smiled mysteriously at her. "Right. You are a psychic."

The car turned off the highway and rolled down a narrow street towards the sea. Multiple silhouettes of two-storey houses flashed outside the window and soon the car drove up to a long white apartment building standing on the coast not far from the marina. Lisa parked next to the house and after leaving the car the girls went up to the apartment on the second floor.

The day was already falling towards evening when Seth heard the sound of a car parking outside the window. He did not know how far Sunset school was from this house, but if it took the quasi-psychic almost three hours to go there and back, then perhaps he was very far from the Protectorate tower, and that means his fear of being discovered was in vain.

While waiting for their return, he many times played an imaginary dialog with Sunset, thinking over how and what he should tell her in order not to anger her. Because he never told anyone before that he is not just a cat, and she might be offended or start hating him. And when they get home, she may tell Princess Celestia about that and then she will deprive him of his source of magical knowledge, or even turn him into stone.

The key grated in the lock of the door and it opened with a click, letting two girls into the small apartment, the first of whom was his current caretaker, and the second was Sunset. She hesitantly went inside, and then, looking around, noticed a bandaged cat lying on the sofa, after which she let out a joyful squeak and in the blink of an eye she appeared beside him hugging him with all her might.

"You are alive, alive! I knew that you would not leave me alone!" She exclaimed happily. "Oh, how much I missed you!"

'Yeah, and apparently that's why you decided to strangle me with joy.'

"I think you should go easier with hugs, he has not yet recovered from his injuries." Noted Lisa.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I was careless." Sunset quickly apologized and freed the cat from her grip. "Why did you run away, dummy? I was so worried! How would I explain this to Cadence if you were lost?"

'I had no choice, I couldn't let this maniac capture you, so I preferred to sacrifice myself.'

"He says he decided to sacrifice himself for your sake."

"What? What do you mean?"

"He said that he had no choice but to sacrifice himself so that the Butcher didn't capture your body."

"He said? I do not understand. What are you talking about?"

"Ugh." She facepalmed. "Okay, this sounds weird, but as you probably already know, I have a power."

"Your psychic power?"

"Sorry, I lied a little, and this is not quite psychic, it is rather something like a superpowered deduction, which allows me to understand and learn even the deepest details in the smallest pieces of information. For example, one glance at you is enough for me to understand that the upright bipedal form of movement is not native for you and you have to subconsciously restrain yourself not to go on all fours because you are a pony turned into a girl."


"Well, my power somehow allows me to hear what this cat says in the form of a normal clear speech."

"But he does not say anything, only meows sometimes."

"Actually, he is talking, just nobody but me can understand him."

"Oh. Okay then." Sunset stiffly and nervously smiled.

"You don't believe me." Lisa stated this as a fact.

"No, no. I believe you!" Sunset's smile has become even tighter. "He's clever, of course he is talking."

'Tell her about the blond prince, and about her secret collection of socks that she hides under the double bottom of the lowest drawer of her dresser.' Seth winked at Lisa and she happily grinned back.

"Well, then maybe I will show my remarkable talents and, with my mind touching the higher planes of existence, I will look into your most intimate secrets."


"I see. I see a beautiful blond male, he is noble, rich, he is a prince living in an ancient majestic castle..." In a mysterious voice said Lisa.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm not so gullible!" Sunset snorted.

"Oh, I see that my visitor today is especially stubborn."

"I'm not stubborn, it's just your statements are ridiculous."

"Young Miss Unicorn denies the obvious, but apparently she does not value her secret collection of socks so much that she hides in her dresser in the secret compartment of the bottom drawer."

"What?! How did you know that?!" Exclaimed startled Sunset. "Nobody knows about this! I even enchanted it from discovery!"

'Tell her that the prince will especially like those black laced socks.' Smirked Seth.

"My powers say that the prince likes things with black laces..." Lisa happily quipped and winked to cat.

"Wha?! You can't! Nobody should have known!" Sunset fervently panicked. "No one could know about them! I got them out only once! And no one saw me for sure! Cadence was asleep, and the cat was fascinated by the book! Oh, Celestia! I thought he was reading a book. No! It can't be!"

"But it's true." Lisa's smile widened. "Seth told me."

"He... He can talk?"

"Yu-p." Answered Lisa, popping last 'p'.

"Wait. You said 'Seth'."

"Yeah, that's his name."

"What? But Cadence named him Mister Silky Paws."

"And you call him Midnight. But his real name is Seth."

"He told you that, too?"

"Oh, girl, you can't even imagine what he told me."

"It's not something bad?"

"Of course not! But I can't tell you without his permission."

'Well, you can tell her everything, but without excessive embellishment.' Meowed Seth which immediately attracted the attention of the Sunset.

"He said something, right?"

"Yep. He doesn't mind me telling you everything."


"I warn you, you better sit down."

"Are you sure this is not something bad?"

"Perhaps, but we cannot change what happened."

"Okay, I'll sit down then." Sunset gently landed on the couch next to Seth and looked at him with studying gaze.

"So, it all started a long time ago on a planet far, far away..."

Even so, it took Lisa almost two hours, in order to tell a brief version of the history of the Goa'uld Empire and their conquests, as well as the tale of Seth's misadventures. Outside, the sky began to darken, and occasionally petted cat even managed to doze off. And Lisa even had to run into the refrigerator for juice, because her dry throat began to resemble the Egyptian desert.

The history of the great and terrible interstellar empire struck Sunset, who didn't even imagined that her best friend's cat could be a fake alien god from deep space. And although at first she even felt disgusting to hear about their slavery practice and conquests, but later when the story went directly to Seth’s life, she listened very carefully.

Seth meowed from time to time, complementing what Lisa said, and clarifying some historical episodes. And for Sunset it was a real revelation that almost the whole history of her home world that she knew was in fact a deep hoax, the reasons and the need for which she did not yet understand. Even the fact that Cutie Marks and Special Talents appeared only a couple of thousand years ago was a shock for her.

And the creature of which she considered the cat of her best friend turned out to be a alien who lived for so long that he personally saw civilizations and times existence of which remained only in myths. Even though that Seth himself was not always in the places described in the myths at the right time, but he confirmed that the disappeared civilization of Anugypt was created by descendants of people from this world whose ancestors pursued him through his improvised Stargate.

She even found out that her world in ancient times was similar to the world of Earth Bet, and was part of the heliocentric star system, until the apocalypse created by Discord happened. And during the apocalypse, all the old civilizations fell, and many of their inhabitants and even whole intelligent species ceased to exist. The world, for many centuries, plunged into the darkness of bloody massacre and cruelty, until the Alicorn sisters appeared, who defeated Discord and became one of the founders of the new civilization.

And Princess Celestia was not always so wise, kind and caring, she and her sister Luna were fairly ruthless rulers, and not because of their natural cruelty, but rather out of necessity. It was just time of the birth of Equestria were merciless, the land was filled with bloodthirsty bandits, and in the far corners of the country, new maniacal conquerors appeared every now and then.

Sunset could not help comparing life in the world before Discord fall, and life of the present days, and was forced to admit that despite the fact that the Alicorn sisters' actions seemed cruel and heartless to her, but they were necessary, and without them life in Equestria would not be so beautiful and carefree. Still her own perception of Princess Celestia has changed forever.

Despite the fact that Seth described her actions in a grotesque manner she did not cease to love her, as the great and beautiful ruler of Equestria, but now didn't consider her to be some kind of sublime essence, which is always watches over the world, infallible and divine. For her, Princess Celestia became more real and close, in some way indistinguishable from them, mere mortals, became more of a pony than she seemed before. And Sunset's respect for her has grown to an even higher level.

Seth did not personally meet the sisters, and was not present at the time of Luna's fall, but it became obvious to Sunset that the choice between her sister and the well-being of Equestria was the most difficult for Princess Celestia. And probably no one will ever be able to adequately evaluate and understand the value of the sacrifice she brought on the altar of the country's prosperity.

But not everything in Seth's history was so gloomy, because during his excessively long life he went to nearly every corner of her home world, saw all its beauty and wonders. And so when time came to interrupt the story she was incredibly sorry, since her free time was running out and she had to go back to the Protectorate tower.

"You will still have many opportunities to hear the continuation of his story." Noted Lisa.

"Yes, but it will be extremely difficult to get here, and I cannot take him with me. Who knows what they will do to him." Said saddened by this fact Sunset.

"Well then, I have a solution!" Foxily smiled Lisa. "After all, I have never planned to linger in this apartment for a long time, and now I even have reason to move directly to New York."

"You will do it for me?" Surprised Sunset.

"Hold your horses darling. I do this not only for your sake, but also for the sake of the cat and for the sake of our mutual friendship! After all, I promised that we would definitely become great friends!"

Sunset could only silently agree, and once again embracing the cat as a farewell, she teleported to a specially designated room inside the Protectorate tower.

It turned out that moving to a new place is not such a simple matter. Lisa did not want to leave even the fluffy carpet that she did not particularly like, and because of that the search for new housing and preparation for the move took almost another week. In addition, it was necessary to hide such a noticeable cat somewhere, so Seth had to live in a rented van for several days.

Not that he was particularly worried about this, but when thieves tried to steal this van, the hijackers got a big surprise in the size of a decent bloodhound. Fortunately for our duo, the thieves turned out to be stoned by drugs, and so when they told the soon-arrived police that they were beaten by a giant cat, cops just laughed.

Lisa managed to find a small two-story house, built of light orange bricks, in a couple of blocks from Sunset’s school. Rent was relatively cheap, because homeowners were going to Europe for a year, and Lisa seemed to them to be a quite decent tenant. They didn't even protest that she would keep the cat in the house, although they probably did not know what kind of cat it would be.

The owner of the house herself seemed a bit strange to Lisa, with all this strict manner of her speech, in an expensive black business suit and fedora on her head, plus Lisa’s superpower decided to go on strike and instead of useful things gave out all kinds of crap. The owner’s husband never appeared for the whole week, but there was no reason for particular concern, and the price for rent was very affordable. Plus, the house had an indoor pool, which at once gave it a hundred points of odds before any other rental option.

Seth already knew that Liza was earning money by playing an illegal game on the stock exchange, using her Special Talent to the fullest, and he himself did not see anything wrong with that, only Sunset had grumbled a little, but didn't make a scandal of it or complained to the authorities. Anyway, the prohibition on labor using their Special Talents was extremely idiotic and everyone survived as best as they could.

Sunset came to visit almost every day, except for weekends, since she could not leave the tower without a good reason for it without arousing suspicion. Although her visits were mostly short, he and Lisa managed to tell her much of what Seth knew. And most importantly, they told her about the likely opportunity to return home.

"We can go back?" Sunset asked hopefully.

"Well, no one can give us an absolute guarantee, but the chances are quite high."

'It all depends on whether humans managed to plunder the outpost or not.' Meowed Seth.

"He says that an outpost maybe looted."

"But if we run away from the city and instead of the parts that we need, we will only find empty ruins, then everything will be in vain?"

'Perhaps, but I yet to see any evidence that humans have ever found anything of Goa'uld's technology.'

"Everything that has ever been found may be hidden in government secret warehouses."

'And our chances of getting there are close to zero. But maybe worth a try.'

"The cat wants to search the government warehouses."

"This is madness! We will be caught faster than we have time to blink!"

"I agree with you, but then we just have to make fake ids for us and travel around the world in the hope of finding an intact alien outpost."

"Everything is better than making a suicide raid on secret vaults."

"You don't take into account that there will certainly be a chase after us. Nobody will let you go so easily, they will search, and time will only play against us. And with each failure to find outpost our pursuers will be getting closer."

"But why? We are not some dangerous criminals!"

"For them, it is all the same. You know too many of their internal secrets, you know the identities of few heroes without masks, you know the secret security protocols of Wards, and besides, you are very powerful yourself, and that mean that you a very dangerous if you are not under their control. None of them will let you escape."

"Are you saying that they will never let me leave this job?"

"Well, you're smart, guess yourself."

"Oh, buck!" Said dumbfounded Sunset. "I have never thought about it before. I thought it would just be a temporary job until I found a way to return."

"I’m sorry to disappoint you, Sunset, but it’s likely to end with the need to escape."

'You don't need to worry about it now, it is still too early, we haven't even figured out where to start. I remember several dozen places where our bases were, but thousands of years passed, and things maybe different right now, so we will have to start from places where humans have been extremely rare. This mean jungles, deserts and remote islands.' Seth pawed a map.

"He says that we should start the search from hard-to-reach places like jungles or deserts."

"It is reasonable, then we need to prepare in advance equipment, food for a long time, and think through a disguise to stay longer from the chase."

"Then while you're busy with the Wards, Seth and I will start preparing maps, collecting equipment, and you will need to practice high-speed teleportation over long distances with a cargo and several passengers."

"It will be difficult, and after each jump I will be very exhausted, because it will take too energy from me."

"Hmm. Say. Is it possible to store energy in advance?"

"Do you mean make Charge Stones? Magic batteries?" And when Lisa nodded Sunset thought for a moment. "Technically, this is possible, but I need large, durable crystals with a transparent structure. Quartz, topaz or best of all rubies and diamonds."

"Whoa! It will not be easy, if Quartz is still relatively cheap, the rest are too rarely found in large sizes and are always stored in secure storage vaults."

"Then try to find at least Quartz. It is certainly not perfect, but if we need magic batteries, then we cannot do without it."

"Alright, I will find a supplier and buy a couple dozen large crystals, I hope they will be enough."

"Yes, well, even if some of them shatter in the process of enchanting, even a couple of working crystals will suffice."

"Okay, the primary goals are clear to us, and we just have to prepare everything."

The accumulation of required capital was delayed for almost two months, and despite the efforts of Lisa to speed up the process, nothing happened as quickly as they wanted. The search for equipment, the purchase of consumables, route planning, the choice of hotels, the elaboration of backup plans in case of failure or pursuit, and teleportation training took another month.

Sunset was nervous because of delays in preparation, Lisa was worried about the money spent and hassle, and Seth was just already tired of being in the same apartment for three whole months without the possibility of going out. But in the end everything was ready and they were about to escape, as life, like always, has made its own adjustments to their plans.

Chapter 15. Fool Moon

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WARNING! This text contains scenes of violence and insults motivated by racial and sexual discrimination. The author does not in any way support such views.

Chapter 15. Fool Moon

She knew perfectly well that avoiding her friend for such a long time was not good, but Lily couldn't help herself. Since that ill-fated battle with the Butcher, something inside Lily herself has changed, and she could no longer perceive Sunset as before. Her willingness to sacrifice for their sake, her desperate fight against a deliberately stronger enemy, in which Sunset could not win, and it was clear to everyone from the very beginning, but Sunset did not give up, she did not leave her comrades and readily accepted the fight to give them a chance to live.

And how beautiful she was at that moment, how enchanting her movements were, she was like a torrent, like an irrepressible flame that could not be extinguished. She glittered like the sun and fluttered like a butterfly. Even the radiance of her powers was almost magical. And Lily could not take her eyes off her, swallowed by the magnificent tumult of the fiery element of which was Sunset. Already at that moment, realizing that she succumbed to this enchanting and all-consuming feeling in her heart.

Never before has she felt anything of the kind, she has never before been embraced by such contradictory feelings and thoughts. Never before has she looked at someone with a nagging feeling in her heart and a languishing emptiness in her belly. She was confused, she was ashamed, she was afraid, she didn’t know how Sunset would react if she found out about the feelings that swallowed Lily.

Her inner struggle inadvertently forced Lily to distance herself from Sunset, to avoid her, to hide her eyes and not to hold her gaze on Sunset. She was afraid to be revealed, discovered, she was afraid that she would laugh at her, she feared rejection, she was disgusted by the thought that Sunset would turn away from her and leave her forever. And in her fear, she did not notice how she left her friend alone, and that others also began to avoid Sunset.

For all these months, she has avoided Sunset, sitting away from her in the classroom, leaving school without her, and even ceased to be interested in how Sunset spends her time. Until one day she accidentally heard that Sunset had stopped attending extracurricular activities and began to leave school early. But she remembered very well that Sunset always returned to the Tower on time, which means that she was spending her time somewhere else.

This worried Lily, because despite the fact that the survey proved that Sunset was not overtaken by the Butcher, her behavior changed and she began secretly spending time outside the Tower, without notifying any of the superiors. According to the protocol, she should have reported this to the authorities, but she did not want to expose her friend, especially if it turned out that there was nothing wrong with that. And so she decided to secretly follow her herself, in order to trace where Sunset was disappearing.

All day she quietly watched Sunset, so as not to miss the moment when she left school, and having guessed the right moment in time, she followed her in the distance. And Sunset didn’t notice anything, allowing Lily to follow her covertly for a few blocks to one of the inconspicuous two-story houses in the depths of the residential sector. But what surprised Lily most of all was the fact that Sunset had the keys to the door of this house, and how she without hesitation proceeded inside.

Lily did not know what to do next. She could return to the Tower and tell the curator about this, but then Sunset would be in trouble and Lily would again be to blame for her problems. It is possible that Sunset just rented out housing outside the Tower, but where could she get the money for it? Those that were given out on pocket expenses and on entertainment would not be enough to rent such a house. And it was forbidden for Wards to take a part-time jobs.

Finally, she made a decision - she will try to find out everything herself secretly watching Sunset in the house through the windows. That's why she quietly entered the backyard of the house and clung to the large window leading to the living room. And maybe her plan would have been successful and everything would have turned out as she wanted if it were not for the click of a cocked pistol's hammer and the feeling of cold metal at her nape.

"Well, well, well, it seems we've got a spy." Said girlish voice from behind her.

Sunset heard some commotion outside, and then the summer door opened and Lisa entered the house, pushing in front of her an unknown person hidden under the deep hood of their jacket.

"Hey, Sunset, it looks like we have uninvited guests." Lisa called her, still pointing her gun at the stranger.

"And what, you want to convince me that you still don't know who it is?" Snorted Sunset.

"Well, of course, I know who it is, but I think she should introduce herself, after all, she is a guest here."

The stranger girl hesitated a little, and then pulled back the hood and smiled nervously.

"H-hello, Sunset."

"Lily, what the hay are you doing here?!" Surprised Sunset.

"Uhm. I followed you." She looked down in embarrassment.

"You followed me? Wait. You spied on me!"

"I'm sorry! I worried about you, you began to disappear from school, did not tell anyone where you were going and became secretive." Lily tried to justify herself, but Sunset was not going to give her that.

"You worried? And instead of asking me you decided to spy on me!" She shouted.

"As if you'd tell me what's going on!"

"Well, she's right, you wouldn’t explain anything to her." Agreed with her Lisa.

"Ugh!" Sunset grunted and plopped into chair. "I'm sorry, Lily, but I can't tell you anything, this secret isn't mine to tell."

"Yeah, I see." Lily uttered it in a tone full of jealousy and gave a beautiful Lisa a hateful look. But Lisa just chuckled and smiling slyly hid the gun.

Fortunately for Lily, Lisa did not have time to say anything, because at that very moment a sleepy and deeply yawning cat entered the room, radically changing the situation.

For a moment, Lily froze in horror, because the last thing she expected was to meet that cat here, whom the entire protectorate considered a new Butcher. And the fact that Sunset all this time knew his location, and hid it, most likely meant that shed was really influenced by the Butcher and Lily got herself into a trap coming right into it's lair. She already wanted to grab her PRT issued phone and press the emergency call button when she felt the familiar sensation of cold metal on her head and heard the sound of a cocking hammer.

"I wouldn't do it if I were you." In an icy tone said the blonde with a gun. "Raise your hands up and don't move." She patted Lily pockets and pulled out both of her mobile phones and tucked them into her own jacket.

"You won't kill a Ward, right?" Nervously asked Lily.

"I'll do it if I have to."

"Okay, okay, that's enough!" Shouted Sunset, jumping up from her chair. "Nobody will kill anyone! Lisa, put the gun down, there's no need for that!"

"She was going to call the Protectorate here."

"What? Lily, but why?"

"Because you are all influenced by the Butcher!" She growled.

"What? What the flying feather are you talking about?!"

"She believes that Seth has become a new Butcher and mastered us."

"This is ridiculous!" At that moment, Lily thought that she had a hallucination, because the cat sighed very loudly and made a facepalm with his right paw.

"Oh, I assure you, it is not a hallucination." Said blonde startling her.

"What?" Shocked, Lily tried to turn to her, but a pistol aimed at her poked her to stop.

"She thought that the sigh of the cat and his gesture were only a hallucination." Clarified to Sunset Lisa.

"Lisa, please, take the gun away already, I don’t think that Lily will do something stupid."

"Okay, but it will be on your conscience." She uncocked the hammer and put pistol in her pocket.

"Lily, I do not know how to prove to you that Seth is not a Butcher, but please, believe me, this isn't at all what you thought."

"Then what is it? What the hell is going on?!" Shouted Lily, lowering her arms. "Why then do you hide what you found him, and why do you call him by another name?"

"I don’t know where to start, but the cat isn't a Butcher, it’s a long story, but the fact that everyone considered him to be my projection is in fact a mistake, but I have stated many times that he’s actually a cat, and not a product of my powers. But nobody believed me, not even you!"

"Well, I admit that I was wrong, but how could he then defeat the Butcher, why he has powers, he isn't a human, he's an animal!"

"I would not call him an animal, he might be offended." Said Lisa.

"I don’t know for sure, but I was able to find out that in order to have powers you don’t have to be human, it’s enough to be a sentient being."

"Wait. Are you saying that he is a sentient?"

"And as if you didn’t understand herself that he was not an ordinary cat." Quipped blonde and the cat meowed in response. "Our Seth is a very unusual cat."

"Well, it may sound unbelievable, but he is not really a cat from Earth." Hesitatingly said Sunset. "He is an alien, so I can't tell the authorities about him, because they will take him away from me and I will never see him again."

"An alien? Are you serious?" Sneered Lily.

"But it's true! I can't prove it to you right now, because his kind left him on this planet, and he lived on his own until I met him." The cat meowed again and Lisa smiled broadly.

"He says that you still keep a sword under the mattress that should have been returned to the armory."

"What?! You are lying! He didn't say anything!"

"But this is true about the fact that you hide the sword."

"I don't know how you found out, but..."

"But nothing!" Interjected Sunset. "She told you the truth. The cat is talking, but only Lisa's power allows us to understand him."

"Wow, now all of a sudden this blond upstart has powers!"

"This 'blonde upstart' has a name and power that allows her to learn some small things about person, such as fantasies that are in the head of one insolent girl!" Angrily growled Lisa. "Do you want me to voice the true reason why you avoided Sunset?"

"Not. Not! I beg you, whatever, but not this!"

"Oh, now you beg me." Lisa's smile has become cruel.

"Enough!" Roared Sunset, startling everyone. "Enough." She said in a much quieter tone. "Our quarrel will not lead to anything good. We have to stop before it ends badly." She sighed. "Lisa, I understand that her distrust has offended you, but you don't need to disclose her reasons, without her consent. Yes, I am sad that my friend decided to avoid me, but her reasons belong only to her and we have no right to demand answers from her." Sunset turned to Lily. "Lily, we did not lie to you about anything, and we had good reason to hide the cat from the authorities. They were looking for him to take him to secret facility, and they were not going to return him to me. And I can't let this happen to my friend."

"I see." Murmured Lily.

"And if you can’t keep his whereabouts secret, I’ll only ask you as your friend to give us a chance, give us time so that Lisa and he can leave." Begged Sunset.

"Urgh! Okay! Fuck!" Sweared Lily. "Maybe I'm making a mistake, maybe it's wrong, but I won't tell anyone about him."

"Thanks. This is all I ask for."

"But you owe me for it!"

"Okay." Smiled Sunset.

"And you forgive me for following you."


"And you ... And you ... And you will go with me to the concert!" Blurted out flustered Lily.

"Ehm. What concert?"

"The concert will be on the evening of the fourth of July at Christopher Street Piers, in a week."

"Okay, I'll go with you."

"Thank you! And I apologize for following you." Sincerely said Lily.

"I forgive you, but I ask you in the future instead of spying on me, just at least ask me first."

"Okay. I'm sorry."

"Well, we have to go back to the tower. So let me pick my things and we will go together."

"Sure. I'll wait for you at the door."

Sunset ran to the second floor, and Lily, with a still embarrassed face, went to the exit. But on the way to the exit she was intercepted by the already calmed Lisa, who grasped her hand and turned Lily towards her.

"For what you have done now, I should have told Sunset all your secrets, but I am not a bitch and I will give you a chance to correct everything yourself." She said in cold tone.

"I know."

"You know nothing, Lily Yukimura. Neither about me, nor about the cat, and, moreover, you know nothing about Sunset."


"Don't interrupt me."


"I know all about your feelings for her, and I also know that you think that there is something between her and me. So that you know - you are mistaken!"

"So you and she are not..." Cheered up Lily.

"No, we are just friends, but I'll have to disappoint you." Lisa paused for a moment. "I strongly advise you not to confess your feelings to her, and this is not because I have any prejudices towards you, no, but be sure that if you open up yourself to her, you will be refused."

"She isn't..."

"That's not the point. She just doesn't find any human attractive in this way."

"What?! You mean she's a..."

"NO! No. She just doesn't like anyone like that."


"I wont stop you, but know that nothing good will come of it."

"I'll think about it."

"Well, it's your funeral"

Lisa handed Lily her phones back and she immediately took them. And after a moment Sunset appeared and they together left the house.

Brad Meadows was always a nasty individual. Growing up on the street and brought up by the street, he absorbed all the cruelty and ruthlessness of impoverished suburbs. He never avoided a fight, and always preferred to hit first, and afterwards to clarify the situation. But he was not the typical stupid thug who filled the back streets of his native South Queens, no, Brad always knew how to think with his head, he knew when there was time to retreat, and when he should have gone to the end, with whom it was possible to have profitable business, and who should be avoided at all costs.

And perhaps that is why he did not join the criminal ranks of various New York gangs. He always considered himself above all this trash and would never agree to be in third roles. But life demanded a steady income, but because of the nature of Brad, school did not work for him. He dropped out of school in middle classes, preferring to spend time working as a loader or a laborer at a construction site.

His tall stature, strong body and enormous stamina allowed him to work for days with the slightest rest breaks. Gaining respect among the movers and builders, who saw in him not just a street urchin, but a young man who was prone to hard and honest work. And even his penchant for getting into trouble and running into fights did not have a negative effect on respect from the working class. And he grew up among the same simple and stubborn people like him. Making money to support his elderly grandmother and younger sisters.

Their parents died shortly after the birth of the youngest sister, accidentally finding themselves in a shootout between gangs of niggers and spics, to survive in which they did not have the slightest chance. And he still remembered that evening when a cop knocked on their door and said that their parents would never return home. He remembered how loudly sobbed his sister and how silently cried his grandmother. And as he had no answer for the youngest one to the question of where is their mother.

He left school, he left his friends, he left the football team, all in order to find at least some work to support his family, to plunge into the hard work to drown out the cries of hatred and rage in his own soul. But this was not enough. At first they lost the house, being unable to pay the mortgage loan and were forced to move to an apartment in a less prosperous block. And then some nigger trying to rob his grandmother stabbed her with a knife, and she died in the hospital without going out of the coma, leaving them alone.

Without her pension and part-time work, he could no longer support his sisters, and was forced to agree with the social worker about sending them to relatives in Texas. But he didn't go with them, he knew that in Texas, too, not everything was all right, and his relatives would have a hard time keeping and raising his sisters. And although he could provide help working in the field, or on the farm, but he knew that feeding the extra mouth would be only a burden.

And so he stayed in New York working in the port and at construction sites, sending the money to Texas to his sisters. And everything was pretty good, until Leviathan attacked Japan by drowning the island of Kyushu, forcing millions of Japanese to become refugees and emigrate to America. Millions of desperate people flooded into the cities in search of housing and work. Willingly working for any penny and turning the labor market upside down.

And after them, employers began to cut wages to Americans, forcing those to either accept new working conditions or leave. But Brad endured until the last moment, until the salary became prohibitively low, practically forcing him to beg and be homeless. And he could no longer support his sisters by sending them part of his salary, and was forced to find a much more dangerous job. His former foreman from the construction site told Brad that the steel mill required labor, but the work would be hard and dangerous, but Brad had no choice.

But even there, fate was not favorable to him and just six months later, an incident happened to him. They moved the ladle filled with hot slag when the fixings cracked and the ladle rolled over and fell down, crushing the catwalks and other platforms, dragging Brad along with them. And lying under a pile of twisted metal, he hatefully cursed the fucking Jig who must had checked the attachment of the ladle before the operation. And filled with rage and hatred for the niggers and Latinos who killed his parents and grandmother, and the fucking migrants because of whom he lost his income and had to go to the factory and got into an incident, and while he was dying from pieces of metal pierced through his body he madly hated them all.

But a miracle happened, and he gained power, and the metal that killed him now obeyed him and became a part of him. He got out from under the rubble safe and sound, he survived, which means his sisters will not become orphans. But others were not so lucky; in total, nineteen people died in that tragedy, all of whom were white Americans, like him who lost their jobs because the migrants were willing to work for lower wages, and like him they had to come to this factory, and become the victims of one incompetent Jap.

In his rage, he found and beat this fucking Jap half to death, and only the intervention of the factory guard saved that bastard life. But as a result, Brad lost his job again and received a black mark in his file. Now, no self-respecting employer would take him to his job because of his inclination to violence and racial intolerance.

And Brad was again on the street, unemployed, without means of livelihood, without the opportunity to earn money. And worst of all, the rumors about what happened reached his relatives in Texas and they politely asked him not to come again or even to call so that he would not have a bad influence on the younger sisters. And he had to obey, because in his heart he realized that such a person as he does not have a place next to them. He did not justify their trust, could not help them when they needed it, so he practically betrayed them.

And the migrants and fucking coloreds were to blame for all this. It was because of them that he and his family suffered, it was because of them that they lost everything they had, and they had to pay for it. And with the newly acquired powers, he finally could take revenge on them. He began to attack groups of unsuspecting coloreds, beating them, maiming them and robbing them, thus fulfilling his thirst for revenge. And it was during one of these raids that he met Cricket and Stormtiger. They quickly found a common ground and became friends.

And it was Stormtiger who introduced him to the world of lethal underground fights for parahumans. And now, for several years, their trio has had the glory of the most ruthless and invincible fighters in the ring. But most of all, they were known for their intolerance towards migrants and people of color, making attacks on them and even engaging in clashes with the police and the PRT.

The dark infamy of Hookwolf, Cricket and Stormtiger resounded throughout the streets of the New York.

"This country is becoming a haven for migrant criminals, so, what do you expect?" Snarled already drunk Brad, taking a sip from a beer bottle, at the summer cafe on the pier. "Decent, hardworking Americans as was my parents, lose their jobs, values and lives to this social parasites. Those blacks, browns, yellow, whatever."

"You're saying your parents murder was race-related?" Andrew was surprised by this.

"Yeah, it's race-related. These fucking niggers staged a gunfight on the street and my parents were right in the middle of it all."

"Fuck! I never knew." Said shocked Melody.

"Because I have never told anyone this before." Brad sighed and put a empty bottle on a table. "Every problem in this country is race-related, not just crime. Immigration, AIDS, welfare. Those are problems of the blacks, the wabs and the japs. Not white problems."

"Fucking coloreds don't give two shits about this country." Andrew nodded.

"Yeah. And even fucking laws are on their side."

"And even on the day of our national holiday, these freaks dare to defile it with their vile songs and dances."

"Huh. What do you mean?" Brad was taken aback.

"You didn't heard?" Andrew gulped the remains of beer and threw the bottle into the river. "These queers staged their disgusting concert again at Christopher Street Pier."

"What?! Why didn't anyone tell me before?"

"We thought you knew." Shrugged Melody.

"If I had known, I would've scared these cunts away while they still preparing!" Brad jumped up from his seat and gritted teeth. "They think they can pour their crap on the day of our national pride? They think that we will just stand aside and be silent? No! I will show these fags what happens when you insult the real Americans!"

Brad threw a few banknotes on the table, paying for the drunk alcohol, and headed towards the exit, and a few moments later, Andrew and Melody looked at each other and then rushed after him.

Sunset and Lily arrived at the concert even before it began, having had time to enjoy the performance of aspiring groups at the opening, tasted the food sold from the trays and just walked along the pier. Sunset noticed that Lily was a little nervous today, but didn't attach much importance to it, because after three months of their unintended disagreement, trying to act as before was out of the question.

She liked the concert itself, although for her such music was unusual and slightly strange, and a little embarrassing behavior of young couples, most of which consisted of male-male or female-female pairs. Perhaps many of them were just friends who came to the concert, like she and Lily, but some were definitely more intimate with each other. And to be honest Sunset did not know how to behave in this situation. In Equestria, it was not customary to so openly express their feelings and sympathies in public, and she was a little uncomfortable with this candor.

But she had to worry about this for a very short time, because Lily took her to the edge of the pier and turning her back to her, suddenly began to wring her arms nervously.

Seth woke up with the feeling that someone was standing next to him and looking at him with a burning look. He opened his eyes, but there was no one around, and just behind him something shone slightly. Turning quickly, he only had time to notice how the radiance seemed to flow out of the room, moving into the corridor, forcing him to jump out of bed and run to catch up with the glow.

And the glow, as if laughing at him, each time eluded him around the bend, not allowing it to be caught up, rolled down the stairs and leaked through the door to the street. He sat across from the street door, not understanding what it was, maybe he was seeing all this, maybe he was dreaming, but as soon as Seth turned away from the door, he heard a muffled woman’s voice:

"Save her."

'What? Who's there?' Asked startled Seth, but no one answered. He turned again to leave, but again he heard a more distinguishable and very familiar voice:

"She needs you. Save her." And a blurry luminous figure appeared beside him. "She will suffer! Save her!"

'Oh Blooming Apples!' Said horrified Seth. 'LISA!!!' He shouted, and ran to her room. 'LISA!!! Wake up!'

He burst into Lisa's room and jumped on her bed.

"What the hell, Seth?" Muttered sleepy Lisa.

'Wake up now! We have problems!' Shouted agitated cat, nervously looking at the glowing figure, which for some reason Lisa did not notice.

"What happened?"

'Something happening to Sunset, we need to find her and fast!'

"But she went to the concert with Lily, and then should return to the tower."

'I don't care! We need to find her immediately!' He jumped off the bed and ran out into the corridor.

"Okay, okay. I'm on my way."

Lisa quickly laced up her shoes, put on her jacket and went down to the entrance hall. The cat was already waiting for her at the door, nervously walking in circles next to it.

'Hurry up!'

"Stop, you fool, where are you going?"

'Lily said that they will be on that pier, they should be there, I can feel it!' He chose to keep silent that the blurry luminous figure was already floating down the street.

"Hey, wait, let me start the car."

She barely had time to open the car door, as the cat leaped into the passenger seat with all his appearance urging her to hurry.

"Sunset, I know that I wasn't the best friend, but I just didn't know what I should do." Nervously said Lily, still fidgeting with her hands. "Since that battle with the Butcher, something has changed. I..."

"You were afraid of me because you thought that I could be a Butcher." Guessed Sunset.

"No, it's not! I just. I don't even know how to say it." Lily remembered Lisa’s warning, but decided to hope for her luck. "I have never done this before. So please don't be hard on me." Her face was very red and her eyelashes quivered with emotion. "Sunset, you were a wonderful friend to me, and I know that we know each other not so long ago, but I want you to know, I lo..."

She was abruptly interrupted by screams of horror heard from the shore. The music suddenly stopped and the pier was filled with the sounds of crashing, destruction, cries of pain and swearing. The girls without losing a moment fastened on the face of a half mask that they always carried with them in case of emergency, and rushed to the place of commotion.

They didn’t have to run far, because already halfway they were met by a woman in a worn sports uniform with a mask of a steel cage on her head and armed with sickle-shaped weapons, who crashed the scenery and musical equipment on the stage. She immediately noticed them, and abandoning her work, she produced a piercing squeal, stunning for a moment both girls.

"Damn it! Why they always do it at the wrong time." Cursed Lily. "Could they wait at least a couple more minutes. Argh!"

"There is no peace for us, even on holidays."

"I'll hold her, and you scout the situation and call for reinforcements."

"Okay. Just be careful."

"I will." She smiled picking up a few stones from the ground to use them as projectiles.

Sunset nodded back and pulling out her PRT-issued phone pressed the emergency call dial.

Brad was enraged by the arrogance with which these faggots dared to desecrate the sacred land of America. They behaved as if they were masters here, as if they were allowed to do whatever they wanted, doing their ungodly rituals and perverted kissings in front of the public. But they not only embraced with their own kind, no, they also dared to involve teenagers in their affairs. And worst of all, this place was full of coloreds.

He will not tolerate this, he will destroy each and every one of them, drown them in their own blood. He will lodge in their souls the fear and knowledge of the inevitable punishment for their heinous crimes. Everyone, each of them, will pay for the infamy they have done.

Without warning, he struck the first blow to the body of the black fucktard who was in his way. And no one has yet had time to understand anything, when his huge fist already crushed the jaw of a bastard in make-up. They screamed in agony, but he didn’t care. Rage filled his mind and hatred became the vehicle of his will. And steel began to envelop his body, turning him into a giant iron wolf, with a body covered in spikes, twisted hooks and sharp lashes of metal.

He struck left and right, without discerning the appearance, gender or race, and even if they were white he did not care, they came here of their own accord, and therefore must suffer for it. Bloodlust flooded his mind and he was no longer holding back, inflicting more and more terrible wounds to his victims. Breaking one's hands and chopping the legs of another, crushing the face of the third and splitting the spine of the fourth. Blood sang in his veins, and the metal sought to gather its terrible harvest.

Their car already flew into the embankment when they heard the first cries of horror and pain. Seth shot out of the car like a bullet and rushed towards the pier, only miraculously dodging fleeing people. He was met by a man who fired explosive blasts of compressed air at the crowd and, and without hesitation, struck him to the torso with all his might.

Andrew didn’t become a cripple only by a miracle, because he had covered his body with a shield of compressed air in advance, but the blow struck him was of such might that he was thrown to the side as if he weighed nothing. He hurried to get up, but he only managed to notice a blurred silhouette in the shape of a cat, as a more equally strong blows fell on him from all sides. And in the end, his shield could not resist and another blow sent him into oblivion.

"Wow. I didn't know that you could be so dangerous. To cut down a fighter such as Stormtiger is worth a lot." Whistled amazed Lisa.

'One less bastard.' Seth smirked. 'Still, we should quickly find Sunset. I have a very very bad feeling.'

"If I guessed right, then she should be on the other side of the pier."

'Then let's not waste a minute.'

And they ran on.

Sunset barely had time to call for reinforcements, as a picture full of destruction and cruelty opened before her. The moaning bodies of the victims lay all over the pier and everything around was covered with blood and littered with fragments of scenery and stalls. But the most terrible was the sight of a huge steel wolf monster, which with its paws, teeth, hooks and spikes struck the visitors of the concert.

She was shaking from the sight of blood and the screams of pain and fear hovering over the pier, her mind was covered with the veil of horror, and her eyes refused to believe what was happening. It was so similar to the nightmare that she had to endure when she first arrived in this world, so frighteningly identical in its cruelty and bloodthirstiness.

"Well, well, well, look who came to me. Little girl hero." In a gruff, growling voice, spoke a steel wolf, and from his voice, everything inside Sunset shrank from fear.

"I can't let you wreak a havoc." She answered in a shaky voice.

"Well, how will you stop me?"

"Please, surrender, I have already called for backup and they will soon arrive here. Do not aggravate the situation."

"Are you asking me to surrender? Are you serious?" Baffled Hookwolf.

"Of course I am serious! You have crippled many people today and now you are going in prison!"

"Ha! Do you want to know my answer, little twat?" Snarled Hookwolf grabbing the black guy's collar and lifting him above the ground. "This is my answer to you!"

A huge spike stretched out from behind his back and with a sharp jerk pierced the guy through the chest. And then more, and more and more. Sunset eyes narrowed in horror, and then she screamed.

Seth was only a few seconds late, jumping out in front of Sunset at the moment when the villain in the form of a huge chrome wolf inflicted several deadly penetrating wounds to the visitor of the event. And already then it came to him that he was again in a very bad situation, similar to the one that was from a town full of monsters. He still hoped that maybe it was still not so bad, but when Sunset screamed shrilly and her eyes began to glow with a bright light, he realized that he couldn’t hesitate anymore.

He knew that if she summoned her powers here, then the whole city would suffer the same fate as the last time, when only mountains of ashes and dust remained from that town of monsters. But he had little choice. Either he will commit a desperate act in the hope of a positive outcome, or they will all die. And that's why he covered her and himself with the smallest and strongest shield on which he was only capable, at the last moment having managed to shield the world from inevitable tragedy.

And then everything inside was filled with a flame so dense and hot that he couldn't even see the tip of his own nose. But he could not see anything anyway, because his eyes immediately boiled and burst, his fur evaporated, and his skin burned and crumbled to ashes. And he did not even feel anything, because all the nerve endings were burned, allowing him to at least not feel the insane pain that was supposed to consume him.

But he was still alive, still stubbornly clinging to his life, and his miraculous regeneration continued to restore his body unstoppably. Of course, even the regeneration of Goa'uld could not cope with such work, but the powers received from the butcher more than compensated for everything that was needed, and so the fire did not advance further than the muscles.

And Seth on a pure will power held himself in consciousness, repeating over and over again as a mantra the same words:

'Hold the Shield.'

'Hold the Shield.'

'Hold the Shield.'

'Ho̴̯͓̞̍͑̈́l̴̢̺͔̖͗̓̆͂̕̕d the Shiel̴̡̨̫̤̤͝ḑ̸̲̘̜̟̜͒̔͐̀̓̃͝.'

'Hol̸̦͇͖̠͕̫̯̥̗̠͕͕͗͒͒́̎͗d̷͖͚̰̻͓͔͋̈́̎̉͠ ̸͕̹̩̙͚̫͔͇̪̂̓̃̆̂́̿̏̌͌̆̓̀͝͝ͅͅţ̶̛̛̭̹̖͓͋̑͊͐̇̅͊̕͘͘͜ͅh̷̨̗͇̙͖̤̫͎̳̫̙̯͕͕͌͒̽̂͛̉͆̐̚͝e̵̡̡̛̼̱̱͎̞̞̰̥̯̅̇͐͂͂ͅ ̸̺̦̖̍̉̌͒͜S̴̨̛̤̞̘̠͚̻̮̳̪͖͐̊͐̈̃̊́͂͗͊̃̄ḣ̷̛̛͈̤̜̮̝̟̠͋́̍͑͂̓̌̀̕͜͝͝ield.'


'H̴̼͇͐o̴̖̫̒l̸͙̈́d̸̩̼͊̇ ̷͎͕͂t̶̥̀͘h̴̙̘̒e̸͚̎͊ ̵̝̀S̵̞͉͂̀ḧ̶̙̚i̴̔̊ͅe̸̩͑̌l̸̦̣̏̔d̶̢̞͒.̸͍̘̋'

'Hold̵̮͙͍̥̮̩͙͚̑̾̚͜ ̵̻͉̘̐t̷͖̣̤̱̩́̉̐̋̈́̑͑̅̽̈́̈́̉͒͝h̶̢̧̧̧͖̖̖̯͔̗̠̠͖̔̋̓̓̊͆̆̀̎̕̚ͅe̸̺̱̥̝̣͓̿͛͗ ̵̡̥̘̥͇̣̜̼̦̬̣̊ͅ.̸̡̥̝̒̑̍̒̈́ͅ.̸̢͆̑͂̄͂́͆́.̸̠̪͔̖̟̠̗͇̊̎'



'H̷͓̹̍ó̴̯̊͑͊l̷̜̣͖̻̀ḓ̵̰̭̀͒̔ ̶̥͓͠t̷͍̫̦͌̎̀̕ḧ̴̰̥͙͐ĕ̶͎̎͠ ̶̢̛̩́̚S̵̯̻͕̬̽̀͘h̸͚̱̰̃̇̃ǐ̸̤͉̂̀e̵͔͉̩̥͑l̴̟͖͆̉̿̕d̶̢̛̥̳̙͊'


'Hơ̷̫̗̩̟͍̎́͑͋̈́̓͌͠ļ̴̧̢̭̻̣̖͚͎̹̠̭̯̈̔͑̀̈́̆̆̓̈́͛̚̕d̶̡̟̟̻̭̥̹̜̙̱̪̟̦̊̈̿̋͌̊̒̾̈́̈̔͋̈̍͠ the Sḣ̴̢̡̛̘̞̜̔͐͒́̃͆̆͌́̚͘̕í̵͙̭̘͌́̈́̋͗͆ẽ̸̢̬̲̲̲͖͓̈͝ld.'





't̸̺̅͑̏̈́̓͋̓h̷̢̝̦̒̈́̆̆̑̍̓e̸̡̘͎̥͉̫͍̦̻͉̥͉̲̥̫͒͐̒ ̷̰͓̀̓͛̇̈́͆̋̓̅̚͜S̴̢̳̭̝̺̍̀̋̂́̉͆̍̆̒͝ͅͅh̸̨̩͖͍̹̗̞̥͖̱̆̓̂̽̐̚͘͜͠í̴̥̩̥̗̝̯̻̬̇̂̃̄̀͑͂̉̚ͅȩ̸̯̝̩̖͓̔͛̈́́̃̈́̀̋̔̓̓̈́͘͝l̴̞̯̞̦̝̙̞̥̖̙̺̦̎͋̈̀͗̒̾͗̚͠ͅḑ̶͙̘̮͂̿̀̊̊͗͆̽̃̉̈́͛̋͝.̴̧̡̹͓͈͍̫̩͙̣̤̂̀͐̑̀̍̿̊͒͜'




'Ȩ̵̈́̈́͒̔͂̿̈́̈̌̅v̵̡͔͉̿̔͒̄i̴̡̗̪̘̰͔͙̦̾̀͌͋͋l̸̺̮͙̩͍͙̩̲̽̅̓́ ̷̡̧̠̝̹̖̦̟̗͌̒͛͌̐̌͘̕͠͝c̶̦͍̱͛̿̒̎ơ̶͚̘̩̌̍̂͊͗̇̎̌̚m̶̨͖͔͓͔̘̫̞̱̉́̀é̵̡͚̞̒͒̂̈́̑͝s̶̰̉̆ ̵̛̞̣̞̭̽͗̈́̅̈͝i̷͎̺̪̘͍̿̔̃́̏͒͑̕͜n̷̨̠̱̒̋̊̆͂̊̌̆ͅ ̶̛͎͙̳͚͚̻̺̞͑͋̀̌͠r̴̡̫̭̥̯͊͆͆̓̆͝ơ̴̧̧̪̳̣͖̠͙̤͔͑́̈́̎͑̒u̵̪͖̪̼͚̞͋n̵͖̆́̔d̵̙̯͍̞̤̞̉̅̃̆͜ ̸̲̮̙̖̝̩͛͆̂̚̚š̴̨̫͔͍͇͚̞̹͐̂̀͠h̴̨͎̫̲͙̑̐̐̓͐̒̔̏̐ả̷͜͜p̷̦͉̀̌̐ē̸̢͚͎̙͓̗͐̿̀͛̈́̃͘̕̚͜s̷̞̈́̂̓͊̈̓̉̅'


Chapter 16. A song of Hope and Fire

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Chapter 16. A song of Hope and Fire

[Her world was on fire.]

Maria and Trish woke her and others, and then immediately gone to awaken the caretakers. Quickly dressing she ran after the other children into the corridor, and then she suddenly remembered that she left Mister Silky Paws in the game room in the middle of a toy fort. He was there all alone and probably didn't even know that there was a fire in the building.

She could not leave him there, because she promised Cadence that she would take care of him, that she would look after him. No! She is a good girl! She will not betray the trust of her best friend! She will not abandon Mister Silky Paws in trouble! He must be rescued! And this is definitely the job for Shimmering Sunshine Lady!

Sunset quickly returned to the bedroom and pulling a yellow sheet from her bed tied it on her shoulders in the manner of a heroic cape. Now she is no longer Sunset Shimmer, now she is a superhero and she will save her best friend's pet! And ignoring the screech of the fire alarm, she ran not into the trail of other children, but to the left along the corridor toward the playroom.

And despite the fact that the corridor was already puffed up with smoke, and glimpses of fire flashed in front of her, she didn't stop, because real heroes don't give in to fear! Still it was getting harder to run, her eyes were watering from smoke, and more and more often she coughed when she tried to breathe. The fires spread very quickly and already licked the walls and ceiling of the corridor. But she was already there.

[The flames swirled around.]

She rushed into the game room and stared in horror at the fire-ridden fort, which she, together with other children, had built from large wooden blocks in the afternoon. But Mister Silky Paws was somewhere inside! Sunset tried to get closer, but the flame was too hot and when she reached out with her hand, it burned her painfully. And several blocks collapsed exposing a burning plush cat toy in front of her.

"No! NO! It can't be!" She cried, falling to her knees in despair. "I was late. I was too late." And tears flowed down her cheeks. "Oh, Cady, I'm a bad friend. I can't even save him."

Sunset jumped to her feet and ran to the exit from the room, bursting into tears, and with her eyes were watery she did not notice how she stumbled with her foot on the toy left by someone and then fell and hurt her elbow badly. She screamed in pain, and for some time lay on the floor cradling her injured arm. But the fire consumed more and more space and now she had to hurry.

With great difficulty overcoming the pain in her hand, she got up and walked slowly towards the corridor. But before she could even make a dozen steps, the beam engulfed in fire collapsed in front of her, almost hitting her head, blocking Sunset from leaving the room.

[And the blazing fire like an impenetrable veil enveloped everything before her.]

She tried to get away from the fire, but it already covered the entire game room and now she had nowhere to run. But the fire was only getting stronger, and the flames was getting closer to her. It licked her hands and Sunset screamed in terror. Her coat was already charring, and her hair began to burn.

She knocked the flames from her hair, but they flared again. She fell on all fours and grabbing the rug wrapped it around her, trying to hide from the fire. But it didn't work and the fire danced on the outer surface of the mat, turning her into a huge living bonfire.

The skin on her hands was blistered, and the pain was unbearable. And she could no longer hear her own cries, because her eardrums had burst from her shrill screams.

[The flame became her and she turned into a flame.]

Her hands were charred and her body was drowned in fire. She realized that she was dying, and only regretted that she could not keep the promise given to her best friend. She could not protect Mister Silky Paws, she could not even protect herself. It seems that she wasn't destined to become a hero, and her fate was to die as a sore loser. She broke her pinky promise. And those who break promises no longer deserves to have friends.

She closed her eyes and prepared to die. And then she saw purest bright light and the stars twinkled around her.

[And she dissolved into the fire letting it to consume herself.]

The pain abruptly stopped and the heat from the fire disappeared. She opened her eyes and saw a frozen flame, rigid and motionless. She gasped, and heard her own voice. She raised her hands, which were safe and sound again and stared at them blankly. Even her hair was a luxurious mane again.

"I knew that I would find you here again." From her right came a very familiar female voice. She looked up and saw a woman glowing with white radiance. "Hello, Sunset. We finally met again."

"Again? What do you mean? Who are you?" Sunset blinked in surprise.

"My name is Oma Desala and this is moment where it all began." She smiled. "The place where we have already met once, a long time ago."

"But. Where are we?" Still not understanding, she asked again.

"Look around, don't you think this place is familiar?"

"I was not..." She wanted to continue, when she stopped and looked. This place was so familiar, but she couldn't remember where and when she saw it. "It really looks familiar, but where are we?"

"This is your first home, Sunset."

"My home? But why can't I remember it then?"

"Are you sure?" Oma tilted her head slightly and the scenery has changed. "What about now?"

The fire and destruction disappeared and the room looked untouched again. And instead of the night there was a day, and on the floor of the room children were playing, who absolutely did not notice Sunset and Oma standing in the middle of the room. She wanted to ask something when she noticed in the corner of the room two little girls who were drawing on a large piece of paper with bright markers.

And they were very different from all the other children in the room. The one on the left had a mane of pink-violet-yellow hair, and the one on the right was bright red with a yellow stripe. They both smiled and laughed, drawing flowers and houses on paper. And next to them lay a plush toy in the form of a tabby cat.

"Mister Silky Paws..." Sunset said in shock. "But why do I know this? Why does it have the same name as Cadence gave to Seth?" She turned to Oma. "Why do they look like me and Cadence? Why? What's going on?" She shouted.

"But you already know the answer." Sounded melodious voice of Oma. "You're just afraid to admit it to yourself."

"No! This is impossible!" She continued to deny the obvious. "It just can't be!"

"How can you be so sure?"

"But she and I are ponies! We have always been ponies!" Sunset stood her ground. "And I first met her just five years ago!"

"Or maybe you just forgot?"

"What are you saying?" Sunset's pupils widened and she was already afraid to hear Oma's answer.

"It seems I should tell you how it really was."

Oma sighed and the scenery changed again to the street filled with a lot of wrecked cars, firetrucks, police cruisers and ambulances.

"Your story begins with this event. You lost your parents when you weren’t even a year old, and because you were left alone authorities sent you to an orphanage for upbringing, where you lived until this fire happened."

The scenery transformed into a creche full of infants.

"There you met another orphan named Cadence, with whom you very quickly became friends, and from infancy you were together all the time." She pointed to the child with multicolored hair. "Both of you were different from others in appearance, having an unusual color of eyes and hair. And both of you have always been more active and cheerful than other children. Perhaps this is why other children have kept aloof from you."

The scene around them changed again to the picture of holiday festival on the street.

"The two of you were thick as thieves, and even on an orphanage joint trip for the amusement park you played together on the gaming machines, in one of which she won herself this plush toy cat, who she called Mister Silky Paws. And she always took him with her wherever she went."

"But it did not last forever?"

"Yes, unfortunately." And sadness appeared in her voice. "One day a young couple came to the orphanage, they loved each other very much, but they couldn't have their own children. And so they decided to adopt a child."

The scenery flowed around them and turned to the game room where a young couple watched small children play.

"They really liked both of you, inseparable friends who behaved like real sisters. And they were ready to adopt you together, but circumstances intervened and the authorities allowed them to adopt only one child." Oma showed her a crying couple. "It almost broke their hearts, being forced to choose between the two of you."

"They chose Cadence." Guessed Sunset.

"It was a very difficult choice." Oma hurried to assure her, and the scene was replaced with a parting episode. "She didn't want to leave you alone and because of this she handed you her precious toy, asking to look after him and remember her more often."

"And I lost it in the fire." A small tear appeared on her eye.

"Yes, you did. But you couldn't have known that this would happen." And the scene of the fire appeared again. "You tried to save it, but you failed and almost died." Oma walked to the small figure bathed in flames. "But at that moment a miracle happened. Your subconscious reached for something in the depths of your being, something that slept in you and was inactive for many, many generations of your ancestors. And when it woke up, it met something on its way that also wanted to touch your mind, but your legacy was against it and was not going to let it subdue you, and swallowed it."

"What legacy?" Sunset became curious.

"To explain this to you, we will have to go back in time."

Everything around them fell apart and spun in a whirlwind of light and color. The stars were lit and extinguished, the planets were born and died, and time flowed around them like a torrent. Until finally everything slowed down and a beautiful planet appeared before them.

"Long time ago on a planet far far away lived a race of very curious creatures. They were inventive, their inquiring mind was constantly eager to learn something new and unusual." Before Sunset came the world of unusually dressed people.

"The humans."

"Not exactly, but close. They were virtually indistinguishable from them." Clarified Oma. "Their kind was called the Lanteans, and they loved to build extraordinary things."

She showed her the huge city-ships flying in space, planets filled with magnificent buildings and machines that boggled the imagination.

"And they achieved all this because they possessed a marvelous gift of magic. But they did not rely on their talent alone, preferring to learn the secrets of the universe without its help. And having studied almost everything that they could, they finally reached the pinnacle of nature, beyond which there was only a transition to another form of existence."

And the people on the scenery began to glow and soar towards the heavens, dissolving into the light.

"And soon they learned how to ascend themselves and become practically gods for the rest of the universe. But not all of them wanted ascension, and so some of them left their homeworld and began to spread life across the rest of the galaxies. And arriving in this galaxy, they found this world - the Earth."

And the globe of the planet appeared before them.

"They built new cities and settled this world, and lived in peace with their neighbors from other galaxies, until one day they stumbled upon the bloodthirsty race of Wraiths, which decided that the Lanteans would be the perfect food for them."

"They look like vampires."

"Yes, they are." Smiled Oma. "Of course these Wraiths were no match for the Lanteans and would never have been able to defeat them, but the unfathomable

epidemic had suddenly occurred, the one which the Lanteans could not cure or prevent. And one after another they began to die, the cities population began to dwindle, and panic seized them."

The view of the planet was replaced by the image of a panicked population.

"And most of those who were still alive decided to leave the Earth in an attempt to escape from the plague, and only a few who remained calm chose to stay. They dismantled their cities and their ships and hid themselves in the deep bunkers, awaiting until everything was over."

Sunset saw underground vaults filled with capsules with sleeping ancients.

"They slept for eons, and when they woke up they discovered that the Earth was once again inhabited by creatures that look very similar to them. And no one could tell for sure whether they were their descendants who turned to savagery, whose ancestors didn't hided in the bunkers, or were they the creations of some of their compatriots who tried to find a way for their species to survive."

And the scene of the meeting of several ancients with primal humans spread out before them.

"I can't even distinguish them from each other!"

"The Lanteans learned that these people were not much different from them, except that they were more primitive in the physical sense and were not capable of magic."

The scenery has changed to view of humans astonished by magic feats and technology wonders.

"And seeing the new humanity some of the survived ancients decided to remain among them, while others, who did not agree with their decision, left the Earth through the Stargate or ascended to a new plane of existence."

The view of activated Stargate amazed Sunset.

"And the years flowed one after another, and those who stayed gave birth to their children and grandchildren, and then their children began to take as spouses this new humans, mingling with them, and dissolving into new generations. Their blood has thinned over the centuries, and their talent for magic has almost dried up. And soon it was already impossible to determine who was the descendant of the ancients, and who was not. Until one day two girls were born in two different families." And then Sunset was in the middle of the nursery in the hospital. "The mother of one girl died in childbirth, and her father is overwhelmed with grief decided to abandon her." Sunset saw a bundle with a child at the door of an orphanage. "As for the parents of another, they died in a massive car crash."

"These were my parents. It's so unfair, I never knew them before, and now I'll never get to know them."

"I'm sorry." Oma put her hand on the girl's shoulder trying to calm her down. "Both of you are very exceptional girls. Both of you are the last of our descendants. The first among an incalculable number of generations of your ancestors who managed to revive a talent for magic."

Sunset stared at the woman, slightly confused about what was going on.

"But how then did I end up in Equestria, and why was I a pony?"

"I just came to this." Said Oma and the scene of the burnt room appeared once again. "As you probably already understood, I was one of the Ancients, one of those who decided to ascend a long time ago. We live in a very closed community burdened with many restrictive rules. We are forbidden to intervene in the affairs of mortals and we are forbidden to influence what is happening in the world. But when did you, Sunset, awakened your magic, I noticed you and overstepping all the restrictions came to help you." Oma gently smiled. "You managed to awaken your talent in magic, but your body has suffered greatly from fire. And with those burns, you could never survive. But the burns could be cured, and they were not the main problem. Your newly acquired magic developed rapidly and demanded an external source of magic, which was too insufficient on Earth, in a world where there was practically no magic left. And although many of my compatriots were categorically against that, I made a decision and moved you to a far away world full of magic in which you could live and develop without such restrictions."

"To the Equestria."

"That's right. And the most interesting thing is that the whole world was shrouded in a magic spell that turns any creature who ends up in Equestria into one of the local species, and their spiritual predestination and the power of their magic were the deciding factors choosing their form."

"So I became a unicorn! But that means I'm not a real pony."

"You're wrong! It does not matter who you were before, but what matters is who you want to be, who you consider yourself."

"So I can still be a pony? And I don't need to be a human forever?"

"The choice is only yours."

"Swell! I will definitely be a pony!"

Oma smiled proudly and approvingly.

"But then how did Cadence get there? Did you move her too?"

"Yes, something similar happened to Cadence." Oma paused for a moment. "She and her adoptive parents moved to the island of Newfoundland in the northeast of this continent. Where they lived happily until the island was attacked by a monster named Leviathan, who destroyed their house and drowned the entire island along with all its inhabitants. But she was destined to a different fate."

"What? Please tell me she survived."

"She managed to survive long enough to awaken her inner magic and fueled by love for her from her adoptive parents, it manifested itself, grabbing my attention too." Explained Oma. "That's why I was able to save her too. But even if her body was in a much better shape than yours, she was still without oxygen for too long and this caused most of her memories to disappear."

"That's why she didn't recognize me too."

"Yes, she forgot almost everything she knew, except for her name and something else."

Oma waved her hand and the scenery changed to the forest.

"I moved her to Equestria and laid her on the trail right in the path of a earth pony heading to the forest. And when he found her, he immediately took her to his home, where, together with his wife, they soon decided to adopt this orphaned filly."

"Well, at least Princess Celestia took me to her palace." Sunset said with a touch of pride and a bit of envy.

"From that day Cadence began to live with the earth ponies, where she met a cat that was very much like a plush toy that she once had. That made her immediately to latch on him, because he reminded her of the last familiar thing from her past life."

"You do know that this is not a cat?"

"Yes, I knew about him, but his presence in this house was a surprise even to me." Oma's face has become unreadable. "He always manages to surprise me. And looks like he did it again."


"Look at your feet."

Sunset lowered her gaze and saw a blurred, pulsing shadow in the shape of a cat that sat at her feet.

"What is this?"

"This is Setesh, or rather the projection of his soul on this plane of existence."

"Seth? But why is he like this? Why doesn't he look like us? Why does he look like a shadow?"

"I will try to explain in simple words." Oma thought for a moment. "Before I answer, let me ask you a question."

"Okay, sure."

"Where do you think we are?"

"You said that this is some kind of a plane of existence."

"That's true. But this is not just any plane, this is a plane of ascension. Where we meet those who are going to end their mortal existence and become something more."

"Ascension? Am I going to ascend? And the cat too?" Sunset asked incredulously

"Unfortunately not. At least not entirely." She sighed. "You see, despite the fact that your magic potential is very strong, and you are our descendant, but you and your body are still corporeal, and this prevents you from ascension. Although at the same time you are already something greater than a mere mortal. Much much greater than them. Your power is undeniable, your will is invincible, and your resolve is insurmountable. You're like a living god among people. But until your soul transcends your body, true ascension will not be available to you."

"But still possible. And what about Seth, he now also became a god?"

"No, of course not. His soul is too burdened by his sins, his petty desires, too impure. And now his body too is infected with this vile parasite." She said with a tone full of bile. "He will never ascend. No, I don't even want to imagine what someone of his kind would do if they ascended!"

"But he's good! He helped me many times!"

"Do not let yourself to be deceived, Sunset, I know very well what they are capable of, and none of his good deeds will ever cover what they have done all over the galaxy! I tolerate his existence for the time being, while he is useful, but if he tries to harm you, then I will immediately intervene."

"But..." Sunset baffled. "But he managed to appear here, so he is ready to ascend!"

"It does not mean anything. He did this before, and his soul is too dirty, he is like a demon, like a parasite, that who he really is."

"Still you said he did it before. When?"

"Yes he did. He appeared here at the time when Cadence became a demigoddess. And did it again on the day of your arrival to this world."

"Wait, but I don't remember it happening before."

"You appeared on this plane at the moment of great shock. When your body was on the verge of death. But your soul and mind weren't ready to surrender, you weren't going to let others to die, even if the price for their survival is your own life. So you intuitively invoked the magic of your essence, and it answered to you, lending a help to defeat the enemies."

"Monsters town. The town that I turned to ashes."

"Yes, your magical power did it."

"But I almost killed other people. And if it were not for Seth, if it were not for his shield, then they would have died!"

"As I already said, he is useful. Like now, when he holds the shield protecting the people from your magical induced firestorm."

"What?! My magic is out of control again? But why? You said that I was already here before, then I should have better control over it." Exclaimed Sunset. "And now he must protect them all from me again!"

Oma's face frowned and the glow around her faded slightly.

"You do not understand..."

"What exactly do I not understand? Why does he have to save people again? Why can't I control my power? Just why?"

"We have laws, rules, we cannot interfere in mortals lives."

"And how it relates to me, you said that I am no longer mortal."

"You were strong, brave and determined. But having such powers was too early for you. You are not ready yet. And so we had to make a decision. I was against it, but I was overruled by the majority."

"You sealed my powers and made me forget everything, right?"

"Sometimes we have to make a hard decisions. For the greater good."

"And now you will seal my power again and I will forget everything."

"No, not this time. Even the last time there were many of us disgruntled with such a move, but now when your power has grown so far beyond, they will not be able to seal it."

"Yay for me." Snorted redhead.

"You have a great destiny ahead of you, Sunset."

"A destiny? So I have to do something? Go kill a monster and save the world?"

"This is not something predetermined, because no one can know the future in advance, and even your fate is not set in stone, but you are very important. We only know that you will bring hope to the desperate and salvation to the doomed, we know that your heart is full of sympathy and compassion, that you are this world's a long awaited hero, a hero that it needs, a hero who has finally come."

"So I have to save the world? And that mean I have to stay here and never return to Equestria? But we were ready to run, to find a way home!"

"I'm sorry. But even if you fulfill your plans, you were doomed to fail."

Sunset was shocked that her long-awaited dream collapsed before her eyes. They had been preparing for so long, practicing, collecting equipment and planning routes. And now she was told that only failure would await them.

"But why?" She asked in trembling voice, with tears trailing down her cheeks. "Was Seth wrong?"

"As much as I don't like it, this is not his fault." Oma walked over to Sunset. "He remembered correctly, but he didn't realize that everything had changed in such a long time. And practically everywhere in your chosen destinations you will not find anything except bare walls. And only in some places there are still artifacts left, but you cannot reach them without heavy archeological equipment."

"So it was all in vain."

"Unfortunately it is." Oma's voice become sad.

"But what should I do then? How do I get home?"

"I don't have an answer to this question yet, but you mustn't lose hope. And about what you do, then I have a suggestion, become a hero of which this world is waiting for. They need you, Sunset, they need you more than you can even imagine."

"Me a hero? I'm not a hero! I'm just some kind of life long loser. I lost my parents, I did not know my past, I stuck in a strange world, I lost my best friend, and now others suffer because of me. How can I try?"

"There is no try. Do it or don't. It's that simple. When life gets your down, you mustn't stop. Just keep going, and put your past behind you."

"But it hurts, it's pains me. Will I ever see my friends again, will I see Princess Celestia again, will I see Cadence?"

"Yes, the past can hurt, losing your friends is painful too, but the way I see it, you can either run from it, hide your pain, or you can make new friends, new memories. Your story may not have such a happy beginning, but that doesn't mean you should lose hope, and it depends only on you what the rest of your story will be. So what would be your answer."

"All right!" She sniffed and wiped away tears "Okay, I will do it! I will do my best!"

"That's the spirit! And remember, you are one of us, I believe in you. And you must believe in yourself. "

Lisa woke up with a wild headache. She certainly knew that the surge from overusing her power would end with this, but she had never before experienced anything like that. It was as if someone had stuck a hot nail into her head and continually pounded it with a hammer. Moreover, she apparently also hit her head when she lost consciousness.

She touched the big bump on her head and jerked from the pain that had pierced her. It was bad, which means that she urgently needs to find Sunset and the cat and return home before the pain becomes completely unbearable. She stumbled and almost fell, but someone grabbed her arm, preventing her from fall. Lisa looked back and saw Lily, who smiled wearily.

"You need to be careful." She said in a tired voice. "After such a fall, you'd better sit down, but it seems that you are in a hurry somewhere."

"We need to find Sunset now!" Lisa threw off Lily's hand and hurried forward.

"Geez, why are you so unfriendly." But, seeing Lisa's frown, she hurried to laugh it off. "Okay, okay, I'm coming."

And after moving over the shattered scenery, they saw the scattered bodies of the victims and the motionless Hookwolf, in front of whom stood a translucent sphere of shield, with flashes of fire flickering inside of it. Lisa looked at the sphere and realized with horror that Sunset and the cat were inside, right in the middle of a dense firestorm compressed into a seven foot ball of fiery death.

"Oh my God! They are inside of this sphere!" Said horrified Lisa.

"They are inside?" Lily uttered in disbelief. "But no one could survive there."

"Seth still holds the shield. But it weakens, and we need to quickly get them out."

"And destroy the shield? Can you imagine what will happen to us and everyone around?"

"Don't you care that Sunset might die?" Snapped Lisa.

"Of course I care! But if the shield falls, then everyone will die!"

At that moment, the huge body of the steel wolf jerked, and he began to rise to his feet. The girls recoiled from him, Lisa pulled out a gun, and Lily grabbed a long piece of aluminum pipe, applying her power on it.

"What the fuck was that?" Roared Hookwolf. "Where is the bitch who did this?! I will tear her throat and fuck her corpse!"

Both girls involuntarily stepped back from the villain making him to notice them.

"Ah, even more little bitches." A bloodthirsty grin appeared on his face. "But where did that redhead twat disappeared? Well, it doesn't matter, I can play with you for now."

He stepped towards them and Lily swung her improvised spear at him. It slashed him through, hacking a large piece of metal from his body.

"You slut, I'll make you pay for this!" And he jumped on them.

The girls, in fear, closed their eyes and Lisa mentally said goodbye to her life when the Hookwolf suddenly flew over them, shrouded in greenish glow, and with a great might slammed him through the wall of the coastal cafe.

"I won't let you do your evil again." Said the etherial female voice with a confident tone. "My fires lit up, I can't be abstain."

Lisa opened her eyes and gasped at what she saw. Here, a few meters from them, shrouded in flames, a female figure hovered in the air, as if she were a floating torch. Her eyes shone with bright white light, her hair fluttered in the wind like a celestial flow, two beautiful translucent golden wings made of flames protruded from her back, and her head was crowned with a divine radiant spikes.

Her whole visage inspired confidence, hope and faith in those who saw her. Even her voice made them respire. She was so magnificent, so majestic, so stupendous, she was absolutely divine.

"Please rest now, my lovely feline friend." She said leaning towards the cat's charred body, which have already started to recover. "You've done well, now it's my time to attend."

She soared higher into the night sky and began to shine even brighter, covering all the victims lying on the ground with a luminous green field. And the wounds on the people's bodies began to disappear before their eyes, their skin regained its healthy shade, and they already began to rise from the ground rejoicing that their savior finally arrived. Even the mortally wounded guy survived and now disbelievingly patted his body in search of his previous injuries.

"Phoenix, is that you?" Lily asked uncertainly. And the empyreal figure turned its gaze on her.

"You right, it's me, my faithful friend, I rose up, and came back from the end."

"But how? Why do you look like that and why are you talking so strangely?"

"We have no time for explanation, the monster woke up and crave satisfaction." She pointed to a supervillain rising to his feet.

"Damn it! And here I was hoping that he finally lost consciousness." Sighed Lily. "Can you do something with him?"

"I will."

Hookwolf howled getting out from under the rubble of a ruined cafe and his steel body exploded into hundreds of spikes, hooks, blades and chains, and they all rushed towards the hovering figure of Phoenix, but she easily reflected them all with her magic shield. He tried again and again, but the result was still the same, and she still easily repulsed all attacks. And the rescued people with screams of fear began to scatter away from the fight.

"I'll kill you, fucking whore!" He snarled and tried to jump, but was immediately surrounded by a ring of incredibly hot flames. It doesn't matter how much he tried to break through it, because even for him this fire was too hot, instantly melting all his metal from a simple touch.

"I not going let you to harm anymore. Your time is up. And you were caught. You can't escape, you wont find cover. This flames my will, they my afterglow. They will be your prison, they hot as the sun. Your vileness is over, you won't be able to run." She stated in melodic voice.

He snarled in desperation and now only could pointlessly beat against the flame, bouncing off of them every time he burned. And then his head was clouded in a greenish glow and Hookwolf fell unconscious just in time before they heard the sounds of police sirens from city. Making sure he is unconscious Phoenix flew to the girls and landed on the ground.

"This bad, the law enforcement gather here." She turned to Lisa. "They will seize up him and be austere, so you must go and interfere. You need to pick Seth and to run, I'll hold them back, so please, be gone."

"Okay. You can count on me!" Lisa smiled and ran to the unconscious cat, lifting him with her arms with some difficulty. "Jeez." She grunted. "He probably weighs a ton! And when he had time to eat so much. I'll have to put him on a vegan diet."

"He will never forgive you for this." Quipped Lily.

"Oh shut up. I'm the one who carries him, not you."

But Lisa still dragged him to the car and throwing him to the back seat she covered him under a blanket. Managing to hide him earlier than the first police cars arrived to the pier. The fiery flow around Phoenix disappeared, and the flames around Hookwolf went out, leaving him lying on the ground inside the burned circle.

"Oh no!" Gasped Lily and blushed so much, that she looked like a tomato.

"What's the matter?" Asked confused heroine who again turned into Sunset.

"You. You. You are naked!" Squeezed out impossibly embarrassed Lily.

Sunset looked down and squealing aloud immediately laid her hands on all her naked privates. Lily nervously looked around to find something that could help her, until she saw a rainbow flag hanging from a broken flagpole. She quickly ran to it and tearing it off the mounts, dragged the flag to Sunset.

"Here, take it, cover yourself with this for now, until someone sees you." Lily held out a rainbow banner to her.

"Thank you Lily, you are a true friend." And Sunset hurried to wrap the fabric around herself in the manner of a toga.

"A friend. Yes I am." She smiled with a little sadness.

"Hey, cheer up! We won, no one died! We are now real heroes!" Grinned Sunset.

"Okay, okay, but you will have to explain to me everything that happened!" Lily surrendered to her push.

"I will tell you only what I can, I myself still don't understand everything. But for now let's go to meet the bosses."

And taking Lily's hand, she dragged her to meet the arriving PRT armored cars.

Chapter 17. Pride and Prejudice

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Chapter 17. Pride and Prejudice

The cat was lying on a huge soft bed and mewled to himself quietly.

'You know, but sometimes life decides that it’s time to throw a spoonful of tar into your barrel of honey and, despite all your merits, laugh at you. You can do your best, try to stand out, prove yourself, be willing to sacrifice yourself for the sake of others, but life will still be unfair to you and at the first opportunity will betray your expectations. Take me for example, I was always in the forefront, eagerly going into battle, covering my comrades with my body, giving myself all the way to the last drop for our common cause, and as a result, where do I find myself? On the sidelines!'

Seth sighed sadly and stared again at the lively street through an open window. Squinting his eyes slightly in the the sun's rays flickering between the foliage of a tree standing in front of the house.

'Have I not done enough? Was I not brave enough, or maybe I was not striving enough? I kept to the last, protecting the whole city, and maybe even the world from certain death, and what did I get in return? Nil. Zilch. Nada. A whole lot of nothing. They didn't even heal me. They just wrapped me in bandages from head to toe and ditched me on this bed.'

His entire body under bandages was itching and tingling as it healed.

'And you know what the most terrible thing Sunset did to me? Without remorse, without regret, without a drop of sympathy and empathy for my pain. How could she do this to me? And this after everything I did for her. She betrayed me in the most mean way, in the most ruthless way, depriving me of my treasure. She broke the most precious thing that a real cat could have. The only thing that had absolute value for me. She stepped on my ego, hard.'

He glared at the trio of girls and, with a snort, turned away.

'And now she and her friends are joyfully chirping enjoying her incredible story of her gaining semi-divine powers. And what about me? Do they even care about my grief, about the misfortune that befell me? Don't they see my sufferings, my despair, which leave deep wounds in my soul? Do not I deserve empathy, moral support, a little understanding? Why did she get everything, and I only got pain and pathetic crumbs of power as a reward?'

"What is he whining about?" Asked Lily.

"Did we overdo with bandages?" Sunset glanced concernedly at the cat.

"No, he complains about the unfairness of life." Lisa said, dismissing him.

'Who's complaining? I'm complaining? I'm not complaining. Na-ah! I'm just saying that events could be more fair to me. Anyway, I talked to myself, and you were not invited to this conversation. So keep boasting about your accomplishments, well, or go outside and do something meaningful with your life, while I'll be right here, lying on this bed... as always.'

"He definitely complains." Said Lily.

"Yep, he is."

Seth turned and angrily glanced at Lisa.

'Why you! I thought we were friends! You should have supported me and not betrayed me for the sake of moment.'

"I never promised you anything, and besides, it's funny."

'Okay, okay. The time will come when you will need my help and I won't be there to save you. We will see who will be the last to laugh. Ha-ha! Ha-ha-ha!'

Seth intentionally falsely laughed, but Lisa just rolled her eyes and blew a raspberry.

Cauldron leaders once again gathered together on a secret base hidden on one of the parallel Earths.

"It’s just me or it seems that this girl has become a too frequent reason for our gatherings?" Wondered Eidolon.

"Well, this time it's not so bad. She managed to curb her powers and arrest a dangerous villain."

"And she even didn't ruin the whole city." Noted Contessa slowly nodding.

"Yet this is a disturbing trend, in less than a year she fought with three of the most dangerous supervillains, two of whom died, and only one was arrested." Said deeply concerned Legend. "And we are very lucky that in the last two times she did not burn the city to hell."

"Well, after all, the Hookwolf was not as dangerous as the Butcher."

"But, according to eyewitnesses, he managed to shatter her psyche so much that she practically gone berserk. She even summoned her fiery whirlwind."

"Still, there were no casualties."

"Just because the cat became the hero of the hour again." Retorted Legend.

"Cat, what cat? Nobody told me that the cat showed up again." Eidolon perked up.

"Well, actually, we never lost sight of him." Casually noted Alexandria.

"What?! Then why did you send me to look for him?"

"In fact, you yourself volunteered to participate in his search and did not even ask about their necessity."

"But how did you find him before me?"

"He and his current caretaker were discovered as soon as I posted a rental listing." Grinned Contessa while straightening fedora on her head. "That was three months ago."

"Three months? Really? And you kept silent?"

"Well, you know how they say. If you want to force..."

"Argh!!!" Groaned Eidolon and throwing up his arms jumped up from his seat and began to pace around the room in irritation.

"Okay. Seriously. So, you already knew where the Butcher was hiding and did not tell anyone about this?" Asked Legend.

"There is no Butcher anymore."

"What do you mean there is no more Butcher?"

"It seems that this time he failed to be reborn as before or, more realistically, the cat's Shard turned out to be stronger than his own and devoured him. In any case, our Thinkers think so."

"So the Butcher is finally dead. Alright, this is great news."

"We still lost a particularly powerful parahuman." A little sadly said Alexandria.

"He was still uncontrollable and there was more harm than good from him." Doctor Mother pointed this fact out.

"Alright, our main problem with Miss Shimmer's power handling is solved. Now we need to decide how to proceed with her further."

"Judging by her tendency to attract dangerous parahumans to her, I recommend moving her to a more controlled environment." Issued her proposal Doctor Mother handing out a report folder to others. "As you can see, our reports from Brockton Bay make it possible to adjudicate that the situation with supervillains there has recently improved radically."

"Can this affect our experiment with neo-feudalism of parahumans negatively?"

"If Mr. Calvert can't cope with such conditions, then it is necessary to say that the experiment is doomed to failure in advance. I believe that he must prove his ability to control the situation under any circumstances."

"But the new PRT ENE director and the newly appointed leader of the Wards deployed in the city almost a real military operation with the involvement of the FEMA, who built themselves a whole base at the docks." Alexandria pointed out the fact.

"It was unexpected, but in general did not negatively affect the projected increase of triggers in the city. But the Teeth and the Elites had to leave the city."

"So instead of a boiling pot, we got almost the most peaceful city in the country?"

"It's as peaceful as it can be in the presence of such villains as Lung and Kaiser."

"But this is great! There are not too many wards in Brockton Bay as in New York, their routes do not go anywhere near dangerous areas and they are almost under the round-the-clock control of the local Protectorate forces. This is an ideal place to move our troublesome girl there and to please the PRT ENE Director with our attention to them." Sincerely delighted Legend. "Besides, if I remember correctly, their director is already knows her."

"Well, not that you were wrong, this is true, only I am not sure that she will be delighted with such a gift, as a survivor of Ellisburg by herself."

"Only it will not be our problem anymore."

"Besides, with her power over fire, she will become a good counter-argument against the Lung." Added Legend.

"Okay, I will talk with the PRT ENE director and with Miss Shimmer, and then we will make the final decision."

"And I told them that if they want my consent for transfer, then they should stop pursuing Seth and allow him to be on his own." Happily announced Sunset. "And Alexandria, without much resistance, agreed to this."

"So we have to move again?" Asked Lisa. "I do not mind to move, although we will have to find a warehouse for our equipment in a new place."

"Well, you don't have to go after me, but I would be glad if my friends were with me."

"And how did Lily react to this news?" But seeing Sunset's saddened face continued. "Not that good, right?"

"Yeah. I understand that we are friends with her, and I would be glad if she came with me, but the leadership of the Protectorate was against the transfer of two wards at once."

"But still you can always keep in touch with each other, and cat and me will not let you get too lonely!" Lisa smiled causing Sunset to smile too.

'But apparently no one intends to ask for my opinion.'

Seth was still quite heavily bandaged and dressed in a second hand black hoodie with the inscription "I'm in training to be a superhero", which Lisa made him wear under threat to report his whereabouts to Mouse Protector, which made him look like a rapper's mummy, and made the girls smile.

'And seeing how you do not respect me and continue to treat me like a giant plush toy, makes me believe that my opinion does not affect anything.'

"Is he still complaining?"


'You know, I’d probably better be silent, yes, I’ll definitely keep quiet, I was silent for five thousand years and people treated me respectfully, but as soon as I started talking, everyone suddenly began to consider me as their funny sidekick whose jokes are not funny at all. And this after all that I have done for them.'

"He says that he, too, can't wait to move to a new place."

'As if!'

"See, he agreed with me." Smiles of both girls have become even wider.

Seth just rolled his eyes, turned away from them and pulled the pillow over his head.