"YOU!" The delusional tyrant Celestia snarled. "The Man with the Earring! You've slaughtered my guards! Slew my family! Turned my subjects against me! You destroyed the Conversion Bureaus! I gave you filthy humans the chance for ascension or extermination, and you chose extermination! By my righteous flames you will burn in Tartarus for eternity!"
The genocidal dictator rose to her four hooves, her wings spread wide.
The middle aged but perfectly physically fit man shouted boldly, "My name is Naoya Tōdō! My friends call me Naorin!"
"ONLY WE PONIES UNDERSTAND FRIENDSHIP! You will submit to us!"
"You invaded our world! You tried to commit genocide! There's only one thing I have to say to you, on behalf of all of humanity! PERSONA!"
The ghostly image of Amon-Ra manifested above the boy. "You who but enslave the sun to your will; I, who created the orb myself, shall smite thee!"
"BE BLASTED INTO THE ETHER!" Celestia's fireballs came down around Naorin, but the flames were deflected by Amon-Ra, while the rest of the throne room was torched and blown away.
The tyrant Alicorn was blasted with the Almighty element attack square in the chest, sending her smashing clean through her throne, shattering it. Her crown hit the floor with a clatter. The angry Alicorn scrambled to her feet, death glaring at the calm collected human.
"Want more? I've got a lot more innocent people to pay you back for."
"BLECH! I can't read another word of this Rudyard!" The brownish gold Abyssinian said as he dropped the book on the booth's counter in disgust.
"Hey! I'm giving you a free preview of the next installment there William!" The pegasus behind the counter said. Their discussion was drowned out by the many voices at the convention around them.
"It's Leo now! I've told you a hundred times!"
The pale violet pegasus rolled his eyes. He raised his wings and moved the primaries to give the 'air quotes' gesture. "A cat man named 'Leo', how original. I'll call you that when you call me by my new legal name: Mr. World, middle name 'Of', first name, 'King.' "
"I can't believe they let you get away with that!" Leo exasperated.
"Given the crazy names some New Foals come up with, I figured the department wouldn't be able to manifest the willpower to argue." King Of World casually turned and began typing away at an old typewriter, the ideas and lines flowing even now. He wasn't using his hooves, instead he was using his feather tips somehow to push down on the heavy keys.
Philemon and his faithful servant Igor appeared before Naorin, finding himself suddenly within the Velvet Room.
"Through your journey you've connected with so many," said Philemon. "And each of them has become a part of you, as you have become a part of them. It is though this unity that you have stood against the light of destruction, and have back with your light added to theirs. Now the time have come to blow away this evil with that collective strength!"
A card floated over to Naorin, who took it in his hands. In a flash of light he was again facing Celestia, with Amon-Ra at his side, he called forth the power that would wipe away this evil.
"Together We're One!"
"Can I just say how creepy that looks? It's like you have a giant pair of hands growing out of your back."
"Says the man standing naked at a public gathering," King said off-handedly.
"?!... YOU'RE NAKED! Practically everyone here is naked!" Leo waved his arms in exasperation. This got brief glances from griffins, diamond dogs, unicorns, baby dragons, zebra, but no homo sapiens. Even after the Abyssinian potion had proven a sleeper hit (with the minotaur potion proving impossible), resulting in more demand that could be initially provided, there were still those who had gone for the much more available and easier to produce equine potions, or sincerely had just wanted their new species to be something else.
"Rudyard... it's OVER! The Veil already passed over the city along with the rest of the west coast a year ago! There is no more HLF, no more PER, they've fled like rats on a sinking ship to what's left of the planet that humans can still live!"
"Not counting the ones trying to go into space." King smirked.
That gave Leo a headache. As the barrier began to close in instead of just spread out, the absurdly wealthy offered fortunes to use of dragon potion, intending to hold onto their wealth and status for centuries to come. No one else was in the least bit happy. Whether they'd succeed or not was still up in the air. The window for joining dragons had shrunk considerably as only enough potions to convert 1% of the planet's population had been made: the reckless and foolish college kids who had ended up baby dragons, and the discarded elderly had become teenage dragons.
"And for the record William, I heard some parts of the HLF... the ones not planning to blow up the Earth to spite the alien invaders-"
"DON'T EVEN JOKE!" Leo roared.
King continued without missing a beat. "-are planning to change their name to Earth Liberation Front, to 'drive out the alien conquerors'. As for the PER, you didn't read about the lunatics who tried to set fire to a library in Los Angeles to 'free us from the shackles of our destructive human past'?"
"He was a lone lunatic!"
"A lone lunatic who shouted 'long live the PER' as he was dragged away by the police."
"The point is: it's OVER, why are you still writing this slop? You chose to become a PEGASUS for crying out loud!"
"Remember that flight to Canterlot I took? Gave me some research material, adds some realism to things."
"You call this 'realism'?" Leo said, hesitant in touching the book.
"And griffins are a lot more clumsy with their wings than pegasi, and pegasi have more primaries than griffins have claw tips, easier to type with. I was seriously considering becoming a birdie, but they were barely producing any of those potions at the time, and the waiting list was longer. And the barrier was coming in fast. And besides, if I'm a pony, nobody can accuse me of writing slander if it's 'my own kind.'"
"But why are you still writing this?!"
The conversation was halted for a moment as a Yeti in a trench-coat and glasses paid for a copy in cash, silently asking King to sign the installment, which he happily did so. Followed by a female baby dragon in transparent booster gogo-boots with cut-outs for her claws, most of her scales were dark blue almost black while the rest were reddish pink. Finally an older griffon with a red scarf and glasses.
"Gotta give the people what they want." King gestured at the piles of books beside him. "After they had to give the network a repair job, people became more interested in good old physical copies again. People loved my 'Daleks destroy the Invading Ponies', my 'Battle Star Galactica Trounces Equestria', 'Mars Attacks Equestria'. And after I've finished every release of Persona, I'm going to move onto the Tensei Megami Series, Team Fortress. And my readers are already voting on whether after that I should do Superman, or X-Men, or Super Mario."
"How many times can you write the exact same story just with different characters?"
"People have been doing it for centuries. Ever heard of the hero's journey? You're not a writer William. Every story under the sun has been told, there are only a few basic plots. And there are only a few dozen archetypes. It's just a matter of making the characters endearing, and giving them a side the readers can cheer for. Why do you think JRPGs make a fortune when most just circle back to 'modernization bad' or 'kill God'? Because they've got expert voice actors, motion capture, professional programmers, and advertisement."
"You know why I stopped illustrating your stories right? You writing all this... spite."
King made a defiant pose. "I've never been part of the HLF, and I've never attended a meeting in my life, why do you think I avoid using them in what I write? I don't want one of their 'experts' breathing down my neck. The last time I need is for them to use my work for their propaganda."
"And the death threats from PER?" Leo asked sternly.
"Good for business actually. The ones being the most shrill about human needing to become ponies and only ponies are the ones who always seem to be in the back of the line to get changed. When you get popular enough, this sort of thing just comes with the territory. If people didn't buy this stuff, I wouldn't write it. Don't blame me William, blame them." King gestured with a wing at the crowd, giving a good view of his cutie mark, a shattered Copyright symbol. "People associate big things with big things. They need SOMEONE to blame. They don't WANT IT to have been an accident or a natural disaster. I'm just filling their urge to pay the bills, a guy's gotta eat."
"Like those conspiracy theory books you wrote?" Leo raised a furry eyebrow, crossing his arms.
King frowned. "I only ever wrote one of those. And it was about the Bermuda Triangle, and nonsense about interdimensional portals, it was harmless. I just fed back to them what they already thought."
"... I'll admit, what I honestly and sincerely can't believe is that you HAVEN'T been slammed with a C&D by a hundred companies by now!"
"in this day and age, the great media emperors are too busy trying to build a rocket to Mars, good luck surviving the permanent super low gravity by the way, and the Copyright Bots are all having to be rebuilt from scratch given all the pony versions of stuff that existed on Equus that were copyrighted according to Equus' laws... resulting in, for example the publishers of Daring Do and Indiana Jones trying to sue each other into oblivion. Dungeons and Dragons vs Ogres and Oubliettes! And let's not get started with Disney Land vs Whinny Land! Or install bans in their respective countries on their rival's works while trying to smuggle their own in... their legal teams are so busy trying to destroy each other that they're too busy to go after me for the next few years."
"And once they aren't, and begin suing you for imaginary damages that you could be King Midas and never pay back?"
"It's world war one, my dear William. These legal superpowers aren't used to fighting against their own kind. They're used to crushing the nail that stands out, or taking ceremonial legal pot shots at each other that aren't MEANT to amount to anything. By the time they're done destroying each other, grinding each other down, I'll be forgotten about, and I'll have moved onto other works by then. And William, you've overlooked one major thing."
"Oh? What's that?"
"My readers are emotionally invested in my books now. They want to see how things turn out. Even if they already know technically how things will turn out, they want to see the nuances, the personal relationships, the interconnected battles, seeing Tyrant Celestia have a mental break down and humans being united as one against their common foe. You'd be surprised how many love my 'great griffon kingdom declares war on Equestria' subplot. That the real Griffonstone is a third world country only makes them love it more. And my readers know what they like, they know what I'm good at making for them, so when they see 'this character crushes evil Celestia', they know they're in for a good ride. Who cares if they've read it a million times? As long as I keep the quality up, they'll keep coming back for more."
"And what happens when Equestria's superpowered heads of state catch up with you?"
"It's a free country. I can write all this BECAUSE I know it's all bunk! If it was reality instead of fiction, I wouldn't be writing it. Besides, we have a proud and noble history of writing heads of state as incompetent and evil or evil and incompetent depending where your political ties land. They have stories about Celestia as the villain written in Equestria. I'm nothing new. There was the time PRINCESS LUNA HERSELF bought my entire stock so she could burn them... naturally this made my readers demand I print more for them, and she never did that again."
"And what happens when the fads eventually move on?"
"I eventually move on. Don't mistake confidence for ego. Speaking of which, how goes the business now that people just need to look outside their window to see naked furry people?" King leaned forward, grinning.
Leo stood his ground. "You'd be surprised. Like you said, loyal fanbase. And at least I don't have to hide what I do from my coworkers anymore. And I can still draw idealistic forms that don't exist outside of a fashion model's touch-up software. Speaking of which, my booth likely has a line of people all eager for sketches. You're not the only person giving the people what they want."
"Well, good luck, William," said King Of World.
"Good luck, Rudyard," replied Leo.
The combined might of humanity's hearts easily obliterated the tyrant Celestia, blowing away her essence into oblivion. The shockwave of Together We're One spread across Equestria, obliterating the Veil, and restoring the New Foals to their true selves! The ponies were stripped of their abused magic, now forced to WORK for a living like normal people, and exposing the lie of Celestia raising the sun! Left without the puppet strings of their so-called goddess, the pathetic and slavish ponies were aimless and without course, but the human spirit was there to guide them into the light.