The Wanderers of Reality: The Equestria Imperative
Swaying slightly in the event horizon, the very place from which all time in the multi-verse flowed, was a simple, wooden ship. A Spanish Galleon circa the Battle of Gravelines, the ship in question had certainly seen better days. Along its hull, noticeable holes had been punctured into it by weapons of an unknown caliber, haphazardly placed about like a hyperactive child with stickers that were solid black circles. A noticeable crack came down from the top of the main mast like a bolt of lightning before stopping abruptly at its base. The sails on the mast were pitted with large tears in them, and below, most of the wooden rails preventing crewmen from plummeting into the depths of the event horizon and getting thrust who knows where across space and time were all but gone, rendered splinters by whatever battle the ship had just emerged from.
Yet still, it had survived.
Against the whims of Lady Luck and her fellow absolutes and sisters of Destiny and Fate, this ship, the E.R.M.S.S. “Spirit of Adventure,” if the golden plaque that still shined prominently on its aft section was anything to go by, had somehow managed to accomplish something none of the other “sailors of time” had ever managed to do. It had managed to defeat the dreaded pirate “Entropy Beard” along with his infinite armada and his equally dreaded pet, “The Void Kraken” and freed the ever flowing river from his wanton pillaging and polluting for good.
Given the gravitas of such an accomplishment, one would think that Eduoard Ramone Monstressor Salazar, who had captained the Spirit of Adventure to such a victory, would feel absolutely and utterly ecstatic. To some degree, he did. But like all of the previous instances when an adventure came to an end, he felt a gripping sense of melancholy, of somberness. For, as was common with all of those times, after the day was theirs, most of the crew who had come along for the ride had decided to end their tenure aboard the ship and left at various ports across the continuum of space and time. With barely contained tears and emotions, he had given heartfelt good-byes to each and every one of them, wishing them well in whatever they decided to do with their lives from that point on.
Oh how he hated moments of that nature so! For after spending as much time as he had with them, and befriending each and every one of them, parting ways always felt like cutting out a piece of his very being! Such moments always seemed to sour his fondness for his past adventures and even made the act of looking back on them more painful than the Incredible Hulk and Superman taking turns to punch him (which hurt a lot by the way, now that he remembered). He knew that for some crewmembers, the life of an Adventurer on the high-seas of reality was a temporary fixation; one that managed to bog down the mind until they had had enough and wished to return to the points in space and time that they were plucked from, claiming that things were “simpler,”“safer,” and that the chance of being reduced to their basic atomic components, possessed by demons, or getting eaten by hive-minded space aliens was minimal at those points.
He couldn’t blame them for wanting out, ESPECIALLY after what they had just did (though some part of his consciousness wanted to). He just wished that they had stayed a little longer; had more time to see more of the wonders of reality that he had before going back to their often normal, boring, MUNDANE lives in whatever Universe they hailed from. To, as one his crew members had once said, “Finish the Fight,” as it were.
Still, it could have been worse. He could have been completely alone on the Spirit of Adventure (in which case, he’d probably have one his “monologue” episodes again that his old girl of a ship hated to witness so much). For one of his crew members, the Laser-cat known as “Splazor” had decided to stay sailing under his ship’s tachyon sails.
Now there was a being who truly understood Eduoard! Splazor was an adventurer born if the Captain had ever seen one. Like him, the little kitten craved excitement! Demanded danger! Could barely contain himself from kicking the tuckus’s of evil-doers whenever his eyes bared witness to them (the evil-doers that is, not their hind-quarters. That would be weird.)!
Heck, when the Spirit of Adventure sailed into the harbor of that uncharted island in a version of the South Pacific where Splazor’s species had migrated to after being freed from the clutches of the Mad Scientist Dr. Moreau by a version of Son Wukong, he recalled that his feisty-feline-friend was practically BEGGING for a life of adventures where the rest (his family included) were not too keen on the offer. Perhaps this was because they were wary of humans and anyone who resembled them too much (both of which fit Eduoard perfectly in some way or another) and probably thought he was some sort of crazy super-villain who would take them to a secret lab and dissect them to discover their laser producing secrets much like the ones that inhabited North America on their world.
But despite what his fellow energy slinging cats thought of Eduard, Splazor had shown an initiative, drive, and fire in his heart that was the Captain’s equal or superior and joined him on his journeys. Out of all the sapient life (as opposed to sentient life, as he found that word to be too generalized a term) he had ever had aboard, Splazor possessed enthusiasm and joy that he could not remember ever wavering (much to the eternal jubilance and misery of dozens of crewmen. Sometimes both).
Because of this, Splazor had spent a longer amount of time on the Spirit than any other member before him (including those Duo Maxwell and Ben Tennyson characters) and looked like he’d be spending even more time aboard its chronal wood frame. Why, if Eduoard someday went completely out of his gourd and decided to retire, he considered the furred little critter a prime candidate for taking command and ownership of his beloved old girl.
“Heh. That’ll be the day,” he thought as he finished writing today’s log in his journal.
Rising up from his desk, he stretched out every one of his muscles and let out a deep, guttural yawn, barely managing to keep his eyes open. With deft agility, he bounded over the desk and landed onto his king sized bed (dressed in his full regalia as always) and pulled the covers over himself.
Though he’d never admit it to anyone, the fight with Entropy Beard and his pet giant monster had left his own energy drained (in more ways than one) in a manner he was…not unaccustomed with to say the least. And so, pooped more than Splazor after Fajita night, Edouard closed his heavy eyelids and drifted off into the land of dreams (different from the one that puffball Kirby inhabited just so we’re clear), hoping that the aforesaid young adventurer would find the same serenity he did as he also slept.
He did not, unfortunately. For Lady Luck and her sisters had ordained that on that night (or whatever passed for night in the event horizon), that Splazor would have a terrible dream. A nightmare. Though its exact contents were as quickly forgotten as they had come, it did manage to burn an image into his psyche. A vague one of a creature whose coat was as white as January snow, but whose soul was as dark as the center of a black-hole. An image that frightened him and caused him to toss and turn in his makeshift bed atop his preferred spot in the crow’s nest. It was at that moment that a particularly strong current in the event horizon struck the Spirit of Adventure, rocking it violently for a second from side to side. Though under normal circumstances, no harm would come of this, combined with the way Splazor was moving in his sleep, it caused the kitten to roll like a barrel from his bed atop the Crow’s nest and plummet towards the edge of the poop deck.
If the railing were still present, he would have struck them and bounced back onto the ship with a bruise on his head and a pain on his rump. But on this day, there was no such provision to prevent his plummet. No such provision to stop him from falling until he reached the edge of the event horizon. No way to prevent him from witnessing the unspeakable terrors that lay in the world he would wake to find himself in…
“CUTIE MARK CRUSADER WILDERNESS EXPLORERS!”
Deep within the depths of the Everfree forest (deeper than anypony in their right mind would be), three school-fillies scampered about. Their names were Apple-Bloom, Sweetie-Bell, and Scootaloo (if you don’t know what they look like already, then what kind of Brony or Pegasister ARE YOU!?), and together, they were known as The Cutie Mark Crusaders! A group dedicated to the pursuit of finding their cutie-marks, no matter what the cost (much to the exasperation of many a resident of Ponyville)!
Currently, they were attempting to see if perhaps their special talent lay in searching the great outdoors for, as Scootaloo like to call it, “Anything that is awesome, gnarly, or totally radical.” Fittingly enough, it was Scootaloo herself who was the one to suggest that they try this particular activity today. She had gotten the idea after reading one of Rainbow Dash’s “Daring Doo” books, and after telling her friends about it during class, the three of them could barely sit still in their seats and listen to Ms. Cherelie’s lessons before darting off at speeds that would leave Pinkie Pie or Rainbow Dash proud. With paper-mache pith hats they made with unrestrained glee (and a rather large mess in their assigned work area), they left no stone unturned! No tree unclimbed! And no dark and spooky cave unexplored!
As can be expected, after running away from the seventh snake, fifth mother Eagle, and third bear they encountered while doing all of this, the three fillies rested by a pond they had discovered with glum looks on their faces. It was not so much that they risked injury or worse a couple dozen or more times that day; nor was it the fact that they were now hopelessly lost that got to them. Rather, it was the fact that despite all of their best efforts, they once again spent HOURS of time only to discover what their special talent WASN’T! Heck! They didn’t even find anything awesome, gnarly, or radical as a consolation prize (unless you counted being covered in honey, branches, leaves, and dirt)!
Sighing and putting her head in her hooves, Scootaloo said, “Let’s face it guys. Today was a total bust.”
With as much decorum as her idol at a fancy party, Scootaloo took off her hat and tossed it into the pond, her friends following suit not long after. For a few moments, they sat by the pond on their haunches, looking down at their own reflections sullenly. That was until suddenly, a sound like a crack of thunder forced them to crane their necks upward at ninety-degree angles. Their eyes widened to saucers, their pupils dilating to needle-points, and their jaws became slack enough to hit the ground as they were entranced by the spectacle they saw. A shimmering green tear in the fabric of space and time lay floating hundreds of feet in the air, tethers of lightning like energy arcing about it chaotic patterns.
“Whoa…” They collectively muttered out loud.
With another crack of thunder, a shockwave powerful enough to lift the Crusaders off of their feet sped forth from the tear.
“WHOA!” They collectively managed to shout out during their short trip through the air before slamming against the trunk of the oak-tree behind them and having the wind-knocked out of them.
Struggling to keep their eye-lids open in the absurdly strong wind-current that was threatening to cause all of the trees in the immediate area to bend over backwards, they saw an image appear in the center of the tear. It looked like the…black silhouette of a small cat at first before quickly morphing into the black silhouette of a pony. For a total of five more seconds, they remained transfixed by the scene until, as quickly as it appeared, the tear left existence with a barely audible “pop” like a bursting bubble, leaving behind the being it had deposited.
Whatever the creature was, it did not take long for the grip of Equestria’s Gravity to catch a hold of it with the physics defying properties of the tear no longer keeping it afloat. With a loud “smack,” it landed into the center of the pond, splashing water in all directions and soaking the Crusaders utterly. After sitting where they were, staring with the remains of their paper-machete pith-hats covering their faces, Scootaloo threw her front hooves into the air and yelled out, “That was awesome!”
Sweetie-Bell and Apple-Bloom also threw their front hooves into the air, yelling out, “That was gnarly,” and, “That was totally radical,” respectively.
Gasping out in hopeful realization, the three of them jumped to all fours and looked back to their flanks. Growing sad looks again upon seeing that they were still blank, their heads turned back to the pond when they heard air-bubbles making their way to the surface.
The dream had changed a bit. Now, the vague white image was superimposed against a blinding emerald light. For several moments, the light remained before being replaced by a blue-sky for a few seconds that changed into splashing water and then what looked like the bottom of a lake or a pond or something.
Oh how he wanted to fire off a laser at the white fuzz-ball! Maybe then he could wipe off the smirk he knew it had as whatever it was slowly burned until it was just a cindered crisp. But for some reason, Splazor found it increasingly difficult to breathe, and his vision kept getting blurrier and blurrier. By the time his body had floated on his backside and he saw three shadows descending into the water towards him, the world was almost completely black, and soon became nothing but.
A few moments later, the Crusaders breached the surface of the pond, the being that entered through the tear firmly clenched in their teeth. Quickly swimming back to shore, the three of them made it to the water’s edge and put him down on the grass. After taking a few deep breathes, the three looked down at the being and for the first time, realized just what he was.
For he was a he. A young unicorn colt with a midnight black coat and brown saddle-bag tied around his back that looked to be only a year or so younger than anyone of them. He seemed so…disappointing to be honest. With the spectacle the tear had caused, they were expecting something a bit more than a little boy to come out.
The three were brought out from such thoughts when Sweetie Belle poked him in the head and said, “Uh…I don’t think he’s breathing guys.”
Taking a heroic stance, Apple-Bloom pushed her friends behind her using her fore-hooves and proclaimed, “Stand back everypony! Mah big sister Applejack taught me proper CPR procedures!”
Slowly, she trotted over to the colt with a stern expression on her face before jumping into the air and landing with all four hooves onto his stomach. The colt spit out a small fountain’s worth of water that struck Scootaloo, causing her to growl and Sweetie Belle to try and stifle a giggle with a hoof to her mouth. As he coughed up the remnants of the pond water, Apple-Bloom turned to her friends and excitedly said, “He’s come to!”
The three school fillies gathered around the strange black colt as his eyelids slowly began to flutter open, signaling his arrival back into consciousness.
Eyes. Three pairs of them. Large, expressive, and…curious? If this was what heaven was like, he had to say that he had expected a lot more giant monsters, aliens, robots, hedgehogs, chilly-dogs, and Philly cheese-steaks. Then again, he wasn’t turned into a demon or forced to watch all episodes of Jersey Shore for all of eternity, so he felt as though he should be counting his blessings if he had crossed over.
"Are you okay?" inquired the middle pair of eyes.
Splazor's response was to let out a deep yawn onto all six of the eyes; his breath causing them to water.
"He's okay." said the pair on the right dryly, rolling to the side.
As the owners of the eyes took a few steps backwards, undoubtedly not too keen on the smell of tuna-casserole that was stinking up the immediate area, Splazor’s brow furrowed as he got a better look at them. They were…horses. Little ones. The one on right had…wings, an orange coat, and a purple mane. The one in the middle had a yellow coat, a bright red mane, and a little red bow in that mane with nothing to suggest it was anything other than a regular little horse. The one on the right had a…horn on its forehead, a light purple mane with a magenta stripe running down the middle, and a white coat.
Splazor felt the sudden urge to blast this horse’s face full of laser as it reminded him an awful lot of the vague image he had seen in his dreams but stopped his naturally green eyes from glowing red with power as he remembered the words of his buddy and greatest Ace Attorney in the known Multiverse, Phoenix Wright.
“Quit trying to accuse or murder people you think are guilty without having any evidence stupid! God! I swear you’re becoming more like Shawn each and every day…”
In this situation, “Mr. Wrong” as he and the aforesaid psychic detective had nick-named Phoenix was right. What he saw as he slept was so out of focus that for all he knew, the creature that he witnessed was an unusually clean dust bunny. So it probably wouldn’t help if he kicked the butts of everything with white fur that he saw in…wherever he was.
“Wait a minute…”
If one could peer into Splazor’s mind at that moment, they would have seen something akin to a dim light-bulb slowly, but surely, illuminating until it was glowing a bright gold and a chime sounded. With the manliest “Eeep!” he could muster, the feisty feline adventurer leapt back from the three little horses and slammed into the trunk of an oak tree with sufficient force to create sizable crack in its bark. With his back against the wall as it were, Splazor shouted out, “WHERE AM I!? WHO ARE YOU!? WHAT ARE YOU!? WHY ARE YOU HERE!? WHY WERE YOU SO CLOSE TO ME!? WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I HAVE A LONG FACE!? WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I HAVE SOMETHING ON MY HEAD!?” in a succession more rapid than a race between Sonic the Hedgehog and Kid Flash while pointing an accusing fore-hoof at the trio of equines.
Splazor’s face blanched as he realized that instead of a “pand” (pawed hand) at the end of his leg, there was a hoof that now took its place.
“And why do I have a hoof!?” he yelled out in shock.
Having only caught that last question, the three little horses scratched their heads in confusion.
“Uhh…because you’re a pony?” asked the white horse.
“Pony!?” Splazor questioned loudly, “WHAT!?”
He looked down at his body, noticing that he now had three more hooves where his pands used to be. With a look of sheer panic, he ran towards the pond, knocking the yellow ‘pony’ into the orange pony like a bowling pin and stopping abruptly at the water’s edge. What he saw in his reflection sent a greater shiver of fear down his spine than facing off against a dozen Mega-Destroids or Rancors that froze him faster and more completely than Kiryu’s absolute zero cannon. For staring back at him was a little…midnight black…pony colt with a mane equally as black, green eyes, and an obsidian…horn.
“No,” he muttered under his breath prior to facing his head towards the sky and thrusting his fore-hooves up towards it, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
His scream carried across the winds for miles upon miles around, dozens of animals turning their heads up towards the air in a single synchronous motion of fear.
Elsewhere within the Everfree forest, a wise Zebra living alone in a hut dropped the ladle she was using to stir up some stew in the pot that contained it.
Between the forest and the town of Ponyville, a kindly looking yellow Pegasus yelped and jumped up in surprise, accidentally throwing the bowl of porridge in her hooves onto her pet rabbit who wore his best “I am not amused” look, molten foodstuffs dripping from his face.
In an apple orchard right next to the town, an honest orange earth pony wearing a Stetson hat was buried under a pile of apples that had unexpectedly fallen from a tree she was kicking.
In a boutique in Ponyville proper, a white Unicorn mare, that bore more than a passing resemblance to the filly by the pond, accidentally tore the dress she was sewing in half. She promptly levitated over a fancy sofa nearby and sobbed out, “Why me!?”
In the town Library, a fun loving pink earth pony began spinning around like a tornado, as a bookish purple unicorn and her baby dragon assistant looked on in abject terror, three hours of their hard work reorganizing the place gone in but a few seconds.
Above the plains just outside of the town, a cyan Pegasus with a rainbow colored mane turned her head towards the direction of the scream, muttering out, “What the hay?” before returning to face the direction she was flying in just in time to slam into a tree she had failed to notice.
In a bed in the Royal Palace of Canterlot, a dark blue alicorn grumbled and groaned as one of the stain-glass windows in her room shattered, showering her face in the sun’s light. “Uhh…five more minutes Celly,” she said as she covered her head with her pillow.
In the throne room of the same palace, an older white alicorn and her royal Pegasus guards widened their eyes with worry.
“Well that can’t be good.” muttered the alicorn under her breath.
If only Princess Celestia knew just how true her words would ring in the near future…