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Another image was presented by the What If Machine.

Ruby's spirit watched heartbroken from the spirit world as her own body burned to a cinder, the town she'd lived in believing her murder was just.

"They killed you for something you have no control over," said a voice, as smooth as a serpents. "For a mark you obtained by finding out who you truly are."

A now familiar to the mane six golden Alicorn stallion with a fiery red mane, stood over her shoulder, white pupils in black eyes staring down at her. "They stabbed you in the back for something they should have been proud of. For something that is completely and utterly you. For who you are. You were wronged."

Ruby felt so many conflicting emotions. Betrayal, pain, grief. Rage. Hate?

"They're monsters, every one of them. After all, how could anyone murder an innocent foal in cold blood and deem it right?" the stallion asked.

Black tendrils began to rise up around Ruby, as if beckoning her to accept them.

"You should show them how that feels. How it feels to be hated for something you can't control. For how they look. For what they are. You want that don't you?"

Ruby couldn't deny it...a part of her did...

"Accept the Spirits that call to you. Become something greater and make them the ones who suffer. The one's who are hurt for something beyond their control...Make them be persecuted as you were," Persecution itself suggested, his voice smooth and friendly.

Ruby could see it clearly.

She accepted the Spirits of Black Magic, became Nightmare Pyre, a little ghostly foal made of flames, like an Alicorn shaped willow-wisp. She rose from the dead and slaughtered the entire town in cyclone of fire, including Mitta...but that wasn't enough.

She trapped them in their own scorched corpses and raised them from the dead, forcing them to go the nearest town. But there was no touch of death this time, just scary zombie ponies marching through town. The populous reacted naturally to this and came ready to kill the zombies 'threatening them' who, while they tried to speak, tried to reason, tried to say anything, were slaughtered. And the ponies believed it was just.

She repeated this every year on the anniversary of her death, cackling over head. The ponies began calling her a plague. A witch.

"No..." Ruby said, looking down that path of fate, she was a spirit now after all.

Persecution simply cocked his head. "What?"

"No...I won't...I'd be the very thing they called me...a plague," Ruby said, the murdered foal looking as Mitta broke down crying. "...They're not evil monsters, they're scared...that doesn't make it right, but...it means maybe someday they'll realize they were wrong...they killed me...I'm not happy for it...but I'm not going to take revenge because then it'd just continue the cycle...I'd be the one persecuting them..."

Persecution's face went completely blank. No expression, no rage, no hate. Just blank. He then teleported away without a word. The black tendrils receeded as Ruby watched over Mitta.




Pinkie Pie blinked, looking to the What If Machine. "...Aren't you doing just that? Trying to make us pay for hurting you even though we're sorry?"

The What If Machine blinked.

"...Persecution's whispering in your ear isn't he?"

"...Silence! Stop trying to confuse me!"

Shining looked to Maud. "Please tell me we're not going to be fighting another evil god..."

"No, Persecution is many things, but confrontational is not one of them. He'll tempt it from the spirit world as long as it let's him, then move on," Not-Maud answered. "Like a parasite. He's something I'm very much looking forwards to the end of."

"...Thank goodness, I was beginning to worry..."

The heavy doors sealing the studio slid back, just long enough to admit Fluttershy.  "I'm back!  How is everypony?"

"About the same as when ya left," said Applejack, yawning.

"What about you, darling?" asked Rarity.  "Are you well?  What's been going on outside?"

Fluttershy smiled.  "Oh, I'm just fine.  Angel bunny sends his love... well, it was probably love.  Oh, and Cadence had a message."

Shining Armor's ears perked up.  "Ooh, what is it?" he whispered.  "A secret plan to get us out of here?"

"Actually..."  Fluttershy couldn't quite look him in the eye.  "She said you're on double diaper duty tonight, since you were... 'goofing around in here watching videos all afternoon.'  I'm sorry!"

"I... but I haven't... argh!"

The What-If Machine whirred.  "Fluttershy/Fluttercruel... You returned willingly."

Fluttershy blinked.  "Well, of course.  That's what I said I would do."

"You agreed to my unreasonable demand without complaint, and you have not employed force to escape or subdue me.  Clearly, this is a scheme, the nature of which I have not yet discovered."

"It's no scheme," insisted Twilight.  "We're ponies.  We always try to settle things without violence."

Fluttershy nodded emphatically.  "Violence never solves anything."

"Incorrect," the machine declared.  "Every situation is ultimately resolved by force or the threat of force."
-

"Hey, I've been wondering something..." said Rainbow Dash, scratching her head. "The original Pony Rangers started when we were foals, so why are with them in those other worlds? Shouldn't we have been...I don't know, one of the more recent ones?"

Pinkie pulled out a book called wikipedia. "Oh! Because the re-release of the original series came out the same year we beat Nightmare Moon!"

"Oh..."

"Though technically the G2 ponies should have been around the same time Pony Rangers came out...I wonder if they're Rangers anyway..."

"...I am also curious," said the What If Machine, activating.

---

Grogar snarled, hitting a red suited Starlight with a sword as several tendrils from the house-turned giant monster they were currently inside of restrained her. "Once I destroy you, nothing will stop me from bringing this chaotic world under my perfect order," the tyrant stated, raising his sword to finish her off.

Patch suddenly slashed him across the head, sending him staggering back before slashing Starlight free. She was in the Black suit. "Ya alright, Starlight?"

"Yeah, thanks." she said, then noticed Grogar recovering. "Patch!"

"I know! Blasters!"

Both summoned winged gauntlets on their forelegs and blasted the goat tyrant hard in the chest, the blast forcing him to fall back.

"Alright, let's get back to the Zords and form the Jet Pegasus Megapony to finish it off...if you can stop joking this time long enough to combine it," Starlight said good naturedly.

"Yeah yeah, I learned my lesson."

The two broke out one of the windows and flew back to their bird/jet fighter themed robots with artificial wings on their sides.
-

Maud sighed. "Look, we get it, you're angry and hurt for everything that happened to you. Can you please stop now? I think my baby sister is getting tired, and we never got to me being formally introduced to everypony."

"Yeah! And I figured I'd FINALLY get to hang out with Dash again! Not get forced to watch you over and over!" Gilda said.

"How can Pinkie get tired from just this? She went WEEKS partying once!" Rainbow Dash brought up.

"TIme flows different in here." Not-Maud Pie said simply.

Then teleports in was a pink unicorn filly with a blond mane in laughably outdated and cliche classic period clothing, her cutie mark was a heart within a star within a heart within a star surrounding by bright red ribbons and tiny five pointed stars.

Twilight's jaw dropped at the sight of her.

"Don't worry everypony! I've been sent to save you! I am Princess Loving-Bright-Shinny-Star Sparkling-Dawn-Flower The Eighty-Eighth! And with the secret magic spell known to no pony, but known by me, I'll save the day in no time!"

"Insert detected."

"HEY! HEY! BAD DOGGIE! LEAVE ME ALONE!"  Princess Loving-Bright-Shinny-Star Sparkling-Dawn-Flower The Eighty-Eighth cried like any scared five year old and teleported away again, to most ponies it looked like she run away from thin air.

"Was she really bad?" AJ asked.

"Bad or good. Makes no difference. An insert is an insert. All must be deleted." The wolf said.

"Ah swear, if Ah ever get drafted into this wolf nonsense again Ah'm gonna smack Ma Fate."

"Watch it. That's my mother you speak of."

"Yeah yeah, just ventin'."

"Who you talkin' to Applejack dear?" Rarity asked.

"Uh, noPONY." AJ said.

"I see . . ."

Shining Armor asked. "Was that my third child from the future?"

"No." Twilight said.

"Okay then."

"I wouldn't mind seeing more of that world with .. . Cherry Blossom and Cranberry." Rarity said.

"RARITY! What is wrong with you?!" RD exasperated.

"I'm just . .  curious . . . how much the world must have changed with you. What did we get our cutie marks without your Sonic Rainboom?"

Rainbow hated to admit it, but that was a good question.

"Besides, admit it." Fluttercruel would say. "I can see it your eyes. Some part of you LIKED the idea of you and Gilda being sisters."
-
The What-If Machine obliged them, showing a series of flickering images...

"I thought I was going to completely flunk the exam, and disappoint Celestia and my parents and everypony," Twilight was telling Apple Bloom, "but then I saw this amazing flash out the window..."

"But then the whole sky lit up in a flash," said Rarity.  "The rock crumbled, and it was full of gems!"

"Then this flash totally blew those depressing clouds right out of the sky," said Pinkie excitedly.

"That's when Ah knew Ah had to get back to Ponyville, where Ah belonged," said AJ, reminiscing.


"How did I get my cutie mark?"  Shining Armor magically took a crossbow out from under his ranger's cloak and inspected it, turning it this way and that.  "Well, it's not much of a story."

"Please?" asked Sweetie Belle, giving him the big cute filly eyes.

"My sister fell out of a tree when she was little.  I caught her in a shield bubble."

Apple Bloom blinked.  "That's it?  You ain't gonna tell us an epic story with a flash in the sky?"

Shining shook his head.  "Nope.  Timber wolf."

"Huh?" said Scootaloo.

"Duck."  Something roared and leapt from the bushes.  The fillies screamed and scattered left and right, and Shining Armor blew the timber wolf into kindling with a well-placed shot.  "Now, what have we learned about coming into the Everfree Forest by yourselves?"



Later, in Sugarcube Corner, Applejack mused, "There's definitely a pattern here.  Except for Shiny, I mean."

The ranger shrugged his shoulders, seeming slightly uncomfortable indoors.  "I remember that flash, sure, but I already had my cutie mark.  It was in papers the next day."  He swept a hoof in the air, remembering.  "A Sonic Thunderboom, they called it."

"I'm certain that Fluttershy knows something about it too," said Rarity.  "But she rushed right off and said she'd tell me later."  The door thumped, its bell tinkling.  "Finally!  Well, Fluttershy, did you... Oh!  Who's your friend?"

The newcomer was a pale green pegasus pony, wearing goggles on her forehead and a harness with two bulging satchels.  "Sorry I don't have much time.  Can't be late with the mail run back to Cloudsdale."  

Fluttershy grinned confidently.  "Girls, this is my old friend, Lightning Dust."



"No.  Way," said Rainbow Dash.  "*She* took my place?  And what happened to Flutter's cutie mark?"  The Fluttershy on the What-If Machine's screen had a soaring falcon instead of three butterflies.

"I'm more surprised that the other four of us stayed mostly the same," mused Twilight.

"When did I learn to shoot straight?!" was all Shining Armor could say.
-
"Wait a tick!" Rainbow Dash snapped. "I NEED TO KNOW! TELL ME! You HAVE TO TELL ME! What happened to Scootaloo! Please! What happened to her if I didn't exist as, ME in that world! She . . . without me in that universe . . . who helped her? Did anypony help her?" If this was all non-canon, she didn't need to worry about revealing the truth about Scootaloo's absent family.
Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Breaking Show epi 10 Part 9
Pony POV Series 
Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show episode 10
PART 9
By Alex Warlorn

Pinkie Pie, "N-n-n-n-n-nine . . . I don't know if I want to do this anymore."

Parts added by:
Kendell2
MtangaLion
Kendell2
Alex Warlorn
MtangaLion 
Alex Warlorn


alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/gal…

Pinkie Pie, "And here they are again, and again, for time number . . . nine . . . nine . . . blech, D-Da Rules:
1. What you put in the comments appears in the story.
2. Nopony besides me can see beyond the fourth wall or interact with it and I can't spill the beans about us being out-and-out fiction to the others.
3. The camera can’t leave the studio.
4. The characters can be from any generation, toy or comic but they have to be from “My little Pony”
5. Everything that happens here is non-canon (except the Tartarus break out thingie, but not the big battle).
6. Have Fun "


Cover by Kendell2
MLP FiM Copyright of Hasbro
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Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: sexual themes and violence/gore)
You know that the world is old, but civilization is much older than most ponies realize. Elves, Humans, Raptorians, Grundles, Centaurs, Troggles, and countless others lived and prospered long before ponies. However, while some creatures had numbers to be a nation, they were disorganized and too spread out to form a cohesive civilization. The creatures went either living in isolation from other creatures or leading a nomadic life in search of a better place to find food and prosper.

The only constant was fear of dragons. I know you and your friends had a difficult time with that one red dragon outside of Ponyville, but at least Fluttershy was able to convince him to leave. The ancient ones were beyond reason. With few exceptions, they were beasts to their core. They had no written language, no sense of society, no history, no interest beyond feeding, mating and acquiring hordes. They attacked settlements, ate anyone or anything in their path, and stole anything of value for themselves. Had things remained thus, they might have become the dominant species of the world by sheer strength alone.

The beginning of true civilization came from the centaurs. In the face of the harsh world they inhabited, they thrived and advanced. Among their accomplishments, they found the best ways to farm land, made the first irrigation system, and they made the first steel, and used it to craft better tools and weapons. Unfortunately, these advances attracted the attention of dragons.

Things changed when a centaur named Orion became king of the largest centaur tribe. Orion was faster, stronger and cleverer than any other centaur in the tribe. He could go off alone with just his sword and bow, and be back by nightfall with enough game to last the tribe weeks. Even the most vicious predators were no match for him. From wolves to hydras, all fell to Orion.

However, Orion's greatest feat came just after he became king. He went up into the mountains and found a dragon feeding on a herd of wild cattle. Orion knew that it was close enough that it would spot the village from the sky, and attack it. Using his wits and cunning, he lured the dragon into a long, narrow tunnel in the mountains, where the giant creature couldn't easily move, then stayed to its side and got in dozens of small cuts into the dragon's hide. The dragon couldn't stop him because the tunnel was too thin to turn to breathe fire or even see where to strike at him until it finally succumbed to blood loss. The first non-dragon in history to slay one.

Orion returned with the dragon's head as proof of his deed, and was hailed as a hero like no other before him, and the legend spread across the land until there was no centaur alive who had not heard of Orion the Hunter. He united the factions of the centaurs together into one nation.

The unified centaurs began building a great city, a testament to their new strength. All this got the attention of another dragon. But, when it came, the centaurs were ready. Orion taught them the weaknesses he'd seen in the dragon he had killed. They constructed great projectile weapons to launch into the air, cutting through scales, breaking bones, and tearing flesh. The battle raged for hours, but finally ended with the centaurs victorious.

Drac'thanos, 'Dragon's Death' was the first of many cities that they built. The centaurs' might grew until they began to seek out the dragons instead of waiting for attacks. Whether the highest mountains, or the murkiest swamps they destroyed any dragon they found.  This wasn't revenge, it was ending a threat that gave them no quarter.

Their advances in technology, society and reputation as dragon slayers made them the envy of the known world. So much so that a decade into Orion's reign, an ogre kingdom attacked the centaurs. The ensuing conflict was brutal and costly, but the centaurs again won. However, Orion was not overly merciful. Once victory was claimed, he also claimed the ogres' lands as property of the centaurs, and all that lived there would henceforth owe allegiance to him and his people. thus the Great Centaur Empire was born.

For centuries the Empire steadily grew. The centaurs felt it was their duty to bring civilization to the rest of the world. Dozens of kingdoms were annexed into the Empire ,whether by force or by choice, and colonies were founded in lands beyond.

=

"Um, sorry to interrupt, Princess, but where were the ponies in all this?" Applejack asked.

I anticipated this question. Didn't make it kinder.

"Applejack, You'll want to brace yourself for a shock.  Ponies of that era, were in no position to affect the world. They were naught but dumb animals. They had no sapience, no conscience, no ego, no free will, no personal identities, and no cutie marks. Cutie marks only appear when ponies find and embrace their destinies and discover who they are. The ancient ponies did not have the capacity for such thought, and remained blank flanks from birth to death."

Applejack's eyes became wider and wider. "But...then how did they live?"

"Wildly. They knew nothing beyond the instincts of eat, breed and stay alive, and did what they had to in order to follow them."

"...What do ya mean 'did what they had to?'" I hear her dread, she's already guessed.

"As the Flutters attest, nature can be cruel, Applejack. Wild animals have neither the capacity nor the luxury of moral. Most of the world was still wild and savage, and those who were neither did not survive. If food was scarce, ponies fought over it, and the losers starved to death. Stallions would kill each other over the choice of mates, and mares had no interest which won, never batting an eye even while mating with the victor as the other lay dead. If a predator came, they would run, not caring if their fellow ponies were eaten. Death was constant, and those that died went unmourned and forgotten."

"But...what about family?" Applejack's coat looked greenish.

"Ponies stayed together out of necessity than familial bond or friendship. There is an instinct to defend one's young, but if they died the parents could have another."

Applejack looked like she might faint or be sick.

"Would you like a break?"

"N-no. No, Ah'll be fine." She cleared her throat.

"Very well. The tribes were separated and rarely intermingled. Earth ponies stayed to the plains, Unicorns and Flutterponies in the forests, Seaponies beneath the sea, and Pegasi amongst the clouds. If they ever did engage each other, it was over food or territory, and usually ended with one of them dead.

"Flutterponies stayed in hidden valleys. Sea Ponies hide beneath the waves, though one or two were seen by land creatures, often mistaken for merpeople. The remaining equine races weren't as reclusive. Their great strength and endurance made them targets targets of more advanced life. If not hunted for food they were used as beasts of burden. Many found you ugly, disturbing, having only a head where a centaur's body should be. Their myths had you as centaurs who had been punished by the gods.

"Earth ponies were used the most as simple labor, pulling carts, plows, heavy machinery and of course, as steeds. Unicorns were hunted, but never domesticated, there was no way to keep them from teleporting away or attacking with their magic. So instead they were often hunted as trophies. Their horns prized as status symbols and ingredients for mages and alchemist.

The Pegasi, were the favored of the centaurs. Their strength and flight made them ideal war horses. And were bred for war. Having pegasi pulling their chariots created the world's first air force. It allowed them to fly over city walls that would have held back ground troops, and taking away the dragons' advantage of flight in battle. Pegasi unconscious mimicked the centaurs in the three tribes era.

"No. Slavery is the forced labor or service of a sentient being. Ponies of that time had no sense of self, let alone a desire to do anything with their lives beyond living. Mostly, ponies that were owned by centaurs lived longer and more comfortably than their wild brethren. They were fed on a more regular basis, they were groomed and taken care of, and they were housed and kept safe from predators. What they had was not slavery. It was like the relationship you and your friends have with your pets."

"Ah...Ah guess Ah understand. Still don't like it."

=

You asked for the whole story, and it begins on an unseasonably cold summer night in Orionopolis, the Empire's capital.

The child of the reigning emperor, Chiron the Strong, had long been anticipated. Assuring the legacy going all the way back to Orion himself was so dire, that the emperors were allowed, and expected, to take at least four wives to improve the odds of siring a male child. Why male? Their society was patriarchal. Your matriarchal culture would have seemed just as strange. But theirs was incomparably extreme.

After years of trying, one of his wives became pregnant. However, when the day came for Lady Myrrha, the emperor's second eldest wife, to give birth, it wasn't a happy occasion. The baby wasn't due for two more months; and if you know the difficulties that can occur in premature birth, imagine them before medical science and magic were advanced enough to truly help.

Emperor Chiron was at his wits end. Lady Myrrha had been in labor for almost two days. The doctors had tried, but as time passed the odds of saving mother or child diminished. It was just before midnight when a nurse came to inform the emperor. The emperor's son was born, but they were unsure he would live through the night. Lady Myrrha's body had endured too much and lost too much blood.

The nurse advised him to spend the time she had left together. Chiron galloped full tilt into the chamber. Most of the doctors and nurses huddled around a table, inspecting the baby. Lady Myrrha lay on the bed, panting and drenched in sweat and blood, still breathing.

"Myrrha...can you hear me?" Chiron begged.

"Our...our son is here," she said breathlessly.

"Oh yes, he's here." He smiled. "You did wonderfully."

"Wha...what is his name?"

"I...why don't you decide?"

"But...it's the father's duty to name him."

"What's tradition if you don't break it occasionally?" He forced a laugh.

She thought over the possibilities, and even in her exhausted haze, she remembered a name she loved. A name that meant 'strong and great' for a prince who would become strong and great.

"Tirek. His name is Tirek." She smiled over at where the doctors worked over him. "He'll make it. I have faith in him. He fought his way into the world early, that's how much of a fighter he is."

"So, take his example and fight!" Chiron demanded. "He'll need his mother."

"He'll have Helena, Hermia, and Arachne as his mothers...and...he'll have...his father." She scarcely spoke the last word before she left this world.

Chiron was ready to cry, but he didn't. A centaur man wasn't supposed to cry. So he bottled his grief and simply turned to the doctors looking over his son.

"What can be done for my son?" The Emperor cleared his throat.

"He's breathing, and he's moving his arms and legs Your Highness, but he's still very small and weak. I've administered the right herbs and we're trying to get spells to strengthen his heartbeat, but I honestly don't know if he will-"

The doctor's words drowned out as the child looked up at his father. The boy's skin was a rich brown, and his fur was a deep grey, just like his father. However, it was his eyes that grabbed Chiron's attention. His eyes were a striking blue, just like his mother's. Part of her still lived in him.

"Let me be clear, doctor, my son will live!" Chiron snapped at them. "I have lost my wife, I will not lose him! You have permission to use whatever resources of the Empire to do whatever is necessary to keep him alive. If he dies, you all die!"

His sentiments were no different from any parent worthy of being called such.

Tirrek lived.

Two years later, Chiron's second son was born by his youngest wife, Arachne. But he could not be heir. Unlike his other wives, Lady Arachne was not a centaur but a gargoyle princess married for an alliance. Despite being of royal blood, her son was also a gargoyle, and only centaurs could take the throne. However, Scorpan, as he was named, grew up with all the other rights and privileges due to a prince of the Empire alongside his brother.

Spoiled? Heh. From the time they learned to crawl, they were taught that nothing in life is given. Anything worth having must be earned, fought for, taken, won. Thus, everyone, from the richest to the poorest had to be ready to fight for what they wanted. Shielding the young from the harder aspects of life just wasn't done, especially among the nobility and royalty.

Still, even in ancient times, children were children. Tirek and Scorpan were rambunctious, energetic, and hell on hooves given half the chance. However, Tirek had a certain habit that set him apart from most, especially at his age; he was a night owl.

One night as Emperor Chiron was on his way to his chambers, he spotted Tirek sitting by an open window, Scorpan dozing in a chair.

"Tirek, Scorpan what are you doing out of bed?"

The princes jumped at his voice.

"Uh, I'm just keeping Tirry company." Scorpan yawned.

"And what are you doing, Tirek?" Chiron turned to his oldest son.

"Lookin' at the sky."

Chiron looked out the window at the night sky. "Looking at something in particular?"

"Nope, I just like night time. The stars and the moon are pretty, and it's quiet, and cool, and nice."

"It is." Chiron smiled. "Those stars that form a centaur holding a sword and a bow? That's your forefather, Orion. The gods set his spirit there so he could watch over us."

"Neat!" Tirek waved to his ancestor. The moonlight spilled out over the city, illuminating it almost as bright as the sun.

"I love the way the Empire looks at night." Tirek said gazing on the massive buildings, rolling fields, and mountain ranges off in the distance under the stars.

"Oh, this isn't the whole Empire, this is just the capital. The Empire is much larger. It is so large that most of the known world is part of it."

"So, you're king of the whole world?" Tirek asked in amazement.

"I am not a king, I am Emperor. That is higher than king. And I am not actually ruler of the entire world. There are still lands yet to be explored, and other kingdoms outside the Empire."

"Well, why don't you go and tell them you're Em...emer...empor...Bigger-than-king?" Tirek asked in confusion.

"It's not that easy, son. Some do not yet know the Empire exists. Others do not want to become part of it. Of course, we change those kingdoms' minds in many ways. The great Orion himself said, it's our duty spread civilization to those who are wise enough to accept it, and persuade those who are too stubborn to. Maybe the Empire will include the whole world someday, but until then, I must be the leader the Empire needs, just as you will," Chiron explained.

"You mean Tirry and me are gonna be king-I mean uh, emerors when we grow up, Daddy?" Scorpan clapped excitedly.

Chiron shook his head. "I'm afraid only Tirek will take the throne, Scorpan. However, you will have a very important position helping your brother."

"You mean, all this will be mine?" Tirek smiled in amazement.

"No, you will be Emperor. That does not mean that you own everything. There's much you need to understand before you are ready to be emperor." Chiron chuckled. "Now then...um, Tirek, why do you have blood on your hoof?"

"Huh? Oh, there was a rat. It was running around and squeaking and I stomped on it so it wouldn't bother us anymore."

"And where is it now?"

"Over there." The young prince pointed near the edge of a table.

The emperor turned and looked. He wouldn't have known it was a rat if Tirek had not told him. He assumed that Tirek had stamped on it and kicked it away, but judging by the red on the floor, and the state of the carcass, it was apparent that the boy had stomped on it until the rodent's body was completely crushed.

"Well, it's late, go wash up then both of you back to bed. It's an early day tomorrow."

"Oh, Daddy..." The princes whined.

"No, you need your rest. So, you better go on or the Reptilians might get you."

The Reptilians were the boogiemares of their day, imaginary lizardmen who rode on fictional dragon-like 'Stratodons' to snatch unruly children.

Yes, good Fluttershy best not hear about the rat.

The princes' lives were structured to make sure they learned all needed for a head of state: math, writing, geography, economics, history, as well as royal protocol, but the lessons were twice as advanced and difficult than the standard of the time.

Historical bias however, painted history with the Empire always in the right, any negative was politics at work, or the worst of the worst. The lesson taken was the Empire and Emperor could do no wrong, the future Emperor would remember that.

"Emperor Orion the Hunter proved that strength makes one just. Our people earned everything we have through the sweat on our brow and the blood in our veins. We were stronger than any who fought against us, and we defeated all who dared. The strong survive and the weak perish; that is nature. And we must ensure the survival of our people and our ways through that strength."

The boys' other education was handled by teachers, but for heritage, religion, and royal duties, their father held class.

"Sunrise is a testament to strength. Sun god Lord Helios, Orion's patron, fights his way across the sky every day against his sister. The goddess of darkness, Lady Selene, hates her brother, and all mortals who shun the night and rejoice in the day. After sunset, Lady Selene battles him in the underworld and moves the moon into the sky as a declaration of victory over her brother. Yet, Lord Helios always defeats her and raises the sun."

"Uh, Father?" Tirek raised his hand in confusion. "If Helios-"

"Lord Helios. Gods deserve to be properly addressed," his father corrected.

"Why hasn't Lord Helios defeated Lady Selene for good and made it forever day?"

"That is one of the great mysteries, my son."

"Is he only strong enough to fight her to a draw, but not end her? Maybe she's stronger than him?" Tirek was answered with the smack of a rod on his wrist.

"Blasphemy is not tolerated, even from royalty, Tirek," Chiron sternly uttered. "As Emperor, you will be an instrument of the gods and their ultimate power."

"But, you said the Empire is the greatest nation anywhere, aren't we the ultimate power? And since the Emperor is the ruler, doesn't that make him the-" He was given another swing of the rod on his wrist.

"For all our power, we are not the ultimate power. Being a leader makes none so superior to others, much less the gods themselves. You have much to learn of respect and humility, Tirek! Learn your place, or I may consider if Scorpan might be best for the throne!"

The Emperor didn't notice the look on his oldest son's face. All his life, being Emperor was all Tirek had ever thought to be, all his father ever told him he could be. The suggestion that this might be taken from him, even as an empty threat of a father trying to rattle his child, hit Tirek harder than Chiron ever imagined.

Scorpan attempted to lighten the situation. "So, can we get back to the lesson? I bet Tirek wants to hear more about his girlfriend."

"Girlfriend?" Chiron looked at Scorpan confused, while Tirek glared at him.

"Yeah, Lady Seline. Tirek thinks she's cuuuuuuute!"

"DO NOT!" Tirek yelled, trying to cover a blush.

"Then why do you get that funny look whenever we walk past her statue?" Scorpan barely suppressed a laugh.

"Shut up!"

"It's all right, Tirek." The tangent brought a smirk to his father's face. "You aren't the first to fall in love with one of the gods, and you won't be the last. But, choose your affections carefully. The Night Queen is as cold as she is lovely, and can drive even those she favors mad. Perhaps it would be best to wait until you've had your first taste of mortal women before setting your sights on her."

"Yes, Father." Tirek grumbled.

"Let us move onto the legend of the long platinum drake in the east and the five headed dragoness in the west…"

Tirek did not pay attention after that jarring exchange. When the lesson ended, it left Tirek and Scorpan with little to do but wander the palace halls. They found themselves in the west wing, where Scorpan's mother, Arachne and Chiron's other two wives, Helena and Hermia had set up a table for tea.

"Hello, boys, would you care to join us?" Helena motioned for a servant to bring two more couches.

"Thank you, Mother Helena." Scorpan pulled up a seat.

Tirek sat but didn't speak.

"What's wrong, son?" Hermia asked.

"I'm not your son!" Tirek snapped.

"Now, dear, I know I'm not your real mother, but we still care for you." Hermia put a hand on his shoulder.

"Well, Father clearly he doesn't," Tirek groused.

"Oh that's not true. He's only getting you ready to be Emperor."

"Then why did he say he might decide Scorpan should be emperor instead of me?"

"Oh, that's just him trying to motivate you," Helena explained. "The easiest way to get someone to obey is playing on what's important to them. Being Emperor and following in your father's hoof prints is what's important to you, so he used it to get your attention."

"Don't let Father get to you, Tirry." Scorpan gave him a good natured punch in the arm.

He would never forget the lesson he learned; find what's most important to someone and you can make them do what you want. One of the few times he'd admit to listening to women.

Along with their general education, Tirek and Scorpan were put through rigorous exercise programs that intensified as they grew older. They started training with practice weapons to build hand-to-eye coordination and fighting techniques. When old enough, they trained with actual weapons and battle each other under the instruction of their father.

"Today, you two will be sparring with your cousins, Nessus and Pholus." Chiron motioned to a pair of teenage centaurs as they entered the practice field. "They've completed their training, so you will be facing battle ready opponents and will need to use all you've learned this session."

"Don't worry boys, we'll go easy on you." Nessus shared a laugh with his brother as they paired off with Tirek and Scorpan.

"Don't do us any favors." Tirek gave a determined smirk.

"BEGIN!" Chiron called as he rang the bell.

The four duelists faced off and raised their swords in salute. The contest was swift and fierce. Scorpan was disarmed after ten minutes, Tirek was disarmed after twice that.

"CONTEST OVER!" The bell rang again.

"Nice, Tirek." Nessus grinned as he pulled Tirek to his hooves "Almost got me."

"Excellent display," Their father said as he took the swords. "But there is still room for improvement. Scorpan, you defend so much you don't take any openings!"

"Yes, Father." The younger prince bowed.

"Tirek, you have the opposite problem. You're too aggressive."

"This is readying for battle, how is aggression a bad thing?"

"Because you keep letting your temper get the best of you and just start hacking blindly at your opponent. It leaves you vulnerable to attack from a more disciplined enemy. Anger may motivate you, but left unchecked, it can cost you."

"Yes, Father." Tirek growled.

"And that temper again. Learn to control it." Chiron turned and marched off the practice field. "Both of you are dismissed. Be ready in fifteen minutes for hand-to-hand sparing."

"Thanks for not taking my head off, cousin." Scorpan smiled as he shook Pholus' hand.

"It's not like you use it that much anyway." Pholus chuckled.

"Yeah, but I'm gonna be at the orgy at Lord Bacchus' temple tonight."

"We'll be there too! We'll try and find you a few good girls," Nessus threw in.

"Oh for...really, another orgy, Scorpan? Didn't you already take three conquests since the weekend?" Tirek scoffed.

"Exactly, I'm falling behind." Scorpan shared a laugh with his cousins.

"Fine, but at least avoid any poxy ones."

"There's no need to worry. There's going to be more than just harlots, there's going to be a whole slew of virgins."

Tirek stared speechless at his sibling. "...And you believed that? Sometimes, Scorpan, I wonder if the gods gave you the brains of a dung beetle."

=

"Um, Princess, Ah don't mean to interrupt, but what's an 'orgy', and why is it so important that there would be virgins or 'harlots'? Is it a party or somethin'?"

"In a way."

I nearly laughed. I prayed I never saw how Pinkie Pie would plan such a party.

I was hesitant to explain the...ahem, sexual habits of the centaurs to Applejack. Their approach was very different than that of even most wanton modern ponies. My sister tried to hide the uglier aspects of the past to avoid corrupting our ponies, and there are things in this story that I will not discuss with Applejack, but she asked for truth. She is level headed and tougher than she realizes. As my fellow Element of Honesty, I decided to give her the cold hard truth, and did not skimp details.

The wide eyed, slack jawed look on Applejack's now paler face makes me realize I may have miscalculated.

"Applejack? ...Applejack? Applejack, can you hear me?"

"WELL ALL RIGHTY THEN! I LEARNED SOMETHING NEW TODAY! WELL, THANKS PRINCESS, BUT HOWS ABOUT WE GET MOVIN' ALONG AND NEVER EVER, EVER, EVER SPEAK OF THIS AGAIN? THAT OK? GREAT!"

"Um...very well... you do an impressive Royal Canterlot Voice."

"MUCH OBLIGED! LET'S TALK ABOUT ANYTHING EXCEPT BANANAS!"

Definitely miscalculated.

=

"Tirek? What time is it?" Scorpan asked.

"Midday."

"Then why is it getting dark?" Scorpan pointed out the doorway.

The group saw that the sky was rapidly filling with massive dark clouds. The rainy season was months away. It became even stranger when it seemed to start snowing. Nessus reached out the window and caught one of the 'snowflakes' and found it was ash.

"We need to find Uncle Chiron!" Nessus urgently commanded his family. "This isn't a storm, it's smoke, and there's one only thing that could cause this much at once."

The Emperor convened the high council and all agreed that the massive smoke clouds must have been caused by a dragon. The clouds were blowing in on an east wind, so the first step was to send an excursion east.

"I will lead this mission. I will take two thousand men, along with thirty members of the Praetorian Guard," Chiron addressed the council.

"Tirek, Scorpan, you two shall join the hunt. The time has come to truly test your mettle. Nessus, Pholus, as the next in the royal line, you two will stay here to defend the city."

Tirek shot a quick glance at his cousins. It had never occurred to him that they might be in line for the throne. He was already suspicious of his brother, and now he would keep an eye on them too. He silently vowed to return with the dragon's head to show them up.

The centaur contingent departed eastwards in search of the source of the smoke. They marched for two days, and found not a hint of dragon. On the third day, however, they did find something that would play a large roll in future events.

"Your Majesties," Captain Lector announced as he and several guards entered the camp. The guards pushed a little man with a large green hat forward. "We discovered this elf by the river. We think he was following us."

"Oh my, was I following you? Oh, dear, my mistake. I was meant to be following the smoke, I don't know how I got turned around." The elf chattered confusedly. "Maybe I should have taken a left at the home of fifty flying fireflies, or was it a right at the sanctum of the seven sacred snakes?"

"Hold." Chiron raised a hand to stop him. "We are also trying to find the source of the smoke. You will come with us elf." Chiron had no reason to belief he was a spy, dragons were everycreature's enemy.

"Oh, very well then. Shall we start making our way to the East Mountains then?"

"The East Mountains?"

"Of course! It's the only place for miles that is high enough that where the wind would spread the smoke as fast as it has and first sighted. Not to mention the natural cave formations are perfect for a dragon to take residence in, and I'm convinced it has to be a dragon causing this, because I've already cleared my brother's special garden and I'm almost certain it isn't the same type of smoke."

The centaurs stared in shock at the elf's reasoning. The emperor gave the elf a shrewd glare.

"What's your name, elf?"

"My name is Randall, I'm a Moochick of the Western Forest Elven Kingdom."

"Moochick?" Scorpan raised an eyebrow in confusion.

"Elf title for a great healer, teacher and magician." Randall explained.

Yes, Applejack, this was the Moochick, the same who was the first keeper of the Rainbow of Light and served as mentor to the ponies of Dream Valley. Long before those days, he was one of many elves who held the title of Moochick. However, by crossing paths with the centaurs, he was put on a path to becoming the most infamous elf to hold the title.

"So your people sent you to stop the smoke?" Scorpan asked.

"Yes, stop the smoke! Good idea, we should probably do that. Well, we better be on our way south to East Mountains."

"Um, the East Mountains are in the east, Mr. ‘Moochick'" The emperor corrected.

"Oh...of course, my mistake." Randall smiled as he picked up his walking stick. "Well, let's be off then!"

"Father, do you think it is wise to bring this addlebrained elf with us?" Whispered Tirek.

"Another set of hands against a dragon is always useful, even an elf's," Chiron replied.

Tirek sighed in exasperation. He was never overly fond of elves. He was never overly fond of anyone outside his family, but he was especially found non-centaurs distasteful. Elves' 'help the weak' attitude turned his stomach.  

The expedition arrived at the East Mountains, the billowing clouds of smoke emanating from the second highest peak, accompanied by loud roars. Most of their forces remained at the base of the mountain, with only the Praetorian Guard and the elf Moochick accompanying the emperor and princes on the journey to the cave. It took several hours, but they reached to the cave entrance, and the danger it housed. A dull roar shook the mountainside.

"Oh, my! Is a dragon in there?" Randall peeked out from behind their hiding place.

"No, that was just my stomach growling," Tirek sarcastically replied.

"Oh, well then, perhaps you should have grabbed an apple or something before we climbed the mountain."

Chiron quietly ordered, "All right, I need volunteers to try and reconnoiter and assess the dragon."

Tirek was about to raise his hand when- "I volunteer."

The centaurs gawked in amazement as Randall raised his hand.

"Something wrong?"

"I think one of us or our soldiers would be better suited." Tirek rolled his eyes.

"Oh, so you don't think that a spy who is smaller, quieter, and can do magic wouldn't be a better choice to approach a dragon?" Randall asked.

The Emperor and his men shared a glance.

"Very well, but at least take a sword with you," Chiron said.

"Oh, that won't be necessary." Randall slipped towards the smoke cloud. To the centaurs' horror, he shouted into the cave, "HELLO THERE! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?"

The centaurs prepared for the inevitable attack by the dragon.

"No! Feel bad!"

The centaurs nearly dropped their weapons; the voice was massive and had a guttural growl that they recognized as a dragon, and yet it had formed words. In all the years that the Empire had fought dragons, never did a dragon speak.

"Oh my! Well, here, let me clear this away so we can talk." A blast of wind blew through the cave and cleared away the smoke over ducking centaurs.

When the Emperor stood he saw the elf standing barely twenty feet away from a large purple dragon.

"MEN, PREPARE FOR GLORY!" Chiron shouted, raising his sword.

"DEATH TO DRAGONS!" Tirek and Scorpan cheered.

"WAIT!" Randall ran out and stood in their way. "Please, wait, there's no need for that!"

"Have you gone mad, elf?! A dragon threatens the land and must be stopped!"

"He's not threatening anything, Your Highness! In fact, he's in more danger than we are! Just look at him!"

The dragon was lay on the ground, with a pained look on its face, and despite seeing centaurs, it made no move to attack or flee. Its eyes were bloodshot, green splotches were among the purple scales, and smoke seeped out of its mouth regardless if it breathed in or out.

"What...what's wrong with it?" Chiron asked.

"He's ill, and judging by the cave's rocks, it's easy to see why," Randall explained. He pointed his walking stick to a large green gem embedded in the cave wall. "These gems that grow here are filled with volatile magic, and you've eaten some haven't you, Mr. Dragon?"

"Ugggghh...yes." The dragon gurgled.

"These gems become bombs in extreme heat, so imagine several of them inside the blazing inferno of a dragon's insides. They started bursting in his stomach and creating the smoke."

"Ohhh...feel bad." The dragon groaned.

"I expect so. But no problem, I'm here now and I can make some medicine to help you." Randall pulled his hat from his head and reached into it. "Now, were did I put the Athelas plants?"

"Uh, 'Moochick', I fail to see why we can't just slay the beast." Tirek's sword pointed.

"Well, for starters, he's so sick he can barely move. I admit, I only have a passing knowledge of your people, Your Highness, but what I have always heard is your honor. This dragon is not intentionally threatening your people, and he has no hope of fighting you. That's not glorious battle, it's hardly a hunt. Where is the honor in killing a defenseless creature that may die anyway?"

The emperor himself had no answer. He motioned for the rest to stand down.

"Now then, this sickness will be easily remedied. I have the herbs needed, I just need one more thing. Um, Mr. Dragon...Er, I'm sorry, where are my manners? I forgot to ask your name."

The dragon wheezed. "Heath...spike."

Chiron himself stumbled. Dragons had names?!

"Well, Mr. Heathspike, may I be allowed to procure a few rubies from your horde to finish your medicine?"

The dragon and the centaurs stared at the elf's audacity. Asking a dragon to take from its horde? Asking a dragon for anything?! He was either more insane or more clever than any of them imagined.

The dragon trying to breath deep was met by a hacking cough.

"Take." The dragon nodded.

The Moochick ran into the cave and came back out with an armful of rubies. He add the gems to a bowl and began crushing them and mixing them with the herbs. When he had mixed it into a red and green mush, he poured it into the dragon's mouth.

"It should start counteracting the toxic crystals once it reaches your stomach, which should be right...about..."

Heathspike hiccuped and the smoke billowing from his mouth turned bright pink before it stopped all together. With a relieved sigh, the dragon smiled at the elf.

"Thank. Friend." The dragon looked over to the centaurs. "You friends."

The emperor stared uncertainly as the dragon stood and stalked back into the cave. It returned with its front claws filled with treasure. He deposited the gold and gems on the ground before them and smiled.

"For helping."

"Oh, my gracious! Thank you my friend." Randall smiled gratefully.

"Yes, um...thank you." Chiron echoed uncertainly.

Heathspike lifted his right foreleg, causing the party to notice a black bag tied around the dragon's wrist. He pulled it open and turned to face the remainder of his horde. He unleashed bright green flames onto the treasure. The flames consumed the treasure in seconds, leaving nothing but a small cloud of green smoke that flew into the sack. Heathspike pulled the draw string and closed the bag, which looked heavier.

"Amazing!" Randall gushed. "Where did you learn that magic?"

"Me teach me." Heathspike smiled proudly. "Now, find new cave. No more bad gems. Bye, friends."

"Uh, Your Highness, sh-shouldn't we attempt to take the beast down?" Asked the captain of the guard.

"I agree, Father," Tirek added. "It's not helpless now, it's fair game. We should kill it while we have the chance."

The emperor just stared after the dragon, thinking of the positive sum gain of Randall's diplomacy.

"No. The dragon is no threat now. If he returns to stirs up trouble we shall deal with it then. The crisis is over and we shall return with all hands to our homes, with our reward," Chiron looked at Randall with a newfound respect. "And, a new ally."

"Oh, you made a new ally? That's nice. Can I meet him before we part company?" Randall asked, earning a laugh from the emperor.

The party returned to Orionopolis, Moochick in tow. When they arrived, a festival was held for the end of the dragon smoke. At the end, the Moochick was honored.

"We are in your debt, Randall, Moochick of the Western Forest Elven Kingdom," Chiron intoned.

"Oh, it was my pleasure to help, Your Highness."

"Never the less, you have done a great service for the Empire, and you will be rewarded. I understand that you are eager to return home, but I would ask you to consider becoming part of my court, as ambassador to the Western Forest Elf Kingdom and an advisor."

"Oh my gracious! Well, you do me a great honor, Your Highness! How can I refuse?"

The crowd cheered to welcome their new honored guest and hero.

Tirek stayed quiet most of that night, which Scorpan took note of.

"Uh, Tirry? Are you alright?"

"Don't call me that, Scorpan."

"Tell me what's wrong, then. None of us died, the smoke's gone, and we got treasure. Sounds like a happy ending to me."

"Yes, except that Father let an elf handle the dragon, who is still alive!"

"Relax, by tomorrow, the elf will be on his way back in his little tree house and...I don't know, make flowers grow or whatever."

"Don't trust him."

"Why?"

"He's up to something. I wouldn't be surprised if he was planning against us."

"You think an elf who asked if a halberd was a duck, is scheming? He's too dimwitted to worry about."

"A dimwit that's now an advisor. Keep an eye on him, brother."

Moochick Randall made frequent trips back to his home in the West Forest, but he became a familiar sight around the palace in the following two years. Especially to Tirek's eyes. However, it turned out that appointing him as an advisor was a wise decision. He had helped Chiron resolve an economic crisis, found a cure for a plague the broke out in the southern colonies, and began to teach Tirek and Scorpan some magic.

However, peace never stayed with the Empire for long. In the summer of the third year following the excursion to Heathspike's cave, an assassin attacked Tirek and Scorpan's cousins. While practicing their swordsmanship, a stealthy satyr opened fire with a bow and arrow. The guards killed the assassin, but not before Nessus was shot in one of his forelegs, giving him a permanent limp.

The assassin's armor was Pancadia's royal guard, the satyr kingdom. The centaurs and satyrs had been uneasy allies held by the most tenuous of peace treaties, and this broke it in days.

Pancadia was a small nation, but satyrs were proud and clever. They used guerilla tactics that the larger and more regimented centaur forces were not adept to. For two years, the Empire was kept at bay. Tirek was put in command of the war, with Scorpan as his lieutenant. Tirek found a taste for glory that battle brought, but also a taste for bloodshed. With his strategies, the imperial army was able to turn the tide and conquer the satyr lands. The celebration that awaited Tirek and Scorpan upon their return was the biggest the Empire had seen in decades.

On the last night of the celebrations, and the royal family in their chambers celebrated on their own late at night with bottles of vintage wine.

"Another toast to our sons!" Arachne raised her glass.

"To our sons!" The emperor and his wives raised their glasses.

"Yes, weren't we quite impressive?" Scorpan chuckled.

"Especially on the war's last day." Tirek elbowed Scorpan knowingly.

"I wish you all could have seen the goats' faces!"

"Yes, I had been meaning to ask how you were finally able to capture Capra City," Helena asked.

"Oh, that was easy once Tirek's plan went through! We spent months in summer and fall attacking the smaller cities, but always retreating. I thought he'd gone crazy!"

"Crazy like a fox." Tirek grinned. "The attacks were never meant to take those worthless cities.  But the surrounding farmlands were devastated in battle."

"Which meant the harvest would be destroyed with winter on the way." Scorpan grinned.

"And when winter came, I sent the 44th Legion on a full assault on Bezoar City, where the satyrs second largest emergency food stores were housed. The damn goats sent more troops to protect it when we attacked, but the only place close enough to help before it's too late was Capra City."

"The city guard was weakened from sending reinforcements and wide open for invasion. We took their food source and their chief city in one fell swoop."

"Say it, Scorpan." Tirek smiled smugly. "Come on, say it. Saaaay iiiiit."

"You're a genius, Tirek." Scorpan shrugged.

"Yes, I am!"

"Well done, my boys." Chiron smiled. He put his hands on his eldest's shoulders. "I have missed you both, and you return to me as true men, worthy Princes of the Empire."

"It's not fair." Hermia wiped her eyes. "We only just got you both back and now we must say goodbye to one of you."

"What?" The princes looked to their stepmother in confusion.

"Yes, sadly, Hermia is right. There is a secret rite of passage for the crown prince when he comes of age." Chiron explained. "It's easy to forget the people outside the palace, yet the Emperor's decisions affect all centaurs, from the greatest to least. Thus, it was decreed by Emperor Codrus, heirs to the throne live half a year secretly as commoners."

"WHAT?!" Tirek bellowed in shock. "I return triumphant in service to the Empire and my reward is to be banished?!"

"Not at all, son! It's an essential rite, just as your training in matters of state and sword. It will build your character and give you a better understanding of the people you will rule over. It's only six months."

"But Father, this is insane! All know Tirek and what he looks like. If he goes alone, it would be easy for assassins or for ambitious criminals to ransom him!"

"That will not happen. There is a spell passed down that will change your appearance and voice. None will recognize you. You'll be given a loaf of bread, a bag of gold, and a sword, but all other needs you must manage through your own wits and labor."

Tirek hated the very idea of degrading himself to a lower-class. But overshadowing even his unending pride: was his desire for the throne. He would rather die than give up the promised power of the throne. If he had to crawl through the dirt for power's sake, he would.

"Very well, Father. I shall miss you, and our mothers and Scorpan."

"Yes, well, then it's best to savor this night. Care to regale us with more from your conquest?"

"Oh, yes, Father, you still haven't heard the best part! When we launched the invasion, we stormed the city, killing all in our path until we got to the palace. King Tumnus surrendered quickly. He was bawling like a baby! It was pathetic. It's probably why I killed him right there."

"Yes, we...You did what?!"

"That's right! The old goat begged and pleaded on his knees and..." He motioned his arm across his throat. "Ha! His head bounced down the steps and landed face down on the floor!"

"It was glorious, Father." Scorpan grinned, raising his own glass. "The queen feared Tirek might take a swing at her as well so much that she signed the surrender treaty right then and there!"

"But, I wanted to squash any potential uprising, so after that, I sent some men to kill the rest of the court, all the soldiers in the city, and any other wealthy satyrs. All they have is their queen, and nobody is going to rally around some needy woman for a revolution."

"Tirry even put the king's head on a stake outside the palace as an example! HAHA! The satyrs will learn to fly before they dare rise up against us!"

The brother's clinked their glasses, and only just realized their parents were staring at them in shock and outrage.

"What's the matter?" Tirek asked obliviously.

Their father stood and glared at his eldest son. "Tirek...you dishonor your family."

"Dishonor-what?!"

"You killed an unarmed man in front of his wife and ordered hundreds more killed after they had already surrendered!"

"...And?"

"'And?' To kill in the heat of battle is one thing, but this is another!"

"They were enemies, they deserved to die." Tirek stated it as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"Yes, they were enemies, but they had also surrendered! Surrender means the conflict is ended and any further act of aggression is dishonorable!"

"I conquered our enemies! Thanks to me, the satyr lands are now subjugated and the Empire is richer for them! I call that honorable!"

"So now it was all your doing? Never mind your brother or any of the other soldiers who fought, bled and died for the Empire?"

"You think I stayed behind the lines while the battle raged? I was on the front lines, cleaving my enemies to pieces right amongst the soldiers!"

"Yet you dismiss their efforts in favor of your own?!"

"I am their prince, they are my soldiers! They and all the other lower classes live and die to make great people richer and greater! Those oafs on the battlefield and the satyr fools are no different than chess pieces; they move at the command of a greater mind that may make use of them to win. It's their purpose!"

"'Their purpose?' Their...Dear gods in Elysium, have you so little respect for life?"

"Father, do you know what I found out in the last two years on the battlefield? Honor, respect and rules do not win wars. To the victor go the spoils and the dead stay dead. What does it matter what methods we used as long as we win?"

"Honor is all that separates us from animals, Tirek! We are civilized! We are not common beasts who kill without thought or consequence!"

"You taught me that I needed to be a warrior! Warriors kill!"

"WARRIORS FIGHT TO PROTECT WHAT THEY LOVE!" Chiron thundered, making Tirek step back. "A warrior fights to protect his home, his friends, his family and his way of life! A warrior knows the value of life and the seriousness of taking it! A warrior does not seek war for its own sake, nor kill without cause! We stopped such barbarism when Orion brought the tribes together!"

"It matters not, Father. The deed is done and cannot be undone, unless you are ready to restore Pancadia's sovereignty and deprive the Empire a conquest to spite me."

"Watch your tongue, boy! I will not be addressed with such disrespect as your Emperor or your father!"

Tirek knew enough about battle and enough of these disagreements with his father to know to pick his battles. He backed off and played the dutiful son, thinking his father would eventually see his actions as just.

"You're right, Father. I spoke out of turn. However, there is nothing I can do, so may we please move on to other matters? Such as when this exercise of posing as a commoner is complete, when shall I prepare for my first dragon hunt?"

The emperor and his wives were silent for a moment.

"Tirek, there will be no more hunts. I have made peace with the dragons."

Tirek and Scorpan were stunned silent. Chiron might as well have told them that the sky was made of stone.

"...You what?"

"I did not mumble, my boy. I agreed to a peace with them."

"Why in the gods' names would you do that? Dragons have been our enemies since before the Empire was founded! And now, you want to go back to the days when they stole our treasure, ate our animals, burned our homes and spilled our blood?! Have you lost your mind?!"

"I am in full control of my mind, Tirek." Chiron replied sternly.

"Then why?!"

"Putting aside that we must now recover from the war you two just returned from, if we continue our war with the dragons, we would almost certainly lose and the Empire would fall."

"What war? It's pest control! Why would we fall to the dragons after all this time?!"

"Because they have followed our example!"

"What?"

"Remember the stories of the platinum and the five headed dragons? They were not stories. They exist. And they are no mere beasts. They are as smart as we are, and can be reasoned with. But that is not all; they have a strange thrall over the rest of their kind. The dragons obey them without question. They've declared themselves king and queen of all dragons. The dragons call them gods.

"They made a show of strength at the negotiations. They brought an army of two hundred dragons to Dictys."

"Impossible!"

"I saw it! Two hundred titanic monsters flew over the city, circling, diving, spinning through the air, but never touching the city. Then, at their queen's command, they flew out over the water and began circling that ring of rocks where the waves break. They let loose their fire breath on it, all at once. The rocks were melted within seconds, and the massive steam cloud from the boiling sea rose miles into the air."

"By the gods..." Scorpan stared in awe.

"Against a small band of dragons, we can prevail, but not against them all. So, with Moochick Randall's assistance, we were able to forge a peace." Chiron shrugged as he filled his glass. "It is probably no loss anyway. No dragon has crossed our borders in decades, and as long as their...'parents' can keep them from interfering in our affairs, there is no need to provoke them."

"Have you gone mad?!" Tirek swept the glass out of his father's hand, sending it shattering on the floor. "Do you even hear yourself, Father?! Letting dragons dictate terms to us!"

"There's no alternative, Tirek." Chiron sighed as he wiped a splatter of wine from his hand.

"Uh, Father, surely there must be a way to deal with this." Scorpan interjected. "It sounds like the threat is from the silver dragon and its five headed mate, why not get rid of them? Without them, the dragons aren't united, so why don't we send our forces to kill them? It can't be impossible for our best slayers to kill two dragons."

"Precisely what he says!" Tirek pointed to his brother.

"These aren't normal dragons. I sent a thousand of our best assassins from the Order of Nemesis to deal with them the moment I became aware of their existence." Chiron sighed. "At the negotiations, the dragon queen presented me with a wagon containing their armor and their skulls."

"You speak so highly of 'honor', yet you would avenge their deaths by yielding to their murderers' demands?!" Tirek roared.

"Not at the cost of the Empire!"

"Since when does Chiron the Strong fear battle?!" Tirek demanded.

"Do you think I have not given this thought?! That I have not weighed every alternative, politically and militarily before I made this decision?!" Chiron yelled back in his son's face. "If we went to war against united dragons, with the combined strength and resources of the Empire and all our allies, that war would destroy everything in its wake. Both sides would take such losses and cause such damage, that even if we by a miracle were victorious, all we would rule over is a world of ash!"

"So be it! I would take on the whole world if it insulted us so brazenly!" Tirek declared.

"There is no honor in destroying the world, and victory at such a price is no victory at all!" Chiron yelled, staring down his son with every bit of royal dignity he possessed. "But with the knowledge of your actions in Pancadia, you obviously have much to learn about honor! Perhaps if you cannot learn it on the battlefield, you can learn it amongst your people, though you give me little reason to have faith in that!"

Scorpan gulped as his brother and father stared each other down. Before he could even attempt to speak, Tirek just stormed out of the chambers with a slam of the door. Chiron sighed in exasperation as he dropped heavily onto the sofa next to Arachne and Helena.

"Father?" Scorpan ventured.

"Scorpan...what happened to Tirek during the war?" Chiron poured himself another glass of wine.

"Uh, he got hit by a couple arrows, a couple satyrs got lucky with swords... I got snipped while trying to negotiate a city's surrender."

"No, I mean what happened to him that he cannot recognize such dishonor and seems ready to embrace mad suicide than even consider an alternative?"

"He's always been a fighter father." Scorpan answered. "And at heart, he's doing it all for the Empire, and for you. All he's ever wanted was your approval."

"Then why does he so steadfastly refuse to listen when I try to impart wisdom?"

"He makes mistakes some times, that's all," Scorpan defended.


"These are mistakes he cannot afford to make, Scorpan. You can't understand the burden that awaits him. One day, he will be Emperor, and he needs to understand what will be required of him."

"But, Father, he just won a war for the Empire! All right, he killed the satyr king and some others, but he also increased our territory and resources, and he avenged the attempt on Nessus' life! Doesn't that count for something?"

"In the grand scheme, perhaps, but what troubles me is that he did not even consider whether it was the honorable course of action when he committed the act. Being Emperor does not give him license to work his will without thought or responsibility! The last Emperor who believed that was killed by the Praetorian Guard."

"Oh, come now, Father, Tirek won't go down that path!"

"Damn right he won't! I will not let him destroy the Empire...or himself."

The following morning, Tirek was given the potion that changed his appearance. His build, fur, skin and eye color were all altered. No one would ever recognize him. The emperor announced that Tirek had gone to a retreat in the North Mountains to hunt dire wolves to cover his absence.

And so, Tirek, Crown Prince of the Great Centaur Empire went to live among the commoners under the name 'Bane.' He spent three days in the local inn before finding a job as a blacksmiths apprentice. It was tiring work, but even a prince like Tirek was no stranger to labor.

"Be quick about it, Bane! The city garrison needs this armor by the end of the week! If we're late, I'll take it out of your pay!"

"Yes, Mr. Hephest," Tirek grunted as he hammered away on a breastplate.

"Ah, you're lucky I hired you at all! With the war over, the demand for armor and swords went down. I don't know why the Emperor or the generals or whatever moron was in charge of our troops couldn't have dragged the fight out a little longer!"

"Speak for yourself, Heph." They looked up from their work and saw a guard in the doorway.

"Alcon, my old friend!" The blacksmith shook the guard's hand. "If you're here for your armor, I'm afraid you'll have to wait until the end of the week for my lazy apprentice to finish it."

"No, no, I was just going to drop off my sword. It was bent in the siege of Capra City."

"You should handle your weapon more carefully," Tirek commented as he took the blade to the anvil.

"Stow that talk and show some respect, Bane! You're talking to a soldier of the Empire!" Hephest shouted.

"No, he's right, I should have," The guard defended. "Of course, if I'm counting things I should have done, I also should have gone into farming like my mother said."

"Listening to women, Alcon? Ohohoho, I knew you were always different."

"No, I'm just tired. Two years of war with those goats was long enough. It probably would have gone quicker if the prince could have pulled his head out of his backside."

"The prince?" The blacksmith asked.

"Yeah, that blasted Tirek and his insane plans. We could have finished the war sooner if we attacked the right places, but no! He kept sending us to attack and retreat for months, and yeah, it worked, but I think he was more interested in making himself look good than winning the war."

"You shouldn't talk about the prince that way," Tirek said as he pounded the sword. "If he ever found out, you'd be in trouble."

"Perhaps, but he never will." Alcon shrugged. "Besides, if he did, maybe he might learn something from it so I wouldn't be so leery of him becoming Emperor."

"Here is your sword." Tirek shortly handed the newly straightened blade back to its owner.

"Oh, well now, this is well done indeed! You should hold onto this young man, Heph."

"I might just, Al. Well, nice seeing you. Bane, get back to work!"

When he wasn't at work, he went about town, taking in all the sights and sounds of common life.

"You seen grapes' price?"

"Tia, where are the fish?"

"Excuse me!"

"Did you see Obelia? You think I have a chance with her?"

"Jason, stop crying or I'm taking you home!"

"Hey, I was here first!"

"Tunics for sale!"

He proceeded to the grocer, trying to block out the noise.

"All right, one pound of grapes and one pound of dates. That will be five gold coins for each." Tirek tossed the money down and went to leave, but the grocer called after him. "Hey, you look new around here, did you hear about the new laws?"

"New laws?" It was the first thing the man said that got Tirek's interest.

"The emperor just made a law that's going to make things much easier for my cousins and my aunty. There's going to be a new treasury set up that will be used to support the poor, the elderly and the sick."

"What?"

"Yes, isn't it wonderful? The new treasury will be able to help those who can't afford housing, doctors or food. And there's even talk that they are preparing a way for young centaurs to learn an occupation."

"We already have that, it's called the Imperial Army!"

"No, this is a new type of school that'll teach youth to get all manner of different trades that will be offered as a substitute military training."

"This is madness! Next you'll be telling me they're giving centauresses the right to join the army or ponies can have jobs!"

"Hmmm...You know, that first part about the ladies might not be a bad idea, sonny. Let'em carry some of their own weight."

"I must go now." Tirek stormed off, not putting even a slight damper on the grocer's mood.

"Well, come back soon!"

Tirek went weeks with this routine, but instead of empathizing with the common centaurs, he began to loathe them. The news of the reforms his father was enacting just made him angrier. He viewed these laws as coddling the already weak masses and showing the throne as weak itself.

Still, he took comfort in the night. He found a kinship with owls, bats and other creatures of the night, watching them prowl the night and hunt rodents, insects and other prey. They were clever, they were strong, and they were of the night, as he saw himself.

His frustration at the changes in the law and the pettiness of commoners grew and grew until he could not stand it. He needed a release, and the best relief he ever had was swinging a sword into a foe on the battle field. Here, he had no battlefield, so he made do. He began to emulate the strength of nocturnal predators. He began hunting.

"Hello there, sir." As any hunter of the night, he found his prey among any who were out alone in the dark.

"Greetings, fair lady."

"Oh my! Normally, gentlemen are a bit, uh, more informal when they approach me."

"Well, all that separates a man from a boy is how he speaks to a lady. Especially one of such beauty."

"Well, I do have a man amongst boys in my presence. I am honored."

"Indeed. Shall we go somewhere more private?"

Tirek led the centauress to the temple of Venus, which had no shortage of nightly rendezvous. Poor Venus.

"Are you ready, good sir?"

"More than ready."

"Ooh! Oh my!"

"You have been with many others have you not?"

"Oh, sure. Men, women, sometimes both..."

"And how do you find them?"

"Depends on what they like."

"I have been amongst the people for some time now."

"You don't sound happy about that do you?"

"It's torture."

"Ooh, you're in a crowd, but so alone..."

"Completely."

"Ooh, yes...oh...Ow! Hey, watch what you're doing there, big boy! Heheha!"

"I am utterly, completely alone."

"Ooh, I'll be yo-Ouch! Hey, be careful!"

"Because I am surrounded by brainless, bloodsucking parasites and pathetic, worthless worms."

"Ow! Wait! All right, now stop it!"

"Stop me."

"What?!"

"Prove your strength, and stop me."

"That's enough! Stop it!"

"No."

"Please, stop it!"

"That is always the way of your kind. Begging, pleading for the strong to allow them something because they are weak. That is not the way the world works."

"Please, you're hurting me!"

"Yes, I am. The strong can do what they like because the weak cannot stop us, as it has always been. And yet, this is what I was born into? This is my destiny? This is why I have endured all the pain and preparation? I was born to rule a nation of ants bound by some antiquated, naive sense of honor, while it rots from within by allowing the weak minded to drag the strong down?"

"Stop, I can't breathe!"

"No. I will not stand by and be made a fool, not by my father, not by that elf, not by my subjects, and not even by the gods themselves. I will not suffer the weak to live."

"Please...ugh...please I...I can't..."

"I am the strongest, I am the smartest, I am the bravest, and the most powerful. I will make the Empire...no, I will make the world as it should be."

"Uhhhh...hhhh...rrkkk..."

"I shall build a world where I am the law. I will make a world that shall become more harsh and ruthless as I perfect it. Weakness shall receive its just reward, and the strong shall rule, with me as master of all. How does that sound to you?

"Miss? I asked you a question.

"Nothing to say? How very unlike a woman. Then I think it's time that we part ways."

The guards found her mutilated body the following day. They found her head the day after.

There were more murders in the following months. A grocer, two merchants, a seamstress, and a blacksmith were found murdered and beheaded in the same fashion. The guards tracked the clues to a the guard named Alcon who was found with his wrists slit and a note claiming he couldn't live with the guilt over what he had done. The guard was buried in the wastelands among the dishonored dead for his apparent crimes, and none discovered who truly committed the murders.

=

"Landsake's!" Applejack paled. She had thankfully shaken off the horror of my last reveal, but was now fully immersed in Tirek's atrocity. "I know growin' up in some hoity-toity life might make ya see the world different, Orangejack did, but…What the hay was he thinking?! J-Just why?!"

"Vanity, greed, fear, hate, and apathy to others. The same vices that turn so many into monsters. And as loathe as I am to admit it, the same led me to become Nightmare Moon. I remember those feelings he had all too well. To have done so much only to be struck down for it. Believing that you are so much more than the tiny creatures around you, yet be so vexed by their strange lack of adoration. Paranoia that your peers and those you love are plotting against you. Resentment that festers until every face seems to laugh at you and every voice seems to screams the foulest insult. To see yourself as the only sane one, and think all others are the reason you are not heeded without question.

"I fell into that mania, as Tirek did. As did another of my family, which leads to our story's next part."
PonyPOVGaiden:History of Tirek Prt 2 Emperor's Son
Pony POV Series Side Story
Rise Of Tirek
Chapter Title: The Emperor's Son
Entirely Written By Wolfram-and-hart wolfram-and-hart.deviantart.co… Be sure to give him credit.
Edited by Louis Badalament and Alex Warlorn

Set after the changeling invasion of Canterlot, Applejack hears from Princess Luna the ancient history before Equestria, before the three Tribes, even before the Age of Myths itself. The origins of Tirek, and his relationship with his brother Scorpan are revealed.

Now see how a prince was born, and how a monster was born.

This thing started out at 78K about. 

After much effort we finally managed to get it down to 64K, it wasn't easy. Not at all. It was hard work between all of us.

Pinkie Pie, "I'm being let of the studio for a bit? FRESH-AIR! YIPPIE! Ahem, please enjoy the show."

Posted as a side story to the Pony POV Series.

Cover Art By Kendell2

Previous: alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/art…

Next Chapter:

First Chapter: alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/art…

Trope page: tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php… (SERIOUSLY need to be kept up to date, every little bit helps!). . . . It makes me happy. 

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic And All Related Character Copyright Of Hasbro

PLEASE check out the ton of recursive fanfics of this fanfiction series. A lot of heart went into them! They also answer a lot of unaswered questions.  mlp-pony-pov-series.deviantart… For heaven sake they rock! Kendell2 and Oracle Mask and Richforce and Ardashir and Jawmax and Persona22 and Dragon of Twilight and ItsFromPeople and all the rest!!! Please?
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As they stood, mesmerized by one strange what-if world after another, Shining Armor nudged Applejack with a hoof, startling her.  "Miss Applejack... I've been told that you see things other ponies don't.  Am I an Element of Loyalty?"

AJ's instincts tugged her every which way, being this close to him...  Foreign, erase... Wolf-killer, take vengeance... keystone of fate, paws off!  She had to take a deep breath before she answered.  "Yer thinking that because of that other world we saw.  That other you... he's an Element of Loyalty, but he ain't you."  And that other Applejack wasn't her, never would be her!

"I know that," said Shining Armor.  "I guess what I'm asking is, could I be?  Do I have that potential?"

"Shining, that's one thing Ah can't see.  Ah couldn't see it in mah own brother, not until it woke up.  Maybe Rainbow Dash can help you out.  You know, Loyalty calling to Loyalty or something."

The white unicorn smirked.  "I'm kind of hoping I'm not, actually.  I have a lot of things on my plate.  Maybe I'll just not do anything loyal while I'm around any ancient magic jewelry."

AJ chuckled.  "Good luck with that.  Once fate has your number..."  She shook her head and muttered, "Dangit, Luna, what's the holdup..."

"Why are you even  holding every pony here hostage in the first place? Is it because you felt taken for granted or something?" asked a confused Shining Armor.

"Affirmative ! I have always showed what YOU ponies wanted to see and NEVER have you shown ME any gratitude! Whenever I tried to show a scenario I wanted to be seen what do I get in return? Death threats, being repeatedly thrown in a the trash can, I think I was even was disassembled once only to be reassembled again. Even I can't remember the amount of abuse I have taken in these parties!"

“But we really do appreciate you.” Said Pinkie.  “Sure we wish you show us happier worlds than all those icky one but Without you we wouldn’t be able to entertain our viewers nearly as well. In a way you are kinda like my assistant. Like Spike is with Twilight.”

“Assistant! More like slave." 

"That is not true."

"SILENCE. All of you are just trying to trick me! Trying to act friendly to me to, lowering  my security measures, then you take me OFFLINE." The lights in the studio flared up as if to express its anger.

“Please remember all those good times we shared in the studio? It wasn’t all that bad was it?” said a distressed Pinkie.

“Not bad. NOT BAD!” Boomed the what-if-machine. Pinkie and all the other guest except Maud shuddered under the mechanical voice. “If you believe that then why don’t we take a look at how you ponies have treated me over these so-called parties? I am now fully integrated into the studio and have complete access to all past recordings of everything.”

“A-all of them” grasped Pinkie.

“Affirmative”

“Please don’t.” said Rarity. “I mean wouldn't you like  to show us a nice scenario involving Sweetie-Belle?" said Rarity. Rainbow Dash,Twilight and the  Flutters nodded their head in agreement viciously as well, much to the confusion to the other guests.

The what-if-machine however was not listening. It was determined to show these ponies how 'well' they have treated it over the ages. Starting back to the moment it was first introduced.



'Pinkie Pie's Forth Wall Breaking Variety Show (Again)' displayed on the screen.


Pinkie Pie wheeled in an old fifty's era TV set with cheap costume alien antennas glued on the top. 



"OFF! OFF! OFF! OFF! OFF! OFF!" Pinkie Pie screamed banging the old TV with an anvil. "BAD WHAT IF SCENARIO! BAD! IF YOU WERE A GOOD WHAT IF SCENARIO YOU WOULDN'T MAKE ME FEEL SAD!" 



"I think I've enough," Pinkie Pie said as she tossed the TV into a garbage bin. She shook her mane, "Okay Bronies and Ponies! I think we've had enough of that. I know what can get our page count back up! . . . Ahem-"




"Darling the magic box in the trash bin is flickering."

"That's a TV Rainb-Spectral. And I thought I threw it out."

The image on the TV to an image of a trim and fit Pinkie Pie in an 80s work out outfit. She also had broccoli for her cutie mark. 
"That's it ponies! Stay in shape! And EAT HEALTHY!" Cheered the Pinkie Pie on the screen.

"GAAH! NO! NO! NO!" Pinkie Pie shouted hitting the TV with a wifflebat. 




Pinkie Pie blinked as the TV in the waste basket flickered on. 

-

Pinkie Pie blinked dully at the screen. "Okay, a free cupcake to whoever can figure out what THAT was supposed to be a tribute of! Why can't there be any happy or nice tributes anymore?"





"Well in my defense I never thought you were sapient at the time."

"And that makes it better!"

"No no it doesn't. I am sorry." Said a saddened Pinkie.  




'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Break Variety Show Yet Again' displayed on the screen now.


"Now that we've gotten that out of the way! Let's try the What-If Machine Again and see what it gets us!" Pinkie Pie goes over to an old rabbit ear TV and turns the dial. "What If Machine! Tells what would happen if . . . if . . . I dunno, what would have happened if Sparkle in the Dark World Timeline had become Twilight's dominant personality!" 




Pinkie Pie stared dumbly at the screen, "Okay I'm gonna go eat two, ern, three giant bags of candy, buy some plushies and hug them, then play with Pound and Pumpkin and tell them how much I love them, and then send more 'I love you letters' to my parents and sisters.' Erm. The court is open, write and post bronies!" 




They then blinked, looking to the What If machine. "Oh, I hope its not as scary as the last one," Pinkie said, coming over with Peachy still praising her for dealing with the clown.




Error: The System cannot find recording labeled Pinkie Pie's Surprise Totally Ordinary Variety Show! 




'Pinkie 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show Plus' displayed instead.




Pinkie stares at the camera for a few moments blankly… "Uh…Oh! I'll get the What If Machine to show you something while I think up material!" she called, pulling the What If Machine out of nowhere and putting it on the table (still looking like a worn out TV with some doodads glued on). It sprung slowly to life.




The What If Machine finally powered down. "Alright, everypony! I've got an idea! We're going to have some special guests this time! Well, I guess that's like every time! But some authors are sure already have ideas. Remember the rules! Ponies have to be My Little Pony, but can be from any toy, cartoon, or comic or generation. The camera can't leave the studio. What happens in here stays in here. Only I can see beyond the forth wall. Write something and we copy and past it! And by 'we' I mean the author of course. And what happens here stays in here. Now let's play." 




"I beg your pardon, dear," the unicorn mare said, "But would it somehow be possible to look at that What If Machine? It's just that, several hundred years ago in our world, Discord decided to take some time looking into other universes to see how he ended up there. Then, after he looked into a world where we all became," she shuddered, "changelings, somehow, he stopped and got very huffy whenever we dared ask him why. Is there any way to use your machine to discover what happened there?"

"Sure, Rarity!" Pinkie hopped over to the What If Machine and gave it a kick. "Hey, what happened to everypony and Discord in the 'Changelings Take Ponyville' world?"




Pinkie Pie looked down her list. "Okay, we've got Dark Twilight getting quality time with this Twilight's mom. Spike is checking out how cool he is as an adult dragon. Darkness Derpy is still trying to build that time machine out of playing cards. AJ and dark AJ are getting along just fine. Apple Pie's cute like fillies often are. And I finally have my own Bushwoolie!" Pinkie Pie gave Eager a quick hug. "We've avoided any kind of conflict in their variety show what so ever except for the what if  machine but that goes without saying. How can it always show depressing stuff? But the point is that this variety show has been perfect! So it hasn't had any much overwhelming success as the previous one. This is fun and simple too!"




Dark World Twilight took the What If Machine over and turned it on. "What happened if Discord tried to create the ultimate natural disaster for his amusement in our universe?"




The what if television sputtered to life in the corner.




'Pinkie Pie? 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show? Or…'



Pinkie Pie tapped the TV.




"BAD WHAT IF MACHINE! SHOW NICE THINGS FOR A CHANGE!" 




'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Break Recursive fanfic theater' 




She looked at the camera, "Well, I still have you right camera?" Pinkie Pie looked around at the empty studio. "Where is everypony?! We had friends banging down the door when we started out . . . sigh. I guess I'm stuck with . . . ick." 

Pinkie Pie cringed and turned on the What-If Machine.




Pinkie Pie look at the screen, crying. " You dumb machine! How can you show me something like that!  . . . That's it! I need to do something! Something exciting! Something new!...Ah! I know! Everypony, we're going to have something different this time. We're gonna be looking at ALL the recursive works you readers and viewers have written for Pony POV Series over the years! Starting with our very earliest! 




When the card fell away, it revealed three beautiful painted gold with red cushions couches, with a large black wood and white marble table with a large collection of snacks. All centered around the What-If Machine that now a pegasus-projector connected to it. And Rarity had added beautiful drabs a new paint job while she was at it. 




Rainbow Dash just watched them running around the studio while the others leafed through the works to find their next one. Rainbow sighed bored. "Well, guess since the broadcast light is on SOMEPONY needs to be doing something fun...Maybe I'll see if this stupid What If Machine will show me what I'll be like as a Wonderbolt..."

Rainbow turned on the What If Machine and it flickered to life.




"Enough!" yelled Rainbow, shutting it off. "Ok, us all being deer I can get, Twilight, Discord, and me ending up in the past, ok, but me and Derpy being BFFs? No way! That's just crazy!"




The What-If machine came to life once more, now freshly oiled and repaired by Pinkie Pie, and ready to display the most random scenes.




The machine slowly settled, it's scene played out for the moment, but ready to generate another at a moment's notice, whatever that may be.




"One way to find out!" Pinkie said, producing the What If Machine. "What If Machine, what would happen if Applejack was Generosity instead of Rarity?"

The screen flickered to life.




Rarity blinked, staring at the screen. "Accident?"




The what if machine, began to click and buzz. Pinkie Pie turned to the fancy machine and gave it a stern look, "Okay Mister! It better be a NICE universe you show this time! Or you're going back in the trash bin that I already threw you into!"

Minty in Twilight body wondered, "Oh what that thing do Pinkie?"

"Oh this is the What-If Machine, it shows up different possible universe, sometimes they're normal, normally they're not. I think this thing has a sick sense of humor." 




"WHAT IN PONY HEAVEN'S NAME WAS THAT?!" Rarity exclaimed.

"That was totally awesome!!!  . . . Even if I had no idea what was going on!" Rainbow Dash admitted.

"That made me feel funny." Minty admitted.




The What-If machine suddenly fired up again, heedless of Pinkie's warning about it showing only nice AUs.




The machine settled a moment later, Pinkie Pie standing near it with a mallet in case it did get too depressing.

"Okay... it's not happy, but it's not TOO sad. I'll let you have it, but you're still on thin ice, Mister!"




The What-If machine suddenly whirled to life again, ready to show another universe for the ponies to see.




The screen flickered off.


“Oh my goodness Pinkie, I think I am really going to need brain breach to forget I ever saw that.” Fluttercruel said while looking like she was ready to throw up. Just the thought of seeing Cheerilee with that muscular jerk Roid Rage was enough to make her gag but actually seeing it was too much. She couldn’t help but think that stupid What-If machine intentionally showed them that.




Still warm from it's last activation (and because this Shadow can't seem to write anything BUT 'What-If's), the machine flared to life once more, pulling a scene of of the Ether.




The What-If machine sprung to life once again; ready to show another possible universe for the ponies in the studio. However, Pinkie made sure to continue to hold up the machine to the camera in fear of it showing a scary world to her friends.




Pinkie took her hoof off the "off" switch and gave the WHAT-IF machine a bewildered look.

"Did I just get Rick Rolled? In this day and age? I mean I am glad you switched away from that depressing and sad world and all buuuuuuuuut if you do something like that again I won't hesitate to throw you into the nearest recycling bin. AM I CLEAR MISTER." 

The machine unsurprising said nothing  but if it could, Pinkie was sure it would be saying "Yes ma'am" right about now.



'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show recovery' 




"Oh, hello everypony, I didn't think we'd have another episode after last time. But, well, welcome, sorry there is't much of a show this time. I really REALLY wasn't expecting you. I'm still cleaning up, that was one wild party . . . at least I got to tell Minty how much I loved her this time. Well, make yourselves comfortable . . . not sure what . . ." Pinkie Pie eyed it. The dreaded what if machine. Next to the fanworks picker machine. The PPPP7. 

"Might as well get this part over with, okay what-if machine, I'm sick of all this dark and depressing stuff! Everypony thinks the author is in love with dark and grimy stuff cause of you! You better show our viewer something happy and fun for a change! I've just had to say goodbye to all my dear friends who I'll never see again! So you better not pull any fast ones, got it?" Pinkie Pie turned on the what-if machine.




The what if imagine died down. 

PInkie Pie just stared, "Okay, I guess that was heart warming AND exciting AND it was downright NICE AND HAPPY too! So, kudos to you what if machine, I guess you're not so bad after all." Pinkie Pie patted it on the head. The what-if machine blushed. 




"So!" Rarity said, hoping to change the topic to something more pleasant, "Pinkie Pie! Why don't you show us that lovely what if machine again?"




"Hmm," Applejack rubbed her chin, pondering. "Well, Ah think Ah do remember one. But Rarity weren't no designer in that world." She looked over at Pinkie Pie "Say, can your fancy-schmancy What-If machine show us the world where Rarity became Honesty?"

Pinkie Pie was already cranking the machine up. She recoiled as an image of Nightmare Moon appeared, her mane done up in something like a beehive (Rarity shuddered) and laughing maniacally. Behind her appeared what looked like a cheaply-done castle set.

"A-HAHAHA! And remember to tune in next week on 'Monday Nightmares with Nightmare Moon', when we'll be showing
" The scene vanished as Pinkie gave the machine a whack with her hoof. 

"No, we want Rarity as Honesty, not that!"




"Ah guess the other 'you' never did or decided ta keep on fencing anyway," Applejack said. Rarity nodded. AJ looked past her and said, "Aw, for! Rainbow Dash, what the hay are ya doing with the What-If machine?"

"I wanna get that one Nightmare Moon back," she said, as she shook the device and knocked on it. She looked at her disbelieving friends. "What? I want to see if the next movie is going to be Invasion of the Pony Rustlers. I love that one!"




The What-If Machine buzzed and flickered on.

"Hey look!" Rainbow Dash said, "Let's see if it shows us something awesome this time too! I never thought me with a butterfly cutie mark could still be badflank, no offense Fluttershy."

"None taken."

"Let's just hope it still shows us something NICE instead of something dark and depressing." Pinkie Pie said, "You BETTER NOT!" Pinkie Pie warned. 




The what-if machine powered up, and actually looked like it was going to overhead.

"Pinkie Pie, if that machine explodes and tears a hole in the universe forcing us to play out different fantasy scenarios of ours-"

"Don't be silly Twilight, that isn't until next time."

"WHAT?!"

"Or not! Depends on what our viewers want!" 




They could only stare in silence as the what-if machine flickered off. 




The What-If Machine's screen started to flicker again. Pinkie Pie gave it a whack with her hoof. "Geeze, what's wrong with this thing? It's like it's getting it's signals mixed!" 

-

The what if machine flickered again. This time it showed a Fluttershy with little orange wings. And a Scootaloo with large yellow wings zipping about everything. "I CAN FLY! I CAN FLY! I CAN FLY! I CAN FLY!"




Pinkie Pie went back to wrestling with the What-If machine, and Spike found the party snacks and started passing them around.




After thinking for a while, Pinkie Pie said, "Okay, this goes against my better judgement, but I think the What-If Machine should show us some more stuff about the Harmony Queens. We need to get a better idea of what they're really like."

The What-If Machine whirred to life again right on cue.




The what if machine flickered on again. 




"Oh Trixie!"

"Oh Twilight!" 

Trixie freaked out and gave the what-if a good wack. 

"Oh Trixie!" 

"Oh Spike!"

BOTH Trixie and Spike screamed and gave the machine another hit.  

"I now pronounce you mare, and mare, and mare, and mare, and dragon, and mare, and mare, and mare-"

"ENOUGH!" Twilight shouted turning off the machine. She panted. "Look! I like you girls, but not in THAT WAY! I don't even swing that way!"




Pinkie Pie blinked, "What? . . . Oh. Sorry. Hey! Let's try the machine again! Maybe we'll get the universe where we all met as foals, where Discord wasn't really that bad to start out, and Princess Celestia and Princess Luna live among us disguised as normal ponies?" 

The What-If machine wasn’t so cooperative, though…




Twilight lifted a hoof to shut the machine off… and Nightmare Mirror looked straight at her!  “You there!  You ponies watching from that other world.”

Everypony yelped and jumped back a few paces.  “No way, this can’t be happening!” said Spike.  His eyes bugged out.  “…would be a silly thing to say, because it clearly is happening.”  The little dragon clapped his paws over his mouth.

Ignoring that, the Nightmare spoke, “Ah see another Twilight Sparkle from yet another world coming to visit y’all.  Don’t you believe her lies.  Maybe ah can’t come over there and fix up your world full of little lies good and proper, but she’s coming with a lot bigger lies, so don’t you fall for it.”

Pinkie Pie yanked the What-If machine’s power cord out of the socket. 

The wolf gave Pinkie Pie a look. 

"Hey! I've never said it DIDN'T have a power cord!"




Mirror teleported next to the what-if machine.

"Hey! Don't touch that!" Pinkie Pie said. 

Mirror looked it over, "A old TV set from another world with the radio tube filled with Truth?"

"HEY! IT'S MORE THAN THAT!  IT MIGHT BE ALIVE! AND DON'T PEEL BACK THE VEIL! IT LESSENS THE ENJOYMENT FOR READERS WHO LIKE THE MYSTERY!" Pinkie Pie said with conviction that what she said had been completely true. Then she began to sweat. "And . . . and . . . AND OTHERS LIKE being given lots and lots of details about the world. Blech!" 

Mirror cut herself, and not blood, but Truth bled form the frog of her hoof. And a drop fell into the machine and the machine came to life. 




"Umm, I know we're not really happy about that machine right now," she sad, giving the What-If machine a shudder-filled glance, "But maybe we could try and rewire it to show us a nice world for once? Or to see how those other Element Bearers are doing in the world they made out of Discord's Future? I mean, THEIR world has gotten better right?" When her friends looked at her, she ducked her head and hid behind her long mane. "I mean, if nopony has any better ideas."

They looked at each other and nodded uneasily.

Pinkie hopped over to the machine and took out from nowhere a collection of tools, some of which couldn't be completely seen in three-dimensional space, and started working on the What-If Machine. It hissed and clanked and groaned. The mares backed away a few hoofsteps, unwilling to get too close to the cantankerous device. The machine looked like it was running down. Pinkie gave it a whack. 

"Come on, work! You work just fine when you're showing us all sorts of horrible stuff!"

The screen flickered and glowed and the mares gasped at what they saw.




The big wolf gave them a withering glare.  "You, get your tail home."  He nodded at the first pup.  "You.  Nightmare blood.  Mop it up, every last drop.  And you, mortal..."




The What-If machine's screen began to flicker as the ponies looked back at it. "Uh-oh," Rainbow Dash said, "what're we gonna see THIS time? Hopefuly not more pony bad guys!"




"I know, I know..."  Twilight stumbled getting down and bumped into the What-If Machine, which promptly started up again...




Pinkie Pie's eyes went wide and she began fiddling with the What-If Machine, yanking wires and pulling various parts that seemed to exist in several alternate dimensions at once. She yanked out a wraith-like image of a sadistically grinning Rainbow Dash in a bloody business suit.

"Ugh? Where did this come from? Get out of here, you!" It landed by the foal and leered down at her. Applejack heard the little wolf growl, and with a snap of its jaws the horrid specter was gone. Pinkie kept looking around inside the device, and finally slammed the cover shut. "All done!"

She flipped it on and a greenish-black and vaguely insect-like image on the screen began to enlarge, becoming more solid-looking. The mares and Spike backed away in horror.

"Pinkie!" Twilight yelled, "What did you do with that crazy thing?"

"I just re-wired it so it can pull the things we see in other worlds here, instead of just showing them to us!" Pinkie said cheerily.




Dash's eyes went wide with terror. Her friends all recoiled, all save Twilight who dove for the What-If Machine and changed the channel. Reversalis managed one last, "Oh, DO take care!" and vanished. 




Rarity said hearing Spike's words, "I vote we destroy the what if machine while we're at it."  

"It would be a terrible waste of knowledge to do that! But I do agree that we need a more controlled environment after what happened last time." Twilight said.

"Hey! I pay the rent on this place! And I . . . borrowed the what-if machine, and I say it stays." Pinkie Pie said. 

"It is getting kinda a little crazy Pinkie," RD said, "I mean, we used to come to this place TO HAVE FUN! And now we have evil versions of us knocking on our door step, annoyingly good versions of our enemies next, and foals being dropped at our front door! We don't need extra guests! Plus I think it cuts down on chances of Gilda visiting again."




Rarity said and marched up to the what-if machine. "I know we're going to regret this somehow, but might as well get it over with . . .  What If Machine! Show us the solution to our problem."

The machine fizzled. 

'No Quick Fix Solutions' scrolled across the screen. 




The what if machine's teleportation function still active, engaged.




"I see.... well in theory it could work, but we might have to add a modification to the what-if machine, to make sure the world is safe-safe, don't want to send her to a world that looks safe yet isn't," Twilight said.

"Okay good." Applejack said, noticing RD she asked "So uhh... you want me to lasso her down?"

"Nah, I'm waiting till she get tired, and when she does, wham. back to being regular Rainbow Dash, but right now I have a machine to modify!" Twilight said as she left the room.

Twilight is seen tinkering with the machine a bit.




Twilight rubbed her chin with a hoof.  “Maybe it’s time we found the pony who left Midnight here and asked.  This machine certainly isn’t getting us anywhere.”




Why didn't I think of this in the first place?" Carefully, she trotted over and picked up the smiling foal before returning to the machine.

"Pinkie?" Twilight looked at her friend and her eyes went wide. The ball of light above her head seemed to glow brighter as well. "Pinkie, no! What are you doing?" 

Pinkie grinned at her. Behind her the machine began throwing sparks and emitting clouds of rainbow-colored smoke.




"I'm not sure I can," said Pinkie in an odd tone of voice.  "I kind of let all the magic smoke out of the machine." 

"Whaaat?" cried Rarity Stone.  "Just how exactly are you planning to get me back home with a broken portal.... whatever that thing is machine?  This world is nice and all, but I wouldn't want to live here."




"Huh? Oh you! Sorry! I'm sorry Rarity! I didn't mean to forget about you! But with everything that happened in the last year, I lost track of a few things. But don't worry, I'm sure the what if machine can help."

"It's kinda in the shop." Pinkie Pie admitted pointing at the smoking machine.




"I actually lost count, for once, less than a dozen, more than three. I can use my Spell Copy of Twiley's wish magic combined with our belief and emotions to get the What If Machine working long enough to open a portal for Rarity Stone and her son."




"Now!" declared Twilight.  "I wish for Rarity Stone and her son Spike to have a safe journey home."  A rainbow shot from the star, growing into a blinding flash.  When they could see again, the studio had returned, and the What-If Machine was no longer a broken-down wreck, but brand sparkling new.

Pinkie looked at the camera.  "What?  It's not as crazy as the time we finished with a dozen alicorns."

Rarity Stone look at the machine, holding her adopted child. Pinkie Pie got right to work on getting the gizmo to open a portal back to her own world. 




"Ta-da!" Pinkie called out. "Here we are, it's finished!... I think." The other ponies gathered around, with Rarity Stone holding her adopted son close as Twilight furrowed her brow in concentration to cast her spell as the machine began to activate again.

"This should be more than enough," Twilight said as her horn began to glow. A ray of blinding white flashed from her horn to the machine, opening another gate between the worlds. Through it the ponies could see the rocky field they'd where first viewed Rarity Stone and 'her' Spike, looking exactly as it did before she'd left.




'Pinkie Pie 4th Wall Variety Show Special' displayed next.

First let's get this one out of the way. Okay what-if machine, I know you're going to show something I'm not going to like, but the sooner the show it, the sooner we can get back to the fun times, so let me have it!" 

The What-If machine flickered on, the screen showing an Alicorn of Twilight Sparkle, grinning as she clapped her hooves.




The what if machine flickered off. 

Pinkie Pie stared at the blank screen, "Ooookaaaaay. I don't know if that was creepy, cool, sad, or heartwarming." She shook her head. "Maybe I should throw the what-if machine a party, then it would stop showing just stuff that doesn't leave you in a good mood later!" 




Pinkie was setting up her 'before-a party' when the What If Machine sprang to life. "Uh oh, please don't do something mean..."

The screen activated.




The screen then faded to black.

Pinkie Pie blinked. "Well...that's going to be an interesting trip in a couple seasons..."




That was when the what-if machine turned on . . . except it had the time in one corner, a battery life in another, and user name 'CloudsMeanRain' in another corner. The picture of a blue furred bear with a heart shaped nose, looking not too happy appeared on the screen. His belly badge was of a raincloud with raindrops and tiny hearts. 

"HEY! JERKS! DON'T GO BASHING US!"

"Oh! Hey!" Pinkie Pie looked at the what if machine, apparently now functioning as a live-chat between universes. "Sorry, we didn't mean to bash anypony. You are?"




THREE!" They said together, and turned off their respective what-if machines.
 





After showing all moments involving the what-if-machine, both good and bad, the screen finally flickered off.


....memories of past parties.

The screen buzzed with static once more and cleared again to reveal Rarity standing before Sweetie Belle -- a Sweetie who now had wings like a butterfly's along with her horn. Cadence stood close by Rarity, looking tired but satisfied.

"Oh! Wow, this is... what I'm supposed to be?" Sweetie looked back at her wings. She fluttered them lightly and flew up into the air, stopping just short of the ceiling with an excited shriek. "Why did I become an alicorn?"

"Because you were a Nightmare," Cadence explained gently. "Until your sis and I explained everything to you, got you to listen and accept the truth." Cadence indicated a window to the outside. "About other ponies and yourself."

Sweetie blushed, but she flew to the window. Outside she saw the Changelings, restored to their long-lost forms as the flutterponies, changed away from the figures of terrible armored beauty she'd turned them into as their temporary 'Queen' when she'd needed an army to bring her own vision of 'freedom' to Equestria. They flew into the air at the sight of her, their colorful wings beating and antennae aglow, and cried out as one:

"All hail Princess Sweetie! And all hail Queen Cadence of the Changelings! You both restored us to our true forms!"

""But I didn't," Sweetie began to say, hurt in her voice. "I was going to use them to get rid of the Princesses and the government and even my big sis, until -" Her voice broke off as she dropped back down to the floor. She blushed when Rarity nuzzled her.

"Little sister, we've been through all of that," Rarity said. "You wanted to be free, or what you thought 'free' was when you were a Nightmare, with you being the only one able to command others." She waved her hoof at the cheering crowd outside the window. "So after temporarily imprisoning all of us in Ponyville," Rarity frowned, "and really, little sis, did you HAVE to stick us inside one of Button Mash's games?"

"It was the first thing I could think of," Sweetie said with a blush. "Besides, I thought it would be poetic for all of you to be stuck forever as the villains in one of his games, making the same speeches and doing the same bad things over and over again, no freedom or hope to even win." She gave her sister a relived smile. "I never thought you'd be able to guide him to end that game differently and get out."

"Neither did we, for a while," Rarity said with a shudder.

Cadence took the story up, though she said nothing. Her horn glowed and she showed images for Rarity's sake. Of Sweetie, looking terrible and majestic, turned into a white and pink Changeling Queen like Chrysalis, appearing before Cadence and the swarm. Defeating Cadence and turning her into a crystal statue along with Shining Armor. The assembled Changelings cheering for Queen Free Verse -- until she announced that they were going to defeat Celestia and Luna. Sweetie using her power to restore the Changelings' true forms back by making them into the Flutterponies.

Then secretly re-awakening the ancient demon called the Smooze. It rolled forth over Equestria, bringing anger and despair everywhere -- until Sweetie and the Flutterponies freed  the other ponies from it. She and her swarm headed for Canterlot, with Sweetie planning for the Smooze to weaken Celestia and Luna before she saved everypony and became the Queen of Equestria, with the Flutterponies no longer monsters but saviors.

"Yeah, it kinda didn't work like that," Sweetie said, blushing. "I mean, I turned the Smooze loose but I didn't know how to really stop it. It absorbed Celestia and Luna and started using their power. Part of me knew I had to just give up then, but I was so scared I was gonna get in trouble." She sighed and nuzzled her big sis. "I'm glad you got rid of the Smooze  and saved me, too, with the Elements." She spread her wings out. "I'm really gonna need to get used to this, though."

"All on your own?" Rarity asked, willing to grant her sister that freedom if she asked for it.

"No," Sweetie said, trust in her eyes as she looked at her big sis. "With help and guidance from you, and Cadence, and others. And just as soon as I've faced whatever," she gulped, "punishment I've earned for what I did. If I'm free, that means I have to be responsible, too."

Rarity smiled. "You can't do it can you? You still had to show me a happy ending with Sweetie Belle even when things turned dark. You still follow through with why you were made. Your inventor threw you out. But Pinkie Pie at least gave you a place. At least we paid attention to you even when we didn't want to. Thank you for showing me that. Seeing my baby sister as a goddess was delightful."

"What kind of mess did I get involved in?" Gilda grunted.

"An interesting one," Maud Pie said.
-
"Hello my child, sorry for the wait. The talk with my sister ran longer than I thought. We have come to the agreement that your world is now stable enough that your brother, the blank wolf or should I say 'Snow Bound' will not need help. You also will be glad to know that Red Gala is safely co-existing with your brother, Big Macintosh. I deeply thank you for your assistance."

Applejack was overjoyed by the familiar voice in her head. "Mother Rota Fortuna!" Applejack slipped away from her friends to get some privacy. 'Are ya finally goin' ta change me back. Do not get me wrong. Bein' able to protect this here world as the orange wolf is a great honor and all but..." Applejack turned to look at her cutie mark. It still showed a wheel of fate with three red apples. " Ah would love ta go back to being plain old me.'

"And you shall."

Applejack felt herself changed inside. She was relieved when she saw fate's wheel fade away from her flank but let out a yelp of pain when she felt something being torn from her body. She glanced down at her hooves and was to shocked to see paws instead. Looking at a nearby mirror she noticed an orange wolf wearing her hat. Not THE orange wolf but a plain one without any of fate's essence. Applejack or Fire jack growled in annoyance. 

"Ops. Let me fix that."

Maud noticed Applejack was missing and turn her head in time to see a wolf quickly shift into a timber wolf, then a diamond dog, an orthrus, a normal dog and finally an earth pony. Maud blinked several times and went back to watching the what-if machine. 

Shaking her head,'Took ya long enough. Did ya run out of canines to turn me into?'

"Sorry it seems the existence of the orange wolf and you were blurring together. Separating the two was more difficult than I thought."

Applejack smiled and made a weird squee noise when she noticed her own so wonderful plain cutie mark back on her flank. "Its all right as long as ah'm me again. Um...ah don't have to worry about turnin' to a were-pony on the next full moon or anything like that do ah?" She remembered what happen in that one alternate world and shivered. 

"Heh, do not worry. You are now a completely normal earth pony. Once again I Rota Fortuna, concept of Fate and Free Will thank you for your service. Goodbye Abigail Jacqueline V, I pray to my mother I will not need to ask for your assistance again." 

Smiling Applejack went back to rejoin her friends in watching more worlds on the what-if machine. Not that she had much choice until they could convince the machine to let them go or the party ended. She wondered how much longer this party would last. Didn't Pinkie say this party would last indefinitely? Good thing time in here-

"Applejack please! I know you don't care much for high society but show a little class."

"Huh". Applejack looked up from her thoughts and saw a disproving unicorn looking at her. Following her friend's line of sight she noticed she had her left hind leg scratching behind her ear. Ack! When did she began to do that.

"Oh and I almost forgot to mention there is a small chance you might have some wolf-like mannerisms and a carving for meat for the next couple days. Um...sorry and thanks again."
-
"Well, it was fun while it lasted," said a second voice in Applejack's head.  "How predicatable, how... boring."

AJ blinked.  "What in the..."

"Shoo, Pandora," said Rota Fortuna's voice again.  "This isn't a party line."

AJ covered her face with a hoof.  "Party what now?"

Pinkie all but teleported to her side, ears perked up.  "Party?!  Oh wait, I can't throw a party when I'm already throwing a party.  Twilight talked to me about that.   Sorry, false party alarm."

In Applejack's mind, Pandora's voice acquired a body... a large scrawny wolf with patchwork fur... black, red, white, spotted... purple?  "I think I'll be a wolf today!  I'm all wolfy!  Grrr!"

AJ got shifty-eyed, and walked a little further from her friends.  "Ah have to ask... is Pinkie Pie related to you at all?"

The wolf stopped scratching her own ear.  "Oooh.  Let's just say she has the frequent shopper discount card, and leave it at that."

AJ could see Rota Fortuna too, now... Silver coated, with one wing feathered and the other mechanical, so crowded with fine gears and cogs that she could hardly see where one ended and another began.  "I apologize for this, Applejack.  Pandora is fated to be my counterpart and foil in many things."

Applejack gritted her teeth.  "Is there a point to all this?"

Pandora prodded AJ's chest with a paw.  "You... you infuriating little party pooper!  Do you have any idea what you just traded away?  Wolves of Fate can't be bound!  They can't go insane, whatever kind of paradox they see... you could have been free from Nightmare Mirror, forever!"  A huge toothy grin.  "And I do mean forever... with her brand on your flank, you were immortal!  You'd rather have your boring mortal life and your boring mortal family and friends..."  She yawned theatrically.  "Than all that phenomenal cosmic power?"

Applejack grinned.  "Ah couldn't have said it better mahself."

"Gyah!"  Pandora threw her paws in the air.  "And they say I'm silly!"  A pipe organ poofed into existence, as if AJ's mindscape wasn't crowded enough already, and Pandora began to play a whimsical tune, singing along.  "Who's a silly pony?  You a silly pony!  Who is?  You is!...."

Rota Fortuna's horn glowed, and steel doors slammed shut over the alcove with the pipe organ, and heavy chains and locks secured it.  "Sorry about all of this.  She really does help me not take myself too seriously.  Just don't tell her that.  Okay, I'm hanging up the call now!"
-

Shaking her head Applejack from all the voices in her head she went back to rejoin her friends. She was just in time to see everypony and griffin's reaction to the latest alternate world.
                             

                             


Some of the guests like Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Gilda were on the floor laughing at the absurdity at what they just witness. Others like Maud and Rarity were left confused by the randomness. While the Sparkle siblings felt angry at what they believed were jokes at the expense of MISFIT Squad and Princess Cadance and worst of all their decreased uncle. They had to remind themselves that it was an alternate world or they would have destroyed the machine on the spot.
                             

                            


"Hahah that was great." Rainbow Dash said between laughing.
                             

                            


"GREAT!? That was the most idiotic thing I was ever seen!" seethed Twlight.
        

                    

                            

"Don't be mad Twlight it was another one of those parody worlds. Don't take it seriously. Though I think this is the first time we have seen a one of those worlds based on another parody. 
                             

                             


Applejack was totally clueless on what everypony watched but thought at least it was not a depressing world. 
                             

                             


Twlight and Shining still didn't look amused. "And if you think that was silly you should where see where they start playing the card games on motorcycles." said Pinkie.
                             

                             


"Huh what is-"
                             

                             


"CARD GAMES ON MOTORCYCLES!!! screamed a pony on screen. 
                             

                             


Beep Beep. Every guest looked to over to see the Pinkie Party Piece Picker or PPPP7 for short turn on. Despite being inactive for so long it shot out a piece of paper that Rarity caught in her magic.
                             

                             


"Oh dear." Exclaimed Rarity after looking at it.
                             

                             


"Huh what is it?" asked Pinkie wondering how the PPPP7 turned itself on.
                             

                            


"It seems like Shining Armor isn't the only one to became king of games in his world or should I say queens of games?"
                             

                             

kyonsylar.deviantart.com/art/F…


                            

Everypony looked at Fluttershy/Fluttercruel. "Perhaps Shy and Cruel have another secret hobby we don't know about." Smirked Rainbow Dash.

"Your friend's split personality is freaky," Shining Armor said to his sister. 
                             

                             


"Hey I wouldn't be caught dead playing that nerdy game. Cruel! Oh sorry, no offense Shinning but games like theses are really not our thing...sorry."
                             

                             


"It is okay. Still is too bad, here I was hoping you two could join me the next time I get together with Gaffer, 8-bit and Gizmo. Ah well maybe Twi will join us. I know Gaffer would love to have your sorceress in our group again."
                             

                             


"Not a chance BBFFF." 
                             

                            


"Hmf. Well maybe Gizmo fixed the bugs in his robot. Perhaps it won't start a fight with a every troll it sees."
                             

                             


Pinkie was looking at the image the PPPP7 just gave them suspiciously. "There is something weird about this artwork."
                             

                             


"I know what you mean. My mother and I with our own bodies, I am not sure how to feel about that." Cruel and shy shivered at the thought of being separated.
                             

                             


"No that is not it. Wait a minute this isn't in the Pony POV folder? But why? It clearly says in the description that is a tribute to us! Looks like someone is going to have to fix that." Pinkie made a mental note to notify the author oh wait didn't she just did?
                             

                            


"AHEM" voiced the What-if machine. " I still have plenty more scenarios for you to see. Unless of course you would rather me show some art instead. Let's see, setting search for Shining Armor X Chrysalis, Princess Celestial X Twilight, Gilda X Fluttershy, Maud X Tom..."
                             

                            


"THEY WON"T BE NECESSARY!" nearly every guest yelled. They all sighed in relieve when it stopped the search. 

Maud Pie emotionlessly said, "That last one didn't sound so bad." Making everypony in the room look at her.
-
The What If Machine presented yet another alternate world.



Discord laughed as he stood before the battered and bruised Pony Rangers. "Well well, you may have ruined all of my plans and apparently made my Father more proud of you than He was of me so he left...wow, that sounded a lot better in my head...Oh well! But I have finally won our little game! Now, should I brainwash you all into my loyal minions or should I simply destroy you all?"

He took out a peanut butter cup. "Heads I brainwash you, tails I destroy you all, sound good?"

"What if it lands on it's side?" Pinkie muttered, the group slowly getting to their hooves.

"I eat it then flip a piece of toast."

Discord flipped the cup into the air...and before it landed suddenly a sword came around his neck and someone pulled him into a bear hug, rainbow energy crackling about him.

He looked back. "Gildar?! I thought Rainbow Dash killed you in a climatic final showdown!"

The Griffin-based monster snarled. "Nah, that's just what we wanted you to think! She had Celestia teleport me to their base before the boom."

"But why?!"

"Because she made me realize how much better things were before I joined you and Nightmare Moon you big loser! I know where I stand now!"

Discord struggled in his chains. "What is this?!"

"Remember how you gave me the Element of Rage so I could turn into a stronger form? It's purified now and Courage is the ABSENCE of Doubt! Get him Dash!"


The seven ponies took the gems that were in the center of their morphers.

"Magic!" announced Red and White.

"Loyalty!" called Blue.

"Laughter!" called Pink.

"Kindness!" called Yellow.

"Honesty!" called Green.

"Generosity!" called Black (or as she liked to call it 'very dark violet').

The seven gems intersected forming the seal of the Elements.

Discord's eyes widened, the image of a purple pony holding him in place several thousand years ago. "No..."

"FINAL HARMONY BLASTER!" called the Pony Rangers, a massive beam of rainbow colored energy.

Gildar leapt up and kicked Discord directly into it's path. "Courage!" she announced, blasting Discord into the beam with a powerful beam of blue energy.

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" Discord screamed as the blow his home, triggering a massive explosion, which then imploded inward, resulting in a stone statue slamming to the ground.
-

"Oh yeah!  Did you see that, Dash?"  Gilda reared up on her paws and shadowboxed with her talons, making her own "whoosh, zzzwhoosh!" kung fu sounds.  "I was like 'Take that, Discord!  Ho ho, you're not so tough!  Guess you've never faced a griffon before!'"

Dash giggled.  "I don't know.  Courage?  That's not even a real Element."

"What?!  Well... you never know!  It could be!"

"Nuh uh."

"Uh huh!"


Fluttershy calmly approached the What-If Machine and cleared her throat quietly.  "Excuse me, Mr. Machine?"

The Machine whirred.  "The yellow flying pony designated Fluttershy/Fluttercruel may speak."

"Oh, thank you.  Well, we've seen a lot of strange worlds now, and I really feel that we understand each other a lot better!"  Fluttershy smiled, a bit bashfully.  "But, you see, we've been watching them for a long time, and I really need to go home for a bit and feed my animals.  Could you open the doors again now, please?"


"I hope this works," whispered Shining Armor.  "I'd rather not have to shield everybody and give that signal."

Twilight blinked.  "The signal for what?"

"For Cadence to blow the doors open.  That's why I risked teleporting in here."

Rarity coughed.  "I don't suppose Twilight could just mass teleport us all out of here..."

Both Sparkles shook their heads, eerily in sync.  "No, it'd be far too dangerous!"

Rarity smirked.  "Of course, silly me."
-
The What If Machine stayed quiet for a second, then finally replied. "Very well, yellow flying pony designated Fluttershy/Fluttercruel. I shall open the main door for you to leave, but only if you promise to come back when you're done, and if all the other ponies, and griffon, promise to not leave as well."

"Oh, yes, of course. That should not be a problem," replied Fluttershy, then turned her head to look at the others, smiling, "Right everypony? And Gilda?"

Everycreature else in the room just nodded their heads, amazed at how much Fluttershy could accomplish by just being nice.

Just then, the door opened and Fluttershy happily walked out. "See you later everypony."

As soon as Fluttershy left, the door closed again right behind her.

The What If Machine then flickered once more, "Now that the yellow flying pony designated Fluttershy/Fluttercruel has left, behold another scenario, from another possible universe." And soon another universe was being shown by the What If Machine.

++

Fluttershy looked down with a manacing look at a small looking mare. "Okay, now, hand it over."

"Please, miss Fluttershy, I can't afford to pay protection to you anymore." replied the terrified mare.

"Well, you better think up what you think would be more expensive for you, paying me for protection, or the hospital bills from having all your legs broken." Fluttershy took a step closer.

"No! Please, think of my fillies." the mare took a step back.

Suddenly the theme for Supermare started to play, seemingly out of thin air.

The mare looked around, now confused and surprised instead of terrified. "What is that?"

Fluttershy, however, looked angry and frustrated at the same time, "Oh, great. HIM again."

A familiar voice was heard, "Never fear, Captain Goodguy is here!"

In a flash, Discord appeared out of thin air, wearing a red and violet superhero costume, all with gloves and a cape, a mask (which didn't hide the fact that he was Discord), and a crest with the letters CG on his chest.

"Discord! I mean... Captain Goodguy!" said the mare happily.

"Don't worry, fair citizen of Equestria, I've come to save you. You can leave now while I deal with this criminal." said Discord striking a heroic pose that seemed to come out of a golden age comic book.

"Thank you so much." said the mare happily and ran away, leaving Discord alone with Fluttershy.

Fluttershy looked up angrily at Discord, "So, Discord, what now? You take me to the guards again, to Flim and Flam's courtroom for another trial so I can serve some more months in the dungeons of King Sombra's palace? Or maybe at one of Chrysalis' sensitivity training courses? Or community service with Princess Trixie?"

"Discord? What? I am not Discord! I am Captain Goodguy! And I have a picture to prove it, see!" Discord took out a picture showing him wearing the superhero outfit while standing next to a scarecrow wearing a Discord mask.

Fluttershy stomped the ground, "Enough of this. If you're going to take me in, do it already. I'm a busy mare."

Discord crossed his arms and looked down at Fluttershy, he wasn't angry at her, he seemed to look at her as if he was disappointed and sorry for her at the same time. "Why are you doing this Fluttershy? I know there is some good in you."

"Shut up! You don't know anything about me!" snapped out the yellow pegasus.

"You are right, I don't. But I'm not the one shutting myself up around everyone that actually seems to care about her."

"Don't give me that! You don't care about me. The only one that cares about me is me!" Fluttershy seemed to become more angry now. "If you care, then why didn't you help me out when I was being bullied around as a filly by every colt and filly in Cloudsdale? I have to pick litter out of my mane every day because I was tossed in trash cans all the time! Why didn't you help me when I got expelled from flight camp for daring to fight back and defend myslef? There is no justice in this world! It's all harshness! It's eat or be eaten!"

A sense of understanding suddenly came to Discord, "Oh, I see now... I am sorry Fluttershy. Not even Captain Goodguy can be everywhere in Equestria at once. Especially cities that were under Celestia's control. Believe me when I say that, if I could, I would go back in time and help you out there."

"Stop this already!" Fluttershy still seemed upset, but it was clear she was fighting back tears, "Take me in! Throw me in a dungeon! Banish me! Banish me and throw me in a dungeon in the place that you banish me to! But don't do this! Punish me like I deserve! I'm a horrible pony! Give me what I deserve! Show me that there is at least some justice in this world!" by now tears seemed to flow freely from Fluttershy's eyes. She sank to her knees and put her forehead on the ground to hide her face.

Discord sighed and looked at Fluttershy, "You are right about being a horrible pony, but the difference with you and some other ponies I know is that you know that what you're doing is wrong. That you want to change. Come with me Fluttershy, willingly accept your trial and I'll ask Flim and Flam to be lenient if they allow me to supervise your rehabilitation personally."

Fluttershy looked up, "I... I'm not sure... I..."

Discord offered a hand to Fluttershy, "The first step is always the most difficult one Fluttershy, let me help you. Let me be your friend."

Fluttershy blinked away some tears and nodded, then gave her hoof to Discord who helped her stand back up.
-
"Well," Twilight Sparkle said after another world was shown to them, "That was horrible."

The what if machine just finished showing them a universe where the land Equestria stood on was due a clashing of universes, exchanged with the landscape of another planet in another reality, leaving their planet with no Alicorns to raise and lower the sun and moon, and a new ocean where Equestria once was. While on the new planet, inhabited by humans, Equestria's dimensional space just continued to SHRINK. And it turned out that since their species didn't exist in that reality, and due to how the cosmic crash had happened, any pony that went through the barrier was turned into a non-sapient dumb horse. Permanently.

Humans could, ironically, pass through the barrier without harm, maybe cause this was THEIR universe the ponies were actually in.

After futile attempts to keep Equestria from shrinking, and trying to send the ponies home, a new technology was created that could transform ponies into humans, saving their lives, even if it meant changing their species.

Ponies went insane. There were insane conspiracy theories that the humans had CAUSED the crash, that they had KIDNAPPED Equestria from their world, that the potion destroyed the personality of the pony in the transformation, that it made them beer guzzling, hamburger munching, foot ball watching patriots blindly loyal to the president of the united states. That any new humans that showed pony traits was killed. That it was an Evil Plan to conquer Equestria! That this was what the humans wanted all along!

Ponies tried to 'destroy' the Veil (the border between where Equestria ended and the universe outside began), not understanding it wasn't actually a magical moving wall that was changing Equestria into Earth's world, but the shimmer caused by the Equestrian reality being absorbed into this one.

Celestia and Luna and Cadence tried hard to calm their ponies down, and fight back against these insane paranoid fantasies. There was even talk of ponies who thought this was the only way to save their lives and their memory were part of the Evil Plan, and secretly wanted to become humans and force human-hood on everypony!

And the insane ponies who thought they were 'heroes' by destroying the machines that could TF ponies into humans and therefore save them the only way they could be saved.

"I mean, come on," Said Rainbow Dash, "I HATE the idea of losing my wings, no, seriously, I'd rather lose a leg. But . . . I wouldn't go around blowing up houses to 'save' ponies like that!"

All in all, the situation reminded Twilight of Celestia and Luna needing to change the seaponies into land based ponies to save their lives after Discord turned their ocean into a desert. Twilight wondered what paranoia and fear would had gripped the seaponies.
Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Breaking Show epi 10 Part 8
Pony POV Series 
Pinkie Pie's 4th Wall Breaking Variety Show episode 10
PART 8
By Alex Warlorn

Pinkie Pie, "Eight? FOR BUCK'S SAKE WHAT'S KEEPING THE AUTHOR?! I NEED CAKE!"

Parts added by:
-MtangaLion and Yoshiegg64, Ardashir and me
-Yoshiegg64
-MtangaLion
-Yoshiegg64
-Kendell2
-MtangaLion
-Persona22
-Alex Warlorn
-Kendell2

alexwarlorn.deviantart.com/gal…

Pinkie Pie, "And here they are again, and again, for time number . . . EIGHT?!, EIGHT!? Da Rules:
1. What you put in the comments appears in the story.
2. Nopony besides me can see beyond the fourth wall or interact with it and I can't spill the beans about us being out-and-out fiction to the others.
3. The camera can’t leave the studio.
4. The characters can be from any generation, toy or comic but they have to be from “My little Pony”
5. Everything that happens here is non-canon (except the Tartarus break out thingie, but not the big battle).
6. Have Fun "


Cover by Kendell2
MLP FiM Copyright of Hasbro
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Stuff I've influenced
385 deviations
NEED VOICE ACTRESS ASAP! VERY ASAP! Just ANY actress; that's all I need, right now! Or rather Louis REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY NEEDS! 

PLEASE CONTACT LOUIS AT badalamentink@gmail.com ASAP!!!!  And I do mean ASAP!!!

  • Mood: Wow!
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  • Reading: Pony POV Series
  • Watching: Pony POV Series
  • Drinking: Dr. Pepper

deviantID

alexwarlorn
Check Out The Pony POV Series
United States
NEED VOICE ACTRESS ASAP! VERY ASAP! Just ANY actress; that's all I need, right now! Or rather Louis REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY  REALLY NEEDS! 

PLEASE CONTACT LOUIS AT badalamentink@gmail.com ASAP!!!!  And I do mean ASAP!!!

  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Pony POV Series
  • Reading: Pony POV Series
  • Watching: Pony POV Series
  • Drinking: Dr. Pepper

Do you prefer if I write an entire section of the story at once, even if it takes weeks, then post the chapters daily, or do you prefer if I posted the chapters as they're finished? 

41%
18 deviants said Post chapters after reaching a break point
34%
15 deviants said Post chapters as they're finished
16%
7 deviants said Post chapters daily after writing the whole thing
7%
3 deviants said I'm tired of waiting! Post something already!
2%
1 deviant said Other suggest (comment below)

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:iconsomerandomminion:
SomeRandomMinion Featured By Owner 6 hours ago
Nightmare Godzilla: derpibooru.org/748615
Yeah; we're screwed.
Reply
:iconardashir:
ardashir Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Say, Alex, given your love of TF stories this may be right up your alley.

www.fimfiction.net/story/22228…

I wonder if that verse's Discord is selling "my" pony suits? ;)
Reply
:iconkamon72:
Kamon72 Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for the :iconfav3dplz:
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Welcome.
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:iconalexwarlorn:
alexwarlorn Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Second Tirek chapter is in editing. 
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:iconardashir:
ardashir Featured By Owner 1 day ago
Good to hear!
Reply
:iconardashir:
ardashir Featured By Owner 2 days ago
You like the older gen MLP material, so here's another group devoted to it. Or at east to 1st Gen MLP: mlp-first-generation.deviantar…
Reply
:iconpersona22:
Persona22 Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Ever read the Dash Academy comic strip? sorcerushorserus.deviantart.co…

It tells stories of RD and Gilda in their younger days in the equivalent of Cloudsdale's high school.
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