Pony POV Series
"Dark World" Part Four
By Alex Warlorn
Modern Major Evil Overlord
Discord sat in a comfy more cheerful looking replica of his throne he kept in his castle, Ponyville, the top of Old Dragon Peak, and a small pie shop outside of Manehatten.
The elements of chaos sat in customized chairs two on his left, three in front, and Fluttercruel's chair on his right. All within a giant air bubble that would let them enjoy the show without the annoyance of constantly drowning.
Traitor Dash huddled in a cloud chair curled in a foalhood blanket shivering. LJ gently patted her on the back. LJ and Rarigreed were the only ones still wearing the seaflower circlets the six were given on each of their visits.
"What is WITH these seaponies? Can't they stock something for carnivores just once?" Fluttercruel complained looking at the angel-fish like seapony humming to herself at the concession standing.
"They're vegetarians," Twilight Tragedy said evenly not looking at her, "The upper parts of Sky Ocean are dedicated to growing sea-apples and water-cactus."
Little-Ocean-Heart and Sea Apple looked up proudly at their orchard.
"Don't feel so awful my young mare." Discord magicked up a paper-bucket of fried rabbit legs, that would appear to be water-cactus to the sea ponies observing, which ceased Fluttercruel's complaints and she started to silently munch.
Poor Spike had -as per the fundamental laws of the universe even Discord was hard pressed to break- been left behind at the castle.
In her seat Rarigreed hugged a pile of rock her telekinesis shaped into the form of a unicorn foal that Rarigreed called Ruby and explained things to it as if it could hear her.
The ever daring Waterflower approached the six mares and asked about Rarity's child (she had been told how much Lady Rarigreed The Protective loved games of pretend). Rarigreed was more than happy to talk about Ruby, her life with her biological mother, Rarity adopting her, and all the parties she had with the rest of Rarity's family.
"Wow! I wish my family could visit your family."
"I'm sorry darling, I wish you could too, I want it," Rarigreed's eye twitched, "But Master Discord knows the world is too dangerous for you seaponies to leave your ocean."
Waterflower happily nodded in understanding.
Angry Pie scowled and fidgeted in her chair. She was chained to her seat. Tragedy had injected her with enough sedatives to render a elephant comatose. The Earth Pony still chafed against her bindings. There was an eighth empty chair next to her.
A blond seapony with pink coat and a sea-weed-cupcake sang gently in her ear until the show began. She was Lady Angry Pie The Mighty's biggest fan (she had imitated her mane style). She unwittingly performed her regular task of drowning out the majority of laughter that echoed through the pure and innocent ocean.
Discord adjusted the tie on his tuxedo (a new one, not that he didn't have other seapony friendly attire, he did come here often after all). Fluttercruel was wearing one of her own custom dresses. Tragedy was wearing a mage's dress with a star pattern. Rarigreed's dress was white, once, maybe, it was as dirty as her. Liarjack just wore a worn formal cowboy outfit that looked over a thousand years old. Getting Angry Pie to wear anything was a waste of time. Traitor Dash just hugged herself more in her blanket.
Schools of other seaponies all of diverse shapes and sizes floated above or below the air bubbles to watch the show.
A seapony stuck her head out of the water and smiled at them. Her lower body ended in a fan-shaped tail, on her back were fins that resembled wings, her muzzle was colored yellow like a beak. Her cutie mark was a raincloud.
"Weclome everyone! I'm Seawing. And special welcome to Master Discord and his six heroes! The Elements of Chaos! Thank you for coming! And please enjoy the show!"
The sea pony audience cheered. Traitor Dash shuddered at the word 'heroes.'
The seapony pulled her head back into the water.
A chorus of sea ponies began to play on kazoos (you expect Discord's world to make sense?). At the same time seaglow ponies used their own light with some clever prisms and filters to present what could have counted as an animated cartoon on a projection screen.
A caricature of Discord's face appeared surrounded by several (non-hypnotic) colored rings. The seaponies cheered more.
An elegantly drawn title card appeared reading:
'Discord And The Existentialists'
The title card faded to a watercolor style painted background of a sunny day with pretty pink clouds and smiling flowers.
A Tex Avery style Discord happily jogged onto the scene, looking like his single desire was to give out candy at orphanages and feed homeless families.
"Talalalalala!" Jingled a voice in perfect sync with the image.
Then three frowning Earth ponies who didn't appear to know the definition of the word 'smile' came into view as the cartoon Discord trotted along.
"Hello! And happy day to you!" Said the cartoon Discord, "What can I do for you?"
"We are existentialists! We are individuals!" The three said together in perfect sync and inflection. "We are mean, so we don't like you, who is nice!"
"But I can be nice to you, even if you're mean, then you'd be nice, then we'd like each other!" Cheered the cartoon Discord.
"No!" The 'existentialists' echoed, "We don't want that! We don't want to be happy! We want to be miserable and sad! And want others to be miserable and sad! Because we're smarter and better than you! And since we're existentialists if we think something doesn't exist! It doesn't exist!" The three permanently frowning Earth ponies pointed at Discord, "You do not exist. You do not exist. You do not exist. You do not exist."
Cartoon Discord cheered and clapped and hopped up and down. "This looks like a fun game! Let me try!" He put on a face so serious it was silly and pointed at them speaking a faux deep tone, "You do not exist. You do not exist. You do not exist."
With three audible 'pops' the 'existentialists' were gone, no bells and whistles, simply not in the next frame.
"Huh? Where did they go? Oh well! I bet I'll get to make lots of friends next time!" The cartoon struck a happy pose with a comical downbeat sounding. The projection faded to black.
Discord chuckled. "Ah, the Old Lady's favorite game. Good times."
The voice of the seapony from before echoed, "And now, our feature presentation."
TD hid in her blanket more.
A gray coat and black maned sea pony swam in front of the show's orchestra. Her lower half was octopod-like, but she actually carried herself with grace and beauty. She held a baton in each tendril and brought the orchestra into harmony and began.
"IIII AAAMMM AN EEEVIIIL OVER-LOOOOOOORD!" A series of drums sounded. TD looked up. "IIII AAAMMM AN EEEVIIIL OVER-LOOOOOOORD!"
A sea pony stallion in an exquisite well done costume of a demonic black ram sang as the lights shined on him with sand in the water acting as smoke. Air bubbles behind contained little flames.
"This . . this isn't. . . " TD blinked in awe.
Liarjack shifted in her chair, "Somepony must have told the seaponies that Master wanted a different play than 'The Bolt of Shadow Versus The Scooting Lightning.'"
Discord looked annoyed at the performance, then looked at the gray orange pony, "Liarjack you get a little bit more devious every day. You're finally learning." Discord patted her on the head then crushed her skull. Orange sparkles crackled as her skull reformed itself.
To the seaponies it looked like Discord have given his chosen one a playful noogie.
"Mah mouth tastes like brain."
"Didn't need that image," TD whispered. But she was clearly quite relieved.
Fluttercruel said, "You hanged out with Applebloom's friends from Sunnytown too long."
"They did not eat brains!" LJ defended.
"SHUSH!!!!" Rarigreed and Twilight said together to the ponies. "Ponies who talk during theater go to the SPECIAL Pony Hell." Rarigreed hissed.
Oh it would be nice if I, the great and really radical Discord could be the source of Grogar, and Tirac too while I'm at it. But the Lord of Tambelon, and the Master Of Midnight Castle were among the villains of the first age I am embarrassed to say had nothing to do with me. I also must regrettably only take half credit for Squirk, he was a handmedown from Strife, I just helped him find his favorite toy. Shame, we had so much in common.
Grogar was a sorcerer of incredible power, and surpassed that of any mortal unicorn, and that was just his innate talent, the bell he wore around his neck only increased his massive magical prowess. I still don't know if it was one of Strife's gifts, or if he made it himself! Strange even after Megan destroyed it, he found a way in those five hundred years to recreate it, hmmmmm... maybe that's why it takes him five hundred years to keep returning.
Was it any wonder they chose to cheat and simply seal him and his city into the realm of shadows between realities? I guess they hoped he'd die of old age. No such luck. Normally returning from such a place is impossible, but old Grogar managed a break out, and his entire city with him, every five hundred years!
Keeping him from materializing or arranging a welcoming committee has been the ultimate test of whoever happens to be ruling over Equestria at the time. And then he just gets buried by the history book again. Why doesn't that ever bother him? He gives a good roar when he loses, but that's it!
All that old goat wants is order and power. Where's the fun seeking? Where's the delight of seeing others squirm? Where are the games in seeing ponies run around like chickens with their heads cut off? What's the point of power if you don't have fun with it-?!
That oversized magic ram just sits on his throne, and makes sure his city and slaves, minions, and citizens run like a giant machine when he's not trying to break out! I'd kill myself if... if I had, if I was stuck with a kingdom... like that.
While we're at me admitting to things I wasn't responsible for, I must also regretfully admit Lavan the Lava Demon King wasn't mine either. Strife felt he was a far more worthy symbol of her 'law of the jungle' thinking than that ugly octopus, even taught him one of Dad's songs. She didn't take sides when his quest for more power nearly annihilated the ponies, whichever side won would have her approval, 'that's how natural selection works' she'd say.
Oh, huh? Tirac? Him? Nope, I didn't give him the Rainbow of Darkness, why do you think I'd even have it? For a half-fiend centaur who became known as the embodiment of evil for all of pony history, he sure spent a lot of his youth crying out at the moon, 'Why does the night reject my love-?!' Remember this is before Celly's Dad put Lulu back in diapers. She wouldn't even talk to him directly when she finally paid him a visit, had an owl speak for her until he broke its beak and demanded she speak to him.
"I would offer the whole world to you!"
"'The whole world?' HA! You have any idea how vast the cosmos is? What meaning is one tiny place in infinity?"
"Give me a chance! Any chance! And I will prove myself to you!"
And so she gave it to him to do with as he chose to prove himself to her in a way of his own design. And the rest is history.
Grogar and his city of Tambelon had now been introduced, along with his second in command, a donkey named Bray (like all his first born sons had been named since his family had served Grogar at the very beginning of the titan's reign).
Traitor Dash felt a sense of relief she'd have one evening without salt being poured in the wounds and leaned against Liarjack, "Thank you."
"Yer welcome Dash."
Fluttercruel yawned, "Pst. The other show has a lot more action than this."
"It's a nice little change of pace dear," Discord whispered,
"Besides, you need to learn to appreciate the subtleties of comedy young mare."
'Grogar' called out, "One day I looked upon the land of ponies. And I saw it was in chaos. And I knew, that I was the only one who could bring it to order. First I brought order to myself, then I brought order to the first Bray, then I brought order to others, then I brought order to my city, then I brought order to the Troggles, then finally I brought order to Ponyland. But Ponies feared order, so cowardly sealed me away when they found brute force could not turn the tide of my will."
Tragedy sighed wondering how much of this was even accurate. Grogar's origins and rise to power had been vague and sketchy even during the age of myths. The only thing Master had spoken about him was 'the least fun and most rigid mortal, demi-mortal, ex-mortal, over-stay-his-lifetime-thingie, WHATEVER, ever!'
Flesh and blood Diamond Dogs, renegade changelings, sheep, minotaurs, dragons he bent to his will, and other diverse creatures were conscripted to replace the loss of his previous foot soldiers 'the Troggles' one of many species lost to history from the age of myths. With Queen Cadence I's demise he was one of the few beings that could promise to bring order to chaos, more than a few joined willingly, embracing Grogar's uncompromising order over Master's uncompromising chaos.
The opera also made no mention of the changelings once again forced to fight alongside Discord's minions. Grogar's world would have less room for love to exist than Discord's. New Avalon itself seemed to exist everywhere and nowhere.
"As long as any of you live, Avalon lives."
Twilight Tragedy shook her head to clear it, wondering where that memory came from.
Tragedy remembered how many young changelings had taken the chance to stab her in the back or pour clear acid in her drink when she wasn't looking. She politely informed them to stop wasting time and get back to what they were supposed to be doing after she regenerated.
"AH'M THE ONE who killed Queen Cadence! The rest never even touched her! They weren't even part of it! Ya wanna feel hate, then hate me!" Liarjack had finally chosen to say.
It worked. The changelings focused on finding a way to kill Liarjack between battles and plans to contain Grogar and send him and his small kingdom back to the void between worlds.
The plot ground to a halt for an hour or three as they witnessed scene after scene that seemed to serve no purpose but to show how evil Grogar was or how miserable a place Tambelon was to live. The characters were throwing the words 'Grogar is evil', 'Grogar is irredeemable', 'Grogar is heartless', 'Grogar is a villain' like they were going out of season.
"I am an eeeviiiill over-lord! But I am a smaaaarrt evil over-lord!"
"He's a smaaaaaart evil over-lord!" Sang the chorus costumed as Grogar's minions.
"And because I'm a smaaaaart evil over-lord! I'll make a list! And tell my minions what to and not do!"
"He'll make a list! And tell us to what do and not do!"
"And they'll be smart!"
"And we'll be smart!"
"In orderly fashion, nothing shall, ever, ever, EEEVEERR-go wrong!"
'But instead of next depicting epic battles, and or the sublime details of strategy, it has to break down into three hundred separate semi-stand alone sketches.' Many of which Tragedy questioned her memory on actually happening. Twilight Tragedy had to make a break for the little filly's room (found herself feeling distracted the entire show), but highlights included as follows:
"We are so smart! We are so smart!" Sang the minions in front of a background Tambelon, "We are wearing clear plexiglass visors, not face concealing ones! Now no pony will sneak past us!"
A seapony dressed up like Rarigreed peaked behind a rock, got a good look at their faces through their plexiglass visors, and proceeded to paint up a perfectly detailed mask of their faces behind their clear plexiglass visors.
'Rarigreed' then pushed over a pile of rocks, to which the minions looked the opposite way. "HA! A large and obvious noise! Must be a distraction! The real intruder must be this way!"
'Rarigreed' then knocked out the two guards and pulled the mask over her face (and put a mask of herself over those of the guards who proceeded to attack each other upon waking up) and waltzed through the gate, taking a moment back to blow a kiss to the audience.
"She's so lovely." Rarigreed admired.
The truly weird thing was, that was one Tragedy was sure actually happened.
"I am so smart!" Grogar declared.
"He is smart!" The minions sang.
"My air ducts are super tiny! Nothing can get through them!"
"My air ducts are super tiny! Nothing can get through them! Including air!" The minions reached for their throats and began to wave their 'hands' pathetically. "Our deep deep underground dungeons need air!" And fell over.
"I am not keeping my bell which is the source of my power on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity! That's bound to attract heroes! It is now being kept in my safe-deposit box! It's much safer there!"
The tiny, pathetic bank behind Grogar was promptly blown up, a grinning Fluttercruel doing the cliche 'sneaking walk' off stage with a grin on her face.
"We are so smart! Because we are following our evil overlord's list! The giant red 'Do Not Push' button will not blow up the base but in fact unleash a barrage of arrows on anyone who pushes it! Ha ha ha!"
Traitor Dash came up behind him and -pushed- the minion onto the big red button.
Two minions sang in front of a tied up, gagged, and chained Fluttercruel.
"We are so smart! We are not interrogating our valuable prisoner behind several heavy defenses of the inner sanctum! But here in a small hotel well outside the protection of our borders!"
A giant rock fell on them. Above the furry puppet Discord waved at the audience.
(Tragedy actually remembered that one, Master had dropped a castle sized rock on the motel, then melted a hole through the rock to let Fluttercruel out, and handed her a mace. She squealed joyfully and flew back down on the hole to play with the minions the rock had trapped underneath).
"Fluttercruel was twice as cute when that really happened," The real Discord said.
"Good thing we're cremating our important slain enemies after emptying several crossbow bolts into them instead of throwing them off a cliff." Said two garbage disposal minions to each other (they sure got around a lot). That was when a flaming Angry Pie burst out of the incinerator roaring.
"Did they have to include that one?" The real Angry Pie muttered.
"We have eliminated all incompetent and inept officers and commanders in the enemy's forces Our lord!"
"Excellent! Now they'll surely give up now that their source of humor is gone!"
"Master! The enemy's army has quadrupled in efficiency!"
"Hmmmm..." Thought Grogar as he faced the elements of chaos, "I shall not turn into a giant monster. Because it never helps. Even though it would heal my injuries, increase my defense and offense, and I'm already a large target so it's not like any of their attacks are missing anyway. Because it never helps."
The next scene showed Discord turning giant and stepping on Grogar's crack troops who had broken into the castle throne room.
"I will not grow a goatee. In the old days they made you look diabolic. Now they just make you look like a disaffected member of Generation X? Who wrote this one?"
A minion slowly raised his hand.
Puppet Discord smashed through the wall. "I just heard! Who wrote that?"
Both titans of evil vaporized said minion together and declared a one day truce to celebrate.
"I am so smart! I am keeping my prisoners apart in separate cell blocks! And the only key is around my neck!"
"Master! The prisoners have escaped!"
"They began tunneling at the same time, we tried to stop them, but we were so spread out we couldn't! And we didn't have keys to open the cell door and catch them!"
"I am so smart! I am riding in the REAR of my army into battle, which is bound to inspire my troops! And I am not seeking out my opposite number even though he's slaughtering my troops left and right and I'm the only one in my power class who can take him!"
A soldier fighting on the front lines looked to the one next to him "If Master Grogar is so great and powerful, why is he hiding behind us while we're fighting on the front lines and being slaughtered?"
"I will not engage an enemy single-handedly until all my soldiers are dead. . . Why are you all defecting?"
"I WANNA JOIN YER SIDE! I WANNA JOIN YER SIDE!" 'Liarjack' declared to 'Grogar.'
"HA! Like I'd believe such an obvious lie!"
The real Liarjack's eyes shifted "Yeah, no way Ah figured an orderly evil tyrant might be better than a chaotic evil tyrant or was hoping to help Grogar finish him off and convince him later a happy population was a much more efficient and orderly one."
"I am so smart! I employ only bounty hunters who work for money!"
"Here ya go, double of what Grogar is paying you."
"I am so smart! I designed my fortress hallways with no alcoves or protruding structural supports which intruders could use for cover in a firefight!"
The Daring Do jingle played in the background as a boulder rolled by, chasing Grogar's minions.
"AAAAAAAHHHHHH! We have no alcoves to hide behind which we could use to dodge the rebel's giant rolling rock!"
Traitor Dash actually laughed.
"Now that's just silly." Liarjack in the audience said.
"Don't you dare dismiss Tom's contribution to the war effort!" Rarigreed hissed.
"Attention! In Tambelon: Bulk trash will be disposed of in incinerators, not compactors. And they will be kept hot, with none of that nonsense about flames going through accessible tunnels at predictable intervals."
A flaming Angry Pie burst out of the garbage disposal roaring.
"I hate fire," Angry in the audience grumbled.
"Attention! In Tambelon: All publicly available maps of the fortress will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment."
Traitor Dash burst into the control room. "Wow! And I thought we were gonna have to crawl through the barely guarded sewer system and fight sewer monsters for eight hours or something to find this place."
"Remember men! No matter how many bugs we have in the system, We guards are instructed to treat every surveillance camera malfunction as a full-scale emergency."
"Sir! Camera 23B just flickered!"
"FULL SCALE EMERGENCY!"
"Sir! Camera 42 just flickered!"
"FULL SCALE EMERGENCY!"
"Sir! Camera 82 just flickered!"
"FULL SCALE EMERGENCY!"
"Sir! Camera URSTU just flickered!"
"FULL SCALE EMERGENCY!"
On stage Fluttercruel giggled as she caused the eightieth full scale alert that day just by jiggling the wires.
Tragedy tilted her head, "I forget, did Tambelon even HAVE security cameras?"
A barrel of gunpowder was pushed into a room with a Twilight Tragedy mask on it.
"It's the enemy! Charge'er all at once boys! Not one at a time with the rest of us at a safe distance like idiots would!" The guards covered the barrel of gun powder, and were all promptly blown up. Discord's troops calmly trotted past.
"We are so smart! All the control stations FACE the entry door so no one can sneak up on us!"
The door opened to reveal a cockatrice.
Twilight Tragedy remembered Master had actually wiped out the cockatrice, apparently he had a deep seated hatred of them. But she'd convinced him of their military applications so he brought them back... and made sure all of them faded with Tambelon. When Tragedy had tried to tell him that in five hundred years Grogar might tame them, she got a safe dropped on her head.
Grogar smashed into Discord's fortress with his army behind him. Found it empty, except for a small device with a blinking light counting down. Grogar fled immediately with his entire army.
"Now how did my egg timer get out here?"
Rarigreed finished her perfectly tailor made uniform of the enemy and sneaked in. After sneaking in several extra (non-poison) donuts into the guards' lounge.
A couple hours later she shouted! "LOOK! That fat guard's uniform doesn't perfectly fit him! All our uniforms are tailor made! He must be a spy!"
They clobbered him.
"Good job soldier for finding that spy! You're promoted to looking after the secret files!"
"They landed on the ship and are wrecking it! Turn the turrets inward!"
"They don't turn inward!"
"I will make the main entrance to my fortress standard-sized. While elaborate 60-foot high double-doors definitely impress the masses, they are hard to close quickly in an emergency."
"GGGGAAAH! Why are our armies getting slaughtered simply because they have to exit the fortress one at a time single file?!"
"If I have several diabolical schemes to destroy the hero, I will set all of them in motion at once rather than wait for them to fail and launch them successively."
"Oh no! Our resources are spread so thin! And because they were spread so thin all the plans at once failed! And now the armies of chaos are prepared for all the plans we had!"
"Should the hero escape, I will not send my army on a suicide mission to chase him into an impenetrable asteroid field, burning swamp, or forest of carnivorous trees. They will instead flank the area if possible, and practice basic marksmanship while waiting for the hero to reemerge. Well-trained troops are difficult to come by, and if they let my enemy escape, then they need more training."
"... we've been sitting out here for three years, I don't think the chaos six are coming out. I think they had a secret passage to somewhere else inside."
"Shut up and keep practicing your crossbow!"
"Whatever my one vulnerability is, I will fake a different one. For example, ordering all mirrors removed from the palace, screaming and flinching whenever someone accidentally holds up a mirror, etc. In the climax when the enemy whips out a mirror and thrusts it at my face, my reaction will be 'Hmm... I think I need a shave.'"
Grogar was then punched in the face, the hoof now having several shards of glass in it that were now in his face instead.
"All firearms stored in easy-to-reach closets will be decoys that explode upon use. Furthermore, incompetent henchmen will be issued the same weapons and be instructed never to fire them. When the hero inevitably steals their weapon and tries using it, he will blow himself up."
"HALT OR WE'LL SHOOT!"
The guards pulled the trigger on the weapons that had been switched with the booby trap weapons and blew themselves up.
"I will decree that all hay be shipped in tightly-packed bales. Any wagonload of loose hay attempting to pass through a checkpoint will be set on fire."
The hay was set on fire, and so were the several sticks of TNT hidden inside.
Outside the world of make-believe Discord whispered to Fluttercruel, "You know, outside of Sky Ocean, I've mandated the fire and TNT to be real for this scene."
"Aww! Why couldn't we be watching one of those?!"
"Don't worry, I'll take you to one later."
"At least I didn't get lit on fire that time... " said Angry Pie.
"SHUSH!" Rarigreed whispered as loudly as possible.
"If I ever build a device to transfer the hero's energy into me, I will make sure it cannot operate in reverse.... I really should have made sure the hero wouldn't use it on ME first... dangit."
"If I have the hero cornered and am about to finish him off and he says "Look out behind you!!" I will not laugh and say "You don't expect me to fall for that old trick, do you?" Instead I will take a step to the side and half turn. That way I can still keep my weapon trained on the hero, I can scan the area behind me, and if anything was heading for me it will now be heading for him."
And was promptly attacked from behind (formally his side) where before he would have seen the attack coming with his peripheral vision.
"I will add indelible dye to the moat. It won't stop anyone from swimming across, but even dim-witted guards should be able to figure out when someone has entered in this fashion."
"Intruders!" The first set of guards ran away screaming from the rest of the guards after the enemy had hit them with water balloons filled with indelible dye.
"I will not have captives of one sex guarded by members of the opposite sex."
"You know I'm into fillies," Said Traitor Dash.
"Really?" Asked the female guard.
"I will be an equal-opportunity despot and make sure that terror and oppression is distributed fairly, not just against one particular group that will form the core of a rebellion."
"He treats us ALL like garbage! Get'em!"
"I will exchange the labels on my folder of top-secret plans and my folder of family recipes. Imagine the hero's surprise when he decodes the stolen plans and finds instructions for Grandma's Goat Cheese Salad."
"HEY!" Rarigreed shouted, "Where's the recipe for his grandma's goat cheese salad?"
"I will instruct my guards when checking a cell that appears empty to look for the chamber pot. If the chamber pot is still there, then the prisoner has escaped and they may enter and search for clues. If the chamber pot is not there, then either the prisoner is perched above the lintel waiting to strike them with it or else he decided to take it as a souvenir (in which case he is obviously deeply disturbed and poses no threat). Either way, there's no point in entering."
"Do we have enough time to complete the escape tunnel?"
"Don't worry I hid the chamber pot."
"If I'm sitting in my camp, hear a twig snap, start to investigate, then encounter a small woodland creature, I will send out some scouts anyway just to be on the safe side. (If they disappear into the foliage, I will not send out another patrol; I will break out the napalm.)"
Burning Angry Pie burst from the painted forest backdrop.
"Just how many times during that war did you get lit on fire?" Twilight asked the real Angry Pie.
"I will order my guards to stand in a line when they shoot at the hero so he cannot duck and have them accidentally shoot each other. Also, I will order some to aim above, below, and to the sides so he cannot jump out of the way."
"Good thing those guards were all in a neat line for me to tackle down like dominos." Said Traitor Dash.
"I'm just happy only a few of the bolts were aimed at me, the rest were bad shots, I may not have been able to block them all," said Rarigreed.
"Ropes supporting various fixtures will not be tied next to open windows or staircases, and chandeliers will be hung way at the top of the ceiling."
Fluttercruel giggled as she cut the rope from the ceiling.
"Whenever plans are drawn up that include a timetable, I'll post-date the completion three days after it's actually scheduled to occur and not worry too much if they get stolen. HEY! Where are all the materials and guards for this project?!"
"Well sir, the secret plans did say you didn't want it completed for three more days."
The Infernal Gallop from Orpheus and the Underworld (or the Can-Can) played in the background as guards ran away screaming from a toxic goo vat turned on its side rolling towards them via Rarigreed on the top trotting backwards with a smile on her face.
"My vats of hazardous chemicals will be covered when not in use. Also, I will not construct walkways above them."
"If my weakest troops fail to eliminate a hero, I will send out my best troops instead of wasting time with progressively stronger ones as he gets closer and closer to my fortress."
"Grogar's best troops have left Tambelon! Now is the time to attack!"
"When my guards split up to search for intruders, they will always travel in groups of at least two. They will be trained so that if one of them disappears mysteriously while on patrol, the other will immediately initiate an alert and call for backup, instead of quizzically peering around a corner."
"It's the guy who vanished! Must a changeling! Get'em!"
"All I did was use the little minions' room!"
"I will hire an entire squad of blind guards. Not only is this in keeping with my status as an equal opportunity employer, but it will come in handy when the hero becomes invisible or douses my only light source."
"SEIZE HIM!" Shouted the actress Liarjack in an imitation of Grogar's voice.
"NO! SEIZE THEM!" Grogar shouted in a higher pitched squeaky voice thanks to some helium Tragedy had released into the chamber.
"I will have all hallways in my fortress randomly shift in decoration and color to negate the possibility of anyone blending into the surroundings.
I will install a fire extinguisher in every room ... three, if the room contains vital equipment or volatile chemicals."
"Wow, this fire extinguisher disguise is really paying off."
"The halls of my Fortress Of Clockwork Darkness will always be straight, and my guards will not be dispatched on winding patrols through the corridors. Rather they will be stationed, four at a time, back-to-back, at every intersection."
A scale replica of Tom rolled onstage and toppled the guards like bowling pins complete with sound effect.
"That's my Tom!" Rarigreed shouted happily.
"If I am fighting with my opposite number atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw."
Grogar charged his powerful magic to petrify the draconequi, Discord ducked, Grogar quickly did too, Discord got up instantly and hit Grogar over the head with a Sherman Tank.
Tragedy calmly blasted the door mechanisms to the guards' quarters one after another. As soon as the alarm was raised there was much banging on the inside.
This was followed by a swift scene of Tragedy blasting a door mechanism for the room they had been locked in which caused it to swiftly open.
"You think it would be the other way around," 'Traitor Dash' observed.
"Yes you think so," 'Tragedy' commented.
"Because we're the smart ones!" "And that's why we're the smart ones!" "How can this be! We're the smart ones!"
Angry Pie struggled in her chains to try and attack Discord as he was on his belly laughing with tears in his eyes. He hugged himself. "BWAAHAHA! OW! MY SIDES! BWAHAHAH!" He slammed his fist down as he continued to laugh himself silly at the opera. He rolled on the floor still giggling.
On stage a number of slaves introduced themselves to Fluttercruel as Grogar's personal female slaves who wanted to be liberated from him. The moment Fluttercruel's back was turned they tried to tickle her. "Nice try! But I am immune to tickling!" And brought out a giant feather and began to tickle them.
In the audience Twilight Tragedy remembered what had actually happened.
Fluttercruel pulled the knife out of her head and smiled at the 'slaves.' "I like this game. My turn."
And there were many loud noises and shaking of the room visible from the outside.
Discord meanwhile had gotten Fluttercruel to laugh by tickling her with the tip of his tail under his chin. Which was rather gratuitous since she had actually laughed at a couple of the scenes by herself.
Eventually both got back in their chairs. Tragedy looked at them. Same sweep of their tail, the way they let their hoof/paw support their chin, but most important was their eyes. One lowered and one raised eyebrow, those eyes looking at all the world like it existed purely just to entertain them.
"Try to laugh at this!" A young seapony colt costumed as a faded blue unicorn with a brass fetlocks cutie mark shouted as he kicked onto stage. Several cheap cardboard cut out Tambelonian troops were set in his path to rampage through, using all four of his 'hooves' to rip through them. A seaglow pony projected light onto his 'horn' as massive magical hooves appeared beside him and trampled everything in his path at the endless tidal wave of 'enemies.'
"I hate how they're playing down Little Hex. I taught him a lot better than that," I vented.
"Artistic license," Rarigreed prattled.
"I still hate it," I answered back.
Little Hex was my eighth child. And these stupid seaponies couldn't even get his fighting style right. No you idiot! I didn't give birth to him! I hate stallions! Except my sons.
I've had twelve to twenty apprentices since, since everything began, counting Pound and Pumpkin. Stole them? Don't try to feed me horse apples, the Cakes were useless as parents. When she gave birth to them after everything began Tragedy tells me they forgot to cut the umbilical cords and somepony had to do it for them! Seriously! If you saw the disgusting state they were in covered in filth when I found them being laughed at by their parents you'd THANK ME!
How can I not know how many I've had? My apprentices aren't inventory, I don't keep stock.
How do I even pick an apprentice? It's not like I go hunting for one when the old one dies. They aren't cart parts. They aren't toys that I replace when the batteries die.
It's if I find a foal who's crying, -filly, mare, unicorn, pegasus, Virgacorn, doesn't matter- I measure them and I just ask them one question:
"They laughed at you?"
Little Hex answered, "Yes."
"Come with me."
No, I don't FORCE them to come with me. If I did, I'd have had a lot more. If they don't come, they haven't seen the truth yet!
He was a unicorn, I don't really recall seeing many when I adopted him. And yes others laughed at him. They're the only ones I know I can trust, the only ones I know who aren't laughing at me. After all, I'm a part of them and they're a part of me, and who'd laugh at themselves? It's stupid to think anypony would.
Ponies always forget somepony else has to hurt when they laugh, they'll pay for being so selfish, they DESERVE Discord!
Discord knows better than to ever touch any of my apprentices. Fluttercruel knows better than to 'toy' with them. Rarigreed knows better than to steal from them. Liarjack know better than to lie to them. And Traitor Dash knows better than to betray them.
Hurt them? I'LL KILL YOU! YOU HEAR ME! STUPID CHAIN CHAIR! I'LL KILL YOU!!! Yes I don't pull punches when teaching them! Who they fight aren't going to either! Yes I give them the hard knocks! Life is hard! I don't ENJOY IT! I don't hurt them just to hurt them! I'd never do that! I don't FORCE them to fight! They choose their battles!
Little Hex didn't let that he was a unicorn stop him from being down and dirty, he didn't let it stop him from being hands on. Discord let him use magic but Little Hex didn't rely on it.
He actually had the guts to take on Grogar head on, of course I had to use myself as a shield when Grogar tried to vaporize him. Then I had to break his leg after he refused to let me handle the fight with just me and the five others.
NO! I DIDN'T LET IT SET WRONG YOU BUCKING NAG! I SWEAR I'LL MURDER YOU!
But sooner than later, it happened to Little Hex like it happened to the rest. He became a stallion rather than a colt, then he got old, then his body became fragile, then his heart stopped. Thieving time. Thieving death. I'd kill it if it dared show its face to me! Discord won't make them immortal like me! He says he can't! He must be lying! I hate when he laughs at me! But I hate it more when he won't let me keep them forever!
Pound and Pumpkin? They were UNBEATABLE as a pair! And they were the only ones of my apprentices to ever be better than me. Even one on one I was hard pressed to knock them over. Pegasi are supposed to fragile, there was nothing fragile about Pound, and he lived up to his name, oh yes.
I saw him break every bone in a Minotaur's body single hooved! He was fantastic! And Pumpkin, heh, no one ever tried to fight her and walked away. No they never asked about their parents. And I never told them.
My apprentices were the only ones who never laughed at me. Or at anyone else. They knew what it's like to be laughed at, even if it was as filth covered toddlers by their own parents.
Just like all my later students, they knew laughter for what it is. And I made sure not Liarjack, not Discord, not Fluttercruel used them for their cheap laughs.
Maybe, just maybe, when Discord had laughed enough at the world, the world will see it isn't a laughing matter.
I used to be known as Rainbow Dash, the pony who didn't know fear, and I'm downright CREEPED OUT whenever Angry Pie takes a foal under her hooves. Even Tragedy shivers a little. No, not anything she does to them, her...
She just becomes so calm for the fifty or sixty years they last before the trumpet calls. All that rage, fury, hate, it's all still there! But it's like an ocean after a storm, those same waters that were killing ponies a minute ago turn so still!
She's just as determined to smash the life out of anything that she hears or thinks she hears laugh. But, she's actually MORE determined to beat the life out of anypony that crosses her apprentice. Liarjack told a kind hearted white lie to apprentice number three once... it took a lot for her element of chaos to rebuild her.
I remember when apprentice number five was smashing her way through, I think it was dragons at that point, and began laughing her head off in the middle of the killing field. Angry Pie leapt in front of her, reared her hoof back, and punched the head off the dragon who had been right behind her student, then hugged her!
Sweet everything, it's down right CRAZY! Like someone pulls a switch! And moment they're buried in Angry Pie's private graveyard, she seals it off and suddenly we've got a wild animal that walks on four hooves again!
The worst part? When they're around, I can almost see her smile, I can almost see a memory, of a dream, of a ghost, of the Pinkie Pie I knew and loved as my friend.
'Grogar' slowly faded away along with his city. "I am order, I am law, I am the overwhelming power that crushes all that stands in my way, I am the force that bends all to my will. I will force all under my hooves, for I am the weight that chains all against the endless storms of chaos. I will be the one to bring peace and stability to all that lives under my rule. I shall return. I shall always return. Tambelon shall always rise again, and so shall I."
Puppet Discord then hit Grogar in the face with a cream pie, and the play ended with a reprise of 'Let The Bell Of Chaos Ring' to cheers and fin clapping. Tragedy dimly remembered the exchange ending slightly different. Grogar had faded back into his exile, -laughing- at Master?
Tragedy wondered why the opera left that out, wasn't this supposed to be a comedy? It was the only time she'd seen Grogar laugh. Or Master so furious.
"I hope you enjoyed the show!" Seawing swam out and took a bow as the musicians and actors and effects crew did the same.
"It . . . it made me laugh." RD smiled in spite of herself. LJ gently hugged her.
"I can't wait to tell your brothers and sisters at home Ruby."
"Say hello to them for me." Seawing bowed.
Angry Pie and Fluttercruel both agreed it needed more explosions.
"Let this be a lesson my Twilight Tragedy," Master said glancing at her. "All the 'evil overlord list' does is trade one set of predictable patterns for another. Any ANY pattern is exploitable. Falling into any pattern is a trap. Any pattern... a trap." Discord gritted his teeth for less than a moment.
Tragedy obediently nodded. "Yes Master."
Apple Pie. Why?
What entertainment value did it have to Master to spare her life? And to deny Fluttercruel a chance to amuse herself no less? (How much are you sure she matters?)
Twilight Tragedy looked around her spartan bedroom. Again nothing. Was she developing split personalities? Working for an insane master did tend to drive one's self insane and she had served him for at least a thousand years. Why did Angry Pie suddenly come to mind?
Well, Tragedy was sure Apple Pie mattered. Had to matter. Or at least, thoughts of her wouldn't leave Twilight alone. She was a sliver in Tragedy's brain that would not leave her alone. She needed answers. (If you need information take it.)
Yes. She would not gain her answers sitting here. It would be gamble, but she was sure Master would approve once she had explained her snap decision to follow an impulse, it was the sort of thing Master would do after all.
I sat in the garden again. Coming here, thinking whether or not to finally go through with my plan. Fluttercruel and Angry Pie were practicing on that Poison something or other they had brought to the castle to sate Fluttercruel's sadism and Angry Pie's rage. Liarjack was with Rarigreed again listening to her describe her treasures. And Traitor Dash was all alone with Master once again. I had given Spike his wash and had stayed with him until he fallen asleep.
So here I was again, wondering about going through with this crazy plan, that in of itself should have been proof enough I should do it. After all, wasn't 'crazy' what it was all about?
The stars, so far away, slowly changing, slowly ROTTING. Day for less than a minute this time. The sky random and mindless, was it also rotten? Then the stars again and their slow, slow decay, did they have a point? And yet,
"They are still beautiful," I whispered watching the stars above me. They had been as much my companions these thousand years as much as Spike.
This alien curiosity would not leave me alone, and until it did, I could not find peace with my purpose again.
I do not have a precise clear-cut idea of where I am going, so best to avoid teleportation, being immortal didn't make teleporting inside a wall any more pleasant. And if I went by sky, I was more likely to be spotted. So that means I'll have to hoof it. This is going to be a long trot. I consider telling Master or one of the others, but this is going hard enough without outside interference.
(Outside opinion may taint your findings.)
Outside bias would taint the data after all, it's best to go it alone.
I pass the maids as I go, all of them with smiles on their faces as they use their rags and buckets to dirty up the castle to keep it from becoming clean. Depending on what Master has raining, that's sometimes harder than it looks. Sometimes he plays with them by making it rain soap and water. That pony that circles the castle gets a smile when that happens and she watched the bubbles float by.
Out the Tea-Kettle Gate I go, between the Bikehelmet Gate and the East Dakota Gate. At least I didn't turn into a giant snail, chicken, or rolling dragon egg this time going through the passage.
"Go away! I'm not going to stop! Not when it's for her!"
It was her again. Crippled wings, formally broken legs that hadn't set right, filly shaped muffin on her back, being bounded by the blackbirds. Best to just pass her by and... I'm curious what her name is. I've, I've always been curious what her name is but, I've only put minimal effort into it before. One curiosity makes another harder to bear.
She just keeps up her rambling and the birds just keep trying to peck apart her cargo. One thousand years and they've still not managed to get it from her.
(You shouldn't get distracted.)
I shouldn't get distracted. But I am doing this to unburden this new curiosity, in for a bit, in for jewel.
Primary Obstacle: blackbirds.
A blast of ice magic and the birds were sealed inside some ice-cubes until they melted out or they remanifested. Either way, they are out of my way for now.
The gray pony just kept mumbling to herself. "Go away, just go away-"
"Hello," I said in the stern, hard voice I could manage. Nothing.
I stood in front of her. She bumped right into me and tried to keep going. I held her up with my magic.
Now I had her attention. "NO! STOP! LET ME GO! DON'T LET THEM HURT HER!"
"What is your name?"
"LET ME GO! LET HER GO! HE SAID HE WOULDN'T CHEAT!"
This was useless. I released her. And began walking backwards as she continued to trot. It's surprising how fast she can trot with those hurt legs.
"I froze the birds. What is your name?"
She actually startled. But kept trotting like always. "Y-you froze the-"
"They'll melt out sooner or later. I froze them to ask you a question. Consider the reprieve a trade for the information I want. What is your name?"
"It's... her name is Dinky." She glanced at the muffin.
I suppressed a groan, I didn't need to know the name of baked-goods, "What is your name?"
"It's... her name is Dinky and... my mother daughter's name is Sparkler and... "
"What is your name? I'll refreeze them for a little longer if you tell me." I felt dirty being reduced to deals.
"Ditzy Doo... or maybe it's Derpy Hooves. Maybe both?"
"Ponies don't have two names."
"What's your name?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes I am sure." I was the one supposed to be asking the questions.
"Okay. I think it might be something else."
"We've never spoken before."
"Whiff blue way woe."
"Sorry. Sometimes my mouth doesn't say what I want it to say, it's always been like that. I sometimes confuse west and north too."
"Not that big a loss," in Master's world.
"Thank you for stopping the birds."
"I did it only because I wanted to speak to you without interference."
"Wall the fame, blank blue."
"... You are welcome. Excuse me."
"Blue don't have to blow."
"Sorry. But I have somewhere I am going, and I won't be able to think straight until I've learned what's there."
"Bits been so long wince I balked with somepony."
"We can speak again when I am not busy."
Having burned enough time on an impulse (Master would approve) I continued toward my destination at a gallop. But, as promised, I quickly refroze the birds so they'd stay sealed a little while longer.
I see Miss Tragedy run away to wherever she's going to. Her face is so blank. It feels so familiar. It's been so long since... since I've...spoken to anypony.
Lord Discord makes sure my memories don't fade no matter how many years pass. I remember Dinky's every smile, every skip. I remember the Doctor used to be a lot nicer too, now he acts just like Lord Discord.
I only know this because The Doctor comes out sometimes (he calls himself the Valeyard now), he, Fluttershy-Who-Isn't-Fluttershy 'Fluttercruel' and Discord sometimes come out here for funny face making contests.
Once Lord Discord had the Doctor, Lord Discord didn't stop, not for a moment, The Doctor kept screaming, his voice constantly changing but I knew it was him. Then one voice started laughing.
The voice laughed inside the castle, "A 'Doctor of Law' working with a god of chaos, you've got to love irony!"
I don't regret that I love my daughters again. Not for an instant.
I remember Sparkler, every gem, every pout. I remember Lord Discord making her a dancing purple crystal statue.
But they don't hurt. They push me forward, they keep me from falling, they lead the way. They're why I haven't given up. And why I won't give up. I won't abandon my babies, no matter how tiny the hope, I won't throw it away. When I've saved Dinky, I'll save Sparkler. After that, maybe I can save the Doctor too.
I waste rolling one of my eyes back towards the big ice cubes with the black birds in them, slowly cracking. I never stopped moving, and I won't stop moving. A faded streak of rainbow colors flashes past the ice-cubes, and I feel like the world just shook. I see the ice cubes holding the black birds flying over the horizon. I don't stop. I keep going. I know they'll be back. They're always back. But I'm happy for the reprieve. I'm thankful to whoever did it. I have six quadrillion laps around the castle to go after all.