Zharkaer

Up the River [EG] [Horror] [Sunset Shimmer]

Aug 3rd, 2017
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  1. >Having finally arrived at the observatory, Sunset Shimmer removed her helmet with a sigh, and hopped off her motorcycle. She had hoped that she could relax this spring break.
  2. >Something felt a little strange, but she didn't know why or what it was. A loud bark rung out, nearly making Sunset jump. Luckily, it was only Spike, and Twilight Sparkle was not too far behind.
  3. >"Sunset! Thank goodness you're here!" Twilight said, running awkwardly towards her.
  4. >Sunset gave a warm smile, "Sorry I didn't respond sooner, I didn't think you'd call so late." Her smile faltered slightly when she saw the state Twilight was in, however. Her hair was frazzled, she had more bags under her eyes than usual, and even in the dark, her skin looked unusually pale.
  5. >She rested her hand softly on Twilight's shoulder. "What's this magic-related emergency you were talking about? What happened?" Twilight let out a sigh, and turned.
  6. >"You might want to brace yourself," she said, heading forwards.
  7. >Before them was a somewhat large, grassy area. Amongst the few trees was a lone telescope sitting on a picnic blanket. Apparently, the Stargazer Festival had been held here last night. Explains all the trash on the ground, Sunset thought.
  8. >Twilight kneeled down, looking into the telescope and adjusting it. "Take a look."
  9. >Sunset complied. However, she didn't see anything of note.
  10. >"Twilight, tell me you didn't have me come all this way just to look at a river," she joked. Twilight's expression didn't change.
  11. >"No, Sunset, don't you recognize it? That's the entrance to the former black site prison Tartarus!"
  12.  
  13. >Sunset's heart dropped, an ice-cold chill skittering down her spine. This world had a Tartarus too?
  14. >"And--and you're sure it was magic?" Sunset choked.
  15. >Twilight tried to keep eye contact. "I may not know as much about magic as you do, but a bronze light falling slowly into a river, causing it to glow isn't something I'd write off as normal."
  16. >Sunset bit her thumbnail, trying to figure out the best course of action.
  17. >"Tell the girls to meet us at the mall tomorrow. I'll contact Princess Twilight and see if she can help."
  18.  
  19. >Canterlot Mall.
  20. >Usually lively, but not at this time of day.
  21. >Sunset paced around, wondering how she was going to work through this.
  22. >"I've gone without her help before, I can do this," she murmured. But what if this was too much for her? What if...
  23. >Her train of thought was cut off suddenly by Rainbow Dash. "Yo! Sunset! Over here!"
  24. >Taking a friend's advice, Sunset decided to take it easier for now.
  25. >"Twilight already filled us in, so don't worry about that," Applejack told her.
  26. >Sitting down, she noticed someone was missing. "Hey, where's Pinkie Pie?"
  27. >"Oh, she said she was going on a vacation with her sisters this spring break," said Fluttershy.
  28. >Sunset slinked back in her seat. "Great. I really would have liked all the help we could get."
  29. >"Uh, well, what did the Princess have to say? Is she comin' to help us?" said Applejack, trying to break the current awkwardness.
  30. >Sunset sighed. "That's the strange part. Nobody replied when I wrote in the journal, so I popped in for a quick visit, but no one was there! Not Twilight, not Spike, not even Starlight."
  31. >The others' faces visibly dimmed.
  32. >"W--well, perhaps it's not too big of a deal? Maybe we could just warn them about what Twilight saw," Rarity suggested.
  33. >"How?" Rainbow said, "It's not like we can just look them up in a phone book."
  34. >"We have to do something," Twilight interjected. "Who knows what could happen if we just leave it?"
  35. >"She's right," said Sunset. "We have to do something and fast."
  36. >Sunset took a deep breath.
  37. >"Pack some essentials, girls, we're going to Tartarus."
  38.  
  39. >Sunset's motorcycle rumbled along the highway as she led the rest of the girls. By a stroke of luck, one of their classmates was heading this way, and offered them a ride in her car.
  40. >Twilight gripped tight against her back. Sunset could feel her friend's heart racing, despite their surroundings. It made her wonder whether she was doing the right thing bringing her friends along, possibly endangering their lives.
  41. >Twilight signalled to her that they were close. Sunset decided to put aside her fears for now.
  42.  
  43. >"We'll call you to pick us up if it doesn't take too long," Applejack said to the blue-haired girl. She gave a thumbs up and drove away.
  44. >The group marched ahead, and arrived at the seemingly innocent river running down the top of a hill. One would almost consider this place peaceful, but there was something off about it, something that felt artificial.
  45. >"Where's the entrance?" asked Rarity.
  46. >Spike sniffed at the ground. His nose led him to the waterfall, and he barked, "Over here!"
  47. >"The waterfall, of course!" Twilight said. Rarity groaned in disappointment.
  48.  
  49. >Inside was a small, but strangely empty post with its light still on, as well as a large elevator shaft.
  50. >"Hello? Is anyone here?" Rainbow called out. There was no response.
  51. >Looking around, Sunset said, "Twilight, what kind of people do they hold here that they'd need an elevator down?"
  52. >"I don't know. They didn't declassify everything, but I don't think we should take it too lightly."
  53. >A loud growl echoed throughout the room. "Is something the matter, Spike?" Fluttershy asked.
  54. >Spike whimpered, "That's not me..."
  55.  
  56. >Out the shadows charged a large bulldog, barking desperately to drive the intruders away.
  57. >"Easy there, down boy!" said Sunset, backing away with the rest. She motioned at Fluttershy to do something.
  58. >Clasping her geode, Fluttershy tried to calm the dog. "It's okay, we're here to help, calm down now."
  59. >The dog whined and backed down. "I'd like to ask you some questions, if you don't mind," Fluttershy said.
  60.  
  61. >"His name is Cerberus, and he's the guard dog for this facility," Fluttershy explained. "He said that last night alarms went off, and that the guards up here rushed down to the bottom floor, but never came back up with the elevator."
  62. >"That doesn't bode well," Sunset thought.
  63. >"...We have to go down there and see what happened," she said. The others looked at her in shock, but didn't object.
  64.  
  65. >The elevator groaned going down. Fluttershy shifted around uncomfortably, as did Twilight. Even Rainbow couldn't help but look around every now and then.
  66. >The ride down was fairly long, but for Sunset the anticipation made it feel like an eternity.
  67. >A creaking broke the otherwise silent tension, and the elevator dropped.
  68.  
  69. >"Is everyone okay?" Sunset moaned, rubbing her head.
  70. >"Ow...A little bruised, but we're fine," said Rainbow.
  71. >"It doesn't look like it was too fat a drop," Twilight quipped.
  72. >"Applejack, can you get the doors open?" asked Sunset.
  73.  
  74. >Sunset's fears were realized as everyone stepped out. Grotesque mockeries of the human form were strewn throughout the area, the walls and floor caked with blood that hadn't quite dried yet.
  75. >Rarity caught Fluttershy, who nearly fainted. "J--just close your eyes, darling..."
  76. >Sunset could hardly grasp what she was looking at. "What...what happened here?" The smell of blood and decay almost made her vomit.
  77. >"We need to call the police, or someone!" Applejack said, trying to keep her wits.
  78. >Everyone checked their phones, but nobody could get a signal.
  79. >Twilight began to hyperventilate. "Wh--what do we do?! We're stuck down here with who knows what and no one to help us!"
  80. >Sunset put her hands on Twilight's shoulders. "Just keep calm, we'll find a way out of this."
  81. >She moved to the front, and faced the group. "They can't have no communication at all down here, there's probably an emergency phone or something we can use. Let's stick together for now and keep quiet." The girls nodded in agreement.
  82.  
  83. >The group walked cautiously down a hall, Rainbow Dash at the back serving as a lookout, and Sunset at the front.
  84. >Applejack began to walk closer to Sunset. "Where do you think we should be lookin'?" she whispered. Sunset put her hand up to her chin.
  85. >"It'll probably be in an office, so look for any doors with nameplates on them. We'll avoid any cells for now."
  86. >Despite her calm, collected exterior, Sunset felt as if her heart could burst at any moment. Whatever was down here was...calling it a monster would be too nice of a description, she thought.
  87. >Everyone else was too preoccupied with their own worries to notice, but she was trembling. Sunset recognized that distinct feeling, one that felt so jarring to leave yet still jarring to come back to. If these people with guns couldn't stop Equestrian magic, they would need to fight fire with fire. But it wouldn't be as simple as that. They were missing a key part in their harmony.
  88.  
  89. >Pinkie Pie.
  90. >Just thinking about her made Sunset smile a little. Some time ago, she would've thought her a pest, but right now she'd give anything to hear her friend's cheerful laughter.
  91. >Twilight placed her hand on her shoulder; reminiscing would have to come later. "Sunset, over there," she said, pointing to a door bearing a nameplate reading "WARDEN."
  92. >There was a trail of blood leading to it, not exactly a welcoming sight.
  93. >Sunset tried the door. Locked. She motioned for Twilight to come over.
  94. >Twilight clutched her geode, and reached out her arm. A click came from the door. "Everyone, stay back," said Sunset.
  95. >She peeked into the room, slowly. A dull gray room, like the rest of the prison. The only furnishings filing cabinets, a few chairs, and a desk. She signed for the rest of the group to come in.
  96. >Two bodies lay ravaged on the floor, nearly unrecognizable. Another was slumped over in the chair at the desk. The ones on the floor were guards, and the other was presumably the warden, seated in a mockery of his position. The girls tried their best to avert their eyes.
  97.  
  98. >"I don't see anything, guys," Rainbow shivered.
  99. >Sunset sighed. "We'll have to try somewhere else, then."
  100. >As they headed to the door, Spike noticed some heavy breathing. "Guys!" He ran over to the warden's body.
  101. >"Spike, what's wrong, boy?" Twilight said as the group marched back over.
  102. >The man gurgled, struggling to call for help. His mouth was torn open, and what was left of his eyes was stained with blood. Each of his arms and legs were either broken or mutilated. Sunset wondered to herself how he was still alive. Perhaps whoever did this wanted to see him suffer a slow and painful death.
  103. >"Hey! Can you speak? What happened?" Applejack's voice wavered.
  104. >The man could barely say anything coherent. "Ti...rek..."
  105. >Sunset's heart skipped a beat. Princess Twilight had recounted to her before how she faced off with an extremely powerful prisoner of Tartarus called Tirek.
  106. >Panicking, Sunset grabbed her magical geode and forcefully took hold of the warden's arm.
  107.  
  108. >The warden was running, accompanied by the two guards. Gunshots had rung out earlier, and they were attempting to get to the elevator.
  109. >A large man blocked their path. His face was red, covered in blood, and horns appeared to have burst out messily from his head.
  110. >He crunched through the raw, leathery flesh of a fellow prisoner, then looked up at the warden.
  111. >An unearthly roar bellowed throughout the prison. The warden retreated back to his office, the guards not far behind.
  112. >He knew there wouldn't be any place to hide. He was only prolonging the inevitable.
  113. >The steel door opened unusually softly. The man charged into the room, unharmed by the guards' bullets. The warden's vision faded.
  114.  
  115. >Sunset was on the floor, her back against the wall. She gasped for air, tears clouding her vision.
  116. >"Sunset, are you okay?!" cried Twilight.
  117. >"What were you thinkin'?!" yelled Applejack.
  118. >Sunset wiped her tears. "H--he was dying, I panicked!" She wrapped her arms around herself. "I ju--we might not have gotten the chance to read him..."
  119. >Applejack fell silent, and hugged Sunset.
  120.  
  121. >Finally calmed down a little, Sunset explained what she had seen, and suggested to the group to look through the files in the office for a map of some sort.
  122. >"I think I found it," Twilight said. She spread the map on the desk, and everyone huddled around it.
  123. >The layout was fairly simple, so there wasn't any worry of getting lost. However, they would be very vulnerable if they were seen.
  124. >"It looks like there's a communications room to the north," said Sunset.
  125. >Fluttershy finally spoke up. "Hey, does that say 'Emergency Exit' on the right?"
  126. >The girls' faces lit up.
  127. >"What are we waiting for? Let's get out of here!" said Rainbow.
  128. >"Wait," interrupted Sunset. "I doubt it's going to be as easy as just walking out. The exit's probably locked, and even if it isn't, we still have to deal with Tirek. If we open that exit right now, we'll be giving him easy access to the outside."
  129. >Applejack stepped forward. "So what'll we do? Go to the communications room instead?"
  130. >"I think we should at least see if the exit does have a lock," said Twilight.
  131. >"Good point," Sunset said. "Before we plan our route, we--"
  132. >She fell silent as she realized what she was going to say. "We...we should see if the warden h--has anything on him." Everyone looked about the room uncomfortably.
  133. >"I'll do it," Applejack gulped. "Y'all go plan the way, I'll be fine." Fluttershy looked away.
  134.  
  135. >Applejack wasn't able to find anything; unsurprisingly, Tirek's attack on the warden didn't leave much intact.
  136. >The group trekked towards the emergency exit. As quietly as they tried to walk, their footsteps echoed still throughout the halls.
  137. >Eventually, they arrived at a large steel door with two former guards on the ground. "Shoot, it's got a keypad," Sunset huffed.
  138. >"Well, maybe Twilight could open it," suggested Spike.
  139. >Twilight shook her head. "No, I wouldn't know what to manipulate in there. I'm pretty sure I've heard of this type before; if it's tampered with incorrectly it could lock up permanently."
  140. >"Darnit. If Pinkie were here, she could blow it up," said Rainbow.
  141. >"I might could open it up," said Applejack.
  142. >Sunset interjected, "We'll figure it out later, right now we need to get to the communications room and out of sight."
  143.  
  144. >Bodies grabbed Sunset's attention less and less as the long walk to her destination continued. The odor of blood and decay almost felt normal by now. The only reason she noticed now was because there were many remnants of humans slathered around the door to the communications room. She wondered if she would ever see normally again, if she got out.
  145. >Sunset peeked into the room, and found it was safe. The girls rushed into the room, and Sunset picked up a corded phone, and dialed 911.
  146. >Rainbow Dash went to close the door, but soon ran back using her super speed, and pushed everyone out of the room. "Get down!"
  147.  
  148. >An explosion burst out the room, singeing the girls' backs. "What the heck was that?!" yelped Applejack.
  149. >The answer was right in front of them: Tirek. His menacing gaze was enough to strike fear in even the hardest of souls.
  150. >He bellowed, and the girls scrambled to get up and run.
  151. >Tirek was unnaturally fast. Sunset knew all of them wouldn't be able to outrun him. "Split up!" she ordered.
  152. >She, Twilight and Spike ran to the left. Sunset looked back. Tirek was momentarily confused, but gave chase. They swung around a corner, just outside of his view, and ran into an open cell.
  153. >There wasn't much time, they had to do something to hide. Bracing herself, Sunset dressed her body with the remains of the prisoners in the cell, and Twilight and Spike followed suit. They laid down on the floor, hoping desperately they wouldn't be seen. "Hold your breath," Sunset whispered.
  154.  
  155. >The wait was unbearable. In Sunset's mouth was the taste of air tainted with death, and just like that her apathy to the environment dissipated. Lifeless flesh rubbed uncomfortably against her skin, and blood trickled down her face.
  156. >She could barely see Tirek. He stomped around, frustrated at losing his target. Sunset's heart nearly stopped as he entered the cell, looking around. She didn't know how much longer she could hold her breath; she felt like she was going to pass out.
  157. >Thankfully, she managed to hold out long enough for him to leave.
  158. >They emerged from their disguises, dazed. Twilight sobbed, and Spike was shaking. Sunset tried to say something. "Twilight..."
  159. >"Sunset...I--I'm so scared..."
  160. >"...I'm scared too." Twilight looked up, opening her eyes.
  161. >"When I was a filly, sometimes when I'd misbehave my mother would tell me I'd go to Tartarus, and never see her again. She didn't like doing it, because both of us would just end up crying and apologizing, but it did get me to behave."
  162. >"I..."
  163. >"I want to see my mother again," she choked, tearing up.
  164.  
  165. >"Come on," Sunset said, wiping the tears from her eyes. "We need to find the others. Do you still have the map, Twilight?"
  166. >"Y--yes," she sniffled. She opened the map and placed it on the floor. Sunset pulled out her phone and turned its flashlight on. "It looks like there's a surveillance room not too far from here. We can probably find them through that."
  167. >She stood and helped Twilight up. "Twilight...stay as close as you can to me right now. I don't want anything happening to you."
  168.  
  169. >Silently, they crept through the hallways, steeling themselves for another encounter. Rumbling throughout were Tirek's footsteps; they could hardly tell whether he was close or far away.
  170. >Somehow, they managed to make it to the surveillance room undetected. Before them was a wall of monitors behind a large desk. Few of the monitors had a signal; Sunset assumed that Tirek's rampage had destroyed most of the cameras. One of them caught her eye: the power room.
  171. >"I see Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy!" Twilight said, pointing to a storage room, where the two were crouched in a corner.
  172. >"That's great!" said Sunset. "Do you see Rarity and Applejack anywhere?"
  173. >"No...I don't."
  174. >Spike broke the depressing silence. "Well, let's go get those two anyway, we might run into the others on the way there!"
  175.  
  176. >The door to the storage room was locked. As Twilight picked the lock telekinetically, they heard rustling behind the door.
  177. >Rainbow swung at Sunset as she opened the door, luckily narrowly missing her. "Sorry! I thought you were Tirek. I'm glad it's just you guys though."
  178. >"Rainbow Dash, what were you thinking!" Sunset scolded. "If it had been Tirek, both you and Fluttershy would have been killed because of that!"
  179. >Rainbow looked down, dejected. "I'm sorry..." Sunset sighed.
  180. >"Thank goodness you three are alright! Do you know where the others are?" asked Fluttershy, getting up from a corner.
  181. >"We were going to ask you the same thing," said Twilight. Rainbow grumbled in frustration.
  182. >Spike started to growl. "Wh--what is it, boy?" Twilight said, stepping back.
  183. >Out of a box came a rat, startling everyone, rushing from one end of the room to another. Fluttershy got an idea, however. She clasped her geode. "Mr. Rat? Can you please help us?" she asked.
  184. >The rat jumped back a bit, not expecting to be talked to, much less understand what was being said. It nodded.
  185. >Fluttershy explained to the rat who they were looking for, and it dashed off.
  186. >Rainbow's stomach rumbled loudly. "You guys wouldn't happen to have any snacks, would you?" she asked sheepishly.
  187. >The girls agreed it would be a good idea to eat while waiting for the rat.
  188.  
  189. >Applejack and Rarity were right where the rat said they would be: behind a fallen table in the halls.
  190. >Applejack cracked a smile as she saw the others coming their way. She spoke gently. "It's gonna be alright, sugarcube. Look, the others are here." Rarity sobbed silently.
  191. >"Applejack, Rarity, there you are," said Sunset. "Are you oka--"
  192. >She cut herself off as she noticed Rarity's arm, twisted, with a makeshift bandage on it soaked with dry blood.
  193. >"What happened?!" gasped Sunset.
  194. >Applejack looked back at Rarity. "She musta broke it when we were pushed outta the way after Tirek fired at us."
  195. >Rainbow rubbed her arm, feeling guilty. Noticing this, Rarity reassured her. "It--ugh--it's better than what would have happened if we weren't pushed, at least." Rainbow cheered up slightly, but still appeared to feel guilty.
  196. >"What're we gonna do about Tirek? We're outmatched," said Twilight.
  197. >Rainbow interjected. "And we've still gotta get the passcode for the exit..."
  198. >Sunset was lost in thought. She had to make a plan soon.
  199. >"Forget about the passcode, girls." Everyone looked at Sunset, confused. "I've got an idea on how we can get rid of Tirek."
  200.  
  201. >Twilight carefully exposed the circuit breaker with her telekinesis. She took a few deep breaths. "Sunset, what if this doesn't work?"
  202. >Sunset began to pour gasoline onto the floor, taking care not to get any on her or Twilight. "If we don't do this, we'll be killed anyway. We have to try, Twilight."
  203. >The group gathered right outside the room. Sunset faced everyone. "Rainbow Dash, you know what to do, right?" She nodded. Fluttershy, we'll hide behind that rubble. Don't get up until Rainbow runs past. Applejack, hide behind that wall and prepare yourself. Rarity, if you can, try to make a shield. And Twilight, get ready to hold the door shut."
  204.  
  205. >Rainbow Dash could barely outrun Tirek, nearly shredding her feet braking in front of the power room. She whipped to the left, stalling him.
  206. >Before he began to run, Sunset and Fluttershy stood up, and splashed gasoline on him. He faced them and bellowed angrily, but before he could attack, Applejack, gathering every bit of her strength, delivered a mighty blow to his side, sending him flying into the exposed circuit breaker.
  207. >Twilight shut the door magically and held it as firmly as she could. "Everyone, get back!" ordered Sunset.
  208. >Rarity's attempts to make a shield around her friends flickered in and out hopelessly.
  209. >The explosion was too much for Twilight, and the door flew out of her grip towards the group.
  210. >Thankfully, the shield was able to stay up long enough to deflect the door, but Tirek, somehow still living, rocketed out, landing directly in front of the group.
  211. >Tirek's eyes stared through the darkness, glowing. He crawled towards the group desperately, his legs gone. He grabbed hold of Sunset who was paralyzed with fear, his firm grasp not yet faltering. His mutilated face, half melted, looked her in the eyes. That was nothing compared to what she had seen in his memories.
  212. >He collapsed, a bronze light escaping him. The light faded, and in the place of the monster Tirek was the withered husk of an old man.
  213.  
  214. >Sunset couldn't comprehend what she was feeling. This man had committed so many crimes, took so many lives. She assisted in the old man's gruesome fate, and she knew it was the only way. So why, when she looked at the man sprawled in front of her, did she feel pity? Had he really deserved all he endured here? She couldn't know for sure.
  215. >Everyone, exhausted, made their way to the exit.
  216. >Applejack, tired as she was, threw punch after punch at the door. Her knuckles bled, only having made a dent in it. Eventually, she made a small opening, and continued.
  217. >"Stop it!" cried Sunset. "That's...that's enough, Applejack..." She couldn't take the sight.
  218. >"We've got to get through, Sunset!" she replied through her heavy breaths.
  219. >"Wait! I think I might be able to pull apart the opening," Twilight suggested.
  220. >Her hands glowed, and so did the door. She strained to pull the metal apart, but kept going. She yelled, and fell backwards.
  221. >Sunset caught her. "Twilight! Are you okay?!" Twilight moaned in pain. Sunset held her close. "Here, rest on my shoulder."
  222. >"I think I can fit through!" said Rainbow.
  223.  
  224. >The walk up felt like days, not helped by the breaks they had to take.
  225. >They finally exited out to a grassy field. The sunlight was blinding, but refreshing.
  226. >Everyone laid down on the grass, overwhelmed with fatigue.
  227. >Sunset looked to the sky. She didn't know what she was going to do after everyone was patched up. Should she tell anyone? It was likely to be found out about anyway. For now, she and her friends were the only ones who knew what happened down in Tartarus.
  228. >And how will everyone explain their absence and injuries? Would anyone believe them?
  229. >One thing she knew more than ever though, was that she had to continue to protect this world from the dangers of magic.
  230.  
  231. THE END
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