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Flanking Maneuvers Bonus Story: Trial Seperation.

Mandroid Aug 9th, 2014 447 Never
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  1. =Flanking Maneuvers Bonus Story: Trial Separation=
  2.  
  3. >It was another day in Equestria.
  4. >Scratch that, it was a PERFECT day in Equestria.
  5. >You were relaxing on your bed.
  6. >Astra was soundly asleep and kicking her little toddler hooves in a pleasant dream.
  7. >Celestia way sitting next to you with a large strip of duct tape over her nagging mouth.
  8. >”Mmmmfffff!” she grunts in protest.
  9. >Yep. Perfect day.
  10. “Can’t hear you, enjoying myself.” You say, pillow over your head.
  11. >”Mmmmffffffff!!”
  12. >You silently stroke Astra’s ears in her sleep.
  13. >Your little baby girl had grown faster than you could have thought in the last few years, now only slightly smaller than the average filly her age and even speaking words and broken sentences.
  14. >Yes, soon you would be sending your precious daughter out into the world among all the little colts who grew up dreaming of wisking a beautiful princess off her hooves.
  15. >You were considering getting a machete to prepare.
  16. >But you couldn’t do that if Celestia didn’t stop the rhythmic thumping against your chest she was doing.
  17. >”Mfffff! Mff mff mfffff!!!”
  18. “OH MY GOD, WHAT?”
  19. >You –hated- being woken up.
  20. >You reach over and rip the duct tape off Celestia’s mouth to-
  21. >”AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
  22. >Celestia throws the pillow off your head and grabs your face, staring at you with wide eyes. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
  23. “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!”
  24.  
  25. -Theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZOBRbVCJL4 -
  26.  
  27. >You wake up and fall out of bed in a panic. Your hands fly around in a panic, grabbing the first solid object you could use as a weapon.
  28. >It happens to be a lamp that you brandish like a spear while Celestia sits straight up and screams.
  29. “GAH! WHAT WHAT? WHAT’S GOING ON? JESUS!”
  30. >Celestia sits in the bed panting just in time for Luna to come bursting through the door.
  31. >”Sister, did you see it too!?” Luna yells almost in her Royal voice, eyes wide in terror.
  32. >”He’s coming!” Celestia shouts back.
  33. “He is not! He’s standing here holding a fucking lamp wondering what the hell is going on!”
  34. >Luna and Celestia both look at you, still frantic.
  35. >Uhh…
  36. “Aaaand he’s annoyed he got woken up at-“
  37. >You look at the clock.
  38. “-3:38 in the goddamn morning! What the hell is up with you two?”
  39. >Celestia rolls out of bed and quickly puts on her royal jewelry, heading for the door. “Mous, any other time, I would happily indulge your…whatever it is you have, but not right now.”
  40. >You continue to stand there, lamp still brandished.
  41. “My whatever that is my curiosity to know why you two harpies are screaming at this ungodly hour?”
  42. >Celestia hurries out the door with her sister and gallops down the hallway. “There’s no time!” she shouts back, leaving you staring at her butt as she runs away.
  43. >You’re goddamn right there’s no time…
  44. >You put the lamp down and crawl back into bed.
  45. “No time for this bullshit is what there’s no time for…”
  46. >You close your eyes and attempt to pursue that wonderful dream you were having, except this time you’re also contemplating how you can burn down the castle too.
  47.  
  48. -A few days later-
  49.  
  50. >”Dada, hungee.”
  51. “I know sweety, hang on, we’re almost there.”
  52. >You cradle Astra in your arms while the two of you travel through the palace halls towards breakfast.
  53. >Ever since Celestia had woken up that one morning, she’d been jetting around between Canterlot, the Crystal Kingdoms, everywhere but home.
  54. >On the plus side, it let you bond with Asty. On the negative side, she was a handful of a toddler.
  55. >Still, a father’s work is never done.
  56. >You hold Astra up to your face while you walk.
  57. “You think we’ll see mammy at breakfast today?”
  58. >Astra tilts her head to the side, the golden locks of her trimmed mane falling in her eyes. “Where mammy?”
  59. >Uhhh…
  60. “She’s been busy the last few days, sweetie. Big important princess stuff.”
  61. >”Why?”
  62. >God dammit, not this again.
  63. “So all the ponies can live happy.”
  64. >”Why?”
  65. “Because it’s her job.”
  66. >”Why?”
  67. “Because her mammy picked her to.”
  68. >”Why?”
  69. “Because somewhere along the line, people thought a genetic hierarchy was a better way of choosing their leaders than electoral process.”
  70. >”…Why?”
  71. >You sigh.
  72. “Why is but the form following the function of what.”
  73. >Astra tilts her head some more. “Wha…?”
  74. “Don’t tilt your head, you’ll hurt yourself.”
  75. >You use your thumb and guide Astra’s head back to the correct position before you cradle her again. Grammar always made her shut up.
  76. >You walk out through a door onto the walkway that connects the living quarters to the rest of the castle proper. Down below, you can see several guards scrambling and shouting to one another to move faster.
  77. “…What in the hell-“
  78. >You’re cut off by a loud BOOM and the castle rumbling.
  79.  
  80. -Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp2KYBWAj4w-
  81. >In the time it takes your heart to beat, you’re bent over and crouched down, holding Astra close to your chest and only thinking one thought; “Protect daughter”.
  82. >Something was wrong.
  83. >You look down at Astra in your arms and quickly scan her over for any cuts or bruises.
  84. >”Dada?” she coos.
  85. “Not now, sweetie. We need to find mommy.”
  86. >You start walking at a quickened pace as more explosions shake the halls.
  87. >”Ignore it”, you think. “Ignore the rumbling, ignore the guards freaking out and running to and fro, and ignore the magister’s tower lighting up. Just keep walking and find Celestia. Don’t let the girl catch on. Protect your daughter.”
  88. “Astra? Where do we find mommy? Do you remember?”
  89. >You keep Astra’s head turned towards you with a gentle hand behind it, you had to keep her from freaking out as much as you were.
  90. >The fill ponders. “Uhhm…chair room?”
  91. >The throne.
  92. “A good guess, probably true. Can you name somewhere else mommy is?”
  93. >”Nummys!”
  94. >The dining hall.
  95. >You round the corner and slide past Shining Armor as he runs down the hallway towards another shattering explosion.
  96. >Keep her looking at you.
  97. “All good answers, sweetie. Why don’t we check some of those places?”
  98. >Astra claps her hooves together at the idea and then drifts her eyes around. “Wha happen?”
  99. “I’ve got no idea, honey. CELESTIA!”
  100. >You round another corner on the way to the throne room and keep shouting.
  101. “CELESTIA! ASTRA AND I ARE LOOKING FOR YOU NOW!”
  102. >Come on come on…
  103. >Another explosion rocks the hall and sends you teetering to the side. You prop yourself up on the wall and call again.
  104. “SUNBUTT!”
  105. >”Mous!” comes a voice from outside the window.
  106.  
  107. >You look in the window in time to see an alabaster white horse practically fall in and smack into the wall behind you.
  108. >”Mammy!” Astra laughs.
  109. >You rush over to your wife. She looked…extraordinarily haggard at the moment. She can join the club.
  110. “Celly. What the H-E-double-hockey-sticks is going on right now?”
  111. >Rearing a child had taught you how to avoid cursing.
  112. >Celestia rights herself and looks at the two of you, her expression if fear softening just a bit. “You…you’re both safe…thank the stars in the sky, you’re both safe.”
  113. >”Mammy! Mammy!” Astra squees, holding her hooves out and trying to wriggle to her.
  114. “Yes yes, we’re both fine. Now I repeat, what the shitake is going on?”
  115. >Celestia grabs you by the arm and begins to pull you down the hall. “There is no time! You need to go! Now!”
  116. “Celestia, WHAT?”
  117. >You pull your arm away and continue to support Astra. Celestia looks back at you both. “Mous we have to go NOW!!”
  118. >You’re starting to panic now, she seemed frightened and the castle was shaking. Those explosions hadn’t stopped either.
  119. “WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON-“
  120. >The castle shakes again. You grab Astra and go limp, bouncing off the wall as four aftershocks shake the ground.
  121. >”WHERE IS SHE?” a voice calls out.
  122. >You swallow the lump in your throat and look out the window. Four more stomps herald the arrival of a centaur, one with blood red skin and black eyes lit by infernal fires deep inside. Two sharp and jagged horns rose above his head and he towered as tall as some of the smaller buildings.
  123. >”WHERE IS CELESTIA!?” he shouts as a ball of chaotic energy forms between his horns and blasts a beam off into the hills far away.
  124. >The castle shakes again as an explosion where he fired goes off.
  125. >You turn back to Celestia and get your trembling hands under control around Astra, hugging her close.
  126. “Okay, lead on.”
  127.  
  128. “Astra, earmuffs.”
  129. >Astra plugs her ears with her hooves as you chase after Celestia who is running through the castle halls and heading down.
  130. “Celly what in crikey-fuck is going on out there!?”
  131. >”There’s no time, Mous! He’ll be on us in moments!”
  132. “WHO, WOMAN?”
  133. >Celestia rounds a corner and runs down some stairs. “Tirek! He’s escaped Tartarus and now he’s draining the magic of the kingdom! One pony at a time!”
  134. >GOD DAMMIT COSMO, THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE YOUR JOB.
  135. >Celestia bursts through some large wooden doors into a high and long, yet deserted hall. Deserted save for…a mirror?
  136. “Why is he HERE then? And what the Sam Hell is that thing?”
  137. >Celestia pulls one of Anon’s catalyst crystals out of her mane, the floor rumbles at what you can only assume is Tirek’s approach underneath your feet.
  138. >She should be floating that…
  139. >Astra still has her hooves on her ears so you don’t mince words.
  140. “Celestia…what is this? What’s going on?”
  141. >”There is no time, Mous…he’s getting closer.” Celestia tosses the crystal at the mirror. As the shard strikes the glass, you’re surprised to see ripples form like a pool of water.
  142. “…What in the fuck is this?”
  143. >”Something that will send you both away…I need you to take it.”
  144. >Whoa.
  145. >Wait.
  146. >What?
  147. “That’s…not going to happen, Celestia.” You say turning to her.
  148. >You get a good look at her now…her bright and cheerful pastel mane was muted and not moving like it’s supposed to. Her skin was no long pure white but an olive gray. Her normally magenta eyes with that hint of mischief now just looked tired.
  149. “Honey…what happened?”
  150. >Celestia opens her mouth to, you can tell, answer you, but whatever she was planning to say gets cut off.
  151. >”I CAN FEEL HER MAGIC, CELESTIA! SHOW IT TO ME! NOW!” roars the red devil after you. Celestia’s eyes shrink to the size of pinpricks at the shout.
  152.  
  153. >”There is so much that I wish I could say…but there simply isn’t time…”
  154. >You almost get a word of protest out but Celestia lunges forward and puts her lips against yours. It’s not like normal, they’re only there for a few seconds or so, but even with that short time you feel like you’re being told a dozen things she never got to say to you.
  155. >You blink twice as she breaks away and the crashing of stone gets loud.
  156. “Celestia…I…”
  157. >”Keep her safe, Mous.”
  158. >You meet her eyes, they’re begging you to listen.
  159. >”Above everything else…please keep her safe from him.”
  160. >As the crashing and smashing gets closer, Celestia ushers you two right in front of the mirror. She smiles a smile with no joy behind it as she lowers Astra’s hooves with her wings.
  161. >”Mammy?” she gets.
  162. >Celestia chuckles once and kisses Astra’s head. “Astra…my little star in the sky…I need you to be very brave. You will go with your daddy on an…adventure. You’ll be safe there.”
  163. >Astra tilts her head to the side. “Uuuu?”
  164. >Celestia nods and closes her eyes, a tear going down her cheek as she turns away. Once she is away, a massive red fist bursts through the door at the end of the hall, you feel Astra duck into your chest and instinctively hold her against you.
  165. >With the last her of will, Celestia makes her horn glow a faint gold.
  166. >You want to run to her, but your feet don’t move.
  167. “Celestia, let us help!”
  168. >”You already are, dear…be brave for mommy, Astra.”
  169. >The last thing you see as Celestia forces you through the portal with her magic is Tirek crashing through the far wall.
  170. >The last thing you hear is “Mommy loves you very much!”
  171.  
  172. >…Birds.
  173. >You hear birds.
  174. >Songbird, sparrow, the occasional raven, but you hear birds.
  175. >That’s…odd. From what you understand, there are no birds in giant kaleidoscope portals that reside in mirrors.
  176. >After the sensation of all your nerves firing after Celestia pushed you through the portal, you did not expect birds.
  177. >Paying more attention and pulling yourself from the panic you had been feeling, you feel more sensations.
  178. >You’re laying on something hard and cold, cobblestone you wager. The air is cool against your skin and the air smells like flowers. You feel Astra squirming in your grasp.
  179. >Just as you begin to relax from the fetal position around your daughter, you hear the clopping and stopping of hooves.
  180. >”What in-what is THAT?”
  181. >Your heart lurches and you roll off the ground into a low stance.
  182. “Who-?”
  183. >Your eyes drift to a unicorn standing before you. He was taller than most, regal, composed, beneficent. The air around him seemed to radiate calmness and collectedness, a pillar in a storm for all around him.
  184. >At least that’s what you’d notice if you were paying attention.
  185.  
  186. “Who the hell are you, buddy?”
  187. >He cocks his head to the side. “I could ask you the same.”
  188. “You could but I sure as hell wouldn’t answer it. Who are you, where am I?”
  189. >You hug Astra closer to your chest.
  190. >Whomever this was, he took a few steps forward. “You are in my home, I demand to know you who are.”
  191. >You grow angry and point a finger at him.
  192. “Listen up fuckstick, I just got home invaded by Satan’s goat-fucking cousin and pushed through a bad Beatles acid trip to get here and I didn’t put up with all that shit to get interrogated by Captain Skunk-stripe and his faggot cloak so why don’t you make with some goddamn info?”
  193. >You were a bit annoyed. You shouldn’t be swearing around Astra, but you can’t stop.
  194. “If this is your fucking house then I feel sorry for all your goddamn guests who come in here and get the fucking fifth goddamn degree-
  195. >Another voice cuts you off, a double flanged one. “Sombra? What are you shouting about?”
  196. >Wait what.
  197.  
  198. >Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.
  199. >You know that voice.
  200. >But first-
  201. “Sombra…” you growl.
  202. >You notice your head lowering and your teeth being bared.
  203. >Sombra was here…that pompous egotistical jackass was around 5 feet of your daughter.
  204. >There was only room for one pompous, egotistical jackass around her.
  205. >But this one was different…this one actually looked like he had friends, and bathed.
  206. >”What in the world…?” he says.
  207. “Not. One step closer, dickhead.” You say pointing.
  208. >Different looking or not, you weren’t letting him close.
  209. >You needed to get out of here. Get back to figure out what in the fuck was happening with Celestia. Keep Astra safe.
  210. >The voice comes back. “Sombra?”
  211. >Who now?
  212. >You regret thinking that as soon as she walks out from behind a bush. She gasps and you see her chitinous exoskeleton rise in unison. “Oh my word! Is that a filly in there?”
  213. >She was a bit of a lighter shade and her horn wasn’t weird and warped, plus her wings were round and looked like a butterfly’s, but there was no mistaking Chrysalis.
  214.  
  215. “Ap ap ap ap. Back off, bitch.”
  216. >She stops her approach with a cocked eyebrow. “Sombra…who is this? What is he? Where did he get that filly?”
  217. >You hold her closer and step back, keeping your good hand forward.
  218. “This Filly is my daughter, Princess Astra, daughter of Princess Celestia, now back up before I get a big rolled up newspaper.”
  219. >Chrysalis glares at you. ”Setting a fine example you are!”
  220. “Go suck a bug zapper, I’m a perfect influence on my daughter.”
  221. >”Daddy! Poobug!” Astra says against your chest, pointing at Chrysalis.
  222. >A long pause fills the air.
  223. >”…What did she say?” Sombra asks.
  224. >Astra is more than happy to answer for him, singing “Poobug! Poobug! Poobug! Poobug!” while clapping her hooves together and giggling up a storm.
  225. >You ignore Sombra and Chrysalis for a moment and hold Astra to your face.
  226. “Astra, sweety, you’re ruining daddy’s rep.”
  227. >Astra responds by blowing a raspberry in your face.
  228. >Goddamit.
  229.  
  230. >Not-Chrysalis takes another step towards the two of you. “Is that child…an Alicorn?” she asks.
  231. >You instinctively turn Astra further away from her.
  232. “Maybe. Hooves off.”
  233. >Not-Sombra remains stone faced. “And what are you?”
  234. “Her dad, that’s all that matters right now.”
  235. >Not-Sombra nods. “I see…and what am I to call you?”
  236. >The thought of faking –another- name tired you, so…
  237. “Mous. Where’s the exit?”
  238. >Sombra points behind you. “I believe you came through it.”
  239. >You turn your neck behind you, you were standing in front of a solid stone statue base of some pony or another, an unnaturally sparkling glass mirror residing on one side reflecting perfectly the imagine of you, Sombra, Chrysalis and Astra standing in this outdoor garden.
  240. >You bend your leg back and kick the statue, it’s hard as the rock it looks like.
  241. “God dammit…”
  242. >”Why are you here?”
  243. >You turn back you your “hosts”.
  244. “We were sent here by Celestia. There was…someone in the palace, she sent us away to protect us.”
  245. >”Protect you from what?”
  246. >”Will something follow you to the kingdom…?” Chrysalis asks.
  247. “Hey, I don’t know who it is, she called him… Tirek, or something. Big devil looking guy, smashed through the castle.”
  248. >”And Celestia was worried?” Sombra asks.
  249. “Yeah…really so…”
  250. >She wasn’t the only one worried, things rarely shook Celestia.
  251. >Sombra’s face visibly darkens. “Oh…dear…”
  252. “A...huh…where are we? I’d like to go home now.”
  253. >You bounce Astra a bit.
  254. >Sombra looks you in your eye. “You…are in another world, Mous. An Equestria not unlike your own, I wager.”
  255. >You look around at the trees, at the ponies before you, at the sky so dark and brooding.
  256. “Yeah…that would…make a bit of sense, I suppose…”
  257. >Sombra straightens himself out. “Come, we must away to the Tower of the Magisters.”
  258. >Chrysalis nods and follows Sombra as he trots out of the garden.
  259. “What? Why?”
  260. >Sombra looks back over his shoulder. “To learn the fate of your world…and if need be, ensure mine does not suffer the same fate.”
  261. >…Oh.
  262.  
  263. >You tail after Sombra.
  264. “Wait, what do you mean? What happened?”
  265. >”It was not often that Celestia and I spoke of such dark topics, but when we did, Tirek was among the darkest.”
  266. >Wait. What?
  267. “You know my wife?”
  268. >Sombra keeps his eyes ahead. “Aye.”
  269. “-How-?”
  270. >”Did you think it circumstance that after your trip through the mirror that you arrived safe and sound in my garden? In a world that would not attack you on sight at that? Tia has used that gateway many times in the past.”
  271. >You quietly follow along for a few steps.
  272. “And you…know her, huh?”
  273. >”I do.” He says facing ahead.
  274. >You stop.
  275. “Sombra.”
  276. >Sombra stops in his tracks and looks back over his shoulder at you.
  277. “You –knew- her?”
  278. >A tense silence fills the air before he nods. “As you no doubt do.”
  279. >You grit your teeth and grumble. Chrysalis stands next to the two of you with her lips pressed tight together and eyes shifting back and forth.
  280. “Right…keep going.”
  281. >Astra shifts in your hands and frowns. “Dadee, hungee.”
  282. >You take your mind off trying to glare a whole in Pretty Boy’s head long enough to stroke Astra’s cheek.
  283. “It’s okay sweety, we’ll get this taken care of and then find you some food. Okay?”
  284. >”Wan’ nana!”
  285. >You chuckle.
  286. “Okay, I’m sure they have bananas…”
  287. >Chrysalis looks back as you walk. “I can take her to the kitchens if you wish.”
  288. >Yeah, that’ll fucking happen.
  289. “No.” you state flatly.
  290. >”But she-“
  291. “No.”
  292. >”But the health ri-“
  293. “No.”
  294. >”Bu-“
  295. “Don’t make me say it again.” You say with a glare.
  296. >Astra was not leaving your arms…Not if you could help it.
  297.  
  298. >Sombra’s Tower of Magisters was in basically the same place as yours. You guess that the egotism of the Magisters required them to be the highest point in the city everywhere.
  299. >Inside were several rooms full of testing equipment and several times several ponies more than eager to do those tests on the strange new creature they saw and the mysterious new Alicorn.
  300. >And test you were forced to allow them to run if you ever wanted to get back home, but you wouldn’t let them test on Astra alone. If nothing else you would hold her while she had some strange pony looking at her teeth.
  301. >Interestingly enough, Sombra was present in all the tests, looking Astra over and consulting with the other magisters about the results, even offering his own input.
  302. >Big brain, strong jaw, and perfect hair? This guy was getting on your nerves…you also didn’t like how he was looking at Astra.
  303. >He looked sad.
  304. >That made you angry.
  305. >Eventually you have enough and begin ripping the suction cups that were on your head off.
  306. “Okay, okay, I’ve been stuck in here for who-the-hell-knows how long watching you nerds obsess over my brainwaves. Do you have –anything- helpful or would we be better off trying to get home with smiles and warm wishes?”
  307. >”Calm down, Sir Mous.” Sombra says behind a blinking doohickey. “We are simply trying to determine what method brought you here exactly…”
  308. “And what do your findings say, Mr. Spock.”
  309. >Sombra totally takes the bait and cocks a Vulcan eyebrow. “That you indeed traveled by the same pathways that brought Celestia here…so long ago.”
  310. >You grumble.
  311. “And what have you got for me in the way of making it right?”
  312. >Sombra sighs and walks over to you both. “The fortunate thing is that if the path is as stable now as it was during Celestia’s last visit, then it should be more than stable enough to send you home.”
  313. “Good.”
  314. >Good…
  315. >You were going nuts not knowing what was happening.
  316.  
  317. >Sombra sighs again. “I will send you…should you think it wise.”
  318. “Meeeeaning?” you ask, bouncing Astra.
  319. >Sombra points to Astra. “You were sent here to protect…her.  Returning could put her at risk.”
  320. “And –not- returning could put her mother and everyone else I care about at risk. Complacent stagnation is the key to defeat.”
  321. >Sombra just shakes his head. “I cannot agree. Nothing is solved or gained by acting impulsive.”
  322. >You glower at him.
  323. “Maybe the difference in our impulsiveness is why I’m where I am and you’re where you are.”
  324. >Sombra seems about to retort when one of his magisters gasps.
  325. >”Your highness we’re detecting something coming through the breach! Something MASSIVE!”
  326. >You and Sombra bolt out of the testing room and over to the guy. In front of him is a machine printing out readings like an earthquake detecting machine. Readings that spike off the page just a few seconds ago.
  327. “This is happening now?”
  328. >”Y-yes!”
  329. “Shut the portal thing! Trap him in there!”
  330. >Sombra begins to sweat. “Based on these readings, he might just break through if we did that.”
  331. >You hold Astra closer.
  332. “Sombra I –can’t- let him get here!”
  333. >”What do you propose we do then!?”
  334. >You grab Sombra’s face with your free hand.
  335. “Look. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I have will in abundance. Also, if I know my family, the best damn magic-thinker-tinker-dude to ever live is working this problem from his end, but we have to hold up ours, okay?”
  336. >You forcibly release him.
  337. “You know this place better than me, Mr. Perfect. SOLVE IT.”
  338. >You bounce Astra a bit so as to not worry her while Sombra and you exchange wordless looks.
  339. >Eventually, he nods. “Aye…summon Captain Goodguy!”
  340. >…
  341. >…Who?
  342.  
  343. >A desk at the far side of the room begins to shake like a thing possessed, Sombra runs over to it while you walk over to Chrysalis.
  344. “What in the hell is he getting a-“
  345. >Sombra yanks open the drawer and releases a tide of mismatched fur, scales, and horns that takes a familiar serpentine shape. “Helloooooo everypony!”
  346. “OH CUNTING HELL.”
  347. >Considering that this parallel world seemed to be checking off the boxes on your “People you fucking hate” list, you should have known Discord would make an appearance.
  348. >Chrysalis must sense your feelings. “Do you know the Captain?”
  349. “I had him killed.” You grunt.
  350. >Chrysalis’ look of unrepentant shock tells you that you may have said the wrong thing, so you try to recover.
  351. “…He got better.”
  352. >Sombra continues to talk with Other-Discord who for some reason is dressed like Bizarro’s more retarded cousin.
  353. >”Captain, calamity approaches. A Tirek from another world who is no doubt gorged on magic is breaking through the portal in the garden. If he arrives here…I cannot imagine what he will do. You must stop him! You are our only hope!” he pleads.
  354. >”Captain Goodguy” salutes the king. “Most assuredly, My Liege! I’ll show that troublemaker what for! Hoohoo!”
  355.  
  356. >He snaps his fingers and vanishes in a flash of light. Sombra blitzes past you. “Come! We can watch from the balcony!” he says
  357. >You follow the tide of every other pony in the room out to the balcony in time to see Discord appear in front of the statue you came out in front of.
  358. >The portal on the side of it was once a calm, cool blue, but now rotates in it an angry red coloration which fires sharp bolts of energy into the sky.
  359. >Everyone around you holds their collective breath as Discord rolls up his sleeves and assumes a magical stance, two fingers out and energy glowing around them.
  360. >The portal begins to stabilize and shift away from the red.
  361. >”Aha!” you hear him shout.
  362. >”Nothing can stop us when we all stick toge-“he begins before the portal shudders.
  363. >You’re close enough to see Discord turn back to look at the changing portal…just in time for a blast of atomic fire to catch him in the face and shoot him backwards.
  364. >The entire castle feels the shake as Discord slams into the wall and is buried under a pile of molten slag.
  365. “…Shit.”
  366. >The fire from the portal stops as it becomes fully red. Then an –all-too-familiar clawed hand bursts through and slams down as it finds purchase on new soil.
  367. >”DID YOU THINK ME DEFEATED?”
  368.  
  369. >Sombra wastes no time after his initial gasp and leaps off the balcony, floating down on a magically summoned cloud. “Guards! To me! We must hurry! We must drive the monster back!”
  370. >”My king!” Chrysalis exclaims leaning over the balcony.
  371. >”Keep them safe!” Sombra calls back.
  372. >On Sombra’s tail comes a veritable swarm of guards, Pegasus, unicorn, and earth pony alike that all charge the widening portal.
  373. >Another blood red hand bursts through and together with its twin, begins to drag through their master.
  374. >Even here and even though he’s only through up to his waist, he towers above almost all other things save the castle you stood in and stares at the world with soulless black eyes.
  375. >”YOUR WORLD SHALL LEARN THE SAME LESSON AS THE LAST, MORTALS… YOUR FRIENDSHIP CAN BE BURNED, YOUR UNITY CAN BE BROKEN, AND YOUR MAGIC CAN BE SHATTERED!”
  376. >Tirek slams his fist on the ground and fires another blast of fire into the sky.
  377. >”BRING ME THE ALICORN AND I SHALL MAKE THIS QUICK!”
  378. >You instinctively grip Astra close to your chest.
  379. >Tirek’s presence was raising hell, and not just here.
  380. >You felt the air getting hotter as he fired more of those blasts and the sky that was normally dark and gloomy now spun twisters that touched down on the horizon.
  381. >Ponies fought and struggled and got hurt below you to push Tirek back through the portal and he simple brushed them aside like flies
  382. >The world starts to go to hell, but the only think you can hear is a sniffling sound from your chest.
  383.  
  384. >You look down.
  385. >Astra has tears dripping down her face, her lips quivering as she looks around at the sights.
  386. >Tirek smashes the ground and fires off another burst of fire into the air, causing Astra to bury her face in your chest and stain your clothes with tears.
  387. >That’s when it sets in and you’re ashamed that you could forget it.
  388. >This chaos and destruction, this trip between worlds, it had all been for her.
  389. >It wasn’t about you, or Sombra, or Celestia, or even Tirek. Just her.
  390. >You had promised to keep her safe, no matter what the cost.
  391. >Even if the mere thought of it nearly killed you.
  392. >But…every moment of your life since her birth had been for Astra, and that wasn’t going to change here or now.
  393. >You raise the crying filly up to your head and kiss her scalp.
  394. “There there little star…everything will be alright…daddy is going to fix this…”
  395. >Astra looks up at you sniffling.
  396. >You know what you’re planning, you know what it would mean and what it could do…but it was all that was left that could keep her safe.
  397. “…I’m sorry, Astra.”
  398. >You reach her over to Chrysalis, getting her attention.
  399. “Here…hold her for me.”
  400. >Chrysalis’ reaction of surprise goes unseen by you as you turn around and head down the tower steps.
  401.  
  402. Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XmDYJBZZdc
  403.  
  404. >You walk out of the tower base into the battlefield.
  405. >Tirek remains half-in, half-out of this alternate world coming through the mirror.
  406. >You keep your pace quick as you pass by Sombra.
  407. “Mous, what are you doing down here?!”
  408. >You ignore him as you beeline for Tirek and think about what could be the hardest choice you’ve ever made and everyone it would effect.
  409. >You were sorry, Celestia. You were sorry, Anon. You were sorry both of the other friends you had, you don’t think you’d be around to see them anymore.
  410. >Astra…you were sorry for ruining her life.
  411. >You pass by a long abandoned blacksmith’s stall and grab a steel hammer from his anvil with your hand.
  412. >Tirek continues to assault the few remaining guards left as he continues his single minded pursuit of Astra, damaging this world in who knows how in the process.
  413. >But you had made a promise, and nothing would stop you from keeping it.
  414. >Not rain, nor tornado, nor the devil himself.
  415. >You brandish your hammer in one hand as you get close enough to Tirek. He meets your eye just as you’d hoped as you wind up.
  416. >Good, you wanted him to know who did this
  417. >The moments after you throw the hammer his way seem to last an eternity as the tool sails through the air and…past Tirek.
  418. >And then all around the world is heard the sound of shattering glass.
  419. >Your heart sinks at the finality of what you just did as the mirror loses integrity and falls to the ground.
  420. >Tirek, being caught in the mirror, loses his integrity as well below the waist, his torso collapsing to the ground with an earth shaking “THUMP!”
  421. >You’d have heard it if he wasn’t screaming bloody murder.
  422. >Tirek thrashes on the ground for a few seconds before he, like all other animals, begins to go into shock and stills.
  423.  
  424. >It’s then that you walk over to his head and glare down into those black and yellow eyes that were slowly losing what life they still held with all the rage in your heart.
  425. “You took everything from me…” you say.
  426. “Your greed…necessitated this. Now everything that I am, everything that I was, is gone…you’ve taken almost all the things I care about in the world and taken me away from them.”
  427. >You feel a pain in your chest.
  428. “This fate…it’s too good for you.”
  429. >Tirek’s irises strain to focus on you and you feel him lift his arm in a futile gesture before it falls and his eyes go dark.
  430. >As silence falls on the ruins of the garden and the corpse of the God now inside it, you feel a great wave of shame, failure, and emptiness wash over you.
  431. >So you turn on your heel and walk back to the castle.
  432. >There you see Chrysalis holding Astra and Sombra, both looking on in shock.
  433. >”Mous…you destroyed the link…”
  434. “I know.” You say bluntly, taking your last ray of sunshine from Chrysalis and holding her close.
  435. >”Do you…know what that means?” Sombra asks as you walk past him.
  436. “We’ll need a room…” you say, entering into the castle.
  437. >Astra, now calm, looks at the mirrored halls and then up to you.
  438. >”Dada…where mammy?”
  439. >You don’t answer and just continue down the home that was not your own.
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