Something Wicked This Way Comes
This chapter is a bit shorter than my previous one. But once I was finished with the Cadence's Visit chapters, I just had to get this out of my head.
Many of you have been asking me "How's Twilight?" and "Are we gonna check on Twilight?" I will be writing Twilight chapters, but it'll be after several chapters so as to extend the story. Many times, I've come close to revealing too much while writing this.
If I exposed too much, I'm sorry.
The title of this chapter is a little more on a play of Shakespearean humor, as it is a line from "Macbeth."
I do not own MLP. I own all of the OCs.
While Cadence was visiting with Aurora in Ponyville, Twilight Sparkle once again awoke to the dank cell she had been imprisoned in for the past two weeks. While Aurora was learning to walk as a quadruped for the first time, Twilight worked on re-learning her old hoofsteps. After twelve years as a human, it felt strange for her to have no hands once more. It would've been even stranger if she was allowed to practice her magic. But her captors made sure the magic-blocking shackle was on securely and that removing it would be impossible without a key.
Despite keeping her prisoner, her captors kept her well-fed, never abused her in any form, and even allowed her to read some of their books. Twilight could not help but wonder about why she was captured in the first place. What's more, how did their master even find out about the Gate in the caverns? The Changeling Queen told her that those caves were all but forgotten until the wedding fiasco. So how could…
Twilight's thoughts were paused as the sound of the dungeon door opening. Thinking it was her captors, Twilight set her head down to feign sleep, keeping one eye partially open to see what's going on. It was indeed two of her captors, ponies cloaked in dark crimson and dark electric green cloaks and robes, but they were dragging some sort of sack. Twilight felt a stone drop in her stomach as she kept silent, listening carefully as the cloaked ponies placed the sack in a cell next to hers.
"This one was quite the pain. She had us hunting her in the mountains for several days. It was only when we had cornered her in a cave that we were able to catch her." The crimson cloaked stallion spoke.
"What do you expect? That she'd come with us willingly? I will admit, brother, this one does have talent. Not many ponies can strip an entire village of their Cutie Marks and indoctrinate them into an 'equal' society." The green-cloaked stallion replied, using his hooves to quote the word "equal."
The red-cloaked pony, using crimson-colored magic, opened the sack and placed a shackle on a light purple hoof. The hoof belonged to a unicorn mare with a purple and aquamarine mane and tail. For some strange reason, her Cutie Mark was smeared. The mare was unconscious as they placed the shackle on her hoof.
"To be honest, I think the ponies in that town were relieved to see her go. One of the scouts said as soon as we chased her out, they charged into the cave where she kept their Cutie Marks and smashed the case they were kept in open. Regardless, this mare definitely has some power." Red-Cloak reported as they departed the dungeon.
Despite not being able to see Green-Cloak's eyes, Twilight was able to see a smile creep on.
"Yes. Where her power was not needed by the Master, she would have made an excellent sister."
As soon as the door closed and the lock clicked, Twilight opened her eyes and walked over to the neighboring cell. From the disheveled look on the mare, they must have had to knock her out in order capture her. Still, Twilight recalled what the stallions said. That this mare was capable of removing Cutie Marks from an entire village and brainwashing them into some sort of society. Twilight wasn't sure whether to be disgusted at how the mare used her magic or impressed that she was able to actually remove a Cutie Mark.
Upon seeing the mare begin to stir, Twilight picked up a pitcher of water that the guards gave her and poured into a cup and onto a rag. The process was…difficult for lack of words, as she found her hands useful back on the islands and her magic before that. Like with walking, Twilight had to practice things she normally would have done as either a human or a fully-powered unicorn. Still, she was able to pour a cup of water before her fellow prisoner woke up.
"Ugh…What happened?" the mare groaned as she lifted a hoof up to rub her head.
Twilight set the pitcher down as the mare began to take in her surroundings.
"Where am I?! How did I get here?!"
She then noticed Twilight, but failed to recognize her.
"And who are you?! Did you put me in here?!"
Twilight shook her head, keeping her composure to bring some sort of calm into the situation.
"No. In case you didn't notice the cell around me, I'm a prisoner, too."
She then lifted the cup to the mare.
"Drink this. It'll help calm you."
The mare narrowed her eyes at the cup, filled with suspicion. Knowing what she was thinking, Twilight spoke again.
"Don't worry. It's just water. Nothing strange, not even poison is in it. Just plain old water."
Heeding Twilight's words, the mare decided to try to take the cup. But something was wrong.
"My magic! Why can't I use my magic?!"
To answer her question, Twilight lifted her foreleg up, showing the mare the shackle.
"I found this on my leg when I woke up. It's some sort of magic-blocking shackle. It prevents us from using any magic at all."
The mare blinked in surprise as she took notice of her own shackle. Once again, she tried to use magic to remove the metal brace. But still no luck. Huffing in defeat, the mare decided to stick with her hooves to drink. Thankfully, she had little need for practice as Twilight did.
After drinking the water down, the mare handed the cup back to Twilight.
"Thanks. I needed that."
Seeing that she wasn't going anywhere, the mare decided to ask another question.
"Where are we?"
As the mare looked out the window in her cell, Twilight answered as she proceeded to fill the cup again.
"I'm not sure. Some sort of ancient fortress out in some sort of wasteland. I haven't been able to figure out much from this cell, but I am guessing this place is older than even the princesses."
The mare frowned as she looked out the window. Sure enough, her fellow prisoner was right. Outside the window was a veritable wasteland that held little life. Dead trees decorated the landscape and it was difficult to see any green between where she was and the mountains far ahead. The mountains stood like an imposing wall with no signs of entry. Shifting her gaze downwards, she saw a ruinous city circle the prison she was kept in. No doubt the dungeon she was in was part of either a castle or a fortress.
Twilight lifted up the damp rag with her hoof and held it up to the mare. Seeing her actions from the corner of her eye, the mare got back onto her four hooves looked at the rag in confusion. None the less, Twilight gave a friendly smile as she offered the rag.
"Your Cutie Mark is smeared. I figured you'd want to wash it away."
The mare looked down at her flank and saw that her Cutie Mark was indeed smeared. Frowning, the mare took the rag with her mouth before washing the Cutie Mark off, revealing a purple star with a teal wisp of magic above it.
"Might as well clean it." The mare muttered in disdain as she went on with her task.
Twilight waited until the true Cutie Mark was exposed before speaking again.
"Those stallions that brought you here mentioned that you had stripped your town of their Cutie Marks. May I ask why did you do it? If it is true, that is."
The mare frowned again but kept her gaze away from Twilight.
"That is none of your business. I don't go asking you about your personal business, do it?"
Twilight could only sigh. The mare was definitely unwilling to speak to her yet. Getting her to talk about it would only happen if she could earn the mare's trust. And while Twilight could leave the mare alone, she was relieved to have somepony to talk to. Maybe this mare wasn't as bad as she was thinking. Just misguided.
"I won't know until I can get her to trust me. I guess until we can escape or our captors decide to let us go, I'll have to earn her trust. Slow, yes. But at least there is a possibility that we could figure out an escape together. Maybe even become friends? But for now, I'll leave her be after this last question."
"Fair enough. I'll leave you be. But can I at least learn your name?" Twilight asked.
The mare was hesitant, but it may be better to at least hold a civil conversation with her cellmate rather than stare at a wall for Celestia-knows-how-long. With a sigh, the mare released her name.
"Starlight Glimmer. My name is Starlight Glimmer."
With a gentle, yet triumphant smile, Twilight spoke one last time.
"Well, it is nice to meet you, Starlight Glimmer. My name is Twilight Sparkle."
In another part of the fortress…
As Twilight and Starlight were exchanging names, the stallion in the green cloak entered a dark chamber within the heart of the fortress. Green stained glass windows provided the only means of light at his side. At the other, however, a pair of glowing green eyes glared from the darkness at him. The stallion gulped as he walked the ruined green rug before kneeling at the last set of windows before the eyes.
"My lord. We have successfully captured the pony that can remove Cutie Marks. She is in the cell next to the Element of Magic."
Though he could not see his lord's face, the look in his eyes told him that he was pleased. A sinister deep voice echoed in the chamber, sending shivers down the stallion's spine.
"Excellent, Poison Oak. With those two, I need one more powerful unicorn to complete the ritual. Only then can I truly return."
The stallion, Poison Oak, stood up as he gazed at his master.
"Do you have somepony in mind, my lord?"
The owner of the voice narrowed his eyes slightly, still showing no other feature.
"Unfortunately, that information will have to wait until those spies we've sent to the capital return with it. I barely had enough power to find that second pony."
Poison Oak gulped again. This time, it was a question he desired to ask.
"If I may, my lord. What exactly happened when you retrieved Twilight Sparkle?"
The eyes glared at Poison Oak. This time, it was menacing. Shaking under his hood, Poison Oak sought to correct himself.
"I-It's just that when you left to retrieve her, your power was nearing its peak. But when you returned with her, you looked like you were at death's door. Our army needs to know if Princess Celestia or any of the other alicorns are a threat or not."
The look in his master's eyes told Poison Oak that he really wanted to kill the pony before him. Any creature who dared to call the master weak was made an example of. Brutally. And from the look in his master's eyes, Poison Oak feared he was going to be another "example."
But instead, the owner of the eyes calmed down. It was a few minutes before he spoke to Poison Oak again.
"I had retrieved the Element of Magic as I intended. However, it seems she had produced a foal. One with powers that, if properly controlled, could destroy me. An abomination like…her…"
Poison Oak shivered as his master hissed at a memory. An unwanted memory. Poison Oak dared not to say anything, allowing his master to continue.
"It was an abomination that had undone me, I will not have another annihilate me!"
The master shifted his focus back to Poison Oak, riled up with hatred.
"Have another scout team search Equestria, nay, the world for a creature that is half pony! Find it and bring it to me. If it is the one that had caused my current condition, I will personally destroy it in front of its mother."
Not wanting to anger his lord even more, Poison Oak bowed.
"As you command, Master Apophis."
In the Canterlot Gardens: Night…
As Equestria slumbered under Luna's moon, a statue in the Royal Gardens shivered. It wasn't enough for the statue to fall, but it was enough to make movement. The statue itself was anything unlike anypony has ever seen. It was a creature made up of multiple creatures: a serpentine body that divided itself between mammalian and reptilian, a cloven hoof, a dragon leg, an eagle claw for an arm, a lion's paw for an arm, and a pony-ish head with a deer antler and a goat horn. The creature was expressing a fearful pose. As if it was afraid of something.
That is because this statue was actually a being who had twice made Equestria topsy-turvy. A creature who embraces chaos and opposes harmony.
Discord, the Lord of Chaos.
The last time Discord made movement in his stone prison, it was when he was unknowingly being freed by three arguing fillies from Ponyville. His mistake, however, was not making sure the Elements were ever found again by their bearers. He should have buried them in the deepest pit in all of Equestria.
But of course, like with his confrontation with the princesses, he got overconfident.
Now he was back in his stone prison.
From Lord of Chaos to Pit Stop for Pigeons: the ultimate humiliation.
Lately, he felt strange surges of magic from his stone prison. One unfamiliar, two familiar. He and he recognized both as Twilight Sparkle, after her twelve-year exile, and her captor. It was the latter that made him shiver. If he could, he'd narrow his eyes.
"So. He's back. And from the looks of it, he's still recovering from ten thousand years ago. If he's the one responsible for the blip that is Twilight Sparkle's magic, then he must be planning something big. And everything plans is never good or fun."
Once again, Discord struggled to escape his prison. Not because he wanted to be free to unleash his chaos once again, but because he knew how big the threat was.
"I must find a way to convince Celestia to free me. I have to get out of here and figure out a way to stop Apophis. Unless I find one who is born with Primordial Magic, I fear my big brother will doom us all."
Update: August 17, 2017: For the record, Apophis is NOT from Stargate. I have never see the show in my entire life. The Apophis in my story is based on the character from Egyptian Mythology.