Friends and Monsters:
My Little Pony meets Godzilla
The King of Terror
Garble the dragon kicked the nearest rock in frustration. Since the rock was a lot harder than his toes, this only made him angrier. Where was that stupid letter, anyway? If there was one more delay, he'd have to hunt down the stinking pony who was running this course and teach her how to be punctual.
Bad enough he'd been humiliated by a pony-loving little squirt of a dragon and had lost out on being Dragon Lord to a girl. Now his opportunity for vengeance was being held up because of bad postage. The world was completely unfair to him. He was a great dragon! Much better than her-pony-loving-highness, Princess Ember. If he were in charge…when he was in charge, he'd really make the dragons something again.
Assuming he didn't die of old age waiting for that last stupid spell!
"Uh, excuse me?"
Garble turned around to find a shivering pegasus mailpony with a gray coat and eyes that pointed in different directions.
"Are you…" she focused her goggling eyes with an evident effort and squinted at the envelope. "'Gurble or current resident'?"
"About time!" he snapped, grabbing the letter out of her hoof. "What kept you so long?"
"I really, really sorry, Mister," she said. "I filling in for somepony else today, and don't usually make deliveries this far from home, so…"
"Whatever! Just get out of here so that I don't have to look at you!"
The mailpony didn't need telling twice. She was gone almost before Garble had finished threatening. Feeling a little better for having pushed someone around, Garble ripped open the (to him) tiny envelope and unfolded the pamphlet:
"Congratulations, Student of the Great and Powerful Trixie! You now hold in your hands the key to unlimited power! This final spell will allow you to rip the very fabric of realty to cast your gaze upon the inhabitants of another dimension. Follow these instructions, together with the preliminary spells we learned last week, and watch your world dissolve!
"Are you satisfied with Trixie's course? For a low, low payment, you can receive her advanced studies degree in…"
Garble ignored the five or so pages of advertisements and focused on the spell. This was it. He was going to find the most powerful, most feared dragon in all existence, and with its help, he was going to take his rightful place as Dragon Lord.
Carefully, he studied the spell, making sure he had it memorized. Then he placed his hands as he had been instructed, and called upon the magic to cast the spell.
"Oh, great and endless magic!" he declared. "Show me the mightiest dragon of all, in this world or any other!"
The spell flashed, there was a swirl of color, and he found himself looking at...
A field of stars.
"…That's it?" he said. "Where's the dragon? Stupid pony spell! I knew this wouldn't…"
His words ended in a yelp of shock as something passed before his view. It was fire: pure, destructive fire, yet it had an unmistakable shape. A serpentine head and neck, ringed with horns, and, peering through the portal at him, a single golden eye.
What have we here?
The voice was not sound; it was thought, driven directly into Garble's brain like a spike. He cringed and ducked away.
Who are you?
"I…I am Garble!" he said, trying to recover himself. "Rightful lord of the dragons! I used magic to call on you, oh greatest of all dragons, that you might…you know, help me take my throne."
The eye glared at him.
What is this nonsense? How are you speaking to me?
"Magic," he said. "I used magic to seek out the greatest dragon in all the worlds."
What world do you hail from?
"I come from the Dragon Lands east of Equestria: the stupid country of the ponies."
Your world has life, said the Dragon. I can sense it from here. Let me into your world, and I will give you what you seek.
Garble would have been only too happy to do so…but he didn't really know how.
"Uh…I can't," he said. "This spell doesn't let me, you see."
Then cast one that will.
"T-there is none," he said.
The eye narrowed, and Garble suddenly felt as though claws of ice were gripping his brain.
Do not lie to King Ghidorah, insect! I see it all. You are no wizard; you are nothing but a child playing with toys he does not understand. I should suck your soul out of your body and leave it to rot!
Ghidorah paused, and Garble collapsed in sudden relief, gasping. This was not at all going as he had planned.
But perhaps I have been too hasty, said King Ghidorah. Stand up, boy!
Garble hastily got to his feet.
You want power? You wish to take vengeance on your enemies?
"Y-yes," he said.
Will you serve me? Accept me as your lord?
"I…I will do anything, as long as we teach those ponies a lesson!"
Then touch the portal.
Garble hesitated a moment. He had already gotten much more than he had bargained for, and a small voice inside him said that he ought to run, now, and never look back. But he thought of the ponies, of Princess Ember, and of that little twerp, Spike, and his anger rose again, conquering his fear. He laid his claw onto the edge of the portal. It felt a little like a sheet of ice.
Fire flowed into his claw, up his arm, and into his heart. The portal vanished, and Garble fell backward, roaring writhing as the unbearable heat spread to his limbs, his wings, and every portion of his body. Each individual scale and spine felt as if it were melting. He howled, shooting jets of flame in his agony.
Feel it, said Ghidorah's voice. Feel my spirit take hold. Your body belongs to me, your soul is my property, and my power is yours.
In his agony, Garble didn't immediately realize he was growing. His wings stretched out, his limbs became long and powerful, his head lengthened, and along with the pain came the sensation of new power.
At last it was over. He lay, gasping, shocked by the transformation.
Rise, said Ghidorah. Rise, Mogu.
Garble sat up, then stood on his hind legs, flexing his claws. He was enormous: almost as large as former Dragon Lord Torch. More than that, he felt power radiating through every limb. He opened his mouth, but instead of just fire a beam of pure, radiant heat burst forth in a crimson ray of destruction.
"That's more like it!" he said, punching a craggy outcropping and pulverizing it to dust. "But…wait, what did you call me?"
You are not longer 'Garble,' said Ghidorah. You have a portion of my spirit within you. Your name is Mogu.
"Mogu…yes." He threw back his head and roared. "I AM DRAGON LORD MOGU!"
Far away, in Equestria, Princess Twilight Sparkle slept peacefully in her castle just outside of Ponyville. She had been so glad to get into bed after another hard day, and now she wore a contented smile on her face as she slept.
Now, however, she found herself waking to the sound of singing. The awareness of it stole over her slowly, but steadily, as if she were sinking into a warm bath. The song was high, clear, and of an unearthly beauty, sung in a language she didn't understand.
She opened her eyes. Her room was full of light, yet the light didn't sting her eyes. In the midst of the light, there hovered two tiny, rose-colored pegasi, identical down to the last feather. They were about the size of breezies, but were proportioned the same as any full-sized pony. Twilight had never seen anything like them.
"Princess Twilight Sparkle," they said in unison. "Your world is in great danger."
"Who are you?" she asked. She still thought she must be dreaming.
"We are the Shobijin," they answered. "The heralds of Mothra. We have come to warn you that a terrible evil has entered your world from ours."
"What do you mean? What evil? And who is Mothra?"
"Mothra is the Guardian of Life," they answered. "The enemy of the King of Terror: the great destroyer, the slayer of a thousand worlds, who brings death upon golden wings. We have come to warn you that a portion of his spirit has left our world and entered yours."
"I don't understand."
"The King of Terror has chosen his host," said the Shobijin. "Your world will not see another nightfall without knowing his wrath."
"Wait, wait," said Twilight, sitting up in bed, her mind beginning to clear. "I still don't get it. Who are you? Who's the King of Terror? What do you want?"
"We will hear when you call," they said. And with that, they were gone.
Twilight sat in bed, trying to wrap her brain around what had just happened. It was certainly one of the odder experiences she'd had recently, though it was nowhere near the strangest (she spent time with the Master of Chaos on a regular basis: it took a lot to shock her). She was confused, but more than that, she was worried. A warning like this, offered in the middle of the night by obviously magical beings, never ended up being a false alarm.
A few hours later, Spike the dragon found her in the larger library, apparently going through every book she had.
"Twilight?" he said, rubbing his eyes. "You're up early."
The violet alicorn looked frazzled and her magenta-stripped mane was unkempt. Spike felt his spirits sinking; when Twilight looked like that, it usually meant trouble.
"I couldn't sleep," she said. "I just had the strangest dream, and I'm trying to figure out what it meant."
"Why don't you just write Princess Luna and ask her?" he suggested.
"No, no; it wasn't that kind of dream. In fact, I don't think it was a dream at all. More a vision, or maybe some kind of magical communication. Anyway, they said they came from another world, so I doubt Luna would know any more about them than I do."
"That's what I've been trying to figure out!" said Twilight. "But I can't find one word about them, or Mothra, or the King of Terror!"
"You're gonna have to go back a bit," said Spike. "Because I didn't understand a word of that."
Twilight sighed and rubbed her tired eyes.
"Me neither," she said. "But we need to understand! They said that the King of Terror was going to attack today, and I'm trying to figure out what it is so that we can be ready when it does!"
"Uh…Twilight, is it possible you were just dreaming?"
"No, Spike; it isn't!" she said. "And anyway, I can't that chance. Now come on; we need to find out who this King of Terror is and why he's attacking Equestria."
"Maybe it's somepony's nickname for Tirek or King Sombra," he suggested.
"Duh! That's the first thing I thought of," she said. "I spent an hour looking up every scrap of information I could about them, but I never found that either one had ever been called that. Besides, the Shobijin said he came from beyond this world. I've already written to Sunset Shimmer to see whether she's heard of him, but in the meantime, I need you to go through all these books on magical creatures and let me know what you find."
She telekinetically picked up a huge pile of books and dropped them in front of Spike. He groaned and set to work.
"Come on, Fluttershy!" said Rainbow Dash, who was nearly pulling her multi-colored mane out with frustration. "You said a couple minutes. That was, like, a half hour ago! How much longer is this going to take?"
"Oh, I'm sorry, Rainbow Dash," said Fluttershy. "I was so interested in what Mr. Manfred C. Manticore had to say about his childhood that I completely lost track of the time!"
They were outside of Fluttershy's cottage on the edge of the Everfree Forest. A bed of heather had been built up and the manticore with anger management issues was lying on it as he told the lovely yellow pegasus pony his woes.
"Yeah, well, come on!" said Rainbow Dash. "If we don't hurry, Pinkie's going to drink all the cider without us!"
"I'm afraid we're going to have to leave things there for the present," said Fluttershy to the huge scorpion-tailed lion. "Same time next week? And until then, remember those techniques I taught you for managing your temper; I'm sure you'll find they work wonders."
The manticore roared happily, gave her a big hug and a huge, wet kiss that left her mane sticking up, and lopped off into the woods.
"I hope Applejack isn't upset that we were late to her luncheon party," said Fluttershy as the two pegasi flew down the road to Ponyville.
"Who cares?" said Rainbow Dash, who was flying at what seemed to her an interminably slow pace so as not to leave her friend behind. "I just hope they still have cider! Applejack set this whole thing up so that we'd be able to have some without trying to beat the rush, and I don't want to miss it!"
The sky-blue pegasus with the rainbow-colored mane never did anything halfway, least of all her love of apple cider. Sweet Apple Acres only produced it a couple times a year, and Rainbow Dash dreaded missing it.
The sleepy little town of Ponyville was a bright, cheerful collection of cottages and small shops nestled in a lush valley in the heart of Equestria. The capital city of Canterlot, built out of the side of Mount Equine was just visible on the northern horizon, while to the south lay the vast Everfree forest. The earthen streets were already bustling with ponies moving to and fro on their business. They passed Doctor Hooves and Derpy talking outside of the Cheval Café.
"…It was so scary! I'm never delivering to the Dragon Lands again!"
"You poor dear! That reminds me of the time…"
Mr. and Mrs. Cake waved at them from the sweet shop at Sugarcube Corner, while Bulk Biceps hawked cinnamon nuts from his cart in the town square. Lyra Heartstrings and Bon Bon were chatting on a bench as usual, and Mayor Mare stood on the steps of town hall, talking to Filthy Rich and Zecora the zebra. It was another quiet, peaceful day in Ponyville.
"Pick up the pace, Fluttershy!" Rainbow Dash said. "I can feel the cider supply vanishing every second!"
They soared out of town and over Sweet Apple Acres, past the rows and rows of apple trees, and finally burst into the barn.
"We're here!" Rainbow gasped. "Tell me there's still cider!"
"Of course there's cider, Rainbow Dash," said Applejack. "I promised y'all would get some, didn't I?"
Rainbow's face split into a grin and she zipped into her seat next to Pinkie Pie, the perky pink party pony, who was playing with a balloon animal, while next to her Rarity, the lovely white unicorn, was reading a style magazine.
"Hmm," she said. "According to Hoity Toity, green is going to be in this season…I wonder, Fluttershy, if I could prevail upon you to let me use you as a model…"
"Oh, um, I'm flattered and all, but after what happened last time, I just don't know…" said Fluttershy as she took her seat.
"I don't mean to model for photographs," said Rarity hastily. "Celestia knows I don't want to go through that again any more than you do. But your whole figure just screams 'green' to me, and if I make you a new dress, I think it might turn out to be just be what Hoity Toity is looking for."
"Um, well, if it'll help you…" said Fluttershy hesitantly.
"Splendid!" said Rarity. "Drop by my boutique this afternoon and we will get cracking!"
"Ooh, why don't you use Tank for inspiration?" said Pinkie, tying her balloon into an approximation of Rainbow Dash's pet. "He's green."
"Yes, well, I don't think the fashion world is quite ready for a 'flying turtle' line," said Rarity with as much delicacy as she could manage while holding in her laughter.
"He's a tortoise," said Rainbow Dash. "Come on, Applejack! Where's our cider?"
"I'm waitin' until everypony gets here," said the straightforward yellow earth pony. "'Cause I know once you start it won't be long 'till there's none left."
"Yes, where is Twilight?" asked Rarity. "I do hope there isn't a friendship emergency today: I simply must get started on my new line."
"Ugh!" Rainbow groaned. "I'll go see what's taking her. And you girls better not drink all my cider before I get back! "
Before any of the others could respond, she zoomed out of the barn in the direction of Twilight's castle.
Rainbow Dash was one of the fastest ponies in all of Equestria, and being motivated by the desire for cider made her fly even faster. She made it across Ponyville to the Castle of Friendship in record time.
"Twilight!" she called as she flew into the library through an open window. Twilight shrieked and dropped her book.
"Don't burst in like that!" she said, clutching a hoof to her heart. "You scared me!"
"Sorry," said Rainbow, looking around at the huge piles of books. "What's going on? Applejack's waiting to serve cider until you get there."
"Oh, right! I completely forgot!" said Twilight. "Sorry, Rainbow Dash. I'll be right there. I need to talk to you all about something anyway."
Rainbow sighed. She could guess what that meant.
"We're about to have another adventure, aren't we?"
"I think so, yes."
Rainbow Dash groaned. "Alright, but cider first; adventure later."
"So, that's all I know," said Twilight as the six friends finished up their cider. "And I couldn't find one word about any of this in any of my books."
"I gotta say, Twilgiht, that's weird; even for us," said Applejack. "And you have no idea who this here 'King of Terror' is?"
"None whatsoever," sighed Twilight. "I even asked Sunset, but she doesn't know anything about it either, so it's not from her world."
"And we've been combing the library all morning looking for anything that might even remotely be related, and came up with nadda," Spike said.
"Hm," said Rarity. "I suppose if it comes from another world, there wouldn't be anything, would there?"
"But then how are we supposed to prepare for it?" said Twilight. "What was the point of warning us?"
"Apparently, not so that you could read up on it," said Rainbow Dash.
"Yeah!" put in Pinkie. "If that was it, I'm sure the Shubba-Wubbas would have told you what book to read."
Twilight elected not to address Pinkie's pronunciation of 'Shobijin.'"
"Okay," she said. "But how will we know how to fight the King of Terror? Or even who he is, or when he's started his attack?"
"Uh," said Spike, looking out the window. "I'm pretty sure we'll know."
He pointed. The ponies all looked and gasped. A huge shape was approaching at high speeds, beating the air with enormous wings.
"Dragon!" Rainbow Dash shouted. Fluttershy shrieked and dived under the table. Twilight telekinetically pulled her out and the six ran to meet the oncoming monstrosity.
"You think that's the King of Terror?" asked Applejack.
"It's certainly scary enough," said Pinkie.
"But it's just a dragon," said Rainbow Dash. "You'd think something from another world would be, you know, different. I mean, we have dragons; there's nothing special about them."
"Yes, there is!" said Fluttershy, still trying to escape Twilight's magic. "They're terrifying!"
The monster dragon soared lower and lower, making for an empty field about a mile or so outside of Ponyville. The six raced to intercept him. Then Spike realized something.
"Hold on," he said. "That's Torch!"
"Who?" asked Rainbow.
"The former dragon lord," said Spike. "What's he doing here?"
"So…not the King of Terror?"
"No way," Spike answered. "Just an ordinary, home grown…giant dragon."
Fluttershy squeaked in terror.
"Don't worry, Fluttershy," said Spike. "He's…well, he's not nice, but he's all right as dragons go."
"Besides, he's Princess Ember's father. You like Ember, right?" said Twilight.
"Yes, Ember's nice," said Fluttershy, who seemed comforted enough to at least stop trying to fly away. "I hope her dad isn't angry about anything."
The six ponies and Spike galloped into the field before the enormous dragon. Torch was almost as large as Twilight's whole castle, and he looked exhausted. Not only that, but he was bruised and bleeding from numerous fresh-looking injuries, and his armor was rent and dented in places. His daughter, Princess Ember the Dragon Lord, was riding on the top of his head. The blue-and-gold dragon was considerably smaller than her father; not a whole lot bigger than Twilight, in fact. She soared down to meet them, looking just as haggard at her father, though she was free from injuries. The Bloodstone Scepter that marked her status was still in her hand.
"Spike," she said. "Princess Twilight. We need help."
"What is it?" asked Twilight. "What happened?"
"We've been overthrown," Torch growled.
"You remember Garble?" said Ember. "Well, he's back. And he's…different. Bigger; a lot bigger. And much more powerful! He must have gotten his hands on some kind of magic or something; I've never seen anything like it! He just suddenly attacked this morning and overwhelmed us."
"I don't understand," said Spike. "Shouldn't the Bloodstone Scepter make it so that he can't do anything against your orders?"
"Yeah, it should," said Ember. "But it didn't do anything! He didn't even flinch when I ordered him to stand down. He just flew right up and attacked my father and…well…"
"'E threw me about like I was a tiny manticore!" Torch admitted. "Absolutely destroyed me. Never had anything like that happen in a hundred years!"
"I ordered every dragon in the area to help, but all it did was slow him down a bit," Ember went on. "Finally we just flew for it, leaving him in control of the dragon lands. We came here hoping you could help us."
"Of course!" said Spike. "We'll do everything we can!"
He turned to Twilight.
"Uh, which is…what?"
Twilight tapped her chin, thinking. This had to have something to do with the King of Terror…but that couldn't mean Garble; she'd met Garble before, and he wasn't from any other world.
"First of all, we should discuss this with Princess Celestia. If Garble's taken over the Dragon Lands, he'll be heading for Equestria next. Come on, Ember; there's something I need to tell you about on the way..."
As they flew to the ivory and gold mountainside city of Canterlot, Twilight told Ember all about the warning she had had from the Shobijin. Ember hadn't heard of any King of Terror, but she admitted that it probably had something to do with Garble's inexplicable new power.
"He kept boasting that he had a new ally," she said. "That he had 'the spirit of the most power dragon in any world.' I couldn't figure out what he was talking about."
Since Twilight was one of the most important ponies in Equestria, and Ember a major ally, they had no delay in being admitted for an audience with Princess Celestia and Princess Luna. The two tall, slender alicorns - Celestia as bright, kind, and lovely as the day, and Luna as dark, gentle, and beautiful as the night - listened with deep concern to both their stories.
"The King of Terror," said Luna. "I don't believe I've heard of it."
"Nor I," said Celestia. "But if Princess Twilight's vision is correct, then it has come to Equestria and must be dealt with as soon as possible."
"He was pretty clear that after he finished conquering the Dragon Lands, his next move would be to burn Equestria to the ground," said Ember. "He hates you even worse than he hates me."
"Then we cannot delay: we must meet him at once," said Celestia.
"Are you sure we can handle him?" asked Twilight. "I mean, he beat up Torch!"
"We've fought powerful dragons before, Princess Twilight," said Luna. The sisters exchanged glances. "But we will not be facing him alone."
Celestia nodded and Princess Luna vanished in a flash of purple light. When she had gone, Celestia led the other two out onto a balcony looking south across Equestria.
"So, do we have a plan?" asked Twilight.
"We will all travel to the Dragon Lands at once to subdue Garble before he can cause any more harm," said Celestia.
"I hope you know what you're doing," said Ember. "No offense, your majesty, but I've seen him in action."
"I don't intend to underestimate him, Princess Ember," she said. "That is why my sister and I are going to meet him at once, together with Princess Twilight. My plan is to use sudden, overwhelming force to stop him as soon as possible.
"You know, Ember, it might be better if you waited here," said Twilight.
"That's my country he's taken," said Ember fiercely. "My people he's attacking. There's no way I'm saying behind."
Celestia smiled and nodded in approval. "I would expect nothing less from the Dragon Lord."
A moment later, Luna reappeared, and with her was…
"The one and only," said the Master of Chaos with a flamboyant gesture. "It seems I've been drafted." He was wearing a green military uniform that was probably familiar to some time period or another.
"I'm glad you agreed," said Twilight, feeling honestly relieved to see him (which was a rare experience as far as he was concerned). With the body of a snake, the head of a pony, the tail of a dragon, and with limbs and horns from several different creatures, Discord look rather silly, but the draconequus wielded some of the strongest magic in all of Equestria, able to effectively alter reality at will. Twilight had no idea what they were getting themselves into, and having his raw power behind them made her feel much more confident about their mission.
"Yes, well, I'm not doing it for free," he said. "Dear Luna here promised to do me a favor once we've finished, which, considering I'm me, shouldn't take long."
With that, he snapped his fingers and all five of them vanished from Canterlot and appeared in the skies over the Dragon Lands. Twilight yelped in surprise and dropped several feet before catching herself.
"Warn us next time!" Ember shouted.
He shrugged, but they didn't have time to argue further. A tremendous roar echoed across the mountainous landscape and they all turned to see their foe soaring across the skies in front of them.
Garble was enormous. He wasn't quite as big as Torch, but he was pretty close. Twilight could hardly believe that was him. He was a deep, blood red, with enormous golden wings spread on either side and a crown of horns about his head. His long, powerful tail ended in a sharp, bony hook.
"Excellent," said Discord. "Let's get this over with. Farewell, Gargle, or whatever your name is!"
He snapped his fingers…and nothing happened.
The four princesses looked at him. Discord had an expression as though he'd swallowed a lemon.
"Let's try that again…" he said, and snapped his fingers. Then again. And again.
"What are you trying to do?" Ember asked.
"I'm trying to turn him into a harmless little lizard," said Discord. "And it ought to work! Look…"
He snapped his fingers and Twilight suddenly found herself a tiny, violet bird with a horn. She twittered angrily, but he turned her back almost at one.
"See?" he said. "There's nothing wrong with my power, so why isn't it working on him?"
Meanwhile, Garble had caught sight of them. His face broke into a cruel grin as he made right for them.
"Ugh, we'll figure it out later!" said Twilight, and she fired a beam of magic straight at the oncoming dragon. Princess Celestia and Luna did the same, while Ember shot a stream of pink fire at him. The four beams struck Garble full in the face, but he didn't even flinch. He opened his jaws, and Celestia teleported them away just before his crimson heat beam engulfed the skies where they had been seconds before. They reappeared some distance behind him. He whirled around and laughed.
"You pathetic little ponies!" he said. "You think you can use magic on me?"
He fired another crimson beam, and Celestia encased them in a shield, but even so they felt the heat and were driven back through the air. Garble snarled and soared after them.
Discord stared blankly at him, then narrowed his eyes in thought for a moment. He snapped his fingers. A fire hose with a nozzle the size of a cannon appeared in his hands (together with a firepony outfit), and he shot a jet of water straight into the dragon's face. Garble yelled and sputtered angrily.
"There," said Discord happily. "If at first you don't succeed…"
The rest of his words were drowned in a roar from Garble that sent them all tumbling through the air. The jet of heat burst from his mouth once more, evaporating the water instantly. This time Luna teleported them all out of the way right before it hit.
"Your sissy magic won't work on me now!" Garble roared. "I've got the spirit of the most powerful dragon ever on my side! You stupid little ponies think you can match the personal vessel of King Ghidorah?"
Celestia gasped. Garble banked and flew straight at them.
"Garble is gone!" he said. "I am Mogu!"
Before Twilight could even begin to think of what to do now, Celestia's horn flashed and all at once they were back on the balcony in Canterlot.
Discord, who was holding a water balloon as if her were about to throw a fast ball, glanced about in confusion.
"What did you do that for?" he said. "I was just about to make my move!"
"No, Discord," said Celestia, breathing hard from the extreme display of power she had just done. "The situation is far worse than I had ever suspected. We can't fight Garble with magic."
"Oh, poo," he said. Then he glanced at his water balloon, shrugged, and tossed it into the air. It burst into a torrential rainstorm that drenched the ponies and Ember.
"Discord! This is serious!" Twilight snapped.
"I know!" he said from under an enormous pink umbrella. "I thought the weather should reflect the dreary mood of our defeat."
Princess Luna dispelled the rainstorm with a flash from her horn. Discord gave her a disapproving look.
"What do you mean, Princess Celestia?" asked Twilight. "Did what he said mean anything to you?"
She nodded. "Garble – or Mogu as he now calls himself – said he was the vessel of King Ghidorah."
A shadow seemed to pass over the castle. Luna and Celestia looked as somber as Twilight had ever seen them.
"Who is King Ghidorah?" asked Ember.
"A being so terrible that rumors of him have penetrated the very walls of reality," said Princess Celestia. "Come with me; I will show you."
She led the way to her private library. She and her sister joined their horns together, and part of the floor melted away to reveal a hidden vault with a single ancient book.
"This is one of the treasures my sister and I have kept for ages," said Luna. "Together with the mirror that leads to the other world, it is among the most mysterious objects we know about."
She opened it. The pages were brittle and Twilight couldn't read the writing. But she saw the images, and they were frightening. They showed an enormous three-headed beast with bat-like wings blotting out the sky, while below creatures of all kind fled its shadow. She turned the pages to find even more horrible images, all of death and destruction.
"King Ghidorah is the enemy of all life," said Celestia. "It is said that, near the beginning, he was bound in one world, from which he was never to escape, so that his hatred could be contained, even if it could not be stopped."
"But it seems Garble has somehow allowed a portion of that evil spirit to enter our world through him," said Luna.
"Fascinating," said Discord, who was lounging on a couch he'd conjured up, flipping through the horrible volume as if it were a bit of light summer reading. "But I don't see where it says he's immune to magic."
"Ghidorah is an ancient spirit, born before the beginning of all worlds," said Celestia. "The dark power he wields is beyond any magic. Even yours, Discord."
"But how did he get here?" said Twilight. "And how do we stop him?"
"That we cannot say," said Luna. "An event such as this has never happened before, in our knowledge."
Twilight thought hard. Something beyond the knowledge of either the two princesses or Discord…not that Discord was much for studying. She hadn't encountered anything like that since her niece, Flurry Heart, was born an alicorn.
Thinking of Flurry Heart made her remember the disaster that had almost occurred then: the shattering of the Crystal Heart. But they had fixed it, with…
"I think I know who can help us," she said. "And, luckily, he's right here in Canterlot."
Twilight's friend and former student Starlight Glimmer had been in Canterlot for the past week or so doing magical research with her friend, Sunburst, who was visiting from the Crystal Empire. Twilight had been meaning to drop by and visit them the very next day, but the advent of Mogu had put all her plans on hold. She always liked spending time with Starlight, who was one of the most talented unicorns in all of Equestria. But right now, it wasn't Starlight she needed, but Sunburst. Sunburst was a unicorn too, but unlike Starlight he was almost completely untalented in actually performing magic. His talent was in understanding it, and in sheer magical knowledge he sometimes eclipsed even Princess Celestia herself. If anyone could help them now, it was he.
The rest of the Six and Spike had followed her by train to Canterlot, and she told them of their abortive attack on Mogu as they went in search of their friends.
"So, this here Ghidorah is the King of Terror the Shwhat's told you about," said Applejack.
"And he's the biggest, nastiest, meaniest, dragoniest dragon ever!" said Pinkie Pie.
"Oh, dear," said Fluttershy. "I hope we never have to meet him!"
"We won't; King Ghidorah himself isn't in Equestria," said Twilight. "He can't travel between worlds. It's just a portion of his spirit that's possessing Garble. Though that's bad enough as far as we're concerned."
"I say we bust out the 'ole friendship magic and blast him back where he came from, like what we did with Tirek," said Rainbow Dash.
"I don't think that will work," said Twilight. "King Ghidorah is a primeval being from before the creation of the world; I don't think even friendship magic will work against him."
"But, darling, if he's immune to magic, what do you expect us to do?" asked Rarity.
"That's just what I want to find out," said Twilight.
They soon found Starlight and Sunburst having tea in a shop overlooking the Canterlot royal gardens. Starlight was a lovely lavender unicorn with a turquoise stripe in her purple mane. Sunburst was yellow and white, with an unkempt, flaming orange mane and glasses that were perpetually sliding off his muzzle.
"Starlight, Sunburst!" Twilight called as they rushed up.
"Twilight!" said Starlight, beaming. "I thought you weren't coming till tomorrow! Hi, everypony."
"Change of plans," said Twilight. "There's an emergency."
"Oh, that's a surprise," said a familiar voice from behind. "Isn't there always some kind of emergency with your little gang?"
Twilight's ears drooped. "Hello, Trixie," she sighed as the bright blue unicorn joined them. The Great and Powerful Trixie was a travelling show pony and one of Starlight's best friends. Though she knew that Trixie (usually) meant well, Twilight couldn't help disliking her.
"So, what is it this time?" asked Trixie. "Somepony can't agree with her best friend over whether they should get silk or cloth curtains for the dining room?"
"First of all, nopony would ever consider buying cloth curtains if she could afford silk…" Rarity began.
"No offense, Trixie, but the fate of Equestria is at stake, and I really need to talk to Sunburst," said Twilight, cutting short any argument.
Sunburst started and dropped his teacup.
"M-me?! Why me?"
"Because there's a possessed evil super-dragon on the way, and you're the only pony who might be able to tell us how to defeat him," said Spike.
Sunburst, Starlight, and Trixie all exchanged glances.
"That sounds like we're going to have to postpone our tea," said Starlight.
It took Twilight and the others some time to explain the situation, especially since the three other unicorns kept interrupting with questions (and, in Trixie's case, snide remarks).
"So, in summary…" said Sunburst, but Pinkie cut in.
"Garble's a really mean dragon that doesn't like ponies, and now he's possessed by a super evil dragon from another dimension that's turned him into a super-duper powerful dragon who's immune to magic and we need you to figure out how to beat him!"
Trembling slightly, Sunburst took off his glasses and absentmindedly polished them with Starlight's mane. She rolled her eyes tolerantly; this wasn't the first time that'd happened.
"But…why do you need me?"
"Because you know more about magic than any pony in Equestria," said Starlight affectionately.
"Here," said Twilight, pulling out the ancient book and passing it over to him. "I brought this from Princess Celestia's private library. It's all we know about King Ghidorah."
Trembling slightly, Sunburst opened the ancient volume and began pouring over it.
"Ah, ancient dragon script," he said. "Not many ponies know the dragons once had a written language. Let me see…oh, my!"
"This…Ghidorah is very, very terrible."
"Uh, yeah," said Rainbow. "Probably why they call him 'the King of Terror,' right?"
"Yes, but…but this is far worse than I had ever anticipated! It says here he destroys every world he comes to, burning everything to the ground and consuming everypony's life force; especially foals. His spirit is composed of pure hatred and fire, but he must assume a physical form while he attacks; usually a great, golden, three-headed dragon."
"So, how do we stop it?" asked Applejack.
"Well, his physical form can be killed with sufficient power," said Sunburst. "But if that happens, his spirit will eventually take on another form, or possess somepony else. Ghidorah himself, the spirit, is indestructible. As long as it remained in our world, he would always find a way to take on a new form and resume his attack."
Twilight rubbed her chin with her hoof, thinking.
"Then we need to send his spirit back to his own world," she said. "Is there a way to do that?"
"Why, yes, I believe so. I'm not sure, but I am almost certain I remember seeing something like that in the Starswirl the Bearded section of the castle library…"
"Then what are we waiting for?" said Rainbow Dash. "Come on, egghead; we're on a schedule here!"
They galloped to the castle library, where Sunburst, Starlight, and Twilight began hurriedly searching the shelves.
"What I'm curious about is how Garble managed to even meet Ghidorah," said Twilight while they searched. "I mean, that would require a very strong disruption spell, and it's not like anypony's just handing those out, right?"
Trixie suddenly gave a squeak of horror and clasped a hoof to her mouth. Everypony paused to looked around at her.
"Heh heh, right!" she said with a very unconvincingly innocent laugh. "Nopony would be that…desperate to have her correspondence course not seem like a complete waste of time, so that her students would buy more of her merchandise, and I never in a million moons thought this would happen!"
They stared, opened mouthed.
"You mean…you…" said Twilight.
Trixie nodded miserably.
"Trixie!" said Starlight. "That…that's terrible! I thought you were smarter than that."
"I didn't," said Applejack, glaring at the stage pony with dislike.
"Trixie, of all the dumb things you've done…" Twilight began.
"Well, to be fair, this was kind of an unlikely scenario," Spike put in.
"Yeah, who could have predicted Garble'd use it to contact some ultra-evil super-dragon from another dimension?" Pinkie added.
"Thank you!" Trixie said, beaming.
"Though it was still really dumb, and this is basically all your fault," said Spike. Trixie glared at him
"Never mind!" said Twilight, turning her attention back to the books. "We can worry about that later. Right now, we need to find that exorcism spell!"
A few minutes later, Sunburst gave a cry of triumph as he pulled a thick, dusty volume down from the top shelf and laid it on a table while the others all gathered around. He flicked through the ancient pages, searching.
"Ah, here we are," he said. "Just as I thought; a pony was possessed by an evil spirit from beyond the world…let me see…It says here that this spell successfully removed the spirit and banished it back to its own world, once…oh."
"'Oh'?" said Rainbow Dash. "I don't like the sound of 'oh.'"
"Ahem, well," he pushed his glassed back up his muzzle. "It says that the first few tries failed because as soon as the spell began, the spirit forced the pony to flee and the unicorns were unable to finish. They finally succeeded after he was held down by the mightiest earth pony in all of Equestria."
The ponies all looked at one another as the terrible implications dawned on them.
"Does that mean what I think it means?" asked Fluttershy.
"That somepony is going to have hold Mogu down while we perform the spell?!" said Twilight.
"Um…I-I'm afraid, so yes," said Sunburst apologetically. "The spell won't work otherwise."
Applejack's eyes popped slightly.
"Yeah, I don't think even Big Mac is up for wrasslin' a dragon that big," she said.
"Twilight, Garble – or Mogu, or whatever his name is now – already beat Torch: the biggest, toughest dragon in Equestria!" said Spike. "How do you expect to hold him down?"
"That's a very good question, Spike," said Twilight weakly.
She looked at Starlight, who shrugged.
"Maybe some kind of size-spell?" she suggested.
"I doubt even Princess Celestia could make a pony that large," Twilight answered.
"If she can, though, I totally call dibs on it being me!" said Rainbow Dash at once. "That would be sooo awesome! I'd be able to do a Sonic Rainboom that would cover all of Equestria…"
"Do you think if we fed him enough cakes, like really, really enough, he might get so full that he can't move and then we could do it?" asked Pinkie.
"No," said Twilight. "No, I don't think that would work, Pinkie."
"Um, maybe, if we asked really nicely, he would just hold still?" Fluttershy asked. "I mean, if we were really, really nice about it?"
"Pinkie's idea was better," said Applejack.
"I wonder how they deal with this sort of thing back in the world this spirit comes from?" said Rarity, eying the book. "They must have some way of doing it."
"Yeah," said Pinkie. "It'd be nice if we knew somepony from there so we could ask them."
"That's it!" she said. "The Shobijin said that they would hear when I called for them! I'll ask them!"
"Great!" said Starlight. "Uh…how are you going to call for them?"
Twilight opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She closed it again.
"I…I have no idea," she admitted.
"Not that I expect anypony wants to hear from me," said Trixie. "But you know, there is that disruption spell that got us into this mess in the first place."
"Of course!" said Sunburst. "That should allow you to at least contact them. We might even be able to bring someone here from their world, if they are able to provide magical help from their side."
"And they might be able to help us subdue Mogu!" said Starlight. "Brilliant!"
"Maybe Mothra herself will come through!" said Twilight. "What are we waiting for? Let's get started!"
"Oh, just a suggestion?" said Sunburst. "Not here. We should find a secluded spot, just in case they do send someone through."
"Good idea," said Twilight. "I don't know what Mothra is like, but if she can subdue Mogu, she's probably pretty big."
"So where do you suggest?" asked Applejack.
"How about that field where we met Torch and Ember? If there was room enough for him, there'll be room enough for anyone."
Trixie and Sunburst elected not to join the mission to Ponyville. Sunburst wanted to research the King of Terror and magical disruption spells more, just in case the effort didn't work, and Trixie said she didn't want to get involved in any more 'princess level stuff' than she absolutely had to. Starlight, however, volunteered to come and help.
"So, what do you know about this Mothra?" asked she asked as the Friendship Express rocketed towards Ponyville (Twilight had asked the engineer to put on all the steam he could).
"Nothing really," Twilgiht admitted. "Though I did find something in an old copy of Predictions and Prophecies in my library:
'When death its golden note shall sing
then cometh hope on rainbow wings.
As from a worm a moth is formed
so from despair new life is born.'
"Apparently, it's an ancient Equestrian hymn to "the guardian of life,' which is what the Shobijin called Mothra."
"Then she must have come to Equestria before," said Starlight.
"Or at least been heard of, like how Ghidorah was apparently known to the dragons in ancient times. Anyway, whoever or whatever Mothra is, I'm sure she's something wonderful"
"I do like that 'rainbow wings' part," said Rainbow Dash. "You sure the poem was a prediction of my world-shattering awesomeness?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure the old ponies had better things to predict," said Applejack dryly.
"I certainly hope this Mothra will help us," said Fluttershy. "Though she might be too busy taking care of the creatures in her own world."
"We'll find out soon enough," said Twilight.
A short while later, everything was ready. The seven ponies and Spike stood in the empty field overlooking Ponyville, which looked sleepy and far away. Twilight and Starlight had gone over the spell on last time, and Twilight stood upon the grassy slope, preparing to cast it.
Mothra, she thought. If you can hear me, answer our call. Send us hope.
Her horn flared, and with a flash a rift opened in the air before her. The other ponies gasped and Pinkie shouted "Pretty!"
The magic portal didn't seem to be showing anything; just a collage of images passing by too fast for them to make out. Then, so suddenly it made her scream, Twilight found herself looking into a single, terrible golden eye.
There was a sudden burst of light and the portal seemed to split open, wider and wider. The ponies were hurled back as something appeared in the middle of the field. Something enormous.
Twilight just managed to cast a feather-fall spell on her friends before they landed. She shook her head, glanced at Starlight (who had landed right next to her), and then looked up…and up.
It was bigger than Mogu. Bigger than Torch. Much bigger. Charcoal gray, upright, with three jagged rows of bony plates out of its back, it rose before them like a mountain.
Godzilla lifted his bear-like head, looked around at Ponyville, and roared so that the mountains shook.
"That…is a lot bigger than I was expecting," Twilight said weakly.
To be continued...