Hands

A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fanfiction

By Andrew J. Talon

DISCLAIMER: This is a non-profit fanbased work of prose. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is the property of Hasbro, and the reinvention of the lovely Lauren Faust. No copyright infringement is intended, please support the official release.


Twilight had found a gathering of ponies nearby a bridge, and she hopped onto a barrel to address them. Politely, Spike and I stood at her sides as she gave her grave address. It helped make her look more serious.

And it gave us a better view of Pinkie Pie wandering around while held aloft by balloons. Which helped make her look more adorable.

"My future self tried to warn me about a horrible disaster that's going to occur sometime before next Tuesday morning!"

"What kind o' disaster?" Applejack asked, looking quite serious.

"I don't know! I got sucked back into the future before I could explain!" Twilight cried. Pinkie Pie, at this, screamed.

"AAHHHHH! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! EEEEEP!" Her legs blurred as she tried to run, but the balloons continued to hold her just high enough she was unable to direct her movement.

"No! No panicking!" Twilight cried. "Now, we've got a week before the disaster, whatever it is, occurs! We need to find out where it's coming from!" She looked up at Dash and a few other pegasi who were flying overhead. "Rainbow Dash! You and the other pegasi need to scour Equestria to see if any trouble of any kind is coming!"

"Roger that!" Rainbow Dash saluted, before taking off. Twilight turned her attention to the rest of the ponies.

"And the rest of us must check and make sure the disaster doesn't arrive from around here. I need you all to check everything! Even the smallest thing, no matter how unlikely, needs to be addressed!"

"Well, ah can take a look at the dam," Applejack said with a smile. "Seems like a likely trouble spot considerin' it nearly came down last time."

"Oh, I-I can check with my animal friends to find out if they know anything," Fluttershy said.

"I will help organize the effort and pick out any details that might be missed!" Rarity volunteered cheerfully.

"And I," I said, "will go check on one of the more likely sources of disaster."

Twilight frowned. "The statue of Discord?"

I shook my head. "Close."


Smokestack's blacksmith shop was abuzz with activity. Indeed, it was creaking, snapping, hissing and all other sorts of sounds with activity. But I was most concerned with one particular sound as I walked in the door.

"READY! AIM! FIRE!"

"OH GOD!" I shouted as I fell to the floor. A loud BANG! went off above my head, and I felt something zip over my hand covered head before it embedded itself in the nearby wall. I slowly looked up, and sighed.

Smokestack, the proprietor of the shop, was slowly coming up from behind a table holding what appeared to be an old steel riot shield.

On a nearby workbench, what looked like a double barreled flintlock pistol sat on a mounting with a string attached to it's trigger. Three adorable heads popped up behind it, and smiled at me.

"Hello Andrew!"

I sighed and waved.

"Hello, Cutie Mark Crusaders..."

"W-We're sorry, we're sorry!" Applebloom wailed. "We were shooting at the target over there, but the mounting was loose!"

"We didn't mean to!" Sweetie Belle sobbed.

"Please don't punish us!" Scootaloo sniffled.

I growled down at all of them, the big scary human holding their gun. "First off, little fillies, if you're going to fire off anything, you do it after double checking everything. And second, Smokestack!"

"What? I checked it," Smokestack said, looking rather calm. "Seemed all right to me."

I sighed and shook my head. I glared down at them. "I am telling your guardians about this."

"Aw man!" Scootaloo pouted. "What the hay?!"

"But, I'm going to encourage them not to ban you from this," I said, holding the pistol carefully. At their smiles, I glared. "But only if you actually practice safety! You might have killed someone!"

"We're sorry!" They chorused.

I shook my head and turned the pistol over in my hands. "You guys have been busy over the past few weeks..."

"Well, considerin' everythin' else we've done has been a total disaster, that we're doin' well makin' guns seems like a good thing!" Applebloom said.

"We've been making them like crazy! All kinds!" Sweetie Belle said cheerfully. "This is just the latest one!"

"Latest?" I asked. Scootaloo scooted over to the project locker, opened it, and took out a big, heavy looking box. She carried it over with Applebloom's help to the workbench. They slammed them on the table, and I gaped at just how many guns were actually in it.

"Since the first gun was really hard to control," Applebloom explained, "we tried makin' simpler, smaller ones!"

Sweetie Belle took hold of what looked like a breech loading single shot pistol and smiled. "This one we made after!"

"But we wanted even simpler, so we made a few of these!" Scootaloo said, picking up what looked like a flintlock pistol. Upon close examination it was clear it was a percussion cap, but it had a bit of flair to it that made it resemble a flintlock.

It wasn't the only one either, about six were in the box.

"You just take a packet of gunpowder, like this," Sweetie said, holding up what looked like a tea bag, "and a round ball, like this," and a simple metal sphere, "and tuck them inside, like this!" Her telekinesis let her slide both down inside the weapon. "We put grooves inside the barrel so the ball would spin, and presto!" She smiled brightly.

"It's a lot easier than just machining a whole bullet with powder inside," Scootaloo said.

"But a lot less accurate," I noted, taking the loaded gun from Sweetie with care.

"Yeah, but it's not a problem for a unicorn to handle!" Sweetie said. "Or you!"

I found what looked like a blunderbuss combined with a musket, and held it up. "And what's this?"

"Oh, well," Scootaloo flushed. "We had a problem of metal shavings, so..."

Sweetie once again magicked up an object-It was a sphere of scrap metal, mixed with something black resembling paste. "We mixed the gunpowder with sticky sap, and made a ball out of it!"

"Wait, what? Why?" I asked.

"My idea," Smokestack said, now on the other end of the workbench. "The trumpet shaped openin' gets a good spread."

"... It's a shotgun, basically," I said. I shook my head and chuckled. "You really are little merchants of death, aren't you?"

"Thanks! I think," Sweetie Belle said.

"But I think you guys should stay away from weapons for a few weeks," I said. "Twilight and I got a warning from the future."

"A warning?" Gasped Scootaloo.

"From the future?" Applebloom asked.

"Do we get our cutie marks?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"What are they?" Inquired Scootaloo.

"Are they any good-?" Applebloom asked, but I held up my hand.

"Girls! It was a warning from next Tuesday!" I said flatly. "Apparently something bad is going to go down, and frankly, you guys building weapons isn't going to help."

"So, was that specifically in the message?" Asked Sweetie Belle. She gasped. "Do we bring about the end of the world?!"

"If you do, it apparently involves Twilight in a tight latex getup with an eyepatch and a mohawk," I said dryly.

"Twilight and Andrew, sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" The little fillies chorused and giggled. I sighed and nodded.

"Yes yes, we're dating... Not quite to that stage yet."

"Why not?" Asked Applebloom.

"Well trees are pretty uncomfortable-"

"No, the kissing part!" Sweetie insisted. "Why aren't you two kissing yet?"

"Well, it... Hasn't come up," I said, feeling a bit uncomfortable. Smokestack snorted and trotted back to his workbench.

"Hasn't come up? Don'tcha wanna kiss her?" Asked Scootaloo.

"And maybe other things?" Sweetie Belle asked with a blush to her cheeks. "Like, ropes and stuff?" I gaped, and then scowled.

"Sweetie Belle! What would your parents think of you saying things like that?"

"That I'm just repeating what they talk about?" Sweetie asked, blinking innocently. I stared in disbelief, as did Applebloom and Scootaloo.

Dysfunctional parenting was apparently not limited to humans...

"Fair enough...?" I shook my head. "Look, it really isn't your business what Twilight and I do or don't do."

"Yeah, it's Twilight's business what you two do," Scootaloo snickered. I scowled.

"And what's that supposed to mean?"

"Means ya don't have any balls, you hairless ape," Smokestack snorted. The fillies giggled, and I scowled.

"Thanks for the observation," I said flatly. I took hold of the crate of guns and ammunition, and hefted it up. The Cutie Mark Crusaders stopped laughing.

"Hey!" They cried.

"Look, until the crisis, whatever it is, is averted, I don't think you should be running around with enough heat to overthrow a Banana Republic," I said flatly.

"Do Bananas have republics?" Sweetie Belle wondered.

"Ah thought they were anarchists!" Applebloom said.

I rolled my eyes and looked over at Smokestack. "Just keep them out of the shop for a week, all right?"

"Hmph... All right," he said. "Just try not to blow yourself up."

"I won't," I said. I sighed as I headed out the door, grunting a bit. The guns were heavy, after all. Hell, I hadn't even gone through half of the various abominations of firearms that were in here.

Including a bellows, for some strange reason...


Rather than take my bounty of death to my room at Fluttershy's, I instead took the crate to Twilight's library. Down I descended into the basement/lab, and I locked them up tight in a storage locker for equipment. Pocketing the key, I nodded to myself and headed upstairs to make my report.

I had just about reached the door when the ground shook and the door slammed shut in my face. I lost my footing and slipped down off the stone walkway, slipping off and landing hard on my back on the bottom.

"GAH!"

My head hit hard enough I saw stars, and I blacked out.

I came to the image of Nurse Redheart, tutting over me. Spike was also visible in my vision, as was a concerned Pinkie Pie.

"Is he okay? Is he going to die? Did he already die and is he NOW A ZOMBIE?!" Pinkie screeched.

"N-Not a zombie!" Fluttershy gasped from somewhere above me.

"He's fine," Nurse Redheart said soothingly. "He just took a crack to the head."

"Uhhh," I said intelligently. I winced. "What happened...?"

"Well," Spike said, "it looked like you fell off the walkway and hit the floor when Cerberus appeared.

I blinked a few times. "Say... Say that again?"

"Cerberus," Spike said, "guard dog of the gates of Tartarus."

"He just got a bit lost, the poor, big puppy," Fluttershy said with a coo to her voice. Pinkie giggled.

"Yeah! Twilight took him back to make sure nothing had escaped!"

I blinked a few more times. I then sat up, slowly, my hands gripping the dirt floor underneath me.

"Tartarus... Please tell me it's some fluffy bunny dimension," I said.

Pinkie blinked. "No, it's where all the nastiest, most horrible demonic monstrosities of Equestria are kept!"

"You're joking. You must be joking," I said. "The guardian of the Hellmouth got loose, and my girlfriend ran off to take him back and make sure nothing else came out. Alone."

There was a confused silence for a moment.

"What's a Hellmouth?" Pinkie Pie asked.

"Okay," I said, rubbing my forehead. "Imagine if Tartarus was made of fire and suffering for the souls of the damned and the most evil beings in the universe. In my world, we call that Hell."

"Sounds horrible!" Nurse Redheart gasped.

"Yes, it is," I said. "And the opening to it on this plane of existence is called a Hellmouth."

"Ahhh!" Pinkie Pie said cheerfully. "Hellmouth!"

"And Twilight just went to one alone," I said.

"... Well, when you put it that way, then sure, it sounds terrible," Pinkie said thoughtfully, rubbing her chin. "But she didn't think it was a huge deal-"

"She's fought fucking world ending deities! Of course she doesn't think it's a big deal!" I shouted. I staggered to my feet and over to the locker. I undid the lock and opened it up. "Spike! Get my backpack! Fluttershy! I'm going to need all the canteen holsters you can get me, and another belt!"

"Wha-What are you-?" Fluttershy asked.

"You're going after her?" Spike asked in disbelief. "Seriously, she said she'd be fine-"

"She's going to a Hellmouth alone, that never ends well!" I shouted. "Now get me my things, a map to the damn place and a means of getting there fast NOW!"

"Right-a-roony!" Pinkie Pie said with a salute. "March, everypony!"


A half hour later, I emerged from the library. Across my chest I wore a makeshift bandolier, with four of the single shot pistols tied to them. At my side, tucked into a makeshift holster, was the double-shot pistol. In my backpack was stuffed the blunderbuss musket and a few other guns, and tied to my belt on the other side was a pouch for my ammo. My knife was tucked into my boot and my hand cannon was strapped to the side of my backpack, balanced out by a canteen.

With a pair of goggles on my head I must have looked like I was ready for anything.

"God this crap is heavy," I huffed as I stepped slowly.

"Maybe you don't need all of those guns?" Pinkie Pie suggested.

I stared in disbelief at her. Pinkie Pie then smiled brightly and smacked herself on the head.

"Sorry, what was I thinking? Of course you need all those guns!"

"Thank you," I said flatly. I looked around, and spotted my transportation, which Spike was finishing up prepping for me. "What's that?"

"What, are you blind? It's a hot air balloon," Spike snorted. "It's been enchanted to fly where you want it to go, no problem." He shook his head. "I still think you're overreacting, Twilight can handle herself!"

"And if Rarity had gone to a Hellmouth?" I asked flatly as I threw myself into the basket. Spike gasped and held a finger to his lips to shush me.

"Don't say it so loudly!" He hissed.

"Yeah, point made," I said with a little smirk. I looked over at Fluttershy. "Fluttershy, I can't ask you to come with me."

"Oh, it's all right," Fluttershy said cheerfully. "I wouldn't mind seeing Cerberus again."

"And I wanna go have adventures too!" Pinkie Pie said cheerfully, her head poking out of the basket next to me. I jumped, but I recovered quickly.

That was just kind of how Pinkie Pie was.

"All right," I said with a smile. I looked over at Spike. "Cast off, Mr. Spike!"

"Aye aye, Captain Overreaction," Spike returned with a salute, as he released the moorings to the ground.

In a few minutes we were airborne, and sailing off for the gates of Tartarus.


The journey didn't last too long, about five hours. Sure, it was five hours in a tiny balloon basket with Pinkie Pie, but she took enough breaks I didn't feel like chucking her out of the balloon.

The Gates of Tartarus were apparently in the distant reaches of the Everfree Forest, at the base of a sinister-looking mountain range... Which really wasn't that big a surprise. It was where the Palace of the Two Sisters resided, after all. I myself had not seen Nightmare Moon, but hearing about her and nearly being eaten in Everfree more than a few times had definitely colored my views towards the place.

Down the balloon descended, until we were skimming the forest canopy. Fluttershy frowned as she looked down.

"I don't think we can go any lower," she said worriedly, "um, there just isn't a clear spot to set down."

"Huh!" Pinkie Pie said, rubbing her chin. "How are we going to get down then?"

"Might be easier if I just go down," I suggested. "If we're attacked, it's better you can hit the gas so you can pull me out."

"All right! Let's call it, Operation Fly Away So We Don't Get Eaten by Horrible Hellbeasts!" Pinkie Pie said cheerfully.

"... Very on the nose, Pinkie, good work," I said with a wry expression.

"My nose? Where?" Pinkie asked, crossing her eyes and wiggling it in a very cute way. Fluttershy quickly tossed a rope down, and I took hold of it.

"All right," I said. "If I'm not back in an hour..."

"Yes?" Pinkie Pie asked.

I looked back down, studying the tough terrain covered by massive trees stretched out below me. "Er..."

"Maybe we should just wait until you tug on the rope several times?" Fluttershy suggested timidly.

"Good idea," I said. I very carefully swung my leg over the side of the basket, looked down... And then looked back, wincing.

"We're... Still pretty high up," I said. "Maybe Fluttershy could give me a ride down?"

"Oh come on, you big baby waby!" Pinkie huffed. "You want to go down and rescue Twilight, right?"

"Well, yeah-"

"Then don't let a little thirty foot drop bother you!" Pinkie said. "Go on, for glory, for honor..." She held her hooves up dramatically. "FOR NOOKIE!"

"Wha...?" I managed intelligently. Pinkie frowned and tapped the side of her head.

"Unless Fluttershy being your mistress is actually true, in which case you're a coward AND a total jerk!" Pinkie said cheerfully. Fluttershy blushed bright red and shook.

"Wh-Wh-What?! We're not-I didn't-I like him a lot, b-but I wouldn't...! Well maybe a little, I-!"

"Right! Going! Good bye!" I said, climbing down that rope as quickly as I could go. The weight of my weapons didn't feel quite as bad compared to the awkwardness up above.

I winced and shook my hands into the air. Damn, next time I wear gloves.

I turned and headed for the mountain face, stumbling a bit over some roots and rocks before I found my balance again. I was reflecting that maybe the massive arsenal on my back was not the best choice. Hell, I didn't even know how well my weapons would work against demons and hell beasts.

I just had to hope they were made of flesh, or something like flesh. Maybe bullets would hurt them. Or at least annoy them...

I made it out of the trees, and the entrance to the Hellmouth was fairly obvious-A huge, dark cave that opened up like the maw of some infernal monster trying to swallow up anything that got close to it.

"Helpful, helpful," I muttered. I look around for tracks, but because the surrounding ground was solid rock there wasn't anything to indicate if Twilight and Cerberus were in there.

Maybe it would be better to wait at the mouth. Twilight would come with Cerberus (and it's not like it'd be hard to miss him, right?), I'd hug her happily, then ask where the hell she got off running to a Hellmouth alone.

Okay, she was a kickass unicorn but goddamnit, it's a Hellmouth!

A roar came from deep within the cave, and the accompanying wind wasn't pleasant. I felt magic in the air... A similar sensation to when Twilight was wielding her powers.

My thinking ended. I yanked two pistols out of my makeshift bandoleer, cocked them and ran inside.

Strangely enough, it didn't get any darker the deeper I ran into the caves. The ambient glow from the run kept reaching down, down and down, guiding my path. I ran for a good long while, always deeper, always on smooth stone that dipped gently like a carved ramp. There were no twists and turns.

Finally, I saw a red light up ahead, and I sped up as much as I could. The tunnel was ending, and I could dimly see a larger room ahead.

"Haa... Haa... Haa..." I had to slow down to a walk though, because the heavy load I was bearing was wearing on me heavily. Slowly, I trudged to the entrance, and took a few deep breaths as I looked around.

Well... If you wanted an entrance to hell, the chamber I stood at the foot at was perfect. Carved into the living rock of the mountain's heart itself stood doors as tall as buildings, white as bone. The arches over the door were great spiky pillars, like something out of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There were two brass knockers on the doors, held by carved faces of some terrible monstrosity I can scarcely describe. Something with four eyes, and big sharp teeth.

I entered this chamber, gatehouse to the underworld, smelling something unholy in the air. I looked around in the dust before me, and saw tracks. Recent tracks. Something big had passed around here... And here and there were smaller hoof prints. My blood ran cold as I looked up at the massive doors.

"Damnit Twilight," I cursed. I ran across the great chamber, kicking up dust behind me. I crossed the huge floor, and made it to the doors. I stared up at them, panting in frustration and panic as I tried to think up a way to open them.

"Come on, come on," I muttered. "There's gotta be a way to open these up... There's gotta..." I shook my head and looked at the faces of the brass rings. "Uh... Open Sesame?"

There was silence for a moment, and then a great, loud creaking sound that rattled my bones. The gates of Tartarus slowly opened, the source of the red glow becoming obvious as the light of flames shown through. I took several deep breaths, trying to ignore the smell.

"Okay... Okay... Okay..." I closed my eyes, took a few more deep breaths, and opened them again. "Don't worry Twilight," I muttered, holding my pistols up. "I'm coming to rescue you."

The doors then opened, all the way, and I was thrown off my feet onto my back. I yelped and groaned, and looked up. Standing in the gates was a huge, deformed monster, standing three times my height. At either side of it's head was a cruel, twisted horn. It's eyes glowed like coals stuck into a jagged, marble head. It's chin had what I first thought was a beard, but was actually another horn. It's feet were cloven hooves, and it had ten pairs of legs, and it's arms were huge, ripping claws.

It let out a roar as it reared up on it's tail, and snapped it's claws. I gulped.

"I might be delayed a little first..."


Just a bit.