Luna's night was always a sight to behold. She was an artist, and the stars were her masterpiece. After her return from exile the nights had been particularly beautiful.
Time Turner, clock repairpony extraordinaire, was too exhausted to care. He'd stumbled home very late after working all day on the town's clock tower and fell into bed with a weary groan.
This was very good for the intruder hiding downstairs. A purple earth pony floated through the air, suspended only by a propeller beanie. Had anyone gotten the chance to see such a thing they would immediately have questioned their own sanity. Screwball, as a loyal servant of a mad god, would have it no other way.
She had been drawn to this quaint little shop on an extremely important mission. Now that she had arrived she was having trouble remembering exactly what that mission was. She tried to think, to remember even a tiny bit of her assignment, but her mind remained blank.
This place was making her feel sick. Screwball didn't like the way it smelled or the way that boxes were neatly stacked in one corner of the room. It all made too much sense. The air itself tasted like poison, as though something unnatural had tainted it.
It would have been more accurate to say that the air was supernatural. Her unnatural tendencies were being called into question. Her propeller beanie stopped spinning, dumping her on the floor as though the universe had suddenly noticed that she was not playing by the rules. Screwball rubbed her rump and frowned sourly. She hated being logical, but the chaos magic flowing through her was starting to weaken. Right now she had no choice.
She also didn't have a lot of time. A sick, panicky feeling was building in her stomach. "I don't belong here," she whispered, just to disturb the silence of the shop. That awful, orderly silence was starting to drive her crazy. She reached into the saddlebag she carried and brought out a small fob watch.
Now what? The silence was driving her crazy. Nothing was breaking apart or coming together or switching around like it should be. The shop was cluttered and messy, but it was still much too organized for her taste.
She knocked over a box. It made her feel a little better.
She was supposed to know what to do. Screwball hurried from one room to another, searching for whatever it was that she needed. She could feel energy inside the watch, a sickening force of orderly magic that proceeded from cause to effect so perfectly that it made her nauseous. She was holding a nexus of order, and such things were poisonous to creatures of chaos.
Screwball wandered around for a while longer before she found a sitting room. It was a little better than the shop itself; papers were scattered everywhere, along with drawings of strange and fantastic creatures. Some of it made no sense at all, which made her feel much more comfortable than she had among the clocks and cogs of the workshop.
Sitting on a mantle above the fireplace was a small glass case. "Whoa," Screwball whispered as she crept closer. She unlatched the case and carefully removed a pocket watch nearly identical to the one she carried. "That's…strange. Strange, right? Is that how abnormal things look to normal ponies?"
Something heavy hit the floor upstairs, followed by a muffled groan. Screwball squealed and spun around, but of course nopony had discovered her yet. She picked up her watch from where she'd dropped it and put it back in her saddlebag, then replaced the watch on the mantle.
She couldn't stay here for one moment longer. Whatever instructions she'd been given, assuming there had been any at all, were impossible to remember now. Her mind was being ravaged, slowly dying as it was forced to work in logical patterns that made too much sense.
Whatever she'd set out to do, she had failed. It hurt more than she'd expected considering that she had no idea why she was here in the first place. She had only the vague impression that it was very important and that she needed to do her job right. "I'm sorry, daddy!" she whispered as she crawled out the window. Using the door would have made too much sense. "I tried. Really I did."
She hit the ground outside and staggered away from the awful clock shop until her natural tendencies reasserted themselves. With an excited cheer she threw herself into the air, propeller spinning and carrying her off into the night. She had failed for tonight, but now she was free. Maybe she could try again tomorrow, provided she figured out what she'd been trying to accomplish in the first place.
Canterlot was a very well defended city, which made sense considering that it was Equestria's capitol. The recent invasion attempted by certain unsavory factions had only heightened security and made covert operations within the city nearly impossible.
Queen Chrysalis humbly considered herself to be the greatest infiltrator of all time, and even she was having difficulties finding her way around. The royal guard was out in full force and would be for quite a while yet, forcing her to walk the streets like a common earth pony. She consoled herself by imagining the incredible reward waiting for her afterward. She was about to gain a very powerful ally.
There was a creature known and feared by the fey. He had stopped Queen Mab's invasion of Equestria, persuaded the Hermit God to remain in hiding, and outwitted Chrysalis herself on more than one occasion. He was a troublemaker when he was in a good mood but a monster when angered. When he spoke, gods themselves went silent and listened. Some said the he could see the universe as it turned and that he burned at the center of time as the last of his species. He called himself the Doctor, and he was the only entity that could terrify even gods and goddesses.
Chrysalis admitted to feeling a little uneasy as she drew nearer to her destination. There was no point in denying it; Queen Mab herself, one of the cruelest and most deceitful creatures in existence, made a point of never crossing the Doctor. It was only logical to be afraid of something that could frighten the things that frightened her.
That thought certainly got away from me, Chrysalis thought mournfully. She'd been very out of sorts since losing most of her hive. One of the only servants she had left was not a changeling at all, but a funny little mare on loan from the god of chaos. "Screwball!" she hissed, knowing the creature would be listening. "Are we almost there?"
Something moved in the saddlebags she carried and startled her so badly that she let out an embarrassing little squeal. The head of a purple pony –or something that looked like a pony- poked out of one saddlebag and gave a goofy smile. "There!" it said, accompanied by a hoof pointing to a small house across the street. The hoof had come out of the other saddlebag, but Chrysalis tried to ignore that. Creatures born of chaos were walking, talking examples of why some questions were better left unasked.
Chrysalis didn't bother to knock. She touched her horn (pathetically small though it was in this disguise) to the keyhole and the door swung freely open. The entryway was a grand, open affair with a huge staircase wide enough to accommodate eight ponies side by side. Or Celestia's fat flank, Chrysalis thought with a grin. She pranced inside, shut the door, and dumped her saddlebags out onto the floor.
They were empty. How could they be empty? Chrysalis shook them a little, but nothing fell out. She held one of the bags up at eye level, thinking that somehow Screwball had escaped while she wasn't looking.
"Hi!" Screwball's head shouted. Chrysalis screamed and dropped the bag, which hovered in midair as the purple pony crawled out of it mercifully whole. "I've got your watch. Where's daddy?"
The changeling queen struggled to regain her composure. "We aren't looking for Discord!" she snarled. "Try to focus for once in your life, you useless little…why are you making that face?" Screwball bit her lower lip and began to tear up. "Stop that. Stop it right now. That's an order!"
Screwball sniffled and began to cry. "Oh no. Don't do that. Please? Please don't cry?" Nothing was working and Chrysalis was starting to panic. "Stop it! We're trying, alright? We're trying to help your daddy but it's going to take a little more time. Just be patient and everything will work out."
"Y-you p-promise?" Screwball sobbed.
"Yes, I promise. I'd even cross my heart if I had one."
Screwball seemed to cheer up, but before either of them could say anything a small halo of light blossomed from the top of the stairs. A very confused earth pony stallion watched the two of them by candlelight. "Who's there?" a sleepy voice called. "Do you have any idea what time it is? How did….how did you even get…how is she flying without wings?"
Chrysalis trotted up the stairs to the confused stallion and handed him the watch. "You know what to do," she said.
The earth pony cocked an eyebrow. "I beg your pardon?"
"The watch, idiot! Open the watch. You made such a fuss about this the last time we met. Just do whatever it is you have to do so we can go!"
The stallion eyed the watch skeptically, then looked back at Screwball. "I don't know who you ponies are," he said slowly, "but you need to leave before I call the guards."
For the second time that night Chrysalis rolled her eyes. "This is taking too long," she snarled. "Come here." A field of green magic enveloped the earth pony and forced him to the ground. His candle landed unnoticed next to him and began burning a hole in the plush carpet. Chrysalis held the watch directly in front of his face and hit the release that opened it.
Screwball screamed as blinding light filed the room, and Chrysalis realized that it might have been safer if she wasn't standing so close. The immense power contained within the watch overloaded her senses and made her wince. She couldn't identify it; it wasn't magic exactly, but it felt very similar.
A torrent of golden light rushed out of the watch and bathed the stallion's face. He screamed even louder than Screwball and convulsed violently enough that, if it weren't for the changeling queen's magic, he might have hurt himself.
I may have just killed the Doctor, Chrysalis thought. That is…unfortunate, I suppose. Perhaps I can still use this to my advantage. Bragging rights never hurt anypony, after all.
The lightshow ended as suddenly as it began. The earth pony stared blankly up at the ceiling and twitched periodically in her grip. "Is it over?" Screwball whispered fearfully. She had fallen to the floor and was attempting unsuccessfully to hide underneath her hat.
Chrysalis was about to answer when the stallion gave a sudden, loud bark of laughter. She managed not to scream this time, though she was quickly growing tired of being startled. "Y-you sure did!" he laughed as he staggered to his hooves. "Wait, that wasn't the right answer. Maybe you asked the wrong question. Hang on, how did I get here?"
Screwball giggled and lifted into the air once again. "You're funny Mr. Doctor!"
"Doctor?" The stallion scratched at his chin, which Chrysalis noted looked a little scruffy. "Is that what you think I am?" He stepped away from the small fire caused by the candle and trotted down the stairs, blue coat blending in with the darkness and turning him into an indistinct shadow. He paused at a painting hanging on the wall, ripped it down, and tossed it carelessly aside.
Chrysalis waited while he fiddled with a safe set into the wall. After a moment the door popped open, revealing that there was nothing inside. She was about to make a snide remark when, after another combination was entered, a panel in the safe's door opened. The stallion reached in and pulled out a small metal device that he hung on his collar. "Screwdriver," he explained. "Let's get going, shall we?"
"Wait!" Chrysalis called as she caught up with him. "Do you mean to say that you aren't the Doctor?"
The stallion grinned and met her gaze with golden brown eyes. Something about his smiled sent shivers down her back. "Don't worry, love. I'll treat you better than he ever could." He chuckled at her obvious discomfort and offered a hoof as they walked. "Just call me Master, if you please. Or maybe even if you don't."
Chrysalis shook his hoof and tried to put his smile out of her mind. If he had access to the kind of power she had just seen, he was worth knowing. If fate was kind he might even prove to be as powerful an ally as the Doctor.
The Master's house began to burn behind them as they left. He didn't seem to notice, but it was easily possible that he just didn't care.
Solemn Duty was bored, as was usually the case. His job mostly consisted of standing in front of a door and looking very serious, so it was understandable that his mind tended to wander. He didn't mind the tedium, though. For a royal guard excitement was a bad thing. It meant that something had gone wrong.
Something had indeed gone wrong tonight. Celestia almost never visited Canterlot Tower, and when she did it was usually on a whim during the day. Right now it was two in the morning and she looked anything but whimsical. Solemn Duty stood aside to let her unlock the door, then followed behind her. His partner (and occasional fling, but nopony had to know that) Fateful Pledge, fell into step beside him. They shot each other a questioning look, but neither spoke.
The princess was bringing a guest with her. Celestia never brought guests into the royal vaults. He was a blue earth pony with a golden blonde mane and walked with a confident swagger that would probably set any mare's heart aflutter. Duty smiled inwardly after a quick look confirmed that Fate was unimpressed. Almost any mare's, then
Celestia and her guest trotted right past the door containing the Elements of Harmony and down a set of stairs concealed in an alcove. Duty hadn't realized that he was protecting more than the Elements, but he really shouldn't have been surprised. Celestia was full of secrets.
The procession stopped in front of a massive vault. "Here we are," the earth pony remarked. "Give me a moment." He yanked a small metal cylinder from his collar and pointed it at an aperture in the door. Bright light shot out of one end and lit up the small corridor.
Solemn Duty had never seen magic like this before. He waited patiently as the stranger fiddled with his device, then sighed in irritation. "I can't unlock the spell matrix."
Celestia began to look worried. "Then what was the point of coming down here?" she demanded.
The blue pony rolled his eyes and threw his hooves into the air. "Oh, we are doomed!" he exclaimed theatrically. Duty felt a sudden and overpowering urge to smack him for addressing Celestia in such a disrespectful way. "Whatever shall we do?" He shot Celestia a glare and turned his device on the door once again.
The room filled with a high-pitched whine. The door in front of them slowly began to decay, tendrils of rust worming their way through the enchanted metal. The security spells broke down with tiny popping noises as their energy dissipated.
"After you," the stallion said pleasantly. Celestia's horn lit up and a sparkling green cloud of magic pushed the useless husk of a door aside.
"Wait," Fate whispered as Celestia and the stallion walked ahead. "Something isn't right here."
Duty stared thoughtfully at the wrecked vault door. "Gosh, I hadn't noticed."
"Are you two quite finished?" Celestia snapped. The two guards exchanged a worried glance but hurried to follow. They stepped through the doorway into a room that was…large. Too large, as a matter of fact. There was no way that a room this big could fit inside Canterlot Tower.
Even more surprising than the room's size were its contents. Row upon row of strange and bizarre contraptions extended as far as the eye could see, all of them bathed in the warm light that filled the room and yet had no visible source. "Look at it!" the strange stallion exclaimed, sounding truly excited for the first time. "Thousands of civilizations spanning millions of years, some part of them always ends up in this room. Celestia and her stooges don't know what they're dealing with; they could conquer the universe with a fraction of the knowledge contained within this room."
"Or they could imprison both of you in the palace dungeons," Fateful Pledge warned. "You are both under arrest." She glared at Celestia and spread her wings, ready for anything. Duty followed her lead. "Lie on your stomach and extend your hooves forward, imposter."
"Hold them," The earth pony ordered. The Celestia lookalike didn't appear to enjoy being ordered around, but her horn flared with mystical energy. The two guardsponies were lifted into the air by a shimmering field of magic.
Solemn Duty was beginning to understand how terribly outclassed he and his partner were. Only powerful magic, the likes of which was rarely seen outside of one of the goddesses, could touch the enchanted armor of a royal guard. He hoped that backup would be arriving soon, because if it didn't then they were both in deep trouble.
"Here!" the blue pony said as he grabbed two metal objects from a display case. "You might want to put these on."
Celestia's form shimmered as green flame enveloped her. Her body shifted into a distressingly familiar shape. "Uh-oh," Fate whispered. "Changelings again."
The changeling queen hung the objects from her ears with a bemused smile. "What are you going to do to them?" she asked. "Does it have to do with loud noises? I bet that's what the earplugs are for."
"They aren't earplugs," the pony said absently as he once again fiddled with the device he carried. "Where is Screwball?"
A purple pony peeked out from behind Chrysalis, though how she had made it this far without being noticed was a mystery. She looked at the trapped guards with angry, disappointed eyes. "You're not daddy," she grumbled accusingly.
"You didn't answer me," Chrysalis prodded. "What are the earplugs for?"
"They aren't earplugs," the blue stallion said again. He aimed his device at the changeling queen and grinned. "And you are supposed to call me Master."
Chrysalis suddenly lost all semblance of control over herself. She screamed and convulsed as her hooves tried to pry the metal caps away from her ears. Whatever was happening to her sounded extremely painful, and Solemn Duty had no intention of waiting around to undergo the same treatment. The changeling queen had stopped concentrating on them, and the magic holding them in place had failed.
"Go!" he ordered, leaping into the air and flying toward the exit. Fateful Pledge was right behind him, years of training making them agile in the air even while weighed down with armor. The impossible room flew by as they neared the exit and, just for a moment, Duty allowed himself to hope.
He continued hoping right up until he heard Fate scream. A beam of green magic had caught her in the shoulder, cutting through her armor and killing any chance she had of flying. She fell out of the air like a feathery cannonball and collided with the rust-covered vault door. Duty landed next to her and tried to force her to her feet. He thought he was making headway before he realized that she was dead.
"This wasn't supposed to happen," he sighed heavily, a great weight settling on his shoulders. He glanced back at his pursuers and, seeing that he had a few moments left, tried to lay her out in as dignified a manner as he could. "Sorry about this, babe. We were just out of our league."
Chrysalis was closing in on him, her twisted horn crackling with green energy. What in Equestria has he done to her? Duty remembered seeing a horror movie several years ago about dead ponies rising from their graves. The look on the changeling queen's face wasn't so different from one of the zombies. That isn't going to happen to me, he promised himself. No way in Tartarus.
The changeling queen halted her advance and lowered her head. "For Celestia!" Solemn Duty shouted as he hurled himself forward. It was about as noble as death could be, he reasoned. Too bad it had come so suddenly.
Oh look, I made something. This is going up on as well as this site because, honestly, I think that site just looks better.
Anyways, some of you might not be familiar with Dr. Who. I suppose it's also possible that you're fans of Dr. Who but not my Little Pony, which…come on, you're reading an MLP fanfiction. The chances of that are pretty low. BUT, in either case, here's what you need to know.
The Doctor is a time-traveling alien that can regenerate into a completely new physical body when he gets badly injured. There, that's just about all you need to know for the story to make sense. I tried to make this enjoyable for people that weren't fans of both shows. Did I succeed? Any suggestions? Please let me know!