By Terrarian Pony
WARNING: This story may include violence, gore, romance, same gender romance, ponies, references to several video games, and PINKIE PIE! If anypony is offended by any of the content listed above, than please turn back now. You have been warned.
Terrarian Pony presents...
The Hunter and The Time Manipulator
Twilight woke up, and felt a slight migrain.
Twilight:" Whoa... wh-what happened?"
Key Note:" An odd creature came and tried to kill us. You were knocked unconscious before you even knew what hit you."
Twilight:" Wow... my head hurts pretty bad."
Key Note:" The pain will subside. Everything will be fine, dear."
Three templars had shown at Sugar Cube Corner. Three hooded ponies were blending in across the room from where they were about to sit. One of the assassins was a brown earth pony stallion with a white mane, wearing black cloak with golden streaks, and he was leaning up against a wall. This one is named Hunts-With-Arrow, but his friends refer to him simply as Hunter. The second assassin was Minuette, a blue unicorn mare, with a blue and white mane, and wearing a green cloak, sitting at a table next to where Hunts-With-Arrow was leaning on a wall. The last assassin was Golden Harvest, and she wore a orange cloak, with a green feather sticking out. Her coat was pale-orange, and her mane was orange, and she was sitting behind one of the templars, a templar wearing a black cape and tri corner, named Regalf.
Regalf was an earth pony with a red coat, and a yellow mane, his cutie mark covered by his templar attire. The templar to his left was Lapis Lazuli. She was a dark blue unicorn, and her mane was light blue with a white streak, and her eyes were dark blue as well. The last templar was Candy Corn. He was an orange unicorn stallion, with a white spot on his nose, and his mane was yellow. They didn't seem to notice the three assassins in the room with them. The templars whispered amonst each other.
Candy:" I am telling you, he is more fit for this operation."
Regalf:" I've made my decision, Corn. The samples is to be delivered by a templar. Ornlaf is not a templar."
Candy:" He could be. He has the right motive."
Lapis:" If those samples gets into the wrong hooves, our project is a failure, and you know how Key Note hates to fail."
Candy:" Bah! That Key Note! He thinks he's a unicorn."
Lapis:" Be that as it may, it's his plan. We already let one of his... subjects... escape. We can't afford to make anymore mistakes, or he'll have all of our heads."
Candy:" I hate it when non-unicorns try to duplicate magic. Unicorns should be unicorns, not earth ponies. Our traditions are being mocked by that..."
Regalf:" Language! Please."
Candy:" Yes... of course. So then who will deliver the samples?"
Lapis:" We each get one. But the assassins cannot catch even one of us. We should not muck this up. Do you have the virus with you Regalf?"
Regalf:" The samples are in here."
He opened his coat, and revealed three vials of something, and a metal suitcase. The other templars brought out metal suitecases as well. They opened their suitcases, and one vial was placed in each one. The three templars walked out in unison, and one guard stood outside the door. He was to protect Regalf at all costs.
Hunts-With-Arrow:" I don't trust Lapis. Once a templar, always a templar. Just as a straight line doesn't change direction, a templar never changes their path."
Minuette:" Regardless Hunter, it is our mission to keep her alive. We already have her questioning the Templar Order's authorities, now we just need to make sure she does the right thing. I have faith in her."
Hunts-With-Arrow:" Fine, let's go make sure our targets don't escape."
Hunts-With-Arrow followed Regalf, Golden Harvest followed Candy Corn, and Minuette would follow Lapis Lazuli.
Lapis stopped at an allyway, and opened the metal case. She paused. Her ear twitched, and she let out a sigh.
Lapis:" I know you are there. I'm sabotaging the virus, just as you asked."
Minuette jumped down from the roof.
Minuette:" I'm just following orders. I trust you, but some other assassins don't. Mostly Hunter, though."
Lapis:" I'm sorry. I was out of line. I didn't mean..."
Minuette:" It's okay. I believe in you. You may have been a templar once, but you have become a remarkable spy. Hunter will soon see what you are. I know what it's like to be judged based on who you are. I have the power slow time, and some of the assassins see me as a threat. That's why I'm not chosen for any of the important missions."
Lapis was putting in a different chemical that would hide inside the "virus".
Lapis:" I just thought it'd be easy to get everypony to trust me."
Minuette put a hoof on Lapis' shoulder.
Minuette:" It's hard, I know. But trust has to be earned. I trust you though, that should be motivation enough, hm?"
Lapis smiled and blushed.
Lapis:" Th-thank you Min... for believing in me."
Golden Harvest was honing in on Candy Corn. She was waiting for this moment. He was one of the templar whom had burned her carrot farm, and her house to the ground. She would finally exact revenge on him. She didn't dare forget a single face that was there that day. She pulled out a cherry bomb, lit it, and threw into a spot where no ponies were walking. Sparks flew from the tiny bomb, frightening civilians, and distracting Candy Corn.
Golden pounced at him, knocking him to the ground as she unsheathed her hidden blade, which was raised in the air behind her.
Golden:" Hello Candy Corn, remember me? You won't have to. Because you'll be dead!"
She pushed the blade right into his throat. His eyes went beneathe his eyelids as his made a soft choking noise. Then, silence.
Hunts-With-Arrow began to tail Regalf from the rooftop, his bow at his side. There was a large gap between the building he was standing on, and the building he wanted to get to. He pulled out a hookshot-like arrow, with a cable attached to it. He attached the hook of the cable to the bow string, aimed, and fired. The hook on the arrow opened, and on impact, latched itself to the ledge of the other building. He then pulled on the bow string again, which activated a mechanism on the arrow to reel him in.
Upon reaching the other ledge, he quickly ran to where Regalf was, aimed, and fired a regular at his guard, which killed the guard. Regalf panicked, and began to run. Hunts-With-Arrow ran after him from the rooftops, and once he had Regalf in his sights again, he fired another arrow. The arrow, however, hit Regalf's leg, and Hunts-With-Arrow jumped down, unsheathing his hidden blade, and stabbing... not Regalf. This pony wore the same hat and cape as Regalf, and had yellow hair like him. However, he was instead a blue pegasus, rather than a red earth pony. Looking around in a panick, Hunter spotted the really Regalf, who headed down a dark alley. Hunts-With-Arrow followed him, but lost him quickly.
Hunts-With-Arrow:" Dang it!"
Lapis Lazuli had finally reached Barbus, which to whom she was supposed to deliver the virus. He was with three other templar guards who stood stiff, their spears pointed upwards, that is until Lapis approached, then two of them pointed their spears in her direction. Barbus looked down calmy, but frighteningly at the dark blue unicorn. She gulped, avoiding eye contact. Barbus was one of the most frightening leaders in the Ponyville Templar Order, but not as frightening as Key Note.
Barbus:" Do you have the package, intact?"
Lapis floated over the metal suitcase. Barbus did not grab it with his own magic.
Barbus:" Open it."
Lapis stared a moment, then floated it to the ground in front of her. She lifted the lock with a hoof, and then opened the metal case. Barbus walked towards the metal case, and used his magic on it. He squinted eerily, which was scary for Lapis. He stopped scanning the vial with his magic.
Barbus:" Very well, you may go."
Regalf came in a second later, huffing.
Regalf:" Sir, I brought the package."
Barbus:" No doubt you were followed by an assassin?"
Regalf:" Oho... don't worry about that. One of my... less important soldiers, willingly gave his life to protect my own. It was all part of my plan, you see. Distract the assassins with a decoy dressed as myself."
Lapis:" You mean you baited one of our own?"
Regalf:" Don't be so surprised. He knew his place. He knew he was expendable."
Barbus used his magic, and swiftly unsheathed his sword towards Regalf's neck, almost touching him with it.
Barbus:" You should know you are just as expendable. Normally I wouldn't mind, but neither I, nor Lord Key Note gave you permission to use one of our own like that."
He sheathed his sword again.
Barbus:" Now I will forgive this action, of course."
Regalf let out a breathe he didn't realize he was holding.
Barbus:" On one condition."
Regalf's ears drooped once more.
Barbus:" This will be a test of loyalty. One of you will live, one of you die in a pool of your own blood."
Regalf:" N-now sir Barbus, it doesn't have to be this way."
Lapis swiftly pulled out her sword.
Barbus:" It seems my fellow unicorn believes different. Kill him."
Lapis struck Regalf in the chest. He didn't even have a chance to draw his own blade. Lapis pulled her sword from Regalf's body, and he slumped to the ground, and died.
Barbus was levitating something in his magic. It was a templar badge of office.
Barbus:" You have proven your loyalty. Do not disappoint me."
Octavia knocked on Twilight's castle doors. Opening one of the doors, was a purple dragon, slightly larger than an adult pony. Octavia's cheeks went red in surprise.
Spike:" Hey Octavia. I'm guessing you're here to check out another book about assassins and templars?"
That was the usual. Octavia had come here a lot to check out those types of books.
Octavia:" O-oh! S-spike. I didn't think it was... you who would open the door for me."
Spike:" Twilight's gone out right now, so I'm holding down the castle and library while she's away."
Octavia:" Oh, w-well that's good to know. Y-you've always been such a responsible assistant of hers."
Spike had grown a small bit taller since she and him officially met three years ago, when Octavia started researching assassins and templars. She had never told anypony, but she had a small crush on the purple dragon ever since.
Octavia:" And... um, no. I actually came to research memory spells."
Spike:" Memory spells? Why? You're an earth pony."
Octavia:" Oh well... I have a... friend, who has lost her memory, and I want to help her get it back. My sister Vinyl is a quick spell learner. Now if only she'd be more commited to it."
Spike:" Oh! Well in that case, I might know a book that'll help."
Octavia:" Would you be a dear and lead me to it?"
Spike:" Sure, come on."
Octavia followed him. Because of his recent growth, he has been walking on all fours more often lately. It's been that way for a few months. Octavia thought it was adorable when he walked like that, and the way his tail swayed side to side as he went. His wings were surprising large, and heavy. She sighed.
Octavia: (If only we could be together. He's a dragon, I'm a pony. Plus, he doesn't even like me. He still likes Rarity. If only I can make him see me in a different light, he would love me... No! Bad Tavi! You can't think like that. *Sigh* Who am I kidding. Even if I could get him to feel the same way I feel about him... it just isn't meant to be. The fact that he hasn't gotten very far with Rarity proves that much.)
Spike:" So who's this friend of yours?"
Octavia:" O-oh! Um... Lyra!"
Octavia spouted it out without thinking. An accident on her part, but it wouldn't matter either way.
Spike went through a few books on the shelf, and pulled out one.
Spike:" Here we go. This should do it."
Octavia reached out, and grabbed the book, subtley, but purposefully touching her hoof to one of spikes claws, causing her to blush even redder.
Octavia:" Th-thank you, Spike."
Spike:" Heh, it was nothing. I hope your friend gets better."
Octavia:" Thank you. I hope so too. Heh..."
Luna didn't seem all too surprised that Regalf got away. After hearing the news, she even dismissed the fact that one of the viruses had gotten to Barbus. Lapis, and the three assassins, Hunts-With-Arrow, Golden Harvest, and Minuette, stood in front of the Ponyville Assassin Council. There were seven members of the council, including Luna, Vinyl Scratch, and Lyra Heartstrings.
Luna:" I see. At least the templars have one less reason to suspect you."
Lapis:" But Luna, they got away with one of the vials."
One of the council members, a grey unicorn stallion by the name of Bilyph, stood up.
Bilyph:" While you are here, you will address our mistress properly!"
Luna:" Now now, Bilyph. I understand you're concern miss Lazuli, however, the assassins will have it handled."
Lapis:" Y-yes mistress. My apologies, mistress."
Hunts-With-Arrow:" I still don't trust her."
Hunts-With-Arrow:" Let us not forget she was a templar! The very kind that have slaughtered innocents! For all we know, she could have known about the trick."
Lapis' ears drooped.
Minuette:" Hunter! A word, if you will!"
Hunts-With-Arrow:" We are at the hooves of the council. Shall I not have the right to speak my mind?"
Another member of the council, a white unicorn mare, named Alice Lace, stood from her chair.
Alice:" The council will hear your words, but we are not obligated to act on them. You do well to remember that."
Hunts-With-Arrow:" With all do respect, mistress, this creed isn't enough. The templars are monsters. Shouldn't we treat them as such? Isn't that what justice is?"
Luna:" What is justice if we are going to defeat the enemy by being just like the enemy? Your words speak truely, but there is motive in them, not conviction. For the creed we do not kill out of spite, and we do not torture our victims. What good is justice if it comes from vengeance?"
Hunts-With-Arrow:" What is vengeance, if I have nothing to avenge? The templars have done nothing to me, yet I loathe them so."
Luna:" You hate them because they are like the ponies that burned your tribe's village a decade ago. The templars may not have done it themselves, but they remind you of the feral tribals that have wronged you. In order to be a true assassin, you must have conviction for the creed. Vengeance is intolerable."
Hunts-With-Arrow was silent after that.
Lapis:" Princess... I mean, Mistress Luna, may I speak a request?"
Luna:" Of course, my child. What is it you need?"
Lapis:" I don't want to be a spy anymore. I want to become an assassin. I can prove my loyalty better that way."
Bilyph:" You aren't ready to be an assassin. To be an assassin, you must learn discipline, and obedience."
Lapis:" But I've stood by and watched the other templars as they murdered innocents, including members of the Ponyhood, and I did nothing just so I didn't blow my cover. They died because I was allowed to act, and that burdens me. What if I am ordered to kill an innocent? If I do, I would violate the first tenet. If I don't, it would compromise the ponyhood."
Vinyl stood up from her seat.
Vinyl:" I for one think she is well disciplined and obedient. And more than that, level-headed."
Minuette:" I-I can vouch for that! I saw her sabotaging the virus even before she noticed I was there. And she kept her cool when she found out I was checking up on her."
Another member of the council, a muscular pegasus stallion named Ursur, stood from his chair.
Ursur:" She was once a templar."
Lyra stood up.
Lyra:" We've had templars turncoat before. This is no different."
A brown earth pony stallion, named Rocky Bottom, rose from his seat.
Rocky:" I say we give the mare a chance to prove her worth."
A pink earth pony mare named Cherry Bush, stood from her seat.
Cherry:" I agree with Bilyph. She isn't ready. This takes much more than conviction. We need to trust that she will not make any rash decisions on behalf of the assassins."
Luna:" Very well, very well. We will settle this with a vote. The council, and three assassins in the room, will yay or nay to weather Lapis shall become an assassins or not. We will go clockwise, starting with Miss Scratch."
Vinyl:" I vote yay."
Alice:" I vote nay."
Minuette:" I vote yay."
Luna:" I see. Golden Harvest, you're decision will be the tie breaker."
Golden Harvest thought for a long moment. She noticed that Lapis had determination in her eyes, something that she was fond of. Golden smiled and voted.
Golden:" I vote yay."
Luna:" It has been decided then. Lapis Lazuli will be initiated by the end of tomorrow."
Lapis:" Th-thank you mistress."
Luna:" I would like to see you and and Minuette in my office. There is something we need to talk about regarding the initiation."
Lapis:" Yes mistress."
The three went towards Luna's office. Lyra walked up to Vinyl.
Lyra:" You did a great job keeping yourself together. Riley woke up today, but she needs to lay down for a bit longer."
Vinyl sighed in relief.
Vinyl:" Thanks Lyra. Did she say what happened?"
Lyra:" Oh... um, sh-she was the first to see Barbus betray the assassins. She said she saw him flick the lever on the secret exit. She tried to stand up to him, but it was too late."
Vinyl:" She did what?"
Lyra:" Before you get mad at her, just remember, she only did what you trained her to do, and that wasn't much. You should push her to her limits, and tell her how to make progress. Reading those old books isn't going to help her."
Vinyl:" I just didn't want her to hurt herself, but I guess it's too late for that."
Lyra:" She wants to be an assassin. That became her choice when you took her in. You still haven't even told her the truth about her parents."
Vinyl's ears drooped.
Vinyl:" She can't ever know."
Lyra:" She's going to find out eventually. If you tell her, sure she'll be upset, but she'll get over it. But if she doesn't hear it from you first, than things are going to get more difficult between you two, and she'll only hate you for what you did."
Vinyl:" It would serve me right. I killed her parents just because they were templars and I was given orders to. I didn't stop to think that 'hey maybe they have a child, who they love and are the only ponies that can care for her'. Until then, I never stopped to think about the consequences of my actions. I still don't. This is the one thing I ever stopped to think about."
Lyra:" You know she idolizes you, Vinyl. She told me not to tell you this, but... when she woke up, she told me she dreamt of you."
Vinyl:" That's... not creepy at all."
Lyra:" As her mother."
Vinyl's eyes widened, and her mouth opened. There was a weight in her heart as if the whole world came to end right in front of her.
Lyra:" Vinyl? Equestria to DJ Pon-3! Are you there?"
Vinyl closed her mouth, and her sight went to the floor, ears drooped, and mane dangling from her head.
Vinyl:" I... I need to go."
But Vinyl was already halfway out the door, her heart pounding with every step she took. She had always seen Riley as a reflection of herself. They did have the same colors, so much so that anypony could mistake Vinyl for Riley's mother. But even so, Vinyl did not think she was deserving of such a well-mannered, obedient filly like Riley. And now Riley thinks of her as a mother?
Vinyl: (Th-that can't be right... she's too good for me. Why does she like me? Why does... trust me like that? It's not like I've given her a reason to make her feel that way? Though... I did take her in when nopony would. I lied to her all this time, for a year. I can still hear her crying in the rain.)
Vinyl noticed that she began to cry, but by the time she had gotten to her guild dorm, it was too late. The waterworks had already started.
Luna:" Thank you for coming. I couldn't have this meeting with you anywhere else, for fear of somepony, a spy possibly, to catch what is going on here. I cannot have that after what Barbus did to the guild."
Lapis drooped her head.
Lapis:" I-I was going to tell you, but I didn't get here in time, and everything fell apart. When I got here, the templars were already retreating."
Minuette put a hoof on Lapis' shoulder.
Minuette:" We lost some good assassins in that battle, but it wasn't your fault."
Lapis:" I should have been faster."
Luna:" Regardless of weather you were able to tell us or not, we would have still been unprepared. They came too quickly, and they wouldn't have waited for us to ready ourselves. Dishonorable fiends they are. Regardless, I wanted to talk to you about your upcoming initiation."
Lapis:" Um... o-okay."
Luna:" There is one more thing I want you to do as a spy. After this, you are done."
Lapis:" I will do anything for you mistress."
Luna:" There is one thing left to do. In order to become an assassin, you must die."
Lapis and Minuette:" WHAT!?"
Luna:" Allow me to explain. You will not really die, but you will die... socially. The templars will have to think you are dead. Not only for your sake, but for your child's."
Lapis:" My... uh... I don't have a child."
Luna:" Please dear, I look to every child's dreams at night. Not one escapes me. I've seen your son. He dreams of you every night."
Lapis:" N-nopony was supposed to know... this thing between the templars and assassins is exactly why I never told anypony."
Luna:" Don't worry, only I know. And... now Minuette."
Minuette:" I'm sure he'll grow up to be a good kid."
Lapis:" I... thank you. But how do I fake my death? And even so, how am I supposed to just shut myself off from society?"
Luna:" You won't have to. We'll make sure your son is protected at all costs. And as for faking your death, well we are going to have to poison you, temporarily. I have it on good authority that Key Note is throwing a party tomorrow, and high ranking officers of the templar are invited. Since you seem to have earned the trust of even Barbus, you are allowed to go. There, when you are ready, Minuette will pose as one of the templar maids, slip the poison into your drink, and the poison will make believe you are dead. They won't even detect a pulse. When they bring you into where they keep their dead templars, Minuette will use her time manipulating abilities to quickly rush in and get you out before, or as soon as you wake up."
Minuette:" Wait a minute? I have to wear a maid outfit? That's so tedious! On top of that, what if the poison doesn't work exactly as intended? What if it kills her?"
Luna:" It's designed specifically to make one's body think it is has shut down. Of course, when you ingest the poison, it may be very painful as it tries to shut you down. You will want to stop breathing, but don't. That will make it far more painful. The best you could do is make sure you breathe."
Lapis:" And we're sure this will work?"
Minuette:" How much should I use?"
Luna:" The poison is hidden inside a small leaf. Lapis will have to ingest the leaf to consume the poison. After she is pronounced dead, the rest will be up to you Minuette."
Lapis:" It's just... ma'am... I'm a little uneasy about this plan."
Luna:" Lapis, do you trust me?"
Luna:" Do you trust me?"
Lapis:" Yes, mistress. I do..."
Luna:" Then as long as you have faith, fate will be kind to you."
Lapis:" I-I see."
Minuette:" You embarrassed me, in front of the entire Ponyville Assassin's Council. I don't even know where to begin... Scratch that, let's start with WHAT THE HAY IS WRONG WITH YOU!?"
Hunts-With-Arrow:" You have no idea what I've been through with ponies who are just like the templars."
Minuette:" And so what, you're going to be like them, too?"
Hunts-With-Arrow:" Certainly not, but I'm not going to sit on my flank and come up with a complicated strategy, when I can simply barge in and shoot every templar I see. Templars come, assassins die. The White Hooves came. My tribe, dead because of my hesitance. Their blood, on my hooves, because I could not fire the shot."
Minuette hugged her husband, who she still could not, for the life of her, understand his poetic speech, but she could understand his pain.
Minuette:" I know you're angry. But that's all the more reason to think logically, and not get yourself into trouble. Your tribe is not really gone, they'll always be there... right here."
She put a hoof on his chest, where his heart is.
Hunts-With-Arrow:" There is not enough blood in one heart to avenge a family. A tribe is everything. One is nothing. If all you have is lost, you... have lost everything."
Minuette held him by his left hoof.
Minuette:" But you have me."
Hunts-With-Arrow:" You and I, are but one and one. We are two sides of the same relationship, but we are not alike. Different, the two of us. No similar than bread and fruit. There is fire in us, does not burn as bright as you want it to."
Minuette:" Well, when you're ready to pull the stick of despair out of your flank, and stop being so cryptic, and unnecessarily poetic, you can come home and have some dinner. I'm not waiting for you though."
That said, the blue unicorn walked off, and magically closed the door behind her. She sighed.
Minuette: (I wish Hunter wouldn't be such a stick in the mud. It really ruins the mood of our relationship. He was once a tribal though, and that is understandable. But would his tribe jave wanted him to be so grumpy? I try my best, but no matter what I say, it just. Isn't. Enough. I keep telling him that I am here for him, but he pushes me away. I'm his wife, he shouldn't treat me as if I'm invisible, yet he plays the "I'm the victim" act as if I don't have my own problems. He's been like this ever since we met. Did I really marry the right stallion? Or am I just so naive that I didn't come to realize that I was dating a broken tribal, who refuses to be fixed?)
Minuette:" Oooohhh. Why can't things ever be simple?"
Lyra:" Hey Min. You alright?"
Minuette:" Hey Lyra. I need some advice."
Lyra:" Sure Min. Anything for a friend."
Minuette:" It's about Hunter. He's been so depressed. I only want to help him, and he keeps pushing me back, as if I'm the nuisance that caused him to feel this way. What do I do?"
Lyra:" He comes from a dead tribe. Their kind is uncivilized, and anti-social. If you ask me, you'd be better off with somepony who knows how to love, rather than a pony who picks stray berries in the Everfree Forest."
Minuette:" At least he knows which berries to pick."
Lyra:" That's not the point, Minuette. My point is you need somepony that knows what love is. He sees you, and he only sees a pillow. He only feels comfort, barely. That's not love."
Minuette:" What is love to you, Lyra?"
Lyra:" Love is a promise, of both dedication, and affection between two ponies. He has neither of thise things towards you."
Minuette:" But then... why did even marry me?"
Lyra:" I wish there were a better way to put this but... you're the help. But to him, you aren't helping. To him, you're just another shield he is hiding behind. To be honest, I don't even think he has any affection towards you. He doesn't show it. When you hug him, or make physical contact of any sort, he barely notices you. Even when you first started dating, he didn't even pay much attention to you, he's always been focusing on ther objects."
Minuette:" He just needs time. He'll understand. I just need time... to show him how I feel, and he can return the feelings."
Minuette:" Listen Lyra, I know I asked you for advice... but I just want to help him."
Lyra:" I just... don't want him to hurt you. Before I met Bon Bon, I've had the same problem with another mares. It was painful, and that pain will last a while. You might even shut yourself out from your friends... and I don't want that."
Minuette:" I would never."
Lyra:" You don't know that."
Minuette:" Regardless, I can't just give up."
Minuette walked passed Lyra, hoping that even if things don't work out, she would never abandon her friends.
TO BE CONTINUED...