Part 8: Revelations
Once Princess Celestia, Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Spike, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Fluttershy, Pinkiepie and Digital Fantasy, along with Cyber Wing, were at the Canterlot castle, several explanations were due. Celestia paced lightly in front of her throne, trying to decide where to start. "My little ponies..." she finally voiced tiredly. "I do apologize for what happened; it seems that my defenses were not enough to keep the danger locked in."
"It's not your fault, princess," Fantasy interjected. "If I had remembered the strengths and weaknesses of Cyber Wing, then this never would have happened. He is mine, and thus my responsibility, but he was taken over by... I don't even know who. I must have known before, but I can't remember, it's so frustrating."
"You are not to blame for your amnesia," Celestia admonished. "Although, now perhaps we will find some answers. But first some explanations... Digital Fantasy, maybe you should tell them about Cyber Wing."
"Yes, your highness," Fantasy nodded. "Cyber Wing is indeed a metal doll, but not just any doll. He is a very advanced and complicated machine called android. An android is basically a machine that looks like and simulates the actions of a real pony. In other words, he is animated, but not by means of magic, rather by means of the machinery inside him."
The elements of harmony looked at each other in wonderment. "So he's kind of like a super advanced pony shaped tractor?" Applejack suggested.
"I suppose so," Fantasy allowed the comparison.
"Since he is not actually alive or animated by magical means, the elements of harmony would normally prove ineffective, as they are linked to life itself," Celestia elaborated. "But there is another special type of magic that works," the sun princess prompted.
"Digital magic, it is the union of magic and technology, it's a bit hard to explain and harder to learn unless you grew up with it, but not impossible. It came back to me as if by instinct, just like that time when we encountered Cyber Wing near Fluttershy's place," Fantasy recalled. "My memories are still kind of blurry, but I know that Cyber Wing is mine, he is my assistant and helper, who was taken over and controlled by an enemy I can't remember. I think he should be okay now, restored to how he's supposed to be. Maybe the answer to all of this is in his memories."
"Machines that move on their own without magic and with such power, it's worrisome," Twilight voiced.
"Stopping androids isn't too hard with the resources of my home, I'm sure, but it is different from Equestria. The trick to it is knowing what to do. My digital spell worked once I managed to remember how it was done. However, if he had been receiving commands from another more powerful or amplified digital spell, mine would have fallen short. Yet there are no such things here as far as I've seen, so as things stand now, machines will answer to me. At least until someone else gets the hang of digital spells." Twilight's eyes were shining as she was clearly eager to try to learn those spells. "However," the purple unicorn's hopes were disappointed, "only cyborgs can cast digital spells. That means those who were born as ponies and have become one with machines. I'm fairly certain everyone in my home was a cyborg, something about the living condition of the area requiring it. Converting ponies into cyborgs is not my expertise, nor do I have the resources at present for such a delicate process. So unless another cyborg shows up, I'm the only one who can presently use digital spells to control machines."
"Any machines?" Rainbow asked curiously. "So you can make the Dizzythron go backwards and stuff?"
"Normally, machines are infused with digital energy that makes it so that only their owners can command them and breaking those security measures is both illegal and extremely difficult, but I don't see why anyone would feel the need to take such measures in Equestria, if there is no digital magic in practice anyway." Fantasy replied. Rainbow smiled mischievously, thinking up pranks she wanted to play on a few ponies with the help of that digital magic stuff. Yet before Rainbow could share her plans, Fantasy added. "I also don't think the machines around here use digital functions either, so no, not all machines, only the computerized." Rainbow wasn't sure what that meant, but she felt like her plans ended before they really begun.
"When Cyber Wing reactivated himself, breaking out through the physical barriers around him was easy for his strength and the force field spells I had set up were ineffective, as they were made to keep any traces of magic in. Even living creatures who cannot control their magic have some magic in them, the magic of life itself, which Cyber Wing didn't have, until now," Celestia explained.
"I've been wondering about that, what did you do, princess? And why does Cyber Wing have a cutie mark now?" Fantasy inquired. "Androids are forbidden from having cutie marks because they are constructs and cutie marks are reserved for living ponies."
"That is what I aimed to make him," Celestia revealed. "Cyber Wing was already animated and had an artificial personality buried beyond the..." What did Fantasy called it earlier? Hacking? She said it was the machine equivalent to "brainwashing. Thus a come to life spell would not merely animate him, because he already was. For this ambitious spell to work and remain permanent, I required the magic of the elements of harmony and the appearance of that cutie mark bears witness to its success. Now Cyber Wing is both a machine and a living pegasus. As a living creature, in the future he will be affected by the elements of harmony, so if he is brainwashed again, which I imagine must become a lot more difficult now since his living state would provide conscious mental defenses for such occasions, we can use the elements of harmony to restore him. Plus he might be able to tell us of what is to come."
"And of a way to go home," Fantasy sighed. "Everyone here has been very kind to me, but I'm completely outside of my element and it's depressing..."
Cyber Wing stirred, lifting his metal head to look at his former master, his eyes blue and unthreatening. "Digital Fantasy," his voice sounded very much like that of a real stallion. "Something has changed in my systems, have you installed new software?"
"Not exactly, but you are different now, alive, or you're supposed to be, although your body is still that of an android and functions as such, you're not all that different from me, since I'm part machine too," Fantasy explain.
"I see..." It seemed that the concept of life was still something Cyber Wing needed to get used to. "My outer covers are damaged, my armor is burned and is this a cutie mark? Restoring missing data... I recall what happened, I was overtaken by a virus, but it has now been eliminated from my system, my apologies for the malfunctions."
"It's okay, we have more important thing to think about now. We time traveled to the past, but I have lost some of my memories. I need to know what happened. What warning did I carry? Tell me about everything you remember from the period immediately before we arrived in this era and tell me about our home," Fantasy requested.
"Processing request..." Cyber Wing paused for several seconds until his thoughts were organized. Albeit he was a living android now, he still retained his old habits of expressing himself in such terms, rather than saying something like 'let me gather my thoughts' or some such similar phrase. "The city of Mechatropolis was founded by king Magnus Mecha and his scientist followers. He hid the city in an alternate dimension after a failed attempt at conquering Equestria. For a thousand years, the scholars of Mechatropolis pursued technological advances and multiplied. However, king Magnus changed in that time and decided that he did not wish to declare war on Equestria when the time came for Mechatropolis to appear again in this dimension. When the city did reappear, king Magnus began talks of peace with Princess Celestia. Calculating approximate date... Error, missing date data due to time travel effect..."
Taking the hint, Twilight informed Cyber Wing of the current date.
"Please confirm data..." Cyber requested.
"Confirmed," Fantasy voiced.
"Data accepted," Cyber declared. "Applying calculations... Mechatropolis is expected to appear... today."
A chorus of "today!?" erupted through all those present.
"Then we have but mere hours to prepare," Celestia sighed. "What more can you tell us?"
"Please confirm request..." Cyber prompted.
"Still used to asking for my approval for everything I see," Fantasy chuckled. "You must have some form of instinct now, so you can trust it."
"Analyzing situation... request accepted," Cyber voiced. "The night in which we traveled back in time will be in seven days. Victorious Strong had organized a party at Canterlot." At this point in the android's narration, Celestia let out a little gasp of recognition that went unnoticed. "Because Victorious Strong sent for her specifically, Digital Fantasy decided to attend. I had found system errors that I needed to repair and remained behind at Fancy Pants and Fleur De Lis' residence to do so. Canterlot was under attack, thus I hurried out to find Digital Fantasy. When I caught up with her, she had run out of the party in alarm, determined to go back in time to stop a disaster. I escorted her to the Canterlot castle while an army of androids attacked the city. My systems were overtaken just as we reached the chamber where the Tome of Time was expected to be found."
"The party..." Fantasy closed her eyes in concentration, she could almost see the image of what transpired, but it still remained beyond interpretation. "What did I see at the party that made me run off?"
"Maybe the attacking metal ponies?" Rainbow suggested. "We all must have seen them by then."
"I suppose so..." Something still felt out of place for Fantasy. Why did she time travel rather than letting Celestia's forces handle the situation. Furthermore, she was loyal to her king, so what would make her take Celestia's side if Magnus did decide to attack after all?
"Sounds like that king Magnus was still out to take over Equestria after all," Applejack observed.
A massive earthquake shook the land of Equestria, leaving everyone with a feeling of foreboding. The damage was not significant in Canterlot, but Celestia had a very bad feeling about it. The stream of earthquakes continued until a young phoenix rushed into the castle via a window, carrying an urgent message with a speed that only a magical firebird could have, moving through the air like a shooting star. Celestia received the scroll from the phoenix, "a message from Cadence and Shining Armor! They speak of a strange dome the size of a city that has appeared just beyond the border of the Crystal Empire!"
With a serious face, Twilight declared, "it has begun..."
xoxox xox xoxox
Everything occurred just as Cyber had revealed and several days passed by in such a fashion, with the countdown to the night of the disaster drawing ever closer. Magnus did reach out to Celestia and Luna, though only Celestia was willing to speak with him. She did not notice any evil inclinations or hints of deception in him, albeit she knew that disaster was to come and showed herself distrusting. Then she saw him again, her dear friend Victorious Strong. He was a dark blue unicorn with a golden mane and piercing red eyes. His cutie mark was a sword. He had been Celestia's loyal captain a thousand years ago. Magnus had been a researcher at the time, who earned Luna's friendship due to his unusual nocturnal nature.
When Magnus betrayed Luna's trust and sent a mechanical army against Equestria, Victorious had fought alongside the princesses to defend the land. They drove Magnus and his followers into their stronghold, the city of Mechatropolis, which was hidden under an armored dome in the outskirts of the Crystal Empire. It had been Luna's influence that granted Magnus that territory, something that made the night princess feel even more used and betrayed by some pony she had called her friend.
As Celestia, Luna and their followers prepared to storm into Mechatropolis and capture the enemy stronghold, Victorious rushed ahead, not hearing the warning of caution that Celestia called out to him a second too late. Magnus activated a mechanism that mixed magic and machinery, which caused Mechatropolis to be transported into a parallel dimension for the next thousand years, with Victorious Strong caught inside. Eventually, Victorious made peace with Magnus and so time passed.
Seeing Victorious again, so trustworthy of Magnus, made Celestia wonder if Magnus was really trying to trick them or if the villain was some pony else, perhaps one of Magnus' followers or one of their descendants. Celestia didn't want to throw away the possibility of a peaceful resolution, so she would have to uncover the true mastermind soon.
The elements of harmony, Spike, Fantasy and Cyber had all journeyed to Mechatropolis with the princesses. Fantasy's memories became ever clearer as she basked in the technology of her home. Twilight was quick to assault the library, which was filled with talking text that were reflected on glassy squares called screens that responded to the touch, granting access to immeasurable knowledge. Rainbow Dash found a challenge in racing against certain types of android pegasus that were specifically built for speed.
Pinkiepie got hooked on a game called Dance Dance Revolution and had been playing none stop. Applejack joined Pinkiepie at the arcade, participating in a game called Virtual Rodeo in a chamber that produced holographic situations of various challenges and relied on motion sensors to judge the outcome. Fluttershy was fascinated by the variety of realistic mechanical animals that ponies in Mechatropolis kept as pets, some even appearing as impossible combinations of two or more creatures.
As for Rarity, she of course was interested in the fashion of Mechatropolis, which favored metallic colors and sharp angles. It was during one of her online shopping expedition that Spike met Victorious Strong. The unicorn visited the guest area at Mechatropolis where Spike and Rarity were resting, her eyes locked into one of those interactive glassy squares that one could use to see the recorded images of plays, hear music and view fashion catalogues among other things. "Excuse me..."
"Yes?" Spike replied not realizing who the unicorn was.
"I couldn't help it but to notice you're a dragon," victorious observed.
"Oh... yes..." Spike replied unsure.
"I never expected to see one living peacefully around ponies. No offence, but a thousand years ago, a dragon was more likely to eat a pony than date one," Victorious continued. "I had to fight off quite a few to keep Equestria safe during my time as a royal captain."
Spike shifted uncomfortably, while Rarity was too distracted browsing through the online catalogue to notice what was going on. Plus the headphones over her ears kept out all sounds, save for the ones that came from the computer. "Well... you know... times change..."
"Yes, and I am glad for that. I've always thought that dragons are exceptionally formidable creatures and I would very much like to call one a comrade."
Spike relaxed a little at the turn the conversation was taking and smiled. "I'm always open to making new friends. I'm Spike, and you are?"
"Ah, forgive me for not introducing myself earlier," the unicorn stallion smiled. "I am Victorious Strong, former captain of the Canterlot royal guard."
Spike's jaw dropped. He had thought he saw the image of this unicorn somewhere, but couldn't remember where. Now it all clicked into place, "I've seen you in history books!" It wasn't a pleasant story at first because the dragons were the enemy being driven away by the brave unicorn that was considered a hero. Yet at the end of the history lesson a few words from the unicorn were recorded stating his admiration for dragons and their fighting spirit as well as his hope that one day ponies and dragons could become allies. "You're a legendary hero!"
"It's no big deal, I'm sure someone like you, who has bridged the differences between ponies and dragons and began an era of peace between them deserves far more credit than me," Victorious commended.
"I did all that?" Spike never thought of his way of life in such a light. "I guess that does make me sound like a legendary hero when you put it like that. Uniting ponies and dragons, starting a new era of peace... I like the sound of that."
"Can I make a request?"
"Sure!" Spike was grinning widely, feeling rather dashing being compared to a legendary hero by the archetype of legendary heroes himself.
"In the past, and most likely still in the present I would assume, comrades would spar with each other to help each other improve as well as show their trust in putting the development of their abilities in the hooves of another. If you don't mind, can we do that sometime? Maybe we can even wear armor to make it look grander."
Spike's grin grew, if he wore armor, Rarity would surely thing he looks so dashing. He could be her knight in shining armor literally. "That sounds great!"
"Excellent, shall we meet up this evening to set things up? Maybe we can have an exhibition match for every pony's entertainment tonight. I am planning to throw a small party at Canterlot as I had not been in my native city for a thousand years before now. I have met some kind ponies, Fancy Pants and his wife Fleur De Lis, who seemed all too eager to help with the festivities. Is this okay with you?"
"More than okay!" Spike happily exclaimed. Rarity was helping out with that party too and was looking forward to meeting the archetype of legendary heroes, the one and only Victorious Strong. She would be trilled to know that Spike would be in an exhibition match with Victorious himself, wearing cool heroic armor.
"Excellent, then I'll see you this evening backstage at Fancy's club," Victorious confirmed.
"I'm so there!" Spike cheerfully replied.
After Victorious left, a few minutes passed before a beeping sound woke Rarity from her trance, staring at the fashion catalogue. It was the sounds of an alarm she had figured out how to set on the glassy square to let her know it was time to leave. She lowered the screen onto her lap and glanced at Spike, whom she was leaning against as they lay on a mountain of pillows. His attention was on a small hand held videogame depicting a high jumping red pony with a hat bearing the letter M. "Did you say something, Spiky? I was a bit distracted."
A bit was the understatement of the century. "Oh, I was just talking to Victorious Strong."
Rarity laughed, "Victorious Strong, eh? Well I'm certainly looking forward to meeting the legendary hero of a thousand years ago. He's the archetype of all today's story book heroes, you know. Fancy and Fleur have already met him before I could and assured me that he would be at tonight's party, in fact, he was the one organizing it, with Fancy providing the locale."
Spike realized that Rarity really did think he was joking about Victorious. "Ah well... actually..." Would she be upset if she knew she missed talking to the legend? Maybe... Either way, perhaps it was best to keep the exhibition match as a surprise, she would surely think it's so cool. "I have to go do something this evening about the party, it's a surprise."
"Oh? Has Fancy asked you to help with the preparations?" She inquired curiously.
"Something like that, I'm sure you'll think it's cool. I'll make sure to put on a good show for you, just like a legendary hero," he hinted.
"A surprise for me?" Rarity squealed with curios bliss. "I can't wait to see it! Ah, we should get going now. That speedy flying machine will be leaving to Canterlot shortly."
xoxox xox xoxox
The hour of truth was upon them and Celestia had not discovered the true culprit behind the tragic events that were to pass. She did observe that the ponies of Mechatropolis, the tech ponies as some had taken to calling them, were good ponies and the sun princess didn't want to unfairly judge them because of their leader's actions. Yet accusing Magnus without proof when his subjects clearly admired him so much would surely cause a dangerous uproar. Celestia had also been in contact with Digital Fantasy's past self, who seemed to be an ordinary citizen of Mechatropolis.
As for Fantasy's present self, she observed her own past from a different perspective. Her loyal pegasus android companion, Cyber Wing, had been repaired and now had the appearance of stallion, as his synthetic covers have been restored. He had light blue fur and a blue mane darker than his fur, but lighter than Fantasy's mane, with silvery locks mixed in. In moments, his cutie mark, a metal shield-like wing, appeared atop the synthetic fur as if by magic. Fantasy had spoken about this in Celestia's company to Magnus and he recognized Cyber Wing as another of his living citizens. Another thing Fantasy observed was that the inexplicable interest Victorious Strong had taken towards her past self during the time immediately preceding the disaster was a consequence of Celestia's interest in speaking to her past self in hopes of gaining a sort of clue that Fantasy knew could not be found there.
One thing was a consequence of the other. If Fantasy had not time traveled, she wouldn't have caught Celestia's interest. Yet if Celestia had not interacted with her past self, she wouldn't have caught Victorious' interest and thus wouldn't have attended the party where she witnessed something that made her want to go back in time. It was also during the meetings of her past self with Celestia that she met Philomena, as Fantasy was remembering more and more as the zero hour drew ever closer. Maybe her lack of memories was the way time itself had to make sure that she did what she was destined to do and a paradox wouldn't have to be acted out in slightly different ways repeatedly until time settled into a loop where what is destined to happen matches what has, in a way, already happened.
Luna's one short meeting with Magnus Mecha during the span of the week was tense and consisted of him apologizing with apparent sincerity and her trying to stab him with her horn. Celestia had to interfere and break up the one way fight. Luna had bitterly returned to her chambers with memories of days long past dancing in her mind. She remembered when she first met Magnus, who was then a unicorn. Now he had become an alicorn through cyborg technology and had silvery metal wings. The Magnus of the past was a loner who preferred the quiet of the night over the busy days. He spent all his time tinkering with machines under the light of magical floating orbs that looked like little stars around him.
One night, Luna had curiously approached the peculiar unicorn. His golden fur reminded Luna of the color of the sun and his silvery mane shone with the reflected light. Such a stallion, she would imagine, would bask in the rays of her sister's sun and enjoy the active days with the others. Yet he always remained awake during the night and slept during the days. Magnus had been surprised when the night princess approached him, but composed himself and greeted her politely. She didn't really understand what he went on and on about trying to achieve with his machines, but Luna was often lonely while everyone slept the nights away and was glad to have some pony to talk to.
Eventually, more ponies joined Magnus' research and the nocturnal group became favored by Luna, who convinced Celestia to grant them a portion of land and materials to build a research laboratory in the borders of what not too long ago had been the Crystal Empire, which had only recently disappeared. The laboratory became a city with an armored dome cover to hide its many secrets. Then came the betrayal, as Magnus led his mechanical army to storm Equestria. Celestia, Luna, Victorious Strong and their followers, drove Magnus' forces back, overpowering them with the sheer force of their magic, though if the enemy army had greater numbers and had been technologically perfected; it would have been a lot more difficult to win.
xoxox xox xoxox
The time finally came for Victorious' party at Canterlot, the zero hour in which Celestia and Luna kept a close eye, or a close glare in Luna's case, on Magnus, waiting to catch him in the act of making his evil move, expose him to the tech ponies as a tyrant who only wanted to use them and ultimately stop the disaster that was to come. As expected, Fancy and Fleur had grown curious about everything concerning Mechatropolis. Because of Digital Fantasy's past self being summoned by Celestia, she ended up in Canterlot, which led her to meet them.
Victorious sent for Fantasy to go to the party and meanwhile at Mechatropolis, the armored dome around the city was brought down to reveal the tower standing at its center. By then the tower had already begun to broadcast the virus that would control all the domestic androids in the city and Mechatropolis' Steel Soldiers, an android alicorn army originally built for Magnus' return and revenge, that reprogrammed into being harmless after his eventual change. Cyber's past suffered from that virus, not knowing what it was at the time, and remained at Fancy's place repairing himself. Fantasy's past didn't think the errors were serious and left Cyber there while she went ahead to the party, only because Victorious had called for her.
Then came the time of revelation, while Cadence and Shining armor were needed at the Crystal Empire to keep an eye on the near by Mechatropolis, almost every other pony who was some pony was at the Canterlot party. Celestia, Luna, Magnus, Rarity, Rainbow, Fluttershy, Applejack and Pinkiepie were all present. Fantasy was destined to arrive soon, while Spike and Victorious were preparing for their exhibition match. The only element of harmony who was missing was Twilight, who had lost track of time and became caught up with what was supposed to be a short session of extra studies at the Canterlot castle.
As Fantasy's past self arrived at the party, Victorious' and Spike exhibition match was set to begin, but what happened was something quite different. A giant dragon claw ripped the club's ceiling right off. The dragon responsible had the same colors as Spike and looked just like him during his greed growth. The only difference was that he wore strange metal armor with needle-like wires that penetrated his scales. "Spiky?" Rarity gasped in frightened shock.
On the dragon's shoulder, there was Victorious Strong, also wearing armor that included an elaborate helmet. "Victorious! What is the meaning of this?" Celestia demanded to know.
"This is exactly what you deserve, my dear Celestia," Victorious laughed. "I've waited for a thousand years trapped in a city where war heroes like me only existed in fiction. A place with no dragons for me to chase away and no fair princess to protect. But why did I even want to protect such a princess in the first place? Such a cold hearted princess who would abandon her loyal captain with the enemy. I was always dispensable to you, wasn't I, Celestia?"
"No!" Celestia exclaimed. "You were a hero and were remembered as such. That dreadful time a thousand years ago I tried to tell you not to rush in. I tried to-"
"Lies! Spike, my slave, destroy Equestria, go my Steel Soldiers, let terror consume this land!" Victorious shouted. From the boxes delivered that were supposed to contained supplies for the party, troops of android alicorns with glowing red eyes marched out. They had no synthetic covers, as they held no need for such decorations, their metal armor glistening in the moonlight. Their sharp horn shot bolts of electricity, their metal tails were as scythes and their armored wings granted them great speed. At the same time, the android companions of the tech ponies visiting Canterlot were also used to attack.
Luna stared in disbelief, "Victorious, the unicorn that my sister trusted so much..." She hurried towards the distraught Celestia. "My sister, this is the betrayal I felt a thousand years ago when I lost my nocturnal friends and was left with no one at all to appreciate my nights. You tried to console me, but I didn't listen. Please, Celestia, now I tell you that you must stand strong!"
"Luna... my sister..." Celestia voiced solemnly. "Don't be so distraught, this only means that Magnus' repentance was true. As for Victorious... We can still bring him to his senses with the elements of harmony!" Five of the six elements of harmony assembled, but Twilight Sparkle was nowhere to be seen. Celestia sighed, "she was caught up on her studies again, wasn't she?" The sun princess couldn't really blame her student, as she herself had suggested a light study session to calm the stressed purple unicorn. Plus no one ever said that attendance to the party was required or to be graded, though she was certainly invited.
Spike was rampaging through Canterlot under Victorious' control as was the android alicorn army and the hacked domestic androids. "I never expected this betrayal," Magnus admitted. "I'm so sorry it came to this, but I will stop Victorious!"
"You can't do it alone," Luna argued. "Do those Steel Soldiers have a weakness?"
"They are not acting as they should," Magnus mused. "That means that there must be something overriding their core programming. The only device I know of that can do that is the central tower at Mechatropolis. For victorious to commandeer it like this..."
"Celestia, you and the elements of harmony should do all you can to protect Canterlot. I'll go to Mechatropolis with Magnus." Luna decided.
"Luna!" Celestia gasped unsure.
"I can handle this," Luna assured. "Magnus, to be honest, I haven't fully forgiven you yet, but it doesn't look like you're going to become a traitor a second time, so I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Now let's go to the tower you speak of."
"Princess Luna... thank you," Magnus and Luna took off full speed.
"Woah! I didn't realize they could move that fast!" Rainbow exclaimed. "I need to challenge them both to a race one of these days."
"Digital Fantasy," Celestia spoke to the past version. "Please find Twilight Sparkle at the castle. She is locked in a sound proof room I lent her so she could study in peace, thus she won't hear any of the chaos going on outside. Hurry and tell her what is happening!"
"Yes!" Fantasy's past self rushed out. Just outside, she met up with Cyber's past self, who, despite not being fully functional, rushed to find his master when he became aware of the danger in the city.
Not too far away, the Digital Fantasy of the present watched the events unfold along with Cyber Wing's present self. "There we go. I'll reach the castle and instead of finding Twilight I will instead try to get the Tome of Time, which I ironically learned about during my past conversations with Celestia, not knowing what was destined to occur. The time loop has come to a close and all my memories have been restored. Warning Celestia was a lie to persuade Philomena. I couldn't believe Victorious was a traitor and thought that it if went to the past, I could convince him not to go through with this, I wanted to save him and stop him from causing my dear friends so much pain. But we can't rely on time travel to fix everything or else the cause of the time travel itself would be erased, which would in turn take away the warning, yet without the warning, the need for time travel would still be there, creating an endless paradox. Maybe my amnesia was a self defense of time to create a loop that would repair the flow of time and prevent the timeline from being torn apart by paradoxes that cannot be reconciled."
"What can we do now?" Cyber inquired.
"We're going to find Twilight as we should have done in the first place!" Digital Fantasy and Cyber Wing rushed to the castle, following their past selves, but not closely enough to be detected. "Most of the androids are after our past versions, so we should be able to find Twilight easily. It looks like the castle guards have gone out to help the city. Are you doing alright, Cyber? Can you track Twilight?"
"My living condition protects me from the hacking to an extent, it is bothersome, but I can withstand it. Locking on to Twilight Sparkle's magical signature... Twilight Sparkle found, this way!" With Cyber Wing leading the way and fighting off, along with Digital Fantasy's own magic, any stray androids that went after them, they reached the chamber where Twilight was quickly.
Fantasy threw the door opened and closed it again with her glowing horn behind Cyber and herself. Twilight's concentration was broken from her studies and she looked up from the high tech portable device she was reading from. It could read to her, but she actually like reading. "What was that? It sounds like there's a war going on out there."
"There is!" Fantasy exclaimed. "The elements of harmony are needed, you have to hurry and join the others before Equestria is destroyed.
"What?" The two unicorns and pegasus rushed out of the room and through the halls of the castle towards the city. "How is this possible? Princess Celestia said she was keeping an eye on Magnus and that I should just relax until the party. She said she would send someone from the castle staff to get me when it was time to go!" Twilight went on in shock.
"I'm pretty sure the whole castle staff is busy with survival right now," Fantasy replied.
"Affirmative," Cyber agreed, as if it wasn't already an obvious fact.
Just outside of the castle, between rampaging metal alicorns, there was Spike, tearing the city apart. "Don't tell me that's...?" Twilight couldn't even finish her question.
"Request accepted, I will not reveal the identity of the dragon," Cyber Wing declared, then he paused and thought about it for a moment. "Or did you actually mean that you wanted to know?"
"That's Spike, brainwashed by Victorious Strong," Digital Fantasy revealed.
"Victorious?!" Twilight exclaimed. "You mean this isn't Magnus' doing?"
"No, he went off to Mechatropolis with Luna to try to stop the source of Victorious' control," Fantasy revealed.
"Twilight!" Rarity's voice rung out through the chaotic streets along with the sound of rapid hoof steps. Rarity, Rainbow, Fluttershy, Applejack and Pinkiepie caught up with their missing element of harmony. "We need to use the elements of harmony to save Spiky before he hurts himself!" Rarity shrieked in a panic.
"Or completely demolishes the city," Applejack added.
"Right, let's free him from Victorious' control!" Twilight and the other elements of harmony ran towards Spike, fighting android alicorns along the way with unicorn magic, hard bucks and whirlwinds.
"Spiky, we came to save you!" Rarity called out to her beloved as soon they reached him. Spike only growled in return and spat out flames at them.
Celestia swooped in and shielded them with her magic, though clearly she was at her limit and fell to the side bruised, scratched and exhausted soon after. "My little ponies... the elements of harmony... you must..." The sun princess fainted.
"Princess Celestia!" Twilight exclaimed.
Suddenly, the androids froze, falling down like lifeless dolls. "Magnus and Luna must have disabled the control tower!" Fantasy realized.
"The probabilities of victory have increased," Cyber commented.
"Let's do this!" Twilight's tiara and eyes began to glow, as did the necklaces and eyes of the other elements. Spike contorted as if he was in great pain and his size was reduced gradually.
"No! I won't let you do this!" Victorious growled. His helmet glowed, feeding the brainwashing that overtook Spike.
"Spiky, you have to fight back!" Rarity somehow broke free from the trance of the elements of harmony, though they were still active, her necklace still glowing brightly and her eyes were like two lights.
Spike let out an earsplitting roar as his size was further reduced. The high tech magically adaptable armor clung to him, its size changing along with Spike's body. Victorious jumped off the shrinking Spike, keeping himself afloat in mid air by an advanced levitation spell that allowed him to fly without wings. He watched unable to stop it as Spike regained enough control to rip the armor off. The needles that dug into his scales were painful, but not more so than the loss of control itself. "Rarity..." Spike shrunk to his normal size, just a little bigger than Rarity.
"Spiky!" The elements of harmony ceased their glow as the pair reunited.
"I'm sorry, he tricked me..." Spike apologized, weak from all he had to go through.
"It's not your fault," Rarity hugged him in relief, "he tricked every pony."
"This isn't over!" Victorious growled.
"Yes it is," Celestia got to her hooves on shaky legs. "Luna and Magnus have deactivated the control tower that you used to control the androids and you have lost your influence on Spike. Don't make this any harder on yourself and allow the elements of harmony to heal you. If you repent of your evil, you will be cleansed, but if you don't you will be turned to stone!"
"Being stone can't be worse than being trapped in a land where I have no place!" Victorious yelled bitterly. "The luxurious utopia of Mechatropolis, where everyone was safe for a thousand years, focusing on advancements. It came to a point where every pony even had their own mechanical servant that took care of the more menial tasks of life, while they were free to pursue higher knowledge and advancements. There were no monsters hiding in the shadows, no rampaging dragons preying on defenseless ponies, there was no place for heroes of battle, there was nothing to protect them from! I was useless, I tried to adapt to their ways and even became a cyborg, but my past glory was gone. They didn't see me as a hero, I was an ordinary stallion, pleasing to the eyes, but not as smart as they. It was because you abandoned me, Celestia, you whom I loved and was willing to give my life for. This is all your fault, I hate you! I was a hero for you and I got nothing but suffering in return!"
"Victorious..." Celestia gasped, "you never even told me..."
"What good would it have done?" Victorious growled. "Only a true legend could be good enough for a goddess and you never noticed that I was trying all along to become him, the hero of legend that conquered all trials and was rewarded by the goddess, just like in mythology." His horn glowed brightly, protuberating from an opening on his helmet which covered the rest of his face. "I'll settle this the old fashion way, come to life my alicorn army!"
Several of the android alicorns nearest to them began to move, closing in on the group. "If this is truly a come to life spell, then the alicorns will be affected by the elements of harmony. Fight back, my little ponies!" Celestia called out.
Once again, the six elements of harmony assembled; their eyes, necklaces and tiara glowing brightly. However, the bitterness that Victorious held was strong and the element wielders were far too tired from the strain of freeing Spike. The metal alicorns charged in and even if Celestia, Spike, Fantasy and Cyber did all they could to stop them, they were able to reach the element wielders and break their focus with harsh attacks.
Just when it looked like the heroes were unable to power the elements of harmony enough to win, when it seemed that Equestria would finally fall, another light coated the land, originating from the Crystal Empire's border, from Mechatropolis. "A digital spell!" Fantasy exclaimed.
"Analyzing... This is the energy of King Magnus and Princess Luna! He is lending him her energy for him to cast a digital spell reclaiming the Mechatropolis army as his," Cyber determined.
"No!" Sparks flew from Victorious' overworked horn, as he was unable to maintain control over the alicorn androids.
"Try again with the elements of harmony!" Celestia called out.
The elements of harmony became active again as their holders pushed themselves beyond their limits. The light of the elements of harmony surrounded Victorious. He remembered the loyalty he once held towards Equestria, his honest wish to protect every pony, the kindness he showed to those who counted on him, his selfless generosity in sharing the spoils of victory, the laughter he shared with his friends, and how magical it all once was. Though he pushed himself to resist it, he could not. His horn no longer glowed, Victorious Strong, the stallion who was once considered the archetype of a legendary hero, lay motionless.
If Victorious refused redemption he should have been turned to stone for a millennia, not killed. Yet he wasn't moving. With unmistakable worry, Celestia carefully removed his helmet, fearing that all the magic coursing through him was too much. Where once there was a familiar face full of youth, now there was the face of an aged stallion, unmoving and unresponsive. No one dared to speak until Celestia softly whispered, "his life is fading..." A few tears escaped her eyes, landing on Victorious' face.
The dying unicorn opened his now dim red eyes that were once filled with endless hopes and dreams. "A goddess should not shed tears for a mere mortal." He whispered in a sorrowful voice; then he closed his eyes again and remained still and cold.
"Cyber, do all you can to save him!" Fantasy urged.
"Affirmative!" Cyber placed his hooves on Victorious' chest and allowed a gentle flow of electricity to escape him. "His emergency backup system is active, but drained; I must maintain the flow of electricity."
"Good, do it," to the perplexed looks of all the others, Fantasy offered an explanation. "Victorious is a cyborg, which means he needs both food and the occasional charge of electricity. His natural life would have expired long ago if not for his cyborg components, which keep him alive even now. He pushed himself too hard and his energy was so drained that he lost his youth, but he will regain it if he remains in hibernation for some time."
At that very moment, Luna and Magnus returned. "Is every pony okay?" She asked.
Celestia nodded in relief, "we will be."
"Vic is not looking too good, keep that energy going for now, Cyber Wing, we'll hook him up to a battery and he'll be healthy again soon." Magnus looked at Celestia. "I assume he'll have you to answer to when he awakens?"
Celestia shook her head, "the elements of harmony didn't petrify him, the judgment has ended."
"I see... And I also see the destruction all around Canterlot," Magnus sadly acknowledged. "Now that the Steel Soldiers are under my control, I can use them to rebuild Canterlot before we leave."
"Leave?" Luna questioned.
"The tech ponies, as they have been called, are too different from the ponies of Equestria. Our two cultures are not ready to coexist as one. I'm afraid my citizens will go from being novelties to being feared and if that goes to their heads they might make the same mistake I did," Magnus explained. "That is why we must leave, at least until the passing of time makes us more similar."
"I understand," Celestia accepted the choice, seeing its logic.
"You don't have to go to another dimension, go to the moon instead, I'm sure you must have the resources to do it!" Luna offered. She and Celestia were currently the only others besides the cyborgs who could survive at the moon, because of their abundant magic. The two princesses were also the only ones who could travel between the earth and moon by their own power, without the need for a vessel as the tech ponies still needed.
"You are right and I am very grateful to you for offering us your moon, princess Luna. After Canterlot is restored we will journey there. As for Victorious... Sometimes a stallion needs a good kick from a pretty mare to come to his senses." Magnus spoke as if from personal experience. "If it's alright, I'll take him along and see to it that he recovers. I'll keep an eye on him just in case, but I have a feeling that he learned his lesson."
xoxox xox xoxox
Though their friends from Mechatropolis had gone to the moon, they would always be remembered in bonds of unbreakable friendship...
xoxox xox xoxox
Dear Princess Celestia:
Though sometimes it may seem that the only way out of a problem is to have stopped it from happening in the first place, there are times when we have no choice but to face reality as it is. Even when a situation is overwhelming, running away only takes us in circles that end where they began.
When my past self was sent to find Twilight, I did not know or trust her. That made me want to undo everything quietly, stopping and excusing Victorious before he even did anything. I know now that it wouldn't have worked, for he would have kept his bitterness bottled up and be forced to eventually let it out.
After my trip to the past, during which I got to know the wielders of the elements of harmony, I trusted them and knew that I could count on my new found friends to get through the hard times together, through the magic of friendship.
I hope everyone in Equestria is doing well. I know it will take many years, but I will be here, waiting for the time when our two kingdoms can coexist.
PS: I tried to send a package full of lunar gems for Spike and Rarity (Luna said it was okay), but the scroll teleporter short circuited, as it is made to only handle paper. (Which I never got used to after typing all my life, so I had Cyber Wing install a writing software and write this for me.) Anyway, the teleporter took a while to fix, hence my late reply. Maybe Luna will kindly deliver the new non-charred lunar gems I picked up next time she drops by.
xoxox xox xoxox
"Spiky, you'll never guess what just happened!" Before he could try to guess... "My lunar gem dress is going to be featured in the most important scene of Sapphire Shores' new movie!"
"Movie? Isn't she a singer?"
"Yes, but you know singers turning into actors and vice versa is the in thing these days."
A smile, "congratulations, Rare!"
"Applewood here I come!" A joyous squeal. "You'll come with me, right?"
"Of course, I'll go anywhere for you!"
"I love you, my Spiky-wikey!"
"I love you too..." Then there was a kiss, another of many.
xoxox xox xoxox
Part 9: Epilogue
One thousand years ago, there was a genius unicorn stallion called Magnus Mecha. He was skilled with machines and conducted constant advanced studies along with a specially chosen group of elite researchers. Magnus and his followers preferred the quiet of the night over the noisy busy days, as they could better focus on their experiments. Because of their nocturnal habits, the group was favored by Princess Luna, who became good friends with Magnus. At his request, she granted him a territory in the lands neighboring the borders of what once was the Crystal Empire, which had disappeared after King Sombra had been recently defeated. There, Magnus built a peculiar metal dome, large enough to fit a city the size of Canterlot inside, and he called it Mechatropolis.
Unfortunately, Magnus betrayed Luna's trust when he constructed pony shaped machines that would serve as soldiers to take over Equestria. Ultimately, he lost the war and retreated to his headquarters of Mechatropolis with his followers and what was left of his android army. The disappointed Luna and Celestia gave chase to ensure that the enemy did not prepare another attack. The princesses were accompanied by their trusted captain of the royal guard, Victorious Strong, a heroic unicorn stallion of exceptional prowess.
Though Magnus' stronghold fought against the Equestrians, in the end, they broke through their defenses and Victorious charged into the dome ahead of the princesses. Seeing as his defeat and imprisonment was imminent, Magnus activated a device that hid Mechatropolis in an alternate parallel dimensional space, similarly to what King Sombra had done before, but with one distinct difference. Those trapped inside the dome city would not be frozen in time as the crystal ponies were. They would remain conscious and continuously work to become more knowledgeable and stronger for the day of their return.
Shortly after Magnus' imprisonment, Luna was left with no one to appreciate her nights and became very lonely. Thus the story of Nightmare Moon began. It had been a thousand years since then when Luna recovered her true self and the Crystal Empire returned and was restored to its past splendor. Then something very peculiar happened, an amnesiac unicorn appeared with traces of time travel magic and a dangerous pursuer. She was being hunted by a metal pegasus who, as if possessed by something evil, had no qualms about eliminating all who stood in his way.
Celestia thought that the unicorn must have come with a warning and entrusted her to the elements of harmony in hopes that they could help her recover her missing memories. In time, the unicorn, whose name was Digital Fantasy, began to recall bits and pieces of her life and even managed to recover her pegasus android companion, Cyber Wing, who had been reprogrammed to kill her. Yet before Fantasy and the elements of harmony could put all the pieces of the puzzle together, the time came for Mechatropolis to reappear.
The city of machines was populated in part by the descendants of Magnus' original followers, with a few of the originals also remaining alive, having extended their lives via cyborg enhancements. It was revealed that it was from the near future and not from a distant future that Fantasy came from, when her own past self was found at Mechatropolis. Magnus, now an alicorn with mechanical wings, had become the true king of Mechatropolis, learning to care for his subjects above his own ambitions. He appeared to have changed his ways for the better and had no desire to take over Equestria. He claimed that his wish was only for peace. Understandably, the princesses, especially Luna, were distrusting of Magnus and approached the matter of Mechatropolis with heavy suspicions.
Nevertheless, the princesses' suspicions were misplaced. Just as Fantasy's past self was sent back to the past, her present self recovered her memories fully. Yet it was too late to warn any pony of what was truly destined to occur, as it had already begun. The once heroic Victorious had grown bitter, trapped in a place where war heroes were not needed. Though he pretended to make peace with the repentant Magnus during his thousand year stay at Mechatropolis, Victorious was secretly waiting for the day when the city would reappear in Equestria so he could take his revenge. Yet his resentment was not for Magnus, but for Celestia herself, whom he secretly harbored romantic feelings towards. He felt she had used and betrayed him by leaving him to be trapped along with the enemy.
Victorious took over the central control tower of Mechatropolis and used its technology paired with his magic to send an army of android alicorns against Equestria. Worse yet, he brainwashed Spike by tricking him into wearing a special high tech armor and caused him to become an enslaved rampaging beast, towering over Canterlot. With great pains, Luna set the past aside and joined forces with Magnus to stop the signal from the control tower. Meanwhile, the elements of harmony were able to free Spike. Yet Victorious had a backup plan, he used his own life energy to reestablish his control on the robot alicorn army, aiming to kill Celestia. Yet thanks to Luna lending her power to Magnus, Victorious was once again stopped. Finally, the elements of harmony targeted Victorious himself and, when his resolve was momentarily weakened by regret, they defeated him. With Victorious no longer controlling them, the alicorn android army regained their original programming as peaceful protectors. Later, after having them repair Canterlot, Magnus had them march back into Mechatropolis to be stored away, hopefully never having to be called upon.
When Celestia removed the helmet of her former royal captain, she found that the youth he had preserved for a thousand years through cyborg technology, had been drained away by his desperate efforts. Celestia did not know of his feelings for her, but none the less, she had tried to stop him from charging in so recklessly the day in which Mechatropolis first disappeared. As bitterness would accomplish nothing, Celestia held no grudge against he who was judged and not petrified by the elements of harmony. Though it looked like he might die, Victorious was sabed by his cyborg condition and would eventually rejuvenate and awaken, but time had to pass before that.
The danger had ended, but the ponies of Equestria were left frightened and untrusting towards the ponies from Mechatropolies. Fearing for the possibility of conflict and the inevitable difficulties that the two widely differing cultures would have adapting to each other, Magnus decided to move Mechatropolis elsewhere. Luna offered her moon as the site of a new home for the city of the ponies that came to be known as tech ponies. Thus Mechatropolis took to the skies and landed on the moon, where the tech ponies continued their peaceful lives, waiting for the day when the Equestrians would gain the knowledge to freely travel to the moon, thus marking the readiness of the two groups to unite in bonds of true friendship.
Notes 8: The quote "it has begun..." is a reference to Mortal Kombat. For those who recognized the description, yes Mechatropolis has touch computers rather than regular ones. For those who are yet to become familiar with them, think of an iPad with the full capabilities and interface of a PC (as in not the extraordinarily long list of limitations of an iPad) and many more advancements than what we have today. The red pony with the M hat is a reference to Mario. The time travel concepts were based on the episode where Twilight time travels and by doing so ends up causing the situation that made her time travel. As a random little trivia, Magnus is the great, great, etc. uncle of Flim and Flam. Though the story is over, I will post an epilogue with a sort of summary of the story of Mechatropolis to clarify any doubts that might still remain about the plot.
For those who are curious about the ending dialogue, it is a hint at a story I never got around to write (as of this posting anyway), which would have involved Rarity going to Applewood as a costume designer, getting roped into acting and uncovering a dangerous plot hidden in the shadows of Los Pegasus. It was supposed to be a cross between celebrity drama and mafia story. But I've been meaning to take a break from writing in general (not just from this fandom) as soon as all my current stories are finished, so I'll probably not start another one any time soon.
Notes 9: I hope you enjoyed the story. You can see pixels of all the original ponies at the art archives linked in my profile.