(Author's Note: This is my first attempt at an MLP pasta; I'll be modest and say I don't think it's too good. Honestly, I don't know what to think- it feels like the pieces were all there but I didn't put them together quite right. Anyhow, enjoy; and note that this is quite the bit longer than my usual pastas: 18 pages and 8060 words, so take a breath to read it.)
The Cutie Mark Crusaders drove the trail on Scootaloo’s scooter, the Pegasus filly’s wings buzzing softly like a motor as they sped. The trail was clear, so far as they knew, so they took time to talk, having just gotten together. Scootaloo and the others had just come back from Rainbow Dash’s home, where she told them to go, but Dash wasn’t there. So, they decided to go out crusading.
“So what are we gonna do today girls?” Applebloom asked her fellow crusaders from the wagon as it pulled along with Scootaloo’s scooter.
“How about Cutie Mark Crusader Cloud Clearers?” Sweetie Bell responded excited, causing Scootaloo to immediately hoof-palm. She took her hoof down from her face and looked back.
“Uhm, Sweetie Bell?” She said, pointing to her wings as a response to Sweetie Bell’s obliviousness.
“Oh, right. No wings. Sorry.”
“We could try woodworking again.”
Applebloom dismissed it almost immediately. “Nah. I’d rather not have another nail go through my hoof.” She looked down at the mark left where the piece of metal had protruded into her skin.
Applebloom continued to look down as Scootaloo irresponsibly faced the two, not looking ahead on the road. Sweetie Bell spoke up.
“Hmm… Cutie Mark Crusader Caulkers?”
“I’d rather not get covered in that stuff again.” Scootaloo dismissed the idea.
Applebloom looked back up, and a look of fear came over her face.
“Scootaloo, look out!”
Scootaloo looked forward a moment too late. She immediately became shocked as the branch smacked across her face, sending her into the wagon. It didn’t stop, but missed the curve and fell off the nearby cliff.
The wagon rolled down the cliff and flipped, knocking the three fillies out of it. They rolled down to the ground as well, tumbling down the dirt and rocks. Scootaloo landed face first, next coming Applebloom. The bow was ripped out of her hair, which fell across her ears. Sweetie Bell landed on her back.
Scootalootook off her helmet and rubbed her face. Her nose was bleeding slightly, but other than that she didn’t appear hurt. “Everypony alright?”
Sweetie Bell and Applebloom responded in affirmation. Sweetie Bell looked at Applebloom’s hair and was slightly shocked.
“Applebloom… your bow!”
“It’s alright. Applejack’s got like thirty of ‘em back at Sweet Apple Acres. Besides, it can’t look that bad. But more importantly,” She said with her southern accent, mispronouncing ‘importantly.’ “Where are we?”
They surveyed their surroundings carefully, and concluded they were in a lower part of the Everfree Forest. They began stepping forward, carefully looking around for things. It was nothing unusual, at least, for the Everfree forest. The owls hooted in the background, and it appeared to be relatively foggy.
Scootaloo spotted something. It appeared to be lights in the distance, emanating from a structure.
“Hey girls. What do you think that is?”
“Why don’t we find out?”
“I don’t know… Rainbow Dash said we should stay out of the forest, especially now.”
“So you’re a chicken! Bwack, Bwackbwackbwack.”
“That’s so funny I forgot to laugh.” She looked back forward toward the strange lights, and her determination went up. “Let’s do it, then!”
They shouted in unison. “Cutie Mark Crusaders Forest Explorers go!”
They finally arrived at their destination. The three ponies stared up at the castle with amazement. They had encountered very little on their way here… somepony had carved a pathway to the light source, and they had followed it. They began to start on the drawbridge, with the exception of Scootaloo, whose face carried a worried look.
“Girls, I have a bad feeling about this.”
“Oh come on. It’s a castle. This is a once in a life-time opportunity- this could be where we get our cutie marks!” Sweetie Bell said excitedly. She was right in some ways; very few ponies had the opportunity to explore an old castle. But she still wanted to listen to Rainbow… something gave her a bad feeling about this castle.
“I don’t know…”
Applebloom giggled. “That reminds of how to call a chicken! Scootaloo, scoot-scootaloo!” The two ponies laughed as Scootaloo put on an insulted expression.
“Yeah, hilarious.” She began to follow the other two reluctantly.
The castle was broken down, but still maintained its structure. Ponies had obviously just been here; there were torches on the wall, still lit. They stepped into the grand hall, when suddenly, the three heard talking in the distance.
“Hide!” The three gathered behind a pole as Sweetie Bell ushered them there. The talking continued as they seen shadows coming from a stairway. The voices were raspy, as though distorted by some kind of mask, though they could tell it was two mares.
“It’s time sister. The stars gather tomorrow tonight. You know as well as I do we have to fulfill this duty. You tried your best; you can’t save her anymore than the other two, no matter how much she looks up to you.”
“I know, mistress. But if I just had more time-“
“You know better, sister. To maintain the purity of Equestria, sacrifices have to be made. So don’t try to sneak her off like you did last time.”
“I didn’t sneak her off. I had nothing to do with that. Are you questioning my loyalty? You know I would never leave the Order of Purity hanging.”
“Of course I do. But your loyalties are not just to the Order, are they? You have to pick a side, sister. I already gave you plenty of chances to prove them clean. I can’t offer any more. The Order of Purity can no longer play favorites. Tomorrow, when the stars align in a concise line with the moon, we must sacrifice the filth of the flock to ensure the next generation is birthed more purely. That includes your idolizer. Or do you not trust our founding ancestors?”
“You know that if they were alive I would give my life for them, mistress, same as I would for you today. But I have made progress, you know I have! I just need more time!”
“No, No, No! No more time.You’ve been in this just as long as I have, sister. Since we were fillies we have been under the guidance of Starswirl’s greatest ideals. Ideals of pure-blooded, strong, peaceful ponies. We have succeeded for generations, eliminating those who would cause war and immorality. If you allow the filly to live, you could be destroying the next generation!”
The two ponies made it into the grand hall. Scootaloo poked her head out just slightly, and seen them walking.
The two mares wore the same clothing. A black robe with a single red stripe down the side, which covered their tails but left their wings exposed. However, the wings were covered by the same special gloves used by the Mysterious Mare Do Well when she was there. The mask was black as night, with manticore claws toting down from the sides of the ears, meeting in the middle of the head and extending to the edge of the nose. The masks had breathing apparatuses on top of them, which was what distorted the voice.
Scootaloo looked closer, and realized something. They weren’t just two pegasi, they were a Pegasus and an Alicorn! One of these two evil looking ponies was royalty- a princess of Equestria! Was it possible that Celestia supported this scheme?
Applebloom let out a cough as Scootaloo went back behind the pole. Sweetie Bell put her hoof over her friend’s mouth and shushed her, but it was too late.
“What was that? Hey! Nopony’s supposed to be in the Grand Hall unless given permission by the Mistress! Come out of there!”
The three knew their cover was blown. They up and ran, galloping towards the door.
“It’s those fillies! Get them!”
They were running as fast as they could at this point, but the mystery Pegasus was faster. She landed in between them and the door in less than a second. Scootaloo could have swore she seen a streak of rainbow color follow, but the robes had obscured it.
The alicorn behind them spoke. “Where do you think you’re going? You’re a day early; we were worried we’d have to come get you. Who knew you would come to us?”
“Who are you! What do you want?!” Scootaloo shouted out, much to the other’s fearful disapproval.
“We’re the Order of Purity; protectors of Evolution. We ensure that the strong survive and the weak and worthless die. All in the name of a perfect Equestria,” the alicorn responded. “Guards! Guards!”
The guards responded gracefully, several ponies of all types coming through the stairways, armed with gold spears and wearing the same clothing as the other two mares.
“Take these impurities to the dungeon. We must prepare for tomorrow’s evolution ceremony!”
The guards held their spears towards the crusaders. The guard who had responded to the alicorn motioned them to follow. They began trotting to a door at the side of the Grand Hall, which was opened by the cultists. They descended the stairway in a musky area, which the guards quickly shoved them down. It resembled a stereotypical dungeon; though bars were rusted and old. But was worse was that they weren’t the only ones.
The dungeons were full of ponies around their age. Many of them had no cutie marks, others did, but they were ambiguous.
“Why are they doing this? What is wrong with these ponies?” Sweetie Bell asked as the three were prodded down the darkened hallways. Her expression had changed to that of fear already.
“I don’t know. I—“ Scootaloo was interrupted by a blunt end of a spear smacking into the back of her forehead. She held one eye open and winced in pain.
“Shut it down there, you impure whores.”
“Damn right, impure. You’re so filthy you couldn’t even get your cutie marks on schedule.”
“Whaddya mean on schedule?” Applebloom asked, but received a smack to the head with a spear.
“Shut up. That’s not any of your business. It feels like my tongue is getting impure just by talking to you.”
They came to the end of the hallway. The rusty door of the cell opened with a creak, and the three Crusaders received an abrupt knock into it. The door crashed closed behind them, and the cell was dark and grimy. The masked guard remained in place, and began to speak.
“Now that you’re safe behind your cell bars and can’t corrupt me with your whore ways, I’ll take the waste of time to explain why you’re all here.” The earth pony undid his mask, pulling it down, revealing an orange colored face with a brown mane. His eyes were shrunken in a deep psychosis, as though he’d been around this for decades; and something more than terrible was going on. The smile on his face was uncommonly normal, just like any smile you would see in Ponyville, but it was as though he had seen and done things like this on a daily basis. He spoke with a strongly intelligent voice, characteristic of a pony who was a genius.
“The Order of Purity, protectors of Evolution, have deemed you worthless. You seemed to have proven it just by walking right into our grasp, despite one pony’s desperate attempt to stop you. Maybe now she’ll realize how you impurities are. But now that is in the past. You’ve been chosen to be sacrificed for the good of the Equine race- sad that no Earth Pony, Unicorn, or Pegasus will ever remember your name. But you get to help us, at least. Help us make our race stronger, faster, smarter, simply by giving your pitiful worthless lives!”
“You ponies are crazy! You’re all crazy!”
“Crazy?! Ha, I can admit I am. But it is a sacrifice I am willing to make! A sacrifice to keep our race from entering a stage of stasis, to keep the Evolution of our race pure and prime! That is our responsibility, the very reason Starswirl the Bearded and company started this very Order! Everypony in this place is willing to sacrifice sanity for purity!”
“Who is this Order anyways?! This is stupid! How could you?!”
“The Order is what keeps everypony evolving. Making every generation stronger, having talents that would impress even that accursed Princess Celestia. Starswirl, our founder, was more than a famous unicorn. He was a famous unicorn with ideals- ideals that weak must die so the strong can survive. So the race could be kept pure! What we do, we do for the greater good of Equestria! Perhaps if you foals had already gotten your cutie marks, you wouldn’t be here right now. Of course, that just depends. Too late now though. So remember my name, little fillyfoolers, because it was the one that gave you the kindest words here. My name is Dr. Kairus… but my degree isn’t medical. My degree is theological. But that is a story for another time, one you’ll never hear.” He laughed as he walked off, stopping only to put the mask back on.
“What do we do now?” Applebloom asked with fear in her voice. “We’re gonna be killed. Sacrificed! Done in! Obliterated! Wasted! Slain! Annihila—“She was interrupted by Sweetie Bell’s hoof in her mouth.
“What are you, a dictionary?” Scootaloo asked sarcastically, as usual. “I don’t know what we’re going to do, but I do know one thing. It’s up to us to get everypony out of here.”
Oh, Scootaloo. Why couldn’t you have just listened to me for once? I told you not to come to the forest; I told you to stop crusading until the day after tomorrow; I told you to go to my cloud home where you would be safe. Why?
The rainbow-haired pony’s mask was down, no longer over her face. She was starting to regret ever performing that first Sonic Rainboom, being as it spawned the events that eventually got both her and the Mistress into the cult. Only difference was: Dash had grown to care about one of the impure ponies. She loved Scootaloo with every bone in her body. So many times since the Cutie Mark Crusaders had been given the status of impure, had she kept them in the dark. Paying off ponies to get them to stay at their houses, making a way so all three could get up to and walk on and in her cloud home, even at one point making sure the Equestria Games happened at the same time as the Equinox of Purity, so that both her and the Mistress would be busy and have to wait for the next one. Funny how they mixed a normal pony with the all important games director.
But instead, they walked right into the Order’s grasp. Right on the eve of the Equinox. They had betrayed her. Suddenly, an orange colored stallion interrupted her thoughts.
“Rainbow Dash, hello? Are you all right, sister?”
“I’m fine, Kairus. Just a little off my edge tonight.”
“Hmmm. This isn’t about those fillies, is it? It’s not your fault they’re impure. You couldn’t purge them, but you tried.”
“No, of course not. My loyalties lie with the Order, and I know those rules. Why would I start caring about a worthless filly, let alone three? My purification attempts were mere experiments.”
She couldn’t help but feel like he knew she was lying. Kairus was, albeit psychotic, a great friend nonetheless, and could tell these things. His worried face was distorted by his sadistic eyes, but he continued to act as though he believed her, knowing she wouldn’t want to talk about. She wasn’t “sappy” enough to do so.
“Come then. We must speak to the Mistress. She has yet to give us the instructions as how to carry out tomorrow’s ceremony. We must follow them to a tee in order to cleanse the impurities.”
“Are we not using the Purity Altar like we usually do?”
“Of course we are. But Mistress has made a very specific set of instructions to follow since last Equinox’s debacle when you were absent for the Equestria Games.”
The two began to walk, heading towards the door of Rainbow Dash’s chambers. They opened the door, the guarding cultists immediately standing at attention.
Rainbow was the second-highest ranking pony in the Order, and it had been that way since she was approached by the last Mistress, a Pegasus pony. She had just performed the Sonic Rainboom, which was seen across most of Equestria. Soon after, she was approached by the black-robed mare, who congratulated her on her “purity.” She proclaimed Rainbow was one of the very representations of the world Starswirl seen when he had founded the Order. She remembered these things, same as she remembered her surprise at who the new Mistress was. Since then, since being first exposed to the horrors in which needed to be performed for the greater good, she cared little about anypony outside of the Order. That changed when she met Scootaloo.
“She has ordered specifically that we witness the Eve’s sacrifice in the Altar. An odd change in Starswirl’s traditions, mind you. It’s supposed to be an intimate matter of privacy between the sacrificial proctor and the impurity, one of the final wishes that is granted to the Eve.”
“I’m not an egghead, but I ain’t that dumb, Kairus. I’m fully aware of what takes place inside of that room, same as you. But apparently, the Mistress has deemed the Eve’s Sanctuary clause of Starswirl’s order rules not allowable. It is ordered by the Mistress; we have to follow it. Walk with me there.”
“It is a sad thing that the impurities are completely insignificant. Some of them could’ve been geniuses.”
“Have you lost every screw in your head? If that were the case, they wouldn’t be impure. They would’ve had those cutie marks by now, and wouldn’t even be here. Unless their cutie marks were representative of something worthless to society.”
They approached a castle doorway, leading to a descending staircase. Two guards marched in the same direction they were about to head, a crying filly in between them, tied with rope and gagged.
“Masks.” Rainbow bumped Kairus, who as if on cue, put on his mask as she placed hers back on. They took no risk in hiding their identities; if a single impure pony escaped they had to make sure the identities of every stallion and mare in the cult were hidden to protect themselves.
Rainbow’s goggles snapped onto her head over the top of her magenta eyes, stinging a bit but generally leaving her un-phased as her vision was tainted a blood red by the color of the goggles. They continued walking down the stairs, turning to follow the two cultists that had passed with the filly. She barely recognized her as somepony she knew; she had heard of the little one before. She was a rich, snobbish pony. Somepony who was rich, successful, and important had a worthless ant for a daughter.
It was a filly named…
Diamond Tiara. They didn’t discriminate much, at least. They had just come to get her, claiming she was the “Eve’s Sacrifice” or something like that. Scootaloo had seen her come out, having been at the front corner of the cell, next to the wall. She had been trying, hard at work to get through the bars, but nothing seemed to work. They were rusted, but still strong.
“Buck!” She swore out loud as she kicked the bars of the cell.
“Shut up back there, whores!”
“I don’t think we’ll ever get out of here, Scootaloo. We should just give up; who cares if we go?”
“Our sisters! Duh.”
“Just give up, Scootaloo. We should at least spend the last night we got together. After all, that’s what’s important. Our friendship.”
Scootaloo gave a smile. She couldn’t help it as a tear rolled down her cheek.
“Ahhh, now you got me acting all sappy!”
The three fillies laughed quietly as Scootaloo joined them in the back of the cell, and fell asleep.
Rainbow Dash entered the room after the two guards. At the center of the room was an altar, the Purity Altar. It was ancient; and it had a number of magical properties meant to destroy impurity if the ceremony was carried out correctly. The mistress stood above the altar, the sacrificial proctor at her side. A pony dressed exactly the same as the rest of the cultists, with the single exception that a gold line extended down the middle of her forehead, the top of her muzzle to the tip of her nose.
The two guarding cultists dragged the filly over to the altar. The alicorn used her magic, a purple glow extending outwards and grabbing the ropes, as well as the filly’s hooves. She tied the filly to the altar in an “X” shape, and picked up a final rope, tying her head down to it.
Beside the altar, there was a table, with all the ceremonial items required for the Eve’s Sacrifice. A needle, dagger, heated wax (it had been placed on top of a Bunsen burner), and broken unicorn horn, taken from another impurity. The guards turned from the room, and walked out, closing the door behind them. Diamond Tiara continued to sob, and closed her eyes.
The Mistress spoke to her. “Now, why so sad? You get to be the first sacrifice, the first flaw gotten rid of for a better Equestria! We’ve given your life a purpose, doesn’t that make you happy?”
Diamond gutted a no through the folds of the gag.
“Well, it’s not like you have a choice. You’re being sacrificed for the greater good, to bring us one step closer to a perfect, non-judgmental, strong race! A step closer to a better world! It’s an honor, my dear girl! You’re helping us to evolve by ridding us of your presence.” She turned to the proctor as the other two cult ponies merged with them. “Let the sacrifice begin.”
The pony who was performing undid her mask. Her green eyes maintained an evil glare as she stretched out her wings. Her face was a red color, her mane blonde, and her smile sadistic. She picked up the needle with her hoof, grasping a home-made handle. She recited the words of the ceremony with a child-like false innocence.
“I’m impure and I must die. Stick a needle in my eye.” Her smile grew ever wider as she forcibly yanked open Diamond’s eye, and the needle came closer to it. Diamond’s eye squirmed, looking all over the place. She was screaming through the gag, tears forcing themselves out of her eyes as they flooded and she struggled in vain.
The needle came into her eye quickly as the Pegasus let go. The eyelids shut around it as the filly screamed in pain, tears being replaced with blood. Suddenly, the proctor gave off an even wider smile. She yanked the needle towards the tear duct, cutting the eye in half. Diamond Tiara was anguished as she cried even harder, increasing the pain.
The proctor pulled out the needle, the item covered in blood and tears, as well as ‘eye jelly’ (as Rainbow called it.) She picked up the dagger.
“I’m impure, and I must die. Stick a dagger in my side.” Diamond screamed again as the proctor said this, and the dagger came closer. Diamond couldn’t struggle to move herself as she was bound far too tightly. The dagger went into the precise middle of her cutie mark, the crown that it was beginning to bleed. The proctor twisted the dagger in the filly’s leg, and jerked it out, pulling out a large portion of muscles and blood vessels that had wrapped themselves around it. Diamond shook her head as best she could, mouthing a pleading beg through the gag.
The wax was boiling hot by this point. The proctor picked it up, her eyes ever more psychotic as Diamond’s widened in fear. She was somehow being kept awake to suffer; the blood loss would have knocked her out by now.
This was Dash’s favorite part. She found herself smiling in her own sadistic way as she watched the proctor pick up the wax. She giggled to herself.
“I’m impure, and I must die. So pour the wax within my pride.”
Even a filly knew what that meant. The boiling wax edged closer to the area between Diamond Tiara’s legs as she screamed and screamed for them to stop. The proctor tipped it only slightly, coming out a little bit at a time over the filly’s private area. Diamond Tiara was still able to scream loudly from the shock and pain regardless of the gag over her face.
All four of the cultist ponies found themselves laughing psychotically at the filly’s extreme pain as the cup emptied. As it dripped off of the filly’s thighs and legs, it left nothing but pure, raw muscle.
Diamond was finally weak at this point. She had stopped screaming, though she suffered in anguish. The proctor picked up a cloth and wiped off the dagger, only to place it back down. She picked up the horn, prepared to do the final sadistic work of the Eve’s Sacrifice.
“I’m impure and I must die. Stick a horn into my hide.” She held the horn tightly and forced it through Diamond’s tail-bone, the piece of Unicorn ivory protruding into her intestines. Diamond Tiara managed one final screech before finally falling half-conscious, though still aware of her surroundings and the pain she was suffering.
The proctor picked up the knife, and forced Diamond’s head to bend back, exposing her neck and throat. She leaned in close to Diamond’s ear, and uttered the final words of the ceremony.
“I’m impure, and I must die. Please, please end my worthless life.”
The dagger had been at the other side of Diamond’s neck, but upon ending the statement, the proctor dragged it across the pony’s throat, slitting it completely open. Diamond took her final breath, and died.
The proctor stayed behind as the other three began to trot towards the door. She had to clean the place up for tomorrow’s ceremony. Diamond Tiara had lasted uncommonly long before falling half-conscience, but the mess was nonetheless not hard to clean.
Rainbow Dash turned to the Alicorn Mistress. “Mistress, what’s all this about? Why did we witness the Eve’s Sacrifice? I thought it was an intimate tradition, meant not to be seen except by the filth and the sacrificial proctor?”
“Normally, yes. However, this time, I felt that the purification of the altar must be witnessed. It was for a reason, Rainbow; the Eve’s Sacrifice is one of the most brutal parts of the ceremony. I was simply afraid you were going soft and deemed it proper to test my theory by having you watch something you used to oversee yourself.”
“ME? Going soft? Are you kidding?”
“No. Not at all. Do you think I haven’t been seeing the way you’ve been acting?”
“I’ve been in the Order since I was a filly, same as you. And you’re questioning my loyalty, MY ELEMENT, Twilight Sparkle?”
The Alicorn removed her mask, revealing the purple eyes and face. Her dark purple mane carried only a single streak of pink through it. She spoke with her usual voice, only with slight irritation from being called by her real name.
“Again, I’m fully aware of how loyal you are to the Order of Purity. But loyalty and love are two different things that are one in the same, and I could see from a mile away how much you love those three fillies. So therefore, I had to test whether you would have the guts to watch them die or not. And I’m still your mistress while we stand in this castle, so therefore that is how YOU will address ME, Rainbow Dash.”
Rainbow removed her own mask, and looked to the side with a glare. She looked back.
“Of course I loved them. Do you think I spent so much time trying to purify them just to show off how awesome I am?! I looked at them like little sisters, all three of them! Not just Scoots. And I asked you for time so that I could complete it! I was so close before they waltzed right in here like a herd of sheep.”
“Naturally that is what you would think. But once impure, always impure. You have a side to pick, Dash: your loyalty to them or your loyalty to us. We’ve all had loved ones get tied to that altar, and we all went through with it! Killing them would be the most merciful thing you could do. It’s a win-win Rainbow. You could see that without being an ‘egghead’. Now, that is the last I will say on the matter. Tomorrow, they die. You’ll see the good eventually Rainbow, though one would think you did already.”
Twilight turned around, and began walking away. Kairus looked at Rainbow Dash, whose angry glare had escalated to complete and utter rage.
She turned around. Kairus put his best concerned face on.
“It’s not your fault, sister.”
Her expression calmed slightly. “I know. I just needed a little bit more time… Damn it all! Celestia Damn it all! Why couldn’t they have just listened to me for once?! One time and everything would have been ok.”
Kairus put his face up to hers. He was like her; sadistic, but with a softer side. Even he wasn’t as far into the prospect of purification as Twilight had become. He nuzzled her gently.
“I know, Rainbow. Where will you be staying tonight? We will have to be up here early to prepare for the Evolution Ceremony.”
“Probably my house. Where else?”
“No, no. Perhaps you could stay with me, tonight. I would like to discuss some things with you.”
“What kind of things?”
They didn’t know how long they slept. The dungeon’s lighting was the same as it had been when they drifted, and there weren’t any clocks. Silver Spoon could still be heard sobbing in the next cell over. Scootaloo yawned. Applebloom and Sweetie Bell still slept, they weren’t ready to get up yet.
“Don’t worry, you guys. I’ll find a way to get us out of here.”
She took to exploring the cell again, finding nothing different. The floor was musky and dirty; the bars were severely rusted but still strong. Even if she could get the bars down, they would still have to deal with the cultist guards standing outside with spears at the ready.
Frustrated, she bucked at the wall. The wall cracked, but didn’t give. A rock fell from it, and Scootaloo came to the realization that the walls could very possibly collapse if she used them to escape. Aside from that, they were underground.
The other two fillies finally woke up, yawning.
“Scootaloo? What are you doing?”
Scootaloo sat down, frustrated and confused.
“I don’t know anymore. This sucks.”
“Quiet down back there!” the guard yelled at them again. It was unique this time; he didn’t call them whores.
Suddenly, a larger amount of light flowed into the dungeon, signifying that the door above had been opened. Shadows danced across the walls- the shadows of three stallions. The Crusaders recognized one of them immediately. Dr. Kairus stopped at the edge of the dungeon, while the guards began opening the doors. The fillies in each cell began to slowly step out on the guard’s motioning. Kairus beckoned the three fillies out of their own cell, directly in front of him.
“Good morning, my impure horse apples. Today is the most important day of your pitiful lives, so I hope you got plenty of rest! We can’t have you sleeping in your final moments of life, now can we?You have to stay awake to see everypony have the same honor! After all, --“
“Your lives still do have purpose- you get to help us become the perfect species. Evolve past every other accursed thing that would dare to call itself better than us! You’re helping us to become stronger, faster and smarter!” The mare interrupted Kairus from behind the group of fillies, who turned around to see who it was. “Doesn’t that excite you, make you happy, jump for joy? It shouldn’t, because we need you afraid. All of you, very afraid.”
Applebloom shouted out, “Who are you?!”
“Who am I? Who am I?! Somepony who loved you, that’s who. All three of you! Somepony who tried to keep you out of here, make you pure so you wouldn’t have to be part of this mess!” The mare began to pull off her mask. Her 6-colored mane fell over her cyan face. Her magenta eyes seen the shock on the Crusaders’ faces. It was…. Rainbow Dash. Scootaloo’s emotions held anger now, as well as confusion and shock.
“And somepony who has to suffer because of it!”
Scootaloo felt more rage rising inside of her. “If you loved us, how come you’re letting them do this to us?!”
“I tried to keep you out of here, you moron! Why do you think I gave the same specific instructions every single year?! Stay at my cloud home, stop crusading, and don’t go into the forest! But that was just too hard for you to do wasn’t it? Not only did you not listen to me,you stomped right in here like you owned the place!”
“But… I thought…”
“YOU THOUGHT? YOU THOUGHT? Did you ever think about me, Scoots? Tell me that. Did you think that maybe there was a reason the fearless Rainbow Dash was afraid of you going into the forest at this time in the year?! Obviously not. Why do you think I spent so much time teaching you, working with you? I had a bucking talent show set up at your school, for Celestia’s sake! I was sure you would get it, get your cutie marks on time and be worthwhile to society, but as usual, you did everything wrong.”
Scootaloo’s eyes became full of tears. “I didn’t know…”
“You weren’t supposed to, for this very reason, you dolt!”
The mare turned around, and began walking back up the stairs. She beckoned them to follow. Kairus shoved the fillies forward with the spear.
“Get moving. We don’t want to be late, whores.”
They guided them up and through the Grand Hall, to another side door. The hallway was straight, and led to a single door, painted with white house paint. Two guards stood in attendance at its sides, their spears crossed in an X over the door. They removed the spears upon seeing Rainbow Dash.
Scootaloo thought of this oddly. It was a weird way to greet somepony, but then again, this whole thing was weird.
The door opened with a louder creak than the rest of the castle. In it sat an altar, covered in blood and wax. At least a dozen cult ponies were in the room, counting Rainbow Dash, Dr. Kairus, and the other two guards. One of them was the Alicorn. She stood above the altar, her facial expression not quite visible, due to her mask.
“Welcome to the Purification Chamber, my little impurities. You should be grateful you’re here and not out there still poisoning society. But before we slaughter you all off, how about a little story about how we began. It all started with Starswirl the Bearded. He saw a purpose not in everypony, but only some ponies. These ponies were the best of the best; the strongest, fastest, most intelligent, and therefore the most pure. The others were weak, selfish, and greedy! His truthful argument was that these ponies held back our evolution, our purity, our race! He traced back all wars and pollutions Equestria ever suffered to them! He was more, far more, than just a famous magic-studying unicorn. He was a leading scientist and revolutionary in the exact science of purification we have today, the same science you get to be part of for the greater good of Equestria!”
The Alicorn undid her mask, sending even more shock through the fillies’ minds. Princess Twilight looked down on them all.
“But this day, the Equinox of Purity, marks an even bigger day for Equestria’s purification! This day is the day which we ponies of truth can remove our false masks for the most temporary amount of time! The day when the stars align with the moon in a pure, unflawed cross.”
Applebloom yelled “I thought you loved us! How could you?!”
“Loved you?! Loved you?! I did, with all my heart. But when you became impure I stopped, with reason.”
“Who else, then? Who else is just willing and waiting to kill us all off? Applejack? Rarity? Pinkie Pie or Fluttershy?!”
Rainbow Dash spoke. “Sorry, just us.”
Scootaloo seen it. She was angry, every bone in her body replaced by pure malice at what the girls had done. They didn’t listen to her. But she could see something else. Deep within the red irises was something that was lacked in the purple ones belonging to the Alicorn Princess.
One of the colts stood in determination. “Sorry, but you ain’t killin’ me today.”
He turned and ran for it. But Rainbow was faster. She was right in front of him, and her hind leg went straight into his muzzle, sending him flying back into the crowd of foals. He flew backwards, conscience and alive, but the nose was broken. He groaned in pain.
“Anypony ELSE feel like running? Be lucky you have to be alive to undergo the ceremony.”
Silver Spoon latched onto a colt’s wing in fear. It was Featherweight, whose thin and scrawny body was covered in what appeared to be bruises. His eyes were blacked out.
Twilight noticed. “You impure whore! None of you, not a one, deserve to have the comfort of a friend in these moments. You’ve hurt us all, and if you can do that to us, I can make sure you can’t have the last comfort afforded to your grief! Guards, the scrawny bastard first.”
Two of the guards immediately grabbed Featherweight. One of them hit Silver Spoon with the blunt end of his spear, knocking her off and breaking her glasses. Her eye began to bleed from the shards of glass in it as she forced it shut in pain.
They dragged him up to the altar, and threw him down on it. They held his hooves down with their own as Twilight used her magic to tie him down.
“We prefer to keep you alive and conscience, so you can witness your death up close. Your fear purifies itself, and when you die, purifies you. This guarantees that your filth won’t reach the next generation.”
She picked up the ceremonial dagger with her hooves alone, rather than her magic. She walked to the altar, her smile growing ever wider. Another pony grabbed two handled needles, and emerged to the perpendicular side of the altar, above Featherweight’s head. Twilight’s horn glowed as she forced Featherweight’s eyes to open.
“I’m impure and I must die, stick a needle through my eye.” She recited this as the other pony raised the needles, and jabbed them both into his eyes. He screeched in pain, still alive. He jerked them both to the side, cutting his eyes in half.
Twilight raised the dagger, and without saying a word, rammed it down as hard as she could, not only jamming it into his heart, but crushing his ribs. She laughed hysterically as the colt screamed again, the blood squirting up unnaturally.
The other pony dug out the needles, and took his eyes with them. The optic nerve severed itself as the eyes went out of their sockets. Featherweight finally died, his head falling to the side with a single final breath.
“Scootaloo, Applebloom… what do we do?”
“I don’t know.” Applebloom was teary eyed.
Scootaloo was confused and shocked, but suddenly, her mind cleared. She came up with a plan.
“I think I do. Remember your idea yesterday about Cutie Mark Crusaders Cloud Clearers?”
“Yeah, but what does that have to do with anything?”
“How about,” she said with renewed determination. “Cutie Mark Crusaders Cult Clearers?”
The two looked confused for a moment. But then the spark went off in their eyes.
“Spread the word.” Scootaloo whispered.
And that they did. Soon, whispers went around the room, attracting Twilight’s attention.
“What in bucking Tartarus is going on? What are you talking about?! Shut it, you impure--” She made a mistake. She stepped down to their level, the guards with her.
“NOW!” Scootaloo jumped as though on cue, and sent her both her hindlegs into Twilight’s head as hard as she could, interrupting her before the word “whore” could come from her mouth. The Alicorn stumbled in pain, suddenly confused, her muzzle bleeding. All those workouts Rainbow had taught her had finally paid off. The other foals followed suit, each taking on a guard. It was thirty to twelve, counting the two Elements.
The casualties left some foals down, but in all truth, the cultists went down harder. Foals bit, scratched, kicked, and bucked their way through the confused cult ponies, causing chaos within the room.
The Cutie Mark Crusaders made a run for the door. They galloped hard towards it, determined. The chaos of the other’s rebellion had given enough of a distraction to slip through. They galloped harder, each one exhausting themselves. They were going to make it. They were going to…
A figure came between them. Rainbow Dash looked up, her eye blacked out and her face covered in crimson blood. The same expression that was frozen on her face earlier of hatred and psychosis was worsened. She eyed the three angrily.
“Where the hay do you think you’re going?”
“Away from you.” Scootaloo bravely answered. But it wasn’t true. This wasn’t Rainbow; this was a psychotic monster, and Rainbow was locked inside, she just knew it. She was going to find a way to get her out if it killed her.
“Oh, really? Seems to me you ain’t gonna have that chance.”
“You’re wrong!” Scootaloo flapped her wings as hard as she could. She had never flown before, but to Rainbow’s mixture of shock and amazement, the filly bucked her from mid-air in an instant, sending her back. She barely hovered above the ground, keeping her wings flapping just right.
“Girls! Go! I’ll hold her off!”
“We’re not leavin’ you here, Scoots!” Applebloom shouted back. Scootaloo knew what she had to do though, and she couldn’t let the others stay to see it and put themselves in danger.
“You heard! Go!”
The other two ran. They would make it out, she was sure of it. But for herself, she didn’t know. She didn’t care about what she had just achieved, but she did care about what her objective was.
Rainbow looked back up at her. “You think you’re that brave, Scootaloo? You disobeyed me. You have to answer for that.”
“Do you think I knew what you were trying to protect us from? No. Otherwise we would have done it.”
“Just shut up! Do you think I want to do this?!” Dash ran at her with a large amount of speed. Instead of fighting, Scootaloo allowed her to hit her, head-butting her full force. She tumbled to the ground.
“No. I loved you, Rainbow. And now you’re turning your back on me. Some sister you are.”
Rainbow Dash became more enraged at the comment, and bucked her into the door frame.
“You think I have a choice? I want to let you go, but you’re impure! I can’t let you live!”
Scootaloo stood, weakly. “If I’m so impure, why did you love me in the first place?”
Rainbow’s mind broke. She went to hit her, but grabbed her head and stumbled back.
“Dammit, just shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up!” A tear fell down her face. “You know I don’t want to do this! Don’t make it harder! Please!”
“I’m not making it… harder. I’m impure… and I must die. Isn’t that… your motto? It’s you who can’t decide… who… you’re really loyal to.”
“Celestia Damn you, Scootaloo!” She broke down, and sat. “I never wanted to do this to you. I always tried to help but you just wouldn’t listen!”
Scootaloo stumbled, barely up to her. “I’m listening now.”
Rainbow cried. She had never done that before; it was too sappy. Her emotions conflicted in her mind, she couldn’t help herself.
She decided her loyalty. Her soft side took over, the gut instinct telling her to protect the foal in front of her. Screw Twilight, and screw the Order.
She looked at Scootaloo’s eyes. “Run. Just… run and get out of here!”
Scootaloo smiled, and turned. She began to gallop, but stopped in place.
“Oh, Rainbow Dash. I love you.”
Rainbow smiled slightly, her rainbow mane sliding over her eyes. “I love you too, squirt.”
With that, Scootaloo turned. Dash returned to a standing position as the last of the foals fell. Twilight was the only one standing. She hadn’t paid any attention to the recent events, but the Equinox was now ruined. The foals had either ran off or been killed. Twilight was infuriated, half of her mane covered in blood, her horn cracked in places. Her wing was clipped and it appeared that part of her tail had been ripped out.
Rainbow smiled slightly at her anger. “Just let that bitch of a mistress question my loyalties again. That’s who I am- the Element of Loyalty. And I know where my loyalties lie.”
Twlight came up to her. “You let them all get away?!”
“You didn’t exactly pitch in yourself, Mistress. So don’t look at me like that. We were all kind of busy. Most of us are unconscious or dead.”
“Yeah, well now, we have to get busy again. You think that they’ll keep quiet about all this?!” She sighed in frustration. “I’m going to my chambers. Get rid of these dead bodies. I’m putting together the cover story since these foals will not keep their mouths shut.”
As she walked away, Rainbow muttered. “For you, I hope they tell the world.”
Not too long after, things seemed to return to normal in Ponyville. Scootaloo still idolized Rainbow Dash, despite the nightmare she went through. Surprisingly, all three of the crusaders forgave her, and never mentioned a word of her involvement. She often coaches Scootaloo on how to fly. Rainbow maintained a connection with the Order of Purity, but to a lesser extent, and cut it off completely when the cult shut down. Twilight was still the librarian, though none of the Cutie Mark Crusaders dared to come near her. Neither AJ nor Rarity believed them about her position in the cult.
Of course, word got out that a mysterious mass murdering cult was residing within the Everfree Forest. Princess Celestia had come and investigated, but nothing had been found. Without evidence, Celestia could do nothing. The cult had disbanded sometime before, to prevent danger to itself. But it would one day return to claim the lives of what they viewed as filth to the Equine race.
Charges that Twilight Sparkle, renowned princess of Equestria and Element of Magic, headed the cult were investigated, but quickly dismissed by both her friends and the Princess Celestia. However, the disappearances of Diamond Tiara, Featherweight, and several other foals are still unexplained.
The alleged charge of a violent cult living nearby turned Ponyville, a once calm and trusting city, into a haven of mistrust and paranoia. Only long time friends trusted each other, and even so, not as much as they used to. No one knows what Kairus and Rainbow Dash spoke about the night before the Equinox. It remains to this day, questionably unknown.
Twilight looked over at Spike’s bed. He was asleep, fortunately. She opened her bedside table, and pulled out the handled needle. She giggled to herself psychotically.
“I’m impure and I must die. Stick a needle in my eye...”
Written by Velvet Rose