The Dark Sky's Path (Part One of Three): The Bat and the Rat
The tale of Fluttershy shall end with One, the tale of the Dark Sky shall end with CrE…
Dumb-bell, Hoops, Score, Ghost Rainbow Dash, and Derpy Hooves arrived in the World of Evolution. The first thing they noticed in this strange old world as they looked around was that everything was dark.
"Damn it, why is it so dark in here now?" Dumb-bell swore at being surrounded by black. "We need a light."
"But I thought we didn't smoke." Derpy responded obliviously.
"Derpy…" Ghost Rainbow Dash said with a sigh. "I smoke. I know cigarettes make me look stupid, but the feel of puffing something toxic is just too cool to resist!"
"Wha-what?!" Dumb-bell exclaimed. "What made you guys think I was talking about cigarettes? Can't you see that we have a problem here?"
"No," replied Hoops, "it's too dark."
"..." Score said sarcastically with silence.
"Couldn't have said it better myself," said Dumb-bell. "Yeah Hoops, very funny, ha ha."
Just then, the sound of one throwing a flash grenade could be heard as footsteps and clinging became audible in tandem.
"LIGHTS IN!" a voice called out as an explosion went off and everything suddenly became bright. Now when the Dark Sky members looked around, they could see everything.
"Dang," they said as they analyzed everything and came to a result of what they thought. "This is...strange. This place looks so different from when we visited it with Rarity."
What surrounded them was a damp, dirty road under their hooves, muddiness, and several buildings in the distance that were dark and not part of what became bright. Most importantly, on the road, there were hoofsteps on a path that led off the road and to a mysterious metal and purple building with a metal door on the front and flashy letters above the door enigmatically titling the building "B.A...T. Tiffany's".
"B.A...T…..Tiffany's?" Dumb-bell asked with a dumbstruck look on his face.
"No Dumb, it's B.A...T. Tiffany's." Derpy corrected him intellectually. "You know, like that song we used to cover all the time about a guy spiraling into insanity."
"Wasn't that American Pie?" Hoops interjected.
"Tiffany, Pie, who cares?" G.R.D. said. "We have no idea where the heck or hell else to go, why don't we see if that guy who threw that grenade at us is still here? We couldn't have gotten this far without his help, maybe he knows why this old world is even weirder now and can give us directions."
"It might be just you, but eh, you just might be right." Dumb-bell made a case for both sides. "Up ahead looks too dark and I don't want to get lost."
"Neither do I," said Hoops, "getting lost makes me feel soul-searchy and weird."
"I'm always lost in my train of thought…" Derpy revealed a personal secret. "It's really big and gives me motion sickness."
"..." Score told them to just go in the building already silently.
"Now that's the kind of attitude I like," complimented G. Rainbow Dash, "you guys could learn a few things from Score. Now then, we're going in!"
G.R.D. opened the metal door and the group stepped inside...to find themselves outside of a restaurant with the exact same appearance and decor as the building they had just entered, except this restaurant was a pink metal building, had windows and glass doors and a sign on the window that said "Opening Day!".
"So B.A...T. Tiffany's is a restaurant...in a building?" Dumb-bell said, confused once more.
"It could be like one of those hotels that have places that serve meals inside of them." Hoops educated us. "Let's look inside."
The group went up to the glass doors and examined the interior of this hotel-like place. Judging from the brown tile floors and booth-like seats, it appeared to be a normal fast food restaurant. However, there were also bat ponies inside dressed in white, wing-holed uniforms. One was walking under fluorescent lights as he or she delivered food in a cardboard box on a tray to a bat pony customer sitting at a table.
"Bat ponies…" Ghost R.D. grumbled to herself under her ghoulish breath. "It had to be bat ponies...This world just can't accept the fact that I'm more of a snake guy. Maybe I should just use my ghost powers to slip through the walls undetected and find the dude we're looking for-"
"Oh no, vampires!" Derpy shouted, alerting every employee in the restaurant to where every member of the Dark Sky was.
Like regular bats, the bat ponies knew where the Dark Sky members were because of the sound, and began staring at them through the glass doors.
"What do we do now guys?" Derpy whispered softly, learning from her mistake as her team members glared at her in frustration.
The bat ponies just sighed with screeches…
"Can we help you ponies from another planet with something?" one of the bat ponies asked.
"Uh, yes." Dumb-bell said, deciding to be the spokesman. "We're here to see somepony who threw a grenade at us. We think he or she might-DO'H!"
Dumb-bell was interrupted by Hoops giving him a hard knock on the head.
"Sorry, sorry," apologized Hoops, "what he meant to say was that we're lost and we want to ask for directions…"
"We are sorry too, sir," retorted a bat pony employee, "but we only give directions to paying customers."
"Oh, okay." Derpy interjected. "Do we have to put quarters in your toilet?"
The bat ponies just had blank expressions on their faces.
"Do you live in a cave?" one of them asked. "We have no toilets here! We're bat ponies, we go to the bathroom on the ceiling! Just look above you!"
Curiously, the group glanced up and saw two doors on the ceiling that apparently led to bathrooms. The one on the left had one symbol of a purple alicorn standing while holding a squirt gun, and the one on the right had three symbols, being from left to right, a pink alicorn crouching while holding a butter knife, an arrow pointing to the right, and a pink building.
"You have bathrooms, but no toilets?" Hoops said as he scratched his head. "Are they just...dirt floors on the inside, or…?"
"How do you tell which one is the men or women's?" Derpy asked. "The bro on the left looks like a woman and the broski on the right looks like a crossdresser."
"Isn't that...inconvenient for ponies who can't fly?" G. Rainbow Dash pointed out. "What do you expect the earth ponies and unicorns to do, float up there? Not all of them have the kind of skill to do something that cool, just saying."
"Are you just going to stand there asking stupid questions and getting no answers," said one of the bat ponies, "or are you going to order something? Because you can order something to eat when we come to the table you're sitting at."
"Oh, so that's how you do it." Derpy figured out from the tutorial. "So in a nutshell, all we need to do to go to the bathroom is sit down and order food."
"...Exactly." the bat pony said, wearying of this conversation. "There should be an open table right over there…"
The bat pony pointed to the table that the bat pony customer the Dark Sky members saw from the glass door was sitting at. But he or she was gone, leaving only an opened cardboard box filled with untouched apple slices on the table. Upon listening closely, the laugh of a pink machine could be heard…
"Just like in that story…" a slightly unnerved Dumb-bell muttered.
"That is funny…" one of the bat ponies giggled at the weirdness. "If he didn't want to try the food, he should've just not ordered it. I hope you five will be more...courteous."
"You mean four," Ghost R.D. corrected. "I'm incapable of eating food that I don't want to try, obviously. The only thing I can do to be courteous is pay for the meal."
"Yeah, yeah," a bat pony replied impatiently, "just take a seat, take a seat right over there."
The group obeyed with caution as they got into the booth with the apple slices. As the bat ponies put five menus on the table and walked away, the group began to converse and conspire about what was really going on here, with the exception of Derpy, who was too focused on her menu.
"I'm telling you, it's just like that story." Dumb-bell told G. Rainbow Dash. "And not the one with you in it."
"I was in a story?!" Ghost. R.D. exclaimed excitedly. "Oh wait, it wasn't an awful parody story that made fun of me was it?"
"What, n-no. I meant the Rainbow Dash from that stor-" Dumb-bell paused as he thought this over. "What the…"
"What's wrong, Dumb-bell?" Hoops asked.
"N-nothing, never mind." Dumb-bell replied. "It's just...fudge, this multi-alternate reality verse stuff Rarity told us about warped my mind. I feel so confused..."
"I can relate," Derpy chimed in. "I'm really confused right now about this menu. I don't know how to read all these illegible scribbles. Also, I never knew that "BLAH BLAH BLAH" was a food."
"...What." the others responded collectively.
Everyone picked up their menus and skimmed through them. In doing so, all they found was the same thing, scribbles and "BLAH BLAH BLAH". Even the prices for the food were listed as "? (depends on how much we get from them)".
"What kind of cram is this?!" G.R.D. exclaimed. "These menus are bullshit!"
"How can I play the game on the back if I can't read the menu?" Derpy complained as she showed the group her menu's back, which depicted a drawing of a purple robot alicorn talking a speech bubble that said "Let the game begin…"
"Hey, she was on the bathroom door." Hoops recalled. "What does she mean by that? What game?"
"HEY EVERYONE!" declared a loud voice from the table as it turned pink and robot-like. "DO YOU WANT TO HEAR A JOKE?!"
"Who are you?!" the Dark Sky members shouted.
"Ha ha, "who"." the table guffawed. "Don't worry, it's not a knock-knock joke. It goes like this. Why did 5 and 3 get into a fight at the restaurant?"
"Why…" G.R.D. replied, not wanting to play along. "...are you doing this?"
"Because 5 didn't order a 2-for-1!" the table shouted.
The group was silent until Score began to chuckle.
"..." he explained the joke silently.
"Yeah, math is hilarious!" the table said like a calculus student handing in his homework late. "They say laughter is the best medicine to knock someone out with, but I prefer chloroform!"
And with that, part of the table became a spray nozzle that filled the restaurant with sleeping gas. Ghost R.D. was unaffected because of her ghost powers, but the rest inhaled the gas and fell asleep. Noticing the bat ponies coming back to the table with gasmasks on and a purple robot alicorn with them, she hid in a wall. She knew that for now, there was nothing she could do as her fellow band members were dragged away…
Two hours later, the sleeping Dark Sky members slowly regained consciousness, and found themselves in a dimly lit underground basement. All four of them were strapped to purple metal beds strapped to the wall. As they looked around and realized that fact, Dumb-bell sighed.
"I should've known…" he groaned. "It's going to be THAT story. It's times like this where I'm glad we have mist powers..."
The Dark Sky members turned to mist and slipped out of the straps. They were about to teleport out of the basement, but stopped when the cries of the bat pony customer from earlier could be heard from a supply room on the other side of the basement…
"ANSWER ME!" screamed a familiar robotic voice from a purple cyborg. "WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE FOR COMING TO MY RESTAURANT?!"
"I told you, I just wanted to eat-GLORK!" the customer was interrupted by a kick to the face from the cyborg.
The Dark Sky members quietly went up to the barely visible purple door of the room and peered into the purple keyhole. Inside they saw that the purple cyborg was...Robot Alicorn Twilight.
"YES, LIE TO ME!" Robot Alicorn Twilight cried joyfully. "I WANT TO PROLONG THIS TORTURE AS LONG AS POSSIBLE! I KNOW DISCORD SENT YOU! HE WANTS YOU TO SHUT DOWN MY RESTAURANT! HE KNOWS IT'S PART OF MY PLAN TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD OF ORIGIN!"
"I don't know what you're-" the customer paused. "Wait, you went through my-AGH!"
"KEEP TELLING ME THAT…" R.A.T. said upon stomping on the customer's legs. "I ALREADY KNOW WHY DISCORD AND RARITY RE-CREATED THE WORLD OF EVOLUTION WHEN THEY MADE THE WORLD OF ORIGIN. IT'S ALL PART OF THE L.O.W., THE LIGHTLY ORDERED WORLD PROJECT. THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE FLUTTERSHY GOD OF THE UNIVERSE NOW THAT CrE IS DEAD! BUT I WILL HAVE NONE OF THAT! I'M GOING TO USE THIS RESTAURANT TO RAISE ENOUGH MONEY FOR MY OWN PROJECT TO MAKE MYSELF GOD!"
"...Reall-UNH!" the customer was interrupted by being stomped on the arms.
"Yes…" R.A.T. replied. "I think I'm going to calm down now and take this a little slower since there's no need to rush...Discord and Rarity wrote me into this world as the guardian of the first orb. Though they stripped me of my ability to perform fusion arts, I eventually learned a magic spell to turn living beings into money. But with spies like you always watching, there's no way I could do that to the new citizens of this world in broad daylight. So I established this restaurant to do it in secret and got some bat ponies to work for me by bribing them with access to Robot Alicorn Applejack's orchard. I'm going to turn every customer that comes to my restaurant into money until I reach my $700 billion goal, and no one will ever find out!"
"You just told me…" the customer pointed out as he coughed up blood. "I'm not even one of Discord's spies, I'm a health inspector who used to be a guy from the human world named Freddy…"
"Exactly…" R.A.T. gave an evil grin with that line. "I knew all along. I was just doing this for fun. And now that you know what you do, you can not be allowed to live…"
"But weren't you going to kill me anyways-NGH!" the customer said his final words as the cyborg transformed him into nonliving money.
"Who said evil had to make sense?" R.A.T. made a point as she put the money in her wallet. "Now then, I have other matters to attend to…"
Upon overhearing the entire conversation, the Dark Sky members were horrified.
"That poor guy…" Hoops whispered. "There's nothing we could have done...those robot alicorns are far more powerful than we could hope to be…"
"I know…" Dumb-bell acknowledged. "Our only hope is to get out of here now!"
The Dark Sky members turned to mist to teleport outside of the restaurant.
"Come on," said Dumb-bell, "let's find G.R.D. and get out of…"
Dumb-bell paused as the group, including G.R.D., who came out of one of the building's walls, looked towards them and saw a shadow paladin in shining armor on a celestial horse in front of the door. Before the group could even ask who he or she was, the paladin began to utter poetry…
One Born of the Sky
One born of the sky
Infused with the shy
Brings a promise to a ruined land
A promise that all will comprehand
In the chaos of time and reality
I shall create a new mentality
One that all shall comprehend
In the land that I will mend
In response, the Dark Sky members stood still and blinked. They looked behind through the glass doors of the restaurant and saw bat pony employees standing around motionless as if time had stopped. Curious, they walked up to the paladin.
"Nice poem," Derpy complimented. "By the way, who the hell are you?"
"An envoy of the future…" the shadow paladin replied from under the radiant helm covering their face. "A servant of the god known as Fluttershy."
"!" the group was slightly surprised as they remembered what R.A.T. said. "So it's true...Fluttershy is going to be the god of the universe...if you're from the future, the L.O.W. project is destined to succeed. That must've been what Rarity tried to explain to us before…"
"Precisely…" the shadow paladin confirmed. "Even if you do find Fluttershy and stop her from collecting the orbs, you can not change that outcome."
"..." all of the Dark Sky members said silently and despondently.
"Please Dark Sky members," the shadow paladin pleaded. "I beg you...stop fighting against Fluttershy and instead fight for her. Just as Fluttershy is destined to become CrE, you were also destined to come to this world and prove yourselves worthy of being her most faithful servants. And for that to happen, you must defeat all of the robot alicorns in this world! Fight against these heathens who dare to oppose her!"
"But how?" the group asked. "We'd love to help Fluttershy, but we don't have that kind of strength…"
"True…" the shadow paladin replied as shadow exuded from his body. "But I can create that kind of strength within you…"
The shadow exuding from the paladin began to spread and divide itself, entering into each of the Dark Sky members. As a result, each of them felt overwhelmingly more powerful than before.
"Wow!" G. Rainbow Dash exclaimed. "With this power, I can make my plan to take down those machines work even better! Thanks for the..."
Before the Dark Sky members could thank the shadow paladin, he turned to flashing light and disappeared, leaving the Dark Sky members somewhat mystified.
"I guess that leaves us with just one mystery…" Derpy said in puzzlement of a certain someone's identity. "Who did throw that flash grenade?"
As the Dark Sky members sighed, they looked back through the glass doors of the restaurant and saw the bat ponies slowly starting to move again.
"Shoot, time's resuming!" G.R.D. alerted her comrades. "Everyone, hide! I've got an idea!"
Soon after the Dark Sky members had hidden, Robot Alicorn Twilight and the bat ponies stormed out of the restaurant.
"Where the heavenly Tartarus did those bastards go?!" R.A.T. yelled. "Scout this area right now and find them!"
The bat ponies obeyed the order and began searching. However, the pink restaurant remained stationary.
"That goes for you too, Pinkie!" R.A.T. exclaimed as she transformed the responseless R.A.P. as a building into R.A.P. as a squirt gun...revealing that the Dark Sky members, save G.R.D., were hiding behind the restaurant.
"!" R.A.T. made something that appeared to be an exclamation point appear over her head with magic to express her surprise. "THERE YOU ARE! PREPARE FOR YOUR DEATHS!"
Just as R.A.T. pulled the trigger on the R.A.P. squirt gun though, it turned to face her, causing herself to get blasted with a tidal wave. Hearing the wave coming, the bat ponies flew up to evade it, but R.A.T. took the wave strong enough to penetrate her waterproof armor full blast.
"AAAAAHHHHH!" R.A.T. screamed as she began to short circuit with electricity emanating from all around her body. "MY EYES! HOW DID-WHY-"
"NOW!" the Dark Sky members called their attack as they rushed toward R.A.T. with the shadow aura exuding from them. Protected from the electricity, they all leaped in the air and came down on R.A.T. with a drop punch, decimating her and her immorality chip to pieces. The bat ponies noticed the Dark Sky members' destructive behavior and were so terrified that they ran and flew away at the same time.
"Victory!" the Dark Sky members, including G.R.D. who came out of the R.A.P. squirt gun, cheered. "Your plan was brilliant, G. Rainbow Dash!"
"Heh heh," replied G.R.D., who had been part of that group cheer. "It was nothing really. I figured out that I could take possession of the pink robot alicorn when I went inside her wall while she was a restaurant. Since I couldn't possess R.A.T. (tried it, didn't work), I decided that the best strategy would be waiting until the pink one was needed. If I had turned her into a weapon while everyone was still in the restaurant..."
With those words, the R.A.P. squished herself into a smaller form and expanded into the pony form of herself.
"Woo-hoo, I'm free!" she shouted happily. "Thanks guys! You saved my master Twilight from a life of evil!"
"Wh-what?!" the Dark Sky members replied, almost having heart attacks as they put their defenses up. "What are you talking about?"
"Come on sillies," R.A.P. playfully taunted, "did you really think the robot alicorns were purely evil? The only reason Twilight was evil was because she was programmed that way with an immorality chip!"
"Immorality chips?" they responded. "Rarity told us a mouthful about you guys and how you're from a different reality or some shit, but never explained to us what that was…"
"Then allow me to elaborate..." R.A.P. prepared to explain. "Even after Celestia turned us into robot alicorns, our strong sense of justice lingered. None of us would have gone along with Celestia's evilly insane plans, so she had to use a bit of force. She either programmed us to be evil by implanting immorality chips into our brains, in the case of Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Twilight, and eventually Fluttershy...or she turned us into tools under the control of her two favorite robot alicorns Twilight and Rainbow Dash, in the case of me and Rarity. I guess the ghost dude being able to possess me and not Twilight is proof of the latter."
"About the former then..." the Dark Sky members said. "Rarity told us that a robot alicorn can not be reasoned with and must be destroyed. How can that be true if they're not really evil? Can't we just take out their chips?"
"No," R.A.P. replied, "the chips are rooted deeply into the vital areas of their robot brains. If those chips are removed, they'll eventually cease to function and die. Just look at R.A.T.'s body…"
Upon investigating the spot of R.A.T.'s demise, not only did the Dark Sky members discover a squashed robot brain near sizable pieces of a chip that looked like it didn't play by any rules whatsoever, they also found a ghostly blue orb with a strange lock on it...