The World Spike Only Knows Ch. 1


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Disclaimer: I do not own My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Summary: AU When evil spirits escape Tartarus and threaten to take over Equestria, Princess Cadence was assigned to enlist the help of Shining Armor to fill the gaps of troubled mares. Only... Shining Armor isn't a purple teenage dragon with girl issues and a capacity for the unorthodox now, is he? Uh oh...

Chapter One

Cadence and Spike - Cadence

She never considered herself well-groomed in anything other than basic courtesy. Tartarus may have not been the most colorful place to live in beyond the local shopping district, with a grey decor and overall dull motif covering the place almost everywhere, it seemed like everything but what a Princess would call her home. The land itself was some several leagues underground, lit only by the glowing aspects of Pyreflies and Glow-Me-Nots, beautifully white and lining up all against the walls and up against the ceiling like makeshift lanterns, only brighter and more brilliant as a whole than any light ever hope could be. Amazingly enough, even the glow of the creatures could do nothing but enhance the dullness of the whole place.

Pegasus Unicorns were not as commonly associated with places like these as they were with majestic skies and great mountains.

Her eyes struck back to more carefree times as they hovered upon the walkway to the land of the sun above. At her back was a city floating in stone within a cavern, as magnificent in magnitude as any of Canterlot's districts; towers and hovels as impressive as that from the land above, held beautifully in place by a great stone pillar and floating on top of a river that sparkled as though it was made of tears. Along the streets, many ponies, mostly stallions in this case, clad themselves in silver spangled armor, roaring for the civilians to stay in their homes and for the Queen to be notified.

There was a crisis going on, after all.

'The spirits have broken through the fifth barrier, sir! The wizards can't hold it much longer!' she overheard a tall, lanky pegasus yell out as he rushed to his much shorter superior. 'They're tricky things; we don't know how they made it past the first either!'

She recognized Captain Moody Pants almost instantly. The stallion was large and burly, his unicorn horn pronounced and thicker than any she had seen other than her guardian's. He stood in the middle of the chaos like a scarecrow, his armor visibly more worn than any of his charges, but an eye that seemed to yell for attention and respect when they became focused on anypony. She trotted towards Moody Pants, keen on trying to find out just what was going on. The place seemed to be in an uproar for the last day, and everypony seemed to be more frustrated with each passing moment.

Princess Mi Amore Cadenza, more commonly known as Cadence, never thought of herself well-groomed in anything other than basic courtesy, but the City of Hay Des needed everypony's help if they wanted to get through this; of this she was sure. The rumbles that hit their dull-but-homely city came once more, and the Princess of Love felt herself lose balance for one moment as another yell from one of Moody Pants's guards shouted out something she couldn't quite catch in all the confusion. Moody Pants's expression did show that he did catch it, however, and he barked out orders in a code that she recognized immediately.

She'd been in the guard once, after all.

'You're crashing down the cavern?!' Cadence exclaimed in a voice of outrage, over the sound of yet another tremor in the deep recesses of the canyon. Moody Pants turned himself on her, finally aware of her presence fully. 'That's crazy! There are ponies still down there!'

'Your Highness.' Moody Pants bowed quickly, before raising himself to meet the eyes of two new Pegasi that had arrived. Cadence took a step back as a particularly large piece of rock fell down to the sides of the small group she now saw herself a part of. A quick thought later and worry of being crushed vanished as Captain Moody Pants's flanking guards erected a bright green barrier to shield them from the now-falling stalactites. 'We don't have a choice; things are getting ugly down there.'

All of the civilians of Hay Des were safely in their shelters; that much she could take in from the quick glance all around her. She could barely hear the panicked shrieks over the growing nausea she felt herself rising from the shaking cavern; above her, pegasi and unicorns with floating magic struggled to protect the city, dodging and weaving with surgical precision. One of the unicorns found herself being struck with a loose boulder, only for a pegasi to swoop and catch her in his hooves. Cadence yelled for them to move as a large crack appeared in the ceiling, which loosened a few more boulders.

She saw several of them strike the falling unicorn and her savior, as well as a few more unicorns that found themselves struck by a shower of rubble, sending them plummeting down towards the city.

Cadence steadied her hooves for a dash and leapt, nullifying the barrier that protected Moody Pants's immediate guard and her to the shouts of outrage by the old stallion that was once her mentor. A quick thought was what she needed as she counted with intense precision and calculation all the equations that she would need to keep the falling ponies from a quick meeting with that great big apple farm in the sky. She skid to a halt, taking in eight falling ponies in total and dozens upon dozens of falling rocks.

Her horn glowed a beautiful lavender, firing eight precise streaks of light with a speed to be envied, hitting every single of the falling ponies. They all flashed and vanished, only to reappear at her side as a migraine began to hit her harder than the tremor from before had... and what the ground shaking now was doing. She felt the world around her tilt and swerve before the second followed and she realized that she was in a dark shadow; a boulder was falling right above her; above them.

She yelled out a cry as a barrier appeared; pink and glowing as she thought the day would have been, sparing their fates. Steadying her hooves, she felt as though the boulder had hit her skull as it shattered upon contact with her shield, buckling as more and more rocks rained upon the city. She looked on at the guards huddled together against all odds, battered but breathing, as they endured whatever the fates had decided for their remaining days.

She heard the once-falling unicorn send a prayer to the Princess of the Sun, begging for a miracle.

Cadence prayed too; for all of them.

Her legs felt tired and her back feeling as though it was weighing an entire nation as the city endured tremors and rumbles and falling stone. It was as though she was trapped inside one of her childhood adventure novels; where heroes and their comrades suffered through through deadly traps in deadly mazes and bizarre lands. She let out one great cry with a push towards the ceiling, calling upon all her remaining strength to protect the fallen warriors.

Then there was a noise.

The rumbling had stopped; the rocks had ceased their descent upon her city. Nopony moved and nopony made a sound; stiff and silent as the grass on a gray morning.

From the deepest reaches of Tartarus, it came.

It was inequine; the sound made made her shiver and beg for her voice to scream, yet she could not make a whisper let alone a word out as her eyes lit up in green and dark colors swirling. It wasn't like anything she'd ever seen before.

A river with no course or a wind taken shape were the closest things that she could have chosen to describe it, yet they couldn't have come close to what she thought she saw. She was not sure it was a thing of many or many shaped as one; it seemed alive, but at the same time, hollow beyond the darkest crevice that she could think of; it felt empty and full in a paradox of shapes, writhing and smiling and laughing like a thing that did not belong; like many things that did not belong. Her mind wandered to the thoughts of water and the sky, but despair came upon her as they whispered things that echoed once too many.

Cadence found herself unable to breathe when a flawless cheer swelled inside her for no reason at all, inviting her most kindly to bow and run into the eldritch winds.

A great flash of red and screams echoed in the great cavern; the Princess of Love saw a warm darkness take over her being and thought of cheer no more, caught in the bliss of a dreamless slumber, tired and shaking.