The Last Equestrian Doom Patrol

by Blueshift

Chapter 1: Crawling From The Wreckage

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Merriweather ran.

Nobody could blame her. As a captain of the royal guards, she was supposed to emanate an aura of poise, of dignity and restraint under crisis. Instead she tore across the Equestrian countryside in a stumbling, galloping haze. Anyone in the same position would have done the same. She wasn’t even sure if she could see anymore, the sights and sounds of the previous night still echoing in her ears and creasing her brow into a permanent furrow. She just knew she had to keep moving.

Despite her training, despite her years of rigorous endurance marching, she dimly knew that it was impossible for her to have reached Canterlot from the rocky heights of the fortress prison that sat atop the Crystal Peaks. Yet in one corner of her mind, amidst the chaos that swam there, she was aware that she stumbled through the streets of Canterlot as if propelled by some unknown force. She got the feeling, halfway in a dream, that she had pushed past a group of surprised guards, and raced panting into the throne room.

She was definitely aware though, that she came to her senses – or what remained of them at least – at the hoof of Celestia herself.

Celestia sat bolt upright in confusion and concern as Merriweather ploughed into the room. As ruler of Equestria, she prided herself on knowing each and every one of her guards, at least enough to be able to maintain a cordial, polite conversation. The pony that slumped at her hooves was not the Merriweather she knew. Merriweather was calm, reserved and neat, not this tattered, panting mess.

Celestia also knew where Merriweather had been stationed.

With a swipe of a gilded hoof, she motioned the other guards out of the room, and made her way down the steps of her throne to Merriweather’s side. “Merriweather?” she asked softly. “What has happened? Are you all right?”

“S-sorry…” Merriweather raised her head woozily, looking at Celestia through a hazy cloud of blurred vision. “I-it all happened so fast. The walls turned into Marmite, he spoke with the smell of Parma Violets and t-turned Peppermint Whizz into rice pudding.” She clutched her head with a groan. “I think I’m going to be sick.”

Celestia grimaced, upturning a nearby decorative urn that had been given to her by the Goatlandian ambassador as a gesture of peace and goodwill between nations, and placed it under Merriweather’s chin, holding the guard’s mane back as she threw up with great gusto. Merriweather groaned, eyes now bloodshot. She did not look much better.

“Merriweather,” Celestia spoke more firmly, a hint of steel creeping into her tone. “Pull yourself together; you are a captain of the guard. What happened, Merriweather?”

“H-he escaped.” Merriweather paused, and then gave another hearty retch into the container. “A-after he broke free, there was nothing we could do!”

“Who escaped?” Celestia barked back with a newfound urgency, the possibilities racing through her mind. The prison in the Crystal Peaks was where some of the most dangerous creatures and criminals in all Equestria were locked for all eternity. Perhaps Tirek had broken his bonds. Or Lord Malvolio. As Merriweather tried to speak, Celestia was already formulating contingency plans to bring in the escapee. The reply stopped these thoughts in their track, and a chill passed through Celestia’s heart.

“N-nobody, Princess.” Merriweather gave one final croak before passing out. “I-I’m so, so sorry. Nobody escaped.”


“An’ just where do you think you’re going, little miss?” Applejack rounded on a particularly guilty-looking Apple Bloom as she did her best to sneak out of the house. Apple Bloom froze with a start, her small head half-way out of the back door.

“Ah didn’t do it!” Apple Bloom squeaked, suspiciously quickly. “Ah said Ah’d go see Scoots and Sweetie, so uh, gotta go!”

Apple Bloom’s attempted dash for the safety of the outside was halted as her sister’s teeth gnashed down on her tail, yanking her back into the house, where she skittered to a halt on the kitchen floor. Applejack loomed above her, eyes narrowed in disapproval.

“Ah thought Ah taught you better than that, Apple Bloom!” With a buck of her back hooves, Applejack kicked open the door to the sitting room, revealing a coffee table that was smeared with a half-finished art project, paints and paper haphazardly scattered all about. “Look at that mess! Always clean up before you do a new thing! An’ look at this – potato printing!” She shook her head. “Ah never thought Ah’d see the day. You think you’re too good for apples, now?”

Apple Bloom slunk back into the main room, head hung low in dejection. “Ah didn’t make all this mess though! Ah’ll clear up mine, but not the rest!”

Applejack rolled her eyes and gazed upon her sister’s crude artwork, splashes of paint and printed blocks of colour that could vaguely be seen to resemble objects. “Ah suppose you’ve not been drawing pictures of apple trees an’ Scootaloo, an’…” She frowned, peering at one of the sheets of paper. It hurt to look at it. “…An’ a four-sided triangle?”

Apple Bloom bobbed her head up to peer at the sheet, eyes bulging in surprise. “No, Ah didn’t draw that!”

Throwing the paper down, and shaking her head to clear the fog that had suddenly descended upon it, Applejack turned on her sister. “Well, Granny Smith sure didn’t! An’ neither did Big Mac! So who do you claim made this mess, Apple Bloom? Mr Nobody?”

Her words echoed oddly around the room. Both ponies instantly moved their heads to stare into the same corner.

Nobody was there.


“Once more, Spike, there are no monsters under the bed!” Twilight shook her head in annoyance, swiping a hoof at the petrified little dragon who stood shaking, clutching his dustpan and brush in his claws. “You’re just trying to get out of cleaning my room again!”

“I’m not!” Spike shuffled behind Twilight for protection, large green eyes peeking into the gloom beneath Twilight’s bed. “Besides, there was a monster there last time!”

Twilight scrunched her face and glared at Spike. “Yes, well, that’s the exception that proves the rule! Look, give that here!” She snatched the dustpan away from Spike. “Now, if there isn’t a monster under the bed, I’ll be very angry!”

Spike started to sidle towards the door, adopting a casual pose. “Well, if you’re really set on cleaning, I’ll guess I’ll just have to…” he paused, shrugging his shoulders in an exaggerated fashion. “…I don’t know, go to the fun fair or something.”

“Or nothing!” Twilight craned her head under the bed, and started to squeeze herself into the dark gap, dustpan held out in front of her like some sort of talisman. “You’re staying right here, Spike, and if you’ve been wasting my time, you’re on the cleaning rota on your own for the next month!”

With a flurry of activity, Twilight’s hind legs pushed her under the bed. It was a tighter fit than she remembered; the air was musty and smelt of… She wrinkled her nose. Parma Violets. In the gloom, her horn sparked into life with a flash of light. “See, Spike!” she called back, towards the slit of light behind her that seemed to be oddly far away. “Nobody’s under here!”


The labyrinthine corridors of Canterlot Castle held many secrets. There were said to be rooms that were long bricked off, filled with the ghosts of a world that had never existed. Some told of a dance hall full of clockwork mice, that waltzed through the centuries as their mechanisms slowly wore down. A royal chef, whose name has long since been forgotten by history, once claimed that he stumbled across a room in which lay a wishing well. Looking into the depths, he saw a beautiful maiden carved from glass, who could only speak the number ‘six’.

It was in one such forgotten corner of the castle that Celestia stood, watching as her sister paced restlessly up and down. In past generations, this had been the war room, when such a concept as ‘war’ existed. It had long since fallen into disuse, save as the nesting ground for a charming pair of spiders. Now, though, the ancient, crinkled maps of Equestria that lined its walls were once more thrumming with a pink magical aura, the mechanism of the mighty oak table that sat in the centre of the room groaning and clanking into life, delicate brass compasses swinging this way and that across gossamer-thin sparkles of magic that outlined the shape of the world.

Celestia continued to stare at the compasses as they swung. Nothing. Still nothing. Not with all the ancient magic of Canterlot had the enemy been located. Still, she was patient. Her sister, on the other hand, was anything but.

“You know what we must do, Celestia!” Luna stopped her pacing, swinging her starry mane across her face, painting the air with streaks of light. “Not this waiting around! You know we have to move fast if we are to stop him!” Her hooves trembled with barely-restrained frustration, as if any minute she would explode out of the castle and across Equestria.

“No.” Celestia spoke softly and quietly, glancing at her sister briefly before studying the magical maps again carefully. “Trust me, sister. I have sent for Twilight Sparkle and the other bearers of the Elements of Harmony. Once we locate the escapee, they will bring him to justice.”

“Ridiculous!” Luna shook her head in a huff. She had been repeating this same outburst ever since Celestia told her of what had transpired. “You can’t expect them to –”

“They defeated Discord,” Celestia said simply.

“This is nothing like Discord!” Luna reared up and slammed one hoof against the table. The magical ley-lines that ran across the surface shimmered and broke where her hoof interrupted them. “For all his powers, Discord could be comprehended! You cannot expect normal ponies to fight… this!” Her face set itself into a gritty determination. “I will enact a royal decree. I am forming a new Doom Patrol!”

“No.” Celestia’s voice cut across Luna’s, in a tone reserved for admonishing a naughty foal. “No, Luna, I will not allow it.”

“Not allow it?” Luna’s eyes narrowed, a flash of black in her eyes as a miniature supernova exploded in her mane. “Since when did you need to allow me to do anything, Celestia? We rule together, remember?”

“Yes, together.” Celestia focussed her attention fully on her sister. “Luna, we have not had need of a Doom Patrol in Equestria in millennia. And I remember what happened last time. I would not place any more of my subjects in danger; Twilight and her friends are more than capable of the task.”

“That…” Luna’s eyes widened, her angry poise slumping slightly. “That was not my fault, Celestia! They did so much that no-one else could not! The Pentagon Horror! The Nightmare Stream! The Impossible Colour! You remember that?”

“I do. I believe once it was tamed, we called it mauve.” Celestia let a small smile break at the memory, and then reaffirmed her frown. “But no, Luna. Once more it is the Elements of Harmony that must protect Eq –”

The dusty doors to the war room flew open, and in charged a pair of guards, panting and wheezing in their tattered uniforms. The first threw himself at Celestia’s hooves, and opened his mouth to speak. “#”

Celestia frowned at the guard. “Excuse me?”

“^” the guard said.

“I’m sorry, Princess!” The second guard joined his companion, cradling him as he continued to jibber out incomprehensible noises. “W-we did as you said, we looked for Twilight Sparkle and her friends, but… but they were gone.”

“Gone?” Celestia snapped back, regretting her tone almost instantly as the guard quivered. “I’m sorry. What happened?”

“}!” said the first guard, urgently.

“They were gone, Princess.” The second guard glanced between Celestia and Luna through bloodshot eyes. “All six of them! And…” His voice lowered to a whisper. “And when we looked, we found a seesaw made of fish that whispered seven impossible names, and a house made from the colour blue.” He started to rock back and forth. “I… I can’t remember it, but when I came out, it had stolen my shadow.”

Luna cast a curious look towards the guard. Even in the light of the room, he cast no shadow. “You see!” she cried to Celestia over the guard. “It might already be too late! I must form a new Doom Patrol and meet this menace head-on!”

“Thank you.” Celestia ignored Luna for the moment, casting a benevolent smile at the guards. “Please retire to the infirmary, the chief physician will ensure you get the best care.” As the guards slowly shuffled away, she flicked her gaze back to her sister with a far less calming demeanour. “No, Luna. There is no time for training. And even if there was, I refuse to let you drag any innocent citizens into this.” She straightened up. “If he is planning what I think he is, he will need to reach the four lodestones that hold Equestria together. It is no coincidence that I have chosen this room as the base of operations.” She ran a hoof over the table. “The first is here, Luna. He will come here, and I will stop him.”

“You can’t be serious?” Luna ground her forehooves into the table until some of the delicate brass gilding buckled. “You are the princess of the day; you embody civilisation and law and order – you would be powerless against him!”

“I may surprise you yet!” Celestia flung her head back, bathing her face in the pink auras that lined the room. “This is the only way, Luna. If it pleases you, you may wait outside and give warning when he comes.”

Luna narrowed her eyes at her older sister, and slunk out of the room. All princesses were equal, it seemed, but some were more equal than others. Slamming the door, she sat and began to brood, staring down the corridor with disdain. If Celestia was right – if – then the enemy would soon be coming, and it would be she and not Celestia that took matters into her own hooves.

In the silence of the room, Celestia let her shoulders sag with a sigh. A thousand years on the moon had still not calmed down some of Luna’s more hot-headed tempers. Doubts about her course of action formed in her head but she batted them away. She would – she could – fight this foe head on and prevail. She just needed time, and for her sister to calm down.

She settled down to wait, staring at the door, waiting for the moment. The fine hairs on the back of her neck prickled.

She turned round

Nobody was in the room.


The constant ticking of the clock was starting to irritate Luna. Her earlier eagerness to face this threat head-on had now descended into a bored, restless wait as she shuffled on her haunches, trying to stay comfortable. It was, Luna decided, little more than glorified guard duty.

“All right, you win!” She stood up, stretching her hooves, the monotony of her task deflating the prior sense of urgency that had motivated her. “I was being too hasty, but let’s do this together.” She flung open the doors, and her words froze on her tongue.

The centre of the room was ripped open. It was not a mundane breakage, but the very fabric of reality itself. The table and air around it seemed to be torn at a crooked angle, colours bleeding out into tiny rectangles of magenta, cyan and yellow. Beyond that, in the middle of the hole was nothing. Not just blackness, but nothing.

“The lode…” Luna gazed upon the wound in the world with a sinking dread, feeling herself being enraptured by the very wrongness of its existence until another thought snapped her away. “Celestia!”

Her sister was there, but… not. Where there had once been the proud monarch of Equestria, Celestia stood frozen in place. Her coat had taken on a pinkish, plastic gloss, and her fabric wings shimmered with a polyester sheen.

“…Celestia?” Luna’s voice croaked and then broke at the sight of her sister. She shuffled forwards, eyes darting about the room in case of any sudden attack. There was none. Just the hole in the world and the thing that had been her sister.

A drawstring that fed into the back of Celestia’s neck slowly began to wind itself in. “Tee hee hee, comb my hair!” Celestia called in an unfamiliar flat tone. “I’m a princess, do you want to go flying with me?”

Luna stared at her sister piteously. “I will stop this Celestia, I promise. You know I was right. I hope you will forgive me.”

“I like pretty dresses!” Celestia’s eyes stared back at Luna from their frozen gaze, a slight watery tremble behind them. “Maths is hard!”

Luna took one final look at her sister, and then the gash that broiled in the middle of the room. Time was running out. “This enemy must be stopped, no matter the cost.”

“I am forming a new Doom Patrol.”

Next Chapter: Getting The Band Back Together Estimated time remaining: 28 Minutes
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