The Last Equestrian Doom Patrol

by Blueshift

Chapter 2: Getting The Band Back Together

Previous Chapter

“Oh. I’ve never had a Princess in here before! Is it an inspection?” Derpy looked up from her desk where she had been hard at work, to see the Princess of the Night standing before her. The bell on the Post Office door hadn’t rung to announce her arrival, but given the strangeness of the day so far this was of minor concern.

“No, Derpy, it is not an inspection!” Luna announced with dramatic relish as the finished materialising in the middle of the room, wisps of blue light curling from her hooves. “Unless you consider it an inspection of your very will and resolve in the face of impossible adversity!”

Luna stared expectantly at Derpy. Derpy stared back, blinked, and then shrugged. “Okay.” She then returned to work, diligently sorting through the pile of post that lay on her desk, shuffling the letters into neat piles and into her open satchel.

Luna cleared her throat, throwing back her head in a bold, sweeping gesture. “Equestria is in danger, Derpy! An evil force is even now moving against us, plotting the destruction of everything we know and hold dear!”

“Oh, one of those is it?” Derpy picked up a slightly dog-eared envelope, squinting at it, before holding it up to the Princess. “Look at that, see? Bless! I think Pipsqueak did that, silly little tyke!”

“Even now, Canterlot lies in crisis amidst the forces of uncreation and…” Luna trailed off as she realised Derpy was completely ignoring her. “Just what are you doing?”

Derpy held the letter up, pointing a hoof at the top right hand corner. “See, there’s supposed to be a stamp here, but I guess Pipsqueak didn’t have any or didn’t understand. So he drew a…” She peered closer. “What is that? A fish?”

Luna looked at the scrawl in confusion. There was indeed a crude drawing of a fish where the stamp should have been. “So?”

Derpy shrugged. “Well, see, technically I should send this back as undeliverable, but I like to go through all the post and make sure they’re all paid up. Just my little good deed to bring a bit of happiness into the world!” She swept open a large book of stamps, and tearing off one at random, gave it a lick before sticking it in place. She pulled a face. “Bleaugh. The glue tastes awful though. There needs to be a better way, is that why you’re here? Are you introducing self-adhesive stamps?”

“What, I… no!” Luna frowned, shaking her head. “No, Derpy, I am here because…” She trailed off, as something caught her eye. On the right hand corner of the letter, there was now a stamp proudly displaying Celestia’s beaming visage. In the book of stamps Derpy had sorted through, there seemed to be an awful lot of stamps emblazoned with her sister’s face. “Derpy. Where are the stamps with my face?”

“Oh.” Derpy paled. “I just work here, Princess! I don’t make the postal policy! There aren’t any! Those are the rules.”

“The rules?” Luna’s previous ominous announcements were quickly forgotten in a flash of annoyance. She reached for the book of stamps before Derpy could snatch it back, and was soon leafing through the pages, face fixed in consternation. “Am I not on any stamp?”

“Well uh, you know…” Derpy looked about the room, anywhere but at the princess. “It’s the rules. I don’t make them! As she is princess, Celestia is the only pony allowed on stamps.”

“But I’m a princess too!” Luna almost exploded with indignant outrage. “I rule Equestria! Why am I not on a stamp? And look!” She thumped open a page at random. “This stamp has a pot plant on it! Am I not better than a pot plant! And Trotsky! Trotsky gets a stamp! He’s not Celestia!” She pointed a stamp depicting a rather stern-faced red pony, whose face was framed by an absurdly enormous moustache.

“Objects and dead ponies are allowed,” Derpy pointed out. “But Celestia is the only living pony who can be on stamps. See, her silhouette is there.” She gestured at the corner of the stamps, each showing the silhouette of a unicorn, hair billowing out behind it.

Luna pouted. “That could be anyone. It looks a bit like me. Yes, when I return to Canterlot, we shall have a long discussion with the Postmaster General.” She shook her head, suddenly remembering the reason for being in the Post Office in the first place. “Derpy,” she announced, a new-found urgency in her voice. “Our world teeters on the brink of uncreation! Doomsday approaches!”

“Oh!” Understanding dawned on Derpy’s face. “Twilight Sparkle lives two streets down, in the library. This is the Post Office.” Feeling the issue resolved, she broke Luna’s gaze and returned to her work.”

“Twilight Sparkle is dead.” Luna grasped Derpy’s chin in a gilded hoof and lifted it so that she was staring directly into Derpy’s crooked eyes. “The Elements of Harmony have been neutralised. My sister…” Her voice broke slightly. “Princess Celestia is dead. Or gone. Or changed. The result is the same.”

“What?” Derpy’s reply was no more than a squeak as she struggled to process this deluge of information. “Then why are you here? Why aren’t you doing anything about it?”

“I am.” Luna let Derpy go, turning to look briefly out of the window. The sun still shone in the sky, though it had not moved for the past hour. If she did not move fast, this might be the final day any of them saw. “Someone has escaped from the most secure prison in Equestria, Derpy. An ancient enemy the likes of which has not been fought for many centuries. When such times occur, when all else has failed, and all others have fallen, the Princess of the Night may, by laws as old as Equestria itself, form a Doom Patrol!”

“That… that doesn’t sound very safe.” Derpy shrank back against the wall, hoping somehow that it would protect her from this sudden madness that had invaded her life. She asked the next question with a sense of dread, fearing that she knew the answer already: “B-but why are you telling me this?”

Luna stared down at Derpy with an unwavering gaze, a brief smile flickering across her lips. “Because, Derpy, you are the first recruit.”

“But – ”

Luna held up a hoof. “And when I say ‘recruit’, I mean that you do not have a choice. I am sorry. The fate of Equestria hangs in the balance.”

“Oh.” Derpy hung her head. “But I just deliver the post in Ponyville! I don’t have any magic powers or abilities! I’m not brave or smart or heroic!” She looked towards her post satchel, pleadingly. “If the world is about to end, I think I’d be more use delivering the post, just so everyone gets one last letter to bring them happiness before Equestria is destroyed. Unless it’s a bill.”

“You are special, Derpy.” Luna’s voice dropped to a softer, more soothing octave. “There is a reason I came to you first.”

“My mum said I was special.” Derpy scowled. “Of course, she also said that if I drank a glass of milk every day, I’d grow up to be pretty!” She let out a frustrated puff of air. “This is all because of my eyes, isn’t it? That’s why I’m ‘special’? I’m cross-eyed, Princess! That’s all! They don’t give me the power to see through walls or shoot lasers or hypnotise ponies, do they?”

Luna shook her head. “No.”

“Oh.” Derpy slumped. “I thought you were gonna tell me they did.”

“You have always known that you were out of place, that you were not quite right.” Luna cast a glance at the clock that ticked away in the corner of the room. “That you were in some way a mistake.”

Derpy’s bottom lip wobbled. “That’s not helping.”

“Derpy. From the moment you were born, you were touched by Error. I use that word in the strict scientific sense.” Luna paused, searching Derpy’s face for a reaction, unsure of the best words to use. “When you were born – when you were conceived – when you were just a twinkle of an idea in the language of the universe, something went wrong.”

Derpy was silent for a good while. “Oh,” she finally said again, for the third time. “I’ve had better pep talks. I suppose you’re going to say that it’s my fault that the world is ending and I need to die for it to all be fixed, or something.”

Luna hesitantly reached out a wing to enfold the smaller pony in a semi-awkward hug. To her surprise, she felt the smear of tears against her feathers, smudging off Derpy’s cheeks. “No, Derpy, sorry. I didn’t mean that. The world is broken, yes. Our enemy is hiding in the cracks. But you, because you have been touched by this Error, you will be able to see him and touch him and track him down, where gods and warriors cannot.”

Derpy rested her head against Luna’s side for a moment, feeling the slow pound of her heart as she came to a decision. “Okay,” she nodded, trotting over to her desk and slipping her enveloped-stuffed satchel around her neck. “But as long as I can deliver the mail along the way.”

Luna spread her wings, horns aglow with magical energies as a sparkling aura enveloped the two. “Very well. But be warned, that we may travel to the very heard of pandemonium itself!”

Derpy quickly flicked through the envelopes in her satchel. “Nope, none for there!”

With a wry grin, Luna flicked back her mane and let a burst of light flash from her horn. “Let us find the others then!”


It was a castle above the world.

At least, that’s what the owner liked to think. The cloud house itself was standard fare for an inhabitant of Cloudsdale. A small, detached puffy white cloud that hung in a rather nice nimbo-cumulous cluster in a pleasant suburb of the pegasi capital city. Where most pegasi tended to keep their abodes light and airy, this was a different matter.

There were no windows. The walls were instead covered by a multitude of clocks that all ran at random, completely different times, creating a constant cacophony of ticking. Where there were not clocks, there were books. Shelves upon shelves, piles upon piles of books, all written by one hoof, the same lurid, spidery scrawl.

It was the dry, musty smell of those books that hit Derpy the most, as she and Luna apparated into the middle of the dwelling. Having automatically taken a deep breath the moment they appeared, Derpy found herself coughing wildly as the dust assaulted her lungs.

“Quiet, Derpy!” Luna hissed, looking down at her companion admonishingly. Then, looking about, she trotted towards the far end of the room where a brown pegasus sat engrossed in a pile of manuscripts, pen clutched in his mouth as he feverishly scrawled away.

Derpy swallowed hard, eyes picking through the candle-lit gloom, appalled that anyone could afford to live in such a mess. Then she gave a start, realising just who it was sat across the room for them. “That’s… that’s Doctor Whooves!” she gasped in a small squeak at Luna. “But it can’t be!” She stared closer at the familiar-looking figure. It was her best friend from Ponyville, she knew him at a glance. That same brown coat. That same spiked chestnut hair. That same hourglass cutie mark. But sprouting from his back was a pair of large, brown wings. “I don’t understand!”

Luna smiled at Derpy as one would at a foolish filly. “No, Derpy, it is not Doctor Whooves. It is another one who has been touched by Error.” She cleared her throat to get the attention of the scribbling pony. “Time Flies! The hour is now! Your Princess commands your presence!”

At the sound of Luna’s voice, the pony’s head flicked up and he bounded towards the two newcomers with unbridled enthusiasm, large eyes twinkling with excitement. “Princess Luna!” he half-choked out as he stumbled into a bow. “I knew it, I knew you’d come! You need my help to save the world, don’t you? I’ve seen the signs – the red skies, the saxophones that whisper secrets from other dimensions, that fish born with the head of a cactus! They were all signs of the coming apocalypse, weren’t they?”

“They were.” Luna nodded solemnly. “By order of the Princess of the Night, and with the power invested in me as ruler of Equestria, I hereby recruit you into the Doom Patrol and – ”

“I accept!” The pony puffed out his chest. “I feel like I’ve been waiting for something like this my whole life!”

“It’s not actually something you need to accept,” Derpy piped up, to a withering glance from Luna. “I mean, it’s more a draft than anything, you don’t get to say ‘no’.”

“I wouldn’t even if I could!” The pony seemed to spot Derpy for the first time, reaching forwards and enthusiastically shaking her hoof. “Name’s Time Flies. Terrible name, I know, I had a right go at the old parents! My friends call me Timey, and this is my house. Not much, but I’d have cleaned up if I knew I had guests coming!” He moved aside to let Derpy soak in the true horror of the dismal, messy dwelling. “All the books are mine, I wrote them all myself!” he announced proudly.

Derpy gingerly picked up the nearest ‘book’: a wad of different sized sheets of papers crudely stapled together. On the cover was written ‘Times Flies and the Prisoner of Mah-jong’.

“Oh, that’s a good one!” Timey’s head loomed slightly too close to Derpy’s. “I get taken prisoner by the king of an anti-matter universe and have to overthrow him before lunchtime. And in this one –” he broke off, scrabbling through pile after pile until he triumphantly grasped a tattered red notebook. “In this one, I go to a planet full of ponies that wear ant costumes, and defeat the plate of tagliatelle that rules it.”

Derpy’s head tilted to one side quizzically. “…So you’ve done this sort of thing before?” she gingerly asked, looking towards Luna for any sort of help. The Princess remained impassive. “I mean, we’re going to try and save the world, but at least you’ve had experience?”

“Oh, no no no!” Timey shook his head emphatically. “No, I just write stories.”

“About… yourself?” Derpy scanned the covers of all the ‘books’ that lay on the floor. All of the titles seemed to start with “Time Flies and…”

“About myself, mostly, yes.” Timey shrugged. “Write what you know, that’s what they say.” He grabbed a dirty sack, and started to stuff quills and scraps of paper into it. “I always get ideas popping into my head and need to write them down, preserve them for future generations, you know. I always thought I was special, always thought I was destined for greater things!”

No, everyone gets that.” Derpy took a step back, looking up pleadingly at Luna.

Luna simply smiled at Timey. “Greater things await, Time Flies. Make your preparations, for there are more to gather, and very little time remaining.”

“Done!” Timey finished stuffing his sack full of writing materials. “Just in case I get any more inspiration striking, you know!” He flashed a smile at Derpy, clapping his forehooves together. “Let’s get started, I can’t wait to be a hero!”


“Piss off!”

Derpy winced, covering her ears at the torrent of insults that spewed from the mouth of the strange blue pony into whose room the trio had materialised. Of her companions, Time Flies was simply staring aghast at the pony, shocked that anyone could defy the call to duty. Luna meanwhile, was staying as stoic and calm as she could manage.

“You cannot refuse a direct order from the Princess of the Night! Equestria is in peril! You are needed!” Luna stressed this point most firmly.

Oh no,” the pony deadpanned with a sneer. “What’s the worst this villain is going to do if he’s not stopped? Screw up my face?”

“Donny Swineclop!” Luna snapped, the suddenness of the response sending a jolt through Derpy. “This is a serious matter, it could be the end of the world as we know it!”

“I’m crying my eye out. No, really.” The blue pony blinked a large, singular eye at Luna, and then turned his back on the princess to continue his previous task of polishing his silverware with a dirty rag.

He was, Derpy thought, the strangest pony she had ever seen. At first she hadn’t even realised he was a pony, instead believing him to be some other creature. Donny resembled a pony until you reached the head, where instead of a friendly face there rested a huge unblinking eye, set above a muzzleless, permanent scowl.

Derpy was just about to speak out in the Princess’s defence when Donny dropped his rag, swinging around and waving a hoof angrily. “…And what really gets on my nerves!” he began, “is that you three break into my house and expect me to be happy that I’m being forced to join your ‘Suicide Squad’.”

“It’s a Doom Patrol,” Luna replied flatly.

“Well,” Donny sneered. “It still sounds dangerous to me.”

“Pfft!” Timey cut across any response that Luna was about to make. “This is Princess Luna! Our safety is guaranteed with her in command, you should be overjoyed at the chance! Isn’t that right, Princess?”

He turned to Luna for acknowledgement, but Luna left the question hanging. “Donny,” she said softly. “Equestria needs you. Your special nature –”

“Hah!” Donny spat in barely suppressed contempt. “Do you want me to tell you about my ‘special nature’? About how I was bullied and ridiculed all my life because of this?” He jabbed a hoof at his huge mono-eye. “You have no idea! I bet you’re about to launch into a speech about how we’re ‘all the same’, are you? Well, sorry. You’re just some spoiled crazy evil moon princess who’s probably having another of her funny turns!”

“Hey!” Timey leapt in front of Luna, wings flapping angrily in an attempt to defend her honour. “Princess Luna was helplessly controlled by the evil Nightmare spirit! Her actions as Nightmare Moon were completely against her will!”

Donny narrowed his eye, tilting his head curiously. “Really?”

Timey pushed his face into Donny’s, eyes unblinking. “Really!”

“Ahem,” Luna coughed, scratching her neck nervously. “Well actually, no, Timey, that was all me.”

“Oh.” Timey’s face fell and he backed away. “How awkward. Well, I’m sure you won’t do it again!” He brightened up suddenly. “I did write about that though! The evil Nightmare spirit infected a basket of eggs and I had to stop it! If we pop back home I could show you!”

“Whatever!” Donny slunk away from the trio before turning to Derpy. “I bet you think you have a hard life because of your crossed eyes, don’t you? Well, boo hoo madam, I’d love something like that!”

“Well actually, I – ” Derpy attempted to explain that she had rather a nice life, thank you, but Donny wasn’t about to let her speak.

“And you! You!” Donny jabbed a hoof in Timey’s face. “Whatever in the pit is wrong with you, I’m guessing it’s mental or something!”

“I’m just a hero!” Timey retorted. “And the princess is offering you the same chance! Sure you could sit here all miserable like the world owes you a favour, but you know what? It doesn’t! It’s not that big mono-eye that’s standing in your way, it’s that rotten attitude! You’ve got a chance, Donny. One chance to make something of yourself and prove that you’re not just a mean grouch. One chance to save the world!”

Timey about-turned nearly on his hooves. “Come on ladies, obviously Donny’s single eye makes him incapable of helping others!”

He started to march out of the room, when a small mutter from Donny stopped him in his tracks.

“Alright,” Donny said, a slight tremble in his hooves. “Alright. I’m in.”

Derpy’s mouth hung open, looking at Timey with a new-found admiration. “That was great!” she gasped.

“I used nearly that exact speech on the Grand Mal of Hydrax Four,” Timey boasted with a smug grin. “Worked a charm.”

“In a story?”

“Well, yes.” Timey shrugged. “But it was a good story!”


“Ugh, the sun’s too bright!” Donny blinked his huge eye in annoyance, swinging his head round to glare at his companions. “Why has no-one invented sunglasses for giant singular eyes yet? It’s just another form of oppression!”

Derpy ignored him, trotting hurriedly after Princess Luna, who strode purposefully through the leafy serene orchard that they had found themselves in. The soft scents of nature wafted lazily through the air, which was filled with all kinds of birdsong. It was as if this part of Equestria had lost the memo that Armageddon was beckoning. “Where are we?” She craned her neck up at the trees that towered above them, squinting in puzzlement at the long strands that dangled down from the branches like strange fruit.

“Brain snakes!” Timey squeaked, staring at the strands in fear. “I met them in ‘Time Flies And The Planet Of The Brain Snakes’! They slide into your ears and wrap themselves around your brain!”

“Idiots,” Donny rolled his huge eye at the two, keeping a good distance in case someone came across them and assumed they were all friends. “We’re just outside Ponyville, don’t you know anything? This is Luigi’s Spaghetti Farm.”

“Oh, right.” With a flap of her wings, Derpy rose into the air, and sucked a strand of spaghetti from a nearby tree. She then spat it out. It was slightly crunchy, not yet fully ripened. “I used to come here all the time with my mum when I was little!”

Ahead of them, a small yellow earth pony with a shock of bright purple hair was leaping up at the tree branches, grabbing mouthfuls of spaghetti and spitting them into a wicker basket.

“That does not look hygienic!” Donny scowled. “I know what I’m never eating for dinner again!”

“Quiet!” Luna broke her stride to glare disapprovingly at her entourage, before calling out to the yellow pony in a clear, crisp booming voice: “Princess Erroria, your service is once again required!”

The yellow pony’s head shot up, mouth dropping open to spill the spaghetti that she had been tightly gripping. “I don’t… what… really?” she spluttered, large round eyes shining with excitement. She bounced up to Luna like an excited puppy, tail swishing back and forth in agitation. “I never dreamed – I mean, I hoped – but…” Her face fell, her happy expression replaced by one of agitation. “B-but I thought Celestia said that me being a princess was a mistake? That Equestria couldn’t have more princesses because there were already enough and if there was one more then the world would break. Or something.”

Luna grimaced. “Celestia is…” She stumbled over her words. “Celestia is indisposed, Erroria. There is a temporary opening for princess, if you wish to take up your mantle and help save Equestria from the most dangerous crisis in history.”

Derpy watched the conversation with growing confusion. “What’s going on?” she hissed to Timey. “I have no idea what she’s talking about?”

Timey stroked his chin. “Perhaps she’s the princess from the anti-matter universe of Space-C that I met in ‘Time Flies And The Deadly Danger’?”

“Don’t you two pay any attention?” Donny grumbled, flashing a snide look between the pair. “That’s Erroria! She got made princess for a while due to an admin error when Celestia completely messed up turning Twilight into a princess. There were too many princesses and they had to take away her powers and it all got very awkward!” He threw his head back in disgust. “But I guess that’s what you get when you have a constitutional monarchy! An elected, competent leader wouldn’t let anything like that happen!”

They watched as Luna stood away from the small yellow pony, flashing a quick smile. “Are you ready, Erroria?”

Donny shook his head. “Ugh. I could take going to my grave a lone miser. I could take going to my grave some sort of hero. But now all I can see is: ‘Here lies Donny Swineclop. He was friends with losers’.” He raised a hoof to his mouth, shouting out at Erroria. “Don’t do it! She wants you to join her ‘Death Club’ so you can get horribly murdered to bits!”

Luna shot a stern glance at Donny, but Erroria didn’t seem to take any notice. Instead, she closed her eyes, raising her head to the heavens. “Begone, begone, o form of pony,” she intoned. A sharp wind sprung up from nowhere, causing the trees to sway violently and the onlooker’s manes to whip about their faces. “And arise the princess who is no phony!”

An arc of lightning streaked from a previously serene sky to strike Erroria, and a blinding flash caused all around to shield their faces (and caused Donny to complain once more about the lack of appropriate eyewear for cyclopses). As the painful white void that was the world blinked slowly back into life, Derpy saw standing in a circle of charred grass the form of a small but unmistakable alicorn.

Princess Erroria had arrived. And she had her tiara on upside-down.

“Oh good,” Donny grumbled through gritted teeth. “We’re all going to die, aren’t we?”


“Can I teleport?”

Yes, you can teleport,” Luna replied through gritted teeth, desperately trying to recall why she thought this was ever a good idea.

“Good!” Erroria ruffled her wings in anticipation. “And can I – ”

“Yes!” Luna swung her head around at the young pony, gnashing her teeth. “Yes you can fly, yes you can cast spells, no you can’t stop time, yes you can walk on clouds, no you can’t make it rain kittens. The answers won’t change if you keep on asking me!”

Erroria shrank back quickly with a squeak, shuffling backwards clumsily into Derpy. “Sorry! But uh…” She straightened her tiara. Something shiny and expensive on it broke and pinged off. “If we’re going to go and save the world and stuff, can I go visit mum and dad first?”

“There isn’t any time.” Luna looked grimly up at the sky. It had turned red. Blood red. All over Equestria the upper atmosphere was starting to broil, like it had been mortally wounded. And perhaps it had. “This is the final crisis.”

“Okay, and we stop. Right here!” Donny thumped his rear onto the ground with determination. After a moment, he realised that he was in Manehatten, and gingerly stood up, wiping off whatever horrible thing it was he had sat in. “I’m not moving another inch until you tell us what this is all about, Princess! You’ve been teleporting us all over the place, and I still don’t know why?”

“Why? To fight a great evil!” Timey cut across Donny. “We are heroes, Donny! We are the last hope of Equestria, a final Doom Patrol formed against the coming darkness!”

“Whatever.” Donny rolled his eye. “It all sounds very vague to me.”

“Donny Swineclop.” Luna addressed the petulant pony, rising to her full regal bearing. “You are brave despite the fear you try to hide, but I shall reveal all soon. We just need the final member of our retinue. And there he is.”

Derpy looked around herself. They had been traipsing through the streets of Manehatten for what seemed like an eternity thanks to the constant chirping of Erroria, but could only have been a few moments. The streets were grimy, grey, but more importantly, deserted. “There’s no-one here!” she protested. “Are they invisible?”

“There are always the invisible on the streets.” Luna drew Derpy’s attention to a dark side-alley, full of debris and discarded boxes. “It’s all right,” she cooed softly. “You can come out.”

A damp, dog-eared box shifted, and from beneath it nervously crawled a small orange filly who quivered in front of them. A small, strangely familiar orange filly.

“Scootaloo?” Derpy frowned, between the filly and Luna. “What’s Scootaloo doing here?”

The filly stared sullenly at Derpy. “I’m not Scootaloo,” it announced in a voice that sounded strangely masculine. “I’m Terry.”

“Yeah, come on, Derpy,” Donny smirked. “That’s obviously a Terry, not a Scootaloo. Whatever.”

Luna ignored them, casting a motherly gaze over the tiny feminine-looking colt, and wrapping a wing around her. “It’s okay, Terry, we’re here to help. And we need your help in return.”

Terry craned his neck up at Luna, voice quavering. “Y-you mean it? I-I don’t have to live in my box anymore?”

“Oh great! She’s recruiting a little foal!” Donny discarded the last pretence of any restraint as he stormed towards Luna. “She’s going to get a little foal killed!”

Luna instinctively pulled Terry away from Donny, shielding him with her wing. “If we do not act with everything we have at our disposal, very soon there will be no-one left alive!”

Donny made the impression of wrinkling his non-existent nose as he eyed Terry. “So what’s your gimmick then, kid? You look a bit like Scootaloo? Hell of a thing to put in a grave stone. And what’s that?” He waved dismissively at a dirty scrap of string tied around the small pony’s forehoof, attached to what looked like a long-deflated red balloon.

“It’s my balloon!” Terry half-shouted back, cowering into Luna’s side as he did so. “Princess Celestia gave it to me when me and my best friend Rainbow Dash saved her daughter Twilight Sparkle from the evil King Zebra so she could marry her true love, Prince Blueblood!”

“Well, I know that didn’t happen!” Derpy blurted out in absolute astonishment. “Unless you want to tell me I’ve not been keeping up with the news again, Donny!”

Donny only had two words to this revelation, fixing Terry with a glare made up half of annoyance, half of sheer frustration: “Piss off.”

Luna immediately clapped her hooves to Terry’s small ears. “Donny!” she admonished. “He is but a foal! And there are more worlds than this one, worlds which have never existed apart from in the strangest dream of history. Worlds that somehow leak into our own.”

“It’s a bit like the time when I fought Celestia’s alternate-universe counterpart,” Timey whispered to Erroria. “Aitselec. Luckily she did everything backwards, so I just had to relax as she undid her evil plan all by herself!”

“Amazing!” Erroria listened to Timey with wide eyes, her previous fidgeting replaced by complete absorbed fascination. “You’re so brave! Tell me more!”

“Well…” Timey pondered, giving himself an imaginary pat on the back for being so marvellous. “’Time Flies And The Carnival of Invasions’ saw me infiltrate an intergalactic carnival held by alien warlords who were peddling their ill-gotten wares to an unsuspecting public. The planet Calufrax had been stolen and used as a target on the coconut shy, and I had to –”

“If you are finished, Time Flies?” Luna spoke up loudly, halting the brown pegasus’s spiel in its tracks. “Now we are complete!” She spread her wings, a glow of ethereal energy rising from the ground to surround the gathering. “Now our enemy will beware! Now the last Equestrian Doom Patrol shall ride out!”

With a flash, they were gone.

Leaving only a dark chuckle in the air.

And the scent of Parma Violets.


“Blargh!” Derpy let what remained of the contents of her stomach spill out onto the nicely polished wooden floor as the six ponies materialised once more. She groggily wiped her mouth while taking in her surroundings. It was a library, but unlike any library she had seen before. More like a cathedral, the room was massive, full of rack upon rack of books, stretching into the hazy distance. “Please tell me we’re going to stop teleporting about!” she moaned to the Princess, shaking her head to loosen the wool-like fuzz that enveloped her mind. “I don’t think I like it. Where are we now?”

“This,” Luna announced with a hint of pride, “is the Library of Stable. It is the repository for every book ever written in the past, present and future. Within these walls sit every work of art, every foals scrawl. It contains the truths of the universe, and the most maddening lies.”

Timey was half salivating at the thought. “Does it contain all my stuff? I could save so much time if I found all the books I was going to write!”

“Everything!” Luna replied with a wry smile. “But also every book you didn’t write, every book written to be disguised as yours.”

Eagerly snatching a nearby volume off a shelf, Timey opened it at a random page and screwed his face up into a puzzled expression. “But… but it’s nonsense!”

“Ah, at last he gets it!” Donny pouted. “Congratulations, Timey; it took you a while but you made it in the end!”

“No, he’s right!” Derpy picked up another book and leafed through it, staring at Luna quizzically as she considered the pages that were full of random, meaningless collections of letters. Then comprehension dawned. “Oh. I see. This library contains every possible book because there are an infinite number of books, so by default somewhere there must be a copy of everything. That’s…. that’s useless.”

“Well, yes,” Luna conceded. “That’s why the library doesn’t really get many visitors. It is, however, one of the lodestones that holds together Equestria.”

“Fine! Now we’re getting somewhere! Spill!” Donny slumped onto a nearby couch, his disdainful expression broken momentarily by the morose face of Terry who pressed up next to him.

“Are you my new daddy?” Terry whimpered.

“Yes, and now I’m abandoning you,” Donny swept Terry off the couch, using the extra room to rest his hindquarters. “Sorry kid, that’s the cruel world we live in.”

“If you’re finished,” Luna glowered at Donny, beckoning a wing at Terry and inviting the colt to sit by her side instead, “then I will begin! Equestria is facing the forces of chaos and uncreation, and already my sister has fallen. Our enemy seeks not only to destroy the world, but wipe it from all history and existence altogether.”

“Ridiculous!” Donny scoffed. “Nobody has that power!”

“Apart from the King Archon of Mandrake-Five!” Timey interrupted, and then frowned. “But I think I made him up.”

“Donny is correct.” All five ponies looked to Luna in bewilderment, but there was no hint of a joke cracking in the princess’s face. “That is our enemy, Donny. He walks between the cracks in the world, and is privy to the secret history of the universe. He is the antithesis of everything we hold dear, and he has finally escaped from his bonds to wreak havoc. His is the hoof that cannot be stayed by logic and reason. He is the spear never thrown, the decision always made, the path not travelled. We have all known his shade at one point in our lives. And you know his name.”

“I do?” Derpy creased her forehead in confusion, craning her neck round at her companions who all seemed as puzzled as she did. All but Erroria.

The small yellow princess was listening to Luna’s words with mounting horror. “I know!” she squeaked in a tiny, terrified voice. “It’s him, isn’t it? It’s Mr Nobody.”

The words sent chills jolting down Derpy’s spine, and the hair on the back of her neck bristled. It was ridiculous. It should have been funny. But nobody was laughing. Not even Donny.

“Yes.” Luna cast her eyes down sadly. “Once before, millennia ago, he was bound and chained for all eternity by my Doom Patrol. But now he has escaped, and plans the total destruction of the world.” She swept her wings upwards in a bold gesture. “Equestria is held together by four lodestones. He has already broken the first at Canterlot castle. We must protect the rest if it is not already too late. He can walk between the cracks in the world, but you…” a smile broke her lips. “You have been touched by the cracks in the world. You can see him and touch him, and hopefully, with the element of surprise, stop him.”

Silence descended upon the room. Then Donny sardonically raised a hoof. “’Stop him’, is that it? There’s not actually a plan? What do we do once we see him, ask him politely to stop?”

In a blaze of energy, a small crystal appeared in front of each of the ponies. “You will pair up, and each travel to the location of the remaining lodestones. When Mr Nobody arrives, you will use these crystals to contact me, and I will teleport us all there. And then…” Luna’s brow furrowed and a strange, pained expression of doubt flicked across her face. “A-and then I am sure we will think of something.”

“Wait, Donny’s right?” Derpy started up from her seated position in alarm. “There’s not a plan? What do you me – ” Her voice faded away as she vanished along with the others, leaving only Luna and Terry, alone in the library.

Terry craned his head up at Luna, who was rubbing her head with some discomfort. “Are you okay, mummy?” he squealed, looking about at the darkness that lurked amongst each shelf, darkness that seemed to be moving closer.

“I’m not your mother,” Luna bit her bottom lip hard, scrunching up her face. “S-something seems to be trying to cloud my mind. Keep an eye out while I try to fight it.”

Terry gulped. There was something itching at his vision. Something in the darkness. From the corner of his eye, something black unfolded against the black of the shadows. “P-princess?” he quivered. “F-for something like that?”


The voice sounded like the feeling of hooves on a chalkboard. Luna’s eyes shot bolt-open, and then immediately recoiled at the wrongness of what she saw. It ached in her head as the shadows that weren’t shadows moved, uncoiling like a set of carefully cut geometric shapes being laid flat upon the surface of the world. It was impossible to look at.

I had thought to stay my hoof until I could decide what sort of threat this new ‘Doom Patrol’ of yours posed. You really have scraped the barrel this time, haven’t you?

The voice came from everywhere. It echoed amongst the books and ceiling like it had always been there, the pealing of eternal bells. Luna tried to force herself to focus on the form that wrinkled against the skin of the world. Pitch-black, not like a physical object but like a hole in the universe itself. There was nothing joining it together, simply a collection of shapes in the form of a pony. It had wings. A horn. At the same time, it had neither. It was male and it was female, and it stared at her through unblinking, invisible eyes. It started to walk forwards, except that it couldn’t, because it was two-dimensional.

“What is it?” Terry pressed himself into Luna’s side, heart clutched with sheer terror. Rather disconcertingly, he could feel Luna shaking against him. He caught the unmistakable whiff of Parma Violets. “Princess?”

Oh Terry,” the creature smiled with no mouth. “You know who I am. You have always known. I am the broken vase, the mislaid bill. I am the first and the last enemy. I am the pony behind the curtain, the puppet-master of the universe. I am every lost dream, every dashed hope and every crushed aspiration.”

Non-existent wings spread out like a shadow over creation.

I am Mr Nobody.”

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