The Valeyard: Lost souls Part 2
A tribute to: My Little Pony Friendship is Magic
Healing Pony POV Series by alexwarlorn
We both stepped outside the portal and into a snowstorm. This time there was no clear path, only a seemingly never-ending snowfield as far as I could see. I tried to use a few scanning spells but there was nothing to be found around us. I really missed my sonic screwdriver in times like this.
The pink pony next to me was looking around herself as well and it seemed her Pinkie Pie Sense did not tell her where to go next. But when has it ever been easy?
So we wandered forward. I placed a few magic marks on the ground to prevent us from doing the moronic thing and keep walking in circles.
We could see that we were not alone. Countless ponies, changelings, donkeys, Diamond Dogs, sheep, minotaurs and dragons were frozen in place and we could see their desperate eyes following our every move. Distant screams could be heard through the raging snowstorm.
Our track seemed to take us hours and there was still no clue of where we had to go. I could feel my strength slowly running out and the pink pony wasn’t in a much better condition. It was like the snowstorm did drain us of all life and energy.
“This doesn’t lead us anywhere. We need to take a break a find some clue of where to go.”
The pony groaned and then she suddenly stopped and it was like there were 10 of her who build an igloo out of the snow at a blazingly fast speed. They even took a coffee break and one handed me a pot of coffee as well. How was she doing all of this?
Eventually we went inside and I created a small fire in the middle of the igloo, burning exactly with enough heat to keep us warm while not melting the igloo itself. Timing and practise is everything on things like that. Overall the form of a unicorn was easily the best and most versatile of my three possible forms in this universe when I was still alive. The combination of a sharp mind and the ability to shape mana into magic is simply brilliant. I noticed the pink pony was looking at me.
“Can I ask you one question?”
“It is not that I can simply walk outside the room” I said while pointing at the exit with the raging snowstorm outside. “The last two times things went worse after your questions, try to avoid that this time.”
“Your last words towards my friends after your defeat were about the Nightmare… How did you know about her?”
I had to chuckle.
“Now don’t underestimate me. I AM a Time Lord. I know more about time then you can imagine and I had already hundreds of years of experience even before Discord came. I could sense that there was something horribly wrong with the world we were living in.”
“So why didn’t you use your time machine to travel back to where she was the weakest and to stop that version of...”
“I could see that I already had tried to do this. I made my preparations with the old girl when…”
“The old girl?”
“My TARDIS. I assure you that she is the only travelling companion I will ever truly need. I was together with her for hundreds of years.”
“Now I begin to understand why Discord married you off to her 300 years ago.”
I had to cough.
“It was a very emotional moment for her… But back to the topic: Time is not a straight line. You can’t simply go back a few steps and everything will reset perfectly. Each change does leave small cracks behind, you could call them leftovers. Those are usually hardly noticeable even when you can see them. But in our world instead of small cracks we had gaping holes. A few years after my awakening - from my perspective because you know, time machine - I could see exactly how often reality was rewritten…”
I could still remember that day very clearly. I almost collapsed from the realisation what this meant… I had met many mass murdering monsters on my travels, the earlier incantations of me and of course myself did end a lot of lives but this number was higher then all of that combined. Time and space were twisted almost beyond recognition. It was just insane.
I am one of the few beings in the universe who is able to comprehend the deaths of billions. This wasn’t merely the death of a few side characters that I was so used to from the Doctor’s little adventures.
"'Nobody important?' Blimey, that's amazing. D'you know, in nine-hundred years, I've never met anyone who wasn't important before?"
Stupid memory! So many lives were ended by the Doctor and me but then it was finally over. I would never think about bringing back the Daleks just to kill their race again. I have eradicated them all because they were a threat to my future plans and life in general. And the last time I was a bit more creative and not only killed them, their homeworld and their creator but the very idea of Daleks ever being created. I got that wonderful idea by studying the weeping angels and creating the exact opposite of their ability to recreate themselves from ideas, images and visual memory.
And now 600 years later I still haven’t seen the Daleks again. Not that a single living being in the universe would miss them now.
I had to think of what I did to the Master but even then if he hadn’t finally ran out of regenerations I would have teleported him into the center of the sun very soon. His death was very satisfying but seeing him endlessly die was a lot less entertaining then I expected it to be. I am nothing like that time-twisting psychopath! What was this strange feeling? Why did it… hurt?
I… I needed to focus on the pony standing before me.
“To make it short, I found the hints that time travel and reality overwrite will always leave behind. I also saw the trails of myself already travelling to points where I would try to remove her.”
“So you actually had tried to defeat her before and failed?”
“According to Discord he even gave me his powers multiple times to have a better chance against her. And he said that I was much slower in this circle. I bet he says that every time.”
Now Pinkie Pie was drawing a flow chart on the wall of the igloo.
“So you wanted to obtain his powers and he knew that. And you knew that he knew, so why did he even keep you around and why did you even stay on our world?”
“I am the Valeyard, I have surpassed my earlier incarnations in every… almost every aspect. I had overcome the weeping angels, the Daleks and several other failures of the past, so I was sure that there was nothing I couldn’t crush. I couldn’t attack Nightmare Psychosis directly but if I could infect her primary host with a copy of my personality I had a very good chance of taking her over as well or at least of locking her out. Unfortunately your friends did interrupt my wonderful plan before it really began. Good times. Discord thought surely that I was just a useful wannabe or maybe he was even happy that there was at least one other being on this planet who knew what this world really was.”
“You got her name wrong, she calls herself Nightmare Eclipse now. According to Fluttershy it was Nightmare Dusk and Nightmare Purgatory before. Speaking of purgatory… maybe Little Hex has atoned enough for what he did and that is the reason why I was allowed to make this journey.”
“You got the wrong afterlife in mind. Have you seen all the suffering souls around us? This is the ‘eternal damnation’ kind of afterlife. ”
"And when you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of its riches, its people, its potential, when you talk of the Earth, then make sure you tell them this... it is DEFENDED!"
Why wouldn’t these bucking memories just stop bothering me? I resisted Twilight’s memory spell and got over the weaknesses of my earlier incarnations. Why does it all come back now?
I needed something to take my concentration off my own past. I looked at the pony and decided to ask her a question this time.
“Tell me, why are you here of all places? If you were able to cross over to the other side, then why would you ever come HERE willingly?”
“I had to. I had to do it for Little Hex. Some of my children were able to reach the Father of All Alicorns by themselves and some had help from my blood family. And I think I will never be able to make up for what the Pie family had done for me even after I turned my back on them and almost led my children all straight into hell…”
"I owe it to my friend to try because I got her into this! So you see... I'm not going to let you stop me now!"
Why is this getting worse and worse? Why do I keep getting these flashbacks? It is cold, so cold…
“Pound, Pumpkin, Fuse Box, Bomb Pie, Powder Cake, Fire Cracker, Grenade Pie, Short Fuse, Hatchet, Latchet, Spring Dew, Bubbles, Stormy Night and Apple Sauce were all saved by them. I managed to reach Morning Light. Almost all of my children are free but I will not rest until Little Hex is safe as well.”
“Don’t you think that it is a bit greedy to expect a happy ending like this? You can’t save everypony. I travelled the universe for hundreds of years and do you know how incredible rare it was that not a single soul did die? In these times I learned that in reality we simply don’t have happy endings. The survivors just continue always on the brink of total destruction no matter how much evil you strike down. Unless you gain enough power to force a change, nothing will ever become different, eventually evil WILL win.”
“You know I was around for 1000 years as well and all this time no matter what Discord, you or us six did, life did continue to exist. There were no grand heroes on this world that saved the day every week but the mortals fought hard just to survive. And they did, after 1000 years of chaos, they are still there. Discord had won but that wasn’t the end of the world itself. I know that no matter how much I wish it with my entire existence, I can’t guarantee that I will be able to reach Little Hex but I do know for certain that I would NEVER forgive myself if I would give up on him!”
I felt my consciousness slipping away. I was so tired… what… was… happening?
As I awoke I was alone. There was no pink pony here, only darkness. It felt familiar, like the time Twilight had cast this memory spell on me. Suddenly several huge statues broke through the black ground and they were all looking down at me. I recognised them as my earlier incarnations. How could they dare to do that?
“I am the superior incarnation. I have finished what you began. I was the only one able to do it after abandoning all the things that kept holding me back. You have no right to judge me!!! I was always what you were supposed to be.”
They didn’t talk back but somehow they seemed almost sad…
“How could I fail? Twilight and her group were just puppets of the Nightmare! How could they be able to overcome me?”
"If you could touch the alien sand, and hear the cry of strange birds, and watch them wheel in another sky... would that satisfy you?"
"All the evils I have fought, while you have done nothing but observe! True, I am guilty of interference. Just as you are guilty of failing to use your great powers to help those in need!"
My entire long existence as the Doctor kept flashing before my eyes, especially all the companions I had and when they were there to save me. I remembered my adventures with Ditzy. How she taught me how to do the most basic things as a pony.
You turn doorknobs with your mouth, bee? Don’t curry, they are all clean.
I remembered the brilliant dances I had with Apple Smith. It felt like another life. Because it was.
Miss Smith, may I have this dance?
Then a wave of blackness crashed down on me again.
I found myself back in the darkness again. The statues were gone. I was all alone, standing high above everypony. Like I always wanted it to be, I wanted to be the one to guide the universe into a glorious future. At least I had told myself that I could have a perfectly orderly universe if I would be the one to control it.
After Discord had killed me over and over again, I began to think that there was no place for mercy, compassion and forgiveness. All my enemies came back, no matter what the Doctor tried to do. Nothing ever changed. Nothing ever moved forward. I was sure that changes had to be forced upon this ungrateful universe.
As the Valeyard I thought I was finally making a difference but in the end did I really change anything or was I just replacing the monsters I eradicated with myself?
“But if I am the superior version of the Doctor, his ultimate evolution… then why was I trying so hard to avoid dying? None of my earlier incarnations were putting so much effort into it. The answer is simple… I… I was afraid… afraid, to be proven wrong by the next incarnation… And I was… When I faded I sensed the Doctor returning, not another Valeyard but the Doctor.”
Twilight’s memory spell had much more effect on me then I wanted to admit.
Why was Ditzy’s brief lecture about companions choosing to stay at my side so agonising?
Was there something important I had forgotten?
I began to investigate the darkness around me and began to dig with my bare hooves. The statues still had to be somewhere under all this goo.
I was about to finish the Daleks off. They were almost all destroyed. Just one last group had escaped. They would spread again. They would rebuild their empire if left alone. I was more then ready to finish it once and for all.
To think that for my earlier incarnations running away was almost a catchphrase but now my enemies fled from me (if they were smart enough) wherever I went.
I found them on a planet where only seaponies lived. It was a mostly harmless and overall very peaceful world. Translation: They were completely unable to defend themselves against a threat like the Daleks.
I kept digging deeper and deeper as I realised that my current companion had already saved me two times.
The Daleks had already begun to exterminate them as I arrived. One Dalek was charging up his death ray right in the face of a seapony filly. As they noticed me they knew what was coming next. All Daleks screamed at once:
I smiled back.
“Have fun! Now it is your time to be EX-TER-MI-NATED!”
The TARDIS activated the antenna I had installed specifically for eradicating every single Dalek in existence. It emitted an energy wave that covered the entire planet in one second.
Every single Dalek screamed as they felt the change inside themselves. There was only one thing Daleks hated more then other living beings and that was to loose their own twisted purity. The effect of this energy wave healed their deformations and mutations. Now no longer able to recognise themselves as Daleks they desperately fired their weapons on each other to preserve their purity. After 5 minutes there was not a single living Dalek left on this world.
Cheers erupted around me. I have to admit that I hadn’t expected that.
I began to see the top of one statue.
I had to admit that Pinkie Pie, once she had freed herself from Discord’s taint, was the total opposite the mindless brute she was before. When she talked about freeing her child, she made it sound like it is possible, like she can actually save a soul from hell itself.
A female seapony hugged me. It was kinda strange and embarrassing, had she really no idea who I was?
“You saved my child from the killer robots, please what is your name?”
And she will make fun of it in 5 seconds. I still had this setting for my sonic screwdriver that can evaporate the water of an entire plan at once. It was very useful when the kingdom of chaos was attacked by a planet-sized bacterium. And I would definitely not correct her about the true nature of the Daleks.
“I am the Valeyard, the Doctor of the laws of time and space.”
“THREE CHEERS FOR SAINT VALEYARD!!!”
I continued deeper and deeper.
For the first time since an eternity I actually felt lonely. I remembered that once as the Doctor I wanted to travel with the pink pony and now as it actually happened… she was a competent companion: A great runner, durable and determined. Didn’t I continue to travel with companions to not loose all interest in the wonders of the universe in the past? Didn’t their wonderful silly questions get my attention to what desperately needed attention?
It was hard to argue that these beings were brilliant when they celebrated me. I think they were very close to rename their planet after me.
The festival was quite entertaining. They even had pears. It seems that no matter which world they were on, seaponies were always excellent singers and musicians. And they were also very fast with loading all the remains of the Daleks into my TARDIS. I wasn’t taking any chances and would throw their remains into the next sun.
After the party was over I left the planet. Well the TARDIS seemed to have fun with everything but I was very happy to return to a world where I was not called Saint. It was so much easier to ignore others or to move them like pawns then to actually talk and interact with them. I wondered what Discord would say if I would show him a few pictures from this planet.
After what felt like hours of hard work I had freed the face of one statue from the darkness. It was my first incarnation. Suddenly I had to think about Barbara… Ian… the TARDIS… Susan…
Suddenly water crashed down on me.
I was awake and Pinkie Pie stood next to me. Half of the top of the igloo had melted and fallen down on me.
“Did you have character development?”
“What? I… mean WHAT?”
“Well, Rainbow Dash had a long sleep and she ended up rebuilding her soul… I am sorry if it did interrupt your soul quest but the storm has suddenly stopped and the snow around the igloo began to melt. I can see the portal and soon Little Hex will be free.” She sounded so optimistic, so energetic.
I… I felt so unsure…
“I guess I was a pretty horrible guide so far. The only thing I ever did was to take care of your psycho twin. Now it is time to finish this.”
I jumped up and trotted out of the igloo and not to far ahead I could see the final portal.
Both of us made it through to our destination.
The sound of weeping did interrupt me this time. Mrs. Hooves looked like she was about to have a mental breakdown.
“How did you end up in this lovely place anyway?”
“I… I tried to kill my own daughter because I thought she was sick and retarded. For years I told myself that her survival was a mere fluke and that the fact that she was unable to understand what I wanted to do to her just proved that I was right…”
She choked a bit before continuing.
“But on the day of chaos the chaos monster appeared to me and showed me the version of Derpy that I always wanted to have. My husband said that there was nopony there but soon he was silenced by something. How could he dare to say that about her? She was smart, her eyes were fixed and she spoke with such refinement and elegance. We talked and danced together, it was a dream come true but slowly she did lead me to the very river I tried to drown Derpy in and… and…”
Her weeping got worse and worse.
“I have been here for such a long time and no matter how often I think about it… I was wrong… horribly wrong… when I saw that the Derpy I had wished for all this time was a cold-hearted monster… I begun to realise that I was the only real cold-hearted monster. All this time afterwards my… dau… Derpy did try to reach out for me and I… just acted disappointed… I had no right… no right to call myself her mother.”
Then she was just silent, her eyes so filled with shame. It was time to finish the story.
We arrived at something that looked like Tambelon at the very end of the war. Corpses could be found everywhere: ponies, changelings, donkeys, Diamond Dogs, sheep, minotaurs and dragons. Countless of lives were lost on both sides in this conflict. The entire city was silent. This was the first part of hell where I could hear absolutely nopony scream and the silence unnerved me more then anything before.
Back in the time of the war I was mostly busy with planning the details of the operation going from movement of troops, reinforcements to battle strategies. But Little Hex was at the front together with Angry Pie from the beginning of the war to its very end. Even I had no idea how many lives he had ended personally in this conflict. Or what else he might have done in the middle of a war to end up in this place.
Wordlessly we walked down the empty city.
“Do you really think that you can save him?”
Only after I had said it, I realised that I had asked this question without any malice. I was honestly wondering if a soul lost in hell could even be saved. Wasn’t it impossible to change anything after the final judgement was made? But she came this far…
Pinkie Pie continued to search for her child as she answered me.
“Yes, my friends were able to save my soul, Fluttershy was able to give Fluttercruel a second chance and I was able to reach Morning Light after his death. I know that miracles can come true, I have seen a few.”
“Death is not the end, it can be a new beginning…” I whispered to myself. How many miracles had I seen in my long existence? How many did I remember from the adventures of the Doctor?
Deep down I wondered why this mare wasn’t able to wield the Element of Loyalty as she suddenly ran towards a broken building. Inside was a unicorn filly, Little Hex. Strangely there was nothing here to torture him but the silent city itself.
Just like everybody else he looked like a corpse and his body was covered with countless injuries. His left hind leg was twisted in an unnatural way and his eyes stared empty into the air. Finally his colors were faded, almost pure grey.
Pinkie Pie hugged him as soon as she had reached him. He didn’t react at all. The child was like a motionless puppet. Why was he still in the form of a colt?
“It is okay. I am here. Mommy was horribly wrong. Laughter can hurt you but that is not all it can do. Others can share it with you and you can get closer to others with it. Please, please listen to me…”
I could hear her voice quiver at the lack of response from her child. My role was over and whatever happened to them didn’t matter to me. Not at all. Not in the slightest. And no matter how often I told myself this, I could feel my mind racing.
“We were wrong to kill…so wrong… what have I done to you?” the mother lamented.
The foal will only recognise what he loves the most.
I remembered the writing I had found within the book. But how could it change anything? What could there be that the foal would love more then his adopted mother?
“I am sorry… so sorry…”
Wordlessly I watched the mother that refused to leave the side of her child. Then my brilliant mind was able to figure out what the problem was. The solution to the problem was finally clear to me but why should I bother to step up and change anything? … The answer is simple: I am the Valeyard, my will shall be done.
I teleported next to the crying mother and teleported her a few feet away from her child. Then I began to stomp violently on the head of the fallen child. Even that didn’t get any reaction from him.
Predictably the pink mare punched me into the wall behind me. The impact had enough force to make several parts of the ruin fall down on me. It was indeed as painful as expected.
“DON’T YOU EVER DARE TO…” she screamed at me with a pure focused fury before the mother looked ashamed of herself.
The foal stared at her in confusion. He was unable to recognise Pinkie Pie in his broken state but seeing Angry Pie for one second was enough to reach him.
Both hugged instantly.
I managed a weak smile as I tried to crawl out of the rumble. This might take some time.
“Mommy, I am so sorry for worrying you…”
“It’s… it’s alright…” now tears ran down the face of the earth pony as she walked over to the part of the roof I was trapped under. Her child followed her.
Both began to move the rumble that trapped me aside.
“Are you sorry for what we have done to others to stop them from laughing?”
The foal nodded and the mother kissed his head.
“Then you need to let go. I forgive you. Let all the bad things that plagued you go and move on.”
Both hugged again as I managed to crawl out of the rest of the roof. The colors of the child began to return to normal as the lifeless city faded away. We were back in the small cave where our journey had begun. It seemed that his hind leg was healed as well.
A glowing white portal opened before the two ponies. We all knew where it led. Both ponies began to look at me. The mother smiled at me. Meanwhile the shadows on the wall seemed almost afraid of her and retreated further away.
“Thank you, you were a good guide.”
It has been a while since somepony said something like this to me. It… felt good.
"I guess I am still as untrustworthy as always. I promised you one thing and I broke that promise. I... you two should just go. There is nothing for you here anymore.
“Just one second.”
Out of nowhere the pink pony took out a camera and handed it over to me. Both stood close to each other before the portal and smiled.
We all looked at the single picture of the family I had reunited. Finally she handed me her camera and was about to leave with her child.
“One more thing…”
Both looked at me with curiosity.
Pinkie gave another beaming smile before vanishing back to where she belonged with her child. I was alone again.
But why did I feel so good? I had gone far beyond what my task was. Memories of the time I had spent on the planet of seaponies came back to me. Didn’t I originally choose the title of the Doctor to show that I was the one who improves others? Who heals?
As I turned around I walked right into Pandora again. She had the same sense of timing as her brother.
“I knew you still had to have at least something interesting in you. I always loved it how the good old Doctor used his imagination to come up with a plan.” the Draconequus said with a sly grin.
“And I always found it hilarious when his enemies thought that he had a plan when he was just making it up on the fly…I still don’t understand it… why did you give me another chance and let the soul go?”
“Now don’t get me wrong. It is not like we will ever run out of them. In the time you two reached Hexie we got more then enough souls in return. They will always come here but not everyone stays here for all eternity. Some are just lost souls. It is not that dad needs a high soul score to feel better about himself. He is above that. To him the loss of one soul is like a losing hand in a game of Poker. And he even got some entertainment in exchange. Strife also won her bet with Anarchy that Pinkie Pie can be faster then a weeping angel.”
And I am very sure that this Draconequus was the one who left the hint within the book she gave me.
“Heh, who would have guessed that Pinkie Pie was not so wrong with her idea of a purgatory in hell… Well if I remember correctly I was promised a reward in return.”
“Sure, sure… How about an eternal stay in my library? You could sort the books and there would be very few souls to bother you while you are doing it.”
“Very tempting indeed but I would like to ask for something else.”
“And the rest of the story is not that important to you.” I said to Dancing Hooves who still listened intensively.
“The child actually was able to find peace?”
I could see how much she wanted to ask me this one question: Could I ever be able to follow him? But she was too ashamed to ask, too afraid to take the next step. In the end she was just another lost soul.
“You are not stupid. You have already figured out why I am here, haven’t you?”
“But I could never… I couldn’t… I don’t deserve another chance…”
Of course I knew that neither I nor my story alone could be able to free her. But I wasn’t alone.
“Now you are free to believe what you want but I had a companion on the journey to you as well and you might want to explain it to her in detail.”
Her eyes dilated in shock as she looked behind me and saw who was with me this time.
“Long time no see, grandmother.” Sparkler said walking forward with determination. There were a lot of things she needed to say to her grandmother and she would not stop now. We had come too far to stop now, especially not after what Mrs. Hooves had said.
Slowly I stepped in the background as the two ponies began to talk to each other. I wondered if even I could eventually free my own soul of everything that dragged it down. I guess I am a glutton for punishment if I asked Pandora if I could continue to do tasks like this. But now on my second journey with a companion I begin to enjoy this: This ever changing place with countless of souls, each with its own story.
It is strange, here in the last place where I expected to find something like this…
But somehow I feel like I belong here… like I can make a difference here.