Groom of Eris
Chapter 1: The Escape
Ponyville was under a chaotic storm.
It was once a place of sunny skies and whistling winds. Now, it was twisted and morphed. The ground was painted in a sort of checkerboard patterns. The roads ran with soap and water. Many structures such as windmills and trees now floated off the ground. Townhall floated upside down and up in the air like a balloon.
On one side of the town, a throne stood tall. The throne was decorated with two rubies for eyes and two deer antlers on its head. On this throne laid a female draconequus named Eris. She grinned as she looked upon her beautiful chaos as if it was her masterpiece.
“Ha Ha Ha,” Eris laughed triumphantly. “It is good to be back once more.”
She looked upon the ballerina buffaloes and long-legged rabbits that passed through her town. The goddess of disharmony felt proud of her work. She stretched out her arms turning all the leaves on the tree into oranges with wings.
“I still got it,” Eris said with a devious smirk on her face. She enjoyed turning the world into her personal playground. She summoned a glass of chocolate milk as she took her victory sip. Equestria was now hers to command. Nothing was going to stand in the way of her rule.
“You better think twice, Eris!” Dusk Shine said in front of the draconequus. Eris gazed, her eyes seeing the six colts standing right in front of her. They had regained their color, senses, and their Elements of Harmony.
"Oh, this again?" Eris stared at them as they were as harmful as a box full of kittens. The draconequus started sipping down her tall glass of chocolate milk. She then threw it behind her causing an explosion that unfazed her.
Dusk Shine glared at the draconequus as he spoke, “It is time you meet your end, Eris." Dusk Shine continued, "Look at what you have done to Ponyville! Look at the mess you have made to this poor town!”
Eris looked around Ponyville once more, yet she could only grin at what she had created.
"I see nothing but pure chaos. Exactly how I like it and it’s going to stay that way for a long time. Besides, I thought all of you weren’t friends anymore?"
"We have learned that friendship isn't always easy, but it's worth fighting for." Dusk Shine pointed his hoof towards Eris.
"You couldn't tear our friendship for long," Applejack stood in defiance to the goddess of chaos.
"Don’t lie to me, Applejack." She pulled on his necklace with her magic, "I'm the one who made you a liar."
With a swipe of her eagle claw, Eris started pulling all of Dusk Shine’s friends like a magnet. She grinned evilly while looking at the five stallions, knowing their efforts were useless. Dusk teleported in the middle of the circle of his friends, he sprouted a magic bubble to contain them and brought them back down to the ground.
Dusk Shine closed his eyes as did the other stallions. Applejack, Elusive, Butterscotch, Rainbow Blitz, and Bubble Berry's elements started to glow. Eris giggled seeing their necklaces lighting up. She only grew curious when Dusk Shine opened his eyes to reveal the pure white activating the crown.
"What's this?" Eris looked at each of the six until a swirl of rainbows sprouted up from them.
Eris’s eyes grew fearful when she saw the swirling rainbow heading towards her. She had underestimated the Elements once before. She remembered the thousand years she was trapped in her stone prison. She knew that if she stood still once more, she would be trapped for another thousand years. Eris didn’t want to be trapped for as long as she was. She wouldn’t let that be her fate. It was time for her to change this destiny. She closed her eyes before sensing the rainbow approaching her. Her claws lit up with magic before the elements of Harmony hit the draconequus.
As the elements started to work their magic, Butterscotch heard the screams of Eris but tried not to open his eyes. However, it sounded like a Banshee's wail, making the poor stallion bear witness to Eris’s imprisonment. The sheer pain and suffering were heartbreaking to the Pegasus' eyes. He quickly closed his eyes as he couldn't bear to watch her suffer like that anymore, no matter what evil deeds she has done.
Soon, everything was erasing the effects the goddess of chaos had created. The town hall flipped right side up and floated down much like the trees. The oranges flew back to the tree and morphed back into the green-colored leaves. The rabbits lost their long legs and returned to normal. The six stallions opened their eyes and saw their lovely home was back to normal.
In the middle of their celebration, Bubble Berry felt something was off about their victory. He looked over to where the throne once stood and noticed that something was indeed out of the ordinary.
“Hey, guys…… W-where is Eris?"
Rainbow Blitz face hoofed himself. The stallion knew that Bubble Berry was often easily distracted, but this was a new level of incompetence, “Don't you know, Bubble Berry? We turned her to stone."
"Yea…but where's the statue? There should be a terrifying statue right here, yet I don’t see one!”
As the other stallions turned to see where Eris stood, they realized that there was no statue showing their defeated foe. The group looked all around for any traces of her. Dusk rushed to the location where Eris last stood. He inspected the ground and then used his magic to detect the air.
"Where did she go? It doesn’t make any sense. We hit her with the Elements; hence she should be right here, yet why is she not here?" Dusk was searching with his friends as there was not a trace of the creature anywhere. It was as if she vanished into thin air.
"We didn't kill her, did we?" Butterscotch shivered, freaked out on the situation. He knew that Eris was very wicked; however the pink lemonade haired colt feared they might have done something terrible to Eris.
"Maybe she vanished into thin air?" Applejack was turning his head towards the sky.
"Or maybe she turned into grass." Bubble Berry said while looked down at the greenness of the grass. It did seem a bit strange to him, yet everything seemed strange to him.
"So, we are stepping on her…" Elusive slowly lowered his head and started to be frightened that they were stepping on the creature's remains. Elusive let out a scream that would rival a filly and the others soon ran in fear. Dusk Shine and Applejack were the only ones not screaming.
"Guys!" Applejack ordered the stallions to stop the screaming, “We didn’t kill her…Did we, Dusk?"
"The elements are a mysterious bunch, but they wouldn't possess the powers to destroy something. At least, I hope so." Dusk Shine said while pondering this theory. They had used the elements once before to save Prince Artemis, yet the elements could be capable of many things. Did they really hold such power?
"So, now what do we do?" Butterscotch peered at Dusk. The stallion looked to his left and right as if he was crossing the street on a dark and scary night. He wasn’t sure what they were going to do next.
"We will go see Prince Solaris and tell him of what happened here," Dusk declared.
As Dusk Shine and his friends left the area, a voice giggled before slithering away. “They think that is the end of little old me? But the fun is not over yet, they’ll see.”
In Canterlot, Dusk Shine and his friends had just detailed the events of the last few hours to Prince Solaris. Prince Artemis was away at the moment attending to other matters. Prince Solaris gazed upon the ponies of Canterlot and then faced the six heroes.
"I see," Prince Solaris was pondering upon the subject of Eris's escape, "You found no sign of her?"
"Yes, there was not a trace of Eris anywhere. It was as if she vanished into thin air." Dusk Shine bowed before his prince before standing up with his friends who did a similar act upon entering the throne room of Prince Solaris.
"This is quite an interesting development," Solaris stood up from his throne looking down at the six heroes.
"We didn't kill her. Right, Prince Solaris….?” Dusk Shine stumbled upon his words wondering if they did destroy the goddess of chaos, even though it seemed unreal. Dusk Shine didn’t want to be rude to his mentor, but the stallion needed his heart at ease.
"That is not within the elements power; their powers work on the inside of a creature's heart. When the Elements hit Night Terror, they banished him to the moon. When he returned, there was still a part of my brother Artemis, trying to get out. When he was hit with the elements again the shell of Night Terror cracked and my brother appeared before all of you. Eris, however, is different…"
Solaris stared at the picture of the draconequus in the glass window, “Eris is a creature with a heart of stone. Yet, this does not mean she is heartless. She just refuses to show her feelings. She has always been this difficult." Solaris closed his eyes and breathed in, contemplating what to do next.
"Eris must have avoided the Elements and fled the area. She tried to destroy your friendship and belief in one another in hopes that the elements wouldn’t work properly." Solaris looked down and opened his eyes viewing his young apprentice, who was full of questions and worries.
"She's still out there?" Dusk gasped as he looked at his friends "We have to find her. We need to round up everypony and send guards throughout Equestria. We need to track Eris down. Maybe me and my friends can start our search in Ponyville and--”
Solaris stopped his young student from making any rash decisions. Solaris knew Dusk Shine would act this way. He needed to ease his mind. Dusk Shine was too young to wait patiently for things to come.
"Calm yourself, my young one. Eris isn't the type to rush in headstrong. She is a tactful goddess and will think and plan her next move. The best advice I can give you and your friends is to wear your Elements at all time. We may never know when Eris may make her next move, but that doesn't mean she won't. For that, we must prepare in advance. We must be one step ahead of her," Solaris looked at Dusk.
"But, Solaris," Dusk was very fearful of what was to come, “How will we know?"
"You will know, trust me," Solaris smiled as he lifted his hoof up to comfort the young stallion, "Don't lose hope. I shall cast a protection spell on the Elements, so Eris doesn't try to take them from you again."
"Thank…Thank you, Prince Solaris." Dusk bowed before his Prince, calmly collected everyone together, and left. Prince Solaris nodded and stared out the window.
“Just what are you up to, Eris?” Prince Solaris lowered his gaze to contemplate Eris’s next move.
On the way back to Ponyville, the six stallions bought a secret room for them to converse in. They couldn’t take any chances as Eris could be anywhere or anypony. Dusk Shine shielded the room with magic just in case.
"So, we are just going to sit and do nothing?" Rainbow Blitz glared as he was clearly annoyed at the thought of Eris being free.
"She’s still out there," Butterscotch feared while looking out the window. “She could be anywhere.”
His face murmured in silence. Even the mere mention of her name sent a frosty tingle down his body and shook his bones.
"Oh, this is just perfect. Eris isn't even outside the train and Butterscotch is STILL afraid of her. I will find that thing and give her a piece of my mind…..” Rainbow Blitz grumbled and readied his hooves for battle.
"Hold on there, Blitz,” Applejack told Blitz as he pulled on his tail. “Dusk has a point; we can't do anything but wait and see what Eris has in store. We aren’t going to let her play mind games with us again."
The six stallions put their hooves together. As soon as they arrived at Ponyville, the six stallions kept their elements with them at all times, just like Solaris instructed them to do.
Some time passed since then and every pony assumed that Eris left Equestria for good. Things progressed back to normal and the six stallions had decided to move on with their lives. But, just because the six stallions resumed their lives, that didn’t mean that they had forgotten Eris. They would vow to keep their elements on them just in case if Eris decided to make a grant return.
Over the next three years, miraculous changes came into the lives of the six stallions.
Dusk Shine became an alicorn by completing the spell of Swirly Stars as this changed the lives of many ponies and stallions in Ponyville. Dusk would often go to Canterlot for royal duties, yet his home would always be in Ponyville. He missed his friends but had to keep his studies up just in case Eris made a surprising return.
Elusive's designs became top of the line. He had never been this popular in Ponyville in years. So, Elusive recruited the help of the Cutie Mark Crusaders to help create more designs and meet more deadlines. Sweepy Belle had some talent for sewing and was made the organizer of his brother's clothesline. Applebuck impressed Elusive with his own designs so much, that Elusive made him his apprentice. Scooteroll was made the delivery colt with his scooter in hoof.
Rainbow Blitz's dream came true when he was finally recruited by the Wonderbolts. He performed all over Equestria earning praise for his tricks. Despite him joining such an 'around the world' group, Rainbow Blitz made sure to make frequent stops to Ponyville to visit his friends and give them tickets to see his show. Bubble Berry always made time in his schedule to see his show and was to be considered Rainbow Blitz's number one fan. He screamed louder than any of the other fanponies.
Bubble Berry's parties were all the rage in Ponyville, to the point of royalty even asking for him to plan their parties. His requests would bring him all over Equestria, the most frequent visit was over at Yakyakistan. He threw the best parties. Sometimes, there was a fee involved, but what was most important about his job was that he loved seeing the smiles of everypony's faces.
Applejack's apples became more popular due to Dusk Shine's status as a prince. Soon, all ponies, stallions, and fillies near and far wanted to try the Apple Family’s apples. This made things at Sweet Apple Acres much easier. A new tractor for Macreina, fixed Pappy Smith's broken hip, and a new floor to the barn in case relatives came out. Whatever money was left over was donated to Canterlot Orphanage. For this, the orphans looked up to Applejack and his family. Whether he won a rodeo or not, he was a fan favorite and a hero to the orphans. He just wished a certain female dragon would notice him.
Butterscotch had grown to be a handsome stallion. Having a lovely voice that mares fainted at and stallions grew jealous of. His beauty was quickly noticed by the mares. Often, they would be all over him like bees to a beehive. However, Butterscotch wasn't the dating or marrying type. He was terrified by the idea of having a special somepony. Fearing the mare would be too demanding, he might ruin the relationship or other qualities that would deem him a bad husband. He had to make excuse after excuse of why he couldn't date that particular mare that wanted a coltfriend. He resolved several solutions that involved those ponies, eventually they moved on to better stallions. This crushed Butterscotch as despite his unwillingness to date, he felt that he would eventually find somepony to love. He tried to ignore his troubles and focus on his animal friends; the animals noticed the lonely eyes of the yellow pegasus. They knew how depressed he would be. How much he wanted to fall in love, but couldn’t. They tried to tell him that they cared about their owner’s happiness, yet their words fell on deaf ears.
In their fame, fortune and the comfort of their own lives, the stallions quickly forgot the evils of Eris; all except for one stallion. Butterscotch knew that somewhere in Ponyville, Eris would make her return. When that happened, Butterscotch feared the draconequus might go after him first. He had a hunch that Eris would choose him first based on his shy personality. Butterscotch was having peculiar dreams of a dark creature chasing him all around. At first, he thought it was nothing. Butterscotch figured it was just a figment of his imagination. Just the darkness out to get him, yet night after night, like a friend coming to visit, he would be visited by the nightmare. They weren’t letting him rest; they didn’t give him any beauty sleep. The nightmares kept coming over and over and over again. This caused Butterscotch to become exhausted during the daytime, sleep in the middle of lunch, and scream whenever he heard whispers in the night, despite the fact that it was only the wind. He had hoped the nightmares would go away. However, he was wrong.
One night, Butterscotch was tossing and turning in his bed. He was having the same nightmares again. He tried to tell his friends of them while they just gave him the usual answer of nightmares. They weren't real and were a figment of his imagination. He decided to listen to them and have a good dream without worrying of what could scare him.
In his dream realm, Butterscotch hummed as he was feeding the birds up high in the tree.
"There you go little guys. You are going to grow nice and strong for mama and papa" Butterscotch smiled as he flew right down. He saw a trio of butterflies past him.
"Good day to you madams," Butterscotch said while putting away the bird seed and saying hi to the butterflies that past him.
"Good day to you too, Butterscotch." the trio of butterflies whispered. Butterscotch kept his smiling face for a few seconds before stopping cold in his hooves. Only one female spoke like that and he knew those butterflies never talked in his dreams.
The light yellow pegasus turned slowly to face the creature that has been in his nightmares. The female draconequus smiled at him wickedly. She was being very flirtatious with him.
"Why so frightened my love, I have come for you first."
Butterscotch tried to retrieve his element, in hopes of his friends rushing to his aid. Eris caught him by the tail and pulled up so he was upside down facing the goddess of chaos and disharmony.
"You are mine and you belong to me," She laughed as Butterscotch feared for his life. The stallion tried to fly away, but Eris used her magic to create a large spider-web. Butterscotch tried to pull himself out of the sticky web, but Eris began to constrict him like a boa. The web became his binds and was getting tighter every time he struggled. Butterscotch looked in horror as the web was on Eris’ eagle claw. The goddess of chaos spun him around like a yo-yo.
“AAAAAHHHHHHHHH! LET ME GO, PUT ME DOWN,” he screamed but no pony could hear him. “HELP ME, SOMEPONY. ANYPONY PLEASE HELP ME!” Butterscotch was quickly running out of breath. It was as if he had been flying for a day. He kept trying to struggle, yet his efforts were useless.
“No one will save you now,” the string fell down Eris’s finger. At the bottom laid Eris’s head. She opened up wide waiting for the web to break from her finger. Butterscotch tried everything to avoid being eaten. However, the web broke at the worst possible time. Much like the flight school incident, Butterscotch began to fall down. Unlike that time, Butterscotch’s wings were covered in webs. He couldn’t open his wings properly, so he began a plunge towards Eris’s mouth.
“DUSK SHINE…BUBBLE BERRY…ELUSIVE…APPLEJACK…ANYPONY HELP ME!” Butterscotch screamed while rejecting the reality of what was going to happen to him. “no…no…no”
“NO!” he rose from his bed waking up from the nightmare. Beads of sweat ran down his face with his mane being a mess.
"Oh goodness…… It was just a dream," Butterscotch removed his hoofs from his eyes. He’d be sure to keep them open for Eris’ next appearance. He curled up into a small ball and rocked himself slowly.
The dreams kept on coming to the poor pegasus.
All sorts of questions rose to Butterscotch's head. When will she strike? Is she really gone for good? He looked out the window and into the night sky. Everything seemed safe for now, but the incoming fear began to frighten the poor colt. Every moment that Eris was alive was misery for him.
Butterscotch knew Eris would return, but how long would it be until she came back?