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Megalomaneia
Episode 1
To Cause What Ails You

Written by The Lord of Dust.
Assisted by Chameleon
Assisted by Dromaeosaur25

There are two types of days: there are the ones where the weather is fair and beautiful, where the world seems good and life is hopeful and pleasant, and then there are the ones that aren't.  This day was, of course, the latter of the two.  Slogging through yet another murky puddle of mud, a solitary stallion towed a heavily burdened cart.  A thin blue tarp strained against the wind as it valiantly sought to keep his belongings dry.  

The splashing of his hooves and the rattling of the wagon were inaudible under the howling gale.  With every step, mud splashed onto his legs and underbelly, clinging to his dull gray coat.  On his flank, just barely visible through the muck and grime, one could make out the picture of a rock.  Wet and weary, the stallion plodded on, occasionally stumbling as a gust buffeted against him or as his hoof slipped in the sludge.  

Ghastly Gorge, a horrible place even on the fairest of days, ran alongside the narrow path.  The road from Los Pegasus to Ponyville could be a dangerous trip for an unwary traveler.  Looking to his left the stallion peered into the dark and tangled Everfree Forest; looking to his right, he gazed down into the sheer cliffs of the Gorge.  He shook his head, wishing he had taken the train instead, but no, he had thought it would be nice to travel through the countryside.  It wasn't the first time he had regretted a decision and he knew it wouldn't be the last.

“Why can't it shine on my parade for once?” he lamented, sighing bitterly. “I'm beginning to think the world has something against me.”  

Glancing back down into the ravine, Vapid gulped at the thought of slipping over its edge.  Even if he survived the fall, he would undoubtedly drown in the rapids of the rushing river below.  Jerking his head back to the road, he resolutely tried not to think about it; instead he turned his attention to the ominous forest.  Trees swayed and danced in the wind, their branches whipping back and forth.  

Over the violent squall, the sound of falling trees reached the stallion.  This was not surprising, considering the strength of the storm.  Vapid only hoped that none would block the path ahead, or else he would have to get down in the mud and push them aside, not something that his already soaked and tired body would very much appreciate.  More crashing of falling timber made Vapid perk his ears instinctively. This time the sound had been closer.

A feral roar accompanied by more falling trees caused the stallion to stop in his tracks.  Something was definitely coming in his direction.  Hastily he began to unhook the straps connecting him to the wagon.  If he was going to need to make a run for his life, he didn't need a heavy burden slowing him down.  The crunching of wood and heavy footsteps filled his ears.  He desperately scanned the forest, looking for whatever was making the noise.  A new sound cut through the cacophony, that of a mare's panicked shouts and cries.  Before this new information could properly register with the stallion, the tree line exploded; shards of wood flying through the air as a foul stench assaulted his nose.

Roaring in blind fury, fangs bared and glistening, a large manticore burst onto the road.  Its mane was ragged and wild, filled with bits of branches and twigs that had gotten caught within during the creature's rampage.  Scars ran across its arms and chest from many territorial battles against other manticores.  A large insectoid tail whipped to and fro, knocking aside brush and small plants.  

To Vapid's shock, a blue and purple unicorn was latched onto the monster's head, fear evident in her face as she held on for dear life.  Her hooves were thrust into the creature's crimson mane, gripping the coarse hair.  The manticore shook its head, violently trying to dislodge the unwelcome hitchhiker.

“Noooooc..... tuuuuuuurn......naaaaaaa!” the mare screamed over the manticore's roaring and the pounding of rain. “Where are you?!”

The beast howled with anger, its claws digging deep grooves into the soft earth.  Its bloodshot eyes turned towards the gray stallion.  Lurching forward, the creature bounded toward the terrified Vapid.  He backpedaled in fright; tripping over his hooves, he splashed into the muck.  Frantically, he wriggled his way under the wagon, feverishly covering himself with mud, hoping that he might blend in well enough to fool the monster.

Stifling a cry, he watched in terror as a massive paw landed next to the cart.  As the paw lifted back into the air, for the briefest of moments, the stallion felt relief that the manticore would pass him by, but his respite was quickly shattered as the paw smashed against the cart, flipping it into the air.  Within a heartbeat the wagon had disappeared, sent tumbling over the canyon's edge.  

Vapid whimpered, too afraid to move.  Lightning lit the sky, silhouetting the manticore, its scorpion tail raised, poised to strike.  Finally finding the ability to move, he madly kicked his legs, desperately trying to get traction in the slippery mud.  A searing pain filled the stallion's chest.  The manticore whipped its tail back, throwing the stallion.  With a meaty thud he smacked against a shattered tree.  He lay on the ground, blood flowing from the hole in his chest as the light in his eyes slowly began to fade.

The manticore moved closer, raising its claws for a killing blow, crimson blood dripping from the dagger-like stinger.

“Hey!” the mare atop the creature's head shouted.  She began to slap the manticore with her hooves. “Leave him alone!”

She dug her hooves into the manticore's mane as it shook, failing to throw her off.  She continued smacking it with her hooves, agitating the beast.  It swiped its paws uselessly, unable to reach the annoying pony.  The lethal spiked tail rose into the air, unbeknownst to the mare, preparing to lash out and pierce the annoyance once and for all.  The stinger shot forward, seeking the soft flesh of its target.

A black aura suddenly burst into existence around the mare.  Just as the stinger dropped mere inches away from its intended victim, the mare was jerked away by a magical force.  The manticore cried out in pain as the sharp point of the stinger pierced through the back of its own skull.  It staggered forward, taking several shaky steps, before falling face first into the mud.

Stepping out of the trail of destruction the manticore had carved through the forest, a white unicorn with a jet black mane levitated the blue mare through the air over to her side.  Both mares were equally bedraggled, their coats muddy and covered in grime and their manes knotted and plastered against their bodies.  The white mare gently set down the floating pony.

“Nocturna, it's about time you showed up!” the blue mare greeted appreciatively.

The white unicorn arched an eyebrow.  “Are you saying you couldn't handle it by yourself?”

“N-no!” the mare sputtered before standing up and swaggering in an exaggerated manner. “There is nothing that Maneia can't handle!”  She glanced at the dead beast. “It's just that the manticore took me by surprise, is all.”

“That's not how I saw it,” Nocturna said smirking. “It looked like you failed to set the trap properly.”

“Details.” Maneia shrugged nonchalantly.  “What matters is that we got the poison gland we needed.”  She gestured towards the beast.

“I still think this plan is senseless,” Nocturna commented casually.

“That's why I'm the leader and you're my underling,” Maneia replied sweetly.

A cold glare was her only reply.  After an awkward pause, the blue unicorn started in surprise.  “I almost forgot!”  She quickly looked around, taking several seconds before the battered stallion caught her eye.  Quickly rushing to his side, Maneia put her ear to his chest.  Over the wind and rain, she couldn't make out a heartbeat.  She turned to Nocturna.  “Is he dead?”

“He will be soon,” the white pony replied.

“We have to help him,” Maneia said as she looked over the stallion, grimacing at the grisly wounds.

Rolling her icy blue eyes towards Maneia, Nocturna's expression said it all.

“Oh come on, we can't just leave him like this.  And besides that, this is a golden opportunity!  I have so many ideas that I could use him for!”  She got down onto her knees, squishing in the mud and looked up at her friend, eyes full of pleading.  “Luster's old, Faith's a psycho, Dixie won't do anything demeaning, and Daisycutter breaks everything.  I need him.”

“No you don't.  You already have Wildflower, you don't need another pet.” She looked down at Maneia, the blue pony's frowning face reflecting in her eyes. “We don't need anypony else... or aren't I enough for you?” Her voice carried a hint of crossness along with something more.

“Please!  I can think up all sorts of things for him to do,” the blue pony begged. “Plus, whenever you go on your special trips.”  She used her hooves to air quote the words. “I need some extra help.”

“Can't you just use one of the ponzies?”

“It wouldn't be the same and you know it!” Maneia shot Nocturna her most resolute expression, or at least what she hoped was her most resolute expression.

After a few seconds of silence Nocturna sighed heavily and gently stepped around the mud-covered mare.  Her horn began to glow with a black aura.  “If it will make you happy, I suppose it can't hurt.”

“Yay!” The blue unicorn squealed as she jumped into the air, arms outstretched in joy.

Looking down at the unconscious stallion, Nocturna was filled with disdain.  It would be a waste of magic to save the stallion and she doubted he would even appreciate their effort once he discovered the price he would have to pay.  If she had come across the stallion on her own, she would have passed him by without a second thought, leaving him to the fate his folly had brought him.  She closed her eyes and tried to clear her mind.  Her thoughts fell to the cutie mark on her flank, a gray crescent moon, with a pink heart in between its tips.  'No, that is what the old me would have done,' She thought quietly.  Rain fell in sheets around the three ponies, the wind blew fiercely, buffeting against their bodies.  Thunder echoed through the forest, Nocturna's eyes opened, flaring with dark magic.  A blood curdling scream echoed through the forest and gorge.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Vapid screamed in pain for several seconds, until his piercing cry slowly died away to a pitiful whimper upon realizing that he was not, in fact, in any sort of pain.  His muscles and bones, previously weary and sore, now felt rejuvenated and coursing with energy.

Silky linens covered the stallion, cool and comforting.  A pillow, plush and fluffed to perfection, gently held his head.  Looking around, Vapid slowly took in his surroundings, after all when one is this comfy it would be a shame to do it quickly.  Thick black curtains covered the window along one wall; a row of bookshelves, fully stocked, lined the second; several drawers and what appeared to be sliding doors, mostly likely for a closet, were on the third wall.  Pushed up against the fourth wall, a large writing desk sat next to an ornate wooden door.

Candles cast the room into gloomy shadows.  Several paintings adorned the walls, all of which were dark and slightly disconcerting.  Across from the foot of the bed, one such painting hung upon the wall.  It depicted a very stern-looking stallion, a permanent frown forever etched across his face.  The portrait seemed to radiate a distressing feeling.  The longer Vapid looked at it, the more uneasy he became.

The bed was so inviting and snug that Vapid was sorely tempted to just close his eyes and go back to sleep, but the thought of the portrait watching him perturbed the stallion enough to make him relinquish the thought and rise out of bed.  Throwing off the covers, he quickly got to his hooves.  Vapid didn't know how he had gotten to the room or even where in Equestria he was, but this was a mystery he was compelled to solve.

Trotting over to the window, Vapid pulled back the curtains, casting bright daylight into the gloomy room.  Looking out, the stallion could see a carefully kept landscape, a beautiful garden full of flowers and trees, and past the trimmed and neat flora, a wild and dark forest.  The stallion gulped.  Whatever this place was, it was within the Everfree forest.

A knock at the door caused the stallion to jump.  Vapid turned towards the door and waited.  Another single knock.

“Hello,” Vapid called hesitantly.

The door handle rattled, then slowly began to turn.  Creaking, as the door swung inward, Vapid's heart skipped a beat.  In the doorway stood a pony, or more aptly, what was left of a pony.  A pale pink pony stepped forward, her ratty blue mane swaying across her face.  The skin on the left side of her head was nowhere to be seen, only bone and an empty eye socket.  “Brrrrreeeeeaaaa....”

For the second time that morning, Vapid screamed, this time not in pain, but fear.  The creature froze mid-step, flinching from the stallion's shriek.  Vapid spun around, preparing to escape through the window.  Another pony creature peered through the glass, causing Vapid to backpedal in shock.  Bumping into the pink pony, they fell onto the floor.  With a shout Vapid desperately kicked the pony away, knocking her against the bed.

In a flash Vapid was on his hooves and running through the open door.  A long corridor stretched off in either direction.  A third creature was slowly shambling its way towards them from the left, so Vapid took off down the right hallway.  Galloping as fast as his hooves could take him, Vapid tore through the halls, taking turns blindly, making his way deeper into the building.  Whenever he came upon one of the pony creatures, he would spin around and continue his flight wherever they were not.

Eventually, he came into a grand foyer.  To his left a majestic flight of stairs led higher into the building.  To his right, two large ornately carved double doors led to the outside world, but unfortunately, as fortune is so often, two of the monstrous ponies stood to either side of the doors.  Vapid briefly considered trying to fight past the creatures, but upon noticing one of them was missing her lower jaw, he impulsively mounted the stairs and continued his journey upward.

After rushing down more hallways, past countless rooms, and through numerous twists and junctions, Vapid had become thoroughly lost.  He stopped, his chest burning from exertion.  Looking down the hall in front of him, he saw a creature slowly shamble its way towards him.  Turning to go back, Vapid stopped dead in his tracks.  A door slowly opened as another creature emerged from a room, blocking the stallion's retreat.  Quickly casting his head about, searching for an alternative route, Vapid's gaze fell on a very peculiar door.  It seemed out-of-place in contrast to the rest of the building.  The door was shiny and metal as opposed to the dark wood of all the doors he had passed before.  Where a door handle would usually go, a circular black pad had been placed.

On the one hoof, Vapid had no idea what resided on the other side of door, on the other hoof, as one of the creature's moans swiftly reminded him, the monstrous ponies would be on him within seconds.  Hastily, Vapid threw his hoof forwards, slamming it against the black pad.  His hoof blossomed with pain as the door failed to budge.  Adrenaline coursed through his veins as he drastically tried to think of a solution where he didn't die.  Just as he was considering trying to fight his way past the creatures, the door slid open.  Without a second's hesitation Vapid threw himself into the room, but his flight was short lived as he crashed into a very hard pony, sending them both clattering to the floor as the door silently closed behind them.

“What the hay!” a bizarre looking mare cried in surprise.

Vapid's eyes widened in shock as he took in the mare's appearance.  She seemed to be made partially out of metal, only a few places on her body were still cover with patches of white fur.  Where her eyes should have been, there were instead two strange glowing ovals.  Her cutie mark was of three pink heart outlines, which were depicted on a glowing screen similar to her eyes.  Instead of hair, her mane and tail were made out of thick multicolored cords, each ending in a plastic clip.  A thick black cable spiraled around her tail, keeping the cords in check.

“Who are you?” she asked, eying the stallion as she picked herself off the floor.

“I'm Vapid,” He replied, the surprise of the extraordinary pony causing him to momentarily forget that he was fleeing from the creatures.  He slowly stood up and offered his hoof.  The mare looked at the proffered hoof, as if studying it carefully, before turning and walking away.  

“And what are you doing in my lab?”

Vapid followed the mare, his predicament rushing back. “We need to leave!”  He grabbed the mare and pointed towards the door. “Monsters!  We've got to go now!”

The mare raised a virtual eyebrow. “Monsters?”

“Yes!” Vapid replied, failing to hide the panic in his voice. “Ponies that have become horrifically twisted and dangerous!”

“You mean the ponzies?” she asked laughing.

Vapid's fear quickly shifted to confusion.

“You've got to be joking,” the mare said trotting over to the door.  Reaching out she touched the black pad, causing the door to slide open.  Leaning into the hall, her voice echoed as she called out. “Hey you!  Come here.”

While Vapid watched, the mare stepped back into the room, one of the nightmarish creatures following close behind.

“This is a ponzie,” she said, pointing at the decaying pony.  Stretching out her metallic hoof, she gently pushed the pony, causing it to limply fall over.  “Stupid, obedient, and harmless.  Plus they're fun to mess with.”

Vapid's eyes darted between the two ponies, the gears in his mind failing to click. “I.. I don't...”

“They're not as serviceable as living ponies would be,” she said poking the ponzie as it slowly rose, knocking it back onto its side. “But they get the job done.”

“Uuuuuuhhhhhhnnnnnnnn,” the ponzie moaned as the mare plopped down, using the undead pony as a macabre chair.

“Nocturna's the only pony who can make them.” She ran her hoof through its mane, pulling out a clump of hair. “But she can't make them any smarter or more useful.”  She placed the hair back over the ponzies newly formed bald spot and patted it down.  “I, on the other hoof, am working on ponzies mark two, and when it's done they'll be able to dance circles around these guys.”

Vapid tried desperately to formulate a reasonable response, but a strangled gurgling sound was the best he could produce.

The mare shook her head. “Look, it's obvious that you're new so let me make it easy on you.”  She sidled up next to the stallion. “We do things a little differently here.”

She gestured her arms in a sweeping arc, indicating the room they were in.  The room was white and clinical, glass vials filled with a rainbow of different colored liquids scattered about.  Strange looking machines, all flashing lights and spinning doodads littered every available space.  Vapid had never seen anything like it.  He briefly felt queasy.  If he came across any more jarringly bizarre discoveries in one day, he didn't think his heart would be able to take it.  

“This is my lab,” the mare said. “Or at least one of them.”

Grabbing Vapid by the hoof, she led him across the room to where a strange helmet sat, a row of lights slowing blinking and flashing sequentially across it.  

“Put this on,” the mare commanded.  Vapid eyed the helmet warily, before gingerly picking it up and placing it on his head. “Open wide.”

“Wh...” As Vapid began to reply, the mare pushed a flat piece of plastic into the stallion's mouth.

“Now we scan.” Flashing a wicked grin, the mare reached up and pushed a small red button on the side of the helmet.  A powerful electric shock ran through Vapid, his muscles sporadically convulsing.

Gleefully watching as the stallion came close to the threshold of electrocution, the mare introduced herself.  “Where are my manners?  You told me your name but I've yet to tell you mine.  I'm Fail-safe Automaton Increasing Tabooed Hate, but you can call me Faith.”

Faith reached up and removed the helmet, allowing Vapid to fall to the floor in a flaccid heap.

“What was that for?” he moaned rubbing his temples.

“Oh nothing really,” Faith replied innocently. “Just gathering some useful information.”  She gave Vapid a very self-righteous look. “The way things usually go around here, it could easily save your life one day.”

Paling slightly at the thought of occupying the nightmarish house for any foreseeable length of time, Vapid went to get back on his hooves, but after realizing how many times he had ended up on the floor recently, he decided to just stay there.

“Isn't there a less painful way of doing that?”

“The shock doesn't have anything to do with the scanning; I just do that for fun.” She giggled disconcertingly.  

Vapid swallowed with an audible gulp. “Well then.” He forced himself back up, making sure to not let the mare out of his site.  Vapid didn't have any experience with ponies that could be labeled “dangerous” or “insane”, but he had a pretty good feeling that you didn't want to turn your backs on them. “It's been nice meeting you, but if you could just point me to an exit then I'll go ahead and get out of your hair.”

“Leave?  But it's Monday.”

At the doorway a mostly normal looking ponzie stuck her head in, her left eye swung loosely, knocking against the doorframe.  “Bbbrrreeaaaaaaaakk.......fffaaaaaaassssstt.”

“Finally, I'm famished.” Faith happily trotted across the room, before looking over her shoulder and gesturing for Vapid to follow. “Come along, now you get to meet the weirdos.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

A large dining room matched by an equally large dining table were both luxuriously furnished.  Vapid glanced about, half expecting to see ponies being served as the main course, or giant pony-eating spiders descending upon them from the rafters.  It had been that kind of morning.  Instead of more horror and pain, the room was lavish in appearance.  Candles, magically enhanced to produce unrivaled light, hung on the walls and along the table.  A thick, plush red carpet cushioned his steps underneath him; overhead, an extravagant crystal chandelier hung suspended above the table.  He eyed the chandelier warily; knowing his luck, today would be the day the cable holding the chandelier decided to snap, and it would undoubtedly be at the exact moment he was directly underneath it.  

“Ah you're awake!” a mare called cheerfully.  Vapid looked towards the far end of the table.  There, the blue mare he had seen the night before sat, eating what looked to be pancakes.  Vapid felt he should be a little surprised to see the mare, but after everything that had happened already, it was barely even a blip.  She energetically motioned for Vapid to come and sit, patting the chair beside her.

Vapid slowly trotted towards her, taking in the surroundings.  Stretching longer than any dining table would ever reasonably need to be, Vapid guessed it could probably seat over one hundred ponies.  Most of the table remained unoccupied save for a small group of ponies that sat near the table's end.  

Faith pulled up a chair next to an elderly unicorn.  “Morning Luster,” she greeted as a ponzie placed a plate of steaming pancakes before her.  The elderly stallion took a bite from his breakfast and grunted in response.

Across from Luster and Faith, a burly pegasus busily shoveled pancakes into her awaiting maw.  She chewed mouthfuls at a time, her cheeks filled to bursting.  Vapid wondered if any of the ponzies had accidentally lost a hoof refilling the mare's plate.  Sticky syrup covered her light brown coat, while her earthy green mane was kept back by a black bandana.

Next to the pegasus, a belle of a mare sat immaculately.  Another unicorn, vapid noted feeling like the odd stallion out, being the only earth pony, well living earth pony, in the room.  Faith seemed to be an earth pony, but due to her mostly being robotic, he couldn't say for sure what she originally was.  The unicorn contrasted with the brutish pegasus, daintily using a knife and fork to eat equally sized pieces of pancake.  Her orange coat looked smooth and silken, while her dark blue mane was perfectly coiffed, flowing forward in a luxurious flip while a sumptuous ponytail flowed backward cascading onto her shoulders.  Thick vibrant eyelashes and perfectly sculpted makeup completed the mare's appearance.  Vapid could barely imagine the time the mare must put into keeping up her flawless image.

Several chairs down from the voracious pegasus and picturesque mare, a white unicorn glared at Vapid, sending a shiver down his spine.  She held herself in a manner that one would best describe as regal.  Her mane was black as a starless sky, almost unbelievably so.  It had been styled into two long scythe like pigtails.  Also a bit heavy hoofed with the makeup, Vapid thought silently.

Directly across from the unicorn, the blue pony beamed.  On one side, her mane flowed down, covering her right eye, on the other her mane was styled into three curls.  A black piece of paper with the letters O, I, M, stacked one on top of the other in blue ink had been taped to her flank, covering her cutie mark.  She proffered a hoof as Vapid approached.  Tentatively, he met her hoof.  Shaking it vigorously, she introduced herself.

“You can call me Maneia.” She motioned for him to sit in the chair before continuing. “I'm what you'd call the brains of the operation.”

A snicker and a mumbled “Brains is an overstatement” from Faith failed to phase the unicorn.

Maneia nodded her head towards Vapid and waited expectantly.  After several seconds of silence she prompted the stallion. “And what do you go by?”

“Oh!” the stallion said, slightly embarrassed. “Vapid... my name's Vapid.”

She waited for Vapid to continue, but he only stared at her, clearly not wanting to say more.  She sighed and motioned towards the old stallion. “That's Grandpa Luster.”

Luster turned to Vapid with a withering look. “Call me Grandpa, boy, and I'll make sure you won't live as long as I have.”

“He means it,” Faith concurred.

“Oh don't mind him, he's just not a morning pony,” Maneia said casually before nodding towards Faith. “You've met our resident scientist, only partially mad.”

“Ha!” the robotic mare said through a mouthful of pancakes. “Full blown insane-o is more like it.”

The muscular pegasus chuckled.

“And then there's Daisycutter, she's as strong as ten stallions.”

Faith chortled. “And just as ugly,” she mumbled under her breath, not quite loud enough to reach the pegasus.

Nodding to the stallion, Daisycutter continued to dig through her breakfast.

“Then we have Daisy's sister, Dixie,” Maneia said turning to the orange unicorn. “She's.... well she's Dixie.... she doesn't really do much other than look good.”

“You cannot simply quantify Dixie,” the beautiful mare said.  Though her voice carried a tone of high society, a faint country accent shown through.  As she spoke she kept her eyes locked on Maneia, never veering towards Vapid.  “I can do a bit of everything really and do it with grace and elegance.”  She turned her gaze to Vapid the same way one might look at a piece of particularly offending garbage.  “And what is it that you do, Mr. Vapid?”

Vapid considered the question. “I guess I'm sort of like you, I just do whatever I can.”

Dixie's glare turned icy cold. “We are nothing alike.  Don't ever insinuate that you are my equal.”  Her voice was thick with venom.  Daisycutter rumbled menacingly, backing up her sister's threat.

“Moving on,” Maneia interjected desperately, turning away from Dixie and towards the white unicorn. “This is Nocturna.  Her magic saved your life last night.”

“Yes,” Nocturna said. “Your existence is solely owed to me.”  Her piercing glare drilled into the stallion.

Vapid cleared his throat nervously, wishing that he was anywhere else in Equestria. “Thank you.  I appreciate... being alive... If there's anything I can do to repay you...”

“Funny you should say that,” Maneia said, interrupting the stallion. “There is a small matter you can help us with.”

“Oh... okay then.”

The mare locked eyes with the stallion. “We are the Overly Impressive Mares and our goal is to take over Equestria.”

Vapid slowly looked from pony to pony before gradually replying. “You're not all mares.”

“A minor technicality.”

“And you want to take over Equestria?” he asked, keeping his voice level and emotionless.  “Fight the Princesses, the Royal Guard, the Elements of Harmony, and any normal minded loyal ponies, essentially everypony in Equestria other than the six of you?”

“Well there's seven of us, eight counting you, and yes, that's the plan.” Maneia answered matter-of-factly.

“Are you insane?”

“If you believe the doctors then yes, but what do they know?” she replied with a smile that seemed a bit too wide.

A light green mare pushed her way between Maneia and Vapid.  “I didn't forget you,” Maneia said ruffling the mare's dark green, flower filled mane. “And here's our final member, Wildflower.”

Wildflower looked at the stallion and barked happily, her tail wagging from side to side.  Vapid returned the mare's look before pushing away from the table and jumping to his feet.  Trotting towards the door, he called over his shoulder. “Well good luck with that, but I'm getting off the crazy train.”

“I'm not crazy,” Maneia said softly.

A splitting headache caused the stallion to stop dead in his tracks.  Dark whispers filled his mind, forming into words.  Even though he was facing away, Vapid could feel Nocturna's gaze boring into him.

'You do not fully grasp your situation stallion.' Nocturna's voice resonated within Vapid. 'My magic is what brought you from the brink of death; I will not hesitate to send you back to it.'

Beads of sweat began to form on Vapid's brow.

“You will be Maneia's new plaything. You will server her every whim and you will make her happy.  If you in any way hurt or offend her, I will make you suffer dearly for it.”

Vapid's head throbbed as horrific images danced through his consciousness.  The images stopped and the pressure dissipated as quickly as it had appeared.  Vapid turned around, a fake smile plastered across his face.  All eyes watched him expectantly.

“I changed my mind,” he said trying not to whimper.

Maneia perked her ears, a sparkle in her eye. “Really?  You want to be an Overly Impressive Mare?”

After a slightly longer pause than was necessary and a glance at Nocturna as she terrifyingly sipped her orange juice, he mustered up the courage to answer. “Yes.”

Faith snickered; rolling her digital eyes and elbowing Luster. “I wonder what could have changed his mind?”

“It's a mystery,” the old stallion replied, taking another bite of pancake.

Maneia stood up triumphantly, placing her front hooves on the table.  “It's settled then, tonight we poison the Princess!”

Vapid's consciousness couldn't take the assault any longer.  With a strangled gurgling sound, he fainted, landing with a muffled thump on the carpeted floor.

“Well,” Maneia said stuffing the last bite of pancake into her mouth, then swallowing it whole.  “Who wants to go swimming?”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Follow our group of only slightly insane misfits as they live their daily lives. Of course, their daily routines involve subservient zombies, magical catastrophes, explosions both emotional and physical, petty spiteful revenge, sexual harassment, occasional murder, the humble goal of dethroning the Princesses and the Elements of Harmony, and just a smidgen of unbridled insanity. When it's just an average day for the Overly Impressive Mares, anything can happen! A dramatic reading, lot's of art, and even some animation help supplement the world of Megalomaneia. Teaser animation here - Insanity Is Coming [link]
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