Appleloosa.

A small town on the Equestrian frontier. A wilderness that can chew you up and spit you out if you ain't tough as the last rusty nail in an old piece of wood. The rough life can prepare you for anything. Long dry seasons, dried up wells, the occasional pie fight in The Salt Lick. Some ponies say that only the toughest, root and tootingest, can live so close to the Badlands.

Tonight, even the most hardened on the settlers will feel fear and awe.

The town bell rung in at 6:00 in the evening. On this Saturday evening they were having the town meeting to keep everypony up to date with the news and upcoming events. All of the farmhands and townies headed the freshly built atrium built next to town hall. The unofficial mayor always presided over the gatherings, while making sure the snacks were stocked, the ponies were comfortable, and the punch was delicious.

As the pioneers took their places in front of the stage at the front of the building, they talked amongst themselves, waiting for the mayor. The idle chatter added to the pleasant familial atmosphere.

"Woo wee! These apple fritters are the best!"

"Dusty Chuck Tales! You put those treats down this instant! You will ruin your supper having so many.

After a half hour, the quaint feelings of family and friendship were replaced with worry and doubt.

"Anyone know why the big apple is running so late? I mean, he has all his good snacks out and their getting pretty cold…"

Little did they know that something terrible has happened. Someone has arrived into Appleloosa, seeking to conquer the town. They have already started takeover.

The doors to the atrium opened slowly, tumbleweeds spinning beyond the door within the swirling the dust and dirt. The Mayor of Appleloosa, Braeburn Apple, followed closely by a hooded figure. The doors shut behind them without a sound.

The rousing and friendly greetings seem to be completely unheard by Braeburn. His face lacked any emotion, his once wide green eyes, sparkling with joy and wonders, were vacant and seem to swirl into a cascade of jade.

"Oy Braeburn, are you okay?" One pony asks.

The frontier leader says nothing only continues to walk to the front, with the stranger in tow. They both approach the podium as Braeburn begins to speak. "Citizens of Appleloosa," None of his usual zeal could be heard past the dull tone in his voice. Many of the older ponies stopped and listened closely, suspicious of odd behaviour.

"Today is a glorious day for our town. We have been blessed with a visit from one of the greatest beings from across Equestria. He has walked far from his home beyond the Great Gates, and defeated the mighty hound that draws the line of our western border. He is my Lord and Master. Any who have questions may speak now, for He does not answer to any of we, lesser ones." The entire speech, Braeburn did not move, twitch, or try to forcibly hug any nearby audience members. He just stared eerily to the back of the room, the swirls attempting the dig their way through the strong wood.

One of the cowponies raised his hoof threateningly and pointed to the cloaked figure. "Who are you and what did you do to our Mayor?" The crowd, encouraged by the open defiance, begin to add their voices to the consensus, as they saw the stranger for what he is.

A threat.

Whoever this may be, he came to their town, their home, and did something terrible to their friend. The proud ponies of Appleloosa will not just roll over and let this stallion take control of their town.

"You apple stealer!"

"Bandit!"

"You big meanie, give us back our Mayor!"

Beneath the roar of the crowd, a rumble could be heard. The sound was coming from the hooded figure. It spooked the audience into silence, it sounded like laughter, but even the children knew that this was not the type of laugh that spreads cheer.

The hood kept his face away from their eyes, many of the townsponies, feeling a sense of unease from the spoken words from the stranger. "How quaint, the peons are straining their reins." His voice…was something indescribable. Distorted beyond any mortal sound, even while a changeling (through a few trades with a peaceful hive) had a secondary echo of some sort with in their voice, but harmonious. Yet the same cannot be said for this…creature that stood before the angered, but cautious Appleloosians.

One of the brave stallions stepped forward and said, "Who are you?"

Braeburn took a few steps to the side to allow his "Lord and Master" the podium, as he moved to address the mass before him. "Who am I?" A deep laugh dripping with poisonous mirth followed the few short words. "I am the Conqueror from Beyond the Grey Gates," His voice begins to build in volume; air starts to wisp around nervous hooves. "Harvester of Souls, The Dark Knight of the Felldom," The wisping air begins a whipping wind, intensity growing with every word spoken.

He continued to speak, even with the building ferocity around him, his words can still be heard and the cloak had yet to even seem ruffled by raging storm growing stronger with every passing moment. "I am your new Lord and Master, so says…" With a mighty gust of wind, the cloak was torn free of his body, what lied beneath causing many of the ponies to gasp in terror.

"Lord Victearous!"

Everyone gathered in that room on this night all agreed on one thing in a single shared thought.

What stood before them was a demon.

He had a body of a pony, but that was where the similarities stopped. Two curved ebony horns pointed to the rear of his head, both shimmering with a blackened glow. His body was covered with a blood red robe, trimmed with topaz gems that brought any whose gaze upon its brilliance to the darkened brown coat beneath.

Victearous's face gave chills to those near the stage. Silted, piercing yellow eyes that could make the manliest of stallions' legs wobble and give way under his gaze. Victearous, finding the crowd's reaction pleasing, grinned. He prepared to speak once more. Deadly fangs protruded from his mouth, their true size shown as the grin became a hungry smile and licked his lips with a serpent-like tongue.

"You will know your place mortals. This tiny town will no longer be some speck in the far corner on a map." He lifted his head high, "No, it will become the staging point from which that I will conquer all of Equestria!" Victearous's reared back to his hind legs, steel boots shining bright, as his menacing cackle vibrated the very building.

Just then, the doors to the hall slammed open, the savage windstorm suddenly stopped its rampage within the atrium.

"Stop right there, Lord Victearous!"

Before panic could sink into the crowd, that lone voice gave them pause before they gasped in surprise. Was someone brave or foolhardy enough to fight a monster? Who in their right mind would dare to challenge a demon from the very realm of Tartarus?

The demon snarled, his teeth bared while he uttered words that did not even describe the amount of distaste he had for their target. "You…" His eyes were locked on the doors that had burst open during the initial chaos. The Appleloosians followed his gaze to see who the hero (or fool) that caused such a response from the vile villain who had come to claim their town.

There in the doorway, with moon at her back giving her an ethereal glow was a single mare wearing a cape and wizardry hat. "It is I, The Great and Powerful Trixie!"

Many of the frontier settlers had heard of this mare. According to rumours, she is a traveling magician going town to town as an entertainer, using her magic and illusions to get by. But what hope does this show mare have against a monster from the depths of Tartarus?

"You will not escape Trixie, Victearous. Trixie has been tracking you since you fled Dodge Junction."

"The Conqueror from Beyond the Grey Gates does not flee, let alone from some mare."

Trixie broke into a smirk, "Trixie never said anything about who you are fleeing from."

The settlers noticed the way he shifted his weight avoided the curious eyes of the audience. Did Trixie make this dangerous creature…nervous? The slight show of embarrassment disappeared, as Victearous resumed his intimidating posture as he stood tall above the ponies in the room. "It does not matter; you will not stop me this time Trixie!" Victearous's horns glowed bright with black magic, twin strings of black lightning conjoined in between the horns, a sphere of destruction growing larger.

"Disappear, Destructo-Ball!" Victearous grunted and heaved his head and slingshotted the spell towards the double doors to crush the interfering do-gooder.

Trixie dodged by going under the dark sphere, using her burst of speed to skid leaning back with her front out behind her to keep her balance on her rear legs. Trixie's hat disappeared into nothingness when it came into contact with the destructo-ball. The dark magic dissipated as it collided with the wall, becoming swirling mist, then thin air.

Trixie then leapt high into the air, her entire body enveloped with her magic as she float above the audience, he cape flowing valiantly in the wind. She reared her back fired three shots, the slide in a triangle formation, "Tri-Seal!" The magically shape raced down towards its intended target, stars trailing in its path.

Victearous simply huffed, and raised a barrier, the triangle smashed into it, and continued to try to push its way through the darkness. Cobalt sparks flew from the opposing forces, streams of liquid light seem to flow around the vile barrier as it finally dissolved.

The demons eyes glowed bright yellow, his forelegs raised before him as he chanted an unheard language in his twisted voice. He then bellowed, "Hades' Strike!" Half a dozen sprouted from the beneath his feet from the floorboards, horrific claws of shadows tinged with piercing nails, all of them grasping towards the flying hero.

With great agility and physical ability, Trixie was able to dodge them all, twisting and turning, diving low to just above the audience's heads before pulling up and twirling about before hitting the approaching walls.

The crowd "ooed" and "awed" at the magical duel, too caught up in the stunning visuals to remember who the show mare was fighting.

"You will have to do better than that to stop The Great Trixie, Victearous!" She yelled back, as she dropped out of the air in freefall, before fixing herself to land with a magical jolt as her hooves hit the ground of aisle between the two crowds. "Now, take this!"

A beam of blue light streamed from her narrowing missing her dual horned nemesis. Moving to the left, his large hooves stomping on the stage with the movement. "Hah! You missed, fool!"

"Woo wee! I'm free!" The frontier ponies yelped in surprise and happiness at the new and familiar voice.

"Trixie never misses!"

Victearous looked behind him and snarled, "NO!" There stood Braeburn, no longer under the demon's influence.

Trixie then collapsed to her knees, left standing on three, severely exhausted.

The Dark Lord reveled in the showmare's weakness."It does not matter that you stole him from me, Trixie; you are still weak from our scuffle in Dodge Junction. Time for a change of plans." Victearous's eyes sharpened to pinpricks, and his face broke in a slow and hungry grin. "First, I will destroy you and feed on your soul, your power combined with my own will give me enough strength to destroy all the Princesses and conquer not only Equestria, but the entire world!"

Victearous's voice then dropped low, a dead voice with empty eyes his as the frontier ponies watched Trixie tremble under his gaze. "You do not stand a chance Trixie Lulamoon."

The Appleloosians watched Trixie tremble in fear, before matching the soulless stare with her determination. "Though Trixie may be afraid, it will not stop me from fighting you with every bit of strength Trixie has," She paused and gestured to the crowd, ignoring the demon's slow descent from the stage. "Just as all you should, fear should never stop any of us from doing what is right." Trixie met the eyes of the crowd, and did the one thing she always hated to do.

Trixie asked for their help.

"I, The Humble and Weakened Trixie, must ask for your help Appleloosa. For only with your strength do I have the power to vanquish this demon back to whatever hole he crawled out of." Trixie continued to plead, striding forward towards the demon, bravery triumphing over her fear. "Evil exists only because we allow it; help me send Victearous on his final journey out of Equestria! Lend Trixie your hope for a brighter future!"

The crowd begins to murmur encouragingly for Trixie. Victearous snorted with annoyance.

"Your love for your family and friends!"

The murmur became a brewing storm of cheers. Victearous began to feel his horns tingle from magic buildup.

"FOR JUSTICE!"

The storm became a booming chorus of yells and screams, chanting Trixie's name, causing her horn to shine brightly like the North Star in Luna's night.

Victearous eyes widened in fear, the light from Trixie burning his body from the light of goodness and truth. "No, NOOO!" His blood red robe shifted into a pair of wings as he weakly tried to flee through one of the higher windows.

"Not this time Victearous, The Great Trixie and the Powerful Appleloosians will defeat you, here and now! Holy Strike!"

Trixie fired the magically blast, infused with the settlers hope, eradicated the Lord Victearous, his pained screams echoing in the atrium as he writhed in pain, the force of the spell keeping him afloat in the air.. His body disappeared in the brilliance of light, leaving only the powdery residue from the spell.

"We have done it, Settlers of Appleloosa! With your help, The Great and Powerful Trixie were able to vanquish the evil Lord Victearous back to Tartarus." Trixie's eyes gleamed with victory and thanks as she took a deep bow to the audience.

The ponies cheered, stamping their feet loudly.

Trixie beckoned towards Braeburn, and he climbed the stage and bowed alongside her.

The Appleloosians were confused, but still applauded.

When the curtains opened up and revealed, Lord Victearous, whose horns shimmered black before his form shifted from that to the form of an ordinary unicorn, the crowd lost it.

In a thunderous cheer.

"All in all, I'd say that was our best show yet."

"Lord Victearous" was counting the bits in the rather large bag, while Trixie drove their cart in the moonlight away from Appleloosa. The smooth road made it an easy midnight ride.

"Trixie agrees, though Trixie must say the threat was very convincing."

"It never hurts to improvise a line or two, besides you almost missed your cue with the magical blast."

"Trixie was getting the audience invested in the show. Speaking of the show, you should drop the disguise."

"Oh I still look like a unicorn?" A flash of black magic and the demonic form had returned. Victearous furrowed his brow in thought. "Hey Trixie?"

"Yes Victear?"

"Do you think anypony will figure out that I am really demon?"

Trixie looked at her partner and waved his concern, "Never! Our illusions can even fool Celestia herself. Back to the matter at hand, what should we do for our next show?"

Victearous beamed a pointed smile. "I was thinking a tragically, magical romance! Our love forbidden when I was just a lowly earth pony, then I make a few deals with demons and BAM! Evil Dark Lord." A mischievous glint entered his eyes in the moonlight. "Maybe since we are visiting that town next, I should try to take those mares as unwilling brides, so you need to save them from being," He paused as he over dramatically placed his foreleg over his forehead, "ravaged."

Trixie grinned maliciously, "Excellent, then we will be one step closer to taking over the world-

"Of show business!" The demon and mare cried out as they laugh manically into the night.