Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 107

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Chapter 107

I return to my goal of heading to the library. I wanted to see if Twilight had any info on this sword. Perhaps it could be a means of fighting until I get my powers back. I may only have basic training, but I’m still not new to swords.

I get to Golden Oaks and, finding Twilight reading as usual, I grab one of the bookmarks on her desk, stick it in the book and close it. “Come on, I wanna test out my new toy, and you’re gonna help.”

“Wait, toy? What toy?” Twilight asks, visibly flinching when I thumb the Sword. Jeez, she’s gotten jumpy for no reason.

“Yeah, I wanna show you what I can do. I’m no legendary knight, but I can at least cause some damage. And I have a feeling that this blade is more than just your run-of-the-mill shortsword.”

“Anthony, that’s an Implement of Creation! Or, rather, Destruction, they’re differing domains, but the Sword is still a part of the overall collection known as the Implements of Creation, but it’s still a well-known-”

“How well known? How much you think I could sell this for?” I eye the sword as if trying to gauge it’s value, which I knew was absolutely priceless. I wasn’t gonna sell it for anything.

Sell it?!” Twilight screams, looking utterly horrified. It totally is priceless.

“What, it’s just a question. Like anyone would learn a damn thing if they didn’t ask questions. I just wanna know.”

“Anthony, I’m sure that if you had goals of destabilizing Equestria as a world power, you could find more complex and less idiotic methods than selling that sword to somewhere else.” Twilight summarized.

“So this could go for about 2k on eBay?”

“What?” Twilight looked at me with utter bafflement. “What does that even mean?”

“It means you ponies don’t have the internet. But then, I don’t expect you to get smart enough to invent it any time soon... or stupid enough, either one fits I suppose.” I sheath the sword. “Come on, let’s go outside. If I want to avoid tearing a hole in the space-time continuum or whatever, I should probably get some practice with it, right?”

“You- I- what?” Twilight babbled, following me with a confused and worried expression as I step outside and look around for a good, safe spot to practice.

“Alright, I’m gonna need something to hit. Like a wooden effigy of a guy or something. Anything really.”

“Uh... I can do something like that. Give me one moment, please.” Twilight turned and concentrated, horn lighting up. After a moment, a layer of light formed over her normal aura, and her face is screwed up in concentration. I turn, and see a pole of wood forming out of the ground, simply growing almost perfectly straight up. After a moment, Twilight stops, panting.

“Whoo... life magic is really hard for anypony but earth ponies.” Twilight informs me as I prepare to check on her. After some reassurances, I get ready to take some practice swings, imagining a sword held in front of the log.

I close my eyes and imagine myself back in the small field, the instructor to the side as my partner and I raise our swords. I remember the motions in my mind. Focusing on the way I hold the sword. I open my eyes and I’m staring at the log.

Left. Right.

I raise my arm and swing to the side, then do it again, a pair of horizontal slices.

Down-left. Down-right.

I repeat the slashes, aiming the sword at a downward angle.

Head strike.

I raise my sword again and pull it downward for a quick vertical cut.


The second I regain my composure from the downswing, I use all my body weight to shove the sword as hard as I can straight into the log. In training then and just now, the set was only a few moments long, and very simple... but just doing the motions made me feel accomplished.

I look back at the log and it clearly shows where it’s been cut, and after a bit of effort I pull the sword out of the log’s “chest”. It’s still in one piece, but very easy to tell where I hit it, the “wound” from the stab seemed deep, and the wood around it was fractured... but it wasn’t too deep, only about an two and a half inches.

I still needed a lot of practice. I sighed and sheathed the sword before looking back at Twilight.

I frown, and see that she’s cowering, covering her head with her hooves and shaking like a leaf. Seriously, what is wrong with these ponies? You’d think I was waving around some artifact of destru- oh. Right, that’s exactly what she’s thinking.

“Oh relax, I did hardly anything to this piece of wood. I doubt this thing is gonna do any world-obliterating unless I have my powers back.” As if to accentuate my comment, another mare, one of the screaming flower trio, walks by and waves hello to me before giving Twilight a quizzical look. Then, the mare wanders away.

“Come on Twi, this thing is pretty much just a sword. Here, you take a few swings.”

The purple pony shakes her head and yells “Nuh-uh!”, though her words are rather muffled by the turf.

I sigh in exasperation. “Jeez, you need to relax.” I return the sword to it’s sheath. “You are way too jumpy. You sure didn’t mind dancing to the music I played at my hero party.”

“B- but! It’s literally a Sword of Destruction!” Twilight pontificated, lifting her head to aid in the presentation of her rebuttal.

“Yup, and look at all that awful destruction it brought to that log. Gee, I don’t think this should be used to cut butter it’s so dangerous.” I reply, voice dripping with sarcasm. The piece of wood is still standing strong, despite the various cuts and gashes, only a few at all deep.

Twilight just looks up at me with eyes that could kill a thousand warriors from sheer force of adorable. It’s only partially effective; being around the CMC has inured me to such assaults.

“See? The log you summoned, as well as the immediate area, is practically unchanged. This thing isn’t dangerous at all.”

“But ultimate power-”

“That seems to be untappable unless used by someone with cosmic power to begin with. I tried playing the Lyre without powers, and I was complete garbage.” Maybe not complete garbage, but I certainly didn’t know what I was doing with it.

Twilight appeared to begrudgingly accepting that, perhaps, I might be right. When she eventually gets up the courage to gently poke it with a hoof, I have to internally restrain myself from not simple collapsing into a laughing ball of stupid from how grossly over-the-top her trepidation is.

“Ha, and when I showed you the Lyre, you wouldn’t let go of it. Make up your mind already, these things aren’t dangerous.”

The purple unicorn didn’t seem ready to believe that yet, and I rolled my eyes as she distrustfully edged her way back inside, leaving me to my practice. Hey, maybe I could get one of the Royal Guard ponies to spar against, they might actually be able to give me pointers.

I think back to the few times I’ve seen the guards actually doing something, and realize I can’t think of any. Maybe getting a guard to teach me is a bad idea. But who? Being able to do all my normal power-based things and channel them through a sword? That’d be epic. Assuming it works like that, of course.

In the meantime, I need something to do to kill time until my powers reactivate or wake up or whatever. I decide to use my usual tactic of standing around and waiting for something to happen. Then I get bored after a few minutes.

Twilight comes down the stairs and walks up to me. “Hey, I saw this on my desk the other day but I was busy and I just saw it again now...”  She was holding my list of facts and questions about that random musical number.

“Yeah, so what’s up with that, anyway? I mean, I know that thing about magical buildup, but why is it manifested as music?”

“Oh, because it’s harmonious. There’s not much research into it, because the songs can get rather... upset if you mess with them or try to force them.”

“Define ‘upset’. You mean like the songs become about negative things like some of mine?”

“Er, no... here,” she said, levitating a book from one of the shelves. “This is an account of some of the experiments involving derailing or stopping an SMN in progress.”

I take the book and set it down to read later. “And my other questions...?”

“Well, my best guess is that your cosmic energies were shielding you previously. The few utterly non-magical races of Equus can’t perceive SMNs at all, same with ponies in antimagic arrays. Though, if that pony is the main part of an SMN, and they try to get out of it...” she shudders, a look of revulsion on her features. “Just read the book, it’s got several rather entertaining instances to go with the more notable repercussions.”

I nod. “Moving on... supposedly I didn’t notice them, but does that mean I participated and just don’t remember, or is me being vulnerable to it’s attraction a new development?”

“They’ve actually kinda been avoiding you, for whatever reason. Remember those times the town probably seemed mostly deserted for about ten minutes, then went back to normal?” I thought back, and surely enough I could remember those times; I’d kinda just assumed it was part of the ebb and flow of the town.

“Alright, but now they aren’t ignoring me. About the second question. Music is nice and all, but why can’t the release of energy be used in more beneficial ways? I doubt another demon coming through would be affected, unless his solo involved him singing about the delightful ‘crunch’ noise ponies make when he stomps them into a greasy...” I trail off as Twilight looks at me with horrified eyes. Right. Tender, innocent ponies, no room for horrifying acts of evil in their day-to-day.

Shaking off her shock, she replies. “Well, you might actually be surprised a bit. At least three major villains from the far past were defeated by SMNs aiding the heroes of the day. The songs can act as an impressive buffer against things like magical fear, mind control, and other powerful magics, and with little to no effort on the part of those who are benefitting from it. Also, at least two coup attempts have been thwarted by the SMN forcing the villain to sing their plans at the tops of their lungs on their balconies.” Twilight giggled at the last bit, and I feel myself smile as well.

“Sure, but I still wouldn’t put an ounce of trust in the power of something random, uncontrollable, and sporadic. And last I checked, neither do you... Absolutes are much more trustworthy, right?”

“Well, sort of... I mean, there’s not much research that can go into it. Considering the retaliations the music can do... and considering that anything trying to make a grab for power begins saturating the area around it in magic... Well, I’m sure you can do the math.”

“I can. I can also say for a fact that I found the urge to sing annoying, and resisted it with no issues at all, other than avoiding public humiliation from sticking my head out a window and singing completely random words that had no connection to what I was doing.”

“Wait, did you pause a song?” Twilight was looking at me with an expression usually found on cats that have just realized they’re in the midst of a busy highway.

I fold my arms defiantly. “I only sing or dance when I want to.”

“Get out.” Twilight’s words were stark, and I frown at the tone.

“Excuse me for not wanting to explode in forms of joviality despite my opinions on the matter. I think you ponies could actually benefit from some of my darker music, it can be pretty good at times.”

Twilight stared at me, her visage stony. “Get. Out. I don’t want to be caught in the backlash of whatever the local magic does to you in retaliation. Few ponies have died from it, but I’d rather not end up like Niggling Question.”

“Except nothing’s happened. It was before Gladius showed up, and I’ve spent most of my time since then here or in the hospital. Unless something awful happened since then that I didn’t notice, I’d say nothing happened.”

“Just go outside! Read or something, and don’t come back in until the universe is finished with you!” Twilight shouted, physically lifting me with her magic and leaving me outside the door with a book next to me. I can hear the deadbolt slide into place, squeaking a bit from lack of use. I could probably break into the library really easily, but I honestly don’t feel like it. It’s a nice, sunny day, and I feel like sitting outside anyways.

I do leave one thought in Twilight’s mind by calling out through the door. “It’d be an ironic shame if the universal backlash blew up this book! Just saying!” I look down at the book by my feet. It’s the one about what happened to the researchers testing the effects of messing with the songs.

Next Chapter: Chapter 108 Estimated time remaining: 19 Hours, 57 Minutes

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