Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

I make my way through the empty courtyard and approach the castle doors. More guards. I decide to be a bit more subtle.

“Hey guys.”

“State your business, creature!”

“I want to see Princess Celestia. I think she’d honor an audience with me, considering she knows me.”

“What?” The guard is a little confused.

“Just call Celly, let her know Anthony is here.” The guard blows a whistle, calling over another guard. Once the situation is explained, he goes to get Celestia, leaving me and the new guy outside. The new guard is an Earth pony with a grey coat. He just stares at me wordlessly.

“What are you looking at?”

“Uh... nothing.” came the reply, he shifts his attention to the thin air right in front of him.

“That’s what I thought.”

After a few moments, the door opens and out walks Celestia. She sighs and gestures for me to come in. “What are you doing here?”

“What, I can’t drop in to visit my favorite princess?”

“I was unaware you thought so highly of me.”

“I don’t.” I stick my tongue out at her. Honestly I don’t like either princess better than the other, but the sibling rivalry seems to get on her nerves.

“Well, unfortunately, Luna is asleep at the moment. Perhaps if you came back in a few hours.”

“I can wait, no problem.”

Celestia tilted her head. “I never pegged you to be the type to wait quietly for something to happen.”

I give her my usual smirk. “When did I say I’d be quiet?”

“Anthony, please... just...”

“We can just sit and talk if you want.”

Celestia actually pauses at this. “Really? No tricks or games, just talking?”

“Of course.”

Celestia smiled. “I’d... actually like that. Come with me.”

We eventually come to a door that I follow her through. Thankfully I don’t have to duck much because these door were built for the princesses. We’re in a library. Celestia leads me to the most ill-fitting thing I could imagine in a royal library.

“Beanbag chairs?” I ask for confirmation.

“I find them rather comfortable, as do many ponies.”

I sink down into the bag, relaxing.

Once she is settled in, Celestia addresses why we are here. “So, what do you want to talk about?”


“Why am I not surprised?”

“Because I’m egotistical.”

“Just get to the point, please.”

“Alright. Your guards at the gate tried to stab me through the chest.”


“Yeah, they’re dicks. Anyway, what’s interesting is that they succeeded. Kind of.”

“I’m confused, could you elaborate?”

“I’ll do better. I’ll demonstrate.” I begin my Spark. It’s much easier to do it in general than when I’m trying to run. I grab a book from the shelf and toss it to Celestia, who catches it in her magic. “Okay princess, throw it at me.”

She just looks at me. “What?”

“Throw the book. As hard as you like, right at my chest.”

“Are you sure?”

I pat my chest, indicating her target. Celestia sighs and the book is hurled at me so fast I barely see it. Celestia winces, and then looks up. She looks at the ground by my feet. “Wh- where is it?”

I go over to the far wall and grab the book from the ground, and toss it to her again. She walks towards the wall. “I- I don’t understand...”

“When I’m like this, I can become intangible. Nothing can physically touch me.”

Her jaw drops. “H- how? Only the highest level of Unicorns can accomplish that! The amount of magic power it takes...”

Ponies use magic. I don’t.”

“...I’d like to test your upper limits, please.”

“Upper limits of what?”

She turns to me. “Everything.”

We enter a weight room. I assume it’s for the guards to stay in shape.

“So, what now?”

Celestia levitates a pair of one-handed weights to me and walks to a table. “I want you to sit here, and hold up the weights.”

“They’re barely heavy, this is going to be easy.”

“At first, yes. I will slowly increase their weight in increments of five pounds every minute. We will see how long you can last before you cannot hold the weights above the table by at least one inch.”

“Okay. I’m ready.”

After a while, we determine my limit is actually a bit under seventy pounds per arm. Without me growing that is. We figure that all my physical aspects increase equal to how much bigger I become.

We discover something else. If I’ve grown, I can’t Spark and vice-versa, meaning I can’t mix the powers. Also, Sparking does not increase my strength.

Celestia wanted to test my speed, but I explained the results of Twilight’s experiment, so we decided that we would just leave my speed as ‘unrecorded’ until better equipment was designed.

I actually like the workout, it’s invigorating. Then Celestia takes me to a pool and hands me some more weights, but these seem to be able to be attached to one’s body.

“I want you to put these on and see how long you can hold your breath. These weights will keep you from rising to the surface. You will pull this chain, ringing a bell, when you feel you can’t breathe any longer.”

“Isn’t this a bit dangerous? I could drown you know.”

“Scientific progress isn’t made without sacrifice.”

I pause. “Of all the ponies I’ve met... you’re the most human so far.”

Celestia pauses this time. “I- I’m not sure if that’s an insult or a compliment.”

“Neither am I.” I put on the weights and jump into the water, taking a breath before my head is submerged.

I stay calm. I focus. There is peace. No distractions. The water dulls all sounds to mere buzzes. I focus on the subtle vibrations of the water moving around me. I don’t know how long I’ve been down here. It could have been two minutes. Numbers mean nothing. Time means nothing. This is nice. After a while, I feel a pressure inside. It’s growing steadily. I suppose I’m running out of air. I want to meet the challenge though. The pressure eventually becomes a burn. I’m done. I remove the weights, leaving them in the pool and swim to the surface, taking in steady lungfuls of air.

I remember Celestia is here when she speaks. “You were supposed to ring the bell.”

“I prefer independance.”

“That is rather evident.” She sighs.

“So how long was it?”

“I’m not too sure. After a few minutes, you started to Spark again.”

“I didn’t try to, it just happened.”

“Either way, under that condition, you lasted thirty-five minutes.”

My eyes widen. “Woah.”

She continues. “With all that we’ve discovered, with your abilities, you are the strongest, fastest, and most resilient person or pony to ever take this training course.”

“Training course?”

She nods serenely. “This is the standard training all my new guards go through as initiation to test them. Other guards use it to see how they’ve improved over time. You’ve outdone all the records of every royal guard I’ve ever met. Even my captains haven’t been able to match.”

“Great Scott...” I breathe.

“I am aware that you need employment, Anthony.”

“Are you suggesting I join your battalion?”

“If you want.”

“Wait, let me get this straight. You think I would actually function in a military setting?”

“I see your point. I suppose we could find a different job for you. I’m sure a letter of recommendation from me will guarantee a position in whatever you choose.”

After a while, I come up with an idea. “What fuel source do your trains use?”

Celestia is a bit confused, but answers anyway. “We have some that are pulled by groups of ponies, but many of them run on coal.”

“How about I do that? Shovel coal I mean.”

“I suppose, but why would you want to?”

“It shouldn’t be too hard for me, and I won’t be around many ponies.”

“Hmm... you are right. I will see what I can do.”

I return to the castle library and plop down in a beanbag. Celestia went off to work on getting me a job and do her usual princess things.

It’s weird. I used to think ‘princess things’ involved brushing your hair, and looking pretty in whatever schmancy dress you put on. Here, it’s paperwork and passing judgement.

It’s the next day, and I’m back in Ponyville. I’m heading to the train station, to start my first day of work. I may be late by a few minutes, or early. I’m not sure.

I walk up to the ticket stall. It’s the same pony as before, and he seems a bit less freaked out. “Sorry Mac, we don’t have any trains running, come back in an hour.”

“You don’t want me here?”

“No, beat it.”

“Princess Celestia might be disappointed you’re turning me down, you see, I’m here to work.”

He shakes his head. “Of course the recommendation had to be for you.”

“Yup, so what first?”

“Come with me.”

Now I’m in a train, shoveling coal. It’s pretty easy as I thought. Something did surprise me though, a bandanna or mask is not part of the ‘employee uniform’. Apparently, They haven’t had anyone get black lung disease. I’m not stupid, so I’ve covered my nose and mouth with my shirt. I’ll bring a bandana tomorrow.

Eventually, I get bored of shoveling, the back and forth is so obnoxious after a while.

I start to just grab lumps of coal from the pile and toss it in. The lumps are much lighter as individuals than when in shovelfuls.

Very light. Eh, maybe it’s just me. I am stronger than anyone in this kingdom’s military. I realize that given this fact and my abilities, I could probably take out the entire royal platoon. Celestia would probably stop me, and being public enemy number one of an entire continent wouldn’t be good.

By the time my shift is over, I’m absolutely covered in coal dust. My face is obviously fine, given my foresight, but my arms and clothes have large black spots here and there. I’m walking back to Golden Oaks when I hear a piercing shriek. It was either a mare, or a banshee.

Yep, it’s a pony. Wait, she’s actually approaching me. Oh, it’s Rarity. “Hey, I know we haven’t spent much time together, but was the scream of terror really necessary?”

“Of course dear. I mean, just look at yourself.”

“Just because I look ugly to you...”

Rarity shakes her head. “I meant you are positively filthy!”

“Yeah, I’m a coal shoveler, deal with it.” I turn to walk away.

“No, you require new clothes and a bath immediately.”

Ugh, they want to help me. This is worse than being scared of me. “I think I’ll just deal with it myself, thanks.”

“Do you even have a spare set of clothes?”


“Wait... you mean...”

“I’ve been wearing this for about three weeks straight? Yup.”

At this, Rarity goes bug-eyed. “You will come with me to my boutique this instant!”

“Rarity, I’d hate to disappoint you...” Her eyes light up. “But I don’t give a crap, so you can take your new clothes and shove them up yo-”

Rarity has grabbed me in her magic and is now pulling me, I assume, to her clothes shop. I hate unicorns.

A few minutes later, I’m being measured by Rarity. I’d probably do something about it, but being tied to a chair limits my options. Since I’m not sure how my growing powers work when I’m restrained, I’d rather not risk anything.

She’s also put a cloth in my mouth to gag me. It might have something to do with my expletive-filled shouts of protest. Maybe.

Anyway, she’s done measuring and is now at her sewing machine making me a ‘fabulous new wardrobe’. I decide to try something. “Mmph!” Stupid gag.

“Do you want something, darling?”

I hate it when she calls me that. I think she knows it.

I Spark up, giving Rarity quite a surprise, as she’s never seen it before. I focus on becoming intangible, the ropes falling in. After a few moments, it happens and I get up off the chair, pulling the cloth out of my mouth. I walk over and grab her by the horn. She’s flailing at this point.

Still holding her horn, I lift her up so we’re eye-to-eye. She’s whimpering, eyes shut tight. “If you put lace or frills on anything, I will get angry.”

I then set her gently on the ground, turn off my Spark, and walk off to lean against the far wall. I admit, some new clothes would be nice. Next Chapter: Chapter 13 Estimated time remaining: 32 Hours, 56 Minutes

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