Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 124

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Chapter 124

Slowly, I wake up. My blinds are closed, meaning there’s only a thin sliver of morning sunlight creeping in, and it’s sitting on the floor. I rub some sleep crap out of my eyes, the room going dark for a moment as my hands cover my sight. At least I didn’t wake up a damned pony again. That would’ve been a terrible opener to a day following yesterday. Not to mention Twilight would probably end up with fire ants in her bed this time.

Not feeling up to actually getting up just yet, I just sort of laze around. I look at my wrist, wishing I had a watch. Idly, I can’t help but wonder if ponies even make them. For several seconds, I just stare at my midnight-black arm, trying to figure out how Ponies would use one.

Slumping back in my bed, I heave a sigh. They probably don’t have any, even though it would just be a simple shrink spell on a clock and glue it to a band. I’m pretty sure they can do that. Twi said size spells are easy.


I raise my arm back up, seeing a kaleidoscope of stars in the background, as if my arm was just a window punched through to the night sky. I stare at it for several seconds. Am I still asleep? No, I can feel everything just fine. What the hell could do this? I look around the room, and the only likely culprits are sitting on my dresser where I placed them last night; the Lyre and Sword twinkle softly in the low light, but don’t appear at all malicious.

Did I misuse them? Well, I don’t really use the Sword at all. Did the Lyre do it? Maybe I should take them to Luna... but she’ll probably want them back. I can’t just give them up like that, I did make a promise not to give it to anyone. Heck, I signed a contract, bound with my actual name. Knowing how weird stellar magic is, my head might spontaneously combust if I tried!

In a slight panic, I try turning off my Spark, only to find that it’s not responding, perfectly content to remain at a ‘low boil’, to use a cooking metaphor. Okay, last time this happened was... Oh shit! Is there another one of those Star Swallowers? Luna said they were slow, but... What if she’s wrong? What if there’s one coming for me right now?!

On reflex, I slap myself, and it actually does calm me down. Forcing myself to stop hyperventilating and breathe deeply instead, I calm myself slowly. Examining my arms, I see that the starfield effect only actually goes a little past my wrists, and is fading the farther it gets from my fingers.

So what does this mean? I mean, I suppose those constellations would know, but I don’t exactly have them on speed dial. Heck, I haven’t even seen a basic telephone around at all. Not even a rotary dial phone... You’d think that if they could combine technology with magic they’d be pretty far, but they might as well be in the dark ages.

I try snapping my fingers, just to see what happens, and a bright spark of electricity jumps between my pointer finger and thumb with a sharp crack! The tiny actinic flare was a lot brighter than I was expecting, and I have to blink several times before my vision clears of the bright smudge in the middle of it.

Odd, though. I have fire powers too. Last time they mixed it made light because of the electron shells... I’d expect just a generic flash, not electricity by itself. Oh well, weirder stuff has happened. Wait... I can’t use my elemental powers when I’m big...

I attempt to increase my size, hoping it would cancel out the starfield effect. I become around nine feet tall, but I’m shocked to see that my fingers are still in the depths of the starfield, the ‘gloves’ fading at the same proportions as before. The hell going on here?

Can I do both now? I try summoning some flames. If I can become a giant fire monster, I’d crush pretty much anything that stood in my way! Come on... fire! a bright, orangey-green flame bursts into life in my hand, and I smile broadly. I start cackling with joy, and it’s not until I open my eyes at the end, catching my breath, that I see that I’ve shrunk and my fire’s gone out. Aww, the double effect stopped... and the starfield’s gone from my hands. Damnit, that would’ve been super useful!

Oh well, I still have my powers in general, so no big problems I guess. I still would like to know why they don’t mix though. Also, why did getting the deep starfield let me mix them? Shaking it off, I decide to just get up and do something. I’m not getting back to sleep, at least, so I might as well keep myself entertained.

So color me surprised when I step outside and see a large, expectant-looking crowd of ponies, more than half of which with little cards in their hats labeled ‘PRESS’. How cliche can you get? Was the concert last night really this goo- oh, right, Fluke said he was going to send reporters to me. I didn’t think he meant forty or fifty of them, I just expected two, three at the most...

“Well, I’d offer to let you in, but I’m not sure there’s enough room in here for all of you. Also, you’re all from one newspaper, right? Famous or not, did you really need to assemble an army?”

“Ah, actually, I’m from the Manehattan Times.”

“Horseshoe Bay Reporter.”

“Canterlot Sun!” this one got a large number of dirty looks from the other reporters.

Another is about to plug his corporate spawning tube, but I interrupt them. “I signed up for the New York Times or whatever you call it. I figured that I’d only be seeing the people I asked to see, not a bunch of newshounds trying to gain favor by the weird action of annoying me.”

“Well, ah, y’see, we at the Sun Weekly, er, also saw the invite.”

“Y’mean stole it, you namby-pamby espionage jerks!” one of the other news reporters shout at the Sun reporter. It rapidly begins to devolve into a vague brawl of harsh words, sort-of insults, and lukewarm burns. There’s just enough animosity to feel that they mean it, but they act like they either have minders watching them or they just don’t know how to properly insult someone.

I hear one particularly stupid insult and decide to correct him with better ammo. “No, that’s not how ‘Yo Momma’ jokes work, try ‘Yo Momma’s so ugly her reflection quit.’ or something, jeez!”

More than half the reporters begin an actual brawl to keep the others from writing this down. Holy shit, as if I needed more proof reporters as a whole are lacking notable brains...

“Alright dumbasses, did you come here to expand your joke books, start a bruise collection, or actually interview me?” For the most part, the reporters stop, though the three standing over the Canterlot Sun reporter take the time to kick him one last time before settling back down.

Sighing, I sit down on the front step. I’m not getting anywhere today until I deal with these guys, and I think I’d get in trouble again if I just hospitalized them. Or I’d get a medal, but I don’t want to risk it.

“Alright, ask your first question... and act professional!” I shout the last bit as one of the stallions in the front pulls in a huge lungful of air. He deflates at my yell.

All of the reporters slowly raise one hoof apiece. The pegasi are flying, the unicorns are holding their pads of paper in their magic, and the earth ponies are going cross-eyed from holding the quill in their mouths as they hold the notebook in one hoof... somehow. Thankfully, they’re only hurting physics a little and raising the hoof holding the notebook.

I point at one of them and decide to describe my selection so that I don’t get a ‘he was pointing at me!’ fight. Once I make it clear who gets to ask first, I await his question.

“What do you think of our society?”

“Well, for one, you guys are a little too... what’s the word I’m looking for? Stupid? But I guess it’s not too big of a problem. It’s nice, but I’m not sure if I’m a good fit for the pony lifestyle, even if it is kinda my home now.” A few of the reporters look hurt, but several others are excitedly scribbling this down.

“What’s your relationship to the Elements of Harmony?”

“Well...” I think about it. “Pinkie Pie is probably the closest friend I’ve got around here, Twilight is pretty much my straight-man... Rarity supplies me with clothes for free so I guess we get along fine though it’s a bit rocky at the moment.” ponies immediately begin writing that down, notably the one from the Canterlot Sun. “I haven’t really spent a lot of time with Applejack honestly, and as for Rainbow Dash... No comment.” This gets almost as many enthusiastic scribblings as the comment about Rarity.

“Well, what do you think about them?” asks another pony.

“Hmmm... I guess I get along okay with all of them, but individually... I guess Twilight annoys me the most, but that’s probably just because I live with her. I said before I don’t really have much time spent with Applejack, but she seems nice. Pinkie is easily the most fun of them. Fluttershy is... well I guess at this point I’m kind of her Demon Protection Service. Rarity is a nice mare, but I get the feeling she’s... nevermind. As for Rainbow Dash, again, no comment.”

"What is your favorite food?" a mare in the front questions.

“Crispy bacon, hands down.” I wave dismissively. Not even a real question.

"Can you eat bagels?" a brown stallion in the back asks.

“As long as it’s not made from hay or grass, of course I can.”

"Was that demon a while back coming for you, or just here because of you?" The pony who asks this looks a little nervous, and has been shooting looks all around the entire time.

“Actually according to what he said, he was after Fluttershy, hence her kinda being under my protection.” This makes the pony look less comforted than before.

"The Canterlot Times would like to know, do you have any degrees in law enforcement? Veterinary assistance? Underwater Basket Weaving?" The rapid-fire questions are halted by a raised hand.

“Nope, but I’ve got my GED.” The pony who asked looks confused. Maybe they don’t have high schools?

"Is it true you can't see the color Octarine?"

“I’m not sure. You’ve got different names for things I’m familiar with. Can you describe it?”

“It’s the color magic takes when visible, such as a unicorn’s horn-glow during telekinetic manipulation.”

“No, I can’t. From what I see, each individual pony has a different color to their magic.” This gets a whole lot of confused looks from the assembled ponies.

"What is your species courting rituals like? Is there combat involved, or just a bunch of boring displays?" A pegasus in the back asks, while fluffing up his wings and scooching closer to a mare next to him.

“Depends on what interests the individual target of affection, actually. Some women like guys who are super muscular, others like them smart, you get the idea. There’s no true definition for what makes one guy attractive to everyone.” I pause. “And no, we don’t have any particular mating dance or whatever.”

“You said you can eat both -ugh- bacon and bagels, but can you describe your diet in more detail?”

“Well, eating raw meat is pretty bad for me and can make me sick. I can eat raw or cooked vegetables, though I prefer them cooked. I cannot eat flowers, my body is not designed for eating them, nor hay or grass. Fruit, grain and dairy are fine too, but I like sugar a lot.”

Another pony speaks up, this one significantly younger than the others, though older than the CMC. “Uhm, what’s your favorite color?” the mare’s question gets an eyebrow raise. It’s a bit of a non-sequitur, after all.

“Uh... well, I guess I don’t really prefer one color over another, though I do like dark purple I guess.” The barely-not-a-filly nods and sort of hides behind one of the other reporters.

A larger stallion, with a truly impressive peacock display of a fedora, complete with an impressive ‘PRESS’ card half again as big as the others -I wonder how tiny he is down there, if he’s having to compensate that hard?- speaks up. “Hey, d’you ever plan on goin’ to a real city? Not that this little dump ain’t, eh, ‘nice’, I suppose.” Wow, man, you just insulted the town seven of the biggest heroes Equestria’s ever seen call ‘home'.

“I am going to take a trip to Chicago sometime, but aside from the ponies, I actually rather like it here.” The Canterlot Sun reporter writes this furiously into his notepad.

“What is the extent of your powers?” Ooh, good question little blue reporter-pony.

“I have no idea. I do know that I’m pretty capable though. I’m pretty sure Twi’s got a bunch of notes on my powers somewhere. Never seen ‘em though.”

The little blue reporter mare nods and asks another question. “Hypothetically, could you raise the sun and/or moon in an emergency situation?” This gets a few questioning looks from both myself and the assembled reporters.

“I might, but as far as I know, I don’t have any control over celestial bodies like satellites or other stars.”

“There’s rumors that you recently stole parts of a power set of artifacts. Do you have any comments about this?” The Lyre was given to me more than a year or so ago...

“Yes I have some of them, no I didn’t steal them, I just have them now.”

“Er, what artifacts are they, exactly?” a mare in a bonnet near the back asks. She shifts a pair of wings under a tasteful tan cloak. Not suspicious in the slightest, lady...

“According to who I got them from, they are very important and I’m not sure I should tell anyone who doesn’t know already.” The mare’s expression softens a little, and she nods. Well, I guess she’s with someone in the know then, or something. Maybe a minder from Celestia. Hmm... that reminds me, I need to have a chat with Celestia about watching me like I’m a petulant child. Maybe I can set one of her rugs on fire or something...

“Do you endorse any particular charities?”

“Nope. Unless there’s one that puts money towards giving me candy or something. Maybe build me a statue.” The mare looks like I’d just kicked her puppy. Oh well, sometimes when fishing for answers, all you get is a boot...

“What’s your opinions of the snake-looking human that’s settled in? Myron, wasn’t it?”

Myrna is a gorgon, a sort of snake/human hybrid. I don’t know how she got here but she’s pretty nice. She did help beat the Smooze thingy that one time.”

The questions continue for another ten, twenty minutes or so, most of them pretty amiable. When the Canterlot Sun reporter tries asking me some overly personal questions regarding Celestia -blegh-, Myran and Anne, I’m saved from getting more community service time as the other reporters tie him up with their neckties and gag him with his own hat. Ah, professionals. The questions kept up for another few minutes, but it seems that they’re running out of meaningful things to ask.

“So I’m getting a little bored of this, but if you guys ever come up with more questions later, I think I’ll tolerate it. Just not today.” The reporters nod politely and begin packing up. They ‘conveniently’ forget to untie the Canterlot Sun reporter, who has to flop and wiggle his way towards the train station. I’m tempted to follow him menacingly, just to see if he goes faster.

Eh what the heck, I’ve got nothing else to do today. I continue to follow the guy, watching him wriggle around. It’s hilarious to watch, especially since he panics when he sees me advancing. Probably from the leer on my face and the fire in my hands. I’m just keeping myself warm, I swear! And he’s funny, so of course I’m grinning. Not my fault said grin is as creepy as possible.

Eventually he tries getting into the train car but fails. I go over and pick him up. I swear he was going to piss himself! I stick him in the train and leave. I wonder what kind of newspaper Celestia’s gonna get tomorrow? ‘Local reporter terrorized’ and ‘Equestria’s Hero a Jerk’ come to mind.

Thinking things over, I decide... well, if I want to go to Chickago, I’m going to want to pack. Sorta. Hmm... I wonder if Anne would like to go with me. I think I’ll ask her today.

Whistling a jaunty tune to myself, I wander off to go entertain myself and get ready to leave in a week or so. Next Chapter: Chapter 125 Estimated time remaining: 17 Hours

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