Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 130

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Chapter 130

The first thing I have in mind is apologizing to Anne. I mean, the whole ‘Chickago’ fiasco, not telling her anything, and then just kind of leaving her on the train while important stuff happens... I don’t want her to get the idea that I don’t care that she likes me. I need to fix this.

Getting up, I make my way towards Fluttershy’s cottage. The Trixie thing was already a week ago by this point, and I can see that they’ve already managed to take down the last of the statues of her. Seriously, that mare was nuts, and that’s aside from the supposed corruption. Oh well, I figure if she comes back I’m allowed to give her a few punches to the face. Turning me into a gerbil: not cool.

After a few knocks on Fluttershy’s door, the pegasus answers, greeting me happily. I quickly inquire about Anne’s whereabouts; Anne has apparently taken to ‘lurking’ in a large dead tree on one side of the large meadow Fluttershy’s cultivated for her bunnies, rodents, and other such small creatures to live at.

I make my way to the tree, it being pretty easy to find as most of the other trees around are very much alive. Oh well, guess it’s not really supposed to be a hiding spot anyway. I get close enough to the tree and reflexively knock on it, as if there was a door. I feel like a moron, but in my defense, a lot of trees around here seem to be made into houses and have front doors.

Anne peers down from one of the upper branches, where her talons are sunk into the wood to give her enough purchase. “Oh, hey Anthony.” She doesn’t sound angry. She also doesn’t sound happy, either.

“Hey, uh... listen. I know things have... gotten really shitty really fast and I’ve been kind of a prick. I guess what I’m saying is... I’m sorry, but if you still wanna drop out, I won’t blame you. This probably won’t be the last time I do something stupid, or mean or, selfish, or-”

“Or any combination thereof?” Anne raises an eyebrow at me, though it’s a little hard to see her expression over her ‘mountain range’.

“Y- yeah. I don’t want you to think that I’m treating you like crap on purpose. I just... I forget that the consequences of my actions aren’t limited to hitting me. This isn’t the first time I did something stupid, understanding I’d get in trouble, but didn’t mean for friends to get caught in the backlash... I know I deserve what I get, usually. I just forget people around me can also get hit by it, y’know?”

“Yeah, I get it. You’re getting used to having your powers still. I guess not having flashy powers like you and Myrna makes it a bit easier to learn about mine.”

“Flashy being a relative term. Your entire body is literally a reflective surface.”

“Yeah, I suppose. But you make fire, and lightning, and bright flashes of light. I can’t do that, all I can do is fly and not be seen.”

“You have the ability to fly, use bladed attacks, access to corrosive poison, and you can move around completely undetectable. You are the perfect stealth-rogue, so don’t give me that ‘I’m not very powerful’ shit.”

“I didn’t say that... I just don’t think I’m as powerful as, say, Rainbow Dash, or even Rarity. I can’t do as much with my feathers, even if I can fold them to act like big cartoon fingers. But they’re so sharp that when I concentrate on them for anything that it’s so hard to pick up things without chopping them in half!”

“Yeah, and apparently every time I use my stellar powers, I run the risk of going nova, obliterating myself and everything around me. Powers come with drawbacks, it’s not something only you deal with.”

“Yeah, but yours don’t keep you from drinking like normal people... in fact, if you ended up on old earth, you’d never get noticed for having powers, I’d bet.” A bitter tone creeps into her voice, and she withdraws a bit, becoming less visible in the high branches of the dead hardwood.

“Alright alright, so I admit not having thumbs sucks. A lot. But you may not be as inconvenienced as you think.”


“Well for one... uh... hmmm. You could... uh, if you wanted to be a chef you’d always have a knife?”

“Ha ha. So funny.” If her tone was any drier, plants would be withering.

“Hey, not my fault I don’t know everything you can do. Besides, a lot of my powers are somewhat limited outside of combat too. My last job, I moved coal. Literally. Not a whole lot of application there.”

“Uhm... you could use it to throw fire, if you lit the coal. A little bit of your star power, and the coal...”

“I can either use star powers, coal manipulation, or growing. I can only powermix with star powers because it has... ‘branches’. Using one power cancels out another I’m using. While you never have to worry about that. Nor Myrna.”

“I guess not... oh, hey, I heard about ‘Nightmare Night’, and it sounds a lot like Halloween. It’s going to be coming after some big early-fall thing in Canterlot.” Anne’s voice sounds a little clearer as she leans over once again. And once again, it’s hard to see her face.

“Dunno about the thing with Canterlot, though given what the place is usually like it’ll probably be just some lame art show. As for Nightmare Night, I’ve already got some plans for that.”

“Oh? Care to share them?”

“Well, maybe only a little. I will be wearing a costume that I can make more realistic with my powers.” I keep the details cryptic, just to give her a challenge.

“Well, fine. But now I have to make up a costume! Hmm... Fluttershy knows how to sew, maybe I’ll ask her.” Wait, Fluttershy knows sewing? Hmm... maybe that shouldn’t surprise me, given how hard she falls into some of the older stereotypes for women’s behavior.

“Well, I’m going to be getting a few things from Rarity. Wanna guess what I’m gonna get?”

“Nicer clothes? Those are starting to get a bit... stiff-looking. Have you even washed them recently?” I stop, and check my shirt. Sure enough, it is looking rather worse for the wear. Maybe I should have a laundry day sometime this week. Yeah, that sounds pretty reasonable.

“Yeah, maybe some new clothes, but I meant for my costume. Here’s a hint: One of the objects is going to make my face completely white and featureless.”


“No! Not s- no! He’s not even scary at all!”

“B- but he steals people away! Like kids!”

“Yeah, and so do lots of monsters. He’s a tall guy in a suit who acts like a pedophile but doesn’t actually do anything with the kids. Not that scary.”

“Fine. You can go be macho, mr. ‘nothing-scares-me-at-all’, I’m going to go back to watching over the meadow. I saw a rabbit den setting up in the far west section, and they know that’s the groundhog’s territory.”

“So? Not like rabbits being assholes is a new thing around here. Well okay, it’s only one but you get the point.”

“Oh, he’ll have his day.” The words send an uncharacteristic chill down my spine, and I see Anne staring pointedly at a tiny dot of white moving on the far side of the meadow. I can’t even see that end of the meadow clearly, but Anne apparently can.

“So you also have eagle-eyes. Why are you complaining about your powerset again?”

“Not now, it looks like Angel and his posse’s meeting again. I need to go break up another celery-selling attempt.” with that, the bronze harpy takes to the sky and lets out an ear-splitting, fear-inducing tseeer! of predatory intent. The tiny little dots of white, brown, and black break and scatter as Anne dives at them a few times.

Wait... Celery?! Why would... no, I don’t want to know.

One of the brown shapes sprints past in my direction, and my reflexes let me turn fast enough to get a good look at it. It’s a hefty, six-limbed cat-weasel, and it’s moving like a bat out of hell to escape Anne’s fury. A moment later, and the cream-and-brown pelt is in the Everfree near Fluttershy’s house and still accelerating as it enters the tree line, becoming arboreal in moments and is gone almost instantly.

Well, that’s not something you see every day... guess I’ll leave her to it. I wonder how Myrna’s doing.

I get to the park, which seems to be her sleeping place of choice and search through the green leaves for an indication of where she is. That is one thing, she can hide pretty well in trees. Or as trees, depending on how she’s arranged.

I finally find her at work, instead, a large sandbox having been erected with smooth, rounded borders of stone. A set of stone blocks, shaped somewhat like LEGOs, are scattered in the sand. A few foals are happily playing in the sand, with Myrna working on gouging a trench from the loam and earth of the park. Slowly, the trench becomes an oblong bubble-like shape, a not-quite hemisphere stretched into the ground.

“You’re making... a pool?” I guess out loud.

“Pond, actually. The Mayor asked me to help with a few renovations they can’t get heavy machinery in to work on. The paths are too narrow without wrecking flowerbeds, knocking over trees, etc. Give me a minute or two, and I’ll be able to talk.” Myrna grabs another chunk of stony soil, the loam and dirt atop already cleared and set aside for placement elsewhere by a team of earth ponies. gray stone gauntlets cover her arms, though they’re caked with dirt and sand.

After she finishes hollowing out the pond, she dives underground, returning with stones that she pulverize and pack into the sides of the pond. I guess she’s sealing the sides? I just stand around waiting for her to finish. Not really much else to do.

She finally finishes and dusts off her hands, shattering the gauntlets and leaving the flakes in the pond. It’s an almost idle action, so I have to wonder if the stone she uses is naturally brittle or if she’s just that strong. She slides over to me, and I can see she’s gotten a bit darker, a worker’s tan covering her face. She’s not wearing her usual hoodie, instead she’s got a nice green top that matches her scales. I’m guessing Rarity made it for her.

“So, how’ve you been?” I shrug as I start a conversation.

“Been busy. I like being helpful.” Myrna settles into a wide coil around me, before patting her scaled body. “Want a seat?”

I sit down. “Yeah, being helpful is nice and all, I just don’t really make that big of an effort to seek it out. I just do favors as I’m asked... within reason of course.”

“Makes sense. So, how was Chickago?”

“Awful, and not at all what I was expecting. Long story short, I’m probably never going back again unless I want to get mauled to death.”

“What did you do?” Her tone sounds vaguely accusatory.

“Something of great consequence that seemed like an awesome idea at the time. You know, the usual.”

“Wonderful. So, what’re you up to today?”

“Nothing really. I guess I’m going to get part of my Nightmare Night costume from Rarity, but that can wait for tomorrow I guess.”

“Nightmare night? What’s that?”

“It’s Halloween but with a different name.”

“Huh. Sounds like it could be fun, but I don’t know what I could go as. Not many costumes’d fit me, y’know?”

“You could be... a drainage pipe. Those are green sometimes.”

“Oh, thanks!” Myrna says, playfully shoving me. Unfortunately, she’s strong enough to tow boulders, and I go flopping a bit painfully across the grass. Ow.

“Hey! You know, just because ideas are offered doesn’t mean you have to take them!”

“Well, maybe I’ll go as a pipe... with a Piranha Plant at the end. Not sure my hair would let me paint ‘em up, though.”

“Wow, you had to make a Mario joke? I meant when copper pipes turn green because of age!”

“Oh, do you not like Mario? I thought it was a good idea...” She looks a little sad at that. “Ah well. I’ll figure out something.”

“There’s nothing wrong with Mario, just... really, not everything I say is a joke. Okay the pipe suggestion was but... you know what I mean.”

“I could go as a pipe... of tobacco.” Myrna’s teasing me now, I’m almost totally sure of it.

“But how would you fit the shape and keep it all night?”

“Can’t give away all my secrets just because you’re giving me a lapdance, you know.”

“...wow, you are really stretching for this. You know, the more often you say stuff like that, the less of a reaction it’s going to get. Besides, practically your entire body is ‘lap’ anyway.”

“Yeah, I know.” Myrna says, not elaborating on which she’s agreeing to. She smiles widely, showing hints of her sharp teeth.

I roll my eyes. “Anyway, I have a free day today, like usual. Wanna do something?”

“Well, I’ve found I have a poor reaction to ice-cream, more’s the pity, but I’d be up for a movie. And yes, they have movies here, and even a movie theater. It’s all really old, hand-colored stuff, like the original color Disney things, but I hear they’re pretty good. Probably cutesy as hell, knowing this place, but not necessarily bad.”

“Probably wouldn’t even have the balls to kill off Bambi’s mom.”

“Heh, you’re on.”

Oh god, I think my tears are crying. They booed my music off the stage and they let this tragedy play in theaters? What the hell is wrong with them? These guys... they dislike my dark and depressing songs, but they build monuments so that nobody forgets about death being a thing, and then they make this!? I don’t even know what to think.

“Well that was... something to see. That I didn’t really need to see.” I say, offering my two cents to Myrna.

The snake-woman is visibly crying and puffy-eyed. “Why did they have to kill them both? He was just a little foal!” Man, she got hit hard by this. A new burst of tears wets her face.

“Because... fuck happy endings?” I offer. Myrna just sobs. I shrug. “A good prospective boyfriend would probably say something to make you feel better, but I honestly have no idea what to say. Sorry.”

Myrna puts her face to my shoulder, and I feel her tears wet my shirt. “That was horrible.”

“Yeah, but informative. It means I can go all out on Nightmare Night, so that’s that I guess.”

After about ten minutes of consoling Myrna, she’s ready to head off, the day coming to a close. With a sigh, I head towards the Library. I get there, in time to see the gray pegasus with the adorable daughter, putting some mail into the mail slot on the door. The mailmare flies off before I get there.

Looking at the mail as I step inside, I realize I haven’t checked to see if I’ve gotten any letters from anyone, other than those creepy admirers, and the adulating children, though those are fewer in number. I move the mail to a table to get dealt with later, and yawn. I can sort the mail in the morning, and that’ll give me a whole day to deal with any problematic ones and feel better with the kids’ letters. Next Chapter: Chapter 131 Estimated time remaining: 14 Hours, 49 Minutes

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