Starlight in a Broken Vessel

by the-pieman

Chapter 70

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Chapter 70

I managed to get back to the library and into my room. I’m not sleepy, just... exhausted. My brain has already been kinda frazzled from today’s events, and now I’m dealing with power-use fatigue. I didn’t have to do it, but I felt like showing off. And I kinda wanted to give her something special as a welcome gift to say ‘Hi! For the first few weeks, you will be a freak, but that’s fine because I’m a friend and I don’t care that you’re a snake-person!’

Also, there’s her story of getting here. Or rather, the demons. What’s going on? Are there going to be more demons coming here? Well, if there was some sort of contest and the winner was the one who killed or corrupted the Element of Kindness... yeah, Fluttershy would be on the top of my hit list. Guess I should at least anticipate them...

But how many demon attacks could Ponyville take? I’d say it might take a modern human militia force to be effective at just slowing one. These ponies... they aren’t warlike. They don’t have the violent nature for that kind of thing. I just don’t know if that's a good thing as they work together... or a bad thing because they aren’t prepared for threats.

Guess I kind of am their hero. I protect them with a form of violence that... they just can’t conceive. Oh well.

I grab another of Blueish’s books on Wunderland. I guess since she arrived so soon, Myrna won’t be going. Oh well, I suppose it would be a good time for her to try out life in Ponyville on her own.

I’m flipping through the book, only half paying attention, when I’m suddenly hit by something large and traveling fast, right in the gut. On reflex, I Spark up, going almost immediately to my Heat form. I hear a yelp of pain, and look down to see Rainbow Dash bounce off of me, her belly singed. I sigh, and groan a little.

“Jeez Dash. You need to start using the door, sometime. I’m not the right person to surprise with a body slam.”

“Sorry, man. And you should be more careful, too! You coulda burned me!” She gives me a half-hearted glare, but I’m not impressed.

“Yes, I need to be careful and wary while I’m laying on my bed, in my room, and always expect that if something hits me, they won’t start wrecking the town unless I do something.”

“Oh come on, that’s only happened, uh...” She concentrates, scrunching up her face to do the math. “Three times? Or two? I can’t remember! And one of those was your fault, you let out Discord!”

“First of all, I’m glad I finished high school before I came here, seems I wouldn’t be getting that good of an education if an element of Harmony can’t count. Secondly, Discord was fun, just out of control and I put him in his place. I agree, he needs training.”

“Hey! I can count to, like, a hundred! On my own! I didn’t have time for school, I was training to fly like a champ when I was younger!”

“Well, you certainly show it. Tell me, how many zeroes are in the number one-thousand?”

“Duh, none! It’s a word!” Dash puffs her chest out happily, a smug look on her face. Okay, that’s almost funny, but it works.

“For the record, I’m glad I live with the smart one, even if your science around here is completely screwed up. Lightning that doesn’t kill? Never heard of electrical fires? Bullcrap.”

“Pfft, you’re the one with screwy science. Lightning that kills? Lightning setting things on fire? Crazy.” We look at each other, before cracking smiles.

I give an evil grin, enter my Dynamo form, and start generating some electricity. “Wanna put your money where your muzzle is? How much you wanna wager I can’t turn a piece of paper to ashes with just electricity?”

“Oh come on, everypony knows that if you put enough energy of any kind through anything, it either melts or explodes. Unless it’s a chariot in an action play, then it blows up when anything happens to it other than being driven.”

I grin. “It turns too hard- BOOOOOM!” I emphasize the word by spreading my arms apart quickly and flailing them. Dash and I both start laughing.

“Hits a pothole! Kablooie!” Dash shouts, laughing and rolling on the ground.

“Yeah, explosions are nice and all, but seriously that stuff is ridiculous. But I’m not kidding, the only reason your lightning is safe is because it’s wimpy. Could you squeeze out a lightning bolt with enough power to cause a real explosion?”

“Ha! As if I’d waste the time. The real lightning is used by the Cloudsdale Elite Guard. They’ve all got actual combat experience, and they can generate lightning able to fry a gryff to death.” Dash stops for a moment before suckign in her lip. “Er, but that’s kinda a state secret that Spitfire let slip when we hung out at the Gala. Please don’t tell anypony?”

“Rainbow Dash, technically speaking, I only live here. I come from another planet. Most of this stuff I couldn’t even use.”

“Well, yeah, but nopony is supposed to know about it, it’s their secret weapon in case there’s ever a major invasion.” Dash actually looks really desperate to keep this under wraps.

“Is it public knowledge that they have a secret weapon, even if the specifics are unknown?”

“No. Supposedly, they’re just better trained, and only get in if they get actual combat experience outside the unit. But really, it’s if they find somepony who can actually boltcast, and they teach ‘ya how to hone that. Spitfire can do it, but she declined joining, so did Soarin’.”

“That’s a really stupid military tactic.” At the look of confusion I get from Dash, I decide to clarify. “Think about it. If you say your city has a secret weapon that can kill a gryphon, but the opposition doesn’t know what it is and therefore doesn’t know how to stop it, it sounds like you have the ultimate weapon, which means only the really brave or really stupid would attack, thus meaning, fewer attackers overall.”

“Uhm, Anthony? We are ruled by the two beings who control the sun and moon. They had a heated debate a thousand years ago that made the entire world endure a two-week night. I think our ‘obvious’ weapons are good enough.” Rainbow Dash looked smugly at me.

“And yet here I stand, enough power to wipe out both of them in seconds... and I’m on the inside... And if there are more of those demons...”

Dash looks at me worriedly. “But... how are you more powerful than Luna or Celestia? Or both, really?”

“Because I don’t shy away from killing. I don’t need to match their power, I just need to kill them. Seriously, you guys think way too much about magic and not enough about mortality.”

“B- but if you killed them, then what about the sun and moon? There’s nothing else strong enough to move them.”

“I’m a stellar being, I don’t really need sunlight. Or the moon. Technically speaking, I could completely wipe you all out and lose nothing. I’m your worst nightmare.” I then give her a happy smile. “And we’re friends!!” I crush her in a big bear hug.

She eeps, and shouts, “Not cool, man! I was freakin’ out!”

“Rainbow, think about it. Sure I wouldn’t lose anything, but what would I gain? The only reason anybody fights is to gain something from it. If I have no reason to be your enemy, why should I be?” I pause. “There is no reason. I’m also not the kind who kills for fun. Even with our screwy science, us humans are dangerous, but if there’s nothing for us to gain from being violent, we just don’t care.”

Dash nods, her fuzzy face tickling my ear. “Oh, yeah, I came in through your window because Twilight cussed me out last week for breaking another window, and I wanted to get in. The other windows are closed. D’ya know where the new Daring Do book is?”

“Still don’t know how you guys stand that trash... check the kids section, seriously, it’s just a kid’s series.” I push her back slightly so I can look her in the eyes.

“Just shows you don’t like history. It’s all based on real things, I just know it!”

“For a while, people thought Star Wars was based on real stuff that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. And you are right, I never got more than a B in any History class I took. I hate it.”

Rainbow lets out another ‘pfft’ that ruffles my bangs, and I realize that my hair is falling across my eyes in a tangled, curly mess. Crap, I need a haircut.

“Anyway, go find your literary garbage heap, and I’m gonna go find a place to get a haircut. I need to rid of this giant mop on my head.”

I’m about to get up but then I think about something. “Hey Dash, you’re a tough pony, right? What’d you think of some of the music I played at my hero party?”

“Pretty awesome!”

“Hmmm... how about something a little more... dark?”

“Dude! Awesome!”

“Alright... just warning you. Not everyone will enjoy this, ‘cause a bunch of you ponies are wusses. Here’s a good one.” I pull the Lyre out from under my mattress and start playing the song.

Once more, the song began flowing as the night crept up my arms. About halfway through, I saw that she’s air-guitaring along with the song, a goofy grin on her face.

The two of us head bob, and she somehow gets the lyrics along with me.

The song soon is finished and I’m panting. “And that... is what we call Hard Rock!”

“That...” Dash pants a few times. “Whoo... that was awesome! I can see why you didn’t play it with the foals around, though. Heh... oh, I’m gonna go check out that book, and maybe go see what the new person, whatsername, uh...”

“Myrna. Personally, I wouldn’t forget the name of a hundred-plus foot-long snake woman who turned me to stone. But that’s just me, I guess.”

Dash nods. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” She shudders, and a look of fear passes over her face. “It was like being stuck in a full-body cast, but I couldn’t see and it felt like I was suffocating, like, the whole time!”

“Yeah, I’d imagine that’s what being turned to stone feels like. I can’t imagine how Discord could stand that for a thousand years. Which, by the way, is three zeros.”

Dash frowns again. “I- I guess I never thought of it like that.”

“Suddenly, him always trying to escape being hit by the elements makes sense, huh?”

Dash nods, and begins making her way shakily to the stairs.  “I’m, uh, just going to get the... the book.”

“How the mighty fall, when they realize that their treatment of villains, is just as villainous.” I pause looking at Rainbow. “Nevermind, just thinking aloud.”

Now, I’m looking around the town, because I’ve honestly not needed the services of a barber in the last two-ish years... or maybe, exactly two, if Myrna really does come from the same world as me.

I figure that I might stop by the spa, see if the owners knew. Similar business and all that. Plus, I hadn’t met the owners yet, despite being at the spa yesterday.

I step up to the spa, seeing that it states it’s not open on sundays and mondays, which isn’t a problem, as it’s wednesday now. Ducking under the relatively short door as usual, I look around. There’s only two ponies in here, one of them being... Big Mac? Huh, well, guess I’m not the only tough guy who likes a bit of pampering. Also, an orange pony with curly hair, who’s reading a magazine.

I decide I should just sit down and wait. I don’t think anything in these magazines would be interesting, but I decide I might give one a shot, not actually looking at the title.

The magazine is full of various tips about growing gardens, all with weirdly worded sentences. Also, most of the phrasing makes no sense. Wait... I stop as I get to the ‘readers write in’ section, and the realization hits me that the entire magazine is written in classy double entendre. About vegetable gardening.

Gingerly, I put the magazine back on the table and settle into my chair. If that’s their idea of smut used for humor... good lord this place is messed up. I take a chance with another, this time looking at the title first. Equestrian Geographic.

Heh, this might be interesting. Maybe I can learn something. I find an article on gryphon culture. Flipping past the two-page photo of a painting of a castle shaped like a bird skull, I scan the article.

‘Many decades before the rise of the Diarchy to power over Equestria as its rulers, the Grand Empire of King Rueter rose to power, and a more dynamic king has, thankfully, not been seen since those times’ was the opener, followed soon by ‘Gleb Rueter was the first Gryphon to unify the entirety of the Gryphon Nations, taking the scattered threads of civilization, and weaving them into a glorious basket, capable of carrying all of Gryphon kind.’

What the fuck am I reading? No, really? I mean... what’s with the basket thing? I thought gryphons... well, as far as my mythology went, they are semi-intelligent, and fully sentient here. But mostly, they’re just predators... I mean, sure they could have a kingdom but... something about this sounds... wrong. But I just don’t know why.

This is definitely the same magazine as National Geographic, but with a different title. And planet, I suppose.

I read a little more, morbid curiosity daring me to. ‘The fundamental barbarity of gryphons prevents their civilizations from lasting long.’ Hell of a quote. The gryphon I met certainly served meat, but he seemed nice, he wasn’t a brute, he was grateful for Vinyls help... Oh well, I guess there’s probably something similar to the First Amendment here, so they can write whatever crap they want.

I look up, and see that the orange mare has already left, I must’ve sat here longer than I thought, going over this article. I’m about to ask if there’s any way to call the spa owners when one opens the door and calls in Big Mac.

Just sitting here, I think about looking over another magazine, but only the fates know what I’ll get this time... I decide not to, so I just sit and wait. I’m not even here as a customer, I just wanna know where a salon is!

After about half an hour of waiting later, the orange mare from before leaves, her mane more bouncy and shiny than before, and the pony who let her out looks to me. I sense some vague recollection, and the blue mare with a pink mane smiles at me.

I get up and walk over. “Uh, yeah, hi. Uh, I was wondering if Ponyville had a salon, and if so, where it is and what it’s called.”

“Oh! Vell, my seester und I can-” she coughs once, then continues. “ah, that is, my sister and I can help you vith your hair, Anthony. And you still have that discount!” She smiles broadly.

“Well, thanks. I guess if I’m here, I might see what other services you have. Though a massage might be difficult. Muscle structure being pretty much completely different. But you’re welcome to try.”

The mare squeals happily. “Very vell, then! Eets your first time here, so you get this one free. I’ll go get my sister. Mr. McIntosh is volunteering for today, so we’re not short of hooffs.”

“Well, lead the way, uh... I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”

She giggled again, behind her hoof, and led me into the building. “It’s Lotus, Anthony.”

Next Chapter: Chapter 71 Estimated time remaining: 25 Hours, 27 Minutes

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