>Previous Onyxia post
"I was more thinking of Chitus, but neither of them are good."
"I could make you a new set if you'd like, Sterling," Onyxia says as they go to take the long way around.
When they find the shop isn't on the other side, Onyxia almost feels bad at denying a stop to Beryl, until they see one shop that is indeed open still.
"There, see. We found a nice shop open that's not in a shady spot. And if they're open this late I'm sure they'll have something good for you," She says to Beryl, trying to lift her mood as they enter the store.
Sterling gasps, "Oh, could you?! Oh thank Celestia in her golden sun, I wouldeth be ever so grateful to be requiped, Onyxia. I feel rather exposed without a sword and shield at my side."
As you try to lift up Beryl's spirits, she rolls her eyes, but offers a small jovial smile. "They better~!" She says as she runs towards the store, going into it as a bell jingles with the opening of the door you're met with a few questionable aromas of various dusty and musty artifacts and ingredients, light string-music playing from within as the group enters the shop. It appears to be of an oriental design from far across the western seas of Equestria, a unicorn with a curved horn and a long grayed mustache situated behind the desk as he looks on at the late-night entrants. "Ah… good evening, welcome, welcome. Welcome to Tio's Shop of Exquisite Boons. I am Tio, please, take a look around. Not often I get customers at these dark hours…"
Steel nods as he enters, "Thank you for being open."
"Well, when you're the only one open at 3 am, you tend to have a monopoly on a rare and lucrative market, eh?" The unicorn says in response.
"Absolutely. When we get back home we can go to the forge and make you something worthy of a knight like you."
Onyxia follows behind Beryl, smiling as she sees her sister run into the store like a filly on Hearth's Warming morning. She looks around as they enter, having not seen a store like this, well, ever.
"Good evening, Tio," Onyxia says as the shopkeep greats them, leaving Beryl to find what she needs while she looks over some of the wares herself out of curiosity.
"Exquisite boons? So what kind of things do you sell?"
Sterling gives a little barely contained squee, clapping her transparent hooves together in excitement. "Thou art still the best, Onyxia."
Beryl is quickly enraptured in a great deal of components lined up along many messy shelves within the shop, prices hastily drawn along jars and concoctions and artifacts lined up one after the other as she starts to pick through them, opening one of her books for reference and picking up other ingredients and inspecting them with a critical eye, looking back and forth and mumbling to herself. Meanwhile, Tio smiles widely at you.
"Oh my child, what DON'T I sell? Why, within these walls, I sell enchantment, procure wonder, import mystery and deal in horror."
Twonyxia clears her throat, "Anything more…. specific."
Tio rolls his eyes, "Ach, everyone has to suck the mystique out of the mystic… well, I am a traveler and collector of rare things. Books, ingredients, antiques, junk, trinkets… I used to go all over the world in search of singularly interesting finds and put a price on them to share with my fellow pony. Though these days my kids are doing more of the adventuring," he cracks his neck, a loud *pop* filling the shop as he winces in pain. "Little past my prime, you see."
"Aww, thanks," Onyxia says as Sterling squees in excitement for her new gear.
"You've been all over the world?" Onyxia questions in awe, "Wow, you've must've seen a lot to fill a whole shop like this."
Onyxia starts to browse around herself with a little more interest after hearing the wide collection he's selling, curious to what lands outside of Equestria have to offer.
Tio lets out a chuckle. "Oh, my child, you have no idea… ancient ruins south of the Badlands, decaying castles in the Everfree, dragon-caves." He smugly smiles. "You would never believe it hearing it from me, but I even saved the world, once. Stopped the resurrection of an evil chineighse sorceress with nothing but a pair of chopsticks."
"Oh my…!" Sterling says, enraptured the tale wholesale. "Truly? That sounds like quite a tale."
Tio raises his brow, moving his hoof towards Sterling and putting it on her forehead, causing her to wince as he pats her head. "Ah… why are you see-through, exactly?"
Beryl looks up from a couple of open tomes, "Uh, conjuration! Yeah, I uh, made a projection of my imaginary knight friend to help me carry stuff. S-so get over here and help me carry stuff."
Sterling crosses her hooves, humphing as she moves over to help her. "Imaginary friend indeed… prithee, I am the small moral compass am I not?"
As you decide to take a look through the collection yourself, the various ingredients (ranging from plants to bottled jars of newts) are difficult to place their value, outside of the unique aromas they give off, but several of the trinkets on the shelves capture a variety of cultures both in Equestria and abroad. A half-decayed shield catches your eye, as you recognize its design… it is one of the very shields you made 600 years ago with Sir Temper back in the Expansion era, now worn and rusted away in value but priced at well over 1000 bits.
"Just chopsticks? How did you manage that?"
Onyxia asks, equally enraptured.
When Tio approaches Sterling and asks of her translucency, Onyxia has a minor bit of panic, having not realized she does look like a ghost and how that would be hard to explain to anypony else aside their group. When Beryl quickly covers, she gives a silent sigh of relief.
"We like to encourage her magic in any form."
As she looks over the wares, holding her breath past some of the exotic aromas, she stops on the old shield she made back in Equestria's founding. She smiles fondly, remembering that time with one of her first experimental jobs.
"Where did you come across this piece?"
"Ah, well, let's see…" Tio pauses, rubbing his chin in thought as a dawning look of realization appears over his muzzle. "I…. hrrrm…. hold on… I…" he winces, seeming to struggle with the memory. "Ah, it's always so fuzzy when I try to remember the details. Sometimes the old noodle just is not what it used to be. I know I used the chop-sticks on a seal, I'm pretty sure, just as she was about to return from a terrible ghostly apparition to physical form… darn it, this always happens when I try to remember story to tell guests."
As you ask about the shield, he smiles, "Ah, thankfully that is a more recent memory. Me and my son found that shield along the river that flows down from Canterlot under a pile of boulders. Magic tells us that it dates back over 600 years, before Canterlot was even finished, and it has a unique property to do with sound that I could never quite piece together. It is broken, I am pretty sure, but the mechanics are well preserved."
Steel chuckles. "Really, how fascinating. You know, my marefriend," he nudges you, "knows quite a bit about armor. Perhaps she could take a look?"
"Sure, but you break it you buy it! No refunds!"
"Oh, it's no worry. It is late after all," Onyxia says, not to stress the old pony too much. "Feels like you have a museum here with stories like that though."
"Under a pile of boulders?" Onyxia mutters, concerned over what could have happened to leave her shield in a place like that. She hopes it was left behind rather than the poor knight using it being crushed.
As Steel calls her his marefriend again, her coat sparkles lightly as she gently takes her shield off the shelf.
"I take the utmost care with works like these," She says proudly, assuring she won't break it. To be safe, she steps to a more clear spot of the shop so the soundwaves won't break anything, looking it over in her hooves.
"It is worn down… but it should work well enough to be noticeable still."
She holds the jammer shield tight, closer than one would normally hold it comfortably given the age.
"Test!" She says into the shield, letting it amply her voice.>I Made This: passive; Immunity to disarming, weapon durability damage, armour breaking, and other harm to your weapons and equipment. You know better than to use them in ways that would do harm to them.
"Hohohoho, indeed it is, and funny you should call it that." Tio says with a chuckle. "Museums ask all the time for some of my wares, occasionally find something of real historic value, but cheapskates try to guilt me into 'donating' it, as though I am running a charity here. My family put in too much sweat to give away precious goods like these out of goodness of our heart."
As you hold up the shield, Tio looks concerned while Steel and Sterling (still helping Beryl carry a small stack of books and ingredients but looking in your direction) smile smugly, and as your voice speaks into the shield, with your expert touch it springs to life, and a loud echo reverberates through the shop, rattling a few items but none falling or breaking as Tio is blown back by the increase volume.
"AYAH! WHAT in the great dragon's name was…?!" He pauses, looking at the shield with a bewildered look. "What did you do?!"
Twonyxia and Beryl suddenly are looking in your direction as well, both quite startled by the sudden noise. "It was like you spoke into a megaphone!" Your twin exclaims.
"Well… Couldn't you loan them? Or set up your own museum then? Just hearing the stories alone would be an experience itself," Onyxia suggests.
"I've done a lot of research on historical smiths and wares. This shield was made back in 417 AE, when Equestria was at war with the gryphons. These were designed for protection, and to use sound as a weapon or extra defense to repel attackers. It lacks the intended force, and practically needs to be held to your muzzle, but the smith did excellent work on the design for it to still function all these years later," She explains with pride.
"She brings up a good point," Twonyxia chimes in, "Loaning them means you still own them, *and* if they're in a museum, that actually means more people will look at them, more potential buyers who could see them and want to purchase. Not to mention good advertisement for your shop."
"Bah…" Tio says with a wave of his hoof, "Even then, museum probably would take a cut, 'finders fee' and all that."
"Maybe… but if it's just sitting on a dusty old shelf in your shop, then it may never get sold at all."
"Hrrrm…" Tio says with contemplation, "Too late to be re-thinking business practice. Will give it more thought in the morning."
Steel chuckles, "And I'm sure that excellent smith was plenty humble, wasn't she?"
As you proceed to explain the shield's history in great detail due to your own particular history with it, Tio looks on in amazement, as does Beryl who seems quite impressed at your ability to seemingly know so much about history. Tio shakes his head, "Incredible… I could tell the age from a spell but, you know the specific year and its function just from looking it over?!"
Twonyxia laughs, "I'm impressed it still works. I know magic's magic, but it looks like it's been put through quite a lot."
Tio grins, "You ah… perhaps might be interested in assisting me with researching a few more of my goods, some time perhaps? I have had years to look at some of this jun- ahem, precious relics of bygone eras, and feel like I have only scratched a teeny surface."
"I'm sure they were. But, it's hard not to be proud of a craft such as this."
Onyxia looks over to Tio.
"Like I said, I have done plenty of research, and I am a smith myself, so I have an eye for these things."
Onyxia looks down at the shield, imagining the history it had.
"It does… I hope it kept whoever used it safe throughout their journey," She says, starting to get sentimental before Tio proposes a deal.
"Well I could only really help with smith wares, I'm not too knowledgeable on relics outside of that field," She says, pausing in thought a moment. "I could help next time I come by Canterlot, if
you donate this piece to a museum."
Beryl comes over with a collection of animal parts in jars, herbs, little gems and rocks of various qualities and a couple of tomes in both her and Sterling's grasp, setting it down on a shelf. "Still, that was pretty cool, just getting that from a glance."
As you ask if whoever owned it was kept safe, Sterling's ears flop, "Pardon, sir… you said you found this under a pile of rocks? Was there nothing else besides it?"
"There were also armor and broken sword, worthless in their state, worn away by time and pressure, only shield was in any sort of state worth selling. No bones or other signs of a body though, like someone just left their equipment."
"I see…" Sterling says, letting out a sigh of relief. "Perhaps somepony kept it there for safe keeping, but never returned. Some knights would retire but did not want mementos of their heroic career for one reason or another, perhaps too painful a memory, and so they would hide them where they could find them if the need rose to use them again." Sterling blushes, "Oh, or ah… so that I read, not that I would know from PERSONAL experience of course."
"Well of course not, you are a figment of young filly's imagination. Duh."
"Yes. Quite duh." Sterling nods her head.
As you insist on offering assistance only if you donate the shield to a museum, Tio's eyes open wide. "Donate?! Like, for free? That horrible business practice, if anything I should double the price on that shield now that I know it still work, at least!"
"It's one of those trade secrets you pick up."
As Sterling questions the founding of the shield more, Onyxia feels relieved that it does sound like it was left behind consciously and not by death.
"I wish I knew who used it. If only this shield could talk, the stories it must have saw…"
Onyxia trails off a bit before focusing back to Tio.
"If I'm able to uncover the use or know the history of anything else here, you can always increase the price on those. Think of it as an investment."
"Truly, I do as well…" Sterling says, looking at the shield with a fond sigh. "Whoever it belonged to, I can only pray to Celestia they would be at peace now. Sadly, knights did not make a habit of writing their names on the back of their shields… well, at least most did not." She crosses her hooves, fuming. "So what if I never lost my shield, Code, if I *did* then who would be prepared, hmm?"
As you bargain with Tio, he looks at you with a hard glare, seeming to see how much he can barter before he even gets started. "…I put it out on loan, you come back and help me research more of my stock. Find anything good, I donate shield completely. If not, at least I get at least some profit. Sound fair… apologizes, what was your name again my child?"
"I know, I know!" Twonyxia says, trying to calm everyone (including herself) down from the implications. "We're not doing that. I'm sorry for suggesting otherwise, Sterling."
Sterling nods her head, "Thou needeth not worry for my sake, I am only sorry to be proving any sort of burden."
"You're not. We'll figure it out, I promise."
As you mention Sting, Sterling turns her head. "Who?"
"Little brother," Beryl clarifies, "He'd explode if he knew what we were all up to tonight."
"Awwww," Sterling says, "I would like to meet thoust youngest, he sounds most adorable."
As Onyxia suggests calling over Boo and Screech, Beryl raises her brow, "Who?"
"Boo and Screech are still alive?!" Sterling says with utter shock, "I… but… I died, but they did not?"
Steel looks at her with a weird stare. "You sound disappointed."
"No, no, just… shocked. I mean, no offense to either of the bat-ponies, I would never wish harm on either of them, but did you see them in combat?! How in Equestria was *I* the only one to fall against the Order?!"
"Oh. Well… don't beat yourself up, cowards live longer by design."
"He is," Onyxia says pridefully as an older sister, "And after tonight, I'm gonna need to do a lot to make up for him tomorrow."
"They're two bat ponies we met in the Nightmare version of our time that joined up with us," Onyxia explains to Beryl. She then looks to Steel. "Do we have a way to get in touch with them? It's been a few days, I don't know if they're in Ponyville still."
"They're not cowards, they just avoid fighting. I was the same when I first got into this time travel adventure," Onyxia defends on their behalf.
"Perhaps, but you at least found your courage. Boo and Screech would be hard-pressed to see it if it were pressed in front of them."
Sterling sighs, "Tis not they are even THAT timid, honestly, tis just… well, somewhat deflating I was the first and only to go. Were I still in it, I'd be rolling in my grave!"
"As far as contacting them…" Steel pauses to think. "I do not have a radio of any sort, but I don't think they would have any reason to leave Ponyville and Twilight's castle. Being friends with her niece," he turns to Twonyxia, "I don't suppose you'd have any way of contacting Princess Twilight?"
Twonyxia shakes her head, "I don't have her number, but I DO have Ulmash's. She could get in touch with her, but, I don't know if calling her at like 3 AM is such a good idea."
"That… I can't argue with. They're nice, but they do keep away from trouble."
"Look on the bright side Sterling. You're back, and I don't think anypony can beat you now," Onyxia says to try and lift her spirits.
"Yea, that would raise questions for sure. We could try it in the morning at a more normal time, assuming they don't sleep in late. We'd just need to keep Sterling hidden until then, unless there's a phone spell in one of your books," She says off-hoofedly to Beryl.
Sterling crosses her hooves, flapping into the air on translucent wings as she shouts, "Of course! I was nigh-unbeatable in life, but now that it has been taken, I can't hardly be killed again, now can I? Why, whoever heard of killing a ghost!"
"Technically," Beryl brings up, "Your form here is basically held together by sorcery. If you take enough damage, it breaks apart, and then you go back to wherever you came from."
"And then, thoust simply summon mine eternal spirit again. See? Invincible!"
"…huh," Beryl says, rubbing her chin, "Good point."
Twonyxia nods, "Yeah, I'm sure Ulmash can get us in touch at a reasonable hour, so let's just hold on and keep Sterling hidden until then, and then we can get in touch with your bat friends."
"I… admit, I would greatly prefer to see your home, but" Sterling raises a wing, "IF my presence would prove troublesome, I suppose I 'could' also fly to Ponyville? I'm fairly certain I know the way there from Canterlot… that is, if you wish to see that Boo and Screech look after me until thou hast had time to explain to thy parents?"
"It is, but we won't need to worry about that. You won't fight any foe alone again, Sterling," Onyxia says with the sternness of a knight vowing to protect their friends.
"Not at all," Onyxia says with a dismissive wave of her hoof. "You can hide out in our room tonight, then in Steel's cape in the morning until we Boo and Screech show up. Oh! We could even meet them at the train station so we could get this whole plan talked out with them to cover bringing you up too! It works out perfectly."
As you give your stern declaration she won't fight alone ever again, Sterling has a somewhat unsure look on her face. After a few moments, her smile returns, and seems to hesitantly nod, "Of course I shan't… I have a true friend who would stand at my side in battle, it would do a dishonor to both of us were I not to accept it, yes?"
As you insist it works out hiding out at your house, Twonyxia tugs everyone along towards the open-train doors as the speedy, streamlined train arrives at the station. "We can work out the details on the way, we're gonna miss our train if we don't hurry up! Beryl grab your stuff, come on…"
Sterling nods along with you as she heads for the train, "It does sound like a good plan, so long as thou art sure I shan't cause any grief on thy parts. Then, let us be off!"
"So, you're gonna hide her in your room?" Beryl asks. "Kind of cramped in there as it is, isn't it? With the three of you?"
"It's what friends are for, being there for each other," Onyxia says with a nod.
As Twonyxia brings up missing the train, Onyxia helps Beryl with her new trinkets as they hurry on inside.
"I don't think it'd be too cramped. Sterling is floating, and none of us are really using the upper part of the room anyways."
Sterling gives another firm nod in agreement, a broad familiar smile across her muzzle, but note her eyes flicker with a twinge of unease as she floats over towards a nearby seat. Following your helping Beryl (who returns a grateful nod) into the train with her bag of books and remaining components from the ritual, you find yourselves onboard in the nick of time as the intercom sparks to life with a statement>"NOW CLOSING TRAIN DOORS. PLEASE TAKE YOUR SEATS FOR DEPARTURE FROM CANTERLOT CENTRAL STATION."
Twonxyia slumps into her chair, letting out a loud yawn as she seems to be exhausted from the night's activities, as Beryl curls up besides you, holding her books close. "I mean, I guess if you want your friend to have to sleep on the ceiling, sure…"
Sterling chuckles, "I actually tried that once. Fun fact: it's VERY hard to keep your wings flapping whilst unconscious."
"Ooooor… No one's in my room 'cept for me. I could put Sterling up." Beryl asks.
Onyxia sits down in her seat, letting out a sigh of relief after all the walking through Canterlot and the excitement.
"That would work, if you don't mind it." Onyxia says after some thought.
Onyxia looks over to Sterling, noticing the loo in her eyes.
"Is everything alright Sterling?"
Beryl shakes her head, "Would I mind having a honest to gods GHOST sleeping in my room? No. No I would not mind at all."
Sterling huffs, "Well, be careful what you wish for, miss… if thoust misbehavior continues, I imagine I can quickly pick up the art of the haunt, you know."
As you ask Sterling if anything is amiss, she looks at you in shock.
"What? Yes, of course! Why wouldn't anything be alright? Why, I am the very picture of alrightness, thou shan't find a knight more alright than…"
She pauses, puffing up her cheeks and blowing out a whinny as she sinks into her seat. "And, I continue to be fairly poor at hiding my true emotions… but, it is nothing major, Onyxia, tis rather silly now that I think on it. Let it not concern you my friend."
"Don't get too loud if she acts up tonight. You can go full ghost story after we get our cover story done," Onyxia jokes.
Onyxia frowns as Sterling poorly plays up how alright she is, before falling into her seat and admitting the truth.
"You can tell me. Even if it's minor, I want to help if I can."
Sterling chuckles, "Oh, of course, of course. I meant strictly after things have been smoothed over with thy parents."
Beryl raises an eyebrow, before letting out a yawn, "You know, I think I can handle it. No offense but, you're about as scary as Sting on Nightmare Night."
As you prod Sterling for the truth, she flicks her ears, and sighs. "Well… it's just, never fighting alone again… Celestia, this sounds so petty to say out loud." She takes a breath. "Thou… doth think I COULD still win on my own, yes?"
"Oh, oh of course! I never meant to imply you can't handle yourself!" Onyxia apologizes profusely. Her face then falls, coat dimming a bit as she starts to think back. "It's just, during that fight… Steel and I found Sight. After our talk with him, he showed your fight to us with a spell. When I saw you fall… I… I felt so powerless. There was nothing I could do while he taunted us. You helped us so much, but I couldn't the same…" Onyxia pauses, taking a breath to collect herself. "I don't want to let that happen ever again."
Sterling looks to you as you explain how you were made to witness her fall, and her eyes open wide, her hooves shooting up over her muzzle as she fights back a gasp. "You… you saw? Oh… oh, forgive me, Onyxia, I truly did not know. I can only imagine how difficult it was to watch."
She sighs, "In the moment, even I felt… triumphant, even as I laid cold. It's so blurry now that I think on it, but I felt like I had fulfilled my destiny as a knight. I fought hard and gave my life for Equestria, a fate I as always prepared to meet. I was certainly not happy with my own demise, and I had regrets, but I felt like I had at least accomplished the task I always felt was meant to do." She flops her ears down. "I'm… only realizing recently, what my loss might have had on others. I always had friends but, Code and Pound always knew the risks as well and so I was not overly concerned with…" she shakes her head. "Forgive me, I am rambling… I just mean to say, I understand why thou art so concerned for me."
She sighs. "And, I would gladly take your aid in any battle thoust would offer it. I just… don't want to be seen as a burden that thou feels thou must ALWAYS protect, either. I am a knight. Tis my duty to protect others."
"That is the way of the knight, isn't it. Just like whoever was using my shield that Tio found. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply you were anything but a knight.," Onyxia apologizes again, feeling like she hurt Sterling's honor. "I know you don't need protection, I just don't like the thought of somepony being alone in a moment like that."
Sterling shakes her head, "Thou hast nothing to apologize for, I know that is not what thy words meant. I am the one who should apologize," she closes her eyes. "I did not think of just how hard it must have been to watch… unable to do anything. I could at least act, imagining how helpless thou must have felt… I can understand not wanting to ever feel like that, like thoust cannot do anything to help thy friends."
She perks up, "What say we make a different promise that fits us both? One that allows for me to act as I must, even if I must act alone in the interest of protecting our friends and country, AND sees that thou shalt always be able to protect me, and never watch with helplessness as your friends need thy help?"
"It was horrible. Since then, Steel's been helping in training me to fight so I can avoid that from happening again."
She looks up as Sterling suggestions a new promise.
"Oh? What did you have in mind?"
"Oh." Sterling says in response, a slight red glow appearing in her cheeks as she scrunches her muzzle. "Ah… I was hoping thou might have had an idea. I had a goal but, not really a 'plan'. Suggestions?" She says, offering a sheepish grin.
Twonyxia lifts her head lazily, smirking. "Well, I think I have one… think, however could a BLACKSMITH protect a KNIGHT from danger even when they're separated?"
>"The world you seek shall burn. I offer you salvation." Claw's voice echoes from the mechanical apparatus of his beak as you pick up the Bell of Black Omens, gathering the massive object in your strings as Silkie turns to you as you prepare to rip and tear through the moon-base, setting off from the bottom of Level 12 as she asks, "I'm… I'm sorry that happened to you. What you said, about your family…"
?Yuki and Mirror continue looking around, then at each other as they seem to grow more and more cognitive, but little time is given to their development as your wires tear through everything they can touch through out the level. You ascend upwards from this area, but you can hear Claw's voice reverberating throughout the beams as you see them growing more and more dense ahead of, the way you took into this place now seeming like a tunnel that continuously grows longer and longer as you try to move out.
>"This world is MY salvation… you have taken everything else from me. You will not take this moon! You are not the only god here, Southern Point." He cries out as the beams all start to collectively close in on you, creating a crushing sphere of influence that piles on top of your wires as they catch and shield you from them.
>Meanwhile, Mirror looks to you, speaking in your voice. "This moron doesn't like it when you break the rules of his stupid game. I think that's what everything is to him, even this. We need to shut it off."
"I've taken everything?" Southern asks. She looks around with divine sight, not at the false world surrounding her, but at what's truly beyond. Her eyes settle on where Claw really is. "Not yet, I haven't."
A storm of wires tears through the shell of metal and rips Claw to pieces.
>Taking everyone in hoof, Southern's party makes for the break in the skyline, the echoes of Claw's rage bellowing out from behind as the beaked visage of his face make one last image in the world you leave below, only to be swallowed up by his own self destruct sequence. The destruction follows you upwards out of the crack in reality, the code itself breaking down and falling apart as you make for the exit to this plane of reality.
>In a flash of light, the code all seems to converge on a single point, drawing you all in like a vortex as Southern, Bone, Plasm, Silkie, Yuki and Mirror all are shot through the singularity… and the next moment, everyone crashes outside into a large, steel room, a computer sparking electricity and screeching loudly off of the teleportal that first led you into Claw's realm. You can see his face briefly appear in the main screen, a voice anguish, regret, and vengful wrath before the static overtakes it, and soon, the screen simply turns to a blue error page, the rest of the portal sparking out and small bits catching on fire.
Before he can vanish, Southern looks down at the broken machine. At the very least, she gives him the courtesy of destroying him rather than let him simply fizzle out.
Harem acquired and moon saved, she moves on.
Steel leans into you, careful not to crush you with his weight but merely provide comfort in proximity as you tuck yourself into the covers and prepare to sleep off the long, long day behind you, filled with new acquaintances and old friends…
You find yourself passing out more quickly than anticipated, Steel's sturdy chassis forming a sturdy but familiar pillow as you drift off into sleep without much issue. Your dreams linger for a bit as you struggle to recall your last unwaking thought, and can only seem to remember something resembling those super-hero changlings Sting was playing with earlier and you and your family filling out the roles. The mysteries of your dream aside, you wake up and see that the dawn has only just arrived: it cannot be more than a few hours since you have went to sleep, but perhaps by habit you've woken up at the same time you did yesterday and almost always do: bright and early. You look to your side and see that Twonyxia is still fast, fast asleep, hugging her pillow tightly as she continues to dream, while you hear sounds of activity going on downstairs, likely your parents making breakfast.
There sadly isn't too much in the ways of entertainment in the control room in its current state, but as Gary 51 comes back in after making a few diagnostics checks if he is asked about video games he brings out a few 'archaic' systems they happened to have for when they had down time, which on the moon was surprisingly often between waiting for deliveries from the surface. Mirror immediately assumes you're looking for a Player 2, and asks Gary to set up something for multiple ponies as though she were as equally in charge. As he fishes out some kind of game that involves ponies with guns shooting each other in the future for some reason, you see Plasm return with sandwiches as he asks,
"Polar says it could take a while before repairs are complete. Still, enough's in-tact for us to look around for the reason we came here in the first place: I'll let you know the moment we find anything that resembles a means the Order was going to use for initiating some kind of reset, if it wasn't already destroyed when you took out Claw."
Southern loses pretty much every single game, then quietly stops playing, thoroughly embarrassed in front of all her girlfriends and one boyfriend.
"…I see. Well, we'll regroup and ready ourselves once we've found our means for taking out Eon and all its spawn."
Onyxia feels herself drift back to the waking world, surprisingly not tired after the short time of sleep. Whether she's grown used to a short schedule or the love helped refresh most of the fatigue is up in the air. She glances to see her twin still asleep, and sound of the rest of the family awake. She thinks it might be best to give it a moment before heading downstairs, not to make it look too off if her sister needs extra sleep. She goes to roll over, but stops, the last remnants of sleep vanishing from her as she gets up to check the closest thing for a mirror in the room.
Mirror, predictably, does just as bad, the doppelganger of you looking down at her controller in frustration as she groans. "Whoever's looking at my screen, cut it out."
Gary 51 looks nervous, quickly turning his target upon someone else in the game as the griffon programmer shows off his adept gameplay. Plasm at the moment doesn't seem to care too much about your getting owned as Bossa Nova keeps an eye on Po-Yala, who every moment risks disappearing from sight to investigate a new part of the moon base.
"About that, Po-Yala mentioned something earlier about needing something to finish the Glove. Special ingredient or something, it's hard to understand what she's talking about at times. But before I get on that, I guess I should ask whether you think we should look after things ourselves here for a bit or if we can leave it in someone's supervision while we work on that too. Bone seemed eager to offer to look after this place for a while.>>759916
You try to get up quietly so as not to disturb your twin, but find yourself unable to be anything but quiet as your heavy foot-steps seem to fill the room with a light 'crack' on the stone floor. It does not deter Twonyxia from her slumber as you work your way towards her bedroom vanity mirror, and get a full look at yourself in its reflection: once again, your figure has exploded, larger you were than even yesterday as you stretch out to the edges of the vanity. Your face, in particular, is more pudgy, having somehow been spared yesterday it now bears a similar doughiness to the rest of your body.
"I'm sorry…" Steel says from the bed, looking in your direction. "I don't know when it happened, I was watching all night but couldn't see in the dark. Just, when the sun rose up you were… I'm sorry." Your knight says apologetically, moving slowly to stand himself without waking Twonyxia. "How are you feeling?"
"Keep an eye on it," Southern says, giving each of her special someponies a kiss. Those not yet in her bunch, she leaves with a firm hoofshake. "I'll micromanage our empire later."
Her hoof steps sound even louder in her head, as if to emphasis that she isn't dreaming and this is in fact real. She looks at her reflection silently, face falling a bit. She looks side to side, seeing that now even her face reflects her growth. She doesn't say anything as Steel speaks up, resting her forehooves on the vanity as she sighs, her coat dimming a shade.
"I must be cursed…" She mutters lowly. "Something must've seen I can reshape things and decided 'She doesn't need to care about the size of doorways or chairs, she can just fix them!'." She grumbles, looking back up to her reflection in the mirror. She sighs again, taking a deep breath to calm herself.
"Then, allow me to volunteer to look after this place in your stead." Bone says, the tattoo'd Earth Pony tapping his sticks absentmindedly along the walls. "I'll make sure your newest base of operations stays out of the Order's reach, and if there's anything else here that reveals a threat to our collective timeline, I'll see to it personally."
"Is there anyone you want to take with us?" Bossa Nova asks. "Seems like we have a big crowd to work with here, some of them might be useful">Are there any among the Moonbase staff you would like to take with you?>Clover - Botanical expert, female flower-based mutant pony>Gary 51 - Programming, male griffon>Polar Cap - Mechanic, male magnetic mutant pony>Unnamed cyborg mare>Silkie - Secretary, female web-making mutant pony>Mirror - Doppleganger from the virtual world recently given cognitive thought>Yuki - Snowpony from the virtual world recently given cognitive thought>>759922
Steel sighs at her own self-depreciate humor, reaching up to put a hoof on her shoulder. "You'll get the hang of this Onyxia, I know you will. I will never love you any less for how big you grow… and at the very least, I'm certain you can still fit through the doorway." He says, but looking at it causes doubt.
He lowers his head, "This is my fault. I should have let you acclimate more to your powers before kissing you last night, I knew the risk."
You hear light stirring from Twonyxia behind you, almost taunting in her fairly slim figure of yourself, but she does not yet wake.
She takes Clover, the cyborg, Selkie, Mirror and Yuki. Everyone else she keeps on the bench.
Onyxia frowns as she can sense Steel's doubtful looks to the door. She steps back from the vanity, turning to look up at him.
"No, it's not your fault. I asked to test my control, and it didn't work the way I expected," She says, not wanting Steel to feel the burden of this. Her frown turns up to a light smile as he assures she will never love her any less, and her coat starts to regain some of its normal luster.
"That's the only good thing about this, at least. I can really
see how much you love me," She says in a lighter tone. She looks as her twin starts to stir, feeling just a bit jealous over her figure.
"…Let's go downstairs, let her get her sleep."
With the others underway, Gary 51 finishes the last necessary touches on the cyborg before Plasm hoists her up over his back, grunting at the added weight. The griffon clarifies, "H-her name is Nueve. Take care of her, alright? Just finished installing the latest patch, she should come around in a bit."
With the new collection of employees, Plasm and Bossa Nova bid farewell to Bones, who offers a return hug to Southern before she departs from the moon. "Communications should be up soon, but if you need to get in contact with me the Old Mare will be the fastest method. Will probably contact you soon if she has anymore news."
With that, you head out back into the vast white landscape of the moon's dusty surface, low gravity taking hold once again as Po-Yala starts bouncing her way back towards the Epoch with more enthusiasm than anyone. Bossa Nova looks back to the base, sighing. "That was it. That was the last of the Order's bases. It's all just down to Sight now, wherever he's at. Kind of surreal, knowing where they started.">>759933
"I could have held back," Steel mentions. "I don't know how but, 'reserved' some of my love, not that I would have any idea how to only serve up certain parts of it. Still, you made progress yesterday. This is only a minor setback love, I know you'll work it out with time." He smiles, putting his hoof under her chin to make her look up into his eyes. "And of course, even if you don't, I wouldn't care if you were the size of this house."
You head out the door, but are paused as you suddenly hear an outburst from below, causing Steel to hold you back
"I can't believe they would do this to us… of all the nerve!" You hear your mother Esmeralda shouting below
"Honey, you're making this a much bigger deal than it needs to be." You hear Sharithik respond
"Onyxia JUST came back to us day before yesterday and this is how they treat us! I have half a mind to…"
"It can't be helped." You hear your father respond. Steel looks to you, looking cautious.
"Let's go, then," Southern says, taking her harem of beautiful mares (and one stallion) with her into the final battle.
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Onyxia smiles in full now, Steel's assurances always able to lighten her mood back despite these changes and any other obstacles they encounter. However, her eyes shrink to pinpricks at his last line.
"I love you, but please don't say that. At this rate that could be true by the end of the week," She says with a nervous chuckle, unable to stop the image from flashing through her head with dread.
When they go to step out, but stop at the commotion, Onyxia winces at what comes up. She holds back in the bedroom, continuing to listen to the conversation, looking to Steel with worry.
("Did they find out?!") She whispers ("Should… Should we check on them in the Shadowscape?")