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"Marvel took characters I did not care about and made me care. DC took characters I care about and made me not care."
*Nightmare Rarity pops up out of nowhere.*
Twilight: "Girls, watch out!"
Spike: "Who in Equestria is that? She's not suppose to be here!"
Stardust: "She's not even canon!"
Pinkie: "Ooh! She looks just like Rarity!"
Applejack: "Everyone alright...?"
Rarity: "Quite, That's been one surprise after the next. Just what has been happening of late?"
Twilight: "More importantly, why are all these ponies suddenly appearing out of their proper places and times...?"
Stardust: "Also some who don't even exist outside of the proper canon- I mean timelines, sorry."
Hope you all enjoyed last night's chapter of AJBS! Here's a scene for next week's. Enjoy!
"That. Was.Awesome!" Spike perfectly mimicked Rainbow without intent, practically bouncing up and down the hallway we traversed. The dragon proceeded expressing his enthusiasm. "I think I loved it better than Episode VII. That part where Vader stormed down the hall with his lightsaber out? Probably the best thing in Star Wars ever!"
With a smile, I inquired teasingly, "Better than the revelation from Empire Strikes Back, Spike?"
"Oh, that's a close second." Spike said gleefully, green reptilian eyes shining in pure joy. "But I don't think anything can top what we just saw. Then again, maybe if you'd let me watch the prequels..."
Oh Spike. Laughing, I rubbed the dragon's head fondly. "Glad you enjoyed Rogue One, Spike, I knew you'd love it. As for the prequels... Well, as I said, we'll wait until you're older and more open-minded." I certainly didn't want Spike to fall into the same trap I did as his age when those particular films came out.
You mean blown away by mindless action scenes, terrible dialogue, mediocre performances by the cast and overstuffed CGI?
Aside from the great acting by Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee, you took the words right out of my mouth Sombra.
"What about that Clone Wars movie then?"
"Hmm... Sure. That's one less of a guilty pleasure for me."
"Guilty pleasure." I clarified to a curious Spike. "Meaning when you know something's bad but you enjoy it regardless, which applies to, say, the Star Wars prequels and... Michael Bay's Transformers movies." Yeah, I admit it, you can all laugh now.
You enjoy those brain dead heap fests? The blasphemy.
Then, getting an idea, since I wasn't particularly busy that day, I recommended, "Anyway, we can watch it this Friday if you want Spike. Maybe this time we'll ask Twilight and Starlight to join us too." That'd be funny, imagining Starlight's reaction to a TV, movies and video games. She has yet to enter my room and witness them all herself.
Speaking of which, back in your world, Jack, there is recent speculation over Miss Glimmer cooperating with Miss Shimmer to the human universe against a new threat.
...You're full of [BEEP], Starswirl, and I'm not gonna listen to you.
"We can invite Rarity too!" Spike added enthusiastically, then continued as though it were an afterthought, "Oh, maybe all our friends. It'd be like a, I don't know, family get together to watch a movie." The young dragon then gasped excitedly. "Imagine if that was like a weekly thing; we all go to your room to watch movies together. That'd be fun!"
Hah! That brought back memories. "Funny you should mention that Spike." I began cheerfully, glancing up towards the ceiling in nostalgia. "When I was about your age, my family usually had weekend 'movie nights' together, watching films with sweets and coke and all that. Good times..."
The grin on his face widened, showing pointed teeth. "Let's do it then! This Friday, the first official Movie Night! I'm gonna go find Twilight and tell her all about it; I know she'll want to join in!" I smiled, reveling in my brother's bliss for that ideal occasion. Truthfully, I could do with some relaxation of the sort myself.
But, slowly, as Spike turned a corner, my smile dropped, expression ranging from fondness to weariness. Oh Spike. Why did I even suggest that? I'm not entirely sure I'll be available, due to recent events. But seeing how excited and happy the dragon I've come to love as a little brother... Sometimes, I think, I'm far too soft-hearted for my own good.
Your recommendation was beautiful, Jack, there is no need to feel ashamed presenting the idea. I agree with your previous train of thought, you too could benefit from a long break. Your search for Zagreus, admirable and gratifying it is, shouldn't neglect spending time among loved ones. Perhaps Mr. Spike was the key to reminding you of such.
And here I thought you were attuned enough to recognize when someone approaches. Once again, my expectations of you are overestimated.
"Whoops, sorry about that." Starlight, having exited a room to my right, accidentally bumped into my side, papers flying around us in a frenzy. "I didn't watch where I was going."
No harm done. "It's fine Starlight, let me-" But the skillful unicorn was fast enough to recover all the papers and neatly organize them on her back, smiling at her work in relief. I couldn't resist grinning humouredly. "Never mind, Twilight's been teaching you well, clearly."
Starlight looked bashful, nodding cheerfully. "Along with handing me work to study upon. These are notes concerning a organizing spell for proper clean up and keeping everything look neat and tidy. I just finished practicing the spell while taking notes of my own progress as Twilight asked and- Oh, you probably don't wanna hear me go on and on about it. You've been busy yourself of late, Stardust."
Smirking, I answered casually, "It's fine Starlight. Believe it or not, I care about your studies under Twilight as well, so I enjoy hearing your own progress. Ever since you first began as her student, I you've already demonstrated what a brilliant pupil you are under her."
Starlight flushed, waving in dismissive embarrassment. "That's only because I have an excellent teacher to guide me." Grinning, Starlight flicked her horn and, voila, the papers disappeared elsewhere. Probably Twilight's desk. "Twilight's taught me so much since she took me on, I couldn't be more happy and honoured to learn from her. Although." Cue cartoon sweatdrop, Starlight glancing my way in amused weariness. "When she does start with the lessons, she can really put you to work."
"Sounds like her." I replied jokingly, prompting our shared chuckles.
"Hmhm. So far we're gone through with the basics; Twilight said she wanted to make sure we've covered everything beginners know before advancing to the more complicated parts." Starlight smirked faintly. "And if she calls magic like teleportation and breathing underwater 'easy,' I'm starting to worry what she might consider difficult."
"You'll get through it." I nodded with a positive smile, before something occurred to me. Something that I've pondered concerning Starlight's studies before. "Is she only teaching you magic right now?"
"Alongside friendship, sure." Starlight replied, tilting her head. "Why do you ask?"
Hm... Well, despite how brilliant a mentor Twilight is, there are some things even the Princess doesn't excel at, though I hate admitting that. I think it's time I stepped in to help. I would never consider taking Starlight away from her, so I'll think of it like... A Teacher Assistant, like I usually had back in school.
But more meddlesome and hamfisting your own lessons into her work.
"Would you mind helping me with something, Starlight, if you're not busy?"
"Um, sure." Starlight blinked curiously. "I did just finish with Twilight's request, so I've got some time to spare. Where are we going?"
"The kitchen." I answered, leading her back down the hallway. "There's something I want to teach you that Twilight probably won't for a while."
The latest exciting chapter for A Journey Beyond Sanity has been published! Enjoy!
A spoilerific scene from season six of my fic, A Journey Beyond Sanity. Pure Twidust fluff. Enjoy!Spoiler
Another vigorous morning of training. And, according to my teacher, that yielded good results.
It most certainly did. The ancient voice affirmed with fond pride, myself striding down the hallway to my wonderful girlfriend's study room. Progression has heightened significantly, much for the better. The more you strengthen your magic and the bonds around you, the greater an advantage we shall have once we confront our enemy once more.
Smirking in small triumph, I stretched my limbs and circled my neck around to dull the slight aches. I must've trained for three hours or so. Twilight, the amazing mare, recommended I proceed with training after dragging me out of bed. Again. All reasoning that the better I got at utilizing my Balance magic, the better chance we have to finding Zagreus and stopping his madness sooner before our friends were in further jeopardy. Well, my training was done for the morning, at Starswirl's approval, so it was time to let my fantastic Princess be updated about the progress. I know she wouldn't want anything else.
And, once again, a certain dark king wasn't speaking. I'd almost have been worried if Starswirl hadn't reassured me that all was fine.
Sombra will converse with us when he is ready. At times we all need a moment of recluse for contemplation.
It's Sombra contemplating which unnerves me. Anyhow, there was the door to Twilight's favourite studying room. Without knocking, I entered with a barely-concealed grin, finding myself smiling brightly a lot more to Twilight recently since that night on the school roof. Things have changed since that night.
And all for the better.
The room had its own shelves of books, like a private library reserved for Twilight, a long desk in the center with a comfy couch for the mare to read in content, and a hard wooden chair to keep focused in the midsts of her contemplation. Always specific with these things, about everything. Steve from Blue's Clues used a comfy red couch for both those things.
He sat down in his thinking chair to think.
The breathtakingly beautiful alicorn, currently, wasn't sitting in either chair, pacing around a spot on the other side of the room with a book floating before her eyes, deeply entranced by the open pages and oblivious to my presence, even through our bond. Typically, disturbing Twilight with her peace was the last thing I preferred.
But I so loved to tease the mare I revered so.
The Princess blinked in endearing innocence at the book suddenly being pulled over her head, breaking out of her concentration with a curious gasp and turning to face the perpetrator. Meeting my playful gaze, Twilight smirked in exasperation. "Jack, I was reading that."
My raised hoof kept the brown leather with pages from Twilight's physical reach. "You were reading that, correct love."
Attempting to grab the book, my girlfriend smiled in wry amusement. "Jack, I'm searching through that book for Starlight's next magic lesson. Give it back." Twilight made cute effort sounds by reaching out repeatedly, rising on her hind limbs like me as I pulled the book further from Twilight's close grasp. "I'm not amused Jack."
"Why are you smiling then?"
"Because it's simply cute that you think it's beyond my reach."
She fell right into my trap. With our bodies at that proximity, I gently threw the book to the desk and quickly wrapped a limb around Twilight's pony waste, pulling the mare standing on two legs closer that our upper half bodies were connected, to my inward fireworks of joy at the intimacy. Twilight, realizing the trap, placed both hoofs on my shoulder to support herself as I leaned and whispered coyly, "You make this too easy for me Twilight."
Her face turned an interesting shade of pink, the flustered mare attempting to hide her embarrassment and giddiness at such physical interaction. "You insufferable stallion..."
"From you that's a compliment." And Twilight eagerly returned the passionate kiss to follow in loving tenderness, our lips brushing and toying with one another in perfect harmony. Ohh this sensation will never get old. It's been happening recently as of late, the two of us often embracing this way whenever we were in the same room nowadays. Spike and Starlight's reactions to our endless seams of un-nervous intimate embraces were often hysterical to watch. And this time, it was a kiss that lasted for more than a few seconds, my other hoof grasping the back of her soft mane, my limb around her waist instinctively holding her tight against me. Twilight's own body reacted in earnest, her front limbs wrapped around my neck to keep the heartwarming intimacy lasting a good while.
Unfortunately, there was this necessity we needed named air. Pulling back, both of us panting from the wondrous experience, Twilight took that moment to smile warmly, unable to contain the bliss and childlike wonder in her tone. "You haven't kissed me like that since our reunion at Canterlot High..."
"You're right." I breathed deeply, in and out, and grinned lightly. "I should do it more often."
"No complaints from me..." God I love this mare. The tip of our noses touched endearingly, the angelic Princess inquiring as though it just occurred to her. "I'm guessing your training yielded promising results."
"As usual." Was my proud, soft response. "Old Starswirl's been teaching me today about extending my senses some more, and how to evade narrow attacks with enhanced speed. All in all, very progressive."
"We should do a field test later... Much later." Twilight added with a mischievous glint to her alluring eyes. Works for me! Her eyelids were half-open, expression that of loving for the man who somehow stole her heart. "Although you could talk about your own teacher - a legend among Equestrian kind, additionally - with a tinge more respect."
"But my love," I answered playfully, now performing a small waltz around the same spot with the Princess. "Isn't my blatant disrespect over everything why you love me so much?"
"Heh. If I'm being honest, it's one thing about you I wouldn't mind you improving on, just as much as your training under Starswirl." With that, her teasing smile then warmed considerably, the beautiful mare adding with clear appraisal, "I'm so proud of how far you've come Jack... I love you so much."
My chest was ready to burst in sheer ecstasy. "I love you more."
"And I love you most."
"...Knew watching Tangled together was a good move." The Princess giggled with a closed muzzle, myself grinning happily to the adorable response. It just struck me then how I couldn't sense Spike nor Starlight anywhere nearby. "The other castle residents not in?"
Twilight, halting this small circle dance together with me, answered lightly, "I asked Starlight for some specific material from the ancient castle in the Everfree Forest. Spike's assisting Rarity with accessorizing a long line of dresses to be delivered to Canterlot by an important client."
Meaning it was just us two right now... "When did Starlight leave?" Since Spike will make any excuse to spend time with his unicorn crush for as long as possible.
Twilight squinted her sparkling eyes in thought. "Five minutes ago. Did you need her for something?"
...Christmas came early. Pressing my muzzle further into hers playfully, I added with a hint of mischief. "That means... It's just us two, alone, with the castle all to ourselves..."
Catching the hint, Twilight's cheeks brightened, her face turning to gleeful red. "I-I suppose it does..." And returned my grin albeit more shyly, adding with her own coy tone, "For another fourty-three minutes and thirty-two seconds, if I estimate the time it'd take for Starlight to return."
My expression darkened positively. "Then let's use that time very, very wisely." And this time, the kiss was far more than just passionate. It was hungry, longing, our limbs pulling each other tightly with no intention of letting, my body instinctively pushing the delicious Princess back against the shelves. My hoofs explored the mare's back, her feathered wings, toying with her gorgeous purple mane. One of Twilight's own hoofs was clenched on the edge of my cape, not seeming to care at all if my body was a little sweaty from today's workout, probably fantasizing something like this happening at times and her brain was overloaded with joy by this happening right now and then.
Thank God Sombra wasn't here to ruin the moment-
"How odd, I don't recall the ratings becoming a PG13."
Jesus Christ! That playful voice was backed up with the mare and I suddenly finding ourselves pulling back in shock, bodies now drenched by freezing as [BEEP] ice water, clutching onto each other in stunned shock as the wonderful moment was rudely interrupted- Scratch that, 'rude' was an understatement!
What the [BEEP]?!
Our incredulous looks changed to one of outrage at the mischievous entity hovering above with a patronizing smirk, chin resting on interlocked fingers and calling out mockingly. "Oh, please, don't let me interrupt. This is better than watching on documentary."
I'm pretty sure all of Ponyville heard us. "DISCORD!"
Starlight: "Just... Promise me you won't get mad."
Stardust: *Huffs* "I promise... Don't look at me like that, I promise I won't get mad!"
Starlight: "Okay... Spike found a credit card lying around in the human world so went on a shopping spree across Sunset's town with Sunburst and Zephyr and now they're in debt to this mob boss and if they don't pay him off they'll be in really big trouble!"
Stardust: *Blank face* "I see... That is quite a pickle... Excuse me for one second."
*Walks over to armoury and put on closed knight helmet, sounds of muffled enraged screaming from within*
"Mmm son of a-! Sweet mother of God-! I'll circumcise every one of them-! For [BEEP]ing Starswirl's sake-!"
*Calmly takes helmet off and turns to Starlight.*
"Okay, I've thought this through... I'll get them the money... And then I'll murder them."
Maybe I was too lenient in AJBS. During the Friendship Games. I mean, those one-dimensional [BEEP]es representing CP were equally responsible for Midnight, thinking about it.
I'll address that tidbit during Dance Magic, I think, since they're there because fans like them... For some reason. XD
Watched the whole campaign to Battlefront 2 last night... Wow, what a disappointing trash heap with the most predictable scenarios happening. I was far more invested with Sonic Forces' story, and that was barely overall average!
Wow, Battlefront 2 is NOT doing well for itself. Only two and a half stars on Amazon... EA, what are you doing?! I'm sure those controversial loot crates aren't helping in the least!
"Hey erm... Stardust... I was wondering if, when I become human in Sunset's world, we could ask Rarity to make me some clothes?"
"Just want another chance to spend time with her, eh Spike?"
"Well, actually, I was hoping to wear something just like... You."
...Did your heart just skip a beat?
*Grits teeth* "Shut, the [BEEP], up!" *Clears throat.* "Er yeah, sure Spike. We'll go there right after Twilight's spell works."
Flash: "Aww, I hate me..."
Stardust: "I hate you too. Elaborate."
A scene from next week's exciting chapter of A Journey Beyond Sanity! Speaking of which, hope you enjoyed the recent one yesterday! That said, another chapter of Stardust being... Stardust. Here's a sneak peek!
Turns out, my friends could wait. Courtesy of Starswirl, our next move was inspecting the magically projected map of the entire land. Jesus, Equestria looks like a way smaller world with all the visible landmarks clearly standing out over the large map. Once again, this time with the map's help, we were pinpointing possible locations Zagreus could be concealing himself at.
Even despite the crowded populace, his appearance would make him unsettling enough to stand out.
Yakyakistan, perhaps. Concerning the incident regarding the buffalo, overtaking another species with muscles for brains shouldn't be dismissed.
Zagreus would have to generate more imbalanced energy to influence an entire kingdom, Prince Rutherford and his subjects are a greater number than the buffalo tribe. The former being controlled would be noticed by us. Not to mention, Balance has settled among the Yaks since the dragon incident.
Then what else... Damn, some of these places I don't know of or ever been to. This could take forever! Zagreus could be hiding close by and we're not able to sense him.
I would have detected the foul stench of that abomination during my search around the town. Hmm, what about that narrow dangerous valley where the self-conceited pegasus hosted a race for those animals at a previous time?
You refer to Ghastly Gorge? Considering the malicious eels which lurks within the Gorge's walls, not to mention the deadly terrain all around, hiding there would prove foolhardy for our enemy. But it shouldn't be overlooked among our investigations. We should take a look when we have the time.
That time being now. Ghastly Gorge was the closest to all these potential locations, hence we can start by looking there first thing. Rubbing my bearded chin, a tired sigh escaped my muzzle. God I didn't get enough sleep, Zagreus has been haunting my mind and soul ever since our confrontation at Appleloosa.
A recommendation, you should rest for a short period until you're mentally prepared once we arrive at the Gorge. The eels, unfortunately, wouldn't have any difficulty against an exhausted pony, a user of Balance or not. Meditation is the presentable option; your heart needs to be kept balanced enough to combat Zagreus once again.
Alright then, good call. Stretching somewhat, Balance quickly alerted me to signatures, before the conversing voices, of certain equines entering the throne room, first being a blue pegasus, pink eyes blinking in satisfaction.
"See, told you he was here."
"We never doubted you Rainbow." Twilight replied humouredly, herself, Applejack and Starlight following after Rainbow. The alicorn paused upon the display on the table between the thrones. "Huh? The map? Is there another friendship problem already? Ooh, wonder who'll be dispatched where this time! Rarity and Pinkie've still yet to return from Manehatten, but if it isn't asking for them, it shouldn't be an issue."
The enthusiasm of the studious mare prompted my small smile. Friendship was valuable to her as coke was to me. Though neither compared to how much she mattered to me, and vice versa. Resting my cheek on my hoof, leaning against one arm of my seat, I said in faint casualness, "I activated the map, Twilight. Just needed to check something."
Twilight visibly deflated, being comforted then by an amused Starlight. "Oh." Sorry love.
Applejack smirked, saying reassuringly, "Don't worry Twilight, I'm sure you'll be gettin' a friendship problem in no time." Sure, just give it another twenty episodes or so. The map barely does much this season to begin with.
"And we'll solve it in no time flat when it does!" Rainbow stated confidently, a smug grin plastered on that blue muzzle, before turning to me. "Need any help?"
Not this time. "No thanks Rainbow, this is something I need to handle on my own."
"Oh... Definitely need our help then." What? The pegasus rolled her eyes jokingly. "Come on Star, I know that look on your face. There's trouble, and you want to handle it on your own for the gajillion time. Am I right?" Welp, caught me red-handed. "Thought so. So, what's buggin' ya? Something to do with that 'Zagreus' guy you've been fighting?"
She is astonishingly perceptive.
Surprisingly- Oh, you were being sarcastic.
Twilight, clearly interested, walked forward to take her seat, examining the map closely. "Let me guess, you're searching for locations he could be hiding at, right?" I nodded, focusing intently on the projection before us as well. "In that case, we should look for the most likely areas someone who obviously wants to go into hiding arould be. That narrows down the list to less numerous locations outside the populated towns and cities. If we-"
"I've already narrowed them down, thanks love."
"Oh... I see." Twilight sounded disappointed further, frowning. "That'd make things easier for us to track down Zagreus and apprehend him-"
"I'll handle that. First thing tomorrow I'll be heading out to investigate the first spot."
"Don't you mean we'll head to investigate?" Applejack chimed in firmly, looking both annoyed and humourous at my clear insistence. "Or are ya convinced this is your problem and yours alone, sugarcube?"
Cyan eyes stared back at the green orbs glaring in challenge. "Can't argue with facts, Applejack." Before she could retort, I interjected with more force to my voice, "I'm not taking any chance this time, girls. This is my mistake and mine alone, and I'll be damned before I let any of you get hurt because of this."
I still had terrible flashbacks to many of my friends becoming endangered because of me. Twilight, Spike and Starlight in that imbalanced dimension, Strongheart abducted and all-out war because of it. Human Twilight, backhanded by a possessed Shining Armor...
"Can't argue with facts? Well here's some factual information not up for discussion then; your friends are helping you out anyway." Twilight wasn't in any mood for games either, giving me the same stern look. "I know all about what occurred in Sunset's world, our friends were kind enough to tell me after your hasty departure. And if you think I'm- We're just gonna sit back and let you fight this danger by yourself again, then you're sorely mistaken Jack. This time there's no Crystalling to keep us preoccupied." Emphasized from the bright sensation of resolve radiating across our bond, present as day. Those enchanting purple orbs were crystal clear, saying they were going to help, whether I liked it or not.
Probably should've kept my mouth shut about my investigations.
And Twilight wasn't the only one fueled by determination. "Hear hear." Applejack nodded, smiling toothily. "Yer stuck with our help 'till the very end Star." Starlight, observing the proceedings between the throne occupants, smiled wryly, continuing to look unsure about fitting in with the group.
That's alright Starlight. The fanbase isn't too sure about where you belong either.
"Look, girls, I appreciate that you all care so much, I do." But I couldn't afford their lives being at risk. Not now, not ever, Not while I can help it. "This isn't anything like we've faced before."
"Uh-huh, and that's gonna stop us how, exactly? We've fought new threats all the time! What's so different about this one? I say bring it."
Ugh, seriously. Annoyed eyes switched to a smug Rainbow. "Zagreus is nothing like the former villains we've face before. He's an entire league of his own, something that was never meant to exist before in the first place."
She snorted, too arrogant to see the bigger picture, lounging back against her throne comfortably. "So what? Just because he's an accident doesn't mean we stand no chance against him. You said it yourself, he's weak right now, yeah? If we act now, we can find him and capture him before it's too late, and you can stop being a stubborn worrywart."
Having little patience for arrogance, Rainbow tested my patience far too quickly. "God dammit Rainbow, this is different!" One hoof slammed on the armchair, my frustration palpable. Starlight leaned back at the display, and Rainbow raised both brows at my clear irritation, baring my teeth. "Zagreus doesn't follow the rules; he's not bound by the cartoon logic of this world. He's not a conqueror nor seeks to simply cause trouble. He's not afraid to kill!"
Rainbow shuddered, but Twilight intervened, "Jack, calm down. Rainbow just wants to help. We all do."
"Yeah, and that right there's the problem." Leaping off my throne, I glared around at the others. Not in scorn, but sternness. "You're my best friends, and that's exactly what motivates me to say this; stay out of this. Zagreus isn't a friendship issue, but a Balance one. I have to clean up my mistake, alone." My gaze then turned to the doorway, voice betraying how exhausted I was while softening in remorse, "I can't risk endangering you all any further... I'm not Celestia."
"Jack, wait!" No Twilight, this wasn't up for discussion. But my insistent girlfriend called out regardless in hopes I'll hear her plea. "Let us help you! We... I don't want you to get seriously hurt again!"
"You can't fight all yer battles alone Star!" Applejack added firmly. "Zagreus bein' a thing ain't your fault!"
Oh but it is. And the last thing I heard before leaving the room was Rainbow's mutter of "Sheesh, and you guys call me self-conceited..."