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About Magicon

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  1. Happy birthday :3

  2. Vim immediately took Magicon’s hoof with a grim face, pulling the unicorn to his hooves before speaking as Magicon straightened out his cape. Scarlet had climbed onto her hooves, duster herself off, and sat somewhat away from them, her eyes watching them, cold and distant. Magicon took no notice of the other events with Arcanel, Dawn, and Ambrosia. His attention was solely focused on the earth pony and the unicorn. Vim’s older voice spoke with no hesitation or even any emotion as he began telling the story of his family and the tragic rail accident that had befallen them. Had this been a friendlier environment and if Magicon wasn’t in a somewhat angry, yet apologetic state, he would’ve been more sympathetic. Instead, he took the words with indifference on the exterior. His facial features made no reaction, though his inner emotions showed great care, concern, and sorrow for the conductor. He then began talking about the big picture, a thought that immediately took root in Magicon’s mind. Vim said the Big Picture wasn’t enough; it didn’t allow you to see all the tiny turns and corners hidden along the path. That idea had never occurred to Magicon but it made sense. If one was a bird flying above the big forest, they could not see the tiny paths that snaked through the forest, below the tree line. Vim’s Big Picture segued to a comparison on him and Scarlet. It made Magicon uneasy at first and he bit his lower lip as Vim began but the more Vim talked the more Magicon understood and made sense of what he said. As he listed off more details about the things that Scarlet had done or didn’t do, the fire itself reignited inside Magicon. Vim was making sense and in a good way. It was cold, in-your-face, straight-forward sense. It was logical, it was right, and it made the fire inside him burn. Though Vim hadn’t been there when Magicon first met Bringer and Scarlet with Asteria, he was able to see something that Magicon couldn’t: see past their facades. It was making sense; everything was. Why Scarlet and Bringer had escaped this world and entered the real one. Bringer hadn’t tagged along, he was part of the plan that they had created together. Scarlet was just as much a part of Bringer’s dark plans as she was. Why they wouldn’t truly hurt each other: it was because they were allies. Maybe Bringer controlled Scarlet or vice versa, it no longer mattered. What mattered was the fact that Magicon had been used by Scarlet, brilliantly used like a machine and he nearly killed a pony because of her. The anger inside him made him shut his eyes in fury. He was angry at himself for having fallen into this disgusting trap. Angry at Bringer for all of this to happen. But even angrier at Scarlet for her deception. She wanted him to act to stop the agents of Bringer; he almost did, but he was no certain he would do so. Yet a small part of him seemed hesitant. Was Vim now using him as well? Was he just a puppet to be toyed around with? No, he wasn’t. Vim was on his side. Vim wanted to help him and he had done so by setting the record straighter than any fine line. As Vim finished Scarlet began clapping for him, in a malicious manner. It was the type of clap a villain gives a hero for figuring out their plans. Magicon knew how that would end, especially with a pony or creature as powerful as Scarlet. He wouldn’t let it happen. Ambrosia had approached Vim as well, as if she knew the meaning behind the deliberate clap as well. Magicon lowered his gaze and faced Scarlet head on, his blue eyes burning. His voice was direct and fierce as he spoke, comparable to that of a spurned lover. “You used me. You had your own plans. You’ve been working with Wraith the entire time. Whether this plan is his, yours, or both of yours I don’t care. You used me to get what you wanted. Well, Scarlet, or whatever your real name is, I say this only once: nopony and I mean nopony, uses me! You said to stop the agents of Wraith, well I’ll do so, starting with you!” While he spoke he charged his horn with his most powerful magic. He didn’t care if Scarlet saw it happening. He knew it would a fight worth having. He wanted it, to save Asteria, to stop Wraith, to avenge his misdeeds, to be a true hero. Gathering as much magical energy as possible he focused it into a single short red beam of magic that erupted from his horn and flew right at Scarlet. He intended for a spell to knock Scarlet off her hooves and send her flying backwards. Even if the spell worked improperly the power behind would at least frighten her. He would not fail. Everypony was counting on him. He would be the hero he never was.
  3. He watched the spell fly from his horn directly at Dawn, seeing it turn into a giant fireball as it made contact with Dawn’s shield, sending hot cinders everywhere. Magicon’s reaction was calm, but steady, as if he was expecting this was one of numerous possible outcomes. Yet harming Dawn wasn’t even his real goal, at least it wasn’t now that the spell had failed. He hadn’t given much power behind it, due to the possibility of harming other ponies. But it had done one thing he needed the spell to do: hush everypony up. Ambrosia had ducked for cover and the other ponies whipped around with faces of horror and bewilderment at Magicon. Dawn seemed cool in her reaction to his spell and he simply watched her for a moment before hearing Scarlet speak. A loud crash followed by a scream echoed around them and Magicon whipped around to see Arcanel down on the ground, some sparks still jumping about his body and the smell of burnt hair now filling the air. His mouth dropped open and he was unable to restrain his voice as it shouted “Arcanel!”. Besides the shock of the attack on the pegasus, something changed inside Magicon. The brutality of the attack and Scarlet’s dark motivations behind it made his insides turn. Scarlet was not willing to tolerate descent, especially when it came to Bringer. Now Magicon disliked Dawn and Bringer, but he respected Arcanel’s opinion and his defense of Dawn. Yet Scarlet was blind to other opinions and ideas. To her, the pony that offered even a simple defense of an enemy automatically made them an enemy as well. It bothered Magicon. It clashed with his ideals. Even though he disliked ponies, he always tried to respect their opinions. He may not have liked Arcanel much, but he wasn’t a stupid pony. He would’ve never wished such a fate on him. He was about to scold Scarlet for her actions when she suddenly saw her fly backwards toward him, crashing directly into him and pushing them both to the ground. Some pain filled his body as he looked up and saw that Vim had bucked Scarlet in her side, sending her sprawling right into him. The earth pony was now charging towards them and was right in front of them in no time. Magicon looked up at the earth pony, seeing his hard gaze look down on both of them. Magicon knew the gaze: the one an angry and disappointed father gives to their foal. Magicon grit his teeth and his ears feel back, now wishing he hadn’t done what he had done. The only consolation was that his attack didn’t cause harm. Yet it had given Scarlet an opportunity to hurt a pony, an opportunity that Magicon now wished he hadn’t created. Looking at Vim with an apologetic expression, Magicon spoke quickly. “I see you’re not pleased by either of our actions. I will only say this: mine were necessitated by the big picture; Scarlet’s out of malice and refusal to tolerate descent. I only did what would help us weaken Bringer. If you guys think that removing Dawn is a bad idea then, I won’t object. I’m sorry for my rash actions, but I…I just want to save Asteria.” He offered his hoof towards Vim, either to sake or to help him up or just ignore it. Magicon couldn’t read Vim’s expression as he spoke to the earth pony. He didn’t know what he was thinking. All that he knew was that he had made a mistake and he was sorry for it.
  4. Magicon


  5. Each of them immediately responded to his sudden arrival. Ambrosia and Vim immediately recognized Magicon and he could see both of their faces soften at his appearance. Vim mentioned that half of the search was done. Magicon could only figure that he was speaking about him and Asteria. Their disappearance from the train had been noticed, though how long had he been away from the train to garner their attention was beyond his knowledge. Both also took interest in Scarlet, examining her from a distance. Magicon wasn’t able to read their thoughts as Arcanel suddenly jumped towards Magicon and gave him a small hug, raising the hairs on the back of his neck and widening his eyes. Before Magicon could push Arcanel away from him, the pegasus had already let go, much to Magicon’s relief, and immediately dove into a rambling narrative about the recent events. Magicon only paid quasi-attention to Arcanel’s words, mostly because he knew most of his speech anyway. He had figured it out for himself; he didn’t a black cat to reveal itself for him to calculate that Bringer was up to no good. He gave small ‘yeahs’ and ‘uh huhs’ occasionally towards Arcanel but his eyes displayed sole interest in Scarlet and Dawn. Something was wrong between the two. He could feel it. The look in their eyes showed it all and each of their gazes was lowering at the other. Attempting to stop the potential feud, Ambrosia inserted herself between the two unicorns, staring at Dawn, away from the rest of the group. Keeping one eye on her and one eye on Arcanel, Magicon’s attention was only returned fully to the pegasus when he heard his name utter from his lips. Magicon was about to answer Arcanel’s question, when Scarlet introduced herself and immediately took control of the conversation. Magicon watched her in silent observation. Magicon slowly turned his head towards Scarlet in curiosity. It wasn’t the fact that Dawn was an agent of Bringer that was curious to him; he had already figured that out. It was the drastic idea that Scarlet had proposed to stop Dawn and Bringer, albeit indirectly, that aroused his curiosity. He wasn’t sure what to make of it. On one hoof he disliked Dawn and knew she was dangerous from the moment they had come in contact. Her and those annoying cats had always been suspicious and dangerous and now look what they had done: allowed Bringer to gain advantages on all of the ponies on the train. But was death the necessary punishment for her aid towards Bringer? Magicon didn’t know and as much as he disliked Dawn, he knew such rash actions like forcing death’s hand would not end well. He needed time to think. Ambrosia provided it with her defense of Dawn. With a quick motion she spun around, directly facing Scarlet and uttered her opinion, clear as day. Scarlet took the insult coldly and threw one right back at the cook, making Magicon slightly shudder. He was not one for insults, particularly harsh ones like “earth pony”. Yet Ambrosia took it coolly and remained defiant in the face of Scarlet. Despite her weak head in the dining care this morning, Ambrosia looked like a mountain: immovable and stubborn. Magicon looked down at the mention of Asteria’s name. Wasn’t that what he was here for anyway? Wasn’t that why he and Scarlet were aiding each other? The goal was not to stop Bringer, but rescue Asteria. Would Dawn help further accomplish that, if she was kept alive? If she was a tool for Bringer, then wouldn’t her death frustrate him? Wouldn’t her death anger him, thereby unleashing his power amongst them all? Magicon didn’t want to know what Bringer could do, but he had the feeling he would learn soon enough. Magicon suddenly felt the urge just to walk up to Arcanel and yell ‘Shut up’ right in his face. His stupid questions and ramblings were really getting on his nerves and his patience was wearing thing with the pegasus. Even if his defense of Dawn was valid, Magicon couldn’t stand much more of Arcanel’s mouth. Magicon couldn’t resist the facehoof and he shook his head as he did so. Arcanel was being the overexcited and overcurious colt with an endless stream of stupid questions and opinions, none of which really mattered. Asteria needed their help this minute. They were wasting time just standing around and asking stupid questions. Magicon knew Scarlet wouldn’t tolerate it, probably even less than he could. He could just kill Dawn right now and be done with it. Though there would be consequences, the positives of her death seemed to outweigh the negatives. Screw the moral feelings; his heart was already dark enough to handle it. But what of the others? Ambrosia, Arcanel, Dawn were most definitely against it while Scarlet was for it. Magicon assumed that Scarlet was more powerful than the three of them. Plus, if a fight did break out between Dawn and Scarlet he would have no trouble choosing a side and aiding them. But why wait until that confrontation? Why not just settle this? It would shut everypony up and allow them to move forward with their mission. But what of his reputation? He had already proven himself a hero on the train. He had beaten Scarlet, at least on the train. If he did choose to spare Dawn Scarlet’s hoof would be forced. Plus, did he really hate Dawn enough to kill her? Did he even hate her? Magicon wasn’t sure and that was when a compromised through entered his mind and he agreed to act upon it. While the group remained focus on the four ponies, Magicon took a few steps sideways, keeping Dawn in his sights. He began charging his magic inside him and aimed for Dawn. In a single loud and rapid shot, he cast a paralysis spell directly at Dawn, hoping it would travel fast enough to hit her before she could react. Magicon wasn’t sure what would happen. Magic was unpredictable and its consequences ever-changing and always uncertain, but it was worth the risk.
  6. On a separate and unrelated PSA, I also have to address something, though not as serious as Luminescence's. As I have mentioned on Skype I will be heading on a cruise between July 12-21 and will have no access to the internet as I will not be bringing my laptop with me (due to fear of loss, damage, and desire to just get away from everything). As a result I will not be posting during that time. Luminescence has informed me that he will suspend the RP during that time, which is fine by me and probably the best for him to help him recuperate with his injury. But I will leave the ultimate decision with him. I hope this does not inconvenience anyone and I look forward to continue RPing with you all as soon as I get back.
  7. He kept running to keep pace with Scarlet. Despite her smaller statute she compensated it with daring speed and agility which he barely managed to keep up. The chill of the wind blew around him and chunks of snow blurred his vision but he kept running. He squinted his eyes to maximize his visibility, only being able to see the outline of the village growing larger as they approached and Scarlet’s body, running just ahead of him. Magicon could see the village in much more detail as they quickly approached it and the sight was confusing to him. The village was damaged, as if something or somepony had recently attacked the village. Magicon could only assume that it had been the creature that had previously roared through the winds of the frozen plains. It had come, done its damage, and now left. Magicon was unsure if it would return, but he was prepared. He knew his magic would aid him; it always did. Scarlet too seemed determined to stop this beast if it showed itself. Her skill was equally impressive. They were nearly equals in terms of magical skill. Their combined strength would defeat any beast that Bringer could unleash. As for Bringer himself, Magicon did not dwell of what his plans were. He solely concentrated on the village and what they might find there, if anything. As they approached, Magicon followed Scarlet’s lead and slowed to a trot, carefully observing the damage from the attack. Scratches, burn marks, were evident everywhere and chunks of debris lay scattered about the village. Yet the structures remained standing, an observation that surprised Magicon. ‘Either this beast was tired when he attacked, was beaten early on, or was in a hurry. Regardless, this village was spared.’ The thought worried him though. The beast knew of the village and obviously didn’t like it. He would return, though when was unknown to the unicorn stallion. Magicon nodded at Scarlet’s statement. His thoughts about Bringer were in accord with Scarlet’s, but the knowledge about practically psychic ponies was new to him. Old Equestria had prophets which supposedly predicted future events, but nearly all of it was speculation. Scarlet, however, stated the scribes in factual terms and with a complimentary attitude. Plus the fact they were in the world of dreams, shadows, and nightmares made anything, including scribes and prophets, possible. He was about to announce his agreement when Scarlet suddenly stopped, ears standing, completely alert like a guard-dog. Magicon listened as well and sure enough he heard voices. From what he could tell he heard a stallion and a mare talking. Scarlet began following the sound as did Magicon, preparing his horn for anything Bringer might decide to throw at them. They hid behind a corner, safe from the talking ponies, but still able to hear the conversation. At first Magicon’s heart dropped when he heard the voices, but then it bounced with joy. It couldn’t be them? It wasn’t possible! How did they get here? His eyes darted around the corner and their sparkles leapt down to his mouth which exploded into a beaming smile. He saw Ambrosia and Vim talking to each other with Arcanel and Dawn nearby. A tiny part of him worried: this might all be a trap by Bringer. But Magicon listened to their conversation and the more he listened, the more he knew that these were not replicas of the cook and the conductor, they were the real ones. Somehow they had landed in the shadow world and just minutes before Scarlet and himself arrived. He overheard Scarlet ask him if these ponies could be trusted. Magicon whipped around, a wide smile on his face. “Absolutely, they can be trusted. I know all of them. Only…just keep your distance with Dawn. She’s not to be trusted at all. The other three can be trusted with your life. The older stallion is the conductor, Vim. The mare is Ambrosia, the cook. The stallion is Arcanel, a passenger and the filly is Dawn. Follow me.” Magicon wasted no time as he quickly stepped out of the corner and hurriedly approached the group. “Vim! Ambrosia! Arcanel! You don’t know how happy I am to see you all! I’ve been literally dying to get back on the train and out of this place. But…how did you guys get here? What’s happened on the train?”
  8. As he spoke she turned away from him, her impassive backside being the only readable expression from Magicon’s perspective. It was only when he finished that she turned around with a noticeable change in her appearance. Her eyes lost their traditional shade of blue and now glowed passionately red. He felt slightly concerned, thinking that her eye color was connected to her emotions and if any emotion could connect with such a bright shade of red, it was anger. If Scarlet was angry, was it at him or Bringer? Magicon looked at her a little closer and saw no anger towards him, instead he found a neutral possibly, an even respectful feeling emitting from Scarlet. She spoke cautiously, though her eyes still retained their passion. Magicon felt slight relief at Scarlet’s admission. Asteria‘s location was known, at least to Scarlet. There was a chance to save her. Scarlet’s promise was still more comforting. It confirmed one important thing to Magicon: Scarlet did care about Asteria. She had a heart. The filly had successfully tapped into Scarlet’s emotions and had beautifully constructed a relationship with Scarlet; one to merit a rescue mission for her. Scarlet cared about Asteria’s safety just as much as Magicon did, if not more. He didn’t care if Bringer cheated or not, it was irrelevant. Asteria was in danger and Magicon knew that it would be up to him and Scarlet to save her. As she gave her description of this world that they must travel through and its creator and Bringer’s pet Magicon remembered Lapis’s note containing Dusky’s bizarre story. It suddenly didn’t seem so bizarre. Dusky was that pony who became the guardian and the subsequent dragon. Magicon didn’t know how he did; he just knew it had to be true. It felt right. The monster was either Bringer or something of his creation and had merged with Dusky. It was then that Scarlet brought Dusky to this world which originally only contained dreams and nightmares. He and Springer bonded and with Scarlet’s help created a new world, a gray world, a world of shadows. The monster was trapped here or trapped in the world of nightmares. Magicon didn’t know for certain. There were still pieces of the puzzle missing, but he was beginning to see a general idea. It helped explain why Dusky thought the way he did. It explained why he never used magic, he couldn’t. It explained how Scarlet and Bringer knew him. Yet it also worried him. Bringer and Dusky were mortal enemies. Bringer wanted release and had nearly succeeded with Dusky. He was out for revenge against him as well as to free himself and do whatever he wanted either in these three worlds or in Equestria or both. This was suddenly much bigger than anything Magicon had expected or even prepared for. He felt suddenly ill-equipped and inexperienced for Bringer and all of this. Sure, he had survived this world so far and gained an ally, but these were minute accomplishments compared to what he was about to face. “Trust yourself. You will do it.” He heard Archie’s words echo through his mind once again, as if they were an automatic speaker perfectly timed to speak when he was ready to abandon his tasks. They strengthened him and he listened to Scarlet’s final words carefully as he braced himself for whatever was to come. In seconds a blur of light and colors, forcing Magicon to shield his eyes, landed them in a borderline. On one side, Scarlet’s familiar grassy plains of dreams, the other the cold and foreboding tundra of the shadow realm. The chill was instantaneous and Magicon shivered from the cold gusts. He looked over at Scarlet as she took her first step then backed away with a desperate, panic-stricken look on her face as the ice began spreading around them, encroaching on the dream world. Scarlet snapped back to look at something in the grass and it revealed itself as a black cat. Magicon lowered his gaze at the creature. It wasn’t Bringer; it was too small. Magicon knew it was one of Springer’s allies…and then it hit him. The cats on the train…they weren’t Dawn’s, they were Bringer’s! Somehow they had latched onto Dawn. Was she in on Bringer’s evil scheme as well? Was she his “lovely assistant”? Magicon did not know but felt immensely proud to have distrusted her from the moment he laid eyes on her. He had been right: Dawn was up to no good. She would have to be stopped as well. Yet his pride was shattered by Scarlet’s quick attack on the cat. Magicon instantly turned from the scene, closing his eyes and shielding them with his right hoof, not wanting to see the carnage of an animal fight. The sounds made his stomach churn and he was relieved to hear Scarlet speak after only a few seconds of slaughter. He cautiously opened his eyes, lowered his hoof, and nodded at Scarlet. He watched her as she transformed once again into a new pony, one with a very interesting color scheme. The silver glowed unnaturally yet the mane complimented Scarlet’s red eyes. The cutie mark of a suit of cards was odd, but not the weirdest one Magicon had seen in his lifetime. From her words Magicon gauged that this form was taken after a real pony that Scarlet had come across sometime in the past. Whether that was recently or generations ago were unknown to him. But she had such an effect on Scarlet that she admired her and it also suggested that this pony was skilled in magic despite her age, not unlike himself when he was that young. Yet Magicon did not dwell on this pony. He focused on preparing to cross this frozen tundra and meet whatever awaited them there. The attack would come from the air. It might be a dragon, the one that Dusky’s story had mentioned. He didn’t have time to think as Scarlet galloped, head-first, into the shadow world. Magicon quickly followed her, the wind howling around him and gusting his cape uncontrollably. It remained tight around his neck but it moved about wildly as he ran. He felt a small shock surge through the air as if it had been struck by lightning as he saw Scarlet cast a shield around herself. He followed, his horn casting a dark lavender shield around him as he ran. Despite the gusts, he managed to hear Scarlet’s words. Magicon squinted his eyes ahead and sure enough, a small village was in the distance, growing larger and more detailed as the two of them hurried towards it. A loud roar echoed over the ice, nearly stopping Magicon in his tracks. But he kept moving, either from pure adrenaline or from the fear of falling behind. He wanted to shout something to Scarlet, but what could he say? Everything had already been said. He just followed Scarlet. She knew what she was doing and he would help her. They were allies and that’s what allies do: help each other.
  9. He didn’t know her reaction to his words, nor did he truly care. His mind was focused on escape and Asteria. Something in his gut told him that she was not safe, more so than the entire time they have been in this dream world. Bringer was up to something dangerous and possibly deadly. He couldn’t let anything happen to Asteria, for his own sake and Lapis’s. He could just imagine the colt grieving over Asteria’s loss. He didn’t even know if Lapis knew they were missing. He really knew nothing beyond this immediate world that he had been sucked into. Now here he was, in Springer’s fake room with a griffon who loved games. The five minutes would end soon and the next game would commence much to his regret. Was there no end in sight? Did Scarlet even understand his words or feelings? Did she even care? He didn’t know and he kept his body turned away from Scarlet until she began speaking. Her voice carried worry and apprehension. His stomach sank as he heard the words spill from her beak. Magicon wiped around, his cape flying in the air in the process. His face carried a mixed expression of deep worry and anger as he stared at Scarlet. He could explode greater than any volcano at any second. He could attempt to hurt and possibly kill Scarlet, if it were possible. No, it didn’t matter if it was possible or not. If Scarlet couldn’t get Bringer and Asteria, it was her fault and she would pay. Yet as she continued speaking, she did not show malice or dark amusement at Asteria and Springer’s disappearance. Instead, she spoke of fear and worry. This wasn’t to her liking either. The anger dwindled inside of him as his intense gaze softened as she continued speaking. Magicon opened his mouth to speak, but closed it when he saw that she wasn’t finished. In his mind Scarlet must’ve known what was going on in the train, especially regarding him. Bringer had been close to him and Scarlet would’ve known. She just had to. If Bringer had taken Springer’s place on the train, then Scarlet must have… His eyes sparkled in realization and his mind exploded as his memory brought forward one single quote from the previous night. It suddenly all made sense! On that night Bringer was Springer and Scarlet was Trixie! They had escaped the dream world and mingled amongst the passengers on the train! He had not dueled the real Trixie but Scarlet! Even more he had beaten her! Suddenly the fear and worry was greatly diminished. He suddenly had a chance to not only rescue Asteria from this world, but also escape. He could overpower Scarlet and get out alive. Yet one question lingered in his mind from the previous night: why did they do it? They just wanted to have fun, or at least Scarlet did. It dawned on Magicon that despite Scarlet’s somewhat dark behavior and words, she was nothing more than a filly looking for a friend to play games with. All she wanted was a close friend. Bringer was not the close friend she wanted, so when Magicon and Asteria had appeared Scarlet was overjoyed to see a filly of similar age. Asteria must’ve left a good impression on Scarlet; otherwise she wouldn’t be so worried about her. Magicon felt more confident in himself and a little more trust towards Scarlet. She wasn’t an evil mastermind, just a lonely filly with a misunderstood impression about the world around her. He could feel some slight sympathy for her. His eyes looked at her in a calm, delicate manner. His voice matched his eyes in expression with growing confidence. “I think you understand what I feel now, Scarlet. You’re right, it isn’t pleasant, fear never is, but we mustn’t let it stop us. You want to help Asteria just as much as I do and you offer me whatever I wish in return. I accept your offer. I don’t think we have much time. Bringer is dangerous and might harm or even kill Asteria. We must hurry, so I will be brief with everything. “Firstly, Dusky, Dawn, and Trixie are ponies that I’ve had fights with. Dusky insulted and angered me. Dawn is unstable and quick to violent; completely untrustworthy, and Trixie, well, I think you know about me and Trixie.” He gave a small wink with that sentence. “But, those are not the immediate concerns. Asteria and Bringer are. I remember Bringer describing the room to be, but it was so confusing and complex that I don’t know if I can accurately describe it. I will do my best. “The room is more like a hall. Longer than it is wider, much longer. There are columns evenly spaced the entire length of the hall, but each is imperfect in some way, either chipped or cracked or something of the sort. The walls are made of some transparent material, glass maybe and show a black ocean surrounding the hall. I believe it is cylinder shaped or at least the celling of the hall is, making for an arched ceiling, like a thousand meters above the floor. The floor is made up of tiles, each a different size and shade of blue. In the center of the hall stands a wide cylinder with a dark and magical light emitting out of it. It travels around the room and is cold and distant, apparently. I think that’s it…I don’t know if this is enough information but I hope it is, I really hope it is. I did my best, now you need to do yours. Whatever it is you need to do, I will help, that’s a promise.”
  10. “Trust yourself. You will do it.” Archie’s words pierced his mind louder and more clearly than any other sound. They were six simple words, but the power and emotion behind them were immeasurable. He had once found Archie annoying and over-inquisitive, but over time found him to be enthusiastic and the pony that drove him beyond his own limitations. Archie was the voice of confidence and those six words always strengthened Magicon. He couldn’t remember the last time he had last heard them, but it didn’t matter. His memory wanted him to succeed. It was reminding him of his friend and his confidence. He just had to finish these games. Maybe then it would be alright. Maybe then he could escape with Springer and Asteria. Maybe then normalcy would return. Bringer had mumbled something about a plan to end the game, a statement that both worried and confirmed his suspicions. He knew Bringer was dangerous and lying. It was yet another example. He would kill Magicon before the game was over. He was quite confident in that prediction. As he watched Bringer a bright flash appeared beside him and Asteria appeared alongside something that nearly gave Magicon a heart attack, a griffon. His eyes immediately darted to Asteria. She seemed unharmed and her eyes suggested curiosity and concern at the events surrounding her and Magicon. As Bringer spoke to the griffon, Magicon was astounded to learn that the griffon was none other than Scarlet and apparently this was his “true” form. Magicon had only minimal experience with griffons. They were uncommon at the museum. Why would they come to a museum about magical arts and artifacts? They can’t practice magic and their species was not known for its wide acceptance of the arts and history. Yet, given his limited experience with Scarlet, Magicon could tell that he was or she was, (did Scarlet switch genders?) was different. She may have her griffon instincts, just like he did with his unicorn ones, but she pushed beyond them and had become something much more than a simple flying beast. Though what she was was unknown to Magicon’s mind. Regardless Scarlet had excited Bringer who stated that he would assume his “true” form as well. He briefly described it and as he finished his last words he began changing. His transformation was bizarre, to say the least. It was slow and Magicon watched with his mouth agape, unable to remove his gaze from the pony, as he transformed. He grew larger and darker. His fur became black, his teeth sharper, his pupils dilated, his hooves grew into paws and shortly a dangerous and hulking panther stood before all of them. The hair on the back of his neck shot up and he quickly glanced at Asteria, who looked more curious than frightened by Bringer’s sudden change. He spoke with a mystical voice to which Scarlet replied that this panther was apparently his “normal” form, whatever that meant. Magicon didn’t understand either one. How could he? How could any sane pony? This was beyond the world of reality; this was the world of real dreams and real nightmares. How it came to exist or why was beyond comprehension and the role these two played was incalculable or understandable. Magicon refused to think on it, knowing that such thoughts would only lead to confusion and loss of focus, which he could ill-afford to lose. He returned his mind to Scarlet who explained the next set of rules for the next game. It was simple: hide and seek in the room of his and Bringer’s creation. Scarlet was to hide in Magicon’s room while his gut sank as he realized that Asteria was to hide in Bringer’s room with Bringer looking for him. Bringer’s room was confusing enough, worse still now that a panther was looking for a young filly in it. Asteria’s life was now at stake more than ever. He couldn’t allow this. If the game had to be played, let him go in her place. Let him die at the paws of a savage and merciless panther, not an innocent filly. He felt his heart resolve in determination to stop this right now. Magicon was about to speak when a flash obscured his vision and sent him reeling into Springer’s room. He wished he had escaped to the real room, away from all of this nonsense. Yet he knew that was a fallacy. This was his description of Springer’s room, and though accurate, was still in the dream world. A griffon named Scarlet was hiding somewhere in this room. Magicon wouldn’t have difficulty finding her, his concern was Asteria. She was most definitely in mortal danger, trying to hide from a dangerous and untrustworthy panther. His only hope was praying that she would hide somewhere far away from Bringer, somewhere in that room where it would take longer than five minutes for him to find her. That was his only consultation as he scanned the room, noting any possible hiding places for Scarlet. He took a deep breath and began searching. Knowing that Scarlet was a griffon was a great asset: she couldn’t hide in very many places in Springer’s room. She was nowhere in plain sight, obviously hiding somewhere in the room. Magicon began with the closet, no griffon there. The only immediate fear he felt was worrying that Scarlet might jump out and attack him. But she seemed more interested in the game rather than violence. She had not harmed Asteria; she wouldn’t harm Magicon, if he played his cards right. He then headed to Springer’s bed. He ruffled the sheets. No griffon in the bed. He then lowered himself below the bed and was greeted by the newly-changed blue eyes of Scarlet. Though it was dark under the bed Magicon could still tell she was slightly annoyed with his discovery. He guessed he had spent less than a minute looking for her. Four minutes remained for Asteria. He prayed she would be smart and live long enough to survive the game. He stared back at the griffon with eyes that betrayed his own worries. His voice spoke with some hesitation, but he felt his vocal chords loosen the longer he spoke. Archie’s six words range in his head the whole time. “Found…you,” he stated and rose from the bed, turning his back to the bed and its griffon occupant below it. “I guess…I win…Scarlet. I…I’m really at a loss for words. You’re different than any other pony or now griffon I’ve ever met. You seem mystical, yet respectful. You show great restraint towards me, Asteria, and Springer when it is not required. I’m worried that I won’t survive this…dream world of yours and Bringer’s. “I’m scared, Scarlet, more scared than I’ve ever been. I don’t even know why I’m telling you this…probably because you already sense it. All I wanted was a quiet train ride to Los Pegasus and even then, I was more forced into going than actually having a desire to travel. I never expected any of this: you, Bringer, Springer, Dusky, Trixie, and now Dawn, and all of these other ponies and events. “And now that I have, I can only say I want one thing: to get out of this world and off of this train as quickly as possible. I know you don’t want that. You like…games and amusement, but you’ve had your fun. Now let me leave with Springer and Asteria before somepony gets seriously hurt. You may control this world, but so does Bringer and I sense conflict between you two. Why? “What is the point of all this? Why bring me and Asteria here and subject us to this? Why torment poor Springer with these dreams and forms of bondage? What do you want from us? I just want answers, please.”
  11. Magicon did not know Bringer’s reaction to his threat or his description. He had designed both to warn and annoy the pony, though he was unsure if either emotions were achieved on the colt. Bringer’s reaction to Magicon’s malice was complete ignorance. He simply smiled up at him as Magicon spat out his dark language. It was as if he didn’t understand a single syllable of his speech, much less the content or meaning of it. It was somewhat displeasing in the unicorn. He did not give such dark warnings often and when he did they always achieved a similar effect: a noticeable change in a pony’s persona. Instead of content it always changed to some form of fear or worry, though the discretion varied depending on the pony and the content of his language. Yet Bringer showed no emotion at all. Was he that young of a colt? Or was he beyond the point of caring? Perhaps he thought he was invincible; incapable of being hurt Magicon’s magic or his actions and thus unaffected by his words. It was unexpected and frustrating to find such a reaction. But, it could all be a trick. Bringer wasn’t to be trusted. He could very well be scared inside, but in such control of his emotions that none of that fear seeped past his fur. Frightened or not, it was Magicon’s description that produced a result in Bringer that Magicon had not intended, but was pleased to see. Bringer appeared more and more disappointed the longer Magicon spoke. Instead of amusing or annoying the pegasus, Magicon’s description was boring him. Though not an annoyance, per se, boredom could be a serious hamper to a pony. Bringer’s boredom made him suspicious of Magicon sabotaging the game, an action that Magicon would never emit in this situation. But then it dawned on him, by putting Asteria on the opposite team, Bringer and Scarlet had set the scales against both of them. If he and Bringer won, Asteria would be hurt. If Asteria and Scarlet won, he would be hurt. Neither outcome was to his or Asteria’s advantage. Either both teams needed to lose or win or Springer refused to declare a winner or a loser. His gut fell at the realization while Bringer lay on the ground, concentrating on something oblivious to Magicon. He paced back in forth in front of the pegasus, now even more worried about Asteria. Why didn’t he think of this before? Why was he so clueless? Why did he have to agree to open that blasted door? So many of these questions were pointless; it mattered not to him or his current situation. The answers to these questions would not help him. It was simply out of his hooves. All he could do now was pray for a few outcomes: Bringer failed in his description, Scarlet and Ambrosia were creatively equal to them, or Springer refused to judge. Out of all the three, the last two were the most likely, but they were still uncertain. As he thought and paced he began to hear Bringer’s voice in a hushed tone. He paused in his tracks and silenced his mind as he quietly approached the pegasus and began listening to his description. As he spoke Magicon began picturing it, but from the start he began running into difficulties. ’Ok, a large hall, simple enough. Cylinder in shape, is the cylinder on its side or standing up? Underwater? A building of that size? That’s not technologically possible. Magical and transparent walls, well ok, it’s possible, but on a hall of such size?’ As Bringer spoke further the picture became even more distorted by Magicon’s own practical limitations. ’Ok, so the cylinder is standing upright and is very deep in the ocean. There’s a smaller cylinder in the middle of the room with a black magical light at the bottom. Essentially, that’s what it is, I think.’ ’This light is magical, obviously. It could be a type of a flame or a spirit, but a flame heats not cools and a spirit generally does not permeate a room…Is this a creature of some kind? Oh, what am I thinking, Magicon, don’t analyze, just go with it.’ Yet as he continued listening he felt one of his three prayers slip past his hooves. Bringer’s description, as bizarre as it was, was detailed and imaginative, and still continuing. 'A tile floor, but how do you tell those are blue tiles? How do you tell any color in the depths of the ocean? A black light cannot tell you the color of something. And what’s with that specific number? What’s its significance? Well, at least the pillars state how the roof is supported…but what type of hall is this? What is its purpose?’ The confusion seen on Magicon’s face was unmasked as he tried to make sense of this place. It seemed to defy logical and physical laws the governed buildings. It was unviewed by the imagination. Its size demanded more than the imagination could handle. Even for a colt’s creative mind, this building could not be something conjured from the mind. This place was real, or real enough to Bringer that he thought it was real. While Bringer finished his description and explained the need for teamwork, a topic that Magicon showed no interest in, especially with regards to Bringer, he tried to push his room from his mind. Such a place was real enough to Bringer, but that was its limits. It was a part of Bringer; something about him. It suddenly dawned on Magicon that he had played his move not foolishly or haphazardly, but wisely. Whereas Bringer chose to reveal something that was personal Magicon only revealed what was common to both of them. His secrets remained secrets. Bringer knew only what he had observed and heard from Magicon, none of which was highly personal. He allowed himself a small sigh of relief at the realization and the visible worry became less apparent, but still noticeable on his face. The tension wrapped itself Magicon once again and worse than ever while his eyes widened in great worry. Scarlet having plans, regardless of their intentions, was not something he wanted to hear. He felt the greatest urge just to run as fast as he could away from this place, away from all of this, away from the train. He wanted to retreat to his museum where he was safe in the quiet corridors with the silent artifacts and relics. He wanted Archie by his side; he was always supportive in times like these. He needed his assistant, right now. Yet what of Asteria and Springer? They were both depending on him and he couldn’t let them be victims of Scarlet’s plans. Could he just leave them behind? Could he live with himself, his cowardice? He didn’t know and he couldn’t tell. The anxiety was eating his insides and he just wanted it to stop. He knew he was showing signs of desperation, but he had no control over it. He could feel the tears of desperation beginning to form just behind his eyes. All he expected was a quiet train ride to Los Pegasus, not a crazy magical adventure with the heavy possibility of death. He just wanted to go home. Magicon raised his pleading eyes toward Bringer as he finished speaking. As much as he didn’t want to, Bringer was correct with his statement: they had to keep playing. Only if he and Asteria won the game could they even hope of getting out of this place alive. He had no choice, he had to stay and he hated it. He lost the saliva in his mouth from his worries, unable to from words to reply to the pegasus. Once Bringer asked him the question, all Magicon could do was take an uneasy breath and nod his head a few times. It was the only guaranteed way out of this, he had to do it, for Springer, for Asteria, and for himself.
  12. He made short breaths, expecting the worst outcome from the two ponies in front of him. It wasn’t his own life that worried him as much, as it was Asteria’s who was much more vulnerable to the dangers of Bringer and Sprout. He didn’t know what the punishment would be, but he knew it wouldn’t be pretty, should either of them fail to amuse Bringer or Sprout. He did his best to follow the rules: he liked the name Asteria choose and he made the best choices he could to give himself the advantage in preparation for the game, but he didn’t know whether they would approve of it. Just like a suspenseful portion of a well-written novel Bringer and Sprout were not immediate in their responses, being deliberately slow by wasting time with explanations. Magicon took deeper breaths to quell the anticipation growing in his stomach as he listened to the two. ‘There is a reason for that, but he doesn’t need to know', Magicon thought. He had planned to give the bare minimum of information as possible. It was not only in his interest of self-preservation to do so, but also in his nature. He never divulged much; hardly any to strangers. Bringer was untrustworthy: the less information he had, the less he could manipulate and attempt to gain an advantage over Magicon. If he could get him monologing and explaining how this place works and how he could get out, then perhaps Magicon could make his escape. Bringer continued, expressing his pleasure at the name Scarlet. Magicon let out a sigh of relief at Asteria’s choice. It had paid off. She was a very smart filly. He didn’t know if she trusted them or was just playing along, but he hoped she would continue doing so. He smiled at her, the first time he had done so since arriving in this world. It was sweet smile, full of compassion and appreciation, the one a parent gives to their child after they’ve accomplished a difficult task. Magicon was no parent and Asteria was definitely not his filly, but he was her temporary guardian. Her safety was his topmost priority. As he turned back to the two, he awaited his own fate. Yet it was forced to wait as Sprout seemingly unleashed Springer from his invisible bondage. The switch was flipped and Springer bounced to life. Magicon gave a small smile at seeing the assistant conductor free to move about, but he still worried about him and what appeared to be Sprout’s control over the pony. Was it a slave and master relationship or was Sprout the puppetmaster of Springer? Magicon felt it was more of the latter, making him feel further uneasy about Sprout. Once Springer landed, he spoke with an aggressive tone towards Sprout about the need for some standard for him to judge by. Magicon could tell that Springer despised being controlled by Sprout, and if given a push, would probably attack the pony. Sprout’s reaction was calm and composed. He spoke with the coldness of a puppetmaster, knowing his position of power over Springer and reminding him of it at every opportunity. It was a relationship that needed to be broken, but how or even if it could be was beyond Magicon. He knew too little and knew his own code of conduct too well. All he could really do was play along with everything. The two quarreled a bit debating the logic and illogic of rules and the need for order in amusement, stuff Magicon didn’t take real interest in. He simply kept on an eye on the conversation and an eye on Asteria, making sure that she was by his side. Yet, one part of the conversation stuck out and struck a chord with Magicon. Magicon ran the line several times through his head, missing out the rest of the conversation. As he repeated it, he slowly nodded in approval of the statement. Though Springer had a different reasoning for it than Magicon, they still shared the same conclusion. The sound of his name snapped Magicon out of his contemplation as Springer congratulated him, Asteria, and Sprout on their truthfulness. He accused Bringer of lying, catching the pony completely off-guard and ensuring a fiery debate between the two. Once again, Magicon observed that Springer and Bringer also disliked each other, but Bringer didn’t seem to possess the cold control that Sprout had. Instead Bringer acted like a colt: unfair, pushy, demanding, and angry. But Springer dominated the colt with sound logic and the colt stormed off. Magicon only hoped that wouldn’t come back to bite them later. Sprout became very excited, clearly amused by the display and Asteria’s choice of a new name. He asked to be called Scarlet, which Magicon gladly obliged, but announced that his prize: Asteria was Scarlet’s mother, something Magicon was disobliged to accept. Beyond disobliged, Magicon eyes widened as he stared in disbelief at Scarlet for uttering those words. The illogicality of the statement, the absurdity of it, and its implications made no sense and scared him beyond belief. Sure, it might just be harmless fun, but it could also be a prelude to a deadly ending, an ending Magicon did want Ambrosia to experience. Magicon was about to object when Scarlet asked Bringer to pick the teams for the next game. Magicon braced himself for the second game. It was obviously going to be tougher than the first, with more complications and more chances to make a mistake. He would have to be careful with his choices and his words. As Bringer decided the teams, Magicon’s stomach dropped as he was separated from Asteria. He looked over at the filly with very concerned eyes. He could survive having himself and Asteria be separated; bearable if she was forced with Bringer, but with Scarlet was a whole another matter entirely. Scarlet was more dangerous than Bringer. Bringer was just a colt, and though a temperamental one, a colt nonetheless. It was clear that Scarlet was the leader of the two and a cold one by nature. Magicon worried for Asteria’s safety. She may be able to take care of herself in the real world, but in this one, with Scarlet as a partner? Magicon feared she wouldn’t survive this game. With his attention focused on Asteria, he only barely managed to hear Scarlet call his name and explain the rules. But then he heard his name called a second time and Magicon listened to the first objective of the game. As soon as he finished, Scarlet teleported next to Asteria and then whisked her away in a flash. “Asteria!” Magicon cried as he waved his hoof at where she had been standing a second ago. His hooves felt locked to the ground, as if he were bolted to some floor or wall. He felt completely helpless and desperate. Asteria, his one pony he swore to protect was now gone. Scarlet had foalnapped her right before his eyes and Magicon had been unable to stop it. He couldn’t believe it. He had failed. While Magicon remained frozen in place, staring helplessly at the patch of grass where Asteria stood, Bringer walked up to him, a smile on his face. Magicon turned his head back to Bringer slowly and deliberately and narrowed his eyes at the pony. His words were cold, deliberate, and menacing. “If this is what you and your ‘friend’ call a game, I am certainly not fond of it. I don’t like this, I don’t like you, and I don’t like Scarlet or what he did to Asteria…. I will play your little game, because it’s the only way I can guarantee Asteria’s safety….If anything bad happens to Asteria, I will make sure you and your ‘friend’ suffer.” With those words he felt the chains on his hooves release and he swiftly turned around, away from Bringer, both to concentrate and to show his extreme displeasure at the turn of events. He took a deep breath to organize his thoughts. ‘Ok, ok, you can do this, Magicon. Asteria is counting on you. You can’t fail her. Alright, rules, yes rules. Be imaginative and careful, follow the rules, and follow more of them as they appear. Sounds simple enough, now describe a room where things may be concealed, in as much detail as possible. Oh Celestia help me…I can’t…I can’…wait, yes I can! I was just there: Springer’s room! Ok, ok, calm down, I can do this.’ Turning back to bringer, Magicon’s anger and menace was replaced by confidence and determination. He would win this, he was sure of it. “Alright, Bringer, you wanted a room; here is your room. It is a perfectly square room, all the sides are equal. The walls are painted in a cream color. The floor is carpeted in beige. A wooden door stands in the middle of one of the walls, painted in a soft brown. It opens into the room. A window, large enough for a pony of my size to climb in and out of comfortably is in the center of the opposite wall. A self, about 2/3 of the room’s height, encircles the entire room and carries a miniature train, powered by magic. “A bed is against the wall, covered in a few layers of sheets and blankets, but not long enough to drape to the carpet, thereby exposing a bin filled with neatly folded clothes and hats. Small bookshelves filled with model trains line the walls. In one corner sits an organized, but uncompleted, model train, all the parts completely labeled, just waiting to be assembled. A large binder, filled with bookmarks rests on top of one of the small bookshelves. All the labels are hoofwritten, but the writing is extremely neat and precise, quite efficient, if I don’t mind saying. “Oh, and one last thing. A portrait of a yellow pony with a purple mane sits atop of another bookshelf, but is set back so as not to be obvious to intruders.” Magicon gave a subtle smile towards Springer as he finished, confident that he had accurately described his room. Hopefully, it would satisfy Bringer’s and Scarlet’s demands and would bring Asteria back to him.
  13. If his hopes could be replaced by a greater emotion than surprise, Magicon was now experiencing it by Asteria’s reaction. He nearly fell over on his back as the young filly not only seemed perfectly comfortable in their new environment but conversed and questioned these two Springers. She commanded their attention, baffling Magicon in the process, and quickly making a first impression for both Springers, one that Magicon was very uneasy about. He feared her boldness would end her in hot water, forcing him to not only rescue her, but probably rescue Springer as well. Who knew what these two “creatures” were up to? The two took great interest at her, especially after Asteria named them Bringer and Sprout. If he wasn’t suspicious of the two Springers, Magicon would’ve giggled at her choice of names. Yet his guard was at its peak level; he trusted nothing about them or this new place that they were in. After Asteria had named them, they began approaching her and Magicon stuck out his hoof in front of Asteria, lest they did anything to her. In the back of his mind, he began preparing and reviewing a series of spells that would protect them in case those two decided to do anything funny. Yet that is exactly what they did. The one named Bringer practically rolled up in front of them, particularly Asteria and stated he really liked her. Magicon wasn’t sure if there was malice or deception behind the statement; it didn’t feel like it, but he knew nothing about these ponies, if they were ponies. He would not make quick judgments or take anything about them for granted, including their statements. Bringer’s quick judgment about Asteria being his filly had flown over Magicon’s head until this moment. But he made no visible reaction to coming around to it: being Asteria’s father, though illogical, was not the worst possible thing. If anything, it could be considered flattering: it would’ve added a personal achievement with a special somepony that he longed for. Yet Magicon did not have such a reaction; this was neither the time nor the place for such a reaction. Instead Bringer turned to him and stated a key piece of information Magicon was not likely to forget. He narrowed his eyes at the pegasus. He had deliberately lied to him and though it could be considered a white lie, Magicon did not consider it as such. It proved one thing for Magicon: Bringer was untrustworthy; he must always be on his guard and take his statements with a grain of salt. In addition, the statement raised only more questions. How was this world real? Where was it in relation to his real world? How was he transported so quickly here? Why was Springer constantly subjected to it? Hundreds of questions filled his mind while Bringer suggested an idea that made Magicon’s mind and fur freeze: play a game with Springer as a referee. Magicon gritted his teeth and his fears fell backwards at the idea. It wasn’t the idea of games that scared him, but the idea of playing games with these two, one of which he knew was already a liar, which made the idea sound that much worse. Yet Bringer was totally amused by the idea, so much so that he fell over laughing. Then he stopped and began a demonstration by suddenly filling the sky with dark clouds dripping with water. Magicon shivered as the cold rain seeped right through his mane and fur and stained his cape. If he wasn’t scared or freezing he would’ve glared at Bringer and ended the rain himself, but he was powerless to do so. Instead Sprout ordered Bringer to stop the rain, which he did, and then began arguing with him. Magicon made another observation: there was an uncertainty as to leadership. If he had to he would attempt to have them question ach others authority, hopefully allowing him to grab Asteria and Springer and get out of this world. While he thought of a general outline of escape, he observed Sprout approaching him and speaking to him in a cautious tone. Magicon grit his teeth. He wasn’t very good with names. He wasn’t the most creative on ponies. He couldn’t just create a name on the spot. It would be a disaster and his fault. Yet Magicon was more interested in Sprout’s displeasing words at Asteria. Though Sprout didn’t like Asteria, another observation and reason why Magicon was making sure to take extra care of the filly, her boldness had somehow won them their first game, a game that Magicon didn’t know he was playing. Apparently, they won information and the information they received only further confused Magicon. Bringer and Sprout were apart of dreams. Were they dream-makers? What is beyond the world of dreams that they were now in? Such a place exists? How is that possible? What sort of magic is responsible for this? He knew such questions would be fruitless not only to him but also Asteria. There was no point in gaining more information about their world. What they needed to do was get back to their world, alive. His stomach dropped and his heart froze. The weight of all Equestria suddenly fell on his shoulders. How in Equestria or beyond could he make such choices under such pressure? Who should he favor in those choices: himself or Sprout? He hardly knew Sprout. If it had been Bringer, he might have a chance, but with Sprout Magicon knew the odds were against him. While he debated with himself and continued grinding his teeth, out of fear and frustration he heard Sprout ask Asteria to rename him with a with strings attached, one being that Magicon must genuinely like the name. Then he heard four words that took some of the weight off of his shoulders: no one can lie. Though he doubted Bringer would follow those rules, he knew that Sprout would probably know when he was lying and punish him accordingly. At least that was in-check. At the same time he knew he couldn’t lie about Asteria’s choice of a name. She seemed creative and smart enough to find a name that would match all those requirements. Plus she seemed to be doing quite well in this place, even with one pony plainly disliking her. He retracted his hoof guarding Asteria. She would have a name, he was sure of it. Yet what about him? He was scared half-to-death, for his sake as well as for Springer’s and Asteria’s. Springer seemed helpless and almost tortured by these two and Asteria, though quickly making a controversial first impression, was wandering into dangerous waters. He didn’t want to play games with these two. Heck, he didn’t even want to be in the same world with them. They screamed deception and untrustworthiness. Magicon didn’t care who or what they were or their purpose in life; all he wanted to do was get the three out of this place, alive. Yet Asteria was determined to stay as she spoke, suggesting a new name for Sprout: Scarlet. Magicon’s thoughts paused as he considered the name. One of the requirements was that he liked the name. He did like the name, but was it appropriate for a colt. Then it hit him: it didn’t matter whether or not the name was appropriate for a colt or filly. Asteria could’ve picked “Buck-you” or something so long as Magicon liked it. He liked Scarlet, even if it was a filly’s name. One requirement was met and another weight was lifted off his shoulders. His mind returned to those questions and he realized that he had to make his choices now. He figured since he knew himself better than Sprout or Scarlet he would be more comfortable with his own choices. Plus they weren’t all that different from Sprout’s. Perhaps that would help. Closing his eyes to take a momentary deep breath Magicon spoke with some initial hesitation. “I…really don’t like games like this…but I don’t really have a choice. So as for Asteria, I do like the name Scarlet. Now…as for my choices..” he paused to run them through his head. “Ok, well, here they are: A slow game of excitement involving a game of secrets that is close together which is long involving a game of shadows.” He nervously released his breath as he finished. Though contradictory his choices seemed they all served a purpose for him: slow games meant more time for him to figure out weaknesses and escape plans. Excitement was concrete; imagination was too abstract and too dangerous with these two. Secrets were his specialty. Close together because that was the best way to know thine enemy and involving shadows because he was a pony of the dark, not one much for the light. He hoped that his choices would make for the greatest chances of winning.
  14. The room looked normal. Everything was where they had left it last time they investigated it. The only change was Springer’s sleeping form on the bed. Magicon took special care to move silently so as to not wake the pegasus. He took a few more steps into the room when something caught his eye. Turning his head in the direction of a dim light he saw a note glow a faint red until it suddenly brightened and expanded, shrouding everything in a blinding light. Magicon covered his eyes with his right hoof as he heard the door slam shut and the room spun around them. His head hurt tremendously from the spinning around him. Miraculously, he squinted his eyes open just enough to grab Asteria’s hoof before shutting them again. If anything was going to come out of this, it would be Asteria’s safety. He kept his eyes shut until he felt the spinning cease. He slowly opened them to see a modified version of Springer’s room and a morbid version of Springer. The pain in his head subsided and he took a breath before he saw the sight before him. His eyes nearly fell out of his head at the sight of the pegasus. He looked practically dead. No muscle, no fat, just skin and bones, and a cork in one of his hooves. A thousand questions ran through his mind, yet his mouth remained firmly shut. He was unable to make sense of any of this. Was this a dream? Was this a demented form of reality? What was going on? He felt his head spin from the sudden change of environment. Yet he heard voices and he saw a second Springer emerge right next to the deflated Springer. He shook his head to try and clear his vision and mind, but it was no use. When he looked back at the two a third Springer had seemingly popped out of nowhere. He actually looked familiar to Magicon and when he spoke he realized why. The hair on the back of his neck froze. The word had “buddy” had returned and the pony or shadow or something had spoken it. Yesterday’s incident suddenly made sense. As much as it pained him, it wasn’t Trixie, Dusky, or even Dawn responsible for the weird Springer that spoke with him yesterday. It was this shadow. It was this Springer that had put him up to it; the one who had organized the show and subsequent duel with Trixie. Magicon wasn’t sure to be angry or thankful toward this Springer. All he knew was that he was now in some nightmare, probably Springer’s, and must roll with it for the time being. He overheard the false Springer mumble something about a change in scenery and before Magicon realized it his head hurt again and he covered his eyes from the intense spinning. When it subsided they were in sunny field with a picnic table layered with a variety of food. He invited them to sit. Magicon looked over at Asteria with such a confused expression that he didn’t even understand. He still held onto her hoof, lest some unnatural wind should come and lift the young unicorn into the sky and never return. He watched the scene unfold as the other false Springer took out an air pump and reinflated the real Springer. He saw the panic in his eyes and Magicon realized that this nightmare was not something that Springer had control over. He was the victim, abused by these two shadows. He needed help now and Magicon was sure to give it, once he figured out exactly what was going on. He quickly then threw a series of quick questions at Asteria. Magicon knew she was just as confused, if not more frightened as he was. But both Springers had settled down at the picnic table while the real one looked completely helpless, like he was forced to remain in his place with his mouth shut. Magicon didn’t really know what to do. He had little experience with these nightmares and he never read anything about them in his books. Even the one he had with him would be useless on the subject. Figuring any idea was as good as the others Magicon cleared his throat and said, “I really…uhh…don’t understand what’s going on here. From what I can tell this is a dream, or rather a nightmare…but what kind of nightmare is this? Why is Springer the victim? I don’t think he’s done anything wrong. Nightmares usually come to those who’ve done something wrong…right?” He felt so out-of-place and incredibly awkward. He was in strange land with strange shadows or ponies or whatever they were with the only definite being the young unicorn at his side. Maybe she could help clear this situation up, if she wasn’t too frightened. He hoped she was strong, that was all he could really do at the moment.
  15. Asteria seemed fine with Magicon leading the way and being her temporary chaperone. He felt a great sense of responsibility to protect Asteria and make sure no ill became of her. Lapis would kill him if anything bad happened to his assistant and Magicon did not want to anger Lapis. As he began to leave the dining car he heard Asteria call him “boss” in a hushed tone. The word felt slightly odd. He never used the word boss. When Archie had first arrived at the museum, he never used the word boss and Magicon never told him otherwise. He had always used the either his name or a condensed version once they became close friends. In some ways Magicon felt like Asteria was the younger version of Archie: curious, excited, friendly, and loyal. He saw the loyalty she had for Lapis and although he knew he could never achieve such a loyalty with her for the short duration of the train ride, the least he could do was be friendly and help her. If she could trust him, he would be most grateful for it. As he exited the dining car with Asteria right behind him, he asked, “I do hope I didn’t frighten you or anything of that nature. I tend to have that effect on other ponies. Asteria, I just want to let you know that you can trust me. I won’t let anything bad happen to you, I promise.” Those words helped ease his conscience and his mind from the parlor car that he walked through. He didn’t shiver as he was focused on his own speech and was finished just as he left the parlor car. He continued walking in silence through his own passenger car until they arrived in the caboose. Inspecting the area to see if anypony was around, Magicon neither saw nor felt anypony near him. Assuming the area was safe he proceeded up to the door to Springer’s room. Putting his ear up to the door, he heard nothing inside. He knocked a few times just to make sure. A few seconds passed and nothing happened. Nodding his head in acknowledgement Magicon put his hoof to the door and pressed against the wood. It easily responded and swung inside the room. He took a deep breath before taking slow steps into the room. “Be on your guard, Asteria,” were his words of warning to the filly as he fully entered the room, bracing himself for whatever was in store and for whatever they might find in the room.