Illiad Easle

Private Deep Science 1x1 with Blitz Boom

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On 2/12/2020 at 5:58 AM, Illiad Easle said:

Slend would speak up in her head, "Once you get that down, Silver has a few more specialized dives, apparently Luna was fond of the pointed spiral dive, but I wouldn't recommend that one until you've got the others practiced."

"Perfecting the glide now. Crashing and burning later."

A spiralled dive were something that Null had seen before, but it were something she associated less with showing off and looking cool, and more with someone getting shot in the wing and desperately trying to avoid getting their face smashed on the way down. Something which in general, worked about as well as you might expect. Considering how she were actually for once enjoying herself, and doing something that were the closest to flying she had done since the last time a dragon had thrown her over to the other side of a canyon for annoying him, that sort of thing were not high on her list for now, even if she did have the memories implanted to give it a shot eventually.

Over the next hour or so, Null would pressure herself quite a bit to go through the varied dives and glides that were on talk from her four coaches, be they inside her head or around to keep an eye on her. It went fairly well, though as they got into the more advanced versions, she would at times crash. Not as severe as had happened before though, as either Void or one of the two others, would follow her from beneath, ready to capture her before she pancaked her face.

Eventually, after one more glide of the steeper varieties, her legs would start to visibly tremble as she just stood there, gasping for air. Her heart were in doing more and not stopping yet, but whilst the spirit were ready, the body were weak, and considering the long time it had been since she had done anything like this, it put quite a bit of strain on her whole body to go through the motions over and over again without pause. It'd get easier in time, but there were a lot of muscles that needed to sync up properly at this stage, and that'd take time. Her running more or less constantly during this session wasn't helping either honestly, but she needed momentum to get a good glide, so until she could actually fly like a regular pegasus, this were a necessity.

Seeing the state she were in, and hearing the brothers encourage her to relax herself now, Void would go over and gently swoop her sister up on her back again, where the tired pegasus could lay down and not strain herself more right now. Not always she were a big fan of this, but in the moment, feeling about as used as a wrung package of tooth paste, she weren't gonna complain about it.

On 2/12/2020 at 5:58 AM, Illiad Easle said:

Lessons concluded, they'd walk the sisters back to the city, open to any questions they might have.

"How much longer until I get to fly?"

They probably expected this question. For one who were so determined to get back into the sky, it were a given that gliding wouldn't be enough in the long run, and she wanted to have some sort of idea about how long this were going to take, before the lessons went into her actually rising up, instead of just falling slowly.

"Wouldn't it be best to t-take it slow? Your wing are still a little beaten up big sis, and like they said, you d-don't want to strain yourself too much and set you back again. Think of it l-like breaking your leg, maybe?"

A thing which had happened a few times, and would require retraining afterwards for upwards of a month or two, which were not good with their regularly nomadic lifestyle. Sure she might not have broken anything now, but her wing hadn't been used like it were now in decades. It undoubtedly needed time to gain some muscles before it had the strength to flap around with her weight, and after that, it could be ages before she'd be able to lift around things at the same time.

"Maybe. Or maybe I just need to push harder. Holding back's just gonna drag it out."

Void cringed some at hearing this, and looked towards the brothers. Hopefully they could tell her more specifically why it were that pushing too hard were going to be a really bad idea. Null might listen to her more, but these had more technical knowledge on things, so their input were more informed than hers. If they came up with an argument, she could support that stand, and use it to push against Null's fervent tenacity in a way that might make her listen.

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@Blitz Boom

13 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

"How much longer until I get to fly?"

The brothers looked at each other for a moment before looking back at the sisters. "We'll see how you do tomorrow"

"If everything goes well"

"You could be clear to fly within a week"

"You won't be a strong flyer to be sure"

"That will take a few months at least"

"But you'll be able to fly under your own power"

"Again, tomorrow will tell"

With that they had arrived at the city entrance. They nodded in farewell to the sisters before heading off in their own direction, "Rest well"

"You'll need your full strength for tomorrow"

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@Illiad Easle

"A week..."

Null trailed off in thought on this for a moment. She had thought they would've said something like two months at best, or even a year before she could be something more than a glorified flying squirrel. But a week? That were barely anything.

Of course it would require her to focus and push forth to reach that goal, but knowing that she had a potential end point here, were going to fuel her determination in the coming lessons even further.

A spark almost seemed to ignite in her eyes as she set her target on that date. 7 days from now, and she Would be back up flying. Didn't matter how hard she had to push herself over the next few days. Even if she ended up passed out after every single lesson, and covered in bruises from top to bottom, it were going to happen.

Urgh, but not more right now. She had something to finish up after this, and then she were taking a nap. Maybe if she got a solid rest, she could put in some evening training or something.

It wouldn't be long after that that they would reach the point where they had to split up, and Null finally broke her silence again, just before Void veered off the path and back towards the forge.

"I'll see you tomorrow. And... Thanks for today, I guess."

Null were still not the best with doling out compliments, and she had issues keeping eye contact as she said this, but she were at least trying. To think that Troy of all places would be where she'd end up having to thank a bunch of folks... This world were a mad place.

Provided there were nothing else happening, they'd go back to the forge, where Void would start working on a few replacement eyes she had been asked to prepare for tomorrow night, if possible. It'd be a bit tight on time, since she had some standards she'd like to keep to avoid the eyes she made feeling bad inside someone's socket, buf it were feasible.

As for her sister, she started off taking a nap for an hour or so, and when she woke up, would start to carve out a leg for a griffon she that had been around yesterday. Seeing as this included talons that were supposed to be able to grip things, it were a bit of a challenge to get right, but she had an idea to work with, and someone with a peg leg desperate to get rid of it. In part because it looked silly, though mostly because that sort were uncomfortable. Just a quick solution for an urgent problem, and that wasn't gonna last forever if she could help it.

She didn't have a deadline on this per se, but it were one of those things that she'd like to get done sooner, rather than later. Especially since the griffon in question had made her feel pretty bad, with how close to tears the lady had been when talking about the issues with what she had right now. Almost made the rough little pegasus shed a tear too, though she managed to hold it back. Void didn't, but that weren't a big surprise, as she a more positively emotional mare than Null had allowed herself to be for a long time now.

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@Blitz Boom

10 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

"A week..."

"Granted, you won't be a strong flyer at that point"

"Gaining speed and strength will take longer"

"Maybe a few months with constant effort?"

"But after a week or so you should be able"

"To confidently fly under your own power."

10 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

"I'll see you tomorrow. And... Thanks for today, I guess."

The brothers nodded as they headed off, together, to wherever they had to be.

 

Nothing else of note happened that day.

On the next training, the brothers were waiting up on the wall watching the moon rise to signal the start of a new Trojan night. The top of the wall was accessible via a number of staircases built into the wall, it was quite the climb up it to be sure.

Looking back on the city from the top of the wall one could see a faint rendition of Luna's moon made with a series of floating lights in the oasis. If the sisters looked at it long enough the brothers would comment: "It used to be a lot better,""Used to be more creatures to keep the lights lit."

Otherwise they would wait for Null to recover from the stairs to proceed.

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@Illiad Easle

On 2/15/2020 at 11:49 PM, Illiad Easle said:

Looking back on the city from the top of the wall one could see a faint rendition of Luna's moon made with a series of floating lights in the oasis. If the sisters looked at it long enough the brothers would comment: "It used to be a lot better,""Used to be more creatures to keep the lights lit."

"Give it time. It will shine b-brightly again."

The two had wandered up, not knowing what were going on, and just stared down to get some idea of it. It had taken a bit longer than it perhaps should have to realize that this were some sort of rendition of Luna's moon, though why it were being remade here of all places, were hard to say. Even if there were a good chunk from Equestria here, it still seemed... Weird, somehow.

Null though, felt something strange at the sight. It were faint and weak, but it were as if there were a longing somewhere towards this imagery. Even faint as it had become, it were as if something small in her being yearned wished to both rejoice and cry at the sight.

She'd shake it off and turn her head away, not long after Void had started to talk, unsure of what had just happened there. Probably just... Getting swept up in the moment or something.

"I hope P-Princess Luna comes back in these being l-lifetime. They seem to miss her a lot."

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@Blitz Boom

The brothers simply nodded at Void's words before turning their attention back to Null. They motioned for Null to join them on the outside of what remained of the safety railing, there was enough room there to stand comfortably without falling off the wall, the wind blowing up the side of the wall was also much stronger there, threatening to lift Null up if she spread her wings out.

If Void moved to follow they'd try to dissuade her, "Too dangerous for you," "Wouldn't want to fall off"

Once Null was with them they'd continue.

"So, you think you're ready?"

"Ready for what you might ask?"

"Wall Launching!"

"The base of the wall is enchanted"

"Which generates quite a bit of upward wind"

"And the wall is curved outward"

"Directing the wind away from the city"

"Which keeps the sand from blowing in, mostly"

"And gives pegasi an easy access to the upper air!"

"Just fall, spread your wings, and let the wind carry you all the way up."

Just as before the bothers would have one of them demonstrate for Null, and the other would follow behind. The demonstrating brother gave a little hop backwards off the wall with his wings tight at his sides. He oriented himself in a full upright position, rear legs towards the ground, neck towards the sky, minimizing his air resistance to fall quicker while still keeping his face towards the wall. When he was halfway down he extended his wings slowly so as to not suddenly fling himself back up. He held his wings at an angle to force himself against the wall while still being lifted, allowing him to run at a full gallop up the side of the wall, his wings were fully extended by the time he reached the top, the wind launching him past them at great speed, and he quickly grew smaller as he ascended into the sky, landing on a cloud that had likely been brought there earlier.

The wall itself was tall, about 25 meters to the ground, and given how small the brother was, the cloud was likely twice that above them. The remaining brother started explaining, "When you jump off, you want to be facing the wall, it makes running up it easier. Running up the wall isn't required, but it makes it easier to not hit the wall on the way up. Also, on the wall there's a line when you should start opening your wings, if you open them too fast it won't go well for you, so be calm, I'll jump down right with you so if you mess up I'll help you recover. You're going to do one flap soon after you pass the top of the wall, then extend your wings again once you stop going up, we'll bring the cloud over so you can rest before we move on to the next bit of training."

If and when Null made the jump Nine would remind her of each of the steps that the brother gave them.

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@Illiad Easle

"I can see why you said I'd need the energy."

WHilst listening to the explanation, Null went over and had a look down. That were indeed a pretty steep fall. If she tumbled down there, she wouldn't be scooped up again from there alive, and the best she could hope for were that the fall would instantly kill her. No way it wouldn't cause some sort of fatality at least.

Guess this meant playtime were over and the trial by fire she were half-joking about yesterday had come then.

Still... It seemed doable enough, as she looked at the brothers show what they meant by their explanation, which honestly were a nice touch. Words were all fine and good, but stuff like this needed a stronger visual representation in her opinion, and thankfully, they seemed to share this idea. Far be it from her to like others all that easily, but these two were alright she supposed. You just had to get past their weird twin talking, which had turned out to be surprisingly simple to tune out the more she listened to it. A bit strange, but eh, better than it grinding her gears. Not that she'd have much getting to her now that the stakes had raised. Literally, she were going towards the next step of flying: Getting raised up on winds. Weren't the same entirely, but it were a start. Just had to keep her head cool and this would probably work out okay.

"You're going to be o-okay with this?"

Void had stepped back as instructed, not wanting to risk tumbling down into gods knows how deep of a drop, and now were more or less just listening in, watching, and looking at her sister rather concerned. Gliding were one thing, but this seemed mighty dangerous.

"Yeah, ain't looking as bad as you might think. Seems safe enough."

She wouldn't want to worry her sister too much about how steep of a drop it actually were, so she tried playing it off in a somewhat cool fashion, as she got into position, and ready to make her own jump.

"Alright, here goes nothing."

Feeling about as ready as she'd ever be, Null ran over, and did things just as she had been instructed, focusing intensely on both that, what Nine were saying in her head, and on the wall like her eyes could bore through it. It all helped to keep her focus away from the massive pit beneath her that threatened to swallow her whole.

It seemed to go well too. She made contact with the wall, wings spread in unison, and started running as fast as her legs could carry her, as the strong wind from below pushed her along.

Void looked on as it appeared to go well, and then, like thunder from a clear sky, it suddenly went badly.

Not being used to these winds, Null didn't make her way up top running exactly like the brothers had shown, and ended up falling backwards. Void's heart were in her throat as she helplessly looked on with big, terror-filled eyes at her sister starting to tumble a little, before she managed to catch the wind beneath her wings again and rise upwards. Were she going down here, Void would have tacklehugged her and whimper right now, as the scare she got from this were making her heart pound away with a deafening thunder, which would not have been helped by Null looking just about as terrified in the moment, thinking that she'd end up a tiny little spot on the floor.

Thankfully she had been able to stabilize quickly, but she had to admit, for a moment there, she herself were seeing a bit of her life flashing by. Bit of a sour way to go honestly, considering her life. Seriously, who did she have to pay off to get someone elses life flashing by her eyes instead the next time? Someone who had been at a beach resort or something ideally. She had heard those places were pretty nice and relaxing, and that'd be a finer way to go than seeing something grizzly, or one of countless images of her sister crying.

When she finally got up on the cloud, she were looking a bit used and still trying to calm herself down, but she made it up there at least. Now it were just to say something to play it off between taking some deep breaths, that wouldn't make her seem rattled.

"The air's... Pretty thin up here... Huh?"

Yep, that'd do it for sure. Weren't any way they'd spot her being a bit harrowed now.

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@Blitz Boom

The brother already up on the cloud looked impressed, but chuckled at Null's attempt to hide her shaken state.

The brother who was following her arrived shortly after, and nodded to the brother.

"I must say I'm impressed,"

"We didn't actually think you'd do it on the first try"

"Most either hit the wall, or fall off the current"

"Like you nearly did, but worse"

"But you recovered beautifully"

"You sure you haven't done this before?"

By their expressions they were clearly speaking in jest.

The brother who had already been in the cloud stood up, shaking the stray cloud from himself as he started hovering above the cloud.

"Time to get flapping, don't go too hard"

"We'll keep the cloud here"

"If you can do it up here, where the air's thin"

"Then you'll have no problem down there."

And so the brothers and Nine would walk Null through how to hover in place, suggesting she start with her hooves on the cloud, flapping just hard enough that she could feel the cloud pulling back at her, but not enough to leave the cloud, then once she could do that without strain, as they had her take frequent breaks, they would have her rise a bit above the cloud and hold, before alternating between rising and falling in place over the cloud. They wouldn't push her any harder than she felt she could do, and would let her stop whenever she wanted, reminding her that she'd still have to glide back down afterwards.

 

Assuming Void had not left the wall, Selena would find her there, "I had hoped to speak with you, is now a good time?"

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@Illiad Easle

On 2/20/2020 at 6:11 AM, Illiad Easle said:

"I must say I'm impressed,"

"We didn't actually think you'd do it on the first try"

"Most either hit the wall, or fall off the current"

"Like you nearly did, but worse"

"But you recovered beautifully"

"You sure you haven't done this before?"

"I had some help. It's... Not a big deal."

"Pretty sure you had something to do with this one way or another, Nine. Thanks."

It might have been luck, or quick reflexes along with some instinct buried some ways down, but the odds were there that Nine had subtly influenced things again, like he had at the gates. Considering the alternative might have been her laying as a pancake and her sister having actually witnessed her horrible, gruesome death, Null would gladly take the help, and even be thankful about it. She didn't want to die when she were this close to finally being able to fly again.

Urgh, though the thing air up here were going to take some time to get used to. It reminded her of mountain air, which she also hadn't been around all that often either, as mountains tended to be rather cold and Void and her were more used to these sorts of warm, dry climates. Last time she had been in air like this were about... Five years before they were caught? Sounded about right, and she could feel that it hadn't been enough to prepare her. She'd be fine and all, but just... Give her a few to acclimate.

On 2/20/2020 at 6:11 AM, Illiad Easle said:

Time to get flapping, don't go too hard"

"We'll keep the cloud here"

"If you can do it up here, where the air's thin"

"Then you'll have no problem down there."

After a few minutes of getting used to the air and having her heartbeat get back in check, Null would get up on her hooves and start getting to work on flapping her wings. They might be telling her not to flap too hard, but if nothing seemed too happen, she'd get a rather annoyed look in her eyes and flap harder until something did. Unless said something were her feeling like something were about to snap in her wing, at which point she'd instantly stop, with a really frustrated look on her face. She didn't want to be set back by having a broken wing, yet at the same time, it would be infuriating to be so close, and yet so far. If it went well enough, and she did see results, she'd follow the routine they set forth, as it did show a line of progression she could focus on, whilst keeping her frustrations in check.

On 2/20/2020 at 6:11 AM, Illiad Easle said:

Assuming Void had not left the wall, Selena would find her there, "I had hoped to speak with you, is now a good time?"

Void nearly jumped out of her good skin when Selena suddenly addressed her, and when her hooves again made contact with the ground, she'd swing around and face the crystalline pony with big, teary eyes and visible shock. It'd start to fade not long after she saw who it were that had snuck up on her, but right in the moment, after the scare she just had with her sister, it hadn't taken much to rattle her substantially.

"W-What th- Selena? Why do... Don't s-sneak up on me like that! You almost s-scared the hair off my back."

She'd rise her right leg up and dry her eyes on it, so that she could see more clearly. She hadn't been crying, but it had been rather close, after the thoughts that went through her mind as Null had seemingly been about to stumble in the air, and plummet down with all the grace of a sack of potatoes. A visual that would probably be more fun, if it didn't involve her big sister as a broken heap on the dirt. That sort of visual drained all potential fun out of it for her.

After she had dried her eyes, and gotten herself a bit more in control, shed lower her head in slight embarrassment over how she had acted before. Might be it were understandable enough in her mind, but it had seemed a bit rude, which she didn't want to be towards one of those who had helped her sister being able to eventually fly again. She'd still keep her gaze on Selena though, unless she seemed angry, in which case Void would look away with an even bigger blush on her dark cheeks.

"Sorry, big sis a-almost fell and I uhm... Guess I got a l-little rattled. What did you need me for?"

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@Blitz Boom

[Null]

As she tried for herself the Brothers would be encouraging throughout, Nine prodding her along to use larger flaps to move more air rather than short hard flaps. The new technique would be both easier and more effective at maintaining a certain height without tiring herself out too much.

Eventually the brothers would split the cloud in half, one moving to the other cloud and moving the cloud a short distance away.

"Alright, it seems you've got hovering and gliding down"

"Which are the two most important in flight"

"As if you typically mess anything else up"

"Those two will keep you alive"

"Now we do flight"

"Go to the other cloud, then come back."

Each time Null successfully made it to the other cloud they would widen the gap just a bit.

[Void]

Selena nodded apologetically, "Sorry about surprising you, I did kind of pop in unannounced." Selena sighed as she looked up at Null flying in the sky. "Do you remember when we were in her head? When Nine mentioned that I could use Mercy? Well, lately the world needs more merciful acts than I alone can bestow. I've noticed the store you've set up, giving creatures limbs for practically nothing, forgiving many of those who have hurt you... You are a very merciful pony Void, with a pure heart despite what you've gone through." Selena looked over at Void, "I'd like to make you an offer, you don't need to accept it right now or at all, in fact I encourage you to think about it for a while. I would like you to become a servant of Mercy, like I am. In doing so you'd have the power, and the responsibility, to bring mercy to those who are in need of it." She motioned out to the city, "You've seen first hoof how much mercy the world needs."

Selena would turn to leave with a bow of farewell, "Again, I don't expect an answer any time soon. Think about it, discuss it with your sister and your parents, then come to me when you're ready."

If Void did not object Selena would leave the way she had arrived, her form growing wings for her to glide down to the city.

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@Illiad Easle

On 2/22/2020 at 2:53 AM, Illiad Easle said:

Each time Null successfully made it to the other cloud they would widen the gap just a bit.

This seemed easy enough. In fact, the first time, she kinda showed off by just jumping the short distance (if it were somewhat away, she'd also glide to cheat it a little) but after that, as the distance got larger, it seemed like it were no longer time to be cheeky.

That being said... This were going to be an interesting time for sure, since now it were time for her to actually do some proper flying. Short distance flying granted, but still, this were a pretty important step towards her being able to soar through the air effortlessly by her own strength.

So she went as far back n the cloud as she could, started flapping, then ran and jumped. It weren't enough to get over there by itself, but if she could just flap and keep herself up a little it would... Hah! Got it!

It hadn't been much of an upswing she got, but it had been enough that she wobbly got up and managed to get one of her back hooves at the very edge of the cloud, technically landing safely.

"F-Whoah!"

She had been about to go into quite a coarse expression of joy, matching the ecstatic, hyped face that had suddenly gotten on her face, when she had accidentally made a little jump and started to glide off the half cloud, as her other back hoof hadn't been secure at that point. Turned out to be a good instinct practice though, since as she glided off and only her front half were clinging on, she started to flap away as best she could. It managed to get her an updraft that got her back on the cloud. A little shaken perhaps, but once again, alive and well. Although she did look between the two brothers with a stern, yet worried glance suddenly glazing over her eyes.

"Not a peep about that to Void, you hear? She'd shed her coat in worry."

Might be she could see something from down there, but not enough to discern what had gone on there, and she weren't gonna let her know either if she had a say in it. Call it what you would, but she were a protective big sister, and that didn't allow for her to give Void a massive scare like this.

If this were alright, she'd begin to fly between clouds, overall doing fine, even if she were wobbling and looking rather strained the longer they went on.

On 2/22/2020 at 2:53 AM, Illiad Easle said:

"Again, I don't expect an answer any time soon. Think about it, discuss it with your sister and your parents, then come to me when you're ready."

Void didn't know what to say about this. Of all the things she had expected when it came to Selena approaching her, this certainly hadn't been one of the options, and she were utterly baffled by what she had been told.

Sure, the words were kind and all, but... Serving Mercy? What would that mean? It sounded as if she had to go and show mercy to those here in town, but would that be all? Did she need to go out in the world too? Didn't others out there need help after all, just as much as here? And then, what sort of help would it entail? Mercy were a very widespread thing, and Selena had only scarcely talked about it.

The baseline seemed to e that she'd go and help, which were certainly something that she liked doing. No matter how much the world had beaten her down, and made her paranoid about whatever or not she could trust anyone, she had still ventured into danger if they got near it, and willing gathered up the cursed artifact that she did, because she didn't want to see others get hurt by something that she knew she could stop.

And... How many others out there could perhaps use a helping hoof with an eye crafted for them perhaps? It wouldn't be overly difficult to go around with the materials she needed to make stuff like this, as the weight of the cursed artifacts had been quite substantial, and that wasn't a burden she had to deal with neither physically, nor mentally anymore. She could just go with these materials, and then work at either established or makeshift forges. She had gotten quite used to dealing with subpar environments in the past, so that might be able to help those in less fortunate areas.

But then, she'd have to leave Troy then. Her parents that she adored so very much, and her big sister... She couldn't ask Null to go out there again. She had spend so long looking for a home for them, and now that they had it, she couldn't make her sister just walk away from it all again. She needed the stability to not go insane, and perhaps get a new chance at life. Something which she knew that Null wished for her little sister too. And now, thinking about leaving all of that they had fought for all these years behind, for the sake of going out and perhaps just face a hateful world again that might need her, but wouldn't appreciate it... It were tough to argue for it, when she had the chance of a life here. Perhaps not the best one, but a safe, stable one.

It were going to be a tough one to grapple with this one, when it came to decide what to do. On one hoof, there were plenty to lose, yet she'd still have this town as her base, and even on the road, she'd know that there were a home waiting for her, if she needed a rest from what she'd be facing. And she'd be helping others too, whom she'd feel guilty for leaving behind otherwise.

Then on the other hoof, she could perhaps learn to live with the guilt, and think that others would help those out there, or they could come here. She might even be able to send some eyes and stuff out on order if she stayed and expanded her business. Plus, she could be where her family were, including the little new one who might need their help, even if he or she thankfully wouldn't grow up with the curse that Null and her were saddled with. Besides, imagine how worried their parents would be, if they saw one of their older foals suddenly take off again, so shortly after finding them and regaining their old memories pertaining her again. They'd probably end up worrying a lot about her.

Then there were the fact that Void weren't used to being on her own in the first place, and weren't sure if she had the nerves to face the world on her own, even though she were feeling a lot better. Having this base, and seeing the joyful beings that were thankful for her help, were doing a lot for her nerves, and reminding her of the good in this world. The hope from that were getting to be a very soothing feeling, which in turn gave her more confidence. Enough though?... She weren't so surre about that.

*sigh* She needed to know more before she could take a decision on this. And not just from her parents, she needed to speak with Selena. Which would have been easier, had she gotten to this point before the crystalline pony took off, yet as she had stood baffled, she had managed to take off.

Hmm... If she worked hard on getting the last batch ready after Null were done for the day, she might be able to get some hours to work with in the early hours tomorrow, when Null likely had to go and train here again. Sure they had a deal to meet up with their parents and exchange stories about how the day were going - especially after they heard that Null were about to start flight training - but she could cram it all in, if she just didn't slack off, and then go have a talk with Selena tomorrow. The brothers were taking good care of Null anyway. She'd be fine in their care.

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@Blitz Boom

Eventually the brothers mutually agreed that enough training had occurred for the day, and pushed the clouds back together.

"Alright, you've made great progress"

"We'll do this again tomorrow"

"With any luck you should be good to go soon"

"Now you just need to glide back down"

"We'll leave you to that, a test"

"We've got to take this cloud back"

The brothers would wait for Null to start gliding down before moving out to return the cloud to the central mass over the city that provided shade, which had been slowly growing ever since the announcement had been made.

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@Illiad Easle

Void would be working for the rest of the day, trying to get the things she needed to get made done in time before they were going to see their parents. The same time Null originally spent getting the last touches on that leg for the griffon she had in mind, but had to take a short nap for an hour or so, before she could get up and finish it. The two of them ended up being a little late because of that, yet as Null would argue for, that half hour off meant that a griffon and three ponies would be able to get a smile on their faces later in the evening.

Lest anything important happened, they would just speak a bit about how the flying were going, with Null getting somewhat excited at times, and completely neglecting to tell of her near miss in the clouds earlier. Void brought up how she had wavered on her way up though, but Null seemed mostly able to dismiss it as just being a small thing that looked worse than it were.

Neither of them would bring up the deals with Karma yet. Null were still torn on how to bring it up, and frankly more focused on her flying training right now, whilst Void initially wanted to, but held her tongue. She wanted more information first, so she'd wait, even though Null for one could easily tell that she were keeping something back. She just didn't pressure her about it. Their parents might too, but if they asked, she'd just say that it were work weighing on her mind.

Later on in the evening, Void would be able to present three new glass eyes to a sibling pair and their friend, who openly cried as they got settled in their sockets, and they had a chance to see her work in the mirror. They'd never regain their sight in the lost eyes, but being able to look at themselves and feel normal, as the glass eyes were nearly indistinguishable from their old ones, would help them immensely.

Null's client would come by later, and look on in wonder as Null attached the new leg, as well as grimaced in pain as it were clamped tightly to her stump. A little adjustment here and there after that would make it more comfy, but as with a pair of shoes, she had to wander around with it for a time to get fully used to it.

The design that Null had in mind were simple really: In the palm of the hand, were a pressure plate, which would cause the talons to grip inwards. It would pressure down some as she walked, but it had a set max pressure it could take before the talons would loosen again, so that she could walk or stomp down without it being a big issue beyond a temporary attempt of the talons to try and grip the ground. With a bit of practice however, she should be able to get the right feel for the sort of pressure needed to press down to grasp on to things, like branches, and with more practice, things like cups, whilst also getting how hard she had to step on varied surfaces to more or less neglect the gripping attempts on those surface.

As Null said, it wasn't perfect, and were going to take some time getting used to, but it were the best she were able to do right now, and she had made sure to use a bit of metal she had scavenged in a dusty corner of the forge, to reinforce the talons themselves, so they wouldn't just suddenly break off without a fight, or get dull if she tried to cut something.

She had been genuinely surprised when the griffon grabbed hold of her and brought her into a close, tear-filled hug, whilst thanking her for this. Honestly, she had expected some of that regular griffon superiority to shine through and getting a brief, aloof thank you for it. This were not something she had anticipated. Made her feel... Happy, she guessed? After the surprise had settled down at least, at which point the griffon had long since wandered off, with talons clacking against the stone floor.

Come next day, the two would split up. Null would go to her next assignment area, whilst Void would explain she had to work, yet after Null were out of sight, would close up and get on her way to the Consul's place. Seeing as it were the only area she had seen Selena outside of yesterday, it were her best bet in finding the crystalline pony, and get some answers.

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@Blitz Boom

Null's training would proceed nearly identically to how it had the day before: Launching up the wall to the cloud, hovering above the cloud, flying back and forth. This time with encouragement to go faster and changing the cloud height so she'd have to fly upward to get to the other cloud.

As Void approached the Consul's estate she was stopped by one of the guards at the door, "You're looking for Judge Diamond yes? She said you might come looking for her." The guard pointed to a large building about a quarter turn around the central oasis, "She's mediating cases at the moment in the high court building. You should be able to find her there." The guard waited a moment, "Of course, if you're looking for the Consul, feel free to enter."

 

If Void continued her search for Selena, it was relatively simple to get to the building the guard had pointed out, approaching it there was a large stone tableau that read: The High Court of the Trojan Empire, out front. It had been from one of the collection of buildings that made up the courtyard to this building that they had watched the Consul's speech a few weeks earlier. Within the court building it was quiet, at least compared to the noise on the street, and comparatively cold. The lighting was an even low glow from sconces high on columns. There were a number of individual court rooms and offices in the building, but only one appeared to be in use at the moment. A guard would notice Void and come over to her. "Judge Diamond has been expecting you, she'll meet with you in her office when her current mediation had been concluded, I'll take you there."

If Void agreed to follow, the guard would lead her down a hallway to a simple looking office which was labeled: 'Judge Selena Diamond' The guard would motion for her to take a seat before returning to her original post.

The office itself was rather barren, lacking most of the personal effects that an office usually held. The only picture in the room was a painting of Luna's moon with the four stars around it. The desk was stacked with organized papers, indicating that Selena had quite a bit of work to do as Judge.

Void would only need to wait about fifteen minutes before Selena would arrive, dressed in a Trojan robe with a green border. She would nod to Void as she entered the office, "I hadn't expected a response so soon, I suppose some other matter brings you to me?" Selena would take her seat behind the desk, patiently waiting for Void's response.

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@Illiad Easle

All the way from when Void had first been told at the Consul's place that Selena were waiting for her elsewhere, and until now, when the mare in question were mere minutes away from arriving, Void's head had swarmed with the questions that first arrived when Selena had extended her offer.

Sure she had thanked and followed all who had guided her to this room, but beyond that, she hadn't spared much thought to what went on around her. Too much to think of as it were to be concerned or inquisitive about what went on in this building, though honestly, it might also be that she just didn't think it was anything bad, so it were just pushed aside for the time being. Even if Selena were a judge, she were mentioned as mediating something, not judging, or punishing. Not something that sounded bad enough to make her concerned. Doubly so as the place seemed rather peaceful and quiet.

On 2/26/2020 at 5:32 AM, Illiad Easle said:

"I hadn't expected a response so soon, I suppose some other matter brings you to me?"

"I'm sorry for i-interrupting your day, but I've tried to think of what you said and... I need to know what it means, to help Mercy. It s-sounded important, and I do like helping others, but I know many things that mercy could be, and I have to know what sort t-this would entail. And uhm... W-What it would take for me. In my experience, not many good things in life happens w-without some sort of cost."

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@Blitz Boom

Selena thought for a moment, idly tapping at her desk, before answering Void's question. "To serve Mercy is to give creatures what they've earned, in a good way. I understand what you mean, and the tasks of Mercy do take many forms, but she is often lenient on interpretation. The cost to you comes with the reward, what Mercy asks is that one devotes themselves to her, and in return one is lent her power. The more one gives the more they receive."

Selena had a bit of a sad smile on her face, "I was only half a pony to begin with, I didn't have much to give up in the first place, and as such have little issue giving almost everything. But I know few are so willing as I."

She focused back on Void, "For you to serve Mercy would first require that you want to serve her. A willingness to help others receive their 'just desserts' as it were. As the world stands today that will mostly involve acts similar to what you're already doing at your forge: giving creatures gifts they couldn't get under their own power, but they they've earned through their suffering. Mercy would grant you the power to continue doing what you have been for as long as there are those who are deserving of it. You would never lack resources to continue your efforts. Furthermore, so much as you are willing to act, you'd be granted the perception to see who is in need of mercy, and the understanding of what you can do to help them. With time and dedication you will be given the power to do more, but that comes at a cost. The greater power comes with greater responsibility, it requires selflessness to serve Mercy, and the greater the selflessness, the greater the service."

"Many lose themselves along the way, dedicating their whole selves to Mercy. I do not expect that of you, as one of the greatest tasks Mercy has for you lies with your family. They have suffered much already, and deserve to have you with them, With Mercy's help you can help them and all those who need it here in Troy."

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@Illiad Easle

"That doesn't s-sound so bad. Balancing how much to give of yourself sounds like it's the hardest thing, but if t-that's done right, I could help a lot of beings..."

Void trailed off for a bit, thinking on the possibilities that this could present. The details on how things would be exactly with powers and such were not there, though that could have something to do with it being different from being to being, so it'd be impossible to tell. Beyond this sight she spoke of though, which sounded like it were standard issue, provided you used it well, which seemed rather fair. Great power should bring with it, great responsibility. If you couldn't maintain that responsibility, it were only just that the tools were taken away from you.

And justice seemed to be the theme with this. She weren't going to be sent out to deliver mercy kills, which she had feared, but instead make sure that those who had suffered were finally given help. It sounded like a great purpose, even if it apparently also carried risks, as some had given themselves too fully into Mercy over time. What that meant exactly she didn't know, but it might just be what it sounded like on the surface: You gave up any individuality and choice, for the sake of being the purest avatar of Mercy there could be. A noble self sacrifice for sure, but still, a path she'd prefer not to go down. She'd like to have some semblance of a life herself too, if at all possible, and it sounded like it would be like that here, long as she kept herself in check.

"I can bring this up w-with my family later today maybe. Big sis is gonna be f-furious, but if it's mainly here in Troy, and I'm supposed to make sure my f-family also gets a lot of help, it won't really c-change a lot, compared to what my plans were anyway. I'll see if she'd understand that."

Null were going to be tricky on this, yet again, Void could argue that what she did were the best for as many as possible, wouldn't change her, long as she were careful, and might actually allow her to help their family even more. Plus, it sounded as if she were going to be if not always, then at least mainly, within the borders of Troy, so she'd be near all of them. Wouldn't be long between them being separated at any given time, which were a big concern before. Thank the gods that may listen that Null wouldn't have to worry about that if she ended up accepting Mercy's deal, by the sounds of things. Her big sister had too many things weighing her down without having to worry that some karmic creature meddled with her life and veered her away from what were currently a path towards perhaps finally settling down in a somewhat peaceful life. A market improvement over Null's old plan of seemingly wanting to off herself, which even now made Void feel a bit ill thinking about.

"Could I... I-I mean, if it's not too intrusive, could I ask how Mercy affects your life? You uhm... The w-way you said you weren't a whole pony, and have given almost all of yourself to it, makes it sound like there's not much else then M-Mercy in your life. And the way you said it, made it sound kind of... W-Well, painful and lonely."

Void looked with worry and concern at Selena. Not because she were afraid of what the mare might do or say, but because this tidbit of information made her feel rather bad towards the crystalline pony. Life couldn't be easy for a mare made of crystal to begin with, and then being almost fully given to Mercy, could either be the icing on the cake of sadness that would be her life - perhaps driven by little more than duty alone - or maybe the saving grace that kept her together. Void wasn't sure what to think, so she simply defaulted to think it wasn't the good option, and as such, found herself concerned for Selena. Were it not because she had been told earlier to not touch her, lest her aura interfered with the judge's body, she would have been tempted to prepare to go over and give her a hug. It seemed to help quite a lot in Equestria, when others saw some that needed someone to care.

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@Blitz Boom

Selena would wait for Void to finish talking herself through before responding, "I'll certainly see to it that you start out just here in Troy, but Troy isn't the only collection of creatures in need of help. Not I nor Mercy will make you do anything that you would rather not, but I wouldn't be surprised if in a few months time you were asked to be part of a diplomatic mission to one of these other bastions of civilization. But that's then, no need to worry about it now."

Selena thought for a moment how to continue, "I suppose you've earned an answer to that question, and I ask you not share this answer specifically with anyone else. When I said that I wasn't a whole pony... I'm not the first one to bear the burden of Mercy, yet at the same time I am. I'm not the same pony I was when I first took the mantle. Over a thousand years ago, back when Discord ruled the world, my sister and I sought out a blessing from the Tree of Peace, an ancient source of power and responsibility. To my sister it gave the Elements of Harmony, and to me it gave the Scales of Balance. Together we were able to seal Discord away and form Equestria. We found that our responsibilities were too great to hold on our own, so we formed orders to share in the powers and responsibilities, my sister held the element of Magic, and I held the scale of Karma, balancing Mercy and Vengeance. Even then, it was too much to bear without my sister's help, I lacked the strength to do the required evil to bring the world back into balance, especially with her being against it."

Selena sighed as she continued, "I eventually split my soul, placed one half, which held all my best traits and desires, into the diamond that represented Mercy. Which is where I became this half of a pony, the other half becoming Nightmare Moon, consumed fully by Vengeance with Nine, who currently dwells in your sister's mind."

"I was essentially wholly made to serve Mercy, and as such it comes easily. It is lonely and painful at times, seeing those that I can't help yet, that still need to suffer so that the world can remain in its parabolic state of balance. But it essentially defined me from the moment when I was no longer Luna."

Selena grew silent, contemplative as she waited for Void to say something, or excuse herself.

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@Illiad Easle

22 hours ago, Illiad Easle said:

"I'll certainly see to it that you start out just here in Troy, but Troy isn't the only collection of creatures in need of help. Not I nor Mercy will make you do anything that you would rather not, but I wouldn't be surprised if in a few months time you were asked to be part of a diplomatic mission to one of these other bastions of civilization. But that's then, no need to worry about it now

So... She would have to leave then eventually? Perhaps not permanently, but her path would at least require trips outside of Troy, to bring mercy to other parts of the ailing world.

She supposed it wasn't all that surprising, and it at least sounded as if she were given a choice, so that were good. Though knowing herself, she would probably accept, provided that their new little brother or sister had been born at that point. There wasn't much that would make her want to miss that, which hopefully, Selena and to an extend Mercy itself, would be able to understand.

*sigh* But be that as it may, Selena were right. It weren't something she should think about right away, especially not as there were much to do in Troy as is, it sounded like. What were in the immediate future would be what she should try and focus on, and bring up when she eventually got the chance to talk with her family about this, and then the potential travel, would be a worry for another day.

22 hours ago, Illiad Easle said:

"I suppose you've earned an answer to that question, and I ask you not share this answer specifically with anyone else. When I said that I wasn't a whole pony... I'm not the first one to bear the burden of Mercy, yet at the same time I am. I'm not the same pony I was when I first took the mantle. Over a thousand years ago, back when Discord ruled the world, my sister and I sought out a blessing from the Tree of Peace, an ancient source of power and responsibility. To my sister it gave the Elements of Harmony, and to me it gave the Scales of Balance. Together we were able to seal Discord away and form Equestria. We found that our responsibilities were too great to hold on our own, so we formed orders to share in the powers and responsibilities, my sister held the element of Magic, and I held the scale of Karma, balancing Mercy and Vengeance. Even then, it was too much to bear without my sister's help, I lacked the strength to do the required evil to bring the world back into balance, especially with her being against it."

Selena sighed as she continued, "I eventually split my soul, placed one half, which held all my best traits and desires, into the diamond that represented Mercy. Which is where I became this half of a pony, the other half becoming Nightmare Moon, consumed fully by Vengeance with Nine, who currently dwells in your sister's mind."

"I was essentially wholly made to serve Mercy, and as such it comes easily. It is lonely and painful at times, seeing those that I can't help yet, that still need to suffer so that the world can remain in its parabolic state of balance. But it essentially defined me from the moment when I was no longer Luna."

"You're... P-Princess Luna?"

The tale were certainly a fanciful one, and honestly did not sound as one which would carry much weight normally, but what reason had Selena to lie about this? And in such an elaborate way, no less? Even if she banked on the two of them knowing the princesses from Equestria, and feeling as if they owed a debt to the fallen nation, their interaction had been almost exclusively with Celestia. It were not Luna who pressed for the to join the country as legal citizens, nor showed them a kindness they had not felt in a long time. That had been the work of Celestia, with Luna at best being either indifferent, or not opposed to the idea at least, though their interactions with her had been rather limited, so it were hard to say what she felt on the matter.

"No not her, but p-part of her? But then... If what used to b-be Nightmare Moon is in Null, and you're the other half d-does that mean that the Princess Luna I've seen is an illusion? A h-husk without a soul?

And is Nine is m-meant to be vengeance, and is in her mind, is she..."

Void suddenly got a pale look over her face. Or well, considering her tar black coat, it were mostly the facial expression one had to go with there, to define her as going pale.

"Is Null g-going to turn into something like Nightmare Moon, if N-Nine stays in there?"

There were a lot to take away from the story she had been told, but Void had to address the most immediate worry in her mind, which had blasted into her face a little after she started to really grasp what the role of Nine actually were, according to what she understood at least. And if she had gotten this right, that meant that she had to try and get him out of there, and fast, before her big sister went insane and had to be banished to the moon, or some other fate that were likely not any kinder.

Hopefully she were wrong, and Selena would ease her mind on this, in which case, she could begin to make her way back home and prepare what she were going to say to her family later about all of this. Today were going to be one of heavy topics it seemed, even if this whole story were one that were not going to be brought up in said topics. Selena's secret wouldn't be shared with others, unless it were forced out of her.

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@Blitz Boom

Selena shook her head and waved dismissively, "Perhaps I wasn't clear, though I understand that I gave you quite a bit to take in there. First off, your sister will be fine, at least where it comes to Nine. Nine no longer bears the mantle of Vengeance, it was passed to Nemesis, who currently serves the Consul. All those who bear Vengeance have had a Shadow Specter to assist them since the beginning."

Selena thought for a moment before she continued, "As it pertains to Luna and I... The original plan was for me to be reintegrated into Luna when she returned from the moon, but the Elements got to her first, restoring the missing part of her soul and as such there was no room for me to return, nor did I reunite with her for more than a few moments on sparse occasions. Nine had been her companion for the short while after she had been returned the mantle from one Midnight Star who we had entrusted it to. The Luna you knew was real and whole I assure you, and if recent reports are to be believed she is still whole even now."

Selena would stand from her desk and motion for Void to leave, "Worry not, your sister will be fine. Bound as they are Nine has every reason to keep her safe and sane."

Speaking of which,

[Null]

Null's training session was just reaching its peak when the brothers had her stop the current exercise. Soon after she landed on the cloud the Consul arrived, swooping up from a wall launch of his own to land on the cloud, but not without some difficulty, almost falling off the other side in the process. The brothers pretended not to notice his misstep, and saluted smartly at his arrival, he returned the salute in turn before turning to Null. "I see your training is going well, I'm glad to hear that you've regained so much of your flight already." His shadowy wings ruffled impatiently under his natural ones and he sighed, turning to the brothers: "Leave us please? I need to speak to Null privately."

The brothers shared a look before nodding, taking flight back towards the city where they took up watch from a nearby cloud.

The Consul took a seat on the cloud, and motioned for Null to do the same. His shadowy wings ruffled again and he sighed in irritation, "Go then."

Before Null could question his words the shadowy wings pulled away from the Consul, first taking the form of a silhouette of the Consul, before reducing to a ball of tendrils not unlike Nine, then it dipped into the Consul's shadow and out of sight.

The Consul turned to Null, "It concerns your potential deal with Vengeance. I've discovered where your, well. I've discovered where Grey Mane is."

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@Illiad Easle

On 3/3/2020 at 6:20 AM, Illiad Easle said:

"Perhaps I wasn't clear, though I understand that I gave you quite a bit to take in there. First off, your sister will be fine, at least where it comes to Nine. Nine no longer bears the mantle of Vengeance, it was passed to Nemesis, who currently serves the Consul. All those who bear Vengeance have had a Shadow Specter to assist them since the beginning."

This was a great weight off her shoulders. Void didn't know what she would have done if Null had gone down the same route as Nightmare Moon had. Supposedly fight her, and repeat history, like it had between Celestia and Luna? Might be she would have, but she wasn't sure that she could win like Celestia had. Even though she had been in some tussles with her big sister, a flat out fight with intent to harm had never happened, and quite honestly, unless Null were threatening their parents, there were a big chance that Void wouldn't be able to put her all into it, as she couldn't bring herself to harm her elder sister.

Thankfully she wouldn't have to worry about this, and thank the gods for that. That would be a nightmare with no positive outcome that she could think of.

That there were another creature that were the current specter of vengeance that were under command of the Consul were an... Interesting extra fact, but if it were under control, that were likely okay. She weren't one to judge others for using dark powers to get good things done. Null and her had done so at times, and it would be hypocritical for her to be against it because of that. Plus, the Consul seemed like a good pony. She were sure he had the best intentions, and were able to deal with things without going too far. Of those she knew, he were one of those whom she would trust the most with this sort of thing at least. Might be they had not known him for long, but he had given her no reason to not think he were trustworthy.

On 3/3/2020 at 6:20 AM, Illiad Easle said:

"As it pertains to Luna and I... The original plan was for me to be reintegrated into Luna when she returned from the moon, but the Elements got to her first, restoring the missing part of her soul and as such there was no room for me to return, nor did I reunite with her for more than a few moments on sparse occasions. Nine had been her companion for the short while after she had been returned the mantle from one Midnight Star who we had entrusted it to. The Luna you knew was real and whole I assure you, and if recent reports are to be believed she is still whole even now."

Selena would stand from her desk and motion for Void to leave, "Worry not, your sister will be fine. Bound as they are Nine has every reason to keep her safe and sane."

"Thank you for clarifying things S-Selena. It's uhm... It's a lot to digest, but I p-promise I won't share it with anyone. Not even Null. I'll come back after I have an answer to you. Have a g-good day, and thank you for your time."

Void turned around and started to walk out, yet halted before she passed the treshold and sent a glance back at the crystalline pony.

"What you've been through has got to be a lot to c-carry with you sometimes. If you ever need to talk about it, I'll be h-happy to lend an ear."

It wasn't much, but she knew that sometimes, what a being really needed were to be heard, and just get things off their chest. Perhaps she could be that being for Selena at some point, if she ever felt like talking about things. Considering the little snippet Void had heard were already quite heavy, she imagined the crystalline mare had quite a lot to carry around with her. Might be she needed help with more than to carry the burden of Mercy.

As she wandered off and back towards the forge though, head full of thoughts, things were happening at a certain training area.

On 3/3/2020 at 6:20 AM, Illiad Easle said:

"I see your training is going well, I'm glad to hear that you've regained so much of your flight already." His shadowy wings ruffled impatiently under his natural ones and he sighed, turning to the brothers: "Leave us please? I need to speak to Null privately."

Null felt a bit spent at the time when the Consul showed up, so she just gave him a bow, as to not look like a sleeping recruit. Also, saluting weren't something she did in much. It felt more like a soldier or guard thing, and she were at best, a crazed vigilante. Could be said better she supposed, but might as well call a spade a spade.

"Putting in the effort gives results. Teachers ain't bad either."

There were actually a small smile on her face as she gave off this compliment to the brothers, as well as a Nine, whom she considered to also be one of them at this point. She would probably have gotten ahead and done something dumb now if he hadn't nudged things a bit now and again, and at this point, she were slowly starting to accept that fact. 

Seemed odd that Illiad wanted to talk to her in private, but she supposed, there were a good reason for that, and so far, she hadn't really a reason to think it were so that he could shank her in silence or the like. Too much effort put in by now, if that were the end goal. Seriously, first lesson he could've done that if that were his plan, or got the brothers to teach her wrong, and cause her to fall to her death. Why put in the extra effort and time when he had those, and countless other ways to do her in before that, which would also make it seem like not his fault? More logical that he actually had something important to say.

"So... What's going on, Consul?"

On 3/3/2020 at 6:20 AM, Illiad Easle said:

The Consul took a seat on the cloud, and motioned for Null to do the same. His shadowy wings ruffled again and he sighed in irritation, "Go then."

Before Null could question his words the shadowy wings pulled away from the Consul, first taking the form of a silhouette of the Consul, before reducing to a ball of tendrils not unlike Nine, then it dipped into the Consul's shadow and out of sight

Null rose a hoof and opened her muzzle as she saw this, then lowered it and just shook her head. She didn't want to know what this were about right now- At all. She were for once in a good mood, and shadowy tendril monsters that reminded her of Nine, weren't going to ruin it.

On 3/3/2020 at 6:20 AM, Illiad Easle said:

The Consul turned to Null, "It concerns your potential deal with Vengeance. I've discovered where your, well. I've discovered where Grey Mane is."

Turns out that it didn't matter, as this certainly managed to get her right back on edge from her minor, pleasant mood. Nothing like talking about her future corpse of a father to really rile her up in the wrong way.

"Good. I wondered how long that nailbat I stole were gonna remain clean.

Lemme guess though, you're not gonna tell me before the contract's made, are you? My vengeance in exchange for the vengeance of countless others, just like it told me?"

She didn't blame him for this, even if her tone were more hostile than it had been in days, if not weeks at this point, after the gate closed. It were just something that seemed like the fact of the matter. The deal were for her to get her revenge on all who had made her and her family suffer, starting with the original source of their misery. And then in exchange, she would carry the mantle, and go out to deliver it to every other two-bit rat that tried to wriggle out of their just deserts. She figured she'd have more time to prepare for this, but it seemed like the timetable had been sped up more than she had anticipated.

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[Void]

Selena seemed surprised by Void's parting words, but smiled, "I don't think that will be necessary... but I appreciate it. Thank you, I look forward to meeting with you again soon."

[Null]

6 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

"Putting in the effort gives results. Teachers ain't bad either."

The Consul smirked, "That's why I picked them, both to teach you and to be in the SoR."

6 hours ago, Blitz Boom said:

Lemme guess though, you're not gonna tell me before the contract's made, are you? My vengeance in exchange for the vengeance of countless others, just like it told me?"

 

The Consul shook his head, "No, I'm going to tell you regardless. The deal was never about the knowledge, only the power. Without the power of Vengeance there's still nothing that stops you from going out there, and you may even still prevail against him. But with Vengeance you'll have the guarantee of success, with the price that you say."

The Consul looked out over the city, "There's a lot of creatures down there who aren't as able as you, who can never exact their own vengeance. You'd be doing them all a favor by joining, but it's not something I can coerce you into doing."

He pointed out to the northwest, "I assume you've heard of Las Pegasus? A few scouts came back not long after the gates were closed to report that a bunch of creatures had come together and made it habitable again, liberating it from some remnants of Discord's Legion that had been holed up there, they've become quite the beacon for those who are still wandering the wastes, especially those Equestrian remnants who refuse to be in Troy. I recently discovered that the pony behind this rebuilding is Grey Mane."

The Consul pulled a paper out of his robe and passed it to Null, "That's all I know at the moment, do with it what you will. If you have no questions for me I must be off, you know where to find me when you're ready to decide."

On the paper was a crudely drawn map of Las Pegasus, or what it had become. It included labels to a number of hotels and casinos as well as other buildings that seemed to be restored to service. One in particular, a spire on the shore that connected the cloud layer of the city to the ground layer, called the Stacked Deck, was labeled as being the most likely place for Grey Mane to be in.

At the bottom of the paper was a note: 'I'm planning on sending a diplomatic envoy there in the near future, I could have you added to the manifest under a false name. You wouldn't have any official responsibilities, it would just be a way in.'

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@Illiad Easle

"Tomorrow."

Null had been looking over the town that Illiad had directed her attention to, whilst the thoughts wandered through her head. About Vengeance, the warnings she had been given, and what it would all mean not just for her, but for those down there. Thoughts that had been there a lot recently, though they had halted some as she had been going through flight training.

"I thought I had more time, but I don't trust he will stay there, and I'm not letting him get away, nor have a chance at getting the upper hoof. If he does, he'll just end up hurting them again, and I refuse to let that happen. Not to them, and not to anyone else.

Tonight I'll tell my family what's going to happen. Then tomorrow after training, I'll show up to your office, and you'll have your deal."

She turned around to look up at the Consul again, a little bitter, yet determined and seemingly without having much in the way of doubts when it came to her words. Not a surprise to him likely. The thing holding Null back had long been that she didn't know how to bring it up to her parents and her sister, not whatever or not she would do this. That part were inevitable, since despite how much she did get done now and again in town, and how welcome her family and neighbors tried to make her feel, she didn't feel like she belonged there. This peaceful, settled life just felt wrong somehow.

Yet out there, where she could actually set things right, and protect her family the way she did best? There was something about the thought that appealed to her. Likely that she'd be able to do more for them out there than she ever could sitting on her hooves, in a place where she wasn't needed. There were others who could go on with making false legs for those in need, and the few notes she might have could be given to some of those to help things along. She herself wasn't needed, nor meant to be in this sort of life.

"Just promise me that you'll keep something in mind, Consul. That if I ever lose myself to Vengeance, and end up as a threat to my family... Please, try and kill me. If I hadn't gone insane before that, I would after, and then it would just be a matter of time before I became one of the monsters I tried to protect them from. It would be the best for everyone if it didn't get that far."

If he gave his word or not on this, Null would still let it be said, so that he could at least think about it if the situation arose. Something which Null feared more than anything, when she embraced Vengeance, and set out of a path likely covered in blood. She could live with herself if she knew what she did were right, but not if she ended up coming back to smite her own family. She'd sooner die.

As for the note on Las Pegasus, she stuffed it inside her beret after she got it. She'd need it later, as she explained to her family partially why she were going to do what she were preparing for. Hopefully they'd be able to understand her, even if she knew that Void wouldn't. Blessed be her little sister, but she just didn't understand that the dream of her big sister being able to just live a normal, carefree life, wasn't realistic. It were far, far too late for that.

He'd likely leave soon, as would she. In her case, to return to the workshop to get some notes scribbled down, and finish up a side project of sorts, whilst Void did her own thing at the forge. Usually they'd banter some to keep the time going, but for once, it would be a rather silent, pressured atmosphere, as both parts tried to grasp how they were going to bring up their respective offers to their parents, come evening.

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@Blitz Boom

On 3/6/2020 at 12:58 PM, Blitz Boom said:

"Just promise me that you'll keep something in mind, Consul. That if I ever lose myself to Vengeance, and end up as a threat to my family... Please, try and kill me. If I hadn't gone insane before that, I would after, and then it would just be a matter of time before I became one of the monsters I tried to protect them from. It would be the best for everyone if it didn't get that far."

The Consul wasn't surprised by her statement, he gave her only a sad smile. "I asked something similar when I first accepted the mantle. So long as you fulfill your duties Vengeance will not overcome you, fortunately for you what Vengeance will ask is not in the same scope as what it requires of me. Nonetheless, you have my word that should you pose a threat to your family, or anyone to whom it is not deserving, I will ensure a quick and painless end. I will also do all in my power to prepare you so that such an end should never be necessary."

The brothers didn't stop her from leaving, assuming that whatever the Consul had told her was more important than finishing for the day.

Nothing else of importance happened that day, all that remained was how they would tell their parents, when they finally decided not to put it off any longer and go home.

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@Illiad Easle

Eventually, night time would come for the sisters, and they would close up shop for the day. They had both been doing some hard work, despite the awkward silence that seemed to have dropped over the room for the majority of it, which tended to decrease their productivity, as usually, their banter helped keep them focused at the task at hoof.

Tonight had been different, yet not without some issues, as Null had to re-carve a piece of wood to replace a section of what she had been working on, which broke after she thought more on the deal with Vengeance, and the Consul's honestly soothing promise of a quick end, if worst came to worst. And as for Void, she needed to redo an eye from scratch, as her attention being elsewhere had caused her to make it flawed, to a point where it might take some time, but it would inevitably get chipped, and potentially cause severe damage inside the recipient's skull. A future risk which she refused to take, so it were thrown into a pile of other glass parts that she might find some use for another time.

They needed to take a short trip to the market afterwards, to pick up some veggies for tonight's dinner. Void had promised that she'd cook, and show their mother that she still knew how to make Trojan Blackroot Stew. Despite what else were going on, she were still determined to make sure that it would be done, and that their family would be getting a good, traditional meal. Void considered making a variant that had the Blackroot as the main taster, but decided against it, to go for the one with more varied flavors. Worst came to worst, it were easier to hide the bitterness of a badly-cooked Blackroot among other root vegetables, than it were to try and play it off as anything besides inedible, and she didn't feel like her mind were in the right place to be focused 100% on getting this done right. A small bit of leeway were preferable in her mind.

Soon enough after that, they'd be at their parents house and knock on the door, about five minutes later than they had said they were likely going to be, when the dinner were agreed upon by them a few days ago. Not too bad, considering the first night they had been half an hour late, due to some complications at the shop, so this wasn't too bad. And since Void were cooking, no chance of the food growing cold tonight.

Provided nothing were wrong and they'd eventually be let in, Void would wander first with a somewhat nervous smile on her face, whilst Null would bow her neck and give them a short, more energized bow than she had been able to the last few days, when she had been utterly exhausted after both the training and work.

"Hey, didn't mean to be late. Figures that the herbs we needed got mixed up in a big pile, and ended up at the bottom."

"But we still got everything, so... That's good. Are you doing okay? Nothing happening at the hospital? Or with the foal?"

Void had gotten a little focused on the subject of the foal in recent days, as the day got closer and she started to worry if their mom were still okay. Null were concerned too, but she didn't show it as openly as her little sister, who were more or less at the stage where if she saw their mother looking like she were going to get up to grab something, she would do it herself if possible. A little overbearing perhaps, but what could she say? She were both worried and excited for the new little member of their family.

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