The man sat easily on the wooden bench that had been in his cell before he had arrived. His fingers were interlocked and his half-lidded, glazed over eyes stared to the cell opposite his own. Nothing was in the cell that he glared at, yet the man merely remained in this odd state, regardless of what occurred in front of him. It had only been mere hours since Celestia had left, and yet a wide chalk drawing was splayed across the wall behind him. The diagram itself was advanced beyond any of the guards’ comprehension and would draw confused looks from the ponies who would stop to look at it. One particular guard glared at the depiction for a solid hour, tilting his head every which way to try and decipher it like a puzzle, before walking more confused then he had been to start with for his efforts.
The thoughts of the man were far outside his own metal cell and were busy working out several different theories in his mind. After several minutes of this, the man stood abruptly, gathering the attention of the nearby guards. The man reached into his coat and pulled out a small rectangular prism, the outside of which was composed of steel. The cell wardens all raised eyebrows at this sudden movement, but no one made action to stop him. The man placed the rectangular device against the wall and wiped it back and forth across a section of the stone. As it did so, it left behind a blank wall, completely devoid of chalk dust. The guards’ looks of curiosity turned to those of surprise.
With a smile to himself, the man opened a back panel of the rectangular device and withdrew a piece of chalk. The man then placed the invention back into the spot he had originally retrieved it from. With the newly acquired chalk, the man replaced the section of the diagram that he had erased with a different string of numbers and turned away from the finished product with a cry of ‘aha’. The guards all flinched slightly at the sudden exclamation, a few shirking away or remaining silent, and all but one eyed the man warily.
The one guard who didn’t approached the cell and decided to speak to the odd creature. “How did you do that? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a unicorn cast that spell before.”
The man turned to face the armored pegasus pony and began to speak. “Oh, that was no spell, I assure you. That, my dear friend, was my chalk recycler. It operates using a containment field to capture an amount of air equal to double the mass of the chalkdust. This in turn is compressed so tightly that the chalk is forced back into a singular object. A little more purely mechanical compression and the chalk takes a completely solid appearance. Invented it to save on chalk. Things like that run out fast when they can no longer be produced. Or, in the case of this, not easily reproduced. Recycling of such material is essential to the continued use of the object in mention.” The creature replied, almost completely ignoring the presence of the pony at all and speaking mostly to himself.
At the man’s mentions that it wasn’t a spell, the guard tilted his head before hesitantly nodding and walking away from the biped. The human seemed not to notice and once more dropped himself onto the seat in the cell again, a manic grin on his face as his mind began to fall back into its normal rhythms of thought. As rushing words of advanced mathematical equations slowly dissolved from his mind, the man began to hear an ongoing conversation between a pair of guards in the distance discussing something.
“Did you hear that Luna is going to be coming down here tonight to talk to the hairless ape? I can’t believe she thinks she can walk around the castle after what she did, and Celestia doesn’t even do anything about it.” The creature almost completely ignored the insult. He was much more intent upon the other words that had been spoken.
“What’s wrong with princess Luna?” replied a second voice, echoing a question the man himself would have posed.
“You didn’t hear?” There was a break in the speech where the man assumed the other stallion shook his head. “She decimated entire wings of the castle a year ago. Celestia claims that she was under some kind of possession by an ancient entity of the dark, but if you ask me I think she is just trying to cover for her sister.”
The voices died off as they walked away, but the man’s intrigue was peaked at the words and he eagerly awaited a chance to talk to this Princess Luna. He assumed Celestia to be the white alicorn he had talked to earlier that day. With a smile to himself, the man laid out on the bench in the prison as he closed his eyes. Without sight to distract him, the sound of clockwork beat at the inside of his eardrums and the man smiled even wider. “Perhaps things can still work out for the best, clear as clockwork and all that.”
It was several hours later, after the sun had set beyond the horizon, that the approaching sound of hoofsteps and guards backing away from the staircase announced the arrival of the lunar princess to the dungeon. The man smiled at the approaching alicorn whose room he had fell into at dawn of this day. She merely glanced back at him with an unamused glare before she caught sight of the wall behind him. A surprised gasp escaped her lips at the sight and several of the nearby guards turned to the blue alicorn with raised eyebrows.
“What is this?” The alicorn said in a calm tone after she had managed to compose herself. Purposefully ignoring the guards, she specified her question by adding some detail to what she was asking. “I like to think myself well versed in the areas of magical matrices but, I must admit that this is rather... unique.”
“No wonder you’re confused then. This diagram uses no magic in its system. It runs primarily on steam and radioactive resurgence.” The blue alicorn gave him a confused glare which, by this point in time, the inventor had grown tired of. “You see, where I come from, we lack any form of magic. To make up for this, we entirely devoted ourselves to the evolution of our technology. I was considered one of the best in my field when the world ended and, after a few dozen years or so, I realized that I could make a dimensional jump to escape from my world.”
The alicorn returned a doubtful glare to the man in the cage. In response, the man jerked to his feet. Luna backed away from the cell in response as the man approached the bars and smiled at her.
“I have a more important question however. The marks on your flanks, they represent what you are good at, I assume? May I ask what you and Celestia do to have marks of the moon and sun, respectively?”
“I raise the moon for each night and Celestia raises the sun for each day.” Luna responded hesitantly.
The man emitted a barking laugh that caused Luna to flinch. His next words were barely understandable amidst his jarring exclamations. “So your names are directly tied to what you do?” The lunar princess nodded in response and the man laughed once more.
“And, pray tell, what is so funny exactly?” The princess responded indignantly.
“I think I know what you should call me for a name. It’s based on your naming conventions, so it should work just fine for you.” The man paused for dramatic effect before he spoke again.
“My name will be Inventor, because that is what I do. I invent things.” He seemed to find this hilarious and he broke into another barking laugh. Luna stood nearby looking at the creature with unsurety. When it became obvious his tirade of laughing wasn’t going to end soon, she shifted her gaze once more to the characters that covered the stone wall. The symbols danced across her mind. Occasionally, she would notice a piece of writing that seemed familiar, but all in all the diagram merely looked like a collection of alien symbols.
Luna didn’t realize how long she stood there trying to make heads or tails out of this scribbled babble. She was brought back to herself when she realized it was silent. She blinked and turned her gaze to the man who was looking at her. His eyes were different though; they seemed to belong to someone completely different than a moment ago. The deep wells looked back at the blue alicorn and all she could see in them was a kind of morbid intelligence. “My apologies. Things haven’t exactly turned out as I wished them to. Insanity is my normal coping mechanism, you see.”
The gaze of the princess shifted slightly to look away from those eyes. “Why do you hide behind it?”
“Because my sanity is far too much like myself; it runs away when it’s confronted by something it doesn’t want to deal with. And, sorry to inform you, magic casting ponies was not something that I was quite ready to deal with when I came out of that portal,” the man said, his eyes unmoving.
Silence reigned for a few moments. “I think I should go,” Luna said, hoping that the meager lame excuse would allow her reason enough to leave. She wanted a reason to get away from those cold, haunted eyes that seemed to gaze into her soul. When no words were forthcoming from the man, she left hurriedly.
As she ascended the stairs, the lunar princess found herself far more intrigued by the mysterious man than by the drawings he had placed onto the wall behind him. It was such a strange creature. Celestia had informed her sister of the information that she had gleaned from the man when she had spoken to him. Despite that, the lunar princess found herself in complete surprise.
He completely shifted attitudes at the end of that interaction. He isn't similar to ponies at all, from what I can tell, and he certainly doesn't seem like the humans that he described. What even is he? Luna pondered as she advanced up the stairs. Her destination was not any of the several she wished it to be, but rather a meeting with Celestia and the council. They were to decide what was to be done about the Inventor. His appearance was suspicious due to the reports of a threat against Canterlot, and, as such, the matter of an alien appearing in one of the princess’ rooms required steady handling and fair judgement.
Still lost in thought, Luna walked into the meeting room and took her seat in a dark wood throne next to her sister’s, made of a white wood. Celestia turned to view her sister and gave her a comforting smile before she turned to the assembled mass of ponies that represented the council.
“Hello, my dear councillors. We have gathered to discuss the punishment for a strange creature who-”
“His name is Inventor,” Luna said absentmindedly while she was lost in thought, drawing a look of confusion from her sister. Realizing that she had just subconsciously grabbed the attention of the entire group of assembled ponies, the lunar princess attempted to make herself sound as royal as she could. “He has decided to make his name known, to be called Inventor while in our land.” Luna turned to look at her sister after she spoke and saw an encouraging nod.
“Thank you, sister,” Celestia said with a smile. “We have gathered today to discuss the punishment for one, Mr. Inventor. He was found trespassing into my sister’s room at dawn this morning and claimed to have accidentally travelled cross-dimensionally into the area. I have informed you all of what he had told me and I would like to hear the council’s judgement in the punishment of the creature.”
A gray stallion near the front of the group, the designated speaker for this meeting, stood from his seat and coughed lightly. “It is the opinion of this group that the creature in question be put to death.” The alicorn sisters were both hit by a wave of surprise at the judgement. They both hid it behind expressions of practiced calmness however, and the stallion continued on with his speech to the alicorns.
“He trespassed in the princess’ room, that, by the rules set in place by the previous council members, is punishable by death. Given the situation that the town is in currently...” The gray stallion paused to glance out the window to the pink barrier that surrounded Canterlot. “We have decided that the death of this creature will be a sign to the populace that the city is safe and that any of the violators of the law will be dealt with.”
It was at this point that Luna lost her calm demeanor and spoke loudly to all the assembled. “He has spoken to me recently and has said that his dimensional travel uses not magic, but rather technology, which may allow for my sister’s observation about the creature’s lack of power.” The grey stallion looked ready to speak but Luna pressed on. “In addition to this, what idea are we sending to other creatures who may seek to find us from alternate dimensions? Do we really want to kill the first creature, this ‘Inventor’, on such petty decisions as this? What would the people think of the matter?” As she finished, several of the council seemed to take heed of her words and began to talk amongst themselves.
“You make a mistake, princess of the night,” the stallion replied calmly. “Even if it weren’t for the current situation which is before us, even if we were in a time of peace, he fact remains that this creature fully admits that he hails from a land that has destroyed itself with war and unabridged death. I think it wise to dispose of such a creature before he can bring such nightmares to our peaceful land.”
The lunar princess tried to rebuttal, but found her words missing. She glanced pleadingly to her sister who refused to look back. With a regretful tone, the white alicorn spoke, “It is by my right as Celestia, princess of the sun, that this creature be put to death in two days time. This break in time will be to avoid anything that may interfere with the wedding. All in favor of this decree, vote aye.” Her words were answered as nearly the entire council responded in favor. Luna merely sat in her throne and looked at the polished stone floor beneath her.
“Then so is the decree, Inventor shall be hung from the neck until dead. The act shall be done in the town square at the appointed time and will be overseen by myself and my sister, should she wish to join me.” The white alicorn finished and looked at the black wood throne. Her sister was gone, having disappeared with a silent teleportation spell.
Celestia envied her sister for how well she could control her magic, as her own power had more brute force while her sister’s was more subtle. While Celestia had been alone without her sister, it was true that she had moved both sun and moon, but at night the stars never moved. Nights were always the same regardless of how Celestia tried to affect them.
Deep in the castle, Luna found herself near the prison cells and decided to let the madman know his fate. As she approached, she stepped lightly to avoid waking any of the nearby ponies and, when she arrived at Inventor’s cell, she found him wide awake and looking over the equation on the wall.
“Inventor,” Luna said softly as she looked at the man. Despite what he had done, Luna had never been in favor of the death penalty. It was one of the laws she had tried to change upon returning. Her efforts were constantly foiled by the council however, and the law had remained in place, much to the blue alicorn’s chagrin.
The man turned slowly to face the blue mare and a grin spread across his face. “Ah, you’re the first to call me by that name, you know. I’ll admit it’s starting to grow on me already. Has a nice little ring to it I think. Makes me feel like I’m actually a part of this world.” At the man’s words, the blue alicorn moved her gaze to the ground and tried to keep herself from tearing up, causing his gaze to turn to one of worry as his demeanor changed once again. Back, were his old, sad eyes that seemed to have seen the entirety of the horrors of the universe.
Why do I care so much about this creature? It snuck into my room and could have easily done me harm, so why do I feel so bad about it dying? the princess pondered as she managed to raise her gaze and look into the deep emotional eyes of the man. “It is my regret to inform you that, by order of the council, you shall be put to death in two days time.” She got a response she didn’t expect to receive, as the creature began to bark short laughs once again. She was about to ask him if he were okay when she recalled it was a coping mechanism.
“I have to admit, this will certainly be interesting. I would like to brag that I have experienced just about everything, but death will be a completely new experience to me. Could certainly solve just about every hypothesis on the matter. Would be nice to have those off of my mind,” Inventor said with a manic smile cracked across his face. When he looked to the alicorn again, his eyes seemed to be dancing with his insanity.
It was too much for the blue alicorn. She began to lightly cry openly at the man’s cell and his look turned serious once more. “It’s alright, Luna. Honestly, you ponies are way too mushy for your own good. Be tough. Be strong,” the man said to the blue alicorn. She slowly blinked the tears out of her eyes and looked to the man.
“But you're going to die and I can’t help but feel that it is my fault for it. You didn’t mean to show up in my room, and yet that doesn’t seem to matter to the others. Just because of the threat on the city, you’re going to die and there is nothing I can do to avoid it,” Luna said as tears continued their attempts to fall.
She hadn’t cried in a long time. Her emotions while she was on the moon had always been distant and, when she returned, she hadn’t experienced anything truly devastating. But right now, in this feeling of helplessness and desperation, her resolve had shattered under the stress of emotions she hadn’t felt in a thousand years. Due to this, the lunar princess now found herself crying to a creature from another dimension. She would have been ashamed of herself, if crying didn’t feel so good right now, so right.
“Shh, no harm done, Luna.” The alicorn looked at the man with a confused glance. “You did all you could to stop it right?” The blue mare nodded. “Then there is nothing to be so sad about; you did your best and that’s all that can be asked of you.”
“Why are you being so nice? You’ve been sentenced to death and your consoling your executioner. Is this a human thing?”
“Nah, it’s just who I am. I always thought I would be my own executioner, so I feel I need to comfort the person who has to do my job for me.”
After a few more minutes in the silence of the dungeons at night, the princess stood straight and looked at the man. “Thank you Inventor. I didn’t mean for you to see me like that when I came down here tonight.” The man saw the strength of resolve return to the eyes of the mare and smiled in return. With barely a flash of light and no sound what so ever, the alicorn found herself on the balcony that overlooked the majority of Canterlot. Though lost in thought, she still heard a clattering of hoofsteps from the streets below and called out.
“Who goes there?” With a glance, the blue alicorn made out the form of her sister’s student rushing to a building. Her nerves were on end as she watched the young mare gallop across the open space of the plaza.
Few ponies would listen to the lunar princess and even fewer would take into consideration what she had to say. With this in mind, Luna half-heartedly called out a meager warning to the lavender unicorn. “Stay indoors, Twilight Sparkle.”
(I made a small character jump in regards to the character of a... character... in this story, but I believe I handled the reason for it pretty well. If you disagree, please say so in the comments and tell me what seemed off to you. Thanks again for reading my fic and make sure to tell anyone you think may be interested in it. Now lets see if I can't manage to sleep tonight. Oh, and don't think I don't see you there Staple, sitting underneath my A/N. -N64Fan)
(And then the editor showed up and edited the author’s note as well. You wouldn’t believe how many times I second guess myself with this man’s work. -StapleCactus)