We made it back to Canterlot without hurting Stone further. The stallions flying us brought us right to the hospital doors. I wasn't in much of a state for talking and waved them off.
Panacea quietly lifted Stone onto a stretcher one of the other nurses brought out. While Pan headed in and gave her report of injuries, I stayed behind. I knew he'd be fine, but my mind was restless.
What the hell? How did I let Stone get hurt fighting that thing? Dammit, am I really so useless until I let my anger consume me? And what of that thing anyway? I don't know how I'm going to explain this to Celestia. Ugh, I just want to forget meeting her, but my damnable oath... Bah, she can wait until I check on Stone and Pan.
My thoughts took longer than I thought; Pan met me outside the doors and the sun was coming up. She looked tired, but unworried. "Dex? Why are you out here still?"
"Hmm... Nothing, Pan. How's Stone?" I stared out at the sky.
"He'll be fine after a week or two. Cracked ribs are a lot better than broken and the bleeding was stopped."
"Ah... That's good. ... You going to keep an eye on him?"
"I will, after I sleep anyway."
"Okay." I pushed myself off the wall and started towards the castle.
"Dex... Are you alright?"
Very rarely, did my mood show on my face. That morning, everypony saw it. Guards would open doors before I got there and stewards steered clear. I wanted to get the report over with. With the sun coming up, she must be on her balcony. Might be able to mess with her by walking in on her. The guards at her bedroom doors were fidgeting under my glare.
"S-sir Dex! Th-the princess is b-busy. W-wait for the s-sun to rise, please." Well since he said please...
"No." I pushed my way past them and casually pushed her doors open. "Celestia, I have my report."
I hadn't affected her at all, she finished raising the sun and turned to me. Her mood was not pleasant. "Dex, even a knight of your standing cannot enter a princess's room unannounced. Leave before I decide to do something about it." Psh, I'm tired of your games Celestia.
I walked to the center of her room, my tone just as strict as her own. "No. I've come to give my report and then I will go."
"Then do so. The guards are waiting." Empty threats.
"Slade was being terrorized by a living shadow. It's form always changed but we managed to defeat it. Stone is in the hospital receiving treatment for wounds sustained in battle."
Celestia's eyes widened a bit. "You are lucky the situation has changed, Dex. Follow me to my study, we will discuss this further." She strolled past me and stopped at her doorway. Her head turned back to me with a grin. "Do not get arrogant; next time I will call the guards." At that, she exited for her study as I followed.
We met Luna on her way to bed. Celestia had her join us and the rest of the walk was quiet and uneventful. When we got to the study, Celestia immediately went to her bookshelf. Luna sat next to the desk while I stood at the front.
"Where is Panacea and what did you find of the citizens at Slade?" Celestia continued to browse the spines of her books.
"Pan stayed with Stone. She is resting at the moment though. As for the citizens, they didn't act too differently from before. Some spoke in broken sentences and couldn't keep a conversation together though."
Luna spoke up. "So the reports were false?"
"Not false, just not as serious as they claimed. I'm sure they will be fine now. We believed the monster warped them."
"What happened after you defeated it?" Celestia grabbed a book and set it on the desk. She started flipping through it slowly.
She found the page she was looking for and started reciting from it. "'Chaos is an odd form of energy. With large amounts, it can take a form unlike anything in existence. Witnesses speak of a dark shadow that changed shape at random.'" She looked up. "This is what you found?"
"Sounds like it, yes."
Both princesses looked to each-other and sighed. When they looked back at me, Celestia spoke. "Discord commonly used these beings as forward soldiers. I am not sure what this means, but it is a serious problem."
The princess of the night cut in. "Sister, what of Dex's own chaos?" Hmm...
"Good point my sister. I will call for Twilight Sparkle."
"Why Twilight?" I was curious; if I was causing this, couldn't the princesses find out?
"Twilight has felt your energies before. She will know if something has changed about the chaos you emit."
"Fine, but I have stuff I want to do. When she gets here, tell her to meet me on the grounds or in my room." This conversation is over.
"Very well. Go. My sister and I have much to discuss."
I didn't bother to bow as I left. My head was still clouded from the fight. Once again, guards and stewards gave me a wide berth; the training grounds felt empty when I entered.
Dammit Stone. You'll be fine soon enough but you shouldn't have gotten hurt in the first place. You were always the better fighter. I drew my blade and started swinging at a practice dummy. "Why." The sword bounced off. "Did" I brought the sword upward and it was reflected again. "You." A stab and it pierced. "Get." A two handed horizontal swing dug in. "HURT!" I brought the katana down vertically and the dummy split in half.
I spun to meet the speaker. A few guards were looking between me and the dummy. "What."
"Nothing! Just surprised you split a dummy!" Ugh, I won't get anything done here.
The sword was re-sheathed and I pushed past the onlookers. Only thing left is to tinker. I walked through the castle in a blur. Things didn't go like they should have and I was to blame for it.
I was in my room, messing with some wire and magnets. It was fun telling the blacksmith I wanted copper wire and even funnier to explain to a geologist that I was looking for magnets. One of the things I was trying, to find my calling, was engineering. A while back I managed to make a little electricity and now I was attempting to increase the power. It helped take my mind of Stone. There was a knock at the door.
"Come in." I had calmed down considerably since the grounds. When the door opened, I saw Twililght with Celestia. "Ah, Twilight, Celestia, hello. Time for some tests?"
"I will not stay. Twilight will handle things from here. When you two are done, here are the next orders. I expect you to take Twilight with you; her research will require it." Already?
"Stone and Pan are not ready."
"You handled yourself well enough and Twilight knows battle magic. You two will be fine." Gotta be all logical, huh Celestia?
The door closed behind her and I was left alone with Twilight. She was looking around at my creations with wonder. I bet if I gave her free reign, she'd be lost there for days. I didn't want that to happen.
She shook herself out of whatever thought she was having and turned to me. "Dex, did you build everything in here?"
"Except for the furniture, yes." If you go on a tangent...
"How did you do it? What does this stuff even do?" She looked closely at a Tesla coil.
"Later, Twilight. I want to get these tests over with." I will tell you Twilight, but I'm pretty irritated right now.
"But...b-but...Alright, fine." Her head drooped before looking at me studiously. "Just stay still." The horn on her head began to glow and I felt a tingling throughout my body. After a few minutes, it stopped. "That's strange. Dex, you are releasing more chaotic energy than before."
Well ain't that dandy! "Don't look at me for answers to this." What could cause that though? Oh! "Hey, Twilight, check this too." I reached to the side of my work table and grabbed the sword Discord had given me so long ago. "Discord gave this to me in the forest."
She was livid. "And you're just now telling me?! Dex, what could possibly have made you keep this a secret?!"
I set it down on the ground. "Well, it's a really nice sword..." Don't you dare take it away from me!
"Ugh, you're impossible sometimes. Fine, let me look." Once again, her horn lit up and I saw the katana do the same. Twilight's spell washed over it longer than it did with me. Her magic stopped and she looked even more confused than before. "Dex, I don't understand. This sword doesn't have any chaos magic in it at all."
"Well, what does it have? You looked for a long time, after all." I picked it back up and looked it over. It was the same as it always was, both the sheath and hilt were black with a perfect edge to the blade.
"It has an enchantment to keep it from dulling, which is hard to create." I had relief written on my face. "There's something else too. It seems it can absorb magic. Chaotic, Harmonic, Neutral, it doesn't matter. Luckily, it doesn't do it unless you swing it."
"Where does the magic go though?"
"That's another thing. I can't know for sure, but it might just go towards powering the enchantment. Every time I try to probe deeper, I get blocked."
"So....can I keep using it?" I really don't want to fight something without a weapon, or one unsuited to me. It will take to long to make another like this.
"Dex, I don't like it."
"It's also the best way to defeat these shadow monsters."
"They're called Chaotic Shades."
"Whatever, the sword is the best way to defeat them though, correct?"
"There's a spell that can harm them too. We don't need it, Dex."
"And if you get hurt or are indisposed? I can't do magic, Twilight."
"Agh, fine! Bring it with us. I will be observing anyway."
"Alright then." Haha, I won against Twilight! "I'm going to rest some; I've been up for over twenty four hours."
"Don't forget, Dex, that you are going to show me all this." She waved across the room. I rolled my eyes.
"Later, Twilight. You know, when we aren't having problems with chaos?" Twilight grumbled and walked to my door.
She spoke without turning around. "Mean it?"
"Yes, Twilight, I will show you later. Good night. Day. Whatever."
"Okay, I'm going to tell the princess what I've learned. Sleep well, Dex," and then she left, closing the door behind her.
Jeez, about time. Finally, I can sleep. Just... gotta....dammit, Stone! I walked over and flopped on the bed. I was tired, but my restless mind didn't let me have an easy time sleeping. Tomorrow, I was going to another town without Stone and Panacea.