The Suite Life at Canterlot
Even if he was sleeping in a soft bed in a real room instead of a dungeon cell or an infirmary…even if those pesky mares were no longer annoying him…even with him being free to do whatever he wanted…Statice felt as if he were in a prison. It had been three days since he was granted permission to stay at the castle. In that time, Statice was discharged from the infirmary and allowed to be given his own room.
Fortunately for him, his headache had subsided enough to cast the Healing Spell without any trouble, allowing Statice to finally heal from the head wound he sustained at the end of the game.
The days were pretty much awkward. Statice avoided going out of his room in fear of meeting Blueblood again. He wasn’t afraid of the snob, but of the consequences that were going to follow if he attacked him again. It was because of that disastrous meeting that he was in this situation in the first place. And there was the fact that the princesses enchanted his room in such a way that he’d be teleported there if he set hoof outside of the castle as a little…safety insurance.
Can't really blame them. Any member of my old team would have tried to run away...and steal whatever he could from the room on the way out. It's a miracle I actually bothered to keep my word to stay here.
And that was not including the awkward breakfasts that he had with the princesses in the morning. Not only were Celestia and Luna looking at him, Cadence and Shining Armor were also present. As if having three pairs of eyes staring into his soul was not enough, the look that the Princess of Love was throwing him was disconcerting. Her expression was that of seeing something broken and feeling the need to remove the damage. He didn’t like it when those beautiful eyes of hers stared at him like that. The only way on which eating was tolerable was by avoiding eye contact as he ate, a troublesome manner as his master taught him to look around when eating to avoid surprise attacks from his enemies.
I hate that muscular memory.
As of now, Statice was busy updating his Archive. He was continuing his journal on current events and improving the information that he gathered from Twilight and her friends. He made sure to also update on Discord, Celestia, and Luna after his recent conversations with them following his Arcanum Ball match with the Element Bearers. He tried to update on Cadence and Shining Armor, but it was impossible to gather information around them when eating silently under the scrutinizing gazes of everypony else on the table.
One big round of applause for awkwardkness, the number one enemy for social interaction.
“No going outside unless to eat with the princesses,” Statice absentmindedly reminded himself the survival rules he established when he moved into the castle. “Avoid guards, Blueblood, and Shining Armor. Keep my mouth shut to avoid ticking off stronger entities than I.”
“Those are some good ground rules.”
“Hi, Discord,” Statice turned off his Archive. It had been days since their last conversation, and Statice was glad that the draconequus talked to him again. “What brings you over here?”
To be honest, he already knew that Discord was present in the room for a while. His ability to use the Archive in spite of the magic that Celestia and Luna put on his room meant that Discord jammed their spells so that Statice could use his magic. As long as Discord was present in the room, Statice was free to use his magic. It was a little secret the draconequus had shared with him a few days ago. Being friends with the strongest magic user of Equestria had its perks.
“Celestia and Luna wanted me to tell you that they have your citizenship test ready,” Discord dressed as a teacher bringing with him a large blackboard at his side. “I hope you studied for the test.”
“Not at all,” Statice shook his head. "Never been much of a scholar. I'll just see how far I can go and let the princess decide what kind of education I should have from there."
“Remind me to show Twilight your scores when you fail,” Discord grinned maliciously. “I’m sure she’ll have a meltdown if she saw so much academic failure in one paper.”
“Please don’t,” Statice grimaced, not wanting everypony to know how bad his test score was going to be in case he did that badly. He didn’t want everypony to think that he was dumb.
“Here we go,” Discord picked Statice up and prepared to shove him at the blackboard. The unicorn protested at first, stopping only when he saw ripples forming on the surface of the blackboard.
“A portal,” Statice blinked as he stopped fighting, allowing the draconequus to gently push him into it. The green unicorn was flabbergasted as he was in another room, an empty room that had nothing but a desk and a chair in front of him. The only company that he had in front of him was Shining Armor and Cadence.
“Welcome, Statice!” Princess Cadence smiled at him warmly. “Are you ready for your citizenship test?”
“Sure,” Statice turned his head away to avoid looking at the pink mare. “Let me sit in my desk and I’ll begin.”
Trying his best to not look at the pair, Statice sat on his chair. He watched as a booklet of paper, a pencil, and eraser was levitated to him in a magenta aura. He frowned as he identified who gave him the supplies.
“For your accommodations, you were given a multiple choice test,” Shining Armor grudgingly informed him. “The room has spells to prevent noises from entering the room, cheating, or the usage of magic besides levitating your supplies.”
“That’s a good study room,” Statice sarcastically praised. “You got any more surprises there, Captain?”
“Cadence and I will stay here to survey you,” Shining Armor informed him with a threatening glare. “We are going to make sure that you don’t find a way to cheat.”
“Duly noted,” Statice gave him a droll stare.
“The exam is divided into many sections,” Cadence chirped helpfully. “We have sections in history, geography, traditions, and culture. Additionally, this is the unicorn version of the citizenship so we will see your magical education in one of the provided sections.”
Statice frowned at that. He was bad at magical theory. Digitalis tried to explain it to him long ago, but the book that he used as a reference was too old and outdated to give any useful information. The only way on which Statice managed to learn spells from that book was by having Digitalis cast them in front of them and develop them by experience.
This is going to be an eventful day.
Even with multiple choice answers facilitating the opportunity to find the answers to the questions, Statice did horrible on the test. His knowledge of the history of Equestria was pretty much lacking, only doing well in the questions that asked about the little things that he learned from the memories of the play made at Heart’s Warming Eve or Rainbow Dash trying to pass a test for the Wonderbolts Reserves. His geography was only good in naming places as a result of having looked at the map of Equestria inside his Archive dozens of times, but even then he still failed when it came to naming landmarks or specific lakes and rivers. The only traditions that he knew about were the festive days of Equestria and his understanding of culture left much to be desired.
And that was my performance on my best topics…by elimination process.
The horror came in the form of his scores at the magic section of the test. He knew little about concepts, historical wizards, prophecies, and Equestrian potions. To make matters worse, he was supposed to do essay questions at the end of the test detailing how to make a specific potion or how to cast a special spell. Needless to say, he left those questions in blank. With great shame and mustering what little dignity he had because of his ignorance, Statice gave the royal couple his test.
Now it’s on to wait for the insults or the laughter. Well, if Cadence laughs at me, I won’t be nervous around her anymore. It’s kinda hard to have a crush on somepony else when they’re making fun of you.
He stared at the reaction his royal instructors had when they were checking the exam. Both of them were frowning. Cadence looked concerned and worried, even giving him a brief glance every once in a while. In contrast, Shining Armor showed annoyance and exasperation, even slapping a hoof over his face and dragging it down his muzzle.
I messed up alright. I might as well prepare for the worst.
He knew that he was in trouble when the two instructors had finished grading his test so quickly. Cadence awkwardly walked in front of her husband to give Statice the bad news.
“We’ve already finished grading your test-” Cadence began.
“I failed, didn’t I?” Statice interrupted her.
“Yes,” Shining Armor deadpanned, earning an annoyed glare from his wife.
“How bad did I do?” Statice asked.
“Very bad,” Shining Armor answered before Cadence had the chance. She gave him a sterner glare only for him to give her a defensive frown.
“Define how badly,” Statice narrowed his eyes. As humiliating as it was going to be to find out how much he messed up, he always found it necessary to know such facts.
“Your knowledge of Equestria is comparable to a foal that has never gone to school,” Shining Armor bluntly answered.
“Shining!” Cadence angrily corrected her husband.
“He must know,” Shining Armor weakly defended.
This is just perfect. Statice took a deep breath, trying to prevent the humiliation from taking over. He wasn’t going to let a bad test grade affect his mood, not when his stay at the castle was in the line.
“You did a little well in some sections,” Cadence smiled unconvincingly. “You just…lacked in the questions.”
“How badly did I mess up in magic?” Statice asked Shining Armor, knowing that he was not going to sugarcoat it like his wife.
“I’ll assume that you guessed all of your answers,” Shining Armor looked at the test section with a criticizing eye. “Is there any famous wizard that you know about that is not Star Swirl the Bearded or Clover the Clever? Every question that addressed a famous wizard in Equestria was pretty much answered as Star Swirl the Bearded.”
“It’s not my fault that he is the most mentioned one and the one that appears in the most questions,” Statice crossed his forelegs in annoyance.
“He’s the greatest wizard in the history of Equestria,” Shining Armor acknowledged wistfully, being as much of a fan as his younger sister and his wife were. “But that doesn’t mean that he did every magical accomplishment in Equestria.”
“You also didn’t answer the essay questions,” Cadence frowned as she showed Statice the blank pages he left.
“I don’t think it would have mattered with the book I had,” Statice sighed, remembering how ancient the book was when Digitalis showed it to him when he was a colt.
“Princess Celestia and Princess Luna are not going to be happy with these results, Statice,” Shining Armor shook his head disapprovingly.
“I got an F, right?” Statice asked, not surprised with the grade that he earned. He assumed that he was going to get that grade long before the test started.
“At your best you got an F and at your worst an F minus,” Shining Armor added.
“What do you mean by that?” Statice asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Twily made a numerical system to classify F grades,” Shining Armor awkwardly rubbed his head at his younger sister’s academic antics. “An F minus is a score from 0 to 19, an F is a score from 20 to 39, and an F plus is a score from 40 to 59.”
Leave it to Twilight to annoy you and make you feel dumb with her calculations.
“I’ve never seen such a low score in my life,” Shining Armor gave Statice the booklet, marked with errors and low numbers that showed his grades in each section. It took the green stallion more deep breaths to prevent his emotions from getting the better of him.
“Go ahead,” Statice stared at the two of them. “Laugh it off. Get it out of your system. I won’t hold it against you.”
Cadence and Shining Armor exchanged surprised glances. They stared at each other for a few seconds before focusing their attention on Statice again. Cadence looked surprised and a little appalled by the request. Shining Armor was still annoyed with Statice, but he also looked offended.
“Why would we laugh at you?” Cadence asked, her voice expressing her distaste for the question.
“Because I’m dumb,” Statice deadpanned. “I failed big time. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to laugh at my misgivings. I’m sure that you’re dying to laugh at me Shiny. Go ahead. You have my permission.”
“I’m not laughing at you,” Shining Armor stared at him. “Your scores are so low it’s not even funny. It’s wrong that you are a pony and yet you know so little about Equestria.”
“But we’re enemies,” Statice told him, failing to hide the surprise at hearing Shining Armor’s statement.
“I don’t like you,” Shining Armor nodded his head. “But that doesn’t mean that I approve of it. I don’t believe in laughing at the misery of others…even if they are my enemies. Besides, I don’t consider you an enemy. You may be troublesome, but I don’t think that you’ll ever harm Equestria or the ones I love out of malicious intent.”
“Try to tell that to everypony I ever met in my past,” Statice snorted.
“Neither I nor the citizens of Equestria are like everypony you met outside of it, Statice” Shining Armor shook his head. “We don’t take delight in the suffering of others, not even our enemies.”
It’s official. He may not look like it. But he’s definitely Twilight’s brother. I guess tolerance and forgiveness are a family thing in the Sparkle…Shining…whatever family name they have.
“We also have to talk about your magical theory scores,” Cadence spoke, giving her husband a little smile after the exchange he had with Statice.
“I’ll assume that’s the F minus,” Statice observed without looking at the test.
“Yes,” Cadence grimaced at the mention of it. “We may have to take the scores to Celestia to determine how much guidance you are going to need.”
“Is the magical theory necessary?” Statice frowned self-consciously. “I’ve done fine on my own without it.”
“Consider it a bonus for your magical health,” Cadence reassured him with a warm smile. “I can promise you that this information may benefit you in the future.”
“It’s not the information that worries me, but how am I going to acquire it,” Statice replied. “I’ll assume that my education is going to fit the level that I displayed in the test, right?”
“Yes,” Cadence weakly nodded her head.
“Am I going to have to start the school from scratch?” Statice asked at Shining Armor, not wanting Cadence to try to soften the blow.
“Yes,” Shining Armor nodded his head, keeping the stoic face of the royal guard that he had practiced for years.
“Darn it,” Statice growled in annoyance. Shining Armor gently pushed Cadence back, but made no motion to attack Statice.
“It’ okay, Statice,” Cadence comforted him. “You can take the test again someday in the future. I can talk with Celestia and Luna about it.”
“Don’t let Blueblood find out about the results,” Statice grimaced. “I don’t think that I’ll contain myself if that jerk starts mocking me.”
“He’s at his penthouse in Baltimare,” Shining Armor informed him. “He has a hedonistic lifestyle, always travelling around the best places Equestria has to offer. He’ll be back in two months or so, maybe shorter depending on what whim he may ask the princesses this time.”
“You think I can take the citizenship test the next month?” Statice asked, not even bothering to hide his disgust at the possibility of seeing Blueblood again. “I don’t want to risk seeing that royal buffoon again.”
Cadence and Shining Armor exchanged looks.
“That will depend on how much it will take you to complete the objectives given to you by the assignments that will be given to you based on your test scores,” Cadence gently informed him.
“When will I get the assignments then?” Statice asked, resting his chin in one hoof and using the other one to impatiently tap the table.
“Over dinner,” Cadence informed him. “Shining Armor and I will escort you to the dining hall when it’s time.”
“Thanks,” Statice nodded his head respectfully. “May I ask another question?”
“Sure,” Cadence nodded her head.
“How much do I need to score to pass the test?” Statice asked.
“You will need something within the range of a C, meaning that you need to get at least 70 points in each section,” Shining Armor instructed him. “Failure to complete this test will prolong your stay here.”
“Fair enough,” Statice crossed his forelegs.
“Try not to get arrogant,” Shining Armor advised him. “These tests demand you to be very knowledgeable about Equestria. It’s not something that should be taken lightly.”
“What will you know?” Statice snorted.
“A lot,” Shining Armor deadpanned. “Everypony that reaches legal age has to take and pass this exam once to be treated as an adult citizen in this nation.”
“If they can do it then so can I,” Statice boldly declared. “I can get as much as you did, Captain!”
“I got 96 points,” Shining Armor replied, a little smirk present despite his stoic glance at the green unicorn.
“Show-off,” Statice growled, once again annoyed that he looked like a chump.
“I got a 100!” Cadence smiled at the two of them. Both stallions turned to look at the Princess of Love with widened eyes.
“You got a 100?” they asked simultaneously.
“When you’re educated to be one of the future rulers of Equestria, these things are quite a breeze,” Cadence playfully bragged.
“You don’t say,” Statice chuckled at the pink mare’s humor.
“Twilight also got a 100,” Cadence added with a hint of pride.
“Typical of the Princess of Friendship,” Statice remarked, not surprised or amazed at Twilight’s score. Why would he be surprised at a perfect score when the one who took the test was a genius in the first place?
“She took it before she became a princess,” Shining Armor added, not amused with Statice’s lack of reaction for his sister’s accomplishment. “Frankly, I think that score would have remained the same even if Twily was not meant to be a princess.”
Protective older brother, aren’t you?
“I think that’s enough talk about exams,” Statice stood up as he went to Discord’s portal. “I’ll be waiting for you to come after me.”
Not waiting for the couple to answer, Statice crossed the portal and returned to his room. As the portal disappeared behind him, he felt a weight on top of his head. He raised his eyes and placed his hooves above his head, feeling something sitting on top of it.
“Glad to see that the biggest dunce in Equestria has arrived,” Discord smiled mischievously as he materialized a chair beneath Statice and a mirror.
Much to Statice’s annoyance, his reflection showed him having an angry pout and a conical hat that labeled him as a dunce with capital letters. He turned his head around to glare at Discord, only to find child versions of the draconequus pointing their fingers at him and laughing.
This is the most humiliating moment in my entire life.
The routine continued for five minutes before Discord got bored. Soon enough, the laughter stopped, the kids vanished, and the dunce cap was out of his head.
“Are you done?” Statice asked.
“Yes,” Discord nodded his head. “I know when a joke has overstayed its welcome. I had to learn the skill if I wanted to remain friends with Fluttershy.”
Well, you can't be friends with the Element of Kindness if you laugh too much at the misfortune of somepony else.
Statice rolled his eyes at him. If that had been the case, Discord would have never gotten himself turned to stone by Celestia and Luna in the first place.
“What are you going to do now, kid?” Discord asked. “It’s going to be hours until dinner. The day is still too young for you to meet them.”
“I’m going to talk with Piercing Gaze,” Statice shrugged his shoulders. “It’s better than talking to those stone-faced guards.
“Are you sure about that?” Discord got close to him. “Even if he’s no longer blind, Piercing Gaze may still hate you for the trauma he had to endure for years. And that’s not adding your…shocking surprise.”
“I might as well talk to him now,” Statice sat on his bed. “I’m bound to talk to him at the trial anyway. Besides, I don’t think that he’ll be capable of hurting me while he’s in a dungeon cell made and reinforced by an alicorn.”
“How will you find him then?” Discord crossed his arms, unconvinced with Statice’s confidence on his success.
“I got his shades,” Statice smirked as he recovered them from Hammerspace.
“You do realize that disguising yourself as him will make the guards think that he escaped and then they will confuse you and arrest you?” Discord asked him with a tone that suggested that he thought he was stupid. “You may also be imprisoned for impersonating a criminal in the first place!”
Statice stared at Discord for a few seconds. “That was sarcasm, right?” Statice asked, finding Discord’s logic and conclusion to be borderline ridiculous. "You don't think I'm that stupid, right?"
“Yes, it was!” Discord chuckled as he broke his stern look to laugh at Statice. “You should have seen the look on your face when I scolded you! I made you think that I thought you were stupid!”
“I’m leaving already,” Statice declared as he casted his magic on the shades.
The Dowsing Spell was a perfect spell to track down anypony he wanted. Every living being had a magical essence that symbolized their lives. Such essence was easily spread among sapient beings. When somepony grew closely attached to an object, a piece of that essence was left inside the object. The spell allowed Statice to collect that essence from an object and use it to track down anypony that he desired.
I’m not sure how much Piercing Gaze loved these shades, but he probably used them for a long time since his blinding period. Maybe he left some of his essence within them.
Statice concentrated on the shades, trying to feel something different in his aura. It was kind of like fishing as the essence was like a fish that was trying to escape a hook after biting down on the bait. He felt a tug on his magic aura, gritting his teeth as he tried to pull the essence of the shades.
For a pair of shades, the essence within them is heavy. Either Piercing Gaze managed to hate me so much that his essence is reacting negatively to my magic…or his shades were more out of superficial value.
One of the things that the spell had taught Statice about essence was how much it was influenced by emotional value. Objects that meant little to others had low amounts of essence that were hard to concentrate and absorb, making them heavy. Objects that meant a lot to the target had large amounts of essence so it was easy to take the necessary quantity to cast the spell correctly.
It took seconds of pulling with his magic and his neck muscles before Statice absorbed the essence within himself. The green unicorn rubbed his neck after straining it so much from the pulling, stopping his massage when he felt his horn vibrate.
“I guess the spell worked,” Statice said as he walked with his horn pointing to the door. He made sure to use his Marking Spell outside of his room in order to immediately return there once he was done talking to Piercing Gaze.
It’s better if it’s outside of my room. Maybe Celestia and Luna enchanted my room to make sure if I put spells on it. I won't have Discord on my room forever after all.
“Take this,” Discord handed Statice a book.
“Why are you giving me a book, Discord?” Statice stared at him with a raised eyebrow. “Don’t you know that reading and walking at the same time is not a good idea?”
“And don’t you think that walking around with your horn glowing with magical aura won’t make others think that you’re going to cast a spell to wreak havoc here?” he asked back. “At least when you’re levitating a book, you’ll have a legit excuse to have your horn covered in magic.”
“Fine,” Statice begrudgingly took the book and opened it, not even bothering to read its contents. He got out of the room and started navigating the castle. Every time his horn started to vibrate at a certain direction, it was a clue that he should go there until it vibrated stronger.
It feels just like yesterday when I was trying to get out of here in the first place.
Fortunately for him, there was a library close to the dungeons. He entered into the library and sat in a cornered section. He turned his head around to make sure that nopony was seeing him before casting a spell. It was a trick that Digitalis had taught him.
Make a flexible force field that looks just like you. Remember, it needs to be flexible and articulated to resemble an equine structure. Once you got the shape, cast an illusion on top of it to disguise it. By the time you’re done, you will have a solid illusion of yourself or anypony of your desires!
The trick worked perfectly as Statice stared at his perfect replica. He levitated the book and gave it to the replica. To further cement his alibi, Statice placed a Trigger Spell on the replica to have it turn a page every minute to deceive anypony into thinking that he was reading.
Deciding to sneak away, Statice vanished with a quick teleportation spell back to his room. Discord was no longer there, but Statice paid him no mind. He already knew where the dungeon was.
It was only a matter of minutes before Statice reached the dungeon. He made sure to put a Light Camouflage Spell around himself to prevent the guards from seeing him sneaking around the dungeon. Walking down the stairs was unsettling. Each step he took echoed across the chamber and he was sure that one wrong step was going to alert the guards of his position. Even walking behind a guard and synchronizing his steps with him to avoid detection was a challenge to accomplish.
I hate this stealth part so much. How does Pinkie always do this garbage and have fun with it?
The tension disappeared once he was out of the steps. The guard he was following went on to talk with his fellow guards.
“I came to take your shift guarding the prisoner,” he told at one of them.
“Noted,” the second guard replied. “Do you need any particular instructions guarding this prisoner?”
Much to Statice’s surprise, the guard was not offended by his co-worker’s questions, replying to him with the same stoic and professional tone he, and presumably all royal guards, always kept.
“Here’s how it is with this prisoner. The cell is enchanted with alicorn magic from Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to avoid the subject from breaking out with spells. Similarly, a spell sensitive to pressure and volume was placed so that anything below the cell in size and content will alert the princesses if the prisoner escaped. To prevent the prisoner from instigation and verbal manipulation, a bubble of silence was placed inside the cell to prevent his voice from being heard.”
Well, at least I’m not getting any surprises from there. It’s a good thing these guards like to share explanations that they should have known already.
After the guard exchanged salutes with his fellow soldiers, he kept on with his duties, unknowingly helping the invisible unicorn in his illegal pursuit. He stopped by Piercing Gaze’s cell and stood there like a statue.
Gee, I can’t believe ponies actually dream of becoming royal guards. All these guys ever do is stand there and look tough. Maybe that's the reason they get beaten so easily every time there's a chance to finally do something. All that standing around caused muscular and mental atrophy. Poor suckers...
No longer needing to follow the guard, Statice made sure to take a position where the guard couldn’t see him before removing the spell. He was visible again. There was always a chance of another guard coming around. He needed to be quick in entering the cell.
Let’s see. The princesses enchanted the room to keep prisoners inside so I don’t see a problem in using a spell to let somepony enter from the outside. That spell that they used in pressure and volume is only activated when there is a decrease in weight and volume in the cell so it probably won’t work if there is an increase. That also means that if I leave there won’t be an alarm since my departure will return the cell back to its original weight and volume. Thankfully, that silence spell will prevent anypony from hearing my conversation.
He was taking a huge risk entering the cell. It wasn’t just Piercing Gaze. It was facing the wrath of Celestia and Luna if they found out he was in a restricted area. The last thing he needed was giving them another reason to hate him. However, all of those fears paled in comparison with the future. Even though most of the dudes that hated him worked alone, that did not mean that they didn’t share information with one another. He had to make sure that only Piercing Gaze was the only one who knew of his whereabouts.
Knowing Celestia and Luna, I'll only get a slap on the wrist type of punishment. If there's more enemies of my past coming after me...I can't waste any time. I have to find out if there's more coming after me.
Without hesitation, Statice casted his Permeability Spell. He made sure that the permeability around the wall only allowed him to pass inside the wall. It was a one-way ticket trip since he knew that trying to get out of the cell was going to backfire on him eventually.
He placed a hoof into the wall, smiling as it phased through it. He walked into the wall only to be surprised by what he had seen inside the cell. It was something that he had never expected to see in a million years.
Piercing Gaze was looking at a window and drawing. His cell was literally covered with drawings of suns and moons. There were sunsets and sunrises. There were moon phases as well. The griffin was currently drawing the afternoon sun thanks to an ink jar and using one of his own feathers to draw.
“Hello, Statice,” Piercing Gaze acknowledged the unicorn’s presence. “Welcome to my cell. What did you think of it?”
“A little too tacky with all the sun and moon thematic,” Statice observed the room warily. “You do realize that obsessing with a particular subject is detrimental to your health, right?”
“I’m an artist, cub,” Piercing Gaze answered, not fazed by the comment. “I draw what inspiration wants me to draw. Tragically, it’s kind of hard to find any other type of inspiration when the only beautiful thing that this dungeon can give me is what my window has to offer.”
He makes a good point there. You can’t have good inspiration if you stare at the same setting over and over again.
“Have you tried drawing your cell for a change?” Statice rolled his eyes at him.
Piercing Gaze turned around and gave him a dull look. To be honest, it felt good to be given such look from normal eyes rather than pitch black darkness. “What do you want, Statice?” he asked wearily. “I take it that you didn’t come to visit me because you care about my safety.”
“Not really,” he bluntly answered. “I just want to make sure that nopony else followed you during your revenge quest.”
Piercing Gaze frowned at the answer. It wasn’t an angry frown, more like a troubled and awkward one. Statice grimaced as he realized that his former enemy making such face meant that whatever he was going to say was not going to be good.
“I may have asked for some trading information regarding your whereabouts with a few griffins,” Piercing Gaze sheepishly rubbed the back of his head with his right talons.
“Try to define me few,” Statice narrowed his eyes at Piercing Gaze. He made a lot of enemies on his days of misadventures. “I’m pretty sure that griffins are the most numerous of my enemy list.”
“Not sure about their names yet,” Piercing Gaze spoke, a little less embarrassed. “I don’t have to tell you how the thing works. Most informants are anonymous for protection against spies.”
“I’ve been one when I was a student,” Statice reminded him, not wanting him to give him a lesson. “Skip the explanation and tell me how many times you had information on my whereabouts.”
“What makes you think that I had lots of informants?” Piercing Gaze asked.
“I had a very active lifestyle,” Statice shrugged his shoulders. “Besides, even with you smelling my magic through some curse, it’s possible to lose your prey’s trail when the distance is that big. You must have had somepony who gave you pointers so that you had a chance of tracking me down.”
“Most of my information came from hearing about the property damage you caused,” Piercing Gaze rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “And most of that information I gathered from you were from outraged property owners.”
“Who doesn’t get it from them?” Statice snorted indignantly. On the upside, he was happy that it was property owners that gave him information because it meant that they were no threat. However, that meant that the informers that were a threat to his safety were still at large and unknown to him.
“But among the many voices, one of them was very common,” Piercing Gaze closed his eyes, trying to remember the voice. “It was a female. From the sound of her voice, I’d say that she was young.”
“I got lots of enemies from the opposite gender,” Statice grimaced, not being fond of fighting against females, even if he ended up fighting them with the same aggressiveness as with his male opponents.
“Is there anything else that you remember?” Statice asked. “Any information may be valuable around her.”
“I do remember the sound of flapping wings,” Piercing Gaze hummed pensively. “I don’t recall anything else.”
“That’s not very helpful,” Statice grimaced at such a trivial detail. He was going to have a long list in spite of the clues he got at the moment.
Sound of flapping wings? She's a fricking griffin! Of course she's going to make a sound of flapping wings! She's flying! Calm down, Statice. The guy was blind and had other stuff in his mind...mainly trying to tear you apart. Give him a break and focus on what's important right now.
“That’s as far as I can help you,” Piercing Gaze turned his back on Statice to focus on his drawing. “I shall see you at my trial. I'm sorry if I could not be of any help.”
“See you later,” Statice addressed him, opening a portal to Hammerspace and entering there. He was back in the white dimension, floating around the place. He activated his Archive and used it to select the mark that he left at the door outside of his room. Once he got the signature, Statice was quick to teleport there.
“Okay, mission accomplished,” Statice remarked more out obligation than accomplishment since he didn't get the information he wanted out of Piercing Gaze. “I better get rid of the illusion at the library. This castle is not big enough for the both of us.”
Statice looked at both sides outside of his room to see if there was no vigilance, making sure to use his Light Camouflage Spell until he reached the library. Once he entered, he located his clone and cancelled the spell to regain his visibility. Without wasting any time, he absorbed the magic in the illusion and the force field to vanish the replica. He levitated the book Discord gave him and walked out of the library, pretending that he stayed there the whole time.
“Thank you for your stay,” the old receptionist at the library greeted him.
“Thanks you for your hospitality,” Statice politely answered back.
“It’s so nice to see a stallion be in touch with his feminine side,” she added as Statice closed the door.
“In touch with-what did she say?” Statice asked out loud as he was out of the library. “What did she mean by…?”
Statice turned the book around to read at its title. It was a book titled How to Get in Touch with your Feminine Side and it showed the image of a stallion imagining that he was a mare. The green unicorn slapped a hoof to his forehead and slid it down his face, keeping it there to prevent anypony from seeing his flushed expression.
I’m not sure if I should be mad at Discord for giving me this book or at myself for not seeing this coming.
Rather than risk anypony else watching him with the book, Statice once again used his teleportation spell to return to his room. He got the information he wanted, but it was still too early for his appointment with the princesses. And there was no way for him to get out earlier than that if somepony else besides the receptionist caught him, or his replica, reading that book.
“I might as well do something to pass the time,” Statice sighed as he pondered what he was going to do. “I’ll ponder about any upcoming threats later. For the time being, I better entertain myself.”
Except that I can't entertain myself with my Archive because of the magical restrictions that the princesses put on me.
Before he had a chance of groaning, he found a note on the back of his door. It was a letter written by Princess Cadence. He walked into it, narrowing his eyes to read it.
Dear Statice, in lieu of your results, I have convinced Celestia and Luna that your magical knowledge is lacking. As such, they have agreed to partially remove some of the restrictions that they put on your room. You will be free to use low level spells. However, advanced spells and battle spells are still under restriction. My husband and I will come to pick you up to take you to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to further decide your education. Love, Princess Cadence.
Statice smiled at the note, feeling a sense of appreciation for the pink alicorn for speaking on his behalf. In a way, Celestia and Luna were in the right for sealing his magic in the first place. Just a few moments ago, he just abused his magic to sneak into the dungeons to talk with a prisoner for information. And yet here she was, sticking her neck for him so that he could use a little bit of his magic on his room. A guilty frown formed on his face when he realized how bad he was making her look because he refused to cooperate, all because he was still clinging to his old life.
I can't believe she's still caring about me after I made her think I fell from Canterlot. What will she think of me if she finds out I just snuck out of my room and used my magic to break into a cell to interrogate Piercing Gaze?
He growled at himself and shook himself to get rid of those thoughts. He opened his Archive and focused on the Game settings. When he needed to relax, he made sure to create games for himself, especially since there was nopony else with whom to play. Some games were replicas of videogames like Tetris or virtual versions of card games like Solitaire.
“Already played those games,” Statice moaned in annoyance. Although his games helped him spend time from boredom, he had already played them too many times to be interesting. For times like this, it was time to make a new game.
“It may take a few hours to make the game,” Statice calculated pensively. “But I’ll still have enough time to play it by the time Shining Armor and Cadence pick me up.”
With nothing else to do, Statice thought of his new game. He had a lot of time to think of something. It had to be simple to play but with a complicated difficulty to make it challenging.
“Challenging…”Statice muttered the word out loud before he smiled. “I already got an idea for this game. It’s amazing how much a single word can inspire you.”
The green unicorn smiled as he used his magic and imagination to start creating a new game. He already had a good idea on how he was going to start and how it was going to end.
“Promise me that you’ll behave, Shiny,” Cadence gave her husband a stern but somewhat pleading look.
“I will,” Shining Armor sighed, not liking the thought of disappointing his wife.
The appointment with Celestia and Luna was going to be in an hour. It was enough time for them to lecture Statice on proper dinner etiquette. Cadence had not liked how awkward it was to eat with Statice when there was a tense atmosphere between him, her husband, and her aunts. Since they were going to discuss about Statice’s education, there was a high chance that dinner was going to turn unpleasant. As such, she suggested her husband to help Statice learn how to behave when eating among royalty, an idea that Shining was forced to accept when she gave him a sad puppy look.
“Remember, Shiny, Statice is not one of your royal guards,” Cadence gently chided him. “You can’t be too strict on him.”
“Fine,” Shining Armor sighed. “It’s been a long time since I had to teach somepony by using tutoring rather than the military approach though. I’m a little out of practice.”
Back in high school, Shining Armor was one of the best students, occasionally acting as a tutor to get extra credits. Since his graduation, Shining Armor had adapted military training as his teaching style in order to teach his subordinates on how to be better royal guards. It had been a long time since he sat with somepony to slowly guide them on how to solve a problem
“I’ll help you out,” Cadence nuzzled her husband. “You weren’t the only one in school that gave tutoring to our classmates. Besides, we can always consider teaching Statice manners as a quality time project of us.”
Shining Armor chuckled. “Okay,” he smirked at his wife. “But try to act professional in front of our student. I don’t think he’ll learn if you send me flirty looks throughout the session.”
The couple burst into giggles as they entered into the room. The sound of 8-bit music welcomed them as they saw Statice sitting in a corner. His horn was materializing a screen that held his attention. He had a fixated smile on him, a smile that Shining Armor recognized back when he was a colt playing videogames. The white stallion frowned at Statice.
“Tell me that you did not get out of the castle to steal videogames,” he told Statice with the tired voice that a father used to lecture his foals when they did something that disappointed them.
“Does this look like any of the videogames you’ve ever played?” Statice asked challengingly while still looking at the screen. “This is an original videogame that needs no console, no joystick, and no cartridge!”
“I’ll be the judge of that,” Shining Armor sternly walked to Statice and checked on the screen. His eyes widened by what he saw on the screen…or to be more exact, by who he saw in the screen.
“IS THAT CADENCE?!”
The Princess of Love widened her eyes when she heard her husband’s exclamation, going after him to see what was the commotion about. Rarely did Shining Armor lose his composure, except to cry in weddings, but she never heard him exclaim in surprise. The fact that she mentioned her name only increased her urgency to see what was in that screen that Statice was casting. She gasped upon seeing the contents.
It was an 8-bit replica of her. She was flying around Canterlot blasting Changelings that were attacking her in different formations.
“Yes, it is,” Statice grinned as he played the game, making the videogame replica of Cadence blast the Changelings into dust. “I’m playing Cadence’s Changeling Carnage!”
“Changeling Carnage,” Cadence repeated the name as her eyes turned into the size of pinpricks.
“I’m making a rendition of your wedding with you as the heroine,” Statice calmly explained as he kept on playing. “You have to rescue the Elements of Harmony and defeat Chrysalis before she conquers Equestria.”
“Canterlot,” Shining Armor corrected him, more out of reflex than conscious effort as he was too mesmerized by the game to pay him attention.
“Whatever,” Statice kept playing the game. “What brings you here anyway? Is dinner ready? Time does fly fast when you’re making a game rather than playing it.”
“How did you make this videogame in the first place?” Shining Armor asked, snapping out of his stupor to look at Statice curiously. “I don’t think that this is magically possible.”
“You want to add that to my crime list, Shiny?” Statice challenged without looking at the white unicorn. “Because I’m sure that creating videogames is not a crime!”
“Don’t snap at me!” Shining Armor yelled defensively. “I’m just curious about what you did. That’s all I want to know!”
“I don’t share anything about my magic,” Statice spoke, this time turning his head to glare at Shining Armor. “By the way, if I find out that you replicated this without my permission, I’m gonna sue you.”
“Listen, you little-“
“It’s okay, Shining Armor,” Cadence placated her husband by rubbing his shoulders with her hooves. “It’s just a game. You don’t have to take it too seriously.”
“Would you like to play, Cadence?” Statice offered her a charming smile. “I can connect the magic of the game to your horn so that you can play. I’m already in the final stage.”
“Sure,” Cadence gave him an awkward smile. She wasn’t too much of a gamer in comparison to her husband. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to decline Statice’s invitation to play his game, especially when it was one of the few times on which Statice behaved like a nice pony.
“You’re gonna love it,” Statice grinned as he transferred the game to Cadence’s horn, watching as the screen’s aura changed from green to blue but nonetheless kept showing the same contents.
“It can’t be that good,” Shining Armor snorted, not liking the soft look that Statice was giving Cadence as she started playing.
“TAKE THAT YOU CHEESE-HOLED BUG! YOU THOUGHT THAT YOU COULD RUIN MY SPECIAL DAY, HUH? THINK AGAIN! THAT’LL TEACH YOU NOT TO MESS WITH MY WEDDING!”
Apparently the game was that good as Cadence entered into frenzy once she got the hang of it. Said frenzy turned into a berserk rage once she reached Queen Chrysalis, the last boss of the game. Somehow, sending the Changeling Queen out of Canterlot in real life was not as satisfying to the Princess of Love as anypony expected her to be.
Shining Armor had his back pressed against a wall, clearly intimidated by his wife’s shift in attitude. He never saw her act that aggressively, not even when Chrysalis took her shape and brainwashed him into thinking she was his wife-to-be at the time. On the other hoof, Statice was grinning at Shining Armor.
“It wasn’t that good, right?” he smugly smirked at the Captain of the Royal Guards, who was trembling against the wall. “I think that your wife begs to differ.”
Soon enough, Cadence won the game. She gave a whoop of victory, giving both stallions a bear hug while laughing triumphantly. For added bonus, she gave Statice one big smooch on the cheek while Shining Armor got a wet one planted on his lips. The good mood of the pink alicorn was infectious as Statice and Shining Armor started laughing alongside her. As Statice laughed, he remembered one phrase that Digitalis had told him when they began their adventures.
Time flies faster when you have fun, Statice. And you have more fun when you share it with somepony else. That’s why we friends stick together.
Friends. He could call Princess Cadence a friend given how she'd been treating him so far. As for Shining Armor, despite how badly they've been getting along so far, Statice could see that he loved Cadence and that he was trying to get along with Statice, the same way Statice should try to get along with him. As he pondered, a small little voice inside his head spoke to him.
You moved in to Equestria for a reason, Statice. You came to make friends and family. You don't need to pick a fight with somepony else anymore. If you get in trouble, you'll have somepony to help you out. You have a friend in Discord now. How about you try to make some more? There's plenty to choose here in Canterlot