There were still only three weeks left before the Gathering, and the Clausula Records crew was in an increasingly mad scramble to make their preparations. But some things were still unclear;
"Obscurus, sorry if this question sounds stupid, but what exactly is the goal of Project Euphorius?" Train Spot asked, while Obscurus messed around in her studio.
"I think I explained it earlier, but It's simple, really. Based on all the forum threads and blog posts I've been studying, long-time participants in the Gathering hate the fact that all these rich stallions are crashing their party and practically turning it into a music festival." she began. "They spend big bucks to make themselves stand out in the Basin, dragging out big names that people actually know."
"Like me?" Train Spot queried.
"Probably. All these overrated acts are a magnet for newbies, or the ‘flashyfoals’ as they call them.” Obscurus explained. “Supposedly, they have no idea what they've gotten themselves into just so they can see their favorite, ahem, 'superstar DJ'. It's always been more of an underground, cult event. Attracts a rather tight-knit community; underground music and the arts have unofficially been the main focus."
"But thanks to them, everypony thinks its a spin-off of the SSC for whinnying out loud!" she yelled.
"Uh, okay. When do we come into play?" Train Spot questioned.
"I think the best way to be accepted by the community is to round up all those foals and get them off their pasture. Scar them for life, never want to make them come back" she explained. "The legends stated that heating all nine underground conduits at the same time - the eight sentry tower flames, and the burning pony thing - would activate something. What this something is varies, though." Obscurus disclaimed.
"Some accounts state that it summons the beast mentioned in the original lore of the Gathering. Some say it gives you the power to manipulate time and dimensions. But most of them say that the prior two ideas are ridiculous and probably made up."
"If this isn't true, I presume we have a plan B?" Train Spot asked once more.
"Yes, Train Spot. All of the legitimate things we plan to do can easily double as a distraction. If we can't really summon the beast, there are other things we could try. Hijacking their camps? Sabotage? Or, perhaps, I could take that beast idea into my own hooves, if you know what I mean."
Train Spot twitched when she heard the last idea. "I thought you said it couldn't..."
"Actually, I think I have figured out how to boost its power. However, we may have to, ahem, borrow something to make it work." Obscurus interjected. She knew exactly what she had in mind.
17 hours south (or so, depending on the traffic) back in Las Pegasus, Sun Beamer and Blast Furnace were heading to the grand opening of an arcade called The Game Machine, located just outside of the downtown "tourist district" in an old, renovated mechanics shop. It was being run by one of Sun Beamer's colleagues, Fritzy Wire. Blast Furnace was indirectly involved as well, given that Fritzy commissioned her to make a few metal sculptures to decorate the interior (as referred by Sun Beamer, of course). Over the past few weeks, Sun Beamer and Blast Furnace had been keeping in contact with eachother, talking about their respective lives, sharing their favorite new songs, and planning for a certain event.
Given the thematic of the place, they also used this as an opportunity to test out the garb they planned to wear in Duskgem; Blast Furnace looked like the usual, punky self she always is at this time of year. Sun Beamer just had a brown cloak and ski goggles, nothing too complicated. They walked into the arcade, noticing a nifty sculpture right in the lobby.
"Oh cool, your pixel spaceship is the first thing you see when you walk in!" Sun Beamer remarked. Expecting a reply, he noticed that Blast Furnace had already darted off to a section devoted to imports from Neighpon.
"Woah, they got New Fightin' Herds II EX Gamma! That one's very rare." she announced. "Oh, is that a DJVortex over there too? That game is nuts;. took me about 12 tries to finally clear ‘Brain Power’ on Advanced..." she excitedly rattled.
"I didn't know she was that versed on Neighponese games. That's news to me!" Sun Beamer thought. They had spent most of their time talking about fashion, electronic music, and the principles of being a follower of the Embers, but not fighting games.
At that moment, Blast Furnace had started a match with another pegasus on a machine right across from her. "Holy cow, you're good!" Sun Beamer exclaimed, watching in awe.
"Well, ya gotta do somethin' while you wait for your molten metal to cool off!" she excitedly replied, whilst mashing in a finishing move.
Her opponent immediately flew up to get a glimpse of his opponent, "Darn it! Should have countered that ... hey wait, aren't you Blast Furnace?"
"Yes." she confirmed.
"I never knew you--"
"Yeah, I do. I just don't rub it in everypony's face like some others insist on doing." Blast Furnace replied. The other pegasus sat back down as the second round started.
"Welp, I don't want to announce that I lost to an internet celebrity... Better win this..." he mumbled.
"You don't have to say that, you know..." Blast Furnace responded. "It's just casual. But thanks for calling me a celebrity!"
"No problem. Oh, and I like your friend's outfit. Is he cosplaying Renegado?" the pegasus asked.
"Uh?" Sun Beamer was slightly confused, until he noticed that the character Blast Furnace was using had a somewhat canny resemblance to him.