“This shady, unkempt neighborhood in this part the city may seem a mite less colorful than the halls of Canterlot High, but it’s in places like this that I hope to find three troublemakers that took part in another attempt at magical mayhem back at the school.”
EDNA slowly zoomed back her vision away from her storytelling companion to give the video its much-needed establishing shot as he began. As the Storyteller put it, this alleyway was definitely a change of pace. Trash cans were overflowing with copious amounts of garbage radiating the most noxious of odors, which apparently didn’t deter the nearby rodent and feline population from continuing the city food chain. Thick plumes of steam were rising out of manholes and storm drains, giving the alley a humidity that was best left unspoken.
Luckily, the Storyteller and his eyebot companion didn’t seem that fazed by the unpleasant décor of their surroundings. EDNA simply beeped questioningly as she refocused her attention back to her armored ward.
“Well EDNA,” The Storyteller answered, “apparently in this world, Canterlot High has a habit of attracting the otherworldly elements of Equestria. It’s as if that very school has some sort of cosmic connection between this world and the realm of ponies. Almost as if it were a quantum junction point for the entire space-time multiversal continuum. On the other hand, it could just be an amazing coincidence.”
While Canterlot High was able to hide the crisis of the Fall Formal from the public eye, fights involving shimmering rainbow magic aren’t so easy to cover up. You see EDNA, our two unicorn friends from before weren’t the only natives from Equestria to end up in this world. Nope, that honor goes to three troublesome teens that caught wind what went down that fateful night, and tried to turn the entire student body of Canterlot High against each other. And by extension, maybe even the rest of the world.
EDNA jittered and beeped with excitement at the prospect of finding these Equine villains, especially if that “finding” involved her blaster as well.
“Calm down EDNA,” said the Storyteller, trying to quell his companion’s “over-eagerness”, “We’re not hunting for monsters like we do back home. They may have been villains before, but they’re just a bunch harmless punks now, not really worth wasting an energy cell over.”
EDNA simply beeped in an irritable and questioning beep back at the Storyteller.
“Why are we searching for them?” The Storyteller repeated, “Well, a good storyteller looks at a tale from all points of view EDNA. We don’t want our stories to be biased for future generations. We’re searching for the truth, and nothing BUT the truth, and that includes looking at stories from both sides.”
EDNA didn’t seem convinced, and bleeped an accusatory blip.
“I’m not THAT biased towards the Brotherhood,” countered the Storyteller in an insulted, yet hesitant tone, “….Okay, maybe I’m a little bit, but you have to admit, the Brotherhood has had a huge influence on the Wasteland, despite our…less-than-stellar attitude in its beginnings.”
EDNA at least beeped in agreement to that, but that didn’t stop the eyebot from beeping another sarcastic blip back at the Storyteller.
“Let’s just get going EDNA,” the Storyteller beckoned irritability, as both of them walked out from the smell alley, into the bright color of the city streets.
The entire city of Canterlot was already hustling and bustling to get through another busy day. Cars of all shapes and sizes covered the Canterlot streets, as they zipped hastily by to get to their destinations.
Even in this supposedly “unsavory” section of the city with trash and graffiti decorating some corners, colorful menageries of people were out and about, chatting the day away with friends on the latest gossip and trends. Many of them were too engrossed with the contents of their cell phones to notice the lumbering steel GIANT passing through the city streets.
“I stand corrected,” the Storyteller surmised, observing the city activity as he casually walked past the busy patrons, “Even in skid row, there’s color to be found everywhere in this world. I was hoping that those three would stick out like a sore thumb, but this may take a bit longer than I thought.”
EDNA beeped in agreement with the Storyteller on how colorful this city was compared to what she was used to, almost to the point where it threatened to overload her visual sensors.
Still, her curiosity won out against her complaints, as she fired a questioning series of blips at the Storyteller.
“What was so special about these girls?” the Storyteller responded, “Well, “special” is putting it mildly EDNA, even by Equestrian standards.”
While these three were definitely from the realm of Equestria, they weren’t your run of the mill pegasi, unicorns, or earth ponies. They actually were a species of aquatic equine known as Sirens, just like their namesakes from ancient Greek legends. These sirens in particular were known as “The Dazzlings”, whose group consisted of Adagio Dazzle, Aria Blaze, and Sonata Dusk; and just like their legendary counterparts, their songs had a nasty bite to them, to whoever was unfortunate enough to listen. In fact for all we know, these three may have served as the inspiration for in the sirens in this world’s version of The Odyssey, for their story isn’t so different from what the fabled hero, Odysseus, had to endure.
Around a thousand years ago, these sirens used their alluring song to win the adoration of the pony population, in order to supplement their conceited sense of vanity. At the same time, their musical arts also hypnotically sowed seeds of distrust and chaos among the ponies, turning stalwart brothers into bitter enemies.
You see EDNA, their powers depended on the negativity of others as a food source in order for the Sirens to survive; but not only that, their powers could also be amplified if such hostility was in abundance. The more trouble and hatred they brought among others, the stronger their song would be, and the farther its influence could reach. If they had their way, Equestria may have been locked in a state of civil war, while they stood by and lapped up one heck of a magical meal.
Luckily, their goal of Equestrian conquest was stopped long before any real damage to the realm occurred. The one to stepped in to stop this musical mess was a unicorn by the name of Star-Swirl the Bearded, powerful mage that created the bulk of the modern spells in Equestria, but was also the very wizard that taught both Princess Celestia and Luna everything they knew about magic.
Unlike most stories with powerful wizards and dastardly villains though, Starswirled opted for a more humane approach to deal with the Sirens. Instead of destroying them, he banished them to a world seemingly devoid of any kind of magic, one he believed that would make the Siren’s song fall on deaf ears.
EDNA blipped in curiosity when the Storyteller concluded his tale.
“Yep, that very same world is the very one we’re standing in right now.” The Storyteller replied as both he and his Eyebot companion approached a crowded crosswalk, “Though, I wouldn’t go telling the natives that little fact EDNA. They probably wouldn’t appreciate knowing that another world is using this universe as a dumping ground for their criminals.”
EDNA snickered a digital giggle at this idea, as she tried to imagine the varying reactions of the inhabitants of this world finding out that ponies, of all things, using this world as a prison of sorts. It only made her giggle incessantly even more as they approached the crowd.
The Storyteller ignored EDNA’s chortle as he tried to blend in with the crowd waiting at the light. While most of them were too absorbed in their cell phones or tablet devices to notice him, the ones that did notice him either side-stepped away in shock to put as much distance between them and the hulking stranger, or rather stared at him in both awe and amazement, with their eyes wide as saucers.
“Although Star Swirl’s efforts were of good intentions,” The Storyteller continued, “it didn’t really stop The Dazzlings from causing mischief in this world. Even without Equestria as a source of magic, their voices were still able to sow seeds of discontent in the local population. Even more so, apparently the transfer into this world had somehow condensed their magical prowess into three small-gemmed pendants, as a source for their magical powers. And from what rumors I’ve heard, they were quite protective of these pieces of jewelry.
“Luckily, if what my research tells me is correct, their Siren songs were only able to cause as much trouble as a neighbor’s squabble, so they weren’t really much a threat to the world. But, that all changed the night of the Fall Formal at Canterlot High, when magic of their home realm of Equestria managed to seep in to this very world. It was then that the Dazzlings set their sights on the school itself, for a much bigger prize…”
“Uh, who are you talking to?” A small voice perked up.
The Storyteller, caught off by surprise, glanced down to two young girls who were staring at him with very confused, but incredulous looks.
The first girl looked to be around 11 or 12, and stared quizzically at The Storyteller with a raised eyebrow. She wore a gold opened sweatshirt, which went well with the matching golden boots, and a black and grayed shirt and skirt combo underneath. Her violet hair adorned with white streaks was tied up neatly in a ponytail, with very lavish looking tiara holding the ponytail in place.
The other girl was about the same age, but starred inquisitively at the Storyteller through thick cyan glasses. Unlike her compatriot, she wore a simple violet shirt and magenta-colored skirt, but wore a very expensive looking silver spoon as a necklace. Her own silver hair was also tied into a ponytail, but in a more braided fashion.
“Why are you talking about Canterlot High? That’s like, the most boring place on the planet.” Asked the girl with the Tiara, with an accent that the Storyteller didn’t really recognize or register to his knowledge.
“Yeah. You’re not a student there, so, so what’s the school to you?” Replied the girl with glasses, who then hesitated for a moment, “…Hey, you’re that creeper that everyone was talking about at school a week ago!”
The Storyteller paused for a moment before answering. It wasn’t often that people interrupted his storytelling monologues, or even talked to him in general. Usually, it was he who had to approach others when he wanted to start a conversation. Very few people, aside from a small troupe of friends back home, actually stuck around the Storyteller, even after his “educational” speeches.
“Ah yes. As a matter of fact, I was at Canterlot High about a week ago,” The Storyteller answered, after regaining his composure, “Folks call me “The Storyteller”, and to answer your earlier question, I was actually talking to EDNA here, my “Eyebot Documentary Narrative Assistant.””
He motioned to his robotic companion, who floated to The Storyteller’s side to get a look at these newcomers. As soon as the sight these two kids filled her visual sensors, EDNA immediately began to quiver and shake with agitation, along with the distinct sound of a laser module powering up.
“EDNA, calm down.” The Storyteller scolded, “I know you’re not a fan of the little ones, but that’s no reason to get so riled up.”
EDNA spouted out some nervous beeps back at the Storyteller in retort.
“They’re just kids EDNA. What is it with you and children that makes you so trigger-happy?”
<BEEP SCREECH SCREECH BEEP!>
“That was only ONE time EDNA. Besides, those vids we got from that cornfield were well worth it. People back home need to be aware of the “eccentric” cultures of the Wasteland. Better us than them, right?”
<BEEP BLIP! GRRRRRRR SCREECH!!>
As the two Wastelanders continued their spat, the two younger preteens starred with a look of sheer utter puzzlement at what they were looking at. The freak in body armor was definitely strange, but the wimpy nerds back at school dressed like that all the time, along with some the more….unshaven weirdos that would show up at those smelly conventions that those three losers would go to…
But, an actually floating robot….satellite…thingy? This was a degree of weirdness that Diamond Tiara just didn’t want to deal with, especially all the bizarre events happening to those six older students that she didn’t bother to remember. At least when “Sun-Satan” blew up the school, she and Silver Spoon got two weeks off do whatever the heck they wanted.
And even though she only heard this “Story-Dwellers” voice for a few minutes of arguing, she was already thoroughly bored to the point of dropping then and there into a coma. Silver Spoon, by her drooping eyelids didn’t seem to be faring any better.
Still, that didn’t mean that the both of them weren’t curious… and into having a little “fun” with this weirdo.
“Um, excuse me? HELLO?!” Diamond Tiara interrupted, snapping her fingers. Both EDNA and the Storyteller turned back their attention to the two youngsters.
“Like, I’m sure your….”robot” is cute and all-” ENDA jittered back at that, clearly insulted by such a comment, “But, why were you at our school again?”
“Oh, right. Sorry about that, got a bit distracted back there” The Storyteller apologized as he straightened himself out, “I’m actually performing some on-site data-collection on Canterlot High and your school happens to be the focal point for a lot of the strange events that have happened this past year, as well as the people involved.”
“So, you’re doing research….on our school and the students?,” Diamond Tiara asked, raising her eyebrow in growing suspicion.
“Are you some kind of creeper or something?” quipped Silver Spoon.
The Storyteller was rather taken aback with such a blunt question. “NO!” he bluntly asserted, trying to maintain some composure from such an accusation, “I’m a data-procurement specialist, I’m doing research on your school for a type of “Otherworld Survival Guide” that I’m working on. I’m focusing on the historical aspects of the school regarding the more “supernatural” events that have taken place there. Perhaps you two have heard of the band trio known as “The Dazzlings”?”
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon gave The Storyteller a confused look. “You mean those tuneless hacks from the “Battle of the Bands”? Why would you be interested in those losers?” Diamond Tiara asked sarcastically, which Silver Spoon replied with an equally sarcastic “Yeah?”
“I’m currently cataloging the events of the so called, “Battle of the Bands” and in fact, I’m actually looking for said “tuneless hacks” for my Survival Guide. Helps to have the actual sources available for your research.” Answered the Storyteller a-matter-of-factly, “I don’t suppose any of you two are aware of their whereabouts?”
The two kids looked at each other, clearly befuddled by such a request. Silver Spoon then opened her mouth to speak, but was cut off by Diamond Tiara.
“Actually, now that you mention it, I think I have seen them around town not too far from here.” Diamond said, putting on a warm smile for the Storyteller. Silver Spoon furrowed her brow at her friend’s behavior.
“Don’t you remember Spoony? I just saw them down on Lotus Street a couple of days ago. Remember?” Diamond Tiara replied, giving her friend a rather sly look that was lost on the Storyteller.
“Oh. O-OH! Yeah, I remember. They WERE heading down towards Lotus street last time I saw them. I think I overhead them say something about a “previous engagement”.” Silver mused, as she put on her best “thinking face”.
The Storyteller seemed somewhat convinced by this new information. “Well, that does seem worth investigating. Thanks for the tip you two.” Replied the Storyteller, giving them both a Two-fingered salute, before turning to his companion. “Come on EDNA, I’m eager to test out this new “Canterquest” app I just downloaded.” And with that, the Storyteller beckoned for his companion to follow. EDNA lingered behind a bit to give the two girls a suspicious look, as the two girls gave her as big a smile as they both could muster. Still suspicious, she turned tail and went on back to catch up to the Storyteller.
Once out of sight, “What a pair of losers,” Diamond Tiara said condescendingly, dropping her fake smile.
“I know, right?” Silver Spoon agreed.
They both gave each other mischievous grins.
“Bump, Bump, Sugar Lump, RUMP!” They both chanted in unison, performed their signature dance before giggling insidiously.
EDNA quickly followed up to the Storyteller, before she warbled her series of complaints and worry about those two.
“Trust me EDNA,” the Storyteller retorted, “I know just how skittish and distrustful you are to the little ones; a little something we’re going to have to work on. But, if it will put your mind at ease, I actually did some research while they were talking to confirm their alibi. Turns out on Lotus street, there’s an apartment complex here, called the “Djerba Villas”, address South 3310, which would corroborate with their testimony. I figured that this complex would be at least a good place to start looking. It’s a decent place to live, if the Dazzlings are actually in hiding from the Rainbooms.”
EDNA warbled again in hesitation, despite the “evidence” of reassurance.
“EDNA, please, I’m starting to get concerned about your obsession to shoot every kid you come across.” Said the Storyteller.
<BEEP BEEP BEEP SCREECH!>
“I’ll admit, their attitude was a bit suspicious back there, but they’re just kids ENDA. What harm could a pair of those two tykes do to the likes of us?”
<WHHHHIIIIIIIIIIRR SCREECH BEEP BEEP!>
“Now you’re just being paranoid. This isn’t the Wasteland EDNA, people are a lot more altruistic here compared to the people back home. They’re committed to the ideals of “Friendship being Magic”, or so I’ve heard.” The Storyteller rebuked.
ENDA didn’t seem convinced and simply offered her own electronic rebuttal, while the Storyteller shook his head in annoyance as he continued.
Speaking of the ideals of Friendship, you remember our unicorn friend from before, Sunset Shimmer? Well, her defeat at the Fall Formal certainly left its mark on her new attitude, and made her a changed mare for the better. Unlike most villains who use their given second chances as a means to retaliate against their enemies, Sunset actually stayed true to her promise to Princess Twilight and gave the idea of Friendship another chance in her life.
In fact, if you met her now EDNA, you’d probably wouldn’t even believe that this was the same fiery demon that tried to take over Equestria with an army of High Schoolers. Yup, this new Sunset Shimmer was fully committed to the Magic of Friendship and making amends from the person she was, especially with a group of five new friends backing her up.
Unfortunately, even after turning over a new leaf, the student body of Canterlot High wasn’t really receptive to this new version of Sunset. Can’t really blame them though. Ruling a school with a tyrannical fist isn’t just something that goes away, and that’s not even counting being turned into mindless zombies to invade a world of ponies. That act alone must’ve left some mental scars.
Even her closest friends, the counterparts of the Elements of Harmony, still showed some degree of hesitance towards Sunset redemption. In fact, some of the more “gossipy” sources I’ve cataloged claimed that her friends weren’t really that subtle of reminding Sunset of her “fall from grace”. Not that these reminders were of a malicious intent mind you, these were of course teenagers we’re dealing with, not necessarily as mature as their Equestrian counterparts.
Luckily, Sunset was a mare made of sterner stuff, and wasn’t going to let a couple of painful reminders stop her from the path Princess Twilight set out for her. While the school itself was committed to holding on to the past of Sunset’s transgressions, she herself was committed on turning over a new leaf, and making a better image for herself. She even volunteered to show a group new students the runabout of Canterlot High, hoping that new faces would get to know the New Sunset before hearing about the Old Sunset.
Good intentions in all, but unfortunately for this story, it was the equivalent of inviting a stranger into your home, who then happens to be a vampire, leaving you utterly powerless.
EDNA could only beep sarcastically at such a specific analogy.
“No EDNA, not real vampires,” the Storyteller corrected, “We’re talking about Sunset meeting the Dazzlings here. They’re technically Sirens, not vampires.”
EDNA let out a warbly retort.
“Well, when you put it like that, I guess they could be considered vampires to some degree, since they do feed off the emotional energy of others, but I doubt that Sunset realized that when she first met them.”
EDNA responded back with a series of confusing blips.
“Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody did a background check on the Dazzlings when they arrived at Canterlot High.” The Storyteller replied. “Like I said before, EDNA, people here don’t ask that many questions, and if a unicorn-turned-human could be enrolled, then it’s safe to say the Dazzlings had the same treatment. Not exactly the best form of security, even for a High School. I’ve seen broken down lockers in the Wasteland that were sealed up tighter than that place.”
EDNA only let out an annoyed bleep in agreement.
Aside from Canterlot High’s easy accessibility to all things arcane and evil, the timing of the Dazzlings’ arrival couldn’t have been more perfect. It was actually during this time that Canterlot High was hosting an event known as the “CHS Musical Showcase”, a sort of a musical variety show for the student body. It was intended to not only help raise money for the after-school programs, but also help express the talents of the musically gifted of the school, and trust me, the school had plenty to go around, albeit of varying degrees of success.
Even Sunset’s new friends managed to create a band of their own, the “Sonic Rainbooms”. They were definitely one of the more gifted bands of the school, as each member had their own musical talent to offer, each with their own signature instrument.
Unfortunately, while her friends helped create the Rainbooms, Sunset herself wasn’t a member upon its creation. Again, not that the Rainbooms were being malicious, but probably still unsure of Sunset’s intentions at the time. Like I said, just teenagers being teenagers.
It’s a shame too. I’ve heard rumors around that Sunset herself was pretty good at shredding a mean guitar, often practicing with another “Blue-haired Guitarist” after school, but that’s a story for another day.
Of course for the musically-gifted Sirens, this Musical Showcase was the perfect opportunity for them to finally step out of the shadows to take a shot of the limelight, and get the adoration of every able body in the school, whether they wanted it or not.
EDNA beeped quizzically as both she and the Storyteller turned the street corner.
“Well, I’ll admit that a High School is small pickings compared other sources of negative energy. International criminals, political disputes, even these so-called “Internet arguments” I’ve been researching about would’ve certainly provided them with a heck of a meal. Seriously EDNA, those “chatrooms” can be scary sometimes.” The Storyteller said with a shudder.
EDNA herself agreed with a mechanical shudder of her own.
“Though, I’d imagine if these three ended up in the Wasteland,” the Storyteller added, “with all the raiders tribes, cannibals, dictators, and radioactive monsters around, these three would be next to UNSTOPPABLE.”
This thought made EDNA shudder even more, almost to the point of short-circuiting. The idea of CHILDREN, of all things, ruling the Wasteland with an iron fist, it was just too horrifying a thought for the little eye-bot.
“Relax EDNA. I already told you, they’re just a bunch of harmless teens by now, so the Wasteland is safe from the machinations of super-powered teen dictators.”
That seemed to calm EDNA down from overloading, to which the Storyteller could only shake his head in annoyance at the strange logic of his metallic friend.
EDNA, once relaxed from her scare, shot another series of questioning blips at the Storyteller.
“Well, I’d imagine that a High School would be a good place to start to return to their former glory, even more so with a Musical Showcase to cater to their talents. High School isn’t exactly a place that you’d look for supernatural villains. Though with what’s been happening to that place over the year, that idea may be changing. And with the Showcase going on, it was the perfect way for the Dazzlings to hide in plain sight, as they orchestrated their insidious scheme.”
While Sunset was initially oblivious to their intentions, once inside Canterlot’s walls the Dazzlings put their “powers of persuasion” to work on the student body itself. Using their hypnotic and enthralling voices, they managed to hypnotize the entire school into turning the Showcase from an innocent musical talent show, into a brutal “Battle of the Bands”.
This may have seemed like a strange way to take over the school at first glance. Why create a “Battle of the Bands” when you can simply enthrall the population to do your own bidding? Well, their powers then and there were nowhere near their former glory, but as it turns out, their plan had a pretty ingenious two-pronged effect. First, while the rest of the school was too engrossed in their competitiveness, it took the attention completely off the Dazzlings as they concocted their little scheme, meaning they could now do whatever they wanted without fear of discovery.
Second, as the rest of the school squabbled over this battle, the Dazzlings had a hearty supply of the negative energy that fueled their powers. The more bickering there was, the stronger their powers got, and the Dazzlings made sure that this competitive streak held tight.
And “competitiveness” was an understatement, EDNA. Most competitions try to keep themselves civil and have a degree of fair sportsmanship to them, Wasteland examples excluded of course. But this “Battle of the Bands” definitely had an emphasis on the word “Battle”, as within an instant, lifelong friends and companions became vicious and brutal enemies.
Well, that is, all but a group of five friends and a former unicorn.
EDNA chirped in realization.
“Yep, Sunset and her new friends for sure.” The Storyteller elaborated, “They seem to have a habit for attracting the strange and magical. In fact, while the rest of the school while school was enthralled by the Dazzlings, Sunset and her friends were immune to the hypnotic effects of the Siren’s song.”
EDNA beeped rather inquisitively at this new information.
“What? Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that part? Sorry about that.” Said the Storyteller as he corrected himself, “Well, it turns out that a lot more happened on that fateful night between Demon Sunset and Princess Twilight. A certain side-effect caused by their clash of Equestrian magics.”
While Princess Twilight was successful in bringing the Element of Magic back to the world of Equestria, part of its own magic somehow stayed behind after defeating Sunset Shimmer at the Fall Formal, and in some way had bonded itself with this world’s counterparts of Twilight’s Equine Friends.
This new form of magic had somewhat of an interesting side effect on Sunset’s new friends, which apparently manifested itself as some kind of transformation magic. When activated, it caused each of Sunset’s friends to take anthropomorphic characteristics of their Equestrian counterparts, such as equine ears, tails, and even more extravagant features, like unicorn horns or pegasi wings, depending on the person, a process that her friends dubbed “Ponying-up”.
Transformation aesthetics aside, what was even stranger was what triggered this unusual phenomenon. From what limited rumors I’ve been able to gather, this alteration occurred whenever the Mane Five exemplified traits of the Elements of their Equestrian counterparts, be it Kindness, Honesty, Loyalty, Generosity, and Laughter.
While these individual triggers made sense depending on the user, this power also had another way of manifesting itself: In form of a Musical Jam.
EDNA stopped and hovered in place at the sheer audacity what the Storyteller said. She let out a long and low-pitched blip, as if to say, “You’re joking, right?”
“No EDNA, I’m not making this up,” The Storyteller deadpanned sarcastically, “Apparently, whenever the Mane Five would rock together as the “Sonic Rainbooms”, they themselves would “Pony-Up” as the music reached its gradual peak.”
EDNA fired a rapid succession of blips at just how ridiculous this sounded, even by their standards.
“I know EDNA, it’s as corny as it sounds. But, there probably was a better explanation why this phenomenon took place. Perhaps the fact that the Mane Five worked in unison as a band was enough to allow them to “Pony-up” when the practice. Maybe the rush of endorphins that they each experienced when the played music helped contribute to this transformation.”
EDNA seemed less than satisfied with the Storyteller, chiding him with unamused screeches.
“I may be an expert in a lot of things EDNA, but magical superpowers isn’t really my forte… not yet at least.”
EDNA yet again screeched with more questioning blips.
“I’m sure we’ll have such answers soon enough,” chided the Storyteller, “But let’s just keep moving EDNA. Our destination should be coming up pretty soon.”
EDNA chirped in excitement at this prospect, especially with some new “friends” to play “target practice” with.
<BLIP BEEP, BEEEEP?>
“What? Oh no, Sunset and her friends didn’t go after the Dazzlings, going in gun blazin’ like most folks back home.” The Storyteller corrected, “Sunset and her friends actually made the sensible choice in order to deal with the Dazzlings, by going to the authorities. Well, actually the school authorities, Principal Celestia and Vice-Principal Luna. Not exactly the choice I would pick when dealing with the arcane, but for Sunset’s case, you had to start somewhere.”
“Nope, that plan didn’t work as intended, but not for a lack of trying. Turns out that the Dazzlings actually got to both Celestia and Luna before Sunset and her friends could, and managed to “convince” them to actually go forward with this “Battle of the Bands”. My guess is that the Dazzlings managed to put their “persuasive talents” to work to get even the counterparts of Princess Celestia and Luna to agree to this competition. Pretty clever, right?”
The Storyteller nodded in agreement. “Yep, I figured that both of them would’ve been at least more resistant to the Dazzlings, considering how both Celestia and Luna were so casual about Sunset and her own machinations back at the Fall Formal, but like I said EDNA, this world doesn’t ask that many questions.”
EDNA simply groaned in annoyance.
With no one left to turn to on how to deal with the Dazzlings invading their school, Sunset reasoned that if they couldn’t find help in this world to get rid of them, then maybe they could find it in another world, Equestria to be precise.
However, getting to Equestria was a problem, considering that the portal to it was closed, and it would’ve taken at least a couple of months for it to open again. Luckily, Sunset had a bit of a trump card that she had kept as a souvenir from her old life in Equestria.
Back when Sunset was still Princess Celestia’s prized student, she was given a magical journal that had a rather unique function. You see EDNA, whenever someone wrote something down in this journal, that same message would appear to another magical journal tied to it. Think of these journals like a magical two-way communicator, with a range that apparently can transcend the boundaries of other worlds as well.
And fortunately, it didn’t take long for Sunset to get an answer. Once Sunset sent out an SOS back to Equestria, she got a reply not from her former mentor, but actually from Princess Twilight Sparkle herself. This was lucky chance, if there ever was one; not only did Princess Twilight manage to deduce the identity of the Dazzlings as the Sirens, but she also managed to find a way to bypass the restrictions of the portal to Equestria, a feat that was once thought to be impossible.
EDNA let out a short quip of inquisitive blips.
“Remember the “power source” I talked about back at Canterlot High, on the other side of the portal?” the Storyteller asked, “It turns out that Twilight Sparkle somehow managed to transfer the power from the journals that Sunset used to communicate with Equestria into that of the Magic Mirror back in Equestria, completely negating the limitations of the portal between here and Equestria.”
The Storyteller couldn’t help but sound in awe. “Now there’s a prodigal mind if there ever was one. She’d probably be able to put even the brightest of Brotherhood Scribes to shame with her intellect.”
EDNA simply stayed silent aside from a few grumbling internal clicks as the Storyteller praised Twilight. The little eyebot wasn’t too fond of the idea of her companion praising people outside their troupe, especially a flying unicorn of all things. Things that did garner the Storyteller’s attention besides herself had a habit of ending up… “well done”…
The Storyteller continued on with his exposition, despite EDNA’s sudden silence. “Once the portal was up and running, Princess Twilight wasted no time in reaching the human world, with once again her faithful dragon-now-canine assistant, Spike, in tow.” He turned his attention back to EDNA, “Once in the human realm, Twilight immediately set to work on getting answers on the Dazzlings. And, if those directions we got from those kids were correct EDNA, we may be getting some answers of our own.”
EDNA chirped up at this news, as both she and the Storyteller turned on a corner, whose street signed displayed “Lotus Street”.
The Storyteller observed his surroundings, making sure it correlated with the “Canterquest” app displayed in his helmet screen. “Well, this is Lotus Street, and if what those girls said is correct, the Dazzlings should have been sighted somewhere in this area.”
EDNA warbled a bit dubiously at this prospect.
“Now, would you stop being so paranoid?” The Storyteller retorted, “I know you didn’t like those two girls back there, but I already told you I checked their story after we left. All we have to do now is find this “Djerda Villa”, and finding the Dazzlings should be as easy as finding a Vault-Tec Vault.”
EDNA shot some doubtful blips back.
“Well, finding a Vault is easy for me at least, when you’ve been around as long as I have.” He said confidently. “Now, let me see,” he muttered as he did a quick double-check of his helmet display, “if this “Canterquest” app is accurate, then the Villa should be right-”
Following where the Storyteller was indicating, instead of an apartment complex or housing unit of any kind instead stood a large… construction site, rife with sounds of all manner of tools working hard to build whatever structure was being made, along with the voices of dozens of mean shouting orders, along with a slew of other “colorful phrases”.
The Storyteller simply stood in place, dumbstruck about this little error, while EDNA simply chided with some low-toned beeps; as if to say “Told you.”
The Storyteller ignored EDNA’s accusatory beeps and proceeded to regain his composure. “I’m….pretty sure there’s an explanation for this misinformation.”
<BEEEEP, BLIP BLIP>
“We are NOT lost EDNA.” The Storyteller uttered, slightly annoyed, “We probably just have had a… form of misdirection of some kind.” The Storyteller wasn’t satisfied with his answer, as well as the current result. A result that EDNA didn’t hesitate to remind him of, as she shot him some more accusational blips.
The Storyteller was starting to get more and more annoyed. “Would you stop it about those two? I already checked their story out before we left them, so I figured we’d at least have some sort of lead.”
EDNA simply retorted back to how yet it was so easy for them to be duped regardless.
The Storyteller only sighed in resignation. “Look, maybe all isn’t lost here, EDNA, there’s probably a reason why they directed us here and why our data is a bit off.” EDNA warbled another quip. “ASIDE from them trying to mess with us.” The Storyteller retorted back. “Perhaps one of these gentlemen could help clear up this story.” He gestured to one of the construction workers overseeing the site, and beckoned again for his companion to follow him.
Both EDNA and the Storyteller proceeded to approach one of the workers; a tall middle-aged man with a greasy mop of brown hair hidden under a white hat, with an unshaven look to his face. He wore a light-orange sleeveless work shirt, that had a badge of a hammer and two nails ready to be hammered in sown on the left breast pocket.
“GET THAT BEAM IN PLACE ALREADY JIMMY! I AIN’T PLANNING ON DOING OVERTIME TONIGHT IF YOU GUYS JUST KEEP SLACKING OFF!” The construction worker yelled irritably into a megaphone to his co-workers on the I-beam rafters of this half-building. He would’ve kept yelling even further, if he didn’t feel the sudden tap on his shoulders.
Feeling the stress and rage of a tumultuous day’s work rising up from this interruption, the worker spun to whoever had the gall to tap him, and scream back though his megaphone an alarming:
Luckily, for The Storyteller, any problems of sudden deafness were swiftly avoided, thanks to the noise-cancelling filters his state-of-the-art helmet offered. Atomic explosions were hazardous to the ears, after all.
EDNA on the other hand, momentarily sparked as the sudden sharp increase in volume overloaded her circuits. Once she had recovered, the faint sound of a power cell charging up could be briefly heard from the little Eyebot, aimed directly at the construction worker’s head. Fortunately, the Storyteller, who simply raised his hand at the sign of “At Ease”, interrupted such a gruesome fate from happening.
“Pardon me for interrupting,” the Storyteller addressed nonchalantly, “But I don’t suppose you gentlemen can clear something up for me? Me and my friend here apparently have case of misdirection on our hands.”
The construction worker blinked in surprise, not only in sheer confusion at WHAT he was looking at, but on how calm this stranger was acting, despite taking a megaphone blast to the “face”. The realization of how lucky he was on how calm this stranger was. If this were any normal person, he would’ve been in serious trouble.
“Oh, s-sorry about that,” the worker stuttered, as he shut off his megaphone, “Name’s Rivet. You lost or somethin’?”
“You could say that. You see, me and my robotic companion here were directed here by a girl in a tiara to this location. I don’t suppose you would know anything about the “Djerba Villas” by any chance?”
Rivet blinked a bit. “Wait…did this kid with a tiara have a really FANCY tiara, and purple hair to boot?” he said, his brow furrowing.
“I take it from your question, you know her.”
“You could say that. Her dad, Filthy Rich,” Rivet explained, putting a rather annoyed emphasis on the name, “Is actually our boss for this job at the moment.” He thumbed behind him towards the construction site. EDNA grumbled an incoherent warble at this news.
“And, does she send a lot of people toward her father’s projects?” The Storyteller asked.
“You have no idea,” Rivet groaned, “She’s been sending random people all over town to gloat on how rich her dad is. Mr. “Oh look at ME, I’m so freakin’ RICH, I can buy any plot of land I want and build whatever I want”, he said in a rather mockingly-placed accent, “Bunch of spoiled rich brats if you ask me.” He then made a pause. “Just don’t… tell him I said that, ‘kay?”
“You’re secret’s safe with me. Though, I have wonder if this Diamond Tiara gets some kind of twisted pleasure of sending random strangers on wild goose chases?” Asked the Storyteller, which EDNA blipped in agreement.
“Trust me pal, you ain’t the first, and I doubt you’re gonna be the last.” Rivet then gave the Storyteller a rather perplexed look over. “Speakin’ of which, what’s your deal, pal? Never seen you around these parts.”
“Well, that’s actually kind of a long story. This here is EDNA, my “Eyebot Documentary Narrative Assistant”, and my name is-”
“WOOOOOOOOOOOWEEEEEEEEE!” Suddenly, both the Storyteller and Rivet’s attention were drawn up to one of the other workers, a rather large portly man with a scruffy and unshaven appearance, screaming down from one of the steel rafters, “Get a load at this freak-show fellas! Didn’t know the noid’ convention was in town!”
The Storyteller was taken aback by surprise by this sudden outburst. “I beg your pardon?”
“Yo, Frankie’, come look at this weirdo!” The worker gestured to another hard-hatted colleague, “Boy, this guy REALLY knows how to fill out a suit! What is that, one of those cardboard getup's?!”
“I’ll have you know that this is a T-49 Model Power Armor, one of the more advanced models used in the Alaskan Front!” The Storyteller retorted back in irritation, “And the size of the armor has nothing to do with my weight!”
The worker didn’t bother acknowledge the Storyteller. “And boys, check out THAT balloon floatin’ there!” He gestured to EDNA, “No wonder you losers never get a gurl, you spend all your time playing with toys like that! Why don’t you freak-shows get a real job, like the rest of us!” He gestured to himself with a rather large pair of sausage-thumbs.
EDNA was utterly outraged, and shook violently in anger. Once again, the sound of a power cell began to charge and the floating eyebot was really hoping that she would get the chance to use it this time.
Fortunately before any bloodshed could be enacted, Rivet yelled at the top of his lungs, “DON’T MAKE ME COME UP THERE, JIM BEAM! I WILL KICK YOUR KEESTER FOR GOOD IF YOU DON’T GET BACK TO WORK!”
“ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, YEESH, JUST HAVING A LITTLE FUN YOU KNOW!”
“IF YOU DON’T GET THOSE BEAMS IN PLACE IN FIVE MINUTES, YOU WON’T KNOW THE MEANING OF FUN ANYMORE!!” Once Rivet had calmed down, he turned back his attention to the Storyteller. “Sorry ‘bout that. Jim Beam is a bit of a heckler to everyone, WHEN HE SHOULD BE WORKIN’ ALREADY!” He suddenly shouted again.
“Trust me, I’d had my fair share of critics in my time,” the Storyteller shrugged, “But it seems that me and my partner here are obviously having our share of bad luck. I’m hoping though that you’d be able to help us. Does the name “Djerba Villa” mean anything to you?”
Rivet blinked in confusion. “Where the heck have you been mac? The Djerba Villas were torn down around two years ago! Something about it being an “environmental hazard”, which if I remember, had something to do with this really old lady and her dozens of cats.”
“That’s… a fairly disturbing story.”
“No kiddin’,” Rivet agreed, “And from the rumors I hear, some say it was a member of the Apple Family. Huh, I guess even every family has a few “bad” apples.” He muttered as his face contorted in bewilderment. “Nah, the Villa has been a sandlot for the past couple of years, and a lot of the kids around here have used it for a baseball lot instead… that is until Filthy Rich came in and bought the lot for ANOTHER SPA. As if we need more, we already have four in this city alone.”
“Ah, then I take it that there is some inaccuracy with its location on this “Canterquest” app? Two years is a long time to update a map even.”
“Canterquest? That app’s old news. Nobody uses that anymore. We all use “EquiMap” now. Where the heck are you from anyways?” Rivet questioned.
“Let’s just say that I’m from ‘out of town’ doing some investigating at the moment.” the Storyteller replied, “I’m actually looking for a trio of young women who may have ‘supposedly’ been here.”
Rivet gave him a strange look. “You a cop or somethin’? Would ‘splain the, uh….. outfit, I guess.” He muttered, as he gave the Storyteller’s Power Armor a brief look down.
“I’ve done my fair share of research into criminology, but right now, I guess the more apt description for me would be a detective.” The Storyteller explained, “And actually, I guess you could say I’m somewhat associated with the law, as I’m looking for a trio of troublemakers, known as “The Dazzlings”. Do they sound familiar to you?”
Rivet paused for a bit, trying to remember. “…Sorry mac, never heard of ‘em”.
“You sure? They’re a pretty vibrant trio, even on their appearance alone. They probably wouldn’t have been difficult to spot. They have a lot of flamboyant color in their attire.”
“Look mac, as much as I want to help, I don’t think I could anyway,” Rivet admitted, “My job has been just making sure that these wackos,” he gestured to the site behind him “Get the work done in time before Filthy Rich docks our pay AGAIN. Besides, even if I did see them, I wouldn’t be able to tell who’s who in this town anymore. Have you seen the getup's of what kids are wearing these days?”
The Storyteller’s shoulders slumped dejectedly. “Well, that’s certainly a disappointment.” EDNA agreed with a resounding warble.
“Sorry I couldn’t be more help, as much as I hate to disappoint a detective at work at all. You guys must have it rough.” It was then that one of the hecklers from the rafters decided to make another “witty retort” back at the Storyteller. “Yo, Robocop! Got any other “tools” hidin’ under that suit? Not you gonna need em’ anyway!!” Rivet’s eye made a slight twitch as it looked like his anger was hanging by a thread.
The Storyteller instead chose to ignore the outburst. “Some days, it is, but thanks for the sympathy. Come on EDNA,” he gestured towards his floating companion, “Looks like we’ve got some trekking to do.”
“AW! WHERE YOU GOING FREAKAZOID?! YEAH, RUN HOME TO YO MAMA’S BASEMENT WITH THOSE OTHER CLOSETED SWEAT-SMELLING “GUILD MASTERS” OF YOUS!” Jim beam yelled as the Storyteller turned to leave.
“JIM, I SWEAR IF YOU DON’T SHUT UP AND GET BACK TO WORK, I’M GOING TO SHOW YOU EXACTLY WHAT THAT CAULK GUN IS USED FOR!” Rivet yelled before leaving to deal with his coworkers.
While the Storyteller left to continue his search, EDNA stayed behind for a bit as she eyed a one of the cranes hanging a rather precarious pile of steel beams over the site. When she made sure that no one was actually looking, she emptied an energy cell at the steel wire holding the beams up, which all came tumbling down with a loud and resounding CRASH!
“WHAT THE <BEEP>?!?!”
“I’M GONNA KILL SOMEONE IF SOMEBODY DOESN’T TELL ME WHAT THE <BEEP> JUST HAPPENED!!”
EDNA warbled a good chuckle as immense satisfaction filled her circuits, as she rushed away to catch up with her companion.
Once she met up with her comrade however, she already began to unload her grievances with a metallic groan, annoyed at their lack of results.
“Alright, I’ll admit going off that girl’s word was poor planning on my part EDNA,” the Storyteller admitted, slightly ashamed, “I figured that this world inhabitants would at least offer some form of hospitality like their Equestrian counterparts, but I guess even some people slip through the cracks.
“And it looks like we’re back to square one in our own search. I’ll need to remind myself to do my own research of these “Internet” apps before downloading them, instead of picking the first one that pops up on my browser. But bear in mind EDNA, we we’re far from the first people who’ve had their share of misdirection.” EDNA perked up intently to listen.
Even Princess Twilight had her fair share of disappointing results when dealing with the Dazzlings. Once she had arrived, she and her five human counterparts tried the very same tactic they used with Demon Sunset: Using the Elements of harmony to purge the evil from its host. They even made an attempt to ambush the Dazzlings at the opening party of the Battle of the Bands, hoping that with them exposed, the entire school would be enough to drive them off.
Unfortunately, that effort didn’t really go as planned. Even as they tried to use the “Power of Friendship” against the Dazzlings, they instead got a whole lot of nothin’, as the magic somehow refused to activate. Not to mention, from what rumors I’ve managed to gather, they all looked pretty ridiculous in the attempt.
This “attack” against the Dazzlings backfired considerably, as it not only fueled the competitive nature of the school against the Rainbooms, but also revealed their identities to the Sirens. Even if the Rainbooms were immune the Siren’s song, the fact that they each were imbued with Equestrian Magic made them very special in this battle. If the Dazzlings got a hold of that power, they could easily return to their glory days as choral conquerors.
Despite their rather embarrassing attempt at taking down the Dazzlings, Twilight managed to deduce why their magic didn’t activate in the presence of the Sirens. Apparently, “zapping them good” wasn’t a viable attack strategy at this point. The fault of this tactic wasn’t just the wrong type magic to fight the Dazzlings, but also how the magic was wielded in this case. Because the Sirens themselves were using their songs to enthrall the rest of the students, then perhaps a similar technique was need to fight them: A “musical counter-spell” as it were.
EDNA let out a rather dull-sounding blip, commenting how cheesy this sounded.
“Look, I know it sounds a bit corny EDNA, but you’d be surprised how much influence the power of music can have towards others.” The Storyteller retorted.
EDNA simply uttered a disapproved warble.
“Well, it’s a much better option then simply stumbling about trying find a better solution. Having the idea of a counter-spell is at least better then having no counter-spell; I’m no magical expert after all.” The Storyteller paused, “Well, not yet at least.” EDNA let out a condescending beep, which the Storyteller ignored as he looked around. “Speaking of stumbling about, that tactic doesn’t seem to be doing us any favors today.”
As he looked over his surroundings, he spotted one particular building that piqued his interest.
“Maybe that pawn shop over there may yield some fruit to our investigation.” He gestured as he beckoned EDNA to follow.
EDNA offered a series of questioning beeps as they neared the shop.
“Well, pawn shops are excellent sources on rumors and information. People from all over the city may come around to sell off items that they don’t need anymore, and hopefully the Dazzlings themselves visited here to earn a few bucks; they’d definitely need it if they were going to survive in this world after the debacle of the Battle of the Bands.” The Storyteller answered, “Plus, I’d figured it would help us a lot more to ask for directions from actual professional adults this time around.” He admitted in an irked tone. EDNA couldn’t help but agree with a robotic snicker as they entered, setting off the shopkeeper bell.
While the inside of this pawnshop wasn’t particularly large, its selves were stocked with all kinds of items and nic-nacs of all kinds. The Storyteller took a minute to admire the selection that the shop had to offer.
But it was not soon after the duo entered the shop, that they were accosted by two very similar redheaded older men dressed in blue and white striped suits from out of nowhere!
“WELCOME VALUED CUSTOMER TO “THE FLIM-FLAM BROTHERS EVERYTHING-UNDER-THE-SUN EMPORIUM”!” they announced enthusiastically in unison. EDNA nearly overloaded her circuits in sheer shock from these two.
“I’M FLIM AND THIS IS FLAM.” One of the brothers gestured to his mustached sibling.
“AND IF YOU WANT IT, WE’VE GOT IT!” And with that, both brothers where zipping around the store, bombarding the Storyteller with a sales pitch for almost every item they could get their hands on!
“NEED A BOWLING BALL?”
“PERHAPS SOME ROLLER SKATES?”
“A RUBBER HOSE?”
“A RHODODENDRON TREE?
“A BIG HAT?”
“A TUBE OF GLUE?”
“A 20 GALLON WOK?”
“A NOSE-RING FOR YOUR POODLE PERHAPS?”
“WE HAVE EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN HERE AT FLIM FLAM’S EMPORIUM! SO, WHAT CAN WE INTEREST YOU IN TODAY, FINE SIR? BY THE LOOK OF YOUR ATTIRE, YOU REMIND ME VERY MUCH OF THOSE NEW FANGLED “TECHNO” BANDS THAT ARE ALL THE RAGE NOW THESE DAYS.” Flim complimented, taking in the Storyteller’s armored appearance. “PERHAPS WE COULD INTRODUCE YOU TO A NEW INSTRUMENT FOR YOUR BAND SIR? I’VE HEARD THAT ELECTRO-KEYBOARDS ARE QUITE POPULAR.” He finished in a rather sing-songy tone.
“I do play a mean guitar once in a while, but unfortunately,” answered the Storyteller, “I’m not exactly here for your merchandise.”
Both of the Flim Flam brothers suddenly blinked at the Storyteller in disbelief, as all the enthusiasm they had a few seconds ago seemed to deflate out; even as Flam himself went to all the trouble to rush out the aforementioned keyboard.
“You mean… you’re not interested in buying our wares?” Flam asked, suddenly sounding disappointed.
“Sorry fellas, but my inventory is pretty full at the moment; and as much as I want to make room, I don’t think a couple of irradiated conductors or “Fancy-Lad Snack Cakes” packets would make a fair trade.” The Storyteller admitted, “Nope, what I’m looking for is information, and maybe you two could help me out.”
Both brothers simply gave each other an incredulous look at this offer.
“You see, I’m actually looking a former band trio by the names of ‘The Dazzlings’.” The Storyteller continued, “Kind of mischievous bunch? Wild hairstyles, exuberant clothing, orange, blue, purple color coding. Any of this ring a bell?”
Flim and Flam stared at the Storyteller with raised eyebrows, before turning back to each other as mischievous looking smiles crept across their faces. “I’m sorry sir, but my brother and I pride ourselves in the selling of material goods, not information trafficking.” Flim replied smugly.
“It’s just not economically feasible.” Flam continued.
“However, we do cater to a wide variety of clientele for our Emporium.”
“People all across the city come to our store!”
“Thanks to the efforts of our former marketing ‘manager’.” They both seemed to snicker at that, which confused the Storyteller.
“And we’d be happy to offer any help in locating your quarry…”
“…For the right price.”
If anyone could see the Storyteller’s actual face, they would’ve seen him blink in astonishment. “You can’t be serious. You expect me to PAY YOU TWO for information that anyone else generously would give out for free? I thought you two said you didn’t ‘dabble in information trafficking’?”
“That true, we don’t,” Flam rebutted, grinning through his burly mustache, “But we do notice the types of clientele that purchase our wares.”
“And with a little incentive, perhaps we can jog our memories to match whom you’re looking for?”, Flim added, smirking, “Surely we can all agree that such must be worth something to you? And since my brother and I are trying to run a business, how can we hardly refuse the principle of ‘Supply and Demand’?”
The Storyteller was flabbergasted. “You gotta be kidding me. Doesn’t the phrase “The customer is always right” mean anything to you two?”
“That may be true, my armored acquaintance, but you haven’t actually bought anything yet; therefore, you’re not technically a customer.” Flam rebutted. “However, we’d gladly offer any assistance to your search for a non-negotiable price of, let’s say, twelve dollars? I’m sure we can all agree that this is a fair bargain, wouldn’t you say?” Flim agreed with a well-timed synchronous nod with his bushy-lipped brother.
“I think the phase you’re looking for is ‘price gouging’, which I should point out is actually is ILLEGAL. I could have you two reported to the authorities you know.” The Storyteller retorted. EDNA herself agreed with a rather angry sounding series of blips.
“Now let’s not be hasty good sir,” Flim said, raising his hands defensively, “Like I said before, this is a perfect opportunity for us to “supply” your “demand” after all. You desire information, and we may possess it. Surely a measly twelve dollars is worth that knowledge?”
“And besides, let’s say you DID report to the authorities,” Flam interjected, finger-quoting with a smirk, “What evidence would you have two make such a claim? It’s not like we can write a receipt for rumors, now can we?”
“I also didn’t want to mention this, no offense to you sir, but you’re not exactly very unsuspicious-looking in that rather bulky attire of yours,” Flim pointed out, emphasizing the Storyteller’s armored appearance, “So, what claim do you think the authorities would rather believe, hmmm?”
“I’ve learned from experience that people in this world don’t ask that many questions, so you two need to ask yourselves if MY claim is worth something. I happen to carry some authority myself, where I’m from.” The Storyteller rebutted. EDNA snickered rather deviously back at the brothers.
Unfortunately, such an attempt at intimidation seemed to be lost at the Flim Flam Brothers. “Fine then, do whatever you please!” Both of them said in unison. “I’m sure that you can just walk away from this deal, that is, if you’re fine with never knowing.”
Suddenly both of them began to size up the Storyteller, each in a rather creepy kind of fashion. “I’m sure that you’d be comfortable in reporting both of us-” Flam added.
“Letting the inquisitions of regret gnaw at your mind, forever wondering-” Flam continued.
“”Did they truly know what I wanted to know?” and “Did I make the right choice by walking away?””
At this point, both of them were nearly overlapping the Storyteller’s visual screen, much too close for his own comfort. But, before he could offer any rebuttal, both the brothers zipped backwards to smiling their own smug smiles.
“BUT, if you want to do the ‘honest’ thing, then that’s your choice good sir,” Flim said rather pompously.
“Sorry you couldn’t be of any help to yourself good sir.” Flam said as equally pompous, as they both simply grinned triumphantly, as if just to wait.
The Storyteller simply stood rooted in spot, both stunned and aggravated at the options appearing before him. As he mulled over the choices in his mechanical helmet, EDNA quietly hovered in place staring at her companion, debating on whether letting her armored friend make the choice for them both; or probably the more tantalizing option, disintegrating the two on sight. Sure, it would have made a bit if a mess, but it wouldn’t have been anything difficult they had done before. Both she and the Storyteller survived the wrath of Caesar’s Legion back home.
Finally, the Storyteller let out a defeated sigh, as he reached into one of his compartments on his armor to pull out the requisite cash. EDNA obviously voiced her disapproval of this action, which the Storyteller begrudgingly ignored, as he glared through his helmet at the smug con artists grinning inanely; their hands already outstretched for their incoming “reward”.
“Here,” The Storyteller uttered forcefully, as he slammed the money into their hands, “Now SPILL: have you seen or heard of the Dazzlings?”
Both Flim and Flam eagerly began to count the cash in hand, after which Flam quickly pocketed the money, while Flim turned to the Storyteller with a placid look in his face and answered, “I have absolutely no idea whom you’re talking about.”
The Storyteller briefly flinched back in shock before stomping his foot in outrage. “Oh for crying out loud! After all that-”
“Sorry my good sir,” Flam interrupted casually, “But as they say: “Let the buyer beware.” So sorry for the inconvenience and all that.” He grinned with a rather smug smile.
“You two are a far poor example of ‘fair economics’, and I’ve seen Wasteland vendors more honest than you two.” Retorted the Storyteller accusingly. EDNA quickly agreed with a series of rapid blips and beeps that were best not translated for the innocent.
Flim however simply brushed their grievances off with a hand-wave. “Yes, yes, we’re sorry for your disappointment, but all sales are final.”
“Now if you excuse us, we have an actual customer to attend to,” Flam retorted as the shopkeeper’s bell rang behind the Storyteller, “And unless you’re willing to actually purchase any more of our wares, I must bid you a fair “Good day sir”.” And with that, he gave out a two-fingered salute, and left the two wastelanders in the dust for their newest customer.
The Storyteller simply stared out at the twin brothers with a silent, steely glare. EDNA, on the other hand, was more than kind enough to voice her opinion on several “solutions” to this little debacle.
“Trust me EDNA, I’m sorely tempted,” The Storyteller uttered mirthlessly, “But unfortunately, it looks like we may have some company.”
Gesturing to the front door, a green-haired young man stumbled into the store carrying a compact, but rather heavy looking cardboard box that he seemed to struggle holding up. The young man was dressed with simply a red tee-shirt with a brown tasseled vest, pinned with a round white badge that had a green recycling symbol embroidered within. Atop his head was a rather plain looking gray sack hat that looked like it had seen better years; his green hair arranged in thick dreadlocks that were spilling messily all around his head. The youngster blew one of these dreadlocks out of his field of vision, as he hobbled into the store.
“Welcome valued customer, to “The Flim-Flam Brothers Everything-Under-The-Sun Emporium”. If you want it, we’ve got it!” Flam greeting the young lad, “So, how may we be of service to you fine sir?”
The young man in dreadlocks grunted a bit, as he struggled to keep the box he was holding from slipping out of his very fingers. “Um, yeah, sorry to bother you guys, but I’ve got this big box of comic books that my mom wants me to sell and all, so maybe you guys could, I dunno-”
“Certainly my fine young lad!” Flim interrupted as he grabbed a hold of the box from the kid’s grasp, “We would more than happy to sample some of your wares!” He said rather enthusiastically as he effortlessly took the box of comics to the cashier’s counter. The boy stumbled a bit from the sudden weight shift before regaining his composure. “Oh, well, thanks man, I appreciate it,” he uttered before joining the two brothers.
Both the Flim Flam brothers shared a wide grin as they opened up the opened up the contents of the box, revealing its secrets. Inside, there was definitely a large selection of comic books, probably over at least fifty crammed inside. Many of them were quite old-looking in style, using a lot of the old ink and paint styles that the Storyteller was familiar with back in his world. But despite their ages, the comics themselves were in pretty decent condition, despite none of them being in sealed packages.
And there certainly were a lot of different types of comics, ranging from the obvious comical stylings of “Archoo”; to the more obscure, yet adventurous “Daring Do” comics and “The Adventures of Trottrot” to name a few. But what made up the majority of the books where a lot of superhero stories, such as “The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well” and “Stupendous Man”. Out of all the hero comics though, the ones that stood out the most in sheer numbers were the comics of “The Power Ponies”, which seemed to overshadow the other comics considerably with their bright colors, slick logos, and stylized characters. The previous owner of this box must’ve been quite the fan growing up.
Flim and Flam’s grins widened considerably when the poured over the selection of the comics. Apparently, they liked what they were seeing, and the greenette watching them was a bit curious of their interest in the contents of the box. “So, ugh, are they good comics or something?” The young man asked.
Both the brothers flinched a bit as they were brought back to reality, and blinked at the boy in dreadlocks, as though he were somehow a stranger in the shop. They shot a couple of quick glances both at the teenager, then at the box of comics, until they adjusted themselves to regain their composure.
“Ahem! Yes, well, it’s a rather… decent collection.” Flim said rather nonchalantly.
“Yes… semi-decent actually.” Flam followed suit.
The dreadlocked greenette blinked a bit in confusion. “Um… okay, I guess? So, are they worth somethin’?”
“Hmmm, well, while this is a rather large collection,” Flim answered, “I’m afraid that the best we can offer you for all this would be around, at most...seven dollars.”
The young man blinked in surprised, and then deflated in frustration. “Aw, come on man. I spent nearly three hours cleaning out my mom’s attic getting all this stuff. Can’t you just, like, bump it up to forty or something? That seems fair, right?”
“I’m sorry, but that’s how much we’re willing to pay for this “collection”, Flam interjected, “If the items themselves were in better condition and in a more “secure” package, we might be interested in pay at most fifteen dollars,” he offered with a rather smug look, “but alas, I’m afraid seven dollars is our offer.”
Their customer groaned in frustration, “Aw, PLEASE dude? I’ll take thirty-five, even thirty bucks for all this. I mean, come on, I have to at least get somethin’ for all this? Aren’t some of these rare or old or somethin’?”
“I’m sorry, but unless these were in their original packaging, I’m afraid we can only buy them at a rather CONSIDERABLE lower price. Perhaps if you took better care of your own merchandise...” Flim added rather snidely.
“But these aren’t MINE, they’re my mom’s, and I’m supposed to get a good deal!” The young man complained in frustration, “Man, this is totally unrighteous. FINE, how about twenty dollars? Can you guys at least give me that?”
“Sorry, but seven dollars is our final offer.” Flam smugly offered.
“This is BOGUS, man!” The youngster protested with increasing ire. It didn’t take long before all three of them became locked in an already growing argument.
Luckily, as the trio continued to argue, the Storyteller took this moment of opportunity to intervene.
“Pardon me,” The Storyteller interjected. Immediately, all three of them stopped their squabble and turned to whoever had dared to interrupt. The young man blinked in surprise at the appearance of the Storyteller, while the Flim-Flam brother’s glared at him in seething frustration.
“Didn’t we already deal with you? We told you, unless you’re interested in buy any more of our wares, our exchange was already finished.” Flam said annoyed.
The Storyteller simply ignored him. “Sorry for the interrupting your rather “deep” discussion, but I couldn’t help but hear of your little feud here. Perhaps I can be of assistance?”
Both the brothers simultaneously blinked and glanced at each other in surprise. “You?” Flim asked incredulously, “What could you possibly know about the value and resale of comic books?”
“I happen to be a bit of an avid collector myself back home. I even have all fourteen issues of “Grognak the Barbarian”, and in pretty good conditions too. Though, I had to wrestle “Jungle of the Bat Babies” from a rather angry super mutant threatening a nearby settlement. He apparently was more of a fan of Grognak than I was, loincloth and everything.” EDNA let out a warbly shudder as that particular memory flooded her circuits.
Flim and Flam stared at the Storyteller as though he had grown a second head.
The young man, while at first looked very confused, seemed more intrigued by this stranger’s offer. “Wait, can you tell me if this comics are worth something?”
“I can give them a look if you’re asking. And I definitely can tell you that this box alone is worth a lot more than just seven dollars these two are willing to offer.” The Storyteller said, as he gestured to Flim and Flam. Both of them were starting to fume up with irritation, matching nearly the color of their already crimson mustaches.
“Now see here!” Flam snapped, “We will not be spoken to in this manner by some… some… browsing lurker!”
“Young man,” Flim cut in, “You can’t be seriously willing to trust the word of a complete stranger to ACTUAL professionals, are you?”
“Yeah, the name’s Sandlewood by the way, not that you guys were askin’,” the young man said, rather annoyed at this point, “and he’s giving me a way better offer than you guys are, so I kinda wanna hear him out. That a problem?” The dreadlocked teenager said quite smugly, puffing one of his dreadlocks out of his face.
Both Flim and Flam glanced at each other quite nervously, before shooting an intense glare at the Storyteller. Although they probably couldn’t see it, they were darn sure that he had the biggest grin on under his helmet.
“Fine!” Both brothers’s said in unison, crossing their arms sulkily.
“Gladly.” The Storyteller said eagerly. He reached into the box of comics and pulled out a seemingly random book from the pile, which came out to be one the many “Power Ponies” copies that already dominated the stack. Once in his hand, he simply stared at the cover for what seemed well over a minute, making no obvious movements aside from the occasional clinking and hissing sounds from his power armor.
Sandalwood glanced at Flim and Flam with concerned look on his face, while the two brothers just stared at the armored stranger with a glaring curiosity. Although both of them were putting up a good front, they both were getting increasingly worried about this newcomer. Perhaps this outfit wasn’t just a costume after all...
Sandalwood, getting no help from the brothers on this stranger’s mysterious behavior, decided for a more “direct” approach, and waved his hand in front of The Storyteller’s helmet. “Uh, dude? You okay in there?” He asked, trying to get his attention.
No reaction. The Storyteller continued to stare, and Sandalwood was getting a little worried.
Little did they all know, that inside the helmet of this mechanized wanderer, he was doing a quite a bit of “searching”…
“Ah, you’re in luck.” The Storyteller announced suddenly, causing Sandalwood, Flim, and Flam to briefly jolt in surprise. “What you have here is actually a rare variant cover copy of the Power Ponies one-shot story, “The Killing Crew Cut”,” he said as he turned the cover to the others, showing a rather disturbing image of young masked brunette boy dressed in a caped costume, surrounded by green… tentacles of some kind. The boy in question had a look of abject horror, as a single tear was trickling down his face and one of the tentacles had smeared what looked like… blood over his mouth. The background of the cover was heavily darkened, but a faint outline of a feminine could be seen, where the tentacles seemed to be coming from the head of this stranger. The only detail of that could be seen from this person was a visible purple mouth, flashing a maniacally, toothy smile…
Needless to say, both Sandalwood and the Flim-Flam brothers found this cover quite unnerving.
The Storyteller didn’t seem to take notice of their distaste. “It was written by Alan Mare back in 1988 as an attempt to bring the Power Ponies to an older audience and apply a more “realistic” tone to the series. Because of both its noir-setting art style, as well its famous origin story of the villainess, Mane-iac, it became an instant bestseller and even won the Neighisner Award for “Best Graphic Novel” of it’s time. Even initially depicted as a one-shot variant of the series, its ramifications would have an impact on the entire Power Pony series for future stories. The character of Humdrum especially, who started out as the bumbling sidekick to the Power Ponies, went on to spawn a popular series of his own, transforming himself to the lone vigilante hero of justice, the Super-”
“Uh, excuse me dude?” Sandalwood interrupted. The Storyteller did a double-take in surprise as he was cut off from his tangent. “Um, I’m sure that’s… interestin’ an’ all, but does all that mean that it’s worth somethin’ or somethin’?”
The Storyteller seemed to stare at Sandlewood a bit, before he seemed to remember what just happened. “Oh, sorry about that.” He said as he adjusted to regain his composure. “As I said before, this was a rare variant copy of this comic, only released in a select few stores around the country. Because of this, it’s a pretty valuable collector’s item.”
Both Flim and Flam looked at each other nervously. “H-h-h-how valuable exactly?” Flim asked.
“Well, after doing my own bit of research, I’ve come to find that there are some comic circles around that are willing to pay a lot, even for a copy in this condition. The minimal amount that I’ve been able to gather rests along the line of around two-hundred and fifty dollars.”
As soon as that number hit their ears, both Sandalwood and the Flim-Flam brother’s jaws dropped like a brick, while the two red-headed retails looked as though their eyes were about to pop out of their skulls. Sandalwood shot out a deathly glare at the two would-be cheaters that nearly cost him the supposed deal of the decade, while all they could they offer as a rebuttal was a nervous chuckle and a shrug.
Fumingly miffed, Sandalwood snatched the Power Ponies comic out of the Storyteller’s hand, stuffed it back into the box, and offered a bitter, “Not COOL man,” to the brothers before taking back the box and huffing out the shop door.
The duo simply stared at the door in shock and defeat, as the swindle of probably their entire career… just walked out. And all thanks to this “Mysterious Stranger.”
Both Flim and Flam turned to the Storyteller in a twitching glare of seething rage. Flim ground his teeth, holding his temper by a thread; while Flam’s mustache twitched with such ire that the idea of it spontaneously combusting didn’t seem that far off. They were most certainly sure that under that helmet, this stranger was probably having the grin of a lifetime… and that only infuriated them even further.
The Storyteller, however, barely acknowledged their scowls, offered an ironic two-fingered salute and replied, “Pleasure doing business with you,” before triumphantly walking out the shop door. EDNA followed in suit, but not before uttering a rather LOUD electronic snicker; she even lingered in place to make sure the sound of the snicker was well received, before quickly rushing out.
Flim and Flam glared daggers at the door, wishing somehow that the “dagger” metaphor would actually come true, for once.
“…I really do hate that man.” Flim grunted.
“As do I, brother… As do I…” Flam agreed.
Once outside, the Storyteller let out a long sigh as they were finally rid of that terrible shop, while EDNA let out a tirade of beeps at the Storyteller for how pointless that whole venture was, despite her being very satisfied with the results of their “revenge”.
“Boy, you said it, EDNA,” The Storyteller groaned as they walked away in a random direction, “Those two would fit right at home back at the New Vegas cesspool. Where’s the loyalty? Where’s the professional pride in customer satisfaction?” EDNA simply let out a beep that was the equivalent of an electronic shrug.
And speaking of pride, the Rainbooms themselves weren’t above having such faults either as they prepared for the finals. While Princess Twilight was working feverishly to create the musical counter-spell, all the other Rainbooms had their own idea of how to conduct the band. Whether it was costume designs, their choices of songs, or who was the most talented of the bunch, it didn’t take long before the competitive streak of this battle began to affect even the Rainbooms. Not that the fate of the school or the entire world rested between them and enchanted enthrallment.
Different priorities I guess, not that there wasn’t enough pressure put on Princess Twilight’s plate. Just as a reminder, these were teenagers after all.
If that wasn’t bad enough, apparently some of the other bands took a few pages from Sunset Shimmer’s glory days in their attempts to sabotage the Rainbooms. Using a combination of magnetic puppetry and a dose of inducing stage fright, the Rainbooms first performance was definitely not one of their proudest, despite the music actually being pretty decent. Luckily for them, they actually managed to advance to the next round despite their dismal first attempt. I guess it goes to show you that people have a finer appreciation for music then putting on a good show… but was it really that simple of a coincidence? Like I’ve said before, this world doesn’t ask that many questions.
One by one, bands all across the school were swatted out like swarms of bloatflies as they reached the final rounds of the Battle of the Bands. But the closer the Rainbooms got to the final lap, the more they squabbled over the competition like a group of rad-rats over the last piece of irradiated flesh.
Their quarrel had gotten so bad up to the point that their song in the semifinal was a bit more… “self-centered” than the image that Princess Twilight tried to instill on the group. In fact this little “ego-trip” nearly revealed their plan as Rainbow Dash, the lead singer at the time, almost transformed on-stage in the middle of a high note in front of the entire school.
Luckily, thanks to a timely intervention (though more of a well-timed tackle) by Sunset Shimmer, Canterlot High was spared the spectacle of a magical exposé. While she was acting with good intentions, Sunset’s “interruption” didn’t really look good in the eyes of her former student victims, calling it an incident of jealous rage. Even her bandmates were getting caught in the trend of doubting her change for good.
Can’t help but feel sorry for the kid though; she tries her hardest to prove that she’d turned over a new leaf, yet people are too eager to jump on the chance to prove her wrong, no matter how good her intentions were. It’s a story I’ve heard many times, unfortunately.
Needless to say, I imagine that this whole incident caused quite an “emotional reaction” from the school, giving the Dazzlings both dinner and a heck of a show.
Speaking of which, despite the Rainbooms rather spotty performance, they managed to successfully advance to the Final Rounds, a feat that wasn’t really well received by the rest of the school. I suspect with all this “competitive spirit” roaming all over Canterlot High, even the faculty members themselves weren’t immune to the Dazzlings persuasiveness.
Worse yet, their silver tongues managed to have an influence on “Trixie and the Illusions”, the third band that made it to the Finals with the Rainbooms, and of course the Dazzlings; as if they had any competition anyway. There’s not much to say about the “Trixie and the Illusions”, they were mostly a band that prided themselves on flashy gimmicks and over-the-top stage performances, but had a decent talent for music. Trixie, the obvious leader, has officially declared herself at school as the “Great and Powerful Trixie”, the so-called master of illusions and flashy magic tricks. Despite her own opinion, she has a reputation of being a bit boastful, as well as, and I’m putting it mildly as possible, a bit of a show-off by most who knew her.
However, one character trait that everyone seems to know about “The Great and Powerful Trixie”, is that she does NOT like being second best; an ego that the Dazzlings were more than happy to stroke in their favor.
On the final eve of the Battle of the Bands while the Rainbooms were preparing the sound stage for the main event, Trixie used this opportunity to eliminate one threat to her competition.
EDNA jibbed up both in tension and excitement that the turn the story was taking.
“No EDNA, not “eliminate” like “putting them six feet under”, although that could be one way to say where they ended up.”
Now EDNA just beeped warbly in confusion.
“What I mean is, all Trixie did was activate a trap door under the soundstage, with the Rainbooms stuck in a locked storage closet for the rest of the competition.” The Storyteller clarified, “Trixie may be a show off EDNA, but she’s no cutthroat villain. Well, not in this world at least.”
EDNA blipped again, as if to ask, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I’d tell you ENDA, but that’s a story for another day, and we have our own story to finish here.” He said as they both continued on.
While Trixie may have removed the Rainbooms from the competition, it was a sabotage that benefited the Dazzlings more than ever. With the Rainbooms cornered just below the stage, not only did Dazzlings have their biggest threat out of the way, but the Rainbooms squabbling ensured that they had an ample source of Equestrian magic right at their fingertips; magic that would’ve sent their own powers to a global scale. If something didn’t stop them then and there, The Dazzlings would’ve put on one heck of a Finale, both for them and this world.
But luckily, probably the most unexpected source of wisdom and friendship managed to snap the Rainbooms out of their argument. Yep, it turned out to be none other than Sunset Shimmer herself, who finally decided to step to the plate and remind her friends about what was supposed to bring them all together: The Magic of Friendship.
It was probably that moment that Sunset Shimmer had cemented herself, in my eyes at least, as a true student of friendship. Got to give her some points for her courage too. Must have been hard for her to deal with pressure of trying to reform when nobody was willing to give her a chance, or not knowing if she should’ve spoken up because of her past. Most people would’ve been content to throw their detractors to the wolves, but Sunset endured that abuse, and helped strengthen the bond between her and all her friends. With the Rainbooms united once again, they were determined to give the Dazzlings a show that they wouldn’t soon forget.
EDNA perked up some jittering blips as they continued walking.
“What? Oh well, it wasn’t really hard getting out of that storage closet. It turns out that the Dazzlings overlooked one member of Twilight’s troupe to trap: Her number one assistant and loyal canine companion, Spike.” The Storyteller elaborated, “Well, he didn’t do it alone of course, disadvantage of having no thumbs. He did manage to get at least some help from an unexpected source.”
It was just at that moment, that a familiar blue-haired, purple-shade-wearing punk girl managed to walk by, blaring another song through her headphones beyond any sensible volume.
♫Feel the wave of sound,
As it crashes down!
You can't turn away,
We'll make you wanna sta-a-a-ay
We will be adored,
Tell us that you want us!
We won't be ignored,
It's time for our reward!
Now you need us,
Come and heed us,
Nothing can stop us now!♫
With a content smile on her face and bobbing her head to the beats, the bluenette walked past the two Wastelanders, but not before turning back and shooting a friendly “thumbs-up-pointer” back at the Storyteller. The Storyteller in turn returned the gesture before turning back to EDNA.
“Well, it’s nice to know that there are some friendlier faces in this world.” Said the Storyteller, as EDNA beeped in agreement.
With the help of this “unexpected source”, the Rainbooms chose now or never to see if Princess Twilight’s musical counter-spell would finally do the job. What once began as a simple showcase of musical prowess had now evolved into a symphonic clash that would decide the very fate of this world.
The true “Battle of the Bands” had begun.
With their hearts united and their instruments tuned, Twilight and the Rainbooms put on a spectacle that did nothing less than, if you’ll pardon the vernacular, “rock the joint”. But even with the Magic of Friendship and a hip counter-spell at their disposal, the Dazzlings were already one step ahead. With all the negative energy that they had absorbed through the duration of the competition, including the Equestrian magic of the Rainbooms, the Dazzlings managed to overpower their efforts by turning into perverted Siren versions of the Rainbooms’ “Ponying up” transformations. Twilight may have had the Magic on Friendship on her side, but the Dazzlings unfortunately had talent and experience at their disposal.
With Twilight and the Mane Five nearly overcome by the Dazzling’s vocal superiority, all hope seemed lost in this darkest hour. But once again, in a fabulous display of courage and determination, Sunset Shimmer, former bully and demon of Canterlot High, joined the Rainbooms in their chorus of the ages.
Cementing herself even further in her arc of redemption, Sunset Shimmer even managed to obtain her own power of “Ponying up” as she too was engrossed both in the power of music, and of course, the Magic of Friendship. Some would even say that day, she became her own Element of Harmony…
With all seven united in their magical musical, armed with the power of Equestrian Magic, the Rainbooms managed to overcome the Dazzlings own siren’s song, and break their spell over this world, once and for all.
Despite my best efforts though, I wasn’t really able to recover any actual data or evidence of exactly how the Rainbooms managed to defeat the Dazzlings; apparently too many people were engrossed in the music to make their own accounts or acquire any photographic evidence of what happened. However, from what little scraps I could gather, it was a performance that could only be described as “A show that shook the very Gates of Valhalla”.
With the Dazzlings defeated, Canterlot High was free from the enthrallment of three embittered sirens, and had managed to put on a musical showcase that probably would be talked about for decades, albeit with one minor grievance from Trixie.
But more importantly, this event proved that Sunset Shimmer had committed herself to her reformation to the ideals of Friendship, and as a reward for her efforts was now fully inducted to the Rainbooms as an official member of the band. I imagine her slick guitar skills would’ve be a welcome addition to their group. But even more so, upon her return to Equestria, Princess Twilight Sparkle personally enrolled Sunset Shimmer as her own “student of Friendship”, just as Princess Celestia did to Sunset so many moons ago. To this day, I hear rumors of Sunset writing in that special journal of hers, sending off reports of friendship to someone far away, but close at the same time. This was definitely a happy ending well deserved for this particular story.
EDNA was jittering with mechanical thrills as the Storyteller finished recounting this exciting tale to the floating eyebot. However, there was one question that lingered in her circuits, which she was quick to beep back at the Storyteller.
“What happened to the Dazzlings? Well, after the Battle of the Bands, no one knows for sure. During their number, their jeweled necklaces that were the source of their enthralling magic was destroyed in the ensuing battle. Their loss not only rid the Dazzlings of any magical power, but also of any coherent singing talent as well.” The Storyteller recounted, as they continued walking through the city.
As they continued down on Messina Lane, the Storyteller decided to take a scenic shortcut and turned into a nearby alleyway with his companion following behind.
“Once defeated, the Dazzlings were immediately booed off-staged and haven’t been seen from since. So far, there have only been rumored sightings all around the city from the gossipy halls of Canterlot High, but their validity is dubious at best.”
EDNA beeped questioningly, albeit sounding somewhat disappointed.
“Well, after their terrible finale, I doubt that they would’ve wanted to stick around,” The Storyteller answered, as he stopped to face his robotic friend. “All we know of them so far are just based on rumors and secondhand accounts. Despite them being a memorable event to the school, the Dazzlings today still remain a mystery. Nope, I doubt anyone has really seen them since EDNA, and with the way our luck has been, they’re probably long gone by now.”
The sound of glass shattering echoed loudly across the walls of the alleyway, as a large bottle of some kind was dropped HARD onto the Storyteller’s helmet. Such an impact would’ve left anyone with a concussion easily. Luckily, that effort was pretty useless when you had a full inch of Brotherhood of Steel power armor between you and the world.
The Storyteller darted his vision back and forth to determine just what the heck it was that hit him, before he looked up to the fire escape staircase above them. There up in the rafters with at least two or three more bottles in hand, was a teenaged girl in a sweater with large poofy array of orange and yellow disheveled hair, glaring fury and daggers on the two wanderers.
“HEY, BEAT IT JERK!” The girl yelled from above, threatening to toss another bottle, “THIS IS OUR TURF!”
The Storyteller momentarily stared in wonder of the sheer luck of this miraculous encounter. “Ah, Adagio Dazzle I presume?” He said rather calmly, “It’s a pleasure to finally find you after what we’ve been through today.”
Adagio eyes widened in shock at the mere mention of her name. “W-wait, WHAT? HOW DO YOU ME? WHO THE HECK ARE YOU? YOU SOME KIND OF COP OR SOMETHING!?” she yelled, threatening to lob another bottle.
EDNA could be heard powering up an energy cell, but the Storyteller raised his hand to stave off any possible bloodshed. “Calm down Adagio, and try to relax,” he said peacefully while raising his hands in a non-threatening gesture. “I know we look rather strange, but I’m not here to give you any trouble. In fact, me and my Eyebot companion here are actually interested in your story.” EDNA beeped in agreement, albeit a bit cautiously, especially with a large glass bottle aimed right at her chassis.
Adagio’s face scrunched up in confusion. “…W-WHAT? WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?! ARE YOU SOME KIND OF CREEPER OR SOMETHING?!”
In the midst of her yelling, the window behind Adagio had just opened as a rather tired-looking teenage girl purple hair with green streaks in pigtails stepped out, rubbing her eyes in exhaustion.
“What the heck’s going on?” The tired teen asked between yawns, “I can’t get any beauty sleep with you all yelling.”
“It’s four o’clock in the afternoon.” The Storyteller called up, “How could you be sleeping this early in the day?”
The girl with purple hair blinked a bit at the Storyteller addressing her. “Who’s the weirdo?”
“Some creeper cop Aria.” Adagio said accusingly, “And unless he wants another one of THESE lobbed at his head, he better get off our turf, NOW!”
The Storyteller mostly ignored Adagio’s threats. “Ah, Aria Blaze. Nice to know that the Dazzlings are still together, even after your defeat from the Rainbooms. A good sign that you two are still together.”
The mention of their rival band set off something in Aria, whose eyes began to twitch a bit as she glared down at the armored assailant infiltrating their territory. “Deck him ‘Dagi,” she uttered coldly.
And with that, Adagio through another bottle with all her might at the Storyteller, who effortlessly dodged it as it shattered on the ground. “Calm down you two.” The Storyteller urged, “I know it’s hard to believe, but I can assure you, I’m not your enemy. If anything, I’m probably one of the few people here that are interested in your stories.”
EDNA didn’t seem as confident of this diplomatic solution and bleeped a voice of concern at the Storyteller.
“Relax EDNA.” The Storyteller said assuringly, “I know they’re mad now, but I doubt that aiming our blasters at them is going to make things less confrontational.”
EDNA conceded a blip in agreement, that is until suddenly…
EDNA’s entire visual screen was then engulfed by some fleshy bright blue blur that seemed to be hopped up on pixie sticks! Fighting the urge to incinerate whatever was in front of her, EDNA immediately veered off and levitated to a higher altitude, away from whatever was overloading her sensors.
Once high enough, EDNA finally got a glimpse at what pounced on her and found that it was yet another teenage girl with striped blue hair in a ponytail, who probably had the biggest and most excited looking grin she had ever seen.
“And then there were three,” The Storyteller said, “I trust that you’re Sonata Dusk. Apparently you three didn’t go as far as I thought.”
Sonata smiled back as she pointed at EDNA, “Yep! Is this your robot yours? That’s AWESOME! I’d always thought it would be so COOL to have a robot friend!” She said gleefully in excitement.
EDNA briefly shivered alarm at the thought of being manhandled by another “kid”, but once she heard the praises that this girl was giving her, she slowly lowered back to eye-level altitude, piqued by curiosity.
“Wow, you are just so cool looking!” Sonata exclaimed, “I’ve never seen a bot like you. I’m Sonata, what’s your name?”
<BEEP BEEP BEEP, SCREECH>
“EDNA, huh? That’s a nice name for a robot. Most robots have such boring names with only numbers and letters. Although, I think I remember one robot named “Johnny” for some reason. That was weird.”
<SKREECH WARBLE BEEP BEEP>
“Oh, I agree, robots do get a very bad rap these days. You’re not one of those “I’ll take over the world bots”, are you? Not that I’d have a problem with it since you seem nice.”
The Storyteller couldn’t help but look amazement at this new “friendship” developing before him. “I’m actually impressed,” the Storyteller said slightly amused, “Not many people are that eager to get to know EDNA. Most days, people are content just to shoot her on sight.”
The Storyteller then groaned in annoyance as yet another bottle was lobed straight as his head, before turning to its source.
“HEY, DON’T IGNORE ME YOU HULKING METAL FREAK!” Adagio shouted back, as she reached for another bottle to toss. “Why they heck are you even interested in us? Haven’t you already heard? We can’t sing anymore! Nobody wants to hear us! Nobody bothers with us at all! We’re washouts, okay? We don’t… we don’t have ANYTHING!!” She shrieked. For a brief second, it almost looked as if Adagio… was on the verge of tears with her shouting. Even Aria looked briefly dejected as Adagio shouted. “So YEAH, we’re not the Dazzlings anymore, so what would you even want with a couple of washouts?!”
“I wouldn’t be so dismissive of yourself just yet Adagio.” The Storyteller reassured, “You’d be surprised how much influence one person can have, even after their time in the limelight.”
In fact, it’s because of your influence in Equestrian Magic, along with Sunset Shimmer’s efforts, that you’ve managed to catch the analytical eye of that of a rather familiar face. It’s a tale of an inquisitive outcast whose desire for knowledge led her to forces beyond her control, and whose idle curiosity nearly put the fate of this world, and that of Equestria, in dire jeopardy.
But THAT, is a story for another day…
“…Wait, WHAT? What are you even blabbering about?! “Story for another day”!? Who are you even TALKING to?!” Adagio yelled.
The Storyteller could only groan.