Hello everyone. It's been a long time–over a year and a half already... I suppose I have an obligation to explain the situation about this fic. Firstly, between work and school and finding an internship, I just don't have much free time on my hands. And unfortunetly, even after all this time, I'm still not sure when the next chapter will come out. It could be a few weeks from now, a few months, or more; however, even with that said, I don't want to mark this story as cancelled. This story is still on my mind every now and then, even with all the other stuff I've got to worry about. There's always hope in the future. I know that's pretty vague and probably not what you want to hear but I at least wanted to give some sort of idea of the state of things for those still interested in this story.
So, TL;DR, this story is still on a... hiatus of sorts. I don't know when I'll find time to really get back into writing again but, if it is any comfort at all, I just want to say that I don't plan on discontinuing it.
Since I don't know when this story will continue, I've deiced to post little snippets of conversations, situations and dream-sequences I've already written a while back. It'll be MASSIVE spoilers, though, and some of them are just WIPs––ideas I've had from the beginning that may or may not appear in the story.
Before I go, I just want to say thanks to those who liked my story and are still interested. It means a lot! Down below will be a section of the story snippets I was talking about. If you don't mind spoilers and you just want something to tide you over, I give this to you. Enjoy.
SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
**The Balcony – Logan and Luna**
He growled to himself, tightening his fist. He couldn't seem to get a single moment alone.
Luna landed lightly next to him, mindful to give a healthy distance between them. She wasn't the most social pony but she could tell when one preferred their own space. Logan was certainly one of them.
"Get a new balcony." he grumbled, his eyes unmoving from the horizon.
Luna frowned at his rude dismissal but choose to ignore it, her curiosity overruling fear. "It is very late in the night. Most of our subjects—if not all—would be asleep by now. We were just curious as to why you would be up at a time like this," She glanced at him, only catching the side of his face. She noticed his jaw tighten. She swallowed tentatively, but continued. "Surely you must be exhausted after today’s... events.”
His jaw clenched. "First of all, I ain't one one of yer damn ‘subjects’. Second, it ain't none of yer business.” His voice had a sharpness to it that seemed to pierce the night-chilled air. It made Luna’s fur bristle on her back. It reminded her of the days in which Tia and her used to speak with the dragons to settle “disagreements”. They, too, had the same tone, and in her own humble opinion, she bet his own attitude could rival that of the beasts’ themselves. Despite this, she gave him the benefit of the doubt. He had been through much and she could hardly fault him for being irritated.
“Then my apologies for asking, Mr. Logan.”
Logan sighed, dropping his head slightly. “Jus’ Logan."
She cocked her head at that for a moment then a small smile formed on her lips. Perhaps he wasn’t as fierce as he first appeared.
She took a careful step closer to the railing and finally noticed that he was holding one of those mysterious smoking sticks again, perhaps the same one from earlier that day. Curious, she watched as he put one end of the stick over his lips, inhaling deeply as the ember at other end brightened for a moment. A long second passed before he exhaled in a surprising puff of smoke. The wind graciously blew the noxious cloud right into Luna's face and she flinched. Her nose twitched at the stale, smokey scent. She waved a hoof around to dispel the awful smoke.
Blinking against the slight stinging in her eyes, she coughed once before saying, “If We may ask, what is that strange stick you are holding?”
Logan flicked his attention away from the dark, moonlit hills in the distance for a second. He let out a puff of amusement as he watched the Princess fluster over the smoke. “It’s a cigar.” He replied plainly.
Finally dispelling the cloud around her, she gave him a confused look. These couldn’t possibly be healthy. “I have never seen such a thing before. What is it for?”
“Calms me down.” He grumbled, looking at the stump of his current cigar. Not much left. “When I run out, you ponies are gonna be in a world of trouble,” He tapped a pocket on his burnt and shredded jacket with his other hand. “I’ve only got one left.”
She watched as he brought up the cigar again, taking another deep breath. She narrowed her eyes slightly, both concerned and curious by this behavior. Against her better judgement, she summoned her magic and delicately slipped the pack out of his front pocket. When he showed no outright reaction to the gesture, she continued, bringing the object closer to inspect. She examined it and noticed that one last stick had remained, wrapped in a clear plastic package. It was much longer than the one he was currently holding in his hand, she noticed. Her face scrunched up at the familiar smell that clung to the package. Curious, she performed a spell to identify its ingredients. Her curiosity in the object turned into abrupt concern and alarm, her suspicions confirmed. By the moon, the amount of harmful ingredients—
"You're gonna wake up tomorrow surprised to be missin' a few limbs if you don't put that back where it was."
She looked up swiftly from her concentration. His tone was even, not a single waver—it was as if he were talking about the weather. She couldn't tell if he was joking or not. Real threat or not, Luna decided not to risk her extremities over a death stick.
With precision, she levitated the package back into his jacket pocket. "If I can help it, I’d prefer to keep all my limbs attached.”
He smirked slightly. "That's the smartest thing I've heard all day.”
She watched him puff on his cigar once more, her face scrunching up in disgust. "You should know that there are many unhealthy toxins in there—and that is putting it lightly.”
He glanced over at her out of the corner of his eye, blowing the smoke out of his nose. He raised an eyebrow as if to question how she found that out until he realized he didn't really care too much and just shrugged it off. He averted his gaze back to the moonlit hills in front of him.
"That doesn't mean shit t' me." he rumbled. He leaned forward on the balcony railing, knocking off a few ashes from his cigar on its edge before resting on his forearms. His elbow nicked the metal slightly before he settled, creating a distinct chink sound.
Luna’s ears perked up at the noise. She squinted at him, wondering at the sound, before his words sank in.
“Pray tell, why would your health be of no concern to you?”
“I’ll heal.” he replied automatically.
She looked at him skeptically, but decided not to pry. If what she heard about his arrival to be true, along with Twilight’s letters, then his claim must be genuine—as hard as it was to believe. “I shall take your word for it then.”
For some time the two were silent, both taking some time to enjoy the quiet evening. The night was refreshing and clear, and every so often a gentle breeze would rustle the trees, the air carrying a sort of calm tranquility. The moon above them was full and bright—strong but warm. It cast upon the two figures encompassing beams of light, washing them with blue and purple hues.
After a few passing minutes, one of Luna’s silver shod hooves absentmindedly rubbed her foreleg. She had many questions she wanted to ask this strange, troubling creature, but now was not the time.
“Well,” she began, breaking the silence softly. “I best be going. I must tend to my night and the dreams of my little ponies. It was nice talking to you, Logan. Forgive me if I have caused you any discomfort. I bid you farewell and pray you have a good night’s rest.” And with that, she extended her dark blue wings and lifted off into the night, her form merging into the darkness like a shadow.
After her departure, Logan simply continued his smoke, not having moved. A few puffs later and Logan flicked away the stub of his cigar.
Finally alone, he mumbled in his head.
He inhaled deeply, taking in the scents around him. Everything still stank of Ponies and civilization but much less so. Now with no one watching him, he felt his shoulders relax slightly, his eyelids slipping close. Even now he could still feel the remnants of pain around his body, but it would disappear—fade into nothing more than faint memory. Just like it always did. But, unfortunately for him, though his physical wounds may heal, the mental scars always seemed to stick around. And this time he knew—he was going to have a hell of a time coming back from this mess.
**Dream Sequence – Roaring**
"Get down!" Logan snarled, grabbing the soldier in front of him and pulling him down as the planes passed overhead once again. Machine gun fire sprayed around them, cutting into the dirt, the brush, the trees. Shattered wood sprayed through the air, cutting any exposed skin. They covered their heads, knowing full well that it wouldn't do any good if they took a direct hit. Logan hissed, reaching down and digging one of the three bullets he'd bit out of his thigh while the private beside him looked up at the sky.
The shooting passed—the plane roaring up to turn around for another pass. Logan grabbed the soldier's collar, pulling him to his feet as he hollered at his other men to get to their feet, to keep moving.
Some of them didn't get back up. He didn't have time to check to see who it was.
Had to save his other boys. Get some of them out of there alive, get back to base.
Logan pushed past two soldiers, taking the lead. They ran low, half-bent. Logan had to turn more than once as he caught the whiff of a mine beneath the ground—he pointed at it as he passed, passing the word along to his men.
The roar grew louder.
Roaring, roaring. The young soldier next to him was coughing—choking on his own lungs as he screamed, and screamed, and screamed, and over all of it was the roaring, the screaming as the world exploded around them, burning them to white, nothing but pain pain pain pain as he tried to pull himself together, to fight, but he couldn't move. Fire ate through his pores and dug into his wrists like claws, ripping open his veins as if to bleed him to death. He writhed, falling to the ground, but he was cold. Cold as fire ate at him, slicing through his spine, paralyzing him as the cold seeped into his fingers, into his gut, freezing him stiff . . . .
"Staff, those braces can only keep the incisions open for so long, you know."
"Yes, doctor. The flesh is actually forming around the clamps, here. Amazing."
"Then work faster, man."
Something was moving inside his wrist—like claws, picking away at his flesh, prying it away from his bones.
"Give me a right stem . . . short fiber."
Agony arced down his arms, and he screamed in agony as it drilled into his wrist. He strained to pull away, but he couldn't. Couldn't even twitch a finger.
"Ughhhh . . . ."
"Good God! He's coming around!"
"Don't get jumpy, professor. We have to keep him floating so we can trace the relay flux in his nervous system."
"Do you mean . . . he's conscious?"
Logan choked, but all that came from his throat was a weak gasp of air. Unfeeling eyes looked at him and shrugged.
"Yeah—partly. Add two pheno-B, staff."
"So he can feel what we're doing to him?"
"Most of it, yeah. Poor geezer's in a lotta pain."
"Pain is a principal of life, Doctor Cornelius."
"Not that I subscribe entirely to the dictum."
Pain zapped down his side, into his skull, cutting through his brain. He screamed at the pounding inside his skull as he managed to turn his head to the side, his bare skin sticking with sweat to the cold metal table. "Uhhh uhh."
"Four phenol-B, staff. And keep him from shaking, willya?"
"Sensory cortex monitor is overloaded, sir. There are no readings."
His eyes flew open as his heart pounded against his metal ribs. He bolted upward, still caught in the nightmare. He wanted to howl, to rage at the horrible pain he felt. Echoes of agonizing pain resonated through his bones—it made his claws itch and burn in his forearms. They slid forward ready to pop, the tips pricking at the skin.
A creek of the door reached his ears.
His head jerked, facing the stranger in the backlit doorway—Jasmine.
“What the hell’re you doin’ in here?” he snapped.
Jasmine’s ears fell and she lowered her head slightly. “I heard you,” she murmured quietly.
Jasmine’s face creased in concern. “You were crying out in your sleep. I—I could hear you from my room. You sounded like you were in pain.”
He didn’t give a damn.
“Don’t ever come in here without me knowing, got it?”
She flinched at his tone but otherwise continued no further. She ducked her head submissively, nodding. She retreated into the hall without another word, closing the door. In her absence, a faint, bitter smell remained.
She was scared of him again.
Why should he care?
He didn’t care. It was good the kid was scared of him.
Of course it was good.
He sighed, wiping the cold sweat that had beaded on his forehead. It felt like ice against his burning skin. He looked down at his forearms as they shook slightly—the memory of them digging inside of them, splaying his skin down to the bone, doing. . . doing something, experimenting on him.
He had the sudden urge to rip back his skin, to pull back his muscles just to make sure they weren’t still in there—the wires, to control everything he did. To be their machine.
He brought a hand to his head, his fingers digging into his scalp as he dragged it to the back of his head. He squeezed his eyes for a moment, willing the images and feelings to disappear, to fade away.
Nightmares, he thought tiredly. Always the nightmares. Every night he was haunted by them. He couldn’t even tell the difference between the memories and the dreams anymore—it was all terrible. It made him sick inside. He couldn’t remember the last time he got any quality sleep.
**The Power of Friendship Speech**
“Well, my world ain’t all sunshine ’n daises.”
“There’s a lot more to this world than you see—some of it darker than it may first appear. I have kept many horrors away from my little ponies, but there is only so much I can do. I may be an alicorn, but I am not an all-powerful being, contrary to what many sometimes believe. There are very real dangers in this world—ones that I fear I may not be able to fight. That is why I tasked Twilight and her friends to protect us—to wield The Elements. They are strong, and with the power of friendship, they will bring harmony to the land.” she said.
. . . The power of friendship?
He wanted to laugh, to howl at the naïvety this princess held. She truly thought harmony could be achieved? She claimed to be centuries of years old and yet here she was, the leader of an entire country and she believed, wholeheartedly, that she could bring about peace?
He let out a gruff chuckle. “That’s quite the sales pitch, Princess. You almost had me at the ‘power of friendship’ line.” he mocked with a slight curl to his lips.
Celestia moved beside him, catching his eyes for a moment before focusing on the darkening horizon in front of her. “Yes, I suppose it is quite a farfetched dream for most, but It is what I truly believe. I have already seen what they are capable of. If it weren’t for them, my sister may have never returned to us.” She said strongly, undeterred from his ridicule.
Logan paused at that, her words resonating in his head. He couldn’t help but be reminded of Charles. Yeah, Chuck. The crazy son of a bitch that thought humans and mutants could live together in peace, and the same man that convinced him to carry on that dream, too…. maybe he was just as crazy as this princess.
His expression slackened at that thought, the amusement completely gone.
“You’re just like him.” He said quietly.
**Dream Sequence – Red**
He closed his eyes for a moment, angling his head upward.
The air was cool, and among the stars held a full moon. It hung over the roof tops, casting its blue-frosted hue across the land.
His feet were light on top of shingles, and in his hands he held a sturdy blade. It was comfortable in his grip, familiar, natural.
He breathed in deep. It was pure, clean, and it carried a faint floral scent.
The silent moment passed as the wind brushed his face, whispering danger in his ear.
They were here.
Shadows descended swiftly and silently upon him, their blades shining. With a flick of the wrist, his sword clashed with another’s. Then he crouched low, dodging a sweeping attack from behind. He twisted around, meeting a sword that had swung down on top of him. Another from his right, their blade twisting in, but he leaned back, jerking out of harm’s way.
The shadows were relentless as they came from every angle. When their strikes met his, the clash cracked though the air like lightening. Their movement was almost impossible to follow for any ordinary person, but he kept pace easily.
Back and forth. It was like a dance—fluid and beautiful. Each strike made by the dark figures was equally matched in grace. And as their blades sang in the air—the moonlight sharp as steel against the dark sky—he could smell the sweet scent of cherry blossoms.
His movements slowed, the dance slipping. Cherry blossoms. He smelled cherry blossoms.
The blades disappeared, shimmering away like a mirage. The fluidity and focus of the dance shattered. Logan felt something soft in his hand, the familiar, cool handle of his blade was gone.
He was kneeling now, on the soft Earth. The cool night sky had turned blindingly bright as he brought his right hand to bare. The pit of his stomach clenched as he opened his hand.
There were petals in his hands. Pink petals covered in red.
**Dream Sequence – Samurai**
Wind rushed past him. The air smelled of blossoms and warmth and it carried with it the promise of a bountiful summer.
A strange feeling flowed through him.
That voice—familiar, yet so distant.
He cracked his eyes open, the morning sun piercing through them. He squinted harshly, adjusting, and soon he saw the mixing colors of the sky. It was beautiful, calm. He was on his back and he could feel the grass between his fingers. . . something was in his hand. It was smooth and cylindrical. He sat up and looked down. It was a wooden sword.
“Do you expect to win this battle by lying on the ground?”
“No, Sensei.” he replied automatically. He rose to his feet easily—feeling lighter than he could ever remember being, lighter than air—and lifted the long blade before him. His eyes caught the man’s before him, his sword at the ready. He mirrored the man’s stance, ready.
He didn’t wait for his sparing mate to move. He stepped swiftly, his blade swinging with force. The man ducked effortlessly, dodging the blow.
Logan twisted in again, his body like a coiled spring. He struck, but the sensei deflected his blade with a flitting gesture of his sword, and faster than Logan could react, the man struck his shoulder.
He grit his teeth, biting off the building rage that had arisen with his adrenaline.
He reset his footing and loosened up his muscles.
He gripped his blade and stepped in, his sword a blur. The sensei caught it once more, spinning and bringing it around. Logan lost his balance and stumbled sideways.
Another stinging blow rang against his back and he snarled, his sword swinging dangerously. The man danced out of range—balanced, calm.
There was no need for the word as Logan was already moving. Strikes clashed in the air, the sound like lightening. Blows reigned on his shoulders and arms—one even clipped his cheek, striking hard enough to leave a bruise, but not to draw blood. The sensei was in control.
Sweat dripped down the side of his face, he felt his arms shake. The master wasted no time and moved quickly. Logan fell into a defensive stance, barely managing to block a strike to his gut.
His katana rose, and with a snarl it cut through the air, striking faster than thought. The power of his swing knocked the sensei off balance.
Right cut, spin. The man swung his blade to counter the blow but Logan was aware—every centimeter of his skin was aware. Burning, festering rage boiled upwards and outwards, turning his vision red.
He struck down, shattering the sensei’s katana. He lashed out and grabbed his throat, slamming him into the ground. He brought his sword to the man’s throat.
He took panting breaths, the rage clouding his mind. It took him a moment to find the words to speak.
“Yield,” he growled softly.
Unfazed eyes met him, fearless above the blade. The man nodded and Logan loosened his grip, coming to his feet. His limbs trembled, and the world felt vibrant and wild around him. He took a careful breath and wiped the sweat from his eyes.
The sensei rose easily, as if he had just laid himself down for moment to rest. A dark bruise could already be seen around his neck and a trickle of blood dripped down his chin from a slash across his cheek. He didn’t seem to notice as he focused his piercing gaze on Logan.
“What have you learned, Logan-san? To fight? To kill? To win?” He shook his head. “You came to me because you wanted to learn control. Is that what you have shown yourself here?”
“Sensei—“ But the master raised his hand, and Logan cut himself off sharply, shame deep in his heart.
“Ask yourself, Logan, who won this battle? The man or the animal?”