You know, for a dungeon I was expecting the cliches. Skeletons hanging from shackles behind bars, rats the size of house cats waiting to chew your corpse to bones, and bats screeching throughout the night. Or at the very least the grey concrete prison cells of somewhat modern standard at the very least. But instead what I got was a room that resembled more of a hotel than a dungeon proper. Sure there was still a metal door, warded with all sorts of magic and the typical tiny window too small to fit more than a hand through at a height that required stacking furniture to reach... But the bed was absolutely divine, and for some damn reason the floor was smooth polished stone, the furniture was wooden and nice, as well as a small writing desk with a few books of choice alongside a drawer filled with paper and the materials to write with a quill and ink.
I paused after that, wondering how the hell people used quills in the first place since the only attempts I've ever made with such a thing was as a child, and that usually just ripped straight through the paper with the small sharp metal tips that they had. In the past when people had asked for ye olde font I had made do with a typeface cut out and a paint brush. I made a request for a pencil with the guards stationed outside my cell, though I think it was denied since the request never made it back to my royal captors at least by the evening bell. Rude.
The Cell itself had two ponies, whom were both unicorn guards stationed outside the door and another pair I would later note stationed right outside the window in the event I somehow figured out a way to fit through there. While their backs were to me, I had no doubt that between the magical inscriptions on the door, the fact that tossing the useless quill at it and the resulting smell of burnt feathers signified that yes, I wasn't getting out that way anytime soon. Besides if I had a way to touch a burning energy field, as much as I'd love to risk a hand to drain it there was at least three metal doors between me and the nearest guard. Two sets of bars running different directions but evenly spaced, as well as a solid metal door between them. It was almost as if they expected someone who was able to break through one set wouldn't be able to do the same to the others.
When they had asked about my dietary requirements, I was relatively surprised that they could cater to an Omnivore, but given that Griffons existed, as well as Minotaurs, dragons, and other meat eating carnivores, I guess I shouldn't of been surprised. While they didn't prepare cows, pigs or other animals of land variety, it was a soft core carnivorism that Celestia could prepare on a sudden notice, Fish and eggs were in abundance, and apparently Crustaceans were a favorite among pony nobility which caught me off guard since I considered the vast majority of ponies to be strictly Herbivores. While I wasn't going to be getting the crab and lobster treatment soon, I did have a delicacy that I had thought never to be had again, one of my favorites behind butter baked crab legs.
Shrimp! Glorious and curved pink shrimp! Oh how I missed the little things! A diet of Eggs, fruits, and vegetables had left me longing for the foods of home. I practically had a tear to my masked eye at the sight and smell of it, let alone the five star cooking that had it prepared as if Gordon Ramsey himself had made it just on the other side of the door. The smell, the texture, as my fork slowly slid into it with a satisfying slight resistance that only meat and seafood could offer I felt the weight of home sickness I didn't even realize I had, lift a little. The divine long since thought lost flavor easing burdens and weariness in my whole body.
After the meal I was told to feed the plate back through the small slit in the door, and I did so while asking the guard pony to thank the chef for a taste of home as emotionally as I could manage. Mildly Preturbed, the guard nodded before quickly closing the slit as if I was a loony idiot. Well, I guess I would think it silly too if I saw someone make a fuss over what must of been basic seafood.
I went to sit down on the bed, mostly to lie there and let my body rest a little more, My clothes were unfortuntely still uncomfortable burnt robes, and I pondered asking Luna if I could stitch some new ones to replace them since otherwise I'd be going around in the buff with my junk exposed, but I hit the point where my butt should of hit contact with the bed itself, I kept going without contact. The unexpected lack of resistance causing me to fall as I saw that suddenly I was being drawn through a portal not unlike the ones that had taken me to Yoko and Skargor way back.
Oh god no. No no no no no! Heck no! I was unarmed! Injured! Why would someone be summoning me now? Where was the phrase that was usually said when people summoned me! Panic shot through me, someone used the laptop, likely Yoko, otherwise this was all really uncalled for. I desperately hoped that she had some sort of plan, and that I wasn't going to arrive in another war zone while injured and unarmed as I tumbled through the void. The portal shut quickly after the last bit of my body fell through it, with nothing to grasp onto I rather didn't have a choice this time. Feeling a little sick, I tumbled through the black space between realms, a faint grey fog overwhelming the entire place, before hearing a portal rip open behind me. I tumbled through it, landing gracelessly face first into the grass of another world.
"Ow..." I Muttered, trying to stand up when another unexpected item fell through the portal. My entire crafting kit and the wooden backpack that it fit in, span out, and nailed me in the back, "Gaghh!" I whined, my abused body crying in protest at the impact. My gloves were intact, so I had that going for me, as I slowly stood up, I was of course surrounded by a few ponies, a short small child who looked like she fit in a military academy with a bobby hair cut that was fit for a 1920's icecream commerical, a red haired for the lack of a better word Amazon, and a guy in a mask with a katana that had my summoning charm on it.
The ponies seemed standard, at least as far as I could tell, but the guy was defintely human, or at least as far as I could tell given that he had an eye visor and looked like he just walked out of a high quality CGI anime with spikey red hair that looked sharp enough to give Sonic a run for his rings. My back screamed at me as I stood up, and rubbing it I commented, "Ow! Damnit, I really need to find a new way to get summoned aside form getting literally ripped from home.”
If I had some way to say yay or nay to being conjured it would be extremely convienent. Otherwise this was going to get old really fast if I say was about to go take a nap and suddenly portals. Oh wait. Looking around on the ground, I noticed a few of my pet project masks had fallen through with my kit, in particular a Sauron mask, General Grevious mask, and with a note of satisfaction I saw my marionette tool had somehow managed to sneak its way back to me despite being under Celestia's magical lock and key. The swordsman I note, kept his hand on his swords hilt as he asked, "Are you the Puppet Master?"
"Woah, calm down dude. You are the one summoned me. No need to go off the rails." I stretch, trying to rub out the aching pain with my hands only to get a loud crack of a pop which causes one of the nearby mares to wince, my attempt at putting them at ease seeming to put at least the ponies more on edge.
One of the ladies, the smaller one in military uniform, my guess out of a sense to down the tension walks straight up to me without a care in the seeming world for a potentially dangerous stranger, and asks, "Are you a human? Or a Faunus?"
If the look of confusion that crossed my face wasn't a dead give away enough, I pondered the question a short bit before remembering, right I have a mask for a face with fire for eyes and a tongue. Not sure what the later bit is I both answer and ask, "Human, though what's a Faunus?"
I quickly bent down to retrieve my small collection of left over props as the swordsman at least seems to take his hand off his sword, heading over and uprighting the crafting kit of mine as he responds, "I am. Faunus are basically humans with animal like features. Most have things like horns, animal ears, senses and even scales." As he explains I shoot another look his way and notice just who is behind him.
"Oh great the Elements. Guess you are one of their friends?"
He must of noticed my sense of distaste, that and my wording was shit, I was half surprised my given taste of hostility at their appearance hadn't immediately triggered him to... Well I don't know, summon a dragon or something? I couldn't place a marker on what he was from. Faunus didn't ring any bells, which might of meant he was a displaced of a series that didn't exist when I was taken away. His own mouth seemed to turn to a frown, expecting probably that I was a villain of some sort, which while I was most certainly a dastardly villain, I wasn't an 'evil' one. His voice confirmed my suspicion, "Yes I am. We met after I protected the town from a Grimm attack. What is with the tone little dude?"
Oh that triggered all my Edward Elric Instincts. Taking a deep breathe to calm myself I respond, "Sorry. I haven’t been having a great time with my version of the Elements aside from Rainbow. And even then, it is only because she ‘works’ for me." Not a technical lie, Rainbow did 'Work' for me for however briefly, even if she did turn traitor right afterwards.
"Well, let me be the first to welcome you here to my home. My name is Adam Taurus." Adam says holding out his hand. I considered the danger of him just overpowering me if I took his hand, but since they hadn't attacked me yet, I cautiously reached forwards and shakes his hand before he shoots a look to the two pretty anime girls, "Those two are Penny Polendina and Pyrrha Nikos." He leans down to whisper in my ear, "They are characters from the show RWBY and they both died in their world. The gods of their world decided it was not their time and sent them here."
My eyes widened in surprise, well it wasn't discord at least who brought these three, I didn't recognize the show which explained a few odd terms like Grimm. But it was rare for characters to die in a show, most of the time they circumvented their deaths one way or another, so it was a surprise to hear not one but two people who look like classic harem material for a shows main dude protagonist to kick the bucket. An educated guess to anime tropes I would of pinned the red haired amazon Phyrra as the Tsundere main interest, and Penny as the little sister incest romance that anime was fond of.
I bring forth my best smile, "Nice to meet all of you. I go by Puppet Master in my home but that is just a title and alias. My name is Xander." The others looked a little unnerved, and I internally wince. Right, fire in my eyes and mouth. Frick. Both of them were also armed I belatedly noticed, Penny with a hovering back mounted string-sword no less. God I was jealous of that already. How did that even comply with physics? Actually, I didnt want to know. I'll just assume they are magical girl highschoolers or something.
I tried to make a coy comment, the words leaving my lips without forethought or shortly memory of what I just sid before getting a smart response that they were called Huntsmen. In which I'm given a full rundown on the series, from what Huntsmen and Huntresses were, to Grimm and the strange weapons at least two of them were using. At least I recognized a Katana, but apparently his had a special ability. Which given the anime tropes, what anime protagonist didn't have a special demon sealed sword or what not? When he commented about the grimms being dangerous to catch when I made my own comment about studying one or two, I decided to show him why I was called a puppet master after digging out one of the older worse quality masks that I had found in the bottom of my kit, it was an old one, not well built to the trained eye, but the spare Bowser mask had been left buried beneath tools and while rough to wear the king of the Koopas popping into existence seemed to impress at least Adam and the two other humans. If scaring the ponies a little bit. We come to an agreement.
In exchange for my temporary stay here, I'd build him a prop, while he went to work on a house project of his own. Apparently he was a recent arrival. Well given a few sketches, I set to work. Shotgun gauntlets were apparently what he needed, and while the design was a little... Eccentric to say the least, it was good to get an itch out of my system to do some work again. Being cooped up in a medical bed had left me albiet a little restless, and while I did need more rest, sitting in a chair with my crafting tools was far more satisfying than taking a nap. While I began molding the basics, I had my puppets begin to search out other materials that I didn't have on hand. While I had plenty of coloring, crafting foam, and moldable plastics, thanks to the gem powered generators, I did need to scavenge gemstones as well as desiring a closer look at these 'Grimm' themselves.
Puppets scattered, basic wooden dolls leaving into the forest in search of familiar landmarks near Ponyville. Five snuck towards the gemstone mines of the Diamond dogs, and came back shortly with enough gems for the next few projects alongide the current one, and others went to the most dangerous place in Equestria presumably. I did find an odd bear with tar black skin and bone exoskeletons similar to Adams mask, but when several dolls worked together to suplex and strangle the thing to death, it dissipated into smoke. Which meant gathering materials from such creatures were impossible. So Instead, I had them check around the mountain of the dragon where I had made my own base in my old world, and dragged back enough gold and iron to do a rough coating. While I wasn't a blacksmith, gold decorative band for wrists and ankles could be reshaped to fit Adams arms, and iron was the perfect material for where shell casings would be put in and ejected. For shells I molded a bunch of individual plastic and metal duplicates using coins and a puppet spot weld with metal rings to form the base of them and prevent misfire. Fitting the firing chamber to fit the shells themselves and provide as much user safety as I could offer to such a silly thing as shotgun Gauntlets could allow.
Once the prop itself was made, a quick three coats of spray paint would see it completed to his specified color schemes, and as they dried between layers, I worked on a few replacement masks to the ones I had lost fighting the Bio-Android-Majin-Buu-Psychopath. Only had time to set two of them drying before the shotgun gauntlets completed their final layer of paint, as the first was primer to set a default shade. The Second was the paint colors itself, and the third was a glaze to both preserve the paint from damage by weather, as well as provide a shine that was similar to metal that it was mean to look like. The shotgun shells themselves didn't require paint, since the molding process of plastic required the color to be added beforehand before the mold, and the metal coins and rings used were already the right color. I couldn't fill their contents with actual ammunition since I wasn't actually a gun or ammo smith, but Adam had a solution to that.
After I packed everything up, we bid our goodbyes and he exchanged a token with me as well. At least this time when the service was concluded, the portal opened up properly, allowing me to step through it rather than ambushing me suddenly. However, just as before I ended up falling head over toes, this time gracelessly crashing onto my bed. Shockingly no time seemed to have passed since my departure, and the noise was quiet enough not to alert the guards. Though I quickly hid away my tools beneath my bed before catching my breathe in case they suddenly barged in or checked on me.
I did take note that I had a side room in the form of an enclosed bathroom as well. While It was too small to hide something in, I could work on smaller props in there under the guise that I just had indigestion. Actually, these security measures were far too lax. Thinking of things now, there was a massive problem with Canterlot Castles security, from under performing royal guards to really bad security measures that would screw them over in the long run...
Thinking back to Canterlot Wedding episodes, maybe it was time to pay Celestia a little visit, just to prove a point.