I stand there waiting until Skyline disappears from view, then face Luna completely. "For the record, I wasn't trying to kill myself." I start off with.
"Skyline has no reason to lie about such a thing. Why would he say that if you didn't?" She presses.
"I said it before, I was testing something. I wanted to see if momentum carries through when I blink. It doesn't, I'm standing here perfectly fine, all is good in the world." I explain.
"And you thought the best way to test that was to jump off a balcony? What on Equis were you thinking Null? Three to four stories is considered a lethal fall. The lowest floor we have balconies on are the seventh floor. What would you have done if your momentum did carry through? What then?" She admonishes.
I simply shrug and cross my arms. "Then I guess I'd die." I say bluntly and without remorse.
She stands there, breathing deeply to keep herself calm and collected.
"Look Luna-" this time, I'm the one getting cut off.
"No, you look Null, you may not care about your own life, but there are others that do. And not just me. I know you care more about others than yourself, but you aren't thinking about those others feelings. Even those who don't like you, they don't want to see you dead." She rants.
"Others care about me? Name one besides yourself." I interject.
She raises an eyebrow at the challenge, maintaining her serious expression. "Skyline."
It's now my turn to raise an eyebrow. "Skyline? That's a load of bull and you know it. He only babysits me because you tell him to. He only tried to stop me from jumping because it's his job."
"Skyline has his own reasons as to why he tried to stop you, though it's not my place to say what they are. If you tried to make friends with him you'd probably find out yourself one day. He cares about you as much as he cares about everyone else." She states.
I purse my lips. "Name another." I challenge.
"Starlight Glimmer." She shoots back.
"We just met today. Hell, you only met her for a moment, how would you know anything about her?" I question.
"One, she followed you into the Everfree Forest. Most ponies wouldn't even follow their best friends into such a place. Two, you must be blind if you failed to see the way she looked at you. Believe you me, she cares about you." She states as if it was fact.
What's that supposed to mean? I cross my arms. "Just how many people care about me then, hmm?"
"Aside from Skyline and Starlight, the element bearers. Probably not nearly as much as the ones I previously mentioned, but you have hardly spent any time with anyone. Myself, Starlight, Skyline, and even Celestia have reasons as to why we care. My point is, you haven't even given life a fair chance yet. How can you expect anyone to care if you haven't even taken the time to meet anyone, let alone get to know them?"
I purse my lips and chew on her words for a moment. She does have a point.
After I don't respond, she continues speaking. "I know what you're going through Null; Your first life was taken from you. Mine was too. When I returned and was freed from Nightmare Moon, I felt lost. Nothing was as I once knew, nobody knew me. Everything felt familiar but foreign at the same time."
She looks out across the countryside like I had. "I admit, there were times when I felt like giving up. But I didn't. I gave everyone the chance they gave me, and now I'm on top of my life again, and have reason to keep on top of it."
She looks back at me. "Give it time Null. You may not feel the need to care for yourself right now, but you have to take that initiative so others get the chance to care as well."
I stare at her evenly for another moment. Once again, she's got a point. And if she did it, why can't I?
Letting out a sigh, I turn away from her. "Fine. I'll try a little harder to stay alive, okay? Happy now?"
Instead of responding with words, she catches me off guard with a hug. I awkwardly put my arms around her and reciprocate the gesture. After a moment, she lets go of me and backs away.
"So, you came down here for a reason. What was it."
"I came to collect you for dinner. You're not exactly on any schedule, so I figured I'd get you in the habit of one, however many things are on that schedule aside." She smiles. "As well as to thank you for keeping to your word and staying on the castle grounds."
I cross my arms but a smile creeps onto my face anyways. I motion for her to lead the way, which she does. Following behind her, a question pops into my head. "Hey Luna. Not that I'm complaining, but I'm surprised you let me keep that dagger. Mind if I ask why?"
She responds as she walks. "Because there's nothing special about it aside from it's design and material, so it isn't nearly as dangerous as the rest of what was there. It's a defensive tool more than it is a weapon. That's why I let you keep it. Plus, it's technically a legal blade anyways, just not common due to how difficult they are to make."
"Huh… how's it a defensive tool?" I ask, genuinely curious. Might as well know what I got.
"That dagger is called a sword breaker. The teeth are designed to catch an opponent’s blade and either lock it in place or break it all together, allowing you an opening. Was designed by unicorns from what I remember of it." She lectures.
I don't have any time to ask any other questions as she opens the door to the dining room, revealing Celestia sitting at the end of the table, alone this time.
I feel the familiar trigger again, but I shake my head before I can act on it. I follow Luna in and sit down next to her, and stare at the empty chair in front of me. I hear Luna and Celestia talking idly to each other, but I ignore their words, and they don't try to include me in their conversation. Smart choice honestly, as I'm doing everything I can to keep myself in check.
Dinner went by without incident, and I managed to not have to say a word. Hooray for small miracles. Right now I'm following Luna through the halls. I still haven't learned the layout of this place, but she's slowly teaching me. Apparently each section is numbered, which makes things a bit easier to memorize. What doesn't help is how MANY sections there are. I digress through. She leads me to a door in the guest hall and motions to it.
"I figured you'd appreciate a room of your own." She says simply.
I nod. "Well, I can't just keep using your room forever." I say evenly, not moving.
She watches me then stifles some giggles and motions to the door again. "This is your room, silly."
…"I knew that." I say as I open the door, ignoring Luna's continued giggling. I find my bag is on the desk to the side of the room, but aside from that, it looks like a regular old castle guest room. Bed, desk, bathroom, window, shiny floors, etc. The plus side is that this room is on Luna's side of the castle, so the architecture more reflects the moon instead of the sun.
Luna seems to be waiting for me to say something, but I really can't think of anything to say. Despite it being clearly a guest room repurposed to be my own, I still feel overwhelmed at the prospect of having a space to call my own. A proper space too, not just a garden pedestal or something akin to that.
She must have taken my silence the wrong way, because her voice takes on a hint of worry. "Is something wrong? Is it not to your liking?"
I focus on her more than the room and shake my head. "N-no, it's not that at all. I'm just…overwhelmed. Speechless. I wasn't expecting anything like this."
A wave a relief washes over her face and she smiles. "What, did you think I'd make you stay in the gardens?"
"I'd really rather not. I'm still not sure how I feel about gardens anymore." I say while rubbing my arm awkwardly.
She chuckles. "I wouldn't do that to you. If I remember correctly, you said I'd have to kill you before you let that happen anyways."
My eyes go a bit wide at that. "Never expected to hear a pony talk about murder so casually, let alone in a joking manner." I say with my arms crossed.
She sits down as she speaks. "Well, while I'm not exactly a fan of it, death is no stranger to me, be it intentional or not. Part of being immortal and having to defend your home from those who would seek to destroy it and cause even more death." She says in more a somber tone.
I understand exactly what she means too. I've watched ponies grow from infancy to adulthood, then to elderly, then to their death. Past that, I've seen what she's had to do to uphold her kingdom.
I rub the back of my head. "I guess I sorta forgot you were an immortal princess for a moment."
She nods and we delve Into a comfortable silence. I spend another minute or two checking out my new room, before I let out a yawn.
"Tired?" She asks in a teasing voice.
I simply nod.
She gets up and heads for the door. "I'll let yo-" I cut her off by blinking in front of her and enveloping her in a hug. Sure it hurt to do it, but it doesn't hurt that badly since it's such a small distance, and is outweighed by the desire to give her a hug, if only to show my appreciation if nothing else.
She's caught off guard, but quickly returns the hug with a smile. "You're welcome, Null."
After a moment, I let her go and she exits the room. "Have a good night, Null." She says as she closes the door.
I watch the door for a moment before I flop onto the bed and melt in the comforter. I kick off my shoes, but struggle with the socks, forcing me to get up and do it with my hands. Tossing them to the ground next to my shoes, I crawl under the blankets and almost immediately fall asleep.
It isn't as good as Luna's bed, but man this is still really good.
I was peacefully sleeping when I'm woken up from my beauty sleep from the sound of some shuffling around within my own boutique. Normally, I'd just assume it was Sweetie Belle, but she isn't this loud, nor does the alarming sound of objects clattering accompany her morning routine.
I slowly rise and listen carefully, and I can more clearly make out what I can confirm is coming from downstairs. "What in Equestria is causing all that racket?" I mutter to myself.
Removing my sleep mask, I hop out of bed and with a bit of trepidation, quietly walk down the hall and then the stairs. Only the downstairs lights are on, which tells me that it's likely not my sister causing this noise. Reaching the midpoint of the stairs, I can finally see onto the main showroom floor, and what I see both surprises and irritates me.
I see what I recognize as Null, going through my dresses, tossing them about and mumbling to himself. Deciding to make myself known in my own home, I clear my throat loudly. Null stops what he's doing, and turns to face me. I'm severely caught off guard when I notice his eye is a different color. Instead of it's normal turquoise, it's a deep green color. Another thing that stands out, is his expression; he just seems… very critical.
"Oh, Rarity, fancy seeing you here." He says evenly.
"I could say the same to you. Mind telling me why you're making a mess of my shop?" I ask annoyed.
"I'm going through and judging your work. You should be ashamed of yourself for making such gaudy and mediocre articles of clothing. I mean, honestly, they're all just dreadful. Look at this one for example, the colors match, sure, but it's basic as all hell and just covered in gems to compensate for a lack of actual style." He says as if he actually knows how fashion works.
I can feel my eye twitching, ready to rip him a new one and educate him in the art of the dress, but think better of it. Something doesn't feel right, and he's unpredictable even in the best of circumstances.
Ignoring his opinions on my amazing work, I continue down the stairs and approach him. "You still never answered my question; Why are you here? From word around town, after you left the sleepover you went to the Everfree with someone, who was then escorted back to town by one of Luna's guards. Shouldn't you be back in Canterlot?" I question.
He takes a few steps back away from me for some reason. "First off, keep your distance and don't touch me. While you're probably the cleanest one around here, I still don't want your germs." He visibly shudders, much to my offense.
"Second, I saw this building and wanted to see what kind your work was like. Unfortunately, I'm disgusted with your work. Everything is so inconsistently repulsive that I can't let it stand. So I've taken it upon myself to dispose of them." He explains as if it was normal.
I can feel my eye twitch again. And again. And again.
"You'll not be doing anything of the sort!" I exclaim.
"Why not? Come on you can't tell me you're actually proud of these atrocities! It's an affront to the eyes!" He States as if it's fact, as if he has the authority to deem such things. He then continues piling the clothes onto the floor.
I can feel something snap and I give up trying to deal with this myself. I pick him up in my magic and start carrying him outside towards Twilight's library. She and Spike can get a letter to Princess Luna to come collect Null. He's acting severely out of hoof.
He struggles in the air in my magical grasp. Yelling various things at me that I tune out.
I had just gotten done bucking a tree when I hear some rustling from behind me. Turning around quickly, I see a head dart behind a tree. It's not anyone I recognize, and I'm quick to try and figure out who it is.
"Alright, you been caught. Come on out now and we can both go about our days." I call out as I slowly approach the tree. "You have until I get there to come out. It'll be easier on both of us if you just give yourself up, I already saw you."
I get to and round the tree, and was about to chew out whoever was trespassing, when I see that it's Null. He's standing still, staring off into the distance, barely even breathing, as if he's pretending to be a statue. Another thing that throws me for a loop is his eye; It's purple. "Null? What are you doing here? And what's with your eye?"
He remains where he is, staring off into the distance still. I reach out and tap him, to which he yelps and jumps away, falling and backing away from me until his back is up to a tree again.
I raise an eyebrow with a confused look on my face, and I slowly bring my hoof back down to the ground.
"What's gotten into you? You're jumpier than a jack rabbit, Null." He just continues to breath sporadically, staring at me in what looks like fear.
why would he be afraid of me?
I approach him slowly. "Calm down Null, it's just me. I ain't gonna hurt ya, I promise." I say in as much a soothing tone as I can. I get to him and put my hoof on his knee.
"A-Applejack?" He shakily gets out.
I nod. "Now why don't you tell me what's got you so spooked, hmm?"
He looks away from me, his eyes getting a bit hazy. I tap him a bit. "Hey, hey, none of that now. No panic attacks for you, not on my watch. Breath, okay? In, and out."
He hesitantly nods and we go through a few breathing exercises to try and help him calm down. Something's must really got him freaked out, because we sat there for a few minutes before he was calm enough to stop. He still looked paranoid, but not nearly as bad as before.
"There, now you wanna tell me what's wrong?"
"... Memories… Flashbacks… Horrible ones…"
I don't really know what to say, I've never dealt with PTSD. Maybe Twilight might know how to help. Or at least have a book on it. I may not know how I feel about him yet, but he doesn't need to suffer. Specially if what he said about being a statue is true.
"Come on, get up. We're going to get you some help." I help him to his feet and we start walking, him lagging behind and jumping at every little thing.
POV: Pinkie Pie
Today found me just walking down the streets of Ponyville, just enjoying life. It's one of my days off and I just felt like taking a normal stroll! Yep. Totally normal stroll. Nothing special about it. No siree, no other reason at all. You can't prove anything!
Oh look! It's Null! Wonder what he's doing out and about; you'd think he'd be back up in Canterlot. He makes me a bit nervous but I can't let that show. Right now, he seems to be watching a frog.
I walk up beside him and watch with him, interested to see if there's something he sees that I don't. It's usually the other way around, but given his eye, he probably has an advantage over me; for all I know, this frog could actually be an evil wizard in disguise and the only way to keep him in check is to watch him!
The frog hops. Null gasps in surprise. Another hop. Another gasp.
"Fascinating…" I hear him mutter.
"I know right? You should see them croak!" I whisper from beside him.
He jumps a bit and looks at me, surprise evident on his face. Can't blame him, allot of people usually are when I sneak up on them.
"Pinkie Pie! You're so pink!" He exclaims.
I tilt my head and look down at myself. Figuring I'd play along, I act surprised as well. "No way! I totally am!" I look back at him, and notice something. "Oh my gosh, Null, your eye is pink as well!" I say with genuine shock.
He puts his hands to his face, and rushes off to a nearby fountain, and looks into the water, assumingly to look at his reflection.
Running up beside him, I look at our reflections side by side.
"Pinkie!" He exclaims.
"Null!" I shout back.
"My eye is pink like you are!"
"Do you know what that means?!" I ask him.
"What. What does it mean?" He asks, excitement in his voice.
"Your eye matches me! We should show the others!" I suggest.
He then turns to me and grabs me by my shoulders, looking me in the eyes. "Pinkie! There's no time for that, we gotta show the others!" He says.
"You're right! My idea was just silly, but you're on a whole other level! Let's go!"
And off we went. I wonder what everyone else will think.
I was just finishing wrapping a bandage around a bird's leg when I heard what sounded like crying. I perked up my ears, listening carefully to see if I was hearing things or not. After the crying only got louder, I dismiss the bird, free to return back to his family, and follow the sound into the forest. As much as I don't like this place, I can't ignore someone clearly in distress. They could be hurt!
I don't have to go too deep into the forest to find the source of the crying, but what surprises me is to find Null to be that source. I fly up to him and tap him on the shoulder. "Null? Are you okay? Why are you all alone in the Everfree Forest? And why are you crying?" I ask.
He simply removes his hands from his face and looks up at me, teary eyed, snot dribbling down from his nose. A sight that stands out though, is that his eye is a deep dark blue instead of it's usual light blue.
Instead of responding, he just buries his face back into his palms and keeps crying.
Something must be really upsetting him… maybe some tea would help calm him down. Besides, anywhere is better than this dangerous forest. I hold him by his shoulders and guide him back towards my cottage.
After sitting him down on the couch, he just collapses to his side and keeps crying. I can't even imagine what must be upsetting him to make him like this.
Just as I put the kettle on the burner, I hear a knock at my door.
"Fluttershy? Are you okay in there?" I hear Twilight's voice call from the other side of the door.
I quickly shuffle over to the door and open it. "I'm fine Twilight, it's Null who's in distress. I don't know why though…"
She looks over my shoulder and see's him crying on the couch, oblivious to the rest of the world around him.
She raises an eyebrow. "Well that was easier than expected. Princess Luna sent me a letter saying that he disappeared again, and asked us to check around Ponyville; but I guess you already found him. Where was he?"
I look at him for a moment before turning back to Twilight. "I heard crying in the forest, and I thought someone might be hurt or need help. I was surprised to find it was him. I tried asking him what was wrong, but he wouldn't say anything; I thought some tea might help calm him down. But now I'm not so sure if he's still crying this hard." I explain.
She goes to say something but I cut her off. "There's something else you should know as well. His eye is a different color." I say.
"Really? What color is it now?" She asks, academic curiosity clear in her voice.
"It's a dark blue. I only saw it because he looked at me when I found him. I don't know if he's even aware of it." I answer.
"Hmm… Well, there's nothing for it. If he won't say anything, then maybe Princess Luna can get through to him. Come on, let's get him to the library so Spike can send a letter." She suggests.
As much as I would like to help Null myself, she has a point. Princess Luna would probably have an easier time doing it. I nod, go and pull the kettle off the burner to let it cool, then return and coax Null into a standing position, and guide him to the door.
With a nod to Twilight, she turns and leads the way; crying human In tow.
POV: Rainbow Dash
I'm flying high above the town looking for one troublesome human. Twilight got a letter from the Princess saying he went missing again, and now we gotta find him. Ugh, I swear, he's more trouble than he's worth! I get that Princess Luna knows him, but still. Since he's gotten here, from what I heard, he's done nothing but be a bother.
You'd think he'd stick out like a sore hoof, but I can't see him any-wait… is that. Yep, there he is. Darting down, I come to a stop right in front of him. He catches me off guard when he smiles and starts clapping. Another thing that puts me on edge is that his eye is yellow. Something isn't right…
"That was awesome, Rainbow Dash! Amazing stop." He smiles, does an odd gesture with his hand, and walks past me, humming a tune to himself.
"... What? Hold up." I say as I fly back in front of him. "What's up with you. Why are you being nice to me all of a sudden. Are you drunk again? And why is your eye yellow?" I question.
"Nothing, because I can, no, and no idea." He says as he walks, spinning around with his arms spread, almost like he's dancing.
He's acting strange… Something's up, and imma find out what it is. I fly alongside him. "You know Princess Luna is looking for you, right? You just sorta... left Canterlot. Again."
"I don't doubt it. That's fine though, I'm not doing anything wrong. Just loving life right now."
"That's… Not what I meant."
I'm about to continue with a follow-up but he gasps and runs off. "Starlight! Staaaarrlliiiggghhhtt!" He calls out.
"H-hey!" I call out as I fly after him.
He runs up to a unicorn and picks her up in a hug. This unicorn squeaks, clearly not expecting the hug.
"Null? What are you doing here? I thought you went with Luna back to Canterlot." She asks.
"I'm just living life, Starlight. Just living life. How about you? What have you been up to?" He responds.
"Wait, wait, wait, hold on, time out. You two know each other?" I ask.
"We met a day ago. We talked a bit and uh… Yeah. We kinda know each other? We're friends to say the least." She answers.
"Uh huh… Well, Twilight told me to bring him back to her library if I found him, so that's what I'm gonna do." I say as I grab his arm and start leading him towards the library.
I wasn't expecting this 'Starlight' to follow, but it's not really a problem.
POV: Twilight Sparkle
Me and Fluttershy just got back to the library with Null, but I'm startled when I hear some yelling from inside. Opening the door and walking in, my jaw drops when I see Rarity standing there, with Null held in her magic, yelling and thrashing about.
"Dirty, filthy, fucking, peasants! UNCLEAN!" I hear him yell. I stare, dumbstruck, offhandedly noting his green eye. The crying behind me reminds me of Null, and I turn to face him.
I look between the two Nulls, confused out of my mind.
Spike also seems to see what I'm seeing, so I know I'm not going crazy.
Rarity finally notices us as she looks down from the Null she's carrying, and gives me an annoyed smile. "Twilight dear, can you please tell N-..." She trails off as she sees the Null that we brought with us. "I knew something wasn't right." She simply states.
"You can say that again!" I hear Pinkie's voice from behind me. "Twilight! Null's eye is pink like me!" She calls.
"Yeah! It surprised us so much that we just had to show you all!" I hear his voice say.
I turn around and see her bouncing alongside a THIRD Null, this one, like she said, with a pink eye.
Fluttershy for her part just doesn't know what to say. She's looking uneasily between the three Nulls.
"Alright, everyone inside. Let's try and figure this out." Pinkie and the pink eyed Null follow me, Fluttershy, and the dark blue eyed Null inside.
"Hang on now, ya got one more!" Another voice calls just before I close the door.
Opening the door again, I see Applejack with a scared looking, purple eyed Null.
I stare wide eyed at this Null as he shakes and jumps at every little thing going on around him.
"Four Nulls? How is this possible?! This isn't possible! It makes no sense!" I yell, causing the scared Null to jump and hide behind Applejack.
I let out a sigh and motion for them to come inside. I step outside and look at my hoof impatiently.
"Twilight, darling, what are you doing?" Rarity calls from inside.
"You all came here with a different Null. I'm expecting Rainbow to show up with one if the trend is to be followed." I state. As if on queue, Rainbow rounds the street corner with a Null of her own. Not only that, but a pink unicorn as well. I wait for them to get closer before I do anything.
I look at this Null, and see that he's got a big bright smile on his face, and his eye is yellow. I turn my attention to the unicorn. "Are you Null's friend?" I ask.
She nods. "Yeah, sorta. Why?"
"Then you might be able to help. Come on." I say as I walk inside.
"Wait, help with what Twi? I got Null right here, what's the problem?" Dash asks annoyed. I simply motion for her to come inside.
They do, and immediately see the problem. "Oh." She says lamely.
POV: Starlight Glimmer
"Wow… This is bizarre. 5 Nulls… whys that one being restrained?" I ask a bit dumbstruck.
"I had to because he wanted to destroy the dresses that I make for a living, simply because he wouldn't know fashion even if it hit him on the head!" The white unicorn, who I recognize as Rarity, Element of Generosity, says, directing the last part at the Null held in her magic.
I know a bit about these six because I had to account for them for when I was planning to… Well… Do bad things.
"So… not that I don't want to know what's going on here, but how could I possibly help?" I ask.
Twilight was about to say something, but was interrupted by the crying Null, who cried louder for a moment before quieting back down to sniffles and normal crying.
"Oh will someone please shut him up? I'm tired of listening to it!" The green eyed Null said from his spot in the air.
"We could say the same about you bub!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.
The room devolves into a cacaphony of yelling and arguing, and random blurbs from Pinkie and the pink eyed Null. This goes on for a moment before I finally have enough.
Me and Twilight stare at each other in surprise at having yelled at the exact same time; but other than that, it works, and everyone stopped they're bickering.
We awkwardly laugh before Twilight clears her throat to address the room.
"Alright. We have 5 Nulls here, each with different colored eyes. What do they all have in common?" She asks everyone.
There's a moment of silence before the green eyed Null speaks up. "I've got nothing in common with them. They're all gross, I couldn't possibly have anything that relates me to them."
The pink eyed Null gasps, the crying one cries harder, the purple eyed one shrinks even further behind Applejack, as he's refused to leave her side since he's gotten here, and the yellow eyed one just seems unphased, continuing to smile.
I raise an eyebrow at this behavior. Why would he say that about himself?
Twilight then poses another question. "Alright, what were they all doing when you each found them?"
Rarity speaks first. "I was sleeping when I heard him making a racket downstairs. When I confronted him he proceeded to insult my work, and said he was going to dispose of it, that I should be ashamed of it. I then picked him up and carried him here, hoping you could help or at least contact the Princess, where I found Spike but not Twilight. I shocked when she showed up with a different Null."
Next is Applejack. "I was just doing some work on the farm when I heard some rustling behind me. I saw what I thought was a trespasser, so I gave them the usual rundown I always do. Turns out, it was this fella." She says motioning to purple. "He had this thousand yard stare, like he'd seen a ghost or something. When I tapped him he got jumpier than a fish outta water! I went through some breathin with him and when he was calm enough, he told me he was having flashbacks. I figured Twi could help better than I could, what with when she went all therapist on Rainbow that one time."
Fluttershy tries to go next, but Pinkie beat her to it. "He was watching a frog hop along when I found him. He seemed really interested in it! Then when he noticed me, he was surprised that I was pink! I mean, duh, it's in my name. Of course I'm pink! But then I noticed that his eye was pink! So when I told him he ran over to a fountain, looked at it, and declared that we must show you all after I had the dumb idea of showing you all. Man, I tell ya, I don't know WHAT I was thinking!"
"He was just walking around the forest while crying. He won't say anything, and he's been crying the whole time. I was gonna try and calm him down but Twilight came over looking for him. And now we're here." Fluttershy says softly.
"He was just walking through town, humming to himself and dancing around. 'living life' as he put it." Rainbow Dash states.
I decide to add my own little anecdote as well. "I heard my name being called and when I turned around I saw him running towards me, then he just picked me up in a hug. We talked a bit on our way here, but that wasn't much."
"Hmm… how does any of it correlate…" Twilight thinks aloud.
Then Spike pipes up. "Jeez, sounds like he's got some emotional issues." He jokes with a chuckle.
"Wait, Spike, say that again!" Twilight demands.
"Uh, I said he has emotional issues?" He says more like a question.
"That's it! Spike, you're a genius!" She exclaims. She then runs over to one of the many bookshelves and pulls out what looks like a psychology book, flipping through the pages and stopping on a circle chart detailing emotions.
Starting to figure out where she's going with this, I look at the different Nulls. "I think I get it… They're all embodiments of his emotions. Happy, sad, scared… the other two I'm not sure about though."
"Those two would probably be surprise and disgust, according to the book." Twilight calls out.
"But that still doesn't get us any farther than we already were. Like what did this? And how do we undo it?" Rainbow Dash points out.
Just then, something seems to click in my head. I run over to Twilight and check that book. "Wait a minute… oh no."
"What's wrong uh… I'm sorry, I don't think you told us your name?" She asks.
"Starlight Glimmer. But we have a problem. A BIG problem!" I yell while looking at the book, as if it held the solution. "We only have 5 Nulls here. What's missing, hmm?"
Everyone's eyes widen as they start to piece it together. Twilight finishes the thought for me. "Anger. And what makes him madder than anything?" Everyone just stays silent as that sinks in.
POV: Princess Celestia
Today is slower than usual… few have come for day court today. For once, I actually wish today was more busy. The pointless complaints of the nobles would have served as a decent escape from my own thoughts at the very least. Yesterday Null just stared at the table and ate in silence; He didn't even register that my sister and I were talking about him.
I'm stirred from my thoughts as the throne room doors open. I straighten myself out, but am immediately put on edge when I see who it is. Him approaching me is something I did not expect at all, especially by himself.
What serves to further my unease is that his eye is now red, glowing brightly, and his rage filled expression is clear as day.
He acts before I can get a word out.
"RRAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!" he screams as he sends a blast my way, which I barely manage to teleport out of the way for. Looking where my throne used to be, I see chunks of rubble and a sizable hole in the wall. My eyes are wide and I stare in disbelief at him. He was going straight for me, not messing around.
A whole platoon of guards rush into the room after hearing that. Looking between them, I act quickly to avoid any casualties and teleport both me and Null out into the countryside.
"What is the meaning of this Null! What happened to a chance for forgiveness? Where is the sense in all this?!" I yell at him.
He goes quiet for a moment. Blood dripping down his face, he starts laughing. Slowly, a small chuckle turns into full blown manic laughter. "Forgiveness? Your shrines burned, your streets running with blood, your false idols shattered, your people slaughtered by the thousands, your very planet torn apart. And only then, would you come to understand the barest fraction of my hatred!" He yells, drawing a dagger and lighting his eye in a sinister red glow.
Seeing as he's leaving me no other choice, I summon my armor and halberd, and ready myself in a defensive stance.
Taking my lack of offense as a challenge, he starts running directly at me. He isn’t fast at all, but I’m still on guard. When he’s about halfway across the field from me, he disappears from sight, and reappears directly in front of me, taking a wide slash at me. I bring my halberd up to block his attack, and while it isn’t enough to break my guard, it’s definitely stronger than I was expecting, enough to make me stagger from such an unexpected strength.
Where is that strength coming from? Skyline said a foal could take him!
I’m not left much time to think, as he then teleports to my side. I take a sweeping swing at him, and he teleports to the same spot he's already in just in time to avoid the first, but I catch him when I continue the sweep, bringing the blade up in the air, and him with it.
Not intending to give him time to recover, I rush him down and thrust at him. Unfortunately, he teleports higher up before teleporting back down near me, taking various swings and teleporting around me with each one. I use a force spell to throw him back, and he teleports to the ground.
I take a moment to gauge him. His eye is oozing blood, but it doesn’t appear to be affecting him at all; his breathing is still fairly even as well. Even with a fairly sizable slash across his chest, he doesn’t even seem to notice.
I rush him myself this time, my speed not allowing him time to react to the butt end of my halberd hitting him upside the head, sending him flying to the side. He rolls a bit before he gets back up to his feet, rubbing his head. “You’re really pissin’ me off Celestia! Just die already!” he yells as he sends blast after blast at me from where he stands. Using a magic shield, I’m able to mitigate all his attacks; but he catches me when he teleports directly above me after a blast and sends another at me, forcing me to take a step back to avoid it, which unfortunately leaves me open to the first attack, sending me sliding back a few feet. My armor absorbed most of the impact, but not without cost.
“You’re not leaving me many options here Null.” I state as I teleport and stab him in the abdomen with the sharp end of my halberd, and twisting. “Yield!”
However, he doesn’t back away from the blade; instead, he pulls himself further onto it, and looks at me with an insane grin, blood leaking out of his mouth now. “NOT UNTIL YOU’RE DEAD!” he yells as he gets me point blank with a blast, sending me flying and ripping the blade from his body.
Rising back to my hooves after regaining my senses, I see him downing a glass bottle filled with a bright red liquid. He tosses the now empty bottle to the side, and his injuries quickly start to mend themselves.
I raise an eyebrow. “Where did you get a revitalization potion? Let alone one so effective.”
“Haha! Wouldn’t you like to know! It doesn’t matter though, because you’ll be dead soon!” he taunts.
I give him a tight lipped stare, and I’m about to rush him again when a letter drops in front of me, reading the words ‘EMERGENCY, OPEN IMMEDIATELY’. I quickly glance at it on the ground, then back to him, waiting to see what he’d do about it. When he does nothing, I quickly snatch up the letter, jumping back when he teleports close to me for another attack.
He keeps up the assault, not giving me a chance to even open the letter. Teleporting it away for now, I return my focus to the battle.
“FALL INTO OBLIVION!” he yells as he shoots me with a blast I didn’t notice he was charging throughout his assault. I try to pull up a shield, but I can’t get it up in time and it shatters, the impact sending me flying far across the field. He’s on top of me in an instant, dagger pulled back ready to thrust itself into my jugular; but he doesn’t get the chance to. From the side, another blast of magic slams into his side, sending him sliding far across the field.
I blink in shock, thankful to still be alive. “Are you alright, Tia?” I hear my sister’s voice call out to me. I rise to my hooves to look at her, then nod. “I am, thanks to you.”
She nods and looks back to Null, who is back on his feet again, dagger in hand and looking ready to go again. “STAY OUT OF THIS LUNA. THIS IS BETWEEN ME AND HER!”
She shakes her head, and calls out in a calm voice. “I became part of it when you decided to try and kill her. You told me that if it came to this again, to kill you instead. I keep my promises.”
I look at Luna. Her voice is calm, but I can see the clear sadness and disappointment in her eyes. I’m caught off guard by a blast, due to me not watching him. He then teleports to me again, and tries to slash at my throat, but is intercepted by Luna, who is now in her armor as well, six ethereal blades following her and a seventh currently holding Null back. Two of them slice at him and cut deep into his arm, blood spilling out. He teleports past her and lunges at me again just as I gain my footing, forcing me to bring my halberd up in defence. I force him back with another spell, and Luna capitalizes on it by impaling him with three swords, pinning him to the ground.
Luna then walks up to him and eyes him. “Why Null. Why did you do this?”
He ignores her, and teleports away, leaving Luna to pull her swords from the ground and look around the field for him. We see him far away, downing another revitalization potion. I move to Luna’s side, ready to move as one. She nods to me, but before we can move, we’re caught off guard by a strange sight. Null gets sent flying further across the field by a blast that looks familiar to one of his own.
I raise an eyebrow at the spectacle, and before I can ask, Null teleports in front of us. I quickly raise my halberd and thrust it at him, but he backs away. “Whoa whoa whoa, Hold on there missy! I’m not the one you’re after!” he says with a calm smile. I raise my eyebrow even higher at this, and quickly notice that his eye is yellow instead of red.
POV: Princess Luna
I’m confused… first he’s trying to kill her, now he’s happy? Is he bipolar or something?
He’s currently raising his hands in a placating manner, still smiling, and I eye him warily. I then notice his eye is yellow. “Look, I get this is gonna sound crazy, but that isn’t Null. Well, it is, but it isn’t all of us.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I notice two other Null’s currently fighting the first Null.
“That’s our anger. You can’t kill him. Well, you can, but it would make it impossible for us to be complete again.” he states.
I raise an eyebrow. “You’re split into multiple copies of yourself?” I ask.
“Not quite; were split by emotions. As you can see, I’m Null’s happiness!” he says with a bright smile.
“And who are the other two keeping him occupied right now?” I hear my sister ask from beside me.
He looks back at the ongoing fight, which is starting to look like a losing battle for the two fighting the one. “That’s our Disgust and Surprise; the only other ones out of the six of us who are capable of fighting. Getting Disgust to agree to help with this was tough though, lemme tell ya!” he says with a grin.
I notice the red eye’d one give a particularly devastating blow to both of the other Null’s and get a bit worried. “Why are you split though? What happened?”
He shrugs. “If I had to guess, it was probably something in the gardens. Skyline did laugh after we fell into some blue flowers. We didn’t think anything of it at the time.”
“You fell into some poison joke? That’s what caused this? You’ve got to be kidding me.” I say. At least I don’t have to kill him… but still.
He nods, that smile never leaving his face for a second. “Well, there’s nothing we can do to change the past. Anyways, we’ll try to keep him busy, you two try to knock him out. And do hurry, I don’t think we can hold him off too much longer.” he says.
Before either of us can respond, he teleports away and enters the fray. I stare at the battle unfolding before me in disbelief, trying to process what’s happening.
“Perhaps a sleep spell will work?” my sister offers as a suggestion.
“It would probably be the cleanest method… I’m just… still trying to wrap my head around this.” I shake my head and dispel my swords and armor. I light my horn with magic, and wait for an opportunity. I see it when the red eyed one stops to drink another potion. Teleporting in quickly I cast the spell on him. He stumbles back, shaking his head, and quickly succumbing to sleep.
With a sigh of relief, I turn to the other Null’s, and eye them warily. They all look a bit worse for wear, but are all seemingly relieved that the battle is over. I pick up the potion that he was going to drink, and give it to the three of them. They each take a few sips of it, and their wounds slowly mend themselves.
The one who dubbed himself happiness picks up ‘anger’, and slings him over his shoulder.
“Where are the rest of you?” I ask.
This time, Disgust answers. “Back at the bookworm's house.” he then looks at my approaching sister, who has now removed her armor and sneers.
“I suppose I owe you three my thanks. Without your help, we probably would have made a horrible mistake.” She then makes show of a small bow.
“We each have our own reasons for doing it. If it were my choice, I’d have stood by and let you die.” Disgust says, leaving my sister aghast. “But, you're lucky. Happiness there reminded me that Null would be disgusted in himself if he threw his happiness away when he still had a chance for it.” he explains.
Celestia ponders this for a moment before nodding. “That’s... understandable. What were your reasons?” she asks, directing the question at the other two.
“Well, Anger wanted to kill you. If he did that, it would throw away pretty much any chance I have at existing. Sure, killing you would feel great; it would be litteral suicide, because then Luna would never forgive Null.” Happiness shrugs with a smile.
“Yeah! Don’t get me wrong, I’d be eager to kill you too! But I just wanted to be surprised by the outcome. I already knew what would happen if I went against you all, but I didn’t know what the end result would be for helping you all.” Surprise answers.
“Wow… um… I’m… unsure how to feel about knowing that you all want to kill me…” Celestia says awkwardly.
“Seriously? Anger there exists pretty much solely because of you; You're really surprised that the rest of him wants you dead? Get real.” Disgust deadpans.
“Anyways.” Happiness interjects. “We should head back to Twilight’s place and get started on that cure. Luna, if you would?” he says with a smile.
I look at Celestia who simply nods after a moment, an unclear look on her face. To others, she’d seem fine, but I know her better than that; She’s troubled. I want to ask her, but she probably wouldn’t open up right now, and we should probably get Null put back together before Anger wakes up. With that, I nod and start casting a mass teleportation spell. Within seconds, we’re all standing in the middle of Twilight’s Library, minus Anger who is being carried.
Immediately, Celestia is tackled by her student in a hug, expressing all kinds of relief. Everyone else surrounds my sister and I, bombarding us with questions. As cute as it is, we really need to fix Null. Clearing my throat, I address Twilight. “Twilight, would you happen to know how to make the cure for Poison Joke?”
She turns from her mentor and looks at me confusedly. “Poison Joke? I mean… yes, and I even have the materials for it but… wait… you’re saying Poison Joke did this to him? How?! It’s supposed to play a prank on whoever comes in contact with it!” she exclaims.
“It would seem so. I have no clue how this ended up being how it affects him, but Poison Joke was created by Discord himself. Trying to understand his ways is impossible.” I state.
She simply lets out a sigh of annoyance and walks off to prep the cure.
After a few more minutes of assuaging everyone's concerns, Twilight comes back and announces that the cure is ready, and to follow her. We do, and she leads us to a relatively decent sized tub. “Alright all of you, in the tub.” she announces.
“Seriously? The cure to Poison Joke is a bath?” Surprise asks in… well… surprise.
Twilight nods and with only help from two of the element bearers for the other two I’ve not met, they all get into the tub.
After a moment, they all slowly sink under the water, and a bright light emits from the bottom of the tub. A single body then floats to the surface. We all wait with bated breath to see if anything else will happen.
His eyes then screw tightly shut, and he groans. “Uuuggghhh…. It feels like every bone in me body is broke.”
We all collectively let out a sigh of relief.
“Why do I feel wet? And why do I feel both physically and emotionally drained?”
This time, we all burst out laughing.