Gravity of the Situation

by DJSkywalker

Downhill Visit

                    I was quite stunned already from the sudden appearance of this unicorn and then he goes and says that we need to talk about my revenge? Who the hell is this guy? “Um, okay, and you are?” He smiled at me and took a look around the room. The mares were staring at him with suspicion as well. Not that you could blame them.

                    “Allow me to ask a quick question so that I understand when I’ve come to: what was the most recent major calamity to strike? Talking things like Nightmare Moon here, ponies.” Now I am confused, weirded out, more than a little frightened. I had activated my gravity sense as soon as he appeared and it was showing that this pony had quite a good amount of power in him. Me spacing out at this left his question unanswered until a certain pink pony decided to yell out.
                    “Discord!” Pinkie replied happily. I wonder how she got a long with Discord. Those two would certainly be a whole new level of chaos.
                    “Whelp, that’s two years I can’t talk about that may or may not relate. Infinite multiverse and all.” This pony makes no sense, what so freakin’ ever! “Auric Fulcrum is my name. Might I have yours?”
                    Oh, wait he’s talking to me. “Kat. Kat Shifter,” I answered nervously. I was a little scared because in my current condition, I don’t know if I could take this guy if we came to blows. And why is he talking like The Doctor? I always hated that meme. He cocked his head at me for a moment and then continued speaking.
                    “Okay, so you’re probably wondering about the whole ‘we need to talk’ bit I introduced myself with. And the multiverse bit. And how I know about Earth and look like a pony. And just…everything. Am I right?”
                    “That just about sums it up,” I replied, still a little bewildered. He looked around again, and then motioned towards the exit.
                    “Walk with me? This isn’t a conversation that others need to hear. From one Displaced to another.”
                    “Um,” I said ‘intelligently’. “Should I be worried about stranger danger, here?” I looked at the girls, hoping for some kind of help. The pony’s chuckling did not help at all, just made it that much creepier.
                    “Dear, I didn’t jump across realities just to have relations with you. Besides which, if the diamond that impacted me is any indication, you’re powerful as well. I just want to talk about what I saw and how it relates to you.”
                    Diamond? “Wait, you’re from the void? Huh, when I sent my calling card through, never expected to be visited. At least not by a pony from another world.” Now things were starting to add up. “Alright, let me finish my sandwich and I’ll join you.” He seemed to accept this, but before he left, Auric turned to Pinkie and Twilight and made an effort to explain to them that he was only staying for a short time. Why? I have no idea, but the again I only just met these mares and know very little about them. He walked out the front door and the ponies turned to me.
                    “You’re not really going out there, are you dear?” Rarity asked with concern.
                    “Might as well humor the guy. He is powerful in his own right. Plus, there are some questions that I would like answered.”
                    “All right, just be careful, Kat,” Fluttershy said. “We don’t want you to get hurt.”
                    “I shall do my very best not to, Miss Fluttershy.” I downed the last of my sandwich and leapt out the front door. Auric was standing nearby, waiting for me. “Okay, I’m here. What is this all about Mr. Fulcrum?”

*****Auric's POV*****

        I sighed and looked up to the sky. “What do you know about the Multiverse?”

“It’s ever expanding, ever growing, and every possibility exists somewhere.”

I nodded at that. “Good answer. What do you know about the true nature of Time?”

“To quote a favorite movie: ‘Always in motion, the future is.’ Nothing is set in stone. Is this going somewhere?”

I sighed and looked her in the eyes. “I have a mirror. It lets me look at the Multiverse. More specifically, it lets me look at Displaced humans and those that receive my token, along with those that send me tokens. When I look at some worlds, I sense nothing terribly wrong. But then there are others that cause me pain.”

I paused for a moment to let the implications sink in and let her get a few words in. Terribly rude to dominate a conversation after all. She let out a sigh and slumped against the wall of the tree. “Let me guess, my future is bleak?”

I smiled at her. “To quote a favored time-lord, ‘Time is full of wibbly-wobbly stuff.’ Nothing is set in stone, m’dear. It’s just…” I shifted a bit, thinking of how best to phrase it. “I asked it to show me your most likely future, if nothing changed. Your future isn’t exactly...bleak. But it’s certainly black.”

“Oh, joy.” She certainly didn’t sound joyful. I shook my head.

“Tell me your story. The one that would give you reason to want to slaughter the Sisters.”

“Tell me Auric, did you have any problems with the princesses?”

I actually laughed at that. It felt good. “That’s like asking if the ocean’s wet! I showed up, terrified of what I’d turned into, eventually mastered my powers, and became the bogeyman that scared all of Tia’s bad little ponies. Guess whose side she takes?”

“After working with the princesses for nearly three hundred years, I would have to believe that even an alternate Celestia would side with her ponies no matter the circumstances.”

I smiled and nodded at her. “Correct. So Tia and Lulu finally catch me and succeed in besting me. Guess what my sentence is? No, wait, don’t bother. They chained me up and locked me in their basement for fifteen hundred years. I got the impression they forgot about me until I walked back up to their faces. Were it not for Dissy, I’d still be chained up.” I then looked her in the eyes. “And you know what? I never hated them for it.”

Her eyes widened in shock. “Woo, fifteen hundred years? Damn, and I thought being trapped in stone for a thousand was rough. And you call Discord that, too? Huh, maybe I need to come up with something more creative. You know, if he is ever set free again. Though, I sorta envy you, Auric.”

I looked at her sadly. “Is it because I forgave them, despite what they did?”

“No, because you didn’t have your heart wrenched out of you through betrayal.”

I sighed at that. “True enough. I’ve not been betrayed nearly so badly as you seem to have been. After all, you did just say that. But maybe arriving as a giant headless possessed suit of armor had something to do with it. Nobody got close enough to form that bond, after all. Can’t rip out what’s only recently begun to regrow.”

She raised an eyebrow at the mention of old headless. “I don’t even want to know what you mean by that.”
I waved a hoof. “Dullahan, from Golden Sun. Optional boss. Was my costume at Halloween. Picked up his sword, made a foolish wish to ‘look this badass all the time.’”

“So with you it was a sword, huh? With me it was a plush cat I picked from weird creepy merchant at a video game convention.”
I nodded at that. “Heard that one. Seems the Merchant’s actually a Void-Dweller, he’s Displacing humans fer kicks. Or at least, that’s what me and Xante have figured out so far.”

“Well, I don’t know whether I should thank the guy or kick him where the sun don’t shine. I actually like being here in Equestria, even if I do miss my old friends. Not like there was anyone else to miss me.”

I sighed at that. “I know those pains as well. I made...a few...well, call them acquaintances back when I first roamed, and when I got out, all that was left was their legacy. Rather sad to know they’re gone, but at the same time, they would be damn proud of their descendants. Every so often, a Jupiter Djinn plays a masterful prank, and I swear I see Puck for a moment.”

“Well, I’m glad you at least have something to remember your friends by. Celestia and Luna took the only friend I had away from me. I don’t have anything to remember him by except my memories and my burning hatred.”

I cocked my head and looked up at her. “They’re called ‘memorials’ fer a reason, Kat. That way, even if you’re not there, others can learn of what he meant to you. That way, he’ll live on in more hearts and minds than just yours.”

“Dusty was much more than that, Auric. He was family to me, and Celestia and Luna killed him right in front of me without so much as a reason or warning. Only now do I find out they did it on accident and it was because of what happened in Trottingham so long ago. A memorial won’t help either, as reading of what the legends of me detail, Dusty is not included at all. He always was such a sly cat.”

I walked up to her and put a hoof on one of her knees. “Then make them remember. Make them revise the tales. Tell them what he meant to you. After all, if I’ve been reading between the lines, you’re a living legend returned to life. They’d be idiots to doubt your word!”

“No, they wouldn’t. All of the higher ups of Equestria’s allies know what happened at the Trottingham Massacre. It was on that day that I was forced into retirement and my word was dishonored amongst all ranks. You weren’t there, Auric. You didn’t see what I did.”
I sighed and closed my eyes. “I don’t have to have been there to know it weighs heavily on you if you avoid talking about it. That just screams ‘I’ve done unnamable acts.’ And you think it’ll phase me at all. You really do.”

“Do you really think the extinction of entire sentient species is an easy thing to bring up in conversation?”

I smiled at her. This wasn’t a kind or happy smile. This was a smile I reserved for this particular line of conversation, to let people know how bonkers I was. “My dear. I’m more crazy than you could know about. After all, I only did ask an innocent question back on Earth, and get an answer for it. Tell me, what do you think the answer to the question of ‘how does everything work’ would do to a mortal mind?”

“Heh, so you went bat shit insane, too, eh? Small multiverse. I guess having emotional issues, then becoming immortal, and then being sealed in stone for a thousand years and some change really doesn’t help with therapy. Though it was fun after the, I’m guessing five hundred years since I was insane for the first half. Sanity is only fun once you’ve gone insane after all.”

“Sanity is overrated,” I stated with a hoof-wave. “It’s learning to balance your madness with the rest of your tattered, shredded mind. Now there’s where the fun lies. Oh, and did I happen to mention that my sword caught on to the moment when I comprehended everything? Yeah, became a bit of an issue when anyone who touched it experienced it as well. Damn crystal-blue joker.”

“Hold on, crystal-blue? As in the same color as your hooves?”

I smiled at her. “And now you’re catching on! Don’t worry, Eureka is more harmless in this form. It takes a codeword to unleash his potential, and I have to speak it.”

“Good, but if you use it on me, you’ll learn just exactly how it feels to be a pancake.” Kat’s hands glowed a reddish-black aura just to prove a point. I shook my head up at her.

“Wasn’t going to. But the knowledge I have of how things actually work tie in with how the mirror works. I saw your most probable future, I mentioned. I want to know: what would it take for you to not want to kill the Sisters anymore? Anything. Anything at all. Because believe me, you really don’t want to know what I saw.”

“Actually, now I kinda do. I am not really worried about the movement of the sun and moon because I know other unicorns can do it. Can’t be that bad, right?” Oh, you naive child.

I looked up at her and killed all expression on my face as I began reciting what I’d seen. “Monsters from the borders, smelling, sensing, I don’t know which, that the Sisters aren’t there to protect their ponies, decide it’s snacktime. An ancient empire reappears in the north, and with no pony in charge, falls to the darkness, casting the world into depression with it. And a wedding gets interrupted by the changelings, who take over. Who win.”

“I hate to say it, but you’re mirror must be broken.”

I shook my head at her. “Happened to me too, except with the sisters, the changelings were fought off. I might’ve dabbled a bit, but I’m pretty sure I was unnecessary. They, however, are the heart of the country. Without them to lead…”

“That’s not what I meant. The changelings can’t invade Equestria.”

I looked at her face, studying it for clues. That twinge there. That far off look. The same way she’d looked when she talked about exterminating an entire species. “You...oh that’s rich. You actually think you killed them all?”

“Have you ever heard of a black hole, Auric?”

I waved a hoof at her. “How or what you did doesn’t matter if there was more than one Hive. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned about changelings, it’s that they adapt to their surroundings. If anything, your little battle at Trottingham probably set the rest of them on track to hide and blend in more than...whatever led into it.”

“I never said that I stopped at Trottingham.”

I looked up at her and smiled again. “Really now. Going to those sorts of lengths. On the one hand, you’re impressive. But on the other…” I gained a darker countenance as I called up my power, all that I could of it. “I’ve actually made peace with my world’s changelings. So I’m wondering here. Just how extreme did you go? Did you kill their little ones? Did you hunt down every queen? Did you crush them with your strength? Oh, do tell me if I’m being too graphic here.”

“Not graphic enough, actually. There used to be five changeling hives on Equis. Within twenty-four hours all that remained of them were craters. I couldn’t control myself, Auric. That was the first time I activated my black hole, and not even Dusty could get me snappe out of it. I just kept hearing the screams of foals, over and over in my head as I took down each and every changeling I saw. No one was safe.”

I nodded at her. “PTSD, you have it bad. You’re home, but your mind is still at war. You can’t not be in a combat situation. I think the best treatments would be isolation from elements you perceive to be hostile, or gradual re-introduction to those elements. I should know...I...I still react that way sometimes myself. To a lesser degree, but it’s there.”

I heard a snort coming from the young girl. I turn to look back up at her and see she is starting to laugh. “PTSD? Really? After fighting war after war, you think I really am still affected by that? Puhlease, you should have seen me after the first living being I killed. No, my guilt over the changelings, is because, because, well…”

I wait a moment, before deciding to interrupt her. “Tell me, have you reacted to any species that, before your isolation, was hostile, before you actually got to know if said being was hostile in a hostile manner?”

“Whether you believe me or not, I am no murderer. Even on the front lines, I always gave my enemies the chance to back down. If they ran, they ran. But if they chose battle, I put them in their place. The changelings were different. I never should have let my rage control me. I destroyed four innocent hives because of the actions of one. No matter how gruesome that hive acted. Though, it still gives me nightmares seeing those things draining love from the ponies like they were vampires.”

I sighed and looked up at her. “I’m not hearing an answer to my question. And killing never ever sits well with anyone. No matter where it is or whether you’re the one responsible or if your emotions are. I know this too.” I stared off while remembering Lady Skycleaver and The Wise One. The Newvale Troupe…

“You’re not the only one who can sense emotions, Mr. Fulcrum. Did you know that one’s gravitational field can actually be influenced by their emotions? It’s quite a trip, seeing things like I do sometimes. You have experienced loss yourself. Others who you considered dear friends. I apologize if I am being difficult here, Auric, but I really don’t know much about social interactions. I fear getting close to others, because every time I do, something comes along and rips them away from me. My parents, my baby brother, Dusty, as well as Rita and all my friends back home. I just really don’t know what to do anymore.”

I looked up at her, seeing the barest hints of liquid in her eyes. I sighed and began my trek down melancholy road. “One, I allowed my rage, my darker half, to slay. It was justified, he says. She was going to try to take the Elemental Stars, he says. No other dragon will mess with Newvale now, he says. But I still take the blame, because I walked us to her den. I had the idea to deal with her in the first place. I knew of what would happen and how it could have been prevented. I allowed my rage to take her and decided not to save her.”

I then looked up to the sun. “Another, an invader, wanted to rule the world so as to fulfill his ‘purpose.’” I looked to her out of the corners of my eyes. “I tore him apart on the subatomic level with my newfound, at the time, powers. Quite interesting, seeing as he was the Wise One.” Her eyes widened at my description, though they turned away, as if she was hiding something. I then looked down at my hooves for the last bit. “A stallion by the name of Omega was studying Psynergy and stole four Adepts and their Djinn and all the Djinn he could get his hands on, so as to drain their powers for his own use. The Djinn he must have thought of as disposable. But when I found his lair, those four Adepts that I helped train, that I sent out into the world, they…” I broke off, my voice choking up then as I recalled the memory.

“What were there last words, Auric?”

I closed my eyes and gulped a few times. “They begged me to kill them. I finally did.”

“You fulfilled their dying wish even though it pained you to do so. Well, that is what I am trying to do as well. Dusty’s final words to me before he was ripped to dust, ‘Don’t let them get away with this.’ So I won’t, not until the princesses lay broken at my feet will I stop. For Dusty.”

I opened my eyes and looked at her. “One, the mirror isn’t busted. I talked to my changelings. What little history they keep is interesting. Especially as in my time, they kept quite a few hives. No less than half a dozen. Granted, they eventually all became less than important save one final one that we have good relations with. So ‘tis highly likely some changelings survived your onslaught.”

“I kinda hope you are wrong about that. Considering how changelings here extract love from others.”
I sighed. “Yeah, not pretty. Mine needed to learn to take up positions where they would naturally be adored and loved for what they could do. Entertainers, healers, doctors. They’re still trying to integrate into society, but they’re making good progress, especially when they learned how to drain excess from the air.”

“You mentioned that they would invade a wedding. Whose wedding? Maybe we can prepare just in case some did survive.”

I shook my head. “Just telling you puts you at risk. Future knowledge is not meant to be acted on. It’s not quite paradox-worthy, but you shouldn’t know. Not until it becomes needed. I’m from at least two years ahead of you, after all.”

“Oh, come on! It’s not like this a tv show, anything can change between the worlds! Just a hint?”

I cocked my head, thinking over the ramifications. “Interesting. You mean you don’t know?”

“I swear if this a ‘bird is the word’ joke you are going to be in space very soon.”

I shook my head. “So you’re from that sort of alternate reality. Allow me to explain: in some realities, there was a version of My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic. It lines up quite eerily with this world. From Nightmare Moon to the Grand Galloping Gala. I could go in there and reveal things about those six little ponies - and dragon - that they would claim I was a spy should such words leave my lips. Season Two starts with Discord getting free.”

“My Little Pony? That cheesy show from the eighties? How is that anywhere near this place?”

“My reality has this woman named Lauren Faust, Hasbro hires her to redo it, and her version is this place.”

“Hasbro? They got bought out by Kenner in the nineties, I should know. Did an English report on old toy companies freshman year.”

“Right. In your reality. We clearly originate in different ones. I have knowledge about this world and many iterations of this world thanks to Faust that I should not be spouting off.”

“My brain hurts. Come on, I just want to know who’s getting married. Is it Celestia? Luna? Cause if they are getting hitched, I don’t think I can bring myself to beat them to a bloody pulp.”

I blinked at that. “So you didn’t meet their niece. Pink alicorn? Maybe she’s from after your imprisonment. Interesting.”

“Wait, you mean little Cadneza? Oh, so the adoption went through after all. Good for Luna. She needs the love.”

I smiled at that and waved my hoof at her, trying to get across the message ‘now think about what you just said.’

“No way! Little Cadenza is getting married?! Oh come on, tell me who the lucky stallion is! Or mare, I don’t judge.”

I shook my head. “All I’ll tell you is he’s related to one of the mares in there. And think about her talent.” I blinked a few times. “ know her talent, right?”

“The only relative of those mares I met was… Oh hell no! She is not marrying that dumb ass prick! Unh uhn. Not happening. I won’t allow it!”

I sighed. “They’ve been friends ever since she foalsat Twilight. They’ve got a good relationship, despite his overprotective tendencies. Makes sense, considering that his sister is Cel’s protegee and his talent is protecting others. He just took an oath to the rulers, and sometimes...acts without really thinking. The invasion won’t help.”

“He’s already in trouble for going against the princesses wishes.”

I blinked, then smiled at her. “Lemme guess, regarding you? She can’t afford to not have a stallion that can shield a damn city as her Royal Guard Captain. He’ll be fine. A few months probation, maybe latrine duty. Who knows?”

“I feel more sorry for the squads he brought along on his suicide mission. I ended up putting twenty G’s down them for trying to stand up to me when it was that doofus’ idea in the first place. You know he actually refused to surrender, even when I had him floating in the air? That stallion is a few cards short of deck. And that’s saying something coming from me.”

I waved a hoof around, looking for the right words. “He’s really overprotective, and really acts before he has the facts. So yeah, not blaming you. But it’s his relationship with Cadence that...grounds him, I think is the best word. He’ll be a better guard for it.”

“Fine, I’ll give the colt a chance, but one hoof out of line and he will be living on the moon. Though, since you are older than me, I want to ask. Do you know the names of any of Fluttershy’s ancestors? Something about her is highly familiar, but I just can’t place it.”

I blinked, thinking on the stories the girls back in my world told me before I started smiling. “Sadly, my knowledge on pony genealogy is rather limited. The only famous pony I’ve ever really interacted with besides the sisters is Starswirl. But I know when you can get those answers. The girls will end up going to Canterlot to put on a Hearth’s Warming pageant. You should go.”

“Ah yes, Hearth’s Warming. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. You know, after Halloween, which I never could get the Princesses behind. Spoil sports. Oh, and you knew Starswirl too? Wasn’t that guy a hoot? Always practicing some new spell, always causing excitement when he visits. Never a dull moment when that bearded bastard walks in the door, that’s for sure.”

I shook my head. “Nah, I wouldn’t say I knew him. I met him. Princesses sicced him on me to figure out just how I do the things I do. I gave him the basics without telling him anything, and he said ‘well that’s not proper magic. Would you like me to teach you?’” I snorted at the memory. “I still see a lot of him in Twilight.”

“Yeah, he tried studying me, too. Only for us, we ended up stuck to the ceiling of the grand ballroom for four hours. Took that long just to get the princesses to stop laughing their asses off. I wonder if Twilight is a descendent of his, though I doubt it. He sucked when it came to finding a date.”

I smiled and snickered. “While I don’t doubt that at all, seeing his bloodline waste away would have probably made the princesses frown at the thought of wasted potential. I wouldn’t have put it past them to arrange for him to ‘conveniently bump into some mare’. Or if they got desperate to preserve his bloodline…” I deliberately trailed off.

Kat shuddered at the thought. “Thank you, Auric, for those disturbing mental images. I might just have to go kill them now just to put a different image in my head. Where’s the brain bleach when you need it?”

I snickered a bit before calming down. “It’s called Fluttershy, and you hug her.”

“I think you mean ‘glomp’. She is soo adorable! I just want to hug her, and squeeze her, and call her George!”

I rolled my eyes. “Reel it in, Bugs.”

“Finally someone gets my references! I’ve been doing this stuff for hundreds of years and never once cracked a genuine smile. These ponies need to live a little.”

“Now, you were on about the invasion that’s going to happen. Think. Do you know what Cadence’s talent is?”

“No idea. She was only three when I was stoned, so she didn’t even have a cutie mark yet.”

I sighed at that. “It’s for spreading love wherever she goes.”

“Well, how am I suppose to know that! She was a filly! That’s what all fillies are good at!”

I smiled. “Depends on the age, really. But yeah, it’s what she’s really good at. Now, why don’t you piece the puzzle together?”

“Hmm. Does a changeling take Shining’s place and attempt to marry Cadence? That would make the most sense, well, if she truly loves him that is.”

I nodded while letting out a low chuckle. “That would make sense, yes. If the queen was smart. They decide that Cadence’s talents could be of far more use in the Hive, and that they can get by on Shining’s love for Cadence.”

“How dumb is this Queen? Because the last one I fought definitely fell under evil genius.”

I sighed again while I considered our different histories. “I don’t know. It might not play out like that here. After all, my changeling’s history is different from yours. That’s what happens in my dimension. Yours might play out differently, but take heed: once unmasked, my queen had absorbed so much love from Shining, she stood up to sunbutt.”

“Yes and a thousand years ago, I had enough power to do to Celestia and Luna, together, what you did to the Wise One. It’s a forbidden power known as Extinguish.”

I smiled and lit up my horn in golden flames, picking up a leaf nearby before manipulating its structure in a variety of ways. First, I turned it blue. Then, I turned it into a rose. And finally, I turned it back into a leaf and dissolved it on the subatomic level. Which, by the way, still stings.

“Show off. There’s a reason it’s forbidden. It only works on organic material. Extinguish is the only gravity technique I learned that I regret learning. It rips away one’s gravitational field. As I absorb the field, the subject slowly drifts apart. A slow and painful death that can take hours to accomplish. There is no stopping it once it activates, though. Not like I’d need to use it, however. I have plenty of other powers, some I still need to try out since I thought them up while imprisoned. Glad Pressure went off without a hitch. I could have killed those guards if it didn’t work quite right.”

Once she was done, I picked up a nearby stone and dissolved it into dust as well. Looking at her stunned expression, I explained. “This is my power. The Flames of Alchemy. Essentialy, so long as I keep in mind what I want to do and how it would be best to go about it, no transmutation is too much for me. Matter is my damn plaything. Comes from answering The Question in our homeworlds, ones that are Science-based. Knowledge of how everything works makes Alchemy not-useless.”

“Okay, yeah, that’s cool. Though, at least I can fly! I doubt Alchemy lets you do that. I would brag about levitation, too, but you’re a unicorn right now, so it’s kinda pointless.”

I hummed and put a hoof to my chin. “While unaided flight is beyond me, I could alter the properties of stone to create a stable hovering platform. With work, I could even get it to move while in the air. Or maybe I could just alter a cloud so that I can stand on it and go from there. But I’d like stability, so I think if I do, I’ll go with stone.”

“Sounds more like you’re ripping off Static Shock.”

I shook my head at that. “While I was a gamer, that wasn’t one I was familiar with. Anyways. Like I’ve been trying to do and been continually sidetracked from. Yeah, I get that you hate the sisters. For one shining moment, I did too. But then I did something that I’m sure will get to them a thousand years from now, and I was content. Wanna know what I did?”

“One, Static Shock is a DC superhero who rides around on a electricity infused disc. Two, yes, yes I would like to know.”
I smiled up at her again. Damn, Nocturne, I’ve been smiling a lot since I met you. “I founded a town where Adepts who disliked Sunbutt came together and proclaimed one very important thing to her. ‘We don’t need you.’ While I doubt that there are any ponies here that could use your powers, the point stands. Stay away from her. Tell her you don’t need her. And it will hurt worse than any beating you could ever deliver. To quote Green Goblin: ‘The cunning warrior attacks the heart.’”

“There is one flaw in your logic there, Auric.”

I sighed and looked at the ground. “Do you honestly think Cel’s incapable of admitting when she did wrong? When I presented my case to her, gods...that face’ll haunt me.”

“Not what I meant. Did I tell you what I did when Dusty was killed by the princesses?”

I tilted my head at that. “No, but I get the sensation that this is worse, far worse, than any of the times they and I danced together.”

“Ever heard what happens if you reverse a planet’s gravity?”

I actually backed up in fear before I realized I was doing so. “Damn! Just...damn! Okay, I can see you being angry. I can see you being mad. But that’s worse than Mad Discord! Just what the- you weren’t, were you? You weren’t thinking.”

“Actually, I was. Only one problem, though. At the time, Dusty was a limiter on my power, so when he was destroyed…” She trailed off, allowing me to think on it. I shuddered a bit at the mental images before I walked up to her and placed a hoof on her knee again.

“Did I ever tell you that while Eureka is mischievous and has a code word, the things it shows you cannot be forgotten and are never false? I can also channel it, direct it a bit, show you the things I want you to see, or the things you need to see. I use it on a millennial-old lich and made him feel his victim’s pain and joy, lives and deaths.”

“Okay, that sounds creepy as all get out. But there is one thing worse than all of this. The one thing that makes me regret that day when Dusty was killed.”

I hardened my look then. “Do tell. Your next words may determine a very important thing on my part.”

“The day before Dusty was killed, I snuck into Celestia’s personal chambers. I was bored and had nothing to do. I was just wandering around, looking at the books she kept ‘borrowing’ from the library, the half-eaten piece of cake on her nightstand, but what stood out to me was a sheet of paper on her desk. A parchment that brought me to tears upon reading.”

I paused in forming the mental construct. “What did you read?”

“Auric, it was an adoption form. One with my name on it under Celestia’s.”

My concentration actually shattered. “ think...oh gods. Okay, if I can try to construct this from her point of view? I’ve known my Cel for a bit, I think I can do a good job.”

“...Alright,” she said cautiously.

“You’re a dangerous, unknown entity. Until you decided to fight for her, she didn’t know if she could trust you or not, but most importantly, she didn’t know if she could trust you around her ponies or not. Once you started proving yourself to her, she began to see the value in keeping you around. And once you proved yourself to be at least as ageless as any other being by living far past normal human years, she began to see herself as someone you should, nay, could look up to. A friend, if nothing else. She wanted to be better for you. And then she looked at Dusty. She probably blamed the Trottingham thing on him influencing you, rather than whatever actually happened. You already said he’s a limiter, it isn’t that large a leap to think that he would be the reason you would go to such extremes in hunting down every last changeling. She doesn’t want to believe that you have any genuine darkness in you, so she blamed him instead. And then she thought that if he got rid of him, he might take whatever he did with him and return you to normal before it was too late.”

Kat blinked once, twice. “That is incredible how you thought that all out. Although, I never told Celestia and Luna what Dusty was to me other than a friend. It took me a hundred and fifty years just to tell them that he talked to me telepathically.”

I shrugged my shoulders. “Probably didn’t help any, that. And if he was just as ageless as you were, they probably saw him as the little imp on your shoulder with a greater hold than he should have had. They probably did mean well. They just didn’t have a lick of what your relation to each other was.”

Kat nodded a little. “I think I get it. Though there is still one question that is nagging my mind.”

“Ask away.”

“When Celestia and Luna brought me and Dusty in for the chat that led to his death, they said that there were several events that had led up to this. I thought they were going to be putting me back in therapy, just to be clear. Only problem is, the only conflict I had been in in the last ten years was Trottingham. They were listing reports from Cloudsdale, Manehatten, Vanhoover, and several others, when I hadn’t even left the castle in ten years.”

I blinked at that, thinking slowly. “It could be...that not all of your power is under your direct control. Hear me out before you scoff. There are two types of Psynergy. Active, which is when Adepts direct the power to any number of techniques, depending on their affinities. And passive, which can do a myriad of things that they aren’t even aware of. From sensing the power of other Adepts to protecting them from truly lethal techniques. The list goes on and on. Maybe...some of your power is tied to your subconscious, and your bad thoughts, dreams, feelings, were changing the world outside the castle?”

“Not possible. Before Dusty was killed, long range gravity manipulation was beyond me. If Dusty wasn’t within ten feet of me, I couldn’t even use my powers. It was only with him gone that I have been able to learn how to use them to their fullest. Thinking back, Dusty seemed quite tense through that whole decade, distant, too.”

I sighed at that. “Budding Adepts are able to things without their direct intention behind it. Only by training and focusing their minds and energies are they able to refine their accidents into actual techniques. This leaves us with two options, then.”
I waited for her to nod so that I could list them off. “The first, which I prefer, is that you were developing budding long-range manipulation powers at the time, but had no control over it yet. Those locations were affected, and the Princesses blamed either you or Dusty.”

“And option two?”

I sighed and looked off into the distance. “Tell me, did he ever have the same powers as you did, no matter how far away from you he went?”

“The only powers Dusty ever displayed were gravity sight and invulnerability. Other than talking to me through a mental link, which allowed me to feel his death by the way (which was extremely painful), he was just an ordinary cat.”
I looked back into her eyes. “Then you have a rogue gravity shifter in the same time as you, causing the same sort of things you could. A pegasus, by the sounds of it. Or, a Unicorn with the cloud-walking spell.”

“I wish I could help narrow it down, but Celestia never told me exactly what happened in those places. Just that me, or something like me, was there causing trouble. I worry about what another shifter in this world could mean. Especially if they are still around to this day.”
I waved a hoof around. “So that actually does narrow it down a bit. It was probably a unicorn with both cloud-walking and an illusion to make it look like you. Or a pegasus with a unicorn friend who could do illusions. And they did it for one reason.”
I walked up to her and poked her in the chest. “To make sure that your and Cel’s relationship was soured.”

“I both hate and hope that’s what happened. When I started to think along the lines of another shifter, I started wondering if another like me had made it to this world. Perhaps one who didn’t share my intentions of befriending the populace. Auric?”

I nodded at her, waiting for her to continue.

“Do you think there’s still a chance for me and Celestia? That sheet, it, it gave me so much hope. I don’t want to be alone anymore, Auric. It’s my worst nightmare come true.”

I smiled and put a hoof on her knee. “Hey, it’s okay. I may look like a pony now, but I’m actually an immortal human with far too much power. I just sorta broke my immortality and drained my power to save a mare from certain death. Once my power returns, I’ll be human again, and assuming nothing kills me, I’ll be immortal in time. So you have me at least. Just keep a hold of that coin.” As she looked at it, I continued. “And if I know Cel, then all you’ll have to do is ask her to explain herself. Ask her why she killed him and listen. If you can find it in yourself to forgive her for her misdeeds, then both of you can put your names on that paper and put up a shrine to Dusty in the Gardens.”

Kat smiled as she thought over the idea, it was faint, but it was there. “You’re a good pony, Auric. A good pony. Are you sure you want to be human again? I don’t think a mare and a human would be very good mates.”

I sputtered a bit at that accusation. “First of all, we’re still getting to know one another. And second, this is a temporary thing because I drained myself. It happens. If you don’t have enough power in yourself to fight off Equus’ natural Harmony magic, it will change you to fit to be more ‘in tune’ with the natives. And third, master of transmutations, including self, here. I can always go back...once I get enough strength back, that is.”

“You’re kinda cute when you’re flustered, ya know? Maybe you should work on hiding your emotions a little better. Right now, you don’t want to see what I am seeing.”

I grumbled a bit at that. “I swear by Sol, if you start scratching me behind the ears, I will activate Eureka on you so fast and leave it unguided.”

“And I can manipulate gravity until you are unable to move and I can do anything I want to you. Maybe I’ll even bring Pinkie out here. She seems like a good prankster.”

I rolled my eyes. “She and Dash are a terrifying duo. Never get one over on them, you’ll just start a prank war. The only peace Ponyville knows from that is when they’re turned on each other.”

“Should I mention that I had a prank war with Discord before he went all take over the world loony? And won?”

I blinked at that. “Huh. I only barely got to know mine before he touched the sword by accident. I should try that with him now that he’s out.”
I clapped my hooves to my mouth and looked to Kat. “I just said that, didn’t I?”

“Eeyup. Be careful around the balloon tanks. He usually fills them with acidic chemicals. I think my ears are still ringing when Luna accidentally set off the one filled with liquid nitrogen.”

I sighed and looked back to the library. “So, think you’re at least a little bit more at peace, now?”

“If you mean am I willing to kill them, then no. I am not hell bound to put two alicorns in the grave. Though, I still think I want to fight them, just to get rid of some of this pent up rage. We used to spar for hours on end in our free time.”

I smiled a bit at that. “I should try that when I get restored. But that sounds healthy. And hey, in a little while, Cel will try, and succeed, in reforming good ol’ Dissy. So the option of having an endless prank war is on the table.”

“Actually it’s not. Discord refuses to have another prank war with me. He is such a sore loser! I mean, did he really expect me to not launch the molasses nuke? Really? I mean how could I--” Kat suddenly bolted up to standing, looking off in the distance.

*****Kat's POV*****

                    "I mean how could I--”
                    “Ka~~t,” I heard it, but I couldn’t believe it. Far off in the distance, some strange force had made itself known, but I couldn’t have cared less. That voice, it was his.
                    When Auric spoke again, it sounded rushed, though I paid him little mind. “Okay, first, I meant having a war with Dissy against the sisters.  Second, I should go, that didn’t feel right.  And third, a warning.  Not all the Displaced are as nice as me.  Beware the Triad of Madness, for their weapons are much like Eureka.  Jack of Blades with his Sword of Ages, Pyramid Head with his Knife, and Alice with her Vorpal Blade.”
                    “Yeah, uh huh.”
                    “Okay, there it is again. But how? How am I hearing this?”
                    I heard a hoof stamping on the ground and looked over to see a disgruntled Auric looking back at me. “Focus, those names were important!  Who do you avoid and why?”
                    “The Triad of Madness because they are worse than your blade. Now I know this is important and all, but if you were hearing what I am, you wouldn’t be paying any attention to this either.”
                    Auric sighed once again and spoke. “I feel something, and it sets off all my senses too, but I don’t know what or where it is.  Just...if you need me, hold the coin and call for me, okay?  I have to go back now, before whatever this is finds me here.  Dimensional interlopers aren’t looked upon too fondly.” I watched as Auric began to glow again. He was returning to his own world.
                    “Okay then!” I said while waving goodbye. “Maybe when we see each other again, you can meet Dusty!” And with a bright flash, Auric Fulcrum was gone from my world. Despite the strange disturbances I was feeling off in the distance, I couldn’t help, but jump for joy at the voice I was hearing. I rushed back inside the library, scaring the ponies inside.
                    “Kat!” Twilight exclaimed after regaining her composure. “Is everything alright?”
                    “Everything is better than alright Miss Sparkle.” I looked at them, a happy smile on my face and hope in my eyes. “Dusty is still alive!”