• Published 18th Feb 2012
  • 11,532 Views, 1,273 Comments

The Steadfast Sky - Greytercakes

Celestia, Luna, and Discord grow into their godhood by unearthing the Elements of Harmony. EqD 6 Stars.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
XXIV : Discord

The Steadfast Sky : Chapter 24
The Grey Potter


I watched the little blue light from my window, glittering in the jumbled mass of the city. Frustrated. Angry. Luna’s right there. I just talked with Tia! We’re so close... and yet we can’t quite reach each other. I can’t stare at my friends in the face, come so close to a solution... and then just let it fall apart.

I can’t take it! I can’t take being cooped up anymore! I can’t just sit here and do nothing, thinking about everything I could be doing. Things a billion million times more productive, more fun! We could’ve explored this city, we could’ve left by now, wandering the woods. We could’ve gotten a really cool job, or even a really boring job, and it would’ve been better than this stupid... stupid...!

Even back at the old castle, trapped, cooped up in the cold, cold walls, I could weave and illusion to pass the time. Screw around, prank people, find a new cubbyhole to sneak away to. Watch the ponies in the streets for cripes sake! But here, all there is is just staring at a wall, watching the fancy ponies walk around and point at me, laughing in their shrill little voices...

‘Ooh, there’s a new monster on display, isn’t he a cute one? Look at his widdle monster horns! What kind of monster you think he is? Would you like a sweetie, widdle monster?’

I am not a beast to be gawked at! I am not a being that can just sit there and smile for the fancy ponies! And I am NOT going to take this for one more freaking day! Screw you! Screw you screw you screw you SCREW ALL OF YOU!

I slap the glass with my useless paw and throw myself backwards, rage stewing around and around my head. Why did Celestia have to come and give me hope, only to just... just leave me like this?! If it were me, I wouldn’t leave! I’d hide, stay by my friend’s side and... wait. Wait a minute...

My rage takes me to a dark place, a dark thought. So, it was only the smooze that was preventing what’s-his-face, the stupid pony who called her ‘Tia.’ Who the heck does he think he is, using the name her friends should be using... No, no, I’m getting distracted. It was the smooze that stopped him from unlocking these shackles, from freeing me. So he...


He could’ve opened the door, then removed the padlock from the brass circle…

“NO!” I cried, beating a shackle against my head. “Stupid, Discord! STUPID! Why didn’t you think of that sooner?! Why didn’t that jerkface think of that either?! WHY.”

“Will you shut up?!”

I nearly jumped out of my skin as Cleo ripped apart her curtains, her mane a angry tangle as she squinted in my general direction.

“I am trying to get some beauty rest here, and if you keep making a fuss, I swear! I will…” she stammered for a moment, gaze faltering, “I will be very, very cross!” she finally shouted. “And you won’t like me when I am cross! Now Good! Night!” She threw herself back down, huffing in anger as she ripped her blankets around her head.

“Well this place is terrible!” I shouted back, “And you should feel terrible for liking it!”


I shook my chains angrily, making as much noise as possible. I just wanted to… I don’t know! Hit something! Make something explode or, or, or throw something! I was this close to freedom, and I just let it get away! And you know what? I am not spending an entire other day here! These stupid cuffs are coming off, whether they like it or not!

Properly enraged enough to not give a crap about appearances, I bit down on the leather lining of the shackle, tearing at it, growling like the animal they think I am… Well… Well you’re not keeping me caged here for any longer! I’ll sink to this level, but only this once!

First bite! I gnashed my fangs and tore at the sack, but my teeth just slid right off.

Second try, then! With a growl, I snapped my jaws shut and... about the same thing happened.

I tried to work one of my longer fangs in between my wrist and the bag, gnawing sideways, bottom jaw scraping painfully on metal. Failure. Again. And now my mouth was starting to feel numb… I removed the shackle, glared at it, and spat on it for good measure.

“Freaking piece of…!”

“Find a seam.”

My head snapped up. Sheen settled beside me, staring at my cuffs, his own chain shaking, almost taut at the end of its length.

“A seam?” I asked. He nodded, face solemn.

“A seam. It’ll rip easier along a seam.”

I looked back over the sack, squinting. Was there a seam on this thing...? Even with my night vision, trying to make out little details like that was a little hard…

“You wanna help me look?” I asked, showing my bird claw to him. “Or maybe, you can try and pop this one while I rip open the other one?”

“Filed teeth,” Sheen stated. “Filed down years ago.”

“Oh…” I look over the cuff quietly, then glance up. “Um, sorry to hear that.”

“I’ll get new ones. Just can’t help now.”

I nod, mind wandering for a moment… Why was Sheen just suddenly helping me? Wasn’t he in the same boat as Cleo, just enjoying himself here? I offered him a quick glance, as if to ask but... the answer was obvious. Of course he wasn’t, and I shouldn’t get caught up on my blessings.

From the look of it, there didn’t seem to be any kind of break or seam or nothing. I tried to shove my numb talons into the small gap, feeling for something out of my sight but… No, this isn’t going to work either. What else could I use to probe the area…? I stuck out my tongue, then retracted it. Uh, no, that’s a stupid idea. I got a better one. I scooted sideways, resting on my flank as I flicked my tail up. I winced as I shoved the tip into the shackle’s gap, my puffy tail’s hair getting yanked and pulled. Now to get a feel before this also went numb…

“I think…” I said, feeling around a bit more. “The seam is almost… all the way around. Like a ring around the middle.” I pulled out my tail, leaving behind a few stiff hairs. “I’m not sure if I can get my teeth into that.”


“Will do!” With that, I began again, gnawing, pulling, trying to affect the darn leather bag any way I could.

“You two aren’t serious, are you?” Cleo spat, rising from her bed again. “Where do you think you’re going to go, anyway? Into the city? Through the griffin’s clouds?”

I ignored her, retreating from my attack, for now. I wasn’t going to get anywhere with half of my face numb. I tried to shake off the feeling. Movement gets rid of normal numbness... why not the magical kind? It faded somewhat… But I couldn’t tell if it was me, or just time. What I could tell is that the cuff was shaking lightly, pushing at my paws.

“Thith smoothz…” I said, spitting the numb off my tongue. “Ith uh…” Spit, shake. “Ith it alive? It keepth moving on ith own.”

“A mind of its own doesn’t make it alive.”

“Gueth… Guess not.” I shook my head again. Bit better now. “Alright. Trying again!” I bit at the cuff once more, worming my fangs down... And back up again! I frowned. “Thith ithint working! I jutht can’t get my teeth down there…” I screwed my face up tighter. “Lemme try thomthing elthe.”

I worked my jaws a little. No cuff for now, just rotating them back and forth. Feeling. Cold feeling. Leave now. Eh. Good enough.

I snapped my teeth on either side of the bag, digging my fangs in, metal stuffed in my mouth. I recoiled from the taste, but bit down even harder, feeling my fangs sink...! Rise. Sink!!! Rise… Sink rise sink rise c’mon! The thing was practically making a squeaky sound this was so useless! Stupid freaking piece of unbreakable...!

I felt a scaly hand brush under my lower jaw, and I only had a second to wonder what that was doing there before Sheen bashed down on my snout. The fabric gave, my fang sunk in, then snapped to ice cold. I shouted, let my arm drop, and something wet, something frigid slapped across my face, clinging to...

“EW! EAUGH! GETITOFF!” I slapped furiously at the mass with my talons, flailing in the air. The substance splattered as it hit the ground, a mass of dark, shapeless jelly, like the color and shape of congealed blood, only leaving purple trails instead of red. I stared at it, trying to get the taste out of my mouth, the purple residue off my face...

And it shook a little. From me throwing it, I assumed. But time passed and its wobbling grew more pronounced. In awe, I watched as the little mass seized up, an arm forming, a tendril that arced forward, reaching for the ground, trying to pull the rest of its body forward. It heaved and shook, light glistening, and I froze, stiff, as two white spots rolled across his back. Eyes, eyes with tiny black pupils, staring at me…

Then Sheen slapped a napkin over it, scooping up the living glop and neatly trapping it inside. The makeshift bag wobbled and began growing dark, wet as he dropped it back to the ground.

“Well…” I sputtered. “So, that’s smooze? Looks pretty alive to me…” I looked at my other limbs, sincerely dreading having to break open all of them. Was there another nasty little thing in each of of these? Well, duh, of course there was. But... Ew.

“Is your hand usable?” I looked up at Sheen, his face still calm and solemn.

“I guess it will be, in a second…” I wiggle my fingers. Yep, still numb. I am getting so freaking sick of this feeling. I tried to cast a spell… just, any spell, maybe that would help. I could feel the magic rising, boiling, making my hand tingle, like the blood was returning to it after so, so long. I grinned, feelings swelling with my magic. I’m really doing this. I have a shot now. I’m actually getting out of here! “The feeling’s coming back fine!”

“Then untie this.” Sheen flared his wings, showing off the large smooze bag on his back. Tucked under the crook of his wings, I saw a collection of tightly folded knots, string digging into his scales, almost rubbing them off. It looked like it hurt him... but I guess the bag meant he didn’t feel a thing.

Of course, another question came to mind about then.

“It’s not locked?”

He grinned, baring his uneven mess of teeth.

“Never tried to break it before,” he replied.

“You are taking advantage of their kindness, their leniency!” Cleo shouted. “They’ve offered you so much, Sheen! How many years worth of gems have you squirreled away, how much money have they poured into your upkeep?!”

“Given and taken,” Sheen replied. “Different from offered.”

“And seriously Cleo, you still care enough to shout at us?” I fiddled with the tangles, fingers still not as in control as I wanted them to be. “Go to sleep already, and stop yelling at us.” She huffed again, and I returned to the knots. Pull here... No, that’s not working, how about a different spot? Bleh, darn numb fingers... Frustrated, I bit into the thin rope, and it frayed easily. It may have been taking its toll on Sheen’s scales, but not without damaging itself as well. With a couple unsteady yanks, almost pulling Sheen over, the rope snapped, and the sack fell away.

Sheen’s wings instantly spread wide open. He took a deep breath, grin growing even wider.

“Now we’re getting somewhere!” he barked.

“I’m...” Cleo sputtered, still half wrapped in her blankets. “I’m going to call the guards!”

“If anybody was going to respond,” Sheen said, “They would have come by now.”

Cleo sputtered once more, this time without any words, looking desperately from curtain to curtain.

Well, no use continuing to talk to her. I worked my fangs around the second bag as Sheen kept trying to catch his breath, gasping a ragged rattle. It wasn’t long until the side of my face was numb again, fangs refusing to dip into the bag a second time, sliding and slipping around the smooth surface. I grunted and adjusted my bite. Finally, it sunk in… too little. I grimaced, found a better position, then quickly slammed my jaws down.

There is slime up my nose there is slime up my nose ew augh get it out! The purple loogie seemed to tear out my nose’s membrane as it splattered onto the ground, a nasty pile of gooey... snot! OW! I clawed and pawed at my face. The cold burning does not belong in my nose!

“Augh. Ack. Jeez, nasty, nasty stuff.” I snorted, whimpering. It only made it hurt worse! “Sheen! Do I have a nosebleed? Gah… feels like its freaking frostbite or something.”

I couldn’t tell if Sheen looked at me or not, but I heard him scooping up the second smooze, breathing still heavy, maybe a little less ragged. I showed him my face, and after a brief glance, he shook his head.

“Well.” I sniffed, and ow, and flexed the fingers of my paw. Ah, the burn of blood returning to the system. This was a pain I could live with. “I’m going to try and pry these off, then.”

First thing’s first. Slick the inside of the shackle with magic, yank bird claw out. But before I could do that… I needed a better handle on my magic. I stared at my hands, focused. C’mon magic. Magic magic. Comes so easily to me, when was the last time I had to force it? I don’t even remember. But I could feeling it swelling in my bones, trying to push past the tingly gloves that currently were my hands. C’mon! I forced it, and there was a jolt in my index finger, a single patch of heat. Okay... good enough.

I tapped the shackle. Nothing. Going to need to do this the hard way. Brow knitted, I forced the magic from my fingertips, manually spreading the magic, working my hands all around the empty leather bag. Satisfied, I held the shackle tight, and began trying to yank out my bird’s talon. The thumb folded up, hand squeezed tight. I yanked again, squirming it around in circles, spreading the magic a bit more. C’mon! Get. Out of. The stupid…! Yes… YES! Finally!

One last yank and… yes! Free at last! Purple residue streaked across my hand as I pulled my fingers free, but just about then, I felt like I could kiss it! Oh sweet, glorious hand! Never leave me again!

“Now for the other one!” I declared. but before that, I checked up on Sheen. His head was low, staring at the two soaked napkins, whole body moving with each deep breath. “Hey Sheen…” I asked, “You doing okay?”

He snorted, and a plume of orange flame spilled from his nostrils.


Sheen shifted on his feet, lowering his head even further, even with the two napkin bags that oozed purple smooze residue. One last deep breath, his wings flaring, and on his exhale a bright blast of fire spilled forth, engulfing the bags in an instant. The air instantly filled with the stink of kerosene, with burning heat, and light.

Cleo screamed. I laughed.

“Holy crap, that’s freaking awesome!” I shouted, giddy. Sheen smirked, a small burst of fire snorted from his nose once again.

“Are you trying to kill us all?!” Cleo screeched.

“Just the smooze,” Sheen replied. His wings arced upward, drawing in another deep breath...

“Don’t do that! STOP! MADMEN!”

“Well!” I laughed, “It’s probably dead, or whatever now, so...” I looked to the charred remains but the lumps were still moving! Ash crumbling around it, floor covered in black scorch marks… but ‘alive’! “What the?”

“Very difficult to kill, smooze.” Sheen explained just before another blast of heat and light engulfed the oozing piles.

“The curtains are going to catch fire!” Cleo screamed. “Stop, stop! You’ll kill us all!”

The flames died, and again Sheen took another breath. Ecstatic, I returned to my cuff. Let’s get this thing off next! The magic came to me easier now. I just had to tap the metal two, three times, and the entire thing was slick, ready to be removed. But as I squirmed my paw this way, that way, I realized that no matter how much I pulled, my thicker paw was not going to get through.

I frowned as there was another burst of heat, of orange light. Wow, it was really taking that much effort to kill something that wasn’t even alive? Tough stuff. Anyway. I can’t get this shackle off by just working it… But now that my magic’s back, and the smooze is removed, maybe I can try to unlock it?

I bust out a laugh, because why not?! I have no idea how magical unlocking worked, but experimenting with magic, something I havn’t been able to do in so, so long... It sounded like so much fun! I shoved my talon in there and just started blasting willy nilly, loving, delighting its feel again! I could even feel how tight the mechanism was on my finger, pinching it uncomfortably. But after a whole day of nothing at all, stumbling around on dead limbs, a little pain was welcome! I missed it so!

I let lose another burst of formless magic, just a blast of color. Nothing! I laughed, jiggled the lock, and blasted it again.

And it popped open.

I stared at the shackle as it rattled to the floor. Okay… I didn’t expect that to work, I was mostly just joking around…
Well, I’m not complaining!

Sheen finished frying the smooze into oblivion as I turned to my feet, still held in their smoozy shackles. I could probably encourage my hoofed foot out pretty easily, even without magic. But my lizard one? Impossible, not with my back claw jutting out like that.

With only a couple tries, I yanked my hoof out, and propped up my lizard’s foot on my knee, staring at it. The burning inside my nose is still a lingering reminder of my last attempt to bust open a bag, so I wasn’t exactly leaping at the chance to bite the stuff again. I want to try the thing with the lock, the magic blasts, even though I know the smooze inside would just absorb it instantly. Well, won’t know unless I try! I shove a talon in and blast away!

There was that swell again, that swelling feeling that stopped short of actually going anywhere. The smooze bag shook violently as I tried, surely eating my magic before anything significant is built up. I try a few more times. Still nothing. Drat!

I pulled my finger away and looked at them, rubbing away the cold. What did I do the first time, anyway? When I was just blasting without regards to what I was doing. I held my thumb and forefinger an inch apart, and let my magic arc between them. A burst of white light, like a lightning bolt, a spark suspended between them. Pretty predictable. Then it just… stayed there. Not fading, not vanishing. I frowned, and moved my fingers apart. My ‘magic’ snapped in half, a crumbly residue clinging to either talon. I smashed my fingers together, and the magic rubbed away, a solid powder that quickly vanished into nothingness.

That’s not right… Raw magic like this, my raw magic. It’s just supposed to be light… Right?

I formed a basic illusion, just a little green ball, and let it fall into my hand. Now usually, I wouldn’t feel anything. Make it react so that it rolled and bounced naturally maybe, but there was never any substance to the stuff. But it touched me, hit my hand, and little cracks appeared, crumbling, hollow. I crushed it, and stared as the powder fell away, vanishing into thin air. Then it clicked.

My Element. Distanced as it was from me, I still must've gotten a new magic from it. And it didn’t give me better control over shadow magic…

Blankly, I returned to basics. I traced a skeleton key in the air, and actually reached out to grab it. Solid. Felt like plaster to the touch but… I shoved it into the final lock, turned it sideways. The flimsy illusion snapped right in half. I stared at it, threw it away, and tried to turn what was remaining. With a click, the shackle popped open, and I pulled it off my foot.

“Sheen.” I said, wiggling my toes in awe. “This is the greatest night of my life.”

He burst out laughing as I scrambled forward, grinning like crazy, making another key. I tried to focus on another aspect to the illusion, weight, mass… what a curious thing to think about when weaving a spell! The key was heavy as it fell into hands, still rough and papery, but it doesn’t snap as I turn it in Sheen’s collar, freeing him, both of us.

I felt like I could explode. What was this called again, this crazy, crazy kind of illusion?! For all the life of me, I couldn’t remember, all I knew was that I couldn’t do this before! Never easily, no, it’s not supposed to be easy!

“Alright!” I shouted, spinning to the door, mind already racing with the possibilities. “Now let’s get out of…!” There was a clatter of claws behind me, and I turned to see Sheen running back upstairs. “Uh… Sheen? Where are you going!” I run up after him, legs still numb and fumbling a bit, but who cares about that right now! “Sheen! You can’t just...!”

I stopped dead, freezing as I reach the top of the steps. Sheen stood in the center of a dazzling array, piles and piles of gems. They were all organized neatly by color, by shape, by size, by shine, by a dozen different things I’m sure only Sheen could determine. The pile circled around the platform like a solid, glittering rainbow, almost twice the size of the dragon before them.

“Sheen,” I chuckled, “It’s a nice collection, but you can’t take this all with you,” I flipped around, waving him down the stairs. “C’mon, we’re free! Let’s get out of here while it’s still dark out!”

He looked over his shoulder and smiled, taking a deep breath…

And letting loose all across the glittering pile.

Cleo screamed again as the flames burned brightly, scorching the glass on the ceiling, rolling over the railing. I stared at the dragon’s illuminated red back, wondering if Sheen would rather have his masterwork destroyed than left behind. Heck, that was the only way this was making sense to me. Then I saw the edges vanishing, curling together, swirling into a bright orange ball of magic...

Sheen flapped his wings and nodded up at the massive swirling aura that spun like smoke around the ceiling. Work done, he dug in his feet, scraped the ground, and charged forward, crashing through the glass, aura sucked out behind him, spilling into the night. I ran to the window and stared, dragon swiftly becoming a shadow in the sky, following the trail of orange to who-knows-where.

“We could have just used the front door, Sheen!” I laughed, still elated, still... still free! That breeze, that night air! And an entirely new way to enjoy it, explore it! I snapped open my wings. I knew I couldn’t fly far, but I could at least have a safe trip to the ground!

“You two are crazy!” Cleo squealed, so far away. “Crazy!”

I laughed again, entire body shaking. “Do you want me to pop your lock before I go, Cleo?!” I shouted down.

“Get out of here, you madman! You are ruining my home!”

“Suit yourself!” and with that, I jumped into the air. Into the glorious glorious air!

Trees beneath me, limbs free, a new magic to experiment... And no pony to stop me! I snapped my wings open wide, gliding down, feeling the wing rushing across my face, in my mane and across my feathers, my fur. Maybe flying wasn’t so bad after all. Just one more thing I need to practice! I look around the garden beneath me, slowly approaching, then lifted my eyes over the wall, to where I saw Luna’s light. It was gone now, buuuut...

I landed hard, then charged forward, bouncing into the air with every other step. Maybe I still have a chance to find it!

PreviousChapters Next