• Published 5th Aug 2013
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The Titan's Orb - Old Man Dusters

Callum lives a sad, violent life in the human world... But that is soon to change as he meet some unexpected visitors that will change his life.

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Chapter Thirty - The Dance of Death

I felt a light prodding against my arm as I slowly woke up; I didn’t open my eyes as I tried to hold on tightly to my dream, which featured me merrily skipping through a large field of miniature Morgan Freemans, each of them saying 'hello' in his beautiful voice as I passed them.

“Dude… Dude..? C’mon wake up.” Rainbow’s voice was heard in my half-sleep.

“We don’t have time for this.” A more harsh tone was heard.

The next thing I know, there’s a loud metal clang beside my head and I jolted up in fear and shock; I looked to my right to see a metal bucket floating in a purple aura, with a stone floating beside it.

“You’re a dick Twilight.” I grunted.

“Yeah, what was that for? I was trying to wake him up nicely!” Dash moaned.

“We need to move, those anti-radiation shots won’t last forever.” Twilight grumbled back.

I rolled my eyes and stretched, before rolling out of bed and standing up, as the bed covers slid off my body I tensed all my muscles to properly stretch them out, I looked down and realised how much weight I’d lost, there was barely an ounce of fat on me now; my pecs were properly squared and I could see a very slight six-pack coming along. I actually felt comfortable in my own skin for once, I genuinely felt sexy, and apparently someone else in the room agreed with me.

“My eyes are up here Rainbow Dash.” I teased.

The blue mare jumped back and fell back onto the bed, blushing; I chuckled and put my shirt back on.

“How’s your arm?” Twilight asked, curious.

I unwrapped the makeshift bandage to find the wound had closed up relatively well, but the edges were starting to turn green and would become infected soon.

“I’ll be fine, but I could do with some antiseptic.” I replied.

“Rarity has some in her saddlebag, the sooner we return the better.” She told me.

I nodded and buttoned up my shirt, before putting on my jeans and picking up my rucksack. I opened the bag and emptied all the shotgun cartridges into a pile on the floor.

“What are you doing?” Dashie asked.

“Elephant's Foot destroyed Wrinkleboom, I don’t need them anymore.” I explained, shaking the bag.

Rainbow Dash hummed with understanding, I slung the rucksack onto my back and tightened the straps. After clipping Kroksbane’s sheath to my belt, I was good to go.
I opened the bedroom door and made my way down the hall with Twilight and Rainbow Dash behind me, I descended the stairs and went into the lobby; thankfully there were no zombies around at all now.

“Shame, if it weren’t for the radioactivity, this place would make a really nice safe-zone for people.” I muttered.

“Well, the place is full of radioactivity, so let’s move already.” Twilight bitterly ordered.

I rolled my eyes and looked at Rainbow Dash, who shook her head with a slightly amused smile; we all headed out the main door and looked around, the street was empty for now.

“Alright, let’s boogie.” I ordered.

We headed off towards the other side of town, when we heard growling and shouting ahead.

“Zombies.” I muttered.

I assumed it was the same horde I outran before, the air horn probably attracted hundreds more zombies before it finally ran out of compressed air, we would have to find another route, or take to the rooftops.

“Remember that horde that separated us the other day? Well guess who’s down the road.” I said cheerily.

“Great… What do we do?” Dashie asked.

“We either take a detour, or go above them on the buildings.” I answered.

I looked to Twilight, nodding my head to gesture that it was her decision to make.

“How would we get up?” She asked, choosing the rooftops.

“I suppose you could cling onto me, and I’d climb up with you on my back.” I suggested.

“Would you be strong enough to carry us vertically?” She quizzed with a concerned eyebrow upraised.

“One at a time, yes, so I’ll have to make two trips.” I assured her.

She nodded to confirm she’d allow it, I took off my rucksack and gave it to Rainbow Dash, who was able to put it on. After that I went to a large black drainpipe on the corner of the first building on the street; I went down to one knee and let Twilight climb onto my back, she wrapped her hind legs around my waist, and her forelegs over my shoulders. I stood up and slowly began to climb, it was more difficult than expected and it took a lot of my strength to scale the building. As we got higher and higher, Twilight's forelegs clamped around my neck and she squeezed tightly, and it became difficult to breathe properly.

“Would you loosen the grip please? You're kinda choking me.” I spluttered.

She replied with a nervous grunt and continued to latch on tightly, thankfully I was able to reach the top and clambered over the edge; Twilight let go and I bent over to recover, my biceps were burning from the stress they’d carried. I went to the edge of the building and looked down to Rainbow Dash who was impatiently waiting.

“You coming dude!?” She called.

“Yup!” I called back.

She took off my rucksack and put it back on the ground, before shouting to Twilight.

“Carry this up for me would you?” She asked.

Twilight’s horn lit up and the bag levitated up to us; I clambered down the drainpipe and was about to reach the bottom when it broke.

Fuck!” I shouted as I fell to the ground.

The fall wasn’t too bad, but the drainpipe fell pretty hard onto me and hit the ground, creating a loud metal CLANG!
It took seconds before the zombie horde were sprinting towards us, shouting gibberish and shrieking wildly.

“They’re coming! Run!” Twilight shouted.

Rainbow Dash and I bolted back towards the hotel, we ran as fast as I could. That's when I heard Twilight screaming just as loud as the zombies.


She was trapped up on the rooftop, I turned to Rainbow Dash and looked at her with panic.

“Go back for her, I know the way back!” She ordered.

I gave her a frown, uncertain.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m faster than them, Twilight’s not; I’ll lose them, don't worry. Just get to Twilight!” She commanded.

I nodded and Rainbow Dash and I split ways, she sprinted off while I turned down an alleyway and made my way around back to the building Twilight was trapped on. I spotted a nearby drainpipe and climbed to the top as fast as I could to see a zombie latched onto Twilight, she was keeping it at bay with her hooves, but she was mere centimetres away from having her throat torn open by the zombie’s gnashing teeth. I sprinted towards the undead freak and jumped into the air, drop-kicking the bastard in the ribs, sending him flying off the roof and splattering onto the pavement below. I stood up and helped Twilight to her hooves.

“You can thank me later, we need to move!” I ordered.

After saving her life twice, Twilight was in no mood to argue and followed me across the rooftop. A few zombies had been able to climb up and gave chase, but we were able to find a decent place to cross and made it to the next building. The common undead had a serious lack of spacial awareness and ended up falling to their deaths when trying to cross the gap. Twilight and I traversed from building to building and eventually we were a safe distance from the zombies, we came to a halt and both fell to our knees, panting furiously as we recovered from the run.

“I think it’s safe to say… Our cardio will be a lot better after this quest…” I panted.

She looked up at me, and began to laugh; we laughed together before she stood up.

“Where’s Rainbow Dash?” She asked.

I looked into the distance from where we’d come, and hope she was alright. While Rainbow Dash was an outstanding athlete, and by far the bravest out of the six, I still worried about her; who knew what else this radioactive city contained, and what if she bumped into the giant clawed lizard? I don’t think even she would be able to outrun that…

“She distracted the horde so I could come to aid you; she’ll be alright, she knows the way back.” I told Twilight.

“I certainly hope so…” She replied, nervously gulping.

We made our way across as many more buildings as we could before we reached the edge of the block; on the other side was a small park. Thankfully there was a nearby ladder and we climbed down to the bottom, there were no zombies around and we made our way to the park. It wasn’t much to look at, but the swing set and seesaw were still working.

“I don’t want to go any further without Rainbow Dash.” Twilight insisted.

“No argument here.” I replied, and sat on a swing.

After a few moments, boredom kicked in and I decided to start swinging.

“Really?” Twilight asked blankly, with a disapproving eyebrow upraised.

“Don’t judge me, I’m a child at heart.” I spat playfully, sticking my tongue out.

“Dear sweet Celestia…” She muttered and rolled her eyes.

I kept swinging and then launched myself into the air, leaving the seat of the swing and propelling forward and almost landing on Twilight’s head, my feet touching the ground no less than a metre away from her.

Watch it!” She snapped, growling.

“Chillax Twiley, I'm just having some fun.” I replied.

“Don’t call me Twiley.” She huffed, wrinkling her nose.

“Oh come on, if I keep calling you Twiley, one day I might get lucky and be called Shiny!” I squealed and clapped my hands together with delight.

“I’d sooner hang myself than compare you to my brother.” She said coldly.

I slid up next to her and grinned.

“I understand, you see me like a lover instead, right?” I teased.

Twilight jumped back at least five feet and glared at me.

“Please, never make me picture that again, I’d rather not throw up the little food I’ve eaten.” She gagged.

“You just admitted that you’ve pictured it.”

Twilight’s horn lit up and my legs were pulled from underneath me, causing me to fall onto my back, Twilight approached me and glared at me.

“If I hear one more remark about something so disgusting, I will sow your mouth shut and use you as our speechless guide for the rest of this journey. You seem to think I’ve warmed up to you, well I haven’t, so stop trying to play things cool, we’re not friends, is that clear human!?” She barked at me angrily.

During her snap, a small speck of spit flew from her mouth and hit my cheek; I wiped it away and rolled my eyes at her.

“It was just playful banter Twilight, I don’t want to be your enemy.” I replied calmly.

“Well if you continue to flirt with me, like the disgusting pervert you are, you will make an enemy out of me; understood?” She grunted, walking off to the other side of the park.

{Shoot…} I thought to myself angrily.

{And it was going so well...} My conscience sighed.

I could definitely sense a new type of tension between us. Not sexual tension, but more like friendship tension. She was trying not to be my friend, but was finding very little reason to resist it; which proved my theory. The unicorn didn’t hate me, nor was she afraid of me anymore. It was something far more meaningful to her; in fact, it was actually quite adorable in a funny sense…
Twilight was afraid that Celestia had got it wrong…
Her undying loyalty to the Princess was keeping her from accepting my friendship, and I assumed she had been ordered to make my life hell; Celestia probably wanted to reduce the risk of me coming home with them on the way back to Equestria, so she'd ordered Twilight to sustain a constant atmosphere to prevent me from bonding with everypony. That was the most likely story, but still, that was just a theory…

“Rainbow Dash has been gone for twenty minutes now, I’m getting worried.” Twilight muttered.

“She’ll be fine, this is Dashie we’re talking about.” I replied.

“What are you, psychic? She could be in real danger!” Twi snapped back.

I rolled my eyes, I knew for certain that Rainbow Dash could handle her own. I stretched and sat on the seesaw, tapping at the wood in boredom. Twilight levitated both the retrieved orb shards out of her back and tried to piece them together, while they didn’t stay in place there was a certain distinction where the pieces fitted together.

“So, how does the orb even protect your world anyway?” I asked, curious.

Twilight looked up at me, before putting the orb shards back into her saddlebag.

“When it was in one piece, it produced a chembio-originatic repulsinator around the planet.” She replied.

“A chembio-origiwhat in the dick biscuit?” I exclaimed, “Explain in a language a dumb creature like myself can understand please.”

Twilight rolled her eyes and huffed.

“It produced a force field that repelled anything that didn't contain an original chemical or biological structure. In the most basic of terms, anything that isn't from our planet, can't get inside.”

Oohh…” I said.

“Now that it’s been destroyed, dark forces from other worlds and universes could invade; and could destroy us all.” She winced.

“Has anything ever tried to before?” I asked.

“Yes, the son of the Holy Titan, Appleox the Corrupt.” She replied.

“Who was that then?”

I was starting to get really interested now, ever since I became a brony I was interested in Equestria’s history.

“His name… Was Nah’Lek...
It’s a name written in an ancient language very few ponies can translate, even my translating skills are inadequate for the language. But his name roughly translates to, The Defiler.
A long time ago, when Appleox became corrupted and was banished from our universe, his son Nah’Lek tried to destroy Equus. He was stopped by a company of heroes and was locked away in Tartarus for all eternity. Our lands were safe and the entire world flourished in harmony, and eventually Nah’Lek was long forgotten about, especially as Equus developed new problems to worry about; far east from Equestria the super-continent, known as the Griffon Kingdoms; many different allegiances of griffons formed and they began endless civil wars, and occasionally invaded Equestria in attempt to claim a new country for their own.
Then minotaurs began invading from the south, attacking ponies and griffons alike. After many years of war and bloodshed, a truce was formed and a declaration from most of the world’s leaders was signed; trade routes began to form, and the races began to make friendships. And very soon, we thought there was nothing serious to worry about.
But arrogance can lead many a fool, it seemed that even a god’s prison, may be breached…”

I sat there in awe, gobsmacked by this amazing insight to Equus… I was desperate to hear more…

“What happened then!?” I pleaded.

Twilight paused, and looked at the ground; she looked back up to me as she continued and I could see the anger in her eyes.

“One day, whilst I was panicking about a catastrophe that didn’t even exist, Tartarus’s gate holder, Cerberus, left his post and turned up in Ponyville. Without Cerberus, someone entered Tartarus, and was able to release Nah’Lek from his imprisonment. He had been planning his revenge for aeons, and knew what he was going to do. Finding an entrance to the caves where the Titan’s Orb was being held; he showed no mercy as he butchered the guards, and that’s when he cast a spell to send the orb here, to your world; upon entry it shattered into six shards and, well, you know the rest…” She explained.

After a brief silence, I let out a long whistle.

“Well, holy fuck-nuggets…”

“Holy fuck-nuggets indeed… If we don’t find these orb shards and get home, Nah’Lek will fulfil his plan of revenge, and will burn our entire planet to ash and dust…” Twilight told me, her eyes widening with fear.

I raised my eyebrows.

“So he basically tried to destroy Equestria for his father, Appleox?" I quizzed.

She nodded to confirm.

"Talk about being a daddy’s boy…” I muttered.

Twilight looked at me, frowning; I looked back with a guilty smile. She continued to stare at me with this disapproving look for about a full minute, before her lip began to quiver; ever so slowly the corners of her lips began to raise.

She was JUST about to give in and smile when we both heard Rainbow Dash screaming.

“Rainbow Dash!” I hollered.


I looked to the road to see Rainbow Dash sprinting like a fifty calibre bullet; she skidded as she turned to face us and dashed into the park with us; when she reached us she didn’t stop and disappeared into the next road.
Twilight and I slowly turned behind us as we heard the thundering footsteps; I gulped as the shadow began to loom over our heads.

“Twilight… I want you, to very slowly, go after Rainbow Dash…” I ordered.

Twilight said nothing and backed away whimpering, I pulled Kroksbane from its sheath and looked up to face my foe.

“So, do you want to do this now? Or shall we go for lunch first?” I asked.

The creature extended its foot-long claws and squatted down to look me in the eye, before towering up above me and roaring at the top of its lungs, almost deafening me. I tilted my head and licked my dry bottom lip to moisturise it; I took a deep breath and raised my knife.

“Well…” I paused, “Let’s dance…”

The beast roared again and darted towards me, it swiped at me and I ducked out of the way, then it opened its wide maw and gnashed at me, I rolled forward and slid through its legs, cutting open its inner thigh with my knife.
After a small yelp, it growled and tried to pounce on me; I quickly dodged to the left and sliced at its face, leaving a deep gash across its right cheek; I jumped back instantly, and rightly so as the beast whipped round in a flash and snapped at where my hand was only a second before.
I knew I had to work on defence and evading, if those claws landed a good strike on my body I would be dead in an instant. I never stood in once place and circled the monster, evading and counter-attacking when I had the chance. My plan was to wear it out, and plant a good stab when it was exhausted, but it looked like this creature had a lot of stamina, I just hoped it had less than me.

It took another swipe at my head and I ducked again, thrusting my arm upwards and slashing its wrist open. Dark red blood splattered down onto me and I quickly rolled away from a swipe that very nearly took my arm off completely. The beast seemed to get more and more enraged as it missed me, it was savage enough without getting extra pissed off; I needed to tire it out more.
With a loud roar, it began to charge at me, I waited until the last second before quickly diving to my right and rolling back to a standing position, I ran to the park’s swing set and began playing cat and mouse with the creature, every time it went around the swing set to get me, I’d slip in between the swings to the other side. The beast grew more and more frustrated as it ran back and forth to get me, it ran faster and faster in attempt to catch me while I spent little energy darting back and forth.
The creature gave up this technique and tried to pounce at me through the swing set, the swing’s chains caught on its arms and it was stuck for a quick moment; this was my time to strike, I rushed forward and thrust the knife into its gut, I twisted the blade and yanked it out again.
The monster screeched with pain and rage, it thrashed side to side and tore the swing set out of the ground completely; it threw the metal frame at me and I dived to the side, it narrowly missed me and smashed into the ground next to me. I tried to pick myself up but I was too slow, the savage creature reached me and picked me up in its large hand, it began squeezing me tightly and lifted me into the air.

“Gah!” I cried out in pain as it squeezed the air out of me.

It held me up to its face and looked me dead in the eyes, before raising its other hand and extending its claws; with all my might I was able to free my right arm and I stabbed it through the wrist, the beast let go of me and wailed in pain, I hit the ground with a thud and I got to my feet painfully and turned around just as the creature whipped around and smacked me with its long tail, I was sent into the air and sprawled onto the roadside.
With agony pulsing through my whole body, I quickly stood up and dashed to the nearest building, I shoulder rammed the door open and found myself in a fancy restaurant.

“I’ll have one order of whatever the fuck you cook, and some painkillers please…” I moaned, almost in tears.

I gritted my teeth and squatted over to recover my breath, only for the monster to smash through the large window and roar at me. I screamed like a little girl and sprinted to the back of the room; I ran into the closest toilet, which happened to be the women’s and once again squatted to recover my breath; it seemed the beast wouldn't be able to get inside so I had a moment to recover.

When I got my breath back I looked around and saw how clean the room was, it was almost pristine; and this was in a radioactive waste city.

“Dear lord! You women have such beautiful toilets! How come men’s toilets are so filthy!?” I exclaimed.

I used a paper towel to clean some of the blood of Kroksbane, and then decided that I genuinely needed the toilet, so I took this time for a pee break; I went into a cubicle and began to do my business. I zipped up my flies and was about to leave the cubicle when I heard the bathroom door burst open and a low growl rumbling; the creature was in the room...

{Fuck.} I thought to myself, gulping.

I heard the claws scraping along the wall as it approached the cubicles, I then heard the cubicle doors being torn off their hinges as they were smashed in. It was only a matter of time before it reached me; I needed to catch it off guard and make a runner. Door by door, the clawed monstrosity grew closer to me, the cubicle next to me shook violently as the door was broken down, and my door was next.
I took a deep breath and withdrew my knife, I heard the footsteps as the beast approached my door, and I quickly opened the door and rushed at the monster.

“YEEAAAARRRGGHH!!!!” I roared and slashed at the creature’s face.

My knife sliced right across its right eye and the clawed lizard recoiled, jumping back and clutching its face, screeching with rage and agony. I turned for the bathroom door and bolted, I left the restaurant and ran back into the park and beyond in the direction of Twilight and Rainbow Dash.

I had been running for about a minute when I looked back to see the beast on all fours, charging towards me, evidently in a rage.

“Eek!” I squealed and kept running.

I heard the footsteps gaining on me and I knew I’d need to turn around to defend myself, there was no outrunning this creature. I twisted around and quickly rolled to the left as the beast launched itself at me; I got to my feet and raised my knife. I repeated my technique from earlier and ducked underneath the large set of claws that swiped at me, I then slid through its legs, but this time I made sure the blow was more effective and stabbed its lower right leg and cut open the tendon in its ankle; the creature roared in agony and kicked me in the chest, sending me a few metres down the road and skidding to a halt, a pain shot through my arm and I saw a massive graze along my outer wrist that stung like a bitch. I got to my feet and dodged the next attempted pounce, as it swung around for another attack it stumbled and almost fell over; it was evidently getting very dizzy and had lost a lot of blood now, a few more well-landed attacks and I should be able to finish it off.

“Come on! I'm right here!” I taunted.

It tried to pounce at me again, and I darted forward and to the left, where I was able to quickly stab the beast in the lower back and dodge the counter-attack as it whipped around and tried to claw at me. It clawed a second time and caught my shoulder, I growled as I felt warm blood begin to trickle down my arm. It gave a third attempt at clawing me and I slipped under its left arm and planted another strike underneath its armpit, the knife went in deep and punctured the lung. I pulled the knife out and dropped to the ground to avoid the other arm as it swiped at me; I didn't hesitate my next attack and stabbed the right leg again, this time I slashed to the side as I removed the blade and the whole tendon snapped, I saw the tendon curl up the back of its leg up to its knee. It screeched louder than ever and hopped twice on its other leg before falling over onto me, I had to finish it now or I’d be dead for sure.
I took my knife and trust it into the creature's belly, and stabbed it again and again and again. Thick blood poured out of the its gut and began coating me from head to toe, but I kept on stabbing, over and over again, not holding back.
The beast thrashed around, trying to get up and kill me, but it lacked the strength as it lost pint after pint of blood, it gave one final attempt at getting up, before roaring one final time and flopping onto me, the weight of the limp body almost crushed me and I couldn't move.

I lay there under the bloody corpse for a good five minutes before I heard a pair of hoofsteps.

“Twilight! Look!” I heard Rainbow Dash call out.

“Gosh… It’s dead…” She replied.

I tried to move, but the body barely shifted and I turned my head towards a small gap.

“Hey, a little help here!?” I coughed.

“Holy shit! He’s underneath it!” Dash exclaimed.

The hoofsteps approached me and I felt the weight of the body slowly shift off me, I pushed with all my might and was able to roll it off me, I slowly got to my feet and turned around; Rainbow Dash now stood before me, a look of disbelief on her face.

“Dude… You… You killed it…” She breathed.

“Yeah, but it wasn’t exactly easy; I dare say Elephant’s Foot was easier to kill than this thing…” I mumbled.

“Good job, but you’re going to need to clear yourself up; you look like you’ve had a bath in blood.” Said Twilight.

I chuckled and pulled Kroksbane out of the lizard’s belly, I wiped most of the blood on its upper arm and sheathed the blade. I looked back to the others and sighed with relief.

“Well, that’s that sorted.” I smirked.

“Indeed, now let’s get out of here before we get chased by any other weird radioactive mutants out here.” Twilight ordered.

“You don’t need to tell me twice.” I laughed.

I took one more look at the lizard’s body, before walking down the road and out of the town, with Twilight and Rainbow Dash on either side of me…

“Hey look! They’re back! They’re back!” Applejack shouted to the others as we approached the old shack.

“Oh my gosh, where!?” Pinkie squealed and burst through the door.

She saw us and began bouncing towards us, the others also left the shack and ran towards us; but as they grew closer their faces of excitement and delight, changed to horror and worry.

“What happened to y’all? You look like you’ve all been through an apple grinder!” Applejack asked.

“Feels like it too…” I muttered.

“You’re covered in blood, all of you! It’s not yours is it? And if not, whose was it? What happened?” Fluttershy demanded to know, worry overcoming her.

“It’s not ours Flutters, just let us relax for a moment and we’ll tell you all about it…” Rainbow Dash sighed in reply.

“Oh gosh, you must all be simply exhausted! Not to worry my darlings, we’ve got a fire set up and I was about to start making dinner with Applejack. Rainbow and Twilight, we’ve got daisy and hay sandwiches. Callum, we have plenty of mayonnaise and salted potato chips for you.” Rarity kindly offered as we headed towards the shack.

“And so, after losing the horde, I made my way back to the others; but I didn’t look where I was going and ran head-first into… The deathclaw!” Rainbow Dash burst out.

Pinkie and Fluttershy squealed in fear and hugged each other with panic, before calming down and letting go of each other. A few hours had passed and we had all eaten some food and cleared up the blood and dirt from ourselves, and had decided to let Rainbow tell most of the story about our adventure in Chernobyl.

“The beast roared at me, and began to chase me; but he could never catch me, even without my wings! I kept my cool and ran away, but he didn’t give up that easy. It was gaining on me, that’s when I finally reached the others; Twilight came with me while Callum stayed behind to fight it alone.”

Dash leant over to me and nudged me.

Total… Badass…” She hissed, making sure everyone heard her.

I rolled my eyes and elbowed her playfully.

“Anyway…” she continued, “Twilight and I kept going for a while, before waiting out for Callum; about half an hour later we feared for the worse and went back to look for him. That’s when we found the deathclaw, curled up in a pool of its own blood… And that’s when we heard Callum calling us from underneath it; we moved the body and there he was, covered in the creature’s blood after just killing the beast!”

The group all looked from Rainbow Dash, to me; a look of sheer awe upon their faces.

“And before you start complaining Fluttershy, no, this creature could not be tamed or befriended, it was a radioactive mutant, not a mere animal.” I told Fluttershy.

She dipped her head in understanding and I took a well deserved stretch.

“Well, I’m off to get some kip, we’ve got a big day tomorrow.” I yawned.

“Where do you think the next shard will be?” Twilight asked.

“I haven’t the slightest idea.” I replied.

I walked over to the shack’s front door and was about to head out to my tent, when I looked back at her.

“But I do know one thing…” I told her.

She tilted her head with curiosity, and I looked her in the eyes for a few seconds before speaking…

“This quest is far from over…”

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