• Published 7th Sep 2013
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Glory Be - BlackRoseRaven

Luna and Scrivener struggle to set right all the wrongs from their past and save their family and friends. Tenth and final story in the Blooming Moon Chronicles/99 Worlds Saga.

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Visiting Valhalla

Chapter Sixteen: Visiting Valhalla

There wasn't a whole lot else they could really do, apart from get a few things together after Luna rode Scrivener around on an embarrassing but surprisingly-informative patrol of Subterra. The winged unicorn was able to relax a bit, but also get a sense of how many demons had returned and how many were anxious to try and make up for running away.

Not that Luna could entirely blame them: Gymbr had clearly sent out that hostile pulse of power on purpose, perhaps to try and make them feel like their army of allies was going to betray them. What Gymbr probably didn't understand was that it had the opposite effect on Luna: the servants of darkness who had just run away had made her angry, not upset, and seeing how so many important friends and faces had stayed, had even joined her without question to investigate what was going on had renewed her faith in the allies she had here.

They had an uphill battle ahead of them, that much was certain. Even if they prepared as much as possible, got the assistance of Heaven and Hell, and passed on whatever gifts they could to their servants of the night, they still had to figure out what Gymbr was doing here, how honest he was being with them... and if they could even fight him head on.

Luna grumbled at this as she finished slipping on her armor, then she lifted her helmet with telekinesis, levitating it in front of her features before she muttered: “Well, Terra shall be practice. We shall pummel Terra for whatever she has neglected to tell us.”

“I'm sure she had a good reason, Luna. I'm a little worried about her, actually... what if Gymbr threatened her, or Taruos?” Twilight asked softly, looking up uncertainly as she tightened her cloak, and the starry-maned mare grumbled at this and shook her head fiercely.

“Nay, I do not believe even Gymbr would resort to threatening the life of a child to get his way. But Terra, on the other hoof... aye. He would do whatever was necessary to silence her.” Luna muttered, nodding a few times before she looked across the bedroom at Scrivener Blooms, as the stallion sorted through a satchel bag, already dressed and ready. “Do not be such a mare, Scrivy. We shan't need to bring that much with us, 'twill only be a short visit.”

Scrivener looked up crankily, and Luna cleared her throat before awkwardly tossing her helm onto the bed, giving a lame grin as she said finally: “Well, thou... thou made a most fantastic steed?”

“And you are a fantastic ass. And I don't mean that in the good way.” Scrivener grumbled, and Luna huffed loudly before she strode over to him and poked at him a few times with her horn. The stallion winced and flailed a bit in return at her, and then he tossed one last book into the satchel before closing it and saying sourly: “When something horrible happens while we're in Valhalla, I'm blaming it on you. You're determined to cause mayhem.”

The sapphire mare only shrugged at this, then she poked a few more times at Scrivener Blooms before saying mildly: “We shall see, Scrivener Blooms. For thou art a greater magnet for trouble than I am. Thou art just cranky because I made thy lazy buttocks exercise, riding thee so hard.”

Luna paused, giggled to herself, and then she squawked when Scrivener smacked her in the face with the saddlebag before he sighed and put it on, muttering: “I think we need a jar or something. You know, like the lie jar. But for being dumb.”

“Thou art dumb.” Luna shoved the stallion over, then she turned and looked pointedly over at Twilight Sparkle, who only gazed awkwardly back at the two until the sapphire mare asked plainly: “Between us, who is the dumber, Twilight?”

“I think we should probably just get going.” Twilight said awkwardly, and Luna grumbled but nodded, then turned and headbutted Scrivener when he climbed to his hooves. Since she had decided not to wear her helmet and he was wearing his, however, the sapphire mare only succeeded in knocking herself stumbling dumbly, blinking a few times before Scrivener quickly reached up and smacked her soulstone horn.

It rang out loudly, Luna squeaking and grabbing at her head, and the Lich glowered at them before she asked dryly: “Do I have to separate you two or something?”

Scrivy and Luna both shook their head in awkward synchronization, and Twilight sighed a little before she asked pleadingly: “Then can you both please, please, please try and find something apart from each other to use as a stress ball? It always makes me nervous.”

“Oh, come now, Twilight! Scrivy and I would never... well... we have rarely... what I am saying is that Scrivener Blooms and I are good for each other, even when we risk sustaining injury to one-another and ourselves. 'Tis healthy for us in its strange way to.... play these games.” Luna explained in as reasonable a voice as she could, even though Twilight could also hear all the things she was tiptoeing around: like how sometimes she and Scrivener did get more carried away these days, and injured each other. Physically, never emotionally or mentally, which... actually disturbed Twilight a little sometimes.

It was like they were still in the process of changing, and like all the years they had spent in peace had just let them steep in their own sadomasochism. They were used to pain, even welcomed it, and sometimes neither pony really noticed when they were actually starting to hurt each other, like they had lost track of the difference between pain and pleasure...

Twilight shook herself out, shivering once, not wanting to think of what it meant as she looked up and smiled a little. No, she was worrying too much, and now both Luna and Scrivener were looking at her with concern, but it was just... “I'm sorry. It's just... everything that's happened. It makes me look at every little thing that's wrong with us or that's changed over the years and... I get scared of what it could all mean.”

“Aye, thou art worse than Scrivy when it comes to that.” Luna said softly, and then she shook her head and traded small smiles with the stallion. “Very well, Scrivener Blooms and I shall do our best to restrain ourselves. Even if Scrivy is an idiot and I am not always the brightest star in the night sky.”

“Nightlight.” Scrivener said mildly, and the sapphire mare rolled her eyes and shoved him lightly, making him stumble a little with a smile before he caught himself. “Alright, alright, point taken. So... let's go.”

Luna nodded firmly in agreement as Twilight looked up with a smile, and then she traded a quick kiss with Scrivener before beginning to turn. Immediately, however, Luna turned around, looking pointedly at the violet mare, and the Lich sighed but smiled a little more despite herself before meeting Luna's lips for a second quick affection.

Then the three headed for the door, pushing out into the hall and falling in natural step with each other. Innocence's door was ajar and the mare had apparently already left with Eventide, but Twilight wasn't too surprised: their daughter was probably more eager than they were to head to Valhalla and get to help look around for any clues.

They walked through the halls, taking their time and not rushing: there was no point in getting there too early, after all. It would just be more time for them to waste and Luna to cause trouble for everyone, so it was better to loiter a little, Twilight and Scrivener chatting a little on and off as Luna interjected things randomly every now and then and smiled at the servants that passed.

They arrived atop the pyramid of the Thorn Palace to find the circular portal ring was quickly being constructed by Morning Glory, Celestia, and a few loyal demons. The ring was made of several layers of segmented steel, covered in runes and set into a large, rectangular base. Excelsior was nervously hopping around as the demons and Celestia welded the pieces of the ring together, and Antares was standing further back, talking with Kismet, Innocence, and Eventide. The Greater Nightmare was armored in beautiful golden light plate that covered her body completely, features hidden by a featureless mask; Yamato Armor, normally worn by lesser Nightmares to protect against the sun's dangerous light and enhance their strength.

Innocence had polymorphed herself and was wearing her armor, minus the facemask, while Antares was only in his uniform. The younger sibling clearly was a little frustrated about this, glowering up at the stallion as she complained once her parents drew close: “Why do I have to wear full armor and Tarry doesn't?”

“Because Antares' job requires much primping and preening, not the proper preparations of a warrior.” Luna said cheerfully, and then she grinned when Antares glared at her and made a few aggressive pokes at her with his horn. “Oh, oh? What, thou dandy, thou challenges me? Come on, come then, show me that I am wrong, I dare thee!”

Antares dropped low, preparing to pounce, but then both he and Luna looked lamely at Twilight Sparkle when she cleared her throat loudly and said dryly: “Maybe you two can save it for later, okay? It's a little crowded up here right now.”

Twilight gestured at the mostly-assembled portal being set up in front of the staircase, and Luna Brynhild and her son grumbled before Innocence looked up and asked plainly: “Why are all of us going to Heaven if we have to make sure Subterra is secure?”

“Morning Glory is not, she is only here to assist us with opening the portal. As is Kismet, I suppose.” Luna looked up curiously, and the death entity nodded calmly before the sapphire mare frowned curiously around. “And where is that damned Draconequus? Celestia, where is the beast thou enjoys attempting to make twisted little babies with?”

“I'm sure he's around somewhere.” Celestia replied calmly without looking over her shoulder, her horn glowing bright gold as the same radiant aura surrounded a joint and fused the metal together little by little. Then she smiled and allowed the aura to fade out, lowering her head and nodding once as she murmured: “There. Finished.”

Morning Glory nodded moodily in agreement as she stepped away from the other side of the ring, then she looked sourly over her shoulder at Excelsior as the unicorn fidgeted a bit and hurried up to examine the portal quickly. He began to open his mouth... then shrank down a little when he saw that Morning Glory had locked her sour eyes on him before she said irritably: “Will you calm down, Blessed? Nothing here is going to hurt you. You're not worth the time or energy.”

Excelsior quailed further, offering a lame smile up to the Destroyer before he stumbled around and scurried quickly over to Antares, who sighed and fixed a pointed look on the officer of Valhalla. But Excelsior only shook his head hurriedly and mumbled something, the charcoal stallion grunting after a moment and turning his eyes up towards his parents. “He says we should take a minute or two to get ready and make sure everyone's here, then we should go. Timing should be great, Terra will be glad to see you guys so... please don't try and start a fight with her, Mom. She's kind of Prestige's mentor.”

“I thought I was Prestige's mentor!” Luna said in a hurt voice, and then she glowered at Antares as the glossy-black unicorn closed his eyes and lowered his head slowly. “Thou art both traitors! Traitors, does thou hear me? Bah, so what, Terra is Queen of Valhalla, I care not! All know that the true Queen of Valhalla was always Freya!”

“I said that to Frigg once. And then I was bent over her knee and spanked like a child.” Celestia remarked, before she glanced over her shoulder at a loud giggling that surprisingly didn't come from Luna, saying mildly: “I see you there, Bob. Come on out.”

There was a huff, and then Discombobulation leaned up over the top of Nightmare Moon's grinning head, all eyes glancing up towards the Draconequus as he said mildly: “If we were ever playing hide and seek, Tia, you would be the champion. Well, when it came to seeking, anyway. I'm not so sure how good you'd be at hiding with how tall you are and all.”

Then the Draconequus peered back and forth before slipping down off the statue's back, but a moment later hopping out of thin air next to Celestia, landing beside her with his hands neatly tented and heels together. Celestia smiled up at him, then she asked softly: “Are you going to come with us?”

“Wherever you need me, that's where I'll be.” Discombobulation said gently, and then he glanced over his shoulder at Kismet, adding mildly: “Unlike you. Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it.”

Kismet only shrugged, then he replied pleasantly: “And chaos is exciting, I understand. But I have always been curious: if you know nothing but excitement and madness, how can you ever value it without being first boring and sane?”

“Well, all chaos is born of boredom.” Discombobulation retorted, and then he halted, blinked, and reached up to poke his own nose with his metal claw. “Wait. That makes me boring.”

The chaos entity's shoulders slumped, and then he looked awkwardly to the side when Celestia touched his hip gently and smiled at him, saying softly: “I think you're anything but boring, Bob. As a matter of fact, I look forwards to showing you just how much you excite me later.”

“I'll... I'm very happy with being boring, thank you.” Discombobulation said awkwardly, rubbing slowly at his neck as he smiled lamely, and then he shifted slowly away from the ivory mare as she continued to gaze at him with a pleasant expression and a gleam in her eyes. Then he looked over at the other ponies, whispering loudly: “I think we should go before Celestia becomes Molestia.”

“Molestia. This is a fine name for my big sister.” Luna said with relish, nodding firmly a few times, and the rainbow-maned winged unicorn shook her head and laughed. “Now I require a new nickname. Something reflective of me and that-”

“Something that has to do with your oversized mouth.” Morning Glory interrupted crankily, and Luna huffed loudly before the Overseer glowered at the demons that had helped set up the portal, making them wince. “Concentrate your energies onto me. I'll open the portal.”

“Morning Glory is right, even if a little short-tempered. But we'll open it together” Celestia shook her head with a slight smile, then turned towards the portal, and Luna grumbled but grudgingly strode forwards, and the people spread out over the top of the Thorn Palace naturally broke into two groups: those staying behind, and those who would be passing through the portal.

Kismet calmly rose a hand as Morning Glory lowered her head towards the rings, her horn taking on a bright white glow as Luna and Celestia stood side-by-side, their heads raised high, their horns glowing brightly as they concentrated more energy into the ring. Runes all around the rings lit up one after the other, electricity crackling between the inside of the portal, and the several rings began to spin slowly, thrumming with power.

Scrivener Blooms felt the energy racing around him, and Innocence looked up brightly, her eyes glowing with amazement. Twilight Sparkle and Antares Mīrus were both pouring their own magic towards the rings as well, but they were being careful not to charge it with too much power: with so many strong people already pushing so much energy into the spell, they had to watch not to overcharge the portal and damage the frame holding it all together.

Between the rings, a bright light spread, forming a liquid-looking wall that rippled violently before flashing brightly. The wall of light that filled the rings transformed, becoming a window into another world as the runes pulsed along the framework that held it all together.

“Go!” Morning Glory snapped, and Celestia and Luna both nodded before leaping forwards and running side-by-side for the portal, Discombobulation wincing and diving forwards to catch the edge of Celestia's collar, dragged along through the air behind her like a flag. Twilight, Scrivener, and Innocence followed Luna, the young mare laughing as Excelsior and Antares followed last, the glossy-black unicorn grinning widely.

The column of ponies and Draconequus leapt through the portal, vanishing in flashes of light; they were seared with heat in the brief moment they spent between realities before they tore out the other side, running quickly along a dirt road beneath a gorgeous blue, sunny sky. Celestia and Luna both looked up, feeling that same blast run through their system: of familiarity, of the past, of... being back home.

Luna grinned and flicked her mane as it sizzled with energy, laughing and looking up with bright eyes as the others emerged through the window in reality behind them. Beside her, Celestia had her head tilted towards the sky and her eyes closed, basking for a moment in the air and the sun as Discombobulation sat astride her back and shook himself quickly out, then he said finally: “It's a lot like coming home to Zanarkand and finding out it wasn't all just a dream, after all.”

Twilight and Scrivener traded amused looks at this, as Antares shook himself out and Innocence looked slowly around with something like awe on her features. Then Luna laughed again as she looked over her shoulder at her children, saying easily: “Now, aye, that is a feeling I have truly come to savor. The sense that against all odds, here we are; home.”

“You can't have more than one home, Scrivener Blooms. Even if your parents are divorced. And if Odin is your father and Hel is your mother, something tells me you have one awkward family indeed. And the divorce must have been a nasty one.” Discombobulation said mildly, and Celestia's eyes opened as she smiled slightly and looked thoughtfully ahead.

“I don't think that's quite what happened, even if Odin's particular habits make it seem... like it's a strong possibility. But there's a sense that something much different happened between Hel and Odin.” Celestia said thoughtfully, and then she shook her head before drawing her eyes slowly down from the sky, looking first to the side of the road, over the flowing, verdant fields, then ahead, towards a beautiful, immense castle that stood a short distance away. A massive drawbridge was lowered and the gates stood invitingly open, the ancient walls and fortifications reaching high towards the sky, looking like fantasy brought to life.

The Halls of Valhalla, in the middle of the Vale of Heaven: all eyes turned towards this before Discombobulation cleared his throat and pointed ahead, beginning calmly: “And there the brave shall live, forever.”

Scrivener Blooms smiled despite himself, then he rose his head and recited softly: “There it stands, brick-by-brick built, totem of the past; kings' bones the foundation, kings' hearts beat within its walls, and guided by the minds of the wise. Oh kingly estate, do-”

“Stop showing off, Luna Brynhild. I quote ten thousand things every single day, you quote one thing now and then, why is it more impressive when you recite some stupid old poem than me?” Discombobulation asked crankily, and then he reached out and flicked Scrivener's helm lightly, making a loud ding as the stallion blinked dumbly before the Draconequus primly turned and crossed his arms and legs, sniffing loudly. “Tia, let us leave.”

Celestia sighed, but she was smiling all the same as she began forwards, and Luna grinned widely despite herself as she paced easily beside her sister, the sapphire mare saying wryly: “'Tis so sweet to see the rivalry forming between our respective pretty mares, Celestia. Mostly because I shall always be better than both of them as well as thee.”

“Because that's what's important, little sister.” Celestia said with a slight smile, and Luna nodded firmly several times in agreement as the two Valkyries led the way towards the castle, Twilight, Antares, Scrivener, and Innocence following in loose formation.

Discombobulation sniffed from where he was seated on Celestia's back, then he reached up and lightly patted her on the head, saying mildly: “I've always found it fascinating how many mares will demand to be treated equal... then fully expect a stallion to open the door for her, pull out her chair, and most important of all, pay her dinner bill.”

“Now you know I'd never expect any of that from you, Bob.” Celestia paused thoughtfully, then corrected with a glance over her shoulder and a slight smile. “Well, maybe dinner now and then. But I don't want you to pay, I just like to come home to a nice meal every so often.”

“Well, the mare belongs in the kitchen or the bedroom, Celestia. That is where Scrivener always is.” Luna said helpfully, and Celestia laughed and shook her head as Twilight sighed tiredly and Scrivy gave the sapphire winged unicorn a flat look.

Antares rolled his eyes at this, and then he said mildly: “Mutt, you know you're really setting a bad example here for Sin. I mean, what if she grows up to be just like you, treating mares like Dad the same way? That just ain't right.”

Scrivener turned his sour look on his son as Luna grinned widely, but before anyone could say anything further, they were hailed from across the drawbridge, and Antares looked up with a wide grin before he leapt forwards out of the group, Celestia sighing and shaking her head and Luna smiling warmly as she murmured: “That's my son.”

Antares ran across the bridge and leapt in a long tackle into the armored mare at the head of the line of soldiers waiting for them. The rich-green coated unicorn was knocked on her back with a wince, helm flying off to knock her coiffed metallic-colored mane loose, and then she glared up at the stallion with her silver eyes, making the red flaw in one stand out all the clearer.

She fidgeted beneath him in her tight, body-fitting golden-armor as Antares almost sat on top of her, grinning even as other golden-armored mares glared at him. Then the glossy-black unicorn leaned down and gently kissed the forehead of the pony he was sitting on, saying softly: “It's good to be home, Prestige Luster.”

Prestige smiled a little even through her irritation, and then she grumbled and smacked him several times with her front hooves, making him wince and stagger off her. She hurriedly stood up and brushed herself off, flicking her horn to lift her helmet and drop it into place on her head as she scowled at Antares and said dryly: “It's great to see you too, hero. But try and show a little courtesy for now, I'm here on official business.”

“Hey, technically I'm on business too, and also a higher ranking official than you new Valkyries.” Antares replied with a tilt of his head, and Prestige and the four mares with her all glared at the glossy-black unicorn before he winked and dropped his head with a smile at Prestige. “But very well, Lieutenant. Are you going to search me?”

“Not on your life.” Prestige shoved Antares backwards, then she turned to smile and sharply salute as Excelsior scurried towards her. The other new Valkyries did the same after a moment as Prestige became more professional, saying calmly “Sir. Queen Terra has asked me to inform you that Pipsqueak is waiting for you with several members of the Council. They want to discuss what's happened immediately. And Mistress Brynhild, Queen Freya...”

Prestige turned, keeping her pose proud, but bowing her head slightly as the new Valkyries behind her lowered in respect, Luna looking warmly over the mares and Celestia smiling slightly at the sight of these new Valkyries, these heroines being molded in the shape of the mighty warriors that they had once been... “It is an honor to see you here in Valhalla. Your rooms have been prepared, but Queen Terra is very eager to meet with you. She's waiting with the young prince for you in Kvasir's study.”

Celestia studied Prestige at this, examining her words and tone before the ivory mare simply nodded and said softly: “Then we'll go to meet her there.”

The ivory winged unicorn hesitated, then looked over at Twilight Sparkle, but the violet mare only smiled in return and nodded quickly, showing she understood Celestia's silent question. Innocence was marveling over the Valkyries, though, and the Lich thought that was a good sign: each and every one of them was a good role model for the mare, after all.

Prestige bowed, then she and the other new Valkyries saluted in perfect time before parting, letting Luna and Celestia lead the way through Valhalla's enormous gates and into the mighty castle. They both felt that same familiarity wash over them in these polished halls of stone that looked as if they had been built for giants... but there was a soft sense of sorrow here, too, and a feeling like while this was still part of what they called home, it wasn't where they belonged any longer. Others had taken charge of these halls, were protecting this sacred place: they had passed on Valhalla to a new, hopefully better generation.

Scrivener Blooms glanced over his shoulder, back through the open gates... and he smiled at the sight of Antares, who was cheerfully talking and gesturing to Prestige even as she did her best to ignore him. But she was smiling, too, and he knew that Antares was going to stay by the mare's side for most of this trip no matter what anyone said or did: he knew where he wanted to be, and Scrivener both understood and admired that.

He turned his eyes back ahead, and then couldn't help but give Twilight an entertained look when she said carefully to Innocence: “Maybe you want to go and look through the library, or see if you can train with some of the Valkyries... I'm sure Terra's going to want to go over a lot of diplomacy stuff as much as anything else...”

Innocence only shook her head quickly, looking mildly over at Twilight Sparkle as she asked: “You don't really think that's going to make me want to not come with you, right? I really want to find out more about what's going on, Momma.”

Twilight smiled lamely as Luna and Celestia traded looks, and then the Lich finally shrugged a little and said awkwardly: “It's just... it's a very... sensitive subject, that's all. For all of us. And I don't know how much... I mean, it's not that Terra doesn't like you...”

The young mare looked dryly up at her mother, then Scrivener Blooms said gently, glancing back at his daughter: “Someone might ask you to leave at some point. You know that one of us is going to tell you everything anyway, it's just... I doubt that Terra wants to talk about this with any of us.”

“Oh, that's a very polite way to tell me I'm uninvited too.” Discombobulation said mildly, crossing his arms and looking sourly at the charcoal stallion, and then he paused and peered down at Celestia as the rainbow-maned mare shrugged. “What? Tia, you betray me!”

“I think we both know that when it comes to tact, you're not often the best person to turn to.” Celestia replied gently, and Discombobulation shrugged a bit, looking as moody as Innocence did herself. “It's nothing personal.”

“Nothing is personal. Not even pronouns. But all the same, everything is personal. I am a personal.” Discombobulation grumbled, and then he shook his head wildly before raising a hand and declaring: “Innocence and I will not be treated like this! We shall not leave when you tell us to, but right now, right kid?”

Innocence only huffed, and Discombobulation looked at the young unicorn for a moment before he sprung off Celestia's back and landed on the young unicorn's, making her yelp and then glare up at him as she staggered to a halt. But the Draconequus only looked down at her pleasantly before he rose a foot, saying mildly: “You'll thank me later.”

With that, he stomped down on Innocence's back, making her squawk before they both vanished in a puff of smoke, and Twilight stared dumbly at the space where her daughter had been a moment ago, before she winced and looked wildly back and forth, beginning to panic a little. But before her anxieties could take over, Scrivener grasped her shoulder and Luna turned around with a huff, complaining: “Oh come now, sweet mare! This is Heaven! Part of the reason we brought Innocence here is precisely because 'tis safe for her. Besides, Bob is a good uncle for her. Is he not, Aunt Tia?”

Celestia only smiled despite herself and fixed a pointed look on Luna, and Luna huffed at her before the sapphire mare turned to lead them onwards through the halls, now and then greeting the beings they passed. There were many ponies here, but also Nibelung, a few dragons, and even more than the expected share of demons: but then again, Heaven and Hell worked in conjunction together these days, now that they were no longer in a state of war with each other.

Luna and Celestia both remembered every turn of these halls like they knew their own hooves, and it didn't take them long to reach the study that Kvasir had taken over. It was marked by a strange circle of runes in red that still had a distinct pulse of magic alive inside them, keeping the study safe from intruders and curious eyes.

Celestia knocked twice on the door as Luna straightened, taking a slow breath and calming herself down. Part of her just wanted to kick the door open and storm inside; part of her wanted to be nice, even gentle, handling this situation. But she knew that she couldn't give in to either urge: first and foremost, they had to find out what Terra knew about Gymbr. Recriminations and sympathies could come later, once they knew more about what exactly had happened.

The door swung open, and a voice called from inside the study: “Come inside, friends; I think we have room enough for us all here.”

Celestia and Luna traded looks, then led the way inside, and all four ponies looked towards the desk at one end of this little library of a room. Terra had pushed the old oak chair out of the way so she could sit in front of it and lean on it, a surprisingly humble expression on the features of the wingless dragon that was easily double Celestia's height and covered in steel scales that seemed to flex and ripple like liquid with her movements. The proud Ironjaw dragon was adorned with bracelets and a necklace made from polished teeth and bones, making her seem fiercer than she already seemed as her glowing blue eyes drew over them before she half-turned and instructed gently: “Say hello, lad.”

With a mumble, a small, strange little creature looked up from the set of wooden blocks he was lackadaisically playing with. He was dressed in loose green robes and was smaller than a young foal, with a head that was bull-like and possessed tiny little horns that curved backwards like Terra's. His eyes were a soft blue and his body red, little dexterous claws grasping the tops of the towers he had built as he simply stared at the ponies.

Terra cleared her throat again, and little Taruos finally nodded a bit and mumbled out: “Hi.”

“Hello, Taruos.” Twilight Sparkle said softly, slipping carefully towards the child... the young god. She smiled down at him, and Taruos looked almost grouchily back up at her: something that made Luna grin a little. That reminded her all too well of Kvasir. “What are you doing?”

“Ruling Valhalla.” muttered Taruos, and then he shook his head slowly and shoved one of his block towers over, before gathering up the spilled blocks and starting to make a wall with them, pointedly ignoring Twilight even as she continued to stand nearby with an awkward smile on her face.

“Now, Taruos, you should treat Miss Sparkle better than that.” Terra said softly, and Taruos dropped his head a bit and nodded before he looked up with a sigh, and his mother smiled at him kindly. “That's better. Now say, Miss Sparkle, if it wouldn't be any trouble, perhaps you could take the young prince out for a little stroll around Valhalla? I'm sure Taruos can bring you somewhere nice.”

Taruos grumbled, but when he turned his eyes towards Twilight, he nodded hesitantly. The little boy stood, then grouchily kicked his blocks over, and Terra sighed as she pushed away from the desk and leaned down, saying pointedly: “Now, none of that now, laddie-buck. Pick 'em up proper-like.”

The child sighed, slumping a little before he quickly did as he was told, piling the blocks into a neat square. He stood up, then turned his eyes moodily towards Twilight before the Lich smiled and said maybe a little too eagerly: “Why don't I carry you, Taruos?”

Scrivener and Luna both looked mildly at Twilight Sparkle, wondering if she had any idea how creepy she sounded as the young boy scowled up at her, but then he squeaked when Terra easily bit into the back of his thick robes and hauled him into the air to drop him on the Lich's back, Twilight gazing warmly over her shoulder at the child as Terra said warmly: “Now, that's a fine idea! You behave for her, Taruos. Remember, a prince must be a role model for his people, even from a young age.”

Taruos only nodded sullenly, and then he reached up and grabbed tightly into Twilight's mane, making her wince a bit even as she turned and headed for the door. Scrivener and Luna both watched the maternal mare leave with the child, while Celestia glanced up at Terra with a smile, saying softly as the door swung closed: “You're very good with him.”

“Nay. I'm only trying my hardest.” Terra smiled after a moment, shaking her head and quieting as Luna and Scrivener turned their eyes to the metallic dragon as well. “I was raised by the Clan, in fire and brimstone. I love my family and my Clan, but I cannot say it wasn't tough at times to do so. To remember we Ironjaw must be forged, not just raised. And now I have a child who is not Ironjaw, but who I love and adore and feel proud of and want to raise to be the best he can be all the same, and I just want to make sure I neither spoil him nor break him. For Kvasir's sake.”

Terra quieted, then she looked towards the table and gestured at three large tomes piled on the neat surface, saying softly: “And these, my friends, tell Kvasir's story. A story that I know I have to share with you now, if what I've heard is true... Gymbr is here, and Kvasir is... is not. I never wanted to believe it...”

She looked down, and Luna stepped forwards, saying quietly but firmly: “Thou had best be honest with us, Terra. Whether or not thou art Queen of Valhalla, I do not know how thou can expect us to trust or accept what thou hast done unless thou has a damned good explanation. And I desire to hear it immediately.”

“I'll do better than that, Luna Brynhild. That's why these books are here... two journals and a glossary, written by Kvasir himself. He wrote down all his thoughts, his fears, his analysis of everything from Valhalla to Gymbr to Hel. He recorded it all, and I've guarded it myself for all these years. But I promised Kvas, while he was still here, I'd never share these with anyone nor tell his story... not unless something like this happened. We believed in Gymbr...”

“'Twas a mistake, and one thou wouldst not have made if thou knew better where Gymbr came from. For even when we had Gymbr as an ally, years ago... we were very careful never to call him friend. We believed in him, aye, but only because there was something out there we all needed to work together to destroy, and we knew the beast was not stupid enough to betray us and risk his own destruction in the process.” Luna shook her head slowly, muttering: “And now? Now who knows what Gymbr will do to achieve his goals...”

Celestia, meanwhile, had stepped forwards and taken the first text when it was offered, glancing over it and murmuring the title aloud: “'The Hermit's Tale...'” A pause as she flipped it open, studying the pages with interest and saying more to herself than anyone else present: “He used a simple recording enchantment, didn't he? And it seems that he was worried for a while before this about Gymbr, and what he might do...”

“Yes, but it wasn't Gymbr that had Kvasir worried. It was something else... and he was right, wasn't he?” Terra replied, shaking her head quickly, and Luna and Scrivener traded looks, admittedly surprised. It sounded like Terra still wanted to defend Gymbr, still wanted to even believe in the strange god despite everything that had happened. “You were attacked by it too, aye? The assassin.”

“The Whistler.” Luna muttered, and then she shook her head slowly and said finally: “Aye, we were. But damnation, Terra, thou cannot say that the Whistler is a greater threat than Gymbr, nor that we need the likes of one monster to protect us from another! And even if the Whistler is but a harbinger of something worse upon the horizon, I do not imagine that it could be any worse than Gymbr is.”

Terra only smiled a little, shaking her head and replying quietly: “I don't know. And I don't quite dare to guess, either. But read Kvasir's journals and maybe you'll see why I feel the way I do.”

Luna shifted uncomfortably, and then the sapphire mare sighed quietly before looking up and asking moodily: “And so thou hast not been threatened? There are no other reasons thou kept his existence a secret from us? Although... aye, a promise to thy husband... I suppose that I can understand the value of such. Even if I think that Kvasir vanishing without a trace would have also been reason enough to come inform us immediately.”

Terra smiled and shrugged as Celestia glanced at Scrivener questioningly, and the stallion strode over to the ivory mare before she turned the book towards him, asking quietly: “Is there something strange about the text of this passage here?”

Scrivener frowned a bit, leaning in and studying the page she had pointed out before he poked at it awkwardly a few times, mumbling: “I don't read runic script very well, Celestia, but... yeah, the writing is different, there's more slant to the symbols... it looks recent, too.”

“Did you edit these?” Celestia asked as she glanced at Terra, and the dragon frowned and shook her head, and the ivory mare returned her eyes and smiled wryly. “I didn't think so. There's a small edit here, in the second entry: a description that's a little praising of Hel.”

“Oh, for the love of the Dragon Mother, I can't believe it. I haven't let these books out of my sight for more than a few minutes at a time!” Terra sounded more exasperated that surprised or angry, earning curious looks from Luna and Celestia, and the dragon grumbled as she shook her head and muttered: “Nay, it isn't any great shock. Hel still wanders around here herself whenever she pleases. She's gotten more and more bold...”

“Because she has to test boundaries. Even with Odin, she was like that.” Celestia said softly, shaking her head slowly as Luna grinned wryly, even as her own eyes remained dark. “She would always push until she'd finally push too far, and cause someone to snap, to come after her in a rage... but since she's always acted through a puppet of ice or some other construct, all that did was fuel her amusement further. But she'd always back off then, as well. She never dared to push too hard, out of fear that all the gods she'd angered over the years would band together and force their way down to her manse for a taste of vengeance.”

Terra grunted, and Celestia returned her eyes to the book, flipping through the pages quickly and reading passages here and there as Luna returned her eyes to Terra, measuring her slowly. The dragon calmly looked back at the sapphire mare after a moment, and there was silence between them until Luna said softly: “I need to be able to trust thee, Terra, and we need to be able to work together. Asgard, Midgard... and unfortunately, Helheim as well. We shall have to seek Hel's aid. And I have to know if thou will hesitate in the battle against Gymbr or not.”

“You make it sound like war with him is inevitable, Luna Brynhild, and I'm not so sure it is. Part of Kvasir always trusted him, and I always trusted in Kvasir. So I want to trust Gymbr too, in spite of everything.” Terra replied softly, before she leaned forwards, narrowing her eyes slightly down at Luna as Luna met her gaze fearlessly. “But you can do more than trust me and count on me, Luna Brynhild. If Gymbr has betrayed us, I'll lead the charge against him myself.”

Luna Brynhild snorted at this, then she shook her head and said with a wry smile: “Aye. Then I shall hold thee to it, Queen Terra of Valhalla. 'Tis our way after all, is it not?”

Terra nodded firmly, and then Celestia looked up, asking calmly: “May we take these with us? I'd like to examine them in further detail in private, if it's at all possible.”

“Of course, Valkyrie Celestia. I think that would be best, as a matter of fact... Kvas always said that if something were to happen to him, he'd want these books to somehow end up in your hooves. He always trusted you to do what was right, and I have to admit that you're likely more capable than me with all this.” Terra smiled after a moment, bowing her head quietly. “I'm no great mind, after all. I've always used strength solve my problems... which is why I do so badly as Queen of Valhalla, I think.”

Celestia only laughed quietly at this, shaking her head slowly and replying softly: “No, you're no worse a ruler than I ever was.” She stopped, then smiled, looking up with an amused gleam in her eye. “Although to be honest, I'm not sure that can entirely be taken as a compliment.”

“Thou wert a great Queen, Celestia. Thou wert just also extremely evil.” Luna said positively, and the ivory winged unicorn chuckled quietly before the sapphire mare returned her eyes to Terra, asking curiously: “Has there been any hint of Hel in Valhalla lately? While here we were hoping to meet with the foul goddess.”

Terra only shook her head, replying mildly: “I could send a messenger to Helheim, or ask the Archives to send word to her, but Hel rarely comes when beckoned or called. She prefers most to show up when I'd much prefer her not to be around... I'm beginning to understand more and more why Kvas was always so cranky on the subject of my old mistress.”

Luna grunted, then she looked mildly over her shoulder at Celestia, saying thoughtfully: “Well, perhaps Hel will respond better to the call of the Valkyries, aye? Or perhaps we can at least entice her to answer a question or two about Gymbr, and what she knows.”

Terra smiled slightly at this, the metallic dragon saying softly: “I don't know about that, Luna Brynhild. Hel has always been... peculiar about certain things. And she likes to keep her cards to herself... even if she helped both us and Gymbr more often than I like to admit to.”

Celestia and Luna both glanced up at this in surprise, and Scrivener Blooms frowned before he reached up and touched his chest on instinct, murmuring: “The soulstone core...”

“You're a sharp one, lad. Aye, the soulstone core. It was forged by Hel's own hands, and charged with her powers.” Terra said softly, and the dragon gave a small smile as Celestia and Luna both looked at her with disbelief, and Scrivener grimaced and shivered despite himself.

Terra only laughed quietly, lowering her head and closing her eyes as she murmured: “Gymbr was dying. I saw it myself... I don't know why or how, but he was falling apart, rotting away into nothing. He said he needed something... a core of soulstone, made by the hands of Hel herself, charged with her powers. And when Kvasir asked for it, she gave it to him, no questions asked; she even knew about Gymbr herself by that point, but... she gave it to us anyway, and together, we replaced Gymbr's core with that one of crystal.”

Celestia, Luna, and Scrivener Blooms all stared up at Terra, and Terra lowered her head, closing her eyes and smiling faintly. “Is it wrong that still gives me hope, even now? I know that Hel would never endanger us... oh, hurt us, frustrate us, aye, but she would never give something like Gymbr such power without some kind of backup plan, or some reason to... to believe that such a creature wasn't unstoppable, do you ken?”

Luna and Celestia traded looks as Scrivener shifted uneasily, and then the stallion looked up at the dragon and asked quietly: “But you worked for Hel, and... all she ever seems interested in is chaos. I get that you know her better than us but... that also means you know her better than us. And what kind of a monster she can be.”

Terra nodded a few times, then she replied softly: “That may be true, Scrivener Blooms, and she may thrive in chaos, but all the same... she's no fool. She wouldn't dare help to create something that could threaten her or do her harm.”

Celestia nodded in agreement with this, as Luna Brynhild grumbled before asking uneasily: “Aye, but could Hel have possibly done something to the core, to make it so the beast would have to obey her? Mimir's head, I think of a Gymbr that could only be influenced and controlled by Hel, and it makes my blood as ice.”

“Nay, I don't think so, Lady Valkyrie. For you see, the soulstone core was designed to work as a kind of leash...” Terra hesitated, biting her lip before she shook her head and murmured softly: “Kvasir was supposed to be the one who could control Gymbr, for he was the one who left his mark on the soulstone core. And Gymbr was the one to suggest it, to help keep himself... lucid.”

“What?” Celestia asked in disbelief, and then she frowned, shaking her head slowly before she looked down at the book in her hooves, flipping quickly through the pages as she murmured: “That's not possible... Gymbr found it impossible to even try and bow to Luna and Scrivener...”

“Aye, not that we have ever been the humble sort ourselves, of course, but all the same. Imagining the creature attempting to swallow its pride enough to bow to Kvasir as master...” Luna muttered, and then the sapphire mare shook her head slowly before she turned her eyes towards Celestia, adding flatly: “And what, does thou expect to find all the answers in the pages of that silly book? Such useful information is never so easily obtained.”

Terra chuckled quietly at this, the dragon gazing amusedly between the two as she said wryly: “For allies who are asking so much of me, I find it funny that you won't extend a little trust to my words. I am Queen of Valhalla, even if it's only because of my marriage to your former King.”

“And Kvasir did choose worthily, Terra.” Celestia said kindly, raising her hoof to quickly silence Luna before the sapphire mare could blurt anything offensive out. Then the ivory winged unicorn closed the book and looked across at Terra evenly, asking softly: “So then, speaking as someone we trust to tell us the truth, what do you think the chances are that Gymbr is telling the truth when he says the Pious are a threat?”

“I believe he is telling the truth, but not the whole truth. I believe he believes the Pious are a threat to him, and he is willing to drag us into his war with them. And I believe that as he has not returned with Kvasir, he has begun something he can't stop.” Terra replied quietly, bowing her head forwards and giving a faint smile. “Aye, I hate to think of it. But I believe that he has chosen the Pious for... for some reason I cannot fathom. But I also believe...”

Terra bit her lower lip, looking uncertain for a moment, but when Celestia gestured at her politely to continue, the dragon said softly: “I've been thinking of the assassination, looking at the notes that Kvasir wrote on it, comparing it to what you called the Whistler... and I think that if they are one in the same, then the world it comes from must be the world Gymbr had set out to destroy.”

“Why?” Celestia asked curiously, tilting her head, and Terra smiled a little as she shook her own slowly before looking towards the book in Celestia's front hooves, gesturing at it quietly.

“Because at the end of that story, it sounds as if Gymbr was going to protect the Pious from something... something that was hunting them, driving them before them. But now he's come back, claiming the Pious must be destroyed.” Terra halted, letting them digest this before she looked up and said quietly: “The assassin was efficient with the Pious, but sloppy with the people of Valhalla it killed. It made a mess of them, and I don't think anymore that was just to inspire fear.”

“You're extrapolating a lot... but the sense that I'm getting is that you think Gymbr has chosen to ally himself with whatever he was going to destroy at first. That he's decided the Pious are a greater threat... or maybe, he's destroyed the enemy he set out to, taken over, and now is looking to consolidate his power.” Celestia said slowly, and Scrivener Blooms looked up dumbly as Luna stared over at Celestia with surprise, barely able to believe how quickly the white winged unicorn had put together what was only assumed possibilities.

But it all sounded very, very possible, considering what they knew about Gymbr, and what they had seen so far. Luna and Scrivener traded looks, their eyes locking and sharing images and memories and thoughts as Terra nodded a few times, before the Ironjaw dragon said softly: “It's all just supposition and guesswork, milady Celestia Freya, but... it's what my instincts say is all too possible. And from what you've told me and the little I've seen, the most you can imagine is what's all too likely with a god the likes of Gymbr.”

“The most... and the worst.” Celestia said softly, looking down for a moment before her eyes automatically slipped towards Luna and Scrivener as they looked up, and they both shifted uncomfortably before the rainbow-maned mare asked: “What do you think? Is it possible?”

The stallion looked over at Celestia, feeling like she already knew the answer, and then he smiled faintly and simply nodded, murmuring: “It could be. Like you just said, the most and the worst... Gymbr is like a god of dark creation, and you saw what he's already done.”

Celestia nodded slowly, then she glanced over at Terra, saying quietly: “On that note, we need to find out what worlds Gymbr has already visited. He has to have stopped somewhere in order to have created his new... subjects. We need to find out what else he may have done to that world.”

Terra grunted, then she shook her head and murmured: “You aren't going to like this, Celestia, but the only thing we detected in Subterra after that pulse drew Valhalla's attention was Gymbr... his presence alone was enough to create a distortion that blocked out everything else. There's no way to trace their signals back to whatever world they came from, and we never detected anything happening amidst the ninety-nine...”

Luna and Scrivener traded looks at this, and Celestia frowned before asking slowly: “Then can't you at least trace that same distortion Gymbr is emitting? If it's so powerful, it shouldn't be hard to find, assuming he isn't jumping to outer worlds.”

“That's a bit of an assumption, Queen Celestia, which I suppose you must be basing off the chain of worlds theory, but we don't even know that that's true.” Terra said mildly, shaking her head quickly, and Luna looked up with a loud huff at this.

“'Tis clearly true! We know already that the worlds are either closer or further from the core, and they change upon their proximity. It only makes sense that these worlds connect, one-to-the-other, in ways we do not yet understand because neither thou nor Celestia will devote any time to researching them.” Luna complained, and then the sapphire mare shook her head and glanced mildly over at Celestia. “And thou underestimates both us and Gymbr if thou thinks that he cannot control that distortion. For he said himself, 'twas his intent to scare away the demons.”

Celestia only smiled a bit at this, however, saying softly: “We have to start somewhere, little sister. And I still am not completely sure about your theory that all the layers of Midgard are connected, like a path. If they were, we wouldn't need to use the Bifrost and portals so often to hop from different layer to different layer, but I still don't know why you insist there's natural overlap between worlds...”

“Because 'tis what makes sense, Celestia.” Luna said crankily, and then she shook her head quickly and turned her eyes towards Scrivener Blooms, who looked over at her lamely. “Explain it, beetle. Tell them my theory.”

“You don't really have a theory. You just pretty much decided one day that worlds that share distinct similarities must form some kind of road between the core world and... whatever outermost world there is, with a few places like Endworld and Decretum sitting completely off the path and accessible only by portal.” Scrivener said finally, and then he shook his head and looked awkwardly over at Luna when she glowered at him. “I think you're. Very smart though, dear.”

Luna grumbled at him, and Terra sighed before the dragon said softly: “Perhaps instead of trying to chase Gymbr for now, we should instead attend to our own defenses and what little we can do to protect ourselves from him. You've all made it very clear that he's a powerful creature and a great threat, especially if for some reason he has gone off the deep end. What else do you know about him?”

The three ponies traded looks, and then Celestia shook her head slowly and said quietly: “We can guess at everything, but we're sure of nothing. I would actually appreciate some time to read through these books and see what information I can get out of them before we talk any further on the subject, and I'm sure that Luna has a few other things to ask you, Terra. Do you mind if I leave?”

“Not at all, Celestia. Your chambers are prepared, and go ahead to take all the time you need. You know how to find me.” Terra bowed her head politely to the winged unicorn, and Celestia smiled as she picked up the books with telekinesis before turning towards the door to leave.

Scrivener and Luna traded looks, then returned their eyes to Terra as the Ironjaw asked kindly: “Now what can I do for you both, leavin' behind the subject of Gymbr for now? I know that you brought your daughter along, and of course your son is here. You know I'm very happy to make better accommodations for them both, I'm not quite as stuffy as Kvas in that respect.”

Luna and Scrivener both smiled a little, then shook their heads in unconscious synchronization before the sapphire mare said softly: “Nay, fear not. I am sure that Antares shall find his own ways to make merry trouble with Prestige, and 'tis better if Innocence follows the rules set for all for now. But Scrivy and I... we do require audience with Hel, and know that thou can send word to her... or at least ensure that word reaches her ears instead of messengers vanishing upon the way.”

Terra nodded meditatively before she said softly: “And both of you should know that Hel likely already knows you're looking for her. Sending message by any means won't do any good, and unfortunately you do have to consider the possibility that Hel might be backing Gymbr herself. She may have found some way to control or negotiate with him.”

“If that's true, then we're in way over our heads.” Scrivener muttered, and then he and Luna hesitantly traded looks and thoughts before they shared nods, the charcoal stallion adding after a moment: “But the chances of Hel getting along with Gymbr... thankfully, that's pretty damn low.”

“Aye, I suppose we simply have to wait for Hel to come to us, then.” Luna halted, then she looked moodily up at Terra, studying the Ironjaw dragon for a few moments before the mare leaned up and said pointedly: “I would like a chance at pummeling thee one day, Terra. For thou has created much great trouble for myself and mine, whether inadvertently or not. And well 'tis admirable thou wert helping Kvasir, it does not change the fact that Kvasir is a twit for what he has done here.”

“Kvasir is not a twit. And while it's cute you want to fight me, Valkyrie, impressive as you are in battle I would probably end up picking you out of my teeth with this.” Terra reached out and poked Luna's soulstone horn, earning a scowl from the mare before the demon grinned wider. “Well, it's true. Oh, sure, you might have brought down that Destroyer, Morning Glory, but I hear it was a close shave. I used to train with Destroyers regularly when I was part of Hel's honor guard: real Destroyers that is, not wild ones like her.”

“Oh, thou should be careful. If Morning Glory catches wind of thee speaking ill of her, she will come and spank thee, Terra. And while 'twould be most entertaining to watch, 'twould also rob me of my chance to fight thee and possibly lose Valhalla her Queen, as Morning Glory is not the kind of demon who pulls her punches in the heat of battle.” Luna said wryly, and Terra only laughed and shook her head, looking over Luna with entertainment.

“You fascinate me, Luna Brynhild, you really do! You're so sure of yourself and your kin, and you seem to think that just because you've seen the war, it makes you tougher and stronger than everyone else.” Terra leaned down with a slight smile, almost pushing their noses together. “But I've seen Hell, lass. I've lived war all my life, and worse. I respect you as a warrior and I know the Valkyrie were elite, but come now. Do you really think you could match me in high combat, any more than an untrained Destroyer who now works as an administrator could?”

“I could do that and more.” Luna said firmly, glaring up at the dragon, who narrowed her eyes slightly as she looked back down with a little more moodiness now. “Aye, I alone, in single combat, could more than match thee. Just as I and Scrivy would not be foolish enough to repeat the mistakes that thou and Kvasir clearly did!”

This made Terra glower at them dangerously, looming forwards a little more aggressively now as she rumbled: “You watch yourself now, Luna Brynhild. I know you've gotten away with quite a bit with others in the past, but I don't have half the patience that Kvasir does, and you haven't earned the right to order me around like one of your pet demons. I'm proud, strong, and fierce, Valkyrie.”

“Aye, which makes me all the more eager to stomp thee in the face.” Luna said challengingly, glaring back up at the Ironjaw, and they glowered at each other for a few moments as Scrivener awkwardly slipped away from the two, not wanting to get caught up in their fight.

For a few moments, the two continued to glower furiously at one-another... but finally, their eyes glanced away at almost the same time, the two grumbling and pawing at the ground as Terra said moodily: “But I suppose that we should try and... not kill one another quite yet. There will always be time for that later, after you've gone and shown off just what kind of strength you have to bear.”

“Well, I suppose thou speaks true enough, creature.” Luna grumbled in agreement, and then the sapphire mare shook her head quickly and added grouchily: “Although it provides me little in the way of satisfaction. Still, know this, great beast: thou shall one day feel the punishment of mine hooves, mark my words. And then thou shall understand why Luna Brynhild is the greatest Valkyrie that Heaven and Earth has ever seen.”

“Well, if you truly are greater than Celestia Freya, it'll make it all the more a pleasure when you and I have our tussle and I come out on top.” Terra replied comfortably, leaning forwards with a grin, and Luna slowly, dangerously narrowed her eyes. “Then I guess that will make me greater than all the Valkyries of Valhalla, aye?”

“Thou art truly begging to be pummeled.” Luna threatened uselessly, and Terra only gave her an amused look, which made the sapphire mare sulk a little before she spun around and muttered: “Well, come then, Scrivener Blooms. Let us leave this accursed place and go and poke at Valhalla. Later, Terra, we shall return to discuss things, including when I shall bring hoof party to thy face's house.”

“I'll be looking forwards to it, Luna Brynhild. I always do enjoy a good party.” Terra said easily, and Luna groaned as she turned and stormed out, Scrivener awkwardly grinning over his shoulder at the Queen of Valhalla before he hurried out after the sapphire mare, half-glad and half-anxious over the fact that Luna had finally butted heads with someone larger and scarier than she was... although at the same time that left him worried about how long the stalemate would last before Luna finally decided to pick a fight with Terra.

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