• Published 1st Apr 2014
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Puppets of Tragedy - Iridescence T Wind

We all know the story, human from earth goes to Equestria from buying a mystical prop from a mysterious unnamed salesman to attend Comicon. But what you didn't expect was the prop to be a puppeteers crafting kit.

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Recovery And Relocation

I slept well into the next day, only bothering to be woken up by Cass when it came to her appointment. Once I had a cup of coffee, it was back to work on her cybernetic limbs while several robotic arms worked on restoring the damage done to Aku as well as salvaging the remainder of my deck of cards, and figuring out a way to print a new deck. While I tinkered with the cybernetic limbs, which was coming along nicely and would be due to fitting and seeing how well it worked on the near limbless pegasus soon, I was going over some design choices with her before eventually settling on a hybrid design that would be able to morph between having hands similar to my own, and actual hooves. I didn't, however, mount it with any weapons other than a short hidden blade just in case. She and I both agreed that she would have to earn those particular upgrades, and expressed child like enjoyment at the prospect of even being able to walk again, let alone have a full range of body motion.

When I checked on Amber she was in Trixies room, sharing a conversation about what happened, as well as what little she knew of my agenda. The conversation was going somewhat against the blue unicorns belief, but the more she listened, the more her face slowly grew from disbelief into a grim slim line that I had never seen on a pony before. She listened mostly, only asking a few questions from then on. Only for the conversation to end and Amber to be bid goodbye as the Unicorn mare considered her options. Though she was one of the least I was concerned about. I would ask her for her opinion tomorrow, once she had time to think.

Melody was taking the elevator up, having been briefed, probably, by Amber as well when I had passed out, and now that the facility was beginning to work again, she saw it as an opportunity, probably, to come and visit me. Though she easily somehow managed to get lost on the training level...

"Hello, and welcome to the Aperture Science Standard Enrichment Training Center." GLaDOS droned out, from an intercom, "How may I help you?"

She looked around for the source of the voice, but when she didn't find it she asked aloud, "H-hello? I am, uh, looking for your 'Master'... To discuss about what happens now that the king is... ahem... gone."

"Third floor, second door on the left." GLaDOS informed her, and after a quick bid of goodbye the siren all but bee-lined to the elevator while I set my focus back outside to once again come to terms with the mysterious knight that had parked himself at the edge of my awareness. He was no longer alone, now joined by a smaller figure in a similar cloak, however this one was clearly a pony unlike the first taller well armored stranger. I could tell because he had pale green hooves and a tail that trialed past his cloak unlike the strange knight who had claws and was hiding what I presumed was wings underneath his massive cape.

I turned my attention away from them again to my work, which was the repairs for my remaining masks as well as planning out what masks I had to replace first and the tool I had lost in distracting and eventually defeating the siren tyrant. It also didn't help that my arm was sore, well the magic decorated one, I mean. Having a broken arm still in a cast was still painful, but it was muted to the weird burning sensation that was countering the colder one that my arm had taken up after the windigo king had tried to possess me. I did know one thing though, and that was if I didn't start learning magic soon as well, to the very least how to control its basic functions, there might be consequences.

At the very least I wanted to know and have complete control over my body again. Having magic was like having a third arm, one that I hadn't even learned to move properly yet, and in the coming days I was going to need every advantage I could get, if the last two battles were any indication. I was going to need a whole lot more than an army of masks and puppets if I was engaged directly. That meant training myself ontop of everything else. But that would have to wait until I could use my broken arm to its fullest extent again before I could try. Until then, I had a few ideas in mind to what I could do to compensate until then. But first things was first. The masks and magic.

The door to my room opened as Melody slid inside. I kept working, turning a camera to where I was working with my hands while I gazed at the siren directly, "Greetings Melody, what brings you here to me? I'd thought you'd be seeing to the resettlement of your fellow sirens."

My response had given her a momentary pause, as she quickly composed herself to deliver a reply, "It is about the resettlement of my people that I have come to you about." she said, "During your companions scuffle and eventual defeat of the god-kin-"

I interrupted her, "Any King who murders his subjects one after another for little to no reason is no king." I told her pointedly, "It is a tyrant. The same being who can sink a city and form a new mountain as a result has no excuse to maintain a forced population control and that is before we consider the males of your species which he also had butchered. But go on."

She huffed, "In the end at a cost to yourself you overthrew our... Tyrant, and ended his reign of us yourself. By our customs that makes you the next king, god or otherwise."

I paused from my work, the buzz of activity from where my consciousness was stretching, halting as I considered her words, and replied with my own, "Just because I defeated your previous king, your people would let a complete stranger of an alien race, who aspires to be a villain in their own right and has no experience with ruling be your king?"

It was a fallacy. Impossible. Absurd. Yet when I looked back upon her face, she was resolute, "It is by our customs that-"

"Your customs have about as much weight to be as a books words on paper." I told her, "Despite what Aku claimed in the heat of battle, Neither I nor he has the time, energy, desire, or skill in which to micromanage a small kingdom which hasn't seen the light of day for countless years, and have already put up with each of those years under one horrible ruler already."

"Our customs matter to us, its been the only thing that the king has been lost, and that a new one must take his place in order to lead us. Without one, I fear chaos will take the place of order in our society as a fact of life suddenly is called into question thanks to your actions." She replied, trying to shift a mountain of responsibility onto my shoulders, "If not you, who else would take the place of ruling our people?"

I was going to suggest a democracy, or a rule by the people for the people. But I would rather not end up introducing such a foreign concept as that type of government system after what she had already stated was a fact of their lives. The change could be suggested, but I think that would take months upon months of more added work combined with hundreds of years of adjustment and fine tuning until such a system would completely have its kinks worked out. Despite what others may think, I was still an artist, not a politician or judge, nor a lawyer either. So that meant electing a new King, or as my mind just came up with, Queen.

"There's always another option. You could lead them as their Queen."

She stuttered, adorable really, for some reason she reminded me of the book worm type person, maybe it was the stone slate she held clutched to her chest like a lifesaver, or perhaps her history with... well... history, "W-what?!"

"I can't really see someone more qualified," I started to explain before she started up yet another counter argument, "You're a member of the species who have some standing among your community." I told her, "You have a knowledge of history in regards to your past tyrant king, and have been able to hold a position of power that is neither militaristic or political in nature."

"I hardly consider a historian as a position of power, Puppet Master." she remarked back to me, and I chuckled.

"Knowledge is power." I responded, "And within the realm of leadership it is also said that history is learned so that mistakes of the past aren't doomed to repeat in the future. Seeing as you have knowledge, extensively in your failed king's mistakes. I trust you won't make the same mistakes he did."

"B-but I..." she trailed off, she had come to pin responsibility on me, and I had turned the tables on her, left without her argument and after a minute or so of sputtering, she finally came up with a cohesive sentence, "I... don't know where to begin."

I dismissed her worries with a casual wave of my hand, "Oh don't worry. I don't intend to leave you completely to your own devices, I will help with getting your people both the food and shelter they need considering the battle between the tyrant and my forces destroyed your home. I could even offer to take your people to the best water filled locations in Equestria, provided we have enough time to scout them out and find one that will be suitable to your people."

It wasn't like I had a dragons horde worth of bits and treasure after all. It was the least I could do for these three hundred some odd sirens. I had already started to calculate how much food and drink everyone in the compound would need for the coming winter, and my solution was a genius, yet very clear one. In order to not draw suspicion I would need to gather all the supplies from several major port and farming cities under the guise that I was going to sell them elsewhere in mass. A bit of fish from the port cities, a bit of vegetables from the various farming communities, and who knows? Perhaps some Apples from a certain Applebucking farmer.

My words had calmed her down somewhat, but eventually she questioned, "Why not someone with more military or political skill?"

"Because three reasons," I said, "First, and foremost is that I don't trust anyone who was adviser or guarding the tyrant king due to the nature of the tyrant himself. Villains and heroes tend to attract like minded individuals, unless you're going for a rag tag band of either. In which case I would of probably have seen half a dozen or so gimmicky mini-villains which would of done naught but annoy me to no end. Even if I could trust them, the nature of politics itself has often been regarded as the art of being friends with someone after you stab them in the back several times in a row back home. So someone without the motive or reason to backstab either me or my future allies is more preferred than someone else, which is reason two."

"What about reason three?"

I coyly winked at her, "You're the only Siren I know besides that tyrant king. Judging from your interactions with my..." I searched for the right words, "Extended Relations..." I finally settled on that, "You don't seem to bear particular ill will that your tyrant has been vanquished, unlike some who may have grown used to, or even liked the twisted idea of being nothing but a forced extended harem of sirens."

After a moment, she sighed, her shoulders slumping, "Very well then... I will run it by the oldest members of our group."

"Should they reject, I shall see to it personally who they would rather have in charge, as well as do a few tests... on their strength of character. Yours as well should you fail." I intoned, and with a gesture of defeat she slid off, exiting.

Though before she left she had one last remark, "I guess this makes you an Emperor, then Puppet Master, For you shall rule a Queen who shall rule a nation, A word of warning though, on the subject of Harems. You may be in for a surprise, several of us have been overjoyed by the news, and some far more than most. Should you find yourself with any number of guests greater than three at your door these coming nights... Beware their joy."

With those ominous words she left, and now I had to ponder what would happen. Would I be killed if I let them in? Driven to exhaustion from over-zealous fangirls? Did I have fangirls? that was an interesting topic itself. But now I was going to resign to locking my door tonight, just in case. I chuckled to myself after she left, a villain with fangirls? This was getting silly...

A Week Later...

"Coffee Boss?" Amber asked me, and I groaned an affirmative from my desk.

"Yeah... Too much noise... mind keeping it down?"

"That marks, what? Seven nights in a row, and you still haven't let any of them in?" Amber asked, as she poured, what I was starting to consider, a god-in-a-cup-named-joe.

"Basically. I had to add a hallway between my room and the door just to get some sleep last night. Who knew Sirens had such unbearably loud voices when they want to get into something with someone who has no intentions of doing so."

"Shouldn't you be bringing this up to your little Princess downstairs?" Amber asked, taking a sip from her own mug as I all but drowned in mine, before resting my masked chin on the table again, "I've tried, shes not having much of a better situation, apparently same-gender-couples are a commonplace thing in her world, as shes been asked out so many times for bringing the 'savior from above' down on their hated overlord. In any case, shes tried to repel hers as well as mine, but only time seems to get it to their heads that we're not interested."

"You could save yourself the hassle if you just married the princess." Amber suggested.

"I don't even know her, so why would I marry her, and on the matter of Princesses... Why do people keep calling her Princess? There's no Queen or King above her."

Amber shrugged, "I think she's still hoping that you will be their king, personally. Certainly has a weird ring to it, "King Master, lord of the puppets and musical fish-ponies. Shoo be do-"

"Somepony kill me now." I whined, cutting her off,"Shes making references she knows naught about. Its not even my name anyway, that's my villain name..."

Amber took it in stride, she had learned really quickly that a sleep deprived Puppet Master was a cranky one, and it was her who had suggested the coffee in the first place after day three of hardly any sleep, "Well what is your name then, Boss?"

"Only if you promise never to sing ''shoo be do' ever again." I muttered, in hindsight, I had been meaning to tell her, if only to make conversations easier. Amber had saved my life, and that act had done wonders on my perceptions of the griffon.

"Deal. So spill." she brought up a chair next to mine, one that was usually reserved for Cass during her visits.

I sighed, "Alexander R. Herrington. I prefer Xander more than Alex," I gestured with my hand to the air above my projects, as if mocking a theater performance, "It sounds more... Exotic... That way." I finished before letting my hand fall limp to my side again.

"What's the R stand for?" Amber asked.


"You're kidding." she deadpanned.

"My parents had a sense of humor, sue me." I muttered, going officially face down into my work station.

"Alexander, Red Herrington." She put emphasis on that part of my name, and I groaned.

"Please stop, its a joke that never ceases to be the opposite of funny."

She cackled, she downright cackled, and repeated my name again, "Stttttoooopppppp...." I groaned again, giving her a pointed glare, "I really can't take it right now, I need to work if I'm going to have everything ready for the trial tomorrow, and I'm probably going to need to pass out early tonight due to it being held in the morning."

She chuckled a bit more, before relenting, "Fine, fine, here, take another cup of coffee Boss, Though I do admit, your last name sort of has its own ring to it as well."

"King Herrington?" I muttered, under my breath, "Great, I sound like some sort of guy who gets assassinated after a season or two of show time to throw a plot in another direction."

Amber rose an eyebrow, "Pardon?"

"Just muttering about how I will make an entrance tomorrow." I replied in turn, and she gave me a quizzical look.

"You're a weird guy, Xander."

"All the better to do villainy things with." I muttered, not even trying to come up with a witty reply. Man my bed looked comfy... Ugh...

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