• 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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Leaded Chains Lead to Regretable Decisions

The Black Room, as it turned out was a room located in the depths of Canterlot Castle, which was magically warded against outside spells by the simple virtue of being a magically dead material. The fact that this material was Lead made me cheer for all those magic enthusiasts I had known throughout the years, and reinforced that some level of warding was indeed possible within Equestrias own magic, as said room was layered in as many wards against divinitation and outside eavesdropping as physically possible.

My conversation with Celestia, and just Celestia had allowed me to them divulge a few show time secrets, and confirmed Shining Armor and Princess Cadence's wedding as two months away. In exchange, I provided that some time shortly after their wedding The Crystal Empire, and Sombra were going to emerge, and to tell them to tilt their head frick fracking 15 degrees up and look at the top of the tower in the center of the city for the location of the Crystal Heart, and that its spot would be warded against teleportation magics and try to trap whoever grabbed it. Pardon my language, but the spot was a serious plot hole that relied upon the entire population not cranking their head to look at the tower in any detail what so ever and that there was absolutely never going to be at least a single Pegasus, Griffon, Dragon, Alicorn, Bird, or etc. around at all, ever, in the empire. I was honestly surprised that Rainbow Dash didn't find it in the show, given how out in the open it was.

I had also informed her of the details surrounding the Canterlot Wedding invasion, and asked her to remain quiet regarding the details to anyone other than Luna and to inform her of the same. I had to reassure her about the details in regard to getting Cadence out of the mines beneath Canterlot, as Twilight needed to be sent down there to retrieve her, and I made sure to ask if they could even GET the Elements of harmony without her, given the fact that the door to it was locked to a key that was literally Celestia's own horn. The fact that Twilight and company wasn't Celestia made them going for the artifacts pointless if they didn't have a way to retrieve them.

In all honesty, I was curious to what would of happened in the elements of harmony had been retrieved and they were able to go and blast Chrysalis with the 'Friendship' Ie: Mind-Breaking-Lazer-of-Villain-Doom. My own show knowledge had stopped at the end of season 3, and the fact that Sombras return wasn't going to be affected by whatever happened in Canterlot, it was an idea that I wanted to see happen.

As for the guard situation, I was still working out how to train them. While Yoko might be convinced to do so, I didn't exactly want the guards going full space marine on me. Not to mention her presence as a secret was currently beneficial in the event of resumed hostilities. The idea was being mulled out, but so far I had half an idea of how to get the recruitment for the 'Test' unit of guards as we had put it. In order to filter out the Changelings I had recalled from book seven of harry potter which had a waterfall in a very certain part that erased enchantments, including the mind controlling spell, and polyjuice potion which served to temporarily turn you into someone else. Both of which was useful against two of the primary infiltration methods of changelings, and I doubted Chrysalis would ignore me while I did my own thing. Which meant I was upgrading my own defense measures in the event of an attempted mind control or assassination during the night.

The fact of the matter, was now I was technically 'bunking' with Star Swirl himself, as the man was to accompany me as a co-worker and aide to not just study me, but also assist me with information on unicorn magic and how it worked. Shortly after this point in the conversation, we had made a break to fulfill one portion of the agreement, as we continued to talk about far less pressingly secret matters, such as how I was going to be bringing back Luna's old guard from the Castle of Two Sisters, and working out a schedule. Aside from training the guards, which would happen for about a month straight, I'd also be working through Luna's personal guards from highest rank to lowest in order to get the chain of command adjusted so that they could help their lower in chain comrades adjust to the present day. The fact that this was also going to be done on Luna's schedule meant we had to plan around her as well as hire more ponies like the sort that helped Luna first adjust after her return from banishment.

I had a theory I wanted to test in the matter of how many I could bring back as well. While Starswirl had required a massive amount of energy, he was a rather highly powered unicorn, and it had lead to a transformation with how much we had pumped into bringing him back. So the idea was to try a Gold Needle from Final Fantasy instead, rather than use the direct part of a Phoenix. While I imagine there was benefits to the transformation that Starswirl had undergone, we had no method of getting consent for the Threstral guards, and according to Celestia, bright light without proper training or equipment hurt Threstral vision, and kept them from concentrating fully. Starswirl had also complained apparently that it stung to take a shower, and now he was forced to use a fire-proof, water-proof beard and hair net to get cleaned up.

As we reached Discords statue, I had to ponder the creatures intent for bringing me here, considering he wanted freedom, and it seemed until now that I had fallen short on that deal. But as I approached, under watchful eye of Celestia, I went up to the statue and spoke, "Alright, Discord. Don't know if you can hear me, but working on a plan to get you out like you asked," He was so large, even taller than Celestia who already dwarfed her ponies, whom most of them already dwarfed me. I'd almost compare him to a chinese dragon if not for all the mismatched animal parts. Of him, he was still the most show accurate, the only other identifying feature of his uniqueness in this universe being that he still wore the hat prop he had shown me how to fix, giving him a hilarious double horn aesthetic despite the hat being turned to stone with him.

I gave pause as I decided to reach to touch one of his paws, the only one outstretched as if to sing downwards, oddly at just the right height that I could reach it, "It shouldn't be much longer, at least in comparison to the thousand some odd years you've already been a rock, maybe a few more months, but perhaps sooner if we can hash things out a bit m-"

When I touched his palm, my body lurched back a step, as a near phantasm of something hit me with incredible mental force. A sea of chaos, the void of the multiverse, and a vision of home, vastly accerated, as if years of being on earth occurred that I had been ripped away from had occured anyway. As if I was living a second life entirely unaware that I had even encountered the draconequus. As I recovered, and remembered to breathe, as my other-life flashed before my eyes I felt the gentle hoof of Celestia upon my shoulder, but the voice of Discord resounded in my head, 'A present of the present, for your Performance thus far.'

"Are you okay?" Celestia asked, and I shook my head clear.

"I'm.. I'll be better give me a moment, I think he just shocked me for a moment..."

Living another life was like a flood, and I added, "I need a moment to sit down... Can we go back inside?" The fact that moment had been strenous was ever present when I was still a massively injured, but as several years of my alternate life had been building props, and watching cinema, and becoming oddly obessed with other shows, and picking up older ones after a while, I needed to sort through it all. However, one idea did come to mind, "Do you have, perchance... Knowledge of where I can find a craft supply store?"

"What?" Celestia asked, "Why would you need that?"

"Its for the guard training... I can make a few tools to help, but I need to visit it to acquire what I need..."My brain was in overdrive, and my concentration fully returned as I found a few of my puppets had vanished with the lapse from shock, not all of them thankfully, but my mind was currently at capacity.

Somewhere between six to eight years had transpired on my earth, and apparently between jobs I had really, really let myself binge anime, cartoons, and video games in my off time more so than usual on that earth. Despite far less time having passed on this reality. Almost as if time was going faster by about twelve times on earth than it was in Equestria. I resisted the urge to gag, as my mind processed some of the more forgettable moments of my life, and it was a monumental effort to chuck out irrelevant memories. The sheer amount of driving, bathroom trips, and idle conversations that had occurred was really of no concern to me, and I wasn't really desiring to go back to my own earth any time soon given that I was pretty much wealthy enough to happily retire in this universe. That and between my friends here, and fun I was having with magic, the choice leaned heavily in favor of staying. I did keep some of the tricks I had figured out in the other life, as well as the volumes of cinema and gaming which was rapidly being organized. I was sort of disappointed however, in how little new content had really came out in six years, and the sheer amount of displaced in another world anime the other me had decided to binge watch. I mean, some of them were really good, sure, but come on, variety! Give me variety, me!

However, Discords gift had given me a great idea, one which unfortunately forced me to craft something I hated to do, and that was to make a wig, with enough hair-cement to properly anime it. I could already tell the next few days were going to suck, and that I was going to need some privacy. Thankfully with my new lodging, privacy was what I was going to get, as the only guards were going to be the slew of them guarding my door rather than watching me.

As for recruitment, I had initially wanted mostly a force of unicorns and Pegasai ponies, Celestia tried to convince me to take on a few earth ponies by pointing out that their inherent magic made them valuable for terms of endurance, and calmed my concerns about their magic actually being mostly passive, but with what I was intending, they'd be little better than civilians caught in the crossfire, unless I was to gimmick the heck out of them, which could be done better on the other two races anyway. Celestia argued Equality, while I argued practicality, but eventually I relented, and decided to put whoever passed my testing phase that I was coming up with on essentially 'central duty' or rather as part of the back-line support staff that would be essentially in charge of commanding, radio operations, and logistics for the corp I was making.

Part of me wondered why I was going the extra mile here, and another part said that everypony deserved kindness. Still a third part already knew that Canterlot would be fine, with or without me, and why would, or rather should I care about the aristocratic elite or the citizens of Canterlot? As Celestia bid me goodbye for the evening, as the lunch period was ending and her court of the day was soon due to resume, I froze. Why did I care at all? What did I want out of this?

Shining Armors squad of guards escorted me back to my prison as I pondered that question. What was my goal, aside from doing as Discord said, to get his freedom, which had already been all but assured in the shows own lore? Money and wealth was irrelevant thanks to the dragons horde, and acquiring power had come as a reactionary measure rather than wanted. Albeit Power was always welcomed in my hands, as magic was a great option to explore, but I was not the type to hide away and study arcane books rather than go out and about. Even if I was, the unicorn based magic of Equestria was almost useless to me aside from if situations like that of Luna wearing my face...

My mind pondered the mare, while I found her intriguing, there was too many unknowns to call it love, as I had cared not for appearances, however her status and mine own would complicate an issue of pursuit of such a goal. While I had no doubt I could buy myself a noble title given the horde, the question of likelihood of having the feelings returned was on the downer side of estimations. She was a thousand plus year old immortal goddess, and in comparison my own age almost seemed infantile, and irrelevant given the mortal coil of span that humans could call a life. While she may feel indebted to me for the events that came the future, I doubted it would amount to much in the long run, short of being turned consort to a returned Nightmare Moon.. My mind snorted at the ridiculousness of such a concept, considering such a villain from what the show represented would likely be too busy stroking its own ego to pursue romance... Something sat oddly.

Aside from Luna's past, there was the manner I was now aware of, thanks to Discords latest gift, that Luna was indeed torturing herself with something called.. What was it? Tenta-bus? Tantalus? The name didn't matter, but she was at least going down a self destructive path, that could be avoided if she just talked to others. Albeit that episode was great for 'feel free to talk to others', morale. Fans had been decidedly split on it being a horrible representation of how to deal with depression, since Luna was pretty much told that it was okay that she was a terrible person, and the episode kinda just ended on that note after fusing with her 'guilt monster'. Some fans argued that meant she had come to terms with the Nightmare Moon phase she went through, though I had in the other life, and now here as well that the Elements of Harmonys brain washing, just like all the other incidents of forcibly changing someone elses mind with magic in the show; the case of vampire fruitbats and parasprites coming to mind; was imperfect, as well as damaging to the psyche.

My distaste however, wasn't just that, given the Elements of Harmony more and more deserved to be thrown in a trash compactor in my books, but the sense of wrongness was something else, deeper in. Maybe connected to that strand of thought. Ironically it was my habit of being a merchant for my wares that brought the feeling fully into light. I had given a metric load of information about the future, as well as was going to provide proper training for Celestias military in exchange for freedom that I could just escape for, and the ability to hold more conversations that would likely of been needed anyway with being here. In other words, a scam that normally I'd be perfectly aware of. Part of me said it was fine, after all, I had 'wanted' more opportunities to make friends with-.

I grabbed that thought, like a weed, and pulled at it roughly My mind working with the concentration of an army at the beck and call. Digging deep there was the sense of wrongness started? It was when I first woke up, face separated from bedside. Something had felt weird then, but I had attributed it to being on Equestria's version of morphine, and dismissed it as a side effect passively. But like anything weird that stays a while, like stress between the shoulders knotting up, eventually I had learned to ignore it altogether, and it became like a background noise, only as a thought. Bitterness stung my tongue and anger clouded my thoughts, by this point I had been pondering so long that I had been let back in and merely was pacing in my cell. That feeling, trying to pin it down was like pinning down a wet bar of soap with greased hands. But as my pacing continued, while sure it could avoid a pair of hands, but a hundred? A thousand? Tens of thousands of mental hands, spears, daggers, swords, scissors, and the like diving in at it, in ever increasing numbers, it swam like a reed. Then I caught it, there nestled away deep in my thoughts was a shackle. Magical, in nature.

I followed it, both towards and from me, like a mental collar it was tied around my head like one a dog for the neck, the other, a chain leading towards... The day court? Oh that clever daughter of a-. The logic was there, the spells were public after all. Celestia would of course be well versed in all magic, and magical laws. With a dangerous criminal element like me, making things a little easier would solve away many issues. I wondered mentally how many issues were solved like this. Were Canterlots Elite merely inept, or were they unable to formulate proper common sense because of the errors that came with the brain washing? I nearly broke the collar, chain and all then and there. But then an idea, a desire, a want arrived. With a grin like the grinch before his heart grew three sizes, I found a wonderful use for this mental magical collar.

"Captain Shining Armor?" I spoke aloud, knowing that he could perfectly hear me, "I'd like to arrange a meeting with Princess Luna when she is free."

"Given your abilities, I'll send someone to inquire. Mind if I ask the context of this sudden request?"

"Oh, just some details I'd like to go over between mine and Celestia's little deal, you know, involving the Threstrals, adapting them to society like she had to, and what not. As well as the method doing so, since we brought Starswirl back together, after all."

"I see. I will pass along the message shortly then." Shining Armor nodded, unaware of the shackle, or that I was now gleefully grinning since my back was to him.

I could still spot him through a card however, writing up a letter and sending it by horn into a puff of smoke. I couldn't help but let out a small chuckle, of all the things Celestia had to do, she had to pick the one thing I hate most about Equestrias magic system. After a moments consideration, I thought about how much that it made sense given Celestia. A thousand years of peace, no conflict, and everyone happy? Oh how the puzzle fit together. No wonder everyone sang show tunes, and danced about the place like a Broadway musical as if life wasn't, well life, but a play upon the stage. I couldn't help myself as I laughed to myself about the absurdity of my own presumed thoughts of Celestia's 'perfect' reign if what was given here was the truth.

As I recomposed myself, for Shinings Sanity if not my own, I wanted to say many things, but the one word that was on my mind was, 'Mistake'.

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