• Published 16th Feb 2015
  • 3,276 Views, 91 Comments

I Don't Think I'm Supposed to be Here - Architect Ironturtle



What happens when the Merchant screws up a displacement?

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Well This Was a Stupid Idea

I'd never been a lucid dreamer, so when I realized I was dreaming and knew I was dreaming, I was pretty sure something was up. As such, I went straight to my first line of mental defense: play annoying music.

"Aaugh!" Wait, I know that voice...

"Princess Luna? You know it's a really bad idea to enter someone's head uninvited, right?" She appeared in front of me, and had the good grace to look sheepish.

"My apologies, 'twas not my intent to offend. I merely wished to gain a better understanding of thee, and learn where you put the Elements, since they are vital to mine kingdom's defense."

"Is that it?" I smirked, "Well, I suppose I could let you look around, but you'll have to earn it first. Just run the gauntlet, and I'll let you see anything you want."

She gave me a look of surprise. "'tis all?” Then her expression became a grin. “I accept thy challenge!"

"Very well."

I faded out of sight and used Bane's nightmare powers to craft the obstacle I had in mind. A game, if you will.

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Luna found herself sitting at a desk, in a chair that wasn't really meant for ponies, looking out onto a pitch black corridor. On the desk was one corded phone, one flashlight, and one computer connected to various cameras, and one hollow bear costume head. The phone started ringing, and Luna wasn't certain what she was supposed to do with such a device. It rang a few more times, then went to voice mail.

"Uh, hello, hello hello? Uh, hello and welcome to your new summer job, at the new and improved, Freddy Fazbear's Pizza..."

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I giggled to myself when Luna forgot to wind the music box and got jumped by the puppet on her first night. "Ain't I a stinker?"

Canterlot, Luna's private Quarters (6:00AM)

Luna woke up screaming after facing down a terror she'd never expected to see again. She immediately stumbled out of bed, ignoring her shoes and crown. The Princess of the Night bolted down the hall, past her sister’s room to a near-forgotten closet in the back of the royal suites. There, she grabbed a turn-crank in her mouth and wound it until it started clicking. The crank was connected to a music box that was playing a simple melody. The only other object in the room was a large box decorated like a present. When Celestia caught up with her, she she was still in a panic.

"Sister, what happened!?" Luna glomped her and proceeded to cry into her barrel. Celestia could only stand there and make soothing noises.

Several minutes later, Luna manages to calm down enough to speak. "I was given a challenge, by Dual. Face down this creature," she nodded towards the box, "in it's own territory for 5 night's, and he will give me access to everything in his head."

Celestia went pale. "How could he possibly have know about it?"

"I have no idea sister, but I will persist. Even in the face of such horror."

“Oh Lulu...”

They embraced, then turned and left, each heading to her respective quarters, not realizing that the box's lid had shifted the tiniest bit. A gap had appeared, one just big enough to allow a single, glowing white eye to peep out.

Everfree Forest

I was sleeping peacefully, with Luna long gone from my dreams and my thoughts when I was smacked in the butt by something hard and sharp. "Youch!" I scrambled out of my hamster nest and stared in confusion at the mass of items piled at my feet. I picked out an uncut diamond, a rainbow ice cube, a plumber's badge, a coin with an eclipse on it attached to a folder, and a black Loa stone among the clutter. Curious, I picked up the Loa stone.

"Those who have need of the shadows, who want to spread fear and desolation, who want a terror in the night, call on me, The Makuta, Emperor of the Shadows!"

Uh-oh. As a former Bionicle fan, I knew exactly what I was dealing with, and quietly promised myself to never use this one. I put it aside and picked up the coin and folder.

"To those of sound mind, sound heart. To they that would stand against evil, in the face of Armageddon. To the warriors and heroes, both celebrated and unsung. To my fellow Displaced, I call on you. I am Auric Fulcrum, Knight of the Eclipse, wielder of Alchemy's might. All I hold dear is being threatened by another Displaced. I know not why he seeks to fight me, but as I am, I cannot fight him and win. I require allies while I repair my self. I call on you to aid me, and promise you this: should the side of Light prevail, then I will grant they that aid me whatever boons I can as rewards, within reason. I hope that is not the only reason you choose to fight for me, but in my experience, you motivate more people with a pile of treasure and a kind plea than a kind plea alone."

Hmm. Tempting, but I wasn't ready to deal with him yet. I'll talk to him later, once I've gotten my business in order. Then I opened the scroll and skimmed through it. It was for the princesses. Eh, I'll give it to them when I get the chance. Then I grabbed the ice cube.

"I am Xante, Baron of the Frozen Wastelands, First among Liches, Lord of the Undead, and Fabulous Rainbow Magician. I seek the aid of those who wish to oppose the merchant, the void-dweller responsible for this all the displaced. Contact me if you wish to fight against that which put you in this place."

Sweet. I put his token next to the coin. I would probably be pretty useful on his little quest, since I don't think this "Merchant" sent me here on purpose.

I cycled through the other tokens to make sure I didn't miss anything, but those were the most notable ones. I decided that since I didn't seem to be alone in this anymore, I should make a shelf to put these on, and a token of my own. I snapped the crest off my satchel and filled in the two smaller holes with their respective Ancients. Since that seemed to be enough detail for the object I turned my to coming up with a call-sign.

"I am Dual, master of the Heroes of the Radiant and the Dire, and destroyer of the Ancients. If innocent blood has been spilled or enslaved, call on me and I will aid you however I can."

Informative, but not lengthy, flashy, but not overstated, this'll do nicely. With that done, I mixed a couple of my more exotic backstories together to toss the crest into the void, with a new one growing on my satchel the moment its predecessor disappeared. A few seconds later, I got a nibble.

"I am Red Wind the Aeromancer. I have reawoken from my deep slumber and am on the run. My powers have greatly diminished and I have run myself into a corner. I do not know how long until I am found. I require assistance."

Hmm, sounds like this guy could use a hand. I accepted the party invitation, felt a tug on my gut, and fell into the Furthest Ring. What? It’s a pretty accurate depiction of the inter-universal void.

much later

I stepped through a massive hole in fabric of space-time back into my own world, lugging the enormous, undying carcass of Roshan behind me, and holding a Direstone. "That Red Wind guy was a pretty cool dude, I hope he takes my advice." What I hadn't mentioned to him was that as long as that satchel was separate from me, I would no longer have access to Storm Spirit or any of his spells. A minor sacrifice early on, but I'd have to watch who I gave my powers out too. However, the look on his face when he realized what I was offering was more than worth the trade.

I hot-footed it through the Everfree, looking for a nearby cave where Roshan could live until I needed him for the battlefield and a good place to start building the Dire Ancient. I really didn't want him to wake up before I found one, since I didn't feel like beating him up again. Trouncing this guy once was more than enough. After wandering around for a while, I finally found a nice tall cave right next to a river. I was pretty sure Roshan would feel right at home in here. I hauled him inside, made sure he was still healing like he should be, then moved deeper into the forest for about the same amount of time distance and placed the piece of Dire in a small clearing. I could feel it's pleasure as the match started to take shape, so it must be in the right location, or close enough.

It turned out that the Ancients were indestructible under most conditions, and I'd have to go to a lot work to make them vulnerable. With that in mind, the first step would be to recruit allies. DOTA is a team game, and a team with one member isn't much of a team at all. Now that I had my next task, I set my sights on Ponyville, the nearest settlement. I should be able to find a suitable partner or two there.

I powered up Riki's skill set and slipped into town. Ponies were all over the place, living their lives, selling and buying merchandise, eating, playing, the usual stuff.

Let's see here, I swept my eyes over the crowd. I'm looking for an intelligent pony who is logical/impressionable enough to be convinced I might be doing the right thing and isn't completely dead set on stopping me. That meant all of the Mane Six and their families were out, along with most of the other ponies in town. However, a few ponies did spring to mind when I set up those parameters. I went for hunting for the first one on the list. Finding the schoolhouse was easy enough but since it was high noon, more or less, I wouldn't be able to talk to her for a few more hours. So I used a few tangos and a bottle to have some lunch, and settled in to wait.

The last of her students had just gone home for the day, and Miss Cherilee was tidying up the classroom and getting all the homework straightened out. With that done, she did one last quick check to make sure everything was in place.

Chalkboards clean, check. Dirt and paper off the floor, check. Paints put away, check. Books on the shelves, check. Apple of the day crunchurp, check. Creature next to the door, check. Wait- Her eyes snapped around to the biped that had appeared next to the only exit, and went up, and up. He was twice her height, with glowing green and orange eyes and skin, and was completely bald. She knew what this thing was, she'd read about him when she was a filly. Massacre, the Unstoppable. She was so shocked the apple core she was biting into fell out of her mouth and hit the floor. The creature gazed traveled from her to the core, and his brow furrowed. Then slowly, almost cautiously, he dropped down to all fours, like one of those apes from the eastern continents, and started loping forward. She took an involuntary few steps back before she realized he was just picking up the apple and sticking it in the garbage. With that done, he turned back to her, and spoke.

"Hello, Miss Cherilee."

"H-hello. may I ask what you're doing in my classroom?"

"That is simple enough." He sat on the floor and pulled out a piece of paper. "I would like to play a game."

Miss Cherilee, by this point, had gone from shocked, to scared, to just plain confused. "A game? What game?"

"A number game. I know a rule, a rule written on this piece of paper, which I will give to you in advance so it can't be tampered with. You will then guess sets of three, and I say whether they match the rule or not. Your job is to guess the rule from those answers. 2,4,6 makes the rule say yes. Are you interested?"

Miss Cherilee accepted, between wanting to keep this creature happy and being genuinely curious as to what he was getting at.

"Begin."

"2,4,6."

"Yes."

"Ok, 6,8,10?"

"Yes."

"0,2,4?"

"Yes."

"It's a set of three positive numbers, increasing by 2 per number."

He smiled, not showing his teeth. "And what would you say if I told you that 80% of grown ponies couldn't get the right answer?" (Technically, it was grown humans, but close enough.)

"I'd say I have to think wider. -5,-3,-1,"

"Yes."

"-2,0,2?"

"yes."

"Hmm. 5,10,15."

"Yes."

"21, 42, 63?"

"Yes."

"I say the answer is any three numbers, increasing by the same amount per number."

He smiled wider, showing a set of canines that were never meant for eating plants. "Open it up and see how you did."

Cherilee did so, and read, Any three numbers, ordered lowest to highest. her jaw dropped. All of a sudden she felt like the victim of a massive practical joke.

"That, Miss Cherilee, is what is called Positive Bias, or the tendency to try to support your ideas instead of trying to destroy them, and it prevented you from finding the right answer. Overcoming it is the key to truly being able to investigate the world around you. You didn't come up with a single guess that made the rule say no, and it crippled your logic. The key to knowing whether an idea is a good one is not to try to prop it up, but attack it in every way you can think of. If it's still standing despite your best efforts, then you win.

Cherilee was gaping, mouth opening and closing without any sound coming out. Her face looked like a cross between stunned amazement and total rage.

"This is only the first of many things I could show you. If you want to learn more, meet me at the Entrance to the Everfree Forest after class tomorrow. Good afternoon." With that he abruptly stood up, stepped outside and vanished.

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Thank you, HPMOR, for that lovely hook. I hadn't actually left, despite what I might have led Cherilee to believe. Instead, I was looking in the window, gauging her reaction. Once the initial shock had worn off, she stepped into the back room. I could hear the sounds of her venting her frustration on what was probably the same poor wall she hit after any stressful day. I was, of course, snickering the entire time. While it wasn't supposed to be a prank, her expressions were just too funny for me to resist.

It was a full 17 minutes before she came back out, wearing a mischievous smile. I knew that look, as I'd sported it myself on more than one occasion, and then I was certain she wouldn't miss our little appointment for anything in the world. With that done I headed towards Twilight's library, since the tree seemed to be sitting on top of another of piece of Radiant. It was going to be a pain to get at, mainly because despite having over 100 heroes in my arsenal, not a single one of them was a burrower. You'd think I 'd have one of everything but nope, no burrowers.

Twilight was busily reading the latest magic samples from Canterlot, and scratching her head in confusion. After the leystone had been removed, the magic all around had gone spastic... for all of two seconds. Then it dropped to almost non-existent levels. What was weird, though, was that the magic levels were slowly returning to normal. Although that was nothing compared to what the unicorns who were measuring them were saying. They described the magic as tasting cleaner, fresher, like the smell of the ground after a refreshing rain. It didn't make sense at all. Maybe he's right. whispered a niggling corner of her brain. This does all match up with he said. Twilight dismissed it. Dual had taken the Elements of Harmony and was refusing to give them back, and until he did, Twilight wouldn't consider it.

Ugh why did Dual have to pick such a smug name? This wasn't the only inexplicable thing on her plate today, after all. She'd heard first hand from Rainbow Dash exactly what Dual had done when he'd learned of his collateral damage, and she was tempted to call her an outright liar. Villains don't pick up their messes, they don't care about those they hurt. But Dual did just that, not just in Cloudsdale, but all over Equestria. In the end, while there was still extensive property damage across the country, not a single death or major injury remained. And Twilight couldn't make any sense of it. It was almost like he was being contrary on purpose. Stupid bucking name...

She was just about to recheck a set of figures on the magical frequency compared to the wavelength when a thud followed by a series of clatters echoed from downstairs. "Spike, I told you not to mess with my equipment."

"Uh, Twilight," Spike said, sticking his head out of the bedroom. "I'm up here."

They stared at each other for a few seconds, then as one charged the basement door. Twilight only managed to get a glimpse of 5 weird looking short bipeds with very long ears holding shovels before-"blink dagger" they were gone, leaving behind a hole in the floor that must have held another leystone, from the magical energy it was giving off. Twilight exploded.

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I made it just past the first line of houses before Mount Twilight went off. I cackled as I ran, holding another stone that thankfully, was only as big as my head. I sprinted all the way to the outskirts of town before I slowed down, and made sure Twilight wasn't giving chase. She wasn't, which was good because I'd forgotten to turn my invisibility back on. I did so, and turned to activate my boots and head back home when I heard a bush rustle. Eh, it's probably nothing. Wait. It's never nothing. There is only one thing to do in a situation like this: INVESTIGATE!

I whirled on my heel and marched over to the bush, stuck my hand in, and, accompanied by a squeak of surprise, pulled a mint green unicorn with a two tone mane and lyre Cutie Mark out by her horn. I held her up to eye level and gave her my best deadpan stare. She grinned sheepishly in return.

"Er, hi?"

Achievement unlocked: "Level One Intelligent Characters."

Author's Note:

chapter 5, edit 3. This chapter is a crossover with the very unusual Red Wind of Change, by Mimic Kairatta. Go check it out, if you haven't already.

Also, if I ever want something drawn, it will be of Dual holding Lyra by her horn.