• Published 16th Feb 2015
  • 3,277 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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Mistaken Identity

Lyra Heartstrings. A background mare who became a fan favorite after she was seen reclining on a park bench in a position that was highly unusual for ponies. Reported to be obsessed with humans in general and their hands in particular and in a relationship with Bonbon, which was at least partially true if what I'd observed was anything to go by. You have to be the crazy person in town to go looking for trouble when everyone else bars their doors and windows at the first sign of something scary. I might as well find out what she wants, I thought.

"Who are you, and why were you following me?"

"Um, I'm Lyra, and," her eyes darted left and right, and she gave a twitchy smile. "I wasn't?"

I just quirked an eyebrow. Ponies are absolute #### at lying, both telling lies and recognizing them. I don't think it was ever a survival trait for them like it was for humans. "And I'm the secret Alicorn lover of both the Princesses."

"You are?" she gasped. I facepalm.

"NO. Now tell me the truth this time."

"Well, you're a human! I've always wanted to meet one." Then she turned away and muttered, "Even if everypony else thought it was silly."

"You know I can hear you, right?"

"I know! It just seemed to fit." Fit? That sounded suspiciously familiar.

"Care to clarify?"

"It's what somepony like me is supposed to say in a situation like this. You caught me sneaking up on you, ask me why, I give you an answer, then mumble a truth about myself. It's part of the show!"

"Show, for who?"

"Them!" she gestures off to my left. I turn and look, and see a flickering screen with a horde of shadows on the other side.

"So, were being watched, huh? Well what do they think of THIS!?"

(CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED) (CENSORED)

I pulled my pants back on. Lyra was blushing heavily and sneaking peaks at the fourth wall.

"There, I think that scared them off. Now where were we?"

"Oh, I know, I know!" Lyra blurted, all traces of embarrassment gone. "I was also wondering how you managed to wind up Miss Cherilee so much. I've never seen anything get to her like that, not even Diamond Tiara on her worst day."

"Oh, that? It's just a game I played with her."

"Can I play it? Can I, can I?" Wow, what an obvious opportunity. What clever, much subtle.

"Well..."

88888888

"5,7,9."

"Yes."

"4,12, 20?"

"Yes."

As you can probably guess, I decided I'd give her a chance. Well I like to think it was because I thought she would be really useful, it was more likely I caved because she nailed me with her puppy-dog-pout. I swear, these ponies are the most adorable things EVER. She also managed to make me promise to answer all her questions if she won. Focus, Dual! You can think about that sort of stuff AFTER the Ancients are dead.

Her face scrunched up in heart-melting concentration. "9, 18, 20."

"Yes." That was odd. Cherilee hadn't pattern broken like that at all.

"1,0,-1." I smiled in pleasant surprise.

"No."

"7,15,4?"

"No."

"1, 9, 11?"

"Yes."

"It's any three numbers in increasing order."

I grinned. "Very good. Most ponies can't get that right, you know?" Interesting. Maybe there's more to her than I thought.

She preened, that's the only word for it. "Now you'll answer all my questions, right?" Then again, maybe not.

"Well, I did promise." I frowned, "However, if I tell you that the answer is dangerous, you ask at your own risk. Understood?"

She nodded. "What's it like having hands?"

I resisted the urge to beat my head against a tree. How am I supposed to explain this one?

Much Later

I was back in my cave above the Tree of Harmony, doing some much needed home improvement while I waited for the Direstone to get a read on another Ancient piece. Lyra's Q&A session had been particularly grueling, especially when she started asking about human politics (which I found mind numbing), conflicts (I managed to warn her off of that topic, thank God), and urgh, mating habits. That mare was the most curious creature I had ever had the pleasure (or maybe displeasure) of meeting, and had about as much tact as a five-year-old. I eventually convinced her to cut it short, and invited her to my meeting with Cherilee tomorrow. She agreed, but forced me to Pinkie swear that I wouldn't miss it. Her parting words were, "After all, we have to time skip at some point." What's weird is that it made perfect sense at the time.

I just hoped there wouldn't be any animosity between the two. I swear, if those two get into a fight, I'm going laugh my ### off, then jump off the moon.

I was pulled out of my work by a pulsing orange glow from the Direstone, one that signaled it had found another piece. I finished building the shelf I working on, then went over and picked it up. The crystal gave me a mental image of a deep, dry cave guarded by a three headed dog and filled with a menagerie of creatures. Tartarus. The Dire core is in Tartarus. Well this is just ####### peachy.

In order to get at that stone, I'd have to go through both Cerberus and the Pit's inhabitants. Sure, I was more than capable, and those prisoners would make excellent heroes for the Dire when the time came, but well I might be able to level a prison, I couldn't rebuild one. Besides, I'd learned my lesson about collateral damage from the Silencer Incident, and just killing them would break my 1st rule. It would be best if I saved it for last, pulling out that piece and putting it in place after I'd gathered all the others, then having the Dire call its champions before they can do any damage.

Unfortunately, that wouldn't be happening anytime soon. Given what I remembered of the nature of the crystal heart, it was practically guaranteed to be made of Radiant ore. I'd have to wait an entire season's worth of days, at least. Outside, I heard a rumble as the ground shifted. Now that the Dire Ancient, or at least the first piece of it was in place, it and its counterpart were reshaping the landscape to better suit their needs. I'd paced out the edges of the battlefield earlier, and found it was surrounded by a cliff 3 inches high. That cliff would probably grow as I added more pieces, but it also meant that the battle would take place no matter what else happened now. If I didn't start it when I was ready, the Ancients would, whether I liked it or not. No turning back now, I thought, still holding the shard.

In the end, I sent it back to scanning, put all the tokens on the shelf I'd made, and got to work on making a bed frame out of some of the lumber I'd gathered as Timbersaw. It was dark by the time I'd finished, so I scavenged some food from the creatures I'd killed during my initial rampage (What? I don't like to waste meat) and went to bed. Of course, Luna was waiting for me in my dreams. God that sounds dirty...

88888888

"Lulu, are you sure you want to do this?" Celestia looked down at her sister in concern.

"I am sure, Tia. For the safety of our realm, I will do what I must."

Celestia had lowered the sun and was in Luna's quarters, giving her every bit of support she could provide before her sister confronted Dual's nightmare of a test. They hugged, long and hard, before reluctantly letting go.

"Good luck," Celestia whispered as she left.

Luna braced herself and closed her eyes. She didn't sleep when she dream-walked: it was closer to a magical trance, one she could only enter once per night, although she could visit multiple dreams during that time. Once she'd entered, she spread her wings and flew into the void, checking on the bubbles that held the dreams of her citizens. After making sure everything was in order (and dispelling one odd dream that involved angry party cannons and the words, "YOU PINKIE PROMISED!!!!"), she stepped up to Dual's bubble, which for some reason was covered in spikes. She peeked in, trying to see if she could spot anything useful before she entered. Surprisingly, she saw him standing under-Was that the tree of Harmony!? Did he stick the elements back in the tree!? She pressed her nose against the surface of the bubble to get a better look, and entered by accident.

"Oh, wheeeeeeeerrrrreeeeeeee, is my hairbrush?"

Luna groaned in frustration.

"Luna, you induce lucid dreaming whenever you visit, stop trying to sneak in."

"I'll make sure to remember that," she replied testily, climbing to her hooves. "Let us get this over with," she muttered, trying to keep her legs steady.

Dual grinned and started to fade out, but stopped almost immediately, and stared at her in confusion. He circled her once, twice, then stopped in front of her and said, "You're terrified."

"No we're not!" She squeaked, legs knocking together.

"Yes, you are, which is weird. That test of mine isn't that scary, and you deal with nightmares on a regular basis. It shouldn't frighten you, and yet it does. Why?"

"Well..." Luna's thoughts scattered as she tried to come up with a suitable answer. "We've dealt with those things before."

Dual's mouth fell open. "Seriously?" Luna nodded. He stared at her in disbelief, but as she gazed back, unflinching, it slowly turned to understanding.

"Well, then," he said, "My mistake. I may be a joker, but I'm not sadistic. You'll have to tell me the whole story sometime, but for now, the test is off."

Luna blinked in surprise, "Just like that?"

"Yep." The moment he finished speaking, a door appeared to Luna's left. Both she and Dual looked at it in surprise. "Um, I guess we go through?"

"This is thy head, Dual," she drawled.

"That doesn't mean I always know what's going on in here," He shot back, bouncing over to the door and stepping through.

Luna followed, and found herself standing on a green field of grass in a small clearing. A white fountain burbled on her left, next to a grizzly looking biped standing behind an anvil and a table stocked with various items. When she looked behind her, she noticed the door was gone, and in it's place stood a grey stone wall fronted by colorful trees and flowers and topped by stone arches of the same shade of grey. The only exit to the clearing was in front of her to the right, down a short flight of marble steps. Dual was standing on top of a square block of stone set in the ground just in front of the fountain. He was slowly turning in place, looking for all the world like he'd just come home. His expression was one of pure bliss, combined with the relaxation that only comes from being in completely familiar territory.

"Dual, what is this place?" Luna asked. It certainly seemed pleasant enough, and nothing like the mad-house she'd expect from such a weird creature.

"It's the map," he said, as if that explained everything.

"The map, pray tell, of what?" Luna pressed, his answer having eaten a good deal of her patience in one bite.

Before he could respond however, another creature bounced up the steps into the clearing. It was-Luna rubbed her eyes. Nope, still there. It was Dual, but not him. To start with, this version had hair, curly bright green hair. Also, he was shorter, curvier, and-softer? Luna didn't really have the right words to describe him? her? Dual was staring at the visitor, his expression a combination of incredulity and wry humor. Then the other Dual saw Luna. Her face filled with glee, and Luna's stomach filled with dread. She never stood a chance.

"POOOOOOOONNNNYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!"

"Oof!"

THUD.

From her new position on the ground underneath the female (as made clear by her voice) Dual, Luna saw Prime Dual laugh, and smack his paw against his face.

"Mmmm, soft," said she-Dual, snuggling deeper into Luna's barrel.

"Dual," Luna said, her words dripping with malice, "Tell thy duplicate to get off of us this instant!"

"Hey you," Dual said to his copy, "What's your name?"

"I'm Joy!" replied, Joy, giggling.

"Ok, then, Joy, could you get off her please?"

"Sure!" Joy bounced up and out of Luna's personal space, allowing her to climb to her hooves.

"So," said Dual, "Who are you?"

"I'm you!" sang Joy, "Or at least, a part of you. I don't really understand it all that well, since my job's happiness. If you want information, go talk to Scholar."

"And where is he?" Dual asked.

"Bottom lane, he's the carry," Joy answered.

"Right." Luna looked back and forth between them, completely lost. "Um, pardon my asking Joy, but if you're a part of Dual, why are you female?"

Joy didn't answer Luna directly. Instead, she asked Dual, "Can you imagine yourself giggling as a male?"

"Um," Dual's eyes crossed. "No?"

"There you have it!" Joy shouted while doing a back-flip.

Luna had gotten pretty fed up by this point. "ENOUGH! YOU WILL EXPLAIN WHAT IS HAPPENING, AND YOU WILL DO IT NOW!"

"Well, excuse me, Princess," Dual snapped, rubbing his ears, "You didn't have to shout."

"It got your attention, did it not?" Luna replied smugly. Dual glared at her, and her smile widened.

"Fine, I suppose some explains are in order," He finally said, "Have a seat, this is going to take awhile. Joy, you can leave if you want to."

"Ok!" Joy dumped a sack of gold on the shopkeep's table, grabbed a scroll out of a dispenser, then activated some sort of spell and disappeared. Luna sat and got comfortable, The grass was surprisingly firm and soft, and it almost caressed her legs as she relaxed into it. Dual spoke with the merchant for a moment, then knelt directly across from her, the square block of stone in the ground between them and the fountain off to her left.

"This story starts at the beginning of time, more or less," Dual said slowly, appearing to still be getting his thoughts together, "After the Primordials created the universe," Luna opened her mouth to speak, but Dual held up a finger to silence her. "Don't ask, they're not important. Anyway, two of them, known as the Radiant and the Dire, began to fight each other. These two were total opposites, with the Radiant representing life and creation, and the Dire death and destruction. Their war raged across the stars, and yet it was a total stalemate. Neither one could defeat the other, and they would have kept fighting for eternity if the other Primordials hadn't interfered. As punishment for their actions, the two opposing forces were imprisoned inside a moon, much like you were," Luna bristled at that, "And flung deep into space.

"Now, that would have been the end of the story, except that this moon got caught in the gravity well of a planet it happened to pass by. The slight gravitational flux provided by the moon's orbit was all its inhabitants needed to break themselves free. Eventually, the Ancients shattered what had come to be known as the Mad Moon by the inhabitants of the planet, and escaped. Some of the chunks of the moon fell to the planet below, but most flew off into space, their destinations, and fates, unknown. The Ancients were finally free to start their war anew.

"However, they knew that if they fought as they had before, it would result in another stalemate, something neither since they could only wield their full strength when the other wasn't present. Their powers cancel each other out, to an extent. To avoid an endless conflict, and because they had nothing better to do for millennia on end, they had created a system of rules to fight by. This became Defense of the Ancients, or DOTA for short. The map I referred to earlier is the official battleground, always the same across all the worlds they've fought on. Each side would then recruit heroes, people or ponies of great speed, skill, or strength to fight for them. The prowess of these heroes became the deciding factor in the Ancients's war, since everything else about them was equal. My mind, for whatever reason, must closely resemble one of these battles. As such, it's probable that each aspect of my personality, like Joy and Scholar, since I'm guessing they aren't the only ones, would take the place of one of the heroes."

"Has Celestia told you what I've been up to since I woke up?"

"Aye, she has." Luna answered. "You're destruction of Cloudsdale was most diabolical."

"A. That was an accident, and B. I made sure to resurrect anyone who died. Did she mention the Ley Stones?" Luna nodded. "Those aren't actually Ley Stones. They're Ancient chunks, and their corruption has sunk deep into this planet and its residents. Since this world, the one we're standing on, is not the world I described, I can only assume that some of the chunks of the moon that flew into space detected life on this world, and steered themselves toward it in search of suitable champions. My goal is to create a DOTA battlefield, one where the fight between Radiant and Dire may be decided once and for all, at least here and now."

Luna stared at him in horror. "Surely thou arest joking."

"I wish," Dual said bluntly. "I'd love it if the Ancients had never landed here. It would mean I could settle down, get a life, maybe go ride meteors for fun. Instead, I've got to get rid of these things before they consume this world and everything in it."

"Does thou not care at all for all the lives that be would lost in such a war?" Luna exclaimed. "Or the disruption of the world's magic such fighting will cause? We will not stand for it!"

"Oh, but you will," Dual said, smiling grimly, "The Ancients want this to happen, and the Ponies serve the Ancients. You'll help it come about, you have don't a choice in the matter. That alone should tell you how dangerous they are."

"NO!" Luna shouted, "WE WILL NOT ALLOW IT!"

Dual took his fingers out of his ears and stared at her in surprise. "Interesting," he said finally, "You don't seem to under the same influence as the others. Maybe your time on the moon allow their energies to leak out of you. You could be the only uncorrupted creature in Equestria. In that case, I should let you know that one of the Ancients's powers is resurrection. That's part of why their battles last forever, the soldiers keep coming back to life."

Luna gaped at him, "Art thou serious!?"

Dual nodded. "That's why I was able to undo so much damage." He cocked his head to the side. "In any case, it's almost morning, you should get going."

"But thou hast not answered all our questions!" Luna protested.

"Come back tomorrow, then," Dual answered. "Besides, this is the first time I've seen the inside of own mind like this, and I'll need to poke around myself before I let can you explore. Good morning." With that, the dream bubble vanished around Luna as Dual woke up. She hung there in the void for a long while, then turned and headed back to her own mind. Her thoughts drifted towards the start of the night, and the glimpse of the Tree of Harmony she'd caught. She decided to check it out once she woke up. If Dual was there, he was going to get the flank-kicking of his life.

Author's Note:

Yes, DOTA 2 actually has a lore, and it's a fairly decent one too. You get to read it by completely the in-game tutorials. Don't forget to like!