• Published 27th Aug 2019
  • 1,833 Views, 178 Comments

Chaotic Harmony: Do Over - shirotora

A human finds himself in Equestria where other humans - turned into one of the various native races - have been living for hundreds of years.

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Chapter 12: The Northern Kingdom

The train came to a slow, steady stop as it pulled into the station in the Frozen North. I readied my things for departure, straightening out my new vest. Rarity had made me a few, two red and black – one of which I was wearing – two blue and black, both of those types matching my stripes, and two black that was a little more formal.

Two days ago, I received a letter from Jynx saying that she was contracted to examine some Crystal Empire artifacts, and asked if I would like to assist her. It was kinda surprising, to be honest. I had no experience with this kinda thing, but I had expressed an interest in the Crystal Empire so I figured that was why.

I was expecting to meet her in some frontier-like town when I stepped off the train. Instead, I was met with an enormous city.

“Shiro!” I heard Jynx's voice calling from down the platform. “Over here!”

I followed the waving hoof to find the unicorn attached. “Uh, Jynx... Ah thought you said this place was destroyed.”

“The Crystal Empire was, not the Crystal Kingdom,” Jynx explained as we started walking. “Think of it like our world's equivalent of Egypt. It's a much newer nation built on an older one that adopted the name.”

“You know ‘bout Egypt?”

“One of my professors was an Egyptologist before getting displaced,” Jynx explained as we turned onto the main road, heading downtown. “Anyway, about five hundred years ago, an archaeology team unearthed the Crystal Heart, the Crystal Empire's most prized artifact and a Divine Element.

“The Heart allowed them to create an area of fertile land which they turned into a permanent settlement for teams searching for Crystal Empire artifacts and ruins. This made it much easier to search, as before that, one had to bring everything you would need all the way from Equestria.

“First they brought in farmers to get food production going. Those farmers then needed smiths and carpenters for tools and buildings. Then miners and foresters to supply the smiths and carpenters. Eventually, like usually happens with these things, a full fledged town sprang up.

“Fast forward a couple hundred years, and it was a bustling city. The problem, though, was that they were too far separated from the rest of Equestria, both physically and culturally, and it caused some political and legal problems.

“Eventually, Princess Celestia decided that it would be better for them to govern themselves and released them as a vassal state under the protection of the crown.”

“And would Shining Armor and Princess Cadance be the rulin’ couple here?” I asked.

Jynx raised an eyebrow at that. “The show?” I nodded. “Yes and no. You see, Cadence was originally from here, the daughter of a prominent pegasus family. Her father was a well known figure in the local government.”

“So, she wasn't already royalty?” I asked.

“No, her father didn't want her growing up to be just another spoiled rich filly, so he sent her to Canterlot to work as one of the palace servants. It was meant to help teach her the value of work and humility. That's when she met Twilight,” Jynx chuckled. “Anyway, I think it would be better to let Cadence tell the rest. Obviously, she knows it better than me.”

“Wait, we're gonna to meet the Princess?” I asked.

“Yeah, she's the one that hired me... And I forgot to put that in the letter.” she blushed, sheepishly. “Heh, sorry.”

As we walked, Jynx played tour guide, pointing out various notable buildings, mostly restaurants and shops of which she had a particular fondness.

The first thing I noticed was the designs. Where Equestria was all soft and round, these buildings were angular and very colorful, looking as if actually made of crystal, despite being the same material as most of the buildings in Canterlot.

The second thing I noticed was the complete lack of crystal ponies. Jynx had told me a while prior to this trip that most had been wiped out by windigos, and the few that survived eventually died off. A few ponies have crystal pony ancestors, but their genes are too diluted to be considered one.

I expected there to be no crystal ponies, but actually seeing it just reminded me that this world isn't the sunshine and rainbow filled world the show made it seem. It had plenty of its own evils.

“You alright?” Jynx asked, bring me out of my thoughts.

“Yeah, just thinkin’,” I replied.

“Well, we're here,” she said, gesturing to the rather unimpressive place.

“This... ain’t at all like the one in the show,” I observed. “It’s pretty small for a palace, isn’t it?”

“That’s because this isn’t the palace, it’s Amore Manor. You’re thinking of the Crystal Spire,” Jynx said pointing to a towering object in the distance that looked more like what I was expecting the palace to look like. “I’ll tell you about it later. For now, let's go inside and introduce you to the local royalty.”

“As long as it goes better than last time,” I joked.

“I'm sure it will,” she said with a smirk. “I mean, one of your kind are only responsible for giving Sombra the knowledge he needed to completely wipe the last nation that sat here off the face of the map. No big deal.”

“Ah hate you.”

Needless to say, I was a little nervous as we were escorted to the Prince's private study. Jynx's little comment didn't help, but most of it came from the fact that this guy actually was captain of the guard.

And no, he didn't get that because of his title. He wanted to make it by his own merits and so none of his superiors knew who he was.

Don't ask me how they didn't recognize the crown prince, because I don't know.

Probably magic.

It's a perfectly legit and rather common answer here, after all.

Our escort knocked on the door, and we were promptly allowed entry. As we stepped inside, I was honestly surprised. It wasn't the lavishly decorated room typical of royalty. Instead, it was adorned with movie memorabilia, comics, and action figures. He even had what looked like a D&D character sheet in a picture frame. The whole thing screamed 'college nerd', not 'crown prince'.

I loved it.

“Jynx, how've you been?” asked a surprisingly deep, strong voice, a far cry from the sissy surfer I was expecting. “And I take it this is the guy my sister's been going on about?”

The stallion that stood from his desk and approached to greet us was, in simple terms, intimidating. He was built like Big Mac, and radiated magical power only slightly less than Twilight. Add the pair of enormous wings, and Shining Armor was an impressive sight. However, he had a calm, relaxed demeanor, balancing it out.

The mare behind him was quite different. It was clearly Cadance and seemed about as I expected. She held herself with a regality that I had only seen in the royal sisters. However, unlike the sisters, she didn't look quite right for an alicorn. Her horn seemed a little small and her tail was too short and the tuft too long.

“Yeah, this is Shiro, Twilight's newest scientific interest,” Jynx said, bring me back to the prince.

“I hope my little sis hasn't been too invasive,” Shining addressed me.

“Not too bad, though she's more interested in mah physiology than mah magic. She's actually been leavin’ the magic to Jynx, here,” I replied.

Shining laughed. “Yeah, Twilie hates chaos magic and pretty much anything else she can't quantify, except Pinkie.”

“Why don't we get you settled in and then we can talk business,” Cadence suggested. “We can catch up and get to know Mister Tora here after you two are all set for your stay.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Jynx agreed.

“Alright, we’ll show you to your rooms,” Cadence said, leading us out of the room.

As we went through the manor, Cadence told us a bit about why we were here.

“So, Shiro, how much do you know about recent events?” she asked. “Specifically in the Crystal Kingdom after Sombra’s return?”

“Uh... Approximately jack shit,” I answered. “Ah mean, Ah’m guessing he didn’t return along with the entire Crystal Empire, but he did return. Ah’m gonna to take guess that tower out there that kinda sticks out did come back with him.”

“Very astute observation, Shiro,” Cadence congratulated. “After the Crystal Spire reappeared, and Sombra’s Remnant was destroyed, we began an investigation. However, we’ve ran into a bit of a dead end. The royal vault is protected by powerful locking spells. Considering he was a priest of Kronos, we’re hoping this spell was keyed to allow Tigerians, as a whole.”

“So, y’all want me to see if Ah can open a door?” I asked. “Sounds easy enough.”

“Well, that’s the first part of it,” Jynx explained. “We’re actually hoping that you can bypass a lot of Sombra’s security.”

“Yes, some of the artifacts we’ve already discovered are cursed,” Cadence continued. “We can counter the effects easily enough, but we fear we may destroy the artifacts if we attempt to do so.”

“And Ah take it y’all wanna keep these artifacts for educational reasons?” I guessed.

“Yes and no,” Cadence replied. “Some of them are certainly dangerous enough that we only want to study them to find out how to counter it, in case others are out there. However, some of them may turn out to be useful.”

“So, y’all want me to go play with some magical artifacts owned by a long dead tyrant and see if Ah get cursed,” I summed up.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Jynx said with a teasing smirk. “Don’t worry, breaking a curse on a being is much easier than breaking them on an object.”

I sighed, dramatically. “Very well, for the sake of protecting others I shall, once again, put myself in harms way.”

“And, hey, if you do die, we’ll give you a nice tombstone, on us,” Shining Armor added.

I laughed at that. “Truly, your generosity knows no bounds.”

“... and Ah was like, ‘Why not both?’” I finished retelling a particularly strange event, getting a chuckle out of Jynx as we wandered the halls of the manor.

“I wish I could have seen that,” she said. “It sounds like you’re getting a handle on your magic.”

“Not just mah chaos magic, either,” I said. “Watch this.”

I came to a stop, sitting on my haunches, Jynx doing the same, gathered a bit of silver fire in my paw and held it out. Then, with a smirk, I let it go and dropped my arm, leaving the fire suspended in the air.

Jynx looked at the floating mote of fire with interest.

“It still only burns what Ah want it to, so you can touch it,” I replied.

“Amazing,” Jynx poked the fire as it began to dissipate. “But you can’t project it?”

“No,” I said as we started walking again, a little upset by that. “Ah ain’t sure if Ah ever will.”

“Why’s that?”

I had to think how to word it. “It’s just a feelin’. It just doesn’t feel like somethin’ Ah can shoot. Ah know that doesn’t make much sense, but...”

Jynx nodded sagely and said. “Magic is funny like that. Sometimes its rules don’t make sense. Like how there are spells to change a creature into a completely different species, but simply changing their gender is so far impossible. Magic doesn’t follow logic.

“This magic, you can just ‘feel’. It’s nowhere near the strangest thing I’ve seen. So, how long does it last?”

"Hmm..." I thought for a moment. "Why don't we find out?"

Gathering fire on my fingertip, I wrote 'Hello' in the air, willing it to not burn anything.

"Well, that's not going to cause any issues," Jynx said with a chuckle.

"We'll see if it's still there when we get back," I said.

"Sounds like a plan," Jynx replied. "I don't know if it's a good plan, but it is in fact a plan."

“So,” I started, acting on a whim. “You got any plans later?”

“I was just going to go for a trot. Why?”

“Well...” I thought for a bit. “Do you wanna maybe get some dinner, maybe catch a show after?”

Jynx gave me a cocky grin. “Why, Shiro, are you asking me out?”

“... Maybe.”

Her grin disappeared as she gave me a curious gaze. “You know what, sure. Why not?”

“Really?” I asked, not quite believing she agreed.

“Yeah, you’re a cool guy,” she stated. “Who knows, maybe this will go somewhere.”

“Awesome,” I said, cooly. “So, any place in particular you want to go?”

“I know a nice place. In fact, let’s go tonight,” she said. “How does six sound?”

“Sounds like a date.”

Author's Note:

SS Shirojynx is now boarding.

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