• Published 12th Apr 2016
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Three More Things! - Tatsurou

Uncle Chan tries to balance running an antique shop, fighting demons, and being a Chi Wizard with being a loving Uncle to his nephew, his somewhat removed niece...and three little ponies who drive him straight up the wall.

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Lost Future

The three fillies exchanged fearful glances as they stared at the boundary. "W...what's going on?" Scootaloo asked nervously. "That...that..."

"I...I don't think we can leave," Sweetie Belle managed to say. "I...I felt like I was...disappearing. I don't know what it means..."

"Th' magic around th' book faded somewhat while you were fading," Apple Bloom pointed out. "Do...do ya think it means we're connected to it, somehow?"

"It might be," Sweetie allowed as she turned back to the energy. "But why?"

Another window opened. This one rapidly showed events in San Francisco starting at Jade's arrival...with no sign of the CMC. It continued until Jade used the Rabbit Talisman in an attempt to get to school on time, only for the Talisman to be blasted by one of Kepler's experiments.

"But Jade didn't do that," Scootaloo pointed out. "She rode Cumulo, because she'd seen using magic irresponsibly was a bad idea-"

Scootaloo's voice was cut off in a gasp as they saw Jade break through time in the distant past. They saw events unfold as she encountered a younger Jackie, and a younger Valmont. The window closed with Jade's return to the present.

"Did...did that make sense ta either of ya?" Apple Bloom asked in confusion.

"It...it looked like it was showing what would happen if we weren't there," Sweetie observed. "A sort of It's A Wonderful Life montage. And...Jade going back in time somehow affected Valmont..."

"Say, where are we in this future anyway?" Scootaloo demanded irritably. "How come we're stuck here in the cave?" She frowned as the Book did not respond. "What gives?"

"It means the Book of Ages has no power over you three," Hsi Wu declared as he swooped into the chamber, Jade floating down to land at his side.

"I was wondering what happened to you three!" Jade declared urgently as she rushed forward to embrace the fillies. "I felt the Harmony Seal flare with pain, and Hsi said that meant we had to go to Australia. What's going on?"

"That is what I would like to know," Valmont demanded coldly as he materialized behind them. "Why are any of you here? I thought I'd made sure the new timeline would give no one with power to do so any desire to change it."

"No one with power?" Apple Bloom asked in confusion.

"Well, Daolong Wong would certainly want to change it," Valmont allowed, "but I took him from the old timeline and sealed him inside the version of him from this timeline who's happy to serve a great Wizard like Uncle. I felt that was the most appropriate punishment I could give him. And I wrote that the nine Demon Sorcerers would rule past, present and future because that meant myself as a Demon Sorcerer would have been shaping the world towards a happy outcome, even if being the one to alter the book meant I wouldn't remember the new timeline any more than I did when I was at the epicenter of the Harmony blast that normalized magic." He then turned to the fillies. "Why aren't you with Uncle? I wouldn't have interfered with that, not even my self in this timeline."

"Uh...we don't think the Book of Ages has any power over us," Scootaloo allowed. "I don't think we're even recorded in it."

Valmont moved over to the Book, examining the pages carefully. "No, you aren't," Valmont observed worriedly. "But that shouldn't cause a problem. Why wouldn't you have just left here and sought out those who did remember you?" He glanced at Jade and Hsi Wu. "Speaking of, I can see you two do remember the old timeline and not this one. How is that?"

Jade lifted up her scrap of the book, the page with her life story on it.

"Yes, that would explain it," Valmont allowed ruefully. "I suppose that made things awkward?"

Jade glanced down at the most obvious signs of her change from the old timeline. "Gee, ya think?" she demanded sarcastically, crossing her arms to make those signs more prominent.

"Well excuse me, Princess!" Valmont countered playfully, briefly causing his golden armor to shift into his old green suit.

"Her title is Queen," Hsi Wu pointed out incisively.

"I thought it was 'Mistress'?" Sweetie offered teasingly.

"I'm not his Mistress!" Jade snapped out angrily.

Valmont smiled indulgently as he watched this interaction and the fillies giggled. "So why haven't you left?" he asked the fillies again.

"We can't," Sweetie Belle explained worriedly. "When I tried...I started to fade."

"And when we asked the Book, it showed us the world without us and Jade going back in time!" Scootaloo added.

"Wait, it what?" Valmont demanded, turning to face the book. His face faded away, revealing his glowing demonic eye surrounded by golden light.

"...gonna have nightmares about that..." Apple Bloom whimpered softly.

After a time, Valmont's face reassembled itself and he slumped back. "Oh..." he murmured in a defeated tone. "I...see..."

"What?" Hsi Wu asked insistently.

"This timeline I created...cannot sustain itself," Valmont allowed. "Only so long as time allows for there to have been nine Demon Sorcerers - for me to have ascended - can this timeline exist...but forces not under the Book's power are necessary for that to have happened." He gestured to the three fillies. "The Book is feeding on their magic to sustain the new timeline, which is why they can't go too far from it...and the longer it feeds, the less distance they have. And when they have no more magic to feed it and vanish..."

"The old timeline reasserts itself?" Jade asked hopefully.

"No," Valmont replied, shaking his head. "The original timeline reasserts itself, the 'what would have been' had they never been a part of our world. I never become the ninth Demon Sorcerer. I...I never come to love Bai, and be loved...you and Hsi..." He shook his head. "No...that cannot be allowed to take shape. There is too much good that was built. Jade, when I leave, put your fragment of the Book back. That will restore time as though I hadn't altered it..."

"Except it will be known that you had," Hsi Wu spoke up. "Brother, you know what that means for you!"

Valmont smiled sadly at Hsi Wu. "...you call me Brother, even knowing this?"

"You are our Brother," Hsi Wu insisted. "And you know what will happen to you..."

"I gambled with Time itself...and lost because of what I could not have known..." Valmont turned away. "I am ready to pay the penalty. Besides...without Bai by my side, what is the point? I'm ready to fold..." With that, he slowly faded away.

As silence fell, Hsi Wu spoke up softly. "And this is why I was relieved it was only the Book of Ages," he told Jade. "So many protections built into it, it's almost impossible to successfully misuse...and the cost is always extreme. Put your page back, Jade. It's time for Time to be set right."

Jade nodded, understanding what she had to do. "But what about Valmont?" she asked worriedly as she placed the page back and magic began to gather.

"We can do no more for him," Hsi allowed sadly. "He has at most two weeks before the Council comes knocking at his door, and he has to pay the piper. We can only hope he has a plan..."

As the world faded and the previous timeline reasserted itself, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo exchanged glances. Maybe he doesn't have a plan, they all thought, but we do. Two weeks...they knew what was in two weeks.

They had a letter to write.

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