• Published 12th Apr 2016
  • 14,843 Views, 12,513 Comments

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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A Little Catty

Valmont smiled as he leaned back in his chair, staring across his desk at his three new daughters. Despite his best efforts, no arguments could yet convince the trio that upgrading to a more 'modern' wardrobe would be a good decision, and as such they still looked like they were on their way to a disco rave. Still, distinctive appearances could be useful, especially with what he planned to have them do. Once all three stopped shuffling or squirming, he stood up and began to explain. "As I'm sure you three are aware, my rather successful business is-" He paused, noticing Sonata's attention immediately wandering. Tapping his chin thoughtfully, he snapped his fingers and drew nearly all the light away from one wall, leaving it dark save for a single circle of light, as though someone were shining a flashlight there. Sonata gasped excitedly as a little shadow in the form of Valmont's demon form appeared in the circle, her attention now locked onto it. "As I'm sure you three are aware," he continued, "my rather successful business is on the far side of the law." The shadow puppet of himself proceeded to blow a raspberry at a shadow cop, making Sonata burst into giggles.

"I will be blunt, it is a criminal business," Valmont continued as the shadow demon donned a cowboy hat and started shooting off six-shooters, though there were no sound effects...at least until Sonata started providing them. "However, there are three ways to run a successful criminal business." Now there were three circles of light, each with a shadow of Valmont's demon form inside. "One is to perform the criminal activities yourself or having it done by your workers." The furthest left circle showed the shadow demon picking up a sign that read 'Bank' and shaking money into its suddenly cartoonishly large mouth. "The second is to profit from the criminal enterprises of others, often as a fence." The second shadow demon Valmont reached into the first circle, plucked the 'Bank' sign from the grasp of the first, and rewrote the letters to say 'Somebody Else's Bank'. To Valmont's surprise, that got a snort of amusement out of Aria.

"The third, and most difficult yet most profitable, is what I call the criminal merchant," Valmont continued as the third shadow image of himself pulled out a vendor's carry bench like that worn by those who walked back and forth at sporting events selling hot dogs or popcorn. "This way, you make sure you learn what everyone else in the criminal world wants, and ensure you're the one they get it from, whether it be criminal talent, resources, or a particularly valuable item." The three light circles shifted to hover above and to either side of Valmont. "While I indulge in the first and the second, my success - and my remaining uncaught by law enforcement - was due primarily to the third type of business. And that is where I intend to begin with you three."

The circles merged into a single one, and three familiar ponies walked across in shadows. "The fillies you met who I introduced as friends...one of their guardians is an archaeologist. He also has a penchant for stumbling across artifacts of a...magical nature. Now, such artifacts are of interest to the less than ethical no matter what side of the law they fall on."

Now, the three fillies changed into three mermaid-like figures, each with shadowy hairdos resembling the three girls before him. "That's where you three come in. Since you have no criminal records or official connection to the business, no one on either side of the law will blink twice at you jetting around on 'Daddy's Dime' to see the world." The three mer-figures were now on the back of a dragon flying across the globe. "On these 'pleasure trips', you'll retrieve the artifacts I send you after, and then bring them back to me. Since you'll be using a private jet, you'll have an easy time slipping them past customs as long as you store them properly. That will be Aria's job."

The shadow images shifted, now revealing a cat. "Your first destination is Tangiers, where you will be in search of the Cat of Khartoum." The shadows vanished. "Any questions?"

"How'd you make the awesome shadow puppets?" Sonata gasped eagerly.

Valmont chuckled. "My powers are over light," he explained readily. "It was simply a matter of thinking in terms of negative space. Takes an artistic temperament, but not terribly difficult."

"How'd you know puppets would work to keep Sonata's attention?" Adagio asked curiously. "I didn't think you'd heard about the Three P's(1) yet."

"I know how to handle children," he replied readily as Sonata moved to the wall, tracing the lines of where the puppets had been. He lowered his voice. "I've bought her the same three enchanted ponies several times in the past month, after all. It's no extra cost for me, she always experiences it as new ownership, and the ponies get an owner who will always absolutely adore them. I don't think they mind if she picks different names for them each time I 'buy' them for her."

"You are scarily good at that," Aria observed idly.

Valmont chuckled softly. "And now it's your turn to show if you three can be good and scary..."

Jade, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo all bounced excitedly in their seats in First Class as the plane got ready for takeoff. "I can't believe you actually asked us to come on an archaeological expedition with you, Uncle Jackie!" Jade called out happily.

Jackie shrugged from the row ahead, with Viper sitting beside him. "It was either have you come with me, or have you follow me anyway with Hsi's help, leading to Apple Bloom and the others following with Audrey III's help because you're their mage student, and then having to completely rearrange my travel and expedition plans to keep track of you all." He was pleased to see that Jade at least managed to look sheepish at that assessment. "At least this way you four aren't in trouble for unexcused absences from school and get extra credit for writing a report together on the trip...as long as you do your homework too."

"And I suppose me offering to spring to upgrade the trip to First Class instead of Economy had nothing whatsoever to with your decision?" Hsi Wu asked playfully. One of the first things he'd done once everything regarding himself and his brothers had been settled had been checking on his own ancient stronghold where it was hidden in a fold of magic-space-time, and converting a good amount of his treasure stronghold into a modern account he could draw from. He wanted to have those funds available for...a number of things.

"Not my decision," Jackie corrected. "But it did win Viper over to your side as far as convincing me."

"Too right," Viper purred happily as she lay back in her seat, which was far too luxurious to be called a chair.

Scootaloo glanced around as she took in the 'First Class' segment of the plane. "This is...really impressive," she murmured in awe. In a world where magic was normal, First Class had an entirely new meaning. They were specifically in 'First Class Family', where there were video game consoles built into the seats, the seats could swivel a full 360 degrees for a family game table for board games, and magical constructs of the family's favorite fictional characters - or the actual beings they were based on - acted as flight attendants while the passengers seats had full flexibility to shift into any conceivable position - including upside down - for absolute comfort. Scootaloo had also managed to sneak a glance into 'First Class Singles', where the Flight Attendants were actual conjured houris of the passenger's preferred gender, attending to them in whatever way they wished. She'd managed to pull back out before she saw anything too traumatizing.

"Magic sure changes a lot of things," Jade agreed, having glanced briefly into 'First Class Childrens', the area for unaccompanied minors flying...which had been a straight up bounce castle with spheres enchanted with Float for them to hover in or bounce off of. "Just how big is this plane?"

"Not much bigger than we expected," Sweetie Belle explained as she flipped through a guide book on the airline. "They just recently started using compressed space magi-tek to add a great deal more space to the interior of the planes without increasing weight load or flight profile. This let them greatly expand the First Class areas while also reducing the price profile of it, while improving the conditions in Business and Economy."

"I don't think I'll ever get used to you four being amazed at these things," Hsi Wu murmured thoughtfully. "Still entertaining to watch."

"Let's relax and just enjoy the flight, shall we?" Jackie asked hopefully as he lay back in his seat. "We'll probably have to deal with criminals or lesser demons or cultists once we get there, so lets enjoy this peace while it lasts?"

Apple Bloom blinked in surprise. "Yer...not gonna say it's 'too dangerous' for us if ya think that's what ya think we'll be facin'?"

"The three of you are a fully fledged chi wizard between you," Jackie pointed out logically. "Jade is your student, is well trained so far in the martial arts, and has a fully fledged demon sorcerer as her familiar."

"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..." Audrey began to sing from behind the youngsters.

"And then there's him," Jackie concluded. "I definitely want you all to be careful...but 'too dangerous' might be a bit much."

(1) A tribute to Justice3442's story Love Call of the Sirens. I've based much of how I characterize the Dazzlings off how he writes them...with a few tweaks as I delve deeper into their characters.

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