• Published 30th Nov 2016
  • 1,415 Views, 73 Comments

The Legend, Rebuilt - Caldoric

A tale in which a human is Displaced, and charged with managing the progression of both Equestria and the Bionicle universe. And, to top it all off, all is not as peaceful as it seems...

  • ...

Caldoric's Chaos, With A "Capitol" C

Ian gave a wan smile and crossed his arms as he stared at where the portal had been. He had a feeling it was going to be a long and hard time before things started looking up for him, but it was easier to bear now he knew he wasn't alone in being Displaced. Now, to find that mirror, and see if he couldn't get it up and running again…

Abruptly, his face clouded with frustration as he remembered something, and he slammed a hand against its respective hip in anger with a clank. "Dammit!" He muttered to himself, pinching the bridge of his mask. "I was going to ask what happened to the guy that that Eliteslayer dude was Displaced with... nothing good, I'd wager, given his tone when he mentioned his re-displacement. Argh."

Looking into his Strife Specibus, (the newly-acquired Gunkind abstratus, to be specific,) he summoned the Orbital Spartan's Token, the modified Assault Rifle, then paused. Would it really be worth it to summon him again, less than a minute after they'd left for home? No, Ian decided, he would be better off leaving his new allies to their own devices for now, and allow them to summon him first, should they need his assistance.

Ian then dropped his hands to his sides and turned his face to the skies, de-summoning the AR as his eyes screwed shut. "And I was going to ask for a sniper rifle... I knew it was too early for me not to forget something like that. Oh well, there's bound to be other Spartans out there who can summon weapons. There is a whole Multiverse out there, after all. Now, what was I doing?" He stood there for a moment, tapping his foot and mentally reviewing his train of thought since the others had left--

He snapped his fingers. "The mirror, that's right," he said, "time for me to go a-splorin' through this castle." He put a bit of a Southern twang on the word, an eccentric habit he'd picked up from his dad. Turning, he began to head through one of the Throne room's many exits, when another person's voice caught his ear.

"Caldoric! Wazzup, my human broski?"

Lyra. Of course it'd be her. She'd barely let Ian out of her sight since the previous night's party had started, and the human-obsessed mare was actually a major part of why he'd been so unsuccessful at trying to sneak away from it. Only Celestia's firm stance on the matter had kept Lyra from spending the night in the same room as him, where she probably would've stayed up watching him sleep.

"Yo, Equestria to the mythical alien dude!" Lyra suddenly said, standing on her hindlegs in front of Ian and waving her forehooves as close to his face as she could. So, he took the opportunity to firmly poke her in the soft underbelly, which caused her to double over with a snort and thusly faceplanted against his lower chestplate.

"Smooth," Ian commented, as he sidestepped around the mare and left her massaging her muzzle. "Wish I could stay and chat, but I've got a mirror to find, and an entire castle to turn upside-down in doing so."

"That's ok," she said, as she trotted over to his side and fell more-or-less in step with him as he walked. "We can walk and talk together! I'm sure you have nearly as many questions about us as I do about you, so why don't we alternate? Y'know, you go, then me, then you, then--"

"I know!" Ian shouted, stopping to turn and stare down into her startled face. "You know. I know... You know. I get the concept." He then took a deep breath, and continued walking, looking into the first room he came to. It didn't have anything resembling what he remembered the Mirror from the show to look like, so it was obviously not the "right" room. He closed the door, and moved on.

"Sooooooo... What's your first question?" Lyra asked, sticking her head in the door of the second room as he opened it, so he had to wait a few seconds before closing it again, lest he do so on her face.

"What's wrong with your head, that you're so obsessed with a fictional species that had literally no chance or premise for existing in your world?" Ian asked, sharply, as he peeked into another room, and quickly shut the door as something monstrous rushed it, and scrabbled to get out. "And what are they thinking, keeping something like that in the castle?"

When he looked back at the mint-green Unicorn, he saw her looking back with anger and a bit of hurt in her eyes. "Because," she said, ears pinning back, "there's something about you that we here in this world don't have: unity. Sure, everypony here is special, and has a talent for something or other, and everything here is just so magical and fantastic, and I'm sick of it. I want something a bit more... normal, with only a small hint of variety, where everypony's not so in-your-face different all the time." She then pointed at Ian's hands, as he opened yet another door.

"Also, I want something like those. They seem pretty handy."

"Har har," Ian replied, looking into another room, then continuing down the hall. "That joke is older than my grandmother."

"Anyways," Lyra continued, rolling her amber eyes as her ears drooped sideways, "I never said that it was possible for humans to have a chance of surviving here under normal circumstances. You just assumed it was possible. Your kind has never existed in this universe, but I was pretty sure that you existed in another universe somewhere. At least, according to Pinkie Pie..."

Ian scoffed, though whether it was directed at the locked door he'd just found, or at Lyra's statement, was hard to tell. There were some muffled sounds from the other side, but nothing immediately recognizable. "Mind unlocking this?" Ian asked, hitching a thumb at the door.

"Ah, ah, ah! That's another question!" Lyra admonished, wagging a forehoof. "And it's not your turn, because I haven't asked my first question yet."

"Oh, screw this, I'm drilling the lock," Ian said, throwing his hands in the air. He then summoned the Assault Rifle again, and held the end of the barrel about an inch from the door's keyhole.

"What, can't your robo-eyes just see through it with, like, X-Ray Vision or something?" Lyra asked, a bit concerned. Ian just gave her a flat look.

"Of course not, I'm a Toa, not freaking Superman," he said, as if that were an obvious fact. He then paused, and a thoughtful look crept over his face as he stowed the weapon again. "I can, however, summon a mask of X-Ray Vision. This is gonna take some getting used to..." He then held his hands out as if holding an open book, concentrated, and a silvery Kanohi Mask with three lenses on the right side appeared in his grasp. "Sweet." He held it up to his face, and--

"How'd you do that?"

Ian looked at Lyra, whose head was cocked to the side, her eyes wide in curiosity. "That's another question," he replied, and placed the mask over his face. He recoiled slightly as it's power rushed through him, and then continued speaking. "And you said we only get one per 'turn,' if I remember."

"You asked two on your turn. Technically three, if you wanna split hairs." She replied, skeptical. "So there."

"Actually, the first two were technically rhetorical, with the second being more for my own benefit, whilst the third was a request." Ian said, looking at the door, "so there-- Jegus!" He turned his attention away from the room he'd just been facing, closing his eyes and covering the mask's optics for good measure.

"Ohgodohgodohgod, I did not need to see that...! Seriously, they need to put a sock on the doorknob next time..."

"What?" Lyra demanded, looking between him and the door, concern evident in her voice. "What'd you see?"

"The less you know..." Ian said, vaguely, as he walked stiffly and purposefully away from the door. "New objective: find Brain Bleach..."

A slow smile slunk across Lyra's snout, then mutated into a superior smirk. "Oh, I can probably guess. Got an eyeful, did we, Caldoric?"

"More than I ever wanted." Ian said flatly. "But seriously: Brain Bleach, now, before it leaves a scar."

"Before what leaves a scar?" Kopaka asked, stepping around the intersection before them. "And how did you get that mask?"

Caldoric deadpanned as he switched back to his Kualsi, the mask of Quick Travel. "What mask? This mask? I made it at home, before I ended--"

"No." Said Kopaka, drawing his sword and pointing it at Caldoric's chest. Even through his armor, the monochrome Toa could feel the sheer cold radiating from the split blade. "The other mask... The Akaku. It looks like the one I'm wearing."

"I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about." Caldoric said, holding his hands up slowly. "And even if I did have one, which I don't, why would that be an issue? All I'd be using it for is finding that Mirror we came through, and--"

"We came through a portal, not a mirror, if I remember correctly." Kopaka countered, calm, cool, and pointed as a freshly-sharpened icicle. "Unless you 'remember' something else that no one else does... something important." It better not have something to do with what's behind that door..." He leaned to one side, and the optics on his mask adjusted themselves, focusing in and out like camera lenses.

Caldoric pushed the point of Kopaka's sword to one side with one hand, and clamped the other over the right side of Kopaka's Kanohi as Lyra watched nervously. "Don't... look. It's not polite..." Caldoric pleaded.

"Neither is it polite to have your hand on my mask." the Toa of Ice retorted, shoving Caldoric aside and glaring at the door. Half a second later, he squinted and craned his head forward as one lens zoomed in as far as it would go. "What are they doing?!" He asked thoroughly confused enough to let his guard down.

It was all Caldoric needed to surge forward, seize Kopaka's Golden Mask by the lenses, and yank it off his face. Doing so, however, he found the freezing sword's point directly under his own chin.

"Give. That. Back." Kopaka demanded, his face now bare, and very angry. Caldoric was worried for a moment, seeing as being at swordpoint was a new experience, until he remembered something. He smiled.

"You wouldn't kill me." Caldoric stated, relaxing slightly. "I mean, not to sound like a villain or anything, but it'd go against everything the Toa stand for. Against the Toa Code itself. You can't kill me, not over something as simple as a Kanohi, or over me keeping you from seeing something you don't nee--"

The mask was abruptly ripped from his hands, enveloped in a golden-yellow aura that pulled it towards Lyra, whose horn was glowing the same color. "Seriously," she said, "can you two not fight? If Caldoric here says whatever he saw was bad enough that he needs Brain Bleach, and that you shouldn't have looked, then he's probably right."

Kopaka Shifted abruptly into his Runner form, his fluffy-feathered wings spread wide and threateningly from his biomechanical body, his mane and tail once more seemingly made of icicles and slices of blizzard. Without his mask, his now-equine face looked almost skeletal, and more than a little scary. "Give me... that mask..." He said, breathing heavily, "or you'll... regret it..."

Caldoric blinked forward with his own mask powers, grabbed Kopaka's Golden Kanohi, and hopped once in place as he looked over Kopaka's wings. With a flash, he was at the other end of the hall, and off running. So, too, was Lyra, hot on his trail, followed at length by a much slower, yet far angrier, Kopaka. As the raging Pegasus trailed his quarry, the area's ambient temperature dropped fast. Ice began forming on the stone and marble floors, and frost collected on the walls and windows. He might have been weakened without his mask, but he still had some form of control over his element deep in his Protosteel bones.

He would get his mask back, and find out what Caldoric was up to. No force in the universe would stop him, come Karzahni or high water.

A floor above,
Canterlot Castle

Ian was seriously starting to have some regrets. Like, more than what had become "normal" over the past 48 hours or so. This issue with the Mask was just the icing on the cake. He ran, and ran, and ran, trying to outstrip Lyra's magic and equine speed with his own untested Toa power and augmented endurance, as well as a healthy dash of pure DETERMINATION.

He swung around a corner, using a handy pillar to swing his momentum the necessary amount, almost collided with Fluttershy and Gali (also in Runner form,) then sprinted past them as they tried to ask what was going on. Hearing a rush of water approaching from behind, Ian quickly teleported left at the next intersection, then warp-spammed up a flight of stairs to the next floor. There, he nearly bowled over Lewa (also in Runner form,) and Pinkie.

"What's the hurry-rush, brother?" The Pegasus-Toa of Air asked as he adjusted his wings, a few pine needles and other bits of plant matter falling from between his leaflike feathers. His mane and tail were like thin, wispy contrails, moving under their own wind, with the occasional bit of leaf or other skyborn debris fluttering through it and coming to rest on the floor. They moved like he was standing in a wind tunnel, but with everything in slow motion.

"Yeah, where's the fire?" Pinkie added, bouncing excitedly. "I wanna roast some marshmallows!"

"We're playing keep-away with Kopaka!" Ian said, bullshitting on the fly. "We gotta keep his mask away from him, the one with the longest running time wins and if he gets you, then you're out. You're it!" He then shoved the Kanohi in her hopefully more-than-capable hooves and booked it. As he barely registered their calls of confusion, Ian realized he was jittering all over from the adrenaline. So, he shifted from his normal running speed to the bounding, ground-eating strides he occasionally used if he was in a hurry. Like, a real hurry.

He then took a left at the next hallway intersection, and kept up with his combination running/teleportation method of flight.

"What was that about?" Lewa asked, turning to his fellow prankster, and honorary Le-Matoran party-er, Pinkie Pie.

"Oh, he nabbed old Icy-Pants' mask off his face, and ran with it, and now Kopaka's angry. C'mon, let's show that stick-in-the-mud how to have some fun!" She replied, continuing to bounce with excitement, Kopaka's mask placed squarely on her own face.

"I'm not sure that's very wise-smart," Lewa admitted, scuffing a metal hoof against the flagstone flooring, knocking a small chip out of it.

"Oh, pshaw, who cares about smart? We do fun, remember?" She then tapped her forehoof to Lewa's nose, said "Boop!" and vanished down the hall in a cloud of pink-ish smoke.

Lewa smirked, adjusted the mask on his own face, then spread his wings and took off after his friend, just as Gali and Fluttershy crested the top of the stairs. "Lewa, have you--" Gali began, as he zoomed off. "Lewa! Come back here!"

"Nope!" He replied, and chuckled maddeningly as he activated his own Golden Mask's power of Speed, and promptly almost smashed into a wall.

"Oh, where's Pohatu when you need him?" The Unicorn-Toa of Water asked, shaking her head.

Pohatu, walking next to Tahu through the castle, suddenly sneezed. Bringing a forehoof up to his face, he paused to rub his nose a bit, then shook his head to clear it. This caused his mane and tail, made of pebbles and small rocks held together by a mesh of interconnected coppery wires, to rattle against his dirt-brown Protosteel armor.

"Bless you," Tahu said, turning to look at his brother, his own fiery mane flowing gently with the motion. Where Celestia's mane and tail the previous day had been more akin to a raging inferno, throwing off light like a quasar having a fit, Tahu's were presently softer, more under control, almost like a candle's flame in comparison. Also like a candle, they gave off a soft, flickering light that was only outshone by the blueish-white flame-shaped light source on Tahu's long, glassy black horn, which looked almost like it was made from obsidian.

"Bless you," echoed Rarity and Rainbow, who had been walking alongside the two Toa, deep in discussion up to this point.

"Many thanks, brother, cousins," replied the large earth-stallion of Stone, adjusting his Mask of Speed. "What were you asking about again?"

"Oh, nothing much," Rarity said, waving a forehoof, "just wondering if you wanted help rebuilding a few of the houses out in the city later... or maybe a few creative pointers for your armor?" She tapped a hoof to her chin. "I mean, there's not much to work with, fashion-wise, but we could possibly add a piece or two to fancy you up a tad..."

"Ah, generous as always, cousin Rarity," Pohatu replied, touching a forehoof to his barrel, "I am touched. And your creative influence is always welcome. I'm proud to have gotten to know someone so artistic as you over the past week... I just wish Hafu would get along better with you."

Rainbow rolled her eyes, and mimed a gagging motion, whilst Tahu closed his eyes and took a deep breath, his blazing mane and tail momentarily blazing a bit brighter with his impatience.

Suddenly, Caldoric came barreling around the corner and pulled off a spectacular and unexpected two-handed vault over Tahu's head, passing nary more than an inch above the latter's horn, before landing and rolling under Pohatu. If the situation had occurred in a y form of cartoon, it definitely would have happened in a slo-mo, multi-shot scene, with extra focus on just how close the vault had been.

"I regret nothing!" The newest Toa exclaimed as he rounded a far corner and disappeared from sight. Seconds later, Lewa passed through the hallway, gliding above the heads of everyone present with a whoosh, and vanished down the hall Caldoric hadn't taken.

There was a distinctive missing element in the area's general illumination now that the two of them had just passed, which Tahu was quick to notice.

"Whoah, is my mane out?" He asked, swiftly bringing a hoof to the back of his neck, which was indeed devoid of flame. With a woomph! the flames returned, and he directed a glare in the direction that the two troublemakers had gone. Rarity and Pohatu chuckled softly, and Rainbow took off after Caldoric in a blur of Technicolor light to figure out what was up.

Ian continued his flight through the castle, though he had slowed down a fair bit from exhaustion, and a feeling that he had gained some definite ground. So, he took a moment to pause by a bust of some theoretically important or prominent member of pony society, or perhaps a major historical figure. He was tempted to push it off its plinth, but decided against it.

Out of the blue, Ian was tackled from out of left field by none other than Rainbow Dash, and they ended up in a heap a little ways down the hall.

"So, what's the rush, big guy?" Rainbow asked, casually, from where she was laying on his back.

"Prank gone wrong," he said getting up and causing her the Pegasus to slide off of him, "Kopaka's mad. Like, really mad. At me, too. Think you can get him off my tail?"

Rainbow snorted. "Please. I've had more pranks go wrong than anypony else has pulled off pranks, combined. So, yeah, I can get him to... chill..."

Ian smirked. "That's the spirit. Now, up and at 'em! Bye!" With that, he was off again, with Rainbow going back the way she'd come in order to head off Kopaka... or maybe prank him in her own way. Anything to see that cold, emotionless face do more than give the barest hint of a smirk, or frown slightly at something he disapproved of.

This was gonna be so worth it.

Kopaka was furious. Livid. Raging. He ran through a mental list of every word he could think of that was synonymous with "angry," and unfortunately for Caldoric, that spawn of a Brakas Monkey, it was a very long list.

"Hey Kopaka!"

He looked up from where he had been staring at the floor , eyes unfocused, as he had stalked through the castle halls. Before him stood that annoying pink mare, currently waving at him, who had made him flip his lid on her first day--

She had it. She had his mask. And she had the gall to be wearing it?! ON HER ACTUAL FACE?!?!

His expression contorted into a new mask of its own, one of an anger so pure, a fury so righteous, that it could possibly freeze its way straight through the very fabric of reality itself and into a new universe, fresh for the loathing. He let out an almost feral growl.

"Uh-oh," Pinkie said, eyes shrinking to pinpricks, before she zipped off in a blur of pink that left the mask spinning comically in the air for a moment. Just as it began to fall, though, she zipped back, grabbed it, and visually dopplered back down her chosen hallway.

The scream of rage that tore from his throat at that moment, which would probably leave him hoarse for a few days, echoed throughout the castle, signifying one thing, and one thing only: his calm demeanor had gone out the window. He had snapped, flipped his shit, officially done an acrobatic fucking pirouette off the handle and into the goddamn deep end of the highest member of the Noble Circle of Horrorterrors' backyard pool.

He. Was. Beyond. Mad.

Pure adrenaline flooded his system, and his eyes went from a blue glow that had nearly matched those of the unfortunate party-mare to a solid white, with wisps of super-cold steam beginning to curl away from his joints, in addition to his mouth and nose as he huffed and puffed. Then, without further ado, he surged forward, chasing after Pinkie, his rage lending him the strength and power needed to stay practically on her tail, slowly closing on her.

Less than a minute later, after zooming throughout the castle, Kopaka finally cornered Pinkie in a dead end. He breathing was quick, yet laborious, like a steam train trying to take a steep grade in the wrong gear. There were sheets of frost forming and sloughing off his armor with every breath, leaving a mess of ice beneath his intensely intimidating form. His mane and tail, however were... were...

Ok, let's put it like this: imagine that the mother of all blizzards had the unholiest of offspring with the father of all supernovas, alright? Now, take that, multiply it by about 1,000, and the result would be... approximately half of a melting snowflake in Hell compared to the hot, hot mess Kopaka's mane and tail had become, and that's being generous. Also, read "hot" as "so cold that Absolute Zero looked like the core of the Mangai Volcano back on Mata Nui."

"Kanohi... Mask..." he growled, barely coherent, "mine... all mine... give it... give it to me...! Now...!"

"Hey, back off!" Rainbow Dash said behind him, hovering in midair as she was often wont to do. Kopaka merely turned and looked at her for a moment, which shut her up and filled her with dread.

"Rainbow, catch!" Pinkie yelled, "it's keep-away!" Kopaka's head snapped around to his quarry in time to see her recovering from tossing--

He whipped around again, fury once more coming to a head as he saw the cyan Pegasus catch his mask. He growled, and her eyes, too, turned to pinpricks.

"Wh-- Ohhhhhhhh..." Rainbow said, and her heart seemed to freeze in her barrel-chested torso as the irate Pegasus-Toa of Ice reared up on his hind legs and spread his massive wings almost to the walls and ceiling. Fortunately, her auto-stampede instincts kicked in, causing her to nearly hit Sonic Rainboom speed as she vanished up the hallway, leaving behind an unusual rainbow trail in her wake. It was unusual in the fact that it had a streak of gold at the top, just above the red band, and that there was also a second, independent band of transparent yellow just below the indigo level.

Kopaka dropped from his rearing position and slammed his forehooves into the flagstones as hard as he could, simultaneously snapping both wings forward at the retreating form of Rainbow Dash with a shout of blistering rage. The motion sent a sub-arctic blast down the hall, freezing everything in its way, including her rainbow trail. Fortuitously, her instincts kicked in just in time, directing her to turn down a handy perpendicular hallway mere moments before the rush of cold energy would've frozen her solid. The frozen Technicolor trail lost all color as the captured photons slowly escaped, save for the secondary yellow streak, which fell to the ground and shattered. It was followed by the formerly gold-and-rainbow wake half a tick later.

With another roar of rage, Kopaka was off, and Pinkie was left alone, severely concerned for her friends, and no longer entirely sure this whole thing had been a game. On the off chance that it actually wasn't, however, she figured she ought to tell somepony. Probably good ol' Celestia, since she always knew what to do. So, hair flat, (due entirely to the ambient temperature, and having nothing to do with Kopaka's startling display of rage-fueled cryo-kinesis, regardless of anypony's claims to the contrary, no-sirree-bob,) Pinkie scurried off to find Celestia... and maybe a warm coat or twelve.

Elsewhere in the castle:

Ian took note of Kopaka's latest rage-roar, and commented on it to himself as he made his way into one of the tower attics in this section of the castle. "Did you feel that?" He asked himself, only to immediately reply in a (marginally) different voice: "I could taste that...!"

Then he shook his head to clear it, and took a look around. "Verdammt," he swore, seeing no trace of the Crystal Mirror, "and I was so sure it'd be here..."

His ears, or whatever biomechanical equivalent he now had as a Toa, suddenly picked up the sounds of someone large coming up the stairs to the attic. So, he hid behind a sofa or something (he wasn't sure, what with the dim lighting, and his less-than-stellar knowledge of furniture terminology--)

"I can see you over there, behind that loveseat," came Onua's bass rumble of a voice. "You may not know this, but even as well-lit as the Onu-Koro plaza is lit, it's still much darker than this attic, and I can see in the darkness of the deepest mines just fine."

Ian relaxed. "Oh it's just you," he said, stepping out from behind the furniture. "What's up? What brings you up to my office?"

"I heard that our icy friend was on a rampage, and I was wondering if you perhaps knew anything about it." Onua shrugged, gesturing with a foreleg as he stepped fully into view. "Especially seeing as young Pinkamena told me something about a game of 'keep-away' involving his Kanohi, and how you're seemingly hiding up here, in one of the most unobtrusive locations of the castle."

Ian chuckled and shrugged in return. "Ok, I'll admit, it seems suspicious when you put it like that. But really, I'm just looking for the Mirror so we can go back to Mata Nui."

He would have said more, if there hadn't been a series of disturbances somewhere below. It kicked off with a crash, followed by Rainbow's voice giving a startled shout and Kopaka's now slightly hoarse voice yelling in anger, and ending in another crash that sounded like breaking glass.

Ian and Onua rushed over to a nearby roof-access hatch, and they shoved it open in time to see their Technicolor mutual friend hovering between their tower and another, holding Kopaka's mask between her forehooves, her body bearing several bruises and scratches, and there was a piece or two of glass stuck to her frame as well. She jerked to one side, and the two ebon-armored Toa were privileged with watching their alabaster ally crash through the already broken window a few floors below, streaking through the spot where Rainbow had just been.

He wasn't able to maintain his glide, however, and he fell several stories, leaving him to crash through a second window in the nearby tower.

Ian looked around as Onua muttered sympathetically about the rough landing Kopaka must have just experienced. The Human-turned-Toa spotted a series of windows that looked familiar, grabbed his Bruteshot, and jumped out the window into open air.

"Caldoric!" Onua cried, holding out a foreleg as he watched his friend leap, seemingly, to his own death. Ian, however, had other plans.

Aiming carefully, he fired off a single shot, which arced through the air and landed roughly on top of one of the normal windows, leaving the stained glass ones on either side untouched by the explosion. The afflicted one, however, was shattered, leaving a clear, unobstructed view into the hall beyond. With a flash, Ian was no longer falling in open air, instead landing on a hard floor covered in broken glass.

"Note to self," he groaned as he got up, glass crunching beneath his weight, "don't do that again."

He got up, scattering shards of glass as he did so, only to stop when he felt something small and blocky beneath his foot. Further investigation revealed it to be some sort of small circuit-breaker-like switch, made almost entirely out of the same brass-like material as Ian's own Token, only... cleaner-looking. The head of the switch itself was scooped, like a spoiler on a sports car, or the front blade on a bulldozer. It also had a blue-ish square of paint on the "front" of the device's main body, just beneath a small red arrow, the former of the two spots of color bearing a white "2" in its center.

As Ian held it in his hand, he heard a new voice speak in his mind: "If you need aid, call on the stars and Switch On!" It said.

"Well, that sure was a short message..." Ian muttered, eyeing the small device. Against his better judgement, he wrapped the fingers of his right hand around the device, and gave the scooped lever an experimental toggle with his thumb.

And oh, what a glorious toggle it was. There was just the right amount of resistance and stiffness behind the switch, up until it hit that magical point in the center where the internal spring took over and moved it the rest of the way... and the slight rattle of the click itself, that ambrosial ca-chk! sound it made, it was music to his ears. He gave it another flip... And another... Soon he was rocking it back and forth with wild abandon.

Click, click, click, click, click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click-click-click-click-click Oh, sweet Jegus, he just couldn't stop. That is, until he remembered that this was a Token, and not some toy, which meant that someone should be showing up shortly. Right?

No, apparently not, as his short-term memory kicked in and reminded him that the device had said to "call upon the stars and Switch On" in order to summon the speaker... which meant he was fine playing with it to his heart's content until such time as he needed it to work. So, he resumed clicking.

Ian smiled contentedly, slowing his switch-clicking to a more manageable rate, and began to take stock of his situation...

"Caldoric!" He heard Onua calling from the tower attic he's just left. Oh, right, forgot about that, Ian thought, and leaned out the window he'd just blown out.

"Yo!" He called, giving a single wave to get the Toa of Earth's attention. "I'm over here! I'm fine!"

"Mata Nui!" Onua called back half a second later, after Ian's own echo had come back to him. "Don't do that without warning someone first next time! If that had gone wrong, you'd be gravity-bones right now!"

"Could've been, but I'm not!" Ian replied, then sidestepped as Rainbow came up to the window at speed. She airbraked with her wings in mid flight, coming to a hovering stop just before she would've smashed through the opposite window.

"Hey, just thought I'd give this back to you..." She told Ian breathlessly. "It's more trouble than it's worth, both taking care of this fouled prank or whatever and keeping that mask out of Kopaka's range... So I gotta drop one or the other. I mean, I could totally handle it for, like, another few hours, but I still gotta take a breather some time. Don't wanna... pull a muscle, yeah. That's it." She reared back and mimicked a few punches with her forelegs, using her wings to keep herself upright, then settled back down on all fours. "Gotta keep in tip-top fighting shape and all that. Can't let those Shardlings get any ideas about getting the drop on old Rainbow Dash, fastest flyer around. As if it's ever happen anyways... 'KThanksBye!" And with that, she zipped off the way she'd come, out into the open mountain air...

Maybe that's why it's so cold here... Ian thought to himself as he clutched the mask, looking out the window again. We're up on a mountain around cloud level, in what's almost literally a cloud city. Nice to finally figure that out.

"CALDORIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIC!!!!" Ian heard Kopaka's normally quiet voice shout, as he looked down a tad and saw the Toa of Ice glaring at him from an open window. His teeth were bared, his ears pinned back, his stance was aggressive, and his wings were spread wide. "Give me that mask right now, or else! You've gone too far with this!"

"I don't know, I'd rather not toss it and risk having it fall and break on the ground far below." Ian said. "You're just going to have to come and get it."

"No, I know you can teleport, so get over here right now and give me that mask!" Kopaka demanded, stamping a hoof against the windowsill.

"Yeah, when Hell freezes over," Ian replied, realizing his accidental pun, "you're just anxious to beat me to a pulp first!"

"Trust me, this Hell of yours will be in an ice age by the time I'm done with you, whatever the Karzahni 'Hell' is..."

"Later, popsicle-breath!" Ian called, rolling his eyes. "You know where to find me." With that, he walked away from the window, and headed towards an elaborate-looking door at the closer end of the suddenly familiar hallway. The stained glass windows... they depicted the various times that the Elements of Harmony had been successfully utilized against some of Equestria's greatest foes, as well as some of the events leading up to their use.

Which meant that the door before him, with three large pale gems on either side of it, and a giant eight-pointed starburst in its center, was... oh, what had it been called? The Vault? Eh, it didn't matter. If he remember correctly, it was (or, it had been,) protected by an enchantment that only Celestia and Discord could break. So, Ian decided to give it a shot.

Summoning the strange sword he'd bought from the Merchant, he unsheathed it, only to stop and look at the blade for a moment. It looked, at first glance, like a simple saber, though with a blade made of Specular Hematite. However, when one actually looked at the blade, they would find it to be quite unusual indeed: it appeared to be made of some form of crystal containing a field of stars... only upon moving it was its true nature hinted at. The "stars" appeared to stay in place as the blade moved, with the sword seeming to provide a window into the void of space beyond the planet's atmosphere, even catching a glimpse of the Sun itself if you held it in the right place.

Ian, having already experimented with it the previous night before sleeping, found this to be nothing new, and chose to stick the blade up to its hilt into the single cylindrical hole in the door's otherwise flat surface, then turn it 90° clockwise. Nothing happened, short of a grating sound as the sword's blade scratched the inside of the "lock." He tried the other direction, with the same result.

Ian frowned at the door, leaving the sword in its place, and thought for a second. With a half-formed idea that was more instinct than any real form of a plan, he reverently grasped the sword's handle with both hands, closed his eyes, and then...

He just kind of... reached out with his mind, and... imagined exerting his will through the blade, using it as a focus for his very essence--

"Alohamora," he whispered, half subconsciously.

With a glow, the door split into six sharpened wedges, which retracted into the rectangular frame with a heavy grinding sound, unsettled dust cascading to the ground. The sword tip dropped to the floor, held loosely in Ian's hands. He removed one from the hilt and stared at it for a moment. Had he really just bested a super-powerful sealing spell by himself in one go? Or was somebody else playing him for a fool, setting him up to fall from a distance?

"Probably the latter," he muttered darkly, stowing the sword once more and setting Kopaka's mask against the wall just outside the doorframe. Looking beyond the entryway, as magical torches ignited themselves after years of darkness, he raised an eyebrow. Yep, this was simply one hell of a vault, all right. Probably bigger on the inside, too... Though there wasn't much in it. Mostly objects that looked to be mere trinkets...

The occasional pendant or necklace, a few weapons (both broken and whole,) some coins and gems, clothing and accessories, etc. And all of it was from Earth, no doubt about it.

"What is this?" Ian asked himself, before noticing a flash of light from deeper within the Vault. Sidestepping the first pedestal just inside the door, which had once housed the Elements themselves, he scurried over to the source of the flash, before tipping his head in confusion. Why was there a bronze Möbius loop, which was identical to the logic puzzle Ian had used for his Token, sitting on a pedestal of its own, with the slotted coin removed and set to one side?

Sudden realization dawned. All these nick-nacks, these trinkets... "These are all tokens, aren't they? Cool..." Ian breathed, before noting a few empty pedestals down the line. Some had plaques bearing descriptions of the items that were meant to be there, including their messages, whilst others had no such distinction. These last were obviously set aside for new arrivals...

And at the back of the room was the Crystal Mirror, leaned against the wall, each of the eleven gems along its outer rim bearing a different and unique color. The little mirror set at the arched mirror's apex bore a silhouetted image... But not of a rearing pony.

No, it bore the Bionicle logo itself, the one that had later come to symbolize the shattered world of Spherus Magna... Ian decided to take a moment to snap a photo with his phone, just in case, and then put it in his pocket.

"Wow, looks like you've caused some real chaos..." Someone said from behind him, near the door. Ian turned and saw, silhouetted in the doorway, the form of a filly wearing a propeller beanie, her hair curled and poofy. "My dad'd be impressed, if he were still himself." She then walked farther into the room, winding between some of the pedestals, while giving others an obviously wide berth.

"You..." Ian said, looking at her as she walked by his leg, where she paused for a moment. The filly tilted her head back, looking him straight in the eye, with a manic smile on her face. "You're Discord's daughter... Screwball, I think Sebaste's friends called you." He made sure to avoid looking directly at her spiralling irises, on the off chance hypnotism was a thing that could happen with her.

Screwball then resumed her previous trajectory, walking up to the Crystal Mirror and laying a foreleg on the lavender horseshoe-shaped frame, stroking it gently. "Yeesh, daddy sure did a number on this old thing... I'm not sure it'll ever be the same." She said, then continued talking in a bit of a sing-song voice: "I sure feel sorry for you now..."

"Wait, what? Why?" Ian asked, a bit confused. Screwball then turned and fixed him with a creepy stare, complimented by a totally unnerving smile. As a song by Celldweller that Ian recognized spontaneously began playing from his phone, Discord's daughter opened her mouth and began singing along:

♪Your luck is sliding like a bat out of hell;
♪You're empty-handed at your life's show and tell,
♪And you've no idea what's coming now...!♪
Screwball intoned, beginning to pace around Ian's legs. He was unsure what to make of this new, vaguely menacing behavior, unsure if it was usual or not for her.
♪One million voices call from the other side,
♪If you could hear them then you'd be terrified!
♪Good luck... you're f_cked.
♪Yeah, I'd hate to see you go, man, but anyone knows you're screwed.
♪Good luck... you're f_cked.
♪It's like a losing game of hangman, the letter we need is U
♪U, U, U!♪

Just then, as she finally came to a stop and sat by one of his feet with a chuckle, the doors at the far end of the hall burst open, allowing Ian an unprecedented view of Kopaka's full, cold fury. The Toa of Ice was now so angry that he had descended into a stare of deadly calm, though he was still blowing cold steam from his nose as he pawed the ground.

"Good luck!" Screwball said with a smile, before dissolving into a cloud of lavender smoke that quickly dissipated.

"Give me my mask..." Kopaka demanded once again, moving forward into the hall. This allowed everyone behind him, from Spike, the CMC, and the Toa Mata, to Lyra, the Element Bearers, and the Princesses, to fan out.

"Um, it's right there..." Ian said, gesturing back to the doorframe. Kopaka then proceeded to pounce on his mask, quickly smashing it onto his face, then stood up straight. There was a new intensity in his eyes, one that Ian wasn't sure he liked.

"Well, looks like the trail's gone cold, Caldoric." Kopaka said, advancing slowly. "Time for you to cool your heels in the cells downstairs."

"Chill out, Kopaka," Ian replied, holding his hands up placatingly, "I have a perfectly reasonable explanation..."

"Indeed," added Celestia, "I believe that the decision to do that is up to myself and my sister, with the guard temporarily out of commission."

"Princess!" Twilight interjected, "Discord's still under Chrystalla's control, and Caldoric was just talking with Screwball immediately after causing a series of events that generated chaos throughout the castle. Shouldn't we be at least a little pragmatic about this?"

Ian raised a hand, about to reply, when he felt a sudden pull in his lower abdomen... a sort of jerk, like someone had attached a hook to the backside of his navel...

As everyone watched, Caldoric abruptly doubled over, clutching his midriff, before the space he was occupying flashed black, then white, and then finally seemed to become a Caldoric-shaped hole in space and time that opened onto intense green fire and yellow lightning, all in the space of a fraction of a second. It then seemed to expand to fill their entire field of vision over the next half second as everything else that wasn't part of the "hole" became a solid, matching shade of green.

Just as suddenly, everything was back to normal, as if nothing had happened. One thing had changed, however: Caldoric was gone, with no chance of tracing where (or when) he had disappeared to, though several of the more lightweight objects in the room rocked slightly, as if his disappearance had caused a minor spot of air displacement.

Kopaka blinked momentarily, then rubbed his eyes. "Where'd he go? Where is he? I have unfinished business with him!" And, with that, he charged from the room, Shifting back to his bipedal form, his expression making it clear he was prepared to turn the whole of Canterlot upside down to find his target.

Author's Note:

Well, things just got interesting. I honestly wasn't intending for the chapter to go in this direction, but... hey, it worked, and it got Caldoric where I wanted him: with the Mirror. so I guess it worked. Not to mention, it's set up some stuff for future chapters. The only question that remains is: Where, oh where, has our protagonist gone? You'll have to wait till the next chapter to find out, I'm afraid.

An image to help you visualize the general idea of what that last teleportation effect was supposed to look like...

Oh, hey, I finally figured out how to link images... from the computer, at least.

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