• Published 19th Dec 2016
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The Pieces Lie Where They Fell - Evilhumour



A thousand years after the death of Mane Six, a new generation of Bearers are chosen.

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Chapter Thirteen: Wind Breaker, Page Turner, Vix-Lei

Chapter Thirteen

Wind Breaker

Shaking his head, Wind tilted his head to look at Xvital who was engaged in some idle chitchat while he perused the drink options in this second rate barshop at the counter with the bartender serving another customer.

It might look all fancy but from the cups of booze they passed by he could smell it was already distilled and watered down and their marketed stuff would be as bad.

Still, he had made several Cadenzas by returning his empty bottles and got complimented on his good taste. Which was an old trade tactic to try and get him to buy stuff.

“So buddy,” the bartender, one Tipsy Tray, looked at him with a glint in her eyes… which wasn’t hard as the pegasus mare was a Crystal pony. “What brings a cute griffon and his special lady to place like this on the Honour Festival?”

Puffing out in surprise, Wind Breaker turned to look at Xvital who was in the middle of an arm wrestling match while shouting in Burroñeso with the earth pony yelling back in Hosstrian before looking at the mare. “She’s not my special lady,” Wind said slowly, blinking his blue and gold eyes at the pony. “And we’re just passing through the West-North to get to North without too much trouble.”

“Ah, well if you two love birds,” the mare giggled to herself when he tried to protest this. “Want to get to North without too much fanfare, I’d poke around Blas Bridge. I mean, you’re normally not allowed but -”

“OH SI!!” Xvital shouted, startling everypony in the room. “En tu cara!!

"Verdammte bekloppte Dschungelkatze," the earth pony grumbled in Hosstrian, rubbing his arm. "Dafür, dass du kein Erdponnie bist, bist du sehr stark... und ich kann gar nicht verstehen was du sagst."

“Que?” Xvital blinked in confusion. “Pero que estas diciendo? Te estas queja-oh hola Wind Bre- sorry, Wind Breaker,” Xvital said as she walked over to him, punching him in the arm. “Not drinking too much, I hope?”

“No, nothing yet,” Wind Breaker winced, rubbing his arm. “You have fun?”

“Si,” Xvital grinned before slapping him on the back and moving him away from the counter. “Come on, we’ve got to get moving if we want to meet your parents in time.”

“But I thought…” the mare said, blinking her eyes as Xvital dragged him out of the bar and forced him on a steady walk outside into the bustling roadway. Xvital kept guiding him along the streets and it was only after they passed a couple of blocks did she finally stop.

“So, you learn anything useful because I didn’t,” Xvital said with a huff, looking around to see if they were being overheard.

“Not really,” Wind Breaker said as he began to walk again with the ahuizotl at his side. “Something about the Blas Bridge being used as a good way at not getting seen.”

“Huh, we should take a look at that before going to see the others,” Xvital said as she pulled out her map and started to trace it with her tail hand. Turning her head to look up at the street sign, she then looked at her map again. “It should be a few blocks down from where we are… and now that I say it, I don’t think we should poke around there as we kinda stick out like a sloth in the badlands.”

“Speaking of…” WInd Breaker looked at the self-admitted thief with a tilt of his head. “As we’re going to be stuck on this journey thing with each other, mind telling me a bit more about you? Beyond the whole thief-”

“Ah yeah, yeah, keep your beak shut about that,” Xvital hissed at him, eyes darting around. “We’re in a crowded place with a ton of ponies that want to be snobbish; all it takes is one sap that decides to speak to a police officer and we’re screwed.”

“I get it,” Wind Breaker huffed at her, his feathers ruffled at her lecturing tone. He then twisted his head sideways to look at her. “So do you mind sharing?”

“Well, I was born in the outskirts of our capital city,” Xvital started, rubbing her chin with her tail hand. “Its name was… well, it’d translate roughly as ‘among the prickly pears growing in the rocks’. We were on an island surrounded by a very large lake, connected to some other ones. It looked a lot like this city, actually, except for being on an island instead of on a mountain. My family wasn’t from the richer part of society,” she said with a sigh. “Hell, we shared the house I grew up with a few other families and I’m kinda not sure who my family was back then. Still not sure if Maxtla is my actual brother or not and mom could never really be bothered bothered to tell me beyond the ‘Oh, Xvital, family is those close to you’ line whenever I asked,” Xvital said rolling her eyes and hugging herself. “If you can’t imagine, that didn’t imprint a good concept of home and belonging in me and so when I was old enough to be on my own, I walked out one day and never really looked back.”

“Yikes,” Wind Breaker pulled back, surprised to hear somepony had as near a crappy foalhood as he did.

“Yah, not the smartest of ideas for a young girl like me striking out there, to make it on her own but I managed to get lucky enough to find someone to teach me how to survive and my craft.”

“Of steal-”

“Of calligraphy,” she said, placing a finger over his beak with her tail hand. “But I learned how to really copy books from Machtia. She was… a kinda second mother to me, I guess. Taught me everything I really know; how to make a living, how to make money last, really prepared me to live on my own. I should visit her one day, just to get in touch. Maybe after all this is done with I’ll head over there to see her.” Xvital smiled to herself before tilting her head down to look at him. “What about you?”

“Not much to write home about,” Wind Breaker shrugged his shoulders, following her around a bend, taking an apple she nicked from a stand with her tail hand and bit into it with his beak. “I grew up in the Caring Sisters of the Virtues Hatchery; full of other griffons unlucky enough to be born here. I was picked on due to my height and… other stuff,” he trailed off, no desire to get into his other issue. But she was giving him a look that demanded some form of answer and he wasn’t sure how to tell her about everything-

“Your drinking, right?”

“Yeah,” he coughed, rubbing his throat. “It was a typical experience from what I’ve heard; taught how speak properly, act properly, look properly, even wal-”

Look properly?” Xvital tilted her head, causing Wind Breaker to hiss as he let that part of his foalhood slip out.

“Yeah,” he said scratching the back of his head. “My plumage isn’t what they considered… pony prefered. Had to dye my feathers to a brighter colour before I was let outside to work off my debt,” he sighed, dropping his head a bit. “Had to put it on my debt…”

“Wow, that’s incredibly stupid,” Xvital snorted as she filched more food and placed it into his saddlebag. While he wasn’t too keen on stealing, he understood that they would be on the run soon and stocking up on food now would be good. “How much is your debt anyways?”

“About fifty to seventy thousand Lunas,” Wind Breaker replied. “I haven’t really looked at my debt in a bit so I’m not exactly sure at the moment.”

“Fifty to seventy thousand Lunas?” Xvital squeaked out, stumbling a bit as her eyes went wide. “How did you, I mean it’s cincuenta a setenta mil Lunas!!

“Yeah, but it’s not a real big debt,” Wind Breaker gave her an odd look, guessing what she said. “I mean, the Hatchery isn’t cheap, and I’ve got to pay them back for housing me, feeding me and so on. That’s like thirty thousand right there. And there is my parents’ debt I inherited and the interest of my debt isn’t cheap.”

“I...” Xvital took a seat at a bench, with Wind Breaker joining her. She waved down a passing waiter and took a glass of water, tossing a Cadenza to her. “...any ideas to pay off that debt?”

“Pretty much the plan that everypo-griffin has; work up a nest egg while paying off our interest and take part of the many offered programs that hook you up with another Hatchery griffon. For about... twenty thousand Cadenzas from one partner’s debt, they will take that out for each foal you give back to the Hatchery for who brings the foal over,” Wind Breaker let out a sigh. “It’s a nasty catch, really designed to prevent any family from forming.”

“Wow, that’s a really nasty system,” Xvital said, reaching into his saddle bag again and pulled out his bottle of Château Margaux. “Here, let’s take a shot; I need it after hearing that... We’ll work on getting you on the wagon later.”

“Not with that bottle, you’re not,” Wind Breaker hissed, take the bottle back. “That’s for celebrating big stuff,” he huffed, putting it back into his bag before pulling out another bottle and two of his tumblers. “Here, if we’re going to do it, let’s do it properly, okay?”

“Sounds good to me,” she said, taking the bottle from him and began to pour drinks for the both of them. “To you, and the crappy system Equestria has,” she toasted him, holding the glass.

“And to you, for having the guts to leave a crummy home,” Wind Breaker clinked his glass with hers and threw back the drink, wiggling as the alcohol ran down his throat.

“Wow, this is some strong stuff,” Xvital chuckled after she thumped her chest. “I mean, wow, how the hell aren’t you drunk all the time if you have this so often?”

“One, I don’t and two, I’ve got a good metabolism,” Wind Breaker grinned as he packed away his bottle and tumblers. “Come, let’s get going, maybe the others have got something that we can use.”

Page Turner

“We thank you kindly,” Rex said, bowing his head slightly to the merchants as Page took the groceries and went to place them in her new saddlebags before Rex turned around and tutted. “What kind of gentledog would I be if I did not take those parcels, miss Turner?”

“Thank you very much, Rex,” she said with a soft smile on her lips. It had been a real pleasure to be around the diamond dog as he had a way of talking with others that tended to put them at ease… after they got over the fact he was a diamond dog. They had learned that there was a real general sense of ease near some of the bridges and they were notably lax in screening those passing by. They might be able to get past without resorting to crossing at night, but it would need to be done quickly as whatever was after them would clamp down and they would have their backs to the Cantagel Canal. And then their quest would be over for good.

She let out a small whine, thinking of her Element tucked away in Night’s saddlebag. Learning that she was connected to the Stern Ward-Fluttershy and the Virtuous Six was still unnerving. It promised so much unwanted attention and she certainly didn’t want to be looked upon by others. She just wanted to be back in the Great Library where only a hoofful knew about her but she couldn’t go back. Others needed her and if Balance was right, the whole world would need them to protect them from this foe.

“Are you well Page?” Rex asked tilting his head.

“Yes, I am,” Page blushed as they turned the corner. “It was just what happened this morning, is all.”

“Ah yes, such information would be jarring to anyone,” Rex chimed in reassuringly. “But then again, the others and I are in the same situation as you are in and we will have each other for support.”

“That is true,” Page laughed to herself before shaking her head. “Still, there is so much we don’t know…”

“The first step to acquiring knowledge is learning how to ask the correct question,” Rex replied with a wry smile on his face.

“Such as why a diamond dog is in Canterlot or why he doesn’t have a pack collar?” she asked raising an eyebrow.

Ah,” Resx said shortly before letting out an amused snort. “I suppose I did walk into this line of questioning and I cannot be surprised that a ward of the Great Library would know of the importance of a diamond dog’s collar,” his ear twitched and a shadow of a smile graced his face. “Or lack of one in my case.”

“I did come across the fact that every diamond dog that is born is given a collar unique to their pack to show that they belong,” Page said, tapping her chin as she tried to recall all she knew abou diamond dogs.

“Close; a pup is given a collar when they come of age and they are expected to become an active member of the pack,” he explained. “As I learned, that does not include those who questions a fair deal of everyday occurrences. I was shunned due to my inquisitive nature and I was adept enough to realize that I was incurring enough animosity that I should make my departure before things became hostile.” Rex let out a sigh, shaking his head. “It seems I was a bit tardy as my pack leader exiled me for being the weak member of the pack. I was forced to leave my home, my pack and everything I knew for the Upside, I mean, Canterlot.”

“That’s awful,” Page placed a hoof on her barrel as she tried to think of what to say or do to comfort Rex.

“I thank you for your sympathy but to be honest, it was the best thing to occur for me,” Rex shrugged his shoulders. “I was limited in the Under, but once I came up into Canterlot I was able to fully expand my interests and achieve so much more than what I could have with my old pack. While I do miss my old pack from time to time, I am quite content with where I am in life, with a few further ambitions in mind,” Rex then tilted his head and let out another small sigh. “Or was, as the case with our mutual foe no doubt is going to put some attention onto my businesses and my partners. I do hope they are okay.”

“I am sure they will be fine,” Page said, moving to hug him which Rex accepted graciously.

“Thank you, miss Page Turner,” Rex said honestly enough as they parted. “So as we are exchanging our origins, would you be inclined to share your own? From what I gathered, you are of the Great Library, yes?”

“Yes; I am a ward of the Great Library,” Page said bopping her head. “I was left on the doorsteps because my mother knew I would have an easier life there. I was raised by the Matron Hush Tone and the other librarians who taught me everything I know and…” Page gave a shrug of her shoulders, not sure if she should elaborate further while in public. She then chuckled, rubbing the back of her head. “It’s odd that one can sum up their life so easily…”

“I am sure that this is just the cliff notes, Page Turner,” Rex said with a smile on his face before frowning. “Are you sad that you never knew your mother?”

“No,” Page Turner said, shaking her head. “I mean kinda…” she bit her lip as some words slipped out of her mouth. “It’s complicated,” she said desperately to end her rambling.

“How so?” Rex tilted his head, missing her frantic tone. “Did you ever meet her?”

“No, but I know of her and again, it’s complicated.” Page then flashed him a pleading look. “Can you please not bring it up again?”

“Of course,” Rex said, filling her with relief. She wasn’t sure why she slipped there but she felt she could trust Rex not to bring it up again. “I am sure that you have your reasons and that they are reasonable.”

Thank you,” Page Turner said with a grateful smile on her face before looking at a clock. “We should start heading to the place, Rex.”

With a tip of his head for an agreement, the two of them began to make their way to the safehouse.

Vix-Lei

Vix-Lei was so bored! She had thought being on a mission chosen by the gods, wrong pantheon notwithstanding, would be amazing and full of cool stuff!

Not watching Mr Grumpy Hooves talk to old buzzards that looked like they should be in some home for old folk! What was worse was that Nighty looked super young compared to them and she was sure that they’d get carded or something and then this big baddie would know where they were and what they were doing!

It was also super lame that Night hadn’t said a word to her since they broke off into their small groups and was acting like he didn't know her or that they were on the same team! If she wanted to be ignored by dull snooty people, she could have stayed home in Ledra and worked with her dad with the other shipyard masters of the Minos Islands.

She was so close to just telling Nighty that-

“Come, let’s go,” Nighty said, appearing at her table, tilting with his head that they should make a move to the doors. He didn’t even wait for her. With a snort, Vix-Lei pushed herself upright from the chair and followed him outside, her fingers twitching to spin Lady Kabonk, but she knew she couldn’t do that in this tightly packed place.

“So what dirt did we get?” she asked as she nudged him slightly, causing him to put on that grumpy face of his.

“What I learned is that the Captain of the Cadenza Guards, the Magi Supreme of the Magi-of-the-Stars Guards, the Holy Corona of the Celestia Guards and the Full Moon of the Luna Guards were summoned to the Upper for an emergency meeting with the Captain General of the Royal Guards,” Nighty said with narrow eyes but she could tell he was worried. She was worried; those were the five big cheeses of the ponies military and she’d heard horror stories about the Cap-

“Shitshitshit,” she swore, causing the ponies aound her to panic and Nighty to start and draw his sword. “What if the Captain General is the one that Balance spoke about?”

If that is the case,” Nighty said, biting his lip. “We’re all dead... Maybe.” He tilted his head. “It will take time for them all to travel to the Top and pass down ord-” he then froze, looking past her. Turning around, she also froze on the spot, with a ton of other ponies moving to the side to let the ponies of the Questioning Order pass by. They walked by wearing their blank white masks and tilting their heads from side to side with their changeling lamp detector emitting a green light floating in the middle of them, with everypony doing their best to stay still and look but not look at them passing by.

She felt her heart race as the duo went past them, with Nighty trotting on the spot and she doing her best not to spin her hammers in a fit of nerves. One of them tilted their head to look at her, then at its lamp before moving onwards. It was not soon enough when they turned the corner and everyone let out a sigh of relief and got back to celebrating their festival. Nighty turned to her with a raised eyebrow.

“I am surprised you were quiet for when they went past,” he said with a hint of a smirk finally on his face.

Rolling her eyes, Vix-Lei stretched her arms behind her head. “We’ve got them in the Minos Islands too, you know, and trust me, I’m not stupid enough to go blab when they’re around.” She shuddered. "Besides, they give me the creeps."

“They give everypony the creeps,” Nighty snorted, walking the opposite direction from them. “With their blank face masks, being completely quiet all the time and their zealous nature against the slightest thing out of the norm, nopony would ever want to mess with them.” He then frowned and looked at her. “They expect there are changelings in your islands?”

“We get a lot of travelers in Ledra, and you ponies are the most common guys out there,” Vix-Lei shrugged. “I know that dad had to cater to the Order’s ships a few times, and they always search the entire island, including our temples.” She bit her lip, remembering how much she hated it when she saw them go into Comus’s temple but it was far better to let them to have their way then have them think a ’taur was hiding a changeling. Things got bloody and scary fast when they thought they had sometaur covering for a changeling, and Thera was what happened when they did find a ’taur hiding some changlines. “Very uncool.”

Nighty let out a huff, going all quiet again. Vix-Lei frowned, wondering what it would take for him to talk to her. “No way that they’re our foe, right?”

“I doubt anypony would be able to tell the difference,” he shot back, no doubt rolling his eyes at her.

“Let’s just hope we don’t have to cross paths with them on our quest, eh?” Vix-Lei said while bumping into him, Nighty too short for her to bump shoulders. All ponies were so damn short; thankfully they had made sure that everyone could use their doors and stuff so she wouldn’t have to crouch when getting inside of places.

Your quest,” he snapped, looking up at her sharply. “I’m only doing this because Page is being threatened by this foe.”

Vix-Lei blinked before shaking her head. Speaking softly, she told him, “You really love her, don’t ya?”

Nighty stopped walking and looked at her without his usual frowny face and had an actual smile on his face. “She means the world to me; there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her.” Nighty then chuckled softly, shaking his head back and forth. “I am so lucky to have her; I don’t know what I would do without her by my side or where I would be without ever meeting her.”

“May I be as lucky as you two one day,” she said, hoping to find her special sometaur one day; he would have the biggest horns and heart ever... okay, his horn size wasn’t that important but still she wanted something bigger than an unicorn dammit!

“I hope so too, Vix-Lei,” Nighty said, the first time he actually used her name. “Come, we should head back.”

Tilting her head in agreement, Vix-Lei began to spin Lady Kabonk lazily in the air above her. Maybe things would be good after all.

Author's Note:

A special thanks to Akataja for the German translation.

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