• Published 12th Aug 2018
  • 2,047 Views, 164 Comments

MLP: Actualization Online - Silent Slender



The world of MLP: Actualization Online has begun, with two brothers making a bet to change the world in their own way. However, they won't be the only ones who wish to change the digital world, as all players come to see, there is no way to logout.

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Event - [Nightmare Night]

---~[Previously on MLP: Actualization Online]~---

"What...is that?" Klaw murmured, my eyes narrowed at the more see-through lancer, he held a longsword in his hand, but all other features were clear-glass, almost impossible to see if not for the....name....about its head, it also wasn't visible since.....Rain!

[Reflection of Refraction - lvl ???]

"Rain, get down!!!" I screamed in utter panic, my hooves quickly pulling Rain's body under me, whist Klaw leapt into the air with his wings, and in the blink of an eye, I watched the thin line of glass sail over us, catching my arm with a clean, cold slice. "Ahh!"

The attack vanished after that, the Reflection dropping its guard to stare down at me with a blank face, but its head tilted, and my world bent, even distorted at its gaze.

"Wrong.....no normal player......patient zero."


"With the gear from this event, we'll slaughter the next Raid Lair together!"

"Lets do it!" Seraph cheered with me, all while the others laughed at our childish antics for what was to come

Bring on Hallows Eve!


[Golden Bull Inn]

What is the best holiday of the year? Now, if that isn't an age old question, then I don't know what is, since there are many arguments brought up over the pros and cons of each holiday, some more specific than others, whist some are endless debates like your birthday or Christmas. Well, take all of those opinions, throw them in a box, then place that box inside of another box, then mail that box to the edge of the world, and have it kicked over the edge. Because I. Love. Hallows Eve.

Halloween. Hollows Eve. Day of the Dead. Whichever you call it, the symbolism is the same, a day the souls of those lost come back....or demons, depends on how you view it. But the festivities of it all was what I loved, the candy, all the crazy parties, costumes, just about everything to do with the holiday. But now, I was on a mission, leaving the rest to do what they wanted, whist I enjoyed the night with a gleeful smile, the streets beginning to come to life before my eyes.

Sure, its a Death Game, but its still a game, and it knew how to make an event! Now among the spotlights of the golden kingdom, I could only grin madly at the sight of all the players and A.I that roamed the streets this night. All the streets were decorated with jack 'o lanterns, as streamers hung from buildings and lanterns, I even saw players wearing vanity items to become more in-tune with the Event, which also hosted countless stalls to browse for special items for the night. Hallows Eve truly begun with a bang.

"Wonder if Rain or Seraph are around? Maybe they'd like to....uhh, 'hang out', I believe is the term? God I'm out of sync with socialization." My mental note made to keep my eyes open for them, I proceeded down the street, taking in all the sights and sounds of the event. Many ran past me, doing event quests, whist wearing masks of creatures, and significant ponies on their faces. Some wore clothing from the event that glowed or changed colours too, and I think I saw a Warframe a few feet to my left. "I love this holiday."

"We are glad to hear from thee." Old English, six o' clock. Turning around, my eyes came face-to-face with the Princess of the Night herself, Luna. Her mane was almost invisible due to the stars in the night, but the lights around us kept that from happening, but judging by her gaze on my own, she was....off, shall we say? "Art thou Sir Hat are sister talked of?" I see that she trying 'not' to speak in Old English, but I like it, just ask Klaw

"Well, Princess." Hey, I like her, so respect is respect. "You can call me White, but if you want to keep up the Old English, that's fine, I like it. But yes, that's me." Her stern expression did relax a little, damn these A.I have evolved, I can't even place her as just a bunch of '1s' and '0s'. "But without any delays, what has the Nocturnal Monarch wish of someone as insignificant as me?"

"Aid." Huh, didn't see that coming, nor did I expect to see her tonight, well isn't tonight a great time? "We wish for your aid on this night."

"What might that be?" Now she's got my interest, that, and the 'Quest Icon' just popped up above her

"Thou does not know of this night. Our festival of the lost, a time of memory....and nightmares." Luna seemed particular uncomfortable at that phrase. "I ask thee because of your sibling. Black." That perked my ears to full attention, my eyes widening slightly

"You know Black? B-but when did-" She raised a hoof. "Ahem, continue."

"When we were Nightmare Moon, we were saved by Sir Hat, and Mistress Serafin, now free, we see thou's resemblance, so we wish you to aid us." I see, whatever my asshole of a brother did must have been about Nightmare Moon, so, because we share the same 'Hat' and the fact we have similarities could be why she picked me out of the bunch, cleaver, but a little strange. Who this 'Serafin' chick?

"Alright then, Luna, whatever you need, I'm all ears." I nodded once, though she didn't seem phased by the lack of title, and soon she spoke again, this time for in clear English

"Long ago, this festival was once a ritual to cast off all those who wronged Equestria, banishing them from those we wish to remember this night. But lately, those corrupt few have returned, one of which who plans to bring herself back from beyond. We wish you to find the 'Nightmare of Ethereal Souls' and put her back in her grave." Luna definity hated this mare, whoever she was by the tone of her voice, but I nodded. This made the Lunar Princess smile slightly. "I trust thou shall prevail." With that, she bowed her head, and went off on her own once more

[Event - Nightmare Night]
Investigate the mysterious crevasse of Blackrock Hollow.
[ ] Investigate the crevasse
[ ] Defeat Nightmare

"You have quest/One in the same/This is interesting." I was startled suddenly by the appearance of Silver, whist beside him stood Nox himself, his eyes a yellow since he was chuckling under his helmet after my sudden freak-out

"T-that was g-gold~!" The guy continued to laugh beside Silver, who held back his own rising smirk, and my face turned red whist I readjusted my glasses

"Hardy har, atleast I don't sound like a girl." That caused Nox to freeze, his eyes turning a new shade of green

"I'll let you have that, this time." And thus, the score was tied, I like Nox, he knew how to have a banter every now and then, but Silver then got between us, looking between me and Nox with an inquisitive gaze. "Ah, shit, right. So you just picked up a quest in Blackrock Hollow, right?"

"Aye." I nodded

"Same for us too. This quest puts a few players together for a joint quest, and it seems we're the lucky threesome." Wow, phasing could be better mate, whist Silver cleared his throat

"Ignoring Nox/We must move/Timed Event." Really? Didn't know that, guess I haven't done any quests with these two yet, so this could be fun

"Alrighty then, who's ready to slay a nightmare?"


The street we now stood on looked so...displaced. The street dug its cracked, and sometimes glowing tarmac into Canternlot's smooth roads, twisted, lifeless trees coiled around lampposts and buildings that touch its perimeter, whist the sky was blanketed with clouds, and a bright, orange hunter's moon seeped through the cracks. Houses stood at irregular shapes, either longer, twisted slightly at the corners, or elongated into misshapen towers. Jack o'f lanterns littered the streets, faces of laughter and horror thrown about the spooky town of Blackrock.

"Ok, this right here, makes me wonder how this isn't working its way for a higher rating sometimes." Nox pointed out nervously, finding the whole scene to be unnerving, yet when she looked at me....I was smiling. "Aaaaand you've completely lost it, great."

"Not so bad/Chilling/But a festival." Silver agreed, sticking close to us, whist other player walked by, some in groups, and others on their own, knocking on doors, and saying, and I quote, 'Nightmare Night, Nightmare Night, give us something sweet to bite.', catchy, if not a little creepy. "Houses of colour/All specific/Neither the same."

"Wha?" Nox drawled out at the confusing Haiku

"To translate, he mean that every house so far has something unique to them. Some with colour, others with symbolism, see?" I raised my wing, and pointed to a few houses. One was decorated like a cabin, with a hockey mask on the front door, and a machete dug into a tree stump. Another was all orange and green

"Right, so our quest is to do with 'The Nightmare of Ethereal Souls', any guess what that is?" Nox offered to me, so I thought on it

"Well, Souls would be classed under colours of blues, and reds, even whites and blacks. Ether is the energy of the universe itself, matter but not matter, either aging or changing." I muttered to them, slowly turning to look at the street before us

"Taken." What? Me and Silver turned towards Nox, his eyes a normal pink again. "You say that this 'Ether' stuff isn't normal, not to time or space, right?" I nodded, and he rolled his eyes. "Oryx, The Taken King. His army is a collection of souls, white and black, and the energy left behind makes things float. Like 'that'."

He then turned out heads with his magic towards a house to the corner of the street. Before us, a house of wood, with some tainted by a strange, blue remnant energy, whist rocks, and lawn ornaments floated around the house itself, with area's distorted by the remnant ether that tainted the wood. Seems it is like the Taken.

"Ladies first." Nox shoved me forward, my glare snapping to look at him, whist he narrowed his gaze, so I turned, and walked down the small tile path. "Let the record show, no denial."

"Shut it, Frenchy." The look he gave me got a smirk to rise. Yeah, I know you're name is the same 'Nox' from a french show, I ain't dumb. "Ha, nerdiness strikes again."

"Go!" Silver snapped at us, and we proceeded up the steps, the floor boards creaking with each step. Before us, a blacken door, with a strange, symbol resembling that of an alicorn, etched into the wood. Looking between each-other, expressions of uneasiness, and determination mingling between us, and so, I raised my hoof

*Knock-Knock-Knock*

"Uhh....?" 'Uhh' is right, Silver, so let me take the reins now. Clearing my throat, I stepped a little closer

"Nightmare Night, Nightmare Night, give us something sweet to bite!" I chanted with a smile, whist Nox face-hoofed, yet, that changed in an instant, since I could exactly feel the floor under us. "Oh no...."

"Don't tell me. The floor's gone isn't it?" Nox asked me bluntly, clearly bemused

"Yep." I replied, popping the 'P'

"Bottomless abyss too?" Again I nodded, my eyes glued to the door

"Most likely."

"Bring/It/On." Thank you Silver


[Well of Forgotten Souls]

"Did anyone get the address of that....bitch who made this entrance!?" I groaned, having Nox and Silver atop my spine was not light in the slightest, and the pommel of my blade was sticking into my side

"Harbinger." Nox coughed

"Thank you." I sighed, pushing the two off my back to allow me to breathe. "My bloody sword was stuck in my lower stomach, and I don't think its suppose to do that."

"Spectacular." Silver muttered, the three of us moving back onto our hooves. When our vision came back into view of our new surroundings, we stood before an old summoning temple. Four pillars stood high with spiral steps leading up, and a smooth, grassy floor where we landed. Runes hummed in tangent to a beat from somewhere, and on the three outer pillars stood three black orbs, humming with purple energy, as wisps of light were drawn into them

"A ritual, surprise, surprise." Nox gloated, raising his Halberd in his magic. "Guessing we just break 'em."

"Perhaps, but....and give it a moment...." I raised a hoof slowly, my eyes widening comically. "Any moment.....Now!"

"Muhahahahaha~!" Called it. The cackling finally brought our attention to the center pillar ahead of us, away from the three orbs that sat dormant on the others, it was time for the Boss Battle, and our she came. "Couldn't leave me well enough alone, could you? Sending your pawns after me, Princess. Everything was going well, until you three came along. Fine, let's settle this....NOW!"

Our weapons at the ready, we watched as a mare floated down from the darkness above us. Her purple coat was near blackened with a sickly, yellow webbing of veins running across her body, with eyes a voidless black, and lime-glowing eyes, trails of green dancing around the corners of her eyes with her movements. A simple, worn cloak hung snug around her shoulders, with dirt and ash sticking to the cloth to glue. Her tail was wavy like the Princesses, only it flowed like snakes, snapping and hissing around the aura that coated them, her horn an emerald glow of magical ether. Whist her bright purple-black mane did the same, only the left side stuck close to her muzzle, but small glimpses of a skeletal feature was clear as day.

[Nightmare of Ethereal Souls - lvl 30]

Then she sprouted black wings twice the size span of her body, with a thin line of mint-green running across the bone, glowing with a resonate beat to the crystals on the other pillars. From there, her body rose to hover just above the platform, her horn brightening the orange lanterns and jack o' lanterns around us, leading to Silver to pull me and Nox behind our small barricade, whist he channeled magic into his hooves, a light orange glow to them.

[Aura - Gaia's Closure]

The small wall soon earned a thin line of orange, and we could only spectate the mass of electrical, emerald blasts striking the rim of the barricade, only to see the magic dissipate upon contact, ok, that's two I now owe Silver, lucky him. Meanwhile, Nox was looking at the Mare, trying to use his own magic as a counteroffensive, but from a simple pulse of magic from his horn, the contact it made to the Boss merely tickled her, not even damaging her for 10 hit points.

"Anymore bright ideas?" I mused, seeing the sharp, crimson glare under the mask strike me. Moving to look over the ridge, I saw that the wisps were drawn to the orbs of darkness, then to her, creating a thin layer around her body. Perhaps that's her weak point. "Ok, I think this is pretty easy, if two of us can draw her fire, one of us can strike down the orbs, taking those out might weaken her, or even banish her for good."

"Banish?" I like Nox, he asks the questions, better than Silver, cause sadly, I can't understand the guy half the time

"She's not 'alive' right now, this is her soul trying to rebuild her body, hence the orbs protecting, and harnessing lost souls, her name says it all." Seeing that my plan had logic to it, Silver looked towards the right pillar, seeing that the start of the staircase faced us

"Nox shall go unseen/A ghost among us/Strike her down." I looked to Nox for confirmation, and he he nodded, spinning his halberd around to rest next to his side when he ran out from the cover, the volley of attacks following. Then I sprung into the air, channeling the mint-green light into my blade

[Sky Seal - Sacred Calibur]

A blinding flash of green embraced the area, causing the bombardment of magical attacks to change to me, moving away from Nox when she turned up the steps, moving past the mare quickly. Seeing me flying, she grinned, channeling her magic again, then, an aura expanded across the temple, then I saw Silver below, running out of a large, green circle that appeared on the floor, whist one appeared on the ceiling above me.

[Aura - Tainted Ether]

I flew downwards, avoiding a cloud of poisonous gas from infecting me, but the stench was painful to smell, even my eyes stung from just being near it, which lead to my health being stuck but another bombardment of magic blasts, as they chipped their way at my health, dropping a third of my health, so I flew behind another pillar, the green blast shattering like glass beside me, whist Silver ran up the side of another pillar, his daggers in-hoof, whist the Nightmare's attacks followed him, so he pushed off the pillar with his legs, flipping over the circular line of attacks, his daggers a dark purple.

[Sword Skill - Strider's Light]

Silver's body spun like a buzz-saw, striking the back and head of the Nightmare, his body descending upside-down to come face-to-face with her, before spinning his daggers around, and striking down, hard, in an 'X', the purple blinding her, but not damaging her by much. Using this moment, Silver, pressed his back hooves atop her muzzle, throwing her down, whist pushing himself towards the pillar behind him, so he sunk a dagger into the side, using it to scale the pillar to the orb above. He then nodded to me.

*SHATTER*

"AAAAAaaahHHH!" The Nightmare wailed in pain once Nox thrusted the axe-head of the halberd into the orb, shattering it after the third, lumbering swing from the left, slicing the glass-like orb in two. "You vile gnat!"

"Kiss my ass, bitch." He nodded up to challenge the mare to focus on him, whist I flew for the second orb, it was a simple fight, but it kept you moving fast, since the area kept the pillars spaced apart to near the length of a stadium. Not wanting to keep Nox on the endurance for long, I folded my wings, sliding down atop the pillar and looking directly at the purple orb, yet....I felt something....staring back

"Hehehehe....having fun?" Harbinger....his voice was so clear, yet no-one else heard him, that snake-tongue, the cunning chuckle between his sharp smile. "Now-now, Cayde Redfox, lets not spoil this night....."

I was pale in the face, my heart stopping once his voice vanished as easily as it came, he knew me, my 'Real Name', he's gotten deeper into the CCG, and while that occurred, we barely scratched this game of his. Finding a new type of anger, I thrusted my blade through the orb, shattering it with a sickening 'crunch' of glass rubbing against itself like sandpaper, followed by the mare falling to her knees in pain, crying out. Looking at my party, Nox was still in the green, but a few ticks of yellow, Silver was too, and I....was near full, ok, better than I expected.

"You're up next, Silver!" I called out, and he had just managed to make his way up to his orb. What he didn't see was the Nightmare charging her horn again, this time a more concentrated orb of magic condensed before us, and Nox was already on the case, as in, he literally ran up the spiral steps of the pillar towards Silver, his eyes a steely grey, then, he thrusted the halberd through the center of the orb, just before Silver could touch it, causing the shattering effect to throw him back slightly in surprise, yet the Nightmare still managed to fire off the final bolt of magic, her screams dying out with her melting form, her soul falling apart at the seams

"Get down!" Now 'that' was clear as day, the voice sounded so smooth, harsh and cold too, but it was clearly feminine in nature. Silver was quickly tackled off the side of the pillar though, the orb of magic striking the side of Nox's muzzle, and I felt my heart sink upon watching the green bar turn yellow, then just as quickly turn a bright red. That one attack nearly one-shot Nox, who now fell towards the ground with Silver, his eyes wide with horror

I flew down to help, and I watched in relief as Silver wrapped his hooves around Nox, pulling him close to use his back as a shield, the two hitting the floor with a painful 'thud', the Zer0 faker crying out at the sharp slap I heard, but he was thankfully ok, his health only dropping slightly, but that fall would have killed Nox.

"You.....fine?" Silver gasped heavily, looking up to see Nox and - O-oh....wow. Silver's face earned a new shade of pink at the close proximity to the 'girl' that looked down on him, Nox's hair now a wild mess of blues, and her deep crimson eyes quickly turning to her usual pink, but she too sighed, and threw herself off the guy, a red tint across her muzzle. "Ow...."

"You guys alright?" I asked warily, though Nox....I doubt it was the health that concerned her at this point, since she looked at the mask in her hoof, and back to us with a stern gaze. Meanwhile, I helped Silver to his hooves again, the defeat of the boss could wait. "Uhh, you ok, Nox?"

"Do I look dead to you?" She spat angrily, though I couldn't tell if it was because of how she landed or the pain of being struck with magic, or both, heck if I had an answer after this turnabout storm

"Well....no, no you don't." I replied simply

"Then what!?" Her eyes went to a deep crimson again


Both of us stared in shock, with Silver having the more dramatic reaction since she did land atop him after her daring save, but why? He would have lived? Maybe it was like me, a reflex, a spur of the moment. Not minding that the area around us was transforming into....whatever it was becoming, we looked to Nox, who threw her broken mask aside, shattering upon contact with the ground, a scowl matching her conflicted gaze

"Ok-ok-ok, hold the metaphorical phone, you were a girl this whole time?" I stated the obvious, sure, but from how she reacted I should have guessed it was a bad touch

"Yeah, I am, wise-ass! See why I put my face under 'that' mask!? Cause of 'this'!" She pointed a hoof dangerously at me and Silver, with Silver still looking at her with a blank stare. "'Oh look I'm a girl', what difference does it make! Apparently alot since that line was drawn God knows how many centuries ago! Thanks to that, and my fucking life, I thought that this would be my chance to be....me, but no, soon as the mask comes off I'll still be treated the same!"

"Wait, what makes you think being a girl is going to change how we see you? You're still Nox, that doesn't matter-" I was cut off, whist a pit of regret built in my stomach

"It does to me!" She snapped back to look away from us, her head low. "You can walk around without so much as a prying eye looking at you funny, lustfully even. You aren't treated different just because a few things about you are different, but for me? Yeah, it is, and now that my mask's off, no point trying to lie that I 'messed up' during the creation phase, that's shit isn't my style."

"Nox." I didn't speak, instead, Silver stood up, and she looked back at us, more specifically at Silver, who stared at her with a neutral gaze, unlike her crimson one, meaning she wasn't particularly amused, and I can't blame her, while I never saw this difference between girls and guys, she did, and its dug into her more times than a needle to me, I'm a complete, and total ass now. "Different yes/Person no/Same Nox you are."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Nox snapped, turning to face him directly. "You don't have any reason to hide, I do, because then there's no-one in this damn world that will see me the same way, without that mask, I'm not Nox, I'm just...."

"What?" Silver echoed, with confliction dancing in Nox's eyes

"I-I don't know, alright! Didn't plan on this happening!" She was confused, possibly scared, even sad. But it seems Silver has this handled better than me

"You're Nox/Our Guild Member/My friend." Nox flinched when his hoof rested on her shoulder, making her look anywhere by at us. Whist Silver smiled a little. "Who....a-are....you?"

Was that a stutter? Or is Silver still processing this as much at me? Probably the latter. But Nox did look back, a ghost of a smile tugging back at her muzzle again, though she still seemed apprehensive.

"Nox. Both a member of a guild run by a lunatic-"

"You love me!" I called back

"-And....you're friend, Silver, if that's still real." She sounded so fearful at that, did she think we were going to abandon her? Not a chance in hell-wait....what was that noise?

"Very." Silver nodded to her question, then she turned away, red crossing her face when she rubbed the back of her mane

"Man, that was...sorry, for yelling like that, kind-of lost it after all this time." We merely waved her off, knowing how easy it was to lose your cool in a game, happens to the best of us

"Now, I'd love to sit and chat on the fact that my hunch was right after all this time, really I do, but....do you guys hear that music?" I wasn't going to drop the subject that Nox was a girl the whole time, but something about hearing music playing often leads to danger, yet in this case, something....Phantom of the Opera was playing, and getting louder

In a literal que of the drums beating with the chorus of trumpets and guitars, orange and yellow danced with the lights of green and purple, flashing and dancing the beat of the darkness that now dimmed around us, the chamber becoming more and more illuminated by the lights, highlights of bats, ponies, spiders and pumpkins staining the walls in a glowing fashion. Meanwhile, all of us stood perfectly still, merely turning our heads at the sounds and lights.

LYRICS
I'm just a phantom in your room
With no intent on leaving soon
And you're still not even sure just how I got here

Another ghost that's in your bed
That you wish you could leave for dead
Ain't no magic word can make me disappear

Now that room it starts to dim
Set the mood for onset sin
And now we're passed out on the floor of your apartment

With every single warning sign
It passed you up and slipped you by
But we're all bound to end up back to where we started

Make no mistake
I'll break you down
Shout it around town

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

I'm your sunshine whoa
I'm gonna burn down your parade
I'm a shooting star
That wish you wished you never made

Don't wanna take a leap of faith
You wanna do this face to face
And like an animal the instincts taken over

There ain't nothing to debate
Blow this purgatory state
The city lights will drown you out in the exposure

Now that room it starts to dim
Set the mood for onset sin
And now we're passed out on the floor of your apartment

With every single warning sign
It passed you up and slipped you by
But we're all bound to end up back to where we started

Make no mistake
I'll break you down
Shout it around town

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

I'm your sunshine whoa
I'm gonna burn down your parade
I'm a shooting star
That wish you wished you never made

Startling us again, we watched as the lights revealed a small collection of equine skeletons, those same Pumpkinlings from the boss fight, and even some unicorn witches, dancing and singing alongside the cackling voice that echoed from every corner of the festive musical.

This world is what you need
Where the monsters roam and the demons all feed
Relax don’t you look so wary
It’s all only temporary

We roam and sing along
While the choir joins in sing an abhorrent song
We bite it’s a little bit scary
The pain’s only temporary

For a small moment, whist the next chorus played in a soft whisper, the lights went dark around us, the shadows of a laughing jack o' lantern dancing among the shadows, but now, the voice felt like a cold rush up my spine, all the three of us looked between each other, our ears flicking to the sound coming from behind us. Slowly, along with my heart threatening to burst, we turned, and soon saw a massive, golden, jagged smile hovering in the air, alongside two massive, curved, pupiless eyes, also golden in colour.

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

The the lights came on brighter than ever before, revealing the two-story creature with inky-black skin....just like Harbinger!

I'm not what you want
But I'm exactly what you need
Take a bite and feed
Your satisfaction guaranteed

I'm your sunshine whoa
I'm gonna burn down your parade
I'm a shooting star
That wish you wished you never made
Wish you wished you never made.....

The song was finally coming to a close, with the piano playing the song out, whist the creature slowly shrunk before our fearful eyes, down to the size of a regular person now, but it was no mistake, and I couldn't believe what I was seeing, yet given my recent days, this was real, and truly terrifying. Smiling, the creature wore a black suit, with a fur lining for his cuffs and collar, a golden tie, white shirt, and a top hat with two cards strapped into the side with velvet fabric, both an ace of hearts and spades.

"Hope you liked that introduction, though I'd keep it into the spirit of Halloween or Nightmare Night, in this world's case. The name's Gambit, Nightmare of Equivalent Exchange, and I'd like to say." He paused, bowing once to us. "Hello.....and so I have, now then, lets get down to business gnats, I have work that needs doing, and info that requires gathering!" Clapping his hands, the lights all went back to normal, revealing a treasure trove of items, gear, and other unknown devices and entities

While the horror that another 'Nightmare', I guess that's what Harbinger is too, was now looking at us with a cunning grin, and narrowed eyes was unsettling, I couldn't help but marvel at the collection we stood upon, the plus catwalk we stood on, and around the circular center Gambit stood at, all the empty space gave weigh to items galore, with shelves holding onto collections of mystical gear, and....wait, it that the Infinity Gauntlet!? He had meta too? An Iron Man armour, A three star dragon ball in the corner next to a chaos emerald, what the-

"Fucking Christ, he's got everything!" Couldn't have worded any better, Nox, even she and Silver were wide-eyed at the items, but whist they gawked, I turned my eyes to the Nightmare, his eyes back to a neutral stare of gold, but my own hardened into a glare

"Who are you?" I wasn't going to hold back, not when I could get answers. He only looked the other way for a moment

"Uhh....Gambit? Trader of the Multiverse? Collector of all that is and isn't Meta? Been to alot of places too, so the titles stack with time, but to be fair, you are in the collection of a few that have yet to attack me, which is good 'cause I'd hate to waste good investments in a new land I've never seen before." He explained with a tangent, then his eyes seemed to...sparkle? "I mean, lots of new items, new partners to obtain, and with that Nightmare being here this could be fun~!"

"Hold on-hold on, rewind that, you...know that asshole?" Nox backpedaled to stand with me, though I'm glad she felt a little more comfortable around me and Silver without the mask, perhaps like before, she'll accept the others too, maybe

"By 'asshole' you mean 'Harbinger, Nightmare of Wardens'? Then yes, I know 'somethings' about that asshole." Gambit waved a hand with bemusement, conjuring a seat to fall back on the face us, his eyes warping into what looked like confusion. "To be honest, I followed him since he was rambling about 'remaking the worlds into a domain for Nightmares to truly be the apex' or whatever, guy's a lunatic, but surprisingly his plan so far has been....insightful, shall we say?"

"So, you're not like him then?" When I asked that, he chuckled darkly, causing my hoof to twitch at my blades

"'Like him'? Nope, though its rare to see, I'm a Nightmare that sees all living beings as something more than 'souls to collect', to put it simply, us Nightmares have the innate ability to absorb souls and grow stronger, those like me and 'asshole' who wear clothing have been around long enough to the souls to manifest as cloth, so we are far more powerful. We consume, control, destroy, or atleast most of us, so count your souls lucky to be in the presence of the Multiverse's second strongest Nightmare!" He proudly glowed under a light, until it broke, showing him in glass

"Second strongest...." I almost felt a wave of terror fly over me again, though he was boastful in tone, just his earlier display was enough to prove he wasn't like Harbinger, he had reality manipulation, and alot of keen observation under his belt, seeing his vast collection was proof of that

"Now-Now, much as I enjoy company, I have to make this quick, but I'll be around, just come back to my humble abode if you want to trade or just chat, I like chats." Gambit cleared his throat with a humble chuckle, though it was like a crazed nutcase than a normal laugh. Flicking a few cards in his fingers, he held them out with pictures of what appeared to be trades, and how they worked. "Simple trading is my job. You want something, give me something of equal value. Or, you can ask for a deal, if I see the value to be of my own amusement, I'll see my end of the bargain is done to professional standards, guaranteed."

As if sensing the urge to remember, he clicked his claws with wide eyes, and before us, three tabs appeared

Event Complete!
Investigate the mysterious crevasse of Blackrock Hollow.
[ ] Investigate the crevasse
[ ] Defeat Nightmare

You discovered the dark ether of Nightmare Night and sealed it away, until next year....

[Level Up!]
[27 - 28]

[Rewards]
Free Favor X1

[Achievement Unlocked]
Red Death - Obtained an Item of Red Tier Quality

"A Red Tier/Certainly Strange/I am Pleased." Silver gawked to the point his jaw was going to unhinge, but Gambit flicked a card from his finger, and soon the thin slip of cardboard stopped under his chin, defying all physics, before rising to close his jaw. "What?"

"So, this thing gives us a deal from you, huh?" Nox asked the Nightmare with a suspicious glare, making him chuckle whist rubbing his arms

"Ooooh, you have an icy stare to rival my old buddy Callus. Just sayin', that guy's got a serious anger problem, more than a hybrid should, but then again his girlfriend is a dragon hybrid sooooo...." Gambit sure loved to go off on rambles, but he nodded. "But yes, although if you wish to cash that in now, I am bound to silence our talk until we're done, privacy of the trade."

"....What you guys think? Want to trade with him, could be a good chance to do so before the Raid too?" I offered my word, I was fine with either, but the impression I kept tagging off this guy rubbed me the wrong way, something about his strength seemed....wrong, like it was veil to cover what he really was, but....he's looking right at me, that sly grin, the way his eyes warped with his expressions, the jack 'o lantern grin....was does he know, about me? Or Harbinger?

"I'm up for it....but when we're done, mind helping me with a new mask....I..." Nox paused for a moment, rubbing the back of her mane with a hoof nervously. "I'm not quite ok with the others knowing 'what' I am, for now atleast." For a girl who happened to be callus and cold, she certainly feels insecure about her gender, but given stereotypes I've heard online, its no wonder she hid behind a mask, must be hard for her

Before I could say a word, I was surprised to see Silver place a hoof on her shoulder, giving her a reassuring look from under his hood, his eyes lingering on her own soft blue eyes, which slowly turned back to a pink tone. It must have been an empathy spell, her eyes act like a mood stone and act accordingly to her emotions, fancy stuff, but still.

"No-one will know/Await for your word/Trust us." Silver answered her concerned with another Haiku, but a small smile did tug at the corners of her muzzle, then we heard the clapping, the touching friendship shattered by the massive grin of the Nightmare on his seat. Stepping forward, Silver moved to stare up at Gambit. "I shall play/You shall listen."

"And I will find a translator for you." Gambit added with a smug look, I think? Its hard to read this guy. With that said, he clapped his hands to silence their words for a minute, their mouths moving, expressions changing, yet me and Nox were left with only silence, so I decided to act on this moment

"So, what you said before, about 'being treated like the rest'?" I was still curious, and it seemed that Nox expected this, judging by her sigh and abrasive look

"White, when you spend your life with those richer, stereotypes get....suffocating. You're a girl, so you do this a certain way, you act a certain way to meet expectations, that crap got to me quick, about the 'only' family I have is my other siblings, and this maid of ours who was more like a mother than the bitch I have to call one, my dad tries, but he's always away so the times he does show himself he could only sit a listen to me complain, no use trying to fix what would take hours." Nox spat bitterly at memories before me, turning to look at the mountains of mystical items. "I liked this show with them too, gave me a few laughs, despite what I may say about Pinkie, she's fun, y'know?"

"I see." She then continued

"Now, I have this rag-tag group of guys who....see me as a friend, and the fact you two still see me a such is....still alot to take in. Ive seen shit that makes me harder to trust others with the real me, so I came here, dawned my mask, and here I am, the rest you can fill in yourself due to your crazy perception to this stuff." Nox waved from over her shoulder, as she sat down on her haunches, groaning once

"You know, hiding behind a mask isn't always going to work. Try as you might, the reality we are in still stares at us, you came here to run from that, yet you want to be free as much as the rest of us. My guess, you want to keep those you can call 'family' happy, am I right?" She turned her head at that, looking at me with a surprised expression which made me chuckle a little. "You do love them, and I doubt you can say otherwise."

"Why would I? You're alot smarter than you look, White, but....that's also why I think I can trust you, why we all can." Nox then got up, walking up to me with a strong look in her eyes. "I...well, nearly died back in the first raid, and to know I could have died back then scared me more than I think I realized, yet you saved me, a random player brought together to fight a boss, even now you continue to strive to kick Harbinger's ass into the curb. So I trust you, no bullshit."

I did feel a little heat rise to my face at that, I mean sure, I saved her, and some others over the time we've spent here, but to know I made this much of an impact on Nox, and most likely the rest was a little unnerving. Great power, great responsibility to use it right, and in this world, I had that power, so I'll be sure to use it.

"You two done, I got renovations planned ya know?" Gambit's voice made us jump, and we saw that Silver now held a silver mask, the eyes on it alight with a pink glow to them, and from just the screen, I could see it was a Red Tier item, 'Face of The Lost'. But he held it out to Nox, a....wait, was he embarrassed? Huh, that's new

"Here." Holding it out to Nox, who stood with a perplexed face, her eyes wide with shock over how he just handed a golden ticket to whatever he wanted, just to give her a new mask. "If broken/Will return to you/A veil of unbreaking."

"I...you gave your reward up....for me?" Nox sounded like she was crossed between anger, and a strange, touched tune in her voice, but her hoof did reach out to take it, before she slipped the plate over her muzzle again, the lights flashing once, before the lights near the bottom of the mask turned off, symbolizing that her bottom eyelids had risen slightly. "T-thanks, Silver." Her voice even sounded more robotic, and he nodded with a shy expression. "Right then, sign me up next, I have an idea of what I want!"

"Clear to the point. Like it." Gambit gave her a thumbs up, and then clapped his hands. Within a small moment of silence, I did see Gambit's eyes widen, and his grin turned to an 'O' of dawning realization, but he soon clapped, and the silence was gone around them. "Well then, this night is certainly one for my amusement, so....do we have a deal too, White?"

"Yeah, I have a deal." Looking back at Silver and Nox, the two of them now talking amongst themselves, the lights ever-changing on Nox's mask, with Silver humming to himself with an amused grin made me think of something. They were happy, in this world, where death followed us, Harbinger's wrath clear as day, and the Phantom guild lurking in the shadows, that contrast gave me an idea, one that I was sure to use one day when I knew I needed it. "Gambit, how far can you go to manipulate this world?"

I never saw a creature ever smile so crazily before.

To Be Continued....


Update

Party:
(You) White Hat - lvl 28 [Offensive class]
SilverCrow - lvl 26 [Defensive class]
Noximillion - lvl 26 [Support class]

Current Level: 28
Magic: Sky/Air Magic
Items: Strange Ether X1


New Skills
[Sword Skill - Strider's Light] - Quick, acrobatic strikes to blind your targets (Daggers)

[Aura - Gaia's Closure] - A veil around object that aids in reflecting magical attacks (Feel safe under her arms)

[Aura - Tainted ether] - A large AOE that poisons the air in a circular zone (Effective on any solid surface)

Author's Note:

This was the biggest chapter I've made this arc! Can't say it doesn't have a little bit of everything, I love this holiday so much! :heart:. Hope you enjoyed this holiday special, seeya in the next chapter!

Next Chapter: Story [Striders of Blackfall]
With the eventual Nightmare Night behind them, say for Silver, Nox, and White, the Guild will finally meet the Guild that holds the keys to the next vault, and a not so happy reunion.