• Published 24th Nov 2020
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Level Up! - RisuUmbra

A new MLP MMO turns death game as the players are sucked into what they assume is the game... not as fun as you'd think

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Ch 9: And Into The War

Chapter 9: And into the War

Believe it or not, the tense atmosphere had actually lessened after that whole bit of drama. Of course David and Morgana were curious about what happened so I explained everything, even my suspicions about the bronze player. He seemed to carry himself differently than everyone else but I just can't put my finger/hoof on how exactly he’s different, I know I've seen it before though. My debriefing seemed to only set David’s suspicions off again, he had returned to warily watching the nearby camps. As much as I appreciate his efforts, if any other players have a [Sneak] skill higher than my [Perception] then our only hope would be my wisp.

“We should get some sleep, my wisp will watch out for us” Drawing attention to my sentry seemed to calm Morgana and David slightly and after Morgana threw some more fuel into the fire, we started getting ready for sleep. We lied down with our backs to the tree line and I made sure my slightly glowing blue bag was hidden securely underneath me. Sleep was difficult, all I could think about was the multitude of strangers around me. The nighttime air wasn’t even cold, it was probably around spring or summer time with how warm it was during the day. I tried to distract myself with magic ideas, but I kept going back to our current problems. We are a bunch of random cutie markless ponies about to just appear out of nowhere in front of some villagers and what? Do we expect them to just not question it? My worried thoughts ran rampant through my head for a good few hours and I wasn’t really sure when I fell asleep.

My dreams that night were… not very pleasant to say the least, it was like my mind was fixated on anything that could go wrong during the first meeting with the npc’s (Non Player Characters). Ranging from the usual pitchforks and torches and to the extremes like there simply not being any ponies left other than us… just a bunch of cold, rotting corpses in the streets. Now I won’t be dramatic and say that my nightmare woke me up the next morning, but it definitely played a part in it. No, what or rather who woke me up was much more surprising. My bad dream had already put me at the edge of regaining consciousness so when a presence reached its way through my unconscious and gave me a metaphysical rousing I was understandable startled.

“Wha?” My sleep addled mind was immediately put into high alert, I had that jittery and weak feeling burst of energy like when you’re about to crash from a sugar rush and I really hate that feeling. My first look around at my surroundings didn’t show me much, it was dawn for once. The sky was a nice mix of bright blue and burnt orange, the early morning was a bit chilly but I knew it was going to warm up quickly. Checking my more immediate surroundings showed me what I expected, both Morgana and David were still asleep and had scooted closer to the now dead fire in their sleep. My wisp was… actually not patrolling, but was floating nearby my head staring at me with its little dot eye. I was caught off guard by the sudden deviation in its orders, so imagine my surprise and wonder when I reached out to it with my mind and it actually reached back. It conveyed a feeling of wakefulness and… warmth? At first I didn’t know how to respond to my wisp’s sudden baby-like sentience until I remembered a pretty important fact about [Summoning]. I’m bringing these creatures into reality… over time they’ll develop a mind of their own and change, I really am like a Pokémon trainer Ha! Realizing a bit late that this was my wisp’s way of saying good morning I smiled at it and tried to send back the same sensations of warmth and… being awake?

“Good Morning to you too” This was a development I wasn’t wholly against, I kinda liked the idea of having an actual magical companion in the future. One that could act and think for itself, I started stretching to fully wake myself up and felt slightly like a cat doing so. I know that I didn’t look or smell the freshest at the moment but my rising embarrassment was stifled slightly by the fact that probably no one here was in good shape… unless there was a spell for that. While I went about brushing any more dirt or grass from my mane or coat I started gazing at our player neighbors. Not many were awake but those that had had started to either gravitate down to the pseudo-meeting place from last night or were still talking among their group.

“Alright! Time to wake up you too” I spoke with a chipperness that sounded just as false as it felt. The volume did it’s job though and brought the two out of dream land, or at least one of them as David took one look at the still orange horizon, huffed, then fell back down to sleep. Morgana saw all of this and with a soft chuckle she reached over him and grabbed his sword and unsheathed it slightly and with soft, gentle movements pressed the ice cold metal to his skin. To say David jolted awake would be a gross understatement, one second he was on the ground with Morgana poised next to him and the next he was in the air flapping in place rubbing his hooves over the cold area in an effort to warm it back up. Oh yeah… he also screamed like a little girl, my stomach was mere moments away from cramping up horribly from how hard me and Morgana were laughing. My previous dread was gone like dust in the wind and what had replaced it was a light confidence. The three of us had gotten this far, what was a bit of social interaction in the face of mortal peril. Eventually the three of us did calm down enough to talk again, but the look David shot Morgana promised retribution of the highest caliber… retribution I hope I am there to witness.

“We need to get down there for the meeting” The two of them looked slightly confused at my mentioning of a meeting which tipped me off to the fact that I neglected to tell them about the morning’s plans. It wasn’t hard to get them up to speed, but I could tell that Morgana was slightly annoyed at being kept out of the loop while David seemed pretty okay with it. I promised I would make an effort to keep all of us on the same page then gestured with me head for them to follow me down the hill to the meeting area. Wanting to give my head a break and not wanting other unicorns to see my summon I dispelled my wisp, but not before sending it a feeling of what I hoped was gratitude.

“-e gonna do!? I have finals next week!” The three of us started traversing through the slowly growing congregation of players picking up snippets of distressed conversations and theories,

“Bro I’m telling you, it’s the government” Some were a bit more… amusing than others, there were a few players who seemed to be on the edge of a breakdown. Rocking back and forth mumbling to themselves or just straight up silently crying where they sat waiting for directions. I’m starting to question how these people actually made it through that demon forest. The three of us finally pushed our way to the front of the large crowd and there standing before the panicking masses were the three players I spoke to last night. Before stepping forward and revealing myself I took a good look at them now that there was more light to do so. Gentle giant’s look didn’t really change much in comparison to how he looked in the lower light, his coat was still a mottled blue and grey, but the grey was a bit lighter than I thought and his mane was a similar shade of blue as his coat still in a braided ponytail. I was pretty much spot on with my description of Pink snooty over there, her wizard robe was much more frayed and dirtied then I thought originally. There were a few long claw marks down it’s side and a few scraps were torn off from the bottom where it probably got snagged on something. Then there was Bronze, he was pretty much the same as well except for a pretty glaring detail that made my nickname for him really on point. His mane color was actually a metallic copper, like it had the metal like sheen and everything but from what I could tell I was regular hair. Deciding to end my sudden analysis I stepped forward with Morgana to my right and David to my left, now that I had broken away from the crowd I could see that (concerningly) everyone was just staring at these three like they were in charge and was waiting for their orders… and now we’ve joined them.

“Ah he’s here… and he’s brought friends” Bronze was the first to turn and address me followed by Giant and Pink who surprisingly enough looked a bit relieved to see the three of us. I’m starting to think the altercation from last night is the reason why everyone is looking to them for leadership.

“Hello, I don’t think we introduced ourselves. My name is Marcus, but my pony name is Arcane Hope” I held back my slight cringe at my pony name and took a step to the side to let my friends introduce themselves.

“Hey, I’m Morgana, also known as Rose Point… and this is David also called Nimbus” I was confused as to why Morgana introduced both of them until I stole a glance at David. The Pegasus was standing ramrod straight and was staring straight ahead, I'm starting to think that David isn’t that good in front of crowds.

“ Nice to meet you all, sorry about how we first met Marcus. The name’s Aaron but the game gave me the name Sterling Flare” He gave an acknowledging nod towards David and Morgana before taking a step aside so the other two could introduce themselves.

Ehem… I’m Eric and I’m also called Flint, T-this… just ain’t right to say but, I’m glad you decked that rascal from last night” This was surprising to hear from the perceived gentle giant, that didn’t stop me from sending a fond smile his way. I ignored the small shred of guilt rising up from hurting another person and focused myself on the pink snooty’s intro.

“Sarah… also Pearly Gleam” For a moment no one spoke as we waited for her to continue speaking, only when she started to turn red did we realize that she just doesn’t like to talk. There was a moment of awkward silence which was quickly broken by Aaron who loudly cleared his throat and stepped forward.

“Okay, now that introductions are finished I feel I should bring something to you three’s attention” His once sentence got all of our attention only for him to direct it somewhere else as he lifted his hoof and pointed past us to the sky behind us. We slowly followed his hoof to the sky to the left of the forest and what we saw inspired only two things… Dread and fear. In the skies to the left of the edge of the forest was a massive billowing cloud of smoke, like a whole forest… or town was burning.

“When did… ?” My unspoken question was quickly answered by Eric instead of Aaron who had stepped away to speak to another unicorn player who had approached.

“It happened over night, the dark and tree line hid the flames and smoke clouds. It’s too big to be a natural fire so we think there’s bandits or somethin’ that way” I wanted to swear so badly at that moment but, it would have just made the situation worse. Now not only do we have to find civilization and get them to help us but now we might have a hoard of bandits on our tail as well… this is just swell.

“We need to get to a town quickly… preferably one with guards” I ignored Eric nodding along with me and focused on Morgana and the absolutely horrified look on her face. For a moment I assumed it was because of the threat of bandits or something until it hit me… Arthur was traveling that way! Drowning my alarm in fake confidence I placed what I assumed was a comforting hoof on Morgana’s shoulder to get her attention… she has tears in her eyes.

“Don’t worry, he should be long passed whatever happened there” That was a lie, but it seemed to actually help her. Sniffing a bit she wiped the tears from her eyes and gave me a shaky nod like she was still having trouble believing that. The fact that the time it would have taken for Arthur to reach the end of the forest that far away matches right up to when we assume whatever attack happened makes my heart a bit heavier with every emotion locked inside. A deep breath added a bit more dirt on top of the casket that held my more erratic emotions and with only the smallest amount of anger and panic I acknowledged the fact that it's going to take a bit longer for me to find a place to break down. By the time Morgana and I had recomposed ourselves Aaron had returned with five other pegasi players following him.

“Now that you’re all caught up, Sarah had the idea of sending the pegasi players ahead to search for a town… oddly enough there are only six pegasus players, including your friend” Again with the pegasi mystery, this also makes me wonder why there aren’t any gryphons, changelings, or dragons as I saw those as options as well. The lack of pegasi actually made me realize something so important it actually made me jolt in place, my sudden movement drew the eyes of the whole group. I ignored their questioning gazes and threw my gaze upwards once again.

“The clouds… “ This apparently wasn’t a good enough answer for them as they confusedly flicked back and forth from me to the sky.

“Yes? They're very… white?” After a moment of all of us staring at the sky the first one to get onto the same page as me was actually the quietest of all of us Sarah.

“They're moving on their own!” The gravity of such a statement along with the fact that there are hardly any pegasi did not paint a very good picture, some horrible might have happened to all of the pegasi.

Author's Note:

So... a lot of just talking in this chapter but, valid question are being asked and new threats are being weighed...
Sorry for taking so long with this chapter, as you probably saw in the blog I got a new drawing tablet and I have been drawing none stop.
I even drew some of the characters! Though I am an amateur at drawing so if someone thinks they can do better then by all means please try, it would be an honor.:twilightblush:
Here's Marcus:

And here’s the twins!

I’m still working on David but it’ll be done by next chapter. Hope you enjoyed :yay:

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