• 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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Chapter 22: …Begins With A Single Step

Chapter 22: … Begins With A Single Step

- and Immediately regretted it, it was absolute chaos out there. Both the player and the villagers had tried to put together an approximation of a going away party but had ended up making everything look just as big of a mess as the siege had made. A few tables had been pulled out to hold what I assume was food but was not occupied by both players and village children who were trying to get a better view of the newly constructed stage that was built DIRECTLY in front of the house we were in… how did we all miss this being built!?

“Some kind of weird cartoon physics is at work here” A suspicious Morgana was squinting at the rowdy surroundings, her eyes flicking back and forth from the stage and the large picnic tables. My mind zipped back to the moment where I shared the same amount of paranoia about cartoon physics hurting us back with Arthur and Morgana. I started to internally debate whether or not I could just pull my hood up and creep through the crowd, a glance at David showed me that he felt similar.

“-And here are our intrepid explorers now!” Just off to the right of the stage was a female unicorn player levitating a wooden megaphone, her amplified voice quickly drew the eyes of almost every creature nearby to us… great. I felt a stiff forced smile grow on my face while the three of us trotted around the platform to join the player up on stage, myself bringing up the rear. The announcing player had a shocking red coat that was heavily contrasted by her unique two toned mane, cold blue on the left and bright green on the right.

“ For the ponies who just trotted in, I'm your host RGB, the new official guild announcer!” The air was quickly filled by the sound of hooves clapping and stomping on the ground, it seems many players were quickly choosing roles for themselves in the new guild system. RGB seemed to be a crowd favorite judging by the turnout, I felt my stiff smile relax a bit and turn a bit more genuine in the face of so much excitement. A glance at my companions brought me some more amusement. On top of everything, Morgana seemed to bask in the attention wearing a bright smile and frequently changing poses. I turned my gaze away from Morgana as she flexed her arms for the umpteenth time and glanced at David as the applause died down. I already knew about David’s weakness with large crowds so I wasn’t surprised by his choice to just ‘stone face’ the whole time, there was nary an emotion on that pegasus’ face.

“ Now I'm sure you’re all familiar with this particular group! From left to right we have our resident Earthbender Rose Point! Next we have the Swift Swordspony Nimbus! And last but not least we have the Magical Genius and leader of this party, Arcane Hope!” The clapping and stomping from the crowd only grew in strength with every introduction. I let myself internally cringe heavily at the magical genius remark, but I didn’t let my feelings show on my face other than an involuntary twitch in my eye. I’m not a genius… my magic is just kinda flashy, RBG let the crowd quiet down a bit before continuing to speak.

“ While each of these ponies are very formidable, together they are known as… (Hey! Does your group have a name?)” RGB’s slightly frantic whisper caught me off guard, my mind went haywire at the sudden question. I didn’t know we would need a name! I’m terrible at names, especially team names! My quiet panic was nothing to well… panic about as Morgana quickly perked up and happily piped up.

“We’re The Wanderers!” Even without the wooden megaphone, Morgana was loud enough for the audience to clearly hear her and burst into cheers once again… aren’t they tired yet? RGB took the loud answer in stride and spun her megaphone around in a magic flourish before addressing the audience again.

“ Fantastic! As you all must know by now, The Wanderers’ newest mission is to go meet up with another tribe just like ours and you can be sure that they’ll be having some rip roaring adventures along the way! Don’t let your cheers loose just yet, because The Wanderers aren’t the only party leaving today and here they are!” Grabbing the megaphone out of her levitating aura RGB pointed across the crowd which quickly parted to reveal who else but an obviously annoyed Aaron being followed by three other players. One was the sky blue pegasus that I didn't get the name of, another was the unicorn with the shredded mane that I seem to keep running into… did I ever get his name? As I made a mental promise to ask others their names more often I had to lean to the side slightly to see the last player behind Aaron- Jesus Christ! Is that a child behind him? Trudging behind Aaron with a determined grimace on his face was who I assumed to be an NPC’s Earth pony child wearing a saddle bag laden with too much stuff. The small colt actually resembled me slightly with a dark blue coat and black mane except his mane was an unruly mop of hair that stuck up in every direction. My already sizable dislike for Aaron started to grow rapidly as my mind kept bringing up the worst reasons for that foal to be with Aaron, by the time Aaron and his group actually reached the stage I was unsure if I was actually growling or that was just in my head (Hostility, Certainty, Affirmation). According to my wisp I actually was growling out loud and it mirrored my feelings, promising pain in Aaron’s future.

“U-uh Introducing Sterling Flare and his… associates'' The appearance of the child took the wind out of RBG’s sails in record time, the once cheering crowd was rendered silent as both the players and the NPCs looked on in confusion at Aaron’s actions waiting for an explanation. The silence stretched on for a moment and it dawned on me that he wasn’t going to say anything until prompted the git. I grit my teeth and swallowed down my anger, schooling my features. I turned and took a step towards Aaron with Morgana and David joining me at my sides.

“ Good morning Sterling, who’s our new friend here? I thought our journeys were going to stay in the clan only?” My questions sounded friendly to anyone listening who wasn’t in the know about Aaron, but those who did know clearly caught the meaning of my question.

What are you doing with that child Aaron?

“Ah yes! While I was preparing my team I was approached by this young stallion and his mother. The lad wanted to be the first apprentice of the guild if you can believe it! It would be remiss of me to refuse such a driven colt so I offered to take him with us on our journey to… educate him directly” Finishing that extremely alarming sentence, Aaron reached over and pulled the colt to his side and pulled him close. The colt looked up at Aaron with eyes full of excitement which Aaron reciprocated with a look that I couldn’t place (Disgust, Anger, Alarm). Apparently my wisp could place that look and really didn’t like it, which doesn’t bode well. Aaron turned his gaze up to me with a look that screamed ‘Say something, I dare you’ and as much as I wanted to… I couldn’t. As much as I wanted to grab that child and get him away from the possible pedophile that was Aaron… I couldn’t. This was a power play by Aaron that I couldn’t win, if I argued or tried to get the child away from him then I would destroy whatever trust our guild has accrued in the blink of an eye. There’s also that fact that I was almost certain thanks to [6th Sense] that Aaron didn’t actually plan to do anything with that colt other than maybe have him carry some stuff. This was his gamble to see who had any kind of suspicions about him and all of us had fallen for it hook, line, and sinker.

“Well… I’m glad that some ponies are already on board with the apprenticeship! Try not to work too hard now, okay little one? Help will always be available to you in this guild” This was apparently the right thing to say as many NPCs in the crowd let out quiet d’awws at the sight of the colt’s bright happy smile.

“I won’t forget Mr. Hope, next time you see me I’ll be the bestest adventurer out there! Just watch!” I hoped the colt’s contagious cheer rubbed off on my expression as it currently felt like I was trying hard not to sneer in Aaron direction. RGB let out a slightly awkward laugh before clearing her throat and stepping forward cutting between the impromptu stand off between our two groups. I chanced a look around the head of RGB and caught the eye of shred mane who looked at me then flicked his eyes down at the colt before giving me a small nod. It helped ease my heart a bit knowing someone I sorta knew was going to watch over the kid.

“ Now I know we’re all having a blast right now, but sadly the routes these two teams are going to be taking go in different directions and we’re burning daylight here. Let’s get the name of Sterling’s team before their journey kicks off.” RGB took a moment to levitate the megaphone over to Aaron who calmly took it in one hoof and paused a moment to think before letting a somewhat devious smirk grow on his face.

“We will be known as… The Saviours'' Again the tense atmosphere descended on the stage as Aaron and I locked eyes, the secret was out… this was war… one that I intend to win. I don’t know what Aaron’s planning but it can’t be anything good, to be realistic I don’t even know what I’m going to do! It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to believe that Aaron wants control of some kind, of the players, of everyone, of the world I don’t know. Either way I need to make sure he can’t rise to power, though this won’t be as much of a problem as he’s traveling around establishing guild houses in different towns. Once we reached Mount Canter I could warn the other players about him and stop him in his tracks.

“The...Saviours… okay then, It is time for the two parties The Wanderers and The Saviours to embark on the journeys! I wish all of you the best of luck and hope to see you again real soon!” With nary another word the seven of us simultaneously started to walk off the stage and headed for the center of the Residential area where the crowd had parted to give us room. Turning to look each other in the eye for the last time in a while, Aaron and I held that heated stare for a moment and an unspoken promise was made.

We will settle this later!

Wordlessly our two teams turned away from each other and started our trot out of the village, David, Morgana, and I didn’t speak as we walked through the open gate out the back of the village leading to our next destination. We didn’t speak until the small village was well out of sight and the only sounds were the winds flowing through the grassy fields and the insects living inside it. It wasn’t until the sun had finally begun its descent to the horizon did anyone say something. Letting out an irritated sigh, Morgana turned to look at us as we stopped to make camp and said five words.

“I really hate that guy!” Our slightly bemused silence was more than enough of a response.

Author's Note:

I did it... I don't know why this chapter was so difficult for me...:derpyderp1:
Anyway we got more of a threat level on Aaron but it's gonna have to take a back seat to the current journey... and yes, I kept the colt nameless for a reason.

[Oooh mysterious~]

Anyway its time for the actual travel time, there will be times where I will flash between perspectives like Arthur, or maybe that one unicorn with the messed up mane-

[His name is Caleb / Coral Shelf if you wanted to know]

Names are another weak point of Markus' that he'll need to work on. There will be a massive amount of lore and exposition in the following chapters so I was wondering if I should make a lore page or something and update it whenever some new pops up. If I do make this then if anyone notices something and thinks it should be put in the lore tab please comment it... all information is good information :trollestia:
I hope you're enjoying the story!

[Please Read and Review!]