• 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 23: So That's What Horseshoes Are For!

Chapter 23: So That’s What Horseshoes Are For!

I remember back when I was 12 that I actually liked walking places, I don’t remember why. It probably had something to do with me growing up in a wide open area, I grew up in an area that used to be farmland so I had plenty of space to roam about. Now though I think I hate walking… or at least my new body does, my hooves were killing me! At least I wasn’t the only one suffering, Morgana was feeling every bit of biting, itchy pain I was feeling. The two of us shared a look of mutual understanding as the traitor that was David leisurely floated above us lounging on a cloud he had made.

“Alright, let's take a break” I heard a relieved sigh from Morgana while David just perked up from the cloud he was playing with. He’s been getting used to his new [Cloud Control] skill and was loving it so far… much to our jealousy.

“Why? I’m feeling just fine” The collectively flat looks we sent David did nothing to quell the smug look that was growing on his face. I can’t wait to start researching [Ritual Magic] if only to stop having to walk everywhere. I remember it saying I could use other spells in written or etched form, I wonder if that means I can fly eventually or get super strength like Morgana… though of course that means I would have to deal with the spirit. Pushing that whole problem out of my head I sat down on the cool green grass next to an equally tired Morgana, with a flare of my horn I [Levitated] out my canteen of water and took a swig of the warm life giving liquid. Actually… Now that I'm thinking about [Ritual Magic] and ‘life giving liquid’ I remembered something pretty important, potions.

“Hey Morgana, can you teach me about plants?” If I remember correctly Morgana has the [Herbalism] skill and my [Ritual Magic] skill required ingredients for the rituals themselves, plus I could eventually learn how to make potions which could help take some of the pressure off of Morgana on being the only healer. Morgana sent me a confused look from around her canteen at my sudden request, taking a moment to swallow the water she turned to speak directly to me.

“ I’d be happy to teach you, but I don’t really recognize many of the plants here. I don’t know why this game gave me such a high [Herbalism] skill when most of the plants here either don’t resemble anything we have on earth or are similar but still slightly different” Morgana’s confused admittance was surprising, it didn’t even occur to me that the native plants here would be different than on earth… I wonder if there are any other skills that are rendered useless by this being a different world.

“ But I remember you grabbing some mushrooms that were safe to eat? DO you think your skill has other effects?” I saw Morgana’s eyes lit up in remembrance of our first camp out in the woods with her brother then I watched her slowly droop at the thought of her brother. I saw David peek over the edge of his cloud, sending Morgana a concerned look… if I’m ever going to tell about her brother now would be the time.

“Hey… about Arthur, I know what happened to him” I winced slightly at my ill choice of words and looked the nearly broken hearted Morgana in the eye as I explained my vision. David had left his cloud for this, leaving it to drift off and fall apart in the slight breeze. I saw a spark of skepticism grow in David’s eye as I explained how Arthur took over the remnants of the bandits and I paused to let the inevitable question come from his lips.

“ Just what skills do you really have?” Another kind of worry started to grow in the eyes of Morgana and David, both seeming to realize that I had never really explained all of my abilities. I took a not so calming breath and collected my thoughts, (Worry) my wisp equally as uncertain about what to say next.

“We can talk more about my skills later, let me finish talking about Arthur for now” The serious looks from Morgana and David told me that they would be holding me to that, of course the tense atmosphere fell away once I had reached the part about Arthur taking over and leaving with the bandits. The mood turned somber and forlorn, Morgana’s eyes turning slightly watery at the news though not for the reasons I thought.

“H-he still cares… i’m just happy he’s okay” I almost sent a skeptical look her way at the ‘okay’ remark. I’m not sure ripping your own leg off counts as ‘okay’, but I don’t have the heart to tell her otherwise. I took a glance up at the sky and saw the sun slowly slot into the noon position then slow to a stop, I really need to get a watch or something. We still had a lot of ground to cover and an uneven timetable to travel on, we’ll probably find out what’s wrong with the sun when we reach Canterlot. I rose to my hooves and got ready to head down the trail again, Morgana followed quickly with a new pep in her step. David sent Morgana a slightly concerned look before springing back into the air and activating his [Cloud Control] skill, slowly the moisture in the air started to gather around his hooves until a familiar grey mist started to form. Moments later the three of us were on the road again and once again I felt envy over David’s ability to avoid walking.


We’ve been walking for another hour or so when both Morgana and I decided to work on some of our own skills, it was pretty entertaining to be honest. I decided to work on my [Shield] spell and my [Thunder Lion] Summon. My wisp was pretty understanding and went into the lantern to avoid bringing down my mana regeneration. My lion only needed to be summoned to gain experience but my [Shield] spell needed to be actively repelling something to level which was slightly annoying at first until David had an idea and started hopping from his cloud and a small floating platform I had made with my [Shield] spell. It was like a weird version of hop-scotch where he jumps from the cloud and has to hurry and make a new one before the shield breaks from his weight. At the spell's current level it had the strength of glass and would only get stronger with more levels, Morgana chose to level her [Earth Manipulation] skill by bouncing a stone up and over my lion that was keeping pace with her and bouncing it back playing catch with herself. We must have made quite a sight, I was struggling keeping my focus on making more platforms for David and not laughing at our antics. My focus didn’t last long as Morgana’s stone flew off course and smacked into the platform David had just sprung towards destroying it and sending him face first into the ground. My echoing laughter drowned out any apologies Morgana might have given David, both joining me in my mirth as they caught my contagious laughter.


That night was filled with laughter and stories. David was in the middle of telling us about the time he beat a carnival game that was supposed to be unwinnable when something occurred to me. I waited for David to finish his story before interjecting, I tossed another stick into the silver flames before speaking in an effort to stave off the chilly night air.

“I don’t know why I never asked this earlier, but how old are you two? I just turned twenty the month before the game started” The sudden question caught David off guard, but Morgana was more gobsmacked than confused. She swallowed another mouthful of stew before responding, there was a bit of wild spinach in her teeth.

“You’re twenty!? I’m barely seventeen, David please don’t tell me I'm the youngest here!” With a look of faux desperation on her face Morgana swung her head back towards David who wore the most stoic face I had ever seen and speaking with a tone so flat, it could have broken a record somewhere.

“Eighteen… Hahahahaha!” The sudden devastation on Morgana’s face sent the once stoic David into a laughing fit that almost made him fall from his cloudy seat. It did slightly concern me that even though all three of us are different ages we all looked physically the same age, Everyone in our group of players seemed to be around the same age thankfully but I can’t speak for the other groups we’re going to meet. I [Levitated] up my bowl of soup and swallowed another mouth full of the savory broth while I thought about our journey so far. We’re actually a day ahead of schedule much to my surprise, I was expecting more… monsters or something, I guess this gives more support to the different world theory. Though of course that doesn’t mean we won’t encounter something. (Curiosity) I felt my wisp send me a small strand of curiosity as it hovered over my shoulder, glancing up at it I waited for it to form its question. Instead of finishing the pseudo-sentence my wisp floated down to my bowl and sorta nudged the rim, does it want to try the soup… can it try the soup? I tried to stem my amused disbelief and offered my bowl to my wisp, Morgana and David’s playful argument fell quiet as the two watched from the side. I felt the bowl dip slightly as my wisp slipped some of its flames into the broth, the liquid bubbled slightly as some of it evaporated into the wisp. Backing away from the bowl slowly my wisp didn’t move for a scant second before…

*Hiccup!*

It’s silver flames briefly turned the same creamy green as the soup as it expelled a small green cloud in a high pitched hiccup. (Tasty!) All three of us collectively lost it, my wisp just peered at us while savoring the ‘taste’ of the soup. I felt it’s want for seconds signal over the bond and I was barely able to relay it’s request in my out-of-breath state to Morgana who happily poured my wisp it’s own bowl. I let my laughter slowly ebb away and peered down happily at my wisp who was currently resting in his bowl slowly burning through his soup. Slowly though I felt the smile on my face slowly turn to a confused one, I really am bringing them to life and yet… I don’t have a name for them.

“Hey, do you want a name?” I felt my wisp’s attention turn from their soup up to me so fast that if they had a neck it would have cracked, (Surprise, Excitement, Agreement, Affection) The gamut of emotions that were thrown at me were eclipsed by the act of my wisp zipping up out of his soup and latching to my face in a facsimile of a hug. I couldn’t help the face achingly large smile that grew on my face from the heart melting act. I let out a few giggles as I separated my ecstatic wisp from my face and turned to my friends for some help.

“Aww! Ooh how about Gastly… because we made that Pokémon trainer joke earlier! Oooh ooh or maybe a fire-type name!” Morgana was excitedly switching between Pokémon names while David simply sent me a half hearted shrug while saying he wasn’t any good at naming things. I thought deeply about my summon, they’re my first companion in this world and they’re essentially a part of me since I made them from my magic. That kind of reminds me of a movie I loved, it was about a cursed woman who ran away to find a wizard who lived in a moving castle… and suddenly I have the perfect name.

“Your name shall be Calcifer”

Author's Note:

I love all Studio Ghibli films but Howl's Moving Castle will always hold a special place in my heart.

[But what about Spirited Away? I feel it's a bit more ironic considering everyone's situation]

Spirited Away is second on my list with Mary and the Witch's Flower coming in a close third.

[Fine, I hope you enjoyed the chapter! Please Read and Review]