• 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 25: New Horizons... No Not The Game!

Chapter 25: New Horizons… No Not The Game!

The sight of the dirt roads I was used to seeing slowly turning to cobbled stone the further we walked was one I relished in. I also relished in the feeling of my hooves walking on something that isn’t the rough dirt. I'm starting to think we’ll need horseshoes at this rate (that sent a fearful shiver through me much to the confusion of Calcifer). I had watched videos of horses getting their hooves shod during one of my more sleepless nights and now I am on the verge of having nightmares about someone putting nails in my hoof. I shook the stomach turning thoughts out of my head and focused, Morgana and David were both just as excited to see a town as I was though not for the same reasons.

Sometime last night after dinner Morgana had divulged to me about her ‘image’, she wanted this to be the chance she needed to reinvent how others see her. She didn’t want to be the happy go lucky girl next door anymore and now that she has earthbending like abilities and a team to go on adventures with she wanted to be more like a certain iconic earthbender. Cool and collected while also being kinda sarcastic… I wasn’t really sure being sarcastic was her thing but I wasn’t about to put out her exuberance. I had asked David if he wanted to do something similar but all I got in response was an amused look and a subtle shake of his head.

I might actually try and do something similar, this might be a good time to try and get over my whole thing with being social. I’m told that I can be pretty oblivious to social cues at times but my [6th sense] skill should cover that particular weakness. Maybe I could make myself more outgoing and uh … other social things? I’m not the best at this but it’s the thought that counts right! The three of us had just ascended another hill when we finally caught sight of the Trading hub. I don’t know what I was expecting on such an overcast day.

“That’s not an encouraging sight… “ Where we were expecting a bustling trade city with caravans and traders coming and going, we instead saw a cold barred wooden gate with countless traders and caravans camping outside the city with their carts and bags empty. A somber cloud hung over us as we approached the large but concerningly quiet town, the perimeter of the hub was surrounded by high walls made of dark iron and blackened wood giving it a slightly intimidating visage. From the top of the hill I could see a few specks in the distance roaming the tops of the towering walls and towers, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to guess that the specks were the local guard force.

“Is it just me or is anyone else getting Great Depression vibes… “ David’s extremely alarmed voice broke me from my analysis and made me refocus on the tent city springing up around the main gate. It was something out of a history film, tents falling apart from being out in the elements for so long, foals starving and stealing scraps from each other, Stallions and Mares alike were begging by the road. I am suddenly reconsidering entering this town, the back of my mind unhelpfully piped up that we were low on travel supplies and would need to restock at this town… somehow. I slowed down slightly to make sure my bag was secure and at least slightly difficult to pickpocket when I felt the box the shopmare asked us to deliver jostle reminding me of our other request.

“There is definitely something wrong with this place, but I want you two to keep in mind that we can’t save everyone… I don’t know how to pull a whole city out of an economic crisis and we can’t just give away what meager supplies we have” The look Morgana gave me hurt in a way I wasn’t expecting. She looked both personally offended that I suggested we shouldn’t help these ponies and at the same time deeply disappointed in me. I watched her take a deep breath in preparation for what would most likely be a legendary scolding until a yellow hoof gently rested on her side.

“Morgana… Markus might have the right idea. Think about it, we don’t have the supplies, influence, or abilities to help them. It’s lovely that you want to help everyone so readily but… this is a job for a government, not a hero” David’s solemn words seemed to strike a deep chord within Morgana as I saw the righteous anger in her eyes be quickly exchanged for hurt and sadness. That deep breath she took wasn’t used for words but for a deep sad sigh that betrayed just how hard this was hitting her. David and I shared a concerned look as Morgana looked back up at us in resignation, without a word she continued to trot down the hill with us in tow.

“ Keep an eye out for an older stallion named Feldspar, we have a package for him” I didn’t get a response from David and Morgana but I knew they heard me, we were well and truly entering the tent city now. David’s prior comparison started to hold more and more weight as we trotted deeper into the tent city, everyone there looked miserable. Now that we are closer I could see that the tent city seemed to consist mostly of families(Sadness). I could feel Calcifer wilt at the sight of their plight and I couldn’t think of anything to cheer them up. The more I gaze at the passing tents and hopeless ponies, the more I'm beginning to think this looks more like a refugee camp.

The main road was left uncovered from the many canvas homes and sleeping mats but it still felt incredibly cluttered as a meager contingency of guards were patrolling up and down the road keeping the peace, this meant pushing back any ponies who were desperate enough to try and rush the guards for their stuff I guess. David and I subconsciously took a step away from the brawl between the two stallions and tried to creep around them, it took a moment for me to realize Morgana wasn’t following us and turned to search for her. She had stopped to watch the brawl with a growing look of indecision blooming on her muzzle, she probably wanted to try and stop the fight. I tried to get over to her as fast as I could without looking frantic, I trotted to her side and quickly nudged her down the path away from the fight.

“Why won’t you let me help!” Morgana’s angry hiss drew my eyes from the surrounding ponies back to her vibrant eyes. Another pang of guilt flickered in my chest before I quashed it and leaned in close to speak.

“Look at all the ponies around us, they’re just waiting for an excuse to turn that brawl into a riot. If you had jumped into that fight you would have been the spark in the gunpowder” Now that I had drawn their attention to it Morgana and David turned their now alarmed eyes towards the ponies at our sides and noticed the mass amounts of eyes on us… wait… they’re not watching them… they’re watching me! I felt my heartbeat speed up at the realization that everypony here was glaring at me, I sped my trot up a bit, leaving David and Morgana to trail behind slightly and watched as most of their collective gazes followed me forward. Why are they so wary of me? (Anxiety!) It didn’t make me feel better knowing Calcifer was feeling anxiety for the first time, but it did make me feel defensive for them.

“Halt!” It wasn’t long before we reached the main gate and were stopped by two guards wearing what was probably the most protective armor I have seen so far. Full metal plates covered their torso leaving leather padding on their legs and neck, only their heads were uncovered showing their dark green and blue fur respectively. The green guard stepped forward displaying a single black diamond on his chest, I swallowed down whatever lingering anxiety I had left and acted like I belonged here.

“State your business!” I took a step forward and lit up my horn to [Levitate] out Feldspar’s package. I tried to put the most amicable smile I had on my face as I looked into the green guards brown eyes.

“Hello, we were asked to deliver this package to a stallion. We were told he would be around this area at the moment, so is it possible for us to be let through?” I watched the guard arch his brow at my words, his eyes flicked to his partner for a moment before they refocused on my own.

“What’s this stallion’s name?” I cringed slightly at the question, I had hoped they would have just let us through. I had purposely withheld his name just in case he had us followed or something.

“...Feldspar’s his name” The change was immediate, both guards’ eyes went wide and their breath hitched in their throats audibly. The blue guard scrambled to turn and open the large gate while the green guard stumbled over his words for a moment before clearing his throat and speaking.

“A-ah yes, he is a long time friend of ours. Please allow me to escort you to him” His sudden insistence caught me off guard for a moment before I collected myself, I glanced back at David and Morgana to see their take on this. Morgana seemed just as lost as I was and David just looked incredibly wary of everything, I think we should follow him (if he did try anything, I'm pretty sure we could take him).

“We would very much appreciate the help uh… “ The guard ignored the prompting for his name and took my acceptance as a signal to turn and trot through the gate. His abrupt exit was the last thing I expected so he got a bit of distance between us before we snapped out of his and hurried to catch up.

The town didn’t look much better on the inside, of course everything had a fantasy medieval theme but it still looked like it was in the middle of the great depression. Many of the probably beautiful looking houses and stores were either closed or condemned leaving the main cobbled road painfully empty and colorless. Our guide wasn’t waiting for us to finish looking around so we had to cut our sightseeing short, the guard quickly turned onto a cobbled side street that I would have missed if it wasn’t for the clanking racket his armor gave off. David had to use his wings alongside his run in order to keep up with us… Morgana didn’t have any issues keeping up with the guard… I really need to work out or something. I am way too slow!

There wasn’t really anything special about the side street, there was litter in a few places along with a few windows and side doors here and there. I was breathing pretty hard as I sprinted down the streets, taking rights and lefts in pursuit of the guard. I actually lost sight of him at one point until David stopped for me and led me in the right direction, all of these streets looked the same! I felt my annoyance begin to come to a boil as I took another right past another trash pile and ducked under another random clothesline… Why do ponies need clothes, let alone clotheslines! I felt my annoyance evaporate as the three of us burst out of the alleyways into a wide opening revealing… a bar. I-it was just a regular bar! On the faded sign hanging over the door was the name ‘The Bloated Wolf’ with an odd caricature of a rather plump puppy under the name.

The guard was waiting for us at the door, heaving for breath and dripping with sweat, that armor is probably incredibly heavy. I took a glance at my stamina bar and was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t completely empty, I guess all that walking had a few benefits. The guard looked up at our entrance and ushered us inside the hidden bar. I kept a bit of magic primed in my horn just in case anything happened and stepped past the entrance to… a completely empty bar. The only ponies there were the three of us, the guard, and the bartender who was doing the stereotypical thing all bartenders do, shining a glass. The guard was whispering frantically with the bartender and I saw the words ‘Feldspar’ leave the lips of the guard before he quickly turned away from the barkeep and hurried past us without a word and left… odd.

“ I assume you know where Feldspar is?” I was getting ready for a fight at this point and I wasn’t alone, David started to rest his hoof on the handle of his blade and Morgana had started to move into position for a battle. The barkeep’s brown coated form shook with laughter at our reluctance to approach and waved us closer, I was just a massive ball of confusion at this point and I wanted this to be over with. I tried to let my annoyance go while I approached the bar and sat Feldspar’s box on the counter, I heard Morgana and David follow me closer. The Barkeep put the glass down and pulled the box closer with a hoof and popped it open… then let out a fond sigh.

“ That old bat just doesn’t know what retirement means huh?” He scratched his grey mane in what I assumed was astonishment as he looked over the sealed scrolls that were inside the box, I felt my annoyance reach it’s breaking point and finally spoke up.

“ Are you Feldspar or not!” I whipped the box and it’s assorted documents back up into the air with [Levitation] and glared straight into the barkeep's surprised eyes. There was tense silence that seemed to persist for far too long until another bark of laughter came from the aging barkeep.

“You haven’t caught on yet young’un? Feldspar doesn’t exist”

Author's Note:

The plot thickens! This chapter took way too long to write and it wasn't even for good reasons... I just didn't write anything down for a while... that and homework

[Learning a new language is hard alright!]

But at least the first [Quest] is starting, [Quests] are events or missions that will affect the whole region. What the players do here is pretty important... or they can just refuse to do anything.

[LLLLAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMEEE]

Yeah I guess it kinda is, anyway I'll try to get chapters out a bit faster now that the set up is done. I hope you enjoyed the chapter

[Please remember to Read and Review!]