• 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 30: Revolution Part 1

Chapter 30: Revolution Part 1

The moment I regained consciousness again, I could feel something was different. The same pain and stiffness still plagued me but… there was something else lurking deep within me. A silent intensity towards my captors, a level of focus that I experience very rarely. I felt my head be dragged over a larger divot in the stone floor and paid it no mind, the previously sharp and deep pain fell by the wayside in the face of my newfound intensity. Whereas before my magic would struggle to answer my call in the face of my paralysis, now my mana felt like an unending tide just waiting for my call to release it.

The air slowly began to grow cooler, the flickering light from the torches nearby started to grow dim as the shadows began to grow larger. I felt my captors slow for a moment in what I assume is confusion and that was all the chance I needed. Dark tendrils of pure shadow whipped out of the cracks and crevasses in the walls, quickly latching onto the necks and bodies of the corpse guards. I was dropped to the ground as the two guards began struggling, I heard hooves hitting stone from further ahead and struggled to get my body back under my control. I felt one of the constricted corpse guards start to break out of their binding just when I was able to pull myself into a sitting position.

I cracked open my left eye and winced from the throbbing pain, the approaching guard had just turned the corner and had caught sight of me. I took a deep breath and readied myself for quite possibly the most difficult fight of my life thus far… or it would have been had the charging guard and I been sent to the ground by the sudden bone shaking rumble that shook the dungeon… was that an explosion? Even the trapped guards had stopped their struggle and paused to see what was happening, I slowly pushed myself to my hooves and locked eyes with the greying decomposing eyes of the corpse guard… then the ceiling collapsed on top of him. I raised a hoof to shield my eye from the small storm of dust that was kicked up, something metal bounced off of my leg and I glanced down to see what it was. And what greeted me was the bright shine of a gold coin… what!? Did that just happen?

I felt something familiar brush against my mind the same moment I saw a brilliant crimson light streak out of the cloud, my eye couldn’t keep up with the shape and not even a second later the two corpse guards at my sides ignited into flames. The two didn’t even make a sound as their horrible existences were snuffed out, my mind was yelling at me to be alarmed and ready to fight but… I could feel I wasn’t in any danger. I took a jerky step towards the red glow and for a moment I dared to hope.

“Calcifer?” As my raspy voice rang out the glow seemed to double in strength before the ear piercing shriek of a bird of prey echoed throughout the dungeon, the sound of wings flapping quickly followed as the dust cloud was dispersed almost immediately. The sight that greeted me was not what I expected, I expected the amorphous shape of my friend that I was used to but instead I was greeted enthusiastically by a majestic flaming raptor or more locally known as… a Phoenix. I didn’t even get a chance to question if that was really Calcifer for a moment before a familiar blue screen popped up in my way.

Congratulations!

Skill Evolution!

Wisp Summon —> Phoenix Familiar

Phoenix Familiar Summon: An immortal creature of legend that is said to be reborn from the ashes whenever it dies

Is one of the few creatures in existence that completely embodies an element

Primary Element: Fire

Secondary Element: Neutral Mana

Mana Draw: None

Your summon is now a living creature that can generate its own mana, though that doesn’t mean you can’t help out

It is your creatures choice if it wishes to continue its training, further elements and skills may be learned through diligent practice

Skill Level: Max

There was no doubt about it, that was my little Calcifer, only they’re not so little anymore. I felt a flicker of sadness at not being there for their apparent evolution but it was quickly swallowed by my happiness at seeing them again. That quiet ache in my heart at their absence lessened considerably, I didn’t care about keeping my composure at that moment. I quickly approached my creation and tried to pack all my relief at them being safe, all my happiness, and all my sorrow into one hug. I didn’t squeeze too hard obviously because of the hollow bones and everything but that didn’t stop Calcifer from returning the hug the best they could, draping their wings around me and squeezing tight.

I allowed myself to smile and sob softly as I felt Calcifer’s mind rest against mine in an effort to express their relief. I could feel the potential to rebuild our bond just like before but sadly I don’t think now is the best time or place. I barely felt Calcifer agree with me before the both of us pulled away. I looked down at what Cal was resting on and was surprised to see a gold plated chandelier. I gazed up through the hole and wasn’t surprised by the sight of another ceiling high above and what looked to be a few melted chains hanging from it. I’ll ask Calcifer about how they got in later, for now I have a mission to complete.

I don’t know if it’s my luck finally turning or the machinations of the spirit but either way Calcifer had saved me by breaking through the floor of what looked to be golden boy’s treasure room. I was tempted to try and [Blink] up through the floor but my aim was already off with one eye and with the last dredges of paralytic poison flowing through my system I didn’t want to take the chance. Calcifer seemed to notice my troubled look and beckoned me closer with a wing, unsure about what their planning I leaned closer to the phoenix who leaned over to my right eye.

Something unexpectedly cold touched my swollen shut right eyelid making me jump slightly, that coldness began to spread quickly until the whole of my eye was cool to the touch. My eyes flicked open as I was reminded of another important tidbit about phoenix's, healing tears. I gingerly touched my eyes and was amazed by only a slightly sore feeling. I still have a black eye but I could see perfectly now, I sent Calcifer a thankful look at them as they wiped the last of their tears on their wings before pausing for a moment and wiping their wings on my face. My thankful look quickly turned amused, I am so glad they’re okay.

I aimed my eyes up through the hole and [Blinked] my way up, my landing wasn’t as smooth as I was expecting. The ground beneath my hooves quickly changed from hard stone to slippery mounds of coin, sliding for a moment before I regained my bearings. It looked more like a dragon lived here than a pony, massive piles of golden paraphernalia. Coins, jewelry, ornate weaponry, silks, chunks of pure gold, and some stuff that had no reason being made out of gold. A solid gold roll of toilet paper caught my eye as Calcifer landed on my back, even with the lack of a bond I could feel the incredulous look Calcifer was sending the useless roll.

“Okay, Calcifer, we are looking for a book on rituals somewhere in this room and hopefully my bag” I started climbing up and around one of the mountains of gold and jewels, using the larger gems and gold bars as hoof holds. Reaching the top I looked over a ballroom filled with countless wealth. It was like ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ in here, this doesn’t make any sense. I don’t think there is enough wealth in the whole city to fill this room, just where is all this coming from… I don’t even think Golden boy was in charge long enough to amass this much wealth, Something really isn’t adding up. A loud caw from Calcifer broke me from my thoughts, losing them momentarily among the wealth. It took a bit of searching before I saw them down behind one of the larger mountains of gold.

I was tempted to pull a Scrooge Mcduck and just slide down like it’s a waterslide but I was wary of the not so infinitesimal amount of ornate weapons. Even though they’re useless as actual weapons, they are still sharp. Reaching Calcifer they led me over to a small pile of books and papers that I assume they amassed in their search. I didn’t waste any time and started to root through the books. There were the obvious books of plays and poems that I wouldn’t bother with, there was a magic treatise about the pros and cons of constant rejuvenation spells, which I think is a skin care spell. A quick glance through the treatise had me wincing. From what I could see from just glancing through it, repeated use of the rejuvenation spell would lead to a sort of magic skin cancer yeesh. The next book had me pause at the name alone ‘A Glimpse into Alchemical Sciences by Maud C. Pie’ Glossing over the fact that Pinkie Pie’s sister is a published alchemist apparently (I’ll look more into that later) focusing more on that fact that alchemy is a thing and it wouldn’t be that far of an assumption to believe that golden boy knows how to use alchemy… which would explain the mass amounts of gold and jewels.


“ but that circles back around to the first question, what does he need all this gold for?” For the time being I sat the interesting alchemy book aside and continued my search, Calcifer lifted off once more to try and find my bag while I went over the last two books. The two books couldn’t be more different, one was only a small twenty page primer about the dangers of anti-magic. The other was less like a standard book and more like an anthology, just a massive book that’s thicker than my hoof. In most cases I would be happy to have a nice big book to read but now isn’t the time, the book was banded with an old cracked leather cover that was embossed by a familiar eye symbol.

I flicked open the book and glanced over the first page… then I froze. A deep oppressive fear quickly overcame me, a deep seated fear that appeared so suddenly that it rendered me completely still and silent. I stared at my trembling hoof and felt a faint echo of Calcifer’s mind trying to ask me what this feeling was.

This…

This fear was not my own…

Whereas before during our search the room was filled with the sounds of clinking metal and the flapping of wings, now though the lack of sound was so piercing it was almost painful. The ringing silence stood unbroken as the two of us suffered under this fear, I haven’t felt fear this… heavy, this choking. This cloying terror never reached my mind leaving me trapped in a prison of shivering flesh. With a mind much stiller than my body I gazed down at the book and tried, however vainly, to gain control of myself.

This damning silence was broken quickly and suddenly, there was no explosion, no massive burst of activity or sound… no. Just the simple sound of hooves tapping almond the stone floor, each concussive step rang in my ears. The beating of my own racing heart was drowned out by these steps. The steps continued as my eyes stared down at the yellowed pages of the ritual book… then I felt it. Not some mystical force or anything, I felt a slight breeze. Within this closed room a breeze kicked up, as the steps grew ever closer I watched the pages of the book catch the wind and began to flip rapidly. Page after page, chapter after chapter the pages flipped until near the end of the book the pages stopped suddenly.

The moment the pages stopped flipping, the steps went silent. For a moment silence reigned once again, My first instinct was to question this, to question everything that’s happening around me. Another soft echo of alarm from Calcifer somewhere nearby made me hurry up and read the ritual. I can ponder the details later when I’m not in mortal danger. I quickly skimmed through the left page. It was written in old English that had a bit of vocabulary that I couldn’t understand on top of words and phrases that I simply couldn’t…

I moved on to the next page which was slightly ruined, there were splotches of black fluid splattered all over the page. The ritual was aptly named ‘The Soul Syphon’ ritual. The main parts of the ritual were still intact, the ritual would need an uncut gem, the symbols carved onto an open flat surface and… The light from when the moon eclipses the sun!? What! How am I… ! The fear that was overriding my body began to be undercut by my sheer annoyance at this ritual… and I'm expected to just put this ritual together and kill the golden boy!?

I didn’t even notice when the fear left my body as I read deeper into the book, I flipped around a bot and saw that most of the rituals required some kind of outside requirement. Like certain weather factors or rare events and ingredients. There were plenty of smaller rituals that didn’t demand much but for a much weaker effect… wait. The ‘Soul Syphon’ ritual only calls for the ‘light’ from an eclipse, not an eclipse itself. I quickly opened my menu and flipped to the magic tabs, there were a few tabs that could have what I needed. There was [Light Magic] , [Solar Magic], and a recently unlocked [Photon Magic]. Looking over the [Light magic] tab just brought me to the conclusion that the spells leaned closer to the [White Magic] category, being mostly healing/cleansing spells and not much pertaining to actual light. [Photon Magic] was a much simpler area of magic that actually had a lot of destructive potential. This magic focuses on amplifying the energy between two objects, like a support spell to make a spell or skill more powerful. [Solar Magic] was… an odd case, I already had a sort of affinity for [Fire Magic] due to using it to imbue my summons and my skill in neutral magic being able to alter light to an extent. [Solar Magic] didn’t just draw power from the sun but included the manipulation of all aspects of the sun… which included light so… I hope I don’t regret this later.

Fledgling Solar Manipulation: The art of drawing power from celestial bodies is as old as time itself, though the method of doing so has changed time and time again

The bearer gains the basic spells to magnify and create solar light and due to added knowledge of the bearer, the ability to imbue solar energy is unlocked

Mana Cost: Varies

Skill Level 1: 0.00%

Higher levels allow for greater spells and manipulation

Sp Cost: 1

Spell Upgraded: Plasma Imbuement -> Astral Imbuement

I didn’t have much time to read the spells, I just made sure it did what I needed it to before grabbing the book and ducking low as the approaching steps finally reached the gold covered ground. There was a small burst of air as Calcifer landed next to me with my bag in claw while we listened to the clinking steps draw closer to the center of the room.

“ Hmm, I was warned that you’d be troublesome… Though in retrospect I would have been disappointed if you gave in so easily” The arrogant echoing voice left no doubt in my mind that it was golden boy himself speaking, I decided to risk a look at my future opponent and leaned around the treasure pile I was hiding behind. There, looming over the hole into the dungeon was the golden masked enigma that was my target.

“ As you have gone above and beyond my expectations I shall offer you this chance only once, Join me. Step away from those lesser than you and find solace among your peers, We who have truly understood the meaning of this world and the folly of those who assume they control us. Join us and take hold of creation, Unlock your true potential and become one of us, become a Chapter in The Book of Hours” Something in the air thrummed as he said those words, there was something particularly… wrong about those words. Like a word that is so far beyond taboo that the world itself abhors it, it was only after the effects of the words had worn off that I realized Golden boy’s eyeless mask was staring right at me.

It was obvious that stealth was out the window since the beginning so with as much steel I could muster I calmly slipped the book into my bag and put it on. I acted like I had all the time in the world as I situated myself. I felt Calcifer hop onto my back while I started to trot down the gold hill so I could stand before my opponent. I tried to come off as slightly arrogant and overconfident, hopefully he wouldn’t realize what I'm really doing.

“If I had a bit for every time some kind of evil villain or eldritch entity offered me to join them I would have two bits… which isn’t much to be honest but it’s still odd that this has happened twice. I have a feeling saying no to narcissistic lunatics like you is gonna become a recurring thing” Judging by the sudden confused silence this was the last thing he expected in response from me, I forcefully made my smirk grow when I heard the confused murmur of “narcissistic?” flit through his mask.

“Yeah, Narcissistic. I mean, have you really looked at the room we’re standing in? Solid gold walls, solid gold floors, gold furniture buried under mountains of gold paperweights, and jewels galore. It's almost like you’re trying to live up to your name, Golden Boy… or do you prefer Goldie?” I [Levitated] up a hoofful of golden bits just to punctuate my point, I controlled the aura around my horn and around the bits to stay weak and dim to not tip him off. I could tell my words were beginning to get under his skin. I will admit I'm not the best at insults but it seems it didn’t matter. Judging by the trembling of his mask I could tell I hit something sensitive.

“My name is Ozymandias, soon to be King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty Fool, and despair!” And with a flick of his hoof his golden mask flew off and the… nightmare that was his face was revealed. The first thing my mind fathomed was the fact that his head had no skin whatsoever, the next thing was that there were too many eyes glaring at me from across the room. The best I could describe Ozymandias’ face would be a large writhing eye covered tumor in the shape of a pony’s head. There were spots where his still pony skull could be seen peeking through and on those spots I could clearly see some kind of symbols carved into the bone. And out of every horrible thing my eyes were showing me, that wasn’t even the worst.

Where his horn would be was just a hole, but also not a hole. It was like something took a slice of unreality and placed it there.

(The Face of Ozymandias)

Author's Note:

Enjoy the show...










I plan to

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