• 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 36: Moving On

Chapter 36: Moving On

Markus PoV:

After getting over the fact that David can now throw around cloud grenades and after telling the two that I was now a Witch (and ignoring their unrepentant laughter) we moved on to getting ready to leave. We decided to follow the same plan as before in the last village and split up to look for supplies. Morgana had a better rapport with the ponies here so we sent her to get some food, David had seen more of the area than I had so I sent him to look for a blacksmith or a general store that might have a cauldron while I went and looked through Ozzy’s hoard. David wanted to come with me and see the hoard so we decided that if anyone finished early or couldn’t find anything that we would meet back up at the hoard.

The hoard had been left untouched by the towns ponies as I expected but had still gone through a radical change, a good 75% of the place had reverted to its original non-gold state. Me and Calcifer had a giggle as we passed a familiar roll of toilet paper, there were a few reverted wooden desks and tables that had collapsed from the weight of the stuff piled on top of them. There were still plenty of bits and various jewels around but I was almost positive that all of it belonged to the town in one way or another.

I climbed up a hill of reverted debris and saw the stack of discarded books I had left behind. I smiled as I retrieved the book on alchemy and stuffed it into my bag. While I was at it I tucked away the treatise on the dangers of rejuvenation spells, it might have something useful in it besides warnings. I saw a few weapons here and there, a dagger here, a rapier there, what looked like brass knuckles for hooves, the only issue with all these weapons was… they were all still solid gold. While slightly disappointing I kinda expected this, maybe there’s an armory somewhere in here…hopefully it wasn’t crushed in the fight.

I don’t really know how long I spent in there going through everything but it was long enough that Morgana joined me later on. Upon entering the large hoard room her only reaction to the kleptomaniac’s dream was an extremely confused “Why?” Morgana slowly joined me up on the hill and told me about how she did with acquiring some travel food. Apparently it was pretty easy for her to get some good deals on ingredients due to everypony's fondness for her.

She joined me in going through the mountains of stuff and we quickly realized that there wasn’t anything interesting in this pile that hadn’t reverted back to normal. I did find a pretty nice looking armchair buried underneath some bits and gems, it was a normal recliner that I could find in any home. It was pretty comfortable though I don’t think Morgana liked it, she thought it was too squishy. Calcifer sent out an alert over the bond that David was approaching, I hope he was able to find me a cauldron. As much as I like this town, I was starting to get anxious and wanted to get back on the road to Mt. Canter. We met back up with David at the front of the Manor, the front of the manor was actually pretty crowded with town ponies who wanted to go inside and get their stuff back.

Seeing the three of us exit the ruined manor they took that as a sign that it was okay to enter, thankfully there wasn’t a stampede and they all calmly trotted past us. Morgana and I left the crowd and went to an open area where David could land. I was happy to see that he had a new sword on his back, an emotion he clearly mirrored judging by the massive grin on his face. His new sword looked like a broadsword this time, its crossguard and blade was blockier and thicker than his earlier swords. Maybe to make it less likely to melt like last time… I should probably enchant it later.

“So I have good news and funny news, which one do you want to hear first…?” I couldn’t help but crack a smile at David’s words, his infectious attitude lifting my spirits. I was tempted to say ‘neither’ but I was actually really interested in what he had to say.

“I’ll take the good news for 300 please” David’s grin grew slightly seeing us buy into his bit, he spun into the air and with a flourish reached into his laden saddlebag and pulled out the last thing I expected him to bring over here.

“Congratulations! You just won a brand new (used) Witch’s cauldron, happily donated by the wife of a local merchant as thanks for saving the town!” David was holding a small travel sized cauldron from one hoof, it looked like a cheap Halloween decoration but it was a real cast iron travel cauldron. I had snatched the coveted cookware from David’s hoof without realizing it, I was amazed! I didn’t even know they could be made this small, I was momentarily worried that it wouldn’t count as a cauldron due to its size but that worry was quickly dissipated. My skill told me that this was almost perfect for a beginner like me, it just needed a good wash.

“How! Where! I was completely ready to wait a while to get one of these! Thanks man! There is so much magic I want to try with this!” I flinched and realized I had lost my composure in my excitement, I cleared my throat and looked back up at David and Morgana who were staring at me with astonished eyes. I felt my face start to burn, after our little mid-day nap session (cuddle) I had been feeling a bit more open with my emotion. I felt Calcifer both laugh at me and coo at my embarrassment, I made a mental note to get Calcifer back for that later and forced my cheeks to cool.

“Thanks again David, what's the other news?” Their shocked looks were quickly exchanged for warm smiles as they realized the reason behind my openness much to my annoyance. Morgana's shoulder bumped me softly and I tried to avoid looking at the fond look she was sending me, I ignored Calcifer’s chuckling on my back and wondered if phoenixes were waterproof. The fluffy moment quickly passed and I noticed David’s smile took a turn for the mischievous.

“Oh… All I found was the answer to a problem you and Morgana were having” I didn’t know what problem he was talking about but the way he said that sent an unpleasant shiver up my spine that for a moment I mistook for my 6th sense. David turned and started to trot away leaving the three of us standing there confused, I traded a concerned look with Morgana before we went to follow after David.

The smell of smoke and the sound of metal being molded greeted us after a few minutes of trotting after David, I guess this was where David got his new sword. I wasn’t worried whatsoever until we actually entered the smithy, I wasn’t greeted by the sight of a smith hammering metal or by a normal store front… no. The smithy had an open front that exposed the smith and forge to the outside and there in front were two ponies, one was the earth pony smith and the other the client… getting his horseshoe hammered on… with nails. A fear I didn’t know I had suddenly burst to the forefront of my mind and a glance at Morgana showed me that she was feeling something similar.

“I wish I had a camera right now!” The horrified look I was sending David was apparently pretty funny, I could only stare as the pegasus that I thought was my friend rolled on the floor laughing. His rolling only brought my attention to the shiny new horseshoes he had on all his hooves, the mere fact that he went through it already didn’t help me as much as I thought it would. Morgana and I shared a look and remembered the itching pain that we went through on the way here and decided… sadly that we needed to do this, though that’s not gonna stop me from getting David back later for this.

In another Location:

Falling Star was regretting everything all at once, well… not everything but most things. His body ached, his mane smelled, and he was pretty sure he might have a cold coming on. Adjusting the strap of the oversized bag on his back Falling Star tried to relax as he waited for Mr. Flare and Coral outside the town. This was the third town they had been to in a matter of days and the fatigue of constantly taking shortcuts through the woods was starting to take its toll on him.

As much as he dislikes the feeling of his body aching, Falling Star couldn’t say he wasn’t improving as well. He was much stronger and faster than other colts his size, all the dodging practice and s-sparring must be making him tougher… he thinks at least. He was so deep in thought that he didn’t even realize that a pair of voices were getting closer.

“-walk all over you, think of it like being in a family. There’s the dad, the mom, the kids, and the pet… speaking of the pet. Where are you kid!?” Perking up and pulling himself and the bag out of the bushes Falling Star ‘stood at attention’ like how Mr. Flare taught him. Mr. Flare gave him a once over before snorting trotting past, Coral had stopped next to the small colt and gave him a smile. Falling Star liked to think he was good friends with Coral Shelf, he looked out for the young colt and taught him as much as he could… though he mostly taught him about magic and first aid.

Not that there was anything bad about them! Coral is the one who helped him find out that the tingling in his body that helped him keep training was his magic! Whenever he had taken a bad hit during a spar or couldn’t breath after a workout this tingling popping feeling would cover him and then he’d be good as new. Though it doesn’t work all the time, he still had a few bruises here and there. Coral always makes sure to help him out though, he taught him how to properly bandage himself.

The three of us had reached the final stretch of forest before we would finally be at the coast. Falling had never seen the ocean before and was looking forward to seeing it, he whispered to Coral asking if he was just as excited as he was. Falling reminded himself to keep him voice really low, Mr. Flare always gets upset after we leave a town and being too loud around Mr. Flare means only one thing…endurance sparring. Falling Star shuttered at the memory, it took a while for the two of them to recover from that one. He remembers having to ride on Coral’s back for some time while his magic fixed him up.

Realizing he had zoned out after asking Coral a question, Falling quickly focused back up at his friend’s face only to see him giving Falling an odd look. Oddly enough it was a look he recognized, his mother gave him these looks sometimes. The last time she did was before the big fight back home when she sent him away with the other foals to hide. Coral’s eyes flicked up ahead at where Mr. Flare was trotting then back down to Falling, Coral pulled Falling close then leaned down to whisper something.

“Hey, do you remember that unicorn from my tribe, Arcane Hope?” Coral’s slightly frantic tone caused Falling to tilt his head slightly in confusion, nonetheless he nodded to Coral’s question. It was nearly impossible to forget the hero that had saved his home using such great and powerful magic. “Good, after we get through this forest we should be able to see Mt. Canter in the distance. That’s where he’s going and it’s where the two of us need to go”

“Wha-! … what? But what about-” “Sterling isn’t a good per- pony, he isn’t the hero you think he is, I'm sorry Falling but I need to get you somewhere safe and the safest place I can think of is with a real hero” Coral’s serious tone made an objections or questions Falling had disappear, it was the same tone mother does when she’s very serious about something.

Oh” The sun was starting to go down and any light that was left was quickly being swallowed up by the trees of the forest. “Kid- I mean Colt, I need you to promise me. If anything bad happens you need to go reach your real hero okay? Find Arcane Hope and everything will be okay!” The intensity of Coral’s words was really starting to scare Falling, the certainty in his eyes about something bad happening. Falling wanted to say something a hero would say, to say ‘It’s going to be alright’ or ‘There’s nothing to fear’ but… he would never get the chance.

Before Falling realized that he still hadn’t said anything, stunned from Coral Shelf’s words. The three had finally left the forest and entered the wide moonlit grassy plains that signaled the beginning of the coast and to the right, just as Coral had said was Mt. Canter. Falling had only glimpsed the mountain in the corner of his eye before the ground exploded and he blacked out.

Falling jerked awake upside down in a bush, his body was aching severely and he could already feel the popping of his magic healing him. Cracking his eyes open he could see that the once peaceful plains had been decimated by countless craters and giant holes, and piles of weird blue flesh but what drew his attention wasn’t the carnage but the three being in the center of it all. Mr. Flare was splattered in blue blood and was leaning on his Warhammer while Coral was sitting on the ground and leaning on the massive corpse of a Tatzelwurm. Only it’s head was sticking out of the ground and it still dwarfed the two grown ponies, there was a massive shard of what looked like glass impaled through it.

“Can I get… a little help here?” The wheezing voice of Coral drew Falling’s attention, slowly rolling over in an effort not to hurt himself anymore and looking closer. Falling’s heart jumped to his throat at what he saw, a tooth. A massive fang that could only belong to the Tatzelwurm was sticking out of Coral’s stomach, falling’s eyes started to burn as tears started to well up in them. Falling’s hope was disappearing quickly… until he remembered, potions! He remembered that Mr. Flare had bought a few back in the first town they had visited, Coral had explained how they worked to Falling and this was a perfect time to use them.

Falling perked up and took a breath to yell to Mr. Flare, to urge him to use the potions to save their friend… but something stopped him. Coral’s voice echoed in his mind ‘Sterling isn’t a good per- pony, he isn’t the hero you think he is’ , in that moment of hesitation Mr. Flare reached into one of the many pockets of his armor and pulled out a hoof full of glass shards. Almost leisurely he discarded the broken potion and checked his other pocket and pulled out a single red potion. Mr. Flare looked at the potion then looked at Coral, shrugged then put the potion back into his pocket.

“I might need it later… “ Falling was speechless at Mr. Flare’s dismissive tone, he could hear Coral chuckle slightly before reaching into his own saddlebag and pulling out a familiar roll of gauze. With much more steady hooves than you would expect, Coral wrapped the gauze around the long tooth and binded it. Sterling made no move to help as Coral painfully pulled himself up to his hooves, it hurt Falling to see every move Coral made and yet… he still did not move or say anything. Falling stayed hidden in the foliage and watched and hoped that more of Coral’s words wouldn’t come true.

“It’s a shame really… truly a tragedy” Mr. Flare’s emotionless words interrupted Coral’s limping and brought his attention back to him. Mr. Flare wiped some of the blue blood off of his Warhammer as he stepped toward Coral while speaking, the growing pit in Falling’s stomach quickly became a chasm of dread. It was like his body knew what was about to happen before his brain did.

“It absolutely horrible that you and the kid were killed… trying to escape the worm” Coral didn’t even have time to blink as Mr. Flare’s Warhammer swung around and crashed into his face. Falling’s heart stopped beating as he watched Coral fall to the ground boneless, he could hear his pained panicked heaving coming from the ground. Falling didn’t blink, he didn’t move, he didn’t breath as he watched Mr. Flare step around Coral’s convulsing body.

“The two of you would have made such great soldiers if you two weren’t so weak… but don’t you worry, I’ll make sure the next batch lasts much longer”

He didn’t wait to watch Mr. Flare raise his warhammer one last time

He pretended he didn’t hear the sound of Coral’s skull getting crushed

He pretended he couldn’t hear the steady beat of hooves following him

He just ran towards the mountain like he promised Coral he would

Because there was a monster chasing him…

… And he needed a Hero to kill it!

Author's Note:

I'm sorry Coral...

But this was always going to happen

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