• Published 29th Dec 2020
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Under the Black Moon - Cloud Ring



Solid Line, young unicorn with suppressed dreams of greatness and being closer to her chosen Moon, gets a dream, and answers the calling.

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Chapter 10: Agreement

☄☄☄⊛⊛⊛

“What do you mean?” Cursory Streak went around Gentle to look at alicorn, facing them both and tilting her head. “The word of the Moon is beyond doubt, but I ask for clarification. In the part where you called us dead.”

Gentle Touch blinked. Did She? First She talked about ancient reincarnation, then that She is looking for two ancient souls… then, well, She said that we are found now. Does that mean that we are those souls too?

“This is how you comprehend it,” Black Moon paused. “And it is inaccurate. You are alive, but the voice of the dead echoes in you. Unlike glasses, where a shadow of a guide will never be alive, or a table lamp that wants to look after their grandchildren, you are able to act outside of your purpose and your main aspirations.”

“Does this mean that we belong to your aspect, like all reimplants?” Cursory tilted her head. “I disagree!”

“Of course not. In that case everything would be easier. You may not be in a hurry; you can discuss the offer with your friends and with your own Moons.”

Cursory nodded, “I'll warn colleagues at my station. Gentle, dear, is that exactly what you want? This sector is awkward for inexperienced ponies, and—”

“It is as I want,” Gentle took a few steps forward, bypassing the alicorn in front, raised and turned her head and also looked into the violet eyes. “But… Black Moon, are you sure I can refuse? Are you sure you leave me enough freedom? That I will find my purpose in this sector even if I do not follow your paths?”

The Black Moon answered instantly: “Thrice yes. Then you can support my Heralds and other ponies of my labs. They need it more than often, albeit rarely admit the fact.”

I will continue to explain the routes until you get used to it and my presence stops being useful to you, the glasses intervened in a whispering thought.

Cursory blinked, "You have Heralds too?"

Black Moon did not answer, and did not even move Her ear, continuing to stare at Gentle.

Gentle Touch nodded, “Then I agree.”

Only after that did the alicorn turn to the grayish-white pegasus, and with a smile — to be more precise, a grin — answered:

“Yes, I had. And your fellow traveler is — or rather was — one of them.”

“A fellow traveler?” Gentle and Cursory asked in unison; the pegasus giggled.

“The first ‘echo’, Solid Line. I found her two square nines eight nines and two rounds ago, and I lost her less than a cycle after that. One of the most successful creations of Red overheard our connection, met with her, knew how important she was, and distorted her memory. She has ceased to be true to me. Stopped being aligned with me. Worst of all, she got a fear of Red; the same fear you live with, Gentle Touch. After that, she was out of my reach, but she is still necessary. I asked her to sleep and calm down.”

Cursory chuckled, “I thought the reflections weren’t yet around back then… but oh well.”

Gentle did not understand right then, but after a beat she looked at the Black Moon with horror. “Almost three square nines?..”

Black Moon nodded, “I started looking for you right away. Unfortunately, you were hidden from me. But now you are before me, and I have hope once again.”

“How can we help, and how will it help? And you implied that we should help ourselves, no?” Gentle asked, tense.

“The coordinates of the Solid’s capsule have already been placed in your ‘companion’, the access key is either one of you, the time is unlimited. If you want to reposition it, say so.

“How would you help — I mentioned echoes of the dead. I see that they — and you too — are eager to come together. Doing so will calm them and will probably make yourself feel better. Formless drives, the feeling of losing what you missed without even knowing that you had it, these ones should disappear. Feelings like this are familiar to you, correct?” Black Moon asked.

Gentle nodded. Cursory frowned a bit but remained still.

Can I see the coordinates? Gentle thought to the glasses.

The map of the Metropolis flashed before her eyes. It had four flickering points. A stylized yellow unicorn, ‘Solid Line’ in the far descent-of-Blue, almost outside the Metropolis, three cycles for the fastest aviette from the center, a third less from here; pale pink pegasus, ‘Quiet Melody’ even further descent-of-Blue, in the wild and uninhabited lands; pale blue pegasus, ‘Dart?’ in the ascent-of-Blue, not far from the center of Metropolis; and a colorless earth pony, outlined by a dotted silhouette without a label on the shore of the far left-of-Blue ocean.

“Hey, what about me?” Cursory asked with a touch of irony.

“You have not yet decided whether you are participating or not,” answered the Black Moon.

The pegasus chuckled, "Is this capsule of your Herald such a secret?"

“Yes, it is.”

“Then I will consult with the White Moon.” Cursory replied firmly. ”And don't let this foal go anywhere without me.”

Gentle raised her head and snapped, “I'm not a foal! I can decide for myself!"

Cursory froze for a moment, then blushed and said, "Sorry. I'm really trying to see you as an adult — and you are an adult, don't worry! — but... it's me who just can't do that. Can't always, at least. You just... don't register for me as one. Please, excuse me."

Gentle Touch still felt anger for a moment, but then it subsided, as the answer was sincere as far as Gentle could see below these stars — and, after all, she was the healer who should be calm at all times.

Later on we will show her, whispered a carefree, cheerful voice in Gentle’s thoughts. She shook her head, about to ask the glasses if they were... but did not, afraid to hear that they weren’t saying anything.

“I will escort you to the border of the sector, but I cannot go further,” Black Moon said.

“Why?” Gentle asked.

“By the will of the White Moon, which is secured by the Triangle's verdict, the laws of reality have been changed here to suit my being and the needs of my research, I cannot exist beyond them anymore,” was an indifferent response.

Gentle blinked, but restrained from further questions.

⊛⊛⊛

Close up, the White Moon was stunning. Her coat was a pearl white, and sparks danced over the deceptively pale whiteness the way they dance in the mountain snow. Her mane was a flame, and nopony could have said whether it was yellow, red, white or piercing blue; everchanging, almost predictable yet completely elusive. Even many steps away, Her heat made Gentle’s eyes water, and skin dry, like from feast bonfires that some earth ponies keep alive for three cycles straight, celebrating the Conjunctions.

The deceptive gleam of insanely cheerful eyes made it almost impossible to look directly at the alicorn; She wanted to kill and to save, protect from the enemy and send to war, cover under Her wing from all adversity and give impeccable freedom, up to the right to perish for the glory of the Triangle.

Together and at a distance, alone and in a dance, She recognized the ponies' right to be who they are, but determined all the boundaries and facets of this right.

And the voice — Gentle couldn't say if it was gentle or fierce. In this voice White Moon decreed that She approves of whatever decision Cursory Streak would make; and by said approval made it known that Her Herald's protection is necessary and useful for the reputable Gentle Touch; so it happened.

Then, by Her word, She made it so that not only now and in the future, but also since before time, in any sector of Metropolis and Outland, according to eternal traditions of the Triangle, pilgrims could ask for and expect any help, so long as this didn't infringe on other primordial rights of other ponies.

She also said that their journey in search of the dead was pleasing to Her and useful both to Her and to all the ponies and their traditions and laws.

And for a long, long time She continued to speak, communicating and affirming the truths that Gentle was not able to understand or remember; she only knew that a ligature of rules and axioms was weaved around them that would serve them as protection on their long journey.

Finally, She fell silent. Cursory Streak remained sitting next to the White Moon, and Gentle did not understand how she did not burn. So, to avoid the suffering from witnessing the impossibility of what was happening, she bowed and left the grand hall where even the ceiling was too high to be seen, slipping on the icy-smooth stone slabs, and unsuccessfully tried to calm down the ringing rumble in her head.

I want to go home, Gentle sobbed while nopony saw her.

Nopony answered her. Except glasses; but even those not with words. Only by feeling I'm nearby, I'm here for you.

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